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December 2008 Nationwide Series Archive

  • Nationwide staying with sponsorships: All over, corporations are bailing on sports. Honda has ended its support of Formula One auto racing. NASCAR is imperiled by the potential collapse of the Big Three automakers. But Nationwide, the title sponsor of the #2 NASCAR series and #2 men’s golf tour, as well as a major sponsor of several local teams, hasn’t reduced its commitment to investing big money in sports. “We’re looking at things more closely, but at the moment we’re not making any adjustments because of the economy,” said John Aman, assistant vice president of strategic sponsorship for the Columbus-based company. To Nationwide, it’s simply good business.(Columbus Dispatch)(12-31-2008)
  • Newman to drive limited schedule for KHI: Ryan Newman will enter at least six Nationwide Series races in a Kevin Harvick Incorporated Chevy in 2009. Newman’s debut for Harvick came in a KHI owned truck at Atlanta Motor Speedway last October. It was also Newman’s debut in a Truck; he won the event. The races Newman is currently scheduled to drive are: Las Vegas on February 28, Talladega on March 25th, Darlington on May 8th, Bristol on August 21st, Dover on September 26th, and Lowes on October 16th (NASCAR Examiner)(12-28-2008)
  • McCumbee unsure of 2009 plans: Reports, rumors and rumblings. That’s what the last six weeks has revolved around for Chad McCumbee. “I read on the Internet what everyone else does,” the West Brunswick (N.C.) High School graduate said. And with the start of the 2009 NASCAR season a little more than six weeks away, McCumbee still doesn’t know if he’ll be competing in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series. McCumbee was on course to drive the No. 44 Sprint Cup car for Petty Enterprises in 2009 before sponsorship issues arose. “We were all good to go and everybody was happy,” McCumbee said. “The economy affected sponsors obviously. It hurt everything.” So, McCumbee said he is keeping his options open, which means he could return to the Camping World Series (formerly the Craftsman Truck Series). He also said he has had “a few talks here and there” with teams in the Nationwide Series. McCumbee said he has the support of Petty Enterprises if he opts to drive a Nationwide Series car for another team. He ran a full-time schedule in the truck series last year and nine races on the Sprint Cup schedule in the #45 car.(Myrtle Beach Sun News)(12-26-2008) Comment here
  • Congrats to Alex Garcia: Nationwide Series driver Alex Garcia and his wife Daniela welcomed their second child into the world Saturday afternoon. Baby girl Angelina joins three-year-old brother Juan Pablo. Garcia plans a partial Nationwide schedule again in 2009.(12-20-2008)
  • Joe Gibbs expects Coleman to return to NNS ride: UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Saturday he hopes to bring driver Brad Coleman back to the team’s Nationwide Series operation in 2009. Gibbs said the deal is pending sponsorship for the Nationwide standalone events on the #20 Toyota., He would share the car with Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano next year.(Scene Daily)(11-23-2008)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced they have signed promising young NASCAR driver Brad Coleman back into their family fold effective immediately. Coleman will be running a partial Nationwide Series schedule alongside Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin in the #20 car in 2009. “Brad showed us a lot of natural talent when we launched his Nationwide career here in 2007 and has matured a great deal by going through some tough challenges since then,” said J.D. Gibbs. “He is an impressive young man with a bright future ahead of him and our entire organization is happy to have him back on the team.”(Brad Coleman PR)(12-19-2008)
  • Bristol spring race to be the Scotts Turf Builder 300: The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is the new sponsor of the March 21, 2009 Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Scotts, the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products, has signed an agreement with BMS as sponsor of the Scotts Turf Builder 300, one of the most popular Nationwide Series races on the NASCAR circuit.(BMS PR)(12-19-2008)
  • Ambrose voted Australian Driver of the Year: Marcos Ambrose has been voted as the Australian Driver of the Year by Australian motor racing magazine Auto Action for the second-consecutive year. Ambrose, who is currently at home with his family in his hometown of Launceston, Tasmania, won the award by receiving 41 percent of the vote, which was decided by readers of Auto Action as part of the magazine’s annual ‘Racer of the Year Awards’ issue.(Marcos Ambrose PR)(12-19-2008)
  • Stillman to be Edwards’ crew chief: Roush Fenway Racing has hired Green Bay native Dan Stillman to be crew chief for Carl Edwards’ championship-caliber #60 Nationwide Series team. The move came as a domino effect from the change the team made earlier this week, when it promoted Drew Blickensderfer to lead Matt Kenseth’s Sprint Cup team. [Stillman] led Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Regan Smith to the rookie of the year title in Nextel Cup in 2008.(Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)(12-18-2008)
  • Save-A-Lot returns to sponsor Edwards: Save-A-Lot food stores has extended their relationship with Roush Fenway Racing signing on as a primary sponsor for Carl Edwards and the #60 Ford for 13 races in the Nationwide Series in 2009. The Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will mark the first race for Save-A-Lot as the primary sponsor.(Roush Fenway PR)(12-18-2008)
  • Partial Schedule for GEM Nationwide Team: UPDATE: Sirius Speedway has learned that the much-discussed merger between Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises has run aground. Anonymous sources say that GEM laid off approximately 50 employees today, and that its Nationwide Series team will either be eliminated or cut back dramatically. In addition, multiple sources say that GEM’s #10 Sprint Cup team and driver Reed Sorenson will also run only a partial schedule. While not commenting on the reported demise of the Petty deal, Gillett Evernham Motorsports CEO Tom Reddin confirmed today that major changes are underway. “We are a Sprint Cup team first and foremost, and winning in that series needs to be our primary focus,” he said. “The Nationwide Series is a fantastic series and we certainly look forward to racing a partial schedule in 2009, but we will not run the full season next year. We will remained focused on putting all of our effort behind the Cup program in 2009. GEM is very fortunate to have nearly all of our Cup sponsors returning in 2009 in addition to the new arrival of others.” Reddin said that GEM will also restructure its engine department for 2009, to align with a reduced number of engine leasing customers next season.(Sirius Speedway)(12-16-2008)
    UPDATE: been told by GEM that the #10 car will run the full Sprint Cup season and that the GEM-Petty merger talks are going well and the deal is NOT off.(12-17-2008)
  • Ford wants to run Mustang as COT: Director of Ford Racing Technology Brian Wolfe told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Tuesday that when NASCAR’s new Nationwide Series Car Of Tomorrow returns to the front burner, both Ford and NASCAR would like to see the Ford Mustang approved for competition. “We would like to see it, and we are doing aero work and working hard with NASCAR on that possibility. It would also be very popular with the fans, I believe.”(Sirius NASCAR Radio)(12-16-2008)
  • Dillon to run 7 races in 2009: Austin Dillon, the 18-year-old grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Richard Childress, said Tuesday that he will attempt to qualify for seven Nationwide Series races next season. Dillon made two Nationwide starts in 2008, coming home 26th at Richmond and fourth at Memphis, in addition to a full season in NASCAR’s Camping World East Series. The son of RCR Vice President of Competition Mike Dillon plans to run the entire Camping World East slate once again in 2009 in addition to the seven Nationwide races, which will preserve his rookie status in the series for 2010, when he hopes to run a full schedule. Dillon is uncertain which races he’ll run – he is still waiting on NASCAR approval to compete at the two superspeedways, Talladega and Daytona – but says Richmond and Iowa Speedway will likely be among them. In 2009, Dillon expects to share seat time with another driver in the No. 21 Nationwide entry for RCR. That’s the number his father used when he last drove for the organization in 2001.(Scene Daily)(12-16-2008)
  • New Crew Chief for Kenseth? Nationwide Series pit boss Drew Blickensderfer has been promoted to head the team. Chip Bolin, who held the position last year, will go back to work as an engineer at Roush Fenway Racing. Although Blickensderfer started 2008 as crew chief for Roush’s #17 Nationwide Series team, he swapped places with Pierre Kuettel and joined Carl Edwards’ #60 team. The pair went on to win seven of the final 19 races.(FoxSports)(12-16-2008)
  • Keselowski confident about sponsorship for #88: Sponsorship for the #88 JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team has yet to be announced, but driver Brad Keselowski said he isn’t worried about the future. The U.S. Navy decided to end its NASCAR involvement at the end of the 2008 season, leaving Keselowski without a backer for 2009. Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had to cut back JR Motorsports’ #5 entry to a limited schedule because of a lack of sponsorship, but the #88 team remains full time. Keselowski said his team will use a combination of sponsors for ’09. “We’re pretty good,” Keselowski said. “I think we’re going to be in good shape. Actually, we feel like we’re going to be stronger [financially] than we were last year with the package we have now, which is good.(Scene Daily)(12-15-2008)
  • Stanton Barrett opens NYC art gallery: NASCAR driver and Hollywood stuntman Stanton Barrett has opened an art gallery in lower Manhattan, but don’t drop in looking for photographs, paintings or sculptures of car crashes, stunts or other Hollywood-ish endeavors. In addition to the works of Barrett, the Stanton Barrett Art Gallery currently includes pieces from artists such as Meredith Ostrom, fashion photographer Walter Chin and Matty Thompson. Barrett, a second-generation racer with nearly 200 starts in NASCAR’s Cup and Nationwide series, says art is just one of many things that have held his interest. And opening his own gallery, he says, was a logical move.(Scene Daily)(12-15-2008)
  • Keselowski joins boss in being voted Most Popular: UPDATE: For once, Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t the only one inside JR Motorsports who is most popular among his peers. Brad Keselowski now is as well. The two racers were each named their division’s most popular drivers in 2008 – Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving the #88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, and Keselowski in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driving the #88 Chevy for JR Motorsports. Online fan-voting determined the winner in each series. “To be voted by the fans to win the Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver award really puts an exclamation point on this season,” Keselowski said. “I think back to where I was two years ago, and consider myself so fortunate to be in this position at JR Motorsports. The fans have been extremely supportive of me, and I can’t thank them enough for this award and the continued support they show.”(JR Motorsports PR)(12-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Brad Keselowski, the Most Popular Driver in the Nationwide Series, led all drivers with 59,300 votes. Fans cast 131,875 votes for drivers in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, tops among the eight series [not counting Sprint Cup].(NASCAR PR)(12-14-2008)
  • #40 Team Shut Down: UPDATE: Been told the #40 Chip Ganassi Nationwide team was shut down yesterday. Crew chief Brad Parrott, a majority of the road crew and several shop personnel were released. Ganassi Racing is reportedly helping Fastenal find an new team to move to. No word on the status of driver Bryan Clauson.(12-10-2008)
    UPDATE: The newly merged Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team has shut down its Nationwide Series operation, driver Bryan Clauson and former crew chief Brad Parrott confirmed Wednesday. Clauson remains under contract with the team but said Wednesday his plans for 2009 are unknown. Clauson remains under contract with the team but said Wednesday his plans for 2009 are unknown. Parrott has talked to two owners who want to bring him and his crewmen together, pending sponsorship. A source said the Fastenal sponsorship is likely moving to another NASCAR team, precipitating the shutdown of Earnhardt Ganassi’s Nationwide operation.Another source said part of Fastenal’s sponsorship included Dodge money, but since Dodge won’t be with the team next year – Earnhardt Ganassi is rumored to be switching to Chevrolet – the team would not have been able to make the manufacturer switch and run a partial season with the amount of money Fastenal was now offering.(Scene Daily)(12-10-2007)
  • Ernie Cope to KHI’s Nationwide team as crew chief: Ernie Cope will crew chief Kevin Harvick Inc.’s Nationwide Series team in 2009. Last season, Cope worked as crew chief for KHI’s #2 Craftsman Truck Series team.(FoxSports.com)(12-10-2008)
  • Lepage still working on 2009 plans: Veteran driver Kevin Lepage, who drove for a number of teams in 2008 and ended the season with Derrike Cope, does not have anything solid lined up for 2009 and continues to talk to a number of teams.(12-9-2008)
  • 5-Hour Energy Renews with RWI: Living Essentials, LLC and Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC announced that LE, through its 5-Hour Energy brand, will return for its second season as primary sponsor of Rusty Wallace Racing’s #66 team and driver Steve Wallace in 2009. 5-Hour Energy will serve as primary sponsor of Wallace’s #66 Chevt in ten 2009 Nationwide Series events, beginning with the March 21st race at Bristol. Additionally, 5-Hour Energy will serve as an associate sponsor on the #66 for the remainder of the 2009 Nationwide Series schedule.(RWI PR)(12-8-2008)
  • Cope to run full season: From the Derrike Cope web site: “I have committed to an opportunity to drive for a Nationwide team next year, full schedule. I will know more next week after we have some more meetings. I will elaborate as soon as we have an agreement and understanding of the entire effort.”(DerrikeCope.com)(12-8-2008)
  • Kennington named Canadian Tire Series Most Popular Driver: The fans of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series have spoken and the final result was that DJ Kennington was the most popular driver of 2008. Kennington, who raced a full season in the Canadian Tire Series, spent most of the calendar year in the U.S. DJ will not have much time to rest as he gets back to the garage by mid December to improve the cars in the Nationwide Series and Canadian Tire Series.(DJ Kennington PR)(11-7-2008)
  • Sheltra part-time in 2009: Sheltra Motorsports has announced that they will continue a part-time presence in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year. Currently, the team plans to attempt seven races that have no conflict with the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. The team’s first anticipated race [with driver Patrick Sheltra] could come as early as the season opener from Daytona International Speedway on February 14th. The team will continue to host Dodge Chargers as its primary manufacturer in NASCAR as well.(Sheltra Motorsports PR)(12-6-2008)
  • Scott Zipadelli named as crew chief for #38 UPDATE Formal announcement from Braun Racing: Braun Racing driver Jason Leffler said Saturday night that Scott Zipadelli will serve as his crew chief for the #38 Nationwide Series Toyota next season. Zipadelli, the younger brother of Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup crew chief Greg Zipadelli, will leave JTG Daugherty Racing and the #47 driven by Kelly Bires. Zipadelli replaces Todd Lohse, who Leffler hoped would remain at Braun in some capacity.(Scene Daily)(11-23-2008)
    UPDATE: Braun Racing is pleased to announce that Scott Zipadelli has joined their organization to serve as crew chief of the #38 Great Clips team with driver, Jason Leffler. Bringing with him a wealth of experience, Zipadelli has over 12 years in the industry and has worked with several championship winning organizations.(Braun Racing PR)(12-5-2008)
  • Thorsport Racing to run some NNS races: While the news out of most NASCAR racing teams this off-season is about layoffs and down-sizing, it’s quite the opposite at ThorSport Racing. The team, which fields the #13 and #88 entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from its Sandusky, Ohio headquarters, is looking for experienced personnel to help expand its program in 2009. ThorSport ventured into the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the first time in 2008 and expects to enter more Nationwide events in the coming season as well as continuing with its two-truck effort.(Thorsport Racing PR)(12-3-2008)
  • Speed to run some races for MWR: Scott Speed, driver of the #82 Red Bull Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series will also run a partial Nationwide Series schedule in the #99 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.(RBRT PR)(12-1-2008)
  • Davis looking to run Daytona: Marc Davis is scheduled to participate in the ARCA test session at Daytona Int’l Speedway with Venturini Motorsports, and is currently negotiating to run the ARCA race in the season opener at Daytona. Davis is also seeking NASCAR approval to run the Nationwide race.(Marc Davis PR)(12-1-2008)