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December 2009 Nationwide Series Archive

 

  • Conway to Cup with Front Row? Travis Kvapil told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Wednesday that he will run the full 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Front Row Motorsports. Steven Lane will serve as crewchief on the car – expected to be the #34 – with a new manufacturer to be announced in the near future. The team ran primarily Chevrolet livery a year ago, with Dodges entered in selected events. “It will be a full-time, two- car operation next season,” said Kvapil, “but I can’t really say anything more until all the details are finalized. That’s all for the team to announce.” Sources tell Sirius Speedway that former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kevin Conway will fill the seat of the second Front Row Motorsports entry, with sponsorship from Extenze Men’s Health Supplement.(Sirius-Speedway)(12-30-2009)
  • Braun, Lamar settle contract issue: Braun Racing and former driver Burney Lamar have resolved an issue over his compensation, according to documents filed recently in North Carolina Superior Court. Lamar had filed a lawsuit Dec. 11 claiming the team owed him $54,908 but then dismissed the lawsuit Dec. 16. The team claimed that the final check had been sent to Lamar before it even knew the lawsuit was filed.Lamar, who was scheduled to drive in 18 Nationwide Series races in 2009 but ended up competing in only nine (with one top-10 finish), had a base salary of $105,000, according to the complaint.(SceneDaily)(12-29-2009)
  • Baker Curb working on deal with Cup driver: UPDATE: The 2010 Nationwide Series season will mark the 10th anniversary of dominance by Sprint Cup teams in NASCAR’s No. 2 series. It’s been since 2000 that a non-Cup affiliated team won the series championship. That year, Jeff Green won the title for ppc Racing, a team that has since been swallowed by up by another organization. Since then, Cup teams and Cup-affiliated have completely dominated the Nationwide Series. In 2009, Joe Gibbs Racing won the drivers title with Kyle Busch, and not a single independent team won a race. And it’s likely only going to get worse for the non-Cup teams, #27-Baker Curb Racing co-owner Gary Baker said. Baker Curb is close to signing a sponsorship package with a Sprint Cup driver, a necessity these days. “The gap, frankly, has widened a little bit,” Baker says. “That’s why we know we’ve got to go get a Cup driver for one of our cars on our team because NASCAR so favors the Cup drivers in Nationwide racing.”(SceneDaily)(12-28-2009)
    UPDATE: [NASCAR Insiders is] hearing that Cup driver is Greg Biffle. It’s expected he’ll run a limited schedule for the team in the Nationwide Series. This will not be the first time Biffle has worked with Baker Curb. Between 2005 and 2008 he ran 43 races for the team and its predecessor organization, Brewco Motorsports. There is no word on how many races Biffle is expected to run, or who the sponsor will be.(NASCAR Insiders)(12-29-2009)
  • Kenny Wallace returning to Jay Robinson: UPDATE 4: Still no sponsorship signed: #28-Kenny Wallace twittered Friday that he will return to run the full 2010 Nationwide Series season in the #28 of Jay Robinson Racing.(11-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace said this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway he will return to Jay Robinson Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series team for the full 2010 season. Wallace said the team has a sponsor for eight races, but the team will race the remaining 27 races as well. “It was an interesting moment,” Wallace said. “We were in Phoenix, up in my hauler. … Jay said, ‘I’d like to talk about next year.’ We agreed that we would do exactly what we’re doing this year. I would race for Jay, there would be no start-and-parking. “But one thing we agreed on was that I would be happy with the moving target. I said, ‘What’s a moving target?'” A moving target means Wallace and the team will race only with the money they have. “If we go to California, and we can only afford three sets of tires … I said, ‘OK, I’m all in,'” Wallace said. “We shook hands in front of everybody and made it official.”(SceneDaily)(11-22-2009)
    UPDATE 2: According to Kenny: “I’m looking really forward to next year. We have a new sponsor that we will unveil – a great sponsor, a very high-end sponsor that will be on our car for eight races. We’ll be able to make that announcement soon – I’ll go ahead and make that announcement in the next couple of weeks – the contracts are already signed, so it is a done deal. Also, people can look forward to our team running every single race. Also, we will sign some new sponsors – we’re very close to getting some new sponsors. I need everybody’s support – help me out by buying their products! We are not done yet with the U.S. Border Patrol or Customs Border Protection.”(Frontstretch)(12-4-2009)
    UPDATE 3: A statement from Jay Robinson Racing: “Contrary to some previous reports, Jay Robinson Racing does not have a deal for 2010 at the time. No contract is signed as of now. We would love to have Kenny back for the full schedule, however this will not happen unless sponsorship can be found. At this point we believe at least 8 races could be possible, beyond that all options are open.” (Jay Robinson Racing PR)(12-9-2009)
    UPDATE 4: The future for [Jay Robinson Racing] is unclear, for sponsorship is fleeting these days. The Nationwide Series is not one designed to run without sponsorship, though Robinson said he could run his team for less money than others – as little as $350,000 to run every race. Both Robinson and Wallace say they want to be back together for 2010, but it may not be that simple. It all depends on sponsorship, something Robinson has been able to find in every previous season.(SceneDaily)(12-28-2009)

  • Nationwide Series going to Road America: UPDATE 2: Despite the demise of the Milwaukee Mile, NASCAR still plans to come to Wisconsin in 2010. Elkhart Lake’s Road America — arguably the best road course in the country — will host the Nationwide Series on June 19, the date that had been held for the Mile. That will make for a road-racing doubleheader weekend for NASCAR, with the Sprint Cup Series in Sonoma, Calif. Stock cars aren’t entirely new to RA. Tim Flock won in NASCAR’s premier division in its only appearance in 1956. Lower divisions have competed at the track, including the defunct NASCAR Midwest Series in 2001, a race won by current Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Paul Menard.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-21-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced that it will continue its 17-year streak of racing on a national-series level in Wisconsin with the addition of the historic Road America course to its 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. The Road America 200 at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., replaces the event previously scheduled at the Milwaukee Mile and will be run on Saturday, June 19.(NASCAR PR)(12-21-2009)
    UPDATE 2: The SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series will join the NASCAR Nationwide Series for its recently announced event at Road America, June 18 – 20. Following the announcement that the Nationwide Series will add a third road race to its schedule when it heads to Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on June 18 – 20, the Trans-Am Series announces that it will join the bill for the Road America 200 weekend. The Trans-Am Series is tentatively scheduled to practice on Friday, qualify before Saturday’s Nationwide race and close out the weekend by headlining Sunday’s events. (SCCA PR)(12-22-2009)
  • Media selects top drivers, races of decade in NASCAR’s three national series With the recently completed 2009 season closing out another decade of NASCAR racing, media members have selected the top drivers and top races of the decade for all three national series as voted upon in a poll on NASCARMedia.com. The listing of drivers and races for the poll was compiled following discussions with the three series directors and other long-time observers in the industry – and also resulted from direct input from NASCAR fans. Kevin Harvick was chosen the top NASCAR Nationwide Series driver of the decade, followed by Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Harvick won two series titles in the decade – 2001 and ’06 – and was named the series’ Raybestos Rookie of the Year in 2000. During the decade, he leads all NASCAR Nationwide drivers with 34 wins. The Aug. 2, 2003 event at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis was named the top NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Brian Vickers battled Shane Hmiel in some closely-contested side-by-side racing to pick up his first career series victory. The July 2, 2004 race at Daytona International Speedway, which saw Mike Wallace navigate his way down the frontstretch to claim his first series win in 10 years, came in second. The Aug. 2, 2008 event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, where Canadian Ron Fellows won NASCAR’s first national series points race on rain tires, was voted third.(NASCAR PR)(12-21-2009)
  • Davis to run limited truck schedule in 2010: Marc Davis will return to the Nationwide Series, attempting Daytona in his self-owned #36 this February before shifting his focus back to the Camping World Truck Series. “We’ll run Nationwide Daytona for sure, then we’ll run Atlanta in Trucks,” says father, Harry, who says the team has money for a limited number of Truck races but won’t set a firm schedule of dates. “When the money comes in, we’ll race.” The Davis’ did acquire a Cup car, as well, but the money needed for a motor package caused the team to postpone its debut in that series indefinitely. The 19-year-old former development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing ran four Nationwide and two Truck races with his own team last season, posting a best finish of 18th at Martinsville (Trucks, October).(Frontstretch.com Newsletter)(12-21-2009)

  • CJM Racing to Suspend 2010 Racing Plans: UPDATE: Statement from #11 CJM Racing Owners Tony and Bryan Mullet: “Our vision for life, business and racing is to honor God with the time, talents and resources he has given us. Over the last four years we have been able to extend that vision into racing. We felt racing could be used as a platform to share that vision with millions of people. We have been surrounded by a great group of people that have supported us and developed a successful program. As of now, it appears that CJM will not be running the 2010 Nationwide season. It is really hard for us to see this great group of people move in other directions. They have done so much to build this program and beyond that, it has become like a family. We have built many great relationships within the industry and we want to thank everyone for showing us support. We are thankful for the time we have had to enjoy this great sport and are focused intently on what the future will bring.”(Breaking Limits) CJM Racing ran the #11 Toyota with many drivers in 2009, including Trevor Bayne, Kelly Bires, Mike Bliss, Denny Hamlin, Scott Lagasse, Jr., Justin Lofton, Andrew Ranger and Brian Scott.(12-18-2009)
    UPDATE: Word from a source inside the garage area claims CJM did not want to lose its high-end status within the series, and was looking for a minimum of $6 million dollars in sponsorship in order to remain competitive. (Frontstretch.com Newsletter)(12-21-2009)
  • Lepage still looking: Kevin Lepage continues to search for a 2010 ride. He has been in talks with several teams in all three national series, as well as some sponsors, but does not have anything finalized.(12-21-2009)
  • Carmichael to run four “COT” races in Nationwide series: According to a “tweet” from the Nationwide PR rep in Daytona, Ricky Carmichael and his new Turner Motorsports team hope to run the four Nationwide new car races in 2010 looking toward a fulltime deal in 2011. [Carmichael is scheduled to run the full truck series, ten ARCA and the four Nationwide races this season.](NASCAR_NNS)(12-19-2009)
  • Victory Lane Consulting working with Nationwide team: UPDATE: With the formation of Victory Lane Consulting, Dave Fuge Jr. announces a partnership with a current NASCAR Nationwide series team, to compete full-time in 2010 and beyond. Further details will be announced soon, but anyone interested in sending a resume can do so. Interviews for all positions will begin on Dec. 28th, by appointment only.(Victory Lane Consulting PR), see the email address on the Nationwide Series Addresses page.(12-15-2009)
    UPDATE: 2010 will bring many changes for the K-Automotive race team. Plans are in place to move to statesville NC from their Michigan based shop.also Brian Keselowski will return to the driver’s seat and Dave Fuge from the newly formed Victory Lane Consulting will assume crew chief duties. With the move to statesville there is the chance of getting more employees with the experience needed to compete at a high level. The plans also are in the works to run a limited amount of sprint cup races, with a veteran driver.(K-Automotive PR)(12-18-2009)
  • Danica’s first Nationwide race at Fontana? UPDATE 2: Daytona? After Danica Patrick announced she would supplement her IndyCar Series career by racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, informed sources said she will make her NASCAR debut at Auto Club Speedway in February. According to sources who requested anonymity as they are not authorized to officially speak on the matter, Patrick will race for JR Motorsports at the Feb. 20 Nationwide Staters Bros. 300 at the Fontana track. Her full Nationwide schedule is expected to be released in a news conference next week. “We have not heard anything,” said David Talley, director of communications for the speedway. “I know our race fits into the window of racing before and after the IndyCar Series. If Patrick does race stock cars at Auto Club Speedway, it will mark her second appearance on the 2-mile speedway. In her rookie IndyCar season in 2005, she finished 18th in the Toyota Indy 400 after qualifying fourth.(Los Angeles Daily News)(12-10-2009)
    UPDATE: Kelley Earnhardt Elledge announced Thursday that Danica Patrick’s first Nationwide race would be at Auto Club Speedway. Her second race will be at Las Vegas. She is expected to run approximately 13 races, but the full schedule has not been determined.(12-17-2009)
    UPDATE2 – Daytona still possible: Her NASCAR debut is very much in doubt, but Danica Patrick and JR Motorsports made it official she will race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and the following week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Her GoDaddy.com-sponsored Chevy will have points from a year ago, which means she will not need to qualify. Patrick’s first NASCAR race could be the Nationwide race at Daytona. Team co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, however, will allow her to make that call following an ARCA race earlier on the high-banked track. “The race is basically a Cup race. Some 30-odd drivers from (Sprint) Cup running that race, and is that the right time for me to start or not? I’m really not sure,” Patrick said Thursday at the JR Motorsports press conference in Mooresville, N.C. “You only get one grand opening, as I’ve heard. We want it to be the right opportunity. We don’t want to overcommit and under-deliver.”
    “Daytona is just a beast,” co-owner Kelley Earnhardt and general manager said. “As she alluded to, the experience of 30-some Cup drivers out there against what experience she is going to have. Is that a situation she wants to put herself into? It’s a do-or-die. Do we want to put that to be her first entry point coming into NASCAR? You’re always remembered by it. Dale Jr., his first Daytona race in 1998, he was upside down on his roof.”(Inland Valley Inland Bulletin)(12-18-2009)
  • McClure returning to Rensi: UPDATE: #24-Eric McClure twittered Wednesday morning: “Just officially found out that I will continue to race in the Nationwide Series in 2010..Hefty and Team Rensi”.(12-2-2009)
    UPDATE: Team Rensi Motorsports and Team McClure, Inc. announced a continuation of their partnership that will put Eric McClure in a TRM Ford for the complete 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. McClure made his NNS debut in 2003 and has competed in 108 events throughout his career, most of which have come as a full-time competitor during the past three seasons. In 2009 McClure recorded five top-20 and 15 top-25 finishes with TRM and finished a career-best 17th in NASCAR Driver Standings. Team Rensi Motorsports, owned by Ed Rensi and Gary Weisbaum, was formed in 1998 and has been a staple in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, earning five wins, 42 top-five, 98 top-10 finishes. TRM’s 2009 crew, including veteran crew chief Chris Wright, will remain intact for the upcoming season. The Hefty brand, featuring its Odor Block technology, will continue its relationship with McClure for the fifth consecutive season, by serving as primary sponsor at 34 of the 35 scheduled events and as an associate sponsor for the circuit’s annual stop in Montreal.(McClure PR), see an image of the car on the #24 team paint scheme page.(12-17-2009)
  • 2010 deal for McDowell: Michael McDowell, who started 2009 in the #47 JTG Racing Toyota before bouncing around at the end of the year while looking for a ride, reported that he has a deal for 2010. He posted a message on Twitter Thursday morning that, “Got my NNS deal signed and done. Story to come by Jan 1 no more start and park”(12-17-2009)
  • Hellman’s a sponsor for Bires? UPDATE: In a media advisory issued by JR Motorsports, they list Kelly Bires as “driver of the #88 Hellmann’s Chevy” and Tony Eury Sr., as “competition director for JRM and crew chief of the #88 Hellmann’s Chevy”. Hellman’s was on the #88 in 2009 along with other Unilver products. The team is reportedly looking for sponsorship to run a full season.(12-10-2009)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said Thursday that there were “A couple holes to fill with sponsorship of the #88.” However, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge said they are committed to run the car the full season.(12-17-2009)
  • No NASCAR race at Milwaukee Mile in 2010: UPDATE: The Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continually operating motor speedway in the country, won’t be hosting a national race in 2010. That was the word late Wednesday from Wisconsin State Fair Park officials, who said there would be no NASCAR or Indy Racing League racing next year at the famed Mile. “I’m sorry for this,” was the message Susan Crane, chairwoman of the State Fair Park Board, said she wanted to tell race fans. “We tried to do everything we could to secure racing. But we’re not giving up.” The announcement is a blow to motorsports fans in the region and a blow to community pride. Both Crane and Craig Barkelar, the fair’s interim executive director, said they hoped to bring national racing back to the Mile in 2011. Crane and Barkelar said that, after Wisconsin Motorsports, the race promoter that staged races last summer, went out of business, they tried to negotiate with four different promoters. State Fair officials said they hoped to generate some revenue next year with car clubs, driving schools and some tire and car testing. There is also the hope of staging some regional races next year. NASCAR had scheduled two races for next June: the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck series. NASCAR now is backing away, though the race body has not yet made that official.(in part from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also a story at BizTimes)(12-16-2009)
    UPDATE: “NASCAR was aware of this possibility, and we have been working on alternate opportunities on the 2010 schedule for both series and will announce those soon,” Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director for corporate communications said in a statement.(Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)(12-17-2009)
  • Live coverage of JR Motorsports conference: Fans interested in Thursday’s JR Motorsports media event featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt, Danica Patrick, and other key team personalities will have multiple broadcasting options to choose from, as live coverage will be provided by SPEED, SIRIUS | XM Radio, and GoDaddy.com, respectively. All three broadcasts will start immediately at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT. SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming to provide live television coverage with host Bob Dillner. SPEED’s coverage kicks off a weekend full of Danica Patrick, as Robin Miller will report live from Daytona International Speedway during the three-day ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) test session Dec. 18-20. JR Motorsports team partner Go Daddy, which sponsors the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy that Patrick will drive in a partial NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule in 2010 and 2011, will carry the press conference live via webstream. Fans can log onto www.GoDaddy.com/Danica to access the free Internet stream. For satellite radio listeners, SIRIUS | XM will carry the entire press conference live followed by three hours of discussion and analysis from the JR Motorsports team shop during “Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio can be found on SIRIUS channel 128 and also on XM channel 128 with “The Best of SIRIUS” package. Other key participants in Thursday’s media event will be co-owner and crew chief Tony Eury Jr., director of competition and crew chief Tony Eury Sr., and driver of the #88 Hellmann’s Chevy, Kelly Bires. Those three will join the Earnhardts and Danica Patrick in a 45-minute question-and-answer session with the media.(JR Motorsports PR)(12-16-2009)
  • Marty Reid to call ESPN’s Sprint Cup Races in 2010; Punch Returning to Pit Reporter Role Marty Reid will expand his role and join analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth as lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s full season of NASCAR coverage in 2010. Reid will call the action for all 17 of ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races as well as many of the network’s NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts. He was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage and selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2009. Returning to a role he helped define for ESPN for more than 20 years, Dr. Jerry Punch will join ESPN’s team of pit reporters for 2010, working both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. Punch was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s Sprint Cup coverage the past three years. All other members of the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team will return in 2010, including analysts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Tim Brewer and Ray Evernham, NASCAR Countdown host Allen Bestwick and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch. Specific assignments and schedules will be announced later. (ESPN PR)(12-16-2009)
  • Victory Lane Consulting working with Nationwide team: With the formation of Victory Lane Consulting, Dave Fuge Jr. announces a partnership with a current NASCAR Nationwide series team, to compete full-time in 2010 and beyond. Further details will be announced soon, but anyone interested in sending a resume can do so. Interviews for all positions will begin on Dec. 28th, by appointment only.(Victory Lane Consulting PR), see the email address on the Nationwide Series Addresses page.(12-15-2009)
  • Cope forms new team; plans full season: Derrike Cope and co-owner Dale Clemons announce the launch of the new motorsports company Stratus Racing Group, Inc. The full service company with racing facilities in Mooresville NC is equipped for participation in the ARCA, NASCAR Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. With major sponsorship already secured the company will campaign a full schedule in 2010 with the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. The company will aggressively support a driver development program through activity in ARCA and will partner with Gary Keller of CKR for select Sprint Cup races in 2010; while setting its sights on more Cup efforts in 2011. Co-Owner and primary driver Derrike Cope will be behind the wheel of the Nationwide car and Camping World truck while drivers Amber and Angela Cope are slated for ARCA races and limited truck series races. Racing veterans Rick Markle and father Del Markle will oversee team, engineering and pit crew responsibilities; plans to incorporate staff from Derrike Cope Inc. are currently underway. The company will debut its ARCA teams twin female drivers, Angela and Amber Cope at the Daytona ARCA test session this coming weekend. “Both drivers have experienced success in ARCA racing and are very excited to be moving forward to the NASCAR Truck Series with us in 2010,” stated Derrike Cope.(DerrikeCope.com)(12-15-2009)

  • Rusty Wallace forms alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing: Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing announced the formation of a technical alliance between the two teams, under which JGR will provide RWR with technical support for the development of NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry race cars. In the last two Nationwide Series seasons, RWR has fielded a pair of Chevy Impalas and in 2009 was the only team with multiple drivers among the top-ten in the year-end driver standings. For the 2010 season, the team will campaign factory-backed Toyota Camrys, with engines provided by Triad Racing Development. Stated RWR team owner, Rusty Wallace, “We’re excited about working with J.D. (Gibbs) and his guys; they’ve built a very solid Nationwide Series program over the past several seasons. Between all of the support that we’re receiving from Toyota and this new partnership, I feel that 2010 will be a strong year for our team.” Regarding the partnership, JGR President J.D. Gibbs noted, “We’re looking forward to working with Rusty and his team at RWR. We’re excited to have them join the Toyota camp next year in the Nationwide Series and we look forward to providing assistance to their program as well.”(RWR PR)(12-14-2009)
  • Danica tests with JR Motorsports: According to a photo posted on Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s Facebook page, Danica Patrick tested a JR Motorsports Chevy at Walt Disney World Speedway on Friday.(12-13-2009)
  • Duno to test ARCA car for Braun Racing: [Indy car driver] Milka Duno will make her stock car debut during the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards open test at Daytona International Speedway December 18, 19 and 20, 2009. Milka will participate in the test behind the wheel of Braun Racing’s #90 Toyota. While no stranger to the Daytona Beach, FL-based track, this will be Milka’s first opportunity to go around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in a metal-skinned stock car. Her #90 Camry will have less downforce than either the IndyCar Series cars she’s driven the past three seasons, or the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes that she competed in for the three seasons before that. With a second-place finish in 2007, Milka holds the record for the highest finish ever by a female driver in the 45-year history of the 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Starting with her four-win season in the American Le Mans Series in 2001 and continuing through her thee-win Rolex Series years, Milka has been offered opportunities to compete in stock cars and in the NASCAR Series virtually every season since.(Braun Racing PR)(12-12-2009)
  • Full Nationwide season for Harvick? Defending Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch says he still plans on running 25 races next season but is tempted to try the full schedule again after learning Cup drivers Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick also might try to run both series full time. “We can’t let Carl and Kevin walk over everyone,” Busch said with a laugh. “We’ve got to give them a run for their money.”(USA Today)(12-12-2009)
  • Hellman’s a sponsor for Bires? In a media advisory issued by JR Motorsports, they list Kelly Bires as “driver of the #88 Hellmann’s Chevy” and Tony Eury Sr., as “competition director for JRM and crew chief of the #88 Hellmann’s Chevy”. Hellman’s was on the #88 in 2009 along with other Unilver products. The team is reportedly looking for sponsorship to run a full season.(12-10-2009)
  • Danica’s first Nationwide race at Fontana? After Danica Patrick announced she would supplement her IndyCar Series career by racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, informed sources said she will make her NASCAR debut at Auto Club Speedway in February. According to sources who requested anonymity as they are not authorized to officially speak on the matter, Patrick will race for JR Motorsports at the Feb. 20 Nationwide Staters Bros. 300 at the Fontana track. Her full Nationwide schedule is expected to be released in a news conference next week. “We have not heard anything,” said David Talley, director of communications for the speedway. “I know our race fits into the window of racing before and after the IndyCar Series. If Patrick does race stock cars at Auto Club Speedway, it will mark her second appearance on the 2-mile speedway. In her rookie IndyCar season in 2005, she finished 18th in the Toyota Indy 400 after qualifying fourth.(Los Angeles Daily News)(12-10-2009)
  • Kenny Wallace returning to Jay Robinson: UPDATE 3: Still no sponsorship signed: #28-Kenny Wallace twittered Friday that he will return to run the full 2010 Nationwide Series season in the #28 of Jay Robinson Racing.(11-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace said this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway he will return to Jay Robinson Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series team for the full 2010 season. Wallace said the team has a sponsor for eight races, but the team will race the remaining 27 races as well. “It was an interesting moment,” Wallace said. “We were in Phoenix, up in my hauler. … Jay said, ‘I’d like to talk about next year.’ We agreed that we would do exactly what we’re doing this year. I would race for Jay, there would be no start-and-parking. “But one thing we agreed on was that I would be happy with the moving target. I said, ‘What’s a moving target?'” A moving target means Wallace and the team will race only with the money they have. “If we go to California, and we can only afford three sets of tires … I said, ‘OK, I’m all in,'” Wallace said. “We shook hands in front of everybody and made it official.”(SceneDaily)(11-22-2009)
    UPDATE 2: According to Kenny: “I’m looking really forward to next year. We have a new sponsor that we will unveil – a great sponsor, a very high-end sponsor that will be on our car for eight races. We’ll be able to make that announcement soon – I’ll go ahead and make that announcement in the next couple of weeks – the contracts are already signed, so it is a done deal. Also, people can look forward to our team running every single race. Also, we will sign some new sponsors – we’re very close to getting some new sponsors. I need everybody’s support – help me out by buying their products! We are not done yet with the U.S. Border Patrol or Customs Border Protection.”(Frontstretch)(12-4-2009)
    UPDATE 3: A statement from Jay Robinson Racing: “Contrary to some previous reports, Jay Robinson Racing does not have a deal for 2010 at the time. No contract is signed as of now. We would love to have Kenny back for the full schedule, however this will not happen unless sponsorship can be found. At this point we believe at least 8 races could be possible, beyond that all options are open.” (Jay Robinson Racing PR)(12-9-2009)
  • More Danica details: It doesn’t get better than this for the Nationwide Series. A league that has become Cup Lite, a glorified practice session for Cup drivers, now becomes Patrick’s testing ground for the events she enters. It’s all part of a master plan. She will make her stock car debut in the ARCA race at Daytona on Feb. 6, the day before she appears in two GoDaddy.com commercials during the Super Bowl. GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons is investing millions here, including the two-year deal to sponsor the #5 Cup car of Mark Martin. The plan is obvious. Martin drives two more years, then hands over the 5 car to Patrick in 2012. “Just thinking about that makes my eyes twinkle,” Parsons said Tuesday. “But we’ll see how it goes and look at it when we get to that point.” If Patrick flops in Nationwide, that point never may arrive. If she is competitive, NASCAR will have a cash cow for years to come. If not, NASCAR got a giant jolt of electricity from Patrick’s presence, however brief.(ESPN.com)
    AND: Danica Patrick is going Nationwide Series racing next year, and there really is only one main reason people go Nationwide Series racing – to get ready to go Sprint Cup racing. But for both the Izod IndyCar Series driver and for JR Motorsports, the team she will drive for, that’s talk for down the road, and the first step is to be successful over the next two seasons with Patrick running a partial Nationwide Series schedule along with a full IndyCar schedule. Her number of Nationwide races was not announced Tuesday when Patrick’s plans were formally announced, but it likely will be a dozen or fewer each year because of the IndyCar schedule, which has 17 races in 2010. Whether 20-30 races over two years would be enough to get her ready for a Cup schedule is questionable as Patrick – a 27-year-old with one career victory and a fifth-place finish in the IndyCar Series last year – embarks on her NASCAR career. JR Motorsports, which opened in 2005, has not competed on the Cup level but has flirted with the possibility for the last few years. If Patrick does well, the sponsorship could come for the organization to make the jump with her.(SceneDaily)(12-8-2009)
  • Roush Fenway announces crew chief lineup: Roush Fenway Racing announced its 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chief lineup. Mike Kelley will remain with Carl Edwards and the #60 Copart/Fastenal team as Edwards seeks his second Nationwide Series championship in four years. Kelley was moved to the #60 team for the final three races of 2009 and racked up one win, two top-fives and three top-10s. Longtime Roush Fenway Racing crew chief Ben Leslie will be paired with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. as he embarks on his first full-time NASCAR season and competes for Rookie-of-the-Year. Eddie Pardue has been tapped to lead Colin Braun and the #16 Con-way Freight crew. Braun moves to the Nationwide Series after two full-time Camping World Truck Series campaigns and is also running for Rookie-of-the-Year. Braun’s former crew chief, Mike Beam, has been named competition director of Roush Fenway Racing’s Nationwide Series operations.(Roush Fenway PR)(12-8-2009)

  • Danica to announce part-time schedule on Tuesday: Danica Patrick will announce on Tuesday in Phoenix her decision to drive a part-time Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports in 2010, a source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com on Monday. GoDaddy.com, which is handling the announcement at an 11 a.m. press conference, sent out a media alert late Monday afternoon. ESPN.com reported last month that Patrick was in the final stages of negotiations with JRM to compete in about a dozen races in a #7 — her number in IndyCar — Chevrolet with GoDaddy.com as the sponsor. The source said that has not changed. The plan is to enter Patrick in the ARCA Series opener in February at Daytona International Speedway and get her approved by NASCAR for the Nationwide race. ARCA owner Bobby Gerhart recently was contacted about putting Patrick in one of his cars for a Dec. 18-20 test at Daytona. He told ESPN.com on Monday he expected her to be in a car prepared by JR Motorsports at the test.(ESPN.com)(12-7-2009)
    UPDATE: At last, the long-awaited announcement is official – Go Daddy is taking Danica Patrick to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010. Danica will drive the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in a partial Nationwide schedule next season, plus one ARCA race. The Go Daddy Girl will be racing as a member of the JR Motorsports (JRM) team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011. “It’s been a long time coming, but the stars finally aligned for me with Go Daddy and JRM,” Danica said just before making her announcement. “I have always said I love to drive, and if I could make it work to race in both IndyCar and NASCAR – with the right sponsor, like GoDaddy.com and the right team, like JRM – then I’d love to drive in NASCAR!” Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons introduced Danica today as she made it official with the unveiling of her new stock car in front of fans and media outside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Parsons and the Go Daddy Girl driver were flanked by the brand new bright green #7 GoDaddy.com Nationwide Chevy and the equally distinctive 2010 IndyCar at today’s news conference. Go Daddy is leveraging its existing relationship with Earnhardt, Jr. who has also driven for Go Daddy in the Nationwide Series and will continue to work as a Go Daddy spokesperson. Danica’s NASCAR races would take place before, after and in between her IndyCar schedule. Michael Andretti, owner of Danica’s IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport, addressed that issue. “Danica and I are both working hard for a win at the Indianapolis 500 – keeping the race schedules separate will help keep her focused,” Andretti said. (GoDaddy.com PR), It was also announced that Tony Eury, Jr. would be her crew chief. See an image of the car on the #7 paint scheme page.(12-8-2009)
  • Former Nationwide owner Kinney pleads guilty in scheme: A former Nationwide Series team owner pleaded guilty Monday to one charge of mail fraud as part of what federal prosecutors say was his part in a $12.7 million embezzlement scheme over a period from 1995 to 2007, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten out of New Orleans. Daniel Kinney, whose Premier Motorsports team fielded the #85 Nationwide Series car in select series races in the last seven years, was charged for his role in a scheme that included his girlfriend’s sister, Donna White, who worked at J.W. Stone Oil Distributor. According to documents filed in the case, prosecutors allege they worked together to steal checks and funds belonging to the company and deposit funds into their personal accounts. According to the news release, the stolen funds were used in part to fund the race team as well as for personal expenses and gambling expenses. Kinney, a Kentucky resident, and White face possible maximum sentences of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, according to the news release. Sentencing is scheduled for March 11 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.(SceneDaily)(12-8-2009)

  • Braun Racing still planning on 4 teams: In a series that has seen more than its share of car owners come and go in the last several years, Todd Braun has somehow managed to survive – and grow. Next year, he plans to field four full-time entries in the Nationwide Series, all with full sponsorship. For 2010, Braun’s lineup of sponsors include Great Clips, Dollar General, ABF Freight, Beringer Wines – and others. His lineup of drivers is still in a state of flux, though Leffler and Brian Scott will compete full time. Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne will do a handful of races, and Cup driver Brian Vickers could be back, too. The team recently moved into a bigger shop, and Braun will attempt several Sprint Cup races this year, with an eye on a possible move there for 2011.(SceneDaily)(12-7-2009)
  • Kyle Busch Wins 42nd Annual Snowball Derby: Kyle Busch has won the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Busch started third in the 300-lap race and took the lead late from 2005 Snowball Derby winner Eddie Mercer to collect the $22,500 winner’s check. Mercer held on to finish second with NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Steven Wallace placing third. Two-time Snowball Derby winner Bobby Gill came from last place at the start to place fourth at the finish. John Bolen overcame an early wreck to finish fifth. This is the fourth major Super Late Model event that Busch has won this season. He also won Speedfest at Lanier Speedway (GA), the Redbud 300 at Anderson Speedway (IN) and the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (IN) in his free time from his NASCAR obligations. This event concludes the racing season at Five Flags Speedway for 2009. The track will open its 2010 season with the TBARA Winged Sprint Cars on March 19th. For more information on the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby, contact Five Flags Speedway by calling (850) 944-8400 and be sure to visit www.snowballderby.com and www.fiveflagsspeedway.com.(51 Sports)(12-7-2009)

  • Bobby Hamilton Jr. acquires Highland Rim track: Highland Rim Speedway has a new owner, one with a familiar name. Hamilton Entertainment, Inc., completed the purchase on Wednesday, according to the track’s Web site, as the venue attempts to have sustained ownership. Bobby Hamilton Jr., who cut his teeth at the track, is looking to use the track to help drivers find a racing home after Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway was recently shut down. Hamilton Jr., has asked drivers who competed at the fairgrounds to attend division meetings next week at Highland Rim, where the 2010 schedule is slated to start in mid-March. The track, located in Ridgetop, TN has had multiple owners in the past several years. It opened in 1964 under the ownership of L.J. Hampton, Ed Shannon and Earnest Walton. From 1990-2003, the owners were Ronnie and Pat Baucom. Later in 2003, Larry Gerleve purchased the track before selling it to Wayne Woelk in May 2009.(Tennessean)(12-4-2009)
  • Kenny Wallace returning to Jay Robinson: UPDATE 2: #28-Kenny Wallace twittered Friday that he will return to run the full 2010 Nationwide Series season in the #28 of Jay Robinson Racing.(11-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace said this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway he will return to Jay Robinson Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series team for the full 2010 season. Wallace said the team has a sponsor for eight races, but the team will race the remaining 27 races as well. “It was an interesting moment,” Wallace said. “We were in Phoenix, up in my hauler. … Jay said, ‘I’d like to talk about next year.’ We agreed that we would do exactly what we’re doing this year. I would race for Jay, there would be no start-and-parking. “But one thing we agreed on was that I would be happy with the moving target. I said, ‘What’s a moving target?'” A moving target means Wallace and the team will race only with the money they have. “If we go to California, and we can only afford three sets of tires … I said, ‘OK, I’m all in,'” Wallace said. “We shook hands in front of everybody and made it official.”(SceneDaily)(11-22-2009)
    UPDATE 2: According to Kenny: “I’m looking really forward to next year. We have a new sponsor that we will unveil – a great sponsor, a very high-end sponsor that will be on our car for eight races. We’ll be able to make that announcement soon – I’ll go ahead and make that announcement in the next couple of weeks – the contracts are already signed, so it is a done deal. Also, people can look forward to our team running every single race. Also, we will sign some new sponsors – we’re very close to getting some new sponsors. I need everybody’s support – help me out by buying their products! We are not done yet with the U.S. Border Patrol or Customs Border Protection.”(Frontstretch)(12-4-2009)

  • Partial NNS schedule for David Starr? From a David Starr diary entry at Frontstretch.com: “I know there has been some talk out there that I might run part-time or at least some races in the Nationwide Series. First and foremost, my number one priority is the Camping World Truck Series. I’ve had such a great career in the Truck Series and look forward to a lot more years. I have done some racing in the Nationwide Series over the years, and I’ve had some offers beginning last year, but in my mind a lot of them are so-so offers. I’ve had a lot of offers for start and park, but that is not what I’m interested in. I just can’t go into a race knowing I’m going to pull off the track 10 to 20 laps in. I’ve never done it, so why start now? I’ve talked to a couple of teams about maybe doing a partial schedule in 2010, but right now there haven’t been any serious discussions. As I said, I want to get my Truck Series plans firmed up before I really start thinking about doing anything else.”(Frontstretch)(12-4-2009)

  • JR Motorsports still looking for sponsorship: One looming issue with JR Motorsports is that the organization is still searching for full sponsorship for its flagship #88 car. Funding was pieced together this season, but a large chunk of money was lost when GoDaddy.com decided to move to the Sprint Cup Series as full sponsor for Mark Martin at Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt on Thursday called the sponsorship search “a dire situation” and said it’s likely new driver Kelly Bires will only be able to run half of the season. Earnhardt does not run JR Motorsports for profit, but instead created the organization as a way to help employ many of his family members. He said he expects Tony Eury Jr. to be the crew chief for the team next season. Eury was fired as Earnhardt’s crew chief at Hendrick in June. (Associated Press)
    AND Currently, the #5 car has sponsorship to run just four races – all with Earnhardt Jr. in the car, he said. “We’ve got irons in the fire, but we’ve had irons in the fire for months,” he said. “I’m a little worried about that. I’d like to run [the 88 car the] full season next year. I think the Nationwide Series is better with that car running a full season next year. But the possibilities of that happening do not look really good right now. “It’s very unfortunate. We’re working to try to find opportunities for our team to race. We’ve met with over half-a-dozen drivers in the last six months to try to find packages and potential in not only talent but sponsor money to keep 100-plus employees employed throughout next season.” Earnhardt Jr. previously co-owned JRM with Sprint Cup owner Hendrick, with the two each holding a 50 percent stake in the company. Now, Earnhardt Jr. has added his sister and Eury – who had been his Cup crew chief until being replaced last spring – to the ownership roster.(SceneDaily)(12-3-2009)
  • Congrats: Motor coach driver John Chambers will wed Mindy Bridges December 5 at St. Paul’s Church in Sidney, Ohio. NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Scott Wimmer will join Indy Lites driver Brent Sherman and Camping World Truck Series driver Brandon Knupp, as groomsmen for the wedding. “It’s an honor to have been asked to be part of John and Mindy’s special day; John has been a great friend and integral part of Scott Wimmer Racing for many years” said Wimmer. (12-3-2009)
  • Kyle Busch, Wallace, Stremme, running Snowball Derby: Race fans might have thought the 2009 racing season ended on Nov. 22 when NASCAR’s three major series competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But they were wrong. Racing purists know the racing season is never complete until a champion is crowned in the Snowball Derby, the country’s most prestigious short-track race that occurs each December at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. The 42nd Snowball Derby is slated for Sunday, Dec. 6 and will culminate four days of exciting racing action at Northwest Florida’s half-mile gem. Several NASCAR stars, including 2009 Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch, will compete against the country’s best Super Late Model drivers, all of whom are seeking to affix their name to the coveted Tom Dawson Memorial Trophy. Hoping to earn a spot in this year’s elite 38-car field will be former Snowball Derby champion Steve Wallace and David Stremme, who race on the Nationwide Series. James Buescher and Brian Scott from the Camping World Trucks Series also hope to make the big show. Two other potential future stars with famous last names will try to qualify for the Derby – Chase Elliott, son of former Cup champion Bill Elliott, and Ross Kenseth, son of another former Cup champ, Matt Kenseth. The green flag waves at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, in the 42nd annual Snowball Derby.(Gulf Breeze News)(12-3-2009)
  • McClure returning to Rensi: #24-Eric McClure twittered Wednesday morning: “Just officially found out that I will continue to race in the Nationwide Series in 2010..Hefty and Team Rensi”.(12-2-2009)
  • Danica still working on NASCAR deal: UPDATE: Danica Patrick confirmed a sponsor deal to drive an IndyCar for the next three years on Monday — and her plans to drive a part-time schedule for JR Motorsports in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series in 2010 remain on track as well, a source close to Patrick said. ESPN.com reported last month that Patrick was in the final stages of negotiating a two-year deal with JR Motorsports. A source said that has not changed, adding if she went with another team it would be a “surprise.” The plan is to debut Patrick in the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway in February and earn approval from NASCAR to compete in the Daytona Nationwide race. Patrick is expected to run in 10 to 13 Nationwide events, with perhaps another ARCA race or two. The source said negotiations include putting Patrick in the #7 she drives in IndyCar and not the #5 that currently is the second car at JRM. GoDaddy.com, which already sponsors Patrick in IndyCar and was the primary sponsor for the #88 at JRM this past season, is a potential sponsor.(ESPN.com)(11-30-2009)
    AND OOPS While IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick talked only about her non-NASCAR plans Monday morning, a photo on her Web site might have said more about her possible NASCAR plans than she did. The website had a picture of her as her Web site loaded that showed her in a GoDaddy.com uniform with a Chevrolet emblem and what appears to be a JR Motorsports logo and the Nationwide Series logo. The photo was later changed to her IndyCar Series uniform. The picture was small and only appeared on the screen for a few seconds. A representative of IMG, which represents Patrick, declined comment, and a JRM spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment (SceneDaily), many readers captured and sent the image, which is posted on my Misc Drivers page – Danica Patrick section.(11-30-2009)
    UPDATE: Danica Patrick has a rough sketch of what her NASCAR schedule would look like. She has an idea of what series to start in. Her IndyCar owner is onboard. Now all the popular driver needs is a car to race. Speaking with owner Michael Andretti during a teleconference on Tuesday, Patrick said she still doesn’t have a NASCAR deal in place. “We’ve been working this and talking to people since summer,” she said. “We are serious about this. Whether it comes together or not, we won’t know. But there’s no contract and there’s no deal right now. As I’ve said, if I can do both I would like to do that.” She’s already talked to Andretti about what her schedule might look like, with most of the NASCAR racing coming before and after the IndyCar season. “Yes, we did work that out,” Patrick said. “The primary focus is IndyCar and the Indy 500, but in and around that there is opportunity to drive the (stock) car as well.” Patrick also has an idea of where she might start in NASCAR. As appealing as it might be to jump into a Sprint Cup car – not to mention financially lucrative – she understands it might not make the most sense. Starting off with a few ARCA races or in the Nationwide series would give her a chance to get a feel for stock cars, adjust to what’s expected to be a sharp learning curve without the glare of Sprint Cup’s bright spotlight.(Associated Press)(12-1-2009)
  • Paul Wolfe leaving CJM: UPDATE: ESPN2 reported during the Nationwide Series race that #11 CJM Racing crew chief Paul Wolfe was leaving the team at the conclusion of the season. No word on his plans.(11-21-2009)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing has announced that both Jay Guy and Paul Wolfe have joined the organization as crew chiefs working with driver Brad Keselowski for the 2010 NASCAR season. Wolfe, a former competitor on the track, will team with Keselowski to pursue the 2010 Nationwide Series championship with the #22 Discount Tire Dodge team. The 32-year-old native of Milford, N.Y., raced in the Nationwide Series and completed his fourth season as a crew chief in 2009 as he led the charge for the #11 CJM Racing team with drivers Scott Lagasse, Jr., Denny Hamlin and others.(Penske Racing PR)(12-1-2009)
  • Nationwide & Truck Series MAHLE Engine Builder Awards: MAHLE Clevite recently announced the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year for the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The award is presented to the engine builder in each series who has accumulated the most points, based on qualifying, laps lead and finishing position.
    Mark Cronquist of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and builder of the #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch; received the MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year for the Nationwide Series after accumulating 5,862 points. This marks Cronquist’s fourth title in his career with JGR. “It is a great accomplishment, to receive this coveted award for the fourth time,” said Cronquist. “I’m proud of the entire Joe Gibbs Racing team and want to say thanks to MAHLE Clevite for their recognition and for providing us with the parts that continue to out-perform each year.”
    The MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year for the NASCAR Truck Series went to Pro Motor Engines (PME) owner Mark Smith for the second consecutive year. Smith was recognized for his work on the Kevin Harvick Inc. #33 Chevy driven by Ron Hornaday, Jr. that accumulated a total of 3,817 points. “Our efforts to finish on top for a second consecutive season really paid off,” said Smith. “I’m honored to receive this award for the second year in a row, and many thanks to MAHLE Clevite for always providing quality products, and for recognizing those of us who are behind the scenes.” For more information about MAHLE Clevite and its brands, visit www.mahleclevite.com, or contact your local representative.(PR)(12-1-2009)