February 2005 News Archives

  • News from February 28, 2005

  • Speeding Down: looks like drivers are getting used to the new electronic system used to catch speeders on pit road, after 14 drivers were caught at Daytona, only three suffered that fate on Sunday at California Speedway: #12-Ryan Newman [lap 177], #15-Michael Waltrip [lap 164] and #11-Jason Leffler [lap 105].(2-28-2005)
  • City kids get taste of track: Magic Johnson, grand marshal for Sunday’s Auto Club 500, took the occasion to issue this progress report on NASCAR’s diversity program: It’s up to the kids. “We have 300 kids coming [to the race] from the inner cities of Los Angeles,” he said. “This is a part of what we always wanted to do when I came to NASCAR, to have these young people experience what I experienced last year.” Johnson claimed that 25 percent of NASCAR’s TV audience is minority. “They watch the races at home,” he said. “They just haven’t been coming to the track, so when you look at minorities, they enjoy NASCAR as much as anybody else. The main thing is to introduce it to the young people.” He said introducing the sport to minority children is probably more significant than having a minority driver at this point. “That’s bigger than any driver to me,” Johnson said. “You have kids that probably never, ever, have been outside of South Central [Los Angeles]. These are kids that will look at today as one of the greatest days of their lives, to come to a race. They’re going to go from this race today saying, ‘You know what, there’s something other than crime; there’s something other than killing.’ They see people die around them every day. Now they’re going to say, ‘You know what, I should buckle down and get my education because there’s something other than this life that I have to see every day.’ That’s what makes it great.” (Atlanta Journal Constitution)(2-28-2005)
  • Inspection Process Not Changed: Insider Racing News spoke with NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton and one of the drivers, Kirk Shelmerdine, who didn’t make the top-35 in points last year about the way NASCAR inspected the cars. Some of the nine teams that weren’t fortunate enough to be in the top-35 were complaining that NASCAR was putting them at a disadvantage with the way the inspection process worked. “NASCAR’s not holding anyone up,” says Pemberton, “you get inspected according to where you are in points, so it’s not any different than it has been for the last ten years. Inspection goes by the order of the garage layout with goes by the points,” Shelmerdine said. “That’s the way it is. That’s only on the initial inspection to get into the garage, when you go through the tech line, it’s first come — first served. That’s something that us here at the back have always had to deal with, you’re last in line, that’s the way it is. You’ve got to move up the ladder if you want to get more practice time. That’s the way it is at this end of the garage and my heart bleeds for them.”(Insider Racing News)(2-28-2005)
  • Speed Channel outgrowing it’s building: Two motorsports-related media companies are searching for new homes, with the potential for collaborating on a 125,000-square-foot hub in the region opening as soon as 2007. Speed Channel, owned by News Corp., which also owns the Fox network, and NASCAR Images, a joint venture between the stock-car sanctioning body and News Corp., have outgrown their existing facilities. Speed Channel occupies 19,000 square feet on Southern Pines Blvd.; NASCAR Images, a film archive and video production company, has 30,000 square feet on Stuart Andrew Blvd. Speed Channel works closely with NASCAR Images on much of the network’s stock-car programming. There have been informal talks of an uptown location, though real estate sources say higher land costs may squelch those plans. Speed Channel’s lease runs out at the end of 2006. Since the network was acquired by News Corp. for $750 million in 2001 and relocated to Charlotte in February 2002, its staff has grown to 66 employees, up from 44 three years earlier. In addition to considering various sites for a shared headquarters with NASCAR Images, Speed Channel is mulling an expansion at its present home if current co-tenants MediaComm and The Inspirational Network move to Lancaster County. There is also an outside shot Speed Channel could become part of the Lancaster County site favored by MediaComm.(Charlotte Business Journal)(2-28-2005)
  • Edwards tests at VIR with Said: Carl Edwards, who has no road course experience, tested the #60 Busch Series Ford with accomplished road racer Boris Said at Virginia International Raceway. The tests were in preparation for Sunday’s road race in Mexico. Said was thoroughly impressed with Edwards’ work ethic and potential. “I told (MB2 G.M.) Jay Frye he should have hired Carl,” Said says. “He’s one of the nicest kids, the real deal. He was a good listener and great learner. He’s got quite a future.” Edwards finished sixth in Saturday’s Busch race and is third in points; he finished fifth in Sunday’s Cup race and is fourth in points.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-28-2005)
  • Dale Jr’s Streak Ends: The poor finish [32nd, tire problems] drops #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the 14th position in Nextel Cup points, breaking a string of 70 consecutive races in the Top-10. It had been the longest active streak and one of the 10 best all-time streaks in the modern era. The 40th starting position at California Speedway for Earnhardt was his worse since the final race in 2000.(fingerprintinc/Budweiser PR)(2-28-2005)

News from February 27, 2005


  • Biffle wins at California: #16-Greg Biffle backed up his words, saying he would lead the race by lap 5 [he did by lap 4] and would win the race [he did], winning the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, leading 46 laps and holding off #48-Jimmie Johnson [with help from his teammate #97-Kurt Busch], Johnson finished 2nd, followed by Busch, #42-Jamie McMurray and #99-Carl Edwards. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was never a factor after starting 40th, cutting down two left front tires and needed fender repairs, finishing 32nd, 13 laps down. Pole sitter, #5-Kyle Busch led 2 of the first 3 laps, but was never a factor after that and finished 23rd, but was the Rookie of the race. #24-Jeff Gordon, who came into the race leading the points and running up front all day, lost an engine with 4 laps to go. #01-Joe Nemechek led the most laps, but lost an engine. #15-Waltrip lost an engine for the 2nd race in row. #97-Busch now leads the points by 5 over #48-Johnson. Four Roush drivers are in the top-5 in points.
    Race Results at:
    Jayski’s California Race Rundown/Info page with winnings, cautions, lap leaders, DNF’s and much more
    Jayski’s California Race Results/Awards page
    Motorsports One.(2-27-2005)
  • Mowing for Victory Junction: Beginning Monday, Feb. 28, 2005, Hustler Turf Equipment will begin a three-month journey across America in a Super Z lawnmower – painted to resemble Richard Petty’s #43 Dodge. The trek will start in San Bernardino, Calif., traverse Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina and conclude at the Pettys’ Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., just outside of Greensboro. Petty and the mower driver, Kansas State freshman Josh Schmidt, spoke about the “Mow for Victory Tour” in a Saturday morning press conference. For more information, check out www.mowforvictorytour.com.(California Speedway site)(2-27-2005)
  • Texaco to continue Autism support UPDATE: ChevronTexaco, in conjunction with #42-Jamie McMurray and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will hold a press conference this Friday, Feb 25th at California Speedway to announce ongoing financial and promotional support for the Autism Society of America (ASA) via its “Driving Autism Awareness” campaign during the 2005 NASCAR racing season and unveiling a special paint scheme. A new primary and associate sponsor on the #42 NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray and the #41 NASCAR Busch Series Dodge piloted by Raybestos Rookie Candidate Reed Sorenson will also be announced and unveiled.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-23-2005)
    UPDATE – New Sponsor for McMurray: ChevronTexaco Products Company, a division of Chevron USA Inc., announced today it has signed Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, as an associate sponsor of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the 2005. In choosing an associate corporate sponsor, ChevronTexaco weighed its options against three critical criteria: a similar value system, a symbiotic customer base from which each company could expand sales, and a mutual agreement on a list of priority races for the 2005 season. Through the new marketing agreement, Home123 will have primary sponsorship rights for six NASCAR Nextel Cup races iincluding Phoenix (April 23rd), Michigan (June 19th), Daytona (July 2nd), Chicago (July 10th), Watkins Glen (August 14th) and Fontana (September 9th). During those races, the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, piloted by Jamie McMurray, will be painted with a blue and white Home123 color scheme. In addition, Home123 will support Jamie McMurray’s charitable cause, “Driving Autism Awareness,” by matching the $42 donations each being made by McMurray, ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing for every lap McMurray leads in the 2005 season. With Home123’s additional financial commitment, each lap that McMurray leads during the 2005 season will generate $168 in donations to assist with autism research and public education. All proceeds from “Driving Autism Awareness” will be given to the Autism Society of America.(Jamie McMurray site)(2-27-2005)
  • Confiscated Parts: Eric McClure’s #73, ARC Dehooker/RFA, Chevrolet had a Tioi Transmission confiscated. The tag said ‘Transmission Ratio”.
    Kevin Lepage’s #37, R&J Racing Dodge had their interior fire extinguisher confiscated. The tag was marked, “Interior fire bottle may not contain Halon 1211”. [Halon 1211 is a fire suppressant agent for critical applications, which has been classified by regulatory authorities as an Ozone Depleting Substance.
    Ken Schrader’s #49, Schwan’s Home Service Dodge had a rear gear pulled. The tag stated, “Incorrect Ratio”.(Insider Racing News)(2-27-2005)
  • Kulwicki Movie to open on April 1st: the upcoming movie Dare To Dream – The Alan Kulwicki Story plans to officially opening April 1, 2005 [12 years to the day Kulwicki died] through out the state of Wisconsin and in select theaters in Tennessee. Plans are to open in North Carolina in May during the All Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, and then to Alabama, Texas and Arizona. Info on the movie on my Racing Movie’s News page and at daretodreammovie.com.(2-27-2005)
  • Remember the Roof Hatches: Dale Jarrett’s, UPS #88 Ford and Elliott Sadler’s, M&M’s #38 Ford do not have roof escape hatches at the California Race, only because they are using old cars. All of their new cars have Roof Escape Hatches. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with his new team will also have Roof Escape Hatches in his new cars. #15-Michael Waltrip in the past has used an escape hatch in his cars, but with the change of crew chiefs that will not happen in 2005, according to Tony Eury Sr.(Insider Racing News)(2-27-2005)
  • California Race Notes: Greg Biffle won the 10th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at California Speedway, scoring his fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory in his 80th career start.
    Biffle became the eighth different winner at California Speedway.
    Biffle climbed from 25th to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings. This is his career-best point standing. His previous best was 13th following the 2004 Daytona 500.
    Biffle posted his first top-10 finish in five races at California Speedway.
    Biffle has won at least one race each season 2003-2005, three consecutive years.
    Team owner Jack Roush has won at least won race each season 1997 – 2005, nine consecutive years.
    Biffle;s win marked the 75th victory for Roush Racing.
    All five Roush cars led at California Speedway, leading a combined total of 151 of the 250 laps raced.
    Notebook Items
    Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his third top-10 finish in five races at California Speedway. He is one of just two drivers to begin the 2005 season with two top-five finishes, joining Kurt Busch. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in his last eight races, since Charlotte last October.
    Kurt Busch (third) scored his third top-10 finish in six races at California Speedway. Busch also begins the 2005 season with two top-five finishes. Busch has scored top-10 finishes in 11 of the last 12 races, since New Hampshire last September. Busch took the lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings by five points over second-place Jimmie Johnson.
    Jamie McMurray (fourth) scored his third top-five finish in four races at California Speedway.
    Carl Edwards (fifth) scored his second straight top-10 finish in two races at California Speedway. Edwards begins the 2005 season with two top-15 finishes.
    Mark Martin (seventh) has been running at the finish in 24 consecutive races, the longest current streak. Martin scored his fifth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway. Martin has scored two top-10 finishes in 2005.
    Rusty Wallace (10th) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway. Wallace begins the 2005 season with two 10th-place finishes. He has scored top-10 finishes in four of his last five races, since Phoenix last November.
    Jeff Gordon finished 30th due to engine failure. His last DNF was also for engine failure and also occurred at California Speedway last September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(2-27-2005)
  • Impounding: What teams can do to the cars after they are impounded following qualifying:
    Plug in oil heater; open hood; prime oil system; back car out of garage to start; turn master switch on; open oil cooler bypass valve; start engine; close hood; set tire pressure; torque wheels; install radio and water bottle; remove or repair tape on car front.
    Can’t Do: Enter the garage without a NASCAR official present; jack up any part of the car; add water or pressurize the cooling system; climb inside the car; adjust wedge bolts, shocks or sway bars; add fuel, oil or brake fluid; remove air box; adjust fenders, spoiler or any body components.(Roanoke Times)(2-27-2005)

    News from February 26, 2005

  • Drivers on Larry King CANCELLED: Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip and Richard and Kyle Petty, will appear on CNN’s “Larry King Live” at 9:00pm/et Monday, Feb 28th.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-26-2005)
    UPDATE been told this appearance has been cancelled/postponed as Monday’s show will cover / discuss BTK serial killer capture.(2-26-2005)
  • No More Spoiler Changes in 2005: NASCAR’s John Darby told XM Radio’s Claire B. Lang that NASCAR has no plans to change the size of the rear spoiler in 2005.(XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio Reports)(2-26-2005)
  • Special Schemes for Gibbs #18 and #20: DreamWorks Animation, Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate Batteries, The Home Depot and Action Performance Companies Inc. announced details about their latest NASCAR racing special centered around the upcoming animated feature film, Madagascar. The film follows the story of four “wild” animals who are treated to a pampered existence in the zoo until they accidentally are shipped to the island of Madagascar. The four principle characters – Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus – provide the basis for paint schemes that will decorate the #18 Interstate Batteries and #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet race cars owned by Joe Gibbs Racing. DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar opens nationwide in theaters on May 27, 2005. Tony Stewart will drive the #20 The Home Depot/Madagascar Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 21. Bobby Labonte, Stewart’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, will pilot the #18 Interstate Batteries/Madagascar Chevrolet during NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, on May 29, 2005. Both races will take place at the NASCAR track near Charlotte, N.C.
    The cross-promotion marks the second time that DreamWorks Animation has teamed with Joe Gibbs Racing in as many race seasons. Last year, the organizations teamed to showcase a pair of Shrek 2-themed stock cars that also saw action during the all-star and Memorial Day weekend races. Action Performance Companies, the leader in licensed motorsports merchandise, designed the Madagascar machines, including a limited edition program car. Action also will create die-cast replica versions of both the #18 and #20 Madagascar-edition race cars. In addition to the specialty paint scheme, each collectible comes in its own unique Madagascar-themed packaging. The collectibles will be available through Action’s standard distribution channels.
    DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar is a computer-animated comedy starring four civilized animals – a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo – who have lived their entire lives in blissful captivity, growing up as best friends at the Central Park Zoo…until the day they are put on a boat to Africa and suddenly find themselves washed ashore onto the exotic island of Madagascar. Now, these native New Yorkers must learn to survive in this strange land and discover the true meaning of the phrase, “it’s a jungle out there.”(Action Performance PR), see images on my #18 Team Schemes page and #20 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2006)
  • Warning Light for Sadler: After being busted by NASCAR’s new electronic timing system on pit road last week, Elliott Sadler’s #38 Pedigree Ford will be equipped with a yellow light this week that will flash when he is maintaining the proper speed. “We just have to be more patient and more cautious on pit road,” Sadler said. “It’s a lot more fair than it used to be. There is no way NASCAR could check all the people that were getting on and off pit road – not with so many people in the booth and so many stopwatches. NASCAR was having to watch way too much stuff. We were putting way too much pressure on them. You can’t catch 40 guys at one time on pit road.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-26-2005)
  • Kyle Busch wins pole at California, breaks two records: #5-Kyle Busch won the pole for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, with a track record lap of 188.245mph, one of four drivers who were faster then the old track record, set by Ryan Newman in April 2002 of 187.432mph. #25-Brian Vickers, who is 21 years old, is on the outside poll, followed by #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #01-Joe Nemechek and #16-Greg Biffle. ALSO #5-Kyle Busch is the youngest pole sitter in Nextel Cup history at 19 years, 9 months, 24 days old. The all-time record was held by Donald Thomas – 20 years, 4 months, 6 days old at Lakewood Speedway in GA on 11-16-1952 [Thomas went on to win that race and remains the youngest race winner in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series history.] The modern-era [1972-present] record was held by Brian Vickers, 20 years, 6 months, 20 days at Richmond on 5-14-2004.(that stats from the NASCAR Statistical Services Updates Book)
    Some troubles: #07-Blaney backed into the wall in turn two and will have to go to a backup and had no speed, but since the team is in the top-35 in owners points, Blaney will make the race, but will fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race. #20-Stewart, who qualified 29th, will have to start at the rear of the field as the team had to change transmissions, and this year there is a one transmission rule, just like the eone-engine rule. #38-Elliott Sadler had a spark plug break and was running on 7 cylinders on his qualifying attempt. #27-Shelmerdine lost an engine on his lap and recorded no speed. #73-Eric McClure, going for the last spot in the field. spunout on his first lap and missed the race, which let #37-Kevin Lepage get the last spot.
    #38-Sadler and #07-Blaney got in based on their owners points position [Top 35 in 2004 Owners Points, not speed as #92-Barrett, #66-Sadler and #79-Boyd were all faster the The #38 and #07.
    For starting lineup/qualifying results, see:
    Jayski’s California Qualifying/Lineup Page
  • Some Rookie Notes: A Raybestos Rookie has now won three consecutive pole positions at California Speedway: Kasey Kahne (2004 Auto Club 500), Brian Vickers (2004 Pop Secret 500) and now Kyle Busch. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 10 years. (1996-2005). There has been a first-time Bud Pole winner in each of the last 19 years (1987-2004).(Camp and Assoc/ Raybestos PR)(2-26-2005)
  • Some California Qualifying Notes: This is Kyle Busch’s first career Bud Pole in eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. Six drivers have posted their series-first Bud Pole in fewer races: Mark Martin (three), Ryan Newman (three), Kasey Kahne (three), Johnny Benson (four), Jimmie Johnson (four) and Loy Allen (six). Tony Stewart and Boris Said also posted their series-first Bud Pole in their eighth race.
    Busch became the 31st first-time Bud Pole winner on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series since 1990; the 16th since the 2000 Daytona 500. There were no first-time Bud Pole winners in 2004.
    This is Busch’s second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at California. He started 18th and finished 24th here in September 2004.
    Brian Vickers posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 38.351 seconds, 187.740 mph and will join Busch on the front row for the Auto Club 500. Vickers has started from a top-10 starting position in all three of his races at California. He won the Bud Pole here last September and started sixth in his first race here in May 2004. Jeremy Mayfield (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 10 races at California. Joe Nemechek (fourth) scored his sixth top-10 start in 10 races at California. It is his fourth consecutive top-10 start here. Greg Biffle (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in five races at California, both in the past two races. The first three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at California were won from a top-five starting position but five of the past six have been won from a starting position outside the top-10, all 16th or worse. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started in nine races at California Speedway was 24th by Jeremy Mayfield in 2000.(NASCAR PR)(2-26-2005)
  • Jr’s Sunglasses: Orange 21 Inc., a newly public company out of Carlsbad, Calif., unveiled Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s signature sunglasses. The signature style, deemed “E Eyewear,” is actually the brainchild of Earnhardt himself. The driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet worked throughout the entire design process to dream up even the most minor details of the glasses. “I’ve worked with companies in the past a little bit on design,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I wanted kind of like a Steve McQueen style, retro. The glass itself is inset a little bit, kind of like the headlight of a ‘70s-era hot rod. There’s some sharp corners and angles. They wrap a little bit too because I like sunglasses that wrap tight to your face. My head’s not quite as big as Boris (Said)’s. I didn’t know exactly how much input I was going to have, but it was more than I expected. I was able to basically build the sunglasses from the ground up. It was a lot of fun to do, and to see it come to a head and here it is in my hands, it’s pretty amazing. It’s a really good feeling.”
    On the process of designing his signature sunglasses: “We made revisions. They would get a mold to me, and me and Boris would kind of talk about it, and then would take back the things we’d like to see different. That took about two or three times. It’s always kind of a work in progress up until the final version. What I wanted was something that you could wear with a suit to the banquet if you wanted to, or here at the racetrack in jeans and a t-shirt. It’s kind of versatile. It kind of transcended from if you’re on the lake in shorts and a t-shirt or if you’ve got a formal engagement. We’re going to come out with a pair each year, keep designing different pairs, different styles. Not necessarily just a revision of this, we’re going to build from the ground up each year.”(California Speedway site)(2-26-2005)
  • Television Exposure for the Daytona 500: Jeff Gordon’s victory in the Daytona 500 last Sunday afternoon enabled his primary corporate sponsor, DuPont, to garner nearly $9.4 million of television exposure value during the live race broadcast on Fox. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates, the DuPont logo appeared clear and in-focus for 15 minutes, seven seconds (15:07) during the 4.5-hour broadcast (excluding pre-race coverage). Additionally, DuPont was mentioned on three occasions by Gordon and Fox announcers. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the on-screen time and mentions to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during the telecast.
    Cumulative exposure statistics were up during this year’s race broadcast compared to NBC’s live 2004 Daytona 500 telecast. The number of brands monitored during the telecast (292 / 221), total on-screen time (7:26:13 / 5:46:40), verbal mentions (230 / 162) and comparable exposure value ($291 million / $224 million) all increased in 2005. Last year’s Daytona exposure tally accounted for 5.4% of all in-broadcast television exposure garnered by sponsors appearing within the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
    Top Hood Logos of the 2005 Daytona 500, On-Screen Time, Exp. Value
    1) DuPont (Gordon), 6:49, $4,090,000
    2) Lowe’s (Johnson), 6:37, 3,970,000
    3) NAPA At. Pts. (Waltrip), 6:04, 3,640,000
    4) Valvoline (Riggs), 4:54, 2,940,000
    5) Caterpillar (Wimmer), 4:32, 2,720,000
    Note: Exposure figures reflect the Fox live telecast of the 2005 Daytona 500 only and do not include exposure resulting from cable replays.(Joyce Julius and Associates PR), hmm…no Home Depot?(2-26-2005)
  • Busch the highest Young Gun at Daytona: By picking #97-Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20th, Rick D. of Inglis, FL was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Rick picked Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-26-2005)
  • Chevy SSR Returns to Pace the Field in NASCAR: A Chevrolet SSR will perform pace duties for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 27, and continue those duties for a total of 20 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races this season. This weekend will be the first time the Chevy SSR, a unique blend of an open-air roadster with pick-up truck functionality, will pace the field during the 2005 race season. The 2005 Chevy SSR pace vehicle has a four-color paint scheme with a “Sling Shot Yellow” nose blending into hot orange and “Torch Red” racing flames throughout the body and ultimately transitioning to a “Kinetic Blue” truck bed. The event logo for each race will be featured on both door panels with a red Chevy bowtie displayed on the hood. The Chevy SSR pacing the field is nearly identical to the vehicles available in dealer showrooms. As the Official Pace Vehicle of NASCAR, Chevrolet will perform pace duties for 60 NASCAR events in 2005, including 28 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 17 Busch Series and 15 Craftsman Truck Series races, featuring vehicles such as Corvette, Monte Carlo and Silverado.(GM PR)(2-26-2005)
  • Fellows to Run Cup road courses: Ron Fellows will drive in two Nextel Cup races — at Infineon Raceway in California and Watkins Glen, N.Y. — for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.(Toronto Star)(2-26-2005)

    News from February 25, 2005

  • Miller named Business Person of the Year: Don Miller, president and co-owner of Penske Racing South [#2, #12, #77], was named Business Person of the Year Tuesday by the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce during its annual banquet at the Mooresville Citizens Center. Miller, a resident of Mooresville since 1990, was honored for his contributions to the town, which have included establishing the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, Stocks for Tots to raise funds and toys for abused and neglected children, and assisting other race teams in locating in Iredell County. “This award means a lot to me because I believe in this town,” Miller said. “I know all of the people who work here feel the same way because Mooresville is a town with a heart.” Miller and wife Pat moved to the southern Iredell County town from St. Louis 15 years ago when the Chicago native joined Rusty Wallace and Roger Penske in forming Penske Racing South. “When Rusty and I came to Mooresville we met with the mayor and the Chamber of Commerce,” Miller, 65, recalled. “They had some reservations about the effect motorsports might have on the city. However, they gave their word they would support us if we came here and we would support them. This award is a by-product of those efforts.” Since moving to the North Carolina city that was named “America’s Best Small Town” in 2004, Miller has been honored with the Chamber’s Free Spirit Award and Citizen of the Year. In addition to his business ventures in Mooresville, Miller also was instrumental in the development of the roof flaps in 1993 after Wallace’s horrendous flip at Talladega in the spring of that year. He received the NASCAR Achievement Award for his design and testing efforts in that project. Miller also led the design team for the then new Ford Taurus used in NASCAR competition in 1997. Miller and his wife, Pat, have three daughters and two grandchildren. Their youngest daughter, Patricia, is currently involved in the restoration of the Saturn V rocket.(Penske Racing PR)(2-25-2005)
  • No Fatback at California UPDATE: Speed Channel’s NASCAR Nation reports that #21 Motorcraft Ford / Wood Brothers Racing crew chief Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain will not be at California Speedway as he had some out patient back surgery this week. Eddie Wood will serve as the crew chief for Ricky Rudd in the Auto Club 500. The team is working on a way that McSwain will be able to call the shots from his home.(2-24-2005)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain will not be physically present for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, but the Wood Brothers Racing team will have his live input through the electronic technology of Nextel, Racing Radios engineering and NEXTEL Track Pass on NASCAR.com.
    According to team co-owner Eddie Wood, “As soon as we found out Fatback would have to have his surgery this week we started exploring possible options for communication. In the process we discovered between Nextel and Racing Radios we would be able to hook up a line of direct contact between Fatback, Ricky, team engineer Hoyt Overbagh and me. Fatback will be able to monitor the race as it progresses in real time on NASCAR.com.” McSwain underwent back surgery in North Carolina Friday morning while his Motorcraft Genuine Parts Team prepared its #21 Ford Taurus for practice in California. The team plans to communicate with the crew chief during practice sessions at the track Friday afternoon, before qualifying on Saturday and during the race on Sunday.
    “The positive part of this is that we had a real good test in California,” said McSwain. “We were happy when we came home. That makes it a little easier. If we hadn’t tested out there with this new aero package and we were going out there green, it would be different.” McSwain is scheduled to have a micro-endoscopic procedure on the L-5 disc in his back Friday morning to correct a problem that was discovered when he returned from Daytona. The crew chief had surgery late last year for a back ailment that developed during the 2004 season. Doctors advised immediate surgery to resolve the current situation. Friday’s operation is an outpatient procedure that will allow McSwain to return to his Charlotte area residence that afternoon.(Motorcraft Racing PR)(2-25-2005)
  • Robby sponsor announcement at Calif? Harrah’s? UPDATE: from the Robby Gordon site: “First off, I’m excited about a sponsorship package that we are going to announce Friday at the track. We ran really well last year at Fontana in the RCR car and we are hoping to pick up right where we left off for our new sponsor and our new team. Menards (melglobal.com) has been working extremely hard on the motor package and we should have power comparable to the best cars. They have made great improvements in the horsepower they are producing just since we tested in California last month. I’m very proud of our relationship with Menards and despite our challenges in Daytona I’m confident in our cars, our engines and our people.” A new primary sponsor for California and other races will be unveiled at the media center on Friday at 12:30pm [3:30pm/et]. NOTE: NASCAR.com’s entry list has Gordon’s car sponsor listed as Harrah’s.(2-23-2005)
    UPDATE – Robby Gordon signs Harrah’s as a primary: NASCAR owner/driver Robby Gordon will hit the track this year sporting a lucky #7 and a casino logo on his car. Harrah’s Operating Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., announced today that it has reached agreement in principle to sponsor Robby Gordon Motorsports throughout the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Subject to a definitive agreement, the arrangement calls for Harrah’s to be the primary sponsor for 14 Cup races and an associate sponsor for 13 races. The sponsorship includes a multi-faceted marking program and exposes several Harrah’s-owned brands to the more than 75 million NASCAR fans in the United States. In addition to the Harrah’s logo, Gordon’s car hood will feature the World Series of Poker logo for select races. Harrah’s primary sponsorship begins with the February 27th Nextel Cup race at California Speedway and will include several races held at tracks in proximity to Harrah’s casinos across the country, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Harrah’s Las Vegas and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino), Atlanta Motor Speedway (Harrah’s Cherokee Casino), Phoenix International Raceway (Harrah’s Phoenix Ak-Chin Casino), Dover International Speedway (Harrah’s Atlantic City and Showboat Atlantic City) and Kansas Speedway (Harrah’s North Kansas City).
    Components of the Harrah’s sponsorship include at-track customer promotions, VIP entertainment and pre-race pit tours, Fan Fest event at casinos, personal appearances and Harrah’s-branded Robby Gordon Motorsports merchandise. Gordon made personal appearances and hosted Fan Fest events for Harrah’s last year. He also helped raise awareness for Harrah’s participation in the Meals on Wheels Association of America “March For Meals” campaign. Additional information about Harrah’s Entertainment is available at www.harrahs.com.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR/Site), image on my #7 Team Schemes page(2-25-2005)
  • VA Legislature Supports Hall of Fame efforts:. A House resolution filed by Delegate Sam Nixon, R-Chesterfield, asks NASCAR to locate the NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum in Virginia. The resolution was requested by Virginians Racing for The Hall of Fame, a consortium of public and private-sector organizations who have joined forces to bring the H.O.F. to Virginia. The groups notes that 50% of the United States population lives within 500 miles of Richmond, VA – the desired site for the facility. Virginia’s racing facilities include NASCAR’s two oldest tracks: Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway and host four NASCAR Nextel Cup races per year, the most of any state in the nation. Virginia also hosts NASCAR sanctioned races at Langley Speedway, Lonesome Pine Raceway, Motor Mile Speedway, Old Dominion Speedway, and South Boston Speedway.(HR 51 page at state.va.us)(2-25-2005)
  • Theater Broadcasts Draw 300: NASCAR’s live high-definition simulcast of last Sunday’s Daytona 500 in movie theaters in New York and Irvine, Calif., drew about 150 attendees at each, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. Jeffrey Pollack, NASCAR digital entertainment managing director of broadcasting and new media, said that the goals of the experiment were met. “We didn’t expect to sell out,” he said. Pollock also said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if NASCAR tried the experiment again later this season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-25-2005)
  • Give Kids the World Schemes returns…at California: Tide Racing returns to the track at California Speedway Feb. 25-27 with a special paint scheme honoring longtime charitable partner Give Kids The World, a nonprofit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. The #32 Tide/Give Kids The World Chevrolet will feature star decals that have been signed by children who visited Give Kids The World Village during “An Evening with the Stars” – a special event Feb. 14 at which children signed their names on the decals and posed for photographs with a replica star-covered Tide race car and Tide driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. FOX Sports analyst Jeff Hammond also participated as the event’s emcee. Along with this special car at Fontana, Tide will be represented by a local family who recently visited Give Kids The World Village. The Marks family of Los Angeles visited Give Kids The World in April 2003 at the wish of Zachary, now age seven. Called “Zachie” by his family and friends, Zachary was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis, Type 1 (also referred to as NF1). Many children’s manifestations of NF1 are skin tumors, café-au-lait spots and internal tumors. Zachary has two tumors, one in his optic pathway which impairs his vision and another in his brain. He receives treatment every Friday, but is doing extremely well. Zachary has a twin sister, Cassandra (Cassie) and an older brother, Nicholas (Nick), age 14. His parents, Joyce and Ron, own an audio/video company in Los Angeles. The entire family will attend Sunday’s race as honorary members of the Tide Racing/Give Kids The World team. As the star-filled paint scheme shows, the stars at Give Kids The World are the children – and the stars that adorn the #32 Tide/Give Kids The World Chevrolet in Fontana help symbolize the more than 67,000 children the Village has served to date from all 50 states and more than 50 countries worldwide. For more information about Give Kids The World, please visit www.gktw.org.(PPI Motorsports Site) and see an image on my #32 Team Schemes page.
  • Ford Taurus in 2005, Fusion in 2006 UPDATE: Ford is expected to continue racing the Taurus in NASCAR for 2005, though that car will be relegated largely to fleets, as the 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan becomes the company’s focus for the passenger-car market. Ford will not race the Five Hundred, but is expected to race the 2006 Ford Fusion, a Taurus-sized sedan based on the Mazda6 platform. That car was originally called the Ford Futura, but Pep Boys, the parts supplier, used the Futura name for its line of tires, and Ford and Pep Boys could not come to an agreement, even though the Futura name was used by Ford for a Falcon model. Ford already uses the name “Fusion” in Europe.(Orlando Sentinel). The change to Fusion will go hand-in-hand with the ‘car of tomorrow’ being designed and tested by NASCAR.(10-9-2004)
    UPDATE: If NASCAR Nextel Cup brand identification is sublime now, it’s about to get ridiculous. Ford, having botched the relatively simple job of maintaining the Taurus as a top-selling consumer sedan, is phasing out the model. This is the same problem Dodge had last year: Its NASCAR teams raced “Intrepids,” a year after the Intrepid was dropped. So the Dodge race cars were simply “Dodges” last year, but this year, they get to be called Chargers.
    Next year, Ford NASCAR teams will race the Fusion. The Fusion is smaller than the new Ford Five Hundred, and smaller even than the Taurus. The Five Hundred is 200.7 inches long; the Taurus is 197.6 inches long, and the 2006 Fusion will be 190.2 inches long. The Fusion’s standard engine is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, same as the Ford Focus uses. The premium engine is a 3.0-liter V-6. This sounds like the current Mazda6, and for good reason: The Fusion is based on a slightly lengthened Mazda6 platform, and uses the same engines as the Mazda. Many NASCAR fans are flustered about a Japanese car, the Toyota Camry, joining all-American NASCAR Nextel Cup racing in 2007. Wonder whether they know yet the Ford they’ll be cheering is a Mazda under the skin? Wonder whether they care?(Orlando Sentinel)(2-25-2005)
  • No Honda in NASCAR? As for talk of Honda and Nissan entering NASCAR: Won’t happen, at least for a very long time. Several motor-sports journalists continue to insist that the new Honda Ridgeline pickup truck signals Honda’s interest in the NASCAR Craftsman truck series: Not true. And Nissan — as long as CEO Carlos Ghosn, king of the depression mentality is in charge — has no interest in anything that doesn’t immediately translate into profit.(Orlando Sentinel)(2-25-2005)
  • MRN Radio to Broadcast Live Spanish-language Coverage of Three NASCAR Races: MRN and Radiovisa, a 24-hour Spanish-language radio network will partner to air three NASCAR races in 2005 beginning with this weekend’s “Stater Bros. 300” NASCAR Busch Series race and the “Auto Club 500” NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race Feb. 26-27 from California Speedway in Fontana. Radiovisa will also travel to Mexico City for NASCAR’s first ever Mexico-based race, the Telcel Motorola Mexico 200, from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on March 6th, 2005.(2-25-2005)

    News from February 24, 2005

  • Sad News: Bill Davis’ father, Jake Davis, passed away with Bill and the rest his immediate family at his side in Little Rock, Ark last night. Jake was 79 years old. Bill is the owner of Bill Davis Racing which fields the #22 and #23 Dodge Nextel Cup teams and the #5, #22, #23 Truck Series teams. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church (4823 Wood Lawn Rd., Little Rock, AR 72205), or to the charity of donor’s choice. More info on Mr. Davis and services at ruebelfuneralhome.com(2-24-2005)
  • NC Bill Introduced: A joint resolution filed by Rep. Karen Ray, R-Iredell, honors North Carolina’s “great NASCAR legends,” including Dale Earnhardt, Ralph Earnhardt, Lee Petty, Fireball Roberts and Wendell Scott. The resolution notes that the majority of current NASCAR teams are headquartered in North Carolina.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-24-2005)
  • Polaris Program to Benefit Victory Junction: Polaris Industries Inc. today announced plans to sponsor a child for a week at the Victory Junction Gang Camp for each Nextel Cup finish in the top eight that Dale Earnhardt Jr. collects in Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s # 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in 2005.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-24-2005)
  • Another Herbie scheme: Scott Riggs will have the movie “Herbie: Fully Loaded” on his #10 Chevrolet at Daytona in July. As announced last month, Riggs will join #88-Dale Jarrett, who will race a Herbie paint scheme at Richmond [in May], as the second driver to promote the movie, which has scenes filmed at California Speedway.(RacingOne)(2-24-2005)
  • Fedex Scheme this week: for Jason Leffler and the #11 FedEx Chevy will sport the Express paint scheme, which is one of four it will display in 2005 representing the various operating companies; Express, Ground, Freight and FedEx Kinko’s.(JGR PR)(2-24-2005)
  • Beneficial to Sponsor Two RCR Teams: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has teamed up with Beneficial in a multi-year associate sponsorship agreement for two of its NASCAR Cup Series teams. Beneficial will sponsor and have decal space on the “B” posts of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet of driver Kevin Harvick and the lower rear quarter panels of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet of driver Jeff Burton. It will also be the primary sponsor of the #31 Chevrolet for the June event at Michigan International Speedway. Finally, Beneficial will have status with the racing organization as the “Official Consumer Lending Company of RCR.” More info on Beneficial at beneficial.com.(RCR PR)(2-24-2005)
  • Mikey on TV Show: Michael Waltrip took a moment to hang out with boys from Blue Collar TV. Waltrip was invited to make a guest appearance on the show. The showtime of the the episode featuring Michael is TBA.(MIchael Waltrip site)(2-24-2005)
  • Long/McGlynn plans pushed back: The McGlynn Racing team has elected to put their season debut on hold until the Las Vegas or Atlanta races in March. The decision was made to allow the team to better evaluate the competition in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Champion Builders Sponsors McGlynn Racing Champion Builders Inc., one of the premier general contractors in the Eastern region of Pennsylvania, has signed on as a sponsor of the McGlynn Racing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team for the 2005 Season. Champion Builders will be an associate sponsor on the car for the entire year, along with being the primary sponsor of the #00 Chevrolet at the Pocono race in June. For more information on Champion Builders Inc., please visit www.ChampionBuildersInc.com.(Carl Long site/McGlynn Racing site)(2-24-2005)
  • Support Our Troops Month: Jackson Hewitt Tax Service has dubbed the month of March “Support Our Troops” month and will kick off the event with a national book drive. Jackson Hewitt locations across the U.S. will be accepting book and magazine donations. These donations will then be collected by National Guard representatives and shipped overseas to our servicemen and women that are currently deployed. To help kick off the event, Jackson Hewitt’s three sponsored NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers – #6-Greg Biffle, #15-Michael Waltrip and #9-Kasey Kahne – will each be making the first book donation. In addition, the drivers will help Jackson Hewitt support and promote the program. Jackson Hewitt has other events planned for the month of March in support of U.S. troops, including a “Military Family Night” at bowling centers across the country. The bowling event is a chance for military families to enjoy a night out with each other and to reconnect with family members that have returned from having been deployed for an extended period of time. To find the nearest Jackson Hewitt book drop-off location, call 1-800-234-1040 or visit www.jacksonhewitt.com.(Roush Racing site)(2-24-2005)
  • NASCAR Performace from the Track on Speed: NASCAR fans will once again get an all access pass to the latest strategy and technology inside the NASCAR garage when NASCAR Performance returns to SPEED Channel Feb. 26. This weekly program, which will broadcast trackside Saturdays, 6:30 – 7:00pm/et, provides a sophisticated crew chiefs’ perspective on the hottest NASCAR topics live from the SPEED stage each week. NASCAR crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Robert “Bootie” Barker will join the weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pole-winning crew chief to discuss the technical side and the team side of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing. In addition to originating trackside from the SPEED stage venue, also new to the show this year is veteran NASCAR analyst Dick Berggren. Berggren, who will serve as host for the show, brings over thirty years of motorsports experience as a driver, journalist and broadcaster.(NASCAR PR)(2-24-2005)

    News from February 23, 2005

  • NASCAR announces fines for Daytona infractions: NASCAR announced Wednesday that 15 penalties – including 11 fines totaling $102,000 – have been issued to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, resulting from rule violations during the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 race weeks at Daytona International Speedway.
    Two of those penalties were issued to Robby Gordon Motorsports, including the most severe fine – $50,000 for crew chief Bob Temple – because of an unapproved intake manifold on the #7 Chevrolet discovered during the initial Daytona 500 inspection process on Feb. 11. Robby Gordon’s car owner Jim Smith was penalized 25 car owner championship points. The #7 was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules). Gordon currently has no driver championship points, because the #7 failed to make the Daytona 500 field. Smith, however, earned 31 owner points at Daytona. Per the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book, a car owner receives points based on qualifying results, if their car fails to actually qualify for a starting field.
    Four penalties were issued to Wood Brothers Racing, because of an unapproved spoiler adjustment on the #21 Ford that took place after pre-race inspection for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (Daytona 500 qualifying races) on Feb. 17. Ricky Rudd was penalized 25 driver points; Glen Wood was penalized 25 owner points; and crew chief Michael McSwain was fined $25,000. Also, crew member Marc Smith was suspended from NASCAR competition until March 31. The #21 also was in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.
    Pete Rondeau, crew chief on the #8 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was fined $10,000 for an unapproved third gear transmission ratio. The violation was discovered during the initial inspection for the Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 10. The #8 was in violation of Section 12-4-A and 12-4-CC (unapproved rear end gear or transmission gear ratio).
    David Charpentier, crew chief for the #14 Ford driven by John Andretti, was fined $10,000 because of improperly attached weight, a violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-W (improperly attached weight) determined during pre-race inspection for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20.
    Also, the following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chiefs were issued $1,000 fines:
    * Harold Holly (#32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr.), because of an unapproved fuel cell well (violating Section 12-4-U) found during the initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11. There were false panels inside the well.
    * Jimmy Elledge (#41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears), because of an unapproved window net (12-4-Q) found during initial Budweiser Shootout inspection on Feb. 10.
    * Jim Penland (#23 Dodge driven by Mike Skinner), because of an unapproved window net (12-4-Q) found during initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11.
    * Robert Leslie (#33 Chevrolet driven by Kerry Earnhardt), because of an unapproved window net (12-4-Q) found during initial inspection for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 11.
    * Beau Tiffany (#52 Ford driven by Larry Gunselman), because of an unapproved fire suppression agent (12-4-Q) found during initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11.
    * Stanton Hover Jr. (#80 Ford driven by Andy Belmont), because of an unapproved side window (12-4-Q) found during initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11.
    * Hover, because of an unapproved fire bottle (12-4-Q) found during the 500’s initial inspection process on Feb. 11.(NASCAR PR)
    The penalties drop Rudd from 24th to 33rd in Drivers Points and the team to 33rd in 2005 Owners Points.
    Drops Gordon’s team from 44th to 52nd in 2005 Owners Points
    Owners points don’t come into play until race #6 for starting spots.(2-23-2005)
  • Newman and Borland to the skies: On Thursday, #12-Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland, will hit the skies in a jet refueling mission from March Air Force Base near the California Speedway. Neither ALLTEL team member has been involved in such a mission before. Both Newman and Borland, however, flew F-16 fighter jets last year at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix International Raceway.(Penske Racing)(2-23-2005)
  • Possible spots for NASCAR HOF in Atlanta: A lot owned by Ted Turner, the Philips Arena Jumbotron parking deck and Underground Atlanta are among the possible pit stops for what could be NASCAR’s Cooperstown in Atlanta. Executives from some of Atlanta’s corporate engines — Coke, Home Depot, BellSouth and UPS — are among local organizers negotiating with a handful of city deed holders about where to park a NASCAR hall of fame and museum. NASCAR last month asked for proposals from Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Fla., Charlotte and Kansas City to develop a national attraction celebrating stock car racing. Richmond and the state of Michigan also put themselves in the running. Bids are due May 31. NASCAR wants to pick a winning bidder in December, with an opening of the hall of fame by 2007 or 2008. All of the bid committee’s possible locations, except Underground, curve around Centennial Olympic Park like a victory lap. Among the sites being considered are two parking decks across Centennial Olympic Park Drive from Phillips Arena (one featuring the arena’s giant electronic display), Turner’s Luckie Street corner next to the Tabernacle, a lot behind the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and a site across Marietta Street from the Georgia Aquarium. One site not being considered is the surplus land Coca-Cola has next to its new World of Coca-Cola museum, Robinson said. The company has said it is not pursuing uses for that site.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-23-2005)
  • Wimmer testing at Atlanta: The No. 22 Caterpillar team and Scott Wimmer will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway to do a two-day test session March 7 and 8.(BDR)(2-23-2005)

    News from February 22, 2005

  • Sirius Satellite Radio takes over NASCAR Broadcasts in 2007: Sirius Satellite Radio on Tuesday announced a five-year agreement to give Sirius North American satellite radio rights to broadcast NASCAR racing and events that will bring unprecedented programming and marketing opportunities to NASCAR fans. Beginning in 2007, Sirius will broadcast all Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races live on a specially created, 24/7 NASCAR channel, and Sirius will be the only place on satellite radio to listen to NASCAR. As part of the agreement, Sirius will become the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, with exclusive trademark and marketing rights, and the right to sell all advertising time on its NASCAR channel and during the race broadcasts. Sirius will pay NASCAR rights fees totaling $107.5 million over the term of the agreement, with the highest payments in the final years of the term. Sirius and NASCAR will work together to develop an extensive consumer marketing and outreach campaign for NASCAR fans. This effort could include advertising, cross-channel promotion throughout Sirius programming, officially licensed products, extensive at-track activation and ways for current NASCAR fans to switch to Sirius.(NASCAR PR), would assume XM Satellite Radio is out after the 2006 season as NASCAR Radio. This has NO effect on regular radio broadcasts.(2-22-2005)
  • Construction Begins on Martin Museum: The construction equipment is out in Batesville, Arkansas this morning as crews begin building Nextel racing star Mark Martin’s museum. The Batesville native opened a Ford dealership in his hometown last year with plans to build a museum next door to hold all of his racing memorabilia. Crowds lined the street in the town the day the dealership opened. Martin is also building a home nearby. The 46-year-old racer is retiring from full-time Nextel Cup competition after this season. He finished sixth this past weekend in the Daytona 500. Officials at the dealership said the museum will house many of Martin’s trophies and several of his cherished race cars, uniforms and other mementos. But the trophies will only be from the second half of his career. Martin said that his early awards went into the trash on one of his many moves with his wife.(kait8.com/AP)(2-22-2005)
  • Rondeau Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Pete Rondeau had the weight of the racing world on his shoulders this weekend. After an unbelievably dominant feat by the #8 Budweiser team in last year’s Daytona 500, everyone was expecting Rondeau’s debut as crew chief to bring Dale Earnhardt Jr. a repeat performance. Although it looked bleak for Rondeau in the beginning stages of the race, he took a car that was barely running in the top-20 and transformed it into a top-five finisher. For his efforts, Rodeau was voted the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. The panel voting for the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race consisted of Buddy Shacklette of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Robbie Resier and a WYPALL Wipers Representative. All three members of the panel agreed Rondeau was the top pick. With his win, Pete Rondeau is in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $20,000.00. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(Wypall Wipers PR)(2-22-2005)
  • Safety-Kleen signs up with NASCAR: Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., a Plano supplier of parts cleaning and oil refining services, has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR. The exact amount that Safety-Kleen will pay NASCAR was not disclosed, but NASCAR officials say it’s “a seven-figure deal.” Under the deal, Safety-Kleen will use the NASCAR name and sponsorship logo on uniforms worn by about 1,300 of its customer service representatives, who clean auto parts and dispose of industrial and hazardous waste. NASCAR branding also will appear on the sides of some 200 new trucks that Safety-Kleen will use on its routes. The company also has tentative plans to retrofit its existing fleet of 1,800 route trucks with the NASCAR mark. Meanwhile, NASCAR will play a prominent role in Safety-Kleen’s print ads and other marketing, especially to repair shops and service departments of auto dealerships. The company has more than 200,000 customers, all of whom do repairs on cars and trucks. In addition, the company will put a NASCAR “performance mark” on its mechanical parts cleaning equipment. Safety-Kleen also is the exclusive provider of environmental services to about 40 racing teams on various circuits, including 20 in NASCAR.(Dallas Business Journal)(2-22-2005)
  • Stewart wins….Contingency Awards: Tony Stewart led a race-high total of 107 laps during Sunday’s Daytona 500 on his way to a seventh-place finish in Joe Gibbs Racing’s #20 Chevy and collected three of the eight contingency awards announced after the event. Stewart’s prizes were the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award, MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award and WIX Lap-Leader Award. The Bud Pole Award went to Dale Jarrett, and the Commit to Win Award went to Jimmie Johnson. Mobil Oil Command Performance Driver of the Race went to Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Travis Kvapil was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race. Elliott Sadler earned the USG Improving The Finish Awards after starting 39th and finishing 11th.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-22-2005)
  • Early TV Ratings MORE: hearing the Daytona 500 on Fox TV Coverage drew a 10.9/23 national rating/share. Up 3% from last year and tied for the highest rated Daytona 500 ever.(2-21-2005)
    UPDATE: FOX Sports’ coverage of yesterday’s thrilling Daytona 500 — a race that featured four lead changes in the final nine laps — produced a 10.9/23 preliminary national rating/share (18.7 million viewers), according to Nielsen Media Research. FOX’s 10.9 ties the highest rating ever recorded for a NASCAR race, matching the rating set for the 2002 Daytona 500 on NBC, and is up +3% vs. last year’s race on NBC (10.6/24). Yesterday’s 18.7 million viewers makes it the second most-watched NASCAR race ever (18.8 for the 2002 Daytona 500), the most-watched ever on FOX, and +5% better than a year ago (17.8 million). Nielsen estimates that 35.3 million Americans watched all or part of yesterday’s race, another best for FOX. Eight of the top-10 metered markets posted double-digit percentage increases compared to last year’s race, and all of the nation’s top five markets delivered their best rating ever for a Daytona 500 on FOX. NEW YORK posted a 5.5/12, LOS ANGELES earned a 5.3/14, and CHICAGO came in at 9.0/19. PHILADELPHIA drew the highest figure of the top 5 with a 10.4/18 and BOSTON tallied an impressive 8.6/19. Initial tune-in for the Daytona 500 was the highest in history. The first full half-hour of yesterday’s race posted a 9.9/23 (2:30-3:00), beating last year’s 9.7/23, which was helped by an appearance by President Bush as Grand Marshal. Ratings growth during the race was steady through the first half — then explosive from 5:00 through the dramatic conclusion. FOX notched an 11.6/24 at 5:00, a 13.0/25 at 5:30, and a 13.5/26 from 6:00-6:20 as Jeff Gordon captured the race in the first-ever “green-white-checkered” finish in Daytona 500 history. The 13.5/26 from 6:00-6:30 is the highest rating for any portion of a NASCAR race ever on FOX.(FoxSports)(2-22-2005)
  • Pit-Crew Award to be sponsored by Checkers: Checkers/Rally’s says it will award a $10,000 prize to the Nextel Cup team with the best pit stop each week among those participating in its Double Drive-Thru Challenge and award $100,000 to the team with the most wins throughout the season. Checkers/Rally’s this year took over as the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR in place of McDonald’s, which had awarded $20,000 to the winning team each week last year and $200,000 at the end of the year to teams that took part in a similar contest last year. The restaurant chain said winning teams must finish on the lead lap and spend the least amount of time in pit lane.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-22-2005)
  • Roush Racing testing at Kentucky UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway’s weekly calendar shows that Roush Racing has scheduled a Nextel Cup test for Tuesday. The track says the team is scheduled to test a research-and-development car with a driver to be named. Spectators are permitted to watch from the track’s Fan Center, but the track cautions that schedules are subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-22-2005)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing scheduled for February 22 and 23 has been cancelled. No further testing is scheduled this week.(Kentucky Speedway PR) Joe Gibbs Racing is scheduled to test at the track next week.(2-22-2005)
  • ARCA Driver out of hospital: Billy Venturini, who fractured his neck during the [ARCA] race last Saturday at Daytona, was released from Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. He will wear a head and neck Halo and will begin his rehabilitation at home in Concord, N.C.(Tampa Tribune)(2-22-2005)

    News from February 21, 2005

  • NASCAR miffed at ‘redneck’ dig: Whatever happens, don’t mention the word “redneck” around NASCAR officials. Before yesterday’s race, honorary starter actor Ashton Kutcher joked that he was told not to wear jeans for the job. “One of the greatest redneck sports and they tell me I can’t wear blue jeans,” Kutcher said at a press briefing. “I’ve never watched a race in khaki pants before.” His comment was met with a chorus of moans from NASCAR insiders in the room, causing Kutcher to add he was also a redneck and said he meant the comment in a positive way.(New York Daily News)(2-21-2005)
  • Jeff Gordon’s Winning #24 Inducted Into DAYTONA USA: For the third time in his career, Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet will spend a year inside DAYTONA USA, the official attraction of NASCAR. Following his third Daytona 500 victory on Sunday at historic Daytona International Speedway, Gordon’s winning #24 Chevrolet was inducted into the attraction on Monday morning in the Eckrich Champion’s Breakfast. The car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for the next 364 days and will be returned to the team before the start of the 48th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 19, 2006. Gordon and his crew chief Robbie Loomis participated in a fan forum as enthusiastic race fans huddled together in the motorsports attraction. Gordon and Loomis also received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Speedway President Robin Braig and Gatorade presented the 2005 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from the Victory Lane celebration. Another Daytona 500 tradition continued with the signing of the car by Gordon and his crew. But the Hendrick Motorsports crew added a new twist. Last week, Hendrick Motorsports mechanics who worked on the #24 car back at the shop in North Carolina signed a white paneled sticker just in case the car won the Daytona 500. That sticker now rests on bumper of the car. Following his induction ceremonies, Gordon will handle media obligations that come with a Daytona 500 victory in both New York City and in California. Included in the many appearances he’s expected to make are Live with Regis and Kelly and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.(DIS PR)(2-21-2005)
  • Kahne Scheme: #9-Kasey Kahne will make a return in his popular “Pit Cap” paint scheme at Indianapolis in August. This season the car will feature a reverse paint scheme that will take after the car he debuted at Darlington in 2004.(RacingOne)(2-21-2005)
  • Matt’s streak ends: #17-Matt Kenseth’s streak of 71 races inside the points standings’ top 10, which dated to the March 2003 race at Atlanta, ended with an engine failure and 42nd-place finish at Daytona.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-21-2005)
  • New “X-measurement”: Nextel Cup teams were given a new “X-measurement” across the roof of the cars that lines up with the original X-measurement that stretches across the rear windows. Before the change, teams could lengthen the right side of the car, which would give the driver an aerodynamic advantage, especially in the corners.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)
  • More on Honda and Toyota’s 2006 plans? Next season Toyota is expected to jump into NASCAR’s Busch series and Honda is expected to jump into NASCAR’s Truck series.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-21-2005)
  • Nine cars to the Dyno: NASCAR took nine cars to the engine dyno following the Daytona 500: the top five finishers — #24-Jeff Gordon, #97-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs and #48-Jimmie Johnson, #07-Dave Blaney, #37-Kevin Lepage, #2-Rusty Wallace and #6-Mark Martin. The engine dyno, which NASCAR uses to measure rpms to find out who is generating the most horsepower, is used a few times a year at bigger tracks such as Daytona, Talladega and Michigan.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)
  • Meeting at the White Trailer: After the post-race garage altercation between #20-Tony Stewart and #48 Crew Chief Chad Knaus, NASCAR officials called Stewart, Johnson and their crew chiefs to the hauler. Ten minutes later, Stewart and Johnson emerged together proclaiming friendship, in a very unusual, almost bizarre peace scene. “It’s fine,” Stewart said. “Like Jimmie says, we’re racing on the last lap of the Daytona 500. I was mad he pinched me into the fence. We bumped into each other; we both did the same thing to each other. So it’s fine. We both had good weeks here; we both finished in the top-10. We’re both leaving here in a good situation in the points. NASCAR, more than anything, wanted to make sure it wasn’t something that would linger overnight. Like I told Jimmie, we’re both really, really good friends, and this isn’t even something that’s going to linger tonight. It’s over with.”(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart were called to the NASCAR trailer for rough driving in the closing laps. Stewart claimed Johnson “pinched” him into the No. 10 car of Scott Riggs while Johnson said Stewart ran him into the wall. When asked what was discussed with the sanctioning body, Stewart answered, “We were trading cooking secrets.” Stewart, who finished seventh, had the dominant car, leading 107 laps. It was the second consecutive year he has led the most laps at the 500 and come away without a win. Johnson finished fifth.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)
  • Wood Brothers Start Driver Development Program: Wood Brothers Racing, the oldest continuously operating team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, is beginning its own driver development team in the NASCAR Late Model Dodge Weekly Series with sponsor Duke’s Mayonnaise and Keven Wood. “We’ve been thinking about this for a while,” said team co-owner and Keven’s father Len Wood. “We looked at what other Cup teams—Roush [Racing], [Chip] Ganassi [Racing], Evernham [Motorsports], [Richard] Childress [Racing] and [Joe] Gibbs [Racing]—were doing, and decided it would be a good idea to start our own development program. “We discussed it with several people, and family friend Mark Sauer, who is a member of the C. F. Sauer family that owns Duke Mayonnaise, expressed an interest in helping out. He knew that Keven had raced in the Legend Series and done some late model racing as part of a college program. Mark said he would like to work with us on the program. We are very pleased to be working with the Woods on their driver development program as they look to the future of their team, we are both in family-owned businesses from Virginia, and this will be a good fit for our company’s marketing program.”
    “I planned to race the NASCAR late model series during the 2005 season, but now with the Duke’s Mayonnaise sponsorship we’ll be able to have better equipment and it will give me an even better chance to see what I’ve got as a driver,” said Keven. “We’re registered at 12 different tracks across the Carolinas and Virginia so it’s going to be a busy year. I’m really honored that they chose to work with us.” Keven will be following in the footsteps of his cousin Eddie Wood’s son, Jon, who is driving the #47 Clorox Ford owned by ST Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch Series this year. “We need to explore our options for the future of Wood Brothers Racing,” said Eddie Wood. “Jon has raced Karts, late models, NASCAR Craftsmen trucks and now he is in Busch. We hope that he’ll end up with our team. Wouldn’t it be something if both these kids followed in their grandfather’s footsteps?”(Ford Racing)(2-21-2005)

News from February 20, 2005

  • Gordon wins the Daytona 500: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, winning his 3rd Daytona 500 and his 70th career Nextel Cup Series race. Gordon now ties Dale Jarrett and Bobby Allison for third on the all time Daytona win list with 3 [Richard Petty had 7, Cale Yarborough had 4]. It was owner Rick Hendrick’s fifth Daytona 500 win [he also won with Geoffrey Bodine in 1986 and Darrell Waltrip in 1989]. #20-Tony Stewart dominated the race most of the day, leading 107 laps. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t lead until lap 195, but couldn’t hold off Gordon. #48-Johnson and Stewart had some fending banging after the race. #15-Michael Waltrip was strong the first half of the race until he lost an engine on lap 158. #97-Kurt Busch finished 2nd, followed by #-Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #48-Johnson, #6-Mark Martin, #20-Stewart, #40-Sterling Martin, surprise of Speedweeks #37-Kevin Lepage finished 9th and #2-Rusty Wallace rounded out the top-10.
    See race results at:
  • Biffle close to signing contract extension: Roush Racing officials said they are close to signing Greg Biffle to a contract extension. Biffle’s deal is up at the end of this season, and his public criticism of the company last year gave strong indications that he was considering leaving.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-20-2005)
  • Rusty Honored: #2-Rusty Wallace was inducted into the Goodyear Legends of Daytona area inside Daytona International Speedway’s FanZone and never took off his sunglasses during the presentation Saturday morning. “I was having a tough time up there on stage,” Wallace said. “They were laying out my stats and all the things I’ve done. I’m glad I had on my sunglasses because my eyes filled up after all that.” Wallace said today’s Daytona 500 will be business as usual when he starts 36th on the grid and begins to grind his way through the field. This will be his last 500 start as he begins the “Rusty’s Last Call” tour before he retires following the 2005 season. Wallace announced his retirement plans last season in a news conference at the Speedway because he says Daytona is the center of the stock car racing universe. The Pepsi Theater in Daytona USA was packed with family, fans, officials and media that day. At the start of Speed Weeks, Wallace gave a television interview and wondered outloud if he had made the right decision. “Yeah, I waffled a little bit and tossed it back and forth, but I don’t want to confuse my fans — I am retiring,” he said. “I’m not going to close the door entirely. If I want to come back and help my son practice his car, or test for Penske Racing, I’ll do that. I’m not going to actively come back and run the Nextel Cup Series.” He does have one race on his 2006 schedule. Wallace plans to run in the Rolex 24 at Daytona sportscar race, the annual Speed Weeks kickoff event.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-20-2005)
  • Fan Injured after being hit by hauler: A race fan was injured late Friday night when a transporter ran over him as it was leaving the track. The truck was leaving the infield after Friday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway when a golf cart cut in front of it. The driver of the cart lost control, hit a bump and a passenger was ejected. The truck then ran over the male fan, Matthew Jensen of St. Petersburg, Daytona spokesman David Talley said. Jensen was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where he underwent surgery Friday night and was in intensive care Saturday, Talley said. Also, another unidentified male fan died of a heart attack in an offsite parking lot, Talley said.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-20-2005)
  • #48 to carries special sticker: Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevy carried a decal that read, “In Memory of Cpl. Jonathan Bowling.” Bowling, 23, of Martinsville, Va., was one of four Marines killed last month during an ambush attack on a convoy in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Bowling’s father, Darrell, a Virginia State Trooper, was one of the police officers who responded to the Oct. 24, 2004, crash of a Hendrick Motorsports airplane near Martinsville, that killed 10 people, including team owner Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky, and brother, John. The elder Bowling responded to the scene of the crash at Bull Mountain, Va., and stayed with the bodies of the victims until they could be brought down from the mountain. Bowling also recovered a ring and a medallion from the crash and returned it to the Hendrick family. “During that time, the day that he was bringing us the ring, he got a phone call that his son was killed in Iraq,” Hendrick said of Bowling. “We were close to them because of what they did for our family, and in the effort of trying to bring something back to us, he found out his son had been killed. So we’re running the sticker to honor him.”(Speed Channel)(2-20-2005)

    News from February 19, 2005

  • Popular PRN Programs Return for 2005 Racing Season: Officials of Performance Racing Network [PRN – www.goprn.com] announced that two of the network’s most popular radio programs, “The ALLTEL Pit Reporters” and “PRN’s Sunday Drive,” have been renewed for the 2005 season.
    “The ALLTEL Pit Reporters,” hosted by veteran broadcaster Brett McMillan, returns Wednesday, Feb. 23, for its sixth year while “PRN’s Sunday Drive” kicks off its sophomore season Sunday, Feb. 20, following the Daytona 500.
    “The ALLTEL Pit Reporters” is the original media round-table program with members of the Fourth Estate tackling motorsports’ toughest issues. “We take on all the major issues surrounding racing, but we never let the show become a shouting match,” McMillan noted. “PRN’s Sunday Drive,” co-hosted by John Kernan and Stephanie Durner, wraps up the weekend’s motorsports activities each Sunday evening. Kernan and Durner offer fans an outlet to discuss a variety of topics while analyzing the weekend’s racing action with a popular NASCAR driver. Last year’s guests included John Andretti, David Green and Ron Hornaday. “PRN’s Sunday Drive” airs each Sunday from 8:00 to 10:00pm/et and fans can participate by calling 1-800-771-8255.
    “‘The ALLTEL Pit Reporters’ and ‘PRN’s Sunday Drive’ represent the best in radio motorsports journalism,” said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN. “We are thrilled to have such a strong lineup for race fans across the country.” PRN continues to be an industry innovator. It is the only radio network to broadcast a NASCAR race in Spanish and recently earned a National Motorsports Press Association award for its youth broadcast of the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 presented by Lowe’s at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. PRN broadcasts 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, eight Busch Series events and produces “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons,” “The ALLTEL Pit Reporters,” “PRN’s Sunday Drive” and “zMAX Racing Country.” Additional information about PRN and its broadcast lineup can be obtained by visiting www.goprn.com.(LMS PR)(2-19-2005)
  • Goodyear looking to re-up: Goodyear officials confirmed Friday that they are ready to begin negotiating an extension to their current NASCAR contract, which expires in 2007. Goodyear is the only tire supplier for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.(Speed Channel)(2-19-2005)
  • Rusty’s hit was 41g’s: #2-Rusty Wallace, who was collected in the Harvick-Johnson crash [2nd Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Thursday], said the impact was 41Gs. “That first head-on hit with Harvick is the one that about knocked my lights out,” Wallace said. “That was the very hardest of my life.”(Speed Channel)(2-19-2005)
  • Elliott to run three Busch races? UPDATE been told that Bill Elliott will race three Busch Series races for Rusty Wallace Inc., including Nashville Superspeedway, Pikes Peak and Milwaukee.(1-28-2005)
    UPDATE: during Friday’s Trackside show on Speed Channel [2/18/2005], Rusty Wallace said Bill Elliott would drive three Busch races in the #64 Dodge.(2-19-2005)
  • More hard liquor: Patron tequila will be the sponsor of Kevin Lepage’s #37 Dodge for the Daytona 500.(Speed Channel)(2-19-2005)
  • Nextel Cup until 2006: Nextel Chief Operating Officer Tom Kelly said his company’s pending merger with Sprint could be finalized as early as July. If the deal doesn’t close before September, Kelly said the Nextel Cup Series wouldn’t face any potential name changes until after 2006. Kelly said the popular Nextel Experience at-track exhibit will be expanded in 2005 along with more national promotions, and Nextel also will focus heavily on promoting its all-star race in Charlotte, NC, working with the city to make it a “multiday event.” The ’06 schedule hasn’t been decided, but Kelly said there have been no discussions about moving the all-star race to Richmond International Raceway, which is about 100 miles from Nextel headquarters in Reston, VA.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-19-2005)
  • Subway Scheme for Biffle: #16-Greg Biffle os scheduled to run a Subway scheme at the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in April and the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway in October. See the scheme on my #16 Team Schemes page.(2-19-2005)
  • Chevrolet Donates $688,300 to The Dale Earnhardt Foundation: Brent Dewar, general manager of Chevrolet, presented a check for $688,300 to Teresa Earnhardt as a donation to The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. The contribution was generated by sales of Signature Series Monte Carlos honoring the late Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is committed to carrying on Dale’s legacy and the charitable causes he supported during his lifetime in the areas of education, children, the environment and wildlife preservation. Teresa Earnhardt created the foundation in 2002 and continues to be involved in its overall operations. “We are so pleased to be able to continue Dale’s vision of caring for others,” said Teresa Earnhardt, president and CEO of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. “I want to thank Chevrolet for their generous contribution and for playing an instrumental role in carrying on his legacy for years to come.” The build of the 2004 Monte Carlo Intimidator SS was limited to 4,000 units as a tribute to seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. The second model, a 2004 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Signature Series Monte Carlo SS, was a salute to one of the sport’s most popular and competitive drivers. A total of 2,883 Dale Earnhardt Jr. units were produced. “We created the Earnhardt-themed Monte Carlos as a way for fans to support the sport’s most legendary father-and-son racing duo,” said Dewar. “We are delighted that the Signature Series Monte Carlos have also raised significant funds to benefit the charities important to Dale Earnhardt.” Both models are based on the Monte Carlo Supercharged SS coupe. Each is powered by GM’s 3800 Series II supercharged V-6 engine, delivering 240 horsepower at 5200 rpm and an impressive 280 lb-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm. The vehicles were sold at select dealerships in the U.S. and Canada with a portion of the proceeds of each sale benefiting The Dale Earnhardt Foundation.(GM PR)(2-19-2005)
  • Jim Beam Donates $100,000: Jim Beam bourbon, the “Official Spirit of Racing” and a leader in social responsibility, leverages its sponsorship of Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) and 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Team Owner and Driver Robby Gordon, to continue its support of alcohol education, donating $100,000 to RGM as part of the Jim Beam drink smart ongoing effort to promote responsible choices about alcohol. Throughout the 2005 NASCAR season, RGM will make donations from this fund to local universities in various race markets for the purpose of alcohol education. The $100,000 total will help to fund Alcohol 101 Plus educational programming produced by The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating underage drinking. Gordon presented the first donation in the amount of $10,000 to the University of Central Florida at the Daytona International Speedway today. “We are excited by the dedication shown by Robby Gordon Motorsports, Jim Beam Brands Co., and The Century Council, to educate students on the importance of making responsible decisions regarding alcohol,” said Tom Hall, Director of AOD Prevention Programming. “We look forward to using this funding to increase our alcohol education and awareness efforts.”
    “I am thrilled that Jim Beam is donating money so that I can help to further a good cause,” Gordon said. “Jim Beam is building on an existing platform that’s proven great for motorsports and for communicating the drink smart message. As a professional race-car driver I believe I can help to deliver that message with even greater impact and influence.” Throughout 2005, Robby Gordon Motorsports will present one local university in various NASCAR markets this season each with a $10,000 check on behalf of his organization and Jim Beam. The donations will help fund each school’s implementation of The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 Plus education program and alcohol education activities. With the $10,000 donation, schools will be able to facilitate seminars and prevention programs to educate students about the importance of not drinking underage. The Alcohol 101 Plus program will also be made available to student organizations. The universities receiving the donated funds are selected on recommendations given by The Century Council and based on need, as well as active participation in existing alcohol education programs.(Jim Beam Racing PR)(2-19-2005)
  • #23 picks up a sponsor UPDATE: seen on Speed Channel’s Daytona 500 practice coverage, the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge with driver Mike Skinner has Argent Mortgage on the hood of the car.(2-16-2005)
    UPDATE: This weekend, Argent Mortgage is teaming up with Mike Skinner and the #23 Bill Davis Racing team in the 47th running of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Daytona 500. “We are all excited and very proud to get to represent Team Argent this weekend. They have such an elite list of accomplished athletes who are already part of their sports sponsorship program and Argent Mortgage is such an innovative company,” said Bill Davis, BDR team owner. “After the strong show Mike Skinner and the entire team have put forth so far this last week, I plan to add on to Team Argent’s past successes this Sunday.” Argent Mortgage is a leading national mortgage lender. The company works exclusively with independent mortgage brokers and bankers across the country, providing lending services in 48 states. “We are very pleased to partner with Bill Davis Racing and Mike Skinner for the Daytona 500,” said Wayne Lee, president of Argent Mortgage Company. “This team shares the same characteristics that have made Argent Mortgage a leading national mortgage lender — speed, teamwork, determination and innovation — and we are proud to have the Argent name associated with such a great organization.” This Sunday will mark Skinner’s ninth consecutive Daytona 500 start. In 14 NASCAR Cup career starts at Daytona International Speedway, Skinner has scored two poles, four top-five, seven top-10 and nine top-15 starts. He also has three top-five, five top-10 and six top-15 finishes at DIS as a NASCAR Cup Series driver.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(2-19-2005)
  • Marlin to race at Nashville: For the first time since the opening of the Nashville Superspeedway, local NEXTEL Cup Driver and two-time winner of the Daytona 500, Sterling Marlin will run in the fifth annual Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 26. Marlin, a back to back Daytona 500 Champion, will be driving for Fitz-Bradshaw Cottman Transmission Dodge #40. “I’m excited to be racing in my own back yard,” Marlin said, who lives in the Middle Tennessee area. “I’ve tested many times at the Nashville Superspeedway and I’m looking forward to competing for the first time.” Tickets for the PFG Lester 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series race and the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 26 are on sale now by calling toll-free 1-866-RACE-TIX or online at www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com. All race tickets include two races, all the pre race festivities, and the post race Capitol Concert Series.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(2-19-2005)
  • Cool Camera at the 500: Fox Sports liked the shots it received from “Cablecam” for its NFL coverage so much that it is bringing the camera to NASCAR, including the Daytona 500 Sunday. For football, “Cablecam,” a camera riding on a cable high above the field, produced some interesting close-ups. Viewers could get a feel for the quarterback eyeing receivers down the field or returners finding holes to run through. For NASCAR, Fox is hoping it will give a closer look at the drivers, particularly in the pits. “It gets us right over the track with the hands and the eyes,” race announcer Mike Joy said in a teleconference Tuesday. “I love it when I hear (analyst) Darrell (Waltrip) say, ‘Now look at the guy’s hands. Look at what he’s doing.’ That’s what we’re trying to bring out.” The camera’s cable for Fox’s Daytona 500 coverage Sunday is three times the length of the one the network used at the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.(Albuquerque Tribune)(2-19-2005)
  • Harvick’s backup no stranger to Daytona: #29-Kevin Harvick’s back-up Chevy is the car the team ran in all four restrictor plate races in 2003.(GM PR)(2-19-2005)
  • Nemechek’s Comments Friday: As a result of Thursday’s multi-car accident [in the 2nd Gatorade Duel], #01-Joe Nemechek woke up Friday morning with a sore neck and sore ribs. How do you feel? “I’m a little sore today — I took a hard hit yesterday. I have to say my backup car is driving good so that’s the main thing. We’re ready for the Daytona 500.”
    How Close is the backup car to the car you ran yesterday? “It’s the same car we ran in the Bud Shootout. On paper it’s aerodynamically a better racecar — it makes more downforce, has less drag and does all of the good things. The other car was my favorite piece but it’s totaled so this one has to be my favorite piece from now on. The Army Chevy drove good today — it’s been a little snug but they brought it back to the shop (Concord, N.C.) after the Shootout and worked on it and got it a little more free. It feels better than it did Saturday night. The cool thing about our team is that we have eight speedway cars and they are all within a tenth of each other. We’re able to reproduce the good stuff and I have all of the confidence in the world that this car will get me to the finish line.”(MB2 Motorsports PR)(2-19-2005)

    News from February 18, 2005

  • Martin wins IROC race at Daytona, now all-time wins leader: Four -time Crown Royal IROC champion Mark Martin held off Martin Truex Jr., and Bobby Hamilton to win the 2005 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The win puts Martin at the top of the charts with the most wins in IROC history. For more info and full results, see IROCracing.com.(2-18-2005)
  • Leffler, Fedex Donate $500,000 to Victory Junction: #11-Jason Leffler has donated $250,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and his sponsor, FedEx, has made a matching $250,000 donation to the camp. “This is an incredibly generous show of support for Victory Junction by Jason and FedEx,” said camp founder Kyle Petty. The donations will be used to finance construction of a new cabin and to help bring more children to the facility this year. “My wife Alison and I feel very strongly about the camp that Kyle and Pattie have built and want to support this great program,” Leffler said.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)
  • New Season of ‘NASCAR DRIVERS: 360’ return: The FX network has placed a second season order of seven episodes for “NASCAR Drivers: 360.” The show, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday lives of NASCAR drivers, premieres May 13 at 10:30 ET. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Kenny Wallace, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace will be featured during the seven-week run.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)
  • More Tire Troubles UPDATE fixed: Tire trouble that cropped up in practice for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway resurfaced again for several drivers in drafting practice Wednesday. Goodyear flew seven tires to its headquarters for further examination after initial assessment showed no common factors among the six tires with problems. In some cases, the tread pulled away from the carcass of the tire, and trouble cropped up as quickly as 15 laps or after as many as 40, said Greg Stucker, a former engineer who now serves as director of race tire sales and marketing. The company’s best guess, Stucker said, is that the trouble comes from a combination of a new compound being used this year, which might cause the tires to retain extra heat, and car setups that put extra pressure on either the right front or right rear tire.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(2-17-2005)
    UPDATE: Goodyear seems to be finding a solution to what could have been a tire crisis at Speedweeks. After at least six Goodyear tires blew in practice this week, officials from the tire manufacturer flew samples from several production batches to its facility in Akron, Ohio, on Wednesday, where an overnight examination found a tendency in some tires for the tread to separate from the casing. “There was a slightly lower level of adhesion between the tread and the top fabric ply on the tires that experienced problems,” said Goodyear manager Stu Grant. Tire company employees then recalled all the tires from those production runs, but at least 600 of the 900 tires had already been run on the track with no problem, Grant said. Most drivers reported no problems with tires during Thursday’s qualifying races.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-18-2005)
  • Harvick, Johnson meeting to clear air: After #29-Kevin Harvick exited the infield care center with an aching chest Thursday, #01-Joe Nemechek nearly hit him with a water bottle. It was a clear display of the anguish Harvick caused during the second of two 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Harvick bumped #48-Jimmie Johnson more than halfway through the 60-lap race, starting a seven-car wreck and stirring the emotions of several drivers and their crews. “It’s frustrating because I know how much all these guys have put into this, and to have it taken out by someone like him, that’s stupid,” Nemechek said. Johnson, who trailed only three-time Daytona winner Dale Jarrett in pole qualifying last Sunday, was leading the race when he slowed in the second turn and got rear-ended by Harvick. The bump turned Johnson’s car sideways and ignited a crash that took out Johnson, Harvick, Nemechek and fellow top contenders Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. None of them was injured. But some of their cars were badly damaged. Harvick, Nemechek and Wallace were forced to switch to backup cars and will move to the back of the field for NASCAR’s biggest race. “It’s a shame. He just tore up six or seven good race cars,” said Johnson, adding that team owner Richard Childress should fire Harvick and NASCAR should penalize him. “This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.”
    Harvick and Johnson were summoned to the NASCAR trailer after tempers had cooled. Harvick acknowledged fault in the wreck, and NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter warned the drivers that future problems could result in fines or suspensions. “We told them that they need to either work it out for themselves or we’ll work it out for them,” Hunter said. “We just consider it a racing incident. If they get into it again, there could be some severe penalties, like missing a race.” Hunter added that the drivers shook hands and agreed to meet by themselves Thursday night — without crew chiefs, car owners or NASCAR officials — to work through their differences, which began at Phoenix last year. “We want to make absolutely sure that at the start of a new season, there’s no carry-over,” Hunter said. Harvick apologized for his error, but that did little to soothe emotions in the garage area. “I just spun him out, and I feel sorry for the teams and everybody involved,” Harvick said.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-18-2005)
  • Roush and Red Sox rumor resurfaces: Roush Racing executives have been working with their counterparts in the Boston Red Sox front office on ways to tap into the New England fan market. Possible alliances include a Red Sox paint scheme and Roush-themed television shows on the team’s regional cable network. “I’m hoping to find out a way to affiliate our teams more closely with the Red Sox,” Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said. Smith said Red Sox majority owner John Henry is a “semiprofessional” computer race car driver, playing the same sophisticated online racing simulator game that drivers such as Earnhardt play when they aren’t racing. The Roush team brought Henry to a race at New Hampshire International Speedway last year, leading to rumors Roush would sell a stake in his team to Henry. But Smith said beyond the two teams’ marketing plans, “there is nothing on the table.” Smith doesn’t rule out the team possibly entering a partnership.(USA Today)(2-18-2005)
  • Harvick to Penske? UPDATE 2: The biggest question facing #2 [and #12, #77] owner Roger Penske this season is signing someone to take Rusty Wallace’s place [after he retires at the end of 2005]. The most obvious answer, of course, is Jamie McMurray, who is already in the Dodge camp and driving Wallace’s Busch cars. But McMurray is still under contract to Chip Ganassi [supposedly thru 2007], whose rivalry with Penske is well-known and who is not going to give up his own No. 1 driver easily. Penske shies away from even talking about McMurray. “I will tell you at this point I have not even had one conversation with Jamie McMurray about driving on this race team,” Penske insisted. “Yes, he would be a great driver, but he’s already under contract with Chip.” One name that has just come up on Penske’s tentative list, according to sources, is Kevin Harvick, who has been driving for Richard Childress since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001. Miller Brewing, a longtime Penske-Wallace sponsor, has been pressuring the team for more results, in light of the impressive performance by Bud-sponsored rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, Miller execs, according to sources, have wanted Penske to bring Ryan Newman, Wallace’s teammate – sometimes estranged teammate, as at the moment – into the Miller sponsorship fold.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(2-5-2005)
    AND …….McMurray is Wallace’s first choice to replace him in the #2, but word is McMurray’s Ganassi Racing contract spreads through 2007. Now, the name I [Marty Smith] continue to hear being associated with the No. 2 ride is Kevin Harvick, but Harvick told me Monday he’s never been contacted by Penske Racing. He has heard the same rumors we have, but says that’s the extent of his association with Penske.(NASCAR.com)(2-9-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Kevin Harvick is rumored to be under consideration for a ride with Roger Penske next season, possibly now the driver to take Rusty Wallace’s ride. But Harvick’s contract with car owner Richard Childress is reported to run through the end of 2006.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-18-2005)
  • Jarrett to Race the Truck: Dale Jarrett, whose #88 Robert Yates Racing Ford is sponsored by UPS, will be featured in a UPS commercial scheduled to run during Sunday’s broadcast of the Daytona 500 in which he finally agrees to race the bulky UPS delivery truck. The new commercial is the fifth installment of the popular “Race the Truck” advertising campaign.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)
  • Diversity Presentation on Speed: Before tonight’s truck race at Daytona International Speedway, two students from Philadelphia’s Urban Youth Racing School will be involved in a presentation as part of NASCAR’s diversity program. Leon Simmons is a freshman at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, studying engineering, and Jeremy Ortiz is an eighth-grader at the Ethan Allen School. The presentation is scheduled to air on the Speed Channel at 7:30pm/et. Both will be honorary pit-crew members with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports; Simmons with David Reutimann’s crew and Ortiz with Robert Huffman’s team.(Philadelphia Daily News)(2-18-2005)

    News from February 17, 2005

  • New GM Racing Head Appointed: General Motors has named Mark Kent its new director of racing. Kent will oversee engineering and marketing activities for all of GM’s motorsports programs, including NASCAR, NHRA, SCCA, Grand American, American Le Mans and IRL. Kent, 44, replaces Doug Duchardt, who held the position for the last two years. Kent has experience in powertrain development both for production and race vehicles. From 1987 to 1992, he held motorsports engine engineering and program manager positions for winning IMSA GTU and SCCA Trans Am programs. Most recently, he was the GM Powertrain design systems engineer for the Northstar V-8 line-up of engines. “Our racing efforts will benefit from Mark’s motorsports engineering and program management experience and his competitive nature,” said Steve Shannon, executive director of GM Marketing Services. “He has a strong track record of leading and supporting successful racing programs for the company.” Kent takes the reins to GM’s extensive motorsports program on March 1, 2005.(GM PR)(2-17-2005)
  • New Chevy Monte Carlo for 2006? A year after re-designing the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, General Motors wants to do it again for the 2006 season. The new production model of the 2006 Monte Carlo was unveiled in January at the Detroit Auto Show. Chevrolet must win support for its changes from NASCAR by a Sept. 1 deadline so teams will have time to build new cars in time for the next season. Since most of the templates in NASCAR are the same for Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge, the only areas open for change are the front and rear bumpers.(Augusta Chronicle)(2-17-2005)
  • More changes at Hendrick? UPDATE: hearing that Eddie Dickerson, Manager of Hendrick Motorsports Chassis Shop, which was responsible for building all of the Chassis, and hanging all of the bodies, has left the organization.(2-16-2005)
    UPDATE: Eddie Dickerson, the director of chassis engineering at Hendrick Motorsports, left the team. Team spokesman Jesse Essex said Dickerson’s duties likely will be split among several team members, including Doug Duchardt, who who left his position as director of GM Racing two weeks ago to become Hendrick’s vice president of development.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-17-2005)
  • #3 Back..as showcars..ONLY: Richard Childress announced a program on Wednesday that will resurrect the No. 3 — at least as a show car — to celebrate RCR’s 20th anniversary with General Motors. But Childress added that RCR won’t be running the No. 3 any time soon, even though Dale Earnhardt still sell the third-most souvenirs in the garage.(FoxSports)(2-17-2005)
  • Daytona HOF may face some hurdles: Seeking $75 million from the state to try to attract a NASCAR hall of fame, Daytona Beach could become tangled in a political battle over whether Florida should subsidize professional sports franchises. Supporters of the hall of fame, the Florida Marlins baseball team and the Orlando Magic basketball team are asking state lawmakers this spring to commit more than $200 million over the next three decades to help build or renovate sports facilities. That is causing some lawmakers, including Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, to question whether the state should continue using tax dollars to subsidize projects for sports franchises that are typically worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Much of the controversy has centered on a proposal to commit $60 million to a stadium for the Marlins in Miami. But Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said he fears the NASCAR hall of fame could get lumped together with the Marlins and Magic in a broader debate about using tax dollars for professional sports. King and other hall-of-fame backers say state subsidies are crucial to Daytona’s effort to outbid six other cities for the project. But Sen. Mike Bennett, a Bradenton Republican who is an outspoken critic of giving sports subsidies, dismissed threats that the hall of fame or professional teams could go elsewhere if they don’t receive state money. Daytona Beach is lobbying to receive $3 million a year for 25 years to help finance construction of the hall of fame. The proposal, which is similar to an incentives package that brought a golf hall of fame to St. Johns County in the 1990s, calls for the state to provide the money if the stock-car attraction can show it would generate at least $3 million annually in sales taxes.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-17-2005)
  • ARCA injury update 2: ARCA driver Billy Venturini remained hospitalized Sunday with injuries suffered in a late accident during Saturday’s race at Daytona International Speedway. Venturini was scheduled for surgery to fix a fractured vertebrae, the disc below his second vertebrae and damaged ligaments. A family spokesperson said the 28-year-old was not suffering any paralysis and is talkative and in good spirits. Venturini was injured in a 13-car accident two laps from the finish.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-14-2005)
    UPDATE: Venturini has undergone a surgical procedure to repair ligament damage in his neck. The surgery was successfully completed late Sunday. Venturini has not sustained any paralysis and has remained alert and in good spirits since the time of his injury. According to a family spokesperson, the 28-year-old, second-generation ARCA driver has been fitted with a head and neck halo to stabilize the C-2 vertebrae in his neck, which has been fused to the C-3 vertebrae. He is expected to be released later this week from a local hospital to begin physical therapy near his home in Concord, NC. Venturini has been transported from Florida to Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina for further observation. Venturini will be under the care of Dr. Jerry M. Petty. Dr. Petty is a highly respected neurological surgeon who has extensive experience dealing with head and neck trauma. Daily updates will continue to be posted on www.billyventurini.com as more information is released.(2-16-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Venturini was moved out of intensive care Wednesday. He was listed in stable condition at the Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., and could be released from the hospital later this week. Dr. Jerry Petty ruled out additional surgery for now, but said Venturini should begin rehabilitation soon. He had surgery to fix a fractured vertebrae and damaged ligaments.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-17-2005)
  • Photographers struck by car in ARCA race UPDATE: Four photographers and a fan were treated for injuries suffered in two separate incidents in Saturday’s ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway. The most seriously injured was photographer Steve Rose, who was struck by the car driven by Blake Feese, who lost control entering his pit and careened into an opening in the wall. Rose was taken to a local hospital for further treatment. Also struck were T. Taylor Warren, Fernando Medina and Pierce Williams. An unidentified female fan was hit by debris when Chad Zimmerman’s car flew into the catch fence.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-13-2005)
    UPDATE – Photographer back at the track: Steve Rose, Penske Racing South’s photographer, was re-examined and released. The middle finger on his left hand is broken and he is has a splint on it today. His right collarbone has a hair-line fracture. Rose was at the track Wednesday and interviewed on Speed Channel.(2-17-2005)
  • No Indy double? A handful of NASCAR drivers took notice when the start of the Indianapolis 500 was moved back an hour, making it almost impossible for them to compete at the Brickyard and in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and John Andretti have all attempted “The Double” in recent years. It was a tough task even when the Indy race began at 11:00am/et because it was still a scramble to make it back to North Carolina in time for the NASCAR event [Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway]. Now that the race will start at noon, Gordon said Indy will be hard-pressed to get any NASCAR drivers in the field. “That’s the dumbest decision they could have made,” Gordon said. “One of the draws of that race these days is seeing what NASCAR stars try to run the double, and I just don’t understand why they would take that element out of it by moving the start time.” Indy officials want to attract a larger television audience with the later start. Tony Stewart echoed Gordon’s thoughts. Just him showing up last year on Bump Day drew significant attention as his mere presence at the track added excitement to an otherwise non-eventful day. “I wasn’t planning on doing it again, but it’s got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen Indianapolis Motor Speedway do since I’ve been around,” Stewart said. “I don’t know what their theory was on that. I thought it helped them to have guys doing both races.” Gordon said Indy officials should have moved the race to Memorial Day instead of trying to draw viewers on the same day as a NASCAR race. “That would be the better move for the Indy 500,” said Gordon, a former IRL racer. “Not only would they be the only race on TV that day, but all the NASCAR drivers would have the day off and could consider entering the 500. I really think you’d get a lot more of us in the field if the race was run on Monday. You never know who might give it a try.”(ESPN.com/AP)(2-17-2005)
  • #34 gets sponsor for Daytona: Mach 1 announced today that Dimension Films will be their primary sponsor for Thursday’s Gatorade Duel Twin 150 and the Daytona 500. The #34 Chevy will proudly display Dimension Films upcoming thriller “Cursed” . The movie opens February 25 at theaters across the nation. From writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven, the creators of Scream, the film that changed the face of terror forever, comes Cursed. A twist on classic monster fables, Cursed unleashes ancient omens into the modern world. Randy LaJoie is the driver of the #34 Chevy.(Mach 1 PR)(2-17-2005)
  • A national white supremacist group with a branch in Tampa says its members will attend the Daytona 500 race this weekend to disseminate its message and try to recruit newcomers to its fold. But officials at Daytona International Speedway said Wednesday the West Virginia-based National Alliance will not be spreading the word on raceway property. Security guards would be on the lookout for members of the group. While no National Alliance members in Tampa or West Virginia could be reached for an interview Wednesday, a man named Sean Walker returned a phone call asking for comment and left this message: “All I can say is, yes, we will have Alliance members there and yes, we will be spreading our message.” The group, described on the Anti-Defamation League’s Web site as a neo-Nazi white supremacist organization, has designed three different racing-themed fliers that promotes its message. Articles posted on the National Alliance’s own Web site and on the Web site of the organization’s magazine, National Vanguard, also encourage members to gear up for the Daytona 500 campaign, calling it the “best pro-white activism this year.” Daytona Beach police Sgt. Al Tolley said officers will be watching for group members as well. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said groups like the National Alliance sully the image of the sport. “It runs counter to everything NASCAR stands for,” Poston said Wednesday. “NASCAR continues to be committed to diversifying the sport on and off the track.” Poston reeled off a number of programs sponsored by NASCAR that aim to attract minorities to race car driving, or jobs related to the sport. One Daytona Beach city commissioner who was waffling on whether to go to Sunday’s race said learning of the National Alliance’s plans helped him decide. “Now I really plan to attend the race,” said Commissioner Dwayne Taylor, “because I think it’s the responsibility of every commissioner to monitor this.” Commissioner Gwen Azama-Edwards said she is pleased Speedway officials will be taking pains to prevent National Alliance members from spreading their fliers. “My hope and desire is that they not recruit anyone, especially locally,” Azama-Edwards said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-17-2005)

    News from February 16, 2005

  • Need ID’s to buy some collectibles/tshirts: from ESPN.com: Young fans of Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch will be confronted with a new reality if they visit the team’s souvenir trailer at the Daytona 500 this weekend. If they want to purchase a piece of licensed merchandise featuring Busch’s 2005 car, they’ll have to flash identification proving they are 21 years of age. And if parents are looking to purchase Busch merchandise for their children, that’s not going to happen either, as all outerwear will come in adult sizes only. Busch’s young fans could be considered a casualty of the latest alliance in NASCAR, as alcohol sponsorship was expanded to include the hard liquor category this offseason. Jack Daniel’s took Dave Blaney’s car; Jim Beam scooped up Robby Gordon; and Diageo tabbed Busch to tout its Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice brands. Although NASCAR is requiring each of the companies to spend 20% on alcohol responsibility campaigns, Diageo officials voluntarily decided to impose an age limit on who can buy logo gear at the track, as well as avoiding clothing in children’s sizes. They also chose to attach Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice diecast model cars to a base that will keep the wheels from moving, hoping to discourage children from playing with them. Fans of Blaney’s #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy also will face similar limitations, according to Richard Childress Racing’s public relations manager Matt Klug. “Eventually I think they plan to offer a [diecast] car for kids without the Jack Daniel’s logo,” Klug said. There will be a separate line of Blaney clothing coming out for children that does not have Jack Daniel’s name emblazoned on it, though it will carry the #07 car number, which also is a reference to the Old No. 7 Brand. For NASCAR’s part, the sanctioning body is taking a public stance that it is not regulating merchandising. “It’s every team’s decision as to how they want to handle the sale of merchandise,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “Diageo has decided to do it this way, and they’re taking a leading role.” Poston said that Diageo’s conservative licensing program isn’t entirely new. Dale Earnhardt Jr. model cars made for children are red and have the #8 on it, but don’t have the Budweiser logos. And it’s not an uncommon sight this week at Daytona International to find parents wearing Junior’s Budweiser shirts while their children sport Junior shirts with Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers logos on them. Jim Beam, sponsor of Gordon’s #7 car, says that its diecast cars will be made in a larger scale size to try to keep kids from playing with them.(ESPN.com)(2-16-2005)
  • Speakin’ of TV this week TV Guide will have three collectible covers featuring Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Available at newstands, supermarket’s etc. Also the issue has a NASCAR feature by Robert Edelstein.(2-16-2005)
  • #0 picks up more sponsorship: Haas CNC Racing announced today that CertainTeed would add partial sponsorship to the #0 Chevrolet driven by Mike Bliss in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms of the deal were not released.(NASCAR Scene). NetZero and BestBuy currently co-sponsor the #0.(2-16-2005)
  • The King to be honored: Richard Petty, who won seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, will be inaugurated into the Goodyear Legends of Daytona on Friday. Legends of Daytona is a new attraction at Daytona International Speedway that honors stock car, sports car and motorcycle racers for their Daytona accomplishments.(NASCAR Scene)(2-16-2005)
  • #23 picks up a sponsor: seen on Speed Channel’s Daytona 500 practice coverage, the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge with driver Mike Skinner has Argent Mortgage on the hood of the car.(2-16-2005)
  • Weekend TV Results Mixed UPDATE beats NFL Pro-Bowl: NASCAR’S first action of 2005 enjoyed a mixed reception from television audiences. Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway was the highest-rated sports program of the weekend, drawing an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and an 8 share, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. (The 2004 event was carried on cable’s TNT, so results aren’t directly comparable.) Fox’s coverage of Sunday’s qualifying session for the Daytona 500, however, fell well short of last year’s overnight ratings for NBC’s coverage of the qualifying session. This year’s 2.7/6 overnight figures were 20.6 percent below last year’s 3.4/8 overnight figures on NBC.(NASCAR Scene)(2-15-2005)
    UPDATE: For only the second time, Fox’s NASCAR Bud Shootout on Saturday night outrated the NFL’s Pro Bowl. ESPN’s Pro Bowl posted a 5.1 cable rating (4.2 broadcast network rating), a jump of 6% compared to last year’s 4.8 cable rating (3.9 on broadcast network). But the football game was topped by Fox’s 5.3 national rating. The only other occasion when the Bud Shootout prevailed was in 2001.(USA Today)(2-16-2005)
  • Dodge Charger Aution brings in over #75k: The bidding race for the first 2006 Dodge Charger volume production unit to roll off the assembly line and autographed race car body used in the world reveal has officially ended; winning bid was $75,100. Proceeds from the auction will be shared between Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Salvation Army. Winning bidder will receive Charger keys from NASCAR legend Richard Petty at the Dodge Charger 500 on May 7, 2005 at Darlington (S.C) Raceway The charity auction ran from Feb. 1 – 11 attracting 56 bidders; 26,435 people visited the auction site. The winning bidder of the auction also will receive a Charger Experience package that features airfare, accommodations and two tickets to the Dodge Charger 500 race in Darlington, South Carolina on May 7 to receive their vehicle keys from NASCAR legend Richard Petty.(Clear!Blue PR)(2-16-2005)
  • ARCA and HANS only? Jarrett to get ARCA ride? After last Saturday’s ARCA crashfest ay Daytona that left just 10 of 41 cars running at the finish — including an accident which resulted in multiple injuries to driver Billy Venturini’s second vertebrae and the disc below — expect the sanctioning body to re-evaluate its head-and-neck devices. Venturini, 28, was wearing a Hutchens device that NASCAR has removed from its list of approved apparatuses in all NASCAR series except the weekly racing series. In his post-qualifying news conference, Dale Jarrett said that Bill Venturini Sr. had inquired on Jason Jarrett’s availability for the next two months while Billy recuperates.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-16-2005)
  • Kahne to run the Mountain Dew scheme again: #9-Kasey Kahne will take his partnership with Mountain Dew to new heights this season when his first national television commercial for the brand debuts this Sunday and his #9 Dodge features a Mountain Dew paint scheme at next week’s race at California Speedway. In the TV spot entitled “Change,” not only does Kahne’s Dodge go through a number of “changes,” but he must also vie for the seat behind the wheel of his own race car. The commercial will air during the FOX broadcast of the Daytona 500 this Sunday, February 20. Kahne’s Dew allegiance will also show on the track when he competes in a Mountain Dew paint scheme at the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, February 27. Kahne’s #9 Dodge will showcase the new Mountain Dew graphics that will begin appearing on the brand’s product packaging available in stores in March. The last time Kahne’s car featured a special Mountain Dew paint scheme he finished second at Michigan International Speedway on June 20, 2004. This marks the fifth straight year that Mountain Dew has sponsored Evernham Motorsports drivers and teams. Pepsi-Cola Company’s involvement with NASCAR began when the sport was introduced in 1948. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 16 of the 23 Nextel Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 2, 2005.(Pepsi Racing PR), see an image of the scheme [now the Charger] on my #9 Team Schemes page.(2-16-2005)

    News from February 15, 2005

  • Up to 7 Locations going for the NASCAR Hall of Fame: NASCAR announced the final list of locations in the running to host the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Groups in Atlanta, Birmingham/Talladega, Charlotte/Concord, Daytona Beach, Kansas City, Richmond and the State of Michigan have received requests from NASCAR for proposals and have agreed to submit bids for this new project. The city selected will partner with NASCAR to build a state-of-the-art facility aimed at displaying – and preserving – the sport’s rich history and tradition. “NASCAR’s overriding goal is to have a world class Hall of Fame,” said NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France. “We want it to be a special place that brings NASCAR’s history to life. Our hope is for longtime fans to have the opportunity to relive NASCAR’s greatest moments and for new fans to learn about them.” There are a number of independent racing “halls” in existence in the United States, but none are officially affiliated with NASCAR. In support of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it is likely that an annual induction ceremony would take place in conjunction with an existing NASCAR-sanctioned race weekend. This would attract a significant number of visitors to the site and provide a major economic lift for the Hall of Fame and surrounding areas. The enshrinement ceremony and other ancillary events would also make for compelling television content on a national basis. “NASCAR wants a Hall of Fame that will remain fresh and will entice visitors to return time and time again,” said NASCAR VP of Licensing and Consumer Products Mark Dyer. The NASCAR RFP (Request for Proposal) sent to the seven groups bidding is intentionally vague. There are no specific requirements for size, shape or cost. It is NASCAR’s hope that each community will view this as an opportunity to be creative in design, development and timing. The deadline to submit proposals is May 31. “NASCAR seeks a strong partner that shares our vision and belief that the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be a great success for their community and all our fans,” Dyer said. “This is critical to the project and will be something we’ll look at when the proposals are submitted.” NASCAR will begin the process of review once the proposals are received. At that time a schedule will be announced for site visits and presentations by each city.(NASCAR PR)(2-15-2005)
  • Coca-Cola Racing Family New Anime Ad to Debut During Daytona 500: In the first-ever NASCAR-themed Anime ad, Coca-Cola Racing Family members Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty, Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick are seen as animated superheroes engaging in adventurous activities such as scuba diving with sea monsters and flying fighter planes before they return to the track for a Coke and a bit of racing. Breaking during the broadcast of the Daytona 500 on February 20 — a growing showcase for new advertising — the 60-second ad, entitled “Fantastic Four,” is the only animated spot in the new Coca-Cola “Make It Real” campaign. It will also run in more than 10,000 movie theaters across the country and a 30-second version of the spot will be featured on NASCAR broadcasts throughout the season. The spot concludes with one word — ‘Adrenaline’ — followed by the campaign tagline, ‘Make It Real.’ The word ‘adrenaline’ underscores the drivers’ energetic attitude both on and off the track. Created by Berlin Cameron / Red Cell, the new ‘Make it Real’ campaign also includes print and outdoor executions. Additional ads are planned for later in 2005.(Coca-Cola PR)(2-15-2005)
  • WYPALL Wipers Returns in 05′ With Bigger and Better Crew Chief Challenge: After a highly successful 2004 campaign, WYPALL Wipers will return to racing in 2005, once again highlighting crew chiefs in the Nextel Cup garage with their Crew Chief Challenge program. With changes in place for the new season, the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge promises to be one of the most exciting and innovative contests to date. Following each Nextel Cup race, a panel of voters, including Robbie Reiser and Tony Eury Sr., a Wypall Wipers representative and a member of the local media, will cast their vote for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. The elected crew chief will receive $1,000 at the conclusion of the event. At the season’s end, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will be awarded $20,000 and bragging rights of being the 2005 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. Tony Eury Sr. won Wypall Wipers Crew of the Year honors, after being voted Crew Chief of the Race nine times throughout 2004. For more information on the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, logo onto www.WYPALL.com.(PR)(2-15-2005)
  • Mikey vs. Biffle…..in chairs: In a unique tune-up for Sunday’s 47th running of the Daytona 500, Michael Waltrip and Greg Biffle, two former winners at Daytona International Speedway, will put their driving skills to the test on a track of a different kind. There’ll be no restrictor plates and drafting partners to worry about, or even left turns for that matter, but there will be a catch. Waltrip and Biffle will be racing in the world’s fastest armchairs – souped-up, motorized recliners that reach a top speed of more than 40 miles per hour – down a makeshift drag strip. The event, dubbed the “Full Throttle Armchair Challenge,” celebrates the official launch of Full Throttle, a new energy drink from The Coca-Cola Company. The ‘event’ takes place Friday, February 18, 2005 at 11:00am/et at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club Parking Lot, 2201 W. International Speedway Boulevard – next to Daytona Speedway. The event is free and open to the public. Full Throttle, a new lightly carbonated energy drink from The Coca-Cola Company, hits store shelves around the country this week. Best described as “16 ounces of citrus-flavored fury in a can,” Full Throttle is packed with the fuel energy drink lovers crave, including ginseng extract, caffeine, taurine, guarana extract and B-vitamins.(Coca-Cola/Fast Horse PR), wonder if it comes in diet?(2-15-2005)
  • Some Sad News: Mae Mecca, passed away this morning in her sleep at age 92. Visitation is Thursday at the Perna Funeral Home, 1306 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, N.Y., 14216 – (716) 874-1010. Funeral mass will be held Friday morning at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Buffalo. Her son Paul Mecca used to work on the Exide account for Geoff Bodine’s Cup team. In late ’94, Paul was hired in-house at Exide and he was named Director of Motorsports. He also worked with Jack Roush when the Exide sponsorship moved to Jeff Burton’s car. Paul worked as Director of Motorsports for Exide Batteries from 1994-2000, then started his own sports marketing agency.
    AND condolences to NASCAR driver Tony Raines and his family for ths loss of his father-in-law, Derald Mann, who passed away last Friday.(2-15-2005)
  • Kansas meets with NASCAR about HOF: An influential contingent from Kansas headed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius made a quick pit stop here Monday looking to take the lead in the race to land NASCAR’s proposed Hall of Fame. The group that met with NASCAR executives for more than an hour included Sebelius; Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Carol Marinovich; and Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Developmental Council. Daytona Beach, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va., are the other cities competing for what proponents argue will be a tourism magnet, given the growing popularity of the sport nationwide. Sebelius said Kansas would offer NASCAR a centralized geographical base, “a lot more robust than the Southeast,” as racing looks to branch out to all parts of the country. NASCAR’s proposal for a hall, made public last month, stipulated it wanted suitors to foot the bill, which is expected to be tens of millions of dollars. NASCAR officials invited four cities to make proposals, with Richmond later joining the race. Daytona Beach is lobbying the Florida Legislature to kick in as much as $75 million so the Hall of Fame can be built here, where NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are headquartered.
    Daytona Beach is lobbying the Florida Legislature to kick in as much as $75 million so the Hall of Fame can be built here, where NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are headquartered. Meanwhile, Daytona Beach city and business leaders have settled on a slogan to rally around that capitalizes on the area’s racing roots. It reads: “NASCAR’s Past. NASCAR’s Future. All roads lead to Daytona.” Daytona Beach also plans to hire John Sabour, executive director of the Central Florida Sports Commission, to develop its hall of fame proposal for NASCAR. The sports commission — a nonprofit, private organization established to attract international, national and regional events and sports-related business activities — worked with Daytona Beach to land the Florida Tennis Center. The Chamber of Commerce has formed a committee to help Sabour in various tasks, including fund raising. Capitalizing on the city’s home court advantage, Daytona Beach officials are planning a rally today at 6:00pm/et at Daytona USA, looking to build local support for bringing the NASCAR hall of fame to Daytona Beach.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-15-2005)
  • Media Choses Johnson as the 2005 ‘favorite’: If media voters prove accurate prognosticators, look for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship battle to mimic recent history. The defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series champion, #97-Kurt Busch, won the 2004 title by eight points over #48-Jimmie Johnson – the closest finish in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history. And while both drivers remain title candidates, Johnson has been selected as the media favorite in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. A total of 213 votes were cast in the balloting, which began Feb. 3 and ended Feb. 13. Drivers received 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, eight points for third place, seven points for fourth place, six points for fifth place, five points for sixth place, four points for seventh place, three points for eighth place, two points for ninth place and one point for 10th place. Eight drivers in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 competed in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
    Johnson received 1,765 points and 87 first-place votes. Trailing him by only 25 points in second is Hendrick Motorsports teammate #24-Jeff Gordon, who received 1,740 points and 65 first-place votes. Third place in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 belongs to #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who received 1,355 points and 25 first-place votes. Only eight points separate #20-Tony Stewart and Busch for fourth and fifth place, respectively. Stewart received 1,030 points and seven first-place votes while Busch received 1,022 points and five first-place votes.
    As for the rest of the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10, sixth-place #12-Ryan Newman received 844 points and nine first-place votes. In seventh place is #9-Kasey Kahne, the defending Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Kahne, who received 707 points and one first-place vote, didn’t make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but he has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10.
    In eighth place is 2003 series champion #17-Matt Kenseth. Kenseth received 657 points and no first-place votes. Behind Kenseth, in ninth place, is #42-Jamie McMurray , the second driver who didn’t make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. McMurray received 546 points and two first-place votes. Tenth in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 media voting is #6-Mark Martin, who’s beginning his final fulltime season. He received 453 points and four first-place votes.(NASCAR PR)(2-15-2005)
  • Edward’s allowed to run for ROTY [in Busch]: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live on Tuesday, it was reported b Ken Squire that Carl Edwards, the Roush Racing driver in the Cup Series #99 and Busch Series #60, will be allowed to run for the 2005 Busch Series Rookie of the Year award.(2-15-2005)

    News from February 14, 2005

  • Special Mag: USA WEEKEND Magazine has NASCAR’s NEW Young Guns in the 2/20 issue. This Daytona 500 weekend, meet the latest generation to tear up the track: Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. PLUS- an exclusive poster featuring all 4 drivers. Check your local newspaper for your own poster or read the article online atusaweekend.com.(2-14-2005)
  • Tire Problems at Daytona UPDATE 2: A potentially serious tire problem with Goodyear’s new Daytona 500 tires developed last night during the first hours of SpeedWeeks practice for tonight’s Bud Shootout kickoff, and some drivers, according to crews, are “scared.” [this was noted during Speed Channel’s coverage of Budweiser Shoot practice when #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #19-Mayfield cut down tires and #01-Nemechek, the fastest, showed heavy tire wear, all were the right rear]. Greg Zipadelli, the crew chief for Stewart, says the problem of delamination includes both right-rear and right-front tires, indicating to him that it’s not a chassis problem but a tire production problem. Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for #9-Kasey Kahne, says the problem also apparently included a left-rear tire problem with at least one tire on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car, indicating a more widespread issue. “It looks like a delamination problem,” Baldwin said. “But it seems we always have a little problem in practice but never in the race. We’ll see Saturday. Hopefully we don’t. But it could be a serious problem all week.” NASCAR’s John Darby said Goodyear engineers were studying the problem. “We’ve had probably five or six isolated issues,” Darby said. “Goodyear is still checking into it, and we’ll meet with them in the morning.”(Winston Salem Journal), Noticed and mentioned during Speed Channel’s coverage of Budweiser Shoot practice, the ‘Goodyear’ yellow letters are much larger this year on the tire.(2-12-2005)
    UPDATE: Complaints about tire problems during the first two [Bud Shootout] practice sessions led Goodyear to pull about 300 tires from circulation Saturday. The tread from #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s tire split during the first practice session Friday, and #01-Joe Nemechek had nearly the same thing happen in the second session. Goodyear engineers lined up all the serial numbers of the tires it had distributed to teams and discovered the ones that had problems came from the same batch. So the company pulled all the tires from that batch as a precaution. Goodyear said it was investigating why the tread was splitting, and officials stressed to teams that there will not be a tire shortage leading up to the Daytona 500.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-13-2005)
    UPDATE 2: The tire problems encountered by several Nextel Cup teams last week appear to have been remedied. The problem involved treads that were slightly separating from the tires. At high speeds, the slight separations became major. Goodyear engineers determined that all the problem tires were from the same batch. The tires were replaced, and there have been no problems since.(Kansas City Star)(2-14-2005)
  • Wind Tunnel back Sunday: Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain kicks off its new season Sunday, Feb. 20 at 9:00pm/et. For 2005, the new two-hour format will include a weekly rotating cast of in-studio guest “co-hosts,” in addition to the popular featured guest interviews Despain has had in the past. Speed Channel analyst Robin Miller will co-host the first show on Feb. 20, with NASCAR legend David Pearson scheduled as Dave’s first guest of 2005.(Speed PR)(2-15-2005)
  • New Official Jeff Burton Official Site: #31-Jeff Burton has a new number, new colors and a new sponsor in 2005, but it doesn’t end there. He’s also raising the bar with a brand new state-of-the-art website and fan club. The re-designed jeffburton.com internet site was launched today just in time for the 2005 season-opening Daytona 500. As a part of the site, NASCAR fans can join the fully re-engineered Jeff Burton Fan Club. Filled with countless visuals and multimedia features, fans can learn about Jeff’s career, his thoughts on upcoming events, his life away from the track, Richard Childress Racing and its team members, team sponsors, weekly race previews and reports, and photos from the track. In addition, fans can even experience what it feels like to take a lap around the track from inside the cockpit of the Cingular Wireless Chevy. For additional information about the website and fan club, log onto jeffburton.com.(2-15-2005)
  • Chris Economacki Day: Longtime motorsports journalist Chris Economacki recently was honored during the 32nd RPM Promoters Workshops Series in Lake Mary, Fla. Florida state senator Bill Posey presented Economacki, the Publisher Emeritus, National Speed Sport News, with a certificate proclaiming “Chris Economacki Day” in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 20 – the same day of the 47th annual Daytona 500.(NASCAR PR)(2-14-205)
  • Jarrett testing: mentioned during FOX’s Daytona 500 qualifying, #88-Dale Jarrett [the pole sitter] will test a short track car at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL on Monday and Tuesday.(2-14-2005)
  • Jarrett Wins Bud Pole:
    #88-Dale Jarrett won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the 2005 Daytona 500, lapping Daytona International Speedway in 47.793 seconds at 188.312 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 42.783 seconds, 210.364 mph, set Feb. 9, 1987, prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Ken Schrader holds the track restrictor-plate qualifying record with a lap of 46.434 seconds, 198.823 mph – set Feb. 7, 1988.
    This is Jarrett’s 16th career Bud Pole in 568 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
    This is Jarrett’s fourth Bud Pole at Daytona. It is his third Bud Pole in a Daytona 500. He also won the Bud Pole for this event in 1995 and 2000.His lone Pepsi 400 Bud Pole came in 2000.
    The Daytona 500 has been won from the Bud Pole nine times in the 46 previous Daytona 500s, most recently by Dale Jarrett in 2000.
    Jarrett’s Bud Pole ended a streak of four straight starts outside the top 10 in the Daytona 500 that dated to 2001. Jarrett started 31st here one year ago, 11th in 2003, 21st in 2002 and 31st in 2001. His last Daytona 500 Bud Pole came in 2000.
    This is the fourth Daytona 500 Bud Pole for Robert Yates Racing. Yates has won three with Dale Jarrett (1995, 2000 and 2005) and one with Davey Allison (1991).
    Jimmie Johnson had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 47.829 seconds at 188.170 mph and will join Jarrett on the front row. It is his fourth top-10 start in his seven races at Daytona; all in the Daytona 500. This is Johnson’s second front-row start in four Daytona 500s. Johnson won the Bud Pole for the 2002 Daytona 500. He started sixth in this race one year ago.
    The front row for the Daytona 500 and the starting lineups for the Gatorade Duel qualifying races were set by today’s qualifying. The participating highest-ranked 35 in car owner points from 2004 will be guaranteed a starting spot in the Gatorade Duel races and the 2005 Daytona 500.
    Starting positions in the Gatorade Duel races are determined by qualifying speeds. The participating eligible highest ranked 35 in 2004 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2004 final car owner points. Odd-numbered ranked car owner’s will compete in the first Gatorade Duel led to the green by the Bud Pole winner; even-numbered owners will compete in the second. Owners who failed to finish in the top-35 of the 2004 car owner points will be assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times, the highest qualifying owner to the first Duel; the next to the second and alternating through the remaining entries.
    Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duel races will determine starting positions in the 2005 Daytona 500. First the front-row qualifiers will be removed from the equation. The remaining eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points, plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams from each Dual and the four fastest drivers not among those 35 (by time from Daytona 500 qualifying) will make up the field for the 2005 Daytona 500.
    The NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus is worth $10,000. Only Kurt Busch is eligible for the award for the 2005 Daytona 500. If the reigning Series champion does not win the award at Daytona it will increase each race by $10,000 until won by the race winner/points leader and then start over.
    The winner of Daytona 500 has started in the top five in five of the seven Daytona 500s since 1998. The remaining two Daytona 500s in that seven-year period were both won by drivers who started 19th: Michael Waltrip (2001) and Ward Burton (2002).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(2-14-2005)

News from February 13, 2005

  • Jarrett wins the Daytona 500 pole: #88-Dale Jarrett won the Budweiser Pole for the Daytona 500 with a speed of 188.312mph, his 3rd Daytona 500 pole, 4th ever at Daytona and first in 93 races [Michigan 6/2002]. The last time Jarrett won the Daytona 500 pole [2000] he won the race. #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 2nd with a speed of 188.170mph. Four drivers who are not in the top 35 in 2005 Owners Points made the race being faster then the other 22 drivers not in the top 35: #11-Leffler, #36-Said, #23-Skinner and #14-Andretti. For qualifying results and some notes, see my Jayski’s Semi-Live Daytona 500 Qualifying Page.(2-13-2005)
  • Biffle’s car catches fire on pit road, but is OK: The car #16 National Guard Ford of Greg Biffle, last year’s Daytona 500 pole-sitter, caught fire on pit road while it was on the line waiting to qualifying on Sunday. Speed Channel’s Ralph Sheheen reported that a heater that was warming the oil tank in the car shorted out and caused a fire behind Biffle’s seat. Biffle, who is scheduled to qualify sixth, was OK, but the team rolled the car back to the garage to see whether oil lines and the battery were affected by the fire. “It looks like everything is OK. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t an oil line,” Biffle’s crew chief Doug Richert told Speed. “It was concentrated under the oil tank with a lot of insulation. I don’t think we’ll jeopardize anything.” Biffle led the most laps in the season-opening Budweiser Shootout before finishing fifth. He was 10th- and 15th-fastest in Saturday’s pre-qualifying practices.(FoxSports/Speed)
    AND Richert was interviewed by Steve Byrnes, he said the team has been excused from it’s scheduled 6th place in the qualifying order and NASCAR will have them go thru the templates before going back on the grid.(2-13-2005)
  • #21 to honor fallen soldier: Wood Brothers Racing will place a decal on Ricky Rudd’s #21 Motorcraft Ford during Speedweeks in honor of U.S. Marine Corp. Jonathan W. Bowling. The 23-year-old native of Stuart, Va., was killed Jan. 26 with three others from a Lynchburg-based unit in Iraq during an ambush. The Martinsville police officer attended Patrick County High School with the sons and daughter of team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-13-2005)
  • Robby Gordon’s car had illegal intake: #7-Robby Gordon’s #7 Jim Beam Chevy was fitted with an illegal intake manifold that NASCAR discovered during inspection late Friday night. The part was removed and put on display in the NASCAR hauler, and Gordon was scrambling to get the situation fixed. His engines are built by Menard Engineering in Indianapolis. The only other manifold the team had at Daytona International Speedway did not fit Gordon’s Chevrolet, so they were waiting for Menard to mail them a new one in time for Sunday’s qualifying. Menard builds engines for Indy cars, but this is its first year in NASCAR racing. There will likely draw a substantial penalty from NASCAR, which has a precedence of handing out stiff fines and docking points for illegal engine parts at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. Forced to practice Saturday with a manifold that didn’t correctly fit, Gordon was at the bottom of the speed charts and almost a second slower than what the team projected it would be.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-13-2005)
  • Bodine gets a sponsor for Daytona: GIC-24 Racing and GIC Mixon Motorsports today announced Golf Closeout Warehouse as a sponsor for the NASCAR Nextel Cup #93 and the NASCAR Busch Series #24 cars for Daytona Speedweeks activities. Founded in 1995, Golf Closeout Warehouse is America’s largest liquidator of golf merchandise, including apparel, clubs, balls and accessories. The company has marketed merchandise in 52 different locations during the past 18 months, using a unique format in which it spends from as little as 30 days to as long as ten months in each market. Golf Closeout Warehouse is currently operating in four Florida locations–Clearwater, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples–and in Brownsville, TX. The Daytona Beach store is next to Ruby Tuesday in the Volusia Point Shopping Center directly across from Daytona U.S.A. on International Speedway Boulevard. “We’re excited to join the GIC team,” said company founder and president Greg Hayes. “We’re launching our website store, www.GCWE.com, and we like the idea of linking with cars driven by Geoff Bodine and Kim Crosby during Daytona Speedweeks.” The #93 GIC Mixon Motorsports Chevrolet will compete in the Budweiser Shootout and qualifying activities for the Daytona 500 with Geoffrey Bodine driving. The #24 GIC-24 Racing Chevrolet will compete for a spot in the Hershey’s Take 5 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on February 19.(PSE-3 PR)(2-13-2005)
  • So…who is Eric McClure…the untalked about Rookie of the Year candidate: Raybestos Rookie Contender Eric McClure plans a full NEXTEL Cup season for Raabe Racing. The team is owned by Ed Raabe and is based in Daytona Beach, FL.
    ERIC MCCLURE, No. 73 ARC DEHOOKER CHEVROLET: “The cars that we’re using now we purchased from Morgan McClure Motorsports while we’re getting our new cars and everything ready. It’s exciting. We tested very well preseason and we feel like we can get in these shows and do well. Now, conventional wisdom says we’re not going to come out and be successful and success to a lot of people is defined as winning races and top-fives. Now granted, we’re not going to come out of the box running top-five right off the bat but like anything we firmly believe if we’re dedicated and focused and we do this the correct way, over time we’re going to get a lot better and I’m going to get a lot better. I’m a new driver and they’re a new team so there’s nowhere to go but up. We’re real excited about that and we feel like we’re going to make some noise and we have goals that we’ve set. We feel like Raabe Racing is going to be a force to be reckoned with over the coming months. Granted that might be top-20s, that might be top-15s, but if we do that we can get in races and we can run mid-pack or better, then we’ve accomplished a whole lot. It’s definitely an uphill battle but we feel like we can overcome it.”
    HOW DIFFICULT IS IT GOING TO BE TO QUALIFY FOR THE DAYTONA 500? “It will be difficult. The rule package is definitely interesting but then again the teams that make it are going to say that it’s a great package. The teams that don’t will say that it’s not. The way that we tested, we should not have any problem making it under the old rules, but at the same time I feel like we’re good enough to make it under the new rules. You definitely come into the race knowing what you have to do to get in and that makes it a little easier so we feel pretty good about it. It’s definitely going to be difficult but any race at the top level is difficult to make. We found that out last year in the Busch Series. These guys put their pants on the same way we do. We’ll go out and give it 100 percent and see where we stack up.”
    WHAT IS YOUR SPONSORSHIP SITUATION? “Sponsorship situation is good right now. We’re running for Raabe Racing Enterprises and we have sponsorship from Arc Dehooker and the Recreational Fishing Alliance. We’re really excited about that. Arc Dehooker is a mandated device in all the fisheries in the world. We’re set there. We could always use extra sponsorship if it ever presents itself, anybody can. We’re excited that we’re going to be able to run the entire season. It’s going to be a first for me and a first for them so we’re really excited about it. We’re going to go full blown at it and see where we stack up and progress from there.”
    TIM BREWER IS WORKING WITH YOUR TEAM. “We have Tim Brewer working with us right now and he brings a wealth of knowledge and it’ s exciting for me to work with somebody that has a lot of knowledge. He’s from the old school but he’s also kept up to date on what you need to do to be successful and he has a history of working well with drivers. I couldn’t be more excited about this. This is a great opportunity.”(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos PR)(2-13-2005)
  • More parts conficated: NASCAR found several illegal parts and pieces during its inspection process at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR inspectors confiscated the transmission from Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet because it had the wrong gear ratio. That will likely lead to a monetary fine for the #8 Budweiser team. #33-Kerry Earnhardt and #23-Mike Skinner both had unapproved window nets, #80-Andy Belmont and #52-Larry Gunselman both had unapproved fire extinguishers and #5-Kyle Busch’s car had unapproved spacers. #24-Jeff Gordon and #7-Robby Gordon were both found to have unapproved under-pans on their cars.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-13-2005)
  • Major NASCAR Announcement – NASCAR Members Club: Hearing there will be an announcement at Daytona today about a new program designed to recognize and reward NASCAR’s fans.
    UPDATE: guess this is it……NASCAR today announced the launching of the Official NASCAR Members Club and named seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty to be its membership chairman. Stoneacre Partners LLC, a developer of affinity and customer loyalty programs, will operate the program under a long-term license. The $40 annual membership will entitle those who join to receive a magazine featuring lifestyle stories from top drivers, teams, NASCAR legends and other Club members and opportunities to participate in behind-the-scenes events and parties. Information is available on the Internet at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR Scene)(2-10-2005)
    AND The Official NASCAR Members Club has been created as a member organization that will enable the fans to more closely connect with the sport and the sport to more accurately and efficiently connect with the fans. The Official NASCAR Members Club is the only official membership organization licensed by NASCAR where fans can enjoy VIP insider access to exclusive experiences, information and benefits. The NASCAR Members Club aggregates rewards and assets from the entire sport for the benefit of its members. Fans will be rewarded with special privileges and earn elite status advantages, allowing them to get closer to the sport, their favorite drivers and teams.
    How To Join: Annual membership dues for the Club are $40. Race fans can join the NASCAR Members Club through one of the following methods:
    By calling 1-877-MY NASCAR (1-877-696-2722), Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 11:00pm/ct and Saturday and Sundays from 8:00am to 9:00pm/ct
    Via the Internet at: www.nascar.com.(2-13-2005)
  • Martin the best man: Mark Martin will be looking to get into victory lane on a number of occasions during this year’s Daytona Speedweeks, but he is assured of a least one trip to Gatorade Victory Lane. Martin, who kicks off his “Salute To You” Tour this weekend, will serve as the honorary Best Man at the wedding of Survivor Vanuatu Islands winner Chris Daugherty to Lorie Groves. The wedding is being held in Gatorade Victory lane on Sunday morning at Daytona International Speedway. “Now those are some real NASCAR fans,” said Martin. “They wanted to get married at Daytona and I was asked if I could attend. We figured why not, so we are going to go over there and help them out a little. It’s a good way to kind of dive into the “Salute” Tour. I understand they are pretty big fans of mine, so hopefully this will be a good way to say thanks. It takes a lot of desire to win on that show and I can sure appreciate that,” added Martin. “Nobody understands sacrifice and commitment more than the people in this NASCAR garage, so it’s a fitting combination.” Survivor is one of the top reality series on television and Daugherty, a highway construction worker from South Vienna, Ohio, was the winner of the ninth installment of the show.(Roush Racing PR)(2-13-2005)

    News from February 12, 2005

  • Johnson wins the Budweiser Shootout: #48-Johnson got a great pitstop by his creww and was the first car out that took 4 tires, #12-Newman took 2, and after 4 laps, Johnson and the pack caught Newman. Johnson held on to lead the final 16 laps and win his first Budweiser Shootout with Newman finishing 2nd, followed by #24-Gordon, #20-Stewart and #16-Biffle [who led 44 laps]. Pole sitter, #88-Jarrett led the first lap and fell off early and finished 15th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to fall to the rear after making a transmission change [new rule this year] and in the first segment [20 laps] he car ran poorly. During the 10 minute break, the crew changed igintion boxes and spark plugs and Dale Jr. was able to finish 7th and was up into the top-5 for a bit. For the full finish, winnings, segment 1 finish, laps led on my Budweiser Shootout 2005 page.(2-12-2005)
  • Nextel Cup named may stay: The merger of Nextel and Sprint will produce a company called Sprint-Nextel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the name of the Nextel Cup series will change. “No decision on that will be made probably until the August time frame,” Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of Nextel, said Thursday. “We’re going to be careful and cautious about that. We spent a lot of money building it out in the first year. The industry and fans have embraced it. So we’ll study that decision carefully. The Nextel brand assets are a really important part of the merger.” The $35 billion merger was announced in December and still has to receive approval through the regulatory process. That could take several more months. Schweitzer said decisions haven’t been made on whether any Nextel and Sprint products and services will retain their current identities or receive a combination name. He pointed out that after the Exxon and Mobil oil companies merged, they kept separate brand identities for their service stations. “We’re in that process of evaluating the brand equities of the two companies, and we’re being open-minded and letting the research and the discussions manage the process vs. going in with an agenda.” Schweitzer said the new company will remain committed to NASCAR and that spending on marketing should increase. “They [Sprint] spend three times what Nextel spends in advertising, so in helping build the awareness of the sport – the sponsorship certainly, but the sport more generally – that should translate into more positive investment.” If the sponsorship name does change for 2006, it would be the second change in three years. Nextel Cup replaced Winston Cup at the start of the 2004 season.(Tampa Tribune)(2-12-2005)
  • Dale Jr. says he is staying at DEI: Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced Friday he is forming a lower-level race team, but the big news was a statement about his status at Dale Earnhardt Inc. “I’m never going to sever ties with DEI,” Earnhardt said. “I’m always going to be a part of that organization.” For more than a year, there has been speculation that Earnhardt might leave DEI when his contract expires in 2007. Rumors persisted of him possibly joining Richard Childress Racing, where his legendary father won six of his seven NASCAR driving championships. Earnhardt’s words Friday might put those rumors to rest, at least for a while. His statement came when he was asked if he might eventually leave DEI to race for his own team.(Dallas Morning News)(2-12-2005)
  • Cope gets a sponsor for Daytona: “We were obviously pleased with our overall performance during the recent Daytona test sessions. We have made several changes to our car that we are confident will make us even more competitive. We will be running Morgan McClure engines in the #55 at Daytona. Their engines performed well at Daytona testing and I have had previous opportunities to work with both Larry McClure and Ron Puyureur, their engine builder. Our car is ready and all that we needed was sponsorship. That has now been remedied. I am pleased and excited to announce that Year One Corporation will be sponsoring us for the Daytona 500 and will be an associate sponsor for the balance of the season. Our Daytona car decal layout will feature both Year One Corp and Muscle Performance. In addition, they will be an associate sponsor for Larry’s [Hollenbeck] #62 Busch ride at Daytona. Year One is a Georgia based company that serves as the Restoration and Performance Headquarters for the automobile enthusiast. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to get to know Kevin King, Year One CEO. I appreciate his enthusiasm and believe that ours will be a mutually rewarding relationship,”…Derrike Cope
    Said Kevin King: “This is our initial involvement as a racing sponsor at the Nextel Cup level. Clearly, it is an unusual opportunity for a company of our size to be a sponsor in Nextel Cup. It presents an exciting opportunity for us as virtually all of our customers are NASCAR fans. Furthermore, it allows us even greater visibility with race fans. We are particularly glad to be affiliated with Derrike Cope as a previous Daytona 500 winner.” More info at www.yearone.com.(Derrike Cope site)(2-12-2005)
  • Braun Racing to Cup with Hmiel: Winfuel, is proud to announce its multi-year primary sponsorship of Braun Racing’s #32 Chevrolet in the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series and the #08 Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car for seven races. Shane Hmiel will be the driver in both NASCAR series. Braun Racing announced that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will be providing the power plants under the hood of all Braun Racing’s Chevrolets. Winfuel will soon be available at fine retail locations, at every race in the Winfuel merchandise trailer, and at www.winfuel.com. The product launch will be supported by national television advertising campaign.(Braun Racing via BGNRacing.com)(2-12-2005)
  • Congrats to the Craven’s: Before Ricky Craven could leave for Daytona there was just one more thing he had to do at home – be there for the birth of his third child. Ricky and his wife, Cathleen, welcomed Lydia Cathleen Craven into the world at 8:47pm/et on Thursday, February 10. Lydia weighed in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was just under 20 inches long. “She is absolutely beautiful,” Craven said. “Everybody should get to come home from the hospital on Friday so I can spend a few days with her before I leave for Daytona next week. This is the best start to SpeedWeeks I’ve ever had.” Lydia will not be in Daytona to cheer her father on while he drives the #99 Superchips Ford F-150 in next Friday’s Craftsman Truck race, but she intends to watch live coverage on Speed Channel between feedings.(Roush Racing PR)(2-12-2005)
  • Rusty back with VISA: Officials of Rusty Wallace Inc. and Visa USA announced the continued partnership between #2-Rusty Wallace and the world’s number one payment brand. Under the agreement, Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Champion and 55-race winner, will continue to be a featured driver in the Visa Ultimate NASCAR Experience marketing campaign for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Now in its third year, Visa’sUltimate NASCAR Experience offers Visa cardholders VIP access to behind-the-scenes action at one of the final 10 chase races of the Nextel Cup season and the 2006 Daytona 500. Winners enjoy plush accommodations in the Visa luxury motor coach, situated in a prime infield location, tours of the garage and pit row, official team uniform to wear on race day, and a hot lap in the official pace car with Wallace or another driver.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-12-2005)
  • RaceWraps Demonstration at Daytona: See the #97 Crown Royal and the #6 Kraft graphics used in the Bud Shootout changed to the new #97 Sharpie and #6 Viagra graphics for the Daytona 500 in the Nextel Cup Garage at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 13th. Motorsports Designs, the company that revolutionized the world of race graphics with the introduction of vinyl graphics to NASCAR, will showcase its latest innovation, RaceWraps, during Speedweeks 2005 at Daytona International Speedway. RaceWraps is a new, innovative system that combines sheets of printed adhesive-backed vinyl with an application process that completely changes a race car’s appearance in less than 3 hours. The RaceWraps system enables Motorsports Designs’ 3M Certified Installers to change race cars from one graphic scheme to another without ever entering the paint booth. The quick turnaround time is ideal for specialty and back-up race cars and trucks. RaceWraps is completely removable with no damage to the original paint and/or original decals. RaceWraps by Motorsports Designs is now being used regularly by many of the top Nextel, Busch, and Craftsman race teams in NASCAR. The first completely wrapped race car in NASCAR was done by Motorsports Designs in 1997. The company wrapped several complete chrome race cars that year for Darrell Waltrip to celebrate his 25th Anniversary in racing. Motorsports Designs also wrapped a complete gold chrome race car for the NASCAR Winston Cup Banquet in New York in 1998 to commemorate NASCAR’s 50th Anniversary. Thus, the beginning for what is now known as the company’s RaceWraps. Motorports Designs is the leading manufacturer of printed graphics for the motorsports industry. The company also operates a commercial graphics division and offers design, printing and installation services. Founded in 1982, the company is located in High Point, N.C. For more information about Motorsports Designs and RaceWraps please visit motorsportsdesigns.com.
    RaceWraps by Motorsports Designs Schedule and Lineup for Speedweeks 2005
    Sunday, February 13th (All Media with Proper Credentials Invited)
    . Nextel Cup #97 Crown Royal to #97 Sharpie for Kurt Busch/Roush Racing
    . Nextel Cup #6 Kraft to #6 Viagra for Mark Martin/Roush Racing
    RaceWraps in Bud Shootout, Saturday, February 12th:
    #2 Miller Lite/Rusty Wallace/Penske Racing
    #6 Viagra/Mark Martin/Roush Racing
    #39 Coors/Bill Elliott/Ganassi Racing
    #41 Target/Casey Mears/Ganassi Racing
    #97 Crown Royal/Kurt Busch/Roush Racing
    RaceWraps in the Daytona 500, Sunday, February 20th:
    #6 Viagra/Mark Martin/Roush Racing
    #32 Tide/Bobby Hamilton, Jr./Cal Wells Racing
    #40 Coors Light/Sterling Marlin/Ganassi Racing
    #41Target/Casey Mears/Ganassi Racing
    #42 Havoline/Jamie McMurray/Ganassi Racing
    #97 Sharpie/Kurt Busch/Roush Racing
    #99 Office Depot/Carl Edwards/Roush Racing.(PR)(2-12-2005)
  • Dale Jr.’s Late Model Team: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is continuing to grow his JR Motorsports operation and will field a car for Mark McFarland in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. McFarland will also drive a limited late model schedule for the team. “It’s a fun effort, yet it’s a serious effort,” said Earnhardt, who is using it as a springboard for even more opportunities. “As far as moving on into other series, the sky’s the limit.” The late Dale Earnhardt began his empire with a Busch Series team before expanding it to three Nextel Cup cars. Junior called his father’s start his “blueprint.” In a company called Chance 2 Motorsports, co-owned with his stepmother, Teresa, Earnhardt fields a car in the Busch Series for reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. The McFarland entry is his first sole ownership venture. “For JR Motorsports, there’s no limit or reins, except for the budget side of it. As it is successful, we will proceed and my roots with DEI will continue to grow. Who says you can’t have it all?” he said. “I’m definitely determined to build a team that could compete full-time in the Busch Series or, God willing, the Cup series, some day. It’s just an egg we’ve hatched and, hopefully, it will grow and be successful.”(ESPN.com/AP)
    AND Winfuel announced its full season primary sponsorship of JR Motorsports #32 Chevrolet, with driver Mark McFarland in the Southern Division of the USAR Hooters’ Pro Cup Series. Everything is in place for JR Motorsports to be contending for wins at every event, with driver Mark McFarland and crew chief Jefferson Hodges having over 100 wins combined. The most notable of Mark’s many racing accomplishments is his 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series national championship. Winfuel will soon be available at fine retail locations, at every race in the WINFUEL merchandise trailer, and at www.winfuel.com. The product launch will be supported by national television advertising campaign.(Winfuel site)(2-12-2005)
  • Rudd and Mears tangle in practice: #21-Ricky Rudd and #41-Casey Mears made contact during last night’s final Budweiser Shootout practice. Mears’ Dodge spun without incident, and both cars avoided significant damage. Mears visited Rudd’s garage stall to apologize and drew angry words from Michael McSwain, Rudd’s burly crew chief. “I thought I was clear, and I wasn’t,” Mears said. “It was my fault. Ricky was cool, but [McSwain] needs to calm down a little bit. Stuff happens.” Rudd said a minor wrinkle to his “super sensitive” right-front fender could affect his Ford’s handling tonight but accepted Mears’ apology. “It’s very easy to make a mistake when you’re running three wide like that,” Rudd said. “It’s intense.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-12-2005)
  • Lasoski wants to try NASCAR: World of Outlaws star Danny “the Dude” Lasoski told MRN Radio’s Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody he would like to have a shot at NASCAR. “I love World of Outlaws racing but I might have to talk to Tony (Stewart) and see if he can do something for us here next year. These things are challenging to drive and I love a challenge.” Lasoski is in Daytona practicing for the Crown Royal International Race Of Champions event February 18th. He also is running Tony Stewart’s World of Outlaws sprint car at Volusia Speedway Park, East of Daytona, Friday and Saturday night.(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(2-12-2005)
  • Top Banana and Go ManGo! Chargers Unveiled: As part of its introduction of the new limited production 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T, Dodge unveiled two new Bud Shootout paint schemes on the #9 and #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Chargers, celebrating the modern rear-wheel-drive muscle car. Jeremy Mayfield will pilot the #19 Top Banana Dodge Charger, and Kasey Kahne will drive the #9 Go ManGo! Dodge Charger in Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway. The paint schemes are replica versions of the two classic 1960s color schemes available on the Dodge Charger Daytona R/T production vehicles available starting this summer.(Clear!Blue PR), see images on my #19 Team Schemes page and #9 Team Schemes page.(2-12-2005)

    News from February 11, 2005

  • Fox Surprise: The NASCAR on FOX production team has a big surprise in store for the Daytona 500 on FOX, Sunday, Feb. 20 at 1:00pm/et [green flag around 2:00pm/et]. It’s a camera shot that has been flirted with before, but past attempts haven’t even scratched the surface of what our coordinating director Artie Kempner and coordinating producer Richie Zyontz are going to do.(FoxSports/Larry Mac)(2-11-2005)
  • Robby announcement: XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio’s Clarie B. Lang mentioned that #7-Robby Gordon has some sort of announcement during Speedweeks at Daytona, probably another sponsor.(2-11-2005)
  • #23, Skinner, Benson and Lester? possible sponsors: Mike Skinner said Davis is trying to convince two companies to sponsor the #23 Dodge. He said three scenarios for filling the seat are under consideration. “He’s thinking about splitting the races between me and one of our other truck drivers, Johnny Benson, and maybe even Bill Lester from the truck team,” Skinner said. “He’s thinking about hiring an up-and-coming youngster, and he’s thinking about letting me and Johnny do most of the races and then let the new driver get some seat time.”(High Point Enterprise)(2-11-2005)
  • Theaters to air Daytona 500 in High-Definition Format: NASCAR has announced plans to show the Daytona 500 in the high-definition format in two movie theaters. The event is scheduled to air at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 in New York and the Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 in Irvine, Calif. Plans call for show-car displays at the theaters and the opportunity to win passes to NASCAR events and other prizes.. Ticket details are to be announced in media promotions in New York and Los Angeles.(NASCAR Scene)(2-11-2005)
  • Why no Terry Labonte in the Shootout? Terry Labonte, who is eligible for Saturday night’s pole winner’s Shootout and is running a limited schedule of 10 races, has decided not to participate. He instead will spend the weekend in the Florida Keys before returning next week to help his son Justin in the Grand National race. Labonte was upset after last year’s Shootout when teams were allowed to pit near the end of the race, after NASCAR officials announced no pit stops would be allowed. Labonte, who did not pit and wound finishing eighth, said the switch cost him a chance at winning. “What happened last year is the reason I’m not in it this year,” he said.(High Point Enterprise)(2-11-2005)
  • Nextel NASCAR Strategy for 2005: Nextel Communications unveiled its strategy to support the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, with the wireless communications giant entering its second as sponsor. Nextel will launch three TV spots, via TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, which support the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series sponsorship and “demonstrate how Nextel products and technology help fans, businesses and teams get things done,” per the company. The spots feature a NASCAR family, NASCAR vendors and a NASCAR team. Nextel also produced an overall sponsorship spot to spotlight top on-track moments of its inaugural season. Nextel said it also will introduce a state-of-the-art NASCAR Nextel Cup Series “2-Way Communication Headset,” which will be available for purchase for the first time at the 2005 Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach on Feb. 20, when the season officially opens. The yellow NASCAR Nextel Cup Series branded headset features two input jacks, allowing race fans to plug in their radio scanner and mobile phone concurrently. This two-way headset has a built-in noise-canceling microphone that allows fans to talk, on any cell phone, to family and friends from the grandstands of a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event.
    In addition, NASCAR fans will have the opportunity to use their Nextel handsets or visit Nextel retail locations to register for a multiple national sweepstakes that will run throughout the course of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. The first sweeps will launch in April in support of the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge. Race fans will be able to vote an eligible driver into the marquee event. More details about each sweepstakes will be released prior to the start of the activity. Nextel also will create a sweepstakes to support the last 10 races of the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup.(Brandweek.com)(2-11-2005)
  • Martin may race Cup in 2006..if Mark Martin, who drives the #6 Viagra Ford and is retiring from Nextel Cup racing after the 2005 season, said he may run the 2006 Budweiser Shootout and/or the 2006 Nextel Challenge All-Star race…if eligible.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live show)(2-11-2005)
  • Marcis announcement? per the Dave Marcis Racing site: Significant announcement regarding the future plans for Marcis Auto Racing coming soon.(2-11-2005)
  • Johnson voted oval racer of the year: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the choice of RACER magazine readers as the overall Racer of the Year for 2004, but when it came to choosing the top oval driver for the season past, the Daytona 500 champ was eclipsed by Nextel Cup’s most successful driver of the season, Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick Motorsports star, who led the Nextel Cup ranks with eight wins, bested IRL IndyCar champ Tony Kanaan in the voting, as tabulated via an online ballot here at SpeedTV.com. “Jimmie has always understood racing very well,” noted his crew chief, Chad Knaus, who offers his impressions of how his driver hit his stride so quickly in the feature article revealing all of this year’s Racers of the Year, in the March issue of RACER that goes on sale Feb. 22. In fact, RACER readers gave credit to Knaus, too, for Johnson’s outstanding season, by selecting him as the Crew Chief/Team Manager of the Year. Ferrari chief Jean Todt was a distant second in voting for this category. The Most Promising Oval Racer of the Year category was the biggest runaway of the nine categories, as Nextel Cup rookie Kasey Kahne gathered no less than 55 percent of the vote. No surprise to his boss, Ray Evernham: “How can you not be impressed with him,” asked Evernham, who compares his new phenom’s progress with that of his former charge, Jeff Gordon, elsewhere in the issue.(Speed Chanel)(2-11-2005)
  • TV Stuff: Despite NASCAR’s [ratings] rise, though, Fox/FX, which televise the first half of the season, and NBC/TNT, which carry the second half, have yet to show a profit. The rights fees quadrupled to $200 million a year after the networks outbid ABC/ESPN and CBS. NASCAR likely will extend Fox’s two-year option through the 2008 season. But the NBC/TNT deal expires after the 2006 season, and ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said at his company’s marketing seminar Oct. 27 that NASCAR topped the list of additional properties he would want. Coincidentally, ESPN has stepped up its coverage of NASCAR for SportsCenter this year.(USA Today)(2-11-2005)
  • Schrader to the Trucks after 2006: Longtime NASCAR driver Ken Schrader [#49 BAM Racing Dodge] expects to move to the Craftsman Truck series after his Cup contract ends following the 2006 season.(ESPN.com/AP)
    AND There wasn’t a lot of hoopla, not a lot of fireworks. Nonchalantly, during NASCAR’s Media Day at Daytona International Speedway, Schrader let it be known that he will not race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series past the year 2006. That’s when his #49 BAM Racing Dodge’s sponsorship agreement with Schwann’s Home Service runs out. “That deal is pretty simple actually. You do that when no one will hire you,” Schrader said. “We did a three-year deal with Schwann’s, with last year being the first year. You never know what’s going to happen, but I won’t go past next year for sure, I know. Our deal is a little different than some of those other guys, though. After that time, we’re just not going to come back (to Daytona) for one race (the Daytona 500). We’ll come back, but we’ll just bring the truck instead.” Once he’s done with the Nextel Cup Series, he plans to start racing full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He’s driven in 58 NCTS events between 1995 and 2004 — including 12 last season — with his own team. “We’re going to gear up to run a full truck deal when we’re done (with Cup),” Schrader said. That’s the plan. We just bough a new shop, and we’ll run one full-time truck next year. We’ll still do a limited schedule this year with Federated Auto Parts as our sponsor, but we’re going to go full out next year, whether I’m the driver or I get another one in.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-11-2005)
  • Mike Wallace OK after plane mishap: A corporate aircraft traveling Thursday from Concord, N.C., to Daytona Beach with NASCAR driver Mike Wallace [#4 Morgan McClure driver] and his wife, Carla, aboard made an emergency landing after being diverted to Lakeland, FL. There was believed to be a problem with the landing gear, but emergency equipment standing by was not needed when the plane landed without incident. Wallace, who plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and the Busch and truck series races next week, said an inspection revealed a $3 plastic penlight flashlight had rolled up under the dashboard and jammed under the gear release. “The nice part about it is nothing happened,” Wallace said. “Everything ended up perfect.”(ESPN.com/AP)(2-11-2005)
  • Gordon to run a reverse scheme: #24-Jeff Gordon will drive a special reverse DuPont paint scheme in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(RacingOne)(2-11-2005)
  • Kyle Busch as Darth: #5-Kyle Busch will sport a Star Wars Episode III paint scheme at Richmond in May that will feature Darth Vader.(RacingOne)(2-11-2005)
  • Air Force is back with the #21: The Air Force begins its fifth year as a NASCAR sponsor when the 2005 Nextel Cup season kicks off with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. After recruiting one of the most accomplished crew chiefs [Michael McSwain] in the sport and making numerous off-season changes, the Air Force-sponsored Wood Brothers Racing #21 NASCAR team is focused on success, officials said. The driver of the car #21 is Ricky Rudd.(Air Force Link)(2-11-2005)
  • Born on Date Scheme returns at Daytona for Dale Jr.: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special paint scheme for Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, as well as next Sunday’s Daytona 500. The candy-apple red and white paint scheme was unveiled at Daytona before the starting line-up was drawn for the Budweiser Shootout. The “Born on Date” will read “12 FEB 2005” for the Shootout and “20 FEB 2005” for the Daytona 500. To see an image of the car before it hits the race track for practice Friday, click to the Budweiser Shootout site. Two of Earnhardt Jr.’s most memorable victories at the Daytona International Speedway have come in specially-painted versions of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. The first took place in July 2001, when Dale Jr. won the Pepsi 400 in a white-and-red Bud car commemorating baseball’s all-star game. The second was last February, when Dale Jr. won the Daytona 500 in a paint scheme promoting Budweiser’s “Born on Date” theme.(fingerprintinc/Budweiser PR), for an image of the scheme, see my #8 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2005)
  • Young Guns back: After a highly successful 2004 season, the Gillette Young Guns are kicking the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series into high gear with new sweepstakes and consumer promotions that will give fans and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) the chance to win prizes ranging from $1,000 to $1 million. The Gillette Young Guns – #97-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #17-Matt Kenseth and #12-Ryan Newman – dominated their inaugural 2004 season, winning over 50 percent of the 36 Cup races. Busch won the 2004 championship, followed by fellow Young Guns Johnson and Earnhardt Jr., who finished second and fifth in the final points standings, respectively. Newman and Kenseth finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively, and Harvick finished 14th overall for the season. Collectively the Young Guns won 22 of the 36 races in 2004, claimed 70 top-fives and 109 top-10 finishes along the way. Gillette will again leverage these drivers and its NASCAR sponsorship with a comprehensive marketing communications program on several levels throughout the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. The program includes consumer promotions and retail events, a national “Watch & Win” consumer sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR print and broadcasting advertising, licensing, interactive on-line consumer promotions, charitable contributions and hospitality. Consumers can celebrate the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with the Gillette Young Guns $1 Million Watch & Win Sweepstakes. If the year end Chase for the NEXTEL Cup isn’t exciting enough, consumers will have the opportunity to win big by following the Gillette Young Guns over six of the last seven races of the season. By correctly predicting the finishing order of the six Young Guns for each race, fans will automatically be entered into a points race of their own. One lucky fan that wins this unique points race will win a trip for two to the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami and the chance to win up to $1 million. Cnsumers also will be able to register online to predict the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun prior to each of this season’s 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Each week, all correct entrants will be automatically entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. More info on my Racing Contests page or at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-11-2005)
  • Hammond Book released: Real Men Work In the Pits ($24.95 Rodale Books) Jeff Hammond provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport from his perspective as a long-time crew chief. His glory years came with Darrell Waltrip, and many of the stories and anecdotes involve the Franklin resident. Hammond and Waltrip are now members of the Fox broadcast team on NASCAR races.(2-11-2004)
  • Sad News: Ken Bainbridge Sr. passed away last night at 10:55pm/et at his home in Amherst, N.Y. (a suburb of Buffalo). Ken was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2004. Ken owned and operated Old Man Engineering for more than 20 years and he built racing transmissions for many Cup teams, including Ken Schrader, Jeremy Mayfield and the Bodine brothers. He also built cars and transmissions for many asphalt Modified teams (including Tom Druar and Roger Treichler). His work, including an economical asphalt Modified (Bill Bitterman’s #3/III), was featured in a 1980 Stock Car Racing Magazine cover story. There are no arrangements available at this time. His sons Kenny Jr. works at Ultra Motorsports and Keith works at ppc Racing. Condolences to the family.(2-10-2005)
    AND Public Service 2-4pm and 7-9pm Saturday, Feb 12th at Amigone Funeral Home 5200 Sheridan Dr, Amherst, NY 14221. In lieu of flowers, Please make donations in Ken Bainbridge’s name to Roswell Park Cancer Institute or the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Online register book at www.amigone.com.(2-11-2005)

    News from February 10, 2005

  • Tim Richmond Book out: Tim Richmond. The Fast Life and Remarkable Times of NASCAR’s Top Gun. ($19.95 Sports Publishing LLC). by David Poole, one of the most prolific motorsports writers, takes a candid look at the talented but troubled young driver who reportedly died of AIDS at the peak of his career.(2-10-2005)
  • Major NASCAR Announcement: Hearing there will be an announcement at Daytona today about a new program designed to recognize and reward NASCAR’s fans.
    UPDATE: guess this is it……NASCAR today announced the launching of the Official NASCAR Members Club and named seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty to be its membership chairman. Stoneacre Partners LLC, a developer of affinity and customer loyalty programs, will operate the program under a long-term license. The $40 annual membership will entitle those who join to receive a magazine featuring lifestyle stories from top drivers, teams, NASCAR legends and other Club members and opportunities to participate in behind-the-scenes events and parties. Information is available on the Internet at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR Scene)(2-10-2005)
  • Crown Royal to debut in the Bud Shootout: When NASCAR announced last November it was lifting its longstanding ban on spirits sponsors, Crown Royal was the first to join in, announcing a sponsorship with Roush Racing and the #97 team led by 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch. Others have since followed, but now Crown Royal is looking forward to leading another series of firsts as the 2005 season gets ready to kick into high gear:
    — At this Saturday night’s Bud Shootout, Busch will become the first NASCAR driver to race in the paint scheme of a spirits brand since NASCAR made its landmark announcement in November. Crown Royal Championship Racing will utilize its new association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR’s adult fans. They will allocate a multi-million dollar marketing budget to support the sponsorship of Kurt Busch and his #97 team, which will include dedicated social responsibility messaging under the tagline “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.”
    — Later this week, the first NASCAR-themed spirits TV commercial will be unveiled. It stars the #97 Crown Royal car and encourages viewers that “pacing is everything….especially when drinking.” Crown Royal’s sponsorship of Kurt Busch and the #97 car is built around Diageo’s existing relationship with Roush Racing, which started in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 Roush Racing car for Diageo’s flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. In addition to the Bud Shootout, Crown Royal’s integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship of the #97 car at additional races during the 2005 season, including the Brickyard 400. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand will support Kurt as an associate sponsor of the #97 car throughout the 2005 season. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-10-2005)
  • NASCAR’s Zizzo leaves to work at Texas Motor Speedway: Mike Zizzo has been named Director of Public Relations for Texas Motor Speedway. Zizzo is leaving the position of Senior Manager of Communications for NASCAR for the Texas post. Prior to Zizzo’s NASCAR and CART experience, he worked for 12 years as a sportswriter for The Orlando Sentinel, covering a variety of major beats, including motorsports, the NFL and NHL. Zizzo, a graduate of Florida Southern College, shifted to public relations in 1996 and received the Jim Chapman Award as the most outstanding public relations representative in the CART racing series. He became the first public relations representative from the sanctioning body to ever receive the prestigious award. As Director of Public Relations for Texas Motor Speedway, Zizzo will work with local, regional and national media covering racing events at Texas Motor Speedway. He will begin his duties in early March.(TMS PR)(2-10-2005)
  • Brian Vickers & Carolinas Pizza Hut Stores Partner to Benefit VJGC: Representatives of North and South Carolina Pizza Huts announced they have entered a personal services partnership with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC Financial Services Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, which will specifically focus on their mutual support of the Victory Junction Gang Camp.   The partnership will include Vickers endorsing and representing 325 participating Pizza Hut stores located in North Carolina and South Carolina, which will include their efforts to help raise funds in support of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a designated charity of both Pizza Hut in the Carolina’s and Vickers. The Carolinas Pizza Hut Stores previously committed support to Victory Junction and hope to raise funds and awareness through in-store promotions. Vickers supports the Camp as one of his designated charities and is a friend of the Petty family and fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and wife Pattie, who founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of their late son, Adam Petty.   In-store promotions at participating Pizza Hut stores will include the opportunity for customers to win one of two special VIP Race Experiences awarded on behalf of Victory Junction. The VIP Race experience will give a customer a birds-eye view of what the pit area is like during a Nextel Cup Race. The winner will get two tickets, two pit passes and a “meet and greet” with Brian Vickers. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.orgwww.pizzahut.com or www.brianvickers.com.(Brian Vickers, LLC PR)(2-10-2005)
  • McMurray to run Mexico UPDATE: Jamie McMurray will be driving a #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge entry [owned by Chip Ganassi] in the Mexico City Busch race.(JamieMcMurray.com via BGNRacing.com)(2-8-2005)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will venture south-of-the-border this season when Jamie McMurray pilots the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge at the Telcel-Motorola 200 in Mexico City on March 6. The 80-lap event heralds not only the historic return of road course racing for the NASCAR Busch Series but a notable event for team and sponsor as well: the inaugural Busch Series entry for the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-10-2005)
  • Hermie gets an assoc. sponor: Midas Spring Water, based in Huntersville, N.C., has become an associate sponsor of the # 66 Peak Fitness Ford Taurus that Hermie Sadler drives in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series. Midas Spring Water is one of the healthiest waters in the world because of its natural purity and low mineral content. It rivals some of the finest European waters. Midas Spring Water is pure with no artificial purifications; it also contains a perfect 4 to 1 calcium/magnesium ratio and has a balance of 7.2 alkalinity.(Peak Fitness Racing/PE3 PR)(2-10-2005)

    News from February 9, 2005

  • Harvick to Penske? UPDATE: The biggest question facing #2 [and #12, #77] owner Roger Penske this season is signing someone to take Rusty Wallace’s place [after he retires at the end of 2005]. The most obvious answer, of course, is Jamie McMurray, who is already in the Dodge camp and driving Wallace’s Busch cars. But McMurray is still under contract to Chip Ganassi [supposedly thru 2007], whose rivalry with Penske is well-known and who is not going to give up his own No. 1 driver easily. Penske shies away from even talking about McMurray. “I will tell you at this point I have not even had one conversation with Jamie McMurray about driving on this race team,” Penske insisted. “Yes, he would be a great driver, but he’s already under contract with Chip.” One name that has just come up on Penske’s tentative list, according to sources, is Kevin Harvick, who has been driving for Richard Childress since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001. Miller Brewing, a longtime Penske-Wallace sponsor, has been pressuring the team for more results, in light of the impressive performance by Bud-sponsored rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, Miller execs, according to sources, have wanted Penske to bring Ryan Newman, Wallace’s teammate – sometimes estranged teammate, as at the moment – into the Miller sponsorship fold.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(2-5-2005)
    AND …….McMurray is Wallace’s first choice to replace him in the #2, but word is McMurray’s Ganassi Racing contract spreads through 2007. Now, the name I [Marty Smith] continue to hear being associated with the No. 2 ride is Kevin Harvick, but Harvick told me Monday he’s never been contacted by Penske Racing. He has heard the same rumors we have, but says that’s the extent of his association with Penske.(NASCAR.com)(2-9-2005)
  • Curtis Turner Book Available: The Life and Fast Times of NASCAR Legend Curtis Turner by Robert Edelstein, is the unremitting, over-the-top biography of stock car racer Curtis Turner, the most dynamic stock car racer of all time, who wrote the book on living fast and dying young. Curtis Turner was a racing legend in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, a peer of Lee Petty (father of Richard Petty) and Junior Johnson; he was the Dale Earnhardt of his time. A fellow NASCAR racer summarized Turner’s legacy with the words: “There never would have been a Dale Earnhardt without Curtis Turner.”
    Born in 1924 in Virginia, Curtis Turner was the true pioneer of NASCAR racing; his life embodied everything that today makes NASCAR the biggest spectator sport in American history: the adrenaline rush of the races, the potential for danger at every turn, and the charismatic, outrageous personality of a born winner who possessed an uncanny business savvy. From his mountain country beginnings to running moonshine as a teenager and executing dangerous 180-degree spins on a single-lane bridge to elude the police to being the first NASCAR driver ever put on the cover of Sports Illustrated-and the only one so honored after having had his license revoked in two states-Turner created drama. Both at the racetrack and in his personal life-with constant partying and a no-holds-barred, good-times lifestyle-Curtis Turner lived the American Dream several times over-including the co-building of the Charlotte Motor Speedway against all odds and in the face of great controversy-before he died a violent and mysterious death in 1970 at the young age of forty-six in a plane crash that is still considered a great mystery.
    In gripping prose, and with full access to the files of Turner’s widow, Bunny Hall, biographer Robert Edelstein, the exclusive motorsports writer for TV Guide and the author of NASCAR Generations, thrillingly recreates the life of this American legend. FULL THROTTLE is the first ever full-scale chronicle of Turner’s legendary life, from his 357 racing wins to his millions earned and just as quickly spent in fearless finance deals, to his incredible comeback after four years of being banned from the NASCAR circuit for trying to start a union among his fellow racers. (He was reinstated partly due to the thousands of rabid fans who demanded his return.) Motorsports, momentum and mayhem, the non-stop pursuit of outrageous dreams, high-speed thrills and a really good time…these are the raw materials of FULL THROTTLE.(2-9-2005)
  • Shelmerdine Racing auctions UPDATE assoc. sponsor for Daytona: Kirk Shelmerdine/Shelmerdine Racing auctions: In support of small independent businesses, Kirk Shelmerdine Racing has taken an innovate marketing approach and has opened up bids on Ebay for sponsorship of his [#27 Ford] NASCAR vehicle for various races. Check out the auctions at: ebay.com #5953201975, thru Feb-11-05.
    UPDATE: #27-Kirk Shelmerdine would like to welcome Wabash Motorsports of Fairfield, Illinois, and; JCMECI of Newark, DE as associate sponsors for the 2005 Speed Weeks at Daytona. Founded in 1990 by James C. McCulley IV, JCMECI Environmental Consultants, Inc., of Newark, DE, provides high quality environmental consulting for Delaware and the tri-state area. This encompasses all types of environmental consulting, such as; investigations, audits, wetlands permits, and underground storage unit removal. More info on JCMECI, see www.JCMECI.com.(Kirk Shelmerdine Racing PR)(2-7-2005)
    AND see an article at RacingUnderdog: Poker Promoter Deals Shelmerdine In about a small company pledging money to Shelmerdine with fans involvement.(2-9-2005)
  • Office Depot Promo: Office Depot, 9-race primary sponsor of the #99 with driver Carl Edwards, is launching a unique promotion offering customers the chance to become the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” courtesy of Office Depot. This new promotion, showcased in Office Depot’s first NASCAR television advertising campaign, breaks new ground by using NASCAR to reach small businesses — the core customer base for Office Depot. The “Official Small Business of NASCAR” promotion and accompanying ad campaign are central components in Office Depot’s multi-faceted Taking Care of Business marketing and brand positioning program. Last month, Office Depot introduced NASCAR as its new sports sponsorship platform, entering into a multi-year agreement with NASCAR to become the sport’s first-ever Official Office Products Partner. In addition, beginning with the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, FOX, 1 p.m.). Office Depot’s new NASCAR-themed ad campaign debuts on February 12 with a television spot titled “Bumper.” The “Bumper” spot, created by BBDO New York, focuses on one of the most unique national promotions in the sports world: small business owners getting the chance to become the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” courtesy of Office Depot. As part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, the winning business will have its company name featured on the #99 Office Depot Ford Taurus that will be driven by Carl Edwards on May 7 at Darlington Raceway. Customers can enter the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” courtesy of Office Depot sweepstakes by filling out a form at computer workstations in any one of Office Depot’s more than 900 stores nationwide, or online at www.officedepot.com/racing. The promotion is open to small businesses with no more than 99 employees, and runs through April 10, 2005. No purchase is necessary. A complete set of rules and restrictions can be found at www.officedepot.com/racing.(Businesswire.com)(2-9-2005)
  • Short Trackin’: been getting questions about the ASA and other short track series and why I don’t cover them, easy, not what I am into, I follow and have followed NASCAR Cup Series for a few decades and this site is up over eight years now. I don’t know enough about those other series to cover and don’t have time to do so. Plus there are a few sites who cover these series pretty darn good, such as:
    51sports.com [Bob and Matt Dilner and Jeremy]
    ASA Series
    USAR Hooters ProCup Series
    and many others can be found on my Racing Links page under Other Series.(2-9-2005)
  • The Budweiser Shootout: Beginning with the 2003 Budweiser Shootout the race was formatted into two segments. The first segment is 20 laps after which a 10 minute intermission is held. During the intermission teams may change tires or perform any other action that would be part of a normal pit stop. The second segment is 50 laps that must end in a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will count toward the total in both segments so the second segment may extend beyond the scheduled 70-lap total.
    In the event of a red flag, crews will be permitted to work on the cars; however, all work must be performed on pit road or Garage Area only. When the race is resumed, all cars must immediately be ready to return to competition.
    All re-starts will be double-file re-starts. All lapped cars will re-start at the rear of the field.
    The starting positions for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout will be drawn at random.
    A $1,087,300 purse is offered for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout. The winner will receive at least $211,500.
    Eligibility: A total of 21 drivers are eligible for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, one less than the 2002 record (22) for the largest field in the history of the event. Twelve gained eligibility based on winning a Bud Pole Award in 2004 while the others are eligible because they are past champions of the Busch Clash/Budweiser Shootout that did not win a Bud Pole Award in 2004 and finished in the top-60 in final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. Four drivers will be participating in their first Budweiser Shootout: #16-Greg Biffle, #9-Kasey Kahne, #41-Casey Mears and #25-Brian Vickers. Other drivers: #12-Ryan Newman, #24-Jeff Gordon, #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #01-Joe Nemechek, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #21-Ricky Rudd, #18-Bobby Labonte, #97-Kurt Busch.
    Eligible drivers eligible based on being past champions of the Busch Clash/Bud Shootout:
    13. #88-Dale Jarrett (winner – 1996, 2000, 2004)
    14. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (winner – 2003)
    15. #20-Tony Stewart (winner – 2001, 2002*)
    16. #6-Mark Martin – (winner – 1999)
    17. #2-Rusty Wallace (winner – 1998)
    18. #49-Ken Schrader (winner – 1989, 1990)
    19. Bill Elliott (winner – 1987), #39 Coors Dodge
    20. Terry Labonte (winner – 1985)(no plans to run it as far as I have heard)
    21. Geoffrey Bodine (winner – 1992)(entered in the #93 GIC Chevy)(NASCAR Statistical Services), more info at my 2005 Busweiser Shootout page and the entry list a NASCAR.com..(2-9-2005)
  • A Kinser headed to NASCAR? Kraig Kinser is the son of the most famous sprint-car driver in dirt-track racing history. But Steve Kinser’s progeny has turned down a different road in his racing career. And not only is it paved, it doesn’t come with a large wing mounted on top of his car. The younger Kinser, a 20-year-old Bloomington, Ind., native, debuted in the U.S. Auto Club’s Silver Crown division last week in the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway. The Copper World was Kinser’s first race on a pavement track and his second driving a car without a wing. His debut without a wing came last month in the Chili Bowl, an indoor midget race in Tulsa, Okla. Kinser still plans to race his father some this season in a World of Outlaws sprint car, but NASCAR, which the older Kinser tried briefly in 1995, could be in his future. “Let’s see where this goes first,” Kraig said. Nextel Cup driver #9-Kasey Kahne, a former USAC midget champion who hired Kinser in December, is the owner of this expanding Silver Crown team based in Mooresville, N.C., near many of the NASCAR shops. Much of the team’s financial backing comes from Dodge, which is increasing its presence in NASCAR. Kahne’s other Silver Crown driver is Erin Crocker, who has a development contract with the same Evernham Motorsports team that employs Kahne in the Nextel Cup division.(in part from the Indy Star)(2-9-2005)
  • #66 Peak Fitness Racing Team Launches Website: Peak Performance Motorsports owner Jeff Stec announced today that his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team has hired PSE-3, a sports and entertainment communications, marketing and sales firm headquartered in Raleigh, NC, to handle media and sponsor relations for the team. The January announcement of the newly formed team introduced NASCAR veterans Hermie Sadler as the driver and James Ince as the crew chief. For more information regarding PSE-3 and sponsorship opportunities with Peak Performance Motorsports, please visit (PPM website) or www.pse-3.com. The online destination for all things associated with the #66 Peak Fitness Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series is peakfitnessracing.com.(2-9-2005)

    News from February 8, 2005

  • Vickers to run limited Busch schedule, Ore-Ida as an assoc on Cup car: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced that 21-year-old Brian Vickers will return to the NASCAR Busch Series for four races in 2005 with support from primary sponsor Ore-Ida and its Extra Crispy French-fry brand. As part of the agreement, Vickers will drive his four Busch Series races in Ore-Ida-wrapped #57 Chevrolets. In addition to its support of Vickers’ Busch Series appearances, Ore-Ida will become a major associate partner of the #25 NEXTEL Cup Series team with Vickers as driver. Vickers, the 2003 Busch Series champion is scheduled to make his first Busch Series start of 2005 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway May 28, followed by events at Daytona International Speedway in July, Michigan International Speedway in August and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-8-2005)
  • Bear Creek Soups To Step Up Sponsorship at ppc Racing: ppc Racing officials announced associate sponsor Bear Creek Soups will return with an expanded 2005 motorsports marketing program. Under the sponsorship agreement, Bear Creek Soups will be the “Official Soup Product” at ppc Racing and have a strong presence on all four race teams with drivers #14-John Andretti [Cup], #22-Kenny Wallace [Busch], #10-Michel Jourdain Jr.[Busch] and #10-Terry Cook [Trucks]. Bear Creek Soups has sponsored ppc Racing since 2001 and was a primary sponsor with the team’s NASCAR Busch Series efforts last year at select events. The Bear Creek Soups logos will be displayed in various locations on all four of ppc Racing’s race vehicles; the #14 VB / APlus at Sunoco Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with driver John Andretti; the #22 Stacker 2 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Busch Series with driver Kenny Wallace; the #10 ppc Racing Ford Taurus with driver Michel Jourdain Jr.; and the #10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with driver Terry Cook. For more information, please visit www.bearcreekfoods.com.(ppc Racing PR)(2-8-2005)
  • Daytona 500 Pace Car: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, unveiled the all-new 2005 Corvette that will pace the 47th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season opener during the national broadcast of Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning. Earnhardt Jr., who drives the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., revealed the Corvette coupe that will pace the 43-car field in “The Great American Race” on Sunday, Feb. 20 – NASCAR’s richest, biggest and most prestigious event at historic Daytona International Speedway. The design of the Daytona 500 Corvette pace vehicle includes elements that reflect the heritage and attitude of the historic winning Corvette race cars. The Corvette pace vehicle is millennium yellow with a black racing stripe centered across the hood, roof and trunk lid with the Daytona 500 logo on each door and Chevy’s “An American Revolution” slogan on the rear spoiler. This will be the 34th consecutive year General Motors has provided the Official Pace Car for the Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 will be one of 60 NASCAR events Chevrolet will pace in 2005, including 28 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 17 Busch Series and 15 Craftsman Truck Series races.(DIS PR)(2-8-2005)
  • Busch and President Bush..meet Monday: At 2:05 pm [on Monday, 2/7], President George Bush looks forward to a photo opportunity with the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and other members of his team at the Oval Office.(Talkradionews.com/whitehouse.gov)(2-7-2005)
    IMAGES photos of Champion Busch meets President Bush at FoxSports.com.(2-8-2005)

    2004 Nextel Cup Champ meets
    President George Bush
    (Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images for NASCAR)

  • Larry Foyt to run Daytona ARCA race, BAM Plans still in the works: Fulltiltpoker.com, an interactive poker gaming Web site, has signed with Foyt Racing as the primary sponsor of the #16 Dodge. The car will be driven by Larry Foyt in the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday, Feb. 12th. The ARCA race will be the first foray into motorsports for Fulltiltpoker.com which sees a great opportunity to bring its online poker experience to racing fans.”I’m excited to be back behind the wheel at Daytona,” said Foyt. “I’ve only driven in one ARCA race and that was over four years ago. I’ve learned a lot since then so I’m really looking forward to competing next weekend.” Foyt put together the one-time race package for his father A.J. Foyt’s team with support from BAM Racing team owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau. The Morgenthaus are trying to secure sponsorship to field a car for Foyt in one of NASCAR’s divisions this year. Foyt has also signed two associate sponsors for this event: Demons Cycles (www.demonscycles.com), builder of custom motorcycles, and Victory Sportswear (www.victorysportswear.com a full line apparel company that offers screen printing, embroidery and ad specialty items to local race teams across the country.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(2-8-2005)
  • Wal-Mart teams up with NASCAR: NASCAR announced “NASCAR Comes to Wal-Mart,” a major event at more than 1,100 Wal-Mart stores to draw attention to the start of the 2005 NASCAR season. The promotion will roll into 43 NASCAR race markets throughout the 10-month 2005 NASCAR season.
    To kick off the NASCAR season, more than 1,100 Wal-Mart stores within 50 miles of 36 race markets in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and seven markets in the NASCAR Busch Series will participate in the NASCAR promotion. Wal-Mart stores will feature NASCAR-themed point-of-sale displays for partners such as Duracell, Gillette, Jack Link’s, Ice Breakers and Kodak in the NASCAR promotion. The NASCAR Fan Guide will feature NASCAR highlights and milestones, team rosters, the 2005 NASCAR schedules, and shopping lists of items that fans can purchase enhance their racing experience. More than one million NASCAR Fan Guides were developed exclusively for the promotion.
    More than 500 Wal-Mart stores will also feature NASCAR-themed “retailtainment” activities. For example, fans can test their knowledge of the sport in the “NASCAR Comes to Wal-Mart Match Game” — a trivia game tied to visiting NASCAR sponsor displays at Wal-Mart. More than 100 of these stores will feature parking lot sponsor fan fests that will provide an array of fun activities for NASCAR fans and customers. Sponsors featured in the “retailtainment” portion of the promotion include: Coca-Cola, M&M, Kingsford, Pedigree and Kellogg. Fans can enjoy the Coca-Cola wall of Speed, riding in a Kellogg’s race car simulator, or getting up close to their favorite sponsor show cars.
    Additionally, starting February 1 through mi-March, Wal-Mart will be the exclusive retailer of the new DVD, NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience from Warner Home Video. The IMAX DVD provides an insider’s perspective of NASCAR racing and was the second-highest grossing film documentary of 2004. Wal-Mart currently offers more than 250 NASCAR sponsor products, making it the largest seller of NASCAR licensee and sponsor products in the country.(retail-merchandiser.com)(2-8-2005)
  • The Bud Shootout and the Daytona 500 winners: Five times has the winner of the Budweiser Shootout gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following week: Dale Jarrett (2000 and 1996), Jeff Gordon (1997), Bill Elliott (1987), and Bobby Allison (1982). Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout, won the Daytona 500 the following week.(Bud Shootout site/PR)(2-8-2005)
  • No Shootout…but still won: Since 1979, seven drivers have won the Daytona 500 who did not compete in the Budweiser Shootout the week before: Michael Waltrip (2001, 2003), Ward Burton (2002), Dale Earnhardt (1998), Sterling Marlin (1994), Dale Jarrett (1993), Derrike Cope (1990) and Richard Petty (1979). Drivers who did not compete in the Bud Shootout the week before won three of the last four Daytona 500s. (Michael Waltrip in 2001 and 2003 and Ward Burton in 2002).(Bud Shootout site/PR)(2-8-2005)
  • Kids NASCAR Furniture: Lexington Home Brands and O’Sullivan have teamed up to create a ready-to-assemble NASCAR youth furniture group, with a big-box retailer now testing three pieces at select stores. If the test goes well, more of the chain’s stores will carry the group and other retailers will have a chance to stock it, said Jim Myers, Lexington’s vice president of product development. Myers is a friend of stock car driver Bobby Labonte, who called one day to talk about a possible Labonte youth group. They pursued the necessary licenses. Labonte’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Tony Stewart, joined the effort, as did Labonte’s brother, Terry, also a racer. Drivers Jeff Gordon and Elliot Sadler were added later. Lexington contacted O’Sullivan, which had been doing suite-in-a-box furniture. Lexington provided the licensing and design and O’Sullivan handled the manufacturing of a twin bed, nightstand and five-drawer chest to retail for $189. Decals for all five NASCAR drivers are included in the box. Lexington and O’Sullivan are working to add a small bench to the group, to go at the footboard or elsewhere in the room.(kidstodayonline.com)(2-8-2005)
  • Lots of special schemes for McMurray in 2005 UPDATE 2: #42-Jamie McMurray will race five different Texaco/Havoline “Shine On” paint schemes in 2005. McMurray will drive the first special paint scheme at Texas on April 17.(RacingOne)(12-7-2004)
    UPDATE: added four schemes that will be run at Texas (Apr), Lowe’s (May), Sonoma (June) and Talladega (Oct) to the #42 Team Scheme page. The fifth one, that was posted before, not sure where that will be run, Texas in Nov.?(1-28-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray, a third-year veteran of the Texaco/Havoline race team, will be charging the competition with four new paint schemes during in 2005. Each unique vehicle leverages Texaco’s trademark “Shine On” theme, including a retro paint scheme marrying the Texaco/Havoline logo and “Shine On” graphics. These inspired designs pay tribute to Texaco/Havoline’s successful NASCAR history while emphasizing the iconic status of the star. “The star has always symbolized quality and performance,” says Danny Roden, vice president of North American marketing for ChevronTexaco. The “Shine On” series is about honoring that heritage and using vibrant new designs to reinforce it”. This season marks Texaco/Havoline’s 18th consecutive year as sponsor in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. McMurray will drive the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge with a different “Shine On” paint scheme at each of the following Nextel Cup races:
    · Dallas, TX: April 17, 2005
    · Charlotte, NC: May 29, 2005
    · Sonoma, CA: June 26, 2005
    · Talladega, AL: October 2, 2005
    (Ganassi Racing PR), see the new images of the schemes on my #42 Team Scheme page.(2-8-2005)

    News from February 7, 2005

  • Hendrick announces new VP’s: Hendrick Motorsports general manager Marshall Carlson announced that competition director Ken Howes and longtime General Motors executive Doug Duchardt have been named vice presidents over the organization’s racing operations. Transitioning from his role of competition director, Howes has been tabbed as vice president of competition. The Johannesburg, South Africa, native will oversee Hendrick’s day-to-day competition-related activities, now encompassing teams, crew chiefs and pit-crew trainers, along with at-track logistics and execution.
    Duchardt, who most recently managed General Motors’ North American motor sports initiatives as director of GM Racing, has been named Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of development, a position in which he will control race-car evolution through design, engineering and production in the chassis and engine areas.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-7-2005)
  • Jeff Gordon and Watches: The TAG Heuer watch company says it will use four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon as its new “brand ambassador” in a campaign that will include product development, advertising and public relations. He joins actress Uma Thurman, golfer Tiger Woods, Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova and Formula 1 driver Juan-Pablo Montoya as company representatives. The company says Gordon will work with its designers on the development of new watch collections specifically engineered for race car drivers and their fans.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-7-2005)
  • Speed partners with Airborne Entertainment: Airborne Entertainment Inc., mobile publisher, announced an exclusive wireless partnership with Speed Channel. The deal will take millions of racing fans along for the ride as it brings the network’s high-octane properties to mobile for the first time ever. Fans of Speed Channel will be able to download an ever-expanding array of wallpapers, videos, ringtones, games and applications directly on their phones. Each Speed Channel-inspired product promises to put fans into overdrive with content that’s as fast and furious as the network itself. Speed Channel will be joining Airborne’s roster of recognizable media and consumer brands. Current partners include MAXIM Magazine, Activision Value, Cosmopolitain and CosmoGirl, Buzztime, Snapple, Family Guy, Fox Filmed Entertainment, TV Guide, The NHL and MTV Europe. An introductory suite of Speed Channel products will be available on North American carriers shortly.(Speed PR)(2-7-2005)
  • Toyota in Busch in 2006? in Cup in 2007? Rumblings in the garage have Toyota testing the Busch Series waters next season before jumping to Cup in 2007, the first year all teams could be running NASCAR’s new engines. Those engines will be constructed on common platforms but still will maintain manufacturer identities. Toyota’s possible entry into the Busch Series also might accelerate the learning curve for Honda, which could be racing in the truck series as early as 2006. The Big Three U.S. automakers have expressed concern that if Toyota and Honda are given the specifications of this new engine now, the Nextel Cup Series soon could resemble the IndyCar series, meaning Detroit would be severely outspent and unable to compete.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)
  • Template Inspection at Vegas to get to California: Cup teams had to roll through template inspection at Las Vegas to receive a voucher to continue testing at California. In the offseason, NASCAR takes its templates to race shops for early comparisons, but in the past teams would go early to Rockingham, previously the second race of the season, to check for accuracy. “We want the crews to know how we’re applying the templates and what the procedures are,” NASCAR inspector John Drager says. “This gives teams the opportunity to see the entire template package.” Changes include Dodge’s 14 identity templates, all spoiler templates because spoiler heights have been decreased an inch to 4.5 inches and the Chevrolet taillight template.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)
  • Series Managers named for Canada and Mexico: NASCAR has selected tour directors for its Canada and Mexico series. Richard Buck, a former team manager in Winston Cup and CART, will oversee the Canadian operation. Former driver and TV commentator Chad Little will manage the Mexico series.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)
  • Dale Jr. wins RACER award: RACER magazine’s 10th annual survey of its readers’ views of the outstanding auto racing performers of the season produced a number of firsts. Chief among them was the selection of Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the overall Racer of the Year for the first time. The Daytona 500 champ, who also topped the “RACER’s Dozen” list of the most powerful and influential people in racing compiled by the editors of the magazine last June, edged Michael Schumacher for the top award by three percentage points, 24-21, in balloting conducted online at SpeedTV.com throughout the month of December.(Speed Magazine)(2-7-2005)
  • Jarrett wins golf contest: In the final round of a pre-Super Bowl charity event, Nextel Cup driver #88-Dale Jarrett was the only player to put a drive onto the celebrated island par-3 17th green at the TPC at Sawgrass, winning $10,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. As part of the FOX Super Bowl XXXIX pregame show, Jarrett, Robert Yates Racing teammate Elliott Sadler and Penske Racing’s Rusty Wallace with coach PGA Tour player Fred Funk made up one of three teams of professional athletes to take part in the charity event. An MLB team was made up of Atlanta Braves starting pitcher John Smoltz, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Royce Clayton and Florida Marlins starting pitcher Al Leiter with Senior PGA player Fuzzy Zoeller as coach. And an NFL team was represented by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher with Senior PGA player Jim Thorpe as coach. In the final round, Jarrett faced off against Green and Smoltz, and the Pro Bowler and All-Star missed the green while the three-time Daytona 500 winner put only the third ball of the 18 struck in the competition on the putting surface.(FoxSports.com)(2-7-2005)
  • Daytona 500 Purse at $17 million: The 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious event of the year, will carry the biggest purse in the history of stock car racing at more than $17 million. The post awards for the “The Great American Race” on Sunday, Feb. 20 will be $17,623,980, an increase of nearly $2 million. The posted awards for the 2004 Daytona 500, which was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was $15,972,313. The winner of this year’s Daytona 500 will collect a minimum of $1,430,030. The second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers in the Daytona 500 will receive a minimum of $1,029,425, $736,625, $584,750 and $456,875 respectively. Even the last-place finisher in the Daytona 500 will be rewarded with a minimum of $219,931. “The Daytona 500 is without doubt NASCAR’s signature event and the 43-car field in this year’s event will be paid handsomely for their efforts,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. Other purses for Speedweeks 2005 events are: * Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race: $305,507 * Budweiser Shootout: $1,087,300 * Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race: $807,103 * Hershey’s Take 5 300 NASCAR Busch Series race: $2,409,495 Tickets to any of the Speedweeks 2005 events are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. (DIS PR)(2-7-2005)

News from February 6, 2005

  • Rolex 24 At Daytona: many NASCAR drivers will be running the Rolex 24 At Daytona [International Speedway]. Scott Pruett won the pole on Thursday in a Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. NASCAR drivers scheduled to race include Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Boris Said and NBC Broadcaster Wally Dallenbach Jr.
    Speed Channel begins its coverage at 12:00noon/et on February 5 and will carry all of the action through the first seven hours of the race. After a one-hour break, the telecast resumes at 8:00pm/et, with coverage continuing until 11:00pm/et. The third and final segment of the telecast hits the airwaves at 8:00am/et on February 6, running through the race’s conclusion and including the post-race victory celebrations. More news and info on the Rolex 24 At Daytona at the Daytona Intl Speedway siteDaytona Beach News Journal or the grand-am.com site.(2-4/6-2005)
    RESULTS The #10 Pontiac Riley, driven by Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard, captured the Rolex 24 at Daytona this afternoon. Despite a competitive field of 29 Daytona Prototypes, the #10, which started second in the 62-car field, beat the #4 Pontiac Crawford entry by a whopping 11 laps. The #20 Pontiac Crawford, of Andy Wallace, Jan Lammers and Tony Stewart was third. The #20 was on the lead lap through the 23rd hour before a gearbox failure sent them to the garage for late repairs. The winning car covered 710 laps over the 3.56-mile road course. The #71 Porsche GT3, wheeled by Wolf Henzler, Dominik Farnbacher, Shawn Price and Pierre Ehret, captured GT class. They finished 10th overall.(Daytona Beach News Journal)
    where the Cup drivers [and one broadcaster] finished – overall:
    #4-Jimmie Johnson, 2nd
    #20-Tony Stewart, 3rd
    #02-Jamie McMurray, 4th
    #03-Casey Mears, 6th
    #01-Scott Pruett, 7th – pole sitter
    #44-Bobby and Terry Labonte, 9th
    #67-Boris Said, 18th
    #74-Wally Dallenbach, 19th
    #49-Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, 27th
    from the grand-am.com site.(2-6-2005)
  • Sad News: A former beautician, business owner and homemaker, Mary Lou Roberts died at her home in Guntersville on Friday after a brief illness. She had been a dialysis patient for several years and had recently been hospitalized for surgery. She celebrated her 85 th birthday last Saturday (Jan. 29) and had her daughter, son and son-in-law by her side when she died. Mrs. Roberts is the mother of Tom Roberts, who handles Rusty Wallace’s public relations. Wallace is the driver of the #2 Miller Lite Penske South Racing Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series.
    Mrs. Roberts is survived by a daughter, Mary Emmenegger (Jim), and a son, Tom (T. Ray) Roberts (Joni), along with three grandsons (Chris, Zach and Seth Emmenegger) and special family friend, Sylvia Peppers, all of Guntersville. She was preceded in death by her husband and a son, Billy Hugh. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Guntersville First United Methodist Church, the National Kidney Foundation or God’s Love Account (for animal humane services) c/o GAS, 1609 Henry Street, Guntersville, AL 35976. Funeral services were held at the Chapel In The Pines at Carr Funeral Home on Sunday with interment at Crestview Cemetery. Pallbearers were Buddy Bunch, Keith Clines, Phillip Collie, Al G. Henry, Wade Sampson and Dan Warnes. (more at trpr.com)(2-6-2005)
  • Wanna buy a Auto Racing Series….on eBay: The beleaguered IPOWER Dash Series is for sale — on eBay. IPOWER owner Buck Parker, who lives here, put the sanctioning body on the chopping block Friday night. The starting bid for item No. 3872240288 is $100,000. For those who want to cut to the chase, you can “buy it now” for $650,000. As of Sunday morning [11am/et], there were no bids posted for IPOWER and its assets. Parker purchased the Dash Series from NASCAR at the end of 2003. In its first outing as an independent sanctioning body, one of IPOWER’s drivers struck and killed Daytona International Speedway track worker Roy Weaver. IPOWER sanctioned six more races after its tragic Daytona debut, then suspended operations in 2004. Two weeks ago, Parker was forced to cancel IPOWER’s premier race at Daytona due to insufficient funding. Among IPOWER’s assets are the rulebook, membership list, technical equipment, a Featherlite trailer, two race cars (minus engines), track contacts, Web site, track agreements and historical material. Parker said he doesn’t expect to vend his series on the Web site but sees it as the first step toward attracting some interest.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-6-2005)
  • Tickets for Life Winners: David and Margaret Hemsath, of St. Charles, Mo., paid $31,500 for “tickets for life” to all events at Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway. The Hemsaths won an auction, and the money they pledged will go to the American Red Cross for tsunami relief.(Gaston Gazette)(2-6-2005)

    News from February 5, 2005

  • Childress and Blaney visit JD: Nestled in the tiny town of Lynchburg (POP. 361), Tenn., sits an American icon. Lynchburg is home to the world-renowned Jack Daniel Distillery and is the primary sponsor of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #07 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Dave Blaney. On Jan. 24, Childress, Blaney and members of the RCR staff made the pilgrimage to Lynchburg to see how Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is made and what makes it one of the most popular brands of whiskey in the world. The answer is simple, time. Much like RCR hand-crafts every one of its race cars in Welcome, N.C., every drop of Jack Daniel’s is charcoal-mellowed, aged and bottled in Lynchburg today in the same time-honored tradition as it was when Jack Daniel himself registered his distillery with U.S. Government in 1866. Childress, Blaney and company were treated to a guided tour by Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jimmy Bedford himself. At the end of the tour, Bedford presented Childress with a hand-selected barrel of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey.(RCR Site) – Jayski has been there three times, the last in Oct 2001 for the World Championship Barbecue, great little town and a lot of fun.(2-5-2005)
  • Harvick to Penske? The biggest question facing #2 [and #12, #77] owner Roger Penske this season is signing someone to take Rusty Wallace’s place [after he retires at the end of 2005]. The most obvious answer, of course, is Jamie McMurray, who is already in the Dodge camp and driving Wallace’s Busch cars. But McMurray is still under contract to Chip Ganassi [supposedly thru 2007], whose rivalry with Penske is well-known and who is not going to give up his own No. 1 driver easily. Penske shies away from even talking about McMurray. “I will tell you at this point I have not even had one conversation with Jamie McMurray about driving on this race team,” Penske insisted. “Yes, he would be a great driver, but he’s already under contract with Chip.” One name that has just come up on Penske’s tentative list, according to sources, is Kevin Harvick, who has been driving for Richard Childress since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001. Miller Brewing, a longtime Penske-Wallace sponsor, has been pressuring the team for more results, in light of the impressive performance by Bud-sponsored rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, Miller execs, according to sources, have wanted Penske to bring Ryan Newman, Wallace’s teammate – sometimes estranged teammate, as at the moment – into the Miller sponsorship fold.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(2-5-2005)
  • RCR signs driver for Drive for Diversity: NASCAR driver Allison Duncan will participate in the Drive for Diversity initiative for a second season, joining the Bill McAnally Racing/Richard Childress Racing Development Program for the 2005 season in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (NDWS). With a top-five finish in the Hickory Motor Speedway year-end points standings under her belt, Duncan will drive the #20 Bill McAnally Racing/Richard Childress Racing Driver Development Program (BMR/RCR) Chevrolet Monte Carlo in NDMS events at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, California. Sponsors for the #20 car will be announced in the coming weeks. The San Rafael, California native was chosen by BMR/RCR team representatives at the 2005 Drive for Diversity Combine Testing and Evaluation, held last fall at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. Duncan will be a teammate if open wheel star Sarah Fisher on the BMR/RCR team, as Fisher will also participate in Drive for Diversity in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series.(PR)(2-5-2005)
  • Penske Teams up with Howard-Boss: Penske Technology Group, formerly Auto Research Center of Mooresville, N.C., announced today it is re-branding its industry leading wind tunnel and vehicle dynamics facility in Mooresville, N.C. To launch the name change, Penske Technology Group will join Howard-Boss Motorsports during its 2005 Grand American Rolex season. The relationship with Howard-Boss Motorsports is a program developed in conjunction with Crawford Race Cars, LLC that centers on the continuing development of the Crawford Daytona Prototype chassis that competes in the Grand American Rolex Series. Penske Technology Group will continue to focus its highly specialized workforce on growth industries, while maintaining its focus in motorsports. Their customer’s make up the majority of the top ten chase contenders in last year’s Nextel Chase for the championship. As well as the title contenders in the IRL racing league and Grand American Sports car Series; they also plan to expand their clientele within the racing industry. The Penske Technology Group is available to all manufacturers and teams in professional motorsports. Additional focus will be directed towards expanding business within the automotive and defense industries, along with various consumer products. The No. 4 Howard Boss / Penske Technology Group car has a great driver lineup with NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson and sports car aces Butch Leitzinger and Elliot Forbes-Robinson. Operating in Mooresville, N.C., Penske Technology Group offers a rolling road wind tunnel and seven-post vehicle dynamics rig. Available engineering services include: aerodynamic and vehicle dynamic testing; scanning and surfacing of three-dimensional objects and full-size vehicles, CAD modeling, rapid prototyping, custom instrumentation, engineering and design.(Penske Technology Group PR)(2-5-2005)
  • Labonte’s to run Watkins Glen road race: Kevin Doran, president of Doran Racing, and Bobby Labonte announced yesterday that they will join forces and plan to field a car in three Grand American Rolex Series races in 2005, including the race at The Glen during the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen August 11-14. This weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Raceway will be Doran Labonte’s first event. They will also participate in the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona June 29-30 and will run a third time at Watkins Glen International on Friday during the Grand American Rolex Series race on August 12. The two races will be held in conjunction with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Bobby Labonte drives the Interstate Batteries Chevy for Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR. His older brother, Terry Labonte, a two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, is doing a limited NASCAR schedule in 2005 and 2006 with Hendrick Motorsports in the Kelloggs Chevy. The Labonte brothers along with endurance sports car superstar Jan Magnussen, will comprise the driver roster for the two races this summer. The Rolex Series Daytona Prototype will be registered as a Doran Labonte Racing entry. It is a bright red DORAN JE4 powered by a Pontiac engine, and carries #44. Doran Racing also fields the gold Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus #77 of Didier Theys, Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin. All of the Grand American Rolex Series races will be televised on Speed. For more information, please see www.doranracing.com and www.bobbylabonte.com. For tickets and additional information, including pricing, please contact the Watkins Glen ticket office at 866-461-RACE, log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com(Watkins Glen PR)(2-5-2005)

    News from February 4, 2005

  • TV Stuff: #42-Jamie McMurray is having a big time as NASCAR’s newest Hollywood star. He just filmed an a bit in “E! True Hollywood Story” Wednesday, while testing at the California Speedway. And McMurray and teammate Casey Mears will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Feb. 22, for airing Feb. 23.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND: Casey Mears is scheduled to be on Animal Planet’s NASCAR Animal Crew on Feb 17th and MTV Cribs on Nov. 21st.(2-4-2005)
  • California Testing – Day 2 – over, no speeds: Thursday marked the final day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, the annual preseason test sessions that began Jan. 11 at Daytona. Both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series have spent the week engaged in the West Coast portion; on Monday and Tuesday, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested at Las Vegas while the NASCAR Busch Series tested at California Speedway. The series switched tracks for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s sessions. Still California breezin’ … Strong Santa Ana winds continued to blast California Speedway on Thursday, frustrating teams and playing havoc with testing data. “This is by far the windiest I have ever tested anywhere, anytime,” said Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford), who’s retiring from fulltime competition after the 2005 season and has his share of tests under his belt. Turns three and four took the brunt of gusty northeast winds, and high wind warnings were posted for inland areas through mid-Thursday afternoon. “(Turns) one and two are where you’re doing most of your testing,” Kevin Harvick said. “(Turns) three and four, there’s a lot of wind blowing, and it’s hard to get anything done. But you can still get a lot accomplished and get your car handling well.” Teammates and admirers … Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford) both visited the California media center during Thursday’s lunch break and both waxed eloquent about teammates and chemistry. Martin is anticipating his final fulltime season while Busch will try to defend his 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title. Busch paid tribute to Martin. “With Mark creating the identity for Roush Racing, it enabled me to jump into a competitive car and win races right away,” said the 27-year-old Busch. “The same thing for Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford). Mark is the essential ingredient that built Roush Racing. To look at Mark and see what he’s done. He’s a true competitor. He inspires us to look at him and want to be like him.” And Martin doesn’t want the commitment of his No. 6 crew to be lost in the hubbub of his final season. “We’re focused pretty intensely on 2005, the whole team,” Martin said. “They paid me a great compliment and honor. It will be the first time that I’ve had such a successful season, that I can remember and not lost team members to other races teams, and it wasn’t because people didn’t try to get them. It was because they knew that we had a championship caliber team and they wanted to give me a shot.”(NASCAR PR) No official speeds were kept during the test sessions on the West Coast.(2-4-2005)

    News from February 3, 2005

  • MRN Honored: Motor Racing Network (MRN) Reporter Steve Blevins, was honored by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) with three awards including co-winner of the prestigious “Barney Hall Award” at the NMPA Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C. earlier this week. For their outstanding radio coverage of NASCAR races in 2004, the NMPA also recognized three other MRN reporters for their exceptional work. Those honorees include:
    Radio Spot News:
    2nd place: Steve Blevins, NASCAR Today: The Daytona 500
    Radio Feature:
    2nd Place: Steve Blevins, Chase for the NEXTEL Cup
    3rd Place: Ryan Horn, Pepsi 400: A Salute to the King
    Long Form Feature:
    2nd Place: Chris Symeon, Road to The NEXTEL Cup
    3rd Place: Dave Moody, Sirius Speedway, Don Garlits Legends segment
    Barney Hall Award:
    Steve Blevins (co-winner) presented to the top award winner in the radio category.
    “To be honored by our peers is such a great accomplishment by our entire staff,” said network President David Hyatt. “As NASCAR’s fan base continues to grow, we’re excited to provide award-winning coverage to millions of fans around the world.”(DIS PR)(2-3-2005)
  • Earthquake in California: A California 3.2 earthquake that occurred Wednesday evening did not go unnoticed by several members of the NASCAR community who aren’t used to such events. Ricky Rudd was in his hotel room when…“I heard a bang…like someone took a baseball bat and hit your bed with it. It wasn’t shaking…it was one time, like one big boom. It was kind of odd…didn’t know exactly what it was and didn’t think too much about it then. When I woke up this morning (Thursday) I found out it was an earthquake 15 miles away.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-3-2005)
  • Two Thursday Fontana testing notes: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 car blew a motor about two hours prior to the end of the session. Eariler in the day #31-Jeff Burton scrubbed the wall in turn four after his car got too tight.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-3-2005)
  • Stewart wins Poker Tournament: #20-Tony Stewart defeated Penske Racing South’s Ryan Newman to capture the Michael Waltrip Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Palms Casino, according to a Dodge press release. Twelve participants began playing Monday night in the Texas Hold ‘Em event in which each driver played on behalf of his favorite charity, and the field was cut to six for last night’s final session. Chip Ganassi Racing driver Casey Mears finished third after going all in against Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-3-2005)
    TV SPEED Channel taped the Michael Waltrip Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas this week for a special to be broadcast at a date to be determined … will get you more information as dates and times are set. Players in the popular Texas Hold’em tournament included NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Benny Parsons, Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Elliott & Hermie Sadler. Speed Channel put up the $100,000 prize money, with half going to Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp through Waltrip’s “Operation Marathon” and the other half going to the charity of the winner’s choice.(Speed Channel), see images of the drivers at the tourney at RacingWest.com.(2-3-2005)
  • Some California Notes: #9-Kasey Kahne ran over some debris and crashed between turns three and four. He was able to drive back to the garage. He was not injured. Kahne resumed testing in a back up car. “I was going into turn one and ran over a chuck of something. I thought I had the car saved about four times, but I finally lost it and the right rear went into the wall. It’s not hurt too bad considering. There was a little hole in the tire, but I’m not sure what I ran over. It was our B car, and the A car was better at our test in Las Vegas.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-3-2005)
  • Newman in the game: Electronic Arts announced that the latest game from its NASCAR videogame franchise from the EA SPORTS brand, NASCAR SimRacing, will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 ALLTEL Dodge. In addition to being both cover athlete and spokesperson for the franchise, Newman also worked extensively with the game development team to produce the most realistic NASCAR PC simulation to date. The combination of Newman’s engineering background, Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup participation, and strong gaming experience make him uniquely qualified to be part of the development team for the new PC title.(Businesswire.com)(2-3-2005)
  • No Donlavey entry at Daytona..but he’ll be there: Junie Donlavey is making his annual February pilgrimage to Daytona Beach, Fla., but for the first time in 50 years, his #90 Ford won’t be in tow. The Richmond-based car owner, who will turn 81 on April 8, will skip Daytona 500 qualifying after attempting to make the Great American Race every season since the 1959 opening of Daytona International Speedway. Before the 2.5-mile track was built, Donlavey raced on the beach course. He campaigned cars for more than 100 drivers on NASCAR’s premier circuit but hasn’t competed full time in the Nextel Cup Series since losing a sponsor at the midpoint of the 2002 season. Donlavey Racing attempted only the season opener in each of the past two years, and its cars haven’t stayed abreast of rule changes in NASCAR. “I just don’t have anything to take down there,” said Donlavey, who attended yesterday’s news conference at Richmond International Raceway as a proponent of bringing a NASCAR Hall of Fame to the track. Though the team isn’t operational, Donlavey still keeps occasional hours at his Southside shop. He spends much of his time at a new house on Lake Shawnee in Powhatan County and said he hasn’t missed the grind of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-3-2005)
  • California Testing: Test sessions are for shaking down new cars, adjusting to new rules and building season-long data bases. Battling Mother Nature usually doesn’t make the to-do list, but Wednesday at California Speedway, many NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams had to figure wind resistance into their test plans. Strong Santa Ana winds – seasonal gusts that whip thru West Coast mountains and desert – sent garbage cans flying in the garage. They also played havoc with spoilers, bumpers and handling as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series embarked on the next-to-last day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder.
    The annual preseason test sessions that began Jan. 11 at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Preseason Thunder moved west this week for the final four days. On Monday and Tuesday, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested at Las Vegas while the NASCAR Busch Series tested at California Speedway. The series switched tracks for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s sessions, and what was the occasional nuisance gust in Las Vegas became a steady gale in Fontana. “The wind’s very tough today,” said Elliott Sadler (#38 M&M’s Ford), who visited the California media center during Wednesday’s lunch break. “How much are we going to learn? Because chances are it’s not going to be like that when we come back.” Wind or not, California native – El Cajon, to be exact – Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) was just happy to be back in the Golden State. As far as he’s concerned, the Santa Ana blew a welcome his way. “What I like most is being in my home state,” Johnson said. “I like coming home. I’m excited NASCAR is in California and excited that it has come to west coast.”
    When the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series does comes back to California, it will do so Sunday, Feb. 27 for the second race of the season. The Auto Club 500 is one week after the season-opening Daytona 500. The defending race champion is Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet), another Wednesday visitor to the media center, and although he’d love to repeat – plus win a third career Daytona 500 – he admitted his immediate attention is on the on-track knowledge he and his team are accumulating this week. “Right now we’re just focused on here and Las Vegas and seeing what we have at the downforce tracks,” said Gordon, referring to Las Vegas’ 1.5-mile and California’s 2-mile lengths. And he acknowledged Mother Nature’s challenge. “We are really struggling right now with the wind,” Gordon said. “I don’t know how much valuable information we are going to get out of this test if the wind keeps up like this and I think it is supposed to.” Still, the #24 team has a considerable bank of knowledge it can withdraw from should the wind skew test results. Gordon is a three-time winner at California, and comfort factors can’t be overestimated.
    “I don’t know why we have had such good success here,” he said Wednesday. “I mean I think it is like anywhere else. I think it is a combination of just really well prepared race cars, good horsepower and giving me a comfort. On the first lap on the track today, I did, I felt really comfortable. Is that the cars or me? It’s hard to say. We are always looking for good results and we continue to get them out here and we want to keep that going.” So does Sadler, who won last year’s Labor Day weekend event at California and would like a second consecutive victory at the track – wind or not. “It’s great to come back to a track you won at because your confidence is unbelievable,” Sadler said. “We’re kind of picking up where we left off. We’re comfortable. I feel like I could pack it up, come back here and have a good shot at winning.”(NASCAR PR), no speeds reported.(2-3-2005)
  • Yeley to run Daytona ARCA Race: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Shaver Motorsports will field an ARCA Remax Series entry at Daytona International Speedway for J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Vigoro / Home Depot Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series. The Daytona ARCA event will mark the second time Shaver Motorsports has fielded a car for a Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver. Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, piloted his Shaver Motorsports ride to an impressive third place finish in the 2004 ARCA Remax Series finale at Talladega. “Shaver Motorsports did a great job working with Denny Hamlin at Talladega, and we wanted to give J.J. Yeley the same opportunity to get some more seat time at a restrictor plate track,” said Steve DeSouza, Vice President of Busch Operations for Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley will drive the #2 Shaver Motorsports entry, and the car will be adorned with the insignia of the new Joe Gibbs Performance Synthetic Racing OilJoe Gibbs Performance Vehicles will also be displayed on the #2 Shaver Motorsports entry.(JGR PR)(2-3-2005)
  • Drive for Diversity Forum today: The Drive for Diversity program, recognized as NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative, will present “The Drive for Diversity Motorsports Forum,” in conjunction with North Carolina A&T State University, on Thursday, February 3, 2005 at the university’s New Classroom Building Auditorium. “The Drive for Diversity Motorsports Forum” is a symposium that will acquaint students with career paths in motorsports and bring them up to speed with many diversity efforts within motorsports, and more specifically, NASCAR. Representatives from the racing industry, including NASCAR, will be on hand to discuss both on-track and off-track initiatives. The first session, “Off-Track Initiatives: NASCAR’s Driving Force,” will discuss opportunities that include roles in event management, licensing, marketing, sponsorship, public relations, business, law, sales and related fields. The second session, “On-Track Initiatives: The Drive for Diversity,” will include discussions about how aspiring drivers and crew members get involved in the sport. Additionally, information will be provided to those seeking opportunities in engineering, manufacturing systems, technology, team management/ownership, and related fields. Students from North Carolina A&T State University, along with other regional universities, have been invited to build awareness about the motorsports industry and to provide a setting for future motorsports professionals to network and practically apply their classroom curriculum toward a successful career. Drive for Diversity is also excited to announce that the Army National Guard will be a partner in Thursday’s forum. For more information about North Carolina A&T State University, please visit www.ncat.edu.(Drive for Diversity PR)(2-3-2005)

    News from February 2, 2005

  • So..what is up with Sterling? #40-Sterling Marlin, a regular on the circuit since 1987, wants to drive for a couple of more years and wants to remain with Chip Ganassi so he can close his career with a team that was owned by Felix Sabates when Marlin joined it in 1998. That scenario is far from a lock. Marlin is in the last year of his contract with Ganassi and is winless since 2002. He knows to be asked back he will have to show improvement over the three top-fives and a 21st-place points finish of 2004. Ganassi bluntly called the performance of Marlin’s team disappointing in prepared remarks to the press during last week’s media tour stop at a mammoth new building that houses the cars of Marlin and teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears. “I don’t know if we’re going to renew,” Marlin said. “I talked to Chip about re-upping a month ago to see what we’re going to do and Coors is going to do.” Marlin indicated that Ganassi didn’t close the door. “Chip was open to extending,” Marlin said. “I’d like to stay here. I’ve got a lot of friends here and they’ve built a really nice shop. I’ve driven for Felix a long time. So I’d like to retire here if I can.”(High Point Enterprise)(2-2-2005)
  • PRN Staffers Sweep 1st Honors during NMPA Awards Banquet: Members of the Performance Racing Network [PRN] broadcast team swept first-place honors in the three radio categories during the recent National Motorsports Press Association awards banquet.
    Kent Bernhardt, production coordinator for the radio network, earned first-place in the Long Feature category for a story chronicling the life of veteran NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Morgan Shepherd. Bernhardt also earned third-place in the Spot News category and was named co-winner of the prestigious Barney Hall Award, presented annually by the NMPA to the top award winner in the radio category.
    Mark Garrow, host of PRN’s daily racing news show “Garage Pass” and co-anchor of the network’s race broadcasts, took home the first-place trophy in the Spot News category for his reporting of the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash. This was the 30th NMPA award Garrow has earned during his distinguished broadcasting career.
    Veteran PRN announcer Steve Richards completed the sweep, earning first-place in the Spot Feature category for a report focusing on the triumph and tragedy of Jimmie Johnson’s 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.
    “These awards exemplify the dedication to excellence to which the entire PRN staff subscribes,” said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN. “I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments.” PRN broadcasts 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, eight NASCAR Busch Series events and produces “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons,” “The Pit Reporters,” “PRN’s Sunday Drive” and “zMAX Racing Country.” The network’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race broadcast of the year will be the March 13 UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(LMS PR)(2-2-2005)
  • Craven Snowmobile Ride a Success: The eighth annual Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity raised $185,225 last weekend which put the overall, eight-year total over the $1 million mark. As an added highlight, Maine’s Gov. John E. Baldacci joined the group of over 400 riders on the 60-mile course through the Moosehead Lake region of Greenville, Maine. “When I think of how we started and where we are today, I’m totally amazed,” said Craven, driver of the #99 Superchips Ford F-150. “Our goal for this event was to break the $1 million mark and we accomplished that. We had good weather, great trails, many generous contributors and over 400 riders which made this event a huge success.” Checks for $35,000 each were presented to representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Give Kids the World, the Marrow Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network and the Travis Roy Foundation. In addition, Craven presented checks for $2,500 each to the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club and the town of Greenville’s groomer fund, and $5,000 to the Greenville school system. “I have to thank everyone who worked so hard on this event,” Craven said. “My Mom (Nancy Craven) heads up this event and there are so many volunteers who make it all happen. We could never achieve the success we have without their dedication.”(Roush Racing PR)(2-2-2005)
  • Some testing notes from Las Vegas: Racecars testing at Las Vegas are not equipped with timing transponders, however it’s clear to many which cars are the quickest. Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch are the top cars according to garage insiders. During Tuesday’s lunch break Kahne said, “Las Vegas is a good track to test at because it changes and you need to figure out what your car does. We’re way different than the 19 (Mayfield) and the 48 (Johnson) is probably the dominate car here that I’ve seen so far…maybe the 19 is up there…but…the 48 is defiantly better that we are. My car feels good…I tested this package at Atlanta and it was a really loose package but here it feels real good…we’ll see how it feels at California the next two days.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-2-2005)
  • Elliott to run three Busch races? for Rusty? and Gaughan? been told that Bill Elliott will race three Busch Series races for Rusty Wallace Inc., including Nashville Superspeedway, Pikes Peak and Milwaukee.(1-28-2005)
    AND Rusty Wallace said on Tuesday that he has some unresolved slots on his Busch Series roster this year, and he hopes Brendan Gaughan can fill the gaps. Gaughan was Wallace’s teammate at Penske Racing last year. Wallace, who fielded Busch cars under the Rusty Wallace Inc. banner in 2004, says he is trying to add Gaughan to a long list of drivers of the #64, including Jamie McMurray, Jeremy Mayfield and himself. “I’ve got some races I’ve got to get filled in yet and I plan on calling Brendan and ask him to do it. I’ve got that much confidence in him,” Wallace said.(NASCAR.com)(2-2-2005)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 2 – no speeds: Kurt and Kyle Busch have won races all over the United States, but the Las Vegas natives have one major void in their trophy case – a trophy from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While the two have won many times at the speedway’s Bullring, the big prize would be a win in the March 13 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. “We raced here last year together in our first Cup start ever for Kyle in Vegas,” said Kurt Busch, the reigning Nextel Cup Series champion. “It was reminiscent of what we used to do at the Bullring for so many years. It’s a good time. I know that this time around we can be more competitive. I know that Kyle is going to have more experience under his belt and there is a chance for us to run side by side for position. That’s something that we’re always looking forward to and we know that there are 41 other competitors out there so we can’t get too wrapped up in it but yet it is fun because it’s Vegas.” Kurt and Kyle were among 43 NASCAR Nextel Cup teams and eight NASCAR Busch Series teams who participated in Tuesday’s Preseason Thunder Las Vegas.
    “Yeah it’s definitely going to be great,” said Kyle, who will compete for rookie of the year honors in the Kellogg’s Chevrolet. “I mean obviously coming out here to race in Las Vegas again; I mean we’ve grown up here. Just over there at the Bullring but now to race on the big speedway. It’s only my fourth start on a big track so it’s going to be a lot of fun. Just trying to basically get the feel for the cars for myself and gain the experience that I need to in order to get the comfort level up to run up front. If there is just a slight chance that I can keep up with the 97 car, then that would be great.” Kurt has had moderate success at LVMS recording just one top-10 finish in four Nextel Cup starts. Kyle completed only 11 laps in last year’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, but had strong runs in the Sam’s Town 300 Busch race as well as a Craftsman Truck Series event in 2001. Despite the comforts of home that Las Vegas brings, there is pressure to perform for the hometown fans as well. “I have noticed we’ve been out here every year testing,” Kurt said. “Every year we come out to Vegas to kick off right after Daytona. It’s a great place to come and test, to get things back into motion and that always gets me pumped up for Vegas. It is a race that I put a bit more emphasis on. This is an equivalent race to me such as the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400. I rank it in my top five races that I want to win throughout my career. But this is large. What our dad helped us do in our early stages of our careers, to understand race cars from the ground up whether it was setting them up or knowing how to buy specific parts. It’s just the management that our dad taught us about race cars and the fun that we’re going to be able to have.”
    The Nextel Cup teams completed their two-day test Tuesday, while 20 Busch Series teams are expected to arrive for Wednesday and Thursday. The only incidents in Tuesday’s test was a spin late in the session by #17-Matt Kenseth, a blown engine in the morning session by #07-Dave Blaney and slight contact with the wall by Busch Series driver #38-Tyler Walker.(LVMS.com)(2-2-2005)
    AND John Andretti brought about an early end to Monday’s test session when he spun and hit the wall in Turn 3 with approximately 10 minutes remaining. Andretti, who is driving the #14 Ford for ppc Racing, was not injured in the incident. NASCAR did not bring its timing equipment to Las Vegas, so no official times or speeds were available Monday.(Las Vegas Sun)(2-2-2005)
  • Richmond goes for Hall of Fame: The Richmond area has entered the race to become the site of a NASCAR Hall of Fame that could generate an unprecedented amount of fan foot traffic for an athletic shrine. Joining Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Kan., in the bidding, the Henrico County Economic Development Authority is spearheading a proposal to be submitted by May 31. The organization will have support from the state, the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Merchants Association of Greater Richmond, Greater Richmond Partnership and Richmond International Raceway, which will hold a news conference this afternoon to discuss the project. NASCAR, which announced intentions last month to start its first sanctioned Hall of Fame, could choose a location by the end of the year. RIR President Doug Fritz has offered his track as a location for the Hall. Fritz said the Richmond area would qualify as a prime contender because of its location — within 500 miles of 50 percent of the U.S. population — and stock-car history. RIR has been playing host to NASCAR’s premier circuit at the Fairgrounds since 1953, making it the second-oldest stop on the Nextel Cup Series.(Richmond Times-Dispatch and a story at the Daily Press)(2-2-2005)
  • Barrett gets a sponsor for Daytona Cup and Busch races: First Trust Portfolios, L.P., a Chicagoland firm specializing in Asset Management, Financial Advisory and Defined Portfolio supervision, will be primary sponsor for Stanton Barrett’s #92 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car in the season-opening Daytona 500. Master Spas will serve as associate sponsor. The car is fielded by Front Row Motorsports, owned by restaurant entrepreneur Bob Jenkins. For Barrett’s NASCAR Busch Series car, the #36 Chevrolet fielded by DCT Motorsports, will have primary sponsorship divided between Master Spas and First Trust Portfolios.(Williams Company PR)(2-2-2005)

    News from February 1, 2005

  • DW at the Super Bowl: DW will be attending Super Bowl 39 in Jacksonville between New England and the EAGLES. DW and MLB on FOX analyst Tim McCarver will be hosting a charity golf event which will be part of FOX’s pre-game coverage. Also, DW will be on the set of the NFL on FOX Post Game show as FOX begins the transitition from NFL on FOX to NASCAR on FOX.(2-1-2005)
  • Shepherd runs good at Daytona, catches NASCAR’s eye: How do you know when your testing at Daytona International Speedway has gotten some attention? When NASCAR walks over to your car and asks if you have the right restrictor plate on the engine. While some might think that would happen with speedsters such as Penske Racing or Chip Ganassi Racing, that wasn’t the case this year at the 2.5-mile speedway. Instead, it was asked of Morgan Shepherd, driver and owner of the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge. As for Penske and Ganassi . . . uh . . . they were slower than Shepherd on the overall time charts for single-car runs during Speed Weeks testing. “First, they wanted to look at my restrictor plate. Then, when that checked out OK, they asked to look at the carburetor,” Shepherd laughed. “When that checked out, they just looked up and smiled and said, ‘Hey! Good run!’” Shepherd’s own Dodge Charger was the one he ran so well with. A Joey Arrington engine made much of the difference, he said. “We were fast right off the bat but we learned some things as we moved along and got even better,” said Shepherd. “We worked some with Bill Davis (racing, which also fields Dodges) and I think we helped them a little too.(Williams Company)(2-1-2005)
  • Chex Most Popular Driver Voting Begins Tuesday: Voting for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award will being online Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com. More than 40 drivers are eligible for the only fan-based award in motorsports. Fans may vote once each day at the site through 11:59am/ct, Monday, Nov. 21.(Williams Company PR)(2-1-2005)
  • Fuel Comapny Plans NASCAR Promotions: Sunoco is planning two new campaigns this year that take advantage of its status as NASCAR’s official fuel sponsor and supplier, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Writer Scott Warfield says the Sunoco Spot-A-Winner Sweepstakes will begin in May and have a top prize that will include a lunch with five NASCAR drivers and driving tips from them. As part of the campaign, Sunoco will give away authentic contingency decals at its 4,600 retail sites. The company will also have a second campaign in the fall offering merchandise tied to the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-1-2005)
  • Martin may start a Truck Series team: Mark Martin hinted on Monday that he is leaning towards fielding his own trucks in the Craftsman Truck Series, a decision that would keep him closer to home in 2006. Martin has long said that he plans on making the Craftsman Truck Series a part of his post-Nextel Cup life. His current employer, Roush Racing, fields two full-time trucks and could easily make room for whatever schedule Martin plans to run in 2006. “I am looking very hard at the Craftsman Truck Series next year,” Martin said. “Initially, the talks were to be a part of Roush.” Martin stressed that if he starts a team, it would be for his own family’s use.(NASCAR.com)(2-1-2005)
  • Ad rates go up at Fox: Advertisers will be paying 9 to 10 percent more to buy time on the Fox network during its broadcasts of 2005 NASCAR races, according to Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal . Media columnist Andy Bernstein says Fox had sought increases of more than 15 percent but settled for hikes that were similar to those for other top sports events. The story also says Fox has compelled advertisers to buy into additional races to secure choice spots and pricing during its coverage of the season- opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. That sounds like the NASCAR Nextel Cup ticket deals that require fans to buy tickets to the support events. It’s all because NASCAR’s TV ratings took a jump last year due to The Chase To The Nextel Cup.(TV Times at the Stock Car Gazette)(2-1-2005)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 1 – no speeds: As soon as NASCAR announced it would reduce the size of rear spoilers and soften tire compounds, many race teams were complaining about how hard the cars would be to drive. After one full day of testing the new rules at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, most drivers feel the concerns were overblown. “There has been a lot of hysteria around the changes this year,” said Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Ford. “It was a year ago since I was here, and my car feels just like it did a year ago.” Martin was one of 43 NASCAR Nextel Cup teams who took part in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas. The drivers tested Monday and will return to LVMS on Tuesday to prepare for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 13. While Martin noticed no difference in his car, some drivers felt their cars were a little looser than in the past. “There is a lot of movement in the car, but I think with my background and driving style, it’s not going to hurt me as much as some of the other guys,” said Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Chevrolet. “The car has been great though. I haven’t had a chance to race with anyone else to see what the car will act like in traffic though.” Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon was surprised at how well his car handled. “We are noticing that there is not as big a difference as what we expected,” Gordon said. “We expected the cars to be a lot looser, so we came here really tight. I’m pretty happy so far.” No official testing times were recorded, but most teams felt their lap times were comparable to past years. Testing resumes Tuesday, and the speedway’s grandstands will be open to the public free of charge. The stars of the NASCAR Busch Series will arrive Wednesday for a two-day test.(LVMS.com)(2-1-2005)