February 2006 News Archives

  • News from February 28, 2006

  • Top-35 Owners Points Shaping Up: after two races, there are three left before 2006 Owners Points will be used to guarantee the teams in the top-35 Owners Points of making the race, what the race looks like now:
    32) #01-Nemechek, 146, +18 points ahead of 36th
    33) #40-Stremme, 143, +15
    34) #10-Riggs, 137, +9
    35) #45-Petty, 134, +6
    36) #66-Green, 128, -6 points out of 35th
    37) #43-Labonte, 128, -6
    38) #14-Marlin, 128, -6
    39) #16-Biffle, 122, -12
    40) #32-Kvapil, 118, -16 failed to qual at Calif]
    See my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.(2-28-2006)
  • Dale Jr. gets to fly: Mark McFarland, driver of the #88 Navy Chevy in the Busch Series and his team owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. have a new perspective on the word. On Monday the two flew with the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Crew, the famous Blue Angels [F/A 18 Hornet], in El Centro, Cal. There they were introduced to speeds in excess of mach 1.2, or 890 mph, and G-forces seven times that of their body weight. “That is the roller coaster that they can’t build,” sounded Earnhardt, Jr. “I thought we pulled a lot of G’s at places like Bristol and Atlanta, but riding with these guys gives you a new perspective. This is a testament to the condition they are in.” Lt. Kevin Davis, Blue Angel No. 7, put the two through roughly an hour each of twists, turns and rolls over the mountains that border NAF El Centro, which is the winter home of the Blue Angels. Pensacola, Fla., The Cradle of Naval Aviation, is their home during the “flight season.” A “season” can be made up of 35 locations, the same as a NASCAR Busch season The Blue Angels are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. By comparison, NASCAR is 58-years-old. (see more and images at the Jr Motorsports site)(2-28-2006)
  • Michael Waltrip Racing update: Toyota is using the same entry philosophy [they used in the Truck Series] as they enter NASCAR’s top series – new teams. Michael Waltrip Racing is working hand in hand with Toyota developing the 2007 Camry. With the quality people we have on board, we will be a key technical partner in all areas of the building process. We are even developing our own 2006 Dodge cars. The reason for this is three fold. First, to run a five-race 2006 schedule, which will be announced Friday afternoon [March 10th] of the Las Vegas race weekend next month. At that time, we will also announce a driver and sponsor combination. Secondly, to assist Toyota in understanding where the cars that are on track today are aerodynamically. And lastly, to help MWR’s employees to stay current with the competition. This group will be much better prepared to race in 2007 because of this plan. Waltrip Racing World is gaining more and more momentum. On February 6, 2006, we finalized zoning approval for the entire 11-acre campus. We plan to begin demolition and renovations by March 1, 2006. Everyone we talk to about our fan friendly, interactive entertainment based concept believes it will be a hit. Race tracks, baseball stadiums –heck, all sports venues have become interactive. Now, the first race shop will be. Our real estate partner, Noah Lazes, has been busy visiting other race shops, Daytona USA, Basketball arenas, etc., making sure our project is the latest and greatest in the world of sports-themed destinations. Bobby Kennedy, MWR’s V.P. of Competition [but still working with DW’s Truck Series team], along with Larry Carter, MWR and former Penske Racing [#2] crew chief, have been equally as busy making sure every detail is in order for the team to produce the fastest race cars possible out of our facility. We are blessed that Larry recently helped in the design of Roger Penske’s new Penske Racing shop. His experience and knowledge of the project ensures me our team will need nothing when we move in.(NAPA Site)(2-28-2006)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Penske Racing South driver #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday, March 1 along with Robert Yates Racing development driver Matt McCall. It is Newman’s second Kentucky test in three weeks. McCall also is scheduled to test Thursday, March 2, with BAM Racing driver #49-Brent Sherman. Test sessions usually begin at 9:00 a.m., and conclude by 5:00 p.m. Test times will vary based on team objectives. Fans can view testing from a designated area outside Turn 3 for free.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(2-28-2006)
  • Edwards close to signing driver: #99-Carl Edwards is close to signing Canadian Pete Shepherd III to drive his car in the USAC Silver Crown Series [USAC] this season. The deal comes after Shepherd completed a battery of tests in the car at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this month. Shepherd also has signed a development deal at Roush Racing — Edwards’ Cup team — where he will drive in a number of Auto Racing Club of America races this season. And he is coming off a successful showing in the Discovery Channel’s Driver X program where he made it to the final cut of 1,400 young drivers who were competing for a ride in Roush’s Craftsman Truck Series Ford F-150. (Toronto Sun)(2-28-2006)
  • Driver Development Clinics Set: It’s no secret that top-level car owners are reaching deep into the junior leagues of racing to seek out their next star. Some Driver Development Specialists and Scouts have been summoned to keep tabs on drivers who might be making noise in Quarter Midgets, Karts, Legends and Bandoleros. In addition, there is great interest in drivers who are currently competing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, as well as, ARCA and Hooters Pro Cup. There are thousands of hopefuls, but only those who shine, follow practical principles, are willing to market themselves properly and whose families are willing to make sacrifices, will ever get a chance. Now, on October 19, 2006, from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm in Mooresville, NC, Mike Calinoff will present the “Driver Development Clinics”. For more info and links see my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(2-28-2006)
  • Husqvarna to sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing teams: Husqvarna, a global manufacturer of forest, lawn and garden power equipment for all applications, has reached a sponsorship agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2006 season. The multi-car sponsorship further solidifies Husqvarna’s commitment to racing: The company already serves as the Forest, Lawn & Garden Equipment of NASCAR, and it features a NASCAR branded chainsaw in its product catalog. The contract includes primary sponsorship of Gibbs’ number #18 Chevy for three NASCAR Nextel Cup races. The blue, orange and white car will feature the Husqvarna logo on the hood, quarter panels and back sections. Husqvarna will also be listed on the car’s decklid as well as the transporter and pit box throughout the 2006 season, and the uniform of driver J.J. Yeley will include the Husqvarna name. Husqvarna’s agreement extends into the Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series team as well. Husqvarna will be the primary sponsor of the number #19 Chevy for four races. Aric Almirola takes the wheel for three of those races. Husqvarna will utilize the Joe Gibbs Racing facility in Huntersville, NC throughout 2006 for dealer events, and will invite select dealers to Washington Redskins football games and pre-season training camp sessions, which are included as part of the sponsorship agreement.(husqvarna.com)(2-28-2006)
  • #66 teams up with CertainTeed: CertainTeed Corporation announced a partnership with sister companies Norton Abrasives and BPB in a team sponsorship of the #66 Best Buy Chevy of Jeff Green for the 2006 Nextel Cup Season which is owned by Haas/CNC Racing. The Norton Abrasives brand of Saint-Gobain Abrasives is the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of performance abrasives. BPB, which was recently acquired by CertainTeed’s parent company Saint-Gobain of Paris, France, is the world leader in gypsum wallboard and a leading supplier of ceiling tiles and finishing products. As part of the sponsorship, CertainTeed will host 15 race-day hospitality events at which Green will be on deck to sign autographs and talk with invited guests of the company, as well as Norton Abrasives and BPB. In addition, CertainTeed has prime positioning on the #66 car with logo placement above the rear quarter panel. Norton Abrasives and BPB are also featured on the car.(AutoChannel)(2-28-2006)
  • Racin’ for a Livin’ Major Guest Star Lineup: JVI Productions LLC announced their initial lineup for their Major Guest Stars on the new program Racin’ for a Livin’; Jeremy Mayfield, Sterling Marlin, A.J. Foyt IV, Greg Evigan with Kory and the Fireflies as musical guests. Also, to put on a great one-two punch as Major Guest Stars will be brothers Mike and Kenny Wallace. Other will be announced in the near future. Racin’ for a Livin’ is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to receive seven fully sponsored rides in a NASCAR Busch Series car in the 2007 season. Created by veteran open-wheel racer Jerry VanDenHul, the series will kick-off using direct internet voting to select the twelve participants. Voters can view the potential rookie drivers, learn about their background, and use internet video to learn why they are chasing their dreams of NASCAR glory. More info on the program on my TV/Media News page.(2-28-2006)

    News from February 27, 2006

  • RPM2Nite Returning? Sources have told RacingOne that ESPN2 will indeed bring back “RPM 2Nite” for the 2007 season. The daily news show has been sorely missed that last five seasons.(2-27-2006)
  • Aikman Perplexed by Penalty: Pro Football Hall-of-Famer to be Troy Aikman questioned NASCAR’s 25-point penalty for an illegal carburetor modification found on the #96 Hall of Fame Racing car in post-qualifying inspection Feb. 12 for the Daytona 500. Aikman and co-owner Roger Staubach were not expecting a points penalty because Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Feb. 14 that it didn’t look as if it was an intentional violation. But NASCAR announced Feb. 21 that crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000 and the team lost 25 driver points and owner points. “I don’t know how that encourages new ownership and how that encourages new sponsors to get involved in the sport to where penalties are handed down that are very prohibitive and affect the ability of these people to bring millions of dollars and see results,” Aikman said prior to the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. “It’s discouraging to say the least.” The team is appealing the decision. “Whenever we have to issue a penalty, we do a history of penalties to try to stay consistent,” Darby said Feb. 24. “The huge majority of carburetor violations that we’ve seen over the last five years have all been the same penalties as were issued to the 96.” The illegal modification was in one of the four ports in the carburetor, team general partner Bill Saunders said after the infraction was found but before the penalty was announced. He added that it was from bad machinery. “Right is right and wrong is wrong,” Aikman said Feb. 26. “To me, that was unequivocally wrong. I don’t know there is anymore I can say about it or anymore we can do about it. I’m hoping that more reasonable heads prevail when they get a chance to look at the appeal, but I’m not confident anything will happen there because I’m not sure why they wouldn’t prevail when they were handing down penalties to begin with.”(Scene Daily)(2-27-2006)
  • Penske talks about Toyota: Of rumors Penske Racing South [#2, #12] would leave Dodge and align with Toyota, Roger Penske said, “I have no contract with Toyota. I have a long-term commitment with Dodge, so we’ve not made any commitments at all with Toyota.”(Speed Channel)(2-27-2006)
  • Intrepid Idea…not so good?Although #2-Kurt Busch sat on the pole for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in his two-year-old Dodge Intrepid, the three Intrepids in the race came up behind the current Chargers entered. Busch and Penske Racing South teammate #12-Ryan Newman finished 16th and 20th Sunday, while #43-Bobby Labonte was 31st in his Petty Enterprises Intrepid. #9-Kasey Kahne, meanwhile, finished fourth in his Evernham Motorsports Charger, three spots ahead of #42-Casey Mears, who backed up his runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 with a seventh.(Speed Channel)(2-27-2006)

News from February 26, 2006

  • Kenseth comes from the back to win @ Calif: #17-Matt Kenseth took the lead late in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway after starting 31st with a green-white-checkered finish.. It is Kenseth’s first win of 2006, first since Bristol last August and 11th of his career. #48-Jimmie Johnson backed up his Daytona 500 win with a 2nd place finish, followed by #99-Carl Edwards, #9-Kasey Kahne and #31-Jeff Burton. #16-Greg Biffle lead 168 laps until his engine let go, finishing 42nd. 2005 Nextel Cup champ, #20-Tony Stewart finished last [43rd] when his engine expired. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured 11th after being down a lap and getting a lucky dog pass. Johnson maintains the points lead, 39 points over #42-Casey Mears, who finished 7th. There were 7 cautions for 26 laps. There were 18 lead changes with 9 leaders.
    Race Results on my Daytona Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.
    Race Rundown: see my California Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(2-26-2006)
  • Dale Jr.’s show gets 8 more episodes: Speed Channel has picked up an option for eight additional episodes of “Back in the Day” with Dale Earnhardt Jr. The 30-minute program, which airs Mondays at 9:00pm/et on the Charlotte-based network, is a journey through the history of NASCAR with an emphasis on the 1970s. “This is the right show on the right network at the right time,” Speed vice president of programming Robert Ecker said in an e-mail. “The decision to place the full-season order was a virtual no-brainer. Dale Jr.’s obvious affection for the material and his clever approach to presenting it instantly and understandably struck a responsive chord with the audience. We are eager to respond to the demand for additional episodes as quickly as we can.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-26-2006)
  • Barrett’s sponsor? during Auto Club 500 qualifying, #95-Stanton Barrett was shown during his lap with a new sponsor hairofdog.com…so what is it? Hair of the Dog Energy Drink, a very cool looking paint scheme…..Barrett qualified for the race and will start 30th.(2-25-2006)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #95 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2006)
  • California Notes:
    • Matt Kenseth won the 2006 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, scoring his 11th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 222nd career start. Kenseth won from 31st, the deepest a race winner has started at California Speedway.
    • Kenseth scored his 100th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup top-10 finish. It was his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at California Speedway.
    • Kenseth’s last victory came at Bristol in August 2005, 14 races earlier.
    • It was Kenseth’s first California victory in nine races there.
    • Nine of 11 Kenseth’s victories have come on superspeedways.
    • Kenseth moved into 49th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list.
    • Kenseth finished seventh in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and now ranks third after two races.
    • Kenseth led four times for 40 laps including the final 33. He did not lead the most laps.
    • Team owner Jack Roush scored the first “triple” since Phoenix in October 2001 when Jeff Burton won the Busch and Cup races and Biffle won the Truck race. Mark Martin won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race here on Friday. Greg Biffle won the Busch race on Saturday with Kenseth giving him the “triple” with his victory today.
    • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 90th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory.
    • Roush has scored two NASCAR Craftsman Truck victories, five NASCAR Busch Series victories and four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at California Speedway.
    • Kenseth has won at least one race each season 2002– 2006, five consecutive years.
    • Jack Roush has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(2-26-2006)
  • More Notebook Items
    • Jimmie Johnson has finished first and second in the first two races in 2006. He remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Johnson has ranked among the top-10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings for 71 straight races, a streak that began after race No. 4 (Atlanta) in March 2004.
    • Greg Biffle led the most laps (168) in the Auto Club 500. The last time he led the most laps in a race was at Phoenix last November.
    • Jimmie Johnson (second) has finished first or second in four of his seven races at California Speedway.
    • Carl Edwards (third) scored his best finish at California Speedway. It marked his fourth straight top-10 finish in four races here. Edwards has finished (in order) sixth, fifth, fourth and third at California since September 2004.
    • Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his third top-10 finish in six races at California Speedway.
    • Jeff Burton (fifth) scored first top10 finish at California Speedway since April 2000. It is his fourth top-10 finish at California Speedway in 12 races.
    • J. J. Yeley (eighth) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender in the 2006 Auto Club 500.
    • All seven of the rookie contenders have competed in both races in 2006 and four scored top-15 finishes in today’s race.
    • Johnson (second in 2005), Jamie McMurray (fourth), Edwards (fifth) and Martin (seventh) also finished in the top 10 in this race one year ago
    • Joe Nemechek (27th) has been running at the finish in the last 34 races, a streak that began at Bristol last April, the longest current streak.
    • Tony Stewart (43rd) ended a 30-race streak of running at the finish, that began at Phoenix last April.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(2-26-2006)
  • StockCarFans – Rumblings – California: Matt Kenseth captured the Auto Club 502 at California Speedway over Jimmie Johnson for his first win since Bristol last August and had to survive a green/white/checker to do it. This was career win #11 for Matt (he’s solo in 49th all-time) and the 90th for Roush Racing in NEXTEL Cup competition. Matt’s win was worth $324,991 from the over $5.9M in posted awards. Pretty good haul this weekend for Cactus Jack….Truck win on Friday, Busch win yesterday, and Cup today. And he had two drivers (Kenseth & dominant Greg Biffle) lead 201 of the 251 circuits to boot!
    Kasey Kahne (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at The Brickyard last August.
    J. J. Yeley (8th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 25th at Dover last September.
    Scott Riggs (19th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Michigan last August.
    Reed Sorenson (21st) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 28th at Homestead last November.
    STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    Casey Mears has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: J.J. Yeley (8th) was the top finishing freshman today. He was followed by Denny Hamlin (12th), Clint Bowyer (14th), Martin Truex Jr (15th), Reed Sorenson (21st), David Stremme (33rd), and Brent Sherman (37th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Matt Kenseth (+30). DOWN: The Big Dropper is Greg Biffle (-40), followed by Tony Stewart (-31). Can’t get much slower in the “Shaft”.
    Early in the season we get some wild swings in the point standings and this week is no exception. Carl Edwards (43rd to 21st) made the best move forward while Bill Elliott (18th to 39th) and Kirk Shelmerdine (20th to 41st), two drivers not entered this weekend, each fell 21 spots.(StockCarFans)(2-26-2006)
  • Kenseth and Stewart…still no speak UPDATE speak: #17-Matt Kenseth says he has yet to hear from #20-Tony Stewart about last weekend’s incident in the Daytona 500 that sent Kenseth into the wall. “I’m sure we’ll talk eventually,” Kenseth said Friday at California Speedway. “I don’t feel like I need to go talk to him because I didn’t feel I was in the wrong at all. Obviously, he does, but I don’t feel like I did anything wrong.” Stewart ran Kenseth into the grass in turn 3 last weekend. That came after Stewart said Kenseth nearly caused him to spin by taking the air off his spoiler earlier in the race. “He started the whole thing, and I finished it,” Stewart said after last week’s race. NASCAR penalized Stewart for aggressive driving after Kenseth hit the wall. Stewart had to restart at the rear of the field. Series officials did not talk to Stewart about his post-race comments this week and didn’t plan to talk to him this weekend. Kenseth admits the incident has been difficult to forget. Kenseth ran well until the incident. He finished 15th; Stewart placed fifth.(Roanoke Times)(2-25-2006)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart has had a busy weekend even before starting today’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race at California Speedway. Stewart said he talked to Matt Kenseth about last week’s incident at Daytona this weekend and spoke with Kyle Busch for about 90 minutes Friday night. Stewart was one of a few drivers who complained about Busch’s aggressive driving at Daytona. Stewart was upset with Kenseth at Daytona after Stewart nearly spun while running underneath Kenseth. Later, Stewart ran Kenseth down the track and into the grass. Kenseth spun back up the track and hit the turn-3 wall. Stewart declined to reveal details of that conversation. “What we talk about is between Matt and me,” Stewart said.(Roanoke Times)(2-26-2006)
  • Martins’s Museum/Dealershop scheduled to open: Roush Racing’s Mark Martin will open his all new Ford dealership, Mark Martin Ford-Mercury, and museum on Monday, Feb. 27th in Batesville, Arkansas. Martin started construction on the state of the art facility over a year ago and is pleased with the fruition of his work. “It’s just an awesome thing to be able to bring back all of these cars and trophies to the place where it all started and the place that I consider ‘home,’ said Martin. “We have a lot of stuff on display at the museum and I hope that all of the fans will get a chance to come out and share in all of the memories with us. Growing up I couldn’t wait to get out of Batesville and go out and see what I could do,” added Martin. “I went off seeking my fame and fortune and I was fortunate to work with a lot of great people and have a lot of success. Now it’s time to bring all of that back home where it belongs to Batesville.” The state-of-the art museum features several of Martin’s past cars, including the #6 Viagra Coca-Cola 600 win car, the ’90 Folgers Thunderbird, the #60 Win Dixie Busch car, Martin’s 2005 IROC car that he used to win his record fifth championship, and the ’89 Strohs Thunderbird. Each car is a part of a display that includes hi-tech mantrons that tell the story of each piece of history. The museum also has on display a variety of other memorabilia, including several of Martin’s past race helmets and historic firesuits. There are also several personal photo books on display that chronicle Martin’s early success, as well as thousands of pictures and newspaper articles that show Martin shows Martins climb from local dirt track sensation to NASCAR legend.(Roush Racing PR)(2-26-2006)

    News from February 25, 2006

  • COT blueprints delivered to teams; Testing upcoming: Nextel Cup Series teams are in the process of being visited by a NASCAR representative bearing blueprints for the “car of tomorrow,” which is set to debut on a limited basis in 2007. “We’ve been giving them out. We’ve been making shop trips with [NASCAR official] Randy Hedger over the past few weeks, trying to finalize all that with the teams,” NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton said Friday afternoon at California Speedway. Pemberton added that Gary Nelson, who’d been heading up the car’s development for NASCAR, will now begin accompanying Hedger to visit the teams. Earlier this week, Nelson left NASCAR to begin his own company; which signed NASCAR as its first client. The only areas of the car not finalized involved the wing and front splitter configuration. “We’re trying to make our adjustments based off the team information when we do our track tests,” Pemberton said. Track tests are tentatively set for March 27 at Bristol and April 3 at Martinsville.(SceneDaily.com)(2-25-2006)
  • Hill & Shelby to receive Eagle One-Shav Glick Award: Motor racing icons Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby will be in attendance at the NASCAR Auto Club 500, at California Speedway, to accept the seventh annual Eagle One-Shav Glick Award. The two were voted co-recipients by a panel of national and California motorsports writers. Presented by car-care products company Eagle One in honor of the recently retired, long-time motorsports writer for the Los Angeles Times, the award will be presented to Hill and Shelby during pre-race ceremonies. It is symbolic of distinguished contributions to motorsports in California. Hill, in 1961, became the first American to win a Formula One world championship. He also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times, the 12 Hours of Sebring three times and numerous other national and international racing events. Shelby, who was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1992, has gained fame as a driver, designer/builder and team manager. In 1959 he won the24 Hours of Le Mans and also set land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. After health problems caused his retirement as a driver in 1960, the Cobra sports car he designed and built became the first American-conceived car to win the World Manufacturers Grand Touring Championship in 1965. As a team manager he helped Ford GT win the World Grand Touring title. Said Glick of both icons, “Hill and Shelby are both products of that era in the 1950s and 60s that has become known as the glory years of sports car racing, a time when ingenuity and industry were rewarded in the racing fraternity. Both were winners and both carried the California trademark with great success on the world racing scene.” Previous winners were Dan Gurney, Wally Parks, Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears, Les Richter and J.C. Agajanian.(Valvoline PR)(2-25-2006)
  • Johnson admits chief went too far: #48-Jimmie Johnson admitted Friday that suspended crew chief Chad Knaus erred in judgment by utilizing a device to raise the rear window of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy to gain an aerodynamic advantage during Daytona 500 qualifying. “Chad is an innovator and has pushed hard on a lot of fronts, but it just isn’t worth it, to be honest,” Johnson said. “I think [the suspension] sent a message to all the teams. It sent a message to Chad. We’ve got to walk on the right side of the line.” Johnson, who continued to reiterate his Daytona 500 winning car passed post-race technical inspection, is confident he will be a Nextel Cup title contender this season despite losing Knaus to a four-race suspension. “I think we’ve got to spin this and make it a positive for our race team,” Johnson said. “And we’re making our race team stronger right now by going through this. I hope it gives us what we need to win a championship.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-25-2006)
  • Gordon trades the familiar fire and flames for a Chip Foose special: Initially unveiled last fall at the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas, the #24 DuPont Hot Hues Heat Waves and Flames Chevy is set to burn up the track at California Speedway during the 500-mile Nextel Cup Series race on Sunday. The car represents an unprecedented union of automotive star power and horsepower as award-winning car designer Chip Foose, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, DuPont Automotive Finishes, Hendrick Motorsports and Motorsports Authentics Inc. came together to fire up this hot machine. Foose, whose custom creations are made for private individuals, television, film and automobile manufacturers, had a distinct vision in mind when he set about creating the Heat Waves and Flames machine. While at the SEMA show, Foose explained how he used a combination of DuPont Hot Hues paints – primarily Blackened (Hot Hues No. 759196) and Starry Night (Hot Hues No. 754870) – to create the base striped color scheme that serves as the foundation of the Heat Waves and Flames design. The car also incorporates the following Hot Hues(tm) colors as accents: Snow Storm, Atomic Tangerine, Lemon Glow, Dragon Fire and Sassy Orchid. For Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports, the Foose-designed car provides a unique showcase for DuPont, the #24 team’s longtime sponsor. Motorsports Authentics (formerly Action Performance) was instrumental in generating the multi-brand merger of industry powerhouses and is producing die-cast replica versions of the elaborate #24 DuPont Hot Hues Heat Waves and Flames 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The collectibles, which will be available in a variety of collector scales, will feature the same DuPont Hot Hues paints and Heat Waves and Flames design seen on the full-size race car when it races this weekend. The Foose-designed DuPont Hot Hues Heat Waves and Flames Chevrolet is the first major special that the #24 team has exhibited in the 2006 race season.(Motorsports Authentics PR), see images of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page and see www.hothues.dupont.com for 2 new free wallpaper downloads of the Heat Waves and Flames car and race helmet.(2-25-2006)

    News from February 24, 2006

  • Strike Three for Hmiel – Banned for Life: NASCAR officials confirmed Friday that former NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series driver Shane Hmiel failed a third drug test and has been banned from NASCAR for life. Hmiel failed two prior tests in 2003 and ’05, and NASCAR officials said Friday that he failed a third within the past week, prompting his banishment.(Speed Channel)
    AND Driver Shane Hmiel has been suspended from competition for life by NASCAR after failing a third substance abuse test. “Shane failed to fulfill the prescribed rehabilitation program scheduled by NASCAR,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday. “As a result, Shane has forfeited his opportunity to compete in any NASCAR-sanctioned events.” Asked if there is any possibility of Hmiel racing in NASCAR sometime in the future, he said, “No, it is a lifetime ban.” Hmiel, the 26-year-old son of longtime crew chief and team official Steve Hmiel, was first suspended in September 2003 after failing a test. He completed a required rehabilitation program and was reinstated for NASCAR competition in February 2004. But he was suspended again last June after failing a second substance abuse test. NASCAR had laid out a road map for Hmiel’s possible reinstatement in 2007 that included medical and psychological reviews and frequent testing. NASCAR said Hmiel failed one of those tests. NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy, based on “reasonable suspicion,” allows the sanctioning organization to broadly administer tests virtually anytime, anywhere.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-24-2006)
  • Penske plans to keep running Intrepids: Penske Racing South General Manager Don Miller said on Friday that the team plans on racing 2004 Dodge Intrepids at all 1.5.- and 2.0-mile tracks for the foreseeable future. Penske drivers #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman both brought Intrepids for Sunday’s Auto Club 500, as did Petty Enterprises for #43-Bobby Labonte. All the other Dodge teams brought the aerodynamically troublesome Dodge Charger, which was introduced last year. Asked how long Penske would campaign the two-year-old Dodges, Miller was blunt. “As long as Dodge will let us,” he said.(Speed Channel)(2-24-2006)
  • Tharp named NASCAR PR Mgr: NASCAR announced that Kerry Tharp will manage public relations for NASCAR’s three national racing series and the weekly and touring series. In his new role, Tharp will be responsible for all at-track media procedures, public relations for the Research and Development Center and NASCAR media events in Charlotte, N.C. “Kerry will further reinforce our at-track public relations efforts to ensure that we continue to be responsive to media requests and vigorously promote the sport,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. “Kerry’s ability to develop personal relationships and work with others will be a benefit to all.” Tharp joined NASCAR’s PR team in April 2005 as director for NASCAR’s licensing office in Charlotte and worked with NASCAR’s licensees to provide public relations support and strategy. He will transfer from his role in NASCAR’s Charlotte licensing office to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. and will report to Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications. Prior to joining NASCAR, Tharp spent 26 years in college sports public relations, 20 of which he was the Associate Athletics Director/Sports Information Director at the University of South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in PR from Western Kentucky University and a Masters Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee.(NASCAR PR)(2-24-2006)
  • #5 Team featured on Frosted Flakes box: In commemoration of the #5 Kellogg’s team bringing home two wins and Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, Kellogg Company has packaged more than six million boxes of Frosted Flakes featuring driver Kyle Busch on the front. The special edition box also highlights “A Triumph of Teamwork,” with members of the No. 5 Kellogg’s crew showcased on the back. The packaging will hit stores throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom in the coming weeks.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-24-2006)
  • Robby’s finish ave improves with DEI power: #7-Robby Gordon’s average finish since switching to DEI engines at Phoenix International Raceway last fall is 11.7. The proof is in the numbers: an eighth-place performance at Phoenix, a 14th-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and skirting the top-10 in 13th at the Daytona 500. Gordon’s in good company. Only #12-Ryan Newman (7.3), #20-Tony Stewart (8.0), #6-Mark Martin (9.3), #42-Casey Mears (9.7) and #16-Greg Biffle (11.3) have higher average finishes over the same [3 races] stretch.(RGM PR)(2-24-2006)
  • California Qualifying Notes:
    • Kurt Busch won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Auto Club 500, lapping California Speedway in 38.485 seconds at 187.086 mph. Kyle Busch holds the track-qualifying record of 38.248 seconds at 188.245 mph, set Feb. 26, 2005.
    • This is his first top-10 start in 2006.
    • This is Kurt Busch’s fourth Bud Pole in 186 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is Kurt Busch’s first Bud Pole and fourth top-10 start in eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at California Speedway.
    • Busch became the 10th different Bud Pole winner in the 12 races at California Speedway, joining Joe Nemechek (1997), Jeff Gordon (1998), Mike Skinner (2000), Bobby Labonte (2001), Ryan Newman (2002), Steve Park (2003), Kasey Kahne (May 2004), Brian Vickers (September 2004), Kyle Busch (February 2005) and Carl Edwards (September 2005). Jeff Burton (1999) started from the pole when qualifying was canceled.
    • Greg Biffle posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 38.671 seconds, 186.186 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the Auto Club 500.
    • This is the first Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet won the Bud Pole at Daytona.
    • Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in seven races at California .
    • J.J. Yeley (fourth) posted his third top-10 start in three races at California.
    • Denny Hamlin (fifth) posted a top-10 start in his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at California.
    • Jeff Burton (fifth) posted his second straight top-10 start in 2006. The last time Burton posted back-to-back top-10 starts was in April 2003, at Martinsville and California when he started 10th in both races.
    • Five drivers failed to qualify for the Auto Club 500: Travis Kvapil, Hermie Sadler, Derrike Cope, Randy Lajoie and Morgan Shepherd. Mike Skinner and Chad Chaffin withdrew prior to qualifying.(NASCAR Media PR)(2-24-2006)
  • Ramblings – California Speedway: Kurt Busch grabbed the Bud Pole today at California Speedway for Sunday’s Auto Club 500 with a lap of 38.485 (187.086 mph)…..and it’s just the 4th top-spot of his career. His last start from the pole was at Homestead in November of 2004, and you know that’s a day the NEXTEL Cup Champion of 2004 will remember. He’ll be joined on the front-row by former teammate Greg Biffle. This is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond last September.
    J. J. Yeley (4th) had his career-best qualifying effort today. His previous best was 8th when we were here last September.
    Scott Riggs (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Talladega last October.
    Stanton Barrett (30th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 23rd at Bristol last April (only 8 races).
    Mike Garvey (35th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 32nd at Pocono last August (only 3 races).
    STREAKIN….Mark Martin has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    In 11 races at Fontana, it’s Ford over Chevy 6-5…..Dodge has been shut out. The only driver with more than one victory here is Jeff Gordon….he’s been in Victory Lane three times. Oft times this race turns into a “fuelish” event….look for Larry Mac to start counting backwards from Lap 250 pretty early on Sunday.(Stockcarfans.com)(2-24-2006)
  • New Official Sites: for Reed Sorenson, a sponsor racing site: Discount Tire, America’s largest tire store, and primary sponsor of NASCAR Busch Series driver Reed Sorenson [and assoc on the #41 Cup car] and the #41 Discount Tire Dodge, announced the launch of the Car #41 Fan Club at www.DiscountTireMotorsports.com.
    AND for Jeff Green, a sponsor site at Best Buy Racing.(2-24-2006)
  • Injured Fan Unnoticed at Daytona UPDATE: As tens of thousands of race fans left the Daytona 500 on Sunday evening, a Longwood man lay unnoticed in a pool of blood 15 feet from a main road, police said Monday. It was more than seven hours before Robert Eugene Faulkner woke up with little memory of what happened. Troopers think the 39-year-old was struck from behind by a pickup about 6:30 p.m. as he walked to his car parked near the Daytona Flea and Farmers Market, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Miller said. “It’s just amazing that he would lay there that long,” Miller said. “How did somebody not see the crash?” Troopers found a piece of a truck’s mirror at the edge of Tomoka Farms Road, near the entrance to the flea market’s parking lot, Miller said. The lot, a popular spot for race fans, was full during the Daytona 500, but troopers did not know how many vehicles were parked there. Faulkner woke at 2 a.m. with a cut on his head, scrapes on his face and a swollen left ankle. He then drove himself to his parents’ Seminole County house, more than 42 miles away. “He’s stubborn and determined. He just knew he needed to be at work,” his sister, Sherrie Atkinson, said while visiting Faulkner at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. He was transferred there Monday morning to see a neurosurgeon. He had more than a dozen staples in his head. When Faulkner walked in the door of his parents’ home Monday, his father saw that he was covered in blood. Perry Faulkner had been waiting for his son, who has lived with his parents in Longwood for the past several months, because he had not been able to reach him all night. Robert Faulkner had driven to the race alone and parked at a home near the flea market. The Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan met up with some friends at the speedway and walked back to his car after the race ended. “He said he heard a squeal,” Atkinson said. “He doesn’t remember anything after that.” Faulkner was thrown, his sunglasses going in one direction and his cell phone in the other, his sister said. She found those items but couldn’t spot his Earnhardt hat. Investigators think the mirror they found at the scene came from a dark-colored Ford F-150 truck, made between 2004 and 2006, Miller said. “I can’t believe people just walked by and didn’t do anything,” Atkinson said. Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call the Highway Patrol at 407-737-2200 or *FHP on their cell phone.(Orlando Sentinel)(2-21-2006)
    UPDATE – real nice….: A woman called police saying she has a key piece of evidence that could help solve a hit and run accident that happened after the Daytona 500. But she won’t give it up unless she gets paid [what a sweetheart huh?]. When Robert Faulkner was hit by a vehicle along Tomoka Farms Road, everything went flying. His hat, cell phone, sunglasses went in different directions. Now a woman says she found the hat, but she’s holding it for ransom. Now, to add insult to injury, a woman called FHP and said she found the injured man’s hat and she’ll give it back for a price. “She wants a reward for finding the hat,” Atkinson said. FHP would like to know when the woman found the hat and if she happened to see a man lying unconscious on the ground in a pool of his own blood. However, the woman said she will give no information until she sees some money. “I just can’t believe somebody would ask for a reward,” Atkinson said. FHP said, right now, they can’t charge the woman with any crime, but they would still like to talk to her. As for the bounty on the hat, Atkinson and her brother agree, information on the hit and run driver is much more valuable. “We both feel the same way, she can keep the hat,” she said. Faulkner is recovering at home. His brain is bruised and he has a lot of cuts and scrapes. FHP believes it was a 2004 to 2006 Ford F-150 that hit him. If you have any information, please call the Florida Highway Patrol.(wftv.com)(2-24-2006)

    News from February 23, 2006

  • Fox Sports Signs DW to extension: FOX Sports and Darrell Waltrip have agreed upon a multi-year contract extension that expands the top-rated NASCAR network’s relationship with the sport’s premier analyst into the new television rights contract that commences with the 2007 season. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports Chairman David Hill and FOX Sports President Ed Goren. “I love FOX Sports,” said Waltrip. “I love being part of a big sports family. David Hill and Ed Goren have embraced me. I have said it before, it’s like being part of a championship race team. They have surrounded me with the best of the best – Jeff, Larry, Mike, Steve and all the others. Plus, FOX also has the best folks that work behind the scenes. I love my job and now I get to do it for a long, long time!” Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2001, legendary stock car driver Darrell Waltrip compiled 84 wins and three Cup series championships in an outstanding NASCAR career. He was voted the Most Popular Driver twice (1989-90) and was the proud recipient of the prestigious Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000, honoring his lifetime of achievements. In 2003, Waltrip was elected into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame, an honor followed by an induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2004, Waltrip’s autobiography, DW: A lifetime Going Around in Circles, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. FOX Sports drops the green flag on its 2006 NASCAR on FOX season this Sunday, Feb. 26 (3:30pm/et) in Fontana, CA, with a live presentation of the Auto Club 500. Over 60 cameras and 100 microphones will be strategically placed in and around California Speedway as NASCAR on FOX presents the first of 14 Nextel Cup races in high definition and Dolby 5.1 audio. In 12 years of existence, FOX Sports has earned 63 Emmy Awards, including six in five years of NASCAR coverage, more than any other network during the same stretch of time. David Hill and Ed Goren are the Executive Producers of FOX Sports. Bill Brown is Senior Producer. Scott Ackerson is the Coordinating Producer of the NASCAR on FOX Prerace show.(FoxSports PR)(2-23-2006)
  • Special Scheme for Harvick at Calif: #29-Kevin Harvick will drive a specially wrapped #29 Icebreakers Ice Cubes gum NEXTEL Cup race car in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.(California Speedway PR)(2-20-2006)
    IMAGE: see images of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(2-23-2006)
  • Explanation of why no points penalty for #48: Examples:
    Points penalty
    Last March at Las Vegas, #29 crew chief Todd Berrier welded the fuel filler so it looked like it was full of fuel when it wasn’t.
    Two weeks ago at Daytona, the Hall of Fame Racing’s #96 car qualified with an unapproved carburetor.
    According to NASCAR, those two infractions warranted not only a fine but a reduction of 25 driver and owner points because the fuel filler and the carburetor were absolutely unapproved parts. NASCAR was able to walk over to the car and confiscate those pieces, and their use was premeditated. The pieces were specifically made to skirt NASCAR’s rules.
    No points penalty
    Last fall during qualifying at Talladega, Berrier and the #29 team had some trap doors in the trunk that weren’t properly sealed off. The shocks were open when they were supposed to be closed. And some hose clamp that holds the fuel-filler pipe in place came loose. The next thing you know, Kevin Harvick’s car had air underneath the car, going up through the trunk and escaping out a hole in the back of the tail light. In that instance, no unapproved parts or pieces were used.
    During Daytona 500 qualifying this year, crew chief Chad Knaus and the #48 team put a sleeve over the trackbar adjuster. Like the #29 car at Talladega last fall, all of those parts and pieces were still part of the car that they raced in the Daytona 500.
    so….Points penalty: In simple terms, here’s the pattern. If you maliciously put something on a car that’s made or machined, and it’s an unapproved piece that can be confiscated, the team will be fined, the crew chief will be suspended and the driver and owner will lose 25 points.
    No points penalty: If you take something that’s already on the car and use it to beat the spirit of the rule, then it warrants a suspension and a fine, but it does not warrant the loss of 25 driver and owner points. See Larry McReynolds full article at FoxSports.(2-23-2006)
  • Special JD schemes UPDATE: #07-Clint Bowyer is scheduled to run a Jack Daniel’s Country Cooler’s scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedweay in May for the Coca-Cola 600 a Jack Daniel’s Soprano’s scheme at Las Vegas in March. See the schemes on my #07 Team Schemes page.(2-8-2006)
    UPDATE – HBO’s Sopranos to sponsor #07 Chevy at Las Vegas: The Soprano will join the NASCAR ranks by sponsoring Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #07 Chevy and driver Clint Bowyer in the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The one-race sponsorship is part of HBO’s marketing campaign to promote the hit drama’s season premiere, which will air Sunday, March 12 at 9:00pm/et. The Sopranos logo will be showcased on the hood and on the quarter panels of Bowyer’s #07. Some of the show’s other businesses are also getting into the act, as the Bada Bing logo will be on the car’s rear quarter panel. The #07 team’s crew uniforms will also include a patch advertising Satriale’s Pork Store.(RCR PR), See an image on my #07 Team Schemes page.(2-23-2006)
  • #61 signs sponsor to multi-race deal: Peak Performance Motorsports today announced that its #61 entry will be sponsored by RoadLoans in a multi-race Primary and Associate Sponsorship deal for 2006. The Internet-based auto finance company teams with Peak Performance as it puts NASCAR veteran Kevin Lepage behind the wheel of the #61 RoadLoans.com Ford when it rolls into California for the Auto Club 500. The RoadLoans.com #61 Ford will first hit the track at the California Speedway on Feb. 24, 2006 as it gears up for the NASCAR season.(Peak Fitness Racing)(2-23-2006)
  • Speed Channel Opens Season with Strong Ratings: NASCAR RaceDay, the revamped high-energy NASCAR pre-race show on SPEED, opened the season with strong numbers from Daytona, scoring an average Nielsen Rating of 1.72 (1,118,000 households) and peaking at 2.34 (1.5 million households) for the live, 2.5-hour program. In 2005, the SPEED pre-race show NASCAR This Morning averaged a Nielsen Rating of .68. Overall, SPEED delivered a 12 percent increase in Daytona Speedweeks ratings over a year ago, with nine shows scoring above a full 1.0 Nielsen mark and several peaking above a 2.0. On the track, coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, the Crown Royal IROC Series event and the ARCA Re/MAX Series were among the highest rated SPEED programs over the network’s 10 days of Speedweeks coverage. Top 10 SPEED Shows from Daytona Speedweeks by Nielsen Rating average (households in parenthesis):
    1. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 12, afternoon) — 2.00 (1,300,000 HH)
    2. NASCAR RaceDay (Feb. 19) – 1.72 (1,118,000 HH)
    3. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 17) – 1.69 (1,101,000 HH)
    4. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 12, evening) – 1.36 (885,000 HH)
    5. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series practice (Feb. 11) – 1.16 (755,000 HH)
    6. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 11, evening) – 1.12 (731,000 HH)
    7. Crown Royal IROC Series race (Feb. 17) – 1.09 (708,000 HH)
    8. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 11, afternoon) – 1.05 (686,000 HH)
    9. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 18) – 1.02 (664,000 HH)
    10. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series final practice (Feb. 18) — .99 (647,000 HH)(Speed Channel)(2-23-2006)

    News from February 22, 2006

  • Rachtman to serve as #31 honorary crewman: Riki Rachtman, host of the nationally syndicated radio program ‘Racing Rocks’ [racingrocks.com] and former host of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball [a Jayski fave – still have tapes of it], will join #31 Team Cingular this weekend as an honorary crew member, serving as gas runner. Rachtman is a big fan of Team Cingular driver Jeff Burton and has vowed to shave his head when Burton claims his next victory.(RCR PR)(2-22-2006)
  • ARG! – Pirates scheme for Sadler at RIR: Elliott Sadler’s #38 M&M’s Ford is scheduled to feature the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” at Richmond in May with the M&M;s dressed up like pirates.(RacingOne), see image on my #38 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2006)
  • Jackson Hewitt scheme on the #16 at Calif: Greg Biffle’s #16 Roush Racing Ford will feature a Jackson Hewitt paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway.(Roush Racing PR), see an image on my #16 Team Schemes page, supposedly will run at Martinsville also.(2-22-2006)
  • Centrix on the #14 at Calif: Sterling Marlin will pilot the #14 Centrix Auto Finance Chevy in this weekend’s event at California (MB2 Motorsports PR). Waste Manahement was the sponsor at Daytona and will be for 11 more races with Centrix being on the #14 for another race in 2006. The team is still looking for more sponsorship for the remsining races.(2-22-2005)
  • Pedigree for Sadler at Calif: Elliott Sadler’s #38 Ford Fusion will carry the primary colors of Pedigree, the Official Pet Care of NASCAR, for the first of four races during the 2006 season at California Speedway in the Auto Club 500.(Elevation Group PR), no word on the three other races, but see a scheme of the car on my #38 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2006)
  • Different Scheme and new spotter for Newman: New spotter Danny Culler joins the Alltel/Mobil 1 team this weekend. Culler, a long-time spotter in the sport, has worked with several NASCAR Cup drivers, including Dale Earnhardt [Culler was the spotter for Brian Vickers in 2005]. The #12 Dodge features the Mobil 1 paint scheme this weekend. Newman’s latest victory, at New Hampshire International Speedway in September was in a Mobil 1 car. Newman will race chassis PRS-20 in the Auto Club 500 on Sunday. PRS-20 last raced in the 2005 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway where it finished seventh. PRS-20 is the oldest chassis in the team’s stable [and NOT a Charger].(Penske Racing), see the Mobil 1 scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2006)
  • Toyota denies Dodges claim: A Toyota executive denied the company was looking for confidential Dodge information and also said the company would not pay for Bill Davis Racing’s defense in recent litigation with Dodge. DaimlerChrysler won a $6.5 million jury award in a breach of contract lawsuit Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in Michigan. The jury decided that BDR had given confidential Dodge information to Toyota during the time BDR was developing a truck for Toyota. “If we were going to copy people’s stuff, it wouldn’t be people running at the back, let me put it that way,” Toyota Racing Development Senior Vice President/General Manager Lee White said in a jab at Dodge. Dodge terminated its Cup contract with BDR in May 2003 after discovering BDR was building Toyota trucks and promptly filed suit. BDR filed a counterclaim and asked for more than $9 million in the case, which went to trial in mid-January. The bill could climb toward $9 million if attorney’s fees and other penalties are awarded to DaimlerChrysler, according to Robert Thackston, who represented Dodge in the suit. White and Davis continue plans to debut two Toyota Nextel Cup teams in 2007. “There is no moving back from the deal that we have. I’m sure he is going to appeal it or whatever he can do,” White said. “That’s his program and it’s really nothing to do with us. He’s never asked [for us to pay it].”(NASCAR Scene)(2-22-2006)
  • Another Dallenbach Racing: Jake Dallenbach, 15-year-old son of former racer and current NBC NASCAR analyst Wally Dallenbach Jr., has joined the Legends racing program at Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway and already has scored his first victory. In just his fourth race in a Legends car, Jake recently won the Legends Semi-Pro feature event on the 7/8-mile road course located in the infield of Texas Motor Speedway.(TMS PR)(2-22-2006)
  • Shelmerdine got some help UPDATE: #27-Kirk Shelmerdine was rolling his car toward his hauler to get ready to go home following Thursday’s qualifying races when a NASCAR official told him to roll it to the inspection line. He didn’t know it, but out of the 58 cars trying, he was one of the 43 that had qualified for the Daytona 500. Shelmerdine, who crew-chiefed for the late Dale Earnhardt in the 1980s, is a one-man team with no sponsor, no pit crew and no money for tires. He didn’t find a sponsor, but he did find a pit crew and received a donation for the tires from a random family in the infield. Earnhardt’s former boss, Richard Childress, flew Shelmerdine’s son, who had never been to Daytona, on his private plane. In turn, Shelmderdine put Childress Vineyard on the hood of his car. ”Without a big corporate deal it was hard to pull off,” Shelmerdine said. ”People jumped in and helped like the Lopez family. … They paid the whole tire bill, but I don’t think they want us to talk about that. They are some devoted Dale Sr. fans.” Shelmerdine not only finished on the lead lap, but wound up 20th. ”We couldn’t keep up with the other cars, but I guess we beat all the wrecked ones,” he said. ”I’ll be glad to go home and rest. It’s been a heck of a week.”(Allentown Morning Call)(2-20-2006)
    UPDATE: When Welcome, NC – based Kirk Shelmerdine crossed the finish line in 20th-Place at the Daytona 500 on Sunday, he did so flying the Black and Gold colors of Apex Electric Company on the #27 Chevy his hood. Apex Electric Company is based in Apex, NC, and owned by Cary, NC businessman Mike Howington. Howington has supported Kirk Shelmerdine Racing at races in the past, but the relationship was never party to such a big “Cinderella Story” that Shelmerdine provided at the 2006 Daytona 500. “I cannot describe how proud I am of Kirk for finishing ahead of so many strong entries in this year’s race” said Howington, adding, “To have the Apex name on the hood of his car and provide exposure for the area as well as my business was only the icing on the cake”! With the success at Daytona, the 2006 season looks to be a great one for the #27 Chevy of Kirk Shelmerdine, and look for the Apex name to appear at a track near you soon as discussions are underway to the Shelmerdine / Apex Electric relationship to full-time status.(Apex Electric Company PR). Shelmerdine is not on the Auto Club 500 Entry List and his site Kirkshlemerdine.com says he is going out to Califonria Speedway, but at this point, word is that Shelmerdine is unsure if he will race or not..(2-22-2006)
  • Skinner in the #37 for some races: been told that Mike Skinner will run some Nextel Cup races in the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge as sponsorship permits and the #37 R&J Racing Dodge in some races. No word on what happened with Chad Blount’s full time ride with the #37. Skinner will run the #37 at California this coming weekend.(2-22-2006)
  • #51 Team makes 2006 debut at Calif: The Competitive Edge Motorsports Marathon #51 Chevy team and driver Mike Garvey are ready to get their season under way in California. The team is excited about their enhanced product, with new bodies on the cars and a new engine program with help from General Motors. “We’ve improved some things over the winter to increase our efforts this year,” said team owner Joe Auer of Competitive Edge Motorsports. “Our bodies are better, engines are getting where they need to be, and overall infrastructure is growing. Our goal is to get into all 20 races we enter, and really become more competitive this year.” After testing 12th quickest in Las Vegas recently, Garvey and the team are confident about California.(CEM PR)(2-22-2006)

    News from February 21, 2006

  • Gary Nelson resigning from NASCAR UPDATE: on the Speed Channel ‘crawl’ this afternoon: SPEED reporter Bob Dillner has learned that Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s VP of Research and Development, will submit his resignation Wednesday. Nelson has been in charge of the development of NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow.
    UPDATE: Gary Nelson, NASCAR vice-president of research and development, announced today he is leaving the sanctioning organization to form his own company. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to have my own company that specializes in safety, performance and other technology-driven aspects of motorsports,” said Nelson. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and now is a good time to do it. ‘Nelson & Associates’ will be open for business right away and I’m delighted that NASCAR will be my first client.” With NASCAR as a client, Nelson will continue his efforts on the Car of Tomorrow and other safety initiatives for the racing industry. “Gary has been a great contributor to NASCAR’s success,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton, “beginning as a crew member, then as a championship crew chief and, most recently, as a leader in NASCAR’s commitment to safety. “This is something he has always wanted to do and it will be a great opportunity for Gary to take advantage of his racing knowledge and make it available to the entire motorsports industry. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Gary in this new role,” Helton said. Nelson will use his quarter-century of experience in NASCAR racing and make it available to other forms of racing. The 52-year-old native of California won the 1982 Daytona 500 and the 1983 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship with driver Bobby Allison. It was Allison’s only Championship. Three years later, Nelson again won the Daytona 500 this time with driver Geoff Bodine. Nelson became NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Director in 1992 and was named Vice President of NASCAR’s newly formed Research and Development facility in 2002.(NASCAR)(2-21-2006)
  • #96 HOF and JGR to appeal penalties: Hall of Fame Racing has an engine lease program with Joe Gibbs Racing, and the unapproved carburetor came with the engine supplied to Hall of Fame Racing. “Joe Gibbs Racing provides all of the engines and carburetors for Hall of Fame Racing,” said Gibbs.  “We are responsible for any issues having arisen from the unapproved carburetor that was taken by NASCAR in Daytona.  It is never our intention to put any unapproved parts on any of our race cars or those of our partners.  We will join Hall of Fame Racing in appealing the severity of the penalty.”(JGR PR)(2-21-2006)
  • #48 and #96 Penalties Announced:
    NASCAR announced today that four penalties have been issued to two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, as a result of rule violations this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
    Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all NASCAR events until March 22, 2006 [thru Atlanta race]. Knaus has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006. The penalties come because of an unapproved template modification to the rear window area, violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-3.12.1 (A) (unapproved template modification.) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule book. The violation was discovered during Feb. 12 post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. On Feb. 13, NASCAR ejected Knaus from further participation in Daytona 500 activities as a result of the violation.[No Point Penalties]
    Three penalties were assessed to the #96 Chevrolet team, due to the use of an unapproved carburetor, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. Crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000; driver Terry Labonte was penalized with the loss of 25 driver championship points; and car owner William Saunders was penalized 25 owner championship points. This rule violation was also discovered during post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2006)
  • Piece of #2 car goes into the stands: have seen nothing of this, but noticed it during the race and have seen video, the rear bumper cover of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge that Kurt Busch drivers, came off during a wreck on lap 188 and flew over the catch fence and into the stands during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The piece looked like it flew through an opening in the stands. Have heard nothing more seen any reports at all about any injuries, and sources at the track say no injuries were reported.(2-21-2006)
  • Bowyer best rookie at Daytona: #07-Clint Bowyer scored his first top-10 finish in his second career NEXTEL Cup Series start and took top rookie honors in the first race of 2006. He placed 22nd in his only other NEXTEL Cup Series start in April 2005 at Phoenix International Raceway. Other Raybestos Rookies to score top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500 (since 1975): 1979: Dale Earnhardt, eighth 1980: Jody Ridley, 10th 1989: Rick Mast, sixth 1991: Bobby Hamilton, ninth 1993: Jeff Gordon, fifth 2000: Matt Kenseth, 10th 2002: Ryan Newman, seventh 2004: Scott Wimmer, third. Where the Raybestos Rookies finished at Daytona: #07-Bowyer finished 6th; #1-Truex Jr. 16th; #49-Sherman 21st; #40-Stremme 28th; #41-Sorenson 29th; #11-Hamlin 30th; and #18- Yeley 41st. Unofficial Raybestos Rookie standings: Bowyer 16; Truex Jr. 10; Sherman 9; Stremme 8; Sorenson 7; Hamlin 6; Yeley 5.(Raybestos PR)(2-21-2006)
  • NASCAR Restructures Executive Management Team: NASCAR announced multiple management changes, effective immediately, that will position NASCAR to continue its strong growth and more efficiently manage business decisions and communications throughout the company and the industry. Paul Brooks will be taking on additional responsibilities as senior vice president and will continue his role as president of NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment. Brooks will now oversee all broadcasting, new media, entertainment, corporate administration, corporate communications, diversity, international business and business affairs. Steve Phelps is promoted to chief marketing officer (CMO) and will oversee all NASCAR corporate marketing, industry marketing, brand and consumer marketing, multi-media, sales, licensing, business development and The NASCAR Foundation. Phelps will relocate to Daytona Beach, Fla. from New York City. Phelps will report to Brian France. Phelps joined NASCAR as vice president of corporate marketing last July following a 15-year career with the National Football League (NFL) and most recently, the top sales executive for Wasserman Media Group. Taking over for Phelps in New York will be former NFL and Viacom executive Jim O’Connell. O’Connell will serve as vice president of corporate marketing and will manage NASCAR’s New York office and all corporate marketing initiatives. O’Connell will report to Phelps. NASCAR President Mike Helton will continue to interface with all NASCAR departments with direct management of all areas of competition, research and development, events and operations, and the touring and weekly series. Helton continues to report to Brian France and serve on NASCAR’s Board of Directors. NASCAR Chief Financial Officer Todd Wilson and General Counsel Gary Crotty will continue their current duties and report to Brian France. NASCAR and its affiliated companies currently employ 886 people. The company is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla. and has key offices throughout the country. NASCAR offices are located in the following markets: New York City, Corporate Marketing; Los Angeles, Calif., Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment; Charlotte, N.C., and Bentonville, Ark., Licensing; and Concord, N.C., home to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2006)
  • Mears Comments on being the possible points leader: Circletrackplus.com reports/comments – Does Casey Mears know something we don’t? In a teleconference transcript from Dodge Motorsports, Mears responded to a question [which was from the media and read: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE POINTS LEADER?] about being the Nextel Cup Series points leader and here’s what he said, “We kinda thought about that, too. We thought about the scenarios if they are going to take points away from the 48 car. In that case we’d be leading the points. It’s awesome. Obviously it’s one event. Next week everything can completely turn around and go backwards, but leading into California we’ve got a lot of confidence. That’s been a good race for me. It feels great. Obviously I’ve left Daytona in worst shape.” CircletrackPlus.com contacted NASCAR immediately and 1:30pm/et, a source stated that Casey was not the points leader but Jimmy Johnson. Who’s right here? Mears or NASCAR? (CircletrackPlus.com), Mears said ‘IF” and NASCAR has not made any announcement on a #48 Team penalty as of 3:30pm/et. NASCAR issued a PR, the #48 team had no points penalties, so Johnson stays as the points leader.(2-21-2006)

    News from February 20, 2006

  • 37 million watch Daytona 500: NBC’s coverage of the 2006 Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 19th attracted 37 million total, unduplicated viewers and drew a record 11.3 household rating and 23 share, the highest NASCAR rating in history and the most viewed Daytona 500 ever, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media Research. The 11.3/23 makes NBC’s only three Daytona 500 broadcasts three of the top four highest rated and most viewed Daytona 500s ever (NBC 2002 and Fox 2005, 10.9; NBC 2004, 10.6). Last year’s coverage of the Daytona 500 on Fox drew a 10.9/23. Yesterday’s rating peaked with a 13.6 between 6-6:30 p.m. “I am thrilled that we were able to give NASCAR this record-breaking rating for the exciting sport of stock car racing,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. The top ten metered markets for yesterday’s broadcast of the Daytona 500 on NBC were: 1. Greenville, S.C. 24.7/39 2. Greensboro, N.C. 23.0/37 3. Orlando, Fla. 22.7/39 4. Indianapolis, Ind. 21.2/34 5. Charlotte, N.C. 21.0/36 6. Knoxville, Tenn. 19.2/31 7. Jacksonville, Fla. 18.7/29 8. Nashville, Tenn. 17.8/30 9. Dayton, Ohio 17.7/30 10. Louisville, Ky. 17.3/28.(NBC PR)(2-20-2006)
  • Johnson’s winning car inducted in Daytona USA: Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team were reunited with their Daytona 500-winning #48 Lowe’s Chevy at DAYTONA USA on Monday morning for the Eckrich Champion’s Breakfast. After celebrating his first Daytona 500 victory on Sunday night, Johnson, owner Rick Hendrick and substitute crew chief Darian Grubb were up bright and early to induct the winning racing machine into DAYTONA USA. The #48 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 49th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2007. Johnson, Hendrick and Grubb participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig and Gatorade presented the 2006 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from Victory Lane.(DIS PR)(2-20-2006)
  • Kvapil to test at Kentucky: #32-Travis Kvapil, who opened the 2006 Cup Series season with a 27th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway yesterday, is scheduled to test his #32 Tide Chevrolet at Kentucky Speedway Feb. 21. Tests usually begin at 9:00 a.m., and last until about 5:00 p.m. Test times will vary based on team objectives. Fans can view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(2-20-2006)
  • Scalpers Snagged: Scalpers hovering around Daytona International Speedway found themselves to be the target of a sting conducted by Daytona Beach police this past weekend, authorities said. Undercover officers arrested 14 people for peddling tickets along International Speedway Boulevard said Sgt. James Newcomb, of the Daytona Beach Police Department. The ticket hawkers were arrested and brought to the county jail after they sold tickets to undercover officers who posed as race fans looking for a good seat. The most expensive ticket bought was $150 more than the retail value, Newcomb said. Anyone who offers or sells a ticket for more than $1 above the retail price is charged with the resale of an amusement ticket, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines or 60 days in jail. Buyers don’t face any penalties because it isn’t illegal to purchase a scalped ticket. The ticket peddlers pose a problem for police because they block traffic along International Speedway Boulevard and restrict pedestrian flow into the Speedway. Newcomb said most of the ticket sellers were from out of town and he hopes this weekend’s operation would deter scalpers from selling again.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-20-2006)
  • Felix 1 spot from being bald: Felix Sabates, minority owner at Chip Ganassi Racing, told CGR driver Casey Mears that he would shave his head if Mears won the Daytona 500. Sabates’ mane is safe, barely. Mears finished a career-best second in the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge.(Dallas Morning News), plus, besided winner Johnson, Mears was the only other driver to have over a $1million in winnings at the Daytona 500 with $1,095,766.(2-20-2006)
  • All 73: Three drivers have competed in all 73 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega:
    #6-Mark Martin (2 Talladega, 0 Daytona wins)
    #21-Ken Schrader (1, 0)
    #15-Michael Waltrip (1, 3)
    Plus all three ran the one-off restrictor plate race at New Hampshire, but that was not a drafting/aero track.(2-20-2006)

News from February 19, 2006

  • Johnson wins the Daytona 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson led late and without suspended crew chief Chad Knaus, won the 2006 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a green-white-checkered finish. #42-Casey Mears [career best finish] finished 2nd, followed by #12-Ryan Newman, #38-Elliott Sadler and #20-Tony Stewart. The rest of the top 10: #07-Bowyer, #25-Vickers, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #21-Schrader and #88-Jarrett. There were 18 leaders, a new track record. Pole sitter, #31-Jeff Burton in the Cingular Chevy, got involved in a late wreck and finished 32nd. Petty Enterprises started off good, until #45-Petty got caught up in an early wreck, but #43-Bobby Labonte was running in the top-15 until he got caught up in the Burton-McMurray wreck. #27-Kirk Shelmerdine, with support from Childress Vineyards, had a nice run and finished 20th, his career best. #20-Stewart and #24-Gordon tangled, #20-Stewart and #17-Kenseth tangled. Stewart and #5-Busch were penalized for aggressive driving during he race.
    Race Results on my Daytona Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.
    Race Rundown: see my Daytona 500 Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(2-19-2006)
  • Daytona 500 Notes:
    • Jimmie Johnson won the 48th running of “The Great American Race” – the 2006 Daytona 500 – scoring his 19th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 148th career start.
    • Johnson’s last victory came at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October 2005, six races earlier.
    • Johnson’s first victory in nine Daytona races is also his first in a restrictor-plate race.
    • Johnson moved to 31st on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, tying Davey Allison, Buddy Baker and Fonty Flock.
    • Johnson, who finished fifth in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, begins the 2006 season atop the point standings.
    • Johnson has ranked among the top-10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings for 70 straight races, a streak that began after race No. 4 at Atlanta in March 2004.
    • Johnson led four times for 24 laps including the final 17.
    • It was his Johnson’s fifth straight top-10 finish at Daytona extending a streak that began here in 2004.
    • Johnson has won at least one race each season 2002 – 2006, five consecutive years.
    • Johnson scored the 10th victory for team owner Rick Hendrick at Daytona. It is Hendrick’s 141st victory as a car owner and sixth Daytona 500 victory with four different drivers [GBodine, DWaltrip, JGordon and now Johnson].
    • Team owner Rick Hendrick has won at least won race each season 1986 – 2006, 21 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr., led the most laps (32) in the 2006 Daytona 500. The last time he led the most laps in a race was at Atlanta last October, the only time in 2005 that he lad the most laps.
    • The 18 different leaders in the 2006 Daytona 500 set an all-time record for the most leaders at Daytona. The previous record was 15 set in 1974, 1989 and 1996 – all in the Daytona 500.
    • Three of the top-10 finishers in the 2006 Daytona 500 finished in the final top 10 in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
    • Casey Mears (second) scored his career-best finish. It marked his first top-10 finish in seven races here.
    • Ryan Newman (third) scored his best finish at Daytona. It marked his second top-10 finish in nine races here.
    • Elliott Sadler (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 15 races at Daytona. It marked his best Daytona finish since he finished second in this race in 2002.
    • Tony Stewart (fifth) scored his fifth straight top10 finish at Daytona. Stewart has scored eight top-10 finishes in 15 races at Daytona.
    • Clint Bowyer (sixth) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender in the 2006 Daytona 500. All seven of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders competed in the Daytona 500.
    • Joe Nemechek (33rd) has been running at the finish in the last 33 races, a streak that began at Bristol last April, the longest current streak.
    • Only once since 1979 has the winner of the Daytona 500 gone on to win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship in the same year: Jeff Gordon (1997). Three other drivers won the Daytona 500 also became the NASCAR champion in the same year: Lee Petty (1959), Richard Petty (1964, 1971, 1974 and 1979) and Cale Yarborough (1977).
    • The race leader at the halfway point in the Daytona 500 has failed to win in the last 14 years. Dale Earnhardt Jr., was the leader at lap 100 in the 2006. The last driver to lead at halfway and win was Davey Allison in 1992.(NASCAR PR)(2-19-2006)
  • Rumblings – Daytona 500:
    Jimmie Johnson took command late, survived a green/white/checker finish (though we finished under yellow), and led the final 17 laps to take his first ever Daytona 507.5 today at Daytona International Speedway. This was win #19 for Johnson (he’s now tied with Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, and Fonty Flock for 31st on the all-time list), the 6th for Hendrick Motorsports in the 500, and the 141st overall for HMS. JJ’s share of the over $18M in posted awards was a cool $1,505,124.
    Casey Mears (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 4th, and he’s done that three times….at both Texas races last year and at Watkins Glen in August of 2004. He was the only other driver to top $1M in earnings today at $1,095,766 (and who was it that put him in the “field-filler” category just a couple weeks ago?).
    Elliott Sadler (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Bristol last April.
    Clint Bowyer( 6th) had his career-best finish today. He was 22nd in April at Phoenix in his only other NEXTEL Cup start.
    Ken Schrader (9th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Lowe’s in May.
    Kasey Kahne (11th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Richmond in September.
    Kirk Shelmerdine (20th….and we’re doing handstands!) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 26th at Talladega in May of 1994 (!!!) and his take today was a sweet $272,008.
    David Stremme (28th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Chicagoland last July (only 4 races).
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    The Rookie Report: In what could be the deepest rookie class ever, Clint Bowyer (6th) takes the point early. He was followed today by Martin Truex Jr (16th), Brent Sherman (21st), David Stremme (28th), Reed Sorenson (29th), Denny Hamlin (30th), and J. J. Yeley (41st).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Clint Bowyer (+31), followed by Brian Vickers (+28 ), Terry Labonte (+26), and Kirk Shelmerdine (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Carl Edwards (-38 ), followed by Jeff Burton (-31), Jamie McMurray (-31), Bobby Labonte (-27), Kyle Petty (-27), Kurt Busch (-25), Jeff Gordon (-24), and Jeff Green (-21). A good chunk of the field was involved in the “Shaft” this week.(from Stockcarfans.com)(2-19-2006)
  • Hendrick Keeping Knaus: Chad Knaus was sent home from Daytona, but he’s not in danger of being sent packing from Hendrick Motorsports. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Knaus still has two years left on his contract, but Hendrick has no intentions of letting him go. “We want him, he wants us, Lowe’s is happy, life is good,” Hendrick said. “We’re going to renegotiate. This was a little bump in the road, but we’re going to put it behind us and go on.” Knaus signed a five-year extension with Hendrick on May 26, 2003, but Hendrick said he hopes to have a new deal done by the end of this season.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(2-19-2006)
  • Labonte to run Intrepid at Calif: #43-Bobby Labonte will drive the 2004 Dodge Intrepid instead of the Charger in next week’s Nextel Cup race at California. “Bobby came straight out of the Chevy into the Dodge camp,” said Labonte’s teammate/owner Kyle Petty. “He’s not run a downforce Dodge car. So he’s going to give us an honest assessment of where the Intrepid is compared to where the Monte Carlo is. For us, we feel it’s a great opportunity for us to be able to use a driver of his caliber and say this is what it is.” All of the Dodge teams are gathering data on the Charger for a test at Kentucky Speedway next month. The first test earlier this month was canceled due to weather, putting the teams further behind. If no solution is found, Dodge owners hope NASCAR will grant them some concessions on the spoiler to create more downforce. #12-Ryan Newman will race the Intrepid in the next five races.(NASCAR.com)(2-19-2006)
  • Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge: Gillette announced the launch of the Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge, a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the risks, symptoms and benefits of early detection of prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. Gillette is teaming with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) Foundation and sports partners Major League Baseball and six NASCAR drivers – The Gillette Young Guns, to educate men about the risks related to prostate cancer, the fastest-growing men’s health issue today. Men can participate in the Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge by logging on to www.gillettepcc.org, and taking the important steps of knowing their risks, talking to their doctor and telling their friends. The Challenge will begin with events surrounding this week’s Daytona 500, when Gillette Young Gun Ryan Newman will serve as spokesman for the NASCAR portion of the program. Newman also will be featured in a Public Service Announcement (PSA). This year, Gillette and the NPCC will have screening vans present at major events throughout the country. The vans will provide free prostate cancer screenings, as well as information on topics such as prevention strategies, diagnostics and symptoms of the disease. For more information about the NPCC, visit pcacoalition.org.(Alan Taylor Communications)(2-19-2006)
  • #01 Fire at Daytona UPDATE: around 9:20am/et, it was reported on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live the there was a fire in the engine compartment of the #01 US Army Chevy that Joe Nemechek drives, supposedly oil collected in a heat shield and caught fire and was quickly put out. No report on an engine change, but ut was reported that the #01 would start at the rear of the field due to engine problems in the Gatorade Duel on Thursday.
    UPDATE: The MB2 Motorsports #01 Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek suffered a small fire in the engine compartment this morning around 9:00am/et as the crew prepared for the Daytona 500. The fire that a crewmember termed as ‘No big deal’ started after pieces of rubber under the exhaust header ignited. The crew was forced to change the wiring harness and the aluminum heat shield next to the header. The car will be starting from the back, but they had already been relegated there after being forced to change an engine yesterday. The engine that was changed Saturday was from the same batch that produced the engine that had blown up during Thursday’s Twin Qualifying race.(Cup Scene Daily)(2-19-2006)
  • Teamsters Send Message with banner Flying over Daytona 500: The Teamsters Union denounced Waste Management Inc. (WMI) for its ongoing assault on minority sanitation workers by commissioning a plane to fly a 50-foot banner over the Daytona 500 speedway for two hours that read, “WMI and NASCAR Want Some Drivers to Lose.” WMI, the nation’s largest private trash hauler, is a sponsor of NASCAR’s diversity programs despite attempting to impose deep wage, retirement, health care and pension benefit cuts on its predominantly minority sanitation truck drivers in Washington D.C. and New York. The company’s work force is overwhelmingly African American and Latino. NASCAR’s steering committee is chaired by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.(Yahoo Biz), Waste Management also is the sponsor of the #14 Chevy driven by Sterling Marlin.(2-19-2006)
  • #48 Team on the phone with Knaus: When #48-Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, was suspended last week after Johnson’s car failed post-qualifying inspection, Knaus packed up and headed home to Charlotte, NC. He was banned from all remaining Speed Weeks events, and NASCAR will consider expanding the penalty after today’s Daytona 500. Since Knaus went home, NASCAR has approved the Hendrick Motorsports crew chief’s post-practice telephone and e-mail communication with his team and Johnson in preparation for the 500. The team has adjusted to communicating with Knaus from four states away. Johnson, though, would prefer his 500 didn’t play out this way. “We talk at night and work on a game plan for the next day and work on that test matrix, if you will,” Johnson said, “and come back and have a conference call the next evening and talk about what worked and what didn’t. It’s definitely a different way of working on a race car. I’ve never been through it and certainly hope we’re never in this position again.”(Palm Beach Post)(2-19-2006)
  • NBC – 76 cameras for Daytona 500: The 2006 Daytona 500 on NBC, broadcast in high definition, will deploy 76 cameras (including 10 cars with 3-camera in-car rigs) around the 2.5-mile speedway. NBC will feature a “Crew-Cam” – a helmet-cam worn by a jack-man in Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew while performing pit stops. In addition, NBC will have “Squash-Cam,” a lipstick-sized camera buried in the grass in the tri-oval that gives viewers the effect of being “squashed” by the cars speeding by. The NASCAR on NBC coverage is anchored by play-by-play announcer and pre-race host Bill Weber, joined by analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach. Pit reporters Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum complete the team. The “Bank of America Countdown to Green” pre-race show will feature NBC’s “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno driving the pace car; Fergie, the best-selling group The Black Eyed Peas, singing the National Anthem; and a performance by legendary rock band Bon Jovi; and also will include a feature on “The Big One,” major wrecks at Daytona. Daytona International Speedway holds the record for most cars crashed at once, 38, on February 13, 1960, on the second lap in a 73-car Sportsman 250-mile race.(NBC PR)(2-19-2006)
  • No sponsor or crew for Shelmerdine…yet: #27-Kirk Shelmerdine was still searching for a sponsor and a pit crew Saturday, one day before the biggest race of his career. “We’re shaking the bushes,” said Shelmerdine, a former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt and a surprise qualifier for the Daytona 500. Shelmerdine said few big-time sponsors have shown interest. As for a pit crew, he said paying a Busch Series team was an option, but that many of them had tight schedules because they have to travel to California next week and then Mexico.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-19-2006)

    News from February 18, 2006

  • Teresa doesn’t expect to see #3 run again UPDATE: [DEI Team owner] Teresa Earnhardt doesn’t believe anyone — including her stepson, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. — will bring the #3 the late Dale Earnhardt made famous back to Cup racing.”Contrary to popular belief, everyone cannot be replaced,” Teresa Earnhardt said. “Legends live on forever. I don’t think the #3 will ever be driven by anyone else.” The rare public comment from Teresa Earnhardt comes from a one-hour television show, “NASCAR Five Years Later,” that will air tonight on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et. The #3 has not been used in the Cup series since Earnhardt’s death. NASCAR controls car numbers and assigns them to team owners on an annual basis. Richard Childress has maintained control of the #3 since Earnhardt’s fatal crash. Earnhardt Jr., who drives the #8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company his father formed and his stepmother now runs, said again recently he would like to drive the #3 before the end of his Cup career. “I really think that’ll happen,” Earnhardt Jr. told NASCAR.com. Earnhardt Jr. said his desire to drive the #3 does not mean he has any short-term plans to leave DEI. At the Speedweeks media day on Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. said he’d like to run DEI one day. “I’d love to take over at DEI,” he said. “Teresa and I will talk about that when the time comes, but that’s not in the near future.” Earnhardt Jr. started JR Motorsports, which owns a team that plans to run in the Busch Series this year.(Thatsracin)(2-14-2006)
    UPDATE Childress wants to retire the 3: NASCAR team owner Richard Childress said he agrees with Teresa Earnhardt and hopes NASCAR will retire Dale Earnhardt’s #3. NASCAR never has retired a number.(Dallas Morning News)(2-18-2006)
  • Speed Adds New NASCAR Show: Speed Channel will launch a new weekly series during Daytona Speedweeks [actually after], as 7 Days debuts Feb. 20 at 8:00pm/et. Each week, Speed Channel cameras will follow a different person as they prepare for the NASCAR race weekend. Drivers, crew members, team owners, track officials, even fans – no one is off limits as 7 Days takes viewers behind the scenes from a new perspective every Monday night. The first show will focus on Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs. The Feb. 27 episode will feature Roush Racing’s Doug Richert, crew chief for Greg Biffle’s #16 National Guard Ford.(Speed Channel)(2-18-2006)
  • Kenny subs for Mike UPDATE: Kenny Wallace, who missed making the Daytona 500, is practicing the #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming Dodge in Saturday’s Happy Hour practice for the Daytona 500. Mike was in an accident in the Daytona Truck Series race and has been diagnosed with a post concussion syndrome. Mike hopes to be cleared to run the Daytona 500, if not Kenny will run the #09.(Speed Channel’s Happy Hour TV Coverage)
    UPDATE: Mike Wallace reported on Speed’s NASCAR Live that hs went to the hospital and has been cleared to race in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.(2-18-2006)
  • NASCAR considers additional points for winning: NASCAR chairman Brian France said that NASCAR is considering changing the points system to allow more points for winning.(Dallas Morning News)(2-18-2006)
  • Kurt Busch has ears pinned back…literally: #2-Kurt Busch has a new team, new cars and a new pit crew. He also has a new look. Busch saw a cosmetic surgeon in the offseason, and came out with his once-prominent ears pinned back closer to his head. “Yeah, a little slicker,” Busch said Friday, grinning. “I’ve got it working in the draft now.” Busch said he wasn’t quite clear on the details of the procedure — he was under sedation — but he definitely is pleased with the result. “I’ve wanted to do it for a few years now, but never had the time,” he said. The new look has turned a few heads in the garage.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-18-2006)
  • Yates: Ban Cheaters: Veteran NASCAR [#38, #88] car owner Robert Yates said Friday that if #48-Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus was found guilty of deliberate and flagrant cheating by NASCAR that he should be banished from the sport for life. If Knaus merely skirted the rules, Yates added, than probation would be the appropriate punishment. “If what he did, there was language in the rules about not doing that particular thing, then he ought to go race the Talladega Short Track the rest of his life,” Yates said of Knaus. “If the (NASCAR rule book) language covered that area … gone. Just gone forever, because that’s just stealing. If (what Knaus was caught with) was a hydraulic system, or a little winch that pulls a cable so the rear-end housing … pulls his body down, outta here, outta from now on. That’s a device. That’s clear,” Yates said. “If it was a creation that was not covered by the language or intent, then I think he needs to be on probation for a while.” Knaus was ejected from Daytona 500 Sunday after NASCAR inspectors discovered he had altered a rear jack bolt to move the rear window on the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in an attempt to improve aerodynamics. After ejecting Knaus, NASCAR sent him back to North Carolina for the remainder of Speedweeks and said that next week it may levy additional penalties, including a longer suspension and point fines.(Speed Channel)(2-18-2006)
  • Miller Challenges Bud UPDATE: Miller Brewing Company is kicking off a new era in its 35-year history of motorsports sponsorship by boldly declaring its confidence in Kurt Busch’s ability to drive the #2 Miller Lite Dodge to victory lane. Miller’s chief marketing officer Tom Long today sent a letter to Anheuser-Busch vice president of brand management Marlene Coulis, betting the beer-market leader that Miller Lite driver Kurt Busch will finish ahead of Budweiser driver #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the final 2006 Nextel Cup Series season standings. The terms of the friendly wager: The losing sponsor must change the paint scheme on its car to match the winning brand’s car for one Nextel Cup Series points-paying race next year. Budweiser has until the start of Sunday’s season-opening race to accept the Miller challenge.
    Fans can win BEER: Earlier this week, Miller Lite announced that legal-drinking-age consumers can register to win its “When Kurt Wins, You Could Win” sweepstakes online at www.millerbeer.com until 11:59am/et Sunday, Feb. 19. If Busch takes the checkered flag in Daytona Beach, then 500 randomly selected registered fans will win a year’s supply of Miller Lite. (See the official contest rules online.)(Tom Roberts PR)(2-17-2006)
    UPDATE: Anheuser-Busch’s response came quickly: “I sincerely doubt we’re considering it,” said Brian Eaton of Busch’s Public Affairs Office. Though Anheuser-Busch didn’t formally say no, that’s only because they don’t want to entertain the idea. Better to leave their race car driver to speak for the company, though he was caught by surprise. “You’re joking, right?” the Bud driver said when asked. “No … That’s something dreamed up by the guys in Milwaukee.”(ESPN.com)(2-18-2006)
  • Milestones at Daytona: #38-Elliott Sadler is scheduled to make his 250th start and #99-Carl Edwards is scheduled to make his 50th career Nextel Cup start.(2-18-2006)
  • Davis Sticking with it: Bill Davis said a recent $6.5 million judgment against his Bill Davis Racing #22,#23,#55 in Cup] team will not force him out of business. Dodge sued BDR for breach of contract and the jury awarded the judgment Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in Michigan. The jury decided that BDR had given confidential Dodge information to Toyota while the team was developing a truck for Toyota. Dodge terminated its Cup contract with BDR in May 2003 after it discovered BDR’s building of Toyota trucks and promptly filed suit. Davis plans to appeal the verdict, but said Feb. 17 that if it stands, his race team will not fold. He fields three full-time trucks for Toyota and one full-time and one part-time team in Cup. He plans to run two full-time Cup teams for Toyota in 2007.(NASCAR Scene)(2-18-2006)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute/Candle Ceremony: Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is once again asking fans to remember Dale Earnhardt on Saturday, February 18. Tribute plans are set for both Mooresville [NC] and Daytona. A beautiful candle-light tribute will be held outside DEI’s headquarters in Mooresville, NC from 6-8 pm on Saturday, February 18. That evening, DEI’s building will be closed and illuminated with candles. Commemorative decals will be distributed to all in attendance. DEI’s gates will remain open until midnight for those that cannot attend between 6 and 8 pm, but still want to pay tribute to the legendary Dale Earnhardt. Fans that cannot attend the ceremony at DEI are encouraged to light a candle in remembrance at home that evening. In Daytona, all NASCAR Busch Series cars will carry a commemorative decal during their race on Saturday. Additionally, on lap three of Saturday’s Busch race, fans will be encouraged to stand and proudly display three fingers.(DEI Site)(2-18-2006)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute: ESPN Classic remembers legendary driver Dale Earnhardt on the five-year anniversary of his death with a marathon tribute on Saturday, February 18th from 6:00-11:00pm/et. The full schedule is as follows:
    6 pm ET: SportsCentury: Dale Earnhardt
    7 pm ET: 3 Nation: The Life and Legacy of Dale Earnhardt
    8 pm ET: 1991 Hanes 500
    10 pm ET: SportsCentury: Dale Earnhardt
    Then on Sunday, Feb 19th at 8:00pm/et, don’t miss the movie “3” starring Barry Pepper as Dale Earnhardt.
  • NASCAR HQ Moving to NC? UPDATE Denied: Might NASCAR be moving its headquarters from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Concord? That’s the speculation here, with NASCAR buying more land in the Concord area, where it already has a significant presence, with its research-and-development center. Any such NASCAR move could be related to its plans for a Hall of Fame near Charlotte.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2006)
    UPDATE: Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, debunked one rumor very quickly this afternoon. France said quite forcefully the rumors suggesting NASCAR would be moving its headquarters to the Charlotte area were unfounded. France did say the sanctioning body was continuing to increase it’s presence in the Queen City however, the headquarters would stay in Daytona.(CircleTrackplus)(2-18-2006)

    News from February 17, 2006

  • Shelmerdine to sell ride? or pick up a sponsor? UPDATE: #27-Kirk Shelmerdine in his sixth long-shot try made the field for the Daytona 500. Shelmerdine, 47, was NASCAR’s top crew chief in the 1980s and early 1990s, winning four championships with Dale Earnhardt. He abruptly left the Richard Childress team after 1992, went into semi-seclusion, and began pursuing a somewhat quixotic career as driver. This week, Shelmerdine’s #27 entry amounted to a last chance. “If we didn’t make it, I didn’t know what I was going to do next week,” he said after the heats. I was going to have to sell a bunch of stuff. I’d have had to sell the car and a lot of my old Ford stuff from last year.” Basically put him out of business? “Yep,” Kirk said. “But I didn’t have much to lose.” However it falls right now, Shelmerdine seems to have a lot to gain. Last place in the 500 pays about $275,000, and the bundle could go much higher if, say, Valvoline, which was shut out of the race when Scott Riggs failed to meet criteria, decides to buy Shelmerdine out [Jayski NOTE: Riggs runs a Dodge, Shelmerdine is a Chevy, have to use the same car]. Shelmerdine smiled his cat smile. “My lawyer’s here, they can come talk to her,” he said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. The plan was to get through today in good shape. Now it’s time for a new plan.”(Speed Channel)
    AND Thursday night, as Shelmerdine continued a massive effort to control his emotions, that #27 Chevrolet looked like a Rolls Royce. Beginning today, it might as well be. A few decent sponsors, and at least one prominent one (Valvoline, which bankrolls Scott Riggs’ #10 car), might be ready to deal for a little logo placement in Sunday’s big show. “The quarterpanels are open,” said Shelmerdine, who smiled broadly and added, “the price has gone up.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-17-2006)
    UPDATE: on Speed’s NASCAR Live, #10 Dodge car owner said it was decided not to buy a ride for Riggs.(2-17-2006)
  • Petty gets another sponsor for 4 races: The names of TBC Corp.’s Tire Kingdom, Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers and National Tire & Battery properties will appear on NASCAR driver Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge at various races this year. “We believe that involvement with NASCAR is a natural progression in our marketing efforts,” says Bob Crostarosa, TBC’s vice president of marketing. “TBC (has) reached an agreement with the Petty race team that presents the Tire Kingdom brand as the primary sponsor of the car driven by Kyle Petty for the Darlington, S.C., race on May 13, and for the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Race in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 14,” say TBC officials. “The car will carry the Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers logo for the Richmond race on May 6 and the National Tire & Battery logo in Atlanta on March 19. Additionally, the three brands will be identified as associate sponsors throughout 2006 for all other Nextel Cup races.”(moderntiredealer.com)(2-17-2006)
  • Orange No Bump Drafting Lines: The Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway provided the first test of NASCAR’s hastily devised rules for “bump drafting.” Bright orange lines were painted to define areas where bump drafting was to be allowed. It was open season on the back straight, but the only other area where cars were allowed to “bump freely” were relatively short strips exiting turn four and entering turn one. Bump drafting in the curved areas of the track — including the tri-oval area and the start-finish line — was supposedly taboo.(Gaston Gazette)(2-17-2006)
  • NASCAR Member Club First Anniversary: On Feb. 10, 2005, the Official NASCAR Members Club was unveiled to the world at Daytona International Speedway. One year later, NASCAR’s designated fan initiative is booming right along, tooling up for its second season with its sights set on breaking new ground for its Members and the sport they love. The Official NASCAR Members Club is the first organization of its kind in professional sports, and it’s designed to bring the passion and excitement of NASCAR racing directly to its fans. As NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France stated in the latest issue of the Club’s OFFICIAL MEMBER Magazine, it’s about making the NASCAR experience personal. The Local Chapter Organization currently features 1,000 Chapters nation-wide, including Hawaii and Alaska, with more in the pipeline. ONMC Members have access to VIP Members only areas at the pre-race Driver Introduction Stage at NASCAR events, preferred seating at NASCAR events on and off the track and special ticket, travel and merchandise packages, among other benefits. ONMC is $59.95 for 12 months a year, find out more about the ONMC by visiting on the web at www.NASCAR.COM and clicking the Members Club tab on the home page or by calling 1-877-MY-NASCAR.(NASCAR PR)(2-17-2006)
  • Nadeau Signs with Clay Andrews Racing: Jerry Nadeau is making his return to NASCAR racing. Nadeau will be a consultant for the newly-formed #84 Clay Andrews Racing and driver David Gilliland in the NASCAR Busch Series. Nadeau begins immediately as the team prepares for their 2006 season debut at the California Speedway in the Stater Bros. 300. “I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to make a return to the sport I love,” said Nadeau. “I feel that this is it. Clay (Andrews) and general manager, Rich Gautreau, have put together a winning team in a very short time. I really want to help this team grow. This is also a great chance to work with a very promising driver,” explained Nadeau. “David (Gilliland) is a very mature driver with a lot of talent. Hopefully I can give him that extra guidance to run up front.” Nadeau is a seven year veteran of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series with over 170 Cup starts. He was a consistent threat before a practice crash in May of 2003 put a halt to his driving career. Nadeau has one win, 19 top-ten and nine top-five finishes in his Nextel Cup career. The experience and wisdom of Nadeau will make an immediate impact on Raybestos rookie candidate Gilliland. “This is pretty special for me,” said Gilliland. “I’m going to be a rookie this season, but I think a person of Jerry’s talents can really accelerate the learning curve. He is a winner, and has proven that in and out of a race car. I’m really looking forward to working with him.” Clay Andrews Racing is looking to build a reputation as one of the fastest-growing teams in the Busch Series. They have acquired a 28,000sq ft. state-of-the-art race shop in Statesville, N.C., and owner, Clay Andrews, has already appointed winning personnel. Motorsports professional Rich Gautreau is the general manager and veteran crew chief Billy Wilburn will help lead Gilliland in 2006. The team plans to run a partial schedule in 2006 while securing sponsorship for the long-term future.(MCG PR)(2-17-2006)
  • New Bumper for Talladega: NASCAR is working on a new front bumper for its race cars it hopes will be ready by the April race at Talladega. The bumper would be softer and deprive the drivers of the ability to bump or slam draft without harming the bumper and the car’s aerodynamics.(Florida Today)(2-17-2006)
  • Subway increases sponsorship: Subway Restaurants will heighten sponsorship efforts with #16-Greg Biffle of Roush Racing in its third year of team sponsorship. Subway restaurants made its first Nextel Cup Series appearance as a team sponsor in 2001. Today, Subway restaurants are set to be the primary sponsor of the #16 National Guard/Subway Ford Fusion at 11 Nextel Cup Series races in 2006, including two entitlement races. The Subway Fresh 500 will take place at Phoenix International Raceway on April 22 and the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 22. For more information about the Subway restaurant chain, visit subway.com.(PR Newswire)(2-17-2006)
  • Tire Leasing Problems? UPDATE: NASCAR’s new tire-leasing rules could be doomed for early failure, judging from teams’ reactions. Car owners aren’t happy at getting only a 25 percent billing credit on any unused $400-plus tires, so some are scuffing every set they have, leaving Goodyear with only used tires at the end of a weekend. The tire-leasing rules were designed to limit testing, but Robert Yates’ team said it has enough tires stockpiled for at least 20 tests this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-16-2006)
    UPDATE: Could it be possible Goodyear has come up with the first true cost saving measure team owners can’t circumvent? CircleTrackplus.com has learned the new leasing program actually pays a rebate to car owners at the end of the year. More to the story as it unfolds.(CircleTrackplus)(2-17-2006)
  • Knaus looking to get canned? UPDATE denied: By the way, a rumor floating around the garage says that [#48 crew chief Chad] Knaus has been trying to get out of his contract at Hendrick so that he can move to Evernham Motorsports, and that he might be trying to get fired to accomplish that goal.(Yahoo Sports)(2-16-2006)
    UPDATE 1a: Daytona’s most ridiculous rumor was that Knaus got himself kicked out of the Daytona 500 because he’s trying to get fired from his job at Hendrick Motorsports so he can go back to work for his old boss, Ray Evernham. Not only is the rumor untrue, it is patently absurd. Knaus worked for Evernham twice, once as one of Jeff Gordon’s original “Rainbow Warriors,” the second time very briefly after Evernham formed his own team. After that, the two split for good, perhaps because their personalities are so similar. Don’t expect them to work together again any time soon.(Speed Channel)
    UPDATE 1b: been told by Hendrick Motorsports Knaus is not looking to leave the #48 team.(2-17-2006)
  • Marlin to a backup car: What looked to be a very successful run at Daytona International Speedway for Sterling Marlin turned into a nightmare when an incident under caution damaged the #14 Waste Management Chevy, forcing the team to a backup car for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Marlin showed a strong performance in Thursday’s first of two Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races, starting eighth and running as high as fourth several times. Then on Lap 58 of 60, the caution flag waved, setting up a green-white-checkered restart. As Marlin followed the field across thestart-finish line for the final caution lap, he was caught off guard as several other racecars slowed to avoid debris and the result was a wrecked racecar. By going to a backup car he will be forced to start the Daytona 500 from the rear of the field.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(2-17-2006)

    News from February 16, 2006

  • USA Weekend Special: The Feb. 19th issue of USA WEEKEND spotlights five of the greatest NASCAR racers in history in a poster: Bobby Allison, Robert Glen Johnson Jr., Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons. Dennis McCafferty brings these legends together and gets them talking about the good old days of NASCAR and Allison¹s infamous fistfight with Cale Yarborough. Check your local newspaper to read this article and get your very own poster!(USA WEEKEND Magazine PR)(2-16-2006)
  • Cingular Launches New Media Net Racing Portal: With the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in the pole position for the big race in Daytona on Sunday, Cingular Wireless is giving race fans the chance to follow all of the exciting racing action this weekend and all year from their wireless handset. Cingular’s new MEdia Net Racing Portal will allow many of its 54 million customers real-time access to the most up-to-date and content-rich motorsports information available from any wireless carrier, putting them almost as close to the action as the drivers.
    The Cingular MEdia Net Racing Portal will showcase a wide variety of exclusive motorsports content available only from Cingular. In-depth information will include top stories from around motorsports, as well as pre- and post- race reports, real-time statistical information on in-race leaderboards and individual driver news. Speed freaks and gear heads will also be able to show off their forecasting skills with Fantasy Racing presented by Cingular, one of the most user-friendly fantasy racing games available in wireless format. Driver selections and up-to-date score-tracking can be managed from the ease and convenience of the wireless handset. Fantasy participants will be able to compete against other Cingular customers nationwide for the chance to win great prizes.
    “The Cingular MEdia Net Racing Portal will give motorsports enthusiasts quick access to the most comprehensive racing information available,” said David Garver, Executive Director of High Growth Segments and Sponsorships at Cingular Wireless. “We want to feed the passion of the race fan by providing compelling interactive content and creating a unique wireless experience for our customers.”
    “The Cingular MEdia Net Racing Portal is a great way for fans to follow me – and my fellow competitors – throughout the entire season,” said Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet and pole-sitter for this weekend’s race in Daytona. “With all of the news alerts and race reports, fans won’t miss a minute of racing excitement. This is another example of how Cingular is leading the way in providing wireless motorsports content.”
    For the second year in a row, Cingular has reached a deal to become the Official Wireless Sponsor of Jayski.com, one of the most popular fan destinations on the Internet for breaking racing news, information and statistics. The deal makes Cingular the exclusive wireless licensee to all Jayski content, allowing it to offer popular Jayski content, including up-to-date driver news, race summaries and “Silly Season” gossip. Cingular will continue with its Jayski text alerts throughout the season. “I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with Cingular and adding their customers to the hundreds of thousands of fans who already rely on Jayski.com for NASCAR news,” said Jayski Founder Jay Adamcyzk. “Partnering with Cingular to create Jayski content into a wireless format is yet another way that we are able to deliver breaking NASCA R news and information to fans in the quickest way possible. We will continue to look for new ways to develop interactive content as the season progresses.”
    Additional Cingular MEdia Net Racing Portal features include a variety of action-packed racing games, the Virtual Crew Chief Enter-to-Win sweepstakes, challenging motorsports trivia questions as well as racing-themed ringtones and wallpapers. Cingular customers can access the MEdia Net Racing Portal on their wireless handset by launching the MEdia Net option and then visiting the main Sports home page. There is no subscription fee to access the Portal but standard MEdia Net data usage charges apply. Download charges start at $1.99 for games, ringtones, and wallpapers. MEdia Net can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis ($.01 per KB), or included in a MEdia Net or MEdia Bundle package. These packages range in price from $4.99 for 1MB of data usage to $19.99 for unlimited data usage.
    About Cingular Wireless: Cingular Wireless is the largest wireless carrier in the United States, serving 54.1 million customers. Cingular, a joint venture between AT&T Inc., formerly SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corporation, has the largest digital voice and data network in the nation — the ALLOVERTM network — and the largest mobile-to-mobile community of any national wireless carrier. Cingular is a leader in third generation wireless technology. Its 3G network is the first widely available service in the world to use HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) technology. Cingular is the only U.S. wireless carrier to offer Rollover, the wireless plan that lets customers keep their unused monthly minutes. Details of the company are available at www.cingular.com.(PR)(2-16-2006)
  • Gordon wins 2nd Duel: #24-Jeff Gordon won the 2nd Gatorade Duel 150 with #5-Busch finishing 2nd followed by #26-McMurray, #43-Labonte and #6-Martin. #7-Gordon and #09-Mike Wallace raced their way into the Daytona 500, with #10-Riggs and #78-Kenny Wallace just missing the Daytona 500. #32-Kvapil finished 26 but gets in by speed. With #7-Gordon racing into the Daytona 500; #27-Shelmerdine gets the final spot by speed with #96-Labonte starting 43rd using the Past Champions Provisional. Fifteen drivers fail to make the Daytona 500. See race results on my Gatorade Duel 150’s Race Results page.(2-16-2006)
  • Sadler wins 1st Duel: #38-Elliott Sadler won the 1st Gatorade Duel 150 with #99-Edwards finishing 2nd followed by #8-Earnhardt Jr., #48-Johnson and #17-Kenseth. #36-Elliott and #61-Lepage raced their way into the Daytona 500, with #23-Skinner and #74-Cope just missing. #00-Hermie Sadler finished 29th/last but gets in by speed. With Elliott racing into the Daytona 500. #7-Gordon is now in the race at least by speed. Three drivers are now locked in by speed #32-Kvapil, #00-Sadler and #7-Gordon; #96-Labonte is locked in by a Champ Prov. If 2 of the the #32, #7 or #96 race in, #27-Shelmerdine, and then #15-Menard could get in by speed. See race results on my Gatorade Duel 150’s Race Results page.(2-16-2006)
  • UPS Puts Big, Brown Truck on Race Track: NASCAR fans have waited a long time to see Dale Jarrett “race the truck.” Now, there really is a UPS race truck. To prepare UPS’s 2006 TV commercials for the popular “Race the Truck” campaign, the company ignored animation possibilities and instead built a real racing truck, starting with a 20-year-old, 250,000-mile workhorse UPS package car. A team of highly qualified fabrication specialists transformed the old truck, dropping in a 514-cubic-inch factory Ford SVO crate motor that generates 620 horsepower and 700 pounds of torque. The engine, in turn, was fitted with a two-stage nitrous oxide injection system that boosts its output to 800 horsepower, allowing for low gear burnouts and an estimated top speed of nearly 150 mph on the track. During NBC’s Daytona 500 broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 19, viewers will get their first glimpse of the modified UPS package car in two new spots. What began as a way for UPS to create awareness for its NASCAR sponsorship has since grown in popularity as fans everywhere are ready for Jarrett to race the truck. But as with any good race car, there’s testing required to get driver, pit crew and race truck ready.
    Jarrett, driver of the #88 UPS Ford Fusion for Robert Yates Racing, puts custom-made Goodyear tires to the test as he maneuvers the UPS race truck in the first of the new commercials, “Brakes.” As Jarrett completes a lap and attempts to stop, team members discuss whether he has enough braking power to offset the momentum behind a four-ton vehicle. Jarrett begins fishtailing as he brings his speedy UPS vehicle to a halt, convincing the team of the need for adjustments. “Draft” illustrates the force behind the UPS race truck by showing its effects on a father and his young son as they watch a NASCAR practice trackside. One car passes and blows their shirts; another passes and nearly causes the dad to lose his hat. When the brown truck passes, the boy is elevated horizontally as he holds onto his father’s hand to avoid being blown away. Subsequent commercials titled “Burnout,” “Lug Nuts” and “Sponsor” will debut throughout the 2006 NASCAR season.(UPS PR)(2-16-2006)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Daytona: We ran the Gatorade Duel 160’s (not a typo) today at Daytona International Speedway and set the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Elliott Sadler won Duel #1 (both were extended to 64 laps via the green/white/checker rule) and he’ll start 3rd on Sunday. Jeff Gordon (who was already assured of the outside pole on Sunday) won Duel #2. Jeff Burton copped the Budweiser Pole last Sunday (and became the first qualifier for next year’s Bud Shootout) with a speed of 189.151. It’s the third top-spot of Burton’s career (he won the pole at Richmond in September of 2000 and at Michigan in August of 1996).
    Jamie McMurray (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Pocono last July.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Dover last September.
    Kyle Petty (12th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 10th at Richmond in September of 2003!
    Ken Schrader (23rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Bristol last August.
    Welcome to Brent Sherman (29th)…..he’ll make his first ever Cup start on Sunday.
    For my money the story of the day (and I live for these) is Kirk Shelmerdine (42nd). Little did we know last Sunday when he qualified 7th amongst the have-nots (edging out Paul Menard by 7/1000th’s of a second!) that we’d make it that far down the qualifying list today. Here’s hoping this will lead to a little more sponsorship down the line and a chance for Kirk to make a few more races (tho his car made three races last year Kirk only qualified it once….at Pocono in July).
    STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races. Mark Martin has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(StockCarFans)(2-16-2006)
  • #66 adds asscoaite sponsor: Best Buy Haas CNC Racing and SanDisk Corporation announced that SanDisk has signed on as an associate sponsor of the #66 Chevy, driven by Jeff Green. SanDisk, the world’s largest supplier of flash memory data storage products, will have its logo displayed on the quarter panels of the #66 Best Buy Chevy throughout the 2006 season. In addition, the SanDisk sponsorship will be highlighted on team uniforms, trailers and merchandising items. SanDisk will also have a presence in the Best Buy Fun Zone Technology vehicle, a mobile unit featuring interactive technology displays that will make appearances at select races. The SanDisk logo will appear on the #66 Best Buy Chevy in the Feb. 16 Gatorade Duel 150 event, and the Feb. 19 Daytona 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.(GMR/Best Buy Racing PR)(2-16-2006)
  • Atlanta HOF bid looking for $$: Georgia lawmakers are trying to win NASCAR’s hall of fame for downtown Atlanta with millions of new dollars from Dale Earnhardt license plates and airport rental cars. Leaders in Georgia’s House will soon introduce legislation to shift additional money to the hall of fame project from Georgia’s new NASCAR license plate and Atlanta’s 10-year-old rental car tax. This would be on top of the $32 million in public incentives already on the table. The added money will help the local bid team seal a deal with NASCAR in a hall of fame race that could be Atlanta’s to lose, said state Rep. Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta), the No. 2 man in the House who’s become the attraction’s point man under the Gold Dome.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-16-2006)
  • COT opposition: One garage source says the current opposition by NEXTEL Cup Series car owners to building cars that meet NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow specifications is the current state of the specifications – in flux. If NASCAR could clearly define the specifications construction would begin almost immediately. Teams that have built cars have complained no sooner than they get a car finished, they have to cut part of it up because the specs changed.(CircleTrackPlus)(2-16-2006)
  • More on the #48 infraction: A respected source in the garage area reports NASCAR officials had a little help discovering the ingenious manner of cheating which lead to the ejection of Chad Knauss from the remainder of the Daytona activities. To add salt to the wound inflicted on the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team, this source reports the finger pointing that led officials to the infraction came from within the Chevrolet camp.(CircleTrackPlus)(2-16-2006)
  • Prilosecotc to #31? UPDATE: hearing Prilosec OTC will become an associate sponsor for #31 Jeff Burton and that a Prilosec OTC paint scheme will run in 2006, Cingular Wireless is the primary sponsor for Burton and the #31 team. Prilosec OTC had been with the #40 Ganassi Racing team and ran a scheme once a year with Sterling Marlin..now with the #14 team.(12-28-2005)
    UPDATE: Prilosec OTC announced new sponsorships with Richard Childress Racing’s #31 Nextel Cup Series team and NASCAR. Starting with the 2006 season, both relationships will elevate Prilosec OTC’s marketing efforts within NASCAR. “Success in our business is measured by performance,” said Richard Childress. “Prilosec OTC is all about performance in treating frequent heartburn with an over-the-counter medicine. Thanks to Prilosec OTC, frequent heartburn is something I don’t worry about all of the time. We’re proud to have Prilosec OTC as a member of the #31 Cup team.” Later this season, Prilosec OTC, proud sponsor of NASCAR will unveil the Victory of a Lifetime Sweepstakes. This sweepstakes will award the Grand Prize winner and, accompanying friends and family, a NASCAR season, that up to now, fans have only dreamed of. 2006 will also mark Prilosec OTC’s inaugural season as a “Proud Partner of NASCAR.” Prilosec OTC’s NASCAR relationship includes heartburn remedy category exclusivity and will allow Prilosec OTC to integrate NASCAR marks into all Prilosec OTC, NASCAR related marketing initiatives. Prilosec OTC’s Major Associate sponsorship of RCR’s #31 Chevy will be highlighted by a unique one-race paint scheme each season that will transform the orange #31 Cingular Chevy into a purple racing machine. Throughout the NEXTEL Cup Series season, Prilosec OTC will be positioned on Jeff Burton’s firesuit and the lower rear quarter panel of the #31 Cingular Chevy.(Yahoo Biz), still no word on which race the scheme will be run but see the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(2-16-2006)
  • How the fields for the Gatorade Duels are set: The front row for the Daytona 500 and the starting lineups for the Gatorade Duel qualifying races were set by today’s qualifying. #31-Jeff Burton will start on the pole for the first Gatorade Duel and #24-Jeff Gordon will start on the pole for the second. Starting positions in the Gatorade Duel races are determined by qualifying speeds. The participating eligible highest ranked 35 in 2005 car owner points are assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2005 final car owner points: odd-numbered ranked car owners compete in the first Gatorade Duel; even-numbered owners in the second. Owners who failed to finish in the top-35 of the 2005 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.(NASCAR Statistical Services)
    See my Gatorade Duel’s Page for the starting lineups.(2-12-2006)
    NOTE: #96-Terry Labonte was moved from the 1st Duel to the 2nd Duel, so both races have 29 drivers.(2-16-2006)

    News from February 15, 2006

  • Knaus expected gone longer the Daytona: Although NASCAR will wait until next week to decide on its final penalties for Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the #48 Lowe’s Hendrick Motorsports team, Johnson hinted Thursday that he expects Knaus to be missing from the team for the next few races. Knaus was ejected from Daytona 500 Sunday after NASCAR inspectors discovered he had altered a rear jack bolt to move the rear window on the #48 in an attempt to improve aerodynamics. After busting Knaus, NASCAR sent him back to North Carolina for the remainder of Speedweeks and said that it may levy additional penalties to the team next week. Johnson met with press for about 10 minutes prior to Wednesday’s first Daytona 500 practice sessions. Twice he hinted that Knaus’s suspension would extend beyond Daytona. Referring to Darian Grubb, the team’s lead engineer and fill-in for Knaus at the Daytona 500, Johnson said, “Darian Grubb’s … been our engineer for the race team, he’s been on the (pit) box. He was going to be on the box next to Chad through this year, but now he’s going to be solo on the box for the first few races.” Later, Johnson added of Knaus, “Unfortunately, he stepped over the line. It’s something that he admits, and feels terrible about. He’s at home going crazy over this … He’ll be back after just a couple of weeks at home.”(Speed Channel)(2-15-2006)
  • New Scoring System for NASCAR in 2007? NASCAR will likely use an outside vendor for its timing and scoring in 2007. Swiss watchmaker Tissot entered into a partnership as NASCAR’s “official timekeeper” to develop a new timing system that could be implemented in 2007. “We’ll test some of their products,” NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing Steve Phelps said. “If that works out well, and we think they can improve the timing of NASCAR, they will be our timing and scoring partner starting in 2007.” Tissot is currently the official timekeeper of the MotoGP World Championship. And Omega, a corporate cousin to Tissot, does timing for the Olympics. Currently, NASCAR uses software from a Dutch company, AMB i.t., to time qualifying and races.(NASCAR Scene)(2-15-2006)
  • Petty fined in 2004 by Dodge: Kyle Petty did a favor for Richard Childress Racing and driver Kevin Harvick in 2004, and he paid $45,000 for it. Dodge fined Petty $45,000 when the veteran relieved Harvick in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol in August 2004. Harvick complained that he had lost feeling in his left arm and Petty, a Dodge driver, took over for Harvick in the RCR Chevrolet. Petty, whose car was already out of the race, did not have permission from Dodge to drive the Chevy, and Dodge promptly fined him for breaching their contract. Dodge didn’t announce the fine, but it was revealed in depositions released during their recently completed trial involving Bill Davis Racing. “Initially it was a shock just because that’s just a given in the sport – if a driver is down, everybody rallies and tries to help him out,” Petty said Feb. 11. “Kevin was sick; Kevin felt bad, so I drove the car. When I got a phone call and a legal letter that said I owed them $45,000, that was a little bit of a shock. But at the same time, they were exactly right. I have a contract to drive for Dodge.” Dodge Motorsports Director of Operations John Fernandez said Feb. 10 that he believed Petty’s violation of their contract was inadvertent but that the manufacturer must protect the sanctity of its contracts.(NASCAR Scene)(2-15-2006)
  • #74 McGlynn Racing gets sponsor for some races: #74 McGlynn Racing announced today that Sundance Vacations will co-sponsor the Derrike Cope driven Nextel Cup Dodge for the Daytona 500 on February 19th. Sundance Vacations will be featured on the car and on the team uniforms. Sundance Vacations will also be featured as a Primary sponsor for three races this season, the first at Dover (June 4), Pocono (June 11) as well as the race at Chicagoland Speedway (July 9). Sundance Vacations is a wholesale travel company headquartered in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania that operates offices nationwide. Sundance Vacations is negotiating with the team and former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope to outline the details for a full season sponsorship. When the agreement is finalized, Sundance will join My Guardian 911 as co-sponsor for the season. Further details will be released when available. (McGlynn Racing PR)(2-15-2006)
  • Some Goodyear Tire Notes for Daytona: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Daytona . . . all three major NASCAR series — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck — as well as IROC, will use the same tire codes throughout Speed Weeks . . . the only difference will be that the Craftsman Truck tires will be stamped with the “Goodyear Wrangler” brand, while the other three series will be stamped “Goodyear Eagle” . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in their tires at Daytona . . . air pressure in the inner liner must be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see more notes/specs on my Daytona 500 Race Info page.(2-15-2006)

    News from February 14, 2006

  • Bump Drafting Issue Resurfaces UPDATE NASCAR draws line on bump-drafting: Even though he finished a respectable third in the 72-lap exhibition sprint, defending Nextel Cup champion #20-Tony Stewart was livid afterward. Stewart had just finished a race that saw he and the 20 other contestants narrowly dodge, only by good fortune and luck, major accidents at the sprawling 2½-mile track. The reason for Stewart’s ire was the bump drafting, which entails intentionally slamming into the car in front of you. The purpose is actually to push the next car along – and some drivers assert it’s a necessary move – but do it at the wrong time or at the wrong angle, and wrecks easily can ensue. And wrecks at restrictor plate tracks have the potential to be especially brutal. Really, bump drafting isn’t drafting at all. It’s legalized road rage – legal, at least, in NASCAR terms. There are laws prohibiting this obviously unsafe maneuver on highways, so why aren’t existing rules in NASCAR’s books against unsafe or overaggressive driving being enforced when it comes to bump drafting? NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said after Sunday’s race that the sanctioning body has tried to come up with different ways to, at the very least, control bump drafting. But, Hunter noted, sanctioning body officials have to be cautious to make major changes in one area, lest they unwittingly compromise safety in yet another area. Hunter says NASCAR has explored “softening up” front bumpers on cars so that there will be less resulting impact and damage – and thus less chance for a car being knocked out of control – when bump drafting occurs. Again, laudable, but not entirely realistic. Hunter also said NASCAR is reluctant to simply penalize every driver that bump drafts, as some of the allegedly guilty might actually be victims of circumstance, such as being unable to avoid impact when a car in front suddenly checks up.(Yahoo Sports)(2-13-2006)
    UPDATE NASCAR draws line on bump-drafting: NASCAR will post additional officials in the turns at Daytona International Speedway to monitor the act of bump-drafting between cars on the track, according to Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for the sanctioning body. And left up to make the call, he said Tuesday, officials could penalize drivers for such contact. Pemberton said the officials would begin monitoring the situation beginning with Thursday’s Gatorade Duals, twin 150-mile qualifying races that will set the remainder of the field for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500. “I think what we are going to do over the week as the races unfold,” Pemberton said, “we may have some zones that we post added officials in where me might be forced to make a call of a bump draft that is unnecessary. The straightaways, obviously, don’t appear to be a problem. But we’re working on it. We’ve talked to the competitors about the problem and we may be put in the position that we have to make some calls that we really don’t want to make.”
    The act of bump-drafting occurs when a driver makes contact with his and another vehicle in front of him on the race track with the front bumper of his car. The “hit” is normally used to push the car in front past a car beside it. The practice has become fairly common at Daytona and Talladega, however, following Sunday’s Budweiser Shootout, defending series champion Tony Stewart said the act of bump drafting could lead to another death at the 2.5-mile track. As far as penalties are concerned, Pemberton said it could be “a pass through as far as coming down pit road. It could be anything. … This is a serious matter. “Everybody has to remember, we don’t drive these things. The drivers are in control, they have the pedals they can push and the steering wheel they can turn. To leave it in our hands when we’re not out there … they may get a call that they didn’t bargain for.”(NASCAR Scene)(2-14-2006)
  • Johnson could had lost car to NASCAR: After his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet was disqualified after post Daytona 500 qualifying inspection there was a chance Jimmie Johnson was going to lose his primary car for the 500. However according to NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; “We are not going to take the car. They’ll be able to run that car. There are some things we need to work on when we get in the garage area Wednesday morning but the cars fine.” Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby explains, “A lot of times you can hold an illegal part or piece in you hand. Then there’s other situations where you use what is a very acceptable, very normal and very legal piece on the car and create a procedure that turns that part into something that it shouldn’t do.” Darby went on to explain what his inspectors found following pole qualifying. “Basically the pannard rod adjusting bolt had an additional clamp on it which enabled that adjusting rod to not only adjust the pannard bar but while the pannard bar was being adjusted it jacked the rear window up.” The 48 team must now correct the illegal part for the car to be able to return to the track.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-14-2006)
  • Teresa doesn’t expect to see #3 run again: [DEI Team owner] Teresa Earnhardt doesn’t believe anyone — including her stepson, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. — will bring the #3 the late Dale Earnhardt made famous back to Cup racing.”Contrary to popular belief, everyone cannot be replaced,” Teresa Earnhardt said. “Legends live on forever. I don’t think the #3 will ever be driven by anyone else.” The rare public comment from Teresa Earnhardt comes from a one-hour television show, “NASCAR Five Years Later,” that will air tonight on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et. The #3 has not been used in the Cup series since Earnhardt’s death. NASCAR controls car numbers and assigns them to team owners on an annual basis. Richard Childress has maintained control of the #3 since Earnhardt’s fatal crash. Earnhardt Jr., who drives the #8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company his father formed and his stepmother now runs, said again recently he would like to drive the #3 before the end of his Cup career. “I really think that’ll happen,” Earnhardt Jr. told NASCAR.com. Earnhardt Jr. said his desire to drive the #3 does not mean he has any short-term plans to leave DEI. At the Speedweeks media day on Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. said he’d like to run DEI one day. “I’d love to take over at DEI,” he said. “Teresa and I will talk about that when the time comes, but that’s not in the near future.” Earnhardt Jr. started JR Motorsports, which owns a team that plans to run in the Busch Series this year.(Thatsracin)(2-14-2006)
  • HOF: What Happened in Daytona Qualifying: Representatives of the new Hall of Fame Racing team owned by the famous quarterbacks got called to NASCAR’s version of the woodshed Sunday after its first official laps at Daytona. A post-qualifying inspection revealed a carburetor that wasn’t within regulations. NASCAR threw a yellow flag on the first play. Terry Labonte’s qualifying run for the Daytona 500, a respectable 28th on speed in the #96 DLP Chevy, was disallowed. He will start at the back in his qualifying race Thursday, but he has a guaranteed spot in the 500 as a past Cup champion. No additional penalties are expected from NASCAR until after the race, but all indications are that the violation was minor. “This is the last thing in the world Roger, Troy or I would ever do,” said Bill Saunders, the managing general partner of HOF. “Not in a million years would we want something like this our first time out of the box.” Inspection violations are common in NASCAR. Unfortunately, the thought of cheating often comes with it. Regardless of how it looks, no one is suggesting Aikman or Staubach – neither of whom has arrived at Daytona – attempted to cheat.
    “I think it was a mistake,” NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. “That doesn’t make it right, but I don’t think there was any intent to gain a performance advantage.” The engine came from Joe Gibbs Racing, the team that leases equipment and shares info with HOF. “We don’t touch our engines,” Saunders said. “We don’t put the carburetors on. We don’t even have the tool to check it, because we don’t take the carburetors off the engines.” Saunders said J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son and president of JGR, apologized to the HOF crew. “J.D. is sick to his stomach over this,” Saunders said. “In all their years in NASCAR, they’ve never had an engine infraction. We’ll probably get a fine, but J.D. said he was paying it.” J.D. Gibbs wanted to comment but Saunders asked him not to. The problem probably was a manufacturing defect. Saunders said the person he feels the worst for is HOF crew chief Philippe Lopez. “He got placed in a box he didn’t deserve,” Saunders said. “He had nothing to do with this.” HOF got lumped together with the announcement Sunday that Jimmie Johnson’s car also was disqualified from its Pole Day run. The #48 Lowe’s Chevy had a device installed that raised the rear window after inspection, giving the car an aerodynamic advantage. It got crew chief Chad Knaus booted from the Daytona 500.(in part from the Dallas Morning News)(2-14-2006)
  • Will Ferrell Official Spokesman for NASCAR Day 2006: The NASCAR Foundation announced that Will Ferrell, star of Columbia Pictures’ upcoming NASCAR comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, will serve as the official spokesman for NASCAR Day 2006. Set for Friday, May 19, NASCAR Day celebrates the spirit of NASCAR by encouraging fans to get their NASCAR Day lapel pins, which will be available in exchange for a $5 donation at NASCAR.com/foundation along with their favorite NASCAR apparel.(NASCAR PR)(2-14-2006)
  • Knaus Ejected from 2006 Daytona 500 Activities UPDATE 2 Hendrick Responds: NASCAR announced today that NASCAR Nextel Cup Series crew chief Chad Knaus has been ejected from any further participation in 2006 Daytona 500 activities as a result of a rules infraction discovered following pole qualifying runs Sunday. Knaus is the crew chief for the #48 Lowe’s Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR said the #48 car failed post-qualifying template inspection in the rear window area [had a device installed that raised the rear window after pre-aualifying inspection]. The qualifying time posted by the #48 was disallowed and Johnson will have to start at the rear of the field in the first of two 150-mile qualifying races Thursday. The qualifying time of the #96 DLP Chevy driven by Terry Labonte was also disallowed. NASCAR officials said an unapproved carburetor was found on the 96 car. Labonte will also have to start from the rear of the field in Thursday’s qualifying races. Additional penalties for both cars will be determined following the Daytona 500.(NASCAR PR)(2-13-2006)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick today responded to NASCAR sanctions levied against crew chief Chad Knaus following Sunday’s Daytona 500 post-qualifying inspection at Daytona International Speedway. “We understand NASCAR’s position,” Hendrick said. “Our expectations for the team remain high. It’s a deep, championship-caliber group and they’ll step up this weekend.” Darian Grubb, lead engineer for the #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams, will immediately assume Knaus’ at-track duties in preparation for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500. “It’s obviously disappointing to miss the biggest race of the year, but I’m confident in Darian and the rest of my teammates,” Knaus said. “There’s been a lot of effort put into the Daytona 500 and I know the team will be successful with the support they’ll receive from the entire organization.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-13-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Knaus cannot appeal the deci-sion, and Darian Grubb, the lead engineer for Johnson and Jeff Gordon’s teams, will assume Knaus’ duties at the track in preparation for Sunday’s race. This is the seventh time Knaus has been fined and/or suspended by NASCAR for infractions on one of his cars. The first two came in 2001 when he was working on Stacy Compton’s car. The other five have come with Johnson. He has been fined a total of $74,250, and this is the third suspension he will serve. Knaus also was suspended two races and fined $35,000 last March at Las Vegas when Johnson’s race-winning car was found to be too low. He appealed the suspension, and NASCAR overturned it but put him on 90 days probation and kept the fine and the 25-point docking. In September at Dover, Johnson’s car failed postrace inspection but later passed on a second attempt. NASCAR did not punish the team but did rewrite a rule about shock absorbers that Knaus had found a way to work around.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-14-2006)
  • Testing at Kentucky Tuesday: #12-Ryan Newman, #32-Travis Kvapil and #7-Robby Gordon are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, Feb. 14th. Fans can view testing for free from the designated area outside Turn 3. Tests usually begin at 9:00am, and last until about 5:00pm. Test times will vary based on team objectives. The Kentucky Speedway Gift Shop is offering a 15% discount on online and in-store purchases through Monday, March 13.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(2-14-2006)
  • Race for Victory (Junction – Jayski Computer Lab) was run on Feb 12th with Craig Burmeister winning. The Race for Victory event raised $1655 for the Jayski Computer Lab at Victory Junction….Thank You. And as of Feb. 1, 2006, the Victory Junction Jayski Computer Lab has recieved 318 gifts for a total of $51,752 (of $75,000 or 69%)
  • Earnhardt still among top sellers: Five years after his death, Dale Earnhardt remains one of the top sellers in NASCAR merchandise. The drivers whose merchandise sold the most at NASCAR.com Superstore:
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2. Jeff Gordon
    3. Tony Stewart
    4. Jimmie Johnson
    5. Kasey Kahne
    6. Dale Earnhardt
    7. Rusty Wallace
    8. Mark Martin
    9. Elliott Sadler
    10. Ryan Newman.(USA Today)(2-14-2006)
  • BAM Racing gets assoc. sponsors: Fire-Dex, Inc. is proud to announce its associate sponsorship of BAM Racing, the NASCAR Nextel Cup team, their #49 Dodge Charger, and driver Brent Sherman. Fire-Dex will run a season-long associate sponsorship throughout 2006, while also being a featured sponsor on the car’s deck lid for 5 races. The Fire-Dex patch will appear on the driver’s left arm, as well as the left arm of the pit members. Two of the BAM Racing pit crew members will also wear Fire-Dex hoods. Fire-Dex will be hosting Brent for autograph signings at the largest fire service trade show: the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis, IN, and will have the car in their booth at both FDIC and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Show in Dallas, TX.(G&G Marketing)
    AND American Liberty Mortgage will be a sponsor of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge of rookie driver Brent Sherman in the the Nextel Cup Series. With every online loan application or an application called into their office mentioning Nascar enters fans into quarterly drawings for NASCAR race tickets with VIP garage access included to the race of the fans choice in 2006. More info at americanlibertymortgage.com.
    IMAGE see an image of the car on my #49 Team Schemes page.(2-14-2006)
  • Countdown #1: Top 5 Daytona 500 Moments Announced: Stymied in so many other attempts, Dale Earnhardt won the 1998 Daytona 500 by beating a pack of pursuers to the finish line after grabbing the lead on the final pit stop with less than 30 laps remaining – a win made sweeter by all the frustration that preceded it. Four times prior to 1998, Earnhardt had led the Daytona 500 with 10 laps remaining only to lose it in some unlucky fashion. When he completed his cool-down lap in ’98 and spun in celebration in the infield grass, crews along pit road swarmed to his famous black #3 Chevrolet as he drove toward Victory Lane, greeting “The Intimidator” with congratulatory shouts and hand slaps. “I cried a little bit in the race car on the way to the checkered flag,” Earnhardt said that day. “Well, maybe not cried, but at least my eyes watered up.” Adding to the poignancy was a pre-race meeting with a young fan. A girl in a wheelchair offered Earnhardt a lucky penny to put in his car, and he ran the entire 200 laps with the coin affixed to his dashboard. Said Dale Earnhardt: “That’s pretty special.”(NASCAR Media)(2-14-2006)
  • 10-12 Races for Elliott: Bill Elliott is driving the #36 Chevy for MB2 Motorsports in the Daytona 500 and hopes to run 10-12 races with both MB2 and Evernham Motorsports [#91/98] this season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-14-2006)
  • Rusty and Scott Inducted: Rusty Wallace and Wendell Scott were inducted into the Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame Monday night [Feb 13th] at the Rotary Club of Oceanside in Daytona Beach, FL.. Stock Car Hall of Fame is a fundraising event to benefit “Camp Rotary” for clients of the Association of Retarded Citizens, Interact Club of Atlantic High School, Volusia County Sheriff’s Department 100 Deputies 100 Kids, Stewart Marchman Center, YMCA Youth Campaign, Project Harmony, Bill Walter Melanoma Race, polio eradication and other local, national and international charities. More info at www.stockcarhalloffame.oceansiderotary.org.(2-14-2006)

    News from February 13, 2006

  • Stewart wins Driver of the Year Award: While Tony Stewart achieved many goals on the way to his second NASCAR Nextel Cup series championship he also earned one of the most coveted titles in auto racing as he was voted the Speed Channel Driver of the Year presented by Gillette M3 Power by a wide margin. Stewart, who was born and resides in Indiana, won the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and totaled five wins and two poles winning the vote in the third quarter. “It’s an honor to be named Driver of the Year,” said Stewart. It’s something I take a lot of pride in, especially since one of the guys I’ve always looked up to in racing – A.J. Foyt – won this award back in 1975. Although all of his wins came in his torrid third quarter Stewart consistently maintained his points lead in the Chase for the Cup as the series drew to a close, in November, at the Homestead Miami Speedway. A humble Stewart added “and while this award recognizes the driver, I want to recognize my team – Joe Gibbs Racing. Their hard work, knowledge and never-ending support allowed us to win a second championship. I couldn’t have done it without them.” Professionals, who voted – in a secret ballot – for a single driver, gave Stewart 12 votes out the 17 cast. He also won the fan vote. Indy 500 winner, and IndyCar Series Champion, Dan Wheldon, scored three votes and the NHRA’s Tony Schumacher, and World of Outlaws, Steve Kinser tallied one vote apiece. There were almost 20,000 votes on the www.speedtv.com website. Stewart counted 10, 210 votes, while Champ Car titlist, winner of an IROC race, Sebastien Bourdais, garnered 3,463 votes. Third place, Wheldon, winner of Driver of the Year for the second quarter took 2,423 votes. In its’ 40th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. completed a secret ballot and and a fan vote on Speedtv.com combined to determine the winner. Stewart received a trophy, a custom made motorcycle and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch which was presented on Speed TV. President of the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.(Speed Channel)(2-13-2006)
  • “NASCAR Angels” Program to Help Families/Local Communities: NASCAR and MagicDust Television announced a partnership with Litton Entertainment to distribute the syndicated original programming series titled, “NASCAR Angels.” The agreement was announced by Mark Dyer, NASCAR Vice President of Licensing and Consumer Products, Bill Miller, MagicDust Television and David Morgan, President and CEO, Litton Entertainment. “NASCAR Angels” is a new television show in development for Fall 2006 from NASCAR’s Automotive Licensing team. Created to drive consumer education about the need for regular vehicle maintenance, “NASCAR Angels” will showcase every aspect of the Aftermarket chain: service, technicians and the parts that make the cars go. The show will offer opportunities for sponsorship and product integration. NASCAR and its exclusive distributor, Litton Entertainment, debuted the weekly half-hour program at last week’s gathering of television programming executives (NATPE) in Las Vegas. In its first day on the market, stations in five of the nation’s ten largest markets agreed to carry the show, including ABC-owned stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as WSB-ABC in Atlanta, one of the nation’s highest rated stations. The series will shoot 22 original episodes on location in major NASCAR race markets.
    “NASCAR Angels” will hit the road each week with a simple mission: to help families and communities with their transportation needs. Whether it’s getting to work, to a doctor’s appointment or fire trucks responding to an emergency, many families and communities rely on their vehicles to get them where they need to go and to help save lives. Each week a different NASCAR driver will help introduce the family or person that will be helped. From fixing up a family’s old car or a school in need of bus repair, “NASCAR Angels” are there to help make life a little easier. The show will feature top NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs giving deserving families the chance to go behind-the-scenes to meet their heroes and get an up-close-and-personal glimpse into the NASCAR experience. Back in the shop, with the help of some pros from neighborhood garages and the products of NASCAR Performance partners, “NASCAR Angels” are working under a deadline to complete each mission as technicians race to put cars back into tip-top condition. Each week is a new adventure as the “NASCAR Angels” explore America and make viewers smile, while making a difference.(NASCAR PR)(2-13-2006)
  • Rudd to be honored in VA: Chesapeake, VA native and former NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from Norfolk Sports Club at its 61st annual jamboree March 2, 2006 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.(Virginian Pilot Print Edition via Catchefence.com)(2-13-2006)
  • Tryson back to work: Pat Tryson, crew chief for Mark Martin’s #6 AAA Roush Racing Ford Fusion, had his appendix removed last week after suffering an attack of appendicitis. Tryson was back at the track this week, a little sore, but mostly back up to speed.(Ford Racing)(2-13-2006)
  • Kahne heads to Wash DC on Monday: #9 rriver Kasey Kahne was one of 17 people picked to be appointed to President Bush’s council on service and civic participation Sunday. Kahne, a 25-year-old driver who finished 13th in the Nextel Cup standings last season, was scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. on Monday for a council dinner and then a meeting at the White House. Others appointed include: actress/singer Hilary Duff, actor Stephen Baldwin, singer Michael W. Smith, actress Patricia Heaton and USA Basketball head Jerry Colangelo.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-13-2006)
  • Countdown #2: Top 5 Daytona 500 Moments Announced: The 1976 Daytona 500 began as always, with a full field and the high hopes of each driver. But it wound down to two drivers – Richard Petty and David Pearson – battling for the victory. They traded the lead for 45 of the final 46 laps, racing bumper-to-bumper and door-to-door. On the final lap, Petty and Pearson entered Turn 4 side-by-side; they collided and crashed into the outside wall, bouncing off of it, down the frontstretch. An oft-forgotten fact: after he and Petty collided, Pearson’s car also hit that of Joe Frasson, who had shot down pit road to avoid him. Petty’s #43 Dodge and Pearson’s #21 Mercury finally stopped along the infield grass without crossing the finish line. Both drivers were fine. Their cars were not. Petty – who still holds the record for the most Daytona 500 wins (seven) – could not get his car restarted. The collision had pushed the radiator into the fan blade and kept it from running. Pearson, meanwhile, had pushed in his clutch. He managed to keep his engine running with minimal momentum but it was enough to propel him back onto the frontstretch and across the finish line at approximately 20 mph – enough to claim the checkered flag and the only Daytona 500 victory of his storied career.(NASCAR Media)(2-13-2006)

News from February 12, 2006

  • Jeff’s on the front row for the Daytona 500: #31-Jeff Burton in the #31 Cingular Chevy, won the pole for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 189.151mph. The pole is Burton’s first since Richmond in Sept. 2000, 190 races ago and only the third of his career. #24-Jeff Gordon went out late and scored the outside pole with a lap of 188.877. The two Jeff’s are the only drivers locked in starting spots for the 500. The rest will gain their starting spot via the Gatorade Duels on Thursday [will cover here online live]. The rest of the top five are #88-Dale Jarrett, #38-Elliott Sadler and #48-Jimmie Johnson [later disallowed]. The best Dodge was #43-Bobby Labonte, who was 6th fastest. All the drivers who are in the top-35 of 2005 final owners points are in the race. Four drivers who are not locked in the top-35 have secured a spot in the race: #36-Bill Elliott, #32-Travis Kvapil, #00-Hermie Sadler and #96-Terry Labonte. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 39th fastest. #17-Matt Kenseth lost a tire just as he took the green flag and was the only driver not to record a speed. No wrecks or major incidents. See the qualifying results on my Jayski’s Daytona 500 Qualifying/Grid Page.(2-12-2006)
  • Hamlin wins the Budweiser Shootout: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, the first time in Bud Shootout history that a rookie won the event. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd with a late race pass of #20-Tony Stewart, then #10-Scott Riggs [after getting the lucky dog pass] and #48-Jimmie Johnson. The race ended under a green-white-checker finish after a late caution. Pole sitter #21-Ken Schrader finished 14th after leading 18 of the first 20 laps. There were 14 lead changes by 9 drivers and 3 cautions for 13 caution laps. #55-Michael Waltrip, who started 21st/last and has been slow since unloading, was strong in the race and led 11 laps before finishing 11th. For the unofficial results and past news on the 2006 Bud Shootout, see my 2006 Budweiser Shootout page.(2-12-2006)
  • Team Limit proposal not happening? Jack Roush won’t be the only car owner with five teams on the Nextel Cup circuit this season. Rick Hendrick will have five, too. So where does that leave Brian France’s proposal to limit owners to just two or maybe three Cup teams? The stock-car world is still wondering just what France, NASCAR’s CEO, was thinking when he announced, rather suddenly last September that he wanted to limit team ownership, ostensibly to open up the sport to more newcomers. But with the multimillion-dollar economic barrier to entry in his sport, France almost appeared to be thinking about an earlier, simpler era in its history. Five weeks after proposing a two- or three-team limit, France reset the number at four. And now it appears that everything has essentially been put on hold, at least until current sponsorship contracts run out, say in 2009. And it has become, in Kyle Petty’s words, “a non-story.” “If they limited us all to two, that would have made sense,” Petty said. “Or three. But with four, it’s not even an issue.”(Winston Salem Journal)(2-12-2006)
  • New Assoc. for #32: #32 PPI Motorsports announced a one-race associate sponsorship with Yakety Yak Wireless Inc. (YYWI). The partnership spans throughout the upcoming Daytona Speedweeks which culminates in the sport’s season opener, The Daytona 500. Yakety Yak is excited to embark on this partnership which will help launch YYWI’s national marketing campaign for 2006. Yakety Yak Wireless Superstores will have its Franchisees across the nation participate in a marketing campaign counting down to the Daytona 500 with special in-store promotions. Travisd Kvapil drive the #32 Tide Chevy. For more information visit www.yakitup.com.(PPI Motorsports site)(2-12-2006)
  • Sponsor for Lepage: Peak Performance Motorsports officials say the team has signed Mountain Dew AMP as sponsor for the upcoming events at Daytona International Speedway. Kevin Lepage will drive the #61 AMP Energy Drink car in the qualifying race for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. If he advances into the race, he will drive the Mountain Dew AMP car, marking the first time the company is a primary car sponsor for a Nextel Cup event.(NASCAR Scene)(2-12-2006)
  • The Johnson’s Announce Charitable Foundation: Jimmie and Chandra Johnson announced today the creation of the “Jimmie Johnson Foundation” to aid charities that work with children and families. Johnson said the mission of the foundation is to fund five existing charities: the American Red Cross, Victory Junction Gang, Randy Dorton Memorial Fund, Make-A-Wish, and the Hendrick Marrow program. The foundation’s first activity is an eBay online charity auction that started at the beginning of the year. The auction includes racing and sports memorabilia, but will separate itself from most online auctions by offering fans the chance to bid on experiences with celebrities and professional athletes. Mike Rucker of the Carolina Panthers as well as Marcus Giles and Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves joined the Johnson’s in Daytona for the foundation announcement. Fans can bid on the souvenir items and experiences atwww.ebay.com/jimmiejohnsonfoundation.
    The auction includes tickets to sporting events, impressive experiences from Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers and Rick Hendrick. The experiences and items also include donations from Major League Baseball players Marcus Giles, Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz and Cal Ripken, Jr; NFL players Mike Rucker, Howie Long, Brandon Short and Mark Rypien; NBA Chicago Bulls; bowler Parker Bohn, III; NHL player Mario Lemieux; Olympic gold medalists Dan Jansen and Mary Lou Retton; celebrities Nick Lachey, Tracy Lawrence, Freddy Holliday and Kendra Bentley Holliday from the Amazing Race 6 and professional poker player Annie Duke. In addition to the auction, 1,000 commemorative coins were produced. The coins have the foundation logo on one side and “Inaugural Fundraiser” with the official launch date “2-11-06” on the other. The coins may be purchased for a donation of $50 or more at www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org. All proceeds will benefit the foundation.(GMR PR)(2-12-2006)
  • Countdown #3: Top 5 Daytona 500 Moments Announced: Lee Petty’s 1959 Daytona 500 victory was historic for a variety of reasons. After all, it was a big, new race – at a big, new track. Daytona International Speedway also debuted that Sunday; the high-banked, 2.5-mile surface was unlike any track previously used by NASCAR competitors. Fast and wide, it produced numerous lead changes. Out of a starting field of 59 cars, three had the chance to win in the final laps. Petty and Johnny Beauchamp took the checkered flag seemingly simultaneously – joined at the finish line by the lapped car of Joe Weatherly. Initially declared the winner, Beauchamp went to Victory Lane for the celebration and trophy presentation. Petty asked NASCAR to seek photographic evidence of the finish – not an easy task in the days before real-time technology. Three days later, after viewing photos and video, NASCAR founder and president Bill France Sr. declared Petty the winner of the first Daytona 500. Another note: Lee Petty wasn’t the only family member to compete that day. His son Richard started sixth in the 1959 Daytona 500 – a formative step in the career of the driver who came to be known to all NASCAR fans as “The King.”(NASCAR Media)(2-12-2006)

    News from February 11, 2006

  • Hybrid Dodge? Dodge’s John Fernandez said a planned testing summit of Dodge Nextel Cup teams won’t take place until early next month. The group test will be conducted in an attempt to fix the aero imbalance and pitch sensitivity woes that have plagued the Dodge Charge since its introduction last season. Meanwhile, the major Dodge teams — Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Penske Racing South and Evernham Motorsports— each worked during the offseason to come up with different approaches to solve the Charger’s problems. Fernandez said Dodge may seek NASCAR’s OK for what he termed a “hybrid” car with better aero characteristics. “We’re hoping that we’ve solved the problem with the 2005 car,” he said, adding only that the hybrid “would be something a little bit different than the current Charger.”(Speed Channel)(2-11-2006)
  • Long/Hover get a sponsor: Stan Hover Motorsports announced that its #80 entry at the kick-off to the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup will be sponsored by RoadLoans, and driven by Carl Long. As the primary sponsor, RoadLoans puts the wheels in motion for NASCAR fans eagerly anticipating the start to the 2006 season. “It’s our business to put thousands of people, with all types of credit, behind the wheel of the car of their dreams,” said Chris Goodman, senior vice president and managing director, RoadLoans. “We’re honored to team with Stan Hover Motorsports as we put Carl Long behind the wheel of #80 RoadLoans.com Ford at the Daytona 500. This is a perfect fit for RoadLoans and a great way to let America’s 75 million NASCAR fans know that we are ready to support them in their automobile pursuits, even if it’s not on the race track.”
    “RoadLoans is a great complement to our racing team,” said Stan Hover, Stan Hover Motorsports. “Putting people in the driver’s seat is their business. We’re excited to team with them as they help to put our driver, Carl Long, in the driver’s seat of the #80 car.” For more information, visit www.roadloans.com.(Carl Long site), looks like Roadloans will also sponsor the #61 team and Kevin Lepage, see an image of the #80 on my #80 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2006)
  • 2006 Critical for Jarrett’s plans: #88-Dale Jarrett , a 21-year veteran, said this is “a very critical year” in terms of whether he will return to race in Nextel Cup next season at age 50. “I don’t want to be out here driving around. I want to be competitive and that’s why I continue to do it,” he said. “These race cars have no idea how old I am when I sit down. I should be smarter, better driver as years go on. There’s nothing I can’t do in a race car at 49 that I couldn’t at 39.” Jarrett, the 1999 series champion, won at Talladega last fall, but finished 15th in points for the second consecutive year in a frustrating, inconsistent campaign. He finished in the top 10 in points seven straight years before slumping to 26th in 2003. Daytona has provided a good starting point for Jarrett in the past. He won the Daytona 500 in 1993 and finished fourth in the standings; again in 1996 and finished third. He won the race and the championship in 2000. He also won the Bud Shootout in 1996, 2000 and 2004.(St Petersburg Times)(2-11-2006)
  • Rick Hendrick comments on lawsuit: Car Owner Rick Hendrick made these comments Saturday afternoon at Daytona in response to those recently made by Diane Dorton, wife of Randy Dorton, Hendrick’s head engine builder and one of ten people killed in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash in October 2004. Others who died included Rick’s 24-year-old son Ricky Hendrick, John Hendrick and his 22-year-old twin daughters Kymberly and Jennifer, Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Jeff Turner, Dupont Executive Joe Black, Scott Lathram, a pilot for driver Tony Stewart, along with the plane’s pilots Dick Tracy and Liz Morrison. Mrs. Dorton has filed a lawsuit alleging the plane took off in bad weather because John Hendrick was in too much of a hurry and was unwilling to land at another airport other than the Blue Ridge Airport near Martinsville, Virginia.

    “Everybody who had family members on that flight suffered a lot. You know when you look at the pilots and how they were trained and what went on that day, you know it’s just disappointing somebody takes things out of context and the facts aren’t accurate. I know my brother (John Hendrick) was a white-knuckle flyer, and he had his two daughters on that plane and they waited an hour for the weather to clear. You know the plane landed in front of them and there was a plane that was going behind them that anyone could have gone on to if they wanted to. So, for someone to take a shot at him is totally disappointing and hurtful to my family – my mother, his wife and child.

    Then, for Diane to say that we turned our back on her or nobody helped her. I paid Randy’s (Dorton) bonus in ’04, paid him six months in ’05. She’s got a BMW. I paid her insurance. We had someone there helping her night and day. I met with her anytime she wanted to. You have insurance and to take care of people and that’s what it’s for. I don’t understand the attack on my brother. Thought it was a cheap shot, disappointing and the facts we not true. The other statement about not getting any help is totally..when you’ve done as much as we’ve done and someone makes that kind of comment that’s hurtful and disappointing. You know everybody suffered. It was a sad deal. It was an accident. Greensboro (air traffic controllers) made a mistake, the pilots made a mistake and everybody is hurt a lot. It’s just really disappointing when you do the best you can and someone grandstands and doesn’t get the facts straight.”

    “My brother was a white-knuckle flyer, he was very afraid. He cancelled a lot of trips because he really didn’t really like to fly. He had his two girls on the plane and one of the statements she (Diane Dorton) made he said “we got to go to that airport (Blue Ridge)” which is totally false. You know they waited an hour and he said, and I’ve talked to people, there were other pilots there (that heard John Hendrick say) “hey if we can’t get in we’ll just stay home.” So, they wait an hour. A plane lands in front of them, meaning things were okay and they go up there. Two well-trained, as good as we’ve had, I’ve flown with those two pilots all the time and they simply made a mistake. The weather was not great and Greensboro made a mistake, they didn’t alert them they were off course and it happened. That’s something I live with. I’ve got a six month old granddaughter that will never know here dad. You know it’s been hurtful to everybody, everybody lost and suffered. Accidents happen and we just have to go on.”

    “You can do a lawsuit but you don’t have to personally attack my family, my brother and you don’t have to say the company hadn’t helped when we’ve broken our back and been there and done things. Those are the two items that bother me. Lawsuits don’t bother me I mean that’s against the insurance company and that’s why we have insurance. But when you attack my family personally, when we’ve done everything we can, I think, I was very disappointed in Diane and I think it was uncalled for and not accurate.”

    Q) Hendrick’s response to being asked about the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that cited pilot error as the main reason for the crash:
    “They didn’t mention as much about the failure of the Greensboro controllers didn’t tell the pilots they were too low or off course. I was happy to hear them say that they graded our flight department on a scale of nine and we got a nine. Our guys try to do the best they can and we do everything we can to make it as safe as possible. Accidents happen, they happen all the time. The pilots were doing the best job they could. They were as trained as well as they could have been and had a lot of experience in bad weather. In our planes the pilots always make the decision when it’s time to go and when to divert. Like I said my brother…. had a couple of pilots call me that fly him all the time and say we’ve cancelled numerous trips when the weather wasn’t good and he’d drive and get his daughters. He had both of his daughters on that plane so that was just, I don’t know what is was, a cheap shot and it wasn’t true. The facts are the facts and they’ll come out.

    Q) As to what changes they’ve made in regards to the team’s flight plans:
    “We’ll do the best we can to be safe and try to go into larger airports that have towers and so forth, but it could happen in a van going to the airport so accidents just happen. I think everybody does the best they can and that’s what I live with. My wife has helped me a lot there she’s said God has a plan and we have to accept it. It’s hard and it hurts and you live with it every minute of every day there’s something that reminds you of your friends and family. Life is never the same after one of those but that’s just the way it is.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(2-11-2006)

  • Blount to the #37 for full season: Chad Blount is using this weekend’s ARCA RE/MAX Series event as a test session and said he has been hired to drive the #37 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series for owner John Carter. Blount said the team is looking for sponsorship but plans to run the full 2006 Nextel Cup schedule. Blount is driving a Dodge prepared by Hagans Racing with assistance from Mark Gibson Racing.(Catchfence.com), no word if Blount will enter the Rookie of the Year race which is now up to eight drivers.(2-11-2006)
  • Schwan’s to #45? UPDATE 2: hearing that Schwan’s Home Service, who sponsored the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2004-2005 with Ken Schrader, could be heading to Petty Enterprises to be the primary sponsor for Kyle Petty on the #45 Dodge for 10-12 races in 2006. Wells Fargo already announced they would run 12 races as primary. Also there is a rumor floating around, but unable to confirm it at all, the new Coca-Cola soft drink, Vault could sponsor Petty in some fashion.(1-24-2006)
    UPDATE: Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., a business unit of The Schwan Food Company, has announced its sponsorship of the #45 stock car owned by Petty Enterprises for the 2006 Nextel Cup season. “Everyone at The Schwan Food Company is thrilled to join the Petty racing team for the 2006 season. The team operates under the same values that are important to Schwan,” said Bill McCormack, executive vice president of administration and company spokesperson. The #45 car, driven by NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty, will carry the Schwan’s Home Service yellow-and-blue paint scheme for four races, which will be announced at a later date. Home Service will provide an associate sponsorship for the remaining races. “I’ve raced off and on against a Schwan sponsored car since 1985 and am really excited to finally be able to have them on my team,” said Petty, Petty Enterprises CEO (and #45 team driver). “The best part of this deal is my guys won’t have as far to go to get the great Schwan’s ice cream at the track. They are already clearing space on the transporter to haul the ice cream cooler.”(GoMarshall), Schwan’s was the primary sponsor of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge the past two years.(2-8-2006)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the races Schwan’s will be the primary sponsor are Bristol in March, Texas in April, Talladega in April and California in September.(2-11-2006)
  • Countdown #4: Top 5 Daytona 500 Moments Announced: DW wins, then dances … With the 1981, ’82 and ’85 series championships to his credit, Waltrip was still chasing the elusive Daytona 500 title in the latter half of his career. Coming into the ‘89 event, no one would’ve been surprised if his frustration had continued. The race was dominated by Ken Schrader, who led 114 of 200 laps. Waltrip, then 42, didn’t emerge as a challenger until the end, when he used fuel conservation to notch the win, in the “Tide Machine,” as his Tide-sponsored, Rich Hendrick-owned Chevrolet was called. Staying in the draft rather than pushing for the lead, Waltrip was able to stay on the track when Schrader, the leader, and Dale Earnhardt, running second, were forced to pit for fuel with 10 laps remaining. The move boosted Waltrip – who didn’t pit during the final 80 laps – into second place behind Alan Kulwicki. When Kulwicki slowed on Lap 196, Waltrip took the lead, desperately hoping he had enough fuel to reach the finish line. “Those last four laps, I think I had four heart attacks,” Waltrip said at the time, of he and crew chief Jeff Hammond’s strategy. “One lap I told him I was [out of fuel], then I said “No I’m not … Yes I am … No I’m not.”
    “DW” saved the best for last: After repeatedly screaming “I won the Daytona 500!” in Victory Lane, he spiked his helmet and performed his version of the “Icky Shuffle.” “I don’t know if I did the Icky Shuffle right or not, but if I didn’t it was the only thing I did wrong all week,” Waltrip said that day.(NASCAR Media)(2-11-2006)

    News from February 10, 2006

  • Davis loses Dodge lawsuit UPDATE 2: hearing the breach of contract lawsuit between DaimlerChrysler and Bill Davis Racing has been won by DaimlerChrysler/Dodge.(2-9-2006)
    UPDATE: DaimlerChrysler won a $6.5 million judgment Thursday against Bill Davis Racing in a breach of contract dispute in U.S. District Court in Detroit. A 7-member jury deliberated 4 hours after a 17-day trial before awarding the judgment to the Auburn Hills carmaker, which alleged that the North Carolina-based race team violated a six-year contract in 2003 by passing confidential Dodge Motorsports technology, parts and information to Toyota. The automaker said Bill Davis Racing helped Toyota develop a prototype Tundra racing truck for NASCAR.s Craftsman Truck series at the same time Davis was under contract to prepare DaimlerChrysler stock cars for the Winston Cup Series, now the Nextel Cup Series. After terminating its contract and suing Davis in federal court, DaimlerChrysler said it learned that Davis had signed a contract in February 2003 to provide a car to General Motors for the Winston Cup Series. DaimlerChrysler said both competitors used the information to develop engines for the Craftsman, Nextel Cup and Busch racing series. Bill Davis Racing denied the charges, countersued and sought $8.5 million to $9.8 million from DaimlerChrysler for breach of contract. The jury gave DaimlerChrysler what it asked for, $6.5 million. U.S. District Judge George Steeh gave Bill Davis Racing three weeks to file post-trial legal briefs, which could include a request to set aside the verdict. The company.s lawyer declined to comment on the verdict.(Detroit Free Press)(2-9-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Bill Davis Racing is disappointed with the decision of a federal court jury in Detroit that Bill Davis Racing breached its Motorsports Agreement with DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge division to race vehicles in NASCAR’s Cup Series. Bill Davis, President of Bill Davis Racing, stated, “We disagree with the jury verdict. We fully intend to exercise the opportunity extended by US District Court Judge George Steeh and ask the Court to set aside this verdict. If necessary, we intend to appeal the verdict to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Our racing sponsors and business partners have remained supportive during the legal process and our full effort remains focused on bringing success to their NASCAR programs.” Bill Davis Racing will not have any comment on this issue as the appeal process moves forward.(BDR)(2-10-2006)
  • New gig for Dennison: Jeff Dennison, former employee at Williams Company of America has a new position at Moore Consulting Group. He will be handling the public relations for #84 Clay Andrews Racing and driver David Gilliland in the Busch Series.(2-10-2006)
  • Ryan Newman Foundation releases book: The Ryan Newman Foundation announced the nationwide release of a book it has published entitled Pit Road PetsT: NASCAR Stars and Their Pets. The hardcover, 164-page book features first-person stories and intimate photographs of nearly 50 NASCAR celebrities and their pets. The Ryan Newman Foundation will donate 100% of its proceeds from the book to humane efforts, including the Humane Society of Catawba County’s (Hickory, NC) new no-kill animal shelter and regional low-cost spay/neuter clinic serving eight counties in the heart of North Carolina’s NASCAR country. Pit Road Pets: NASCAR Stars and Their Pets retails for $24.95 and is available from most major booksellers nationwide, more info and to buy the book, see the Ryan Newman Foundation site, also Ryan & Krissie Newman will be doing a book signing on 2/15, more info on my Racing Bookstore or Racing Charities pages.(2-10-2006)
  • Sad News – Bill Deese: Bill Deese slipped quietly and peacefully away to Heaven after fighting cancer for nearly three years, on February 6, 2006. Bill was born January 21, 1954, in Charlotte to parents William Curtis Deese, Sr., and Ruth Parker Deese. Survivors include his loving wife of 30 years, Sheila Thompson Deese, and their beautiful daughter, Mandy Lee Deese, of Charlotte. Other survivors include his mother, Ruth P. Deese, of Mt. Holly, and three sisters, Jan (Wayne) Beaty, Linda Capps, both of Mt. Holly, and Sherry Deese, of Charlotte. Niece Dana Capps and nephews Kevin Capps, Chad Beaty, Brent Thompson and Travis Thompson also survive. Mother-in-law, Hazel Thompson Hagler, and brother-in-law, Dan Thompson and wife, Brenda, are also left to keep him close in heart. Bill was preceded in death by his father, William “Curtis” Deese (2000), father-in-law, Lat H. Thompson (1985), and step father-in-law, Bruce Hagler (2006).
    Bill was a 1972 graduate of South Iredell High School, and a man of many self-taught talents. He was an accomplished metal fabricator, a skill at which he made a successful career. He is known for the custom street rods that he built, but is better remembered for his work in the racing industry where he worked for great teams owned by Joe Gibbs, Rick Hendrick, and most recently with Ray Evernham, where he was instrumental in the Research and Development department of Dodge Motorsports upon their return to NASCAR. His hands and mind were always busy as he designed tools to make life easier for the racing industry. In his pleasure time, he enjoyed flying remote controlled planes, going to car shows in his Chevy truck, and most recently fishing on Lake Norman with his family. Bill was a member of Wiggins Road Baptist Church in Mooresville, where he had served on the treasury committee, and assisted with grounds maintenance.(Charlotte Observer)(2-10-2006)
  • Daytona 500 Media Day, An interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr: some of the interview..in parts:
    Q. Do you think people underestimate your commitment to making the company that your daddy built [DEI] into what he dreamed it could be? 
    A. Dale Jr: Yeah, I think so. I think people see — you know, know what I want to do. I know I want to win a championship. I know I have sort of a vision of where I want to be at a certain age. But I don’t look that far into the future and get specific. You know, I drive right off the hood. I look at where I’m at right now. I would love to drive the 3 on down the road, and Richard [Childress] knows that. I hate him talking about it, because I don’t want to put it off on him, put any pressure on him or disrupt what he’s trying to do with RCR to date. But he knows that. That’s the extent of it. There’s nothing more to it conversation-wise between me and him or anything. We’ve just made that clear to each other and dropped it.
    Q. Would you like to take over at DEI? A. Dale Jr: I’d love to take over at DEI. Me and Teresa will talk about that when the time comes. We’ll talk about that before the time comes obviously. That’s not in the near future. I think JR Motorsports is a natural process of a company growing from one rank to the next, and it can go as far as it wants to go. I am not going to stop it at this level or that level. We’ll just see however profitable. It don’t even have to be profitable. If it breaks even, we’ll keep on racing.
    Q. Do you want to win a championship in the No. 3 car?
    A. Dale Jr: I mean, I could do it. We could do it now, but that would be just kind — that would be a phoney tribute if we did it now. It just wouldn’t feel right. I think it’s something we can do whenever we want. I really seriously got to take my career — I got to take my career seriously right now. I can’t be fooling around with tributes and feel-good stories all the time. You know, we got to get down to business and race. When that opportunity comes to have that chance, we’ll do that. I think — I don’t think a lot of people are ready for it. It’s not even than a option. When the time comes, we want to do it, we’ll do it, have a little fun with it. No, I just want to be — I want to win a race with Budweiser as my sponsor, with that 8 on the side, with Tony, Jr. as my crew chief.(GM Racing PR)(2-10-2006)
  • DirecTV to sponsor RCR? UPDATE: looks like DirecTV will be an associate sponsor on the #07 Jack Daniel’s RCR Chevy Clint Boyer will drive in 2006. See the schemes on my #07 Team Schemes page.(1-31-2006)
    UPDATE: NASCAR partner DIRECTV has announced an official partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), one of NASCAR’s premier racing teams. Through the partnership, DIRECTV will be an associate sponsor of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy and its driver, Clint Bowyer, during the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season. The association with RCR aligns DIRECTV with one of the sport’s most well-respected racing programs and one of the sport’s most exciting young drivers. DIRECTV also will be primary sponsor of the #07 Chevy at three Nextel Cup Series races this season at Martinsville (April 2), Pocono (June 11) and Talladega (October 8).
    As the nation’s leading digital TV service, DIRECTV has a long history with NASCAR, though this announcement marks the company’s first official sponsorship of a Nextel Cup team. The service has become an integral part of the sport by providing millions of fans the opportunity for the most enhanced, unique NASCAR viewing experience at home and trackside. DIRECTV has also become a critical piece of racing equipment for crew chiefs, as teams up and down pit road rely on the digital picture and sound to aid spotters and monitor car performance throughout the entire race. The partnership with RCR and Clint Bowyer will enable DIRECTV to create consumer marketing and retail promotions targeting NASCAR’s loyal fan base. In addition, the relationship will provide DIRECTV the opportunity to increase awareness of its new DIRECTV Plus ® DVR among race fans and emphasize current and future features that will enhance their race viewing experience.(RCR Site)(2-10-2006)
  • Evernham Announcement UPDATE 2: not sure what this is about…yet, but on Friday, Feb. 10th at Daytona, Evernham Motorsports [#9,#10,#19] will announce plans for the Ingersoll-Rand Dodge Charger and its 2006 Road Racing Program, driver to be announced.(2-9-2006)
    UPDATE: rumors have the driver being either Ward Burton or Boris Said, could be a Busch Series deal.(2-9-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Evernham Motorsports and Ingersoll Rand announced the expansion of their partnership to include sponsorship of an Evernham Motorsports road course development program for the 2006 season. The new program extends the long-standing relationship that Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, has enjoyed with Ingersoll Rand, and allows the organization to further develop its road course performance by tapping road racing veteran Boris Said to serve not only as a driver, but also as a coach. “Our goal is to build a championship race team and to do that you have to run well on the road courses,” Evernham said. “You can’t take a mulligan at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen. “Boris presented us with an excellent opportunity to improve our road course program by having him work with our teams on the cars as well as with our drivers. He has years of road course racing experience and has had success in NASCAR on the road courses.” Said will pilot the #9 Ingersoll Rand Dodge Charger in the Busch Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on March 5. He also will act as a technical consultant on the development of road course cars and serve as a driver coach to the Evernham Motorsports stable of drivers. Ingersoll Rand also will serve as the primary sponsor on a fourth entry in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for Evernham Motorsports at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 13. The driver of the #98 Ingersoll Rand Dodge Charger will be announced at a later date. In addition to the designation as the Official Air Tools and Compressors of Evernham Motorsports, Ingersoll Rand also will be the title sponsor of the Pit Training Facility at Evernham Motorsports and will be an associate sponsor of the #9 Ultimate Chargers Dodge Charger in the Busch Series for the duration of the season. Ingersoll Rand’s other five strategic brands, Bobcat, ClubCar, Schlage, Hussmann and ThermoKing will also be showcased as part of the primary sponsorship. As part of its sponsorship program, Ingersoll Rand will be offering its customers special offers and products like the Street Legal Thundergun air impact wrench that offers the durability and performance NASCAR pit crews rely on to turn 14-second, four-tire replacement pit stops. For more information about Ingersoll Rand, visit www.ingersollrand.com.(ClearBlue PR)(2-10-2006)
  • Ferrell’s NASCAR Movie has a name: Moviegoers everywhere will see the name of NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track in marquee lighting this summer, as Talladega Superspeedway officials announced today that the much-anticipated comedy starring Will Ferrell will be titled Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and is set for release by Columbia Pictures on Aug. 4, 2006. The movie, written by Ferrell & director Adam McKay, tells the story of NASCAR racing sensation Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), whose “win at all costs” approach has made him a national hero. He and his loyal racing partner and childhood friend, Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly), are a fearless duo who thrill their fans by finishing most races in the No. 1 and 2 positions – with Cal always in second place. When a flamboyant French Formula One driver, Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), challenges him for the supremacy of NASCAR, Ricky Bobby must face his own demons and fight Girard for the right to be known as racing’s top driver. To order tickets for any Talladega races/events, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA (1-877-462-3342).(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(2-10-2006)
  • NASCAR HOF announcement 30-60 days: NASCAR president Mike Helton said Thursday the announcement of the site for NASCAR’s Hall of Fame would be made within 30 to 60 days. France said the decision would be made by NASCAR’s board of directors, including chairman Brian France, vice chairman Bill France Jr., executive vice president Jim France, vice president Lesa France Kennedy and Helton. Finalist cities for the hall are Daytona Beach, Atlanta and Charlotte.(Flordia Today)(2-10-2006)
  • Gillette Young Guns add two drivers: Gillette announced the addition of two of NASCAR’s youngest and most talented drivers – #99-Carl Edwards and #26-Jamie McMurray – to the Gillette Young Guns team. Edwards and McMurray will officially join Gillette Young Guns #2-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman beginning with the 2006 NEXTEL Cup season-opening race at Daytona. Edwards and McMurray join a team of drivers that once again dominated the 2005 NEXTEL Cup season, with four of the six Gillette Young Guns competing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Throughout the 2005 season, the Gillette Young Guns had 11 combined victories, 13 Bud Pole awards, 52 Top 5 finishes, 96 Top 10 finishes, and combined earnings of $35,413,740. Gillette will continue to leverage the Gillette Young Guns and its official status in the shaving products, alkaline battery and oral care categories with a comprehensive marketing communications program. The program includes consumer promotions, national sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR print and broadcast advertising, licensing, interactive on-line consumer promotions, charitable contributions and at-track marketing. These activities will encompass multiple Gillette brands. Just prior to the Daytona 500 fans can visit www.gilletteyoungguns.com for a sneak peak of the new Gillette Young Guns commercial. Edwards and McMurray will join the existing Gillette Young Guns team for two exciting promotional programs this season. The first, “Meet the 2006 GYG Drivers,” will offer fans the chance to attend a race for a “meet and greet” with one of the Gillette Young Guns. The “GYG Insiders Guide to the Chase for the Championship” will provide fans with the drivers’ exclusive strategies for winning, as well as insight into track strategy and drivers’ strengths.(Alan Taylor Comminications), #17-Matt Kenseth and #29-Kevin Harvick are no longer part of the program.(2-10-2006)
  • Rusty to be named “Missouri Sports Legend”: Rusty Wallace will be named “Missouri Sports Legend” during the February 12th Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s annual Enshrinement Banquet and Ceremonies in Springfield, MO. Over 1,600 people are scheduled to attend the event, which is the largest annual sports banquet held in the state of Missouri. Inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, Wallace will be receiving the highest level of recognition that the Hall of Fame bestows upon select members. Since the establishment of this award, the following individuals have been recognized: Stan Musial, Len Dawson, Payne Stewart, Jack Buck, Norm Stewart, Bob Broeg, Don Faurot, John Q. Hammons, Buck O’Neil, George Brett, Hank Stram, Lamar Hunt, and Red Schoendienst. Wallace will be the 14th Missouri Sports Legend. In addition, the Hall of Fame will induct 14 individuals from diverse sports backgrounds, including: St. Louis Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa, Kansas City Royals’ all-time saves leader, Jeff Montgomery and Bob Chandler, the creator of “BIGFOOT – The original Monster Truck”, to name a few.(RWI Racing PR)(2-10-2006)
  • Shepherd gets assoc sponsor: Cabell County-based ECO-FIRST, Inc. is entering NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series as an associate sponsor of #89 Victory Motorsports, fielding veteran driver Morgan Shepherd in the nation’s top stock car racing series. ECO-FIRST President Dana Tomes says the company’s agreement will run through the 2006 season, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 19. “We are very excited about having the opportunity to get involved in the Nextel Cup Series and particularly with being able to support someone like Morgan Shepherd,” Tomes said. “Morgan is truly an excellent person and a pleasure to work with.” As part of the sponsorship agreement, ECO-FIRST will become the “Official Environmental Services Provider” of the Hickory, North Carolina-based Victory Motorsports, LLC. ECO-FIRST, based in Lesage, provides environmental and industrial services, including hazardous waste cleanup and high pressure industrial cleaning. The ECO-FIRST name and slogan, “Making Earth a better place,” will be carried on Shepherd’s #89 Dodge Charger throughout this year’s 36-race Nextel Cup season.(ECO-FIRST PR)(2-10-2006)
  • McGlynn Racing to #74: looks like McGlynn Racing has changed their car number from #00 [#200 owners] to #74, with Derrike Cope driving. The Daytona 500 Entry list shows the new car number and a sponsor, MyGuardian911 and the manu being Dodge not Chevy.(2-10-2006)
  • Harvick comments on Gordon: #29-Kevin Harvick, who stepped into his seat at Richard Childress Racing the week after Dale Earnhardt died in a crash during the 2001 Daytona 500, says no one has been able to replace Earnhardt as a voice for the drivers in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage area. Speaking Thursday during NASCAR’s annual Media Day, Harvick said longtime Cup star Rusty Wallace filled some of that void until he retired last year. “With him gone, I can’t tell you who is going to step up,” Harvick said. “It’s like our biggest stars are involved in a lot of other things and not taking 100 percent interest in the sport now.” Without saying his name, Harvick made it clear that he believes four-time champion Jeff Gordon should be filling Earnhardt’s role as the unofficial drivers’ representative to NASCAR. “There are people who should be more involved and you know who I mean,” he said. Gordon shrugged off the apparent criticism, saying the sport has changed and no one can really replace the charismatic and often enigmatic Earnhardt. “I know people have asked me, `Why haven’t you done that? Why haven’t you done that?’ I’ve never really felt like it was my place to do that,” Gordon said. “I feel like over the years that I’ve been here that I’ve earned more respect, but I don’t know if I’ll ever have the type of respect that Dale had. I think we all play a certain role in doing it together as drivers. It is our responsibility to bring up certain issues and try to do our best to keep the sport growing. But the sport is growing. It’s been doing good.”(ESPN.com/AP)(2-10-2006)
  • Jack Daniel’s sets pace with new public service announcement: Working with NASCAR and the Century Council, the Jack Daniel Distillery is launching a new public service announcement as part of its ongoing efforts to encourage adults of legal drinking age to drink responsibly and know their limits when consuming alcoholic beverages. The debut of the :30-second spot titled “Pace Yourself” will coincide with the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The public service announcement features Master Distiller Jimmy Bedford – who’s also a farmer – cruising the country roads of Lynchburg, TN in what at first glance appears to be a car. As the camera pans out, however, you see him on a tractor being followed by a long line of cars. As he travels at his own pace, he suggests that friends of Jack Daniel’s do the same, reminding them to “know your limits, no matter what everyone else is doing around you. Pace Yourself. Drink Responsibly.” The spot then directs viewers to b4udrink.org, the Century Council’s website to educate the public on drinking and driving laws in each state. The site’s Blood Alcohol Educator (BAE) helps educate the public about Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels and how alcohol affects you as an individual. By using the BAE, a person can quickly learn how alcohol affects their BAC level in a safe and alcohol-free environment. In addition to national distribution of the PSA, the “Pace Yourself” spot will also be featured on the Jack Daniel’s racing website, jackdanielsracing.com, as well as Richard Childress Racing’s site rcrracing.com.(RCR PR)(2-10-2006)
  • Countdown: Top 5 Daytona 500 Moments Announced: The Daytona 500 spawns both memories and milestones, and as the countdown begins to the 48th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway, another countdown begins today – to the Best Five Daytona 500 Victories. #5 – With much of the East Coast immobilized by ice and snow, the 1979 Daytona 500 gained an immeasurable number of viewers on Sunday, Feb. 18. The first Daytona 500 carried live on network television [CBS], the event offered thrilling side-by-side racing against the backdrop of sparkling Florida sunshine. As laps wound down, millions watched as Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison dueled to the finish. In their last-lap dash to a win, Yarborough and Allison wrecked each other on the backstretch entering Turn 3. Seven-time series champion Richard Petty swept past them to claim the win. Then, it happened. Furious with each other, Yarborough and Allison climbed from their damaged cars and exchanged words. They were soon joined by Donnie’s brother Bobby and the argument escalated into a three-man tussle, on the grass infield, treating the day’s spectators and untold others on television, to one of the sporting world’s best-known fights. Grimy and sweating from several hours of racing, Allison and Yarborough unwittingly boosted national awareness for the sport, launching it on the first of what would be many popularity surges.(NASCAR Media)(2-10-2006)
  • State Farm teams up with Burton and Sorenson: Beginning with the Daytona 500 on February 19, 2006, State Farm will begin partnerships with NASCAR drivers #31-Jeff Burton of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and #41-Reed Sorenson of Chip Ganassi Racing. During the Daytona 500 on February 19, State Farm will debut two commercials featuring Jeff Burton and his State Farm agent. Throughout the 2006 NASCAR season, State Farm will advertise in nearly every NASCAR race. Commercials featuring Reed Sorenson will begin later this year.State Farm logo will appear on Burton’s driver uniform and uniforms of pit crew during Nextel Cup and Busch Series races, on RCR trailer/transporter and pit equipment and in “fan walk” of RCR headquarters, museum, and RCRacing.com. The State Farm logo will appear on Sorenson’s driver uniform and uniforms of pit crew during Nextel Cup and Busch Series races. In both cases, State Farm is sponsoring the drivers and not the cars. The State Farm logo will not appear on either car.(State Farm PR)(2-10-2006)
  • Aquarium may help Atlanta’s chance of NASCAR HOF UPDATE: The Georgia Aquarium, with its overwhelming early foot traffic, is Atlanta’s best case for luring the highly coveted racing shrine to Centennial Olympic Park, NASCAR’s chief executive, Brian France, said Wednesday. But it’s not all good news. France, the last word on the hall of fame decision, gave rival Charlotte two critical advantages in the hall of fame race: Lots of guaranteed money and superstar drivers and racing teams in its back yard. France walked through Atlanta’s fish tank for the first time Wednesday after speaking at a business conference in Buckhead. Bernie Marcus, the aquarium benefactor and Home Depot co-founder, joined local business leaders to give him a private tour. North Carolina’s legislature has already approved a hotel/motel tax and a $20 million land gift that will guarantee funding for nearly all of Charlotte’s $137.5 million hall of fame. Georgia is only now putting together $32.4 million in public money for the hall, which organizers expect will cost about $92 million. Corporate support and bank loans will cover the balance, a fact that seemed to give France pause. “I think they’ll get there,” France said of Atlanta’s financial effort. But, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Charlotte’s money is all wrapped up. What’s more, France likes the fact that Charlotte is home base for nearly every driver and racing team in the sport.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-9-2006)
    UPDATE: Georgia lawmakers and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin are trying to show NASCAR more money. State and city officials moved Thursday to put more dollars behind Atlanta?s bid for a NASCAR hall of fame, including another $10 million in special tax breaks from the city of Atlanta, according to state Rep. Mark Burkhalter. Officials were reacting to comments made by Brian France, the racing?s chief executive, who suggested Wednesday that the money behind rival Charlotte?s bid was more secure — though Atlanta may have an advantage with the foot traffic generated by the Georgia Aquarium.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-10-2006)

    News from February 9, 2006

  • Golf Channel and NASCAR Drivers Raise Money for Charity: Riding on the success from a previous NASCAR The Big Break: All-Star Challenge edition (Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler, Jamie McMurray, Michael Waltrip and Rusty Wallace), some of NASCAR’s best will once again perform their driving skills…on a golf course for a charity of their choice. These contestants will not only take on one another, they’ll also take on some of the most demanding challenges from The Golf Channel’s The Big Break reality series [airs on the Golf Channel Tuesday’s at 9:pm/et]. The event is closed to the public, no word when it will air on the Golf Channel. The event will take place on Monday, Feb 13th with drivers Kurt Busch, Mike Skinner, Kyle Petty, Boris Said and Hermie Sadler playing.(2-9-2006)
  • NASCAR on NBC & TNT Begins Sixth Season This Weekend: As the green flag drops on the NASCAR Nextel Cup season, NBC and TNT have the next two weeks of racing covered from Daytona International Speedway, including exclusive live coverage of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500 on NBC. Live coverage begins this Saturday with TNT’s broadcast of the Budweiser Shootout preceded by the “Bank of America Countdown to Green” pre-race show at 8pm/et. NBC presents Daytona Bud Pole Qualifying at 12noon/et Sunday. NBC will broadcast the 48th annual Daytona 500 live on Sunday, Feb. 19, with coverage beginning at 2:30pm/et, preceded and followed by coverage of the Torino Winter Olympics. The Daytona 500 is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year. The 2004 Daytona 500 was watched by 33.5 million viewers and posted a 10.6/24 national rating. In 2002, NBC’s inaugural Daytona 500 set a record with 35 million viewers and a 10.9/26 national rating during the middle Sunday of NBC’s coverage of the Salt Lake Olympics [2005 Daytona 500 on Fox 10.9/23 national rating/share]. The NBC & TNT broadcast crew, including play-by-play announcer and pre-race host Bill Weber and analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach, will call the action from the booth, with Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum reporting from the pits.(NBC PR)(2-9-2006)
  • Speed Shows – NBC/24 returns; Stewart; Despain Special: The popular behind-the-scenes NASCAR program NBS 24/7 returns to Speed Channel in 2006 with a focus on the NASCAR Busch Series rookie class. NBS 24/7 – The Rookies debuts Feb. 13 at 9:30pm/et before moving to its regular 8:30 p.m. slot on Feb. 20 with the teams from FitzBradshaw Racing and Akins Motorsports once again in the spotlight with drivers Joel Kauffman and AJ Foyt IV. In addition to the three primary teams, NBS 24/7 – The Rookies also will keep an eye on Busch rookies Chris Wimmer, Burney Lamar, Mark McFarland and Todd Kluever, as well as partial season drivers, including Erin Crocker.
    AND Tony Stewart quietly turned over a pair of cars from his collection to celebrity customizer Will Castro a few weeks ago at the 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis. The first car, a Lamborghini, didn’t raise many eyebrows, as A-list athletes and cool cars go together like peanut butter and jelly. In fact, Castro has worked on more Lamborghinis then he can remember. But the second ride was a little different — a baby blue 1984 Cadillac Brougham hearse. Intrigued by the challenge, however, Castro and his crew from Unique Autosports in New York believe they are up to the task of customizing the unusual car for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader. “This will be, at the very least, a five-month project,” said Castro, whose show Unique Whips airs Wednesday nights on Speed Channel at 9pm/et and pt. “We will do a complete job inside and out — new wheels, new tires and custom paint. We’ll add a custom top, an all new interior with a home entertainment system, plasma screens and a wet bar. It will be crazy.” Stewart, who purchased the car in Cincinnati “just to mess with people,” trusts Castro and his team to have some fun with the car. “I’m not going to tell Will what to do,” Stewart said. “That would be like Will telling me how to drive. He is a genius and this is what he does.”
    AND Dave Despain and the gang from Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel fill in the rest of the world on how the sleepy beach town of Daytona Beach became synonymous with racing in America, as Dave Despain on Assignment: Daytona Beach airs Feb. 19 at 10am/et, the morning of the Daytona 500. Over the course of an hour, viewers will be introduced to Daytona’s true racing pioneers. It’s a story that begins with the invention of the automobile, extends through the great depression, survives World War II and solidifies its place in history with the formation of NASCAR. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, entering its fourth season in 2006, returns to Speed Channel later the same evening, signing on at 9pm/et.(Speed Channel PRs)(2-9-2006)
  • Darnell wins Gong Show: From countless laps around Martinsville to a head-to-head match race in Darlington, viewers of Discovery Channel’s Roush Racing: Driver X saw the 2005 driver search unfold in their living rooms. When the dust settled, it was Erik Darnell who was named Driver X, and winner of a full-time ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
    Roush Racing: Driver X debuted October 24, the first of 13 episodes that began with 1,776 hopeful applicants being cut down to just 25 that would take to the track and compete to become the newest driver for Roush Racing’s Craftsman Truck Series team. Based on Roush Racing’s “Gong Show” driver search, Driver X allowed behind-the-scenes access to the driver selection process and on-track activity that served as one of the most intense, and not to mention expensive job interviews ever conducted.
    “It was an unbelievable opportunity to be chosen to compete in Driver X,” said Darnell. “Just to be chosen out of that many people was like winning the deal in itself. To go on and win, I can’t even explain how cool this is. I’m really looking forward to Daytona, and getting this season underway. I’m blessed to be afforded this opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it.”
    Darnell will head to Daytona early next week with his #99 Roush Racing Ford F-150 and make his first start for the team on Friday, February 17 in the GM FlexFuel 250. The Roush Fords were among the fastest teams in pre-season testing at Daytona, showing at the top of the charts in each session. Darnell and his new teammate, fellow Driver X competitor David Ragan were joined by veteran driver Mark Martin for the three-day test. “Based on what we were able to accomplish in testing down there, I think we’ll have a decent truck. I want to be able to learn a lot, and complete all the laps. Anything above that I’ll consider a success,” said Darnell. “We’ve got a great team and obviously a pretty good truck, so if I can hold up my end of it, maybe we’ll be able to bring home a solid finish.”(Roush Racing)(2-9-2006)
  • NASCAR and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Form Consortium: NASCAR announced a collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in an effort to further increase diversity in the sport. The NASCAR-HBCU Consortium will aim to increase the number and quality of job opportunities for African-American students in key racing and other related automotive business activities. The announcement of the Consortium came at a press conference on Capitol Hill. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Members Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Mel Watt (D-NC) announced a Congressional Resolution recognizing the creation of the NASCAR-HBCU Consortium. The Members encouraged the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor and other appropriate agencies of the federal government to provide suitable assistance and support to ensure the success of this effort. The groups will work together to help create opportunities for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees at participating HBCUs. NASCAR, UTI and HBCUs will work together to increase awareness, access to and participation by minority students in the NASCAR Technical Institute curriculum. These students will receive proper training to enter the NASCAR workforce or other related fields including automotive engineering and technology, automotive safety, sports marketing and other automotive industry areas.(NASCAR PR)(2-9-2006)

    News from February 8, 2006

  • Kurt Busch Resolves Arizona Traffic Incident: #2-Kurt Busch appeared in Aqua Fria Justice Court today and agreed to the terms proposed by the Maricopa County [Arizona] Attorney’s Office and approved by the Court regarding a traffic incident that occurred on Nov. 11, 2005. “I am pleased to have this incident behind me,” Busch said. “I have learned many lessons from the situation and one of them is that speeding should be saved for the race track. I am excited for the 2006 race season to begin and look forward to the racing activities at Daytona this week.” Busch took responsibility for excessive speed, as well as citations for passing in a no passing zone and following another vehicle too closely. As part of the resolution, Busch will perform community service, which will be determined in the near future.(Penske Racing PR)(2-8-2006)
  • Schwan’s to #45? UPDATE: hearing that Schwan’s Home Service, who sponsored the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2004-2005 with Ken Schrader, could be heading to Petty Enterprises to be the primary sponsor for Kyle Petty on the #45 Dodge for 10-12 races in 2006. Wells Fargo already announced they would run 12 races as primary. Also there is a rumor floating around, but unable to confirm it at all, the new Coca-Cola soft drink, Vault could sponsor Petty in some fashion.(1-24-2006)
    UPDATE: Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., a business unit of The Schwan Food Company, has announced its sponsorship of the #45 stock car owned by Petty Enterprises for the 2006 Nextel Cup season. “Everyone at The Schwan Food Company is thrilled to join the Petty racing team for the 2006 season. The team operates under the same values that are important to Schwan,” said Bill McCormack, executive vice president of administration and company spokesperson. The #45 car, driven by NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty, will carry the Schwan’s Home Service yellow-and-blue paint scheme for four races, which will be announced at a later date. Home Service will provide an associate sponsorship for the remaining races. “I’ve raced off and on against a Schwan sponsored car since 1985 and am really excited to finally be able to have them on my team,” said Petty, Petty Enterprises CEO (and #45 team driver). “The best part of this deal is my guys won’t have as far to go to get the great Schwan’s ice cream at the track. They are already clearing space on the transporter to haul the ice cream cooler.”(GoMarshall), Schwan’s was the primary sponsor of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge the past two years.(2-8-2006)
  • Raybestos Rookie Contender Notes: #1-Martin Truex Jr., #11-Denny Hamlin, #18-J.J. Yeley, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson, #07-Clint Bowyer, #49-Brent Sherman, and #92-Chad Chaffin plan to compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year in 2006. The 2006 season is the first in the history of the Raybestos Rookie program where two organizations have fielded multiple entries with first-year drivers. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will have David Stremme and Reed Sorenson behind the wheel while Joe Gibbs Racing will have Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley. The 2006 Raybestos Rookie class is the largest since eight drivers competed for the award in 2000. The most drivers to compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year is 10 in 1994 (Jeff Burton, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, John Andretti, Steve Grissom, Mike Wallace, Ward Burton, Loy Allen, Billy Standridge and Curtis Markham). Since 1975, Scott Wimmer and Jeff Gordon are the only Raybestos Rookies to score a top-five finish in the Daytona 500. Wimmer placed third in 2004 while Gordon finished fifth in 1993. Since 1975, only three Raybestos Rookies have won the pole position for the Daytona 500: Loy Allen (1994), Mike Skinner (1997) and Jimmie Johnson (2002). Gordon is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Gatorade Duel qualifying race at Daytona in the sport’s modern era [1972 to present]. Gordon won his qualifying race in 1993. Denny Hamlin joins Ryan Newman as the only Raybestos Rookies to compete in the Budweiser Shootout. Hamlin earned his way into the special event by winning the pole for the 2005 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. In 2002, Newman started eighth and finished 15th, completing all 70 laps of the race.
    The way to the NASCAR NEXTEL championship is to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Since 1979, SIX Raybestos Rookie of the Year drivers have gone on to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title: Dale Earnhardt (1979), Rusty Wallace (1984), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Jeff Gordon (1993), Tony Stewart (1999, 2005) and Matt Kenseth (2000). 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 (1987-2005).(Raybestos PR)(2-8-2006)
  • Special JD schemes: #07-Clint Bowyer is scheduled to run a Jack Daniel’s Country Cooler’s scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedweay in May for the Coca-Cola 600 and a Jack Daniel’s Soprano’s scheme at Las Vegas in March. See my 2006 Cup Schemes page to view each image.(2-8-2006)
  • Bad Boy Mowers back on the #23: #23-Mike Skinner will run a third car for Bill Davis Racing in the Daytona 500 with Bad Boy Mowers as the primary sponsor. The #23 Bad Boy Mowers Dodge Charger at Daytona International Speedway is Chassis No. 62 … It was last run in the 2004 Daytona 500 and helped carry Scott Wimmer and the Cat Racing team to a third-place finish (started 26th). Bad Boy Mowers is teaming up with Bill Davis Racing to sponsor Mike Skinner and the #23 team in the 2006 Gatorade Duel and Daytona 500. This will not be the first time Bad Boy Mowers, Inc. has participated in the NEXTEL Cup Series with Davis. Bad Boy Mowers was an associate sponsor on the #23 car at Texas Motor Speedway in April 2004, when Dave Blaney brought home an 11th-place finish, and then last year Bad Boy Mowers teamed up with Skinner and BDR at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Founded in 1998 and based in Batesville, Ark., Bad Boy Mowers, Inc. is a manufacturer of zero-turn commercial lawn mowers. Rick Viers will serve as crew chief of the #23.(BDR PR)(2-8-2006)
  • Timken teams up with JGR: The Timken Company announced that it has entered into an agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) to become an official technical partner of the NASCAR racing organization. The partnership, which provides product development and technical engineering support, will be leveraged across JGR’s multiple team operations in the Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Truck Series. For the last two years, Timken has worked collaboratively with the JGR engineering team to develop and test technologies that improve the car’s powertrain performance, delivering longer life, improved fuel economy and higher horsepower availability. Products like specialty steels from the company’s Latrobe, Pa., operations and Timken RacePac, an integrated hub and bearing assembly specially designed for NASCAR teams, demonstrate an ongoing commitment to safety, reliability and high performance for the motorsports industry.(Timken PR)(2-8-2006)

    News from February 7, 2006

  • Richmond Testing dates set: Nearly all Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series drivers are expected to participate in important test sessions leading into the May 5-6 doubleheader weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Busch Series drivers will visit Richmond’s 3/4-mile oval on March 28-30, while NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will test on April 11-13. Under NASCAR’s new testing guidelines set for this season, Richmond is the only short track where NEXTEL Cup Series and Busch Series drivers are permitted to test. Overall, only six NEXEL Cup Series tracks and four Busch Series venues will host official test sessions. Teams are still permitted to test at tracks that are not part of their respective series schedules. The tests will be crucial for the teams, especially since Richmond International Raceway hosts two NASCAR weekends each season, including the 26th race of the NEXTEL Cup Series season, the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. After that race on Saturday, September 9, only the top 10 drivers and those within 400 points of the series leader will be eligible to win the NEXTEL Cup Series championship. Those drivers will battle it out against a full field each week over the last 10 races in the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.” Details regarding the grandstand hours for fans will be announced shortly.(RIR PR)(2-7-2006)
  • Hendrick Motorsports Plane Crash – lawuit filed: The wife of one of the people who died in the Hendrick plane crash has filed a new lawsuit that places partial blame for the crash on John Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports. Those allegations come from Diane Dorton, who claims Hendrick’s desire to get to the race on time may have contributed to the deaths of the ten people in that crash. In a claim she filed on behalf of husband Randy Dorton she claims there were a sequence of events leading up to the crash that could have been avoided. She also claims that they could have also chosen not to go at all. Randy Dorton called Diane on the morning of October 2, 2004. The conversation involved Randy’s delay flying to the Subway 500 race in Martinsville. Randy built engines for NASCAR and for Hendrick race teams. Dianne said Randy told her he was supposed to fly by helicopter, but the helicopter was grounded due to bad weather. They’d fly in a Hendrick Motorsports plane instead. Randy waited in the Hendrick hangar for more than an hour. He called Dianne and told her he didn’t think they’d go. He called 47 minutes later and said “we’re going.” It’s not clear who gave the go order for the trip. It’s an alleged conversation between pilot Richard Tracy and Hendrick Motorsports president John Hendrick that’s part of a negligence and misconduct lawsuit against Hendrick Motorsports.
    The suit claims Tracy proposed flying to Danville instead of the Blue Ridge airport due to the weather and that Hendrick said that option was unacceptable because they’d be too far from the track and late for the race. Danville is farther away from the track than Blue Ridge. “He told us that and I feel certain that he would stay by what he said,” said David Burgess, Dianne Dorton’s attorney. Burgess said the grounded helicopter pilot was part of that conversation and could be called to testify. A separate lawsuit against Hendrick Motorsports alleges at least 27 other planes aborted landings at Blue Ridge due to weather. Diane said the lawsuit isn’t about money. She said it’s about finding the truth about what happened to Randy, what happened onboard the plane, addressing accountability and making future airplane travel safer for her friends in NASCAR. 6NEWS asked Hendrick Motorsports for their side of this story. They refused, saying they can’t talk about a legal matter.(wncn.com)(2-7-2006)
  • NTSB: Flight crew error led to Hendrick plane crash that killed ten: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has ruled that flight crew error is the probable cause of the plane crash near Martinsville than killed ten people in October 2004. The NTSB ruled today the crew failed to properly execute the published instrument approach procedure at Blue Ridge Airport [VA]. The Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed into the side of Bull Mountain in Patrick County after attempted a landing at the airport. All ten people aboard were killed, a loss felt across the entire NASCAR family. Investigators say navigational confusion involving the plane’s GPS readings led the crew to approach the airport well above the typical altitude and descend to landing altitude almost seven miles past the airport. At that point, the plane began to climb, and had it turned to the right instead of remaining on a generally straight course, it still would have avoided Bull Mountain. Such a right turn is the standard missed approach procedure employed at the airport. The plane was attempting to bring members of the Hendrick family and company employees for that day’s race at Martinsville Speedway.(wdbj7.com)(2-7-2006)
  • UPS Awards five Scholorships: UPS continued its commitment to helping NASCAR better reflect a changing workforce and fan base by awarding another five UPS Racing Technical Edge Scholarships. The latest awards bring to more than $300,000 the financial assistance provided by UPS to minority students who want to attend the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI). This class, for the first time since the scholarship’s 2002 introduction, features five students with the same ethnic background of Hispanic origin. Candidates for the UPS Racing Technical Edge Scholarship must meet NTI admission criteria at its suburban Charlotte, NC [Mooresville], location and must demonstrate automotive-related career goals and work experience as well as financial need. The latest recipients receiving these UPS scholarships include: Jason Corbett, Discovery Bay, CA; Angel Hernandez, Warsaw, NC; Gilbert Limon, Junction, TX; Victor Navarro, Colorado Springs, CO; and Silverio Olvera, Jr., Waco, TX. Last year, UPS expanded its motorsports diversity involvement with an additional $20,000 in scholarships awarded as part of the NASCAR College Tour. UPS again will join the tour this fall on visits to four campuses of historically black or Hispanic institutions to help judge the competition among student presentations.(UPS PR)(2-7-2006)
  • Gordon to use holograms to authenticate signature: #24-Jeff Gordon will begin using sequentially numbered holograms to authenticate his signature on collector’s items and merchandise. John Bickford, the vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., said the idea originated after the company that oversees Gordon’s business interests discovered many forgeries on eBay. “We felt we had a responsibility to the fan to do all we could to protect them,” said Bickford, who estimated JGI spent more than $50,000 on development. “Hopefully other athletes will see the value in this, and they’ll begin to use a similar process. I anticipate I’ll be getting calls from business agents of people like Barry Bonds or A-Rod.” The hologram will make its debut Friday during the For Race Fans Only program on QVC. Within a few months, fans will be able to register the items at jeffgordon.com.(USA Today)(2-7-2006)
  • Robby gets new assoc, sponsor: InterActive Financial Marketing has signed an associate sponsorship agreement with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) for the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season. IFMG’s associate program will include branding on the team’s #7 RGM Chevy and an extensive nationwide marketing campaign featuring Robby Gordon in television and radio commercials, specifically customized for each participating Chevrolet partner’s dealership and region. IFMG also plans to develop supporting in-store POP materials for its dealers and special trackside hospitality at select NASCAR events. “Having a sponsor like Interactive Financial Marketing Group is a perfect match for our team.” said Gordon. “Chevrolet is an important part of our team and when we sat down with IFMG and learned of their goal to help Chevrolet dealers sell more cars to NASCAR fans it made a lot of sense. The program they’ve put together for their Chevrolet dealers is great, and I look forward to growing our relationship together for many years.”
    “IFMG is excited to offer our partner Chevrolet dealers the ability to tap into the ever-expanding fan base of America’s fastest growing sport, NASCAR. This opportunity will allow our dealers to distinguish themselves from their competitors and provide the NASCAR fan with a truly unique car buying destination and experience,” said Travis B. Weisleder, President and COO, Interactive Financial Marketing Group. With automotive dealer partners in 48 states, IFMG specializes in obtaining high quality special finance customers from its family of brands including hundreds of the most recognized Internet addresses and vanity phone numbers in the industry including carloan.comautoloan.com, 1-800-CAR-LOAN and 1-800-AUTO-LOAN. For more information or to become part of the CARLOAN.COM race team, contact IFMG at 804-225-1880 or visit interactivefmg.com.(RGM PR)(2-7-2006)
  • Edwards to appear on ’24’: While in Southern California last week to promote the Nextel Cup race at California Speedway in Fontana on Feb. 26, Carl Edwards filmed a small role for an episode of 24 [Fox, Monday’s at 9pm/et/Jayski Fave] scheduled to air April 3. “The best part was they gave me a line to read,” Edwards said. “The cameras started to roll, and as I was walking over to shake the other character’s hand, I realized my palms were a little sweaty, which doesn’t happen very often.”(USA Today)(2-7-2006)
  • McClure to Premiere #64 UPDATE: Eric McClure will be dividing his driving duties between the #60 in the ARCA Seriers, The Premier Motorsports #64 NASCAR Nextel Cup and the #85 Busch Series teams. McClure will participate in select NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series races in 2006 for The Premier Motorsports team.(Premier Motorsports site)(2-2-2006)
    UPDATE: Eric McClure, a former Late Model division regular at Lonesome Pine Raceway, announced Monday he has signed to drive the full 2006 ARCA season with the Owensboro, Ky.-based Premier Motorsports Racing Team driving the unsponsored #60 Chevy. McClure’s Busch and Cup schedule hasn’t been finalized but he knows he’ll run about five races in each series, with the Daytona 500 and the March 12 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway definitely on the Cup schedule. His Busch and Cup runs will mostly occur when ARCA is sharing a venue such as Michigan in the Cup series and Nashville in the Busch Series. “We’re going without sponsorship, but Dan is committed to doing it, so I’m going with him,” McClure said.(Kingsport Times-News)(2-7-2006)
  • Speed: NASCAR Five Years Later: Speed Channel will air NASCAR Five Years Later, a one-hour special look at the sport of NASCAR five years removed from the loss of motor sports icon Dale Earnhardt, who died in a racing accident on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. The program will debut Feb. 14 at 8:00pm/et as part of Speed Channel’s 70-plus hours of Speedweeks coverage from Daytona Beach. NASCAR Five Years Later, narrated by veteran motor sports broadcaster Eli Gold, will examine the global reaction to the tragedy and how it affected the sport in immeasurable ways. A definitive catalyst for change in the area of safety, Earnhardt’s death also changed the entire demographic and marketing angle of NASCAR, instantly elevating his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the top of the list of fan favorites. Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, as well as NASCAR President Mike Helton and Earnhardt’s former crew chief Larry McReynolds are among those lined up to discuss the impact the man known as “The Intimidator” had and continues to have on the sport of NASCAR. (Speed Channel)(2-7-2006)

    News from February 6, 2006

  • Sponsor named for Elliott and #36 MB2 team: MB2 Motorsports announced that Ginn (pronounced Ghin) Clubs & Resorts will be the primary sponsor on Bill Elliott’s #36 Chevy during Daytona Speedweeks, including the Feb. 11 Budweiser Shootout and the Feb. 19 Daytona 500. Based in Celebration, Fla., Ginn Clubs & Resorts is a privately held resort development and management firm, specializing in exclusive leisure lifestyle and vacation destination communities in the United States. “This is our first venture into motorsports sponsorship and what a thrilling beginning,” said Bobby Ginn, president and CEO of Ginn Clubs & Resorts. “To be associated with MB2 Motorsports and the legendary Bill Elliott in the Daytona 500 is a tremendous opportunity to convey our message to the worldwide network of NASCAR fans. The partnership will also provide a special excitement to our communities at Ginn Clubs & Resorts.” Ginn Clubs & Resorts Ginn Clubs & Resorts is a privately held resort development and management firm which specializes in exclusive leisure lifestyle and vacation destination communities across the U.S. More info at ginnclubsandresorts.com.(MB2 Motorsports PR) see an image of the car on my #36 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2006)
  • Dodge Test at Kentucky UPDATE postponed: Drivers from Evernham Motorsports, Penske Racing South, Chip Ganassi Racing and Petty Enterprises are expected to have a joint test session on Monday [Feb 6th] at Kentucky Speedway. The endeavor will be an attempt to come to a consensus as to what changes can be made to the 2005 Charger to make it competitive while racing in traffic. So far, the four major Dodge organizations have yet to come to an agreement, which hindered attempts to get a change from NASCAR. As of now, Penske Racing South is expected to field 2004 Dodge Intrepids at California Speedway and Las Vegas. Once a decision is reached, Dodge is expected to submit a new nose to NASCAR to see if it will be approved for this season.(NASCAR Scene), the Kentucky Speedway site lists three drivers testing on Monday, Feb 6th: #12-Newman, #40-Stremme, #42-Mears. Also….Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(2-4-2006)
    UPDATE: Dodge teams planning a joint test at Kentucky Speedway on Monday had to postpone the session due to snow in the area. Originally, drivers from Evernham Motorsports, Penske Racing South, Chip Ganassi Racing and Petty Enterprises planned to test together in an attempt to come to a consensus as to what changes can be made to the 2005 Charger to make it competitive while racing in traffic. The owners have yet to determine a new date for the test.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-6-2006)
  • More night races coming? there are rumblings that next year’s [2007] Cup schedule will have some schedule changes to accomodate ESPN’s new contract. Two more night races are rumored and the possibility of a second Vegas race, in the “Chase,” has been discussed.(RacingOne)(2-6-2006)

News from February 5, 2006

  • Schrader and Waltrip to run #66 in Busch: UPDATE: the Yardman.com site has a NASCAR Racing section, listing Ken Schrader and Michael Waltrip as drivers of the #66 Yardman Ford for Brewco Motorsposrts in the Busch Series, no races listed.(Yardman.com)(2-2-2006)
    UPDATE: Yard-Man by MTD is teaming up with veteran drivers Michael Waltrip and Kenny Schrader to become a primary sponsor of the Brewco Motorsports #66 Ford in the 2006 Busch series. Yard-Man, a leading manufacturer of lawn and garden tractors and walk-behind mowers, will have a primary role in 15 races, including Daytona, Bristol and Talladega. The #66 Yard-Man Ford makes its debut at Daytona on February 18, with Schrader behind the wheel. Throughout the remainder of the season Waltrip and Schrader will share driving responsibilities. (Yard-Man PR via BGNRacing.com)(2-5-2006)
  • Robby 4th in off-road truck race: Robby Gordon, driver of the #7 Chevy in the Cup Series, finished 4th [1st Trick Truck] in the BITD Blue Water Resort & Casino Parker “425” in the Arizona desert. Gordon raced his Hummer H3 Jim Beam/Toyo Tires sponsored truck. The race was won by John Herder, followed by Gary Weyhrich and Chuck Hovey.(dirtnewz.com or bitd.com)(2-5-2006)
  • Black Wheels to air Monday: Speed Channel reached an agreement with New Millenium Studios to air Black Wheels, a one-hour film exploring the history of African-Americans in motor sports, beginning in Monday, Feb. 6 at 9:00pm/et. The special will re-air during Daytona Speedweeks on Feb. 12 at 5:00pm/et. Writer and producer Byron Hunter took on the project after spending time with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester.(Speed Channel)(2-5-2006)

    News from February 4, 2006

  • Double Duty for Long at Daytona: Carl Long will be piloting the #80 Hover Motorsports Ford in this year’s running of the Daytona 500. Long will also be at the wheel of the #28 FDNY Racing Chevy in the Truck Series race at Daytona. Sponsorship for both teams will be announced at a later date.(Carl-Long.com)(2-4-2006)
  • Johnson on TV show Monday: Jimmie Johnson will make a primetime guest appearance on the Monday night episode of NBC’s Las Vegas (9-10pm/et). In the episode, entitled “Urban Legends,” Johnson, appearing as himself, is invited to judge a Chevy Custom Car Show taking place at the Montecito Casino. Johnson and his #48 Chevy are also featured in portions of the episode shot at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he is first approached to judge the car show. “It’s definitely not as easy as it looks,” said Johnson. “Fortunately, I got to play myself so I think that made it a little easier for me. I’m not sure how I would have done if I had to play someone else and read lines as that character. It was fun, but I think I’ll stick to driving my race car.”(Team Lowe’s Racing/GMR Marketing)(2-4-2006)
  • WAM to make gift presentation UPDATE: The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports (WAM) will present a significant gift to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at NorthEast Medical Center during a press conference Friday, February 3, in the Hamrick Theatre at NorthEast Medical Center [Charlotte area, NC]. The future hospital’s namesake, Jeff Gordon, will be in attendance during the presentation.(PR)(2-3-2006)
    UPDATE: The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports (WAM) announced its financial gift to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at NorthEast Medical Center in Concord, N.C. The gift of $200,000 given towards the playroom portion of the children’s hospital is an opportunity for WAM to “kick off” a new initiative of the organization with its charitable works. “We appreciate WAM’s donation to this project,” Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion said. “The children’s hospital means a lot to me, and I’m glad they’ve come on board to lend their support to the hospital and the children of this community.”(WAM PR)(2-4-2006)

    News from February 3, 2006

  • Belmont back at Daytona Andy Belmont will be in Daytona Beach trying to qualify for the ARCA 200 and get his season off to a better start. The former local dirt track racer also will try to put a car into the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 19. Belmont will try to qualify for the Daytona 500 is the same car [#59 Year One Ford] that Derrike Cope used last year. It was actually sitting in a show room in Braselton, Ga., and was owned by Year One, one of the country’s largest sellers of restoration and performance parts for vintage and muscle cars. By the time Belmont had finished talking with Kevin King, president of Year One, he had the car, a Ford, and some sponsorship support from the company and had plans in place to take a crack at qualifying for the Daytona 500. GunBroker.com, the world’s largest online auction of firearms and accessories, will sponsor Beck and be an associate sponsor on Belmont’s Nextel Cup entry and his ARCA car. Belmont said he has sold his home in Penndel, PA and is having a home built in Mooresville, N.C. He has been living in his motor home next to his race shop in Lexington, N.C. His family will be joining him in Mooresville.(Phillyburbs.com)(2-3-2006)
  • Penske likely to run Intrepids at Vegas & Calif: After #2-Kurt Busch tested both a 2004 Dodge and an 2005 model at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Penske Racing South expects to field 2004 models for both #12-Ryan Newman and Busch at California Speedway and Las Vegas. “We’re going to use whichever car our team thinks is the better performer,” team president Don Miller said Wednesday. “Right now, that looks like it’s going to be the 2004.” Dodge introduced the Charger nameplate last season, replacing the Intrepids it used from 2001-04. Both the ’04 and ’05 models are approved for use by NASCAR. Ray Evernham said his team plans to stick with Chargers for drivers #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne. While details have not been finalized, a number of Dodge teams are trying to schedule a group test at Nashville to see if they can come to a consensus before presenting an 2006 Charger to NASCAR to see if it can get a new nose approved.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-3-2006)
  • Ward wants a ride: Ward Burton is quite matter-of-fact when reasoning his yearlong absence from NASCAR competition: The phone didn’t just sit idle. He had opportunities to get back in the seat. Just couldn’t get excited about any of them. So he held out. But as one of the most active Silly Seasons in recent memory came and went without resolution, Burton began to realize something: Some of this is my fault. It’s not just going to fall in my lap. “There were a few offers,” Burton said. “It wasn’t as good as I’d have liked, and some of that is my fault, not being as proactive as I needed to be and relying on other people to do things for me. I didn’t take time within the racing fraternity as I should have.” That’s not to say it was time wasted. Quite the contrary, in fact. Burton spent the year working on land conservation projects and spending considerable QT with his wife and children. “The loss of that year made me realize how much I love the sport, like the competition, like the camaraderie and intermingling with the fans, building sponsor programs, all of it,” he said. Easier said than done. Anyone that knows NASCAR knows it is the consummate out of sight, out of mind business. Just walking back in after a year off is difficult for everyone, impossible for some. Burton is committed. He plans to be more visible at the racetrack in 2006, and is discussing possible sponsorship opportunities with NASCAR’s brass and other industry movers and shakers “so I can bring something other than just myself to a team.”(in part from NASCAR.com)(2-3-2006)
  • Park has a ride? UPDATE 2 Busch Series: hearing Steve Park will drive a limited number of Busch Series races in 2006, possibly with the #31 Whelen Racing team.(1-31-2006)
    UPDATE: From the Steve Park site “I’m thrilled to announce that I will be back in the #31 Whelen Engineering Monte Carlo for 10 select races during the 2006 Busch season. Everyone at Whelen & Marsh Racing has always been so good to me and I am so excited to be back behind the wheel of the Whelen machine.”(2-1-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Steve Park will be driving the Marsh Racing # 31 Chevy sponsored by Whelen Engineering in 10 select races during the 2006 season. “It is like a family member coming back home” said Phil Kurze, Whelen’s Director of Motorsports. Kurze went on to say that “The kickoff race will be Las Vegas and we will probably be racing in both Richmond events, Darlington, New Hampshire, both Dover races, the October race at Lowe’s and finish the season with Texas and Homestead. If Steve is able to secure a Craftsman Truck ride we will make some adjustments to our schedule to accommodate his obligations.”(Whelen Racing)(2-3-2006)
  • Roush signs developmental driver: Roush Racing announced that it has signed 19 year-old Canadian Peter Shepherd to a driver development contract. Shepherd will run select ARCA races in 2006 as a part of Roush Racing’s driver development program. Shepherd was selected as one of the 25 finalists for Roush Racing’s Driver X competition in 2005, and was quick to impress. Following a stellar performance at Martinsville, Shepherd advanced to the second round of the competition at Darlington, where he continued to make an impression on team owner Jack Roush. Shepherd was able to impress not only on the track, but in the boardroom as well. During the filming of Roush Racing: Driver X, Shepherd participated in a comprehensive series of marketing and PR evaluations, scoring at the top of the list. Roush Racing is currently seeking sponsorship for Shepherd’s 2006 campaign. Roush Racing will team with the Roulo Brothers to field Shepherd’s #39 entry in selected 2006 ARCA events. Longtime ARCA Series and NASCAR competitors, the Roulo’s have fielded cars for such drivers as Ken Schrader and Rich Bickle. In 2005, they fielded a car in six events for Roush driver Erik Darnell as a part of the Roush Racing Driver Development program.(Roush Racing PR)(2-3-2006)

    News from February 2, 2006

  • NASCAR publicist arrested: see articles at ESPN.com/AP and the Charlotte Observer and another at the
    Charlotte Observer.(1-31/2-2-2006)
  • Jason Jarrett goes to work for Dad: Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure announced that Jason Jarrett has joined the team at its new corporate headquarters in Newton, North Carolina. Also, Troi Hayes, formerly the Senior Director of marketing at Talladega Superspeedway for International Speedway Corporation has also joined the company as the Senior Vice President of Marketing. In addition to being the son of Nextel Cup champion Dale Jarrett, Jason’s own racing career has been extensive from its beginnings in the World Karting Association to the Nextel Cup Series. “I have been racing since 1992 and I am excited about this new opportunity with Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure,” said Jarrett. While this new role will not be centered on getting behind the wheel, Jason likes being presented with new challenges. “For me, one of the best parts of driving a racecar has always been giving people great experiences and lifetime memories.” The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure provides people with an experience they will never forget by riding in or driving real Nextel Cup cars around NASCAR sanctioned tracks throughout the country. “Racing has been my life and I look forward to continuing my love for the sport by working with Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure and giving our customers that one-of-a-kind experience,” explained Jason. More information is available on the Racing Adventure by visiting racingadventure.com.(PR Newswire)(2-2-2006)
  • Wood Brothers to be inducted into VA HOF: Wood brothers: Glen and Leonard Wood [current owners of the #21 Nextel Cup team] are among eight Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2006 inductees at the 35th annual awards banquet in Portsmouth, VA on April 22. The Wood’s have given more than 50 years to the growth of auto racing. They have been at it longer than any other continuous NASCAR Nextel Cup team. Among some top drivers the pair featured were: A.J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, Kyle Petty and Ricky Rudd. The Wood Brothers team has featured 17 of NASCAR’s top 50 drivers. The duo has 97 series wins, and many credit the brothers as inventors of the modern pit stop. The Hall, established in 1972, is for athletes, coaches, administrators and other contributors to Virginia sports. Candidates must meet certain criteria for induction. Among them, they must have lived in Virginia for at least four years or achieved national or international recognition while attending a Virginia college or university. For information on tickets call (757) 393-8031 or go to the Web site at www.vshfm.com.(from the Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-2-2006)
  • McClure to Premiere #64: Eric McClure will be dividing his driving duties between the #60 in the ARCA REMAX Seriers, The Premier Motorsports #64 NASCAR Nextel Cup and the #85 Busch Series teams. McClure will participate in select NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series races in 2006 for The Premier Motorsports team.(Premier Motorsports site)(2-2-2006)
  • Schrader and Waltrip to run #66 in Busch: the Yardman.com site has a NASCAR Racing section, listing Ken Schrader and Michael Waltrip as drivers of the #66 Yardman Ford for Brewco Motorsposrts in the Busch Series, no races listed.(Yardman.com)(2-2-2006)

    News from February 1, 2006

  • Testing at Las Vegas is over: the top five overall after three days of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was: #99-Carl Edwards with a speed of 170.778 [Day 3 AM], followed by #9-Kasey Kahne [Day 3 AM], #66-Jeff Green [Day 1 AM], #2-Kurt Busch [Day 3 PM] and #38-Elliott Sadler [Day 1 AM]. 48 drivers ran laps. Slowest was #55-Michael Waltrip at 164.679 then #00-Hermie Sadler and #50-Larry Foyt. As far as heard, only #40-David Stremme and #12-Ryan Newman encountered the wall.
    Speeds for each day and the final cumulative speeds the LVMS test can be seen on my Las Vegas Testing Page.(2-1-2006)
  • Driver of the Year: In its 39th year, the Driver of the Year Award will be determined by an independent vote of an 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on a cumulative tally by fans voting at www.speedtv.com. That means that you, the fans, can help us decide the winner of the award by casting your vote right here for the driver you feel most deserves recognition for the 2005 season. The award encompasses all racing platforms including NASCAR, Champ Car, IRL, NHRA, SCCA, World of Outlaws and Sports Cars. The year-end winner is determined by 18 journalists’ secret ballots and the overall winner of the fan vote on www.speedtv.com. Fan voting for the 2005 Speed Channel Driver of the Year has begun. The winner will be announced exclusively on SPEED Wednesday, February 15th at 8:00pm/et.
    2005 Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award nominees:
    Tony Stewart (NASCAR)
    Dan Wheldon (IRL)
    Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car)
    Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws)
    Tony Schumacher (NHRA)
    Greg Anderson (NHRA)(2-1-2006)
  • Sad News – Dick Brooks: Former NASCAR driver and broadcaster Dick Brooks, 63, died earlier today, apparently of a heart attack. Brooks was the 1969 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. He won one race, the 1973 Talladega 500, and earned 93 top-10 finishes in 358 starts. He retired from racing following the 1985 season and went on to a successful career as a Motor Racing Network broadcaster.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)
    AND The visitation will be held in the chapel of the Lanford Funeral Home, 257 N. Main Street, Woodruff, SC 29388 (864) 476-3101, from 1:00-2:00pm on Saturday, Feb. 4, followed by a 2:00pm service. Private burial will take place at 3pm. At this time, the family has not designated any memorial charity, but Lanford Funeral Home offered “A Arrangement Florist” in Spartanburg (864.576.9279) as a good choice of florists.(2-1-2006)
  • Sad News – Tony Venturini: Tony Venturini, father of two-time ARCA Series driving champion Bill Venturini and grandfather of current series competitor Billy Venturini, died Wednesday, February 1st after a long, courageous battle with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. He was 77. Tony, of Chicago, Illinois, was the first line of three generations of Venturini’s who competed in motorsports. Tony began his career racing jalopies at Soldier’s Field in Chicago in 1952. During his racing career that lasted through 1959, Tony also raced at Rockford Speedway, O’Hare Stadium and Milwaukee. Tony was also a driver in Andy Granatelli’s Hurricane Hot Rod Association. Tony earned his living through the years as a Chicago-area gas station owner.
    Tony’s son Bill, a veteran of ARCA and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, earned ARCA national championships in 1987 and 1991. Bill also has the distinction of being officially the fastest qualifier in ARCA history with a 205.432 mph qualifying run at Talladega Superspeedway in 1987.
    Third-generation driver Billy Venturini finished a career-best 4th in ARCA RE/MAX Series points in 2004. Granddaughter Wendy is a broadcaster with Speed Channel. Tony is survived by sons’ Bill Venturini, Jack Venturini, Tony Venturini Jr., John Kaminski, Kenny Kaminski and daughter Caprice Towne. Visitation is from 11am to 8pm Sunday, February 5th at the Cumberland Chapel, 8300 W Lawrence Ave, Norridge IL 60706, phone (708) 456-8300. Funeral services will be held on Monday, February 6th with interment to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery in Elmwood IL, phone (708) 453-0184. All messages of well-wishes can be sent to Venturini Motorsports, 571 Pitts School Rd., NW, Concord NC 28027. Condolences go out to family and friends.(In part from ARCA Racing site)
    AND In lieu of flowers, any donations may be made in Tony Venturini’s honor to: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Western North Carolina Chapter, 5950 Fairview Road Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28210.(2-1-2006)
  • Kenny Wallace gets St. Louis Radio Show: UPDATE: Kenny will have another activity to keep him busy this year. “Starting 2/17 at 7 o’clock (PM) Central Time in St. Louis I’ll be on the Kenny Wallace show for KMOX radio,” Kenny tells us. “That is one of the largest AM stations in the United States, in 44 states. This is a radio station I grew up with my whole life listening to. It’s real good talk and sports radio I’m excited about it. I’ll broadcast from my motorhome on Friday nights. Rusty or some other special guests will do the show when racing in the Busch Series on Friday nights.” (KennyWallace.com)(1-6-2006)
    UPDATE: KMOX announced today that Kenny Wallace, one of the most popular drivers on the NASCAR circuit, will host a special edition of the “Chrysler Jeep Sports Open Line” on KMOX throughout the stock car racing season. The program will air Friday nights at 7:00pm central time from February 17 through November 17, 2006.(KMOX PR). Wallace drives the #22 AutoZone Ford in the Busch Series and the #78 Furniture Row Chevy in the Cup Seires.(2-1-2006)
  • Bodine and Germain testing at Vegas? in Cup car? UPDATE: hearing that Todd Bodine is testing the #03 Chevy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this week for Germain Racing, his Truck Series team.(1-30-2006)
    UPDATE: Bodine tested a #03 Chevy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, not much more info on it.(2-1-2006)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 3:
    AM Speeds: 28 drivers in 48 cars took to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesay, Feb 1st AM session. The fastest was #99-Carl Edwards with a speed of 170.778mph [track record is 174.904 set in Mar 2004], followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman [Intrpid] and #17-Matt Kenseth. Fastest Chevy was #01-Joe Nemechek, 8th.
    PM Speeds: 27 drivers and 47 cars took to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesay, Feb 1st PM session. The fastest was #2-Kurt Busch with a quick lap of 169.694mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #01-Joe Nemechek, #9-Kasey Kahne and #16-Greg Biffle.
    Speeds for the LVMS test can be seen on my Las Vegas Testing Page.(2-1-2006)
  • Newman smacks wall: Five minutes into the final Las Vegas test session #12-Ryan Newman slapped the wall coming out of turn two flattening the right side of his #12 Dodge Intrepid. Newman drove the car back to the garage. Newman’s team brought a pair of Intrepids while teammate Kurt Busch is driving a Charger and an Intrepid testing the down force of each body style.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-1-2006)
  • Dodges: from some of the pictures that have been seen from the Las  Vegas testing, looks like #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch are testing at least one Dodge Intrepid car. Didn’t notice any of the other Dodge teams doing so.(2-1-2006)