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February 2007 News Archives


  • News from February 28, 2007

  • COT Full time in 2008? NASCAR officials won’t rule out the possibility that the “car of tomorrow” might run full time in 2008 instead of another partial Nextel Cup season. With more than 50 Nextel Cup teams testing at Bristol Motor Speedway today in preparation for the new model’s debut in the 2007 race, talk about the difficulty of teams and drivers competing with two models is growing. NASCAR officials have been hearing that for some time, and speculation has been rampant that the series would move up the schedule for running the model in all series races. The car of tomorrow will be used in 16 races this season and is currently slated for 26 of the 36 points races in 2008. “We’re hearing a lot of talk already about it and understandably so,” Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said of changing to a full schedule with the model in 2008. “It’s difficult to run the two programs. It’s difficult for our side to run two programs knowing what rules apply to what car.” Would the sanctioning body consider making that change? “If the garage says, ‘Look we’re all in,’ we’re all in,” he said.(SceneDaily.com)(2-28-2007)
  • Bristol COT Testing Day 1 evening: The first day [of two] of testing at Bristol Motor Speedway ended Wednesday night after three sessions with #48A-Jimmie Johnson fastest at 122.007mph followed by #4A-Ward Burton, #9B-Kasey Kahne, #11B-Denny Hamlin and #29A-Kevin Harvick. Slowest was #15A-Menard at 117.071.
    Incident: #$-Ward Burton crashed his Morgan-McClure Chevy in the final minutes of the session, destroying the front splitter and crushing the front end after making contact with the inside retaining wall off the frontstretch. Burton didn’t hit the wall that hard, but the front end crushed significantly. Burton said that he didn’t hit that hard. “It was all over the place, I just slid down the track and hit the inside wall,” he said of the hit. “No, it wasn’t hard at all.”(SceneDaily.com)
    See my Bristol Testing page for the speeds, news and images.(2-28-2007)
  • Martin’s response to Burton’s comments: When PRN’s Garage Pass host Mark Garrow asked Martin Martin’s response to Jeff Burton’s quote that he would bet Martin couldn’t pass up a chance to run for the championship Martin joked “He’s going to be broke if he’s betting.” In other words Burton had better not bet the house. “He better not, ” laughed Martin. “That’s a big house he’s got.” He added, “I don’t have any plans to run the full schedule. I’m thrilled with what I’m doing and I certainly wouldn’t want to spoil it by tampering with the formula. The formula is real good right now. I’ll let y’all have fun with it but you know I haven’t changed my mind. I’m ready for a weekend off already.” When asked what would happen if car owner Bobby Ginn came to him and asked him to run for the championship? “That’s not going to happen. He won’t do that. That’s why I’m happy here. I’m really in a good place in my life. I feel I’ve taken stock of my career and my personal life and I’m really blessed with all the things I’ve got going.”(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(2-28-2007)
  • Burton comments on Martin; Martin testing at Bristol: Mark Martin signed up to run 22 races in the #01 US Army Chevy in 2007. However, with his success in the first two races cause him to re-think that plan? “I’d bet almost anybody right now today that Mark Martin runs all 38 races” said fellow driver and long-time friend #31-Jeff Burton. “Matt (Kenseth) and I told him (Martin) before the Daytona 500 that we both bet that he would run every race. I believed it before the year started and I believe it even more today.” Burton felt all along that if Martin would be up front competing for wins it would be almost impossible for him to give up his ride to Regan Smith for 16 races. “I know him really well” said Burton. “I hate to use this analogy but he’s like a drug addict that can’t get away from it…and that’s a horrible analogy but this is an addicting thing and when you’re having success it’s much, much harder to walk away. The only way that he wouldn’t is if they’d gone to Daytona and got in a wreck or gone to California and had some kind of problem. Mark Martin isn’t going to have a car owner look him in the eye and say, “Hey, we have a chance to win a championship and him say well I’m not riding. I know he’s not going to. He can say all he wants to but he’s not scheduled to run Bristol but who’s doing the Bristol test? Mark Martin.” While the official Bristol scoring rundown indicates Regan Smith was testing both US Army cars, Martin was in fact turning laps in the teams’ “A” machine.(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(2-28-2007)
  • Reutimann doing well, ready for COT test and Mexico UPDATE not testing at Bristol: Following a hard crash at California Speedway during the Nextel Cup Series event, David Reutimann is doing well and is focused on racing his #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Busch Series Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 on Sunday, March 4th at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. “I feel really good and I’m ready to race the Aaron’s Dream Machine this weekend,” Reutimann said. “My left foot hurts a little bit and I’m walking with just a slight limp. The swelling has gone way down. If I can have something like that happen and come through it with just that little bit, I’ll take it any day. It’s a combination of several things that helped me walk away,” Reutimann continued. “It’s the faith in the man above looking over me, to the safety crew working quickly, to the SAFER barrier wall system in place (which I’m a huge advocate of), down to my helmet and HANS device. Also, it is the seat that I used that was made by Randy LaJoie’s company (The Joie of Seating). It’s all the things that NASCAR mandates to help us. NASCAR does a phenomenal job in keeping their drivers safe. Because of all those things combined, I’m going to test the #00 Domino’s Pizza Cup car at Bristol Motor Speedway tomorrow.” Following his Car of Tomorrow Nextel Cup Series test at Bristol Motor Speedway, Reutimann boards a plane on Thursday for Mexico. This will be Reutimann’s first visit to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and his first time racing on a road course. To help prepare for the 2.518-mile road course, Reutimann attended Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix, Ariz., in December.(MWR PR)(2-28-2007)
    UPDATE: David Reutimann is not taking part in the test of the “car of tomorrow” at Bristol Motor Speedway this morning as he continues to recover from his hard crash in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Mark Green is testing the car in the first session of the official NASCAR test at the track. Reutimann does plan to get in his Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Toyota by the end of the day. “I’m getting better,” he said Wednesday morning at Bristol. “It’s a slower process, as far as feeling better, than you’d like, but it’s coming along pretty good, so I’ll hopefully be OK here at some point during the day,” He said he would let Green “do all the hard work,” but then he plans to go make some laps. He says that his body is still recovering from the incident and admitted that he spent most of Monday in bed. He did not see a doctor other than those at California Speedway but says that NASCAR officials checked in with him Monday to monitor his condition. He will not test at Bristol tomorrow, instead heading to Mexico City for the Busch Series race there. And he’s hoping that this is the last time he endures a crash of this nature.(SceneDaily.com)(2-28-2007)
  • What is up with Chaffin? Chad Chaffin, 38, finds himself without a ride and wondering if the racing career he worked so hard for may be over. “I’m not giving up, but at the same time I’m not out knocking on doors, either,” Chaffin said this week. Chaffin is the owner of Southeastern Recycling in Nashville and the business is consuming more and more of his time. “It I wasn’t so busy with this, I’d be out working harder on my racing,” he said. “I’m still exploring some possibilities, and there’s a chance I’ll run a few Cup races later this season. But right now there’s nothing definite.” Chaffin thought he might run some Craftsman Truck Series races for Bobby Hamilton Racing as a backup for Ken Schrader, but so far that hasn’t developed. There is no word on who will be Schrader’s backup.(Tennessean)(2-28-2007)
  • Motorsports this week on ESPN: In its continued commitment to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the 2007 NASCAR season, ESPN will present ESPN Full Circle: NASCAR Busch Series from Mexico City on Sunday, March 4, at 2:00pm/et, live from Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Coverage of NASCAR’s only event in Mexico marks the latest installation of an ESPN Full Circle presentation, in which various ESPN outlets carry the event live using different coverage approaches, in addition to extensive content surrounding the race across additional ESPN outlets such as TV, radio and internet. ESPN2, the home of the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007, will present a traditional race telecast (also available on ESPN2 HD), while ESPN will simulcast ESPN Deportes’ U.S. Hispanic Spanish-language flag-to-flag coverage. Additionally, ESPN360 will feature a live stream of the ESPN2 telecast.
    ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will present an English-language race telecast utilizing full use of High Definition cameras, Sportvision enhancements and state-of-the-art graphics. ESPN’s Chris Fowler will host the telecast. Play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch will be joined in the booth by 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree for analysis. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will serve as pit reporters. Coverage will begin at 10:00am/et with a live edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR. NASCAR Countdown will be aired live at 1:30pm on race day, preceding the 2pm race start, with Fowler joining studio analysts Tim Brewer and Brad Daugherty.
    ESPN will present a simulcast of ESPN Deportes’ Spanish-language flag-to-flag coverage of the race. ESPN Deportes will feature a unique telecast of the race with its own on-site production team, Spanish-language graphics and commentary and the highlighting of key Hispanic drivers. Play-by-play commentator Andrés Agulla will be joined in the booth by Alex Pombo for analysis. Claudia Trejos and Marcelo Vivo will serve as pit reporters. In addition to offering Spanish-language flag-to-flag coverage, ESPN Deportes will present a pre-race show from location at 1:00pm/et, preceding the 2pm/et green flag. Immediately following the race the network will present a special one-hour edition of SportsCenter with post-race coverage and interviews from on-site. The simulcast will mark the first time in ESPN’s history that it has telecast an entire event in Spanish.
    ESPN360, ESPN’s signature broadband service available in 15 million homes nationwide, will feature a live simulcast of the ESPN2 telecast with a race cast application, plus exclusive content from NASCAR Now, an ESPN360 “Super Highlight” of the race available immediately after the race is complete and post-race coverage including analysis and driver press conferences. In addition, throughout the season ESPN360 will feature exclusive driver-specific video capsules that will be progressively updated to feature season-to-date highlights, interviews, news and all other driver-related video.
    ESPN2 will have live coverage of practice and qualifying for this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series event in Mexico City on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3. Live coverage of Friday’s one-hour final practice session for the series will be aired from 5-6:00pm/et. Qualifying will be televised from 11:30 a.m.-1:00pm/et on Saturday. Calling the action from the booth will be Jerry Punch with analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns and Jamie Little will report from the pits and garage, while Tim Brewer and Brad Daugherty will be in the ESPN Pit Studio.(ESPN PR)(2-28-2007)
  • COT testing at Bristol Today: While there is a break in the Nextel Cup Series schedule this weekend, a project that has been seven years in the making will have the opportunity for a full scale “walk-through” this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. Fifty Nextel Cup teams are scheduled to test their Car of Tomorrow models this Wednesday-Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway. The test session is the third of seven scheduled Nextel Cup sessions this season. Previous tests this year have been conducted at Daytona and Las Vegas, while Richmond (April 3-4), Lowe’s (May 7-8), Dover (May 14-15), and Talladega (Sept. 10-11) will host tests later in the year. The much anticipated Car of Tomorrow will make its race debut March 25 in the Food City 500 at the infamous .533-mile Bristol short track. That race marks the first of 16 events the Car of Tomorrow will be on track in 2007, as NASCAR’s new safety-oriented car will race at oval tracks less than 1.5 miles, along with the two road course events and the October race at 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. “The Bristol test should be a good dress rehearsal for the race teams, drivers and NASCAR as we prepare for the first Car of Tomorrow race later next month,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition. “It should provide the teams with a good opportunity to fine tune their set ups and become more familiar with how their cars are going to handle and give NASCAR the chance to have a trial run in getting its inspection process for the new car all buttoned up.”(NASCAR PR), SPEED will air special reports on Wed and Thurs at 7:00pm/et. See past news on my COT News page and images on my COT images page.
    INFO: have a Bristol Testing page posted.(2-28-2007)
    Bristol Testing extend until 9pm/et tonight: #38-Gilliland [AM] and #25-Mears [PM] scraped the wall today, no serious damage but the caution came out. NASCAR will extend practice tonight until 9:00pm/et because of rain threat on Thursday afternoon. Teams will test tomorrow morning until noon, but NASCAR said if the weather was holding off they could test until about 2:00pm/et.(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(2-28-2007)
  • Fellows replaced by GM, has Busch plans: Canada’s most successful sports car racer, Ron Fellows, has been replaced by Denmark’s Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette C6-R for the 2007 American Le Mans Series GT1 season. The shock announcement from General Motors Racing comes just one month after the company introduced a limited edition Ron Fellows Championship Corvette Z06 at the Chicago International Auto Show. GM road racing boss Steve Wesoloski said Fellows — who will become a roving ambassador for the team — would race in the two ALMS endurance events as well as at the Grand Prix of Mosport this season. Fellows, meanwhile, is on his way to Mexico City where he will drive the Kevin Harvick Incorporated #33 Chevy in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. He also is signed with Harvick for the inaugural NBS at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August and at Watkins Glen the next weekend.(Toronto Sun), no word on his Nextel Cup plans for 2007, he usually runs the road courses at Infineon Racway and Waltkins Glen, usually with a Chevy team.(2-28-2007)
  • Martin’s Team Wins Pit Crew Competition in California: Mark Martin’s pit crew took top honors in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge following Sunday’s (Feb. 25) Nextel Cup Series race at California Speedway. The #01 Army crew secured their second consecutive win this season, taking an early lead in the competition. “I don’t know what you can say about these guys, except that they are awesome to work with,” said Martin, driver of the #01 U.S. Army Chevy. “The Army crew keeps coming through with fast stops when we need them. They did a good job all day and got me to the checkered flag with a top-five finish. It was another great team effort.” Pit crew coach Lance Munksgard added, “I’m so proud that Checkers/Rally’s is recognizing our crew for all their effort. They’ve worked hard to become one of the fastest teams on pit road and I think winning two-in-a-row this season proves that they are.” Checkers/Rally’s will award Martin’s team $11,150 for winning the weekly award. An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #01 over-the-wall crew, which spent 297.758 seconds on pit road, includes: Scott King (jackman), Colin Pasi (front-tire carrier), Charlie Brock (front-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Dave Woodhead (rear-tire changer), Danny Harrington (gasman), Scotty Hazlett (catch can) and J.D. Hilton (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Ryan Pemberton. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. The program pays $11,000 to the weekly winner. An additional $111,150 bonus will be awarded to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(2-28-2007)
  • Bristol COT Testing Day 1 afternoon: The first day [of two] of testing at Bristol Motor Speedway continued in the afternoon, the fastest was once again #11B-Denny Hamlin with a speed of 121.605mph followed by #66A-Jeff Green, #9B-Kasey Kahne, #5A-Kyle Busch and #9A-Kasey Kahne. Slowest was #6A-Ragan at 117.207.
    See my Bristol Testing page for the speeds, news and images.(2-28-2007)
  • Bristol COT Testing Day 1 AM: The first day [of two] of testing at Bristol Motor Speedway had 61 cars with 51 drivers/teams testing. #11B-Denny Hamlin was fastest in the morning session with a speed of 122.170mph [the track record is 128.074mph held bt Ryan Newman set in March 2003] followed by #16B-Biffle, #17A-Kenseth, #48A-Johnson and #24A-Gordon. Slowest driver was #70A-Sauter at 114.371.
    Incident: #42-Montoya spun around but didn’t hit anything. Also..with the threat of rain on Thursday, NASCAR may extend testing into Wednesday evening and run Thursday until the rain comes.
    See my Bristol Testing page for the speeds, news and images.(2-28-2007)
  • Sad News – Pete Babb: Long-time NASCAR official Pete Babb has passed away at the age of 79. “Pete Babb was a well-respected member of NASCAR officiating for over 55 years,” said Busch Series Director Joe Balash. “Our sympathy goes out to his family and the NASCAR community that called Pete a friend. Pete holds a place in NASCAR history that will never be replaced. He served in almost every position in officiating and saw the most change in the sport over his years of service. There are very few in this industry that experenced the world of NASCAR racing like Pete.” “Pete Babb was one of NASCAR’s pioneers,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. “He loved our sport and its people. He will be missed by everyone in the NASCAR community. Pete’s kindness touched thousands of people during his many years in NASCAR.” The visitation and funeral will be held at Alliance Church in Portsmouth, Va. Visitation: Friday, March 2nd at 7:00pm/et – 9:00pm/et Funeral: Saturday, March 3rd at 3:00p.m. Alliance Church, 5809 Portsmouth Blvd., Portsmouth, VA 23701 (757) 488-6945 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.(NASCAR PR)(3-1-2007)
  • Sad News -Jack Birmingham: Jack Birmingham, who owned the #30/27 Eel River Racing Cup team [1998-2001, 58 races, was the Bahari Racing team before that], passed away at his home in Osterville, MA. No more details known.(2-27-2007)
    AND John P. Birmingham, Jr.,(65), known as Jack to his friends, the beloved husband, father, loyal friend, attorney and accomplished businessman passed away peacefully at his home in Osterville, MA on Saturday February 24, 2007 after a long illness. Previously, he lived in Wellesley, Boston and Vero Beach , Florida. Mr. Birmingham and his brother established The Steinway Foundation, which commissioned and funded new piano concertos by contemporary composers. The Foundation was inaugurated at a concert at Carnegie Hall and the first three, newly commissioned concertos were performed a year later at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. After a brief retirement, Jack Birmingham and his son Devin, established Eel River Racing, a NASCAR Nextel Cup racing team in Charlotte, North Carolina and competed in the series for three years. Mr. Birmingham is survived by his wife of 42 years, Karen (Murphy); his son, J. Devin Birmingham, and daughter- in- law, Cornelia S. of Sherborn, his daughters, Hilary Birmingham, of Los Angeles, CA, Sarah B. White, and son-in -law, Jonathan D. White of Newton; four beloved grandchildren, John M., Henry S., Cornelia S. Birmingham and Charles U. White; brothers Paul J. Birmingham and his wife Pamela of Palm Beach, FL., Robert M. and his wife Frances of Osterville MA, Mark F. Birmingham of Freeport, ME, and a sister, Lois I. Wrightson and her husband, Frederick W. Wrightson III of Osterville MA; and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers his family asks friends to remember Jack with memorial contributions to any of the following charities; St. Sebastian’s School, 1191 Greendale Avenue, Needham Massachusetts 02492 (www.stsebs.org), the Birmingham Center for Cerebellum Neurobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, 165 Cambridge Street, Suite 600, Boston Massachusetts 02114-2792 and Hospice and Palliative Care, 765 Attucks Lane Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601.(2-28-2007)


    News from February 27, 2007

  • Appeals to be heard next week: Penalty appeals for four Nextel Cup teams accused of breaking NASCAR’s equipment rules leading up to the Daytona 500 will be heard early next week, NASCAR officials told ESPN.com on Tuesday. The appeals for Kasey Kahne’s #9 team and Matt Kenseth’s #17 team will be heard on March 5 in North Carolina. Appeals for Scott Riggs’ #10 team and Elliott Sadler’s #19 team will be heard the following day, also in North Carolina, NASCAR said.(ESPN.com)(2-27-2007)
  • NASCAR Technical Institute Honored: The Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the 2006 Duke Power Citizenship and Service Award to the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC. The purpose for the award is to recognize and reward leadership and/or involvement in volunteerism and community service, encourage a culture of citizenship and service in our communities, and complement the efforts of the organizations in the community striving to improve our quality of life. The award which is given annually recognizes activities that set a standard and foster a culture for citizenship, service and community responsibility. The NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) received the award recently at the MSI Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet. In 2006 the staff and students at NTI volunteered in their community for a total of 3640 hours giving their time and talents to well over 50 non profit or charitable organizations. Working with the Red Cross and the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, NTI staff and students have set the bar in the region with an annual donation of approximately 1,200 pints of blood. Mike Fritz, School Director at the NASCAR Technical Institute had this to say. “Everyone at NTI understands the quality of life that we share rests in our hands and what we do with our talents not only helps others, it fosters relationships and builds trust. We are proud to participate and to serve our community. Located in Mooresville, N.C. (also known as Race City, USA), the NASCAR Technical Institute was created through a partnership between the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), through its Officially Licensed Automotive Aftermarket Program – and Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (UTI). For more information about NASCAR Technical Institute see ntieducation.com. Also NASCAR Tech’s John Dodson was named Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce Citizen of theyear for 2006.(2-27-2007)
  • Newman’s tire changer has tough pit stop: Ryan Newman’s #12 team was able to avoid serious problems during its first pit stop on lap 9 at California Speedway when a lug nut off the right-rear wheel flew up and hit rear-tire changer Joe Piette Jr. in his left eye, knocking out his contact lens and leaving him without the vision in that eye. “I’m just glad Newman didn’t come over the radio after he left the pits to ask if all the lug nuts were tight. Maybe I’m better at changing tires when I’m blind,” Piette joked as he told the story to Penske teammates. “I have never had that happen to me. The lug nut didn’t cut my eye, but it knocked out the contact lens. It was weird.” The NASCAR official standing in the pit stall located Piette’s contact and after washing it off, Piette returned it to its proper place and was ready to get back to work. “I literally got the lens washed off just before you came in for the second stop,” Piette told Newman. When Piette was asked how he was doing on Monday, he replied, “I can definitely feel that I got hit in the eye, but other than a small bruise at the corner of my eye, you can’t see anything. I can see just fine.”(Penske Racing)(2-27-2007)
  • AAA SYCS scheme: #6-David Ragan is scheduled to run a AAA Show Your Card and Save (SYCS) Special at the Phoenix race in April and other select other races during the 2007 Nextel Cup Season. See an image on my #6 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2007)
  • Dale Jr. has good races after 2 DNF’s in row: when #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t finish the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, it was the 4th time in his career that he had two straight races with DNF’s [did not finish]. At Texas in 2000 after two straight DNF’s Earnhardt won; At Phoenix in 2004, he won; At Indy in 2006 he finished 6th; and at Las Vegas in 2007…..? (ESPN’s NASCAR Now)(2-27-2007)
  • Interim Crew Chief Chip Bolin Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: In only his second race in command of the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion team, interim crew chief Chip Bolin guided Matt Kenseth to a successful defense of his Auto Club 500 title and a sweep of the California Speedway race weekend. Rallying the #17 team from a 25th place qualifying run, the lead engineer-turned crew chief led Kenseth to his second trip to victory lane in less than 24 hours and his first Nextel Cup victory under a crew chief other than Robbie Reiser. In addition to transforming a lackluster racecar into the fastest car on the track, Bolin displayed the poise and decision-making of a veteran crew chief. For his pre-race adjustments and impeccable judgment, Bolin won the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Bolin exhibited his expertise within the first 20 laps of the race. After a wreck involving Scott Riggs, Jamie McMurray and Reed Sorenson on the 7th lap, Bolin called Kenseth enter the pits to fill up on gas and make a minor adjustment to the car. Just twelve laps later, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s flat tire brought the leaders around to pit road. Having pitted earlier, the #17 car was able to stay on the track and immediately move into 3rd place. The team never looked back. A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Jr. and a Wypall Wipers representative, agreed that Chip Bolin made the best calls and adjustments during the race. As the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Bolin received $1,000. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.(Wypall Wipers PR)(2-27-2007)
  • Nine Cup drivers NOT taking the weekend off: Nine Nextel Cup Drivers will participate in the Busch Series event at Mexico City. The Busch Series returns to the road course in Mexico City for the third consecutive season on Sunday, and nine Nextel Cup drivers plan to participate. Defending winner Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Dave Blaney, J.J. Yeley, David Gilliland, Greg Biffle, David Ragan, Juan Pablo Montoya and David Reutimann.(2-27-2007)


    News from February 26, 2007

  • Reutimann’s crash among hardest ever recorded by NASCAR: The g-force impact during David Reutimann’s crash Sunday at California Speedway is among the hardest ever recorded, NASCAR officials told ESPN.com on Monday. NASCAR doesn’t disclose exact figures. “We can’t say it’s the hardest [impact], period, because there are so many variables involved,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “But it is among the hardest impacts we’ve recorded.” Reutimann was riding along one lap down with 11 laps remaining in the Auto Club 500 when #16-Greg Biffle approached from behind. Biffle tapped Reutimann, sending the #00 Domino’s Pizza Toyota head-on into the outside wall. The car lifted off the ground and was completely destroyed. The in-car video feed showed Reutimann slumped over the steering wheel, appearing to be knocked unconscious. But MWR vice president Ty Norris told ESPN.com Monday that Reutimann stressed to the team he was not unconscious, but rather was unable to breathe upon impact. Norris said Reutimann’s left foot is badly bruised, having gotten hung up in the pedals during the crash. Reutimann flew home with the team Sunday night and slept for some 80% of the flight, Norris said. Norris said Reutimann’s speech is clear, but he’s walking with a noticeable limp. Reutimann is resting at home, and still plans to run the Busch Series race this weekend in Mexico City, Norris said.(ESPN.com)(2-26-2007)
  • California Overnight TV ratings even: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 Nextel Cup race from California Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 6.2 and a 11 share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The 6.2 tied last year’s 6.2/12 overnight rating, but it was 12.7% lower than the 7.1 Fox earned for the race in 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(2-26-2007)
  • More Daytona Penalties dolled out: NASCAR announced today that three Nextel Cup Series crew chiefs have been fined for rule violations committed during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
    Lee McCall, crew chief for the #49 Dodge driven by Mike Bliss, has been fined $10,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment do not conform to NASCAR Rules), and 20-12.1 (unapproved lower rear spring mounts/offset) of the 2007 series rule book. The violation was discovered during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500.
    Randy Seals, crew chief for the #34 Dodge driven by Kevin Lepage, has been fined $10,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A, 12-4-Q and 20-12.1 (unapproved lower rear spring mounts/slotted). The violation was likewise discovered during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500.
    Scott Miller, crew chief for the #31 Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton, has also been fined $10,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A, 12-4-Q and 20-12.1 (unapproved rear spring lower truck trailing arm mount/slotted). This violation was discovered during opening day inspection for the Budweiser Shootout.(NASCAR PR)(2-26-2007)
  • Aikman subs for Schroeder as starter at California: Troy Aikman isn’t accustomed to filling in as a sub, but he gladly accepted the role Sunday when asked to wave the green flag for the Auto Club 500. The NFL Hall of Famer replaced actor Rick Schroeder, who was scheduled to do the honors before telling California Speedway officials Saturday that he couldn’t make it. Speedway officials were scrambling to find a replacement. Getting another actor wasn’t a good option in Southern California on the day of the Academy Awards. But Aikman already was at the track. He’s the co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing with another former fellow Dallas Cowboys quarterback — Roger Staubach. They own the #96 DLP Chevy driven by Tony Raines.(ESPN.com), Aikman also threw footballs out to the crowd from the flagstand.(2-26-2007)
  • Martin leads points…for now: #01-Mark Martin has the Nextel Cup Points lead by 5 over #31-Jeff Burton, it is the first time since September 22, 2002 when he lead after the race at Dover. Martin is planning on running a partial schedule this season [22 total Cup races]. It is the first time ever a Ginn Racing [formerly MB2 Motorsports] driver has led the points, the team ran it’s first race in 1996 with Derrike Cope running the #36 Skittles Pontiac. See points standings on my Drivers/ Owners Points standings after California page.(2-26-2007)
  • SPEED to air COT Specials this week: SPEED will air a pair of 30-minute specials from the NASCAR “Car of Tomorrow” test sessions from Bristol Motor Speedway on February 28 and March 1 at 7:00pm/et. “NASCAR is expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 cars to participate … with some teams bringing more than one car,” said Frank Wilson, SPEED VP of Production. “This is a huge test that will set the table for the rest of the NASCAR race season … how teams handle this car will go a long way toward determining the 2007 Nextel Cup championship.” John Roberts will host the SPEED coverage with analysis from Larry McReynolds and reporting from Bob Dillner.(SPEED PR), Each session begins at 9:00 and ends at 5:00pm, weather permitting, with a one-hour lunch break at noon. Forty-eight teams are scheduled to participate in the two-day test.(2-26-2007)
  • Commercial breakdown for the Auto Club 500:
    Total number of commercials: 130
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 58
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 32
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 29
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:27 P.M.
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:39 P.M.
    Total minutes: 252
    Minutes of race broadcast: 190
    Minutes of commercials: 62
    (see full report at CawsnJaws.com)(2-26-2007)
  • Harvick’s Shell Logos to be scaled down UPDATE: #29-Kevin Harvick likely won’t be wearing his Shell sponsorship logos quite so prominently this weekend at California Speedway. Harvick’s team has been asked to utilize logos representing the Pennzoil automotive lubricant part of the company more prominently instead of the dominant Shell logo associated with the company’s gasoline in an effort to play down any perceived competition with Sunoco, the official fuel of NASCAR. Sunoco has exclusive rights to the fuel category at a NASCAR track, and company officials raised the logo matter after Harvick won both the Busch and Nextel Cup series races wearing prominent Shell logos at Daytona International Speedway. As a result, Harvick will apparently be sporting smaller Shell logos at this weekend’s events at California Speedway. “Obviously we’ve got a lot of partners and constituencies in the garage area that are important to the entire industry, and when these things come up we want to work through them as best we can,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday morning.(SceneDaily.com)(2-22-2007)
    UPDATE: #29-Kevin Harvick isn’t the only participant to have a new racing uniform for the Auto Club 500 today at California Speedway. His crew has new uniforms, too. The crew uniform, which had the Shell logo as the prominent display on the front and back of the uniform and “Shell” down the pant leg, now has the word “Pennzoil” on the front and back in addition to the Shell logo and now has Pennzoil written down the pant leg. The new uniform is similar to the new one of Harvick’s. According to NASCAR Vice President Steve O’Donnell, the Shell sponsorship is supposed to focus on the motor oil Pennzoil and not the gasoline so as not to interfere with official fuel supplier Sunoco’s marketing agreement. Shell received incredible exposure with Harvick’s Daytona 500 victory last week. NASCAR, which is responsible for enforcing Sunoco’s exclusivity deal, required the change in the Richard Childress Racing team’s uniforms as well as Harvick’s helmet.(SceneDaily.com)(2-26-2007)
  • Roush Fenway Racing owner gives MLB player a…Toyota: [Boston Red Sox slugger David] Ortiz got his own present Wednesday morning. Arriving at the Red Sox minor league facility for his physical, Ortiz was greeted with a Toyota Tundra pickup, courtesy of owner John W. Henry……why is this of interest? Red Sox owner John Henry is Jack Roush’s new partner at Roush-Fenway Racing, they run Ford Fusion’s and Jack Roush has spoken out against Toyota’s involvement in NASCAR…..oops.(Heads up at Motorsports Soapbox, full article at the Hartford Courant)(2-26-2007)

News from February 25, 2007

  • Kenseth wins at California: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway for his 1st win of the 2007 season and 15 career win, tying him with Ernie Irvan and Kurt Busch for 28th overall. #29-Harvick was running down Kenseth with 6 laps to go, when there was a hard wreck by #00-Reutimann to cause a caution, then a red flag. After the red flag was rescinded, Harvick had a flat tire and had to pit as the green flew on the restart. Kenseth held off #24-Gordon to win. #48-Johnson finished 3rd followed by #31-Burton, #01-Martin, #07-Bowyer, #2-Busch, #20-Stewart, #5-Busch and #83-Vickers [first top-10 for a Toyota]. #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #9-Kahne both had engine problems and failed to finish the race. There were 9 cautions for 37 laps [and approx a 15 minute red flag during the 9th and final caution] and 13 drivers lead the race with 29 lead changes.
    Race Results on my California 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.(2-25-2007)
  • Alltel selling? mergining? Verizon? Alltel Corp. could fetch a price tag of $25 billion to $31 billion from private equity firms or other U.S. mobile service providers looking to expand in rural markets, analysts said Tuesday [Feb 20th]. Alltel, the top rural U.S. wireless provider, fueled merger speculation when it said during an earnings conference call Tuesday that it was reviewing its strategic options. Analysts said a sale agreement could happen as early as April. Its shares rose 3.3% to $62.40 after the comments, also spurred by better-than-expected quarterly results. Some analysts said Verizon Communications was the most likely company to bid for Alltel as Verizon Wireless uses the same CDMA network technology, making any merger easier. Verizon Wireless has the second-biggest U.S. customer base but leads in terms of revenue. Alltel, with 12 million customers, could also attract bids from AT&T;’s Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel or Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA, analysts said. Alltel has approached AT&T;, Verizon and Sprint, and “made the rounds” among some private equity firms, but no one has jumped to buy the company yet, the source said. Michael Nelson, an analyst at Stanford Group, said private equity firms, which have bought a series of technology companies last year, were more likely acquirers than Alltel’s wireless rivals. “I would say Verizon’s the most likely strategic buyer,” he said. But since Verizon has grown nicely on its own, “I still don’t believe Verizon is a willing buyer of the asset unless their hand is forced and they risk losing it,” Nelson added. Analysts said Alltel would likely aim for a sale agreement by April or May, ahead of a U.S. government sale of wireless airwaves that could take place as early as August. Rival bidders are barred from talking to each other once they register to take part in the auction. Analysts said No. 3 U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel could be a bidder as it also uses CDMA technology, but they note that Sprint’s financial results have flagged in recent quarters as it struggled to integrate its Nextel purchase. Representatives for the companies in this story declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.(money.cnn.com), what does this mean to the #12 team which is sponsored by Alltel? no idea…too early to tell.(2-25-2007)
  • Rumblings – California Race Notes: We were cheated out of what could have been another terrific finish today, as Kevin Harvick (who was closing like crazy) had to pit with a flat tire on a restart with 4 to go and Matt Kenseth was basically unopposed the final 8 miles and went on to win the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Matt becomes our second sweeper in two weeks, and took his second Nextel Cup Series race here and 15th of his career (he’s now tied for 42nd on the all-time win list with Ernie Irvan and Kurt Busch). This was win #96 for Roush Racing (or #1 for Rousch/Fenway) and their 5th in Fontana. The victory was worth $342,316 from the over $6M in posted awards. Don’t think we can make a story of the blown engines and the change to unleaded fuel. I went back through the last 5 years of results for this event, and the number of cars out by blown motors reads six this year, four last year, then 7/4/2 in 2005-2003. This is just a tough track on powerplants. Now, we can discuss whether this race should stay here. Remember, this is when we used to be in Rockingham, and todays crowd was estimated at 87,000 (and that could be a generous appraisal). Last year was 85,000, the year before 90,000…..and back in 2004 and 2003 we had sellouts of 120,000. It appears as tho too much of a good thing doesn’t appeal to the West Coast Crowd, huh?
    Jeff Gordon (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Michigan last August.
    Ryan Newman (12th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Loudon last September.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
    Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Matt Kenseth (+24), followed by David Ragan (+23), Robby Gordon (+21), and Jimmie Johnson (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-36), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-35), Martin Truex Jr (-35), Dave Blaney (-25), Reed Sorenson (-23), and Casey Mears (-21). Now for Kenseth, that’s a real sweep!(Stock Car Fans)(2-25-2007)
  • California Fast Facts:
    .. Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500, his 15th Nextel Cup Series victory in 258 races.
    .. Kenseth had the top California Speedway Driver Rating (110.1) coming into this race.
    .. This is Kenseth’s first win since the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 26, 2006.
    .. This is Kenseth’s second consecutive win at the Auto Club 500, and second career California Speedway victory.
    .. Kenseth’s starting position of 25th is tied for second lowest starting position by a California Speedway race winner (Kenseth holds the record with a 31st place start last year).
    .. Kenseth’s win makes it two consecutive weeks of Nextel Cup- Busch Series sweeps. (The same occurred last season when Kasey Kahne won the Busch Series and Nextel Cup races at California on Sept. 2-3, followed by Kevin Harvick winning the Busch and Nextel Cup races at Richmond the following weekend on Sept. 8-9.)
    .. This is Kenseth’s second weekend sweep (Bristol, 8/26-26, 2006)
    .. Kenseth now joins Jeff Gordon (3) as the only drivers with more than one California Speedway win.
    .. Kenseth now has four straight top 10s at California Speedway.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-25-2007)
  • Revelocity Racing announces changes to 2007 plans and names a driver UPDATE: heard that Revelocity Racing, a West Virginia based racing team, which planned to run some Nextel Cup races in 2007 [#73], will scale back those plans and run in the Busch Series in 2007, with the first race scheduled in Nashville, team and sponsor announcements are to come on Monday oer their website.(revelocityracing.com)(2-25-2007)
    UPDATE: Revelocity Racing will be heading to the track with a new driver, new partners, and a new plan to bring NASCAR to West Virginia. Revelocity Racing formed in 2006 with initial plans to run Nextel Cup series with the Car of Tomorrow. After exploring options with other teams, the owners began to survey other options and developed a plan to run a 10 race NASCAR Busch series schedule. The team will operate a race shop in Barboursville, WV. The primary car, a 2006 Robert Yates Racing Ford Fusion, and a back-up car from Yates are being prepared for the first race in April at the Nashville Superspeedway. Revelocity Racing is utilizing a top-notch engine program powered by Roush-Yates. Some of the sponsors for the car are expected to be announced later this week. Brett Rowe, ARCA Driver [finished 9th in ARCA Series 2006 points and ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series champ in 2005] and West Virginia native, will pilot the Revelocity Racing #73 Ford Fusion in the 2007 Busch series. The team plans to debut at the Pepsi 300 Busch Race at Nashville Superspeedway on April 7. Revelocity Racing, headquartered in South Charleston, WV, was started in 2006 by a group of West Virginia business owners who shared a common goal of bringing NASCAR to West Virginia.(Revelocity Racing PR)(2-25-2007)
  • Kenseth inducted into California Speedway’s walk of fame: #17-Matt Kenseth was honored Saturday at California Speedway with a plaque with his likeness, as well as his footprint and signature on California Speedway’s Walk of Fame. The California Speedway Walk of Fame, which commemorates past Nextel Cup Series winners at California Speedway by setting a plaque with their likeness into a cement fixture, is a monument similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During the plaque installation ceremony, the driver then has the opportunity to autograph the commemorative piece and place his or her feet into the slab before it dries. California Speedway began the Walk of Fame tradition in 1998 after Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag at the inaugural 1997 Cup event at California Speedway. The ceremony was a huge success and the tradition has continued ever since. The ceremony featured a Walk of Fame induction of Kenseth for driving his way to victory at last year’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. It was his first Nextel Cup Series victory at California to go along with his three [now four] Busch Series victories at California Speedway. Along with his name adorning a permanent piece of California Speedway, Kenseth also received a one-of-a-kind gift. For the past several years, Ohana Kemp Surfboards, a surfboard shaping company out of Orange County, California, has been custom shaping and designing custom boards for all Nextel Cup Series winners at California Speedway.(California Speedway PR)(2-25-2007)
  • California Driver Rating using Loop stats
    For point-paying races in current and past two years (4 races), at California Speedway
    Rank, Car#, Driver, Ave Fin, High Rating Ave, Driver Rating
    1, 17, Matt Kenseth, 10.3, 123, 110.1
    2, 16, Greg Biffle, 17.3, 120.1, 108.0
    3, 9, Kasey Kahne, 12.8, 144.1, 106.9
    4, 99, Carl Edwards, 4.0, 116.7, 106.7
    5, 5, Kyle Busch, 10.5, 135.8, 104.6
    6, 48, Jimmie Johnson, 7.8, 119, 103.6
    7, 6, Mark Martin, 9.8, 111.9, 103.4
    8, 11, Denny Hamlin, 9.0, 117.9, 101.1
    9, 20, Tony Stewart, 18.5, 128.2, 100.3
    10, 2/97, Kurt Busch, 14.5, 108.9, 94.5
    Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.(Provided by STATS LLC and NASCAR)(2-25-2007)


    News from February 24, 2007

  • Below yellow line at Daytona/Talladega OK on last lap: Drivers throughout the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage were still talking about last week’s three-wide finish at Daytona International Speedway. While they admitted the finish was good for television, most wondered why NASCAR allowed Johnny Benson to drive below the yellow line – Daytona’s out of bounds line – to jump from third to second in the final 200 yards. Benson wasn’t penalized because “if you can see the checkered flag on the last lap, anything goes,” according to NASCAR spokesman Owen Kearns.(Augusta Chronicle)(2-24-2007)
  • Jarrett and UPS to make announcement UPDATE: #44-Dale Jarrett and UPS will be making a special announcement regarding a special program taking place in conjunction with the 133rd Kentucky Derby. The announcement will take place at California Speedway on Saturday, February 24.(UPS Racing PR)(2-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Churchill Downs and UPS are teaming up to bring the horsepower of the Kentucky Derby to NASCAR, as the two companies today unveiled a special Kentucky Derby 133 paint scheme that will be featured on the #44 UPS Toyota Camry driven by champion Dale Jarrett as he competes in the Nextel Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29. The unveiling also launched the “Off to the Races delivered by UPS Sweepstakes,” an online contest that will provide one lucky fan with two tickets to the race at Talladega and the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby to be held at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5. The prize package, which combines the excitement of NASCAR’s premiere series with one of the most prestigious events in Thoroughbred racing, will also include round-trip airfare for two, accommodations and ground transportation at both events. A special meet-and-greet with Dale Jarrett at Talladega will also be featured as part of the exciting prize package. Thoroughbred racing and NASCAR will also combine during Kentucky Derby Week, as Churchill Downs hosts a special appearance by Jarrett on Wednesday, May 2. The Kentucky Derby-themed #44 UPS Toyota Camry will also be on display at the racetrack. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.(Businesswire.com), see image on my #44 Team Schemes page.(2-24-2007)
  • ESPN, Fox, Turner work together: ESPN has struck a cooperative agreement with NASCAR’s other broadcast partners, Fox and Turner, to share camera crews as a cost-saving measure. “It’s for the common good,” said Jed Drake, ESPN’s senior vice president and executive producer for NASCAR coverage. “It would be financial insanity to do it any other way. We’ll share the cameramen and certain audio effects.” Drake said that ESPN has an obligation with NASCAR to show highlights of other NASCAR-sanctioned events, but the network does not have any sort of cross-promotion agreement with Fox between the Busch and Nextel Cup broadcasts.(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)(2-24-2007)
  • NASCAR to announce #55 substance next week UPDATE 4 no release of name; property found in jet fuel: NASCAR is expected to announce next week at California what exactly they found in the fuel system of Michael Waltrip’s #55 Toyota Camry after Daytona 500 qualifying last Sunday. Waltrip’s car was found to have an unidentified, gel-like performance additive, which NASCAR inspectors have sent out for laboratory analysis. Results of the lab tests aren’t complete yet, said a source familiar with the investigation. Those results will be disclosed next week, most likely during the race weekend at California Speedway in Fontana. So far, all NASCAR has said specifically about the substance is that they know what it isn’t [jet fuel], not what it is. That will change soon. NASCAR officials also confirmed that the examination of Waltrip’s confiscated car is continuing. In 2000, when Jeremy Mayfield’s car was found to have tainted fuel at Talladega, it was nearly two weeks after his car failed inspection before test results of his fuel were made public.(SpeedTV.com)(2-17-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials will not release the name of the substance, treating it as they would a failed drug test in which the name of the drug is not revealed. “It’s nobody’s business what it is,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition. “The bottom line is it’s a foreign substance in the intake manifold.”(ESPN.com)(2-18-2007)
    UPDATE 2: ESPN’s Terry Blount reported on Wednesday’s NASCAR Now that NASCAR would NOT release the name of the substance found in the #55 intake manifold, treating it like any driver caught with substance abuse.(ESPN’s NASCAR Now)(2-22-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing vice president Ty Norris told ESPN.com Thursday that the company offered crew chief David Hyder an opportunity to come clean about the illegal additive found in the fuel system of Waltrip’s Toyota following qualifying for the Daytona 500. Hyder didn’t do it. In fact, he claims he can’t. Norris said Hyder maintained his innocence — even with the company promise of no termination in exchange for information. Norris said Hyder continues to say he has neither information nor answers as to what the substance is, how it was introduced into the fuel system or, ultimately, what it does. The crew chief was unavailable for comment Thursday. Hyder had been given an indefinite leave of absence with pay from Michael Waltrip Racing on top of his suspension by NASCAR. Norris said earlier this week that Hyder will not be allowed at the shop until it is determined if he had anything to do with the foreign substance that was found in Waltrip’s engine during pre-qualifying inspection for last Sunday’s 500. NASCAR suspended Hyder and competition director Bobby Kennedy indefinitely. Hyder also was fined $100,000 and Waltrip was penalized 100 championship points. A source close to the situation told ESPN.com last week that Hyder eventually will be fired.(ESPN.com)(2-22-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Waltrip, who was docked 100 points, insists he doesn’t know who tampered with his fuel and said NASCAR still hasn’t told him what the substance was. A person familiar with the investigation told The AP the substance was a property found in jet fuel; NASCAR said only it wasn’t jet fuel itself.(Associated Press)(2-24-2007)
  • ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown, wrap-up Daytona. preview California: ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown will preview the NASCAR Busch Series California action Saturday at 7:00pm/et on ESPN2 with host Brent Musburger, five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty, two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer and from the race telecast team, 1989 NASCAR champion and booth analyst Rusty Wallace. NASCAR Countdown will also include reports from pit reporters Mike Massaro, Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, and Jamie Little as drivers and teams change strategy from Daytona, where it’s all about drafting and speed, to California where it is all about downforce and handling. NASCAR Countdown will originate from California Speedway and will be telecast from ESPN’s new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio as it sets the stage for primetime coverage of the 300-mile Busch Series race Saturday night, Feb. 24.  Highlights will include:  Kevin Harvick’s Historic Daytona Weekend; Sam Hornish Jr.: Quest to Race NASCAR; Live Interview with Mike Wallace; Clint Bowyer: Daytona Closing Moments; Tim Peters: Sharing a Ride with Kevin Harvick
    Sunday’s NASCAR Now (10-11:00am/et): Host Erik Kuselias, in the NASCAR Now studio, will be joined by Rusty Wallace, NASCAR driver Stacy Compton, and NASCAR insider Tim Cowlishaw, columnist for the Dallas Morning News. Reporters Mike Massaro and Jamie Little will also contribute, reviewing Saturday night’s NASCAR Busch Series race, and presenting the latest Nextel Cup news leading up to Sunday’s event at California Speedway. Highlights of the show: The Final Turn; Juan Pablo Montoya; Robby Gordon; Mark Martin(ESPN PR)(2-24-2007)
  • FOX to Unviel new ‘Hollywood Hotel’ at California: Where better than California Speedway for FOX Sports to unveil its brand new, high-tech “Hollywood Hotel” traveling NASCAR prerace studio? Host Chris Myers and analysts Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip move into the next generation mobile studio unit prior to FOX Sports’ live coverage of the Auto Club 500, Powered by Q Motor Oil on Sunday, Feb. 25 (3:00pm/et). NASCAR on FOX’s traveling prerace studio is the most technologically advanced mobile unit ever employed to cover sporting events. It captures the charged atmosphere and flexibility associated with on-location remote broadcasts, yet also includes the state-of-the-art equipment of a premier network center. The new and improved Hollywood Hotel was designed to provide maximum opportunity to accommodate guests. With plasma displays replacing the windows that adorned the back wall of the original Hollywood Hotel, the new mobile studio is no longer forced to occupy an area within the speedway’s infield that offers an attractive view. This allows the new studio to set up shop each week in areas closer to the pits, garages, or drivers paddock in order to provide greater accessibility to the key individuals shaping the day’s action.(FoxSports PR)(2-24-2007)
  • NASCAR in talks with JetBlue: NASCAR chief marketing officer Steve Phelps has been talking sponsor consolidation for the past year, but that might change if NASCAR can expand into previously untapped areas. The airline category has been a difficult sell for NASCAR, but officials have been in discussions with JetBlue Airways about a partnership. The New York-based low-cost carrier offers 500 flights per day and provides 36 channels of DirecTV programming on its flights. DirecTV has been NASCAR’s official satellite television provider since 2005. Footwear is another category that remains unmined and could hold some potential, whether it’s Starter, which is owned by Nike and has a new shoe and apparel deal with Joe Gibbs Racing, or Puma, a brand that’s commonly seen in the garage area. Expect NASCAR to also start pitching national real-estate companies, such as Century 21 and Re/Max, sources said.(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)(2-24-2007)


    News from February 23, 2007

  • Get Well to Bobby Hudson, spotter for #99-Carl Edwards, Hudson suffered a heart attack Thursday night, SPEED is reporting Hudson had a good night in the hospital. Jason Hedlesky will server as Edwards spotter on Sunday at California.(2-23-2007)
  • Gulf Oil shows interest in Roush-Fenway: Roush Racing’s 50-50 partnership with John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, finally announced last week at Daytona International Speedway, might show an immediate return. One of the Boston Red Sox’s longtime partners, Gulf Oil, has expressed an interest in a sponsorship position with Roush. Gulf, a Fenway Sports Group client based in Chelsea, Mass., distributes motor fuels and lubricants in about 2,600 branded gas stations, with a footprint that extends from Ohio to the east and Delaware to the north. The company’s 65-foot logo is painted on the left-field wall at Fenway Park. “NASCAR really never made sense for us before because it is a national play and we’re a regional company,” said Richard Dery, Gulf’s vice president of branded marketing and sales. “A race at Daytona doesn’t do us a lot of good, but a race at Loudon, N.H. — that could be a really fun day.” Dery said his discussions with Roush have involved sponsorships for select races in Gulf’s footprint, primarily the July 1 Lenox 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Gulf also could become the official motor oil of Roush Fenway Racing. Fenway Sports Group and the Red Sox are sister companies, both owned by John Henry, who said he hoped the partnership with Roush would vault FSG into a prominent position in sports marketing.(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)(2-23-2007)
  • Ganassi to four teams in 2008? Owner Chip Ganassi [#’s 40,41,42] said he would like to expand his Nextel Cup stable to four teams by as early as next season, if he can secure sponsorship. Dan Wheldon, who drives for Ganassi’s IndyCar team attended the Daytona 500 and has been fitted for a seat in a Busch car, is intrigued by the possibility. ”It would be perfect, right?” Wheldon said this week. “Chip has to let me try the NASCAR first, so I can see if I like that. That would be something I would definitely consider. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I can take the [IndyCar] title back from Sam [ Hornish Jr.]. If I do that, and I’m able to win the Indianapolis 500, it would be very hard to say no to a [Cup] opportunity like that. I’ve got to do that and have that opportunity presented to me before I can make a decision.”(Miami Herald)(2-23-2007)
  • Jeff Gordon wins pole at California: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Auto Club at California Speedway with a speed of 185.735mph for his 1st pole of 2007 and 57th of his career [6th all-time, 1 behind Bobby Allison and 2 behind Darrell Waltrip]. Gordon has won at least one pole in 15 straight seasons [since 1993]. The rest of the top-10 are #9-Kahne, #01-Martin, #29-Harvick, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #07-Bowyer, #1-Truex Jr., #31-Burton, #42-Montoya and #25-Mears. The highest Toyota driver is #22-Blaney, who will start 14th. The highest non-top 35 driver was #83-Vickers who will start 15th. the rest of the non top-35 teams to make the race were: #15-Menard, #13-Nemechek, #14-Marlin, #70-Sauter, #37-Andretti [first start since 2005], #00-Reutimann [who knocked his team owner #55-Waltrip out of the race and #44-Jarrett will use the past champions provisional [again] to make the field and will start 43rd. For qualifying results, how the non-top 35 drivers did, the starting lineup on my California Qualifying/Starting Grid Page.(2-23-2007)
  • Ramblings – California: It was Jeff Gordon today at California Speedway as he took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Auto Club 500 with a time of 38.765 (185.735 mph). He becomes the second qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout as he takes his 57th career top-spot (he’s 6th on the all-time list, and he’s now just one pole behind the legendary Bobby Allison in that career category). Kasey Kahne was just a half a tenth behind and he’ll line up second.
    Mark Martin (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Richmond last September. Are you getting the feeling they may have to pry him out of that car?
    Martin Truex Jr (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 7th at Richmond last September.
    Juan Pablo Montoya (9th) has his career (albeit short) best starting spot this week. His previous best was 29th at Homestead last November.
    Paul Menard (22nd) equals his career-best starting spot this week. He lined up 22nd at Atlanta last March.
    Welcome Back John Andretti (32nd). He makes his first start since Michigan in August of 2005 when he started 23rd and finished 28th.
    STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.(Stock Car Fans)(2-23-2007)
  • Eight do not qualify [DNQ] for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway: #55-Waltrip, #4-Burton, #36-Mayfield, #84-Allmendinger, #72-Whitt, #49-Bliss, #78-KWallace and #34-Lepage [who wrecked](2-23-2007)
  • California Qualifying Notes:
    * Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the Auto Club 500 – his 57th Budweiser Pole in 475 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races – with a time of 38.76 seconds and a speed of 185.735 mph.
    * This is Gordon’s second Bud Pole at California Speedway (1998).
    * Gordon now joins Kurt Busch (both 2006 races) as the only drivers who have won more than one Bud Pole at California Speedway. * Gordon has three wins at California Speedway (1997, 1999, 2004), more than any other driver.
    * No driver has ever won a California Speedway race from the Bud Pole (there was no qualifying in 1999 – weather. Jeff Burton started from the pole and finished second).
    * Gordon’s average start is now 11.786 at California Speedway.
    * Brian Vickers was the top qualifier who had to make it in on time.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-23-2007)
  • California Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes this weekend at the California Spedway, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . .. this is the first time Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left-and right-side tires to the track . . . this left-side code (D-4078) is new to the Goodyear tire lineup and is more heat and wear resistant than the codes brought to California last season . . . this right-side code (D-4062) was run at Dover, Kansas and Michigan last season, but not California . . . the right-side change was made to keep ahead of team developments and speed increases . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at California . . . estimated Pit Window is every 42-44 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear PR), see full notes on my California Race Info/Rundown page.(2-23-2007)
  • Yeley tests at the Rock: on Wednesday, #18-J.J. Yeley tested his #18 Joe Gibbs racing Chevy, no word if it was a COT or a regualr car.(2-23-2007)


    News from February 22, 2007

  • Mears to run run Jackson Hewitt National Guard “Hero of the Year” scheme at California: This weekend at California Speedway, Staff Sgt. Quinton D. Martin of Gulfport, Miss., will have his image displayed on the hood of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy as the winner of the first-ever National Guard “Hero of the Year” award sponsored by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. Martin served in Iraq with the 1,108th Aviation Support Detachment and has been a member of the National Guard for 24 years. For more information about the “Heroes of the Year” campaign, visit www.supporttheguard.com.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see the full Jack Hewitt PR at jacksonhewitt.com(2-22-2007)
  • Harvick’s Shell Logos to be scaled down: #29-Kevin Harvick likely won’t be wearing his Shell sponsorship logos quite so prominently this weekend at California Speedway. Harvick’s team has been asked to utilize logos representing the Pennzoil automotive lubricant part of the company more prominently instead of the dominant Shell logo associated with the company’s gasoline in an effort to play down any perceived competition with Sunoco, the official fuel of NASCAR. Sunoco has exclusive rights to the fuel category at a NASCAR track, and company officials raised the logo matter after Harvick won both the Busch and Nextel Cup series races wearing prominent Shell logos at Daytona International Speedway. As a result, Harvick will apparently be sporting smaller Shell logos at this weekend’s events at California Speedway. “Obviously we’ve got a lot of partners and constituencies in the garage area that are important to the entire industry, and when these things come up we want to work through them as best we can,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday morning.(SceneDaily.com)(2-22-2007)
  • #96 to run Shrek III scheme: Tony Raines is scheduled to run a Shrek III [movie] on the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy at Richmond in May.(HOF Racing) See an image of the car on my #96 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2007)
  • Sorenson to run Energizer e2 Lithium scheme at California: The #41 Dodge of Reed Sorenson will sport the Energizer e2 Lithium paint scheme this weekend in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World’s Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, alongside the famous Energizer Bunny, who will be on hand during pre-race ceremonies and in the pits on Sunday to give “long lasting” support to Sorenson and the Energizer/Target team.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2007)
  • NASCAR being lobbied to consider Renewable Fuels: While working for General Motors in Brazil in the 1990s, Brent Dewar got a firsthand look at the country’s successful switch from an oil-based economy to ethanol. Dewar wants to see the same thing happen in the United States, and he thinks NASCAR can help. He’s lobbying officials to consider a switch from gasoline to ethanol. “We would embrace it,” said Dewar, GM’s vice president of field sales, service and parts. “We think it would be great on a lot of fronts, because obviously it would send a signal to the public. A lot of people don’t understand the benefits of ethanol.” Other racing series already are embracing renewable fuels. Beginning this season, the Indy Racing League’s IndyCar Series will race on 100% ethanol. And the American LeMans Series will race on a 10% ethanol blend. Now, Dewar and others in the garage said they believe NASCAR should explore alternative fuels. NASCAR is taking one step in the direction of environmental responsibility by getting the lead out, catching up with a change most consumers made in the 1980s by switching from leaded to unleaded fuel. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said officials are willing to consider renewable fuels, too. “In terms of looking at the next step, obviously we’re open to options,” Poston said. NASCAR teams also would have to modify their cars to run on ethanol, but Dewar said the switch wouldn’t be a “major investment.” And he said it ultimately would be worth the hassle. Still, even proponents don’t portray ethanol as a magic wand. Despite its benefits – it’s renewable, can provide a slight performance advantage, isn’t imported from politically volatile countries and burns cleaner – ethanol isn’t as efficient as gasoline. Although today’s cars can run on 90% gasoline/10% ethanol blends, cars have to be specially equipped to run on heavier blends of ethanol. GM and other car companies sell “flex fuel” passenger vehicles that run on gasoline or E85, an 85% ethanol/15% gasoline blend. But E85 isn’t widely distributed in the U.S.(Associated Press)(2-22-2007)
  • Rookie California News and Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the February 18 Daytona 500 at Dayton International Speedway. Ragan finished fifth, his best effort in three Nextel Cup Series starts. His best previous finish was 25th last fall at Martinsville Speedway. Ragan holds a seven-point lead (17-10) over #42-Juan Pablo Montoya in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Feb. 25 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in 37 consecutive Nextel Cup races. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a Nextel Cup Series race and pole is Denny Hamlin, who captured the 2006 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway after winning the pole. J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, grabbing an eighth-place finish. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in 2002. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006).(Raybestos PR), see full report and standings on my 2007 ROTY page.(2-22-2007)
  • #70 and #66 swap sponsors for California: Race fans may do a double take when they see the Haas CNC Racing entries take to the track at California Speedway this weekend. While the car numbers and drivers will be the same, the sponsors will swap spots on the two Haas Chevys. Johnny Sauter, whose primary sponsor is normally Yellow Transportation, will instead carry the Best Buy logos on his #70 entry this weekend. Jeff Green’s #66 car, which usually carries a blue and yellow Best Buy paint design, will instead be sponsored by Yellow Transportation. This is the first of two Nextel Cup Series races in which Green and Sauter will “swap sponsors” in 2007.(GMR Marketing/Best Buy Racing PR)(2-22-2007)
  • Stewart headed for another Cup? in 2002, when #20-Tony Stewart won his first Cup championship, he finished 43rd in the Daytona 500. However in 2005, Stewart finished 9th, so…… anyhow, Stewart started the 2007 season off at Daytona, finishing 43rd.(2-22-2007)
  • McMurray Foundation Logo to run on #26 at California: Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray has more than one reason to look forward to his visit to California Speedway for this weekend’s Auto Club 500. With seven starts at the two-mile speedway, McMurray has posted five top-10 finishes, along with three top-five finishes. Along with a stellar track record at California Speedway, McMurray will also have the Jamie McMurray Foundation logo featured on his #26 Crown Royal Ford. “I’m very passionate about the Jamie McMurray Foundation and Autism Awareness,” said McMurray. “I created the foundation just over a year ago with the help of my Mom and sister and it’s really amazing to see how far we have come with this endeavor.” The Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF) was formed in May 2006 to promote awareness of, and raise funding for, research, education, and support for individuals and families afflicted with autism. The JMF is dedicated to bringing the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community, together with the passion and commitment of the autism community, to promote better understanding of this challenging disability.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-22-2007)
  • Motorsports this week on ESPN: The NASCAR Busch Series will be featured in primetime Saturday night, Feb. 24, as ESPN2 presents live coverage of the series event from California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The telecast will begin at 7:00pm/et with the pre-race NASCAR Busch Series Countdown show, followed by coverage of the 300-mile race beginning at 7:30pm/et. Brent Musburger will host the race telecast, while Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Joining Punch in the booth for expert analysis will be 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will be pit reporters. For the pre-race show from the ESPN pit studio, Musburger will host, joined by analysts Tim Brewer, a two-time NASCAR champion crew chief, and five-time NBA All-Star and former NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty. Coverage will shift west at the end of the week toward California Speedway where reporter Jamie Little will make her NASCAR Now debut to help preview Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series live telecast on ESPN2. Little, an experienced action sports and motorsports reporter for ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, served as a pit reporter for ESPN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series season the last three years and is working the networks’ NASCAR telecasts in 2007. ESPN2 will have live coverage of practice and qualifying for this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series event at California Speedway on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24. Live coverage of Friday’s one-hour practice session for the series will be aired from 1:30-2:30pm/et. Qualifying, which will be held on the same day as the 300-mile race, will be televised from 3-5pm/et on Saturday. Brent Musburger will host the practice and qualifying telecasts, joined in ESPN’s pit studio by analyst Tim Brewer. Calling the action from the booth will be Jerry Punch with analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns and Jamie Little will report from the pits and garage.
    Carlos Contreras, one of the most well-known Hispanic drivers in NASCAR history, has joined ESPN Deportes’ team for coverage of the 2007 NASCAR season. Contreras, who will serve as analyst for numerous races, will make his debut this weekend on ESPN Deportes’ flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series race from the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Contreras will join analyst Alex Pombo and play-by-play commentator Andrés Agulla in the booth. ESPN Deportes is ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language television network.(ESPN PR)(2-22-2007)
  • #49 BAM Racing gets a sponsor for California: ZoneLoans.com joins the BAM Racing family of sponsors this weekend as the primary sponsor on the #49 Dodge and driver Mike Bliss for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. ZoneLoans.com connects consumers to a network of lenders nationwide competing for their loan. ZoneLoans.com is owned by ARMER Holding, LLC, a Florida based corporation that owns, develops and promotes numerous prime online properties.(BAM Racing PR)(2-22-2007)


    News from February 21, 2007

  • Andretti in the #37 at California? UPDATE and Las Vegas hearing John Andretti and not Bill Elliott will drive the #37 Dodge in the Nextel race at California Speedway. Supposedly Andretti will drive the same Dodge that Elliott ran in the Bud Shootout and the primary sponsor for this race will be Camping World. Elliott will be back in the car in a few other races with Andretti driving in the other races.(2-20-2007)
    UPDATE: confirmed Andretti will run the #37 Dodge at California and Las Vegas, there could be more races but those are the only two scheduled for Andretti as of now.(2-21-2007)
  • NASCAR on TV in Europe on hold UPDATE: Fears are growing that there will be no live Nextel Cup coverage for fans in Britain and the rest of Europe in 2007 as satellite TV station NASN struggles to reach an agreement with the series. NASN, whose parent company Setanta Sports has been bought by ESPN, has broadcast live or as-live coverage of every Nextel Cup race for the last three years. However their existing NASCAR contract finished at the end of 2006 and with barely a week to go before the 2007 season kicks off with the Budweiser Shootout [Feb 10th], fears are growing that fans in Europe will be blacked out. Even though ESPN have returned as a Nextel Cup broadcaster in the United States in 2007, their coverage isn’t due to begin until the second half of the 2007 season with FOX and TNT covering the first 18 races, including the prized Daytona 500. Thousands and thousands of UK viewers alone have subscribed to the stand-alone NASNA platform over the past three years to watch unprecedented live coverage of the Nextel Cup action, with subscribers even getting to stay with the action as the domestic broadcaster in the U.S. goes to a commercial break.(crash.net)
    from the NASN Site: Here’s the rundown on NASCAR Coverage: We are currently in negotiations with NASCAR regarding coverage for the upcoming season. As soon as there is anything to report on the situation, we will announce it here [at NASN.com].(2-3-2007)
    UPDATE: LIVE NASCAR Nextel Cup returns to NASN on Sunday February 25th and will air on Setanta Sports Ireland (Sky Channel 434 in UK and 429 in ROI). Tune in at 8pm for all the exciting racing action from the Auto Club 500. Check back on nasn.com for further announcements about additional motor sport programming on NASN.(NASN.com)(2-21-2007)
  • Evernham Appeals Penalties to all 3 teams: Appeals for the penalties passed out to the Nextel Cup teams of #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Scott Riggs before the Daytona 500 were filed on Wednesday by owner Ray Evernham. Roush Fenway Racing filed an appeal on the penalties against Matt Kenseth’s #17 team on Saturday. Evernham said before Sunday’s race he was most concerned about the severity of the penalties, particularly the points deductions, and the damage allegations of cheating have done to the reputation of his organization. “That’s been tarnished and it bothers me more than anything,” Evernham said. Kenny Francis, Kahne’s team director [crew chief], was suspended for four weeks and fined $50,000 after NASCAR inspectors discovered that two layers of duct tape covering an air hole near the rear wheel well came off during qualifying. Officials said the first layer had a razor slice in it that they believe was designed to force both layers of tape off. Kahne was docked 50 championship points and Evernham 50 owners’ points for what NASCAR deemed a blatant attempt to create an aerodynamic advantage. Rodney Childers and Josh Browne, the team directors for Riggs and Sadler, were suspended for two races and fined $25,000 each when officials discovered the bolts that attach the rear spoiler to the trunk had holes drilled in them to help create an aerodynamic advantage. Their drivers were docked 25 championship points each. Evernham said the bolts were hollowed out to make them lighter and were used in all four restrictor plate races last season without penalty. NASCAR officials said a date for the appeal, to be heard by the National Stock Car Racing Commission, has not been set.(ESPN.com)(2-21-2007)
  • HDNet to reair Daytona 500 2/22; to reair all Cup races: HDNet begins Nextel Cup Series race coverage in high definition with the Daytona 500. Network to televise re-airs of Nextel Cup Series races each week from Daytona to Homestead. National cable network HDNet will re-air Nextel Cup Series races, beginning with the 2007 Daytona 500, this Thursday February 22nd, 9:30pm/et. This Nextel Cup Series coverage comes as the network extends their relationship with NASCAR, including a renewed agreement to air races from the NASCAR Grand National Division in 2007. This national race re-air is available in HDTV only on HDNet. Fans who wish to see the network’s coverage of NASCAR should contact their cable or satellite provider to sign up for HDNet. HDNet (www.hd.net) provides viewers with the best in original comedy, drama, news, sports and music programming.(HDNet PR)(2-21-2007)
  • Dr. Jerry Punch to the rescue: Just because ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch decided to swap his stethoscope for a microphone doesn’t mean the medical degree he earned at Wake Forest hasn’t been useful over the years. Twice while working races as an ESPN announcer Punch has been called on to aid seriously-injured drivers. At Bristol he revived Rusty Wallace, who had stopped breathing, and once after an ARCA crash he administered lifesaving first aid to injured racer Don Marnor. And ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch was addressing a Nashville Superspeedway media luncheon Tuesday at The Palm restaurant downtown when he was interrupted by a loud crash from the back of the room. Someone yelled “Is there a doctor in the house?” Amid the laugher came a more serious shout: “We’re not kidding! We need a doctor back here!” Punch immediately rushed from the podium to the back of the room where Jenny Gill [Vince Gill’s daughter], a Nashville Superspeedway intern, had fainted. Punch helped to revive the Middle Tennessee State graduate student. She was taken to a local care center for observation and soon recovered, according to Sean Dozier, the superspeedway’s public relations director. Punch returned to the podium and resumed his speech.(Tennessean)(2-21-2007)
  • Martin’s Team Captures Pit Crew Challenge Win in Daytona: Mark Martin’s #01 pit crew earned the Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in the Nextel Cup Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, helping boost the U.S. Army driver to a runner-up finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500. This is the second consecutive pit crew challenge win for the Army crew, which claimed top honors in the 2006 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway “I just can’t say enough about the work of our pit crew,” offered Martin, whose team spent 216.620 seconds on pit road during Sunday’s event. “Those guys were Army Strong in the pits and helped give me my best shot ever at winning the Daytona 500.” Martin continued, “They put us out in the lead when we needed it and I feel terrible that I wasn’t able to hold on. Those guys really stepped up to the plate when the pressure was at its greatest and they delivered like champions do.” The #01 over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott King (jackman), Colin Pasi (front-tire carrier), Charlie Brock (front-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Dave Woodhead (rear-tire changer), Danny Harrington (gasman), Scott Hazlett (catch can) and Troy Welty (windshield). The pit crew coach is Lance Munksgard. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. The program pays $11,000 to the weekly winner. An additional $111,150 bonus will be awarded to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(2-21-2007)
  • SPEED teams with Dale Jr’s Busch team: SPEED has teamed with JR Motorsports to develop SPEED 1, a fleet of race-ready demonstration cars to give viewers an unprecedented inside look at how cars will actually behave at each Nextel Cup Series event in 2007. The SPEED 1 fleet, including superspeedway cars, intermediate track cars and the Car of Tomorrow, will be driven by NASCAR drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, for features on SPEED’s Nextel Cup Series pre-race show NASCAR RaceDay- Built by The Home Depot. The entire fleet will be on display at JR Motorsports and moved around the country by JKS Motorsports. The SPEED1 superspeedway car, complete with a Richard Childress engine, arrived in Daytona for the big race weekend, with Wallace breaking in the fleet. Broadcast Sports Technology (BST) will provide the on-board cameras and Sportvision will provide telemetry.(SPEED PR)(2-21-2007)
  • Raines tests first COT for HOF Racing: Tony Raines and the Hall of Fame Racing team tested the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy “Car of Tomorrow” (COT) on Feb. 20 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC. Itmarked the first test with the COT for Hall of Fame Racing and the first time Raines has driven the car.(True Speed Communication/HOF Racing PR)(2-21-2007)
  • #31 Jackman needs surgery: #31-Team Cingular jackman Josh Yost will undergo surgery to his left ankle Thursday at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. During a routine pit stop in last Sunday’s Daytona 500, Yost’s left Archilles tendon ruptured. Adam North, the jackman for the #29 Holiday Inn NBS team, will fill in for Yost beginning this weekend at California.(RCR PR)(2-21-2007)
  • Different paint for the #24 at California: Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevy will carry the familiar “fire and flames” design in this weekend’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, but will feature a new waterborne paint from DuPont Refinish. DuPont Cromax Pro, which is being introduced in preparation for strict California emissions regulations, and their “Catch the Wave” product slogan will be featured on Gordon’s Chevy and firesuit.(Performance PR Plus)(2-21-2007)
  • Daytona 500 fan killed in road rage shooting UPDATE: Three Jacksonville men have been charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Eddie Houk, 36, Land O Lakes, who was leaving the Daytona International Speedway with an older brother Sunday night when he was shot and killed on Interstate 4 in a road rage incident, authorities said today. The men were apparently passing through the area but had not attended the race, deputies said. More details will come later in a press release, but Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brandon Haught confirmed it was a road rage incident.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-19-2007)
    UPDATE: Sheriff’s investigators combed through an Interstate 4 exit Tuesday morning searching for the handgun used in the road-rage killing of a 36-year-old Tampa-area father heading home from the Daytona 500. Investigators were at the Orange City exit looking for the weapon, sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson said. One of the suspects involved in the shooting, Ronlee Harvin, 21, told investigators he flung the gun from a window of the SUV he was riding in afterward. Meanwhile the grieving family made funeral plans for Eric Houk of Land O’ Lakes, a youth soccer coach, husband and father of three, including a 5-month-old son. Seminole County sheriff’s deputies arrested Harvin, Charles Onasanya, 19, and David Paul Edwards, 21, as the trio and a female passenger sped west on the interstate Sunday night into Seminole County. Edwards is charged with second-degree murder, accused of shooting Houk in the stomach. The other two men are charged with being principals to second-degree murder. The suspects and the woman are from Jacksonville. Eric Houk and his brother, Michael Houk, encountered the three suspects about 9:20 p.m. Sunday after Eric Houk swerved his pickup into the emergency lane of the interstate to avoid hitting another car. The victim had no idea that Onasanya, who was driving the SUV, was already tooling along in the emergency lane to bypass heavy post-race traffic on I-4, officials said. Angry at being cut off, Onasanya swung his SUV around Eric Houk’s truck and he, Harvin and Edwards got out, along with their female passenger, whose name is not being released by sheriff’s investigators. The Houk brothers also got out of their pickup and Eric Houk and Onasanya started arguing, investigators said. When the argument turned physical, the female passenger yelled, “Get the gun,” a police report shows. She will not be charged, though, sheriff’s spokesman Brandon Haught said, because saying that “is not a crime.” Onasanya ran back to his vehicle and retrieved a handgun belonging to Harvin. The gun made its way to Edwards who fired a shot into the air to get Eric Houk and Onasanya to stop fighting, the report said. Edwards fired two more shots at Eric Houk, though he was unarmed and not threatening, officials said. Seconds later, the three suspects and the woman took off in the SUV. Eric Houk died just before 10 p.m. at Florida Hospital DeLand, officials said. The suspects were arrested soon after on I-4 in Seminole County.(More at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-21-2007)


    News from February 20, 2007

  • #74/Cope not running Cup race at Calif: per the Derrike Cope website, Cope and the #74 team next planned race is Texas and then Talladega. The #74 is listed on the California Auto Club 500 entry list. Cope’s next planned race is the Busch race in Mexico for Jay Robinson.(Derrike Cope site)(2-20-2007)
  • Newman testing at Nashville: Penske Racing will be at Nashville Superspeedway Wednesday, February 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with Ryan Newman as the driver.(NSS PR)(2-20-2007)
  • Martin to run Daytona in July: The ink on Mark Martin’s 2007 Nextel Cup calendar boasts 22 races in the #01 U.S. Army Chevy. But if you flip to July, to the small box hosting his July 7 to-do list, the pencil markings suggest another story. The Pepsi 400? That wasn’t on the original slate. It is now. Martin told ESPN.com Monday that the July 7 race at Daytona International Speedway was on his docket all along, but he chose to wait and see the outcome of Speed Weeks. He had more fun than he’s ever had. No pressure. And, oh yeah, he nearly won the Daytona 500. Martin stressed we not get carried away with this. He doesn’t desire to run the entire slate, though some of his colleagues think otherwise. “Winning [the Daytona 500] wouldn’t have changed at all how I feel about things. I’ve learned to never say never, so I’m not going to do that. But I’m very happy and comfortable with my schedule, and even if we’d have won the race I’m just thrilled with what I have laid out in front of me. If I want to change [my schedule] I have that luxury,” he said. “I haven’t gone and asked [to run the whole schedule], but I can tell you they haven’t said no to anything else. I don’t think that’d be a problem, but I also don’t think that’ll happen.” Martin’s current projected schedule is quite front-loaded. He knows he might get bored in the second half of the year. The Food City 500 [in Bristol] will mark the first race since Valentine’s Day 1988 that Martin won’t be in the Cup Series field. That’s 617 straight races [currently hs is at 618, going into Bristol he will be at 621]. Martin is scheduled to be in Lake City, Fla., that weekend to be Ricky Carmichael’s crew chief in a late-model race.(in part from ESPN.com)(2-20-2007)
  • Elliott to be inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame: Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann (1960) and NASCAR champion Bill Elliott (1988) will head the list of 2007 inductees to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, which will have its ceremony Aug. 15 in Detroit. Also honored will be Jim McGee, the winningest chief mechanic in Indy-car history, and Leo Mehl, who led Goodyear to racing prominence before leading the Indy Racing League through its early years.(Indy Star)(2-20-2007)
  • Latest on Villeneuve: Former Indy Car, Indianapolis 500 and Formula One champion, Jacques Villeneuve, from Iberville, Quebec is close to getting started in NASCAR and will also race the famous Le Mans 24-hour event June 16-17 in France. “It’s something he’s never done before,” agent Craig Pollock said Monday at Villeneuve’s record launch. “He’s done open wheel racing. People might find him going to NASCAR unusual, but which Formula One champion has ever had a chance to win the NASCAR series?” Pollock said Villeneuve is “very close” to lining up a title sponsor for a NASCAR ride. Villeneuve may do some driving in ARCA, the Craftsman truck series and the Busch series, which has a race in Montreal on Aug. 4, before moving up to Nextel Cup.(FoxSports/AP)(2-20-2007)
  • Sirius and XM expected to announce merger UPDATE: Satellite radio operators Sirius and XM are expected to announce their long-awaited merger today, according to a source familiar with the deal. The two sides were locked in negotiations over the weekend trying to hammer out a final agreement with an eye toward going public with the merger today in Washington, D.C., where XM is based, this source said. Talks were still going on at press time and the deal could fall apart at any time. With antitrust issues of paramount importance, this source said lawyers for both companies were working overtime to fine-tune the language of the agreement and frame the discussion around the deal itself and not regulatory concerns. The transaction is expected to be structured as a merger of equals, but given Sirius’ higher enterprise value, shareholders in the Mel Karmazin-led firm will likely come away with a larger%age of a combined company. According to the source, XM Chairman Gary Parsons will retain that title in the combined entity, with Karmazin likely taking the CEO role. It is unclear what role, if any, XM CEO Hugh Panero will play. Combining Sirius and XM would result in a single satellite radio operator with more than 12 million total subscribers. A deal would also marry Sirius content, such as Howard Stern, Frank Sinatra and NASCAR with XM’s Oprah Winfrey, Bob Dylan and Major League Baseball. More important, analysts widely predict that a deal would also save the two companies nearly $7 billion annually. Gaining regulatory approval “could take up to 15 months; hence, we think any proposed deal needs to be announced by the end of March to close by mid-2008,” Peck wrote.(New York Post)(2-19-2007)
    UPDATE: XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., rivals in the fledgling satellite radio industry, have agreed to combine in a deal that investors hope will result in lower costs, assuming it overcomes significant regulatory hurdles. The companies billed the deal announced Monday as a merger of equals, with shareholders of both companies owning approximately 50% of the combined entity. However, Sirius will be giving $4.57 billion of its stock to XM shareholders, a substantial premium to the value of their shares. Sirius’ Chief Executive Mel Karmazin will lead the combined company, and XM’s CEO Hugh Panero will stay on only until the deal is closed. XM Chairman Gary Parsons will remain in that role. XM radio receivers can’t receive signals from Sirius, and vice versa. But Karmazin and Parsons said in an interview that the companies are working on developing a receiver that could receive both signals. In the meantime, they said, assuming the deal goes through, the companies would make other arrangements to bring programming that’s currently exclusive to one provider to listeners of the other, such as getting Major League Baseball games — currently only available on XM — to Sirius listeners.(MSNBC)(2-20-2007)
  • Only 4% claim racing as favorite sport: It was difficult to look at 200,000 fans packed into Daytona Speedway and not imagine that auto racing has become one of America’s favorite sports. According to a recent Gallup poll, however, auto racing isn’t very close. The pollsters asked Americans to name their favorite sport. Football was the easy winner with more than 43% of the voting. Basketball was second with 12% and baseball followed with 11%. Auto racing landed fourth with just 4%. The poll results didn’t mean that only 4% of Americans follow auto racing, only that 4% found it to be their favorite sport.(Alabama Live)(2-20-2007)


    News from February 19, 2007

  • TV Ratings for Daytona 500: Daytona 500 on FOX produced a 10.1/20 rating/share and an average audience of 17.53 million viewers according to “fast national” figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. Yesterday’s race ranks as the fifth highest-rated and the fifth most-watched Daytona 500 in history, and the second highest-rated and most-watched ever on FOX. An estimated 33.7 million Americans watched at least part of yesterday’s Great American Race. The race a year ago, which was sandwiched in between NBC’s coverage of the Torino Olympics, set all-time records for rating and viewership (11.3/23; average 19.35 million). Also, due to an unusually low number of caution periods early on, yesterday’s race was the shortest in running time since 1995, and that was a significant factor in the year to year decline. FOX’s rating peaked at a 12.0/22 during the race’s thrilling conclusion (7:00-7:12pm/et). The 49th Daytona 500 nearly doubles the rating for last year’s Indianapolis 500 (5.1/14).(FOX PR)(2-19-2007)
  • Harvick’s Winning Daytona 500 car inducted Into DAYTONA USA: Kevin Harvick and his #29 Richard Childress Racing team had an early wake-up call on Monday morning for Daytona 500 car induction ceremonies at DAYTONA USA. After celebrating their triumph in the 49th annual Daytona 500 victory on Sunday night, Harvick, owner Richard Childress and crew chief Todd Berrier inducted their winning racing machine into DAYTONA USA as part of the Banquet Brown ‘N Serve Champion’s Breakfast. The #29 Shell Chevy 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 historic 50th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. Harvick also autographed artist David Arrigo’s DIRECTV Speedweeks mural painting and the entire #29 team including Harvick signed the winning #29 car.(DIS PR)(2-19-2007)
  • So..what happened to Blaney? #22-Dave Blaney and the team ran into misfortune on lap 185 of the 200-lap Daytona 500, as Blaney drive down pit road to avoid an accident on the frontstretch. With a flat right-front tire, he was unable to avoid making contact with several cars as he exited pit road. After making a lap around the track, he headed back to pit road for four fresh tires and to give the Caterpillar team the opportunity to review any damage the contact may have made. Unfortunately, NASCAR officials were none too pleased with the speed the Caterpillar Toyota reached on pit lane while trying to avoid the accident, and after first assessing the team a five lap penalty, they then decided to send the #22 to the garage for the remainder of the race. Blaney was credited with a 34th-place finish.(BDR PR)(2-19-2007)
  • Ford sticking around: It will take more than record losses and massive staff cutbacks to push Ford out of NASCAR. After a company record $12.7 billion loss in 2006 and a planned staff reduction of 40,000 this year, racing boss Dan Davis admitted he was nervous about getting the estimated $20 million racing budget for nine full-time Cup cars approved. “But there was no problem,” he said. “This is something that the people at the top levels of the company believe is a positive force for Ford. You don’t stop your marketing in hard times, you work harder to market the product.” Ford’s investment in NASCAR, including its marketing budget, is estimated to be just under $100 million. The company is focusing more and more on stock cars, pulling its marketing support from the struggling Champ Car World Series this season. Things won’t get any easier this year for Ford in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, with Japanese rival Toyota joining DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge brand and General Motors’ Chevrolets as Cup rivals. “I feel like all we really need is 10 good cars, and we have nine now,” said Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. “They’re not all as strong as we’d like them to be, but we feel like we’re close. We would like to win 25% of the races on a consistent basis, and I feel like we’re within striking distance.”(Associated Press)(2-19-2007)
  • Roush to appeal #17 penalty: Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith has filed an appeal of the points penalty given to driver #17-Matt Kenseth after his car failed post-qualifying inspection. Kenseth was docked 50 championship points, which Smith claims is too harsh based on precedence set last year with Jimmie Johnson. Johnson’s team was fined and crew chief Chad Knaus suspended for four races when his car failed post-qualifying inspection a year ago. Kenseth lost crew chief Robbie Reiser for four races and the points. “We’re not appealing the suspension,” Smith said. “But NASCAR said last year when they suspended Johnson’s crew chief that they want to be consistent with their penalties. There’s no precedence for 50 points.”(ESPN.com)(2-19-2007)
  • Ragan is the Raybestos Rookie of the race at Daytona: #6-David Ragan finished fifth in the Daytona 500, his best effort in three Nextel Cup Series starts. His best previous finish was 25th last fall at Martinsville Speedway. Ragan earned a $5,000 bonus from Raybestos brand Brakes as the top rookie finisher. Ragan is the third Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the Daytona 500. The others: Scott Wimmer (third in 2004) and Jeff Gordon (fifth in 1993). A Raybestos Rookie has now scored two consecutive top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500 (Clint Bowyer finished sixth last year). Other Raybestos Rookies to score top-10 finishes by Raybestos Rookies 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; 2006: Clint Bowyer, sixth. A Raybestos Rookie has now finished in the top-15 in 37 consecutive Nextel Cup Series races. Ragan leads the Rookie standings with 17 rookie points, the Montoya 10 and Reutimann with 9.(Camp and Assoc PR)(2-19-2007)
  • Harvick-Martin finish…yellow? NASCAR officials, reacting to the controversial slow yellow at the finish which denied #01-Mark Martin yesterday’s win, said they threw the yellow when #07-Clint Bowyer got sideways, and they said at that point #29-Kevin Harvick was just ahead of Martin.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND: NASCAR usually throws a caution immediately when there’s danger on the track, freezing the field in place. At least once recently — at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2005 — NASCAR threw a yellow on the last lap before the field reached the finish. That handed a win to Dale Jarrett, who was in first with a half-lap to go but trailed Tony Stewart at the finish. NASCAR allowed racing to the caution without freezing the field until September 2003, when it ruled drivers should slow down as soon as the yellow appeared for safety purposes. Sunday, NASCAR seemed to wait five seconds — until just after Harvick and Martin finished side by side — to throw the yellow. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Harvick was declared the winner because the caution came out when Clint Bowyer’s Chevrolet went sideways across the track after Harvick and Martin took the checkered flag. Poston said the yellow didn’t come out earlier because the cars involved in the crash had skidded off the track to that point.(USA Today)
    AND II: Kyle Busch disappeared in the smoke just as Harvick pulled alongside Martin in the tri-oval. They both waited for the flagman, who leaned over the track and dropped the checkered with the 07 Chevy of Clint Bowyer tumbling and burning into the infield. At that moment, the outcome was in the hands of NASCAR. The message from the control center above the track to the flagman came as the cars reached the line. “Put it out,” David Hoots, NASCAR’s race director, radioed down. The yellow flag flew after Harvick passed under the flagstand. “When the 07 went sideways on the track, the yellow came out,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said afterward. “At that point the 29 was ahead of the 01 and declared the winner.” That was a good explanation and all, except that’s not what happened. Bowyer was upside down before the leaders took the checkered flag. The caution was thrown after that, technically, and according to NASCAR’s own rules, after the race ended. The fact that there was an official margin of victory (.020 seconds) proves it. There is no margin of victory in a race that ends under caution. And since no caution flew before the end, NASCAR had no official account of the crash. In effect, it never happened.(Roanoke Times)(2-19-2007)
  • News on the two injured crew members: It appears that Josh Yost, jack man for Jeff Burton’s #31 Chevy, suffered his second serious Achilles’ tendon injury in less than two years in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Richard Childress Racing team spokesman David Hart said Yost suffered an injury to his left Achilles’ tendon that doctors described as showing “classic signs of a rupture.” In May 2005, Yost suffered a laceration to his right Achilles tendon at Talladega Superspeedway when he was struck by Rusty Wallace’s Dodge on the pit lane. That took months to heal. Yost required a wheelchair and had to learn how to walk again. Hart said Yost flew home to North Carolina on Sunday in a splint and will see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible Monday. Yost wasn’t the only crewman injured Sunday. Jeremy Geiter, a crewmember on Mike Wallace’s #09 team, suffered an injury to his left foot and ankle after being struck by #26-Jamie McMurray during a pit stop on Lap 176. Geiter told ESPN.com that he and the #09 team were pushing Wallace from the pit stall when McMurray, pitting behind them, pulled out and ran over his left foot. Geiter said doctors informed him he might have a hairline fracture, but that a sprain and bruise was likely the extent of the injury.(ESPN.com)(2-19-2007)
  • Commercial breakdown for the 2007 Daytona 500:
    Total number of commercials: 127
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 63
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 39
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 23
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 5 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:10 P.M.
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:05 P.M.
    Total minutes: 235
    Minutes of race broadcast: 176
    Minutes of commercials: 59
    (See full reports at CawsnJaws.com)(2-19-2007)
  • Teresa at Daytona: The start of the Daytona 500 was 20 minutes away when Teresa Earnhardt strolled down pit road toward the No. 8 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. She was laughing and smiling, enjoying the pageantry the way she always did before the last lap of this race in 2001. She had a glow about her as bright and warm as the Florida sunshine that kept this stock car racing shrine from feeling like Lambeau Field during the NFL playoffs. It didn’t fade as she made her way to the side of Earnhardt Jr., whose soap opera relationship with his stepmother and car owner has been the center of attention as NASCAR’s most popular driver attempts to negotiate a new deal. They posed for pictures. They hugged. See full story at ESPN.com.(2-19-2007)
  • Daytona 500 Fast Facts:
    * Kevin Harvick won the Daytona 500, his 11th Nextel Cup victory in 179 races.
    * Harvick’s best previous finish in the Daytona 500 was fourth in 2003 and 2004.
    * Harvick’s starting position of 34th was the lowest starting position of a Daytona 500 winner ever.
    * Harvick’s four laps led are tied for the fewest laps led by the Daytona 500 champion (Benny Parsons, 1975).
    * Harvick is the first reigning Busch Series champion to win the Daytona 500 the following year.
    * There are now four drivers who have won the NASCAR Busch Series race and the Daytona 500 in the same year: Bobby Allison (1988); Darrell Waltrip (1989); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004); Kevin Harvick (2007). LeeRoy Yarbrough won the Daytona 500 and the late model race at Daytona in 1969.
    * This is the eighth closest Nextel Cup Series finish overall and the closest Daytona 500 since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993.
    * This is Richard Childress Racing’s first Daytona 500 win since Dale Earnhardt in 1998.
    * This is the first Nextel Cup-Busch Series sweep since Kevin Harvick in 2006 (Richmond, September).
    * Jimmie Johnson ended a streak of 105 races in the Top 10 (sixth longest streak in Nextel Cup Series history).(NASCAR Statistics)(2-19-2007)
  • Pemberton earns Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Ryan Pemberton, crew chief for the #01 Ginn Racing Chevy, made a bold but calculated call in the closing stages of the Daytona 500 to give Mark Martin and the U.S. Army team a great shot at a victory. In the final pit stop of the race, Pemberton’s decision to take two right side tires only propelled Martin from seventh to first place after the leaders chose to change all four tires. Martin held onto his lead until the final surge to the checkered flag, only to be inched out by eventually winner Kevin Harvick as the pair crossed the finish line. It was Mark Martin’s best finish in the Great American Race. Pemberton’s tactical move earned him the Wypall* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award. The #01 U.S. Army team begun the race 26th on the starting grid and with this finish has set the new look team up for an exciting 2007 season. A panel of votes that included a local media representative, Tony Eury Jr.and a Wypall Wipers representative, all agreed Pemberton’s strategic decision was worthy enough for him to win the first award for the 2007 season. As the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Pemberton received $1,000. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.(Wypall Wipers PR)(2-19-2007)

 


News from February 18, 2007

  • 2007 Daytona 500 Champion’s Schedule:
    (Tentative and Subject to Change)
    Monday, February 19th 
    7:50am – ABC’s Good Morning America LIVE via satellite 8:00am – Daytona 500 Car Induction Ceremony Daytona USA 9:00am – Daytona 500 Media Breakfast, Bill France Room – Daytona USA 9:45am – One on One Interviews:
    ESPN Cold Pizza
    INSIDE Nextel Cup
    The Morning Drive on SIRIUS
    10:30am – FOX Sports Radio Out of Bounds
    12:00pm – Wheels up to New York, NY
    4:00pm – The Late Show with David Letterman [guest: Jim Carrey], airs 11:35pm/et
    Tuesday, February 20th
    9:00am – Live with Regis and Kelly [guest: Heather Graham]
    11:00am – Luncheon with New York Media, Waldorf=Astoria Peacock Alley
    1:00pm – Nextel Cup Series Teleconference
    3:00pm – Various Interviews at ESPN Headquarters
    Wednesday, February 21st
    1:00pm/pt – California Speedway Day in LA Hollywood and Highland
    4:00pm/pt Mason and Ireland Radio Show
    7:00pm/pt ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel LIVE
    Thursday, February 22nd
    7:20am/pt – Rick Dees Radio Show
    TBA – Various TV and Radio Morning Shows.(NASCAR PR)(2-18-2007)
  • Harvick wins Daytona 500: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway for his 1st ever Daytona 500 win on the 6 year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death. It was the 2nd Daytona 500 win for car owner Richard Childress, who won in 1998 with Earnhardt. Harvick is the 31st driver to win the Daytona 500 in 49 races and it was his 11th career win. Harvick won $1,510,469. With a green-white-checker finished after a wreck on lap 196. Martin was leading when the green-white-checker flew and was holding off the field until #5-Busch got loose and caused a large wreck at the very end. NASCAR chose not to throw a caution and let Martin and Harvick race to the start-finish line, with Harvick nipping Martin by 2/100ths of a second. Martin held onto 2nd followed by #31-Burton, #09-Wallace, #6-Ragan [the highest finishing rookie], #19-Sadler, #9-Kahne, #38-Gilliland [pole sitter], #13-Nemechek and #24-Gordon.. Harvick had also won the Busch race Saturday, becoming the 4th driver to win both races [Bobby Allison 1988, Darrell Waltrip 1989, Dale Earnhardt Jr 2004]. #2-Kurt Busch led the most laps with 95, but while running 2nd, got into a wreck with then leader #20-Tony Stewart, ending both of their days. #07-Clint Bowyer had a wild ride on the final lap wreck, crossing the s/f line on his roof, the car turned back over, caught fire and Bowyer got out ok. There were 7 cautions for 25 laps [and approx a 15 minute red flag during the 6th and final caution] and 9 drivers lead the race with 13 lead changes.
    For race results see my Daytona Race Results page
    For points standings see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page after Daytona page.(2-18-2007)
  • Rumblings – Daytona: Kevin Harvick passed Mark Martin as all heck was breaking loose behind them tonight and took the Daytona 505 by all of .02 seconds at the line. It was Harvick’s first plate win and the 11th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied with Greg Biffle for 50th place on the all-time win list). You just knew when they went G/W/C that a bunch of ’em weren’t gonna come back in one piece, and one driver (Clint Boywer) slid across the finish line on his roof! Harvick made an amazing move on the outside going into turn three for the final time, and came from the lowest starting spot of any 500 winner in history….34th. Kevin was 7th when we got the final green, btw. This was win #82 [actually #84] for Richard Childress Racing. Six years to the day since we lost Dale Earnhardt….and that was his car in Victory Lane. Oh, maybe the number and the color was different, but we know better.
    Mark Martin (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Atlanta last March.
    Mike Wallace (4th) had his best finish since he was the bridesmaid at Phoenix in October of 2001!
    David Ragan (5th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 25th at Martinsville last October.
    Elliott Sadler (6th) has his best finish since he was 6th at Loudon last September.
    David Gilliland (8th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 15th twice last season…..at Talladega in October and Atlanta the same month.
    David Stremme (11th) equalled his career-best finish today. He was 11th twice last season….at Loudon in July and the Homestead finale.
    J. J. Yeley (12th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Loudon in September.
    Reed Sorenson (13th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Dover in September.
    Johnny Sauter (16th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Lowes in October of 2005 (only three races).
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: David Ragan (5th) is the top-finishing freshman in a short field today. He was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya (19th) and David Reutimann (40th). Paul Menard, Brandon Whitt, and A. J. Allmendinger were dnq’s this week.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: The Operator of the Week is Kevin Harvick (+33), followed by Jeff Gordon (+32), David Ragan (+30), Johnny Sauter (+25), Mark Martin (+24), Elliott Sadler (+24), Robby Gordon (+24), Kasey Kahne (+21), Sterling Marlin (+21), Dale Jarrett (+21), and Reed Sorenson (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Tony Stewart (-40), followed by Kurt Busch (-27), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-27), Ricky Rudd (-24), and Ryan Newman (-22). For you new subscribers this is the differential between starting position and finishing position.(Stock Car Fans)(2-18-2007)
  • GWC factoid: There have been 20 green-white-checkered [GWC] finishes in NASCAR [Nextel Cup] history, and only five times has the leader lost the lead on those final two laps.
    #01-Mark Martin led in the 2007 Daytona 500, #29-Kevin Harvick passed him as a huge wreck took place behind them and beat Martin to the line by 2/1000th’s of a second.
    #17-Matt Kenseth led 146 laps at Las Vegas in 2006, #48-Jimmie Johnson passed him at the line and won by 1/2 a car length, only leading 1 lap to win.
    #17-Matt Kenseth led at Talladega in Oct 2005, Dale Jarrett passed
    #16-Greg Biffle won at Darlington after #12-Ryan Newman led heading into the green-white-checkered in May 2005
    Biffle won the final race of 2004 when #20-Tony Stewart had fuel problems at Homestead.(2-18-2007)
  • Maintaining a Top-10 Standard; Johnson’s streak ends: #48-Jimmie Johnson was ranked in the top 10 in the Nextel Cup point standings after every race since Atlanta in March 2004, 105 straight races, thru the 2007 Daytona 500 when he finished 39th after a wreck in the season opening race. The record is held by Dale Earnhardt with 174 races from Feb. 23, 1986 at Richmond to Mar 1, 1992 at Rockingham. Johnson’s streak is the 6th longest.(2-18-2007)
  • Eury Jr. would leave DEI if Dale Jr. bolts: If #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. opts to leave Dale Earnhardt, Inc. at the conclusion of the 2007 Nextel Cup season, his crew chief will follow suit. Tony Eury Jr., Earnhardt’s crew chief and first cousin, told ESPN.com on Sunday that if Junior goes, he’ll go, too. “Yes, [I’d go],” Eury responded when asked if he’d follow Earnhardt to a new race team. “That’s the way I based my feelings when I decided to stay there and sign a long-term contract. I made it very specific to them that if 2007 comes and Dale Jr. decided to do something else, I’d like to have my options open to do whatever I want to do.” Ultimately, though, Eury hopes Dale Jr. stays put. “The best thing is to stay at DEI,” Eury said. “DEI is his Dad’s deal. [Junior] should be running the company. That’s what Dale Sr. built the company for, was for those kids to have something later on in life. However it turns out, it turns out. I really don’t want to get into the politics side of it with them, so I just let them handle it and we’ll figure it out from there.” Earnhardt said on Feb. 8 he must get majority ownership of DEI in order to remain with the company his father founded. Eury said he’s uncertain where the contract negotiation stands. He’s staying out of it. “I just told Junior for him and Kelley [Earnhardt Elledge] to figure out whatever they want to do — stay or go,” Eury said. “I hope he stays, but if they can’t get things worked out, that’s fine, we’ll just figure out what’s best for all of us.”(ESPN.com)(2-18-2007)
  • Wind Tunnel 2007 Debut Sunday: Dave Despain enters his fifth season behind the wheel of the popular SPEED show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, with the 2007 premiere scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 18 at 9:00pm/et.(SPEED PR)(2-18-2007)
  • Kahne joins the Gillette Young Guns: Kasey Kahne was announced as the new addition to the Gillette Young Guns family [replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr.] in an elaborate Daytona 500 pre-race ceremony on Sunday, February 18. Kahne officially joins #2-Kurt Busch, #99-Carl Edwards, #26-Jamie McMurray, #12-Ryan Newman and #48-Jimmie Johnson as Gillette Young Guns. In addition to Kahne’s debut, Gillette also unveiled a new, high-energy ad campaign, entitled “Prank Revenge,” during FOX’s telecast of the Daytona 500. “Prank Revenge” will run exclusively during NASCAR programming throughout the 2007 NASCAR season. Fans can also view the commercial by logging onto GilletteYoungGuns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-18-2007)
  • Manufacturer Fact: Toyota might be a foreign factory, but the Camry is the only NASCAR model produced in the United States. The Ford Fusion is produced in Mexico. The Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS are produced in Canada. Camrys are built in Kentucky.(San Diego Union Tribune)
  • Waltrip: Team has ‘circumstantial evidence,’ no proof UPDATE more on Hyder: #55-Michael Waltrip spent the last week hoping someone would take responsibility for the fuel additive that led to NASCAR sanctions and prompted Toyota to re-evaluate its relationship with the two-time Daytona 500 winner. He’s still waiting. “We just keep digging, digging, digging,” Waltrip said Saturday. “Toyota’s going to help us. A lot of people are going to help us. We’re going to find out what happened. We have a lot of circumstantial evidence that implicates a couple of folks, but we don’t have any proof. So we’ll just keep digging until we find out what happened. When I was a kid and I did something wrong I would kind of see the writing on the wall. I’d say, ‘Uh-oh. Things are getting tight around here.’ And you’d fess up. No one’s elected to do that.” Waltrip added that if anyone is implicated in the cheating scandal, that person likely would be fired. “Somebody didn’t get the company philosophy, which is we’re going to beat them by working hard and working smart and not by cheating,” he said. “I felt like I just had three kids and I was real proud of them, and one of my kids let me down, and you know how bad that hurts. In return, I let a lot of people down, because ultimately I’m responsible.” Waltrip was docked 100 series points for tampering with fuel. Crew chief David Hyder was fined $100,000. Hyder and team director Bobby Kennedy also were kicked out of Daytona International Speedway. Waltrip’s car was impounded, forcing him to miss two practice sessions and sending him into a backup ride for qualifying. Nonetheless, he drove his way into the Daytona 500 and will start 15th on Sunday. His #55 car sustained some damage in the qualifying race and was partly stripped down to the bare metal for Saturday’s final practice — Waltrip’s first drafting practice at Daytona since October. “Time will tell what we’re capable of,” said Waltrip, who posted the slowest time Saturday. “I’ve done this with the haves, and I’ve done this with the have-nots. Our team feels a whole lot like the haves, and that makes me feel good.”(Associated Press/ESPN.com)
    UPDATE: David Hyder, crew chief for Michael Waltrip, has been placed on a paid leave of absence as the team continues to investigate the rules violation that resulted in Waltrip absorbing a $100,000 fine and the loss of 100 series points. Hyder and team director Bobby Kennedy were suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after inspectors discovered an unusual substance in the Waltrip #55-Toyota’s intake manifold. NASCAR later said the team had used a fuel additive. MWR vice president Ty Norris said Kennedy remains at work at the team’s shop and is assisting in the investigation into the violation. Norris said the team’s internal investigation will continue “until we find out” the details of the situation. “It could be hours, days, weeks – we won’t stop,” he said. Waltrip and Norris are scheduled to meet with a group of Toyota executives in California Wednesday prior to next week’s race at California Speedway. That meeting was scheduled prior to Waltrip’s Daytona troubles. “That will be tough, but it’s all been tough,” Norris said. “No meeting has been easy – not talking with Brian France, John Darby, Robin Pemberton or Toyota or NAPA or Burger King or UPS or Domino’s. It’s been really tough, but when you’re responsible for all, you can’t just take the good. You have to take the bad. It’s easy to be everybody’s favorite son when everything is going well.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-18-2007)


    News from February 17, 2007

  • Goodwrench launches “Power of 3” Web site: As part of the successful premiers of the “DALE” documentary honoring racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Goodwrench has launched the “Power of 3” Web site for fans to personally pay tribute and share their enthusiasm for the #3 Goodwrench team. From the home page of www.goodwrench.com fans can click on the “Power of 3” link to share their own memories and photos of Earnhardt for other fans to view and enjoy. The site will also feature a timeline of milestones, accomplishments, TV and print ads, and photos from Earnhardt’s impressive 27-year racing career. A link to a movie trailer and show times of the highly- anticipated, 100-minute documentary which is being screened in 40 markets across the Unites States mirroring the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, are also available. In addition, fans can opt in to receive regular e-mail updates as new material is added. “DALE”, produced by NASCAR Images and CMT Films, will air on CMT, following the 40-city tour. Participating Chevrolet GM Goodwrench dealers will make a special edition DVD set of “DALE” available to customers once it is released to the public this fall.(GM Racing PR)(2-17-2007)
  • NASCAR to announce #55 substance: NASCAR is expected to announce next week at California what exactly they found in the fuel system of Michael Waltrip’s #55 Toyota Camry after Daytona 500 qualifying last Sunday. Waltrip’s car was found to have an unidentified, gel-like performance additive, which NASCAR inspectors have sent out for laboratory analysis. Results of the lab tests aren’t complete yet, said a source familiar with the investigation. Those results will be disclosed next week, most likely during the race weekend at California Speedway in Fontana. So far, all NASCAR has said specifically about the substance is that they know what it isn’t [jet fuel], not what it is. That will change soon. NASCAR officials also confirmed that the examination of Waltrip’s confiscated car is continuing. In 2000, when Jeremy Mayfield’s car was found to have tainted fuel at Talladega, it was nearly two weeks after his car failed inspection before test results of his fuel were made public.(SpeedTV.com)(2-17-2007)
  • More on Gordon’s Infraction: -#24-Jeff Gordon didn’t sleep well on Thursday night. Not necessarily because his car failed inspection following the second of two 150-mile qualifying races, but because he was worried people might think his team deliberately cheated. That’s understandable in a week in which five crew chiefs and one vice president for competition have been suspended since Tuesday. “That’s what’s bothered me the most,” Gordon said. “It’s what kept me up all night. People are going to think we did something to circumvent the rules.” NASCAR determined that a parts failure resulted in the rear quarter panel of Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet being too low. Because it was deemed unintentional and gave Gordon no competitive advantage, the penalty was light. Gordon was forced to move from the second to last row — 42nd [his worst previous start in the 500 was 39th in 2004] in the 43-car field — for Sunday’s Daytona 500. “It’s easy if you just say the car was low,” said Gordon, a three-time Daytona 500 champion. “But the car wasn’t low on the racetrack. That’s why the penalty is what it is. If NASCAR felt like it was any more than that we’d be in the same position as those other guys. I wouldn’t have a crew chief right now. We’d have our points fined and a monetary fine.” Gordon had reason to be concerned others would question his team’s motives. #31-Jeff Burton of Richard Childress Racing was so concerned that he went to the NASCAR hauler to see what part was confiscated. “It’s my opinion what happened to the 24 is just a screwup,” Burton said. “The part was beat up pretty badly. It wasn’t machined to work that way. It was seen by me as an honest mistake. From what I’ve seen, it wasn’t a performance advantage. I think the punishment met the crime.” Gordon said it will be a challenge going from the back to the front, but not one he can’t overcome. “We’re going to have to have a real good handling race car and also a fast race car,” Gordon said before Friday’s practice. “We’re going to take not too much speed out of that car and really get the car to handling.” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition, said no further penalties would be levied against Gordon’s team.(ESPN.com)(2-17-2007)
  • Florida Resident Bids $13,600 to Win Mark Martin/Daytona 500 Dream Package: Myron Bowlin, of Ocala, Fla., scored the highest bid on eBay to win the Mark Martin/Daytona 500 Dream package that will benefit Central Florida’s tornado victims. The “Ultimate Mark Martin/Daytona 500 Dream Package” was the creation of Martin, the NASCAR icon and Florida resident, Ginn Racing, Martin’s Nextel Cup team, and Ginn Resorts, a central Florida-based developer. Bowlin’s high bid of $13,600 will be matched by Ginn Resorts. The total gift of $27,200 will go directly to the American Red Cross Central Florida relief programs.(Ginn Racing PR)(2-17-2007)
  • Iconic Ford Race Vehicles Headline New Commercial: Eight historic Ford race cars star alongside a 2007 Ford Fusion in Ford Division’s new commercial spot that will debut during this Sunday’s telecast of the 2007 Daytona 500. Shot over three days just outside of Los Angeles, California, the commercial shows a 2007 Ford Fusion in a fantasy “race” with Ford race vehicles representing Ford’s 106 years of racing. Some of the cars highlighted are the #17 DeWalt Ford Fusion driven by Matt Kenseth; the 1965 Mark IV GT40 that competed in the Le Mans 24-hour race; the 1955 “Purple Hog,” which was Ford’s first factory NASCAR stock car; the Ford F-150 driven in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series by Rick Crawford; and “Sweepstakes,” which was driven to victory in 1901 by company founder Henry Ford in his first and only race. The theme of the 30-second spot represents the past, present and future of Ford, and all the historic race vehicles showcased are authentic racecars that have been restored to running condition.(Ford Racing PR)(2-17-2007)
  • Stewart going for history at Daytona: No one has ever won the Budweiser Shootout, Gatorade Duel (actually two races, but each driver only competes in one), Busch Series race and Daytona 500 in one season. #20-Tony Stewart, 35, has won the Shootout three times, a Duel twice and the Busch race the past two years. He has never won the 500.(Gaston Gazette)(2-17-2007)
  • Comcast Joins #66 Best Buy Racing Team: Best Buy announced that Comcast Corporation, a Best Buy retail partner, will be an associate sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and driver Jeff Green for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season. Comcast Corporation, the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, will have its logo displayed on the #66 entry in all events where Best Buy is the car’s primary sponsor, and Comcast will occupy the primary sponsor position in one event (TBD). The sponsorship is designed to raise awareness of the Best Buy/Comcast partnership, which allows customers to sign up for Comcast’s cable and Internet services at all Best Buy retail locations, and at www.BestBuy.com. Fans will see the Comcast Corporation logo featured on the #66 Best Buy Chevy for the first time during practice sessions for this weekend’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.(Best Buy Racing PR)(2-17-2007)
  • Sirius NASCAR Radio Daytona 500 coverage: On Sunday, February 18, SIRIUS will air the Daytona 500 live nationwide on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, carrying the broadcast of Motor Racing Network (MRN). On 10 additional channels, SIRIUS will combine the race broadcast with the driver-to-crew chatter of 10 different race teams, allowing fans to follow the overall race call and the in-car audio of a driver on a single channel. Listeners will hear drivers and crew chiefs schedule pit stops and discuss strategy over audio of the overall race broadcast. When the team members are not on the radio the audio of the live race broadcast will come up allowing listeners to follow the entire race uninterrupted. For this weekend’s Daytona 500, SIRIUS subscribers can hear the following:
    * Live race call provided by Motor Racing Network – channel 128
    * Jimmie Johnson in-car audio – channel 122
    * Tony Stewart in-car audio – channel 126
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. in-car audio – channel 125
    * Jeff Gordon in-car audio – channel 121
    * Kasey Kahne in-car audio – channel 114
    * Kevin Harvick in-car audio – channel 119
    * Matt Kenseth in-car audio – channel 130
    * Jeff Burton in-car audio – channel 147
    * Denny Hamlin in-car audio – channel 144
    * Fan’s Choice – channel 140 (Ricky Rudd)(Sirius PR)(2-17-2007)
  • ESPN NASCAR Countdown: ESPN’s NASCAR Busch Series Countdown will preview the Busch Series season-opener action Saturday at 12noon/et on ESPN2 with hosts Brent Musburger and Chris Fowler, current NASCAR driver Boris Said, five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team ownerBrad Daugherty, two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer and veteran racing TV reporter Shannon Spake. NASCAR Countdown will also include reports from the race telecast team, 1989 NASCAR champion and booth analyst Rusty Wallace, play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch and former team owner and the 1993-94 championship-winning crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt,booth analyst Andy Petree.  Pit reportersMike Massaro and Allen Beswick will also report. NASCAR Countdown will originate from Daytona International Speedway and will be telecast from ESPN’s new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio as it sets the stage for the Busch Series opener on ESPN2 Saturday at 1:15pm/et. Highlights will include:  Continuing his dream: Bobby Hamilton Jr.; Delana Harvick: Life as a Wife and an Owner; X Games and NASCAR; Juan Pablo Montoya; Buschwackers; Aerosmith Rocks.
    Johnson special before Busch race: The premiere of “Jimmie Johnson – Chasing a Champion” will air on Saturday at 11: a.m. ET on ESPN2 leading into ESPN2’s coverage of the Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The show is an in-depth look at Jimmie Johnson’s 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup championship season and highlights some of the events Johnson experienced this off season. Behind the scenes video of Johnson and fellow drivers is a focal point of the hour-long show. (ESPN PR)(2-16/17-2007)


    News from February 16, 2007

  • GM to buy Chrysler? General Motors Corp. is in talks to buy the Chrysler Group in its entirety, Automotive News reported Friday, citing unnamed sources in Germany and the United States. The automotive trade publication reported on its Web site that high-level talks were talking place between GM and Chrysler Group parent DaimlerChrysler AG. The potential deal between the two automakers could go beyond cooperation on joint development of a large sport utility vehicle, the magazine said. A General Motors Corp. spokesman said the company routinely has discussions with other automakers but declined to comment on the Automotive News report. “We often have discussions with automakers routinely. We don’t comment on speculation regarding discussions,” GM spokesman Tony Cervone said. Meanwhile, various newspapers reported earlier Friday that Chrysler and GM have held discussions for about six months about a possible alliance related to large sport utility vehicles.(MSNBC)(2-16-2007)
  • UPS extends with NASCAR: UPS announced it had signed a new five-year agreement with NASCAR to continue as the official express delivery company of the sport through the 2011 racing season. The exclusive “Official Delivery Company” partnership extends a highly successful union dating back to UPS’s initial entry into the sport in 2000. As part of the deal, UPS will continue providing its popular Trackside Services to the industry at all Nextel Cup Series races as well as logistics, freight and supply chain services. Today, UPS serves as the delivery company to approximately 99% of the more than 1,000 NASCAR family businesses, race teams, race tracks, NASCAR business units, other NASCAR sponsors and suppliers. That represents a 55% increase in racing customers since UPS entered the sport. UPS’s decision to extend its relationship with NASCAR follows the company’s decision in 2006 to move its team sponsorship with Dale Jarrett to the new #44 Toyota Camry, which debuts at the Daytona 500 on February 18. UPS maintains six individual track sponsorships, including Bristol Motor Speedway, California Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. UPS also has been an active supporter of NASCAR’s diversity efforts to embrace the expanding demographics of its fan base. In November, the company contributed $100,000 to five minority students at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The scholarships cover all school expenses except room and board for qualified minority students attending the institute. To date, UPS has provided $600,000 in scholarships to the program. For more information, log onto www.racing.ups.com.(PR)(2-16-2007)
  • Stewart Earns 100th Victory for JGR: #20-Tony Stewart’s win in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel non-point qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway marked the 100th professional victory for Joe Gibbs Racing. The 16-year-old company founded by Joe Gibbs, the three-time Super Bowl winning coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, earned its milestone victory by way of 54 point-paying Nextel Cup Series wins, seven non-point paying Nextel Cup wins, five Busch Series wins, 22 NHRA Top Fuel wins and 12 NHRA Funny Car wins. Dale Jarrett earned the team’s first victory on racing’s biggest stage when he won the 1993 Daytona 500. Jarrett went on to record the team’s second victory when he won at Charlotte (N.C.) in October 1994. Stewart, who joined the Nextel Cup Series with Gibbs in 1999 driving the #20 Home Depot machine, accounts for 35 wins, six of which were non-point races (1999 Winston Open at Charlotte; 2001, 2002 and 2007 Budweiser Shootouts at Daytona; and the 2005 and 2007 Gatorade Duels, also at Daytona).(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(2-16-2007)
  • Commercial breakdown for the Gatorade Duels: Total number of commercials: 99
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 40
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 9
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 P.M.
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:29 P.M.
    Total minutes: 209 min.
    Minutes of race broadcast: 157
    Minutes of commercials: 52
    (see full report at CawsnJaws.com)(2-16-2007)
  • Hyton’s Clutch gives out; plans to attempt more races: #58-James Hylton’s dream of competing in the Daytona 500 at the age of 72 came up nine laps short during Thursday’s Duels at Daytona. The combination of a faulty clutch and a late-race restart foiled Hylton’s effort to earn a starting berth in Sunday’s Daytona 500. “I’m disappointed because I was locked in the eighth place there, and that was where I needed to be,” Hylton said. “And then the dadgum caution come out. I knew I was a dead duck because the clutch worked, but it was like you had to bleed the clutch. You couldn’t shift. I had to shift without the clutch. And you can’t give these guys a half-car length.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    AND [Hylton] will return to Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400, and among the handful of races he intends to attempt this season is the Aug. 19 race at Michigan International Speedway.(Detroit News)(2-16-2007)
  • Garmin Joins Best Buy in Sponsoring the #66: Best Buy announced that one of its retail partners, Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., will be an associate sponsor of the No. 66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet, driven by Jeff Green, in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season. Garmin is a premier integrator of GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled devices and a leading designer and manufacturer of consumer electronics. Garmin’s nüvi and StreetPilot personal navigation devices are available at Best Buy. Garmin also manufactures a variety of state-of-the-art GPS-enabled products for boaters, hikers, hunters, runners, cyclists, and pilots. The Garmin logo will appear on the #66 Chevy, as well as on driver and crew uniforms and support vehicles throughout the 2007 season. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Garmin will serve as the primary sponsor of the #66 entry in the Nextel Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway later this year. Additionally, the Best Buy Fun Zone Technology display, which makes appearances in the display area at many races, will feature an interactive Garmin kiosk. The #66 car will also make appearances at select Best Buy stores along with specially-designed Garmin point-of-purchase displays. The Garmin logo first appeared on the #66 Best Buy Chevy this past weekend during practice and qualifying for the Daytona 500, and will be seen on the #66 entry whenever Best Buy is the car’s primary sponsor (currently scheduled to be 22 races).(GMR PR)(2-16-2007)
  • The Bobby Hamilton Sr. Tribute Painting: Motorsports Fine Art announced it will present the original Bobby Hamilton Sr., Tribute Painting to Bobby Hamilton, Jr. at the Daytona International Speedway. The Bobby Hamilton Sr., Tribute Painting, commissioned by artist, Vincent Strader, is a depiction and celebration of Bobby Hamilton Sr.’s 2004 Craftsman Truck Championship Year. Motorsports Fine Art will offer only 44 exact replicas (40″ x 30″) of the original Tribute Painting, in which all net proceeds will be donated from the sale to The Victory Junction Gang Camp and The NASCAR Foundation in the name and memory of Bobby Hamilton Sr. The re-productions of the Tribute Painting are available for purchase at the online art gallery – motorsportsfineart.com. Additionally, Motorsports Fine Art will offer 404 smaller versions (16″ x 12″) of the limited edition re-production of the Tribute Painting. Hamilton Sr. passed away in January after fighting cancer for almost a year. Hamilton Jr, running the Busch Series in 2007, will run a special paint scheme honoring his father in this Saturday’s Busch race at Daytona [ESPN2 at 12noon/et]. See an image of the painting on my Driver Tribute page.(2-16-2007)
  • Daytona Goodyear Tire Notes: All three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes this weekend at Daytona, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . all three series ran this left-side code (D-4000) at Daytona throughout 2006 . . . Busch Series teams also ran this right-side code (D-4006) at the track last July, while the Cup cars returned for that second visit with the same right-side code they ran in February . . . while this is the first Cup and Truck races at Daytona for this right-side code, all NASCAR teams did run it at Talladega throughout 2006.(Goodyear PR), see full report on my Daytona 500 Race Info Page.(2-16-2007)
  • Triples Planned at Daytona: These drivers will run 3 of the 4 races at Daytona over Speedweeks:
    Carl Edwards: #99 Cup, #60 Busch, #50 Truck
    Mike Wallace: #09 Cup, #7 Busch, #46 Truck
    David Ragan: #6 Cup, #6 Busch, #39 ARCA
    (2-8/16-2007)


    News from February 15, 2007

  • Gordon wins the second Gatorade Duel 150 with a last lap pass of #2-Kurt Busch. #13-Nemechek and #09-Wallace raced their way into the Daytona 500. #14-Marlin and #00-Reutimann made the race via their qualifying speed. This is, of course, unofficial. See my Gatorade Duel 150’s Results page.(2-15-2007)
  • Stewart wins the first Gatorade Duel 150, #60-Said and #55-Waltrip race their way into the Daytona 500, #70-Sauter is in via his qualifying speed. #44-Jarrett will need to use the past champions provisional to start 43rd. There are two more spots available for the two drivers not already locked in, they need to race their way in. #00-Reutimann and #14-Marlin is in via speed. If Marlin or Reutimann get in by racing their way in, #36-Mayfield would make the race, if BOTH make the race, then Mayfield and #23-Skinner would make the Daytona 500. This is, of course, unofficial. See my Gatorade Duel 150’s Results page.(2-15-2007)
  • Post Inspection Problem with #24? UPDATE #24 fails inspection: SPEED’s Victory Lane show is reporting NASCAR is looking hard at the #24-Jeff Gordon car that won the 2nd Gatorade Duel 150 race, supposedly something with the templates.
    MORE: SPEED updated their report, it seems the #24 may be too low, could be something with a shock mount, NASCAR’s John Darby has been under the rear of the car a few times, still no announcement about it.
    UPDATE: News came late in the day that Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevy failed a post-race inspection. The quarter panels were too low. Instead of starting the Daytona 500 on the second row, Gordon will start 42nd. That’s his punishment. His victory will stand. NASCAR officials said the problem probably was unintentional. It was the fourth qualifying race win of Gordon’s career and his second in a row.(ESPN.com)
    AND: #24-Jeff Gordon will start 42nd in Sunday’s Daytona 500 after failing post-race inspection following the second of Thursday’s two 150-mile qualifying races. Because the infraction — the rear panel was almost an inch low — was not considered intentional to create a competitive advantage Gordon will be allowed to keep his victory in the race. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition, said no further penalties would be levied against Gordon’s team. It was the third straight day NASCAR’s governing body passed out penalties at Daytona International Speedway. Gordon was unaware of the issue until informed during his post-race interview. “That would really suck,” he said. Pemberton said the shock fastener and spacers used to hold the rear shocks that are installed during pre-race preparation for restrictor plate races were misaligned. He said it likely was a mistake made by the mechanic. “We felt it was unintentional,” Pemberton said. “Actually, it was unsafe. We felt it was a part failure and unintentionally done.”(ESPN.com)(2-15-2006)
  • Motorsports this week on ESPN: Live NASCAR racing returns to ESPN for the first time in six years Saturday with coverage of the Busch Series season opener from Daytona International Speedway on ESPN2. The telecast begins at 12noon/et with the Busch Series Countdown pre-race show, followed at 1:15pm/et by flag-to-flag coverage of the 300-mile race. The race telecast will be produced in High Definition and with the most advanced technology ever used in motorsports coverage. ESPN is elevating the Busch Series with full-season coverage on its multi-media platforms and the same standards and quality of production as the Nextel Cup Series including the full use HD cameras, Sportvision enhancements and state-of-the-art graphics. Brent Musburger will host the race telecast, while Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Joining Punch in the booth for expert analysis will be 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will be pit reporters. For the pre-race show from the ESPN pit studio, ESPN’s Chris Fowler will be studio host, joined by analysts Tim Brewer, a two-time NASCAR champion crew chief, and five-time NBA All-Star and former NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty.(ESPN PR)(2-15-2007)
  • Roush names Reiser sub; thinking of appeal UPDATE:: On Tuesday, Roush Racing appointed Chip Bolin, long-time engineer on the #17 team, as the interim crew chief for the remainder of Speedweeks at Daytona and throughout Reiser’s suspension. Jack Roush stated, “I respect and accept NASCAR’s determination that the car was out of compliance as it was inspected after Sunday’s qualifying attempt. I have asked (Roush Racing President) Geoff Smith to evaluate whether the penalties assessed are unduly harsh for the circumstances before making a final decision as to whether or not we will appeal the severity of the penalty imposed.” Smith said, “The extreme harshness of the penalty surprises me given NASCAR’s recent history of imposing lesser penalties on habitual offenders engaged in radically more flagrant rule offenses. For that reason, I am likely to recommend that we appeal the penalty assessment, although I have some more study to do before I officially make that recommendation.”(Roush Racing PR)(2-13-2007)
    UPDATE: Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing, said he will appeal a 50-point penalty but not Reiser’s suspension. Evernham said he’s still debating an appeal.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-15-2007)
  • More Money for Raybestos Rookie program in 2007: Officials with Affinia Group today announced an increase in the year-end payout to Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the Nextel Cup Series. The driver who wins Raybestos Rookie of the Year will take home a check for $65,000, a $15,000 increase from 2006. The company will also increase year-end cash prizes to $25,000 and $12,000 for the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, respectively. Six drivers will compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007: David Ragan, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Reutimann, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Whitt and Paul Menard. The 2007 season is the 10th consecutive year Raybestos brand Brakes will support the Rookie of the Year programs in all three major NASCAR series. Raybestos brand Brakes returns for the 13th consecutive year as an associate sponsor with Robert Yates Racing’s #38 M&M’s Ford driven by David Gilliland. Additionally, Raybestos brand Brakes will remain the “Official Brakes of NASCAR.”
    AND Members of the Nextel Cup Series Raybestos Rookie class will have several chances to claim extra prize money in 2007. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally earns $1,500 but that number jumps to $5,000 in seven designated races, beginning with Sunday’s Daytona 500. Other events where freshman drivers will earn extra cash for being the top Raybestos Rookie are Las Vegas (March 11), Martinsville (April 1), Darlington (May 12), Infineon (June 24), Chicagoland (July 15), and Bristol (August 25).(Raybestos PR)(2-15-2007)
  • Archtitecture Firm Partners with Blaney: Lorenz Architecture, one of the fastest growing architectural firms in the Charlotte [NC] region, recently announced a new partnership with #22-Dave Blaney. The collaboration is expected to enhance Lorenz’s market share within the racing industry. However, Lorenz Architecture is no stranger to the world of racing. The firm has worked with NASCAR driver Robby Gordon on his new race shop and has worked with the famed Wood Brothers on their team’s facility. In addition, Lorenz Architecture is currently developing designs for Dave Blaney’s new sprint car race shop which will open in late 2007. “Joining Dave Blaney’s team is a huge deal for us,” says Paul Lorenz, Principal/Owner. “It’s a key piece of strategy to build the Lorenz Architecture brand within the motor sports market.” Dave Blaney also shared his enthusiasm for the partnership. “I’m excited to have Lorenz Architecture on board for 2007,” said Blaney. “Paul and his staff do a great job and I’m eager to have their support.” While the partnership was initially developed to increase Lorenz’s visibility within the racing industry, don’t expect it to end there. “You have to understand this is not a one-dimensional opportunity,” says Scott Mickle, marketing consultant to Lorenz Architecture. “Dave and NASCAR have great appeal to our other markets and we plan to leverage this in 2007. You will see a lot of Dave Blaney and the # 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry in our marketing and business development efforts.” Based in Concord, North Carolina, Lorenz Architecture specializes in the design of motor sports facilities, commercial offices, churches, retail centers, and custom homes. Lorenz’s primary focus is to provide clients with extraordinary customer service and creative and responsive solutions to their design and construction needs.(PR)(2-15-2007)
  • New GM Racing Engine to Power Chevy in Cup in 2007: It’s all change for Team Chevy in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2007. In addition to the scheduled introduction of the Impala SS Car of Tomorrow in March, GM Racing is introducing a new small-block V-8 racing engine that was specifically designed for NASCAR competition. The new powerplant – designated R07 – has been approved by NASCAR for competition in 2007. Chevrolet teams are expected to begin the transition from the current SB2 (Small-Block/2nd Generation) engine to the new R07 in March. Work on a successor to the SB2 began shortly after the SB2’s introduction in NASCAR competition in 1998. The R07 retains the pushrod/two-valve layout that has been the mainstay of American motorsports since the introduction of the first-generation GM small-block V-8 in 1955. It is a highly advanced racing engine that meets NASCAR’s specifications. Per NASCAR regulations, the R07 displaces a maximum of 358 cubic inches. In contrast to the SB2’s “mirror port” cylinder heads, the R07’s cylinder heads resemble production LS-series small-block cylinder heads with alternating intake and exhaust valves. While production small-block V-8 engines employ electronic fuel injection, the R07 port layout is optimized for the single four-barrel carburetor mandated by NASCAR. The R07’s key technical advances over the SB2 include 4.500-inch cylinder bore centers (vs. 4.400 inches in SB2), a raised camshaft that improves valvetrain dynamics, a new six-bolt head bolt pattern that reduces cylinder bore distortion, and a targeted cooling system that minimizes temperatures at critical locations. A cast camshaft tunnel, integral piston squirter galleries, and overhead oil feed galleries reduce engine assembly time. Relocating the fuel pump to the inboard side of the car and eliminating external oil and coolant lines enhance safety. Although the R07 is a purpose-built racing engine, it has strong ties to production powerplants. “The concepts and processes that are used to improve the performance of our racing engines is shared with the production engine designers to improve the efficiency of our production engines,” said Tom Stephens, group vice president of GM Powertrain.(GM Racing PR)(2-15-2007)
  • Evernham names interim crew chiefs/team directors: Team owner Ray Evernham will sit atop the pit box for Evernham Motorsports’ #19 Dodge driven by Elliott Sadler during the Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying race Thursday, team officials confirmed Wednesday. Evernham will share responsibilities as team director, Evernham’s vernacular for crew chief, with car director Kirk Almquist. Tim Malinovsky and Chad Johnston will serve as Sadler’s engineers. Tuesday, NASCAR suspended all three of Evernham’s team directors, Kenny Francis (Kasey Kahne’s No. 9 team) for four races and Rodney Childers (Scott Riggs’ #10) and Josh Browne (#19) for two apiece. Team enginner Keith Rodden will serve as Kahne’s team director, with support from car director Rich Hubbs and engineer Nick Hughes. Kevin Kidd will be Riggs’ team director, with support from car director Dave Bryant and engineer Mike Wolfe.(SceneDaily.com)(2-15-2007)
  • Testing at Nashville: Richard Childress Racing will be testing Thursday, February 15 at the Nashville Superspeedway. The test will take place from 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Timothy Peters will be driving the test cup car. Evernham Motorsports Dodge Driver Erin Crocker is tested Wednesday.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(2-15-2007)
  • Shepherd gets new crew chief: Chad Beahr, who has served as a crew member for Faith Motorsports since its inception last fall, has been promoted to crew chief of Morgan Shepherd’s #89 Dodges for the 2007 season. Beahr had served as car chief during the final races of the 2006 season and has past experience as a crew chief in various levels of racing. Beahr also will also be used as a developmental driver with the team in addition to serving as crew chief during 2007. The team is hoping to debut its 2007 entry in March at Atlanta if sponsorship can be secured. Jim Graham, who had served as crew chief during the 2006 season, is no longer with the team.(Faith Motorsports PR)(2-15-2007)
  • Duel’s Live on SPEED, plus re-air tonight: Thursday’s 2:00pm/et Live and exclusive coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona marks SPEED’s first live coverage of Nextel Cup Series racing since offering simulcast in-car coverage of four events in the mid-90s. SPEED will replay the Duels in Prime Time at 10:00pm/et. SPEED will offer 14 hours of programming today from Daytona. Dave Despain will host SPEED coverage of the Duel 150s, with Mike Joy offering play-by-play and Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond providing Analysis. SPEED pit reporters will include Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum.(Speed PR), on radio, MRN will call the race via local affilates [check local listings] and Sirius NASCAR Radio. Plus semi-live coverage on the Jayski site via my Racepage.(2-15-2007)


    News from February 14, 2007

  • Waltrip announcement soon? UPDATE 2 Hyder released?: hearing that NASCAR will make an announcement soon fining the team $100,000, docking Waltrip 100 owner and driver points and suspending the crew chief, David Hyder, indefinitely. Waltrip will be able to run in the Gatorade Duel 150’s but will start from the rear of the field.
    UPDATE: the penalties to the #55 team:
    Bobby Kennedy [MWR VP of Competition] and David Hyder [crew chief] ejected from track [Daytona] and suspended indefinitely
    David Hyer fined $100,000
    Michael Waltrip docked 100 driver points
    Owner Buffy Waltrip docked 100 owenrs points
    Michael Waltrip’s qualifying time disallowed from Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualfiying.
    The substance was NOT jet fuel. Waltrip will be allowed to run the Gatorade Duel’s in a back up car.(SPEED coverage of the NASCAR press conference). Scott Eggleston will be the interim crew chief for Waltrip. Eggleston won the Daytona 500 with Waltrip in 2001.(2-14-2007)
    NASCAR Release: NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has confiscated the primary car of the #55 Toyota team that competes in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series with driver Michael Waltrip, as a result of rule violations found during pre- and post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. Crew chief Larry (David) Hyder and the team’s vice president of competition Bobby Kennedy have been ejected from this week’s events at Daytona International Speedway and suspended indefinitely. Hyder also has been fined $100,000.
    NASCAR also penalized Waltrip with the loss of 100 driver championship points. His qualifying time from pole day on Feb. 11 was disallowed. Team owner Elizabeth (Buffy) Waltrip has been penalized 100 car owner championship points.
    The actions taken by NASCAR resulted from violations of 12- 4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules) and 20-15.2C (gasoline must not be blended with alcohols, ethers or other oxygenates).
    The confiscated car and the parts related to the violations will be transported to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. for further inspection. NASCAR said the investigation of the confiscated car is ongoing.(NASCAR PR)(2-14-2007)
    UPDATE 2: A NASCAR source confirmed Hyder will be released.(ESPN.com)(2-14-2007)
  • Michael Waltrip’s Statement: Michael Waltrip’s statement regarding the NASCAR penalties handed down this evening to the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing entry: “In the past 12 months, Michael Waltrip Racing has hired more than 150 people and we currently employ more than 200. Although we have grown at an accelerated pace, it has been our mission to hire people with high moral value and character to properly represent our sponsors and our ownership. During preparations for the 2007 season and especially the 2007 Daytona 500, I specifically requested that our competition teams not disrespect NASCAR, our competitors or our sponsors by blatantly circumventing the rules. This is not the action of an organization, a manufacturer or a sponsor. This was an independent act done without consent or authorization from me or any of my executive management team. As an owner, I realize I am ultimately held responsible for the actions of my employees. Therefore, I accept the penalties issued tonight by NASCAR. I respect NASCAR’s rules, its people and the sport’s integrity, which is why I am so sad and embarrassed. I am dedicated to get to the bottom of this because I will not let the independent act of an individual or individuals tarnish the incredible accomplishment my organization has made to be where we are today. I want to apologize to the other owners, who know how hard I’ve worked to get here in such a short period of time, NASCAR, Toyota, NAPA, all my sponsors, the drivers and especially the fans.”(MWR PR)(2-14-2007)
  • Toyota issues warning to teams: Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition, was emphatic this [the #55 infraction and penalty] was a team issue and not a Toyota issue. While embarrassed over the incident, Toyota officials insisted they would maintain a relationship with MWR. “This is not the way you want to enter NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series by any means,” said Jim Aust, the president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development. “For this to happen to him is extremely disappointing and extremely disappointing to Toyota. … He has certainly apologized to just about anybody that would be associated with his organization. He’s beside himself with what’s happened.” Toyota isn’t resting on an [Waltrip] apology. Company officials are expected to send a letter out to all Toyota teams next week stating Waltrip’s organization has used two of the company’s three strikes. The next team that crosses the line will face the loss of the manufacturer’s support. Lee White, the senior vice president for TRD, said TRD worked with NASCAR throughout the process. “I can honestly tell you from an ethics standpoint and integrity, along with character and honesty, those things are paramount in our company,” he said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard and we hold our teams to high standards. We hope we’ve picked the right ones.”(ESPN.com)
    AND: Jim Aust, vice president or Toyota Racing Development, was asked if this was his worst nightmare. “I would say that’s pretty close to accurate,” Aust said. “This is a week we had looked forward to for many years. To begin this way certainly takes some of the limelight and happiness out of it.” It also doesn’t help the Toyota guys win over some NASCAR followers who didn’t want them here in the first place. That marketing campaign just got a lot tougher.(ESPN.com)(2-14-2007)
  • ESPN2 to have Live Busch Series Practice/Qualifying from Daytona: As the Busch Series prepares to kick off its 2007 season at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, ESPN2 will have live coverage of practice and qualifying for the season-opening race on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15-16. Live coverage of the 90-minute final practice session for the series will be aired from 9:30-11 am/et on Thursday, with a condensed replay from 5-6pm/et that afternoon. Qualifying to determine the starting lineup for the race will be covered live from 3-6pm/et. Friday on ESPN2, with a simulcast on ESPN from 5-6pm/et. Brent Musburger will host the practice and qualifying telecasts, joined in ESPN’s pit studio by analyst Tim Brewer. Calling the action from the booth will be Jerry Punch with analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns and Jamie Little will report from the pits and garage.(ESPN PR)(2-14-2007)
  • Roush Racing & Fenway Sports Group partner up: Today, during Speedweeks in Daytona Beach, Fla., Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) announced the formation of Roush Fenway Racing. Under the agreement, FSG will purchase 50% of Roush Racing to form the new entity. Jack Roush will continue to manage the competitive operations of the race teams and Geoff Smith will continue as president to oversee business activities. FSG will support Roush Fenway Racing’s marketing and sales activities by using their experience, network of relationships, and powerful demographic base to add value to Roush Fenway Racing sponsors and help Roush Fenway Racing maintain an unsurpassed position among NASCAR teams on and off the track.
    “This partnership will bring a whole new perspective to our business,” said Jack Roush. “There is a lot of hard work that goes into being successful in sport. John Henry and FSG understand what it takes. Anybody that has watched the Red Sox has been impressed with their tenacity and their ability to prevail after all the frustration. To be able to have someone to bounce ideas and strategies off of will be fun. Everyone at Roush Racing is excited to welcome our new partner and we look forward to our success together.”
    “This is an unprecedented partnership of two extremely successful organizations with proven track records for winning in their respective businesses and sports,” said Mike Dee, chief operating officer of the Boston Red Sox and president of Fenway Sports Group. “We believe in NASCAR and like its long-term business future and are thrilled to be a part of this exciting and growing industry.”
    The new Roush Fenway Racing logo will make its track debut at Daytona International Speedway beginning Thursday, February 15 during the Gatorade 150 qualifying races. All of Roush Fenway Racing’s 13 teams will be competing throughout the weekend.
    Off the track, the Roush Fenway Racing focus will be to continue to service its world-class sponsorship base which includes such great companies as; DeWalt Power Tools, Diageo (Crown Royal), AAA, Office Depot, Ameriquest Mortgage Company, 3M, Ford Motor Company, Northern Tool + Equipment, Dish Network, Discount Tire and Coca Cola, whose sponsorships Roush supports with public relations, licensing, event marketing and account management services.
    Geoff Smith summed up the overall goal by saying, “We wholeheartedly believe that the addition of FSG, and the incorporation of its expertise and demographic power will insure that Roush Fenway Racing will indefinitely preserve our pre-eminent position among NASCAR teams both on and off the track.” FSG’s core strengths include property representation and acquisitions, entertainment marketing, sponsorships and consulting services. For more information please visit FenwaySportsGroup.com.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-14-2007)
  • EMS will not appeal 4-race suspension, may appeal #10, #19 penalties: Team owner Ray Evernham said he won’t appeal the four-race suspension to #9 team director Kenny Francis but is still mulling over whether to appeal the two-race suspensions of #19 team director Josh Browne and #10 team director Rodney Childers. Francis, the crew chief for Kasey Kahne, had his car fail post-qualifying inspection Sunday after tape came off holes in the oil tank and the right rear wheelhouse, where a hose would run during race conditions. Francis also was fined $50,000, and the team and driver were docked 50 points. Kahne also will have to start his 150-mile qualifying race for Sunday’s Daytona 500 from the rear of the field. Evernham said that one layer of tape had been slit but another had not. He said the tape was found inside the car. He said no extra holes were drilled in the car. Browne and Childers, the team directors for Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs, were found to have illegal bolts in their spoiler fasteners prior to qualifying Sunday. They were also fined $25,000, and the team and drivers were docked 25 points. Evernham said those bolts were used in all restrictor-plate races last year and questioned whether it was right for NASCAR to penalize a team for an infraction where the part is presented for inspection prior to an event and found illegal. “I don’t know how you find out if something is legal or not until you present it for inspection,” Evernham said. “Those parts were used in 2006. The deck lid is sealed up so they cannot be an aerodynamic device. We lighten several bolts on our car.” The car owner said he is now “scared to death” wondering if parts that had been raced will be deemed illegal in pre-qualifying inspection and the team will be docked points in the future. “I’m going to be best friends with [NASCAR’s] John Darby and Robin Pemberton because I will be at their doorstep, and I will ask every nut, bolt and washer: Is this legal or not legal?” Evernham said. Evernham said he was still deciding exactly how his teams would be organized and who would be interim team directors. He said the teams will use the 150-mile qualifying races as a test to see who will work well in what role.(in part from SceneDaily.com)(2-14-2007)
  • Dale Jr. commercial to debut during Daytona 500: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., fends off a posse of post-apocalyptic mutant warriors in Budweiser’s newest ad titled “Apocalypse,” set to debut during Sunday’s Daytona 500 on Fox-TV. Dale Jr.’s pursuers chase the red #8 Chevy across a barren desert landscape, flinging fire bombs and wielding chainsaws, in pursuit of the last Budweiser on Earth. Just when he seems surrounded, Dale Jr. emerges from the Budweiser #8 car to confront his pursuers, exuding the same Southern moxie that has made him one of the most liked athletes in America. In addition to the Dale Jr. ad premiere, Budweiser is utilizing its position as the Official Beer of the Daytona 500 to introduce special Budweiser aluminum bottles featuring a checkered flag neck and the Daytona 500 logo. The bottles are on sale now in NASCAR race markets nationwide. Fans can get a look at the making of the ad at Budweiser.com, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video, and interviews with Dale Jr. and the production team. The 60-second ad, filmed near Lancaster, Calif. in mid-November, was directed by DDB Worldwide, Chicago. Dale Jr. has appeared in more than a dozen ads for Budweiser since 1999.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(2-14-2007)
  • Hendrick and Martin? UPDATE: Hearing there will be a press conferences at Daytona on Wednesday, attended by Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin.(2-14-2007)
    UPDATE: Sirius NASCAR Radio, Ch 128 had PRN’s Mark Garrow on the Driver’s Seat show this morning and reported that Martin will run three Busch Series races for Hendrick Motorsports, thru Hendrick’s Autoguard, the races scheduled are Darlington, Michigan and Homestead.
    MORE: Hendrick Motorsports will field racing legend Mark Martin this season in three Busch Series events, the team announced in a news conference Wednesday morning at Daytona International Speedway. “Years from now, I’ll continue to look back on this with a ton of pride,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. “When Mark and I first started talking about it, I knew we had one of those special opportunities that don’t come along often. He’s one of the all-time greats, and having him drive one of our cars is something we couldn’t pass up.” The effort will be backed by Hendrick Autoguard, a line of products available exclusively at Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships nationwide. Hendrick Autoguard offers car buyers peace of mind through a variety of options that include maintenance coverage, asset protection, exterior car care, and vehicle security. Martin’s schedule will kick off May 11 at Darlington, S.C., where he has posted eight of his 47 career Busch Series victories. The 48-year-old will make additional starts on Aug. 18 at Brooklyn, Mich., and Nov. 17 at the Homestead, Fla., season finale. “This is going to add another great chapter to my career,” said Martin, who is working with Hendrick Automotive Group to offer Autoguard products at Mark Martin Ford in his hometown of Batesville, Ark. “I have a great respect for Rick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization, so I’m excited about this opportunity to be a part of it. Hopefully we can make some Busch Series history in the Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet.” Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Busch, 21, will join Martin in the Hendrick Autoguard program, piloting a #5 Chevy in the Feb. 24 Busch Series event at Fontana, CA. For additional information on Hendrick Automotive Group, including dealership locations, please visit www.hendrickauto.com.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see am image of the car on my Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(2-14-2007)
  • Martin back part time on 2008: As it now stands, #01-Mark Martin said he would continue at Ginn Racing in 2008 with a limited schedule of Cup events similar to his schedule for this season. Martin has also agreed to head up Ginn’s driver development program and will run selected races in the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series.(Gaston Gazette)(2-14-2007)
  • Blaney testing COT UPDATE four teams test at Lakeland: #22-Dave Blaney is scheduled to test the Car of Tomorrow [COT} on Monday & Tuesday [2/12, 2/13] at USA Speedway in Lakeland, FL.(Sirius Satelitte Radio NASCAR Channel)(2-10-2007)
    UPDATE: on Tuesday, four team tested the COT at USA Speedway, #22-Blaney, #1-Truex Jr., #19-Evernham and Michael Waltrip Racing.(SPEED Report)(2-14-2007)
  • Checkers/Rally’s back to support pit crews: Checkers/Rally’s, the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, announced that it is continuing its popular Double Drive-Thru Challenge program that recognizes and rewards pit crew members in all three of NASCAR’s top series. The 2007 NASCAR season marks Checkers/Rally’s third consecutive year as the primary sponsor of the year-long pit crew competition. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge kicks off this weekend with three races scheduled at Daytona International Speedway. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge prize money has increased to $11,000 per race for the winning Nextel Cup pit crew. An additional $111,150 bonus will be awarded to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. The program will also pay out a combined total of $157,500 in the Busch and Truck Series. During the 2006 season, 15 different teams picked up Double Drive-Thru Challenge wins in the Nextel Cup Series, with the championship going to Jimmie Johnson’s #48 pit crew, which collected five victories and winnings of $157,500. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications)(2-14-2007)
  • Waltrip’s crew chief suspended: David Hyder, the crew chief for Michael Waltrip, has been suspended indefinitely for infractions discovered on the #55 Toyota during Sunday’s post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. Further penalties against Waltrip’s team will be announced at a press conference later on Wednesday. They are expected to be more severe than the two- and four-race suspensions of crew chiefs from four other teams that were announced on Tuesday. NASCAR chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton were among those that met with Waltrip and officials from Michael Waltrip Racing before Wednesday’s first practice session. One official described the situation as “very serious.” Lee White, the senior vice president for Toyota Racing Development that is making its Nextel Cup debut at Daytona, said he also planned to meet with Waltrip. “I wouldn’t call it a setback, but it’s disappointing for anyone that we partner with to have this happen in some form or fashion,” he said. “We will talk with them to see where we need to go for the future.” White said TRD has been working with NASCAR on the situation. “I can honestly tell you from an ethics standpoint and integrity, along with character and honesty, those things are paramount in our company,” he said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard and we hold our teams to high standards. We hope we’ve picked the right ones.”(ESPN.com)
    ALSO: Bobby Kennedy, MWR’s Director of Competition, was escorted out of the track at Daytona by NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton.(2-14-2007)
    UPDATE: SPEED is reporting an announcement is coming this afternoon, could be as soon as the last Cup practice of the day is run [around 3:00pm/et], hearing another report that the ‘substance’ could be jet fuel/aviation type fuel.(2-14-2007)
  • #55 manifold confiscated; car impounded UPDATE 6 #00 reskin? have to use #32?: during pre-qualifying inspection, the intake manifold of the #55 NAPA Toyota of Michael Waltrip was confiscated by NASCAR, it didn’t meet specifications and the team had to install another one.(SPEED’s NASCAR Live), been told there was a substance on the inside of the manifold and it was taken away in a black bag, will be taken to NASCAR R&D center in Concord, NC to be examined, Waltrip’s team was allowed to change engines, go thru tech inspection and make a qualifying attempt, Waltrip qualified 25th.(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE: the #55 Toyota was impounded by NASCAR and Hunter said the car would be inspected ‘with a fine tooth comb’.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR impounded the #55 NAPA Toyota of driver/owner Michael Waltrip after qualifying. NASCAR officials confiscated the intake manifold off Waltrip’s Camry during a prequalifying inspection. NASCAR officials don’t know if Waltrip’s car is illegal. Waltrip’s fate is up in the air. Hunter said NASCAR officials decided to impound the car before qualifying, but allowed Waltrip to make a qualifying run after placing a new manifold on the car. Now NASCAR officials will inspect the entire car to determine if any violations exist. “Our inspectors will go over that car a with a fine-tooth comb,” Hunter said. “I don’t know how long we will keep it. As of right now, we do not know that the manifold is illegal, but we want to know.” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s director of competition, said officials sent the manifold to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for testing Monday. “Our inspector caught a substance inside that we didn’t really know what it was,” Pemberton said about the manifold. Pemberton wouldn’t give specifics about the problem, but Waltrip said inspectors found oil inside the manifold. “And it’s not supposed to be there,” Waltrip said. “So they took it to see why the oil was there. I don’t really understand what is going on, and people here a lot smarter than me don’t understand it either, but we’ll figure it out. I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Hunter wasn’t buying Waltrip’s explanation. “Our inspection team was not comfortable that it was oil,” Hunter said. Pemberton said the situation with the #55 problem was not specific to any individual manufacturer. (ESPN.com)(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Waltrip’s Toyota was impounded, with Hunter raising the possibility Waltrip will not be allowed to run that particular car in the 150s or the 500. “We’ll go over that car with a fine-tooth comb … and I don’t know how long we’ll keep it,” Hunter said. Sterno? That’s the horsepower trick that rivals suspect tripped up Waltrip when he was busted by NASCAR in the pre-qualifying inspection line for having some unknown “substance” in his intake manifold. NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton, the vice president for competition, said that the manifold was being sent back the Concord R&D center for analysis. Presumably the substance could have been some type of oxidant, to provide a bit of horsepower for a short period of time. For years, stock-car teams have at times used such illegal chemical additives at Daytona and Talladega, where NASCAR severely restricts air to the engine, to limit speeds. Ty Norris, the general manager of Waltrip’s team, insisted that it was not Sterno: “No, no, no, no. They found some oil in the manifold and said it shouldn’t be there,” Norris said. “They thought something was amiss. So we changed manifolds, and had the same issue. We showed NASCAR we thought it was blow-by engine oil.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Waltrip told Marty Smith on ESPN’s NASCAR Now that he will get the car back to practice on Wednesday and run the Gatorade Duel’s 150. Smith also said that NASCAR told him penalties would not be announced until late Tuesday afternoon at the earliest or as late as Wednesday.(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE 5: Marty Snider of Sirius NASCAR Radio, Ch 128 reported that NASCAR has not given the primary car back, has given no indication if the team will get the car back or any penalties, the #55 team is preparing the backup car from #00-Reutimann’s team to practice today, which is scheduled to start at 12:00noon/et.(2-14-2007)
    UPDATE 6: Sirius NASCAR Radio, Ch 128 had PRN’s Mark Garrow on the Driver’s Seat show this morning and reported that the team had taken a #44 Toyota is reskinning the car and putting the #32 on the car, soucres say the #55 team and Waltrip may be ejected. Waltrip bought the #32 owners points [going with the #00 team] and Cal Wells is listed as the #00 owner.AND MORE: Garrow is reporting that crew chief David Hyder is not at the track and SPEED’s NASCAR Live reported that NASCAR fired up the engine and the substance reappeared, now NASCAR has put up a 50-foot perimeter to keep anyone out of the area and has pulled the engine out of the car and the car will not be #32, but is will keep the #55 and it is a Reutimann backup. Waltrip has declined interviews, probably will not be allowed to practice in the first practice. The team is still preparing the car. Also word around the garage is Waltrip could be suspended a few races and crew chief Hyder suspended as long as the full season.(2-14-2007)
  • Alltel puts name on race UPDATE: Alltel Wireless, sponsor of Ryan Newman’s #12 Alltel Dodge, will make a major announcement early next week regarding what is rumored to be a race unlike any other – the Alltel “My Circle 500.” The pursuit begins February 13, 2007. To learn more, fans can visit mycircle500.com. Also two time champion (’84 & ’96) Terry Labonte is getting back into racing this season. Labonte is making his return in the highly anticipated Alltel “My Circle 500.”(alltel Racing PR), also see some images I came accross of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(2-7-2007)
    UPDATE: Alltel Wireless is giving race fans the chance to experience the thrill of winning a race and taking home the grand prize with the Alltel “My Circle 500” sweepstakes. 10 sweepstakes finalists will win the opportunity to take their ‘pit crew’ of 10 friends and family members on an all-expense-paid trip to Charlotte, N.C., on May 24-27 and put their skills to the test in an ultimate go-kart and pit crew for challenge for the chance to bring home $500,000. From now until April 30, 2007, fans can enter by going to mycircle500.com.(alltel Racing PR)(2-14-2007)
  • Childress Inducted into Oceanside Rotary Club Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame: NASCAR champion team owner Richard Childress was inducted into the Rotary Club of Oceanside Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame last night in ceremonies at The Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach Shores. The 18th annual event also saw the induction of legendary NASCAR executive Les Richter. The Hall of Fame is located inside The Shores Resort & Spa. Past inductees include Richard Petty (1990), Bill France (1993), Benny Parsons (1998), Bill France, Jr. (2001), and Dale Earnhardt (2004).(RCR PR)(2-14-2007)


    News from February 13, 2007

  • Engine Rule at Daytona: the engine rule is a little different at Daytona 500 [just like qualifying] then the other 35 races, teams must run the same engine from Saturday’s first practice session (Feb. 10th) through the Duel 150 mile qualifying races (Feb. 15). If a team makes a change, then it must start at the rear of the Duel 150 field. After the Duel 150 races, teams can make an engine change before the next day’s practice session. After that, if an engine change is made, the driver will start at the rear of the. So far it looks like two teams have changed engines: #22-Blaney, #23-Skinner, and looks like #55-Waltrip may change an engine if the car is returned, so those drivers will fall to the rear of their respective Duel 150’s.(from 2004 but as far as I know the rule is the same)(2-13-2007)
  • Penalties Announced: 4 Crew Chiefs Suspended, Fines, Points Taken Away UPDATE: NASCAR announced Tuesday that four Nextel Cup Series crew chiefs have been suspended from competition, starting with Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500. Two of the four – Ken Francis, crew chief for the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne; and Robbie Reiser, crew chief for the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth – have been suspended for four races and fined $50,000. Also, Kahne and Kenseth were penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points while their car owners, Ray Evernham and Jack Roush, were penalized 50 car owner championship points. The violations by the #9 and #17 teams were found during post-qualifying inspection on Feb. 11. Both teams’ qualifying times were disallowed. Two others – Rodney Childers, crew chief for the #10 Dodge driven by Scott Riggs; and Josh Browne, crew chief for the #19 Dodge driven by Elliott Sadler – have been suspended for two races and fined $25,000. In addition, Riggs and Sadler were penalized 25 driver championship points while their car owners, James Rocco and Evernham, were penalized 25 car owner championship points. The violations by the #10 and #19 teams were found prior to qualifying. In each instance the violations were of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules) and 20-2.1E (unapproved aerodynamic modification) of the series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(2-13-2007)
  • Reiser reups with the #17 team: After speculation that Robbie Reiser would step off the Nextel Cup Series pit box sooner, rather than later, and take a higher-level position with Roush Racing, the driver’s crew chief said Friday he has signed a three-year contract extension to maintain his crew chief position with the #17 team. “The other position that everyone was talking about, that was the drivers pushing that,” Reiser said. “That wasn’t so much me talking about it as it was Matt and Greg Biffle. I’m not saying I wouldn’t take a position like that down the road, but right now, I wasn’t quite ready for something like that.” Reiser, who has served as Kenseth’s crew chief since 1997, has helped the Cambridge native to 14 Cup victories and the 2003 Cup championship. Late last season, Kenseth suggested Reiser might be on his last legs as a crew chief. The 43-year-old Reiser reportedly wanted to spend less time traveling and more time with his wife, Tracy, and their sons, Ryan, Rhett and Reed. “Robbie’s future has come up at the end of each of the last three years,” Kenseth said. “We didn’t really talk about whether he should work with the DeWALT team or work with the Roush organization. What I always tell him, though, is that whatever he wants to do, I’ll support that. This business is a long grind, so whatever makes him happy makes me happy. I think you go through years where you get dragged down and tired because you have so much going on, but then you have years where you’re running good and you realize that what your doing is the thing you really love to do. … Robbie loves the thrill of the chase and calling the race and being on the pit box. And I think he would really have missed that had he taken another role in Roush Racing.” Reiser decided to sign the contract extension shortly after Christmas. “I’m gone from home about 75% of the time, so (the travel) does take a toll on you,” he said. “But I’m not quite ready to sit down and watch all the action from afar. I like being in the battle and I like to win races and championships. I ain’t going to do that sitting at home.”(Wisconsin State Journal)(2-13-2007)
  • Sponsor to be announced for Elliott? UPDATE 2 and image: hearing #37-Bill Elliott will be sponsored at Daytona in the Bud Shootout and Daytona 500 by restaurant chain Huddle House.(2-10-2007)
    UPDATE: nothing announced, but the car was listed in the Bus Shoot results as the Huddle Hiuse Dodge and have an image of the car on my #37 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Huddle House, a 420-unit nationwide family restaurant franchise with deep ties to the South, along with Front Row Motorsports, the owner the #37 Dodge driven by NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, have announced a partnership for the Daytona 500 uniting two Georgia homegrown icons into a powerful force for the opening of NASCAR season. Elliott drove The Huddle House Dodge in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night and then Sunday in qualifying for the Daytona 500, which will be next Sunday afternoon. The car will be on the Daytona track again Thursday in the Gatorade Duel 150’s. Huddle House, fresh off an infusion of funding from its recently announced $124 million acquisition by Allied Capital, has signed on as the primary sponsor, giving the Huddle House brand extensive positive exposure to tens-of-millions of Americans who are known to be very loyal to the companies that sponsor their favorite drivers. As the primary sponsor of the #37 Dodge, the Huddle House logo will be detailed on the hood, trunk, bumper and inside the car, as well as patched onto Elliotts team jersey. As part of the sponsorship deal, Elliotts car has been officially renamed The Huddle House Dodge for all of Daytona week.(RJ Racing PR)(2-13-2007)
  • Sad News: Indy Exec Dies: Longtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive Buddy McAtee died Feb. 12 in Indianapolis. He was 53. McAtee passed away at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis with his family at his side. An employee of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its affiliated companies since 1987, McAtee was promoted to the position of president, chief operating officer and executive producer of IMS Productions on Jan. 15, 2007 after serving as vice president and executive producer since 2002, and leading the company to new heights of creative programming, broadcasting and profitability. A personal commendation that McAtee was proud to receive was the Torchbearer Award from the Indiana University Cancer Center in May 2006. Seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, who also received treatment at IU Cancer Center, presented the award to McAtee. McAtee is survived by his wife, Judy, and a daughter, Nikki. Visitation is scheduled for 2-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 at Crown Hill Funeral Home, 700 W. 38th St., Indianapolis. Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis. Memorial donations may be made to Indiana University Medical Center, Cancer Research.(See more at the IMS site)(2-13-2007)
  • Kenseth, Kahne times disallowed UPDATE 4 penalties to be announced Tues: #9-Kasey Kahne and #17-Matt Kenseth qualifying times/speeds been disallowed, both will start at the end of the 2nd Gatorade Duel race. The #17 and #9 cars were found to have illegal aerodynamic devices/enhancements. NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said both infraction is considered as serious as the one that caused #48-Johnson’s crew chief to be suspended after Daytona 500 qualifying last year. While the crew chiefs have not been suspended, NASCAR has not rules out anything, penalties are forthcoming. Both Kahne and Kahne will be allowed to start their respective Duel 150’s from the rear.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show), #17-Kenseth had qualified 11th, #9-Kahne 28th. See the revised qualifying results on my Daytona Qualifying/Grid Page.(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE: The qualifying times for both drivers were disallowed because inspections found unapproved changes to the body of both cars. Kenseth was 11th and Kahne was 28th in the qualifying speeds. Hunter said penalties will follow for both teams, probably in an announcement on Monday. “We found unapproved devices that enhanced the aerodynamics of those cars,” Hunter said. “There were holes where it was supposed to be sealed. One of the cars had holes in the wheel well.” Both cars will be allowed to start at the back of the second Gatorade Duel qualifying race on Thursday. Both teams are guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500 because they were among the top 35 teams in points last year.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR is meeting today over the #17 and #9 times being disallowed, penalties will not be announced today [Monday], probably Tuesday or as late as Wednesday this week.(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE 3: on ESPN’s NASCAR Now, Marty Smith said that NASCAR told him penalties would not be announced until late Tuesday afternoon at the earliest or as late as Wednesday.(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE 4: at the beginning of Brian France’s State of NASCAR address, there was no announcement on the penalties, but NASCAR Jim Hunter said the announcement would come later this afternoon. Sirius NASCAR Radio reports that the crew chiefs will be suspended immediately, fined and the team/drivers could be penalized points.(2-13-2007)
  • Crew Chief change on #72 team: hearing that Sammy Speaks has taken over the crew chief duties at the #72 CJM Racing for rookie driver Brandon Whitt. Doug George had been the crew chief since the team was purchased from Morgan Shepherd last season and is now listed as the car chief on the CMJ Racing site.(2-13-2007)
  • Lepage, #34 team gets sponsor for Daytona UPDATE: Brevard County [FL] will be represented in today’s qualifying session for next Sunday’s Daytona 500 when the #34 Front Row Motorsports Dodge of driver Kevin Lepage takes the track with sponsorship from Makoto’s Ginger Dressing [on quarter panels]. The sponsorship effort is a continuation of the efforts of Makoto owner and race fan Tom Cobb — who has restaurants in Melbourne and Palm Bay — to use the NASCAR platform as the best possible avenue to get the word out about his product. Cobb first sponsored Merritt Island attorney Scott Turner in Turner’s unsuccessful attempt to qualify for a NASCAR Busch Series road race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., last season and admitted to getting hooked. Cobb’s dressing has been available through retail outlets since 2001 when Publix began sponsoring the brand, and the race sponsorship has been fruitful. “All the folks that I have dealt with while sponsoring Front Row Motor Sports have made this an absolute delight,” Cobb wrote. “I must say that it is quite a thrill to be in the company of the sponsors of NASCAR. I will continue to sponsor as long as it is beneficial to my company.” Should Lepage qualify for the 500, Cobb said it is likely a sponsor whose car did not make the field would approach Jenkins and offer more money than Cobb is paying to have that sponsor put on the Dodge, moving Makoto’s to an associate position. Cobb said that would be OK with him because the Makoto name would still appear on a car in NASCAR’s richest, most high-profile and most prestigious race.(Florida Today), also noticed Detoxify on the hood of the car during practice Saturday. See an image of the car on my #34 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE: Front Row Motorsports has announced they have reached agreements with Detoxify and Makoto Ginger Dressing to sponsor the #34 Dodge driven by Kevin Lepage for the Daytona 500. Detoxify will be the primary sponsor while Makoto Ginger Dressing will serve as an associate sponsor for the biggest race of the year. Detoxify has been supplying the best in Detoxification products for nearly two decades. Their main objectives are to conduct research that you can count on and to develop products you can trust.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(2-13-2007)
  • NASCAR Press Conference on SPEED: SPEED will cover The State of NASCAR 2007 press conference from the Daytona 500 Club inside Daytona International Speedway tomorrow at 1:00pm/et. NASCAR CEO Brian France is scheduled to deliver the address as part of the annual NASCAR Public Relations Summit.(SPEED PR), hearing the #17 and #9 penalties could be announced at this press conference.(2-13-2006)
    UPDATE: there was no announcement on the penalties during the press conference, NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said before Brian France spoke, that the announcement would come later this afternoon. Sirius NASCAR Radio reports that the crew chiefs will be suspended immediately, fined and the team/drivers could be penalized points.(2-13-2007)
  • Three Hours of Prime Time NASCAR Shows Wed. night on ESPN2: ESPN2 will air three hours of NASCAR-related programming in prime time Wednesday night, including two season preview shows and a movie about one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers. A pair of half-hour programs previewing the 2007 seasons of both the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series will be aired on Wednesday night, Feb. 14, starting at 9pm/et with the Nextel Cup show. The evening will continue at 10pm/et with a replay of the ESPN Original Entertainment movie “3,” based on the life of the late Dale Earnhardt, seven-time NASCAR champion.(ESPN PR)(2-13-2007)


    News from February 12, 2007

  • ESPN’S NASCAR NOW Live from Daytona This week: NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will originate from Daytona International Speedway starting Monday, Feb. 12, and continuing all week. The program will air on both ESPN2 (generally 6:30-7pm/et) and ESPN (generally 5-6pm/et) leading up ESPN2’s live coverage of the Busch Series season opener on Feb. 17 on ESPN2, and the running of the Daytona 500. Hosts Erik Kuselias (M-Th-F) and Chris Fowler (T-W) will be joined by Rusty Wallace, Tim Brewer and reporters Mike Massaro, Marty Smith, Angelique Chengelisand Shannon Spakethroughout the week, along with Brad Daugherty, Tim Cowlishawand driver Boris Said. Guests are expected to include NASCAR star Jeff Gordon as well as the pole winners for both the Daytona 500 and the Busch Series Orbitz 300 and the Gatorade Duel 150 winners. Features will include a Daugherty conversation with Richard Petty and Spake’s look at Michael Waltrip and Toyota entering the Nextel Cup Series.(ESPN PR)(2-12-2007)
  • Overnight TV Ratings for Bud Shootout: Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout from Daytona International Speedway earned the second-highest overnight rating for any weekend sports broadcast, according to numbers posted by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily. The non-points race for last year’s Nextel Cup pole winners and previous event champions earned a 4.2 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating from the nation’s largest markets and a 7 market share. CBS posted the highest overnight ratings with a 5.1/10 for its coverage of the NFL’s Pro Bowl game. Fox’s coverage of Sunday’s qualifying session for next week’s Daytona 500 Nextel Cup season opener earned a 2.5 overnight rating and a 6 share. Comparison figures from last year for the two NASCAR events weren’t immediately available.(SceneDaily.com)(2-12-2007)
  • Blue Ox to sponsor #66 in Duel 150 race: Haas CNC Racing announced that Blue Ox Products will serve as the primary sponsor of the #66 Chevy, driven by Jeff Green, in the Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. Blue Ox, of Pender, Neb., is a leading manufacturer of recreational vehicle and towing industry supplies and accessories. The race will mark the second time Blue Ox has been the primary sponsor of a Haas Racing entry. Blue Ox appeared on the hood and quarter panels of Johnny Sauter’s #00 Haas CNC Racing Chevy in the Busch Series race at Bristol last March. Green rolls off in the 14th starting position during the first race of the Gatorade Duel 150s.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(2-12-2007)
  • Contreras joins ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR Team: Carlos Contreras, one of the first Hispanic drivers in NASCAR, has joined ESPN Deportes’ experienced team of hosts, analysts and reporters for ESPN Deportes’ coverage of the 2007 NASCAR season.   Contreras will serve as analyst for numerous races, joining analyst Alex Pombo and play-by-play commentator Andrés Agulla in the booth.  He will make his first appearance on ESPN Deportes’ flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series: Stater Bros 300 Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:30pm/et live from the California Speedway in Fontana, CA. “We are excited to have Carlos on our team,” said Chris Calcinari, vice president of production and operations, ESPN Deportes.  “Carlos will bring real world insight, experience, and inside information to our productions, and his on-the-track experience will be a tremendous asset for our NASCAR telecasts.  For the first time in the history of Spanish-language television fans will be able to follow NASCAR action in Spanish and we have assembled the most knowledgeable team to offer top-notch coverage.” Contreras, an eight-time Mexican racing champion, has 84 career starts in NASCAR’s top series, including 70 in the Craftsman Truck Series and 14 in the Busch Series, the most of any Hispanic driver.  Contreras made his NASCAR debut by qualifying 7th  and finishing 14th in the season finale Craftsman Truck Series at the California Speedway in 1999.    He ran the full Truck Series season in 2000 and was runner-up in the Rookie of the Year standings to future Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch. In addition to his duties with ESPN Deportes, this 2007 season Contreras is slated to run several Busch series races for Armando Fitz and Fitz Motorsports, beginning with Mexico City on March 4th.(ESPN PR)(2-12-2007)
  • Johnson, Dale Jr. gears up for their XM Radio shows in 2007: #48-Jimmie Johnson and #8Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are gearing up for the new season of their exclusive XM Satellite Radio shows starting February 15, three days before the Daytona 500. “Jimmie Johnson … ‘Not What You Expected'” will make its second-season debut February 15 at 7pm/et, with an encore broadcast at 10pm/et, on XM Sports Nation (XM Channel 144). Every week, the defending Nextel Cup champ delivers his personal perspective on the sport with co-host Marty Smith. “Dale Jr.’s Unrestricted” launches its second season the same night at 7:30pm/et, with a 10:30pm/et replay, on XM Sports Nation. Earnhardt and his friends Josh Snider and Steve Cris offer a candid look at what’s happening on and off the track each week. XM Sports Nation has added the popular Performance Racing Network (PRN) show “Sunday Drive” to its lineup, along with returning PRN favorites “Fast Talk” and “Alltel Pit Reporters.”(XM Radio PR)(2-12-2007)
  • Scott Riggs to Host “Riggs Report” on SIRIUS: Valvoline Evernham Racing and SIRIUS Satellite Radio have announced that Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will have a weekly spot on the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio program, The Driver’s Seat. The Driver’s Seat, hosted by veteran broadcaster John Kernan, airs Monday through Friday from 11am to 3pm/et exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128. A stellar crew of past and present drivers including Buddy Baker, Johnny Benson, Randy LaJoie, Ron Hornaday, Ricky Craven, Phil Parsons and John Andretti co-host the show, taking calls from listeners, interviewing special guests and discussing the latest news from the high-speed world of NASCAR. Listeners can catch the Riggs Report with Scott Riggs and John Kernan every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. beginning February 13th, where they will be discussing previous and upcoming races as well as current topics in the sport.(Valvoline Evernham Racing/Sirius PR)(2-12-2007)
  • Evernham would hire Schumacher: If Michael Schumacher wants a ride in NASCAR, [#9, #10, #19 team owner] Ray Evernham has one waiting for him. Evernham, who works with German company DaimlerChrysler, has issued an open invitation to the seven-time Formula One champion to give stock car racing a try. The German driver retired from racing red Ferraris after the 2006 season. Asked recently about Juan Pablo Montoya leaving F1 to drive in NASCAR, Schumacher told The New York Times: “Personally, I wouldn’t do it. What do you do in NASCAR? What is exciting there? I can’t see that, running around on ovals.” But Evernham would like him to reconsider. “I’ll put him in a red car, a real good car, any time he wants to come over here and try it,” he said. “A lot has changed in recent years. These cars are looked on as much more sophisticated than they used to be. I think he’d find them technical enough to keep him happy.”(ESPN.com/AP)(2-12-2007)
  • Shrek scheme for Gilliland: #38-David Gilliland is scheduled to run a M&M’s/Shrek paint scheme in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, see an image of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(2-12-2007)

News from February 11, 2007

  • Gilliland wins the pole for the Daytona 500: #38-David Gilliland won the Budweiser Pole for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 186.320mph for his 2nd career pole and first pole at Daytona. Gilliland’s teammate, #88-Ricky Rudd will start 2nd, on the outside pole. The rest of the top-five are #40-David Stremme, #42-Juan Montoya and #6-David Ragan, but only the top two drivers are guaranteed their spots after qualifying Sunday. Three drivers not in the top-35 owners points [from 2006] are guaranteed to make the Daytona 500: #60-Boris Said, #14-Sterling Marlin and #70 Johnny Sauter. Plus #44-Dale Jarrett is in the race for sure as he is first on the list to use the past champion provisional. #00-David Reutimann was the fastest Toyota, 15th fastest. See the qualifying results on my Daytona Starting Lineup Qualifying/Grid Page.(2-11-2007)
  • Smaller fuel tank, new tire for Vegas UPDATE: NASCAR announced that the Nextel Cup cars will be required to use 13-gallon fuel cells at Las Vegas, instead of the 17 gallon tank that is to be used for the rest of the tracks this season. Also the tire that was used in Las Vegas testing in January will be changed. The reason: the new track surface and configuration at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There were many accidents and the speeds were much higher. NASCAR did the same thing a couple years ago when Lowe’s Motor Speedway levitated then resurfaced the track.(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will use a smaller fuel cell and a different tire compound for the Nextel Cup and Busch races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 10-11. “We decided to go with a 13-gallon fuel tank for Las Vegas,” said Pemberton. “We discussed it with Goodyear and felt we have the potential for some of the same issues we had at the Charlotte track last year.” The fuel cell this season for most races is 17.5 gallons. Using a smaller fuel cell will cause the teams to pit at shorter intervals, enabling crew members to check tire wear and make changes frequently, if needed. NASCAR officials were concerned with tire wear last year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after the surface was repaved, which added additional grip. The Las Vegas track was completely rebuilt in the offseason, adding increased banking to the new surface. Cup teams tested at the 1.5-mile two weeks ago and the Busch teams were there last week. Some drivers complained about the speeds the cars were reaching on the new asphalt, along with the hardness of the tires. “Goodyear has decided to change the left-side compound [at Las Vegas] and maybe a construction that is different from the tests,” Pemberton said. “As we go into the day and age with new pavement, the surface is a little too abrasive right off. We just need one race under our belts. We have to get a little time on the racetrack.” (ESPN.com)
    AND LVMS statement regarding smaller fuel cells for NASCAR Weekend: “NASCAR’s decision to use 13-gallon fuel cells for both the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Sam’s Town 300 will make for an even more exciting race,” said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. “With the increase in the banking from 12 to 20 degrees, there are a lot of unknowns including race set up and tire compounds the teams will face for both races. This decision should keep the racing tighter and give the teams more opportunities to measure tire wear.” “Plus, we moved the pit road 275 feet closer to the grandstands, so this will give all of the race fans even more opportunities to watch the excitement of the all-important pit stops.”(LVMS PR)(2-11-2007)
  • BP Honored in ARCA race: Each of the ARCA Re/Max Series cars in the 41-car field ay Daytona on Saturday were adorned with a yellow-on-black “BP” sticker as a tribute to the late Benny Parsons, who won the ARCA Series’ 1968 and 1969 championships, the 1969 Daytona 200 and three Daytona 200 poles.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-11-2007)
  • Commercial Breakdown for the 2007 Bud Shootout:
    Total number of commercials: 72
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 41
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 9
    (companies: Fox HDTV on Comcast; Chevy; DirecTV; NAPA; Pizza Hut; Toyota; Ford; Lowes; Fox 3D cam)
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 35 sec.
    Also, there was the following race statistic during the broadcast, sponsored by one company:
    Pizza Hut Race Summary
    Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00 P.M.
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:00 P.M.
    Total minutes: 120
    Minutes of race broadcast: 88
    Minutes of commercials: 32
    Total race brdcst time: 88 min Total comm. brdcst time: 32 min
    (see full report at CawsnJaws.com)(2-11-2007)
  • Yates to turn over Cup team to son Doug in 2008: Robert Yates [owner of #38 & #88 teams in Cup] plans to turn over the running of his Nextel Cup organization to his son, Doug, after this season. This will be Yates’ 40th season in the industry since beginning with Holman-Moody in 1967. “We’re giving it a shot so this year I can quit while I’m ahead,” Yates said on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. “Hopefully, I can quit and get in the rocking chair and watch Doug do what he’s going to do for the next 20 years.” Yates added that Jack Roush’s decision to sell 50% of Roush Racing to John Henry and Fenway Sports Group in Boston — an official announcement will be made Wednesday — will only strengthen the engine program he shares with Roush. Yates said he will own 50% of the engine program, with Roush and Fenway Sports Group getting 25% each.(ESPN.com)(2-11-2007)
  • DEI Prez happy with Dale Jr. contract negotiations: Dale Earnhardt Inc. President of Global Operations Max Siegel said Saturday he is pleased with the way negotiations are going with driver #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. but would not talk about specifics. “The lines of communication are open,” Siegel said Saturday night prior to the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s not prudent to talk about the substance of the negotiations. Everything is moving in a positive direction.” Earnhardt Jr., son of the late Dale Earnhardt and stepson of owner Teresa Earnhardt, is under contract through the 2007 season. “It’s a top priority for us,” said Siegel, who started Feb. 1. “Things have a natural rhythm to it. So as long as we continue to talk about [it] and as long as we continue to focus on it, I think it will resolve itself when it is supposed to.” On Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted to own a majority of the team. “I try not to read the press, so I can focus on making sure that we can reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial and keeping him part of the family forever,” Siegel said. Siegel, a former gospel music executive, met Wednesday with Earnhardt Jr. and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who handles Earnhardt Jr.’s business affairs. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dale Jr.,” Siegel said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kelley and Teresa Earnhardt. I just want to focus on the issues we need to focus on to have a long-term relationship.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-11-2007)
  • Fire-Dex Teams Up with Yeley as assoc sponsor: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced a partnership with Fire-Dex, LLC of Medina, Ohio, who will join the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by J.J. Yeley as an associate sponsor for the entire 2007 Nextel Cup Series schedule. Fire-Dex, a leading manufacturer of protective firefighting clothing and emergency response apparel, will be featured on the “B-post” of Yeley’s car, which is the area between the side windows. The company is entering its second year of involvement with a Nextel Cup team. In addition to the B-post decal, the Fire-Dex shield will appear on Yeley’s driver uniform, the #18 team transporter and the #18 team pit box. Fire-Dex will also use Yeley’s #18 Chevy at its booth during two major fire industry trade shows, including the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) in mid-April and the IAFC (International Association of Fire Chiefs) conference in late August. For more information on Fire-Dex, log onto www.firedex.com.(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(2-11-2007)


    News from February 10, 2007

  • Stewart wins Bud Shootout: #20-Tony Stewart won his third Budweiser Shootout, passing #5-Kyle Busch [who led the most laps, 39 of 70] with eight laps to go and held off a hard charging #38-David Gilliland [finished 2nd]. #2-Kurt Busch was 3rd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson and #29-Kevin Harvick. Pole sitter #44-Dale Jarrett [in a Toyota] never led a lap and fell to the back of the pack with an ill-handling car and finished 17th. #24-Jeff Gordon [21st] and #12-Ryan Newman [20th] both had engine problems and failed to finish the race. As Stewart was to take the checkered flag to win, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into #19-Elliott Sadler, who then got into #11-Denny Hamlin, who spun into the wall and collected #9-Kasey Kahne. See my 2007 Budweiser Shootout page for final results, segment 1 results, lineup, practice speeds, rules and more.(2-10-2007)
  • New sponsor for Menard? UPDATE: hearing that #15-Paul Menard will make a sponsorship announcement on Saturday morning at Daytona. No word if it is for the Busch or Nextel Cup Series.(2-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Long-time racing supporter and sponsor to some of the most celebrated drivers in motorsports history, Old World Industries of Northbrook, Illinois, has today announced that its PEAK Antifreeze brand will re-enter Nextel Cup in 2007 by entering into an agreement with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated [DEI] to sponsor top Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Paul Menard and the #15 PEAK/Menards DEI Chevy. Menard, entering his first full season of Nextel Cup action, will have PEAK adorn his #15 Chevy throughout the entire 2007 season. PEAK will serve as Primary sponsor during Speedweeks at Daytona, and in the Fall Bristol Nextel Cup race. Menard will also appear within PEAK advertising, promotions and in-store merchandising programs at Menards stores throughout the United States. For Speedweeks in 2007, it will defintely be “PEAK Week” in Daytona. In addition to seeing the iconic PEAK mountain logo on the hood of the #15 DEI Nextel Cup Chevy, PEAK will also adorn the hood of DEI’s #15 PEAK/Menards Busch Series car (also driven by Menard) for Saturday’s race, as well as the hood of Thorsports’ #88 PEAK/Menards Chevy (driven by Matt Crafton) for Friday’s Craftsman Truck Series race. PEAK Antifreeze can be found at major retailers like Menards, AutoZone, Advance, CSK, NAPA, O’Reilly, Pep Boys, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and Walgreens. In total, Old World products are sold on the shelves of more than 200,000 outlets nationwide, across every retail channel – whether automotive, mass merchandise, home/hardware, food/drug, or convenience. For more information about PEAK see www.peakantifreeze.com.(PR), see an image of the car on my #15 Team Schemes page.(2-10-2007)
  • Ginn Racing Contracts with Martin to Mentor Development Drivers: Ginn Racing has contracted with Mark Martin Performance to oversee the company’s driver development program, which includes Ricky Carmichael, Matt Martin and Matt Bowers. All three are Florida residents — Carmichael (27, Tallahassee), Martin (15, Daytona Beach) and Bowers (15, Mount Dora). Martin will work with the development drivers while they compete in the late model and super model divisions at Florida race tracks. Once the drivers graduate from Martin’s tutelage, they will join Ginn Racing’s North Carolina-based development program that will include the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. “I don’t believe you can ask for anyone better than Mark to oversee the development program and mentor the young drivers,” said Jay Frye, Ginn Racing’s CEO and general manager. “Having Mark in this capacity will only enhance our development program and the future of Ginn Racing.” Martin, who drives the #01 U.S. Army Chevy for Ginn Racing, said, “I love to compete and I love to teach. And I have the best of both worlds with Ginn Racing. I look forward to this role and know that it’s going to be a lot of fun instructing a group of young drivers who share a passion for racing.”(Ginn Racing PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Stewart has no plans to run Indy 500 again: Tony Stewart’s efforts to win the Indianapolis 500 appear to have ended. Asked about whether or not he’d ever run in the event again, the former open-wheel star who has won two NASCAR Cup championships said that he wouldn’t completely rule it out, but he couldn’t really envision it. “I’ve learned to never say never, but I look at my life as a book, and it’s kind of like it’s a chapter that’s either on its last page or almost closed,” Stewart said. “My [Joe Gibbs Racing] contract takes me to 39, and I don’t see myself getting back into IndyCar at the age of 39.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-10-2007)
  • Fenway Sports Group/Roush deal completed, announced the 14th: A group of investors led by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has completed a deal to buy a 50% stake in the Roush Racing NASCAR team, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday. Although team owner Jack Roush is selling half of the team to the Fenway Sports Group, Roush will continue to run the team’s competitive operations, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced. Both parties have scheduled a Feb. 14 news conference at Jackie Robinson Ballpark [105 E. Orange Ave., Daytona Beach], a minor league facility near Daytona International Speedway. Roush, who was wearing his trademark fedora as he supervised his drivers at Daytona International Speedway on Friday evening, declined comment.(Associated Press)
    also Roush Racing announced a major announcement with Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) executives; Red Sox players and Roush Racing drivers on Wednesday, February 14 at 5:30pm/et(Roush Racing PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Blaney testing COT: #22-Dave Blaney is scheduled to test the Car of Tomorrow [COT} on Monday & Tuesday [2/12, 2/13] at USA Speedway in Lakeland, FL.(Sirius Satelitte Radio NASCAR Channel)(2-10-2007)
  • Waltrip partners up with Wells for the #00 team: Michael Waltrip Racing has partnered with PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells for the ownership of the #00 Domino’s/Burger King Toyota. The team will be known as Waltrip-PPI Racing with Michael Waltrip Racing as the managing partner, MWR general manager Ty Norris said Friday. That means the car, driven by David Reutimann, will have the points of the #32 car from last season, which was 37th in points and not in the top 35 to be locked in for the first five races. Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby confirmed Friday those points only help in case of a rainout of all qualifying for the Daytona 500 (and possibly at the expense of the Waltrip’s #55). Having qualifying wiped out for the Daytona 500 is a highly unlikely scenario with four days to get qualifying speeds posted and three days to get the 150-mile qualifying races completed. If qualifying gets rained out at other tracks, the 2006 owner points are used to set the top 35, but are not used as criteria if qualifying attempts are needed to fill the field. Norris said as Michael Waltrip Racing was building up its team, it had a need for equipment and personnel that Wells had. “It really doesn’t change anything for marketing purposes – but Cal Wells is involved as the car owner,” Norris said. “There may be some benefit to us [in qualifying], but whether there is or not, we were starting a new team that needed some people. “Cal’s whole 32 pit crew is the pit crew for Michael Waltrip now. There are a lot of things that we did with Cal, and if there is a benefit that comes along with it in the rainout provision, that would be good for us.” Michael Waltrip Racing would retain the points if PPI Motorsports returns to competition in 2008, Norris said.(SceneDaily.com)(2-10-2007)
  • Johnson named Inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year: Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was named the inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year, edging out MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden and F1 title winner Fernando Alonso for the top award on last night’s SPEED Performance Awards television special presented by BFGoodrich. Other finalists included Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL), Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car) and Tony Schumacher (NHRA). In the top fan-voted category, Grand American Rolex Series driver Colin Braun was named RACER Magazine Rookie of the Year, topping Marco Andretti (IRL), Bryan Clauson (USAC), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR), Robert Kubica (F1), J.R. Todd (NHRA) and Dan Clarke (Champ Car). Braun will be featured along with other RACER Magazine honorees in a special ‘Racers of the Year’ April issue, on sale March 13. With more than 56,000 fan votes cast on SPEEDtv.com for the SPEED Performance Awards, other winners of the night included:
    * Best Rivalry – Formula One titans Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher * Biggest Hit – Champ Car rookie Katherine Legge, who walked away from a massive crash at Road America after losing her rear wing. * Biggest Upset – David Gilliland for his ‘David vs. Goliath’ win in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Kentucky in an unsponsored, underfunded entry. * Oops Award – NASCAR driver Brian Vickers for taking out teammate Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega en route to his first Nextel Cup Series win. * Tell It Like It Is – Carl Edwards for his emotional, on-camera assessment of fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart after an on-track incident at Pocono, calling Stewart “special.” * Temper, Temper – ARCA driver Michael Simko for his flying sidekick through the front windshield of fellow competitor Don St. Denis at Toledo. * Best Finish – Sam Hornish Jr. passing rookie Marco Andretti on the last lap of the Indy 500. The SPEED Performance Awards, hosted by Patrick Dempsey and Tommy Kendall, will re-air Saturday at 8:00pm/et and Wednesday at 9:00pm/et.(SpeedTV PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Cup races for Kvapil? Travis Kvapil, the 2003 Craftsman Truck Series champion, is back in the Truck Series this year after a brief, frustrating stint in Nextel Cup. Kvapil is now driving for Roush Racing and is expected to contend for the NCTS title this year. He also could end up doing a few Busch and/or Cup races for Roush this season, too. “I said to him (Roush Racing President Geoff Smith), ‘What am I going to do with all my off-weekends?’ And he said, ‘Hopefully, we can find something to run you part-time, if we can find a sponsor, you can run some races here and there. If nothing else, you can come along and be a part of it.’ I told him anytime he’s ready for me, I’m ready, but there’s nothing set in stone and no promises made or anything like that. First things first, is go out and win races and win the (NCTS) championship.”(SpeedTV.com)(2-10-2007)
  • Drivers in special ESPN Sportscenter “Sunday Conversation”: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, four of NASCAR’s most successful and popular NEXTEL Cup drivers, participated in a roundtable discussion Friday afternoon which will debut on Sunday’s 10:30 p.m. ET SportsCenter as the “Sunday Conversation.”  The roundtable, moderated by ESPN analyst and 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace, was taped at the Daytona International Speedway Infield Media Center. While topics included how difficult it is to win back-to-back championships and each driver’s defining moment, they also joked with Gordon, who’s about to become a father, and Stewart on his weight loss: “I see some of you is missing,” Wallace said.(ESPN PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Spreakfreaks 2007 debut today on ESPN2: The Radio and Television Motorsports Empire, SpeedFreaks, unveil the 2007 “MS Vista” version of The Freak Nation on ESPN2 this Saturday at 11:30am/et. Kenny Sargent and The Pit Crew exempli-freakin’-fy real diversity on their first run unloading everything from NASCAR to Monster Trucks to some Two Wheel ticklin’… the kitchen sink is scheduled for next week! “The line-up is stellar for our debut on ESPN2, but the Freakin’ Topics inside the Brut Revolution Garage will get everyone geeked up even more: Daytona 500 vs. the Indy 500… which one is more American? And just after we settle that one, I off-load an open wheel land mine on Crash, Statt & Lugg… Formula One vs. IndyCar: Shouldn’t we just support our own American Open Wheel series?” says the Freaks’ Kenny Sargent. The Freak Nation faithful will hear the Tonys (Stewart and Kanaan) give a solid take on both. And Stewart… well, will he run the Indy 500 again? Tune in to find out. This SpeedFreaks Saturday extravaganza was shot from the Lucas Oil Studios in the Mopar Pits in Las Vegas. Featured throughout the 30 minutes is “Lugg’s World,” “Freakin’ Around the Motorsports World” and Boyd Coddington turning Lugg into a… um, uh… you’ll just have to watch. SpeedFreaks on ESPN2 this Saturday February 10 at 11:30am/et and replayed on ESPN2 Thursday February 15 at 5:30am/et.(SpeedFreaks PR)(2-10-2007)


    News from February 9, 2007

  • Lonestar and #40 Ganassi team split: On Friday at Daytona International Speedway, Chip Ganassi Racing crewmen were busy Friday removing all traces of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon sponsorship from David Stremme’s #40 Dodge and equipment. Ganassi’s Web site no longer displays the brand as part of its sponsorship package. North Carolina-based Lone Star Steakhouse, which owns and operates more than 250 restaurants under a variety of names, was acquired by Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds for about $586 million in December. The publicly-owned restaurant chain shared primary sponsorship of the #40 Dodge with Coors Light in 2006, and was featured in 17 races.Coors Light is listed as the official sponsor for next Sunday’s Daytona 500.(NASCAR.com)(2-9-2007)
  • Miller challenges Budweiser: Miller Brewing Co. today issued a NASCAR challenge to competitor Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., and the temporary naming rights to Milwaukee’s Miller Park would be stake. The long-standing “battle of the beer cars” on NASCAR tracks would take on added significance during the 2007 Nextel Cup season if Anheuser-Busch accepts Miller’s challenge to the Budweiser team. Miller is putting the naming rights to Miller Park on the line for a weekend series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. If the Miller Lite #2 Dodge, driven by Kurt Busch, finishes ahead of the #8 Budweiser Chevy, driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the 2007 season standings, Busch Stadium would be renamed Miller Lite Stadium for a yet-to-be-determined 2008 series in St. Louis. If the Budweiser car finishes the season ahead of the Miller Lite car in 2007, Milwaukee’s Miller Park would be renamed Budweiser Park for a 2008 series in Milwaukee. “We’re more confident than ever that Kurt Busch and the #2 Miller Lite team are going to be regular contenders for the Nextel Cup championship,” said Tom Long, Miller’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s too bad for Anheuser-Busch that they didn’t take us up on our challenge last year, when Kurt and the team were dealing with the first-year ‘new team’ transition. Kurt already has one title, and now he and the whole Penske Racing garage are focused on adding to that total. We expect to see plenty of Miller Lite flowing in victory lane this year.” The new wager was officially proposed via certified letter from Long to Anheuser-Busch president and CEO August Busch IV, and delivered this morning. Busch had not yet responded.(Small Business Times)(2-9-2007)
  • Bobby Labonte says Terry not contacted about #45 ride: #43-Bobby Labonte said he’s not spoken with his older brother Terry about pinch-hitting for Kyle Petty this summer when Petty steps out of the #45 Dodge to work as an analyst for TNT for five races.(SpeedTV.com)(2-9-2007)
  • COT Splitter won’t need to be replaced if damaged: Teams will not need to replace the front splitter if it is broken off during a “car of tomorrow” race, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Thursday. Darby said he expect teams will want to have a front splitter – a shelf that sits underneath the front valence to adjust front downforce – on the car, but it won’t be a requirement. So just as in the past, a car with a sawed off front end following a crash could be on the track. “[The front splitter] won’t be mandatory,” Darby said. “But remember, it is a huge tuning tool. They’re going to do everything they can do to make sure that they have a front splitter.” Teams will have to replace the rear wing in the event it is damaged, just as they have to replace the rear spoiler on a current car.(SceneDaily.com)(2-9-2007)
  • Baby Girl on the way, Gordon not thinking retirement: With a new baby [girl] on the way in July, #24-Jeff Gordon isn’t making noises about retiring. Far from it. Gordon has insisted all winter that he’s more fired up than ever this year, though his teammate Jimmie Johnson said he wouldn’t be shocked if Gordon retires from driving within the next five years. “A five-year window? I wouldn’t be surprised,” Johnson said Thursday during Media Day at Daytona. “This is the start of his 16th year. So in 20 years, I think 20 years of doing anything you’re probably looking for a change. So I wouldn’t be shocked with that.” Johnson added that Gordon hasn’t made any such pronouncements about the future. As for Gordon, he laughed. “I hope there’s a Jeff Gordon sitting in victory lane with a five-year-old daughter in his arms is what I’m hoping for.”(SpeedTV.com)(2-9-2007)
  • IROC still searching for a sponsor: The International Race of Champions has not yet found a sponsor as its 2007 season remains in jeopardy, IROC spokesman George Signore said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. The four-race series that features drivers from various racing disciplines traditionally begins at Daytona in February. That race already has been canceled. IROC has run recently at Texas Motor Speedway in April, and the possibility of that event is looking bleak, Signore said. He said IROC has talked to tracks about the possibility of racing if a sponsor can be found. “There are still people out there seeking sponsorship for us,” Signore said. “There is not a drop-dead date yet for 2007 [to be officially canceled]. We know for sure obviously Daytona is not going to happen. Texas is getting close to being a definite no-show for us. Then the only other tracks that we really have is Atlanta [in October], and then Eldora [Speedway in Ohio] with Tony Stewart. If something will fall into place and it’s a big enough deal for us to put it all together, then we’d take a shot at it.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-9-2007)
  • Hutchens Hybrid approved by NASCAR: Safety Solutions and LFT Technologies announced the approval by NASCAR of their new Hutchens Hybrid (Hybrid) head and neck restraint as an available option for all NASCAR touring series drivers. Effectively immediately, the Hybrid will be available for use for drivers during private testing. Beginning July 13, the device will be allowed for use during actual competition. With this approval, the Hybrid now joins the HANS Device as the only head and neck restraint systems allowed by NASCAR for use by their drivers.(Safety Solutions PR)(2-9-2007)


    News from February 8, 2007

  • ESPN Sets Nextel Cup Schedule Times: Nextel Cup Series racing will return to ESPN for the first time in six years with the network’s coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29, from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ESPN and ESPN on ABC will have live coverage of the final 17 races of the 2007 season, including all 10 races in the “Chase for the Nextel Cup” by ESPN on ABC, the first time that all Chase races will be on the same network. ESPN’s full schedule for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season will include telecasts of practice and qualifying from 13 races, the season-ending banquet and season preview and review specials. There will also be a dedicated pre-race program for each race telecast called Nextel Cup Series Countdown. And, for the first time in televised motorsports, all will be produced totally in High Definition. ESPN’s return to NASCAR will begin with live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17. ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Busch Series all season, with six select races televised by ESPN on ABC. “The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard has always been a marquee event on the Nextel Cup schedule and we cannot wait to provide our flag-to-flag coverage from such an historic race track,” said John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming. “We will dedicate unprecedented multimedia resources to the sport beginning with the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona, continuing with our opening NEXTEL Cup race at Indianapolis on ESPN, and until the season champions are crowned.”(ESPN PR), see my 2007 Nextel Cup Schedule page for the race/tv times.(2-8-2007)
  • Dale Jr’s Reps to meet with DEI Reps UPDATE 2 Jr. wants majority ownership? Representatives of DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will meet on Wednesday to discuss Dale Jr.’s contract and ownership stake in the team. Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who serves as his business manager, DEI competition director Richie Gilmore, and DEI’s new president, Max Siegel are expected in the meeting. Teresa Earnhardt, the owner of DEI who also is Earnhardt Jr.’s stepmother, will not be at the meeting, by design. Gilmore said the parties wanted to try to keep the emotions to a minimum, and they wanted to keep Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Jr. separate. Dale Jr.’s contract with DEI expires in 2007, and he said during testing at Daytona that he wanted a greater stake in DEI, the company that his father started. Gilmore says the ownership stake in the team is still the major determining factor in the contract negotiation process for Dale Jr.(ESPN.com)(2-7-2007)
    UPDATE: it was reported in ESPN’s NASCAR Now that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s representatives met with some DEI execs, including new president Max Siegel on Wednesday, basically just a meet-and-greet and there is nothing else to report.
    UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t mince words on Thursday when asked what it would take to get him to re-sign with the Nextel Cup organization his father built. “I want majority ownership, basically,” Earnhardt Jr. said for the first time during media day at Daytona International Speedway. As in more than 50%? “Absolutely,” Earnhardt Jr. said emphatically. Earnhardt Jr.’s contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. expires at the end of the 2007 season. Negotiation on a new deal began in the middle of 2006, with ownership of the company a major sticking point. Asked if stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, who inherited sole ownership of the company when Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, was willing to budge, Earnhardt Jr. said, “We’ll see.” Earnhardt Jr. and his sister, Kelley, met with Max Siegel, DEI’s new president of Global Operations, on Wednesday along with director of motorsports Richie Gilmore. Earnhardt Jr. said it was more of a get-to-know-you meeting with Siegel than a contract negotiation, but added Siegel could expedite the process he initially hoped would be concluded by April or May. “He’s a great guy to talk to and a great guy to work with,” Earnhardt Jr. said of Siegel. “He’s going to speed things up. He’s going to improve negotiations and help those things make it a little bit easier.” Not in the meeting was Teresa, who has been asked to step aside in negotiations because of her somewhat tumultuous relationship with Earnhardt Jr.(ESPN.com)(2-8-2007)
  • CertainTeed to sponsor Nemechek in #13 for 18 races: Ginn Racing announced that CertainTeed Corporation, North America’s leading manufacturer of interior and exterior building products, will carry an 18-race primary sponsorship on Joe Nemechek’s #13 Chevy during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. At the other 18 of 36 point races, Certain Teed will have a major associate sponsorship on Nemechek’s car. The first race of the CertainTeed primary sponsorship will be the season-opening Daytona 500. Founded in 1904 and headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed and its affiliates have approximately 9,000 employees and 70 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. More info on CertainTeed at certainteed.com.(Ginn Racing PR), see some images on my #13 Team Schemes page.(2-8-2007)
  • Congress honors memory of Benny Parsons: North Carolona congressman Robin Hayes announced that the House passed legislation to honor NASCAR legend Benny Parsons. Hayes introduced the legislation Jan. 17 and spoke on the House Floor to honor Parsons for his excellence in racing and his great character.. Parsons died Jan. 16 from complications from lung cancer.(Charlotte Observer)(2-8-2007)
  • TNT Producer: Barry Landis, one of the FOX producers, will be the TNT producer for their six Nextel Cup races in 2007. Landis will continue to produce the races for FOX/FX also.(2-8-2007)
  • TNT looking at no commercial breaks in 2007? UPDATE 3 Pepsi 400..but: Sports Business Journal reports that TNT is floating a package to potential advertisers that would allow advertising during the race broadcast and eliminate commercial breaks. The advertising would take place on the screen during the broadcast and allow continuous race coverage. TNT will broadcast six Nextel Cup races next summer. The story reports that officials from Turner and NASCAR would not comment. The story also reported that TNT’s Cup ratings are down 8.3% from last season.(Roanoke Times)(10-18-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing that the Pepsi 400 at Daytona will be shown with no commercials by TNT [in primetime] and the coverage will be sponsored by…Pepsi, but the other five races, as of now, will be shown with commercial breaks.(1-4-2007)
    UPDATE 2: TNT, for the prime-time July 7 Pepsi 400, wants to add some wrinkles. Trish Frohman, TNT executive vice president, hopes to enlist 12 advertisers — she says Pepsi, DirecTV and pain reliever 360 OTC are in — to air commercials, running up to two minutes, in about a quarter of the TV screen as race shots continue. Correction. Those “won’t be commercials,” says Frohman, but rather “branded content” that’s “organic to the environment.” Meaning, she says, that TNT’s production staffers will work with advertisers to make ads — er, “content” — specifically for the race. TNT announcers, she says, will “absolutely” be “as engaged as anybody” in the effort. Which shouldn’t surprise anybody. TV networks, paying millions or even billions for big-time TV rights, already seem like ad agencies for sports they cover. While Pepsi 400 coverage will still include local cable ads beyond TNT’s purview, Frohman says the total time devoted to marketing messages will be less than normal NASCAR coverage.(USA Today)(1-12-2007)
    UPDATE 3: TNT officials say the cable network will televise the July 7 Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race without commercials, but that doesn’t mean the telecast will be ad free. The network will put advertising on the screen while the race is happening, but it won’t announce specifics until a later date, said TNT executive producer Jeff Behnke. Behnke was hesitant to talk much about it during a teleconference Wednesday to announce the hiring of veteran driver Kyle Petty as an analyst for its race coverage.(SceneDaily.com)(2-8-2007)
  • Elliott teams with Hermie at car dealership: Sadler Auto Center of Franklin, currently owned by NASCAR driver and SPEED broadcaster Hermie Sadler, is getting a new partner and a new look, as it was announced today NASCAR driver #19-Elliott Sadler had joined brother Hermie in the ownership of the dealerships, which would be named Elliott Sadler Ford Mercury and Elliott Sadler Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Elliott thinks the time is right to get involved in the car business. “I think this is the perfect time to take this step. I drive a car sponsored by the Dodge Dealers, and there are many ways that my involvement in the dealerships will benefit me as well as our customers. Our family has been in the automobile business over 40 years, and I am proud to now be involved.” Hermie Sadler, current owner and president, now works for SPEED channel and Direct TV on the weekends covering NASCAR, but has moved his office to Franklin and manages the dealerships during the week. He says the addition of his brother as a partner will help take the stores to new levels. “His involvement will not only provide more resources for the store, but will also trigger more support from all of the manufacturers we represent, which will enable us to serve our customers better.” According to Hermie Sadler, the name on the front of the buildings will not be the only change to the look of the dealerships, as plans call for a replica of Victory Lane from Bristol Motor Speedway, site of Sadler’s first career Nextel Cup Series victory, to be built on site for customers to have their picture taken when picking up their new wheels from the dealership. Plans also call for 2 promotions a year that will feature autograph and picture sessions with both brothers and other NASCAR drivers. The name change should take place in about 90 days. “The one thing that will not change, ” says Hermie Sadler, “is that we guarantee you that we will save you money when you buy a car. The rest of the stuff you get from us will just be a bonus.”(Sadler PR)(2-8-2007)
  • FanView Now Available for Sale and Rent: Fans now can own their own Nextel FanView, as Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and NASCAR are making the device available for purchase beginning Feb. 8. Nextel FanView comes to market following a successful year of rental in 2006 and feedback from fans and NASCAR teams who tested the device. The sturdy, hand-held race-day scanner with video and audio capabilities, real-time data and statistics comes equipped with a battery, wall charger, quick-start guide and one-year warranty. It also boasts advanced features such as priority scanning, quick channel selection by car number and an exclusive audio replay feature. In addition, fans can choose to watch the live in-house NEXTEL Vision video feed or from up to seven different driver’s in-car cameras. Fans also can monitor driver progress through color graphics of real-time lap statistics, lap-by-lap point standings, positions gained or lost since the last caution, and more. Nextel FanView is available for $369.95 at www.nextel.com/fanview or by calling (800) 799-5921. Trackside, the device is available at Racing Electronicslocations and Nextel FanView haulers for $415. The device requires a $10 race-weekend activation fee for at-track use. Other accessories available for purchase include headset, lanyard, carry bag, extra batteries and wall chargers ranging in price from $7.99 – $69.99. Nextel FanView will remain available for rent at the track through Nextel FanView haulers and Racing Electronics locations during Nextel Cup Series race weekends. The device also will be available for use during Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series events when they accompany Nextel Cup Series races. At $50 per day and $70 per weekend, Nextel FanView rental is comparable to the standard rate for most racing scanners and includes the device, battery, charger (available only for weekend rentals), headset, carry bag and neck lanyard.(Business Wire)(2-8-2007)
  • Front Row Motorsports buying #37 R&J Racing? UPDATE 2: hearing that Front Row Motorsports, who has three teams, the #34 with Kevin Lepage [which plans to run at least the first five races of the 2007 season], and the #61 and #92 teams that have no schedules or drivers yet for 2007, have bought out or into the #37 RJ Racing Dodge team. The #37 team plan to run Bill Elliott at Daytona in the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500, but after that plans have not been announced. Elliott did test the #37 Dodge at Las Vegas, which was listed as the #37 Front Row Motorsports Dodge.(2-4-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing that #37 team over John Carter will still own the #37 team, with RJ Racing partnering up with Front Row Motorsports in 2007.(2-4-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Front Row Motorsports (FRM) announced today they will run two (2) cars during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. FRM will run the #34 driven by Kevin Lepage with Randy Seals as the crew chief. For the second FRM entry, team owner Bob Jenkins has formed a partnership with John Carter. The team will convert the #61 from 2006 to the #37 for the 2007 season. The team has hired Bill Elliott to run a limited number of events, with Chad Chaffin slated to compete in the remainder of the schedule. Mark Tutor will serve has crew chief for the team. NASCAR veteran Gere Kennon will be Director of Competition and oversee the efforts of both teams. Both teams will run Dodge Chargers powered by motors built by Ernie Elliott Inc.(FRM PR)(2-8-2007)
  • McClure to attempt Daytona 500: Eric McClure hopes to be the “Cinderella Story” of the Daytona 500 as he makes his second attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. McClure’s first attempt dates back to February 2005 with Raabe Racing. Hefty Brand is making its second appearance as primary sponsor of the #04 Chevy during this year’s running of the Daytona 500, which is referred to by many as the Super Bowl of Auto Racing. Hefty Brand first adorned the hood of the No. 04 Chevrolet during the UAW- Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2006. The #04 will be fielded by Morgan McClure Motorsports (MMM), located in Abingdon, Virginia. Calling the shots for driver Eric McClure from atop the pit box is MMM veteran employee Robert Larkins. McClure will be attempting to qualify for his fourth career Nextel Cup Series event. McClure has a career best start of 27th (Talladega- October 2006) and a best finish of 26th (Talladega- April 2004). Morgan McClure Motorsports (MMM) and McClure participated in the first of two 3-day practice sessions at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month posting the 48th fastest time out of 64 cars with a time of 48.766 seconds.(Morgan McClure PR)(2-8-2007)
  • NASCAR Sports Grille to debut next week in Orlando: On Wednesday, February 14, 2007, there will be a Grand Opening of the NASCAR Sports Grille restaurant in the heart of Universal CityWalk in Orlando, FL. NASCAR Sports Grille is a celebration of cuisine, sports and all things NASCAR and features: a 37′ media wall, boothside interactive plasma screens, state-of-the-art speed simulators and games, NASCAR retail, museum quality memorabilia, a 20′ artistic adaptation of the Nextel Cup and an absolute dedication to quality food and service. The Cordish Company, a Baltimore, MD based real estate development and entertainment operating company is launching the NASCAR Sports Grille restaurants. Executives from The Cordish Company and NASCAR will be available for interviews and photos. Attending include NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France, #7 Ford driver Robby Gordon, rock group Collective Soul [a Jayski Fave] and David Cordish – Chairman, The Cordish Company.(PR)(2-8-2007)
  • Trackside to air 200th show: When Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond take the SPEED Stage Friday [Feb 9th] at Daytona to “work hard and play hard,” it will mark the 200th episode of the popular SPEED Friday night show Trackside Live. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin will be Trackside guests for show No. 200 on Feb. 9 at 8pm/et; 2006 Nextel Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson and Elliott Sadler will be guests on the Feb. 16 show at 6:30pm/et. Sadler will join the Trackside team every week during the second half of the season. This year, the SPEED Stage gets several major additions, including a 50-foot lighted SPEED Fan Tower to help fans find the stage on-site at every Nextel Cup Series race of the season.(SpeedTV.com)(2-8-2007)


    News from February 7, 2007

  • Without Pension, NASCAR Stars Forgotten: The living room of Sam Ard’s brown doublewide trailer speaks to his short but successful NASCAR career. Trophies surround the fireplace and crowd its mantel. Plaques and pictures dot the living room walls. What’s not there speaks to Ard’s life after NASCAR, the two championship rings and a handful of grandfather clocks from Martinsville Speedway that he sold because “we was running short on cash.” Unlike veterans of other sports, Ard has no pension to fall back on. As the booming stock-car series built by men such as Sam Ard heads to Daytona International Speedway this week to kick off its 59th season, NASCAR remains the only major-league sport without a pension plan. “You can drive for NASCAR, but when it’s over, it’s over. You get nothing,” Ard said. “When you fall out of racing or something happens to you, it seems like NASCAR just forgets about you. It’s your friends and the people around the race track who have to remember you and keep you going.”
    Other leagues have pensions. Today’s 10-year veterans in baseball will receive a six-figure annual payout beginning at age 62. Even middle-of-the-road professional golfers can pile up millions under the PGA Tour’s deferred-compensation plan, which puts money away for players based on performance. An NFL player with six seasons between 1998 and 2003 will get about $2,500 a month beginning at age 55, and the NBA has a similar plan. The NHL contributes about $45,000 per year to retirement accounts for veterans. The ATP and WTA tours make annual contributions averaging between $7,500 and $9,500 to retirement accounts for each tennis player. NASCAR’s policy always has been that its drivers are “independent contractors” who bear full responsibility for their finances, health care, retirement and life insurance. Few in NASCAR are arguing for a fund to help today’s drivers, who make millions from team contracts and even more from race purses and merchandise sales. Jeff Gordon, the sport’s all-time money leader, has won a record $82,366,716 through 14 full seasons and isn’t sure what the responsibility should be.(see full article at the Associated Press and more related articles on my Retired Drivers page)(2-7-2007)
  • Johnson’s All-Star Win Painting Unveiled: As part of the annual NASCAR Pre-Season Media tour the original painting depicting Jimmie Johnson’s/Hendrick Motorsports’ victory in the Nextel All-Star Challenge was unveiled. The unveiling was part of the press conference with Nextel, NASCAR and Lowe’s Motor Speedway executives announcing plans for the 2007 All-Star race. There will be 500 limited edition prints and 50 artist’s proof prints published. All will be autographed (Hand signed) by winning driver and 2007 Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. For additional information contact Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc. at 1-800-847-0043 or online at www.garryhill.com.(2-7-2007)
  • Marlin’s son plans to run some ARCA races: Steadman Marlin plans to run several races this season in the ARCA Series, driving for Wayne Day out of Goodlettsville, TN. Steadman, son of two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, will attempt to qualify for the Feb. 10 ARCA opener at Daytona. Other races include the two ARCA stops at Nashville Superspeedway and races at Talladega and Michigan. If his ARCA schedule permits, he also plans to run a full schedule at Music City Motorplex [Nashville, TN], where his father and grandfather combined for seven track championships.(Tennessean)(2-7-2007)
  • Ballew and Lester many attempt some Cup races: Craftsman Truck Series owner Billy Ballew, #15 Chevy with driver Bill Lester, says, “This team already has the capability to advance to the Cup level and we would like to run Bill Lester in a couple races this year, provided we have adequate funding. In 2008 we would run a select number Cup races in the car of tomorrow races with plans to run a full Cup season in 2009. This is a plan that we think can work and isn’t cost prohibitive to the investor. It has to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.”(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(2-7-2007)
  • Home Depot to Launch 2007 NASCAR Ad campaign: The Home Depot will debut a new NASCAR-themed television ad during the broadcast of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 that features two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. The spot accentuates The Home Depot’s brand promise of “know-how” by introducing the Tony Stewart Institute where Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, brings his on-track success and “know-how” to home improvement. During the 30-second spot, titled “Drills,” Stewart accidentally bumps into the corner of his desk and a screw falls loose. Addressing the freshman class of 2007, Stewart asks if anyone has a cordless drill. The class responds by raising their hand, each holding a cordless drill while still taking notes. Stewart looks up, and upon seeing the eager students proclaims, “This should be a good year.” The ads emphasize that the secret to success is “know-how,” whether the individual is an associate at the Tony Stewart Institute or a racing superstar. The commercials will air throughout FOX’s coverage of the Daytona 500 and during subsequent NASCAR races on the major television networks covering the 2007 Nextel Cup season. The Richards Group, based in Dallas, developed the commercials.(JGR/True Speed Commications PR)(2-7-2007)
  • Petty to TNT? to run less races UPDATE 4 yep: hearing that Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Racing Dodge, will be part of the TNT broadcast crew that airs six Nextel Cup races in June and July of 2007 and that Petty would not drive in some or all those six races, being replaced by another driver, no idea who that driver may be. Bill Weber will return as TNT’s play-by-play announcer and Wally Dallenbach returns as a race analyst.(1-20-2007)
    UPDATE: from a Clear!Blue/Dodge PR, Kyle Petty quotes during the Nextel Media Tour, day 2:
    DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO QUIT DRIVING? “No. All that stuff is back like it was last year. Wells Fargo has come back. We have a multi-year deal with Wells Fargo, with Marathon, with Tire Kingdom, with Coca-Cola. We had a huge promotion around the Nextel All-Star race last year with Coca-Cola. There is so much going on right now. I’m like one of those guys if you ever thought about cutting back, it just keeps getting busier with camp with Victory Junction with everything we do there. With everything that’s going on at Petty Enterprises, that’s good. I’m glad that’s story keeps moving because last year about this same time this was a hot story.”
    DO YOU HAVE OPTIONS TO WORK IN TV? “I’ve talked to the TNT people about numerous options. I did four or five races for them last year in the Busch Series. We had talked a month or so ago and obviously with Benny’s passing and with the way things have gone there hasn’t been a lot of communication lately. If I have an opportunity to do some stuff with them I would more than welcome the opportunity to do something at some point in time. If that’s this year, great. If it’s in two years or 10 years, that’s great, too. I just want to keep that option open. I could possibly do anything. There’s a couple of years there I sat out 10 or 15 just because I wasn’t fast enough. I can sit out any amount.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge PR)(1-24-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Petty said he’s intrigued by the idea of becoming a broadcaster and might make the change, on a part-time basis, as early as this summer. Petty said he has talked to Turner Sports officials about a position. “They’ve got six or seven races right in the middle of the season; they’ve got NBA stuff; they’ve got golf stuff,” Petty said. “If I wanted to go do something different and keep Kyle Petty’s face in the public, what better place to do it than a place like that?” Jeff Pomeroy, senior director of public relations for Turner Sports, said there have been preliminary discussions with Petty, who has broadcast for the company in the past, but no final determination has been made.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-25-2007)
    UPDATE 3: TNT will make a major announcement regarding its 2007 NASCAR coverage. TNT’s coverage of six Nextel Cup Series races begins June 10 with racing from Pocono followed by races at Michigan, Sonoma, New Hampshire, Daytona and Chicago.(TNT PR)
    AND: #45-Kyle Petty figures driving in a Nextel Cup race while he calls it on TV won’t be that big a deal. So TNT will formally announce Wednesday that Petty will be an analyst on its six Cup races this summer, and call one — the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma, Calif. — as he races in it. “There’s constant communication between drivers and their spotters and crew chiefs anyway,” says Petty, 47. “Really, just pushing another button and talking to millions of people won’t be a ton different. Maybe I’ll have to clean up my language.” Petty told TNT he didn’t want to miss that race because he likes road courses. And, in planning to run all Cup races except ones he’ll call for TNT, he says it’s “still my No. 1 priority to drive cars. Or maybe I’d be begging for a seat in the (TV) booth.” Kyle kept the idea of working on TV “at arm’s length” and says he only appeared on some TNT Busch Series races this summer because TNT analyst Benny Parsons— whom Kyle says he’s known “forever” — needed an occasional fill-in. Parsons was diagnosed with lung cancer in July and died last month after months of treatment that seemed to have been going successfully. Kyle says he’s not a replacement: “I’ll be really clear about this: Nobody can fill Benny’s shoes. I’m not taking his place. I’m in his seat, but Benny will always be there.” As an announcer, Petty says he’ll avoid “guessing what drivers are thinking” and remember TV announcers “are just there for decoration.” And, he says, he might want to pursue future TV work because it fits with his overall goal in life: “If I can float through and say I never had a full-time job, I’ll see myself as successful.”(USA Today)(2-7-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Turner Network Television (TNT) announced today a multi-year contract agreement with Nextel Cup Series driver Kyle Petty to serve as an analyst for the network’s Nextel Cup Series race coverage. Petty will take a five-week hiatus as driver of the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge car for Petty Enterprises, marking the first time a Petty will not be behind the wheel in the Nextel Cup Series for an extended period of time since his grandfather, Lee Petty, raced in NASCAR’s Elite Series in 1949. Kyle Petty will join announcers Bill Weber (play-by-play) and Wally Dallenbach (analyst) for TNT’s six consecutive Nextel Cup Series races in 2007, beginning on Sunday, June 10 from Pocono Raceway and concluding on July 15 from the Chicagoland Speedway. On Sunday, June 24, Petty will provide analysis from behind the wheel of his #45 Dodge throughout TNT’s coverage of the Nextel Cup Series race live from Infineon Speedway in Sonoma, CA. Petty previously served as an analyst alongside Weber and Dallenbach in 2006 for five Busch Series races on TNT.(TNT PR), no driver has been named for the five races Petty will miss, have heard no rumors…yet.(2-7-2007)
  • Kimmel and Hillenburg team up for Daytona 500: Eight-time ARCA Series Champion, Frank Kimmel will attempt to make his first career start in the Daytona 500 Nextel Cup Series race with the help of fellow ARCA Champion Andy Hillenburg. Kimmel will pilot the #71 FastTrack Ford for the Speed Week events including Sunday’s qualifying round as well as Thursday’s Gatorade Duels which will determine Kimmel’s spot in the starting field for the Daytona 500. Kimmel has made seven previous Nextel Cup Series starts in his career with his best starting position coming at the Talladega Superspeedway in 2002 of 29th and his best finish of 26th came at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October of 2002 while competing for team owner, Travis Carter. Kimmel has many starts at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway including 15 ARCA Series starts, one Craftsman Truck Series start where he finished eighth in 2004 and last season’s IROC start where he finished in the third position. “There are a lot of very strong cars and drivers that put a tremendous amount of work into their cars just to come to Daytona and attempt to make the field,” said Kimmel. “The FastTrack Racing team is no exception, Andy (Hillenburg) and his team has put together a great car and it would be a great accomplishment for all of us to earn a starting position in the Daytona 500. I do think there is some advantage to having a lot of experience drafting when it comes to making this race because of the unique qualifying format of the Gatorade Duels. That race will be all about keeping my nose clean, but finishing high enough to earn a place in Sunday’s race.” Kimmel will compete in Saturday’s Daytona ARCA 200 event prior to Sunday’s initial qualifying round for the Daytona 500 and will have only two practice sessions in preparation for Thursday’s Gatorade Duels.(LM Motorsports Marketing PR)(2-7-2007)
  • ‘Fireball’s’ daughter wants to document ‘Daddy’s’ life: Roberts Trivette wants to write a book to share her side of the story about the man whose friends knew as Glenn, his family knew as “Bubbie” and Daddy and the millions of old-time NASCAR fans knew as “Fireball.”
    “The title is ‘Fireball Roberts, his Daughter’s Story of his Career,’ ” Roberts Trivette said. “This is letting everyone know this is coming from me who lived it, who is living to tell it. Mother (Doris) told it in any interview she was ever asked to do, whether it be newspaper or television, and she did an awesome job with it because my mother dedicated her life to preserve his memory.” Roberts, born in Tavares and raised in Apopka, earned his nickname not from racing but from his prowess as a pitcher on a local American Legion baseball team. He went on to become one of the sport’s premier drivers, winning 33 races — including the 1962 Daytona 500 — before being fatally injured in a fiery wreck at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1964 when Pam was 13 years old.(more at Florida Today)(2-7-2007)
  • Sponsor joins Hylton’s Daytona 500 effort: Retirement Living TV has come aboard as a co-sponsor of James Hylton’s #58 Chevy at Daytona. The channel is available on Comcast and DirecTV and is geared toward senior citizens.(St Petersburg Times)
    AND Retirement Living TV is proud to announce a primary sponsorship of the #58 Retirement Living Chevy driven by James Hylton. The sponsorship begins this weekend when the JC Weaver-owned team begins their quest to race in this year’s Daytona 500 at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. Retirement Living TV aims to inform, involve and inspire fans and improve America’s image, attitudes and perception of aging. Hylton,72, hopes to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest driver to qualify for the prestigious Daytona 500. “TV for Your Freedom Years” can be seen in over 26 million homes nationwide. Its programming highlights topics that include health, lifestyle, finance and politics. The network is the first created for viewers age 55 and up. Hylton begins preparation for the Daytona 500 this Saturday when the team hits the track for practice. The team will then participate in pole qualifying on Sunday. Retirement Living TV (www.rl.tv) launched on September 5, 2006 and can be seen in 26 million homes.(Moore Consulting Group PT)(2-7-2007)
  • Alltel puts name on race: Alltel Wireless, sponsor of Ryan Newman’s #12 Alltel Dodge, will make a major announcement early next week regarding what is rumored to be a race unlike any other – the Alltel “My Circle 500.” The pursuit begins February 13, 2007. To learn more, fans can visit mycircle500.com. Also two time champion (’84 & ’96) Terry Labonte is getting back into racing this season. Labonte is making his return in the highly anticipated Alltel “My Circle 500.”(alltel Racing PR), also see some images I came accross of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(2-7-2007)
  • DEI signs development driver? UPDATE 2: hearing that Jeff Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt, has signed a development deal with DEI that will have him driving a second car owned by Andy Santerre to team up with Sean Caisse in the NASCAR Busch East Series, with a few potential Busch Series races with DEI.(1-14-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. didn’t have to look very far to find its soon-to-be newest driver. He shares a last name with organization’s founder. Jeffrey Earnhardt, the 17-year-old grandson of Dale Earnhardt, will compete in the NASCAR Busch East Series next season in a Chevrolet prepared by DEI, said Tam Topham, who fielded cars for Earnhardt last year at Motor Mile Speedway. An official announcement about the fourth-generation driver’s future should come next week at the NASCAR preseason media tour in Charlotte, N.C, his stepmother, Rene, confirmed. The son of Kerry Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will share time between Busch East, the UARA Late Model touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (formerly the Dodge Weekly Series). A handful of Late Model dirt track starts could also be in the cards. “This week or next week, they’re going to try to have everything finalized,” Topham said. “His mom and dad and DEI and himself — they’re all working out the particulars.” DEI will field the Busch East entry exclusively; Topham will be under contract with Kerry Earnhardt to oversee the Late Model and UARA operations out of his Wytheville-based TAMCO Motorsports shop. Jeffrey Earnhardt’s 2007 schedule will include up to eight races in a Late Model at Motor Mile as well as the Bailey’s 300 at Martinsville Speedway in late September. Busch East, along with the NASCAR AutoZone West Series, is a regional feeder division for NASCAR’s three national series — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck. Jeffrey Earnhardt’s Late Model Stock car will have #01. The news of Earnhardt’s deal with DEI comes just days after Kerry Earnhardt took a full-time position with the company. The elder Earnhardt will serve as a liaison between the organization’s Cup and Busch programs and make cameo driving appearances.(Roanoke Times)(1-20-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Teresa Earnhardt announced that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has officially signed Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of Dale Earnhardt and son of Kerry Earnhardt, to a long-term driving services contract. “In his young career to date, Jeffrey has displayed many of the attributes we are looking for in a driver,” said Mrs. Earnhardt. “Experience will be key to developing and preparing Jeffrey to progress to and compete at higher levels.” Earnhardt, 17, has competed on the Late Model series, and most recently took part in the General Motors Developmental Program where he performed impressively. “Signing with DEI is a dream come true,” said Earnhardt. “To progress as a driver at the premier organization that Dale and Teresa built means a lot to me. I know I’ll be surrounded with the right equipment to take me to the next level, so now it’s up to me to prove myself.” Initially, Earnhardt will be a DEI developmental driver, driving Chevrolets fielded by Andy Santerre Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch East Series. Earnhardt will also drive Chevrolets in the UARA Late Model Touring Series.(DEI PR)(2-7-2007)


    News from February 6, 2007

  • Motorsports This Week on ESPN: In advance of ESPN’s return to live NASCAR racing coverage, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, four of the most successful and popular Nextel Cup drivers, will participate in a special roundtable discussion with ESPN motorsports analyst and 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace to be aired on the 11:00pm/et edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter on Sunday, Feb. 11. The discussion will originate from Daytona International Speedway and portions of the roundtable will also be available on ESPN.com; ESPN360, ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio. As the 2007 NASCAR season begins to kick into high gear, NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first-ever daily news show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will be aired at a special time of 6:00pm/et on Friday, Feb. 9, on ESPN2. Host Erik Kuselias will be joined in the NASCAR Now studio by NASCAR driver Stacy Compton for analysis and NASCAR insider Tim Cowlishaw, columnist for the Dallas Morning News. Beginning Monday, Feb. 12, the show will originate from Daytona International Speedway in advance of ESPN2’s telecast of the NASCAR Busch Series Orbitz 300 on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 1:15pm/et. ESPN will air an hour-long version of the show at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by a half-hour episode on ESPN2 at 6:30pm/et. Reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake and NASCAR Insiders Angelique Chengelis and Marty Smith will also contribute to NASCAR Now, and Doug Banks will share the host role. ESPN2, which will have more than 1,100 hours of motorsports programming this year, will continue to help NASCAR fans get ready for the coming season by re-airing four episodes of NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop this week. The hour-long program gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at NASCAR drivers and their families during the busy racing season. NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop will air at 5:30pm/et starting Tuesday, Feb. 6, and episodes will follow on Wednesday and Thursday, preceding ESPN2’s NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now at 6:30pm/et NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop will move to 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 9, followed at 6:00pm/et by a one-hour NASCAR Now. A repeat episode of Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era will air on ESPN2 Sunday, Feb. 11, at 10:00am/et. Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the Nextel Cup Series. A new episode of SpeedFreaks will highlight the week’s programming in the ESPN2 Garage block of automotive and motorsports shows on ESPN2. The episode will air at 11:30am/et on Saturday, Feb. 10. A motorsports and lifestyle show, SpeedFreaks blends superstar motorsports pilots with actors and musical guests, all while positioning ‘The Freak Nation’ in a unique, cutting edge format unlike anything else in the racing world. The Freaks also ask their own brand of questions en route to covering the broad spectrum of the industry.(ESPN PR)(2-6-2007)
  • UMI releases 2007 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide: The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide 2007 marks the magazine’s 21st year of being the trackside companion since 1986. The 2007 Press Guide waves the green flag on the beginning on this year’s racing action with nearly 450 pages of the most accurate and valued sources of information highlighting and previewing every NASCAR series across the country. The Press Guide will be available on newsstands beginning February 6th or copies may be ordered directly from UMI at 800-747-9287 or www.umibooks.com.(2-6-2007)
  • Kurt Busch to run Gold scheme at Bud Shootout UPDATE: #2-Burt Busch will run a special gold paint scheme in the Bud Shootout, to promote and congratulate Miller Lite Beer for winning the World Beer Cup, Golden Award Winner in 2006. See the images on my #2 Team Scemes page.(2-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Miller Brewing Company today announced it will paint Kurt Busch’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge with an all-gold scheme for the February 10 Bud Shootout. The one-race re-design honors Miller Lite’s fourth gold award in the American-Style Light Lager category at the World Beer Cup. The car will be painted from front to back in gold paint and will feature the World Beer Cup logo and “World Beer Cup Winner” on the hood, spoiler and rear quarter panels. Miller Lite won its fourth gold in the prestigious bi-annual competition in 2006. The 2006 Brewers Association World Beer Cup is the world’s largest and most diverse international beer competition for commercial breweries, this year touting 2,221 entries from 540 breweries in 56 countries, including all other major breweries. The World Beer Cup has been held every other year since 1996 and is presented by the Association of Brewers, a not-for-profit educational and trade organization founded in 1978 that is dedicated to the promotion of quality beers and brewing throughout the world. The Association also hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival and is based in Boulder, Colo. Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is excited about driving a gold car in this weekend’s Bud Shootout. “Gold is a color long-associated with great achievements,” Kurt said. “Gold always signifies the best in class, and that’s what we’re constantly striving for on the track. And I know the folks in Milwaukee take great pride in the unmatched quality of Miller Lite. We’d love to kick off the 2007 season by putting this awesome looking car in Victory Lane.” Until recently, Kurt was not aware of the great competitive history of Miller-sponsored gold cars at Daytona. “Someone pointed out that Bobby Allison was driving a gold-colored Miller car when he won the ’88 Daytona 500 in that super-exciting battle with his son, Davey,” Kurt said from Las Vegas last Saturday (2/3/07). “It’s nice to know that there is such good fortune associated in the past with the gold color scheme at Daytona. Man, wouldn’t it be cool to follow in Bobby’s footsteps and win the Shootout in another gold Miller car?” The record book also shows that Allison claimed Daytona wins in the 1987 Pepsi 400 and his 1988 “Twin-125” qualifying race behind the wheel of gold Miller-sponsored cars.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-6-2007)
  • Wells Fargo teams up with Petty again in 2007: Wells Fargo & Company and Petty Enterprises announced the extension of their NASCAR sponsorship arrangement. The 2007 season represents the fifth year the financial services company has sponsored Petty Enterprises, which includes the Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte cars as well as a partnership with The King of NASCAR, Richard Petty. Kyle Petty’s #45 will carry a full-car red and gold Wells Fargo paint scheme in 12 races during the 2007 season as the car’s primary sponsor, starting with the Daytona 500. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $482 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,000 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. “We’re proud to have Wells Fargo continue its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises,” said Kyle Petty. “They are the premier financial services company in the U.S. and an excellent partner with our other top-quality sponsors, like General Mills, Marathon Oil, Tire Kingdom and Coca Cola.”(Petty Enterprises/Wells Fargo PR)(2-6-2007)
  • Johnson meets with President Bush: Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was honored today in Washington, D.C. for his 2006 championship. The day began with an Oval Office meeting with President George W. Bush, who congratulated Johnson on his victory. Joining Johnson was team owner Rick Hendrick, Lowes Corporation CEO Robert Niblock, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR president Mike Helton. Following the White House visit the group made its way up Pennsylvania Ave to the Capitol where they were greeted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. After that meeting, Johnson and the group made their way across the Capitol for a Senate reception led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Also attending the meeting to congratulate Johnson was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Seanator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Bob Casey (D-PA).(NASCAR Media)(2-6-2007)
  • NASCAR looking at FlexAll for entrance to pit road: During a race on Virgina’s Richmond International Raceway in 2003, Nascar driver Robby Gordon lost control of his car as he roared into the pit at 55mph. He smashed sideways into the concrete slab that separates the crew from the pit road and wrecked his car. Luckily, he didn’t do the same to his body. Had he hit the divider head-on, the collision could have transferred a 100G-force jolt to his body, more than enough to kill him.
    In an effort to reduce such a nasty risk, Nascar has turned to scientists at Battelle, an R&D company in Columbus, Ohio. Their solution: a new hyper-elastic material called FlexAll that deforms to absorb an incoming force and then bounces back to its original shape within minutes. After molding the FlexAll into honeycomb-like columns, the researchers repeatedly slammed racecars into it at speeds up to 100 mph. The plastic behaved identically crash after crash, absorbing 92% of an impact’s energy each time. In road tests, the cushion reduced maximum G load on the driver by an impressive 60%.
    Not just racers but everyday motorists stand to benefit too—Battelle has developed a highway version that can catch vehicles as big as a Hummer, traveling at speeds up to 60 mph. Both barrier systems await final approval from Nascar and the Federal Highway Administration and could be on a road or racetrack near you as soon as this summer.(Popular Science)(2-6-2007)
  • Whitt to run ARCA race at Daytona: Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year contender #72-Brandon Whitt will attempt to make his second ARCA race this weekend at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). The #51 Brandon Whitt Racing (BWR) Toyota will be among 70 competitors attempting to make the 41-car field for Saturday afternoon’s ARCA 200. Whitt, who will be attempting his first ever ARCA and Cup races at DIS, has two career Craftsman Truck Series starts at the high banks of Daytona. Sponsorship for Daytona is still available on the #51 BWR Toyota.(Global Performance Group PR)(2-6-2007)
  • Olympia Steel Buildings join Petty’s as assoc sponsor: Olympia Steel Buildings announced that they have entered an agreement with Petty Enterprises to be the “Official Steel Building” of Petty Enterprises and an associate sponsor for drivers #43-Bobby Labonte and #45-Kyle Petty for the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Under the agreement with Petty Enterprises, the Olympia Steel Buildings logo will be featured on the uniform sleeve of both Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty. In addition, discounts for Olympia Steel Buildings will be given to 2007 Richard Petty Driving Experience participants and NASCAR fans who are visitors to Olympia’s website www.olympiabuildings.com.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(2-6-2007)


    News from February 5, 2007

  • NASCAR and ESPN Zone team up for Daytona 500 party: The 2007 Nextel Cup Season gets underway on Sunday, February 18th with the “Great American Race,” the Daytona 500. NASCAR, Q 104.3 FM and ESPN Zone are going to be holding an official Daytona 500 Viewing Party at ESPN Zone in New York.
    Who: NASCAR, Q 104.3 FM and ESPN Zone.
    What: The official New York City Daytona 500 Viewing Party.
    Where: ESPN Zone, located at 1472 Broadway on the corner of 42nd and Broadway in Times Square.
    When: Sunday, February 18th from 2:00 – 6:00pm/et.
    Promotions for the viewing party include a Lap Leader Ballot and Trivia Contests. The Lap Leader Ballot will be distributed to guests prior to the start of the race. Viewers will guess the correct lap leader after laps 50, 100, 150 and 200 (race winner). Winners of the lap leader ballot contest will be entered to win NASCAR prizes. Winners of the trivia contests will receive Nextel Cup Series t-shirts, NASCAR hats, and Anheuser Busch/Dale Jr. Premiums.(NASCAR PR)(2-5-2007)
  • Grubb named crew chief of #25 Chevy: Hendrick Motorsports named Darian Grubb crew chief of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevys driven by Casey Mears in the Nextel Cup Series. The 31-year-old Grubb will lead the team into the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. “Darian is one of the most respected voices in our organization and has proven to be a terrific leader,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “He and Casey represent an exciting new combination for the #25 team, its sponsors and its fans.” Grubb, who holds a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, joined Hendrick Motorsports from Petty Enterprises in January 2003, assuming the role of team engineer for the #48 Chevys led by crew chief Chad Knaus. A native of Floyd, Va., Grubb was interim crew chief during the first four races of the #48 team’s 2006 campaign, leading driver Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories [including the Daytona 500], one runner-up finish and a sixth-place effort. Grubb assumes the duties of Lance McGrew, who will remain with Hendrick Motorsports in a leadership role.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-5-2007)
  • Jim Beam renews with Robby Gordon for 12 races in 2007: Jim Beam The Official Spirit of Racing, announced that it will continue its partnership with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) as a primary sponsor of the #7 Ford driven by team owner and veteran driver Robby Gordon during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. “We’re excited to continue our relationship with Robby Gordon as a primary sponsor in 2007 and look forward to supporting his endeavors to capture his first win as an independent driver and owner in the NASCAR(r) Nextel Cup Series,” said Brian Gallagher, manager of Jim Beam Racing. Jim Beam will sponsor 12 races in 2007 which marks the third year of the partnership with RGM. Gordon and Ford Motor Company recently announced the signing of a manufacturer agreement aligning Ford Racing Technology and the #7 car. This will be the first season that Gordon will drive a Ford since the 2000 Cup season. “RGM continues to put a competitive car on the track because of the experience and capabilities of everyone involved,” said Gordon. “We are excited to build on our partnership with Jim Beam and look forward to a strong racing program both on and off the track with the #7 Jim Beam Ford Fusion.” Jim Beam will utilize its sponsorship of Gordon and the #7 Ford to support the Beam Global Spirits & Wine drink smart initiative. Jim Beam and Beam Global Spirits & Wine will execute programs, with help from Robby Gordon, throughout the 2007 racing season that focus on preventing underage drinking and drunk driving. Details for the 2007 Jim Beam Racing drink smart program will be announced at a later date.(Ketchum Public Relations PR)(2-5-2007)
  • Millikan released and home in NC: Former Cup driver, Joe Millikan, who was injured in a multi-vehicle accident outside of El Paso, TX on Wednesday, was released from Thomason Hospital on Friday afternoon. Millikan returned home to North Carolina on Saturday, February 3. Millikan was one of two Roush Racing employees injured when the #6 Nextel Cup transporter was involved in an accident returning home from a test session in Las Vegas, Nev. Justin Grebe, the driver of the transporter, was treated, released and returned home to North Carolina on January 31.(Roush Racing PR), see the intial news and past updates on my #6 Team News and Links page.(2-5-2007)
  • DEI Testing at Lakeland? hearing DEI is testing at USA Speedway in Lakeland FL, supposedly #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr and #1-Martin Truex Jr. are testing and #15-Paul Menard may be testing too.(2-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Menard is not in Lakeland testing, but is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway testing a Busch car.(2-5-2007)
  • Petty’s may now run Busch Series: One team–Petty Enterprises–stands to gain when Busch drops out of the Busch Series after this season. The company, which does not associate with alcohol-based advertising [also No Bud sticker on the #43 or #45, so even if a pole is won, doesn’t get pole award or entry into Bud Shootout], long has resisted running in the series because of the title sponsor. Now, Petty Enterprises might run in the series, which could help its Cup efforts.(Sporting News), Kyle Petty did own a Busch team, #45 Spree/Sprint Chevy] in 1999-2000 with Adam Petty before he was killed practicing at NHIS in May 2000, then Kyle took over the #45 for 15 races to finish out the season. They last ran in the series in 2001 with Steve Grissom in the #45 at Daytona.(2-5-2007)
  • Rusty back at the Indy 500: ABC will pull Rusty Wallace off his NASCAR broadcasting gig to put him back in the booth at Indy this May, he told the Journal Sentinel. The 1989 Winston Cup champion also will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July for the debut of the ABC / ESPN portion of the Nextel Cup schedule. “I’ve got an opportunity this year to do what I don’t know that anyone’s done,” said Wallace, who worked the Indy Racing League telecasts last season. “It doesn’t mean a lot to most people, but to me it’s really important as a driver an now as a broadcaster that I can say, ‘You know what? I got to call the IRL, I got call the Indy 500, I got to call the Chase for the championship, I got to call basically all of NASCAR and I got to come back and call the Indy 500 again.’ “(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(2-5-2007)
  • ‘Moonshine’ to debit on Tuesday: Moonshine, Rot Gut, White Lightning. It’s the rebel liquor that sparked a deadly war between bootleggers and the law, launched NASCAR as a nationwide sensation, and still pours freely in unexpected places. Who’s making moonshine, and what crafty trickskeep them one step ahead of the law? Is moonshine safe to drink, or are there unexpected dangers lurking in every jar? National Geographic Channel will travel the Appalachian backwoods, and discover real stills in action. The debut show airs Tuesday, February 6, 2007, at 9:00pm/et.(National Geographic Channel site)(2-5-2007)

News from February 11, 2007

  • Gilliland wins the pole for the Daytona 500: #38-David Gilliland won the Budweiser Pole for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 186.320mph for his 2nd career pole and first pole at Daytona. Gilliland’s teammate, #88-Ricky Rudd will start 2nd, on the outside pole. The rest of the top-five are #40-David Stremme, #42-Juan Montoya and #6-David Ragan, but only the top two drivers are guaranteed their spots after qualifying Sunday. Three drivers not in the top-35 owners points [from 2006] are guaranteed to make the Daytona 500: #60-Boris Said, #14-Sterling Marlin and #70 Johnny Sauter. Plus #44-Dale Jarrett is in the race for sure as he is first on the list to use the past champion provisional. #00-David Reutimann was the fastest Toyota, 15th fastest. See the qualifying results on my Daytona Starting Lineup Qualifying/Grid Page.(2-11-2007)
  • Smaller fuel tank, new tire for Vegas UPDATE: NASCAR announced that the Nextel Cup cars will be required to use 13-gallon fuel cells at Las Vegas, instead of the 17 gallon tank that is to be used for the rest of the tracks this season. Also the tire that was used in Las Vegas testing in January will be changed. The reason: the new track surface and configuration at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There were many accidents and the speeds were much higher. NASCAR did the same thing a couple years ago when Lowe’s Motor Speedway levitated then resurfaced the track.(2-11-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will use a smaller fuel cell and a different tire compound for the Nextel Cup and Busch races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 10-11. “We decided to go with a 13-gallon fuel tank for Las Vegas,” said Pemberton. “We discussed it with Goodyear and felt we have the potential for some of the same issues we had at the Charlotte track last year.” The fuel cell this season for most races is 17.5 gallons. Using a smaller fuel cell will cause the teams to pit at shorter intervals, enabling crew members to check tire wear and make changes frequently, if needed. NASCAR officials were concerned with tire wear last year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after the surface was repaved, which added additional grip. The Las Vegas track was completely rebuilt in the offseason, adding increased banking to the new surface. Cup teams tested at the 1.5-mile two weeks ago and the Busch teams were there last week. Some drivers complained about the speeds the cars were reaching on the new asphalt, along with the hardness of the tires. “Goodyear has decided to change the left-side compound [at Las Vegas] and maybe a construction that is different from the tests,” Pemberton said. “As we go into the day and age with new pavement, the surface is a little too abrasive right off. We just need one race under our belts. We have to get a little time on the racetrack.” (ESPN.com)
    AND LVMS statement regarding smaller fuel cells for NASCAR Weekend: “NASCAR’s decision to use 13-gallon fuel cells for both the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Sam’s Town 300 will make for an even more exciting race,” said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. “With the increase in the banking from 12 to 20 degrees, there are a lot of unknowns including race set up and tire compounds the teams will face for both races. This decision should keep the racing tighter and give the teams more opportunities to measure tire wear.” “Plus, we moved the pit road 275 feet closer to the grandstands, so this will give all of the race fans even more opportunities to watch the excitement of the all-important pit stops.”(LVMS PR)(2-11-2007)
  • BP Honored in ARCA race: Each of the ARCA Re/Max Series cars in the 41-car field ay Daytona on Saturday were adorned with a yellow-on-black “BP” sticker as a tribute to the late Benny Parsons, who won the ARCA Series’ 1968 and 1969 championships, the 1969 Daytona 200 and three Daytona 200 poles.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-11-2007)
  • Commercial Breakdown for the 2007 Bud Shootout:
    Total number of commercials: 72
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 41
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 9
    (companies: Fox HDTV on Comcast; Chevy; DirecTV; NAPA; Pizza Hut; Toyota; Ford; Lowes; Fox 3D cam)
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 35 sec.
    Also, there was the following race statistic during the broadcast, sponsored by one company:
    Pizza Hut Race Summary
    Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00 P.M.
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:00 P.M.
    Total minutes: 120
    Minutes of race broadcast: 88
    Minutes of commercials: 32
    Total race brdcst time: 88 min Total comm. brdcst time: 32 min
    (see full report at CawsnJaws.com)(2-11-2007)
  • Yates to turn over Cup team to son Doug in 2008: Robert Yates [owner of #38 & #88 teams in Cup] plans to turn over the running of his Nextel Cup organization to his son, Doug, after this season. This will be Yates’ 40th season in the industry since beginning with Holman-Moody in 1967. “We’re giving it a shot so this year I can quit while I’m ahead,” Yates said on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. “Hopefully, I can quit and get in the rocking chair and watch Doug do what he’s going to do for the next 20 years.” Yates added that Jack Roush’s decision to sell 50% of Roush Racing to John Henry and Fenway Sports Group in Boston — an official announcement will be made Wednesday — will only strengthen the engine program he shares with Roush. Yates said he will own 50% of the engine program, with Roush and Fenway Sports Group getting 25% each.(ESPN.com)(2-11-2007)
  • DEI Prez happy with Dale Jr. contract negotiations: Dale Earnhardt Inc. President of Global Operations Max Siegel said Saturday he is pleased with the way negotiations are going with driver #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. but would not talk about specifics. “The lines of communication are open,” Siegel said Saturday night prior to the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s not prudent to talk about the substance of the negotiations. Everything is moving in a positive direction.” Earnhardt Jr., son of the late Dale Earnhardt and stepson of owner Teresa Earnhardt, is under contract through the 2007 season. “It’s a top priority for us,” said Siegel, who started Feb. 1. “Things have a natural rhythm to it. So as long as we continue to talk about [it] and as long as we continue to focus on it, I think it will resolve itself when it is supposed to.” On Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted to own a majority of the team. “I try not to read the press, so I can focus on making sure that we can reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial and keeping him part of the family forever,” Siegel said. Siegel, a former gospel music executive, met Wednesday with Earnhardt Jr. and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who handles Earnhardt Jr.’s business affairs. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dale Jr.,” Siegel said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kelley and Teresa Earnhardt. I just want to focus on the issues we need to focus on to have a long-term relationship.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-11-2007)
  • Fire-Dex Teams Up with Yeley as assoc sponsor: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced a partnership with Fire-Dex, LLC of Medina, Ohio, who will join the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by J.J. Yeley as an associate sponsor for the entire 2007 Nextel Cup Series schedule. Fire-Dex, a leading manufacturer of protective firefighting clothing and emergency response apparel, will be featured on the “B-post” of Yeley’s car, which is the area between the side windows. The company is entering its second year of involvement with a Nextel Cup team. In addition to the B-post decal, the Fire-Dex shield will appear on Yeley’s driver uniform, the #18 team transporter and the #18 team pit box. Fire-Dex will also use Yeley’s #18 Chevy at its booth during two major fire industry trade shows, including the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) in mid-April and the IAFC (International Association of Fire Chiefs) conference in late August. For more information on Fire-Dex, log onto www.firedex.com.(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(2-11-2007)


    News from February 10, 2007

  • Stewart wins Bud Shootout: #20-Tony Stewart won his third Budweiser Shootout, passing #5-Kyle Busch [who led the most laps, 39 of 70] with eight laps to go and held off a hard charging #38-David Gilliland [finished 2nd]. #2-Kurt Busch was 3rd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson and #29-Kevin Harvick. Pole sitter #44-Dale Jarrett [in a Toyota] never led a lap and fell to the back of the pack with an ill-handling car and finished 17th. #24-Jeff Gordon [21st] and #12-Ryan Newman [20th] both had engine problems and failed to finish the race. As Stewart was to take the checkered flag to win, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into #19-Elliott Sadler, who then got into #11-Denny Hamlin, who spun into the wall and collected #9-Kasey Kahne. See my 2007 Budweiser Shootout page for final results, segment 1 results, lineup, practice speeds, rules and more.(2-10-2007)
  • New sponsor for Menard? UPDATE: hearing that #15-Paul Menard will make a sponsorship announcement on Saturday morning at Daytona. No word if it is for the Busch or Nextel Cup Series.(2-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Long-time racing supporter and sponsor to some of the most celebrated drivers in motorsports history, Old World Industries of Northbrook, Illinois, has today announced that its PEAK Antifreeze brand will re-enter Nextel Cup in 2007 by entering into an agreement with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated [DEI] to sponsor top Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Paul Menard and the #15 PEAK/Menards DEI Chevy. Menard, entering his first full season of Nextel Cup action, will have PEAK adorn his #15 Chevy throughout the entire 2007 season. PEAK will serve as Primary sponsor during Speedweeks at Daytona, and in the Fall Bristol Nextel Cup race. Menard will also appear within PEAK advertising, promotions and in-store merchandising programs at Menards stores throughout the United States. For Speedweeks in 2007, it will defintely be “PEAK Week” in Daytona. In addition to seeing the iconic PEAK mountain logo on the hood of the #15 DEI Nextel Cup Chevy, PEAK will also adorn the hood of DEI’s #15 PEAK/Menards Busch Series car (also driven by Menard) for Saturday’s race, as well as the hood of Thorsports’ #88 PEAK/Menards Chevy (driven by Matt Crafton) for Friday’s Craftsman Truck Series race. PEAK Antifreeze can be found at major retailers like Menards, AutoZone, Advance, CSK, NAPA, O’Reilly, Pep Boys, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and Walgreens. In total, Old World products are sold on the shelves of more than 200,000 outlets nationwide, across every retail channel – whether automotive, mass merchandise, home/hardware, food/drug, or convenience. For more information about PEAK see www.peakantifreeze.com.(PR), see an image of the car on my #15 Team Schemes page.(2-10-2007)
  • Ginn Racing Contracts with Martin to Mentor Development Drivers: Ginn Racing has contracted with Mark Martin Performance to oversee the company’s driver development program, which includes Ricky Carmichael, Matt Martin and Matt Bowers. All three are Florida residents — Carmichael (27, Tallahassee), Martin (15, Daytona Beach) and Bowers (15, Mount Dora). Martin will work with the development drivers while they compete in the late model and super model divisions at Florida race tracks. Once the drivers graduate from Martin’s tutelage, they will join Ginn Racing’s North Carolina-based development program that will include the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. “I don’t believe you can ask for anyone better than Mark to oversee the development program and mentor the young drivers,” said Jay Frye, Ginn Racing’s CEO and general manager. “Having Mark in this capacity will only enhance our development program and the future of Ginn Racing.” Martin, who drives the #01 U.S. Army Chevy for Ginn Racing, said, “I love to compete and I love to teach. And I have the best of both worlds with Ginn Racing. I look forward to this role and know that it’s going to be a lot of fun instructing a group of young drivers who share a passion for racing.”(Ginn Racing PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Stewart has no plans to run Indy 500 again: Tony Stewart’s efforts to win the Indianapolis 500 appear to have ended. Asked about whether or not he’d ever run in the event again, the former open-wheel star who has won two NASCAR Cup championships said that he wouldn’t completely rule it out, but he couldn’t really envision it. “I’ve learned to never say never, but I look at my life as a book, and it’s kind of like it’s a chapter that’s either on its last page or almost closed,” Stewart said. “My [Joe Gibbs Racing] contract takes me to 39, and I don’t see myself getting back into IndyCar at the age of 39.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-10-2007)
  • Fenway Sports Group/Roush deal completed, announced the 14th: A group of investors led by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has completed a deal to buy a 50% stake in the Roush Racing NASCAR team, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday. Although team owner Jack Roush is selling half of the team to the Fenway Sports Group, Roush will continue to run the team’s competitive operations, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced. Both parties have scheduled a Feb. 14 news conference at Jackie Robinson Ballpark [105 E. Orange Ave., Daytona Beach], a minor league facility near Daytona International Speedway. Roush, who was wearing his trademark fedora as he supervised his drivers at Daytona International Speedway on Friday evening, declined comment.(Associated Press)
    also Roush Racing announced a major announcement with Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) executives; Red Sox players and Roush Racing drivers on Wednesday, February 14 at 5:30pm/et(Roush Racing PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Blaney testing COT: #22-Dave Blaney is scheduled to test the Car of Tomorrow [COT} on Monday & Tuesday [2/12, 2/13] at USA Speedway in Lakeland, FL.(Sirius Satelitte Radio NASCAR Channel)(2-10-2007)
  • Waltrip partners up with Wells for the #00 team: Michael Waltrip Racing has partnered with PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells for the ownership of the #00 Domino’s/Burger King Toyota. The team will be known as Waltrip-PPI Racing with Michael Waltrip Racing as the managing partner, MWR general manager Ty Norris said Friday. That means the car, driven by David Reutimann, will have the points of the #32 car from last season, which was 37th in points and not in the top 35 to be locked in for the first five races. Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby confirmed Friday those points only help in case of a rainout of all qualifying for the Daytona 500 (and possibly at the expense of the Waltrip’s #55). Having qualifying wiped out for the Daytona 500 is a highly unlikely scenario with four days to get qualifying speeds posted and three days to get the 150-mile qualifying races completed. If qualifying gets rained out at other tracks, the 2006 owner points are used to set the top 35, but are not used as criteria if qualifying attempts are needed to fill the field. Norris said as Michael Waltrip Racing was building up its team, it had a need for equipment and personnel that Wells had. “It really doesn’t change anything for marketing purposes – but Cal Wells is involved as the car owner,” Norris said. “There may be some benefit to us [in qualifying], but whether there is or not, we were starting a new team that needed some people. “Cal’s whole 32 pit crew is the pit crew for Michael Waltrip now. There are a lot of things that we did with Cal, and if there is a benefit that comes along with it in the rainout provision, that would be good for us.” Michael Waltrip Racing would retain the points if PPI Motorsports returns to competition in 2008, Norris said.(SceneDaily.com)(2-10-2007)
  • Johnson named Inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year: Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was named the inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year, edging out MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden and F1 title winner Fernando Alonso for the top award on last night’s SPEED Performance Awards television special presented by BFGoodrich. Other finalists included Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL), Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car) and Tony Schumacher (NHRA). In the top fan-voted category, Grand American Rolex Series driver Colin Braun was named RACER Magazine Rookie of the Year, topping Marco Andretti (IRL), Bryan Clauson (USAC), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR), Robert Kubica (F1), J.R. Todd (NHRA) and Dan Clarke (Champ Car). Braun will be featured along with other RACER Magazine honorees in a special ‘Racers of the Year’ April issue, on sale March 13. With more than 56,000 fan votes cast on SPEEDtv.com for the SPEED Performance Awards, other winners of the night included:
    * Best Rivalry – Formula One titans Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher * Biggest Hit – Champ Car rookie Katherine Legge, who walked away from a massive crash at Road America after losing her rear wing. * Biggest Upset – David Gilliland for his ‘David vs. Goliath’ win in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Kentucky in an unsponsored, underfunded entry. * Oops Award – NASCAR driver Brian Vickers for taking out teammate Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega en route to his first Nextel Cup Series win. * Tell It Like It Is – Carl Edwards for his emotional, on-camera assessment of fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart after an on-track incident at Pocono, calling Stewart “special.” * Temper, Temper – ARCA driver Michael Simko for his flying sidekick through the front windshield of fellow competitor Don St. Denis at Toledo. * Best Finish – Sam Hornish Jr. passing rookie Marco Andretti on the last lap of the Indy 500. The SPEED Performance Awards, hosted by Patrick Dempsey and Tommy Kendall, will re-air Saturday at 8:00pm/et and Wednesday at 9:00pm/et.(SpeedTV PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Cup races for Kvapil? Travis Kvapil, the 2003 Craftsman Truck Series champion, is back in the Truck Series this year after a brief, frustrating stint in Nextel Cup. Kvapil is now driving for Roush Racing and is expected to contend for the NCTS title this year. He also could end up doing a few Busch and/or Cup races for Roush this season, too. “I said to him (Roush Racing President Geoff Smith), ‘What am I going to do with all my off-weekends?’ And he said, ‘Hopefully, we can find something to run you part-time, if we can find a sponsor, you can run some races here and there. If nothing else, you can come along and be a part of it.’ I told him anytime he’s ready for me, I’m ready, but there’s nothing set in stone and no promises made or anything like that. First things first, is go out and win races and win the (NCTS) championship.”(SpeedTV.com)(2-10-2007)
  • Drivers in special ESPN Sportscenter “Sunday Conversation”: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, four of NASCAR’s most successful and popular NEXTEL Cup drivers, participated in a roundtable discussion Friday afternoon which will debut on Sunday’s 10:30 p.m. ET SportsCenter as the “Sunday Conversation.”  The roundtable, moderated by ESPN analyst and 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace, was taped at the Daytona International Speedway Infield Media Center. While topics included how difficult it is to win back-to-back championships and each driver’s defining moment, they also joked with Gordon, who’s about to become a father, and Stewart on his weight loss: “I see some of you is missing,” Wallace said.(ESPN PR)(2-10-2007)
  • Spreakfreaks 2007 debut today on ESPN2: The Radio and Television Motorsports Empire, SpeedFreaks, unveil the 2007 “MS Vista” version of The Freak Nation on ESPN2 this Saturday at 11:30am/et. Kenny Sargent and The Pit Crew exempli-freakin’-fy real diversity on their first run unloading everything from NASCAR to Monster Trucks to some Two Wheel ticklin’… the kitchen sink is scheduled for next week! “The line-up is stellar for our debut on ESPN2, but the Freakin’ Topics inside the Brut Revolution Garage will get everyone geeked up even more: Daytona 500 vs. the Indy 500… which one is more American? And just after we settle that one, I off-load an open wheel land mine on Crash, Statt & Lugg… Formula One vs. IndyCar: Shouldn’t we just support our own American Open Wheel series?” says the Freaks’ Kenny Sargent. The Freak Nation faithful will hear the Tonys (Stewart and Kanaan) give a solid take on both. And Stewart… well, will he run the Indy 500 again? Tune in to find out. This SpeedFreaks Saturday extravaganza was shot from the Lucas Oil Studios in the Mopar Pits in Las Vegas. Featured throughout the 30 minutes is “Lugg’s World,” “Freakin’ Around the Motorsports World” and Boyd Coddington turning Lugg into a… um, uh… you’ll just have to watch. SpeedFreaks on ESPN2 this Saturday February 10 at 11:30am/et and replayed on ESPN2 Thursday February 15 at 5:30am/et.(SpeedFreaks PR)(2-10-2007)


    News from February 9, 2007

  • Lonestar and #40 Ganassi team split: On Friday at Daytona International Speedway, Chip Ganassi Racing crewmen were busy Friday removing all traces of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon sponsorship from David Stremme’s #40 Dodge and equipment. Ganassi’s Web site no longer displays the brand as part of its sponsorship package. North Carolina-based Lone Star Steakhouse, which owns and operates more than 250 restaurants under a variety of names, was acquired by Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds for about $586 million in December. The publicly-owned restaurant chain shared primary sponsorship of the #40 Dodge with Coors Light in 2006, and was featured in 17 races.Coors Light is listed as the official sponsor for next Sunday’s Daytona 500.(NASCAR.com)(2-9-2007)
  • Miller challenges Budweiser: Miller Brewing Co. today issued a NASCAR challenge to competitor Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., and the temporary naming rights to Milwaukee’s Miller Park would be stake. The long-standing “battle of the beer cars” on NASCAR tracks would take on added significance during the 2007 Nextel Cup season if Anheuser-Busch accepts Miller’s challenge to the Budweiser team. Miller is putting the naming rights to Miller Park on the line for a weekend series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. If the Miller Lite #2 Dodge, driven by Kurt Busch, finishes ahead of the #8 Budweiser Chevy, driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the 2007 season standings, Busch Stadium would be renamed Miller Lite Stadium for a yet-to-be-determined 2008 series in St. Louis. If the Budweiser car finishes the season ahead of the Miller Lite car in 2007, Milwaukee’s Miller Park would be renamed Budweiser Park for a 2008 series in Milwaukee. “We’re more confident than ever that Kurt Busch and the #2 Miller Lite team are going to be regular contenders for the Nextel Cup championship,” said Tom Long, Miller’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s too bad for Anheuser-Busch that they didn’t take us up on our challenge last year, when Kurt and the team were dealing with the first-year ‘new team’ transition. Kurt already has one title, and now he and the whole Penske Racing garage are focused on adding to that total. We expect to see plenty of Miller Lite flowing in victory lane this year.” The new wager was officially proposed via certified letter from Long to Anheuser-Busch president and CEO August Busch IV, and delivered this morning. Busch had not yet responded.(Small Business Times)(2-9-2007)
  • Bobby Labonte says Terry not contacted about #45 ride: #43-Bobby Labonte said he’s not spoken with his older brother Terry about pinch-hitting for Kyle Petty this summer when Petty steps out of the #45 Dodge to work as an analyst for TNT for five races.(SpeedTV.com)(2-9-2007)
  • COT Splitter won’t need to be replaced if damaged: Teams will not need to replace the front splitter if it is broken off during a “car of tomorrow” race, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Thursday. Darby said he expect teams will want to have a front splitter – a shelf that sits underneath the front valence to adjust front downforce – on the car, but it won’t be a requirement. So just as in the past, a car with a sawed off front end following a crash could be on the track. “[The front splitter] won’t be mandatory,” Darby said. “But remember, it is a huge tuning tool. They’re going to do everything they can do to make sure that they have a front splitter.” Teams will have to replace the rear wing in the event it is damaged, just as they have to replace the rear spoiler on a current car.(SceneDaily.com)(2-9-2007)
  • Baby Girl on the way, Gordon not thinking retirement: With a new baby [girl] on the way in July, #24-Jeff Gordon isn’t making noises about retiring. Far from it. Gordon has insisted all winter that he’s more fired up than ever this year, though his teammate Jimmie Johnson said he wouldn’t be shocked if Gordon retires from driving within the next five years. “A five-year window? I wouldn’t be surprised,” Johnson said Thursday during Media Day at Daytona. “This is the start of his 16th year. So in 20 years, I think 20 years of doing anything you’re probably looking for a change. So I wouldn’t be shocked with that.” Johnson added that Gordon hasn’t made any such pronouncements about the future. As for Gordon, he laughed. “I hope there’s a Jeff Gordon sitting in victory lane with a five-year-old daughter in his arms is what I’m hoping for.”(SpeedTV.com)(2-9-2007)
  • IROC still searching for a sponsor: The International Race of Champions has not yet found a sponsor as its 2007 season remains in jeopardy, IROC spokesman George Signore said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. The four-race series that features drivers from various racing disciplines traditionally begins at Daytona in February. That race already has been canceled. IROC has run recently at Texas Motor Speedway in April, and the possibility of that event is looking bleak, Signore said. He said IROC has talked to tracks about the possibility of racing if a sponsor can be found. “There are still people out there seeking sponsorship for us,” Signore said. “There is not a drop-dead date yet for 2007 [to be officially canceled]. We know for sure obviously Daytona is not going to happen. Texas is getting close to being a definite no-show for us. Then the only other tracks that we really have is Atlanta [in October], and then Eldora [Speedway in Ohio] with Tony Stewart. If something will fall into place and it’s a big enough deal for us to put it all together, then we’d take a shot at it.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-9-2007)
  • Hutchens Hybrid approved by NASCAR: Safety Solutions and LFT Technologies announced the approval by NASCAR of their new Hutchens Hybrid (Hybrid) head and neck restraint as an available option for all NASCAR touring series drivers. Effectively immediately, the Hybrid will be available for use for drivers during private testing. Beginning July 13, the device will be allowed for use during actual competition. With this approval, the Hybrid now joins the HANS Device as the only head and neck restraint systems allowed by NASCAR for use by their drivers.(Safety Solutions PR)(2-9-2007)


    News from February 8, 2007

  • ESPN Sets Nextel Cup Schedule Times: Nextel Cup Series racing will return to ESPN for the first time in six years with the network’s coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29, from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ESPN and ESPN on ABC will have live coverage of the final 17 races of the 2007 season, including all 10 races in the “Chase for the Nextel Cup” by ESPN on ABC, the first time that all Chase races will be on the same network. ESPN’s full schedule for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season will include telecasts of practice and qualifying from 13 races, the season-ending banquet and season preview and review specials. There will also be a dedicated pre-race program for each race telecast called Nextel Cup Series Countdown. And, for the first time in televised motorsports, all will be produced totally in High Definition. ESPN’s return to NASCAR will begin with live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17. ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Busch Series all season, with six select races televised by ESPN on ABC. “The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard has always been a marquee event on the Nextel Cup schedule and we cannot wait to provide our flag-to-flag coverage from such an historic race track,” said John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming. “We will dedicate unprecedented multimedia resources to the sport beginning with the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona, continuing with our opening NEXTEL Cup race at Indianapolis on ESPN, and until the season champions are crowned.”(ESPN PR), see my 2007 Nextel Cup Schedule page for the race/tv times.(2-8-2007)
  • Dale Jr’s Reps to meet with DEI Reps UPDATE 2 Jr. wants majority ownership? Representatives of DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will meet on Wednesday to discuss Dale Jr.’s contract and ownership stake in the team. Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who serves as his business manager, DEI competition director Richie Gilmore, and DEI’s new president, Max Siegel are expected in the meeting. Teresa Earnhardt, the owner of DEI who also is Earnhardt Jr.’s stepmother, will not be at the meeting, by design. Gilmore said the parties wanted to try to keep the emotions to a minimum, and they wanted to keep Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Jr. separate. Dale Jr.’s contract with DEI expires in 2007, and he said during testing at Daytona that he wanted a greater stake in DEI, the company that his father started. Gilmore says the ownership stake in the team is still the major determining factor in the contract negotiation process for Dale Jr.(ESPN.com)(2-7-2007)
    UPDATE: it was reported in ESPN’s NASCAR Now that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s representatives met with some DEI execs, including new president Max Siegel on Wednesday, basically just a meet-and-greet and there is nothing else to report.
    UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t mince words on Thursday when asked what it would take to get him to re-sign with the Nextel Cup organization his father built. “I want majority ownership, basically,” Earnhardt Jr. said for the first time during media day at Daytona International Speedway. As in more than 50%? “Absolutely,” Earnhardt Jr. said emphatically. Earnhardt Jr.’s contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. expires at the end of the 2007 season. Negotiation on a new deal began in the middle of 2006, with ownership of the company a major sticking point. Asked if stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, who inherited sole ownership of the company when Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, was willing to budge, Earnhardt Jr. said, “We’ll see.” Earnhardt Jr. and his sister, Kelley, met with Max Siegel, DEI’s new president of Global Operations, on Wednesday along with director of motorsports Richie Gilmore. Earnhardt Jr. said it was more of a get-to-know-you meeting with Siegel than a contract negotiation, but added Siegel could expedite the process he initially hoped would be concluded by April or May. “He’s a great guy to talk to and a great guy to work with,” Earnhardt Jr. said of Siegel. “He’s going to speed things up. He’s going to improve negotiations and help those things make it a little bit easier.” Not in the meeting was Teresa, who has been asked to step aside in negotiations because of her somewhat tumultuous relationship with Earnhardt Jr.(ESPN.com)(2-8-2007)
  • CertainTeed to sponsor Nemechek in #13 for 18 races: Ginn Racing announced that CertainTeed Corporation, North America’s leading manufacturer of interior and exterior building products, will carry an 18-race primary sponsorship on Joe Nemechek’s #13 Chevy during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. At the other 18 of 36 point races, Certain Teed will have a major associate sponsorship on Nemechek’s car. The first race of the CertainTeed primary sponsorship will be the season-opening Daytona 500. Founded in 1904 and headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed and its affiliates have approximately 9,000 employees and 70 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. More info on CertainTeed at certainteed.com.(Ginn Racing PR), see some images on my #13 Team Schemes page.(2-8-2007)
  • Congress honors memory of Benny Parsons: North Carolona congressman Robin Hayes announced that the House passed legislation to honor NASCAR legend Benny Parsons. Hayes introduced the legislation Jan. 17 and spoke on the House Floor to honor Parsons for his excellence in racing and his great character.. Parsons died Jan. 16 from complications from lung cancer.(Charlotte Observer)(2-8-2007)
  • TNT Producer: Barry Landis, one of the FOX producers, will be the TNT producer for their six Nextel Cup races in 2007. Landis will continue to produce the races for FOX/FX also.(2-8-2007)
  • TNT looking at no commercial breaks in 2007? UPDATE 3 Pepsi 400..but: Sports Business Journal reports that TNT is floating a package to potential advertisers that would allow advertising during the race broadcast and eliminate commercial breaks. The advertising would take place on the screen during the broadcast and allow continuous race coverage. TNT will broadcast six Nextel Cup races next summer. The story reports that officials from Turner and NASCAR would not comment. The story also reported that TNT’s Cup ratings are down 8.3% from last season.(Roanoke Times)(10-18-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing that the Pepsi 400 at Daytona will be shown with no commercials by TNT [in primetime] and the coverage will be sponsored by…Pepsi, but the other five races, as of now, will be shown with commercial breaks.(1-4-2007)
    UPDATE 2: TNT, for the prime-time July 7 Pepsi 400, wants to add some wrinkles. Trish Frohman, TNT executive vice president, hopes to enlist 12 advertisers — she says Pepsi, DirecTV and pain reliever 360 OTC are in — to air commercials, running up to two minutes, in about a quarter of the TV screen as race shots continue. Correction. Those “won’t be commercials,” says Frohman, but rather “branded content” that’s “organic to the environment.” Meaning, she says, that TNT’s production staffers will work with advertisers to make ads — er, “content” — specifically for the race. TNT announcers, she says, will “absolutely” be “as engaged as anybody” in the effort. Which shouldn’t surprise anybody. TV networks, paying millions or even billions for big-time TV rights, already seem like ad agencies for sports they cover. While Pepsi 400 coverage will still include local cable ads beyond TNT’s purview, Frohman says the total time devoted to marketing messages will be less than normal NASCAR coverage.(USA Today)(1-12-2007)
    UPDATE 3: TNT officials say the cable network will televise the July 7 Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race without commercials, but that doesn’t mean the telecast will be ad free. The network will put advertising on the screen while the race is happening, but it won’t announce specifics until a later date, said TNT executive producer Jeff Behnke. Behnke was hesitant to talk much about it during a teleconference Wednesday to announce the hiring of veteran driver Kyle Petty as an analyst for its race coverage.(SceneDaily.com)(2-8-2007)
  • Elliott teams with Hermie at car dealership: Sadler Auto Center of Franklin, currently owned by NASCAR driver and SPEED broadcaster Hermie Sadler, is getting a new partner and a new look, as it was announced today NASCAR driver #19-Elliott Sadler had joined brother Hermie in the ownership of the dealerships, which would be named Elliott Sadler Ford Mercury and Elliott Sadler Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Elliott thinks the time is right to get involved in the car business. “I think this is the perfect time to take this step. I drive a car sponsored by the Dodge Dealers, and there are many ways that my involvement in the dealerships will benefit me as well as our customers. Our family has been in the automobile business over 40 years, and I am proud to now be involved.” Hermie Sadler, current owner and president, now works for SPEED channel and Direct TV on the weekends covering NASCAR, but has moved his office to Franklin and manages the dealerships during the week. He says the addition of his brother as a partner will help take the stores to new levels. “His involvement will not only provide more resources for the store, but will also trigger more support from all of the manufacturers we represent, which will enable us to serve our customers better.” According to Hermie Sadler, the name on the front of the buildings will not be the only change to the look of the dealerships, as plans call for a replica of Victory Lane from Bristol Motor Speedway, site of Sadler’s first career Nextel Cup Series victory, to be built on site for customers to have their picture taken when picking up their new wheels from the dealership. Plans also call for 2 promotions a year that will feature autograph and picture sessions with both brothers and other NASCAR drivers. The name change should take place in about 90 days. “The one thing that will not change, ” says Hermie Sadler, “is that we guarantee you that we will save you money when you buy a car. The rest of the stuff you get from us will just be a bonus.”(Sadler PR)(2-8-2007)
  • FanView Now Available for Sale and Rent: Fans now can own their own Nextel FanView, as Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and NASCAR are making the device available for purchase beginning Feb. 8. Nextel FanView comes to market following a successful year of rental in 2006 and feedback from fans and NASCAR teams who tested the device. The sturdy, hand-held race-day scanner with video and audio capabilities, real-time data and statistics comes equipped with a battery, wall charger, quick-start guide and one-year warranty. It also boasts advanced features such as priority scanning, quick channel selection by car number and an exclusive audio replay feature. In addition, fans can choose to watch the live in-house NEXTEL Vision video feed or from up to seven different driver’s in-car cameras. Fans also can monitor driver progress through color graphics of real-time lap statistics, lap-by-lap point standings, positions gained or lost since the last caution, and more. Nextel FanView is available for $369.95 at www.nextel.com/fanview or by calling (800) 799-5921. Trackside, the device is available at Racing Electronicslocations and Nextel FanView haulers for $415. The device requires a $10 race-weekend activation fee for at-track use. Other accessories available for purchase include headset, lanyard, carry bag, extra batteries and wall chargers ranging in price from $7.99 – $69.99. Nextel FanView will remain available for rent at the track through Nextel FanView haulers and Racing Electronics locations during Nextel Cup Series race weekends. The device also will be available for use during Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series events when they accompany Nextel Cup Series races. At $50 per day and $70 per weekend, Nextel FanView rental is comparable to the standard rate for most racing scanners and includes the device, battery, charger (available only for weekend rentals), headset, carry bag and neck lanyard.(Business Wire)(2-8-2007)
  • Front Row Motorsports buying #37 R&J Racing? UPDATE 2: hearing that Front Row Motorsports, who has three teams, the #34 with Kevin Lepage [which plans to run at least the first five races of the 2007 season], and the #61 and #92 teams that have no schedules or drivers yet for 2007, have bought out or into the #37 RJ Racing Dodge team. The #37 team plan to run Bill Elliott at Daytona in the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500, but after that plans have not been announced. Elliott did test the #37 Dodge at Las Vegas, which was listed as the #37 Front Row Motorsports Dodge.(2-4-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing that #37 team over John Carter will still own the #37 team, with RJ Racing partnering up with Front Row Motorsports in 2007.(2-4-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Front Row Motorsports (FRM) announced today they will run two (2) cars during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. FRM will run the #34 driven by Kevin Lepage with Randy Seals as the crew chief. For the second FRM entry, team owner Bob Jenkins has formed a partnership with John Carter. The team will convert the #61 from 2006 to the #37 for the 2007 season. The team has hired Bill Elliott to run a limited number of events, with Chad Chaffin slated to compete in the remainder of the schedule. Mark Tutor will serve has crew chief for the team. NASCAR veteran Gere Kennon will be Director of Competition and oversee the efforts of both teams. Both teams will run Dodge Chargers powered by motors built by Ernie Elliott Inc.(FRM PR)(2-8-2007)
  • McClure to attempt Daytona 500: Eric McClure hopes to be the “Cinderella Story” of the Daytona 500 as he makes his second attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. McClure’s first attempt dates back to February 2005 with Raabe Racing. Hefty Brand is making its second appearance as primary sponsor of the #04 Chevy during this year’s running of the Daytona 500, which is referred to by many as the Super Bowl of Auto Racing. Hefty Brand first adorned the hood of the No. 04 Chevrolet during the UAW- Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2006. The #04 will be fielded by Morgan McClure Motorsports (MMM), located in Abingdon, Virginia. Calling the shots for driver Eric McClure from atop the pit box is MMM veteran employee Robert Larkins. McClure will be attempting to qualify for his fourth career Nextel Cup Series event. McClure has a career best start of 27th (Talladega- October 2006) and a best finish of 26th (Talladega- April 2004). Morgan McClure Motorsports (MMM) and McClure participated in the first of two 3-day practice sessions at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month posting the 48th fastest time out of 64 cars with a time of 48.766 seconds.(Morgan McClure PR)(2-8-2007)
  • NASCAR Sports Grille to debut next week in Orlando: On Wednesday, February 14, 2007, there will be a Grand Opening of the NASCAR Sports Grille restaurant in the heart of Universal CityWalk in Orlando, FL. NASCAR Sports Grille is a celebration of cuisine, sports and all things NASCAR and features: a 37′ media wall, boothside interactive plasma screens, state-of-the-art speed simulators and games, NASCAR retail, museum quality memorabilia, a 20′ artistic adaptation of the Nextel Cup and an absolute dedication to quality food and service. The Cordish Company, a Baltimore, MD based real estate development and entertainment operating company is launching the NASCAR Sports Grille restaurants. Executives from The Cordish Company and NASCAR will be available for interviews and photos. Attending include NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France, #7 Ford driver Robby Gordon, rock group Collective Soul [a Jayski Fave] and David Cordish – Chairman, The Cordish Company.(PR)(2-8-2007)
  • Trackside to air 200th show: When Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond take the SPEED Stage Friday [Feb 9th] at Daytona to “work hard and play hard,” it will mark the 200th episode of the popular SPEED Friday night show Trackside Live. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin will be Trackside guests for show No. 200 on Feb. 9 at 8pm/et; 2006 Nextel Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson and Elliott Sadler will be guests on the Feb. 16 show at 6:30pm/et. Sadler will join the Trackside team every week during the second half of the season. This year, the SPEED Stage gets several major additions, including a 50-foot lighted SPEED Fan Tower to help fans find the stage on-site at every Nextel Cup Series race of the season.(SpeedTV.com)(2-8-2007)


    News from February 7, 2007

  • Without Pension, NASCAR Stars Forgotten: The living room of Sam Ard’s brown doublewide trailer speaks to his short but successful NASCAR career. Trophies surround the fireplace and crowd its mantel. Plaques and pictures dot the living room walls. What’s not there speaks to Ard’s life after NASCAR, the two championship rings and a handful of grandfather clocks from Martinsville Speedway that he sold because “we was running short on cash.” Unlike veterans of other sports, Ard has no pension to fall back on. As the booming stock-car series built by men such as Sam Ard heads to Daytona International Speedway this week to kick off its 59th season, NASCAR remains the only major-league sport without a pension plan. “You can drive for NASCAR, but when it’s over, it’s over. You get nothing,” Ard said. “When you fall out of racing or something happens to you, it seems like NASCAR just forgets about you. It’s your friends and the people around the race track who have to remember you and keep you going.”
    Other leagues have pensions. Today’s 10-year veterans in baseball will receive a six-figure annual payout beginning at age 62. Even middle-of-the-road professional golfers can pile up millions under the PGA Tour’s deferred-compensation plan, which puts money away for players based on performance. An NFL player with six seasons between 1998 and 2003 will get about $2,500 a month beginning at age 55, and the NBA has a similar plan. The NHL contributes about $45,000 per year to retirement accounts for veterans. The ATP and WTA tours make annual contributions averaging between $7,500 and $9,500 to retirement accounts for each tennis player. NASCAR’s policy always has been that its drivers are “independent contractors” who bear full responsibility for their finances, health care, retirement and life insurance. Few in NASCAR are arguing for a fund to help today’s drivers, who make millions from team contracts and even more from race purses and merchandise sales. Jeff Gordon, the sport’s all-time money leader, has won a record $82,366,716 through 14 full seasons and isn’t sure what the responsibility should be.(see full article at the Associated Press and more related articles on my Retired Drivers page)(2-7-2007)
  • Johnson’s All-Star Win Painting Unveiled: As part of the annual NASCAR Pre-Season Media tour the original painting depicting Jimmie Johnson’s/Hendrick Motorsports’ victory in the Nextel All-Star Challenge was unveiled. The unveiling was part of the press conference with Nextel, NASCAR and Lowe’s Motor Speedway executives announcing plans for the 2007 All-Star race. There will be 500 limited edition prints and 50 artist’s proof prints published. All will be autographed (Hand signed) by winning driver and 2007 Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. For additional information contact Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc. at 1-800-847-0043 or online at www.garryhill.com.(2-7-2007)
  • Marlin’s son plans to run some ARCA races: Steadman Marlin plans to run several races this season in the ARCA Series, driving for Wayne Day out of Goodlettsville, TN. Steadman, son of two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, will attempt to qualify for the Feb. 10 ARCA opener at Daytona. Other races include the two ARCA stops at Nashville Superspeedway and races at Talladega and Michigan. If his ARCA schedule permits, he also plans to run a full schedule at Music City Motorplex [Nashville, TN], where his father and grandfather combined for seven track championships.(Tennessean)(2-7-2007)
  • Ballew and Lester many attempt some Cup races: Craftsman Truck Series owner Billy Ballew, #15 Chevy with driver Bill Lester, says, “This team already has the capability to advance to the Cup level and we would like to run Bill Lester in a couple races this year, provided we have adequate funding. In 2008 we would run a select number Cup races in the car of tomorrow races with plans to run a full Cup season in 2009. This is a plan that we think can work and isn’t cost prohibitive to the investor. It has to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.”(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(2-7-2007)
  • Home Depot to Launch 2007 NASCAR Ad campaign: The Home Depot will debut a new NASCAR-themed television ad during the broadcast of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 that features two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. The spot accentuates The Home Depot’s brand promise of “know-how” by introducing the Tony Stewart Institute where Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, brings his on-track success and “know-how” to home improvement. During the 30-second spot, titled “Drills,” Stewart accidentally bumps into the corner of his desk and a screw falls loose. Addressing the freshman class of 2007, Stewart asks if anyone has a cordless drill. The class responds by raising their hand, each holding a cordless drill while still taking notes. Stewart looks up, and upon seeing the eager students proclaims, “This should be a good year.” The ads emphasize that the secret to success is “know-how,” whether the individual is an associate at the Tony Stewart Institute or a racing superstar. The commercials will air throughout FOX’s coverage of the Daytona 500 and during subsequent NASCAR races on the major television networks covering the 2007 Nextel Cup season. The Richards Group, based in Dallas, developed the commercials.(JGR/True Speed Commications PR)(2-7-2007)
  • Petty to TNT? to run less races UPDATE 4 yep: hearing that Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Racing Dodge, will be part of the TNT broadcast crew that airs six Nextel Cup races in June and July of 2007 and that Petty would not drive in some or all those six races, being replaced by another driver, no idea who that driver may be. Bill Weber will return as TNT’s play-by-play announcer and Wally Dallenbach returns as a race analyst.(1-20-2007)
    UPDATE: from a Clear!Blue/Dodge PR, Kyle Petty quotes during the Nextel Media Tour, day 2:
    DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO QUIT DRIVING? “No. All that stuff is back like it was last year. Wells Fargo has come back. We have a multi-year deal with Wells Fargo, with Marathon, with Tire Kingdom, with Coca-Cola. We had a huge promotion around the Nextel All-Star race last year with Coca-Cola. There is so much going on right now. I’m like one of those guys if you ever thought about cutting back, it just keeps getting busier with camp with Victory Junction with everything we do there. With everything that’s going on at Petty Enterprises, that’s good. I’m glad that’s story keeps moving because last year about this same time this was a hot story.”
    DO YOU HAVE OPTIONS TO WORK IN TV? “I’ve talked to the TNT people about numerous options. I did four or five races for them last year in the Busch Series. We had talked a month or so ago and obviously with Benny’s passing and with the way things have gone there hasn’t been a lot of communication lately. If I have an opportunity to do some stuff with them I would more than welcome the opportunity to do something at some point in time. If that’s this year, great. If it’s in two years or 10 years, that’s great, too. I just want to keep that option open. I could possibly do anything. There’s a couple of years there I sat out 10 or 15 just because I wasn’t fast enough. I can sit out any amount.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge PR)(1-24-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Petty said he’s intrigued by the idea of becoming a broadcaster and might make the change, on a part-time basis, as early as this summer. Petty said he has talked to Turner Sports officials about a position. “They’ve got six or seven races right in the middle of the season; they’ve got NBA stuff; they’ve got golf stuff,” Petty said. “If I wanted to go do something different and keep Kyle Petty’s face in the public, what better place to do it than a place like that?” Jeff Pomeroy, senior director of public relations for Turner Sports, said there have been preliminary discussions with Petty, who has broadcast for the company in the past, but no final determination has been made.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-25-2007)
    UPDATE 3: TNT will make a major announcement regarding its 2007 NASCAR coverage. TNT’s coverage of six Nextel Cup Series races begins June 10 with racing from Pocono followed by races at Michigan, Sonoma, New Hampshire, Daytona and Chicago.(TNT PR)
    AND: #45-Kyle Petty figures driving in a Nextel Cup race while he calls it on TV won’t be that big a deal. So TNT will formally announce Wednesday that Petty will be an analyst on its six Cup races this summer, and call one — the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma, Calif. — as he races in it. “There’s constant communication between drivers and their spotters and crew chiefs anyway,” says Petty, 47. “Really, just pushing another button and talking to millions of people won’t be a ton different. Maybe I’ll have to clean up my language.” Petty told TNT he didn’t want to miss that race because he likes road courses. And, in planning to run all Cup races except ones he’ll call for TNT, he says it’s “still my No. 1 priority to drive cars. Or maybe I’d be begging for a seat in the (TV) booth.” Kyle kept the idea of working on TV “at arm’s length” and says he only appeared on some TNT Busch Series races this summer because TNT analyst Benny Parsons— whom Kyle says he’s known “forever” — needed an occasional fill-in. Parsons was diagnosed with lung cancer in July and died last month after months of treatment that seemed to have been going successfully. Kyle says he’s not a replacement: “I’ll be really clear about this: Nobody can fill Benny’s shoes. I’m not taking his place. I’m in his seat, but Benny will always be there.” As an announcer, Petty says he’ll avoid “guessing what drivers are thinking” and remember TV announcers “are just there for decoration.” And, he says, he might want to pursue future TV work because it fits with his overall goal in life: “If I can float through and say I never had a full-time job, I’ll see myself as successful.”(USA Today)(2-7-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Turner Network Television (TNT) announced today a multi-year contract agreement with Nextel Cup Series driver Kyle Petty to serve as an analyst for the network’s Nextel Cup Series race coverage. Petty will take a five-week hiatus as driver of the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge car for Petty Enterprises, marking the first time a Petty will not be behind the wheel in the Nextel Cup Series for an extended period of time since his grandfather, Lee Petty, raced in NASCAR’s Elite Series in 1949. Kyle Petty will join announcers Bill Weber (play-by-play) and Wally Dallenbach (analyst) for TNT’s six consecutive Nextel Cup Series races in 2007, beginning on Sunday, June 10 from Pocono Raceway and concluding on July 15 from the Chicagoland Speedway. On Sunday, June 24, Petty will provide analysis from behind the wheel of his #45 Dodge throughout TNT’s coverage of the Nextel Cup Series race live from Infineon Speedway in Sonoma, CA. Petty previously served as an analyst alongside Weber and Dallenbach in 2006 for five Busch Series races on TNT.(TNT PR), no driver has been named for the five races Petty will miss, have heard no rumors…yet.(2-7-2007)
  • Kimmel and Hillenburg team up for Daytona 500: Eight-time ARCA Series Champion, Frank Kimmel will attempt to make his first career start in the Daytona 500 Nextel Cup Series race with the help of fellow ARCA Champion Andy Hillenburg. Kimmel will pilot the #71 FastTrack Ford for the Speed Week events including Sunday’s qualifying round as well as Thursday’s Gatorade Duels which will determine Kimmel’s spot in the starting field for the Daytona 500. Kimmel has made seven previous Nextel Cup Series starts in his career with his best starting position coming at the Talladega Superspeedway in 2002 of 29th and his best finish of 26th came at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October of 2002 while competing for team owner, Travis Carter. Kimmel has many starts at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway including 15 ARCA Series starts, one Craftsman Truck Series start where he finished eighth in 2004 and last season’s IROC start where he finished in the third position. “There are a lot of very strong cars and drivers that put a tremendous amount of work into their cars just to come to Daytona and attempt to make the field,” said Kimmel. “The FastTrack Racing team is no exception, Andy (Hillenburg) and his team has put together a great car and it would be a great accomplishment for all of us to earn a starting position in the Daytona 500. I do think there is some advantage to having a lot of experience drafting when it comes to making this race because of the unique qualifying format of the Gatorade Duels. That race will be all about keeping my nose clean, but finishing high enough to earn a place in Sunday’s race.” Kimmel will compete in Saturday’s Daytona ARCA 200 event prior to Sunday’s initial qualifying round for the Daytona 500 and will have only two practice sessions in preparation for Thursday’s Gatorade Duels.(LM Motorsports Marketing PR)(2-7-2007)
  • ‘Fireball’s’ daughter wants to document ‘Daddy’s’ life: Roberts Trivette wants to write a book to share her side of the story about the man whose friends knew as Glenn, his family knew as “Bubbie” and Daddy and the millions of old-time NASCAR fans knew as “Fireball.”
    “The title is ‘Fireball Roberts, his Daughter’s Story of his Career,’ ” Roberts Trivette said. “This is letting everyone know this is coming from me who lived it, who is living to tell it. Mother (Doris) told it in any interview she was ever asked to do, whether it be newspaper or television, and she did an awesome job with it because my mother dedicated her life to preserve his memory.” Roberts, born in Tavares and raised in Apopka, earned his nickname not from racing but from his prowess as a pitcher on a local American Legion baseball team. He went on to become one of the sport’s premier drivers, winning 33 races — including the 1962 Daytona 500 — before being fatally injured in a fiery wreck at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1964 when Pam was 13 years old.(more at Florida Today)(2-7-2007)
  • Sponsor joins Hylton’s Daytona 500 effort: Retirement Living TV has come aboard as a co-sponsor of James Hylton’s #58 Chevy at Daytona. The channel is available on Comcast and DirecTV and is geared toward senior citizens.(St Petersburg Times)
    AND Retirement Living TV is proud to announce a primary sponsorship of the #58 Retirement Living Chevy driven by James Hylton. The sponsorship begins this weekend when the JC Weaver-owned team begins their quest to race in this year’s Daytona 500 at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. Retirement Living TV aims to inform, involve and inspire fans and improve America’s image, attitudes and perception of aging. Hylton,72, hopes to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest driver to qualify for the prestigious Daytona 500. “TV for Your Freedom Years” can be seen in over 26 million homes nationwide. Its programming highlights topics that include health, lifestyle, finance and politics. The network is the first created for viewers age 55 and up. Hylton begins preparation for the Daytona 500 this Saturday when the team hits the track for practice. The team will then participate in pole qualifying on Sunday. Retirement Living TV (www.rl.tv) launched on September 5, 2006 and can be seen in 26 million homes.(Moore Consulting Group PT)(2-7-2007)
  • Alltel puts name on race: Alltel Wireless, sponsor of Ryan Newman’s #12 Alltel Dodge, will make a major announcement early next week regarding what is rumored to be a race unlike any other – the Alltel “My Circle 500.” The pursuit begins February 13, 2007. To learn more, fans can visit mycircle500.com. Also two time champion (’84 & ’96) Terry Labonte is getting back into racing this season. Labonte is making his return in the highly anticipated Alltel “My Circle 500.”(alltel Racing PR), also see some images I came accross of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(2-7-2007)
  • DEI signs development driver? UPDATE 2: hearing that Jeff Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt, has signed a development deal with DEI that will have him driving a second car owned by Andy Santerre to team up with Sean Caisse in the NASCAR Busch East Series, with a few potential Busch Series races with DEI.(1-14-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. didn’t have to look very far to find its soon-to-be newest driver. He shares a last name with organization’s founder. Jeffrey Earnhardt, the 17-year-old grandson of Dale Earnhardt, will compete in the NASCAR Busch East Series next season in a Chevrolet prepared by DEI, said Tam Topham, who fielded cars for Earnhardt last year at Motor Mile Speedway. An official announcement about the fourth-generation driver’s future should come next week at the NASCAR preseason media tour in Charlotte, N.C, his stepmother, Rene, confirmed. The son of Kerry Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will share time between Busch East, the UARA Late Model touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (formerly the Dodge Weekly Series). A handful of Late Model dirt track starts could also be in the cards. “This week or next week, they’re going to try to have everything finalized,” Topham said. “His mom and dad and DEI and himself — they’re all working out the particulars.” DEI will field the Busch East entry exclusively; Topham will be under contract with Kerry Earnhardt to oversee the Late Model and UARA operations out of his Wytheville-based TAMCO Motorsports shop. Jeffrey Earnhardt’s 2007 schedule will include up to eight races in a Late Model at Motor Mile as well as the Bailey’s 300 at Martinsville Speedway in late September. Busch East, along with the NASCAR AutoZone West Series, is a regional feeder division for NASCAR’s three national series — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck. Jeffrey Earnhardt’s Late Model Stock car will have #01. The news of Earnhardt’s deal with DEI comes just days after Kerry Earnhardt took a full-time position with the company. The elder Earnhardt will serve as a liaison between the organization’s Cup and Busch programs and make cameo driving appearances.(Roanoke Times)(1-20-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Teresa Earnhardt announced that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has officially signed Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of Dale Earnhardt and son of Kerry Earnhardt, to a long-term driving services contract. “In his young career to date, Jeffrey has displayed many of the attributes we are looking for in a driver,” said Mrs. Earnhardt. “Experience will be key to developing and preparing Jeffrey to progress to and compete at higher levels.” Earnhardt, 17, has competed on the Late Model series, and most recently took part in the General Motors Developmental Program where he performed impressively. “Signing with DEI is a dream come true,” said Earnhardt. “To progress as a driver at the premier organization that Dale and Teresa built means a lot to me. I know I’ll be surrounded with the right equipment to take me to the next level, so now it’s up to me to prove myself.” Initially, Earnhardt will be a DEI developmental driver, driving Chevrolets fielded by Andy Santerre Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch East Series. Earnhardt will also drive Chevrolets in the UARA Late Model Touring Series.(DEI PR)(2-7-2007)


    News from February 6, 2007

  • Motorsports This Week on ESPN: In advance of ESPN’s return to live NASCAR racing coverage, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, four of the most successful and popular Nextel Cup drivers, will participate in a special roundtable discussion with ESPN motorsports analyst and 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace to be aired on the 11:00pm/et edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter on Sunday, Feb. 11. The discussion will originate from Daytona International Speedway and portions of the roundtable will also be available on ESPN.com; ESPN360, ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio. As the 2007 NASCAR season begins to kick into high gear, NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first-ever daily news show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will be aired at a special time of 6:00pm/et on Friday, Feb. 9, on ESPN2. Host Erik Kuselias will be joined in the NASCAR Now studio by NASCAR driver Stacy Compton for analysis and NASCAR insider Tim Cowlishaw, columnist for the Dallas Morning News. Beginning Monday, Feb. 12, the show will originate from Daytona International Speedway in advance of ESPN2’s telecast of the NASCAR Busch Series Orbitz 300 on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 1:15pm/et. ESPN will air an hour-long version of the show at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by a half-hour episode on ESPN2 at 6:30pm/et. Reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake and NASCAR Insiders Angelique Chengelis and Marty Smith will also contribute to NASCAR Now, and Doug Banks will share the host role. ESPN2, which will have more than 1,100 hours of motorsports programming this year, will continue to help NASCAR fans get ready for the coming season by re-airing four episodes of NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop this week. The hour-long program gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at NASCAR drivers and their families during the busy racing season. NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop will air at 5:30pm/et starting Tuesday, Feb. 6, and episodes will follow on Wednesday and Thursday, preceding ESPN2’s NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now at 6:30pm/et NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop will move to 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 9, followed at 6:00pm/et by a one-hour NASCAR Now. A repeat episode of Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era will air on ESPN2 Sunday, Feb. 11, at 10:00am/et. Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the Nextel Cup Series. A new episode of SpeedFreaks will highlight the week’s programming in the ESPN2 Garage block of automotive and motorsports shows on ESPN2. The episode will air at 11:30am/et on Saturday, Feb. 10. A motorsports and lifestyle show, SpeedFreaks blends superstar motorsports pilots with actors and musical guests, all while positioning ‘The Freak Nation’ in a unique, cutting edge format unlike anything else in the racing world. The Freaks also ask their own brand of questions en route to covering the broad spectrum of the industry.(ESPN PR)(2-6-2007)
  • UMI releases 2007 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide: The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide 2007 marks the magazine’s 21st year of being the trackside companion since 1986. The 2007 Press Guide waves the green flag on the beginning on this year’s racing action with nearly 450 pages of the most accurate and valued sources of information highlighting and previewing every NASCAR series across the country. The Press Guide will be available on newsstands beginning February 6th or copies may be ordered directly from UMI at 800-747-9287 or www.umibooks.com.(2-6-2007)
  • Kurt Busch to run Gold scheme at Bud Shootout UPDATE: #2-Burt Busch will run a special gold paint scheme in the Bud Shootout, to promote and congratulate Miller Lite Beer for winning the World Beer Cup, Golden Award Winner in 2006. See the images on my #2 Team Scemes page.(2-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Miller Brewing Company today announced it will paint Kurt Busch’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge with an all-gold scheme for the February 10 Bud Shootout. The one-race re-design honors Miller Lite’s fourth gold award in the American-Style Light Lager category at the World Beer Cup. The car will be painted from front to back in gold paint and will feature the World Beer Cup logo and “World Beer Cup Winner” on the hood, spoiler and rear quarter panels. Miller Lite won its fourth gold in the prestigious bi-annual competition in 2006. The 2006 Brewers Association World Beer Cup is the world’s largest and most diverse international beer competition for commercial breweries, this year touting 2,221 entries from 540 breweries in 56 countries, including all other major breweries. The World Beer Cup has been held every other year since 1996 and is presented by the Association of Brewers, a not-for-profit educational and trade organization founded in 1978 that is dedicated to the promotion of quality beers and brewing throughout the world. The Association also hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival and is based in Boulder, Colo. Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is excited about driving a gold car in this weekend’s Bud Shootout. “Gold is a color long-associated with great achievements,” Kurt said. “Gold always signifies the best in class, and that’s what we’re constantly striving for on the track. And I know the folks in Milwaukee take great pride in the unmatched quality of Miller Lite. We’d love to kick off the 2007 season by putting this awesome looking car in Victory Lane.” Until recently, Kurt was not aware of the great competitive history of Miller-sponsored gold cars at Daytona. “Someone pointed out that Bobby Allison was driving a gold-colored Miller car when he won the ’88 Daytona 500 in that super-exciting battle with his son, Davey,” Kurt said from Las Vegas last Saturday (2/3/07). “It’s nice to know that there is such good fortune associated in the past with the gold color scheme at Daytona. Man, wouldn’t it be cool to follow in Bobby’s footsteps and win the Shootout in another gold Miller car?” The record book also shows that Allison claimed Daytona wins in the 1987 Pepsi 400 and his 1988 “Twin-125” qualifying race behind the wheel of gold Miller-sponsored cars.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-6-2007)
  • Wells Fargo teams up with Petty again in 2007: Wells Fargo & Company and Petty Enterprises announced the extension of their NASCAR sponsorship arrangement. The 2007 season represents the fifth year the financial services company has sponsored Petty Enterprises, which includes the Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte cars as well as a partnership with The King of NASCAR, Richard Petty. Kyle Petty’s #45 will carry a full-car red and gold Wells Fargo paint scheme in 12 races during the 2007 season as the car’s primary sponsor, starting with the Daytona 500. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $482 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,000 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. “We’re proud to have Wells Fargo continue its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises,” said Kyle Petty. “They are the premier financial services company in the U.S. and an excellent partner with our other top-quality sponsors, like General Mills, Marathon Oil, Tire Kingdom and Coca Cola.”(Petty Enterprises/Wells Fargo PR)(2-6-2007)
  • Johnson meets with President Bush: Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was honored today in Washington, D.C. for his 2006 championship. The day began with an Oval Office meeting with President George W. Bush, who congratulated Johnson on his victory. Joining Johnson was team owner Rick Hendrick, Lowes Corporation CEO Robert Niblock, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR president Mike Helton. Following the White House visit the group made its way up Pennsylvania Ave to the Capitol where they were greeted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. After that meeting, Johnson and the group made their way across the Capitol for a Senate reception led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Also attending the meeting to congratulate Johnson was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Seanator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Bob Casey (D-PA).(NASCAR Media)(2-6-2007)
  • NASCAR looking at FlexAll for entrance to pit road: During a race on Virgina’s Richmond International Raceway in 2003, Nascar driver Robby Gordon lost control of his car as he roared into the pit at 55mph. He smashed sideways into the concrete slab that separates the crew from the pit road and wrecked his car. Luckily, he didn’t do the same to his body. Had he hit the divider head-on, the collision could have transferred a 100G-force jolt to his body, more than enough to kill him.
    In an effort to reduce such a nasty risk, Nascar has turned to scientists at Battelle, an R&D company in Columbus, Ohio. Their solution: a new hyper-elastic material called FlexAll that deforms to absorb an incoming force and then bounces back to its original shape within minutes. After molding the FlexAll into honeycomb-like columns, the researchers repeatedly slammed racecars into it at speeds up to 100 mph. The plastic behaved identically crash after crash, absorbing 92% of an impact’s energy each time. In road tests, the cushion reduced maximum G load on the driver by an impressive 60%.
    Not just racers but everyday motorists stand to benefit too—Battelle has developed a highway version that can catch vehicles as big as a Hummer, traveling at speeds up to 60 mph. Both barrier systems await final approval from Nascar and the Federal Highway Administration and could be on a road or racetrack near you as soon as this summer.(Popular Science)(2-6-2007)
  • Whitt to run ARCA race at Daytona: Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year contender #72-Brandon Whitt will attempt to make his second ARCA race this weekend at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). The #51 Brandon Whitt Racing (BWR) Toyota will be among 70 competitors attempting to make the 41-car field for Saturday afternoon’s ARCA 200. Whitt, who will be attempting his first ever ARCA and Cup races at DIS, has two career Craftsman Truck Series starts at the high banks of Daytona. Sponsorship for Daytona is still available on the #51 BWR Toyota.(Global Performance Group PR)(2-6-2007)
  • Olympia Steel Buildings join Petty’s as assoc sponsor: Olympia Steel Buildings announced that they have entered an agreement with Petty Enterprises to be the “Official Steel Building” of Petty Enterprises and an associate sponsor for drivers #43-Bobby Labonte and #45-Kyle Petty for the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Under the agreement with Petty Enterprises, the Olympia Steel Buildings logo will be featured on the uniform sleeve of both Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty. In addition, discounts for Olympia Steel Buildings will be given to 2007 Richard Petty Driving Experience participants and NASCAR fans who are visitors to Olympia’s website www.olympiabuildings.com.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(2-6-2007)


    News from February 5, 2007

  • NASCAR and ESPN Zone team up for Daytona 500 party: The 2007 Nextel Cup Season gets underway on Sunday, February 18th with the “Great American Race,” the Daytona 500. NASCAR, Q 104.3 FM and ESPN Zone are going to be holding an official Daytona 500 Viewing Party at ESPN Zone in New York.
    Who: NASCAR, Q 104.3 FM and ESPN Zone.
    What: The official New York City Daytona 500 Viewing Party.
    Where: ESPN Zone, located at 1472 Broadway on the corner of 42nd and Broadway in Times Square.
    When: Sunday, February 18th from 2:00 – 6:00pm/et.
    Promotions for the viewing party include a Lap Leader Ballot and Trivia Contests. The Lap Leader Ballot will be distributed to guests prior to the start of the race. Viewers will guess the correct lap leader after laps 50, 100, 150 and 200 (race winner). Winners of the lap leader ballot contest will be entered to win NASCAR prizes. Winners of the trivia contests will receive Nextel Cup Series t-shirts, NASCAR hats, and Anheuser Busch/Dale Jr. Premiums.(NASCAR PR)(2-5-2007)
  • Grubb named crew chief of #25 Chevy: Hendrick Motorsports named Darian Grubb crew chief of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevys driven by Casey Mears in the Nextel Cup Series. The 31-year-old Grubb will lead the team into the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. “Darian is one of the most respected voices in our organization and has proven to be a terrific leader,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “He and Casey represent an exciting new combination for the #25 team, its sponsors and its fans.” Grubb, who holds a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, joined Hendrick Motorsports from Petty Enterprises in January 2003, assuming the role of team engineer for the #48 Chevys led by crew chief Chad Knaus. A native of Floyd, Va., Grubb was interim crew chief during the first four races of the #48 team’s 2006 campaign, leading driver Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories [including the Daytona 500], one runner-up finish and a sixth-place effort. Grubb assumes the duties of Lance McGrew, who will remain with Hendrick Motorsports in a leadership role.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-5-2007)
  • Jim Beam renews with Robby Gordon for 12 races in 2007: Jim Beam The Official Spirit of Racing, announced that it will continue its partnership with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) as a primary sponsor of the #7 Ford driven by team owner and veteran driver Robby Gordon during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. “We’re excited to continue our relationship with Robby Gordon as a primary sponsor in 2007 and look forward to supporting his endeavors to capture his first win as an independent driver and owner in the NASCAR(r) Nextel Cup Series,” said Brian Gallagher, manager of Jim Beam Racing. Jim Beam will sponsor 12 races in 2007 which marks the third year of the partnership with RGM. Gordon and Ford Motor Company recently announced the signing of a manufacturer agreement aligning Ford Racing Technology and the #7 car. This will be the first season that Gordon will drive a Ford since the 2000 Cup season. “RGM continues to put a competitive car on the track because of the experience and capabilities of everyone involved,” said Gordon. “We are excited to build on our partnership with Jim Beam and look forward to a strong racing program both on and off the track with the #7 Jim Beam Ford Fusion.” Jim Beam will utilize its sponsorship of Gordon and the #7 Ford to support the Beam Global Spirits & Wine drink smart initiative. Jim Beam and Beam Global Spirits & Wine will execute programs, with help from Robby Gordon, throughout the 2007 racing season that focus on preventing underage drinking and drunk driving. Details for the 2007 Jim Beam Racing drink smart program will be announced at a later date.(Ketchum Public Relations PR)(2-5-2007)
  • Millikan released and home in NC: Former Cup driver, Joe Millikan, who was injured in a multi-vehicle accident outside of El Paso, TX on Wednesday, was released from Thomason Hospital on Friday afternoon. Millikan returned home to North Carolina on Saturday, February 3. Millikan was one of two Roush Racing employees injured when the #6 Nextel Cup transporter was involved in an accident returning home from a test session in Las Vegas, Nev. Justin Grebe, the driver of the transporter, was treated, released and returned home to North Carolina on January 31.(Roush Racing PR), see the intial news and past updates on my #6 Team News and Links page.(2-5-2007)
  • DEI Testing at Lakeland? hearing DEI is testing at USA Speedway in Lakeland FL, supposedly #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr and #1-Martin Truex Jr. are testing and #15-Paul Menard may be testing too.(2-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Menard is not in Lakeland testing, but is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway testing a Busch car.(2-5-2007)
  • Petty’s may now run Busch Series: One team–Petty Enterprises–stands to gain when Busch drops out of the Busch Series after this season. The company, which does not associate with alcohol-based advertising [also No Bud sticker on the #43 or #45, so even if a pole is won, doesn’t get pole award or entry into Bud Shootout], long has resisted running in the series because of the title sponsor. Now, Petty Enterprises might run in the series, which could help its Cup efforts.(Sporting News), Kyle Petty did own a Busch team, #45 Spree/Sprint Chevy] in 1999-2000 with Adam Petty before he was killed practicing at NHIS in May 2000, then Kyle took over the #45 for 15 races to finish out the season. They last ran in the series in 2001 with Steve Grissom in the #45 at Daytona.(2-5-2007)
  • Rusty back at the Indy 500: ABC will pull Rusty Wallace off his NASCAR broadcasting gig to put him back in the booth at Indy this May, he told the Journal Sentinel. The 1989 Winston Cup champion also will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July for the debut of the ABC / ESPN portion of the Nextel Cup schedule. “I’ve got an opportunity this year to do what I don’t know that anyone’s done,” said Wallace, who worked the Indy Racing League telecasts last season. “It doesn’t mean a lot to most people, but to me it’s really important as a driver an now as a broadcaster that I can say, ‘You know what? I got to call the IRL, I got call the Indy 500, I got to call the Chase for the championship, I got to call basically all of NASCAR and I got to come back and call the Indy 500 again.’ “(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(2-5-2007)
  • ‘Moonshine’ to debit on Tuesday: Moonshine, Rot Gut, White Lightning. It’s the rebel liquor that sparked a deadly war between bootleggers and the law, launched NASCAR as a nationwide sensation, and still pours freely in unexpected places. Who’s making moonshine, and what crafty trickskeep them one step ahead of the law? Is moonshine safe to drink, or are there unexpected dangers lurking in every jar? National Geographic Channel will travel the Appalachian backwoods, and discover real stills in action. The debut show airs Tuesday, February 6, 2007, at 9:00pm/et.(National Geographic Channel site)(2-5-2007)

News from February 4, 2007

  • Front Row Motorsports buying #37 R&J Racing? UPDATE: hearing that Front Row Motorsports, who has three teams, the #34 with Kevin Lepage [which plans to run at least the first five races of the 2007 season], and the #61 and #92 teams that have no schedules or drivers yet for 2007, have bought out or into the #37 RJ Racing Dodge team. The #37 team plan to run Bill Elliott at Daytona in the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500, but after that plans have not been announced. Elliott did test the #37 Dodge at Las Vegas, which was listed as the #37 Front Row Motorsports Dodge.(2-4-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing that #37 team owner John Carter will still own the #37 team, with RJ Racing partnering up with Front Row Motorsports in 2007.(2-4-2007)
  • Goodyear and NASCAR Extend Agreement: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and NASCAR jointly announced on Saturday that they have signed an extended agreement for Goodyear to continue as the exclusive tire used in NASCAR’s top three racing series for the next five years. The agreement through 2012, naming Goodyear the “Exclusive Tire Supplier” of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series, the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, was signed in front of more than 2,000 attendees at the 2007 Goodyear Dealer Conference. Goodyear Chairman and CEO Bob Keegan, Jon Rich, president of the company’s North American Tire business, and Mike Helton, NASCAR president, delivered the news to Goodyear’s customers. “This extension of the more than 50-year relationship of two American icons is one that we are extremely proud to announce,” said Rich. “Nothing says racing like NASCAR, and Goodyear has been recognized as the longest-running sponsor of the sport. We plan to have our Eagle tires in the winner’s circle for another 50 years.”
    “Our longtime relationship with Goodyear is a testament to the company’s consistent high-quality tire it supplies the race teams,” said Helton. “Goodyear has been a vital partner, which has been essential to NASCAR’s side-by-side competition.” Goodyear has had an uninterrupted commitment to NASCAR since becoming a race tire supplier in the 1950s. This relationship has become one of the longest-running supply programs in any sport. Over the last 50 years, Goodyear has worked to bring innovation to its racing products, which, in turn, has helped foster heightened competition on the track. Since it first began supplying tires to NASCAR, Goodyear tires have logged 1,410 NEXTEL Cup (and formerly, Winston Cup) victories, and the number continues to rise. As a further extension, Goodyear takes innovations and cutting-edge technology from the race track, and applies that technology to tires that consumers use on streets and highways. Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. The company manufactures tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 28 countries around the world. Goodyear employs more than 75,000 people worldwide. For more tire information on Goodyear tires, go to www.goodyeartires.com.(NASCAR/Goodyear PR)(2-4-2007)
  • Dow Automotive to be a major assoc sposnor for the #44: Dow Automotive, a major technology and solutions provider to the global auto industry, announced a multi-year marketing partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). Dow Automotive will become a prominent associate sponsor Dale Jarrett and the #44 UPS Toyota Camry team. “Dow Automotive’s involvement with NASCAR has been developed to help provide excellent safety solutions to the Car of Tomorrow program,” said George Hamilton, president of Dow Automotive. “Michael Waltrip and Dale Jarrett are two people who believe in this approach, and we are delighted to form a partnership to help us highlight this work. Of course, it’s great to be associated with two winners and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization – a team dedicated to the same performance success as we are.” The marketing partnership with MWR and Jarrett is a natural follow-up to Dow Automotive’s new three-year technical partnership agreement with NASCAR. Dow Automotive will become the sole provider of energy absorbing foam solutions beginning with the Car of Tomorrow program being initiated at 16 events in 2007. Every car will be using Dow Automotive’s patented IMPAXX energy absorbing foam at these races.(MWR PR)(2-4-2007)
  • Parsons honored at NCMA Banquet: On Tuesday, Jan 31st, the Inaugural North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) banquet honored individuals, businesses and organizations that have significantly contributed to — and have positively impacted — the motorsports industry in the state of North Carolina. Nine achievement awards were presented in seven categories, followed by the NCMA Tribute Award to Benny Parsons. Keith and Kevin Parsons accepted the award in honor of their father’s lifetime achievements and contributions to motorsports. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue was in attendance, and the Honorable Karen Ray, District 95 state representative, presented the Parsons family with the state’s highest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, on behalf of Gov. Mike Easley. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is awarded for dedication and extended length of service to an organization. Finally, Richard Petty and Rick Hendrick, previous Order of the Long Leaf Pine recipients who also comprise the NCMA Board of Trustees, unveiled and presented the Parsons family a collage portrait by artist Jeanne Barnes that truly illustrates Parsons’motorsports career. Executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Motor Racing Network broadcaster, Winston Kelley, served as master of ceremonies.(see the full PR and all the award winners at the NCMA site)(2-4-2007)
  • EMPA Honors Awards winners: A diverse group of well known names in the motorsports industry were inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Hall of Fame during the Saturday night NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame Awards Dinner held at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA on January 27, 2007. Past Winston Cup champion David Pearson, winner of 105 Cup races during his career, topped the list of inductees. DIRT Modified standout Bob McCreadie and sprint car racing legend Keith Kauffman rounded out the drivers enshrined. Pocono Raceway owners Drs. Joe and Rose Mattioli, with many family members on hand, were inducted along with the late Trenton, NJ Evening Times motorsports writer Harry Blaze. World of Outlaws founder Ted Johnson was also inducted posthumously. Tim McCreadie, winner of the 360OTC World of Outlaws Late Model championship, was honored as the Al Holbert Memorial EMPA National Driver of the Year. McCreadie accepted his award and also accepted the Hall of Fame statue for his father Bob who was unable to attend due to illness. Alan Johnson, who won 20 feature races in DIRT Modified competition and took home three track championships along with the Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series “Mr. DIRT Modified” Championship, received the prestigious Richie Evans Memorial EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year honors. Marco Andretti flew in from a testing session to accept his T. Wayne Robertson Newsmaker of the Year award early on Saturday. Andretti, grandson of motorsports legend Mario Andretti, was Rookie of the Year in the Indy Racing League. James Hylton, at 72 years of age planning to try for a starting spot in the Daytona 500, received the Junie Donlavey “Spirit of the Sport” award. Donlavey was scheduled to make the trip from Richmond, VA to present the award personally but his wife’s illness forced him to cancel and veteran racer Andy Belmont did the honors. The 2008 edition of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention will be held on the final weekend of January, 2008 at the same Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA.(EMPA PR)(2-4-2007)
  • #6 Hauler involved in wreck in Texas UPDATE 4 former Cup driver injured: A NASCAR hauler carrying the #6 Roush Racing AAA Ford Fusion was involved in a multi-vehicle wreck 85 miles east of El Paso mid-morning Wednesday, according to Border Patrol officials. The accident occurred just after 9:00ammt [11:00am/et] at mile marker 102 on Interstate 10, near the Border Patrol check point outside the community of Sierra Blanca. Truck driver Jesse Bear, tells ABC-7 the tractor-trailer struck a motor home in the rear. According to ABC-7 reporter Darren Hunt, the front part of the rig’s cab was completely torn off. The NASCAR hauler, owned by Roush Racing, was only transporting the AAA-sponsored racecar. Driver David Ragan was not involved in the wreck. Bear adds there were “a few other vehicles in the wreck, but everything was crushed together.” Crews diverted eastbound traffic from the Interstate to an access road as crews cleaned up the scene. According to Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint, the hauler struck a motor home, which then struck another 18 wheeler, that then struck a 2nd tractor trailer. Emergency radio transmissions indicated that at least one person was rushed to Thomason Hospital with serious injuries. Emergency officials add there were 3 other persons transported to local hospitals. Emergency crews with Culberson County, Hudspeth County, and Ft. Hancock all responded to the scene of the accident. Law enforcement officials tell ABC-7 accidents of this type are not unusual for the checkpoint, as drivers aren’t expecting to have to stop quickly, just off the interstate.(updated from kvia.com)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing can confirm that the #6 Nextel Cup transporter was involved in a multi-vehicle accident with injuries in Sierra Blanca, TX in route from Las Vegas, NV to Concord, N.C. They will provide additional details as they become available.(Roush Racing PR)(1-31-2007)
    UPDATE 2: A driver of a tractor-trailer with the NASCAR logo was critically injured in a traffic collision at the Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca today, a Texas Department of Public Safety Official said. Joe Millikan, the driver of the NASCAR tractor trailer, was taken by ambulance to Thomason Hospital. Three other people, including Milliken’s driving partner, suffered nonlife-threatening injuries. They also were taken to Thomason. Their names were not available, DPS dispatcher Julian Najera said. The cause of the crash has not been determined. Officials were also unable to say what vehicle the other victims were traveling in.(El Paso Times/AP)
    UPDATE 3: Two Roush Racing employees were injured in a multi-vehicle accident 85 miles east of El Paso, Texas yesterday morning. Justin Grebe, the driver of the #6 Roush Racing Nextel Cup transporter was treated and released from Thomason Hospital. Driving partner Joe Millikan, a passenger, is in stable condition in the Thomason Hospital intensive care unit. The two were returning to Concord, N.C. from a test in Las Vegas, Nev. According to local news reports, two other people also were taken to Thomason Hospital after suffering non life-threatening injuries. The cause of the crash has not been determined. Roush Racing will provide additional details as they become available.(Roush Racing PR)
    Millikan ran in 80 Cup races from 1974 to 1986, with 10 top-fives, 38 top-10s and one career pole. His best season was in 1979 with 20 top-10s in 31 starts [his only full season], finishing 6th in points and was 2nd in the rookie race to the late Dale Earnhardt. His best finish was a 2nd at the March 1979 Rockingham race in the #72-Hayes Jewelers Chevy.(racing-reference.info)(2-1-2007)
    UPDATE 4: have not seen anything official, but told that Millikan was released from the hospital on Saturday, Feb 3rd.(2-4-2007)


    News from February 3, 2007

  • Mobil 1 back with Newman for 5 races: haven’t seen a PR or anything, but got an image of the #12 Mobil 1 Dodge scheme that Ryan Newman is scheduled to drive in five races in 2007, see my #12 Team Schemes page for the image. The scheduled races are basically the same as last season: California (Feb), Chicago (July), Pocono (Aug), New Hampshire (Sept) and Atlanta (Oct).(2-3-2007)
  • NASCAR on TV in Europe on hold: Fears are growing that there will be no live Nextel Cup coverage for fans in Britain and the rest of Europe in 2007 as satellite TV station NASN struggles to reach an agreement with the series. NASN, whose parent company Setanta Sports has been bought by ESPN, has broadcast live or as-live coverage of every Nextel Cup race for the last three years. However their existing NASCAR contract finished at the end of 2006 and with barely a week to go before the 2007 season kicks off with the Budweiser Shootout [Feb 10th], fears are growing that fans in Europe will be blacked out. Even though ESPN have returned as a Nextel Cup broadcaster in the United States in 2007, their coverage isn’t due to begin until the second half of the 2007 season with FOX and TNT covering the first 18 races, including the prized Daytona 500. Thousands and thousands of UK viewers alone have subscribed to the stand-alone NASNA platform over the past three years to watch unprecedented live coverage of the Nextel Cup action, with subscribers even getting to stay with the action as the domestic broadcaster in the U.S. goes to a commercial break.(crash.net)
    from the NASN Site: Here’s the rundown on NASCAR Coverage: We are currently in negotiations with NASCAR regarding coverage for the upcoming season. As soon as there is anything to report on the situation, we will announce it here [at NASN.com].(2-3-2007)
  • A First: Budweiser Shootout Draw Party Seen in Prime-Time on SPEED: Thursday night, February 8, will mark several “firsts” in the 29-year history of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. For the first time, the drawing to determine the starting line-up for Saturday night’s 70-lap Shootout will be seen on prime-time television, as SPEED kicks-off their massive Daytona Speedweeks schedule. Fans across North America can tune-in at 8:00pm/et Thursday evening to see the one-hour special with co-hosts Steve Byrnes and Kenny Wallace along with 21 Nextel Cup stars. Each of the drivers will participate in the random draw for their starting position. The field includes six current or former Nextel Cup champions and nine past winners of the Budweiser Shootout. The Budweiser Shootout at Daytona includes all active past champions of the event as well as all Bud Pole Award winners from the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Kasey Kahne will be the first to draw for his starting position as the recipient of the season-long Bud Pole Award for winning six pole positions during 2006. Also for the first time, the general public can attend the Draw Party, free of charge. It will take place at the SPEED Stage, located outside of the turn four tunnel at the Daytona International Speedway. The stage features the new 50-foot “Fan Tower,” and will be the Budweiser Draw Party Headquarters for the evening. For fans attending in person, the live, on-stage proceedings are scheduled to begin at approximately 6:45pm/et.(fingerprint inc. PR)(2-3-2007)
  • Larry Foyt to run in Daytona Truck Race: former Nextel Cup driver, Larry Foyt, Silestone USA and Key Motorsports have announced a partnership that will enter Foyt in the 2007 season-opening Truck Series race at Daytona. The Silestone by Cosentino sponsored Chevy will become the first truck to bear the new Key Motorsports #44, joining the #40 Key Motorsports entry that will be driven by former NCTS champion Mike Bliss. Silestone USA was originally established in 1998 as Cosentino USA to distribute and market Silestone natural quartz surfaces in North America. Silestone today is the world’s largest manufacturer of such products with 75% of all natural quartz surface sales in North America made by the company.(Key Motorsports PR)(2-3-2007)
  • Daytona International Speedway OK there was a major tornado in Central Florida this afternoon, killing over a dozen people. Have heard the tornado didn’t hit Daytona International Speedway and there is no damage there. More than 2 inches of rain fell overnight at Daytona Beach International Airport [right next to the speedway] but no high wind gusts were reported there. Reports on the tornado can be found at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(2-2-2007)
    AND The storms that struck middle Florida spared Daytona International Speedway, site of NASCAR’s upcoming season-opening Daytona 500. “We’re A-OK,” Speedway spokesman Andrew Booth said Friday morning. “We had a lot of rain, wind and lightning, but no damage.” NASCAR activities at Daytona crank up next weekend with the Budweiser Shootout on Feb.10 followed by the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-3-2007)
  • Ragan to test at Infineon Raceway UPDATE: #6-David Ragan will make his first-ever visit to Infineon Raceway on Friday, working with instructors from the Jim Russell Racing Schools. Ragan, who has limited road-racing experience, has never traversed the twists and turns of Infineon Raceway’s 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. He’ll be coached by Mark Wolocatiuk, the lead instructor of the Jim Russell Racing Schools. Wolocatiuk has coached NASCAR drivers like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears and Bill Elliott, over the years. The Jim Russell Racing Schools has been based at Infineon Raceway since 1996. “I’m definitely looking forward to the road courses,” said Ragan, whose limited experience on road courses includes Legends Cars testing in Atlanta and Virginia. “You’ve got guys like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon who are veterans and they make it look easy. I just want to get some track time and become familiar with it so I’m better prepared when we come out there in June.” Ragan (AAA Ford Fusion) will drive the serpentine circuit in one of the school’s open-wheel cars, and there is the possibility of testing an American Speed Association stock car. Ragan, who drives for Roush Racing, will also receive plenty of classroom instruction. “We’re really hoping to get David familiar with the track,” Wolocatiuk said. “The elevation changes and off-camber nature of Infineon Raceway will be important for him to understand and deal with in a heavy and high-horsepowered stock car.” Ragan will test on Friday, and then get some additional seat time on Saturday. The Nextel Cup Series visits Infineon Raceway June 22-24 for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)(2-2-2007)
    UPDATE: #99-Carl Edwards and #6-David Ragan spent Friday afternoon testing the twists and turns of Infineon Raceway in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup Series race, June 22-24. It was the first time on the road course for Ragan, while Edwards has two starts in Sonoma, including a career-best finish of sixth place in 2006. Both piloted American Speed Association (ASA) stock cars supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville. The drivers were coached by Mark Wolocatiuk, lead instructor at the Jim Russell Racing Schools, which is based at Infineon Raceway. Edwards and Ragan, a rookie, each completed around 40 laps over the serpentine circuit. Both drive for Roush Racing. Ragan has limited road-racing experience, while Edwards placed 38th in his rookie season at Infineon Raceway in 2005 and sixth last year after starting 20th.(Infineon Raceway PR)(2-3-2007)
  • Petty has seven race deal from tire companies UPDATE: Tire Kingdom/NTB/Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers are scheduled to sponsor #45-Kyle Petty in the Petty Enterprises Dodge for seven races in 2007. NTB [ National Tire and Battery] will be the sponsor at four races: Atlanta (3/18), Talladega (4/29), Chicago (7/15) and Texas (11/4); Tire Kingdom at Daytona in July and Charlotte in Oct. Merchant’s Tire ay Richmond in May.(NTB Racing site), see images of the schemes on my #45 Team Schemes page.(2-1-2007)
    UPDATE: Tire Kingdom, the largest independent tire and automotive services retailer in the United States, will once again serve as a primary sponsor on the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge driven by Kyle Petty in 2007. Tire Kingdom is a division of TBC Corporation and is the largest tire dealer in the country with over 650 locations under the Tire Kingdom, National Tire and Battery and Merchants Tires and Auto Center names. All names will appear as primary sponsors on Petty’s Dodge this season joining Wells Fargo and Marathon as primary sponsors. Tire Kingdom and its names stores will serve as primary sponsor in seven races throughout the season and be an associate throughout the entire season [see list above]. “Tire Kingdom has been great for us so far,” said Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge. “They became a big partner for us last season and we’re looking to grow the relationship this season. Their stores have a national presence and we see that in the broad number of races that they will serve as a primary. We hope this partnership helps leverage them as the leading tire and automotive services retailer in the nation.”(Petty Racing PR)(2-3-2007)


    News from February 2, 2007

  • NASCAR Now to debut on Monday Night, ESPN2 – TONIGHT: After more than a year of planning and preparation, NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first-ever daily news show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will premiere Monday, Feb. 5, at 6:30pm/et on ESPN2. NASCAR Now will be produced in High Definition and originate from a new state-of-the-art studio at ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Conn. Host Erik Kuselias will guide viewers through 30 minutes of fast-paced highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. For the debut show, as well as episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 6-7, Kuselias will be joined in the studio by ESPN motorsports analysts Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion, and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer. Wallace and Brewer will select their top five drivers of 2007 in addition to discussing and debating topics including the Car of Tomorrow, Toyota’s emergence in the top levels of NASCAR and NASCAR’s announced changes to the format of the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup. Defending Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will appear on Monday’s show, while NASCAR Now will check in with 2006 Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick on Tuesday. Viewers will hear from Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Waltrip later in the week. “In the history of ESPN, news and information has been a key part of our growth, and it’s at the heart of everything we do,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and remote production. “First there was SportsCenter, and then ESPNEWS, ESPN.com, ESPN Radio and other platforms that are part of our DNA. We’re really proud to have the opportunity to extend that on a daily basis to NASCAR Now.” Kuselias, who has been the host of ESPN Radio’s SportsBash since 2003, said that he looks forward to the challenge of NASCAR Now. NASCAR Now will air at 6:30pm/et Monday through Friday on ESPN2, with special editions to air on NASCAR race weekends. Reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake and NASCAR insiders Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw and Marty Smith will also contribute to the show along with analysts Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Stacy Compton. Compton and Cowlishaw will appear in the studio with Kuselias on Thursday and Friday of premiere week.
    Live NASCAR racing returns to ESPN for the first time in six years with coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 1:15pm/et on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(2-2-2007)
  • Martin to run two Busch races for Roush UPDATE DISH Network to sponsor Biffle in Cup…more: on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Driver Seat show with John Kernan and Buddy Baker, multi-team owner Jack Roush was interviewed and said he and Mark Martin are still great friends and that Martin will run a couple of Busch Series races for Roush in a Ford. There had been rumors and a PR a month ago that Martin would run some Busch races for Roush for DISH Network. There is an image of the #26 DISH Network Busch Series Ford on my Busch Paint Schemes page, taken during the media tour in Charlotte last week.(1-31-2007)
    UPDATE: DISH Network will sponsor a Roush Racing driver/car in all 35 Busch Series races. Martin will run the #26 DISH Network Ford at Daytona in Feb. and Texas in April. Eight other drivers will run the DISH Network colors the other 33 races. #17-Matt Kenseth (5 races), #26-Jamie McMurray (9), #60-Carl Edwards (10), #17-Michel Jourdain (3), #26-Greg Biffle (2), #26-Todd Kluever (2), #17-Danny O’Quinn (1), #26-Erik Darnell (1)
    PLUS #16-Greg Biffle is scheduled to run DISH Network on the #16 Nextel Cup Ford in five races: Daytona in Feb, Martinsville in April, Richmond in May, Dover in June and Pocono in June.(2-2-2007)
  • Petty Racing ready for 2007: Track testing, COT testing, wind tunnel testing; it’s all over. The month of January had everyone at Petty Enterprises preparing the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for the 2007 racing season. The preparation is complete and both teams are looking forward to the beginning of the season. “The guys are committed to winning in 2007,” said Executive Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis. “We saw good signs in both preseason test sessions (Daytona International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and we are in a good position to really have strong runs the first three races. We have hired new over-the-wall guys to make our pit stops better. We have hired in the engineering department and in the shop. All the guys want to show everyone what we have.” Drivers Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte both returned from Las Vegas testing knowing that the next time they are on track it counts. “It’s another season for everyone,” said Petty. “We have had the time to make changes and get better. I’ve said that we have better people at Petty Enterprises. We have great guys working on both teams. The ’45’ car was pretty good in Vegas testing, and we’ve made final changes to the Daytona car. As a driver you dream of the Daytona 500. It’s here and we know what it takes to win it.” Petty Enterprises has 11 wins at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. Labonte is a former runner-up in the event.
    “We’ve been up front at Daytona with this Cheerios car and Vegas was a good learning experience,” said Labonte. “We have done a lot of testing and a lot of preparation for the next few weeks. We have more experience as a team and that is a big positive step for us. The Vegas test was a good chance for us to see that new track configuration and surface. I’m glad we had the chance to get out there and test it before the race. That will help us once we go back. We want to get back to racing after what we did at the end of 2006.”(Petty Racing PR)(2-2-2007)


    News from February 1, 2007

  • Forbes rates the top 10 sports brands and event brand value ($mil):
    • 1. Super Bowl, 379
    • 2. Summer Olympics Games, 176
    • 3. FIFA World Cup, 103
    • 4. Daytona 500, 91
    • 5. Rose Bowl, 88
    • 6. NCAA Men’s Final Four, 82
    • 7. Winter Olympics Games, 82
    • 8. Kentucky Derby, 69
    • 9. MLB World Series, 56
    • 10. NBA Finals, 47
    (Forbes.com)(2-1-2007)
  • Gossage to the NHL? denied: Is hockey on the horizon for Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage? Gossage says no. But the man generally regarded as one of the top promoters in racing has been approached by people involved with the NHL about joining the league and eventually replacing commissioner Gary Bettman, sources confirmed Wednesday. Bettman’s contract expires after the 2007-08 season. Gossage attended the NHL All-Star Game in Dallas last week, but insists the subject wasn’t addressed. “I haven’t spoken to any NHL official about this,” Gossage said Wednesday. “It’s all very flattering, but I’m very happy where I am and enjoy what I do.” Frank Brown, media relations director for the NHL, denied the league is involved in any way. “The NHL has not hired a headhunter to contact anyone,” Brown said in an e-mail Wednesday. “Any reports stating otherwise are fictitious.”(more at ESPN.com)(2-1-2007)
  • Wheldon to test Busch car? Former IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon has been fitted in Charlotte for a NASCAR stock car seat and will test a Busch Series car at some point, but when and where has yet to be determined. A Chip Ganassi Racing spokesperson said Wheldon’s primary focus this season is winning a championship and Indy, but at some point Ganassi would have the Englishmen test a Busch Car.(Daytona Beach News Journal), Wheldon has been rumored to be testing at Las Vegas in a Cup or Busch car, he didn’t in a Cup car at Vegas this week, Busch tests at Vegas Feb 5-6th.(2-1-2007)
  • Johnson Honored in San Diego: #48-Jimmie Johnson was at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park yesterday morning to be honored by city, county and state officials as well as the Hall, which has selected the El Cajon native San Diego’s Pro Athlete of the Year. His appearance drew an overflow crowd. Although he now lives in North Carolina near the hub of his sport, Johnson said he still has strong ties to San Diego – ties he wants to strengthen. Johnson said the charitable foundation he runs with his wife, Chandra, is looking to undertake a project in San Diego County.(San Diego Union Tribune)(2-1-2007)
  • H&K Motorsports announces 2007 plans UPDATE full-time?: H&K Motorsports is a new NASCAR team that is going to be based outside the Mooresville NC area. Their planned drivers are Trevor Boys [last Cup race in 1993], from Calgary, Alberta [Canada] and Eddie Kucharski from Denton, TX. Boys and Kucharski will both be competing in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 2007 to re-qualify their NASCAR licenses. Boys has over 15 years racing experience, including some in the former Nextel [then Winston in 1993] Cup Series. Once Boys re-qualifies for his NASCAR license, H&K Motorsports plan to run him in the Nextel Cup Series and Kucharski will compete in the Craftsman Truck Series. Boys is the longest running Canadian in NASCAR. He competed in over 112 Nextel Cup Races [note: records I found (racing-reference.info) has Boys having 102 Cup starts with two top 10’s running races between 1983-1993, his best finish was a 9th at Richmond 1983 in the #48 Chevy].(H&K Motorsports site), the team made an announcement early in 2006 that the would run 15 Cup races with Boys out of a shop in Statesville, NC, but that never happened. The car supposedly will be the #08.(1-22-2007)
    UPDATE: With the number of full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup teams already up sharply from 2006, another new team will attempt to run a full Cup schedule this year. H&K Motorsports said Wednesday that it will field a full-time Cup effort this year, with Trevor Boys piloting the #08 Chevy with sponsorship from Gsmdashboards.com, Industro Tools and Chixcanfix.com. Guiding Boys this season will be Cicero Scott, the cousin of New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott. Cicero, according to the team, is the first African American crew chief in the premier series of NASCAR. The team will also run at least six NASCAR Busch Series events this season, plus at least 20 more in the ARCA RE/MAX Series for driver Eddie Kucharski. The new team did not test at Las Vegas and will face enormous pressure just to qualify in the first five races this season and attempt to gain a guaranteed spot in the field from the sixth race and beyond, when the top 35 cars in 2007 owner’s points will be guaranteed spots in the field.(SpeedTV.com)(2-1-2007)