February 2008 News Archives

  • News from February 29, 2008

  • Reutimann to Test at Infineon Raceway Next Week: Sprint Cup Series driver David Reutimann will visit Infineon Raceway for a one-day test session on Wednesday, March 5. Reutimann, who drives the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, has never competed in a Cup Series event on Infineon Raceway’s 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. He was replaced by road-course specialist P.J. Jones for the Sonoma Valley event in 2007. Reutimann will return to Infineon Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR), Reutimann will test in a late model stock car with Chris Cook as the coach, last year Regan Smith tested an open-wheel Formula Russell car there.(2-29-2008)
  • Two Allstate / Kahne Commercials to air during Vegas race: Building on the popularity of the first three years of its “Allstate Girls” advertising campaign, Allstate, the official insurance sponsor of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, is kicking off the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season with the launch of two new television spots featuring #9-Kasey Kahne, the Allstate Girls, and for the first time on camera, a pairing of Kahne and Allstate spokesperson Dennis Haysbert. The commercials will debut March 2 during FOX’s third Sprint Cup Series telecast of the season.(Allstate PR)(2-29-2008) Comment here
  • There’s Still Hope At Morgan-McClure: According to Larry McClure, co-owner of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, some folks with big bucks are coming through his Virginia race shop, allowing him to hold out hope that his team will return to Sprint Cup action. In January, the company, announced that it was ceasing operations due to lack of sponsorship. But McClure said Thursday that two Fortune 500 companies and one Latino group are considering sponsoring the #4 Chevy. One of those potential suitors, who McClure said he’s been in contact with on three separate occasions, will be visiting his Abingdon complex next week. Kodak left as the team’s primary sponsor after the 2003 season, and the sponsorship situation has been shaky, at best, since. [The potential sponsors] can afford to do this, and that’s the big thing,” McClure said. “A lot of people want to do it, and then, that’s what’s happened to us the last four or five years. We’ve gotten with people, but they were more wannabes than could-be’s. And then we ended up paying the price for it.” McClure said he has six COTs at the shop raring to go, and that with sponsorship his team can be more competitive than in the past for a couple of reasons. Before funding fell through, he said MMM had an agreement to be a satellite team for one of the “big three” Chevy operations in Cup for 2008 [Hendrick, Childress, DEI]. These kinds of pacts, most recently exhibited when Robby Gordon Motorsports switched to from Ford to Dodge to partner with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, give a single-car owner some of the benefits of a multiple-car shop. McClure said a return to racing would be contingent on having that kind of alliance and seemed confident that that opportunity would still be there. In addition, McClure said the team had purchased engines from a team that was switching brands. (“You can imagine who that was,” McClure said.) Joe Gibbs Racing switched from Chevy to Toyota for the 2008 season. “We made a large investment to go really fast,” McClure said. The owner added that a realistic goal would be for the team to return at the midway part of the season if things go well.(Long Island Press)(2-29-2008) Comment here
  • Carmichael to run East series for Schrader: Motocross legend Ricky Carmichael will be running for a championship this season in the Camping World East Series for Ken Schrader Racing with backing from Hendrick Motorsports, his manager Scott Taylor said Thursday. Carmichael will be sponsored by Monster energy drink. Carmichael, 28, who retired from full-time motocross racing after 2006 is trying to make his way up the rungs of the stock racing ladder. Carmichael had been under contract as a driver last year with former Sprint Cup Series team owner Bobby Ginn and raced about 15 Late Model events around Florida last summer. Carmichael won 10 consecutive AMA national motocross championships from 1997 – 2006. Carmichael, who began competing in Motocross at age 5, said he was feeling unchallenged by Motocross when he made the decision to retire. He competed part time in 2007 but said his only interest now is as a test rider for Suzuki. The Camping World East Series runs 13 events this season. Carmichael may also run selected events in the Camping World West Series.(Hartford Courant) on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now it was reported that DEI and Ricky Carmichael were trying to work on a deal to have Carmichael run the Camping World East Series, but they couldn’t work out a deal and they parted ways.(2-29-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch on pole at Las Vegas: #18-Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole for the UAW-Dodge 400 at his hometown track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 182.352mph for his 1st pole of 2008 and the 3rd of his career. #99-Carl Edwards [who won the last race at Calif] qualified second with the rest of the top-10 being: #8-Martin, #24-Gordon, #27-Skinner [best of the go-or-go homers], #16-Biffle, #66-Riggs, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #2-Busch and #19-Sadler. 2007 Cup champ qualified 33rd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #27-Skinner, #2-Busch, #10-Carpentier, #00-Reutimann, #44-Jarrett, #49-Schrader, #55-Waltrip and #83-Vickers [gets the final spot on speed since the past champs prov was not needed by Busch or Jarrett]. For qualifying results and the starting lineup see my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(2-29-2008)
  • Four do not qualify [DNQ] for the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: #84-Allmendinger, #78-Nemechek; #34-Andretti and #21-Sauter [who wrecked on his first lap. #08-Burney Lamar withdrew before qualifying.(2-29-2008)
  • Garmin signs with GEM as a sponsor on #19: Garmin International Inc. announced that it will become an associate sponsor of the #19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports team in the 2008 Sprint Cup series with driver Elliott Sadler. Electronics retailer Best Buy is the car’s primary sponsor. Garmin is partnering with Best Buy Racing for the second year in a row. The #19 car will sport a prominent Garmin logo that will also be found on driver and crew uniforms, and it will appear on other supporting vehicles throughout the 2008 race season. During the season, an interactive Garmin kiosk will be available in the Best Buy Fun Zone Technology truck as it makes race day appearances. Garmin will serve as the primary sponsor when NASCAR heads to Dover on June 1, 2008, and on September 28, when drivers compete at Kansas Speedway. Garmin is the premier provider of GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled devices and a leading designer and manufacturer of consumer electronics.(PR Newswire)(2-29-2008)
  • Former motorcoach driver re-files discrimination suit: David Scott, a black motorcoach driver who worked for Penske Racing, has re-filed his discrimination complaint against NASCAR stemming from a highly publicized 1999 incident at New Hampshire International Speedway. The incident occurred when Scott was greeted by a pair of motorcoach drivers, one of whom was wearing a white pillow case over his head as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. NASCAR indefinitely suspended the two motorcoach drivers involved. Scott claims NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. discriminated against him by not granting him a vendor contract he sought and that NASCAR discriminated against him for not following through with an alleged promise to hire him following the incident. The new suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, lists NASCAR, ISC, NASCAR President Mike Helton and former Chief Operating Officer George Pyne as defendants and claims $40 million in damages. Scott had to re-file the lawsuit after a judge ruled in January that the statute of limitations had passed for other allegations. The new complaint details conversations between Scott and Helton and Scott and Pyne in the days and months after the incident where he says he was promised a job by NASCAR. In past court filings, NASCAR says that Scott was given several work opportunities that were declined and he was not qualified for the racing official job he wanted. In the new complaint, Scott alleges that NASCAR and ISC conspired with Penske Racing to keep him from suing – he had signed a severance agreement with Penske where he was given a two-year severance package as long as he didn’t talk about the incident nor sue. He alleges the confidentiality agreement was broken because Pyne knew about the agreement. Scott claims damages of $10 million and asks for punitive damages against NASCAR, ISC, Pyne and Helton of $27 million. He indicated he also has incurred legal costs of $3 million.(SceneDaily.com)(2-29-2008) Comment here
  • ASA creates new short track national championship; JGR test part of prize: The American Speed Association (ASA) is breaking new ground once again, by unveiling plans for an innovative Short Track National Championship. The new plan allows competitors in any ASA Member Track’s premier division to compete against each other, regardless of geographical location. ASA will create East and West divisions, with an ASA Short Track Divisional Champion crowned in each. The one driver who accumulates the most points will be named the ASA Short Track National Champion. With the title comes a cash reward, and the ultimate dream – a test session with Joe Gibbs Racing.(ASA-Racing.com)(2-29-2008) Comment here
  • “Dale” the best selling sports DVD: “Dale,” the NASCAR Media Group/CMT Films documentary film about the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, is believed to be the highest-selling sports DVD ever, according to Jay Abraham, the chief operating officer of NASCAR Media Group. “To best of our knowledge, it’s the largest selling sports DVD,” Abraham said. ESPN.com contacted Billboard Magazine and its DVD-sales tracker, Nielsen VideoScan, to confirm the report, but those outlets don’t track Wal-Mart sales. To date “Dale” has only been available at Wal-Mart stores. Not that that hasn’t proven successful. According to Abraham, the film has moved more than 800,000 copies. And it promises to get better. Electronics stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City will begin selling the movie soon.(ESPN.com)(2-29-2008) Comment here
  • Las Vegas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be running the same tire codes at Las Vegas this weekend . . . this is the first time that teams have run a race on either of these two tire codes . . . teams in these two series did run these codes during open testing at Las Vegas in January . . . Goodyear’s tire recommendation for this year’s Las Vegas events offers an increase in traction over the tire combination for last year’s repaved surface. . . the 2008 tire combination incorporates improvements found during Goodyear’s tire test in December . . . the tread compound for the left side tire offers a significant increase in traction, and the revised left side construction has consistently demonstrated more predictable response . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear PR), see the full report, codes, pressures on my Las Vegas Race Info page and also the Tire Notes by Tracks page.(2-29-2008)

    News from February 28, 2008

  • Official – IRL and Champ Car unify: Indy Racing League CEO Tony George shared in the relief and reveled in the significance the past five days. On Feb. 27, George joined Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkoven at a news conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway to celebrate the accord and provide additional information about the fast-approaching 13th IndyCar Series season and beyond. The season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 29.(Indycar.com)(2-28-2008)
  • California considering reconfiguring to a restrictor-plate track UPDATE denied: The Fontana [Auto Club (formerly California) Speedway] facility needs to do something to change its image. Rebuilding the racing surface to make it a new version of Talladega or Daytona would brings loads of attention and far better action on the track. Of course, there are some issues, like money. We’re talking millions of dollars to reconfigure the racetrack. Texas Motor Speedway rebuilt its 1.5-mile oval in 1998 at a cost of $3 million. The cost of this project would double that amount, at least. The price tag to do it might be as high as $10 million. Not cheap, but goodness knows ISC can afford it. And Fontana officials may need to rebuild the turns anyway because of the water seepage issues that caused problems last weekend. But plate racing is NASCAR’s version of torture for many drivers. They hate racing in large packs inches apart with little throttle response from the choked-down engines. However, it is exciting to watch, which is why many fans can’t wait to see every plate event. Tell the people in Southern California they have the modern version of Talladega and you have something to sell. Auto Club Speedway, which hasn’t managed to sell out its two Cup races, needs a dramatic change. There’s nothing more dramatic in NASCAR than restrictor-plate racing.(see full story and quotes by Michael Waltrip at ESPN.com)
    AND Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker said Monday that engineers will arrive this week to determine what can be done to correct drainage problems on the 2-mile track. Water seeping up through seams in the asphalt played havoc with track drying efforts during the Auto Club 500 race weekend, delaying the completion of the Sprint Cup Series race by one day. The seepage, referred to as “weepers,” was also blamed for two accidents during the early laps of the Cup event. “A leaky race track is unacceptable,” Zucker said. “We will have engineers here [Tuesday], and we will fix it.”(SceneDaily.com, plus a report refuting the restrictor plate news at FoxSports, their pole is 20% in favor)
    MORE: Auto Club Speedway president Gillian Zucker said engineers are on their way to the Fontana track to take a look at what was behind the “weeper” problem that plagued the Auto Club 500 this past weekend. Weepers are caused when ground water starts to leak through cracks in the pavement. They were blamed for causing two crashes in the opening laps of the rain delayed race, involving Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears and Deny Hamlin. She said it’s not known at this time if construction will be necessary or if future events will have to be postponed or rescheduled.(Orange Country Register)(2-27-2008)
    UPDATE: Gillian Zucker, president of Auto Club Speedway, believes reconfiguring the 2-mile Fontana, Calif., oval into a restrictor-plate track is an idea worth considering seriously. “I love it,” Zucker said Tuesday. “It’s a game-changer. Michael Waltrip told me his idea about it Saturday night. It was funny at first, but I thought, ‘Sure. Why not?’ ” Zucker said they are going to rebuild part of the racing surface to repair the water seepage problems, commonly known as weepers, that arose last weekend. Heavy rain caused water to push up through the seams in the turns. “If we are going to tear it up anyway to fix the drainage, let’s make it a lot more interesting,” Zucker said. “It could be a very dramatic thing for us.” Zucker said she hasn’t spoken to anyone at NASCAR or International Speedway Corp., the track’s parent company, about the idea yet. Zucker said she wants to know what fans think before she makes a decision.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE 2: A senior spokesman for track operator International Speedway Corp. said Wednesday that there are no plans to turn Auto Club Speedway into a restrictor-plate configuration or otherwise modify the layout of the 2.0-mile facility that hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually. ISC owns the track and ultimately would be the entity approving and paying for any track changes. But none are forthcoming, an ISC official confirmed. But Wes Harris, ISC’s senior director, corporate and investor communications, said Wednesday there are no plans for such an extreme and costly makeover. In fact, Harris said, it isn’t even in the discussion phase, nor is it likely to be.(SPEEDTV.com)(2-28-2008) Comment here
  • Las Vegas Rookie Notes: For the first time in NASCAR’s modern-era (since 1972), three drivers share the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings: Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti and Regan Smith. Each driver has 20 points entering the March 2 UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. By leading the Auto Club 500 once for one lap, Franchitti became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sprint Cup Series this season. He was one of 15 different drivers to lead the race. Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the February 24 Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, scoring a 31st-place finish. Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne share the best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in 10 previous Cup Series races at Las Vegas. Busch placed second in 2005, 1.661 seconds behind race winner Jimmie Johnson while Kahne finished second in 2004, 3.426 seconds behind winner Matt Kenseth. Ryan Newman was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five at Las Vegas, claiming a fourth-place finish in 2002. Only three Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes at Las Vegas: Busch, Kahne and Newman. In 2000, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish at Las Vegas. He was also the first Raybestos Rookie driver to lead a lap (four times for 42 laps). The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie at Las Vegas is 49 by Newman in 2002.(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see full rookie notes, history and more on my Rookies Page.(2-28-2008)
  • Sadler running the flames scheme at Vegas: This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the #19 Stanley Dodge of Elliott Sadler won’t be hard to find. The team will debut the Stanley Tool paint scheme on the Gillett Evernham Motorsports entry with red, yellow and orange flames on a black #19 background.(GEM PR), see my #19 Team Schemes page for some images of the car.(2-28-2008)
  • Labonte and The King go snowmobiling: Communication between driver and crew chief is one of the most important factors in developing a successful race team. This takes time to develop and can only be accomplished by both driver and crew chief working to get to know each other. Bobby Labonte and Jeff Meendering, driver and rookie crew chief on the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, are attempting to accelerate this learning process. After the extended race weekend in Fontana, Labonte and Meendering broke away from racing to have some fun and find out more about each other. The two, along with “The King” Richard Petty, visited “The King’s” Alpine, Wyoming home to ride snowmobiles. It is trips like these that promote a great relationship between the driver and crew chief.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(2-28-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR heads to South America in March: Brian France and a contingent of NASCAR executives will visit Colombia next month together with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates officials to support Juan Pablo Montoya’s charity Foundation. Montoya and his wife Connie will host the executives, which will include members of Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. One of the visits will be to Montoya’s Formula Smiles Foundation in Cartagena on March 10. “NASCAR’s visit to Colombia is something extremely important for both Formula Smiles and our country,” Montoya said. “Being part of the NASCAR community has enabled us to raise thousands of dollars that have permitted us to continue helping under-privileged kids in my home country. This visit gives us the opportunity to show the NASCAR community what we do and educate them on the reality of the situation in our country, and why we need as much support as possible.” NASCAR will donate $25,000 through the NASCAR Foundation to Montoya’s charity, which helps children in need throughout Colombia educating them in sports to improve their quality of life. “On behalf of the NASCAR community I am proud to have the opportunity to work with caring people like Juan Pablo and Connie Montoya,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. “Their efforts, like so many driver charities, benefit those less fortunate and in need. Formula Smiles is a terrific charity that will help children to excel in both academics and athletics.” In 2003 and 2005, Montoya staged the Race of Stars karting event in Cartagena, where Formula One, IRL and Champ Car drivers competed to help raise funds for his charity’s projects.(Cup Scene Daily)(2-28-2008) Comment here
  • Boy Scouts turn 100 in 2010, could include NASCAR: The Boy Scouts of America, about to turn 100, have turned to one of their own as part of a marketing campaign to celebrate the anniversary and try to reverse a membership slide. A logo designed by Philip Goolkasian, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Fresno, Calif., was picked from more than 4,000 entries for anniversary events. The 100th anniversary is still two years away. It will be marked at the 2010 Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Va. — the quadrennial event was pushed back a year to coincide with the anniversary. Scouting officials expect the event to draw 100,000 Scouts and visitors, and they plan to arrange satellite feeds to beam the proceedings around the country to boys who can’t make the trip to Fort Hill. In the meantime, the Irving, Texas-based organization is looking to strike partnership deals with NASCAR and a half-dozen major corporations to promote its work. It hired a public-relations firm, and budgeted more than $4 million for the anniversary and events leading up to it.(Associated Press)(2-28-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News – Boyd Coddington: Car-building legend Boyd Coddington, whose testosterone-injected cable TV reality show “American Hot Rod” introduced the nation to the West Coast hot rod guru, has died. He was 63. Coddington died at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in suburban Whittier at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday. His La Habra office spokeswoman Amanda Curry wouldn’t disclose the cause of death. Coddington, who started building cars when he was 13 and once operated a gas station in Utah, set a standard for his workmanship and creativity, with his popular “Cadzilla” creation considered a design masterpiece. The customized car based on a 1950s Cadillac was built for rocker Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Coddington was a machinist by trade, working at Disneyland during the day and tinkering with cars in his home garage at night and on weekends. His rolling creations captured the imagination of car-crazy Southern Californians and soon he was building custom cars and making money. Most often, he customized 1932 Ford “little deuce coupes.” Coddington also surrounded himself with talent. Alumni from his shop include Jesse James and Chip Foose, who went on to open their own shops and star in reality TV shows. Coddington twice won the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award and he was inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame and the Route 66 Wall of Fame.(San Francisco Chronicle/AP))(2-28-2008)
  • Federal-Mogul Introduces NASCAR MOOG ‘Problem Solver of the Race’ Award: Federal-Mogul Corporation’s MOOG brand of steering and suspension components has established a weekly and annual awards program to honor the best-performing crew chief following each 2008 Sprint Cup Series event and at the conclusion of the 2008 season. The MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award, presented for the first time following the season-opening Daytona 500 to Pat Tryson of Penske Racing, builds upon the brand’s decades-long leadership in all forms of NASCAR competition. Every NASCAR Cup Champion since 1966 has driven to victory using MOOG steering and suspension products. The Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented to the crew chief whose team finishes in the top 10 and posts the largest increase in average lap speed from the first half to second half of a race. “This level of improvement is commonly due to the crew chief’s work in solving a variety of chassis issues and other problems that exist earlier in the race,” Nelson explained.(federal-mogul.com)(2-28-2008)

    News from February 27, 2008

  • Noting the UAW-Dodge 400
    Only seven drivers have competed in all 10 Sprint Cup events at LVMS. They are Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte and Joe Nemechek.
    No driver has ever won the UAW-Dodge 400 from the pole position.
    Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to start in the top five and win. He won from the third starting spot in 2006.
    Jack Roush has posted wins at LVMS with three different drivers (Martin, J. Burton and Kenseth).
    Chip Ganassi, who won with Sterling Marlin in 2002, is the only car owner other than Roush or Hendrick to win at LVMS.
    Jeff Burton (2000) is the only driver to sweep both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at LVMS.
    Jeff Burton also is the only driver running at the finish of every Sprint Cup event at LVMS.
    Juan Pablo Montoya used LVMS as his test track before winning the 2000 Indianapolis 500.
    Both Sam Hornish Jr. and Patrick Carpentier will be making their first stock-car starts at LVMS. Hornish competed at LVMS in the IRL in 1999 and 2000, while Carpentier competed in Champ Car races in 2004 and 2005.
    Carpentier is the only current Las Vegas resident competing in the Sprint Cup Series. Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch were born in Las Vegas but now reside in North Carolina. There will be three former Indy 500 winners in the race (Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and Hornish)(2-27-2008)
  • Wood skips Vegas, Sauter to run #21: Jon Wood told Mike Bagley and David Poole this morning on “The Morning Drive” (Sirius NASCAR Radio 128) that he will step aside for this weekend’s Sprint Cup UAW Dodge 400 at Las Vegas. Jon feels he is not ready to drive his family’s car this weekend due to lack of experience in NASCAR’s new race car. He has elected to take a pass and let Johnny Sauter take the wheel. The Wood Brothers decided to put Sauter in the car because they feel he is the best qualifier that was available. Bill Elliott was unavailable for this weekend’s event due to other commitments. Wood’s next Sprint Cup race is scheduled to be the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway in May.(Sirius NASCAR Radio)(2-27-2008) Comment here
  • Bad Boys Mowers is back on the #27: The #27 Toyota Camry of Mike Skinner will feature the decals of Bad Boy Mowers again this weekend. Bad Boy Mowers, a Batesville, Arkansas-based company, began in 1998 with the sole purpose of producing the Bad Boy zero-turn commercial lawn mower. Visit badboymowers.com for more information.(BDR PR), see an image of the car on my #27 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2008)
  • Special scheme on the #43 at Vegas MORE: This weekend at Las Vegas Bobby Labonte is running a special Cheerios “Circle of Helping Hearts” paint scheme on the #43 Petty Racing Dodge. More info about at cheerioshelpinghearts.com.(Petty Racing PR)(2-27-2008)
    MORE: Bobby Labonte knows the importance of a number. He races the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, one of the most famous and recognizable numbers in the history of the sport. Veteran media members, Wendy Venturini [SPEED Channel Reporter], Jenna Fryer [Associated Press Motorsports Journalist] and Krista Voda [Fox Sports Pit Road Reporter/SPEEDtrucks host] are also familiar with an important number. They each know that their cholesterol number is vital for them to continue to live a strong and healthy life. This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Venturini, Fryer and Voda will be wearing Cheerios “Circle of Helping Hearts” stickers to help raise awareness for women to “Know Your Number” and get cholesterol checks. Women’s heart disease is the number one killer among women today, making it more important for all females to “Know Your Number” and help take care of their heart. The Cheerios racing team will be doing their part on the track. Labonte will carry the “Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts” logo on the hood for this weekend’s race. The “Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts” is a reminder to help a heart and make a difference. Fans can enter a code found inside specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal or on containers of 8th Continent soy milk. Cheerios and 8th Continent will donate a $1.00 for each code entered. Through the code program, Cheerios and 8th Continent soy milk will donate up to $300,000 to WomenHeart, the nation’s only patient advocacy organization serving women with heart disease, to provide free cholesterol screening for communities of women in need. Together with 8th Continent soy milk, Cheerios is donating an additional $200,000 to WomenHeart, bringing the total possible contribution to $500,000.(Breaking Limits/General Mills PR)(2-27-2008) Comment here
  • Pop Tarts featured on #5 at Vegas: This weekend, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevy of Casey Mears for the first time. The Pop-Tarts brand, created in the early 1960s, is more than 40 years old, putting the product in the same age bracket as just six members of the #5 team, which averages a very young 34 years old.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-27-2008) Comment here
  • USG scheme returns to the #17: MattKenseth will run the USG Sheetrock paint scheme on the #17 Ford at Las Vegas on Sunday for the first of three times this season. The other two USG Sheetrock races in 2008 are Chicago in July and Atlanta in October.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2008) Comment here
  • Toyota Doing Better in 2008: With #18-Kyle Busch and #20-Tony Stewart leading the way, Toyota is putting its 2007 struggles in the past. Toyotas have now led 155 laps in the first two Sprint Cup races this year, with 17 at Fontana and 138 at Daytona. They led 166 laps in 16 CoT races all of last year.(Press Enterprise)(2-27-2008) Comment here

  • Thousands of Fans “Stand Up for Robby” with Jim Beam: Jim Beam Bourbon announced the brand will continue the “Stand Up for Robby” initiative, begun this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. Originally intended to be a one-weekend show of support for Gordon and the team, overwhelming fan reaction has encouraged Jim Beam to continue the campaign enabling fans to offer their opinions and sign a petition requesting NASCAR reduce or overturn recent penalties imposed against the #7 Jim Beam Dodge race team. “Standing up for what is right is more than a philosophy for Jim Beam, it is a mantra we live by,” said Sam Seiller, Senior Director, Whiskies Group, Beam Global Spirits & Wine. “Getting behind our driver is the right thing to do in this situation. We are pleased to see so many fans on the same page and voicing their support for a guy who showed grit, determination and character in driving to an 8th-place finish in the Daytona 500.” Gordon and the #7 Dodge race team last week filed an appeal to NASCAR officials in response to a 100-point penalty and six-race suspension and $100,000 fine for crew chief Frank Kerr announced by NASCAR. Fans attending last weekend’s NASCAR events in Fontana, Calif. and throughout the country were encouraged via a grassroots and online public relations effort to join the “Stand up for Robby” cause. To date, more than 8,500 fans have visited www.jimbeam.com and signed a petition to be distributed to NASCAR in advance of the appeal hearing. Upon the team’s notification of the appeal hearing date, Jim Beam will announce the timing of submission of the petition to NASCAR officials. In addition to circulating the petition and distributing the letter to NASCAR, Jim Beam printed and distributed “Rally for Robby” t-shirts to fans in attendance during the NASCAR race weekend at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. Throughout the race weekend, fans wearing the shirts showed their support for the #7 Jim Beam team. Gordon expressed appreciation for the encouragement provided by Jim Beam and fans throughout the country, and said his team’s focus is on competing well on the track and awaiting a fair hearing at the appeal. “It’s great to know we have a sponsor like Jim Beam that has our back,” said Gordon. “Jim Beam has stuck by our race team for four years and believes we made an honest mistake. I’m also happy to see fans jumping onboard to support our team.” At track and online activities will continue this week as the Sprint Cup Series visits Las Vegas. Fans attending the events can buy “Rally for Robby” shirts at the Robby Gordon Motorsports merchandise hauler. Fans elsewhere looking to show their support can purchase the t-shirts and sign the petition online at jimbeam.com.(Jim Beam Racing PR)(2-27-2008) Comment here
  • 2nd Thoughts by Reiser UPDATE: For the past 12 years, between the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Robbie Reiser [former #17 crew chief] was in the midst of the buzz as Kenseth’s crew chief. His adrenalin would be flowing in anticipation of all the calls he would have to make to get his driver into Victory Lane. “I don’t like it that much,” he said of his new job as general manager at Roush Fenway Racing. “If somebody came up and said you can do your old job again, I’d probably take it in a heartbeat.” Daytona was Reiser’s first weekend in his new role. He spent most of Sunday bouncing between each of team owner Jack Roush’s five haulers, making sure the crew chiefs had everything they needed for the Daytona race and this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at California Speedway. Reiser says he’ll give this role a few months before deciding if it’ll become permanent. If he decides it’s not for him, he won’t hesitate to look for another crew chief job, at Roush Racing or another organization. “When we get to April and May, I’ll look at it,” Reiser said. “If I still can’t stand it, I’ll go talk to Jack.” Adjusting to all the management meetings has been Reiser’s toughest chore. He would rather have his head under the hood getting his hands greasy than pushing a pencil.(full story and more at ESPN.com)(2-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Former crew chief Robbie Reiser, who now oversees Roush Fenway Racing’s Cup program, told ESPN.com last week that he doesn’t like his new role as general manager. Car owner Jack Roush was asked about Reiser’s comments Monday. “He’s not yet got comfortable with his new job,” Roush said. “One of the things that happens is that between the driver and me, there’s a crew chief. [He] would intercede for the driver and, by the same token, the driver would intercede for the crew chief if things aren’t as they might be. Right now, it’s Robbie and I. There’s no buffer. Some days I think that may be not as comfortable as what he had. He’s got a real big job. He’s doing a good job at it. If he had a choice today between going back and being a crew chief and being a manager, he’d probably go back, but we’re not going to give him that choice.”(Roanoke Times)(2-27-2008) Comment here
  • Nicorette scheme for the #24 at Las Vegas UPDATE: Jeff Gordon will run the special #24 DuPont Nicorette Chevy paint scheme for the first of six races in 2008 at Sunday’s UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “It is rewarding to be involved with a sponsor such as Nicorette that focuses on making a difference in people’s lives and helping people achieve better health by quitting smoking,” said Gordon. “Nicorette continues to be an excellent partner and I look forward to a big weekend in the special DuPont Nicorette paint scheme at Las Vegas.” The special paint scheme coincides with one of the most unique sponsorships in motorsports history with Nicorette helping race fans and crew members quit smoking through its QUIT Crew program. Nicorette’s QUIT Crew program is currently helping over 300 NASCAR team members from 19 different racing organizations quit smoking through counseling, support, and the proper use of the smoking cessation products Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ and Commit. Quit smoking support is also available to NASCAR fans throughout race weekend at Nicorette’s interactive Winner’s Circle Exhibit located in the LVMS fan area. At the exhibit, Nicorette’s certified smoking cessation coaches will be on hand to provide individuals with free, quit smoking counseling. For more information about Nicorette’s racing program and on how to quit smoking, visit www.quit2winracing.com.(Lighthouse Marketing PR)(2-26-2008)
    UPDATE: Gordon is scheduled to drive the #24 DuPont/Nicorette Chevy at Las Vegas, Phoenix [4/12], Chicago [7/12], Richmond [9/6], Atlanta [10/26] and Texas [11/2]. Nicorette also sponsors the Nicorette 300 Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 8. see an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2008) Comment here

    News from February 26, 2008

  • Osborne named WYPALL Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” in California: Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 DISH Network/Office Depot Ford Fusion driven by Carl Edwards, was named “Crew Chief of the Race” Monday in Fontana, California for his team’s win in the Auto Club 500. Bob, who is a 2008 WYPALL Wipers crew chief representative, made the WYPALL brand proud Monday leading his team to a dominant win in the rain delayed two-day affair. Osborne will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and strategic thinking during the race. The 2008 WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. Representatives from WYPALL Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent WYPALL, including Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL. The WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.wypall.com.(WYPALL PR)(2-26-2008) Comment here
  • Lots of Jet Fuel used at Calif: During the weekend, the jet dryers that circled Auto Club Speedway for more than 10 hours during several rain delays consumed more than 6,500 gallons of fuel. They burned 3,000 gallons on Sunday night as they tried in vain to dry the track. There were reports that the track ran out of fuel and had to have some trucked in from nearby Ontario International Airport on Sunday night. What could an airline do with that much fuel? According to Virgin Atlantic Airlines statistics, a Boeing 737-800 can fly 3,383 miles on 6,875 gallons of fuel. Jet dryers from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway were used during the weekend.(Orange County Register)(2-26-2008) Comment here
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Auto Club 500
    Total number of commercials: 143
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 61
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 50
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 26
    Sunday, February 24, 2008
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 6:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 9:30 PM
    Monday, February 25, 2008
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 3:15 PM
    Total minutes: 343
    Minutes of race broadcast: 273
    Minutes of commercials: 70
    Number of missed restarts: 1 (and two near misses)
    See full report and breakdown at CawsnJaws.(2-26-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch having quite a 2008 start: #18-Kyle Busch had quite a weekend … again. Busch logged top 5 finishes in the Truck, Nationwide and Cup races in California. Busch pulled of the same feat at Daytona a week ago, making him the first driver to do so since Mark Martin in 1996. Terry Labonte did it in 1995. Busch is also the first driver to ever lead the Cup and Truck standings at the same time.(ESPN.com)(2-26-2008) Comment here
  • California Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. He was credited with a 31st-place finish. For the first time in NASCAR’s modern era, three drivers are tied for the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings in the Sprint Cup Series. Smith, #40-Dario Franchitti and #77-Sam Hornish Jr. all have 20 points entering next week’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. By leading the Auto Club 500 once for one lap, Franchitti became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sprint Cup Series this season. He was one of 15 different drivers to lead the race. He is the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Auto Club 500 since J.J. Yeley led once for two laps in 2006.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR), see my Rookies Page for how rookies are scored, history and more.(2-26-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR Angels TV show’s Las Vegas episode to include School racing program: NASCAR Angels, a nationally-syndicated half-hour weekly TV show, will be filming at the Dr. C. Owen Roundy Elementary School in Las Vegas on February 25. The filming will include the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model driven at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by Jim Petrie of Henderson. NASCAR Angels is syndicated in 200 markets and focuses on helping people in need with car repairs from brakes to complete overhauls. While in Las Vegas, they will help the entire staff of Roundy Elementary with new tires and oil changes for their vehicles. Petrie’s H-Town Racing team kicked off its Race to Success reading program last September at Roundy Elementary and Sewell Elementary. The program concludes with the Race to Success Reading Program Night at The Bullring at LVMS on May 10.(PR)(2-26-2008) Comment here

    News from February 25, 2008

  • Edwards wins at California: #99-Carl Edwards won the Auto Club at Auto Club Speedway for his first win of 2008 and 8th win of his career. Edwards led 64 of 250 laps [#48-Johnson led the most]. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #18-Kyle Busch [new points leader], #17-Matt Kenseth, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #20-Tony Stewart, #29-Kevin Harvick, #9-Kasey Kahne and #12-Ryan Newman. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished the race after his early race wreck and finished 40th, 47 laps down. There were 33 lead changes among 15 drivers and 12 caution flags for 44 laps.
    See some notes and lucky dogs posted on my California Race Info Page
    Race Results on my California Race Results/Awards Page
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page(2-25-2008)
  • The Unofficial Points Standings [after California, race 2 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 335
    2) #12-Ryan Newman 329 -6
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 316 -19
    4) #2-Kurt Busch 299 -36
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 296 -39
    6) #9-Kasey Kahne 294 -41
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 268 -67
    8) #48-Jimmie Johnson 267 -68
    9) #16-Greg Biffle 262 -73
    10) #31-Jeff Burton 261 -74
    11) #83-Brian Vickers 257 -78
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 253 -82
    of note: #7-Gordon is now 32nd, without the 100pt penalty
    Gordon would be 12th
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.(2-25-2008)
  • NASCAR defends postponing races at Calif: NASCAR officials felt they were always on the brink of getting the Auto Club 500 resumed late Sunday night at Auto Club Speedway but finally had to give up battling the weepers and dew at about 1:55am/et. NASCAR spent 4 hours, 42 minutes trying to dry the track. “The places that got dry, by the time [workers] got back to them on another lap, 20 minutes or so later with another set of dryers, it had already picked up moisture again,” a dejected NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton said as the cars were being rolled into the Sprint Cup Series garage. “It was dew basically. The weepers will always be an issue – at a lot of race tracks that we go to, we have that from time to time. But even just on the regular surface, it was quite wet.” A chorus of boos rang from the few thousand fans who had waited out the rain. NASCAR had spent about four hours drying the track. “It quit raining, and we owe it to the fans who are here to try to do our best to get the show in,” Pemberton said. “Many times it’s only an hour, an hour and a half to try to dry the race track, and we worked at it 4 1/2 hours and still couldn’t get it dry. … Tonight, it just didn’t work out. We could have stayed after it and maybe have gotten it in another couple of hours and [the East Coast] could have watched us while they ate breakfast. But that wasn’t going to be fair, either. You just try. You try, you think you’re making a dent in it, and it just went south on us.” Another issue was that NASCAR already had postponed the Nationwide Series event to Monday. “Trying to put on two shows tomorrow isn’t going to be easy either, but we’re going to do it,” Pemberton said Sunday night. “To try to get one show in today is what our goal is going to be.” Pemberton knows NASCAR will receive criticism for waiting so long before postponing the event. “You can be upset at us for trying if you want to be, and that’s fair, but we’re always going to put our best foot forward,” Pemberton said. “With the lights here and everything, we thought we could get it pulled off, and it didn’t work.”(SceneDaily)(2-25-2008) Comment here or Conversation: Auto Club Speedway
  • Some Engine News: Hendrick Motor Sports had apparently found a way to squeeze more power out of their engines, according to dyno numbers, but actually had to dial back some. Yet, it’s not Hendrick that has Cory DeMarco, front tire changer for Yates Racing. “Toyota has the most power out there right now,” DeMarco said during one of the several rain delays the NASCAR Sprint Cup series endured trying to get the Auto Club 500 concluded Sunday night at the newly renamed Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. “Especially now that they have Gibbs [Racing] on board; those guys are doing most of the engine development.” DeMarco is pleased with the strength being shown by the Roush-Yates engine program. “The engines are strong,” DiMarco said, especially when you look at what Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards were doing Sunday. “From and engineering standpoint, we’re just a little behind last year.” DeMarco pointed out that NASCAR has pretty much taken away much opportunity to change anything on the cars. “It’s all chassis development and suspension parts to get the cars to grip better,” he said. “The sport is going where it’s all engineering.”(Ford Racing)(2-25-2008) Comment here
  • Force gets Glick Award: John Force, the winningest driver in the NHRA, was selected winner of the Justice Brothers Shav Glick Award on Sunday before the Auto Club 500. Force was in Phoenix, where his four John Force Racing teams competed in the Powerade Drag Racing Series. Force’s other three daughters accepted the award named after the late motor racing writer for The Times, a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. The award recognizes Californians who have made distinguished contributions to motor sports. “Being nominated for an award with Shav’s name on it is an honor by itself,” Force said in a statement, “but to be with people like Robert Petersen, Chris Pook and Jimmie Johnson, the NASCAR champ, makes it even more special. I wish I could have been there myself. . . . It’ll go right in my museum. Shav was the first real writer to ever do a story on me.” Petersen, who died last year, founded a number of auto-related magazines as well as the Petersen Automotive Museum; Pook founded the Grand Prix of Long Beach and Johnson won the last two Nextel Cup championships.(Los Angeles Times)(2-25-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News -Tim Sullivan: Timothy Joseph Sullivan III, 83, of Ormond Beach, Fla. (formerly of Richmond, VA), passed away February 24, 2008, at 2:06 p.m., at Halifax Hospital, Daytona Beach, Fla. The former General Manager of Motor Racing Network held several other positions in racing after serving his country in Iwo Jima during World War II. Mr. Sullivan had struggled the last four months to get over pneumonia and other pre-existing conditions. He suffered cardiac arrest on February 22 at 2 a.m., and wasn’t able to recover. A loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, he leaves behind his devoted wife of 14 years, Betty Coulter Sullivan; sons Timothy Michael Sullivan, Cornelius, N.C., and Patrick Kelly Sullivan, Daytona Beach, Fla.; step-sons W. Jay Coulter III, Simpsonville, S.C., and Joseph Douglas Coulter, Richmond, Va.; sister Rachel Robinson, Richmond, Va.; two grandsons, William Patrick and Jacob Riley; and granddaughters Madison Owens, Ashley Douglas and Morgan Stewart, in addition to numerous nieces and nephews in Virginia. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 20 years, Marilyn Kelly Sullivan, and his parents, Timothy Joseph Sullivan II and Marie Cottrell Sullivan. Initially serving in numerous capacities at both Southside Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, Mr. Sullivan’s career also included serving as a Founder and Director of Racing at the now defunct West Virginia Speedway, Director of Auto Racing Telecasts for Teleprompter Broadcasting, General Manager of Motor Racing Network (MRN), Director of Auto Racing (NASCAR Division) for Valvoline Oil Company, Public Relations Director of Special Projects for Daytona Beach Community College (DBCC), Founder of the Richard Petty Fund for Automotive Education (DBCC), Founder of the National Conference for Automotive Technology (DBCC). During his retirement, he served as President of Motor Racing Heritage, and as a member of The Auto Racing Legends (ARL), where he recently received the honor of ARL Honor of Legend Emeritus. He was also a member of the Living Legends of Auto Racing. Mr. Sullivan was recently honored by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA) with its Hall of Fame Award for his public relations work in the motorsports industry. For services and more info, see my Sad News page.(2-25-2008)
  • Sad News – Jimmy Johnson: Fayetteville, NC native Jimmy Johnson, who ran Hendrick Motorsports from 1986-98, died Friday night following a stroke earlier in the week. Mr. Johnson was 61. Mr. Johnson suffered a stroke about 5:30 a.m. Monday, according to his brother, Billy “B.J.” Johnson. He said Mr. Johnson died about 9 p.m. Friday at Carolinas Medical Center here after being taken off life support around 1 o’clock. Mr. Johnson was a graduate of Massey Hill High School. During his tenure, Hendrick drivers won 76 races, four championships and more than $45 million. Mr. Johnson’s funeral arrangements are incomplete except that his funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, his brother said. Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Priscilla, and their son Dustin. He has two other sons, Jamie and Ryan.(Fayetteville Observer/Hendrick Motorsports)(2-23-2008)
    SERVICES: James “Jimmy” Charles Johnson, 61, of Teeter Farms Drive, died Friday, Feb. 22, 2008, at Carolinas Medical Center. Born July 23, 1946, in Whiteville, he was the son of the late James Luther and Mildred “Skeet” Moore Johnson. He was retired from Hendrick Motorsports, where he served as vice president/general manager. He is survived by his wife, Priscilla McKenzie Johnson; sons, James “Jamie” Charles Johnson II and Ryan Patrick Johnson, both of Fayetteville, and Dustin Reid Johnson of Mooresville; and brother, William “B.J.” Patrick Johnson of Hope Mills. Funeral services will be held at 11am/et Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008, at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church with the Rev. Darrol Hood officiating. Burial will be private. The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6 to 8:30pm/et at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210; or to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317. The family of Mr. Johnson is being served by Cavin-Cook Funeral Home of Mooresville.(Fayetteville Observer, condolences can be left there)(2-25-2008)

News from February 24, 2008

  • Labonte to RCR in 2009? Richard Childress acknowledged that his organization is close to fielding a fourth team in the Sprint Cup Series, and Yahoo! Sports has learned that the driver of that car beginning in 2009 likely will be Bobby Labonte [currently #43 Petty Enterprises]. Sources close to the deal point to General Mills, Labonte’s current sponsor with Petty Enterprises, coming along with him to RCR. According to Childress, he will field a fourth car sometime this season, though he wouldn’t set an exact time frame. He did say things were progressing well and that he was pleased with how plans were coming together. “We’re looking at entering a few races before the end of the season,” Childress said. Childress entered a fourth car (#33) in selected races in 2007 with Scott Wimmer as the driver. Wimmer likely is the choice to be behind the wheel when the car makes it back onto the track this season. However, Labonte likely will be the full-time driver in 2009. Hiring Labonte would be an ace up the sleeve for RCR. Labonte is a past champion, which means he would get a champion’s provisional that would guarantee him a spot in the field at the start of the ’09 season. Labonte already has a relationship with Childress, having signed with RCR this year to drive the #21 Nationwide car on a part-time basis this season.(Yahoo Sports)(2-23-2008)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises has offered Bobby Labonte a contract that it hopes keeps the 43-year-old driver with the team the rest of his career, although an internet report states he could be driving elsewhere next year. “I don’t really believe a whole lot of stuff that you read and half of what you say sometimes, so I don’t put nothing into it,” Labonte said Saturday afternoon of the Yahoo! Sports report. Labonte, the 2000 series champion, is in the final year of his three-year contract with Petty Enterprises. Robbie Loomis, vice president for operations at Petty Enterprises, said the team is awaiting word from Labonte on the contract offer. “It’s up to him what he wants to do with it,. Hopefully, he’ll sign it,” Loomis said. “We’d really like Bobby Labonte to finish his career out with Petty Enterprises and the contract that we presented him is kind of laid out that way. We think his values and what he stands for is a good fit with us.” Loomis said he doesn’t have a timetable on when the team would like a response from Labonte, but admits that “the earlier the better, so that everybody can get their eyes back on the racing.” Labonte said whatever he does next will be behind closed doors. “My next step is not to talk about it,” Labonte said. Loomis also said he does not see General Mills joining Richard Childress Racing as long as that team has Jack Daniel’s sponsoring one of its cars. “We have a lot of things in our contract how specifically they won’t touch a sponsor that is alcohol, so for the General Mills piece to be going over there … I really find surprising,” Loomis said.(Roanoke Times), see a Q&A with Loomis on the #43 Team News and Links page.(2-24-2008) Comment here.
  • Special scheme for Labonte at Calif UPDATE: This weekend at California Speedway #43-Bobby Labonte will run a special paint scheme for the Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” Program; the nationwide initiative lends a “helping hand” to local groups making a difference in their community.(Petty Racing PR)(2-21-2008)
    UPDATE: This weekend, Bobby Labonte is bringing the colors and scheme of the #43 Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” Dodge to the two-mile California Speedway. Labonte will be focused on racing up front to help raise awareness of the Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” grant program. The nationwide initiative lends a “helping hand” to local groups making a difference in their community. Labonte has not only had tremendous success on the track, but has volunteered his services to help communities off the track as well. Labonte will be a guest judge for the program. He plans to choose at least one of the MyhometownHelper.com selected grant winners to donate additional money from his foundation and/or to provide his own time to help in raising funds. The MyhometownHelper.com grant winners are selected by a panel that will review applicants’ essays of 250 words or less, describing how the grant will benefit their community project. From now until March 31st community groups seeking support can visit MyHometownHelper.com to apply online for the grant. Grants will be awarded in the range of $500 to $15,000 dollars and all requests must be sponsored by a charitable organization, municipal or civic organization, or a public school. Funds will be awarded based on the merit of the project, including its impact on, and support within, the community, among other factors. Labonte will review from the winning grant essays in April. Last year, Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” gave away $130,000 in grants and plans to give away $200,000 this year. The Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” grants have helped communities purchase new band equipment, build a school playground and fund a tornado warning system, among other great projects.(Breaking Limits PR). see an image of the car on the #43 Team Schemes page.(2-24-2008)

    News from February 23, 2008

  • Dodge Says Mistake Led to Gordon’s Penalty: Dodge officials admit a mistake led to Robby Gordon having the wrong nose on his car at Daytona and later being penalized 100 points and $100,000 for the infraction. Kipp Owen, director of Dodge Motorsports Engineering, issued a statement Friday about what happened to Gordon. “While the nose meets the template for the car of tomorrow, it has not yet been approved by NASCAR or use in racing,” Owen said in a statement. “The prototype parts were in the warehouse, and share the same basic part number as the approved … nose. It was an unfortunate series of human errors compounded by the very short time frame [Gordon’s team] had to get their cars changed to Dodge Chargers in time for the Daytona 500. Dodge has taken the appropriate steps in the warehouse to make sure that prototype parts can not be mistaken for approved parts in the future and hopes that the circumstances surrounding this error are considered.”(Roanoke Times)(2-23-2008)
  • Burton & Bowyer: what happened at Daytona?
    Q) A lot of people were asking about the video of you [Jeff Burton] and Clint Bowyer after The Daytona 500 and they could see it but not hear it. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and what happened and why you guys were mad?
    A Burton) “Clint and I were mad, but we weren’t mad at what people thought we were mad at. The conversation that Clint and I had we’ll keep to ourselves. There’s no strife amongst the drivers, there’s none of that. We did have a discussion and it is clear that you can’t have productive conversations as soon as the race is over. That just can never happen, never has happened, never will happen. But there’s nothing leaving Daytona that we have any concern about whatsoever.”
    Q) Could you two have helped each other more coming down the stretch?
    A Burton) “To be honest I haven’t watched a replay of the race and until I go back and really analyze what we could have done differently I don’t know. I never at any point felt like Clint did anything to jeopardize my opportunity to win the race. That’s all I know. On the surface of it when the race was over I never once felt – I think everybody thought I was mad at Clint like Clint did something to me that I thought he shouldn’t have done but that was the furthest from the case. I never once felt like Clint did anything to negatively affect my race. And by the way, you know I’ve said this for years I don’t expect my teammate to help me if it’s going to hurt him. I never expected it and I don’t expect it now so any thought that I was mad at Clint and that I felt like Clint could have done something to help my cause – that’s totally misconstrued. I don’t think Clint did anything wrong in that race at all in regards to running with me.”(GM Racing PR)(2-23-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway is over. Drivers were on the track for about 30 minutes before rain washed out the rest of the session. The results:
    #24-Gordon 179.569
    #99-Edwards 179.180
    #16-Biffle 178.909
    #8-Martin 178.891
    #17-Kenseth 178.820
    slowest: #45-Petty 173.536 & #34-Andretti 173.469
    most laps run: #11-Hamlin 19
    incidents: #43-Bobby Labonte scraped the wall a couple minutes into the session. Just minor sheetmetal damage.
    See the speeds on the Calfornia Practice Speeds Page.(2-23-2008)

    News from February 22, 2008

  • Sponsor throws support behind Robby: A campaign is under way declaring Robby Gordon’s innocence for what NASCAR said was an illegal part used on his car during Speedweeks. Representatives from Jim Beam, which sponsors Gordon’s #7 Dodge, will canvas the Auto Club Speedway grandstands on Saturday gathering signatures for a petition demanding NASCAR reverse its “unfair” decision to dock Gordon 100 points. Crew chief Frank Kerr also was fined $100,000, suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series events until April 9 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Along with the petition, “Rally for Robby” T-shirts are being made for Gordon fans to wear during this weekend’s Cup events, said Sofia Lombardo, spokesperson for Jim Beam [have not seen anyplace fans can purchase the t-shirts]. Also, Thomas Flocco, president and CEO of Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc., has sent a letter addressed to NASCAR president Mike Helton, as well as other top officials, voicing the company’s frustrations. “Robby’s team earned an honest eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 through tireless dedication, quality and character, not because of rule violations,” the letter states. “As your own officials have stated, there appears to have been no intent to circumvent the rules in order to gain a competitive disadvantage. It amounts to an honest mistake that was corrected before the race. Your decision unfairly penalizes Robby, his sponsors and his fans. … While we fully support the rules NASCAR has put in place to keep the playing field level, we ask that you closely review all the facts,” the letter continued. “Please consider not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the rules of competition.” Gordon, who was not allowed to participate in a news conference for the top-10 Cup drivers Friday in California, is equally as frustrated and feels NASCAR continues to target him as an independent team owner. On Thursday he said that he would appeal the penalty levied against the #7 team by NASCAR.(NASCAR.com)(2-22-2008) Comment here.
  • Open Wheel Series Unify: Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George and owners of the Champ Car World Series have completed an agreement in principle that will unify the sport for 2008. Gerald Forsythe, co-owner of Champ Car, signed an agreement in principle Feb. 22 in Chicago, joining his partner, Kevin Kalkhoven. George signed the agreement Feb. 21.(Indycar.com)
    ESPN Statement on Today’s Open Wheel Unification Announcement – “This is a good day for fans who have long awaited a unification of the two series and we hope it is the beginning of a bright future for open wheel racing.” John Wildhack, Executive Vice President, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions.(2-22-2008)
  • Did you know? the Sprint Cup race at Daytona was the first time since Homestead in 2005, that no Chevy finished in the top 5. That is 72 races in a row. And it was the first time since Las Vegas in 2003, that only one Chevy finished in the top 10. A streak of 178 consecutive races.(LTPicks.com)(2-22-2008)
  • Victory Junction Gang Camp Coming to Kansas: Kyle and Pattie Petty announced that they have decided to open a second Victory Junction Gang Camp in Wyandotte County (Kansas). The Pettys have been meeting with business and civic leaders over the last few months and have been studying the sustainability of a camp in the area. Today’s announcement included Pattie Petty, and NASCAR driver and Kansas native Clint Bowyer. “We’re excited to be able to make this announcement today because this is such a special place for our family,” said Pattie Petty, co-founder of the Camp. “I’d like to thank all of the communities who opened up their arms to welcome us; it has been a difficult decision. I want to thank Clint Bowyer for being here today. Clint has been extremely interested and supportive of building a Victory Junction Gang Camp here in his home state of Kansas. I’d also like to thank the Kansas City Area Development Council, Wyandotte Development Inc., the Unified Government and Board of Public Utilities for all of their hard work and support since we started thinking about building a second Camp in this area.”
    “I’m excited about today’s announcement because it not only means a great deal to Wyandotte County, but also to Kansas Speedway,” said Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger. “For Kyle and Pattie Petty to choose to build a second Camp in Wyandotte County is a huge boost for our area. I look forward to working with the Pettys as they continue to work to make the Victory Junction Gang Camp a reality in our community.”
    “The Pettys’ decision to open the second Victory Junction Gang Camp in Kansas City is an example of our region’s sprit,” said Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council. “Kansas City showed the Pettys it wanted this camp.” The Pettys envision that this Victory Junction Gang Camp will not only continue the NASCAR-theme but will also include sports themes that are prevalent in the Midwest.(Kansas Speedway PR)(2-22-2008) Comment here.
  • Friday practice and Qualifying for the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway has been cancelled due to rain/wet track and the field will be be set by the rules book, top-35 in 2007 owners pts, one 2007 race winner, two past champs, three who in the top 35 in 2008 owners pts, then two by 2008 race attempts [ties broken by 2008 owners pts pos]. So #2-Busch [won a race in 2007], then #44-Jarrett and #21-Elliott in by the past champ, then #83-Vickers, #00-Reutimann and #55-Waltrip who are in the 2008 top 35 of owners pts, then #34-Andretti and #78-Nemechek [1 attempt, 40th and 41st in 2008 owners pts]. Five teams/driver who will not make the race are: #84-Allmendinger, #49-Schrader, #10-Carpentier, #27-Skinner and #08-Lamar. See my Qualifying Order/Results page for the unofficial lineup.(2-22-2008)
  • Toyota Commercial Judged best: NASCAR fans have chosen Toyota’s new television commercial, in which kids wielding giant remote control devices wreak havoc on the Toyota drivers, as the best new ad of the season, according to votes cast on NASCAR.COM. UPS’s heartwarming spot featuring Dale Jarrett racing the big brown truck and then hanging up the keys was voted the second best spot. Gillette’s new Young Guns commercial, in which drivers Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman body slam and generally abuse wrestling star John Cena, was ranked third best. Toyota’s new spot showcases the manufacturer’s newest drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing – Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin – as well as Tony’s crew chief Greg Zipadelli and veteran Toyota driver Michael Waltrip. After kids in the stands wielding large remote controls propel the Camry’s all over the track, Tony Stewart jumps from his car, is chased onto pit road, and guns his helmet at the kid-controlled car. The winning commercial, part of the “Toyota Department of Fan Operations” campaign that puts fans closer to the racing action, was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles.(NASCAR PR)(2-22-2008) Comment here.
  • California Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will be running the same tire codes at California Speedway this weekend, though the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while those for the Craftsman Truck Series will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought either of theses two tire codes to the race track . . . 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 . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated Sprint Cup pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the California Race Info Page for tire codes and pressures.(2-22-2008) Comment here.
  • Energizer scheme for Sorenson: 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, as well as the famous Energizer Bunny. The Bunny will be on hand this weekend to support Sorenson and team, and to partake in a number of media opportunities alongside Sorenson.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images on the #41 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2008) Comment here.
  • Juicyfruit on the #42 at Calif: Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge Charger will be carrying the signature yellow of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit brand this weekend at California Speedway. This will be the first of 19 races either Juicy Fruit or Big Red will be the primary sponsor on Montoya’s car during the 2008 Sprint Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images on the #42 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2008) Comment here.

    News from February 21, 2008

  • 60th Anniversary Of NASCAR Being Incorporated: Sixty years ago today, the intent of Bill France Sr. became clear. Determined to bring organization to the long-disjointed sport of stock car racing, France had his newly formed sanctioning body – the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – incorporated. It became official, on Feb. 21, 1948. NASCAR had been born. Incorporation was actually prefaced by NASCAR’s first-sanctioned event, on Feb. 15, 1948. That race was run on a “beach-road” course that used both the Atlantic shoreline and a portion of State Road A1A, with Red Byron winning. “Big Bill” France, of course, wanted everyone to win. One of his basic tenets was that for NASCAR to survive – much less thrive – everyone involved would need to benefit. France had talked about that two months earlier, during the now-famous meeting in December 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, which resulted in NASCAR’s formation. Retrospect makes some of his words from that meeting seem prophetic, such as the following: “Stock car racing has got distinct possibilities … and we do not know how big it can be if it’s handled properly. …. I believe stock car racing can become a nationally recognized sport by having a National Point Standing. … We must try to get track owners and promoters interested in building stock car racing up. We are all interested in one thing that is, improving the present conditions.” France and his fledgling sport took a huge step toward all of the above, on Feb. 21, 1948.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2008)[the first ‘Cup’ race, then known as Strictly Stock was run on June 19, 1949 in Charlotte with Jim Roper winning the 148 mile race. Comment here.
  • Coors Light to the #01 car in 2008? UPDATE: hearing Coors could be a sponsor of the #01 DEI team in 2008.(9-9-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #01 Chevy driven by Rookie of the Year candidate Regan Smith will feature a special paint scheme from Coors Light, “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer” and official beer of NASCAR and NASCAR fans everywhere. The Coors Light and NASCAR logos will run on the car for this weekend’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway and the March 2nd UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Beginning this month, adult race fans can enter for a chance to win the ultimate fan weekend at a NASCAR-sanctioned race. The “Four Day NASCAR Weekend” includes access to NASCAR events that only Coors Light can offer, including Coors Light Pole Day and a VIP experience all weekend long. For more information about Coors Light’s official NASCAR sponsorship, as well as race schedules, race weekend promotions, and more see coorslight.com/racing.(DEI)(2-21-2008) Comment here
  • The DISH Network to sponsor Roush cars for 15 races: Roush Fenway Racing announced DISH Network has signed on as a sponsor in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. DISH Network will have a team representative and serve as a primary sponsor in 15 Sprint Cup Races in 2008, alternating between three Roush Fenway drivers. Greg Biffle will drive the #16 DISH Network Ford Fusion in 11 Sprint Cup races, Carl Edwards will drive the #99 Ford in three races [this week at California is one] and Matt Kenseth will race the #17 Ford in one race [Bristol in March]. The DISH Network team of drivers will be dubbed the DISH Network AllStars. The DISH Network AllStars first race is Sunday, Feb. 24 featuring the 2007 Nationwide Series champion #99-Carl Edwards.(Roush Fenway Racing)(2-21-2008)Comment here
  • #7 team penalized for Daytona infraction: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #7 team that competes in the Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The #7 Dodge driven and owned by Robby Gordon was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-3.10A (unapproved front bumper cover) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 8. As a result, Gordon has been penalized 100 championship driver and owner points. Crew chief Frank Kerr has been fined $100,000, suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series events until April 9 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2008.(NASCAR PR), Drivers and Owners points have been adusted accordingly. (2-20-2008)
    UPDATE – appeal: Robby Gordon comments: “This was an innocent mistake made by someone not even on my team. They accidentally supplied us the new Dodge noses that NASCAR hasn’t yet approved because of what amounted to a clerical error. It was discovered during technical inspection and corrected before the race. It was not even close to being an intent to create some competitive advantage, and the mistake was not even made by my team. This penalty is way out of proportion when you compare it what happened last year when a team was penalized 100 points for adding a substance to the fuel, or when a team deliberately changed the bodies of the COT. To penalize my team the same amount when we didn’t even make the mistake, and the mistake was nothing more than inadvertent human error by someone else is just not fair. Other teams who have had similar issues to what happened with the nose on my car were only penalized 25 points. I hope that NASCAR can reconsider when they have all the facts. In the meantime, we have no choice but to appeal this penalty. We started the season off on a high note with a top 10 finish at Daytona and we look forward to continuing that at California and Las Vegas.(RGM PR)(2-21-2008) Comment here
  • McMurray flies with the Thunderbirds: Along with driving the high banks of Daytona International Speedway last week, Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray experienced a once-in-a-lifetime thrill when he was invited to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. McMurray was invited to fly in an F-16 Fighting Falcon, along with television star Jeff Hammond. The two paired up last Tuesday at the Daytona Beach International Airport, where they met their crew for the afternoon. After receiving their suits and pre-flight instruction, McMurray and Hammond made their way out the tarmac. McMurray flew first with Thunderbird No. 8, Major Tony Mulhare, who showed the driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, a few maneuvers the jets and pilots perform during a typical mission. After a 45-minute flight that included a maximum vertical climb takeoff, high-speed rolls and turns and aggressive tactical maneuvers, the F-16 touched down safely on the runway. When the two climbed out of the jet, Major Mulhare awarded McMurray with a “9-G” pin. The pin is only given to those participants who are able to endure 9 G-forces during the flight. Three days later, the pilot and crew attended the race at Daytona International Speedway and were there to shake McMurray’s hand before he climbed into his #26 Ford.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-21-2008) Comment here

    News from February 20, 2008

  • 700th career start for Martin: Mark Martin will make his 700th career Sprint Cup start this weekend when the green flag drops at California Speedway, becoming only the 13th driver in NASCAR history to reach the milestone. The Principal Financial Group will serve as the sponsor of the #8 Chevrolet and will feature a paint scheme that showcases a special 700th-start logo in tribute to Martin’s accomplishments. Martin started his first Cup race on April 5, 1981 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. He started fifth and finished 27th. During pre-race ceremonies at California Speedway, the Principal Financial Group and DEI will present Martin with a commemorative green flag emblazoned with the same 700th start logo that will appear on DEI’s #8 Principal Financial Group Chevy. Following the race, this same green flag will be signed by Martin and auctioned on e-bay with proceeds benefitting the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. If Martin, who is running a partial schedule of 24 point races in 2008, stays on schedule he will end the year with 722 Cup starts.(DEI PR)(2-20-2008) Comment here
  • Skinner in the #27, with Bad Boy Mowers: Mike Skinner will run the #27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota at California Speedway, running one of two Toyota Camrys the team tested last month at the two-mile speedway [by Jacques Villenueve]. The #27 Toyota will feature the decals of Bad Boy Mowers this weekend in Fontana. Bad Boy Mowers, a Batesville, Arkansas-based company, began in 1998 with the sole purpose of producing the Bad Boy zero-turn commercial lawn mower.(BDR PR), see an image of the car on my #27 Team Schemes page.(2-20-2008)
  • Lamar to run the #08 at Calif and Vegas: EM Motorsports announced that Burney Lamar will be at the wheel of the #08 Rhino’s Energy Drink Dodge Charger in this weekend’s Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.  Lamar will also pilot the #08 Dodge at Las Vegas next week. Lamar is a veteran of 31 Nationwide Series starts, with his best finish being a 2nd at Daytona in the 2006 Hershey’s 300.  Lamar also has two Craftsman Truck Series starts and three ARCA RE/MAX Series starts.(EM Motorsports PR)(2-20-2008) Comment here
  • Harvick to honor students: #29-Kevin Harvick will recognize students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Friday, February 22 at 2:05 p.m. in the California Speedway media center. These students designed and built a prototype vehicle that traveled 1,902.7 miles per gallon using conventional fuel to win the 2007 Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition. The Shell Eco-marathon Americas challenges college teams to travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel. Teams compete using prototype vehicles fueled by conventional or alternative fuels or energy sources. The winning team receives a grand prize of $10,000 that is awarded to the team’s educational institution. The winning vehicle will also be on display at the California Speedway media center.(RCR PR)(2-20-2008)
  • Special scheme for Blaney at California: Dave Blaney’s #22 Cat Camry will feature a special “Cat Paving Products” paint scheme this weekend. The design, which features Cat Paving Products machines on both sides of the car and the trunk lid, also has a “highway” look that is integral in the scheme. The equipment depicted on the #22 car for this event represents various stages of the paving process from start to finish. The PM-200 Cold Planer is used for the removal of asphalt and concrete pavements prior to re-surfacing. In addition to preparing the surface for new asphalt, a key new feature is that it has low exhaust emissions – exceeding all emission regulations for off-road applications. The AP655D is a new track-type asphalt paver which handles a wide variety of paving projects – from new construction, to resurfacing – such as the recent repaving of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif, which was done by working around-the-clock and completed in less than 15 days.(BDR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(2-20-2008)
  • Kenseth going for 3 in a row at Calif: #17-Matt Kenseth, attempting to win the Auto Club 500 for a third-straight year, is the all-time leader in NASCAR wins at California Speedway, posting six wins total; four in the Nationwide Series and two in the Sprint Cup Series. Kenseth will run the Carhartt paint scheme on Sunday for the first of four times this season. He won this event last year in the Carhartt scheme, marking the first time Kenseth had won a Cup event in a paint scheme other than DEWALT. The other three Carhartt races in ‘08 are Michigan in June, Loudon in Sep., and Charlotte in Oct.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(2-20-2008)
  • Nationwide penalties announced including the penalty for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the # 5 team……the car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules); 20A-3.1.1E (1) (the rear ends of the spoiler did not meet the specified height); and 20A-3.12.1A (altered rear spoiler after passing template inspection to enhance aerodynamic performance) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. The violation occurred following practice on Feb. 14. Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver points, while car owner Rick Hendrick has been penalized 50 championship owner points. Crew chief Chad Walter has been fined $25,000 and suspended for the next six Nationwide Series events until April 9 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2008. See the full rundown of penalties on the Nationwide Series Site.(2-20-2008)
  • Newman’s dad reveals grudge vs. Purdue: If Greg Newman has anything to say about it, none of the $1.5 million his son earned for winning Sunday’s Daytona 500 will be going to Purdue University. #12-Ryan Newman graduated from Purdue in 2001 with a degree in vehicle structural engineering. But his father, who made a college degree a prerequisite for supporting Ryan’s racing aspirations, said Purdue doesn’t deserve to share in Ryan’s good fortune. Ryan was racing on weekends and won the 1999 U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown title while attending Purdue. But he wasn’t recognized by the school as being a student-athlete, his father said, and thus wasn’t allowed any scheduling flexibility with his assignments. “They should have helped him, but they didn’t cut him any slack,” Greg said. “They didn’t recognize him as being a racer. Now they do.” Purdue assistant athletic director Tom Schott said he wasn’t sure how to respond to the elder Newman’s complaints. “We have 18 varsity sports here, but we don’t have varsity auto racing,” Schott said.(Indianapolis Star)(2-20-2008) Comment here
  • Different look for the #10 at Calif: Patrick Carpentier in the #10 Charter Dodge Charger seeks to make his fourth career start. The #10 will feature the purple and yellow paint scheme of Charter Communications for the Fontana race. Carpentier will be one of the few drivers in the field that have experience in both stock cars and open wheel at the 2-mile oval. He has raced there in both the Champ Car Series and the IRL. The #10 Charter Dodge Charger test at California Speedway this past January. Being outside the top-35 in owner points, Carpentier will have to qualifying for this race on time. He will battle 16 “go or go homers” for the eight open qualifying spots.(GEM PR)(2-20-2008)
  • RCR missing California win: Richard Childress Racing has earned a Cup Series victory at 18 of the 22 tracks on the 2008 schedule. The only tracks on the current schedule where RCR hasn’t earned wins are California Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Additionally, RCR has Cup Series wins at 21 tracks, the three defunct tracks being North Wilkesboro (N.C.), Riverside (Calif.) and Rockingham (N.C.).(RCR PR)(2-20-2008)
  • U2 on the hood of the #19 at Calif: The #19 Best Buy Dodge of Elliott Sadler will feature the “U2 3D” concert movie on its hood, sides and decklid at California Speedway this weekend. Filmed in South American during their Vertigo Tour in front of 90,000 fans, “U2 3D” continues the band’s use of modern technology. With this endeavor, they once again raised the bar in creating the first digital, multi-camera real time production of its kind. The film opens February 22nd in IMAX Theaters.(GEM PR)(2-20-2008)
  • DIRECTV back on the #07 car: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will feature DIRECTV colors this weekend at California Speedway. DIRECTV’s corporate headquarters are in El Segundo, Calif., just 68 miles west of California Speedway. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s customary primary sponsor, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR)(2-20-2008)
  • McMurray back in regular scheme:Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion for the first time this season. This will be McMurray’s first time in 2008 back in his Crown Royal purple and gold paint scheme. The #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will run a special decal on the rear quarter panel this weekend in support of “Dress for Success,” which is a program to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-20-2008)

    News from February 19, 2008

  • IROC up for auction MORE: Looks like no IROC in 2008. The series took 2007 off, in search of a sponsor for the series. None was found and the cars were up for sale and now the cars, engines and equipment will be up for auction Match 6-8, 2008. More info at IROCracing.com.(1-23-2008)
    UPDATE: The International Race of Champions (IROC series) officials announced today the All-Star auto racing series will liquidate all tools, equipment, race cars and memorabilia in a two-day public auction on March 7th and 8th at IROC headquarters in Tinton Falls, NJ. The IROC series has been dormant since the conclusion of the 2006 season due to lack of sponsorship. IROC President Jay Signore said, “We’re all very sad to see IROC come to an end, but the competition for major corporate sponsorship is very tough and the car manufacturers have not shown any interest. We kept hope alive as long as we could but now it’s time to look forward and move on.” Spanning four decades the IROC series left its mark in auto racing history staging 120 events at 16 different world-class race tracks across the United States and amassing a roster of over 125 of the biggest names in stock car, open wheel and road racing from throughout the world. Twenty-one of those greats have won the elite IROC championship along with the bragging rights of beating out the best of the best. Signore concluded “We managed every aspect of the IROC series out of this building for the past 25-years and everything has to go in this auction. We have tools and equipment along with a dozen, or so, race ready IROC cars, driver uniforms, helmets, autographed pictures – there’s a lot of history here. It’s hard to see it all go, but we’ve had a great time with the IROC series and no regrets.” For more information on the IROC liquidation contact Auction Liquidation Services at 800-563-9740. For more information regarding the International Race of Champions go to www.irocracing.com or contact George J. Signore at 732-542-4762.(IROC PR)(2-19-2008) Comment here
  • Tryson named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the race: Pat Tryson, crew chief for the #2 Penske Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch in the Sprint Cup Series, was named the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” for Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Tryson will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and strategic thinking during the race. Despite facing tough obstacles throughout the race, Tryson and his team rebounded to finish second in the “Great American Race,” helping propel teammate Ryan Newman to victory. Due to electrical problems in the qualifying race last Thursday, Busch was forced to use a “Champion’s Provisional” to line up 43rd on the starting grid on Sunday. After experiencing a handful of challenges, the Tryson-led team bounced back from tight handling conditions, a speeding penalty and a serious overheating condition to finish runner up. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team.
    Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges.
    In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL. The Wypall Wipers Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(2-19-2008) Comment here
  • Riggs testing at Kentucky: the Kentucky Speedway site reports that #66 Scott Riggs is testing the Haas CNC Racing Chevy at the track today and Wed [Feb 19-20]. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(2-19-2008)
  • Edwards Honored: Columbia, MO race car driver Carl Edwards was honored by Missouri senators for his NASCAR championship. Edwards brought his 2007 Busch Series trophy to the Capitol on Monday to pose for pictures and sign autographs for fans. He drew a standing ovation from senators who unanimously passed a resolution honoring his accomplishments. Dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and tie, Edwards looked more like a lawmaker than a NASCAR driver. But he assured that he has no political ambitions. “The biggest difference between racing and politics is racing is probably a little bit safer,” Edwards quipped.(Kansas City Star)(2-19-2008) Comment here
  • Don Miller comments about Newman’s win: Monday on “SIRIUS Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Don Miller, former president of Penske Racing and mentor to Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman.
    Don Miller: “That kid (Ryan Newman) is like my son. I couldn’t care more for any individual that I know. He’s just a great young man. We’re really close and our two families are really close. When he does well it really makes me extremely proud and yesterday I was just proud of everybody, the whole team and all the time we’ve spent putting it together and making it work.”
    On the outlook for Penske Racing for 2008: Don Miller: “I think they’re going to be pretty tough all year long. We’ve got our Dodge engines running really, really good. We’re making some really good power and I think that the reliability is back. And I know, in looking at the tests that both Kurt [Busch] and Ryan just completed out in California and in Las Vegas, they both ran really, really good. In fact, Ryan was quickest for quite a long time there in California. So I think they’re going to be pretty tough to deal with, those two guys, all year long. And I know, with a little bit more seat time, Sam [Hornish Jr.] is going to make it, too. He’s a savvy cat. He’s one of those guys that you probably have to spend a little bit more time whoaing him down than you do speeding him up because he’s always looking for the edge. But he’ll be fine. We just need a little more time with him and giving him these three or four races to get his feet on the ground is really great.”
    On the teamwork shown by the Penske teams during Sunday’s race:
    Moody: “The team concept, the Hendrick guys have gotten it forever, the Roush-Fenway guys have come to the dance on that, and it seems like now Penske Racing has really got the concept working at long last.”
    Miller: “Yeah. You know, I’ll be very frank with you. We struggled getting the cooperation between our two drivers a couple of years back, as you know. It was difficult because even though you are in the same building and you’ve got two guys who really want to win, if they don’t want to work together it makes everybody’s life a little bit more difficult. But over the past couple of years that Ryan and Kurt [Busch] have been running together, they have built a really strong confidence situation as far as [one saying], ‘Hey, if I’m in a position to help you, you know I’m going to help you.’ And people that paid attention probably saw that quite a few times last year.”
    “SIRIUS Speedway” airs weekdays (3-7pm/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128.(Sirius PR)(2-19-2008) Comment here

    News from February 18, 2008

  • Daytona 500 Champion embarks on whirlwind media tour: After one of the most exciting Daytona 500s to date – one that saw 42 lead changes and 16 different leaders – the 2008 Daytona 500 champion will add a few more miles to his itinerary as he takes a whirlwind media tour beginning on Monday. Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge, will celebrate his victory in Sunday’s “Great American Race” with several more media interviews including a few national television and radio appearances.
    Monday’s scheduled appearances started with the winning Daytona 500 Car Induction Ceremony at Daytona 500 Experience in the shadows of DIS and then the Champion’s Breakfast where the winner will recall his victory to gathered media. Also on Monday were an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, interviews with Fox and Friends, Mike and Mike in the Morning, NASCAR Raceday and The Dan Patrick Show.
    Tuesday, it’s Live with Regis and Kelly, a luncheon with the New York media at the historic Waldorf Astoria and then off to Bristol, Conn., for interviews at ESPN’s headquarters on SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN NEWS and ESPN.com. Newman will be on the set of NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily NASCAR news and information program, when it airs Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6:00pm/et. Newman will discuss his victory in the Sprint Cup season opener with host Ryan Burr.
    Wednesday, Newman boards a plane and it’s wheels up to the West Coast and California Speedway day in Los Angeles. The whirlwind tour concludes on Thursday with various west coast radio shows.(DIS PR)(2-18-2008) Comment here
  • Daytona 500 early TV Ratings: Yesterday’s 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Fox scored increased average audience, total audience and household ratings compared to a year ago, according to fast national figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. The 50th Daytona 500 earned a 10.2/20 household rating/share and averaged 17.8 million viewers, and both the rating and average audience are +1% better than a year ago (10.1/20, 17.5 million). It was also the second highest-rated and second most-watched 500 ever on Fox, trailing the 2005 race in both stats. 33.5 million Americans watched at least part of the Great American Race, a +2% improvement over 2007’s 33.0 million. The Daytona 500 remains far and away the top-rated event in American motorsports. Yesterday’s race more than doubled the rating of last year’s Indianapolis 500 (+137% vs. 4.3/12). Fox’s improved Daytona 500 rating completed a Speedweeks “triple play” as the Daytona 500 (+1%), Daytona Pole Qualifying (+4%), and Budweiser Shootout (+6%) all posted gains over the same events in 2007. This is the first time that all of Fox’s Speedweeks programming has boasted a year-to-year increase.(Fox PR)(2-18-2008)
  • Dodge re-ups with Penske and Ganassi: Dodge executives have taken team owners Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi out of the Toyota equation by signing new contracts with the two. That keeps Dodge with a four-team lineup, including Petty Enterprises and Gillett-Evernham. When Toyota first announced its NASCAR plans, there was considerable speculation that both Penske and Ganassi would eventually switch.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-18-2008)
  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the 2008 Daytona 500:
    Total number of commercials: 122
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 37
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 35
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:20 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:58 PM
    Total minutes: 218
    Minutes of race broadcast: 166
    Minutes of commercials: 52
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(2-18-2008)
  • An extra million for Newman and the team: Teammates #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch gave Dodge its first ever 1-2 sweep in NASCAR’s premier event, the Daytona 500, winning the 50th running of the “Great American Race” Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. The Dodge Charger domination didn’t stop there. Six of the first eight positions were filled by Dodge drivers. Reed Sorenson finished fourth, Elliott Sadler fifth, Kasey Kahne sixth and Robby Gordon seventh. Chrysler Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli met with Dodge team owners earlier Sunday and announced there would be a $1 million bonus for a Dodge victory. During a meeting with several members of the motorsports press later in the day, he predicted a Dodge victory. It was Newman’s first Daytona 500 victory and snapped an 81-race winless streak. He led four times for eight laps in the #12 Alltel Dodge Charger, but the most important was the final circuit. The win was also the first Daytona 500 victory for car owner Roger Penske, the most successful owner in open wheel history with 14 Indianapolis 500 victories. It was the first Daytona 500 win by a Dodge driver since Ward Burton visited victory lane in 2002. Newman collected $1,506,045 for the win plus the $1 million bonus from Dodge. Newman’s Dodge Charger will be inducted into the Daytona 500 Experience Monday where it will remain on display for one year. Following the induction ceremonies, Newman departs for New York for a media tour and then on to Las Angeles on Tuesday afternoon for more appearances.(Dodge Motorsports PR)(2-18-2008) Comment here
  • Some stats: 32 cars finished on the lead lap at Daytona on Sunday, the most ever for a 500 mile oval race in Sprint Cup [the old record was the 2006 Daytona 500 at 31, there were 35 at Indy in 2005, 37 at Michigan in a rained shortened race [June 2006] and 34 for a road cource [2005]. All since the Lucky Dog came about in 2003.(2-18-2008)
  • Former NBA Player seeking Cup team ownership: Former NBA star and current talk show host John Salley is in the preliminary stages of seeking ownership in the Sprint Cup Series. Salley, at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday for the “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” said he’s had discussions with at least one Cup team owner about becoming a financial partner. “I want to be a team owner,” Salley said. “I want to be in this. I would help out with the money end and stand out front with a hat on.” Salley was so impressed with his experience at the Daytona 500 that he would choose it over the NBA All-Star Game that also was scheduled Sunday. “I am so far away from the All-Star Game it’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’ve dunked on people. I’ve done it all. This is the best s— I’ve seen in my life.” Salley was particularly impressed with the amount of corporate sponsorship in the sport. When introduced to Ryan Pemberton, the crew chief for #00-David Reutimann, he couldn’t help but notice all the sponsors on his shirt. “That’s a lot of pimping here,” Salley said. Salley, who stands out in the garage as a 6-foot-11 black man, said he’s not looking to be a part of NASCAR’s diversity program. “This has nothing to do with diversity,” he said. “Diversity is not something I want out of it. I’ve heard all the jokes about how black guys don’t do NASCAR. That’s amazing somebody would say that.”(ESPN.com)(2-18-2008) Comment here
  • GM Sticking with NASCAR: Despite reporting a record $38.7 billion loss in 2007, General Motors said it had no plans to eliminate its support of NASCAR. General Motors has dominated the series in recent years, with Chevrolet drivers having won the last three championships. “Obviously, the last racing we would drop in the racing that we’re in would be NASCAR right now, cause it’s still go the best return for us,” said John Middlebrook, the vice president for global sales and marketing for General Motors.)New York Times)(2-18-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch doing well in all three series: #18-Kyle Busch (fourth) is the second driver to be in the top 10 in points in all three of NASCAR’s national series at the same time (Mike Wallace, 2003). Busch finished second in both the Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series races.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-18-2008) Comment here
  • Bubba In The Garage? Could James “Bubba” Stewart leave motocross to pursue a career in NASCAR? “I’m trying to convince him four wheels are better than two,” said Max Seigel, the president of global operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Stewart was Siegel’s guest on Sunday at Daytona, the first Cup event he has attended. The 22-year-old phenom said Siegel has “hinted around with it a lot” about putting him in a developmental program. “Yeah, I’d like to try it,” he said. “Once I came down saw all the people, all the merchandise, that definitely interests me.” Stewart reminded that there were five times as many people at the 500 [185,000] as there are at a motocross event.(ESPN.com)(2-18-2008) Comment here

News from February 17, 2008

  • Newman wins Daytona 500: #12-Ryan Newman won the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, getting pushed by his teammate #2-Kurt Busch for the first Daytona 500 winner for owner Roger Penske, first restrictor plate win for Penske and first ever 1-2 finish for Penske Racing in a Cup race. It is Newman’s first win since Sept 18, 2005 at New Hampshire, 80 races ago and his 13th career win. #20-Tony Stewart finished 3rd, followed by #18-Kyle Busch, #41-Reed Sorenson, #19-Elliott Sadler, #9-Kasey Kahne, #7-Robby Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #16-Greg Biffle. Pole sitter #48-Jimmie Johnson got in a late wreck and finished 27th, #24-Jeff Gordon had a shock plate problem and finished 39th. Outside pole sitter, #55-Michael Waltrip led three laps early, but fell back and finished 29th. #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the highest finishing rookie at 15th. There were 7 cautions for 23 laps and there were 42 lead changes among 16 drivers. The average speed was 152.668mph. See results at Jayski’s Race Results/Awards Page
    For drivers and owners points, see Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Dyatona page.(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Some Daytona 500 Notes: early in the race #29-Harvick thought his engine was going, but as of lap 52 and a pit stop, Harvick is running better and in the top 25. #78-Nemechek lost 13 laps when a lugnut went thru the oil cooler, losing the oil, the team made repairs and as of lap 58, he is back on the track. #77-Hornish had a vibration, came in for an unscheduled pitstop on lap 58, losing a lap. #7-Gordon has Valvoline decals on the quarter panels, looks like helping out GEM sponsors, since Gordon is affiliated with GEM now and the #10 didn’t make the race. As of lap 64, Nemechek is back in the garage, engine may be shot. #34-Andretti short pitted earlier then the other regular scheduled stops, about 15 laps early and went down a lap on lap 63. On lap 67, #19-Sadler scraped the wall hard after cutting a right tire down, came in to pit for new tires and lost a lap. Nemechek came back on the track and is 28 laps down after 95 laps. #34-Andretti’s car was pushed behind the wall around lap 136 with a broken shock. #78-Wallace headed to the garage on lap 142. #01-Smith was off track a few laps and came back out, 6 laps down. On lap 154, #24-Gordon came back to pit road, the crew went under the hood and found a broken shock plate, took it to the garage. Gordon came back out 11 laps down, Andretti is back out, 16 laps down.
    Lucky Dogs:
    Caution 1: #26-McMurray
    Caution 2: #83-Vickers
    Caution 3: #8-Martin
    Caution 4: #66-Riggs
    Caution 5: #38-David Gilliland
    Caution 6-7: none, ten laps or less left
    (2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Fatback looking for a gig..TV?: Former Sprint Cup crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain was in the garage at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, looking for work, but not the kind he used to do when he was atop the pit box for drivers like Bobby Labonte and Ricky Rudd. McSwain, a devoutly religious man and the father of two young children, decided last year that he wanted to get off the crew chief treadmill and the savage grind of 38 races per year and day after day of testing. To that end, he’s become something of a jack-of-all-trades, doing some media work – he’s looking for more – auctioning memorabilia on eBay and other odds and ends. “I’m doing a little bit of everything, anything I can do to generate income,” said McSwain. “I’m in the process of building a tire store and front-end alignment shop in Dallas, N.C. I’ve been doing a little bit of TV stuff, some one-off shows, some fill-in work. … Anything I can do to generate enough income to stay home with my family.” McSwain was optimistic about the next phase of his life. “It’s a big, old world, there’s a lot of opportunities out there,” he said. “I started in this business at the bottom, so I’ll start my next venture at the bottom.”(SPEED)(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Dynos after 150’s show Toyota’s stronger: Judging from NASCAR’s post-150s chassis-dyno tests, which showed Toyota’s #20-Tony Stewart had at least a 15 horsepower edge at his rear wheels over Chevy’s #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Thursday’s twin races. And Richard Childress’ Chevy engines were about 30 horsepower off the Toyotas, which is some concern in both the Childress camp and with GM officials. NASCAR didn’t post any official numbers, but Stewart’s engine – built by Mark Cronquist, head of Joe Gibbs’ motor shop – pulled around 462 to 464 effective horsepower, according to those familiar with the results. That’s about 15 horsepower more than Earnhardt had and about 30 horsepower more than Chevy’s Kevin Harvick.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-16-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR tested about 10 different Sprint Cup engines following last Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying races. According to several officials from NASCAR, the manufacturers who race in the Sprint Cup Series and race teams, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, all parties involved are satisfied that the engines from Toyota, General Motors, Dodge and Ford are competitive with each other in terms of horsepower. Most of the engines tested varied by less than 10 horsepower, multiple sources told SPEEDTV.com, with all but two of the engines within 7-8 horsepower of each other. And none of the four brands tested had a consistent advantage over the others. Media reports on Saturday that Toyotas had a 30-horsepower advantage over the Chevrolets were, to say the least, erroneous. Had that actually been the case, Chevrolet teams would have been raising a ruckus with NASCAR and complaining bitterly to the media about being at a competitive disadvantage. Nothing of the sort has happened.(SPEED)(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • MWR doesn’t plan points swap when drivers shift: David Reutimann will replace his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate in the #44 car after the race at Martinsville Speedway and his crew chief go with him. Michael McDowell will take over driving the #00. As of right now, though, the plan is not to swap the team’s points. If Reutimann’s team cracks the top 35 in owners points and the Jarrett team doesn’t, MWR could opt to swap the points to make sure that Reutimann is locked into the field. Neither team finished in the top 35 last year and each must qualify on speed for the first five events this year. “David’s earning points for Michael McDowell and Dale Jarrett is earning points for David Reutimann – that’s the way we’re approaching it,” said MWR general manager Ty Norris. “If one of them happens not to be in the top 35, obviously we’ll have to consider what’s going on then.” Reutimann said the points situation won’t affect the way he races. “It would be nice when that situation comes around to have everybody locked in,” Reutimann said. “We’ll see. We’ve got to try to make that happen, make that deal work out. I’m trying to get in the top 35 for me.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Goodyear’s Holmer to retire: After 32 years with Goodyear Tire, most spent as field manager for NASCAR racing events, Phil Holmer will retire after today’s Daytona 500, his 40th overall. “It’ll be my last day with the company,” Holmer said. “I guess that’s kind of corny, isn’t it.” Rick Heinrich, who will replace Homer as field manager, said his 65-year-old boss cannot be replaced. “Mighty big shoes to fill,” Heinrich said. “He’s been the face of Goodyear for NASCAR for 30 years. He’s going to be greatly missed.”
    “It won’t be the same without Phil around,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications. “If he has an enemy in the industry, I don’t know him, because everybody likes him.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Tryson named 2007 Sporting News “Crew Chief of the Year”: #2 Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Pat Tryson’s effort last season garnered him the prestigious 2007 Sporting News “Crew Chief of the Year” designation. “It was a real honor to receive that notoriety, especially with the great jobs done by so many crew chiefs last year,” said Tryson. “They may have cited me for it, but it was a tribute to Kurt and our whole Miller Lite Dodge Team.”
    Added his driver, Busch: “Just think about the big statement winning that award meant. The fact is that Pat didn’t even join our team until June and he was on our pit box for only 21 of the 36 races. That’s pretty incredible if you ask me. It’s like spotting all the other competitors 15 races to make their marks and then going out there and making a huge impact and a major statement in a relatively short period of time. I am so proud of Pat and thrilled to have him as our team’s leader.”(Tom Roberts PR)(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Dale Sr. to be honored: In honor of Dale Earnhardt’s 1998 Daytona 500 victory, Dale Earnhardt Inc. Sprint Cup teams [#01,#1,#8,#15] will pay tribute to the legendary driver by standing on pit wall on Lap 3 of the season-opener, holding up three fingers to salute the life, legend and legacy of Dale Earnhardt.(DEI PR)(2-17-2008)
  • Tire problems not expected: At least two teams that had issues with tires blistering Thursday are still scratching their heads a little bit on whether the tires will be good for Sunday, but NASCAR doesn’t anticipate major problems in the Daytona 500. “Thursday showed us a huge improvement [over earlier practices] and every practice since then, it keeps getting better,” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said Saturday after the final Cup practice. “To make a statement that all the blistering is totally gone, that would be false. … It’s rescinded enough that I think we’re more than fine for the 500 on Sunday.” Darby said he didn’t see a need for a competition caution to check tire wear. A green-flag fuel run lasts about 41-44 laps at Daytona. Tire issues have cropped up for several teams during the week, and at least four teams had problems in the qualifying races Thursday. The temperatures Sunday should be about 10-15 degrees warmer than Thursday, which should result in slower speeds and less blistering. “Hotter temperatures means the driver has got to lift earlier,” Darby said. “It may relate into speed, but what it really means is they’re not charging the corner as hard, they’re not abusing everything as much. When the track starts to lose grip, you can’t.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-17-2008) Comment here
  • Gold wheels for Mikey, Dale and David: #55-Michael Waltrip and his three Sprint Cup Series, #44-Dale Jarrett and #00-David Reutimann teams will pay tribute to the golden anniversary of the Daytona 500 on Sunday by starting the 50th running of The Great American Race sporting specially-designed gold wheels. Following the 200-lap event, the wheels will be autographed and sold to raise money for charities supported by the France family. The Waltrip teams will run the gold wheels only for the start of the race, moving back to their traditional chrome wheels after the first round of pit stops. (MWR PR)(2-16-2008) Comment here

    News from February 16, 2008

  • Latest on the HMS engines: Jeff Andrews, head engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports, said that the team sent all its race engines back to the team’s race shop Wednesday night after finding problems with the lifters. Andrews said the engines were being rebuilt and would return to the track Friday night. “Because of the wear we were seeing … you end up with this debris in the engine,” Andrews said. “You have to take [the engine] apart. Not only are you changing those parts, but you’re taking apart and cleaning, washing everything and going back through it and fitting everything up again.” Andrews said he saw no problems with the Hendrick engines after Thursday’s first qualifying race.(Roanoke Times)(2-16-2008) Comment here
  • Skinner and Benson take over #27 ride…for now UPDATE: Jacques Villeneuve’s career in the Sprint Cup Series is on hold. Villeneuve will be replaced next week at California, likely by Mike Skinner, unless a sponsor can be found for the Bill Davis Racing car over the next 24 hours. Mike Brown, the general manager at BDR, said there are no other plans to use Villeneuve until a sponsor is found. “It’s a race-to-race thing,” Brown said. “We thought we had one sponsor, down to having the uniform with the logo on it. We just never got the deal closed. It’s unfortunate for everyone.” Brown said the decision to go with a driver such as Skinner was based totally on experience. “By missing Daytona and putting ourselves in position of having to qualify to make the race we need somebody with Skinner’s ability,” he said. “Mike has run so well in the Truck Series out there.” Brown said Villeneuve, whose attempt to make Sunday’s Daytona 500 ended with a crash in Thursday’s qualifying race, continues to work on finding a sponsor and rebuilding his marketing team, which was disrupted with a recent split with manager Craig Pollock. “Jaqcues is working hard to put all the right people in place with different Canadian companies,” he said. “He just needs to regroup and get his management team in order.”(ESPN.com)(2-15-2008)
    UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that it will tap into its pool of veteran Cup Series drivers to pilot the #27 Toyota Camry during the next several Sprint Cup Series races. Truck Series drivers Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson are both expected to step behind the wheel of BDR’s #27 entry. BDR will continue to support Jacques Villeneuve in his pursuit of a successful career in the Sprint Cup Series [find a sponsor]. “We know that Jacques has the talent and the desire to be in NASCAR, and are diligently working on a long term relationship with him,” commented team owner Bill Davis. Skinner will drive the #27 Toyota next weekend at California Speedway.(BDR PR)(2-16-2008) Comment here
  • Drivers Elected to Motorsports Hall of Fame of America: Open wheel racing champion Michael Andretti, NASCAR legend Buddy Baker and perennial drag racing king John Force will lead a class of seven racing greats into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America when the organization stages its annual induction ceremony on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at the Fillmore Detroit. These three, along with sports car ace Richie Ginther, motorcycle hero Wayne Rainey, versatile competitor Paul Goldsmith and pioneering aerobatic pilot Betty Skelton will join 167 racers already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 1-800-250-RACE (7223). The Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is a museum housing more than 40 racing and high-performance vehicles. The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, Can Am, TransAm, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, air racing and even snowmobiles. Among the highlights are Art Arfons’ Green Monster jet car and championship NASCAR stock cars driven by Darrell Waltrip and Dale Jarrett.(MSHF PR)(2-16-2008) Comment here
  • Happy Hour practice for the Daytona 500 is over at Daytona International Speedway, the fastest:
    #99-Edwards 191.034
    #34-Andretti 190.937
    #45-Petty 190.634
    #7-Gordon 190.375
    #16-Biffle 190.323
    slowest: #87-Wallace 186.590 and #40-Franchitti 186.590
    most laps run: #41-Sorenson 50; #9-Kahne 46
    incidents: #07-Bowyer ran into the rear of #41-Sorenson when the field slowed and he hit the outside wall, doing damage to the front right nose of the #07. #66-Riggs and #01-Smith both scraped the wall
    See the speeds on the Daytona Practice Speeds Page.(2-16-2008)
  • Sad News – Michael Dean Jackson: Michael Dean Jackson, 54, passed away on February 14, 2008 at his residence. He was President of Jackson Automotive Engineering Inc. (DBA-JAE Racing Engines Established 1974). Mike graduated from Gaston College, was a Deacon of Shady Grove Baptist Church and a longtime NASCAR Member and NASCAR Racing engine builder for all series. In addition to his parents he is survived by is wife Veda Dellinger Jackson of the home, one son Camden Jackson of Cherryville , two brothers, Douglas Jackson and wife Sheree and Charles Jackson and wife Ellen all of Cherryville. Nephews, Seth Jackson and Wesley Jackson. Memorial and Celebration of Life Services will be held at the Cherryville Country Club, 215 Club Drive, Cherryville, N. C. on February 18, 2008 at 4:00pm/et. Visitation will be immediately following the services. Mike’s wishes were for his body to be donated to Duke University Anatomical Gift Program. The family is at home and request that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: “Mike’s Wish” Brain Tumor Assistance Fund, C/O Peoples Bank, P.O. Box 134, Lincolnton, NC 28093 Attention, Nikki Crafton.(carpentersfuneralhome.net.(2-16-2008)

    News from February 15, 2008

  • New Earnhardt movie planned…but: Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher have hitched their Red Wagon banner to a bio on NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. Wick and Fisher have made a deal to tell the life story of the stock car driver, who was killed in a crash in the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. The deal comes just as Dale Earnhardt Jr. rolls into Sunday’s Daytona 500 for the first time since leaving DEI, the racing empire built by his dad. Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, and son Dale Jr. have both pledged their cooperation on the biopic even though their relationship is strained — he left DEI after his stepmother refused his request for majority control. Wick and Fisher will produce with Richard Blackstone, who reps DEI, and Bernie Cahill of Roar. Max Siegel, DEI’s president of global operations, is also closely involved. Sony-based Red Wagon will first shop the project at the studio, though the producers may wait to attach a director and star. They said the picture will be put on a fast track. DEI Statement: Statement from Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc., in response to a published report regarding an agreement for a Dale Earnhardt biopic. “We are enthusiastic about the prospect of making a compelling theatrical movie which celebrates the sport and Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s life. To that end we are excited that Red Wagon has committed themselves to developing such a project. Contrary to published reports, we have not granted any rights to Dale Sr.’s life and are in the very preliminary stages of putting a project like this together. We will keep the public informed as our efforts progress.”(DEI PR)(2-15-2008)Comment here
  • Elliott to retire for good at end of 2008: After 33 years on the NASCAR trail, Dawsonville’s Bill Elliott is ready to head down another path. #21-Elliott, who did not finish high enough in Thursday’s 150-mile qualifier to start Sunday’s Daytona 500, said 2008 will be his last year as a Sprint Cup driver. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, but it’s time to move on and let this other generation have it,” Elliott said. “I just feel like it’s good to let everyone know what my thinking is. I’ve kind of put it off and rolled with the flow these last few years, but it’s time. It’s time to go do something different.” He said he’ll continue to drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford on a part-time basis as he had planned, but if the Woods’ other drivers, Marcos Ambrose and Jon Wood, seem ready to take on a larger role, he might cut short his planned 17-race schedule. “Ambrose might fall into place, or Jon might fall into place, and that would be what the Woods need to do to make the next step,” he said. Another young racer is figuring into Elliott’s decision, too —- his 12-year-old son Chase, who is rapidly developing into a formidable competitor in the Bandolero racing series. Traveling to Chase’s races and also competing in Cup races has proved to be a logistical nightmare. “Last summer, I’d go race with Chase on Thursday night, then I’d pick up and go to wherever the Cup race was,” Elliott said. “The earliest I got anywhere was 10 p.m., and it could be up to 4 in the morning to get where I was going, depending on when we raced. That’s crazy.” As a full-time driver, Elliott won 44 Cup races, 55 poles and the 1988 championship, but since going to part-time status after the 2003 season, he has had just one top-10 finish, at Indianapolis in 2004. Still, he has no regrets about the latter part of his career.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-15-2008) Comment here
  • AT&T Races into 2008: Racing fans, fasten your seatbelts. AT&T Inc. announced the major components of the company’s 2008 multiplatform motorsports campaign. To promote its sponsorship in stock car racing’s elite-level circuit, AT&T has developed a creative campaign that includes a fully branded integration into FOX Sports NASCAR broadcasts — titled “AT&T Race Break” — as well as heavy promotion of its Safe Driving public service initiative, which is a pillar of AT&T’s larger Be Sensible public awareness campaign. AT&T has been the primary sponsor for a professional stock car racing team for more than a decade. Hosted by Emmy-winning FOX Sports broadcaster Chris Myers and champion crew chief Jeff Hammond, the “AT&T Race Break” segments will broadcast live from the “Hollywood Hotel” — FOX Sports’ mobile trackside studio. During breaks in racing action, “AT&T Race Break” segments will give viewers the latest in racing news and exclusive insight from the world of NASCAR. In addition, AT&T will use the platform to promote racing-related streaming video content available exclusively to its wireless subscribers.
    To start the season, and to promote the Safe Driving initiative, AT&T will customize approximately 200 service vans across the country to reflect the look and feel of the #31 AT&T Chevrolet. Driver Jeff Burton will be on hand when the first wrapped vehicle is rolled out Friday, Feb. 15, at the Daytona Speedway AT&T retail store (Daytona Beach, Fla.). At the unveiling, Burton will officially sign the Safe Driving pledge, along with Rudy Hermond, vice president and general manager, AT&T North Florida, and a representative service van driver. The Safe Driving pledge that Jeff Burton and the service van drivers will sign include the following tips:
    * Ask passengers to help by changing the CD or radio station, placing a mobile phone call or reading directions to you.
    * If you don’t have a passenger, wait until you come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign before changing the CD or radio station.
    * If you need to make or take a call, wait until your trip is complete and your car is safely stopped.
    * Never use your phone to take pictures, send and read messages, record video or watch video while driving.
    * It’s best not to eat and drive at the same time. If you’re traveling with someone, take turns driving while the passenger eats.
    * Avoid stressful or emotional conversations with passengers while driving.
    * Don’t be a “rubbernecker.” Let your passengers do the sightseeing while you drive.
    * Make safety your most important call. In the case of any emergency, a mobile phone can be a very useful tool. Remember, dialing 911 is always a free call.
    For more information on AT&T’s Be Sensible public awareness campaign, visit wireless.att.com/be-sensible. For more information on AT&T racing news, visit www.att.com/racing.(Career Sports & Entertainment/AT&T PR)(2-15-2008)
  • Principal Financial Group expands sponsorship of DEI: The Principal Financial Group, the nation’s 401 and employee benefits leader, announced its expanded relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI). The Principal has agreed to a multi-race primary sponsorship involving DEI’s #8 Chevy, co-driven by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola and the #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith during the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. The Principal will also serve as an associate sponsor on both cars for the entire Sprint Cup season. “Rookie-of-the-year” candidate #01-Regan Smith will drive the Principal Financial Group Chevrolet Feb. 17 at the Daytona 500 and again July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Mark Martin will represent The Principal in the #8 Chevrolet at California Speedway February 24 in what will be Martin’s 700th career Cup Series start. This marks the third season for The Principal as Sprint Cup Series team sponsor, and the second year that Mark Martin and Regan Smith will race in the Principal Financial Group colors. The Principal first joined NASCAR in Aug. 2006 with MB2 Motorsports [Ginn Racing then DEI].. For more information, visit www.principal.com.(DEI PR)(2-15-2008) Comment here
  • Gopher Cams at the Daytona 500: Gopher Cam, a small, stationary high-definition point-of-view camera buried underneath the asphalt track surface, inches below the yellow line at Daytona International Speedway will be used Sunday. There are four Gopher Cams in-place for the 50th Daytona 500, one in each of the track’s four turns. This is the first instance where a camera has been installed below the surface of a superspeedway, and this is the first time that a sub-track surface camera is HD caliber. The cameras have also been paired with high quality condenser microphones, another first, for an unbelievably realistic audio/video experience. The camera hardware and electronics have been installed six inches below the asphalt, and is housed in a cylindrical stainless steel fixture. The lens is less than a half-inch in diameter, and camera is angled slightly to see oncoming traffic. The assembly is covered by a protective dome that is four-inches in diameter and rises less than one-quarter inch above the track surface. Cars rolling over them will have no idea of their presence. The cameras are connected to Fox’s mobile production units outside DIS via copper wiring that was trenched in below the track and grass and run to where it meets up with the network’s advanced fiber optic wiring system. Installation of Gopher Cam, with the cooperation of Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR’s Competition and Media Group department’s, was conducted over a three day period last week and tested during the Budweiser Shootout Saturday night. The wiring and stainless steel housing for Gopher Cams remain behind in-place after the race, but the actual cameras travels with Fox to be used at the next race location. A plate replaces the dome that is used on raceday. Gopher Cams are currently being installed in all NASCAR in Fox Sprint Cup race locations, including California Speedway in Fontana (Feb. 24) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 2). While most tracks will have as many as four Gopher Cams, similar to DIS, the number at any individual track may vary.(Fox Sports PR)(2-15-2008) Comment here
  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the Gatorade Duels: Total number of commercials: 100
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 46
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 18
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:28pm
    Total minutes: 208
    Minutes of race broadcast: 157
    Minutes of commercials: 51
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(2-15-2008)
  • NASCAR viewers get a break, ad-wise: Viewers tuning in to ESPN’s coverage of stock-car racing are likely to notice a change in how the commercials play out. Starting with Saturday’s Nationwide Series event at Daytona, ESPN will slot commercials at times that annoy viewers the least, says Rich Feinberg, network vice president of motor sports. “Obviously, commercials are part of our business,” Feinberg said. “They’re necessary.” But, he said, the network did a study after last season to see where the breaks came in the racing action, and how viewing patterns may have changed during telecasts. “We went back and looked at the length of the break, track by track,” he said. Commercial breaks in live events are a sticking point for viewers of all sports, but in auto racing, there are no set timeouts or other interruptions. So producers end up guessing when they can break away from the action without missing too much, or else they wait until everything slows after an accident. The length of the breaks also changes depending on the track. At Daytona, where a lap around the 2.5-mile track takes about 49 seconds, ESPN can take a relatively long break without missing much. But at a smaller track, where a lap may take only 14 seconds, a one-minute break keeps viewers away for a significant amount of track time. Taking those factors into account, Feinberg said, ESPN may take more frequent but shorter breaks this year. “In the end, if you totaled all the commercial time, there will be slightly less,” he said.(New York Daily News)(2-15-2008) Comment here
  • Latest on the blistering tires: Some Sprint Cup teams are still reporting blistering of right-side tires after practice Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. A full fuel run is 41-44 laps, and teams have shown signs of blistering before then. Blistering of tires during the Budweiser Shootout Saturday night affected cars that had about 33 laps on them, and not all of those were under green-flag conditions. “A lot of guys have made some progress and improvements and there are still a few guys still struggling, trying to find answers,” said Goodyear program manager Greg Stucker, who didn’t have an exact number of teams that had trouble with blistering Wednesday. “[The blistering] is a little less severe than what we saw during testing and than they were early in the week. People were trying different things with suspension and setups.” The cool temperatures Wednesday might have contributed to the blistering because speeds were faster than they would be on a hotter, slicker track. “It appears this car doesn’t fall off a lot,” Stucker said. “It’s consistent.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-14-2008)
    UPDATE: Teams are still battling tire issues as they head into the final few days of preparation for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Several drivers, including Patrick Carpentier, Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler, and Brian Vickers, had trouble with the tires in the 150-mile qualifying races Thursday. A full fuel run at Daytona International Speedway is about 41-44 laps, and the new NASCAR car runs with more weight on the right side. The teams that are having problems have them on the right fronts and the right rears. Goodyear’s Greg Stucker said that teams are adjusting to the new car and should be OK by Sunday. Rains on Wednesday cleaned the track and, if it remains dry the rest of the weekend, there will be much more rubber down on the track by Sunday, Stucker said. “Everybody is still learning the car a little bit and deciding what they needed to do tire-wise,” Stucker said. “It looks like more and more guys are getting it the more practice they get with time in the race car.” Stucker said he didn’t see a reason why NASCAR would need a competition caution to check tires for the Daytona 500.(SceneDaily.com)(2-15-2008) Comment here
  • Woods miss 500 field: The Wood Brothers [#21 Ford] will not compete in the Daytona 500 for the first time since 1962 [they didn’t attempt the 1960 or 1962 races] after Bill Elliott failed to advance through his qualifying race Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. “I don’t think there are words that can describe it, but that’s life,” Elliott said. “There will be days like this.” Sunday’s 50th Daytona 500 will be only the third time the Wood Brothers have not been a part of this race. Co-owner Eddie Wood said he’ll remain for the race but admits he’ll likely have a hollow feeling. “I don’t know what that’ll feel like [not to be in the 500]. I’m sure it’s going to be bad,” he said.(Roanoke Times)(2-15-2008) Comment here
  • Friday’s practice for the Daytona 500 is over at Daytona International Speedway, the top 5 were:
    #41-Sorenson 190.351
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 189.825
    #1-Truex Jr. 189.781
    #66-Riggs 189.577
    #29-Harvick & #48-Johnson 189.438
    slowest: #42-Montoya 184.787 and #78-Nemechek 185.185
    six drivers did not practice: #’s 96,07,87,11,18,8
    See the speeds on the Daytona Practice Speeds Page.(2-15-2008)

    News from February 14, 2008

  • Gatorade Duel Race #2: #11-Denny Hamlin won the 2nd Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Hamlin just beat #20-Tony Stewart, who finished 2nd and pushed Hamlin past #24-Jeff Gordon on the final lap for the win. Gordon was third, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #8-Mark Martin, #6-David Ragan, #29-Kevin Harvick, #16-Greg Biffle, #44-Dale Jarrett and #34-John Andretti. Jarrett clinched the first of the two spots available to drivers out of the top 35 in points from last year and Andretti got past #00-David Reutimann on the last lap to get the other spot. Reutimann earned a spot based on his qualifying lap last Sunday and will start 42nd. Ironically, the top three finishers all had backup engines and had to start at the rear of the field. There were 14 lead changes amoung 9 drivers and 3 cautions for 15 laps. For results, see my Gatorade Duel 150 races results page and for the Daytona 500 lineup, see my Daytona 500 Starting Lineup.(2-14-2008)
  • Gatorade Duel Race #1: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 1st Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt started from the rear of the pack due to an engine change and first took the lead at lap 18, leading 25 of the 60 laps to win his 2nd race at Daytona in 2008. Earnhardt also won the Bud Shootout last Saturdat night and has a chance to be the first driver ever to win the Bud Shootout, a qualifying race and the Daytona 500. #41-Reed Sorenson came from the back to finish 2nd, followed by #12-Ryan Newman, #5-Casey Mears, #99-Carl Edwards, #43-Bobby Labonte, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #87-Kenny Wallace, #77-Sam Hornish and #15-Paul Menard. Wallace clinched the first of the two spots available to drivers out of the top 35 in points from last year and #83-Brian Vickers finished 11th to grab the 2nd spot. #78-Joe Nemechek fell back on his speed to make the race and will start 41st. #2-Kurt Busch had electrical problems and finished 26th/out of the race and will use the past champions provisional to start the Daytona 500 43rd. #08-Carl Long finished 24th, but the car was found to be too low during post race inspection and he was credit with finishing 27th/last. There were 16 lead changes amoung 9 drivers and 2 cautions for 5 laps. For results, see my Gatorade Duel 150 races results page and for the Daytona 500 lineup, see my Daytona 500 Starting Lineup.(2-14-2008)
  • Drivers who will miss the Daytona 500 after the first Gatorade Duel 150: #84-Allmindinger, #21-Elliott, #09-Marlin, #08-Long
    after the 2nd Gatorade Duel 150, missing the race are: #27-Villeneuve; #50-Barrett, #37-McClure, #10-Carpentier, #49-Schrader and #60-Said
  • Harley J. Earl trophy, who was Earl? The Daytona 500? Its trophy is named after Harley J. Earl. Who was Earl? No drivers asked knew about Earl. None of these responses come as a surprise to Richard Earl, Harley’s grandson. The 48-year-old West Palm Beach resident is determined to put his late grandfather’s prize on a figurative mantel alongside the most-recognized prizes in sports. Richard Earl believes Daytona’s annual Speed Weeks, which culminate in Sunday’s 50th running of the Daytona 500, should be a perfect platform for a Harley Earl renaissance. He had hoped to do much to educate the public about his grandfather’s legacy, but his plans haven’t materialized. He’s disillusioned, not sure he’ll even accept Daytona International Speedway’s invitation to attend the race. “When you look at all their promotion for the upcoming race, there’s very little mention of Harley,” Richard Earl said. “This guy did a lot. His name’s on this trophy for a reason. He’s a real icon.” Harley Earl was an automotive pioneer, the father of car design. He has been called the “Da Vinci of Detroit.” When he began in the 1920s American cars were basically boxes on wheels. By the time he retired in 1958, he and his designers had created many “concept cars” that looked more like spacecraft. See the full story at the Palm Beach Post. Richard Earl, a former Wall Street broker, makes his living selling Harley Earl-designed cars. ” ‘Motoramic masterpieces’ is how I like to refer to them,” he said. He maintains the official Harley Earl Web site, carofthecentury.com, and is working on a biography of his grandfather.(2-14-2008) Comment here.
  • Dale Jr on SI cover: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine’s Feb. 18 issue, which is set to hit news stands this week. Shot by photographer Michael J. LeBrecht II, the cover depicts a relaxed Earnhardt on the hood of his #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy with the headline “Time to Win? Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has a New Car.” The cover story, penned by writer Lars Anderson and entitled “Fired Up,” details Earnhardt’s journey to Hendrick Motorsports and his relationship with team owner Rick Hendrick. For more information on Sports Illustrated magazine, visit www.SI.com.(HMS PR)(2-14-2008) Comment here.
  • 2008 Rookies – News and Notes: Six drivers are expected to compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series: Jacques Villeneuve, Sam Hornish Jr., Dario Franchitti, Regan Smith, Patrick Carpentier, and Michael McDowell. Three organizations – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Michael Waltrip Racing – will have Raybestos Rookies behind the wheel for the second consecutive season. Ryan Newman (2002) is the most recent driver to capture top rookie honors in the Daytona 500 and go on to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in the Sprint Cup Series is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin grabbed the top starting position for the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, 46 races ago. David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Daytona 500, scoring a fifth-place finish. Since 1975, only three Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in the Daytona 500: Ragan, Scott Wimmer and Jeff Gordon. Wimmer placed third in 2004 while Gordon finished fifth in 1993. Gordon is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Gatorade Duel qualifying race at Daytona in the sport’s modern era. Gordon won his qualifying race for 500 in 1993. Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Budweiser Shootout. Hamlin won the race in 2006 and went on to capture Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors that same season. Greg Biffle is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series points event at Daytona International Speedway. Biffle won the 2003 Pepsi 400, scoring his first career win in the Sprint Cup Series. Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup since the program was created in 2004.(Raybestos/Camp and Assoc PR)(2-14-2008) Comment here.
  • Gatorade Duel Race #2: is being run now, while not doing the semi-live racepage for the races this season [hits had dwindled with many sites having live streaming of the races], but will do a semi-live here [every 10 laps with some notes] on this page for the Gatorade Duel 150’s today.
    (after 64 of 64)
    #11-Hamlin (5) [in top 35/to back, engine change, starts 4th]
    #20-Stewart (8) [in top 35/to back, engine change, starts 6th]
    #24-Gordon (6) [in top 35/to back, engine change, starts 8th]
    #9-Kahne (18) [in top 35, starts 10th]
    #8-Martin (12) [in top 35, starts 12th]
    #6-Ragan (9) [in top 35, starts 14th]
    #29-Harvick (21) [in top 35, starts 16th]
    #16-Biffle (15) [in top 35, starts 18th]
    #44-Jarrett (14) [needs to race in, no champ prov avail, starts 20th]
    #34-Andretti (25) [needs to race in, starts 22nd]
    #18-Busch (20) [in top 35, starts 24th]
    #00-Reutimann (2) [in by speed, can start higher if races in, starts 42nd]
    #55-Waltrip (1) [in by speed, will start 2nd]
    #7-Gordon (17) [in top 35, starts 26th]
    #17-Kenseth (10) [in top 35, starts 28th]
    #28-Kvapil (4) [in top 35, starts 30th]
    #38-Gilliland (13) [in top 35, starts 32nd]
    #49-Schrader (22) [needs to race in, DNQ]
    #10-Carpentier (7) [needs to race in], accident DNQ
    #37-McClure (19) [needs to race in] ? DNQ
    #22-Blaney (3) [in top 35], engine, starts 34th]
    #31-Burton (24) [in top 35], shocks, starts 36th]
    #27-Villeneuve (11) [needs to race in, DNQ]
    #26-McMurray (16) [in top 35, starts 38th]
    #50-Barrett (26) [needs to race in, DNQ]
    #40-Franchitti (23) [in top 35, to the back, missed driver intros, starts 40th]
    The race is being televised live on SPEED and is scheduled to re-air tonight at 9:00pm/et.
    Caution: 1) lap 17-23; #27-Villeneuve lost it came down then shot up the track into the wall, collecting #50-Barrett, #40-Franchitti and #26-McMurray. All the drivers came in to pit after pit road was opened.
    Caution: 2) lap 25-29; #22-Blaney lost an engine, heavy smoke; taking a lot of time cleaning off the track, red flag for about 6 minutes
    Caution: 3) lap 59-; #10-Carpentier lost a right tire and slapped the wall, RED Flag as of 5:16 until 5:22pm/et

    Notes: #31-Burton made a pit stop for a possible tire going down on lap 9; #00-Reutimann jumped the start of the race and was black flagged and had to do a pass-thru penalty.(2-14-2008)

  • Gatorade Duel Race #1: is scheduled to start around 2:00pm/et, while not doing the semi-live racepage for the races this season [hits had dwindled with many sites having live streaming of the races], but will do a semi-live here on this page for the Gatorade Duel 150’s today.
    (after 60 of 60 laps)
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. (5) [in top 35/to the back, starts 3rd]
    #41-Sorenson (18) [in top 35, starts 5th]
    #12-Newman (9) [in top 35/moves to pole for this race, starts 7th]
    #5-Mears (3) [in top 35/to the back, starts 9th]
    #99-Edwards (15) [in top 35, starts 11th]
    #43-Labonte (23) [in top 35, starts 13th]
    #42-Montoya (19) [in top 35, starts 15th]
    #87-Wallace (11) [needs to race in, starts 17th]
    #77-Hornish Jr (20). [in top 35, starts 19th]
    #15-Menard (16) [in top 35, starts 21st]
    #83-Vickers (6) [can get in on speed or race in, starts 23rd]
    #78-Nemechek (2) [in by speed, starts 41st]
    #84-Allmendinger (7) [needs to race in, DNQ]
    #1-Truex Jr (17). [in top 35, starts 25th]
    #66-Riggs (8) [in top 35/to the back, starts 27th]
    #21-Elliott (22) [can race in or gets past champ if #2 AND #44 race in, DNQ]
    #01-Smith (10) [in top 35, starts 29th]
    #07-Bowyer (21) [in top 35/to the back, starts 31st]
    #60-Said (4) [can get in on speed or race in, DNQ]
    #70-Mayfield (12) [in top 35, starts 33rd]
    #09-Marlin (25) [needs to race in, DNQ]
    #19-Sadler (14) [in top 35, starts 35th]
    #48-Johnson (1) [pole/to the back, starts 1st/pole]
    #96-Yeley (26) [in top 35/to the back, starts 37th]
    #45-Petty (24) [in top 35, starts 39th]
    #08-Long (27) [needs to race in, DNQ], finished 24th but car was found low and penalized to 27th
    out of race
    #2-Busch (13) [will past champ provisional, starts 43rd] OUT engine
    The race was televised live on SPEED and re-aired at 9:00pm/et.
    1) lap 4-5: #60-Said and #83-Vickers make contact, sending the #83 spinning and slinding on the backstretch asphalt, no damage.
    2) lap 56-58 : #19-Sadler lost a right front tire and smacked the wall; #’s 83,66,60,07,84,1,21,01 pitted for tires
    Notes: #19-Sadler lost a right front tire and fell back around lap 25; #83-Vickers lost a right front tire and had to pit early on lap 30;
    #48-Johnson felt a tire go down a pitted with 8 laps to go;
    Currently one of the two highest running do-or-go-homers and would make the race, if things stayed the same, the top 2 make it in
  • TO THE BACK: SPEED reports eleven teams have changed engines so their drivers will have to start to the ear of the field before the start of their Gatorade Duel 150 race, the 11 reported:
    Duel #1: #48-Johnson [was to start 1st]; #5-Mears [3rd]; #88-Earnhardt Jr. [5th]; #84-Allmendinger [7th]; #66-Riggs [8th]; #07-Bowyer [21st]; #96-Yeley [26th]
    Duel #2: #11-Hamlin [was to start 5th]; #24-Gordon [6th]; #20-Stewart [8th]; #44-Jarrett [14th]
    Team are allowed to change engines between the Duels and the Daytona 500 and not have to fall to the rear of the field. These engine changes only effect the starting lineup for the Duels. And the drivers in line move up, so in the 1st Duel, all drivers with odd starting spots [1, 3, 5, etc] move up to the next sport. so #12-Newman will move up from 9th to the pole with #78-Nemechek on the outside pole.(2-14-2008)
  • Jarrett will not take Reutimann’s ride if he fails to make the 500: #44-Dale Jarrett said he would not consider getting into teammate #00-David Reutimann’s car if the worst-case scenario happens Thursday and Jarrett fails to qualify for the Daytona 500. Some people have speculated that team owner Michael Waltrip might ask Reutimann to skip the race to allow Jarrett to compete in his final Daytona 500 start, if Jarrett doesn’t make it in. “We won’t do that just because it’s my last one,” Jarrett said. “It won’t be the end of the world for me. We haven’t talked about it. “David is going to be there for the whole season. And I’m the one that recommended David to UPS [Jarrett’s longtime sponsor], so I want him to go out and have a great Daytona 500.” Reutimann will take over in the #44 UPS Toyota after the first five races when Jarrett retires. Reutimann is driving the #00 Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing in the first five events. Waltrip and Reutimann are starting on the front row in the second qualifying race Thursday. Jarrett is starting on the outside of Row 7. Waltrip and Reutimann have guaranteed spots in the 500, so they will allow Jarrett to move ahead of them in the qualifying race if necessary to get Jarrett into the 500.(ESPN.com)(2-14-2008) Comment here.
  • Engine problems pile up UPDATE: #88-Earnhardt Jr. lost and engine midway thru the 2nd Wed practice at Daytona International Speedway and the team will change engines, then it was mentioned on SPEED’s coverage that all the Hendrick Motorsports cars #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, Earnhardt and #5-Mears will change engines as there is some sort of lifter problem. #66-Riggs team is changing engines, also uses Hendrick engines and the other teams that run Hendrick engines are checking them out: #09-Marlin, #87-Wallace, #70-Mayfield and #78-Nemechek [not changing engines]. Also #07-Bowyer lost an engine and is changing their engine.
    confirmed engine changes: #48-Johnson, #5-Mears, #24-Gordon, #66-Riggs, #96-Yeley, #07-Yeley and #88-Earnhardt Jr. that means these drivers have to fall to the rear of the pack before the drop of the green flag for the Gatorade Duel they are running. #84-Allmendinger’s team already changed engines over the past weekend. This does NOT effect where they start the Daytona 500. Team are allowed to change engines between the Duels and the Daytona 500.(2-13-2008)
    UPDATE: All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers — #48-Jimmie Johnson, #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Casey Mears — will start in the back of the field in Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500 after their engines were replaced on Wednesday afternoon. Jeff Andrews, HMS’s head engine builder, said the problem appears to be related to a batch of lifters. The problem also was discovered in the cars of #78-Joe Nemechek and #87-Kenny Wallace of Furniture Row Racing, and #66-Scott Riggs and #70-Jeremy Mayfield of Haas Racing. All four are powered by HMS engines. But the problem wasn’t contained to HMS. Toyota is bringing new engines from California for #44-Dale Jarrett and #84-A.J. Allmendinger. Joe Gibbs Racing is bringing new engines for #20-Tony Stewart and #96-J.J. Yeley. Yeley, who drives for the JGR satellite team Hall of Fame Racing, has replaced two engines since arriving at Daytona. Because the problem appears consistent among both manufacturers officials are speculating it is related to coating on the lifters that could have come from the same vendor. “We took engines back after the Bud Shootout, they look really good, looked great,” Andrews said. “So we are looking at a batch issue right now and trying to sort through some things to get the guys in Charlotte pointed in the right direction.” Chad Knaus, the crew chief for pole-sitter Johnson, said coating on the cam shaft appears to be getting on the lifters and filtering throughout the engine. “Definitely by Sunday we’ll have it all squared away,” he said. Johnson, Nemechek and Mears were slated for the first three starting spots of the first qualifying race with Earnhardt fifth before the engine changes. Riggs was eighth, meaning a lot of fast cars will begin the 60-lap event at the rear. Gordon would have started sixth in the second race that will determine the starting lineup behind Johnson and Michael Waltrip, who earned the front row for the 50th running of the 500 on Sunday. There also was an engine change in Clint Bowyer’s Richard Childress Racing #07 Chevrolet because of a broken rod. Richie Gilmore, who heads up the program that supplies engines for RCR and Dale Earnhardt Inc., said Bowyer’s problem was not related to what the others experienced. But because of those problems Gilmore said he’ll look over all three RCR and all four DEI cars before the qualifying races. “Everybody is going to be pulling stuff apart,” he said. “It might be a bigger issue.”(ESPN.com)
    AND Hendrick-built motors were not removed from the CNC/Haas Chevy of Jeremy Mayfield, the two Furniture Row Racing Chevys of Joe Nemechek and Kenny Wallace and the Miccosukee Indian Nation Chevrolet. But later Wednesday, the problem widened to include several Toyotas that also had their engines pulled for potentially similar problems with the lifters. The Toyota Camrys of Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, A.J. Allmendinger and J.J. Yeley all were forced to switch engines.(Yahoo Sports)(2-14-2008)
    Comment here

    News from February 13, 2008

  • Special NASCAR coverage in USA Weekend: USA Weekend Magazine gathered five decades of Daytona 500 champs —Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Jimmie Johnson and Sterling Marlin — for an exclusive autographed poster in the 2/15 issue! Also, you can read what these champs had to say about NASCAR’s biggest race! Look for this issue in your local paper or read online at usaweekend.com.(2-13-2008)
  • Evernham Joins ESPN’s NASCAR Team as Analyst: Ray Evernham, a successful team owner in NASCAR racing and a three-time Sprint Cup champion crew chief, has joined ESPN’s NASCAR coverage team as an analyst. Evernham, who makes his debut this week from Daytona International Speedway, will appear on NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily NASCAR news and information show, as part of a rotating panel of ESPN analysts for a weekly roundtable discussion in an expanded one-hour Monday edition of the program. The roundtable, hosted by ESPN’s Allen Bestwick, will discuss the latest NASCAR news and events. Evernham, owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, also will make appearances via satellite on other editions of NASCAR Now. NASCAR Now airs weeknights at 6pm/et on ESPN2. In addition to his duties with NASCAR Now, Evernham will work as an analyst in ESPN’s booth for live telecasts of Nationwide Series races from Mexico City and Loudon, N.H. Evernham also will join ESPN’s pre-race NASCAR Countdown show for some races in 2008, including prior to the Feb. 16 Nationwide Series opening event from Daytona, and will appear from Daytona on NASCAR Now, SportsCenter and ESPNEWS.   “We are thrilled to further elevate our NASCAR telecasts with the addition of another former champion in Ray Evernham,” said Rich Feinberg, vice president, motorsports, ESPN production. “Our team already has a very deep bench and this only strengthens it.” Evernham appeared on several Nationwide Series telecasts in 2007 as a guest analyst on the pre-race program and also was featured in Race Wizard with Ray Evernham, a program that aired on ESPN2 in 2007. He previously appeared as an analyst on ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the IROC Series in 2000. “ESPN is the leader in sports worldwide,” said Evernham. “Their expertise and credibility with the men and women around the world reinforces this position, and I am excited that NASCAR is such an integral part of their programming. I look forward to joining their team and sharing my knowledge and experience of the sport with the fans.”(ESPN PR)(2-13-2008) Comment here.
  • Vickers skydives: #83-Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers completed his first skydiving jump – Solo – yesterday under the guidance of the Red Bull Air Force, a group of air savvy professionals who specialize in skydiving. Vickers spent the first half of his day at Skyventure Orlando in a skydiving wind tunnel with the RBAF simulating the motions he’d feel in the sky and taking an Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) class that allowed him to complete his skydiving mission solo – not tandem, like most first time jumpers. Vickers jumped at Skydive Deland.(TRB PR)(2-13-2008) Comment here.
  • Stewart getting waxed…for charity: During last night’s SIRIUS radio show Tony Stewart Live with Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick mentioned “Operation Wax Smoke,” and the fact that the fans had met the goal [of $100,000]. In response, Tony said he would like to have Kevin host the show while he was getting “the procedure.” Now, we are just waiting on Tony to set the date! The fans raised a total of $39,611.00 and Harvick has pitched in the rest, which totaled $60,389.00 just to make the goal. Details as things become more final.(Kevin Harvick site)(2-13-2008) Comment here.
  • Thomas Kinkade Paints Daytona 500 to Commemorate 50th Running of “The Great American Race”: NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation announced today that they have licensed Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light, to create a commemorative painting of the historic 50th  Running of the Daytona 500.  While on location at Daytona International Speedway, Thomas Kinkade will sketch and paint multiple scenes from Daytona 500 Speedweek.  From the collection of images Thom creates at Daytona, the image that best embodies the history, traditions, and values of the 50 years of “The Great American Race” will be selected to become the Study for Thom’s Limited Edition release. NASCAR fans will be able to participate in this process through an online vote.  The final painting will be released as a special Commemorative Limited Edition Portrait and available to fans everywhere of NASCAR, the Daytona 500, and Thomas Kinkade. Thomas Kinkade’s collection of sketches and paintings created in various locations during Speedweek will be placed online at thomaskinkade.com/Daytona.  For the first time ever, fans will be able to register to vote and let Thom know their favorite image.  Thomas Kinkade will paint the selected image to become the Commemorative Limited Edition Portrait of the 50th Running of the Daytona 500. The collection of images will be available for voting from March 1st through March 15th, 2008. or more information, please visit Thomas Kinkade web site at thomaskinkade.com.(PR)(2-13-2008) Comment here.
  • Hall of Fame Racing Forms Board of Advisors: Hall of Fame Racing officials announced today the formation of a Board of Advisors to serve as conduits for excellence in business practices and driving more value for sponsors. Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel own Hall of Fame Racing and field the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for driver J.J. Yeley. “The concept of an Advisory Board for a race team is something that we believe can help us in the development and execution of our plan for successful growth,” Garfinkel said. “In an effort to add more value to sponsors and operate with transparency about how their investments in our team are deployed, we’ve invited executive leadership from our sponsors to participate on the Board as well.”
    “This is a virtual dream team of successful business leaders and entrepreneurs who will assist us in our quest for building a great organization,” Moorad said. “Their vast experience and unparalleled integrity will be invaluable to us and our partners as we move forward.”
    The Board of Advisors will consist of: Bob Damon, President of Korn/Ferry International; Tom Davin, CEO of Panda Restaurants Inc.; Mike Gray, most recently President and CEO of Sweet Life Enterprises; Ken Kendrick, Managing General Partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Bob Piccinini, Chairman and CEO of Save Mart Supermarkets; Stephen Prough, retired Chairman and CEO of Long Beach Acceptance Corporation; Conrad Wetterau, President and CEO of Quality Beverage Inc., Mark Wetterau, Chairman and CEO of Golden State Foods.(Hall of Fame Racing PR)(2-13-2008)
  • Wednesday’s 2nd Practice for the Gatorade Duel 150’s/Daytona 500 is over, the top five were:
    #12-Newman 189.765
    #55-Waltrip 189.557
    #22-Blaney 188.957
    #21-Elliott 188.917
    #9-Kahne 188.838
    slowest #37-McClure 177.326 and #08-Long 182.760
    47 of 53 drivers have made runs
    The six who didn’t run: #19-Sadler, #48-Johnson, #5-Mears, #24-Gordon, #66-Riggs and #96-Yeley
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. lost and engine midway thru the practice and the team will change engines, then it was mentioned on SPEED’s coverage that all the Hendrick Motorsports cars #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, Earnhardt and #5-Mears will change engines as there is some sort of lifter problem. #66-Riggs team is changing engines, also uses Hendrick engines and the other teams that run Hendrick engines are checking them out: #09-Marlin, #87-Wallace, #70-Mayfield and #78-Nemechek [not changing engines]. Also #07-Bowyer lost an engine and is changing their engine.
    confirmed engine changes: #48-Johnson, #5-Mears, #24-Gordon, #66-Riggs, #96-Yeley, #07-Yeley and #88-Earnhardt Jr. that means these drivers have to fall to the rear of the pack before the drop of the green flag for the Gatorade Duel they are running. This doe NOT effect where they start the Daytona 500. Team are allowed to change engines between the Duels and the Daytona 500.
    For all the sppeds, see my 2008 Practice Speeds page. (2-13-2008) Comment here.
  • Wednesday’s 1st Practice for the Gatorade Duel 150’s/Daytona 500 is over after rain shortened the 90 scheduled minute practice to 60 [the original sched], the rain stopped and they are drying the track and the plan is to try to practice as soon as the track is dry. The 2nd practice today is scheduled for 2:00pm/et. The top-5 were:
    #18-Busch 190.525
    #17-Kenseth 190.440
    #66-Riggs 190.351
    #99-Edwards 190.311
    #20-Stewart 190.299
    slowest is #37-McClure 183.113 and #34-Andretti 185.300
    the drivers are drafting, running in a packs
    #27-Villeneuve hit the wall and pancaked the right side of the car, the team made repairs and Villeneuve is back on track making laps
    also #18-Kyle Busch and #50-Stanton Barrett also scraped the wall and #96-Yeley lost an engine, the 6th Toyota to expire since last Friday.
    See the speeds on my Daytona Practice Speeds page.(2-13-2008)

    News from February 12, 2008

  • Penalties for Busch, Stewart after practice incident? UPDATE Probation: NASCAR chairman Brian France kicked off the 2008 media tour in Charlotte, N.C., last month by saying Sprint Cup drivers needed to show more of their personalities. #2-Kurt Busch and #20-Tony Stewart obliged on Friday night when they got into a sheet metal exchange on pit road after an on-the-track incident that wrecked both of their cars in the final practice for Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Both drivers immediately were summoned to the NASCAR hauler to meet with Series director John Darby and competition director Robin Pemberton. They will meet again on Saturday before the governing body determines what fines, if any, will be issued. The only words spoken by either driver — both left through a side door without commenting — came from Busch before entering the hauler. “It’s a great way to start off 2008,” he said, clapping his hands together.(more at ESPN.com)(2-9-2008)
    UPDATE: On SPEED’s NASCAR Live, Bob Dillner reported that he spoke with NASCAR’s Jim Hunter that Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch met Saturday morning in the NASCAR Trailer and the meeting was cordial. It was also reported that Stewart may had thrown a punch in the NASCAR trailer Friday night after the incident, but NASCAR declined to comment on that and no more about possible penalties for either driver yet. Dr. Dick Berggren talked to Stewart during practice, who was very contrite and said it was part of racing and that what happened was over.(2-9-2008)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR has placed drivers Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch on probation for the first six races of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season, a result of their on-track altercations this past Friday during practice for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Stewart, driver of the #20 Toyota and Busch, driver of the #2 Dodge, violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; altercation with another competitor) of the NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR PR)(2-12-2008) Comment here.
  • Wypall Wipers announces 2008 Crew Chief Lineup: Wypall Wipers announced its all-star line-up of crew chief representatives today, continuing the tradition of top-notch crew chiefs who call Wypall Wipers their wiper of choice. The Wypall Wipers 2008 Crew Chief Program will launch in Daytona on Feb. 17. Serving as spokesmen for the Wypall Wipers brand, the noted crew chiefs include some of NASCAR’s best, including the defending Daytona 500 winner. Todd Berrier, who helped guide Kevin Harvick and his #29 Richard Childress Shell Pennzoil Racing Chevrolet team to victory in last season’s “Great American Race”, makes his debut into the program. He is joined by fellow newcomer Bob Osborne, who makes the decisions on the #99 Roush-Fenway Racing Office Depot Ford team for driver Carl Edwards. Kenny Francis returns to the Wypall Wipers program in his second year, leading the #9 Gillett Evernham Budweiser Dodge team and driver Kasey Kahne. “What an incredible lineup of crew chiefs we have on the Wypall Wipers team this season,” said Tom Merrill, Category Manager for Wypall Wipers. “All have race wins under their belt and they know the importance of using reliable, high-performance products on their race cars and engines. That is why they are sold on Wypall Wipers.” Also joining the Wypall team to help promote the brand’s 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Program is FOX/Speed TV analyst Jeff Hammond, a former championship crew chief in his own right. Hammond, along with the three crew chiefs, and representatives from Wypall Wipers will serve as the panel for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, a season-long contest which will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, they will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and ingenuity during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief who goes to victory lane, but the crew chief who made the biggest difference to his team. The weekly winning crew chief will receive a $1,000 check as well as signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL. Former yearly winners include Tony Eury, Sr. (for driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.), Robbie Reiser (for driver Matt Kenseth), Doug Richert (for driver Greg Biffle) and Mike Ford (for driver Denny Hamlin). The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(2-12-2008)
  • Villeneuve close to a sponsor? Hires Barry Green UPDATE: #27-Jacques Villeneuve has moved to NASCAR, where he’s signed on with a fledgling team that’s very short on sponsorship. If this venture fails – and it soon might if he doesn’t find a sponsor for his Bill Davis Racing team – there’s nowhere else for the 36-year-old driver to go. If he’s worried, Villeneuve isn’t letting on. “It can’t fall apart. I won’t let it,” he said Thursday at media day for the Daytona 500. “Of course you are not in 100% control of what happens all the time, so if it does fall apart, I will just persevere.” It begins this weekend for Villeneuve, who will attempt to qualify his unsponsored car for the Daytona 500. If he’s not among the fastest two in Sunday’s time trials, he’ll have to race his way into the field next week. He’s confident about his chances, even though he has a shell of a team working on his Toyota Camry. The financial limitations have him lagging behind the super teams, and even though his years of open-wheel success made him a very rich man, he’s not prepared to finance this venture himself because he spent so much to get the operation off the ground late last year, and money is a little tight. But Villeneuve claims he has a sponsor on the edge of commitment, a company just needing one final push to sign on the dotted line. This weekend could seal it, ensuring him a fully funded car for the entire 36-race schedule. Having to deal with all the details has stressed Villeneuve a bit, so he last week called Barry Green, who fielded his cars for him in CART, and asked him to handle his business affairs. “The only thing I want to be doing is drive the race car,” he said. “When you try to do more than one job at a time, you won’t do it as good as you should because your mind is not as rested the way it should be. It’s not a positive thing. If I am driving, then I just want to concentrate on that.”(in part from Sports Illustrated/AP)(2-8-2008)
    UPDATE: Villeneuve had hoped to sign CGI Group as his primary sponsor, but the deal fell thru and Villeneuve is talking to other Canadian companies.(translated from La Presse.(2-12-2008) Comment here.
  • Dakar Rally to shift to South America for 2009: The next Dakar Rally will zoom past the Andes, over Argentine plains and through Chilean desert instead of racing through African scrub and dunes. Forced by the threat of terrorism to cancel this year’s race, organizers hope to give the Dakar Rally a new beginning by swapping continents and going to South America in 2009. Race director Etienne Lavigne detailed the route in a telephone interview Monday. He was already in Buenos Aires, scouting out the Argentine capital that will host the start and finish of next year’s race. This year marked the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, was called off. Next year will mark the first time that it will not race in Africa. The race will start in Buenos Aires on Jan. 3 and finish in the Argentine capital Jan. 18, organizers said. About 500 competitors signed up for the 2008 edition, which was canceled in January after French government warnings about safety. Lavigne said the race will return to Africa when it can. The 2009 edition will traverse 5,600 miles in Argentina and Chile, with racing over nearly 3,700 miles in 15 days, with one rest day. The race will start in Buenos Aires, go to Patagonia, the Andes mountains and venture into the Atacama desert, the world’s driest, Lavigne said. The exact route is still being worked out.(USA Today/Associated Press PR), #7-Robby Gordon was to run the 2008 version and estimates he lost millions of dollars when the race was cancelled.(2-12-2008) Comment here.
  • Johnson honored at SPEED performer of the year: Legendary racer Mario Andretti awarded two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson his second consecutive Mario Andretti Trophy as the 2007 SPEED Performer of the Year, as part of the second annual SPEED Performance Awards, hosted by Danica Patrick and Tommy Kendall. Johnson earned six first-place votes from the 15-member panel after winning 10 Sprint Cup Series races in 2007, including four in a row during the Chase. Two-time defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champ Donny Schatz (two first-place votes) earned runner-up honors. Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen (one first-place vote) finished third in the voting, followed by MotoGP rookie phenom Casey Stoner (one first-place vote), F1’s Lewis Hamilton (three first-place votes) and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti (one first-place vote). Champ Car titlist Sebastien Bourdais also received one first-place vote. With 100,000 fans casting votes on SPEEDtv.com. Hamilton also earned Racer Magazine Rookie of the Year Honors as part of the fan-voting portion of the SPEED Performance Awards. The SPEED Performance Awards will re-air Feb. 15 at 3pm/et. The Mario Andretti Trophy is a three-foot sculpture by renowned bronze artist Elie Hazak.(SPEED PR)(2-12-2008)
  • MRN Announces New Programming: The Motor Racing Network (MRN) debuted its new “NASCAR Today Midday” program on over 100 radio stations nationwide on Monday. The program, which has been created in response to the demands of race fans for more NASCAR coverage, is a two-minute program that will air Monday through Friday at midday throughout the year. Kyle Rickey will headline the program.(MRN Radio PR)(2-12-2008)

    News from February 11, 2008

  • Eury dedicates Junior’s Shootout win to mourning teammate: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. was shocked upon returning from the Sprint Cup test session at California Speedway to see Joey Arnold, one of his car setup specialists, working feverishly in the shop on one of the #88 cars. Arnold’s 5-year-old son, Cayden, had died just days beforehand. “I said ‘Joey, what are you doing here?'” Eury said. “I mean, what do you say to a guy whose 5-year-old kid just died? I didn’t know. I couldn’t believe he was there.” Arnold’s response was one Eury won’t soon forget. “He said ‘This is my best chance to win the Daytona 500, and I want to be a part of it,'” Eury said. Eury was so deeply impacted by the scope of that statement that his eyes welled with tears recounting it Sunday just before pole qualifying at Daytona. “His son had a lung issue, I think, and he couldn’t run from here to that generator,” Eury said, pointing out a distance of about 20 feet, “and he’d have to go back inside and lay down for the rest of the day. “But that day [he died], he ran down the driveway, down into the cul-de-sac and back up the driveway. They all stood there like, ‘Wow, what was that?’ He came in, went to sleep and never woke up.” So when Eury’s #88 opened the 2008 Sprint Cup season in Victory Lane, the win was dedicated to Arnold. “To me, that kind of dedication from that guy — that meant a lot to me, so I told Joey that was for him,” Eury said. “It took a lot of heart and emotion for him to walk in that shop, so I told my guys in Victory Lane [Saturday] night: That [checkered] flag, hold on to it, it’s going to Joey Arnold.”(full story and quotes at ESPN.com)(2-11-2008)Comment here.
  • Bud Shootout TV Ratings up 6%: The 2008 Sprint Cup season got off to a strong start Saturday night by notching a 5.1 household rating and a 9 share (8.5 million viewers) for the Budweiser Shootout shown on Fox from Daytona International Speeday. Saturday’s 5.1/9 is a +6% gain over last year’s 4.8/9 for the Shootout, according to Nielsen Fast National ratings released today. The Budweiser Shootout powered FOX to primetime wins for the night in both household rating and the Adults 18-49 demographic. Among all homes, FOX’s 5.1/9 for the Shootout scored a +19% win over second place NBC’s 4.3/8 and FOX’s 3.0 rating in Adults 18-49 was good for an impressive +30% win over ABC’s 2.3. The Shootout also saw ratings increases among Men 25-54 (+6%, 5.1 vs. 4.8) and Men 55+ (+8%, 5.6 vs. 5.2). Viewing of the Budweiser Shootout peaked at a 6.1/11 from 10:00-10:10pm/et as over 10 million viewers saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. take the checkered flag in his first outing in the #88 car for Hendrick Motorsports.(Fox PR)(2-11-2008)
  • Tire blistering confirmed: Goodyear Tire and NASCAR officials confirmed there was tire blistering during Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, but assured competitors the problem is correctable. “We saw some signs, up and down pit road, of excessive heat on the right front and right rear (tires) and some blistering,” Goodyear’s Rick Heinrich said Sunday before Daytona 500 qualifying at Daytona International Speedway. #38-David Gilliland spun and hit the wall late in the Shootout because of tire blistering. Other accidents were the result of mechanical issues or contact between cars, according to Goodyear engineers. The tire problem, said Sprint Cup Series director John Darby, was a “worse-case scenario” as far as racing conditions for the 70-lap sprint race, won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Darby said Saturday night produced optimum speed conditions. The more speed, the more heat builds in the Goodyear racing tires. “It was nice, cool air, night time racing, maximum grip in the racetrack, all those things,” Darby said. Goodyear tested at DIS in September to find a competitive tire compound and design for the Daytona 500. Heinrich said Sprint Cup lap speeds have improved by more than one second since those fall test sessions. The blistering problem popped up during Preseason Thunder in January. Heinrich said Saturday’s fastest cars, including Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Earnhardt, had no issues. “Their tires were very clean,” Heinrich said. “They have looked really good.” Heinrich said Goodyear engineers are in the process of assisting the teams that showed blistering Saturday night. Darby said NASCAR will monitor the tire situation and doesn’t expect blistering issues for next weekend’s Daytona 500.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-11-2008) Comment here.
  • #5 car too low in Bud Shootout post-tech UPDATE: Casey Mears’ #5 Chevy was determined to be too low during Budweiser Shootout postrace inspection. Mears finished sixth in the race, his first with the Hendrick Motorsports #5 Sprint Cup team. Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s Vice President of Corportate Communications, said NASCAR will continue investigating the issue today. “It might have some damage,” Hunter said. “We’ll let you know tomorrow.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-10-2008)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears’s #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was too low in post-race inspection after finishing sixth in Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout. But the car suffered collision damage in the race and NASCAR officials said Sunday the car had been cleared and no penalties would be issued.(SPEEDtv.com)(2-11-2008) Comment here.
  • Drivers who are not yet assured of a spot in the 500 and how they can get in:
    Who Could Get In Via Duels/
    Qualifying Time
    #60-Boris Said: Fastest of non-qualifiers, but could make the 500 one of two ways — if he finishes first or second among the go-or-go-home drivers, or if #55-Michael Waltrip, #78-Joe Nemechek or #00-David Reutimann finish top-2 among the drivers not in on owners’ points.
    #10-Patrick Carpentier: Second-fastet of non-qualifiers, but could make the 500 one of two ways — if he finishes first or second among the go-or-go-home drivers or if Waltrip, Nemechek, Reutimann or Said finish top-2 among the drivers not in on owenrs points.
    #83-Brian Vickers: Third-fastert non-qualifier, but could make the 500 one of two ways — if he finishes among the top-2 among the go-or-go-home drivers, or if Waltrip, Nemechek, Reutimann, Said or Carpentier finish top-2 among the drivers not in on owners points.
    #27-Jacques Villeneuve: Fourth-fastest non-qualifiers, but could make the 500 one of two ways — if he finishes among the top-2 among the go-or-go-home drivers, or if Nemechek, Reutimann, Said and Carpentier finish top-2 among the drivers not in on owners points.
    Past Champions
    #21-Bill Elliott: The 1988 champion must place top-2 among the go or go-homers in his duel or hope both #2-Kurt Busch and #44-Dale Jarrett finish top-2 in their Duels.
    #44-Dale Jarrett: must finish top-2 among the go or go-homers, unless Busch manages to do that. Then Jarrett would earn the past champion’s provisional because his 1999 championship is more recent than Elliott’s 1988 title.
    Who Must Race Their Way In: #50-Stanton Barrett; #49-Ken Schrader; #08-Carl Long; #37-Eric McClure; #09-Sterling Marlin; #84-AJ Allmendinger; #87-Kenny Wallace; #34-John Andretti.(Daytona Neach News Journal), see the lineup with notes and more on my Gatorade Duel 150 Lineups page.(2-11-2008) Comment here.

News from February 10, 2008

  • The Junior Johnson Story to become a movie: Redwood Palms Pictures has signed on to produce the true life story of racing legend, Junior Johnson. Commonly referred to as the father of modern stock car racing, Johnson began his career as a young teen running illegal moonshine on the dusty back roads of North Carolina, sharpening his unique driving skills by continually evading the law. Little did he know, he would help launch an entire industry. Whiskey Beginnings is one of those stories that crystallizes the American Dream and tells the story of how one man¹s passion changed the world. Junior Johnson not only became a legend in his own time, but a true American hero. ³This story takes place during the great depression, in a time when many people fought daily for their survival,² states Mike DiManno, CEO of Redwood Palms. ³And out of that adversity was born one of the greatest heroes we¹ve ever known.² Redwood Palms is partnering with writers Fred Griffith and Chris Mulkey. Based on the book, “Junior Johnson: Brave in Life” by Tom Higgins and Steve Waid, the film is scheduled to begin shooting in the Fall of 2008.(PR)(2-10-2008) Comment here.
  • Johnson on pole for Daytona 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500 with a lap of 187.075mph for his 2nd career Daytona 500 pole and 14th pole of his career. #55-Michael Waltrip was 2nd fastest and has a set strating spot for the race. All other starting positions will be determined following the Gatorade 150 qualifying races. The rest of the top five for qualifying was #78-Joe Nemechek, #00-David Reutimann and #22-Dave Blaney. Nemechek, Reutimann and Waltrip are thee three go-or-go-homers [not in the top-35 of end of season owners points] who are guaranteed of making the race. Three other can get in via speed if the other three race their way in on Thursday: #60-Boris Said; #10-Patrick Carpentier, #83-Brian Vickers and #27-Jacques Villenueve. #2-Kurt Busch was not fast enough to get in the race, but could race in via the Duels [4 spots, 2 each, get in via the Duels], but Busch can use the past champions provisional [and start 43rd]. If Busch races his way in, the #44-Jarrett could use it and if Jarrett races in, the #21-Bill Elliottt could use it. If none of the three drivers need it, the the next fastest driver not already in, would get in the race.
    So it is the top 2 are in, followed by spots 3-40 [34 from the top 35 and 4 from the Duels], the spots 41 and 42 from the next fastest drivers/cars, then then the most recent past hampion in 43rd…if needed. If not needed, then the fastest driver not already in, would get the spot. See the qualifying speeds on my Daytona 500 Qualifying Page.(2-10-2008)
  • Truex discussing re-signing with DEI: #1-Martin Truex Jr. is in a contract year, and while some preliminary discussions have been held considering an extension, he insisted Feb. 7 that he wasn’t focused on that right now. Truex has spent the previous four years as part of Dale Earnhardt Inc., the first two in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series with Chance 2 Motorsports (co-owned by DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and the other two in Cup. “We’ve talked about it a little bit and that’s as far as it went,” Truex said. “We need to go out here and win races and concentrate on racing. We’ll worry about that stuff later on.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-10-2008), sponsor Bass Pro Shops and crew chief Kevin Manion are signed thru 2010. Comment here.
  • Earnhardt’s 10th Anniversary of Daytona 500: 1998 Paint Scheme on ‘New Car’: Richard Childress and Teresa Earnhardt were guests today of Daytona International Speedway (DIS) to recognize the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s historic win in the 1998 Daytona 500. A 2008 race car with the famous #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus paint scheme was unveiled and will be on display throughout Speed Weeks in the DIS FanZone as well as be integrated into pre-race festivities of the 50th running of the Daytona 500. Earnhardt’s 1998 victory capped off two decades of incredible success yet ultimate frustration at Daytona. He had earned 10 top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes, including four second-place showings, in the previous 19 attempts. Everything came together in his 20th attempt, however, during NASCAR’s 50th anniversary. The Intimidator took the checkered flag and then the congratulations of every crew member from every team that had lined up on pit road. The magnitude of the appreciation shown to Earnhardt by his competitors has not been seen since. Motorsports Authentics, through its Action Racing Collectables die-cast brand, will be offering a collectible version of the 10th anniversary edition #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Impala SS. Pre-orders are being taken on goracing.com, nascar.com and at Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers nationwide. “This is one of the most unique Earnhardt programs ever and we’re thrilled to be able to support both DEI and RCR in this one-of-a-kind event,” Dyer said. “Earnhardt supporters and NASCAR fans alike that aren’t able to get to Daytona to see this car can be part of history by buying their very own die-cast replica today, the one and only time Earnhardt’s Daytona 500-winning paint scheme will be emblazoned on a ‘new car.'”(Motorsports Authentics PR) see images of the scheme and car on the Dale Earnhardt Tribute page.(2-10-2008)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Bud Shootout 02-09-08:
    Total number of commercials: 65
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 37
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 12
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:20 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:07 PM
    Total minutes: 107
    Minutes of race broadcast: 80
    Minutes of commercials: 27
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(2-10-2008) Comment here.
  • Full year for McCumbee in 2008, some races in #45: Chad McCumbee is planning to run his third full season in the Craftsman Truck Series [#8 Chevy]. There is the possibility of driving in a Nationwide Series car for Petty Enterprises. There are plans for as many as five Sprint Cup races in Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge. And there is also a chance he could drive in additional Sprint Cup races in a third [#65 Chevy] for CNC/Haas Racing. It all starts this week at Daytona International Speedway. McCumbee will drive the #8 truck for MRD Motorsports in Friday night’s Chevy Silverado 250. Though he won a pair of races in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 2007 – the first wins for Petty Enterprises since 1999 – winning at the NASCAR level would add confidence. McCumbee said he has talked within the past 10 days with Petty Enterprises about a Nationwide Series ride. Although nothing has been solidified, McCumbee said the chances of driving in the former Busch Series could improve after the first quarter of the season. McCumbee’s time in the #45 Sprint Cup Series car is also undetermined. There are plans for McCumbee to take the wheel for five races while Kyle Petty works from the broadcast booth [TNT from Pocono in June thru Chicago in July]. McCumbee filled in twice for Petty in 2007, finishing 25th at Pocono Raceway on June 10 and 41st at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21. But Petty’s ability to keep the #45 car in the top 35 in points – he finished 35th last year – guaranteeing a spot in the field, could determine how many times McCumbee gets a chance.(Myrtle Beach Sun News)(2-10-2008) Comment here.
  • New Young Guns Named: #07-Clint Bowyer and #11-Denny Hamlin are the latest additions to the Gillette Young Guns program. The pair join #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman, #99-Carl Edwards and #9-Kasey Kahne as clean-shaven drivers in the campaign. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #26-Jamie McMurray are no longer participating in the program. The company is unveiling a new ad campaign featuring the drivers with WWE veteran John Cena attempting to teach the group to wrestle. Cena learned to drive a Sprint Cup car as part of a reality television show last summer. The Gillette program is entering its fifth season.(SceneDaily.comComment here.
  • Dario Franchitti To Be Profiled on HBO: In an HBO REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Mary Carillo profiles #40-Dario Franchitti, Monday Feb. 11 at 10:00pm/et on HBO. It will also re-air six times over the course of the next month.(NASCAR PR)(2-10-2008)
  • Little Named NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Director: NASCAR announced Chad Little has been named the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director. Little, a former NASCAR driver, has been an official with NASCAR since 2005, most recently as advisor to the NASCAR Mexico Series. “Modified racing is an integral part of NASCAR history,” Little said. “The series is strong and I am looking forward to helping it continue to grow. I had the chance to meet and get to know a lot of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials, competitors, promoters and fans last year. There is not a more passionate group than those involved with Modified racing, and that translates into some of the best racing in NASCAR.” Former tour director Ed Cox will handle special projects with the NASCAR competition division. At the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour banquet, series sponsor Whelen Engineering announced it was extending its entitlement sponsorship through 2016.(NASCAR PR)(2-10-2008)
  • ‘NASCAR: 60 Years’ Exhibit to open Feb 15th: NASCAR and the Petersen Automotive Museum have announced that in celebration of 60 years of NASCAR racing, they will unveil a retrospective on the history of the fabled sport. On Friday, Feb. 15, the Petersen Automotive Museum will open its doors to a new “NASCAR: 60 Years” exhibit, featuring a unique collection of race cars spanning NASCAR’s history. The museum will also host a Daytona 500 viewing party on Sunday, Feb. 17, complete with a block-party style Fan Fest, featuring NASCAR racing simulators, food & beverage stations, a jumbo television screen, music, the NASCAR Street Tour, interactive displays and more. The eastbound lanes of Wilshire Blvd in front of the museum (between S. Fairfax Ave and S. Orange Grove Ave.) will be closed to host the event. Starting on Feb. 15, the museum will showcase unique race cars that all have a place in NASCAR history. Among the collection are:
    • 1940 Mercury driven by Sam Packard
    • 1964 Mercury Marauder driven by Darel Dieranger
    • 1972 Ford Torino driven by Bobby Unser
    • 1974 Dodge Charger driven by Richard Petty
    • 1989 Pontiac driven by Rusty Wallace
    • 2002 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Also on display will be this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy, as well as a series championship trophy from 2003. The vehicles and trophies will be on display until Aug. 31. NASCAR and the Petersen Automotive Museum will also host a screening of “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” on Wednesday, Feb. 20, featuring a “meet and greet” with the 2008 Daytona 500 winner. Tickets to the showing are free and will be given away at the Fan Fest and fans can also enter to win tickets on myfoxla.com through Feb. 15. More info at petersen.org.(2-10-2008)
  • Reutimann holds off on his own race team: David Reutimann doesn’t aspire to team ownership. Not even if it’s for cousin, Wayne Jr. Not even in the ARCA series, where expenses can still quickly overrun the budget of a second-year Sprint Cup driver. Reutimann had planned to field a car for his cousin, a successful Silver Crown driver, for Daytona’s ARCA race before withdrawing to focus on later dates. “We knew we only had a certain amount of races to make an impact on the ARCA side,” Reutimann said, “and knew I wasn’t going to be able to come down here and do that the way were going to do it.”(St Petersburg Times)(2-10-2008)

    News from February 9, 2008

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins Bud Shootout: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2008 Budweiser Shootout in his first race with Hendrick Motorsports, dominating the race and leading 47 of 70 laps to win the race for pole sitters. #20-Stewart followed in 2nd and led 9 laps [2nd most], with #48-Johnson third in a backup car, 4th was #24-Gordon and fifth was #41-Sorenson. Earnhardt Jr. also won the 20 lap first segment. There were 17 lead changes with 8 different leaders and 4 cautions for 15 laps. See my 2008 Budweiser Shootout page, for results, lineup, news, streask, all time pole leaders, 2007 pole sitters and more.(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Andretti, McClure added, Shelmedine not to attempt Daytona 500: As expected, #34-John Andretti and #37-Eric McClure were added to the Daytona 500 entry list, driving Chevy’s for Front Row Motorsports. Heard that Kirk Shelmerdine will not enter the #33 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing in the Daytona 500. Shelmerdine had tested the car at Daytona and supposedly had sponsorship. See the full entry list on my Daytona 500 Entry List page.(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • K&N Engineering to sponsor the #28 in the Daytona 500: Yates Racing announced that K&N Engineering, Inc., the world’s leader in performance filter technology, will sponsor the No. 28 entry with driver Travis Kvapil for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on February 17th. Kvapil and K&N Engineering, Inc. have shared sponsorship in the past when K&N served as the primary sponsor of Kvapil’s #6 Ford in the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series. K&N Engineering, Inc. is headquartered in Riverside, California and has been serving the need of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial, and military markets since 1969. For more information about K&N Filters, view www.knfilters.com.(Yates Racing PR)(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Franchitti gets sponsor for Daytona UPDATE: The new Dodge vehicle – Dodge Journey – a SUV, station wagon “crossover” will be the primary sponsor for #40-Dario Franchitti in the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The deal is only for Daytona. After that Franchitti’s #40 Dodge Charger’s paint scheme may change from week-to-week as no set company has forked over the necessary money for the entire season. Is this reason for Franchitti to be alarmed? Not really. Owner Chip Ganassi has said he will run three cars all season.(Tennessean)(2-8-2008)
    UPDATE: Dodge announced that Dario Franchitti’s #40 Dodge Charger will carry an “All-New Dodge Journey” paint scheme for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17. The all-new 2009 Dodge Journey is the mid-size crossover that offers customers an alternative to the traditional car, minivan or SUV. With a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,985, it falls between the compact Dodge Caliber and the Dodge Grand Caravan. The new 2009 Dodge Journey launches later this spring. The partnership has Franchitti’s Charger carrying the “All-New Dodge Journey” paint scheme throughout the 10 days of Speedweeks activities leading up to the season-opening Daytona 500. The 2009 Dodge Journey will be available in three models: Dodge Journey SE equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder World Engine and Dodge Journey SXT and R/T models equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transaxle with Auto Stick. Journey SXT and R/T models also are available with a state-of-the-art all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Also in 2008, Dodge will introduce its modern muscle car the all-new Dodge Challenger [headed to Nationawide Series in 2009?].(Dodge PR)(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Craven not retired, would take part-time ride: Ricky Craven hasn’t officially retired because he will still jump into a limited, part-time ride if the fit is right. And Craven still feels he can race competitively in any series, even though he has raced only once in any of the three major NASCAR divisions since 2005. But Craven maintains, as he has for the past two years, he is “no longer willing to give up all the other things it takes to be a [full-time] race car driver. The commitment requires being away from your family the majority of the year.” So he keeps himself busy making up for lost time with wife K.K. and their three children (daughters Riley and Lydia and son Everett). And to help pay the bills, he writes a column on Yahoo.com, will do eight radio spots on Sirius Satellite radio, and he has launched a new career as a public speaker. The speaking career will take him to Afghanistan in the near future.(Bangor Daily News)(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Robby loses a nose: during the first practice session for the Budweiser Shootout at the Daytona International Speedway, Dr, Dick Berggren reported that only one part had been confiscated from any car/team, a change in the way it used to be at Daytona when many parts would not make it thru ‘the room of doom’ [NASCAR Inspection garage], the one piece, a Dodge nose from the #7 Dodge of Robby Gordon, who just last week switched from Ford to Dodge. There could be a fine announced sometime in the near future.(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • New spotter for Bowyer: Mike Dillon had spotted for #07-Clint Bowyer but as vice president of competition at RCR, he said he needed to focus on the entire team and he has been replaced by former driver Jimmy Kitchens. “My job is to be as available to all three teams as I can be, and it kind of got one-sided a little bit – I didn’t feel like that but the perception was that,” Dillon said Friday at Daytona International Speedway. “I’m good with it.” The team hired Kitchens away from Gillett Evernham Motorsports [was spotter for #10 car], and Kitchens began spotting for Bowyer at the Las Vegas and California tests. Kitchens worked with Bowyer in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series last year for a couple of races. Kitchens raced against Dillon in the Busch Series and had 47 career starts from 1994-2005. “Clint and I talked a lot, and so that was the thing that [the new spotter] was going to have to do,” Dillon said. “He wants to hear a lot. Jimmy understands the racing, and he’s been in the car, so he understands the tension and the pressure these guys are under.” Kitchens will also work on the Bowyer car as a mechanic.(SceneDaily.com)(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Changes in store for the “COT”? Drivers are still talking about how the new car [COT…now Car of Tomorrow or just NASCAR Racecar] won’t turn like the old car and crew chiefs are doing everything they can to make it turn. Since last fall, teams have been spending a lot of man-hours working on fine-tuning the front end geometry of the new car in an effort to produce more mechanical grip and help the cars to turn in the corners. The problem is more apparent at the faster, flatter tracks like California, where feedback from drivers after the recent test there was less than positive. However, according to some of the smarter voices in the garage, the real answer to the problem would be very simple. By extending the length of the front splitter from the current six inches out to eight it would create the necessary downforce on the front end to help turn the car. Of course, the splitter would also have to be raised about an inch so that it could maintain its current travel. Yahoo’s Bob Margolis also heard that such a change could be in place by the time the Cup series arrives in Atlanta [March 7-9].(Yahoo Sports)(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Scott Speed Taking Baby Steps Toward a Career in Stock Cars: Instead of racing in places like Monaco or hobnobbing with the European elite, Speed will now be checking out the sites in such exotic locales as DuQuoin, Illinois or Berlin, Michigan. Speed will spend this season competing full-time in the ARCA Series. Speed said he’s prepared to give himself 2-3 years to figure out if stock car racing is something he can be successful with. If it doesn’t work out he said he’d likely go back to open wheel racing.(Hartford Courant)(2-9-2008) Comment here.
  • Pinnacle Foods Joins RCR to as Assoc Sponsors for Cup Teams: Pinnacle Foods, a leading producer, marketer and distributor of high-quality branded food products has joined Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) family of partners in a multi-year sponsorship agreement for all three of the 11-time championship winning racing organization’s Cup Series teams. Pinnacle Foods will showcase its Hungry-Man meals, Armour canned meat and Vlasic pickles, peppers and relish brands on, the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy (driver Clint Bowyer), the #31 AT&T Chevy (driver Jeff Burton) and the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy (driver Kevin Harvick), respectively.(RCR PR)(2-9-2008)

    News from February 8, 2008

  • Sad News – Gerald Kulwicki: Gerald Kulwicki, the father of 1992 NASCAR Cup champion Alan Kuwlicki, passed away Saturday night in Charlotte. He was 78. Mr. Kulwicki lived part of the year in Charlotte in a home originally owned by his late son, while also residing in his native Wisconsin. Alan Kulwicki moved to North Carolina and started his own race team to compete at NASCAR’s highest level. He won rookie of the year honors in 1986 despite basically owning one car and two motors. Alan later turned down a chance to drive for car owner Junior Johnson to keep running his own team, and in 1992 he wound up edging Johnson’s team, with Bill Elliott driving, by 10 points to win the championship. Alan, who had five career Cup victories, was killed in 1993 when an airplane he was aboard crashed while trying to land at Tri-Cities Airport in Tennessee as Kulwicki was traveling to a race in Bristol. Funeral arrangements for Gerald Kulwicki were still pending as of late Saturday.(Charlotte Observer)(2-9-2008)
    MORE: Mr. Kulwicki, age 78, of Charlotte and Milwaukee, WI passed away Friday, February 8, 2008 at home. Funeral service will be held in Milwaukee later next week. Bruskiewitz Funeral home is assisting the family. Survivors his wife, Mrs. Thelma Buchanan Kulwicki. He was preceded in death by two sons, Alan Kulwicki and Kenny Kulwicki. Local arrangements are being handled by Wilkinson Funeral Home of Concord.(Charlotte Observersign GuestbookComment here.
  • Valvoline to sponsor #10 GEM Dodge in 2008: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that the familiar red, white and blue colors of Valvoline will sponsor Patrick Carpentier’s #10 Dodge in selected races for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Valvoline will serve as the primary sponsor at some of NASCAR’s biggest races including the 50th running of the Daytona 500, Las Vegas, Texas in April, plus the California and Bristol races in August. Valvoline has served as a co-primary sponsor on the #10 Dodge at Gillett Evernham Motorsports since 2005 as well as an associate sponsor on the #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne and the #19 Dodge of Elliott Sadler since 2001. “This is another chapter in Valvoline’s rich racing history,” said Robert Stravitz, vice-president of marketing for Valvoline, “We have a long relationship with Ray Evernham and this race team. We think Patrick can take Valvoline as well as the sport of NASCAR to new markets. We plan to continue to make our NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing effort serve the needs of our family of brands which include: Valvoline, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, Eagle One, Car Brite and Zerex.” Gillett Evernham Motorsports purchased Valvoline’s half of Valvoline Evernham Racing last month ending seven years of Sprint cup ownership by Valvoline. Company officials said there are no plans to pursue ownership in the sport with any other partners. Gillett Evernham co-owner George Gillett Jr. said the team is pursuing additional primary sponsors for the #10 Dodge’s remaining races in 2008.(GEM PR)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Earnhardt Jr. skeptical about drivers showing more personality: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t convinced that NASCAR really wants Sprint Cup drivers to loosen up and show their personalities more. “I don’t believe them,” NASCAR’s most popular driver said during media day on Thursday. “I don’t think anybody does. What does that mean? Are we supposed to walk the line and see where we step over it and where are we going to get fined when we go too far? What are they saying?” NASCAR chairman Brian France said last month that the governing body wants to get back to the days when drivers were able to be themselves without the fear of a big fine. It was part of his back-to-the-basics mandate, an attempt to win back the traditional fan that he believes may have been lost with all the changes the sport has undergone since 2004. “NASCAR is focused on the best side-by-side racing in the world,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. But again, Earnhardt isn’t convinced. “I think honestly they’re playing to you guys, not talking to the drivers,” he said to a crowd of reporters in a tent outside of Daytona International Speedway. “Basically, they’re trying to appear to be looser.”(ESPN.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Villeneuve close to a sponsor? Hires Barry Green: #27-Jacques Villeneuve has moved to NASCAR, where he’s signed on with a fledgling team that’s very short on sponsorship. If this venture fails – and it soon might if he doesn’t find a sponsor for his Bill Davis Racing team – there’s nowhere else for the 36-year-old driver to go. If he’s worried, Villeneuve isn’t letting on. “It can’t fall apart. I won’t let it,” he said Thursday at media day for the Daytona 500. “Of course you are not in 100% control of what happens all the time, so if it does fall apart, I will just persevere.” It begins this weekend for Villeneuve, who will attempt to qualify his unsponsored car for the Daytona 500. If he’s not among the fastest two in Sunday’s time trials, he’ll have to race his way into the field next week. He’s confident about his chances, even though he has a shell of a team working on his Toyota Camry. The financial limitations have him lagging behind the super teams, and even though his years of open-wheel success made him a very rich man, he’s not prepared to finance this venture himself because he spent so much to get the operation off the ground late last year, and money is a little tight. But Villeneuve claims he has a sponsor on the edge of commitment, a company just needing one final push to sign on the dotted line. This weekend could seal it, ensuring him a fully funded car for the entire 36-race schedule. Having to deal with all the details has stressed Villeneuve a bit, so he last week called Barry Green, who fielded his cars for him in CART, and asked him to handle his business affairs. “The only thing I want to be doing is drive the race car,” he said. “When you try to do more than one job at a time, you won’t do it as good as you should because your mind is not as rested the way it should be. It’s not a positive thing. If I am driving, then I just want to concentrate on that.”(in part from Sports Illustrated/AP)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • To The Back [6]: #2-Busch [backup/penalty]; #20-Stewart [engine change/penalty]; #24-Gordon [backup]; #48-Johnson [backup]; #21-Elliott [backup]; #12-Newman [backup].(2-8-2008)
  • #2-Kurt Busch drew the pole for the Budweiser Shootout driving the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, starting in the final spot [23rd] is #12-Ryan Newman, see the starting lineup on the 2008 Budweiser Shootout page.(2-7-2008)
  • Sorenson Fastest in Bud Shootout Happy Hour Practice: The Happy Hour (and final) practice for the Bud Shootout is over and didn’t suffer for a lack of excitement. #41-Sorenson was the fastest with a speed of 191.873mph, followed by #48-Johnson, #5-Mears, #9-Kahne, and #21-Elliott. A big wreck took place just minutes into the session when #07-Bowyer and #12-Newman made contact at the end of the backstretch. #12-Newman, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #38-Gilliland, and #21-Elliott suffered the greatest amount of damage. Newman, Johnson, Gordon, & Elliott will all go to backup cars. #99-Edwards and #8-Martin spun after making contact but only suffered minor damage. A second incident happened midway through the session when #20-Stewart squeezed up beside #2-Busch on the backstretch. Busch caught the front of Stewart’s car and was knocked up into the wall. Stewart came down the track and made minor contact with teammate #11-Hamlin. Busch then bumped Stewart’s car as they were both headed back to pit road. Busch and Stewart were both called to the NASCAR trailer after the incident and will have to go back again Saturday morning. Busch will go to a backup car as well. See speeds on my 2008 Bud Shootout Page.(2-8-2008)
  • Stewart fastest in first Bud Shootout practice: 23 cars went out to run the first Bud Shootout practice on Friday with #20-Stewart the fastest at 191.290mph, followed by #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #22-Blaney and #38-Gilliland. #96-Yeley lost a tire but slowed on the track and did no damage. Slowest was #49-Schrader and #2-Busch. See speeds on my 2008 Bud Shootout Page.(2-8-2008)
  • AutoRacing rated #4 per survey: Each of the major sports has had some image problems recently, but their popularity all remains relatively unchanged since last year. Three in ten Americans who follow one or more sport (30%) say that professional football is their favorite sport, almost unchanged from last year when 29% said it was their favorite. Coming in at second is baseball, as 15% say that is their favorite sport, again almost unchanged from last year when it was 14%. Not far behind baseball is college football (12%) and auto racing (10%). All other sports are in single digits. These are the results of a nationwide Harris Interactive survey conducted online between January 15 and 22, 2008 among 2,302 U.S. adults, of whom 1,562 follow one or more sport. Since Harris Interactive began asking this question in 1985, professional football has always been on top and its popularity is now six points higher (from 24% to 30%). Compared to 1985’s results, baseball has dropped eight%age points (from 23% to 15%), and men’s tennis has dropped four%age points (from 5% to 1%). Professional football isn’t the only sport to gain in popularity. Auto racing has also increased its popularity by five%age points (from 5% to 10%) as has hockey (up 3%age points from 2% to 5%).(businesswire.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Kyle Busch to run at Iowa: Iowa Speedway announced that #18-Kyle Busch will compete in the July 20 ASA Midwest Tour Super Late Model race. “I enjoy going back to my roots to help promote Late Model events,” Busch said in the release. “It gives me a chance to give something back to racing fans. The ASA super late model race in Iowa will likely be very competitive and, of course, I’d like to win it.”(Des Moines Register)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • The Mob and the Staten Island racetrack: Authorities carried out one of the largest Mafia takedowns in recent memory today when they charged dozens of reputed members of the Gambino crime family with gangland crimes spanning three decades, — including an extortion plot at the failed NASCAR track proposed for the Bloomfield section of Staten Island [NY]. A federal indictment in Brooklyn named 62 defendants, including the three highest-ranking members of the Gambino family along with the brother and nephew of the late Gotti. Authorities said a separate state investigation had resulted in charges against 26 others. Many of the charges relate to the activities of a Staten Island cement business, whose owner was identified in the indictment only as “John Doe No. 4.” Prosecutors allege that mob figures extorted the owner for money and jobs, and interfered with several of his business ventures, including the proposed NASCAR track on Staten Island. In 2006, the cement business was forced to pay extortion to reputed mobsters to prepare the race track site for construction, court papers said. The project abandoned before the track could be built. As part of the scheme, mobsters allegedly forced John Doe No. 4 to give $9,000 to two workers affiliated with International Speedway Corp., builder of the race track. A company spokesman said today that the men have since quit their jobs, and that the indictment “is not directed at ISC, any of its subsidiaries, or any of its current employees.”(Staten Island Advance)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Kurt Busch under the weather: Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Pat Tryson got the word that his blue #2 Miller Lite Dodge Team would start on the pole for Saturday night’s Bud Shootout almost immediately after driver Kurt Busch drew the top starting spot just after 7:00 p.m. tonight here at Daytona International Speedway. The last time Tryson had talked to or had seen his driver was some eight hours earlier. At 11:30am/et Thursday morning, Tryson could be found consoling his driver as Busch lay on the hospital gurney in the infield medical center, being administered intravenous fluids. “He’s a skinny little dude, but he’s as tough as nails,” Tryson said of Busch late Thursday night. “I told him this morning that his health is the number one priority and after seeing him laying there earlier today, I can’t believe he’s done all they tell me he has since then.” Busch had been bedridden with the flu at his Mooresville, N.C., home since Monday night. He mustered enough energy to make it down to Daytona Beach this morning, only to be ushered straight to the infield medical center and put under the resident physician’s care. Although an hour late, Busch was suited up and completed the afternoon’s hectic “NASCAR Media Day” schedule before taking a break prior to the qualifying draw for Saturday night’s special event for last year’s pole winners. The 2004 NASCAR champ was admittedly weak, but incredibly joyous with the outcome of the draw. While Busch is certain to start from the inside of the front row here on Saturday night, his status for practice on Friday is yet to be determined. “Just like I told Kurt this morning, he doesn’t have to be in the car for early practice if he doesn’t feel up to it,” Tryson said. “We’ll play it by ear and hopefully he gets a great night’s rest and is ready to go tomorrow (Friday). He’s had a tough day here today and has already shown what a champion competitor that he is.”(Tom Roberts PR)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Kenny Wallace gets sponsor and car#: Shark Energy Racing will be making a big splash in the Nationwide Series this season as it has joined forces with Kenny Wallace- driver and popular TV personality – and Fitz Motorsports. Shark Energy will be the primary sponsor on the #36 Dodge driven by Wallace. As one of the most popular energy drinks in the world, Shark has recently made its formal debut into the United States after forty years of prevalence in over 70 countries.(Fitz Motorsports PR)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Fox Sells Out Daytona 500: Fox has sold out its Sunday, Feb. 17 telecast of the NASCAR Daytona 500, with 30-second spots selling for $550,000 each, up from $475,000 last year, sources said. The network has also sold about 90% of its ad inventory for its NASCAR race telecasts through the end of March. Overall, for its 17 race windows into June, Fox has sold close to 85% of its ad inventory, which is more than 20% ahead of last year. Ad inventory for the regular NASCAR race telecasts is selling for about $200,000 per 30-second commercial, up from $175,000 last season, a 14% increase per unit. NASCAR sales have been buoyed by strong advertiser interest in several categories, including prescription and over-the-counter drug companies, fast food, wireless, financial services and retail. Sources said Fox sold out the Daytona 500 prior to the Super Bowl, which is the earliest the network has accomplished that.(Adweek.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Open wheel war to end? SPEED has learned that Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, the co-owners of Champ Car, have reached an agreement with IRL founder Tony George to race together this season. As reported by SPEEDtv.com recently, George offered the Champ Car ownership free Dallara chassis and Honda engines to any CC team that signs up for the full season in addition to receiving $1.2 million per car as part of the IRL’s new TEAM program. Additionally, the Champ Car races at Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfer’s Paradise, Australia would be added to the ’08 IndyCar Series schedule.(more at SPEEDtv.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    News from February 7, 2008

  • Change not near in Sprint Cup age limit: NASCAR president Mike Helton said an age requirement change for the Sprint Cup Series is not imminent, but NASCAR officials still are considering 21 as the age rule for future entry into the series. “If we do this, we will give plenty of advance notice,” Helton said Thursday. “And we would have an adjustment period before it was implemented.” Some people have assumed the idea of making the change was directed at teenage racing phenom Joey Logano, who will compete in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series when he turns 18 in May. Logano is considered a rising star who could compete in Cup next season when he’s still 18. “This is not the Joey Logano rule,” Helton said. “In fact, whatever we do probably wouldn’t affect him.” Helton didn’t get specific, but it’s possible some drivers under 21 would get grandfathered in if the change happens. It’s also possible the change would not go into effect until after Logano turns 21. Sprint Cup does not have any drivers until 21 this season. But several current drivers were racing in the series before they turned 21, including Kyle Busch, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers and Kyle Petty.(ESPN.com)(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Premieres Friday on ESPN2: The new television series Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, chronicling the move of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series, premieres Friday, Feb. 8, at 7pm on ESPN2. The five-part series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with the five-time. Most Popular Driver award recipient leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his late father. Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears is produced by Earnhardt Jr.’s Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of JR Motorsports, in cooperation with Hendrick Motorsports and is presented by the National Guard. Three of the five episodes of Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears air on ESPN2 in the nine days prior to the Daytona 500, including following ESPN2’s live coverage of Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 15, and the Nationwide Series Camping World 300 at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 16. The final two episodes air on ESPN in prime time the week of the July 27 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, ESPN’s first live Sprint Cup event of the season.(ESPN PR).
    Click here to view clips of Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears.(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • Hylton will not attempt the Daytona 500: The preliminary entry list for the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 includes 52 cars, but does not include James Hylton. The 73-year-old has decided not to compete in the season-opening Sprint Cup event after previously announcing his plans to attempt to run the race. He says that team owner John Carter had planned to have him a car for the race, but it didn’t work out. Hylton planned to run as a teammate to #08-Carl Long under the E&M Motorsports banner, using Long’s backup car in the Daytona 500. “They were building a new [car of tomorrow] car,” he said Thursday during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. “I came down here and tested with Carl Long early on. Then they were building a backup car, and the plan was bring the backup car, and if he didn’t need it, I was going to enter it and run in it.” Hylton said that Carter has told him he will definitely have a car to enter in the July race at Daytona International Speedway and that he could run in some other Cup events as well. Hylton is entered in the Daytona ARCA race but must qualify for that race. He says his performance in that event could lead to more Cup racing down the road.(SceneDaily.com)(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • LVMS – Dale Jr announcement: What would a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship by Dale Earnhardt Jr. mean to race fans? Answer: For 8,888 fans who participate in a unique promotion offered by Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it would mean free tickets to the spring 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at LVMS. In one of the most extraordinary promotions in sports history, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is offering free tickets to thousands of race fans should Dale Earnhardt Jr. power his #88 Chevrolet to the 2008 Sprint Cup title. The promotion, known as Dale Jr.’s South Point Jackpot, is sponsored by the South Point Hotel of Las Vegas. Fans can renew their weekend race tickets for 2009 – and be included in the promotion – Wednesday, Feb. 13 through Sunday, Feb. 17. Ticket office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entries for the promotion will end at the scheduled start of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. The only way to participate in Dale Jr.’s South Point Jackpot is to call the LVMS Ticket Services department at 1-800-644-4444 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 13-16 and 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 17. (All times PST.) Tickets for the 2008 NASCAR Weekend, as well as credentials for the fan-interactive Neon Garage, are still available. Race fans can call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com.(LVMS PR), see full PR on the #88 Team news and links page.(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • Johnson’s Skins Golf Tournament raises over $400k: Multi-platinum recording artist Nick Lachey and two-time reigning Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson teed-off in their first annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic at the SunRidge Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona on February 2nd. Proceeds from the event totaling over $400,000 will benefit multiple charities including the Nick Lachey Foundation and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, which support various organizations that help those in need. The Annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic will continue on to Tampa in 2009 and Miami in 2010. Lachey and Johnson each pledged $125,000 to the Super Skins purse, which brings the amount pledged to charity to over $400,000.(GMR Marketing)(2-8-2008) Comment here.
  • Gilliland lands seven race sponsor:Yates Racing announced that Experian Consumer Direct, the leading provider of online direct-to-consumer credit reports, scores, and monitoring products, will sponsor the #38 entry for seven races at the beginning of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Yates Racing driver, David Gilliland, will pilot the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion which will feature the company’s website, www.FreeCreditReport.com. Gilliland has a history with Experian Consumer Direct as a sponsor, racing 19 times in the FreeCreditReport.com Ford during the 2007 Busch Series season. The season opener for Yates Racing and Gilliland will be the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 9, 2008. Gilliland qualified for the race after he captured the pole in his very first trip to Daytona for the 2007 Daytona 500. Experian Consumer Direct and the FreeCreditReport.com sponsorship will begin with the 2008 Budweiser Shootout and continue with the first six races of the Sprint Cup Series through the March 30th race at Martinsville Speedway.(Yates Racing PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • NHRA for sale – Bruton interested? NASCAR interested? NHRA drivers and crews will spend part of the season wondering who is going to buy the series. HD Partners Acquisition Group was set to purchase the NHRA and its assets for $121 million, but the company’s board voted down the deal last week, citing the uncertain economic climate. No one is sure when or if the series will be sold this season. Bruton Smith, head of Speedway Motorsports Inc. (which owns Texas Motor Speedway), had expressed an interest in buying the series. He is building a drag strip at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. “We’ll wait, and sometime down the road we’ll probably take a look at it,” Smith said this week. “I see that the sport is growing. We’ll see.”(Dallas Morning News), and also heard NASCAR could be interested in the series and is looking in to it.(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • 7-Eleven Slurpee to Sponsor Boris Said at Daytona: When it comes to qualifying for the Daytona 500, Boris Said hopes the odds will be with him after experiencing an unusual amount of bad luck in his last three Sprint Cup weekends. Said will attempt to start his third Daytona 500, driving a newly-sponsored #60 7-Eleven Slurpee Ford Fusion. But before the green flag drops for NASCAR’s most prestigious race, Said, a part-time racer, will have to exorcise a couple of demons to break his recent qualifying jinx. During the Daytona summer race in July, Said appeared to have the pole locked up for the Pepsi 400. But with only 12 drivers remaining to qualify, a thunderstorm swept through the area, forcing NASCAR officials to cancel qualifying and set the starting field by owner points. Instead of earning the No. 1 starting position, which would have also earned him an invitation to Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 9), Said packed his belongings and headed home to Southern California. “You talk about being deflated — I was definitely in the dumps — we went from hero to zero in a short time,” recalled Said. “It was like we got pick-pocketed and couldn’t do a thing about it. Not being in the Bud Shootout was the biggest loss.” Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better for Said. At his next Cup event at the Watkins Glen road course in August, Said, one of the foremost road racers in the world, would have easily qualified. But rain arrived at the wrong time again and qualifying was canceled with owner points setting the starting field. Though Said was later offered and accepted to drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford in the Watkins Glen race, his #60 No Fear team took another heart-wrenching exit from the track. Then at Talladega Superspeedway, he qualified 10th overall. But a 10th place effort on that day was not good enough to make the 43-car show. The first nine qualifiers were also drivers who needed to qualify on time. Under NASCAR rules, only eight teams outside the top 35 in points earn a starting berth. Except for last summer’s debacle at Daytona, Said and crew chief Frank Stoddard have enjoyed success at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval. Said won the Cup pole in the 2006 summer race and was fourth fastest the summer before. In last year’s Pole Day for the 500, Said posted the fastest time among teams not automatically qualified. He also qualified on Pole Day in his first attempt at the 500 in 2005, claiming the 11th fastest speed overall.(DMF Communications PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • Mayfield gets a sponsor for the Daytona 500: Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon will be the primary sponsor on the #70 Chevy driven by Jeremy Mayfield in the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The Piedmont Distillers brand is named for company co-owner and 1960 Daytona 500 champion Junior Johnson, who will drive the pace car and lead the field prior to the start of the Daytona 500. “We are thrilled to partner with Haas CNC Racing for the 50th Daytona 500,” Piedmont Distillers president Joe Michalek said. “This team has demonstrated its ability to succeed on the track by placing both its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries in the top 35 of last year’s owner’s points. In addition, Jeremy Mayfield is a proven driver with three top-five finishes among six top 10s at Daytona International Speedway.”
    “Being able to hook up with a legend like Junior Johnson and Midnight Moon for the 50th Daytona 500 is an honor,” Mayfield said. “I know Scott (Riggs) and I both admire what Junior has done for this sport, and I hope to give Midnight Moon a great run during Speedweeks.” Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon has been a tremendous success since its launch in May of 2007. The Carolina Moonshine brand is currently distributed in 12 states and will launch in Florida during Speedweeks. The Piedmont Distillers is the only legal spirits distillery in North Carolina. It produces two moonshines, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon and Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine. Both brands are hand-crafted in small batches and then tripled distilled in a copper column still to deliver the smoothest, most premium moonshine available. For more information on Piedmont Distillers, please visit www.piedmontdistillers.com.(3-G Sports PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • McClure to Honor Laura Chichester During Speedweeks: Eric McClure, will run a special decal on the C-post of his #24 HeftyR brand Chevrolet (Nationwide Series) and his #37 HeftyR brand Impala SS (Sprint Cup Series) during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, honoring Laura Chichester of Cornelius, NC. Chichester, who has been part of the NASCAR family since graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2001 with a degree in Sport and Entertainment Management, passed away on December 20, 2007 at the age of 28. Chichester, an account executive at GMR Marketing in Charlotte, North Carolina for AlltelR Racing, was close friends with Eric’s sister, Emily McClure, who coordinated the tribute with Front Row Motorsports and Chichester’s family.(Team McClure- Hefty Brand Racing PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.
  • NASCAR in 30 Seconds – about Commercials – tonight: As NASCAR drivers prepare to race the high banks of Daytona International Speedway and also to launch their new sponsor commercials, SPEED will air NASCAR in 30 Seconds, a special program celebrating the sport’s most memorable TV ads and looking ahead to the drivers’ new 2008 campaigns. The one-hour special premieres on Feb. 7 at 9pm/et, and will be re-broadcast several times during Speedweeks leading into the Daytona 500. NASCAR in 30 Seconds, hosted by Rutledge Wood, will revisit classic NASCAR TV ads of yesteryear, show previously unseen bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage from ad shoots, and preview several NASCAR and sponsor spots that will air on the Fox telecast of the 2008 Daytona 500 NASCAR in 30 Seconds is produced by NASCAR Media Group. The show culminates with an in-depth behind-the-scenes peak at the making of Tony Stewart’s new commercial for Toyota, which is the presenting sponsor of the program.(SPEED)(2-7-2008)
  • Live Coverage of NASCAR Media Day TODAY on ESPNEWS: ESPNEWS will surround NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway with a special three-hour live program featuring exclusive interviews with some of NASCAR’s top drivers as well as analysis. The program airs Thursday, Feb. 7, at 12:00noon/et. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #99-Carl Edwards are among the drivers scheduled to be interviewed from Daytona on the program, along with others such as #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #20-Tony Stewart, #31-Jeff Burton, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #40-Dario Franchitti and more. NASCAR on ESPN pit reporter Mike Massaro and NASCAR Now host Ryan Burr will anchor the program from ESPN’s studios, while 1989 NASCAR Cup champion and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace and NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske will be in Daytona.(ESPN PR)(2-6-2008)

    News from February 6, 2008

  • Congrats: to #18 JGR tire carrier Kenny Barber and wife Tara Barber welcomed son James Reese, who was born on Tuesday, Feb 5th at 8:19am/et, 7 pounds 6 oz and 19 inches long at Lake Norman Regional Hospital in Mooresville, NC.(2-6-2008)
  • #41 in black at the Shootout: The #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson will feature an all black paint scheme for the Budweiser Shootout. The car will return to its regular scheme for the Daytona 500.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2008) Comment here
  • Miller challenges Bud for 2008, money to charity: The Palms Casino Resort unveiled today a new head-to-head betting line that establishes the #2 Miller Lite Sprint Cup team as a clear favorite over the rival Bud car for the 2008 season. Wasting no time in underscoring its confidence in Kurt Busch and the entire Miller Lite Racing team, Miller Brewing Company announced immediately that it is wagering $25,000 on the Blue Deuce to again finish ahead of the Bud car [#9-Kasey Kahne] this year, with the winnings pegged for the Kurt Busch Foundation. The Palms’ official line has the Miller Lite car favored to finish 8½ spots ahead of the Bud car in the final Sprint Cup season standings. Additionally, Miller is wagering $2,500 on the #2 car to finish ahead of the #9 at the Feb. 17 season-opening race in Daytona Beach. At The Palms Casino Resort, the Blue Deuce is favored to finish 6½ spots ahead of the #9 Bud car in the Daytona race. The Palms will be setting similar lines between the two cars for each race. In addition to making a wager on its car for charity, Tom Long, Miller’s president and CEO, today sent a certified letter to his counterpart at Anheuser-Busch, August Busch IV, encouraging him to place a wager on his company’s new team and driver, donating any winnings to charity. This is the third consecutive year Miller Lite has engaged Budweiser in a friendly challenge in the days leading up to the start of the NASCAR season. Past challenges have included as a prize swapping paint schemes on their cars and the naming rights to each brewer’s hometown baseball stadium. Both years, Bud has declined Miller’s offer. In year one of the challenge, 2006, Bud would have emerged the winner, but Miller Lite would have been victorious in 2007. The Palms Casino Resort announced that not only was it issuing an official season-long betting line for the Miller Lite and Bud cars, but also a line for each individual race. Miller plans to wager on the Miller Lite Dodge in select individual races during the season, with winnings again going to the Kurt Busch Foundation. Should it lose the season-long wager, Miller will still make a $5,000 donation to the charity. For more information about this year’s Miller Lite NASCAR challenge, please visit www.MillerLiteRacing.com.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-6-2008) Comment here.
  • Diffferent scheme, car chief for Blaney: #22 Dave Blaney will start the year with a new paint scheme for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. The Caterpillar Dealers logo will adorn the #22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Camry. The “Cat Dealers” car for the Budweiser Shootout salutes the U.S. and Canadian dealers and their longtime support of the Cat Racing program. The names of all U.S. and Canadian Cat dealers will adorn the trunk lid of the #22 Toyota for the special event. Phil Moran has stepped into the position of car chief for the #22 Caterpillar Racing team. Moran, a native of Colchester, Conn., was previously the Cup shop foreman at BDR. Jeremy Milless has also joined the team and will serve in the engineer position. Milless comes to BDR from the open wheel ranks. The remainder of the team remains the same as last year [for those see my Pit Crew chart].(BDR PR), see an image of the car on my #22 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2008) Comment here
  • Hamilton Jr. buys in to Sadler Racing: Earl Sadler gave Bobby Hamilton Jr. his first opportunity to drive a Nationwide car in 1998. Ten years later Hamilton has joined Sadler’s racing team again — as a co-owner. Hamilton said he has purchased 50% of the team, which will now be Sadler Hamilton Racing. The team plans on running a limited schedule of Nationwide, ARCA and Camping World races. Hamilton became part owner on Jan. 7, 2008 — the one-year anniversary of his father Bobby Hamilton’s death. Earl Sadler is celebrating his 25th year of having a race team this season. In recent years, the team has been a hobby for him, running a partial schedule of races. Hamilton said he hopes to help build the team into a full-fledged program by next year — either in ARCA, Nationwide or Craftsman Truck. Willie Allen has been signed for the Feb. 16 Camping World 300 — the Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona. Allen also will compete in the Camping World 150 race at the Music City Motorplex on July 19 for Sadler Hamilton Racing. Allen will team up with crew chief Danny Gill at Daytona. Gill was a crew chief for two races with Allen last year at Thorsport Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. He also was the team’s competition director. Allen won the series’ rookie of the year in 2007. Hamilton said he plans to run in a limited number of ARCA and Camping World races this season. He also drives fulltime for Team Rensi Motorsports in the Nationwide Series.(Tennessean), Sadler Racing has run in 57 Cup races, the last in 1998.(2-6-2008) Comment here

  • Qtrax.com to sponsor the #49 for the Bud Shootout: BAM Racing team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau announced a new marketing partnership with Qtrax.com, an internet site that is poised to have over 25 million songs which anyone can download freely and legally. In development for over four years, Qtrax.com provides a safe alternative to internet music piracy. Qtrax.com will be the primary sponsor for BAM Racing’s #49 Dodge in the Budweiser Shootout. NASCAR veteran driver Ken Schrader will be behind the wheel of the BAM Racing Dodges starting at Daytona. The team intends to compete with the veteran Schrader for the entire 2008 season.(BAM Racing PR)(2-6-2008) Comment here

  • Ward has no ride in the works: in a Daytona 500 past champion chat, Ward Burton was asked if would run any races this season, he said “I don’t have any plans to at this moment but I don’t know what could happen – it really doesn’t look like any opportunity will happen now.”(Wardburton.com)(2-6-2008) Comment here

  • TSN to show all Cup races in 2008: TSN [Canada] announced its 2008 auto racing broadcast schedule – the network’s largest ever with a total of 121 races (up from 105 races in 2007) from five different series. TSN’s comprehensive schedule features full-season coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, the Canadian Tire Series, Formula One and Indy Racing League (IRL). TSN’s broadcast schedule features all 39 Sprint Cup races, all 35 Nationwide Series races and the entire 13-race NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. TSN will also have complete coverage of all 18 Formula One races and all 16 IRL races. TSN’s live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets underway on February 9 with the first race of the season – the Budweiser Shootout. See complete broadcast schedule at TSN.ca.(2-6-2008) Comment here
  • Dale Jr and adidas Unveil Three Stripe Race Suit at Daytona: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will debut his new three stripes on February 17 at Daytona 500. Working closely with the adidas Innovation Team, they have created a race suit featuring advanced ClimaCool technology. With extreme temperatures in the car, ClimaCool will lower Dale Jr.’s body temperature and combat fatigue, allowing him to be more alert and responsive in those final laps. Two days prior to the debut of the three stripes on the track, Dale Jr.’s exclusive adidas fan gear will go on sale at The Sports Authority available first in Daytona. Dale Jr.’s official adidas fan apparel line, which includes a variety of men and women’s clothing such as t-shirts, jackets, hats and jerseys, will be available at The Sports Authority in Daytona on February 15 in conjunction with Speed Week. The fan collection features the same adidas ClimaCool technology that allows Dale Jr. to stay cool on the track.(adidas / Hill & Knowlton PR)(2-6-2008) Comment here
  • Daytona 500..does testing matter? in January 2007, 64 drivers tested at Daytona International Speedway
    the top five finishers in the 2007 Daytona 500:
    #15-Menard finished
    #5-Busch 24th
    #66-Green 36th
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. 32nd
    #6-Ragan 5th, 5th
    The top five finish at the 2007 Daytona 500:
    #29-Harvick was 41st fastest in testing
    #01-Martin was 40th
    #31-Burton was 62nd
    #09-MWallace was 30th
    #6-Ragan was 5th
    The top five in testing for the 2008 Daytona 500(non drafting speeds):
    #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    The top five in testing for the 2008 Daytona 500(drafting speeds):
    (2-6-2008) Comment here

    News from February 5, 2008

  • DeWalt NANO Paint Scheme Returns for six races in 2008: The popular, predominantly black, DeWalt NANO Technology paint scheme will return to Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford for six races in 2008. All six are night races with the paint scheme debuting at Phoenix International Raceway on April 12th. After that, the month of May will nearly be a complete “black out,” with the paint scheme running three consecutive races, beginning at Richmond International Raceway on May 3rd, then Darlington Raceway on May 10th, and the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 17th. The next stop for the DeWalt NANO Technology scheme will be at one of Kenseth’s favorite tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway, for the August 23rd night race, where he’s won two of the last three night races. Then the final stop for the paint scheme will be back at Richmond International Raceway on September 6th, for the “regular season” finale, the cutoff for the Chase. “It’s a cool-looking car and I’m glad that we’ll be running it some in 2008,” Kenseth said. “I’ve always thought black racecars look really cool and I think the fans liked the scheme when it ran last year. I know the last time we ran the NANO scheme we had a pretty good day at Homestead, so maybe it can bring us the same kind of good luck this year.” NANO Technology is a proprietary technology from DEWALT that delivers to the user longer cycle life, lighter weight, greater performance, and an expanded system of tool offerings. These benefits encompass the DEWALT commitment to providing professional contractors with a breadth of tool offerings that deliver the performance they need in an ideal ergonomic package.(Roush Fenway Racing Site), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(2-5-2008) Comment here
  • Budweiser Shootout at Daytona starts season: Sprint Cup Series racing returns to the track this weekend as the series officially kicks off the 2008 season with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. A field of 23 drivers – 18 who won a Sprint Cup Series pole in 2007 and five past winners of the event – are poised to participate in the annual preseason, non-points race. A total of nine past winners of this event are in the 2008 field and all but four of the 23 participants have posted a points-race victory on NASCAR’s premier circuit. Beginning in 2003, the Budweiser Shootout was formatted into two segments. The first segment is 20 laps followed by a 10-minute intermission. During the intermission teams may change tires or perform any other action that would be part of a normal pit stop. The second segment is 50 laps and must end in a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will count toward the total in both segments so the second segment may extend beyond the scheduled 70-lap total. The starting positions for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout will be determined by a random draw. A total of 23 drivers are eligible for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout – which will be the record for the largest field in the history of the event (The previous high was 22 in 2002). There were 18 drivers who gained eligibility by winning a pole in 2007, while five others are eligible because they are past winners of the Budweiser Shootout (and finished in the top 50 in final series point standings). Four drivers will be competing in the event for the first time.(NASCAR PR), see who won poles and where, the entry list and the results of past Bud Shootouts on my 2008 Bud Shootout page.(2-5-2008) Comment here
  • Johnson visits Washington DC UPDATE: Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson will make a return visit Tuesday to Washington D.C., for a trip highlighted by a White House meeting with President George W. Bush. Johnson will join the President in the Oval Office for a meeting and photo, a yearly tradition for whoever wins the Sprint Cup Series championship. “As an American, it’s certainly an honor to visit the White House,” Johnson said. “I have been fortunate over the past few years to have met with President Bush and been a guest in the Oval Office – which was amazing considering the history that took place in that room. I know tomorrow’s visit will be another great experience.” After meeting with the President, Johnson will make a stop on Capitol Hill to meet with both the Senate and House side of the Capitol. First, Johnson will meet with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) and other Senate leadership, followed by a visit to the House. The day-long excursion ends with a visit with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The trip to our nation’s capitol has become a regular activity for Johnson, who last season became the first driver to win consecutive championships since 1998. This will be Johnson’s third visit to the White House. He previously went as part of the top 10 in 2003 and again in 2007 as a first-time champion.(NASCAR PR)(2-4-2008)
    Statement: President George W. Bush Talks About Meeting With Jimmie Johnson: “You know, one of the things I love about NASCAR is not only are these great athletes, but they’re socially minded folks. Chandra [Johnson] and Jimmie [Johnson] and I met several times — one time at a place where the folks of NASCAR are putting something back into the community to help the less fortunate. In this case it happened to be in a place called Victory Junction, in North Carolina, and it was a fabulous experience. And I want to thank you all very much for taking your fame and lending it to help somebody in need. It’s really what makes America a great place. You’re leaders on the track and leaders off the track.” — President George W. Bush.(NASCAR)(2-6-2008) Comment here

  • Fanview lawsuit settled: A federal lawsuit involving NASCAR and the technology used for the Fanview device has been settled, according to a statement by the companies involved. Immersion Entertainment had sued Kangaroo Media, NASCAR and Sprint Nextel in U.S. District Court in Texas last year alleging patent infringement. Immersion alleged that Fanview, developed by Kangaroo Media, used devices or systems covered by patents owned by Immersion. Fanview is a handheld device fans can purchase or rent at the track to watch television feeds, look up race statistics and listen to in-car radio of various teams. According to a Kangaroo Media news release, the settlement agreement covers Kangaroo and the other defendants. Additionally, Immersion granted Kangaroo rights in all issued patents and pending applications relating to Immersion’s intellectual property portfolio and technology. Kangraoo has paid Immersion $2 million and will pay royalties on sales beginning this year. Minimum royalties are $1 million for 2008 and 2009. At the end of 2010, Kangaroo will have the option to retain the exclusive worldwide rights to Immersion’s intellectual property portfolio, subject to minimum yearly royalty payments. The settlement documents are not yet available through the federal court system’s online records.(SceneDaily.com)(2-5-2008) Comment here

  • Special scheme for McMurray in the Shootout: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This special paint scheme promoting a new blend of Crown Royal will run in both the Shootout and the Daytona 500. McMurray on racing at Daytona International Speedway in the Shootout: “I’m really looking forward to the Shootout in Daytona for a lot of reasons. The last time we raced at Daytona; I won there, which gives the team a lot of confidence heading into the race. Also, I really think that all speedway races should be no more than 50 to 70 laps. The rest of the time the guys are just putting themselves into a position to really go for it at the end. We are showcasing a brand new paint scheme in Daytona. It’s the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion. The No. 16 isn’t the car number, but actually the beginning of the postal code from the famous cognac region of France. Cask No. 16 is a new blend from Crown Royal.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), have not seen an image of the scheme…yet.(2-5-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart to be honored UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart will receive a ring for winning last year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in a ceremony Monday at the Indiana Statehouse. Stewart, a native of nearby Columbus, will receive the champion’s ring from Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George during a ceremony on the floor of the Indiana House. He won the NASCAR race last July in a late duel with Kevin Harvick. It was Stewart’s second Brickyard victory in three years at the track he considers his home.(myfoxtoledo.com/AP)(2-2-2008)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart, one of Indiana’s most accomplished and popular sports figures in history, enjoyed the spotlight at the Indiana General Assembly and collected his second Allstate 400 at the Brickyard champion’s ring Feb. 4. Members of the Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana Senate honored Stewart in a joint resolution for his many accomplishments on track – including Allstate 400 at the Brickyard victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2005 and 2007, and two Sprint Cup Series championships, in 2002 and 2005 – and his numerous charitable acts off track. IMS Chief Executive Officer Tony George presented Stewart with his champion’s ring for his 2007 victory on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives in Indianapolis. “Getting the ring from the Brickyard, it was the highlight of the day, for sure,” Stewart said. Members of the Indiana House of Representatives gave Stewart a rousing ovation upon his introduction by State Representative Milo Smith of Columbus. “That was pretty cool,” Stewart said. “Politics is definitely not my angle normally, but to see everybody so excited to see us here today … There’s always something special when you come home and when you’re around people in a state you grew up in, and when the people in that community are excited to have you back, it’s something that makes you proud.” Stewart said he was more nervous about being at the podium in front of the House of Representatives than he will be before the start of the Daytona 500, the season-opening Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 17. He will attempt to become the first driver to win consecutive Allstate 400 at the Brickyard events, on Sunday, July 27 at the legendary 2.5-mile IMS oval.(IMS PR, see photos and audio at indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(2-5-2008) Comment here

  • GEM appoints Tom Reddin as new CEO: Gillett Evernham Motorsports appointed Tom Reddin as its new chief executive officer overseeing the team’s three Sprint Cup teams and Nationwide team. “This is another step in our plan toward build a winning organization,” said co-owner Ray Evernham. “Tom is a world-class business executive who brings a wealth of experience to Gillett Evernham Motorsports. His management style will enable this organization to maximize its production off the track so the competition side has the resources to win races and contend for championships.” Gillett Evernham Motorsports began searching for a new CEO last season with Evernham, co-owner George Gillett Jr., and President Rick Russell leading the search committee. “We couldn’t be happier with our selection,” said Gillett. “I feel fortunate we could find someone of Tom’s experience, expertise and passion to come lead our organization. The fans in the stands might not see Tom’s face at the track but his performance is as vital as that of any team member.” Reddin’s business background is a combination of consumer packaged goods, e-commerce and technology experience gained at Kraft Foods, CBS, Coca-Cola and LendingTree where he ultimately served as chief executive officer. Reddin’s experience also involved racing and NASCAR. His love for motorsports began in childhood and continued when he worked with the late Bobby Hamilton with Country Time Lemonade in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and Coca-Cola’s NASCAR ties in the late 1990s.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(2-5-2008)

  • Racing Job Seminar in Mooresville: On Friday night, May 23, 2008 at Fitz Motorsports in Mooresville, NC — during Coca-Cola 600 Race Week. — Mike Calinoff [#40 Spotter] will present his 9th Annual “Get Into Racing” Seminar. It is a great opportunity for those interested in a career in professional motorsports. The “Get Into Racing” program is not your typical seminar format. Traditionally, participants sit for several hours and try to absorb as much information as possible, while jotting down notes and thinking silently of questions they need answered. There is usually one host who does all of the speaking. See full post on the Racing Schools/Jobs page.(2-5-2008)

    News from February 4, 2008

  • AT&T Not giving up hope to stay in NASCAR: AT&T has not given up on NASCAR, despite its agreement to exit the Sprint Cup Series at the end of the 2008 season, sources told SportsBusiness Journal. The telecommunications turf war that raged throughout much of 2007 between AT&T and series sponsor Sprint supposedly was settled last September with an agreement — mediated by NASCAR — that allowed AT&T to keep its marks on Jeff Burton’s No. 31 car. In exchange, AT&T agreed to leave Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s top series, after the 2008 season. But that hasn’t stopped team owner Richard Childress from lobbying NASCAR to keep AT&T in Cup racing, sources say, and Sprint’s continuing financial woes are only adding to the sense that AT&T’s sponsorship might not be dead yet. Also, AT&T is in the first year of a three-year contract with Richard Childress Racing to sponsor the #31 car, and there are no exit provisions or refunds for AT&T in the deal, sources said, which obligates AT&T for the sponsorship fee through the 2010 season. AT&T agreed to the deal last June before the settlement was reached with NASCAR and Sprint in September. The deal between AT&T and Childress did not require NASCAR’s approval. If it eventually leaves, AT&T has said it will work with Childress to find new sponsorship. AT&T’s annual costs for the sponsorship are believed to be $16 million to $18 million. RCR officials said they’ve had no formal talks with AT&T about its plans beyond this season and offered no further comment. NASCAR reiterated that the door is not open for AT&T’s return. “Nothing has changed,” said Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of communications. “The fans certainly don’t want to hear any more of this. This is a closed issue. Agreements were made, and we expect all sides to live up to them.” AT&T’s official stance continues to be that it will abide by the agreement and exit the sport if nothing changes, but there’s always a chance the climate could shift over the course of a year, especially if Sprint’s business problems persist. Sources close to AT&T said the company has contingency marketing plans in place if it’s still in the sport in 2009. AT&T is the nation’s largest wireless carrier (70.1 million subscribers), with Verizon second (65.7 million) and Sprint third (53.8 million). AT&T, Verizon and No. 4 T-Mobile combined to add 5.65 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2007, while Sprint lost 109,000 subscribers. AT&T also enjoyed a record fourth quarter in 2007 with 2.7 million new customers. As part of its 10-year agreement with NASCAR that runs through 2013, Sprint allowed Cingular and Alltel to stay in the sport, while other wireless brands are forbidden from entering the Cup series. When Cingular, the original sponsor of Childress’ #31 entry, merged with AT&T last year and AT&T sought to rebrand the car, Sprint balked. In AT&T’s lawsuit, it said it wasn’t entering the series as a new sponsor, it was simply taking over Cingular’s existing sponsorship. A preliminary injunction was filed in AT&T’s favor, but NASCAR and Sprint won an appeal of the injunction. All parties settled before the formal lawsuit ever made it to court.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(2-4-2008) Comment here

  • Cintas signs with GEM; primary for #10 in a race: Cintas Corp., a supplier of corporate uniforms and other business services, has agreed to a multiyear sponsorship deal at Gillett Evernham Motorsports beginning with the 2008 season. Cincinnati-based Cintas will become the official uniform supplier and safety supplier for all three of GEM’s teams, which gives the company associate sponsorship positioning on the #’s 9, 10 and 19 Sprint Cup cars. Cintas also will be a primary sponsor on Patrick Carpentier’s #10 Dodge for the March 9 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta, marking the first time Cintas has been a primary sponsor on a Cup car, the company said. Terms of the deal were not available. In addition to sponsoring GEM’s Sprint Cup teams, Cintas will have access to drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Cintas intends to use the drivers as part of its “Lifetime Experiences” program for Cintas clients.(Business Courier of Cincinnati)(2-4-2008) Comment here

  • 60-year-old crashes, dies at DIS in RPDE car: A 60-year-old Apopka man died after he crashed while driving a Richard Petty Driving Experience car at the Daytona Beach International Speedway, authorities and family members said today. Robert Boswell was taking part in the Richard Petty Driving Experience, a program where fans pay to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR car, said his son, Greg Boswell. The crash occurred about 5 p.m. Sunday, police said. Robert Boswell was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center where he was declared dead at about 7 p.m. An autopsy report released this afternoon showed he died of a heart attack and not from the crash. Chris McKee, director of media relations for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, said Boswell had completed lap three at 125 mph when he slowed to take Turn 1. He began to drive erratically around turn one, jerking at the wheel, said an instructor who was driving ahead of Boswell. He then slumped over and steered the car into the concrete retaining wall on the inside of Turn 2, McKee said. Speedway officials said this was the first Richard Petty Driving Experience death at Daytona. However, McKee said this is the third death of a driver among all participating tracks. The two earlier deaths were later determined to be the result of medical conditions and not mechanical failure, McKee said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-4-2008) Comment here

  • Congrats: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and wife Crystal welcomed their first child this morning. Addison Faith Hornish was born at 6:24 a.m. on Monday, February 4th. Baby Addison weighs 7lbs 2oz. and measures 18 inches. Both mom and baby are doing well.(Penske Racing)(2-4-2008)
  • 1999 Daytona 500 on TV: In advance of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, ESPN Classic will be televising six of the best Daytona 500 races of all time every Monday at 2pm/et through Feb. 11. On Monday, Feb. 4, ESPN Classic will air the 1999 Daytona 500. Jeff Gordon pulls a risky pass by Rusty Wallace with 11 laps to go, almost driving through the grass and getting into the back of the lapped and crash-damaged car of Ricky Rudd. Wallace gives him room, possibly preventing a wreck and Gordon holds off defending-champion Dale Earnhardt for the win. ESPN.com’s NASCAR page features a poll where viewers can log on to choose their favorite Daytona 500 from the six. Then, on Saturday night, Feb. 16, the night before the 2008 version of NASCAR’s biggest race, ESPN Classic will show the top five races as chosen by the fans in their order of preference, starting at 10pm/et.(2-4-2008) Comment here

News from February 3, 2008

  • Robby: Made switch to be stronger team: #7-Robby Gordon believes he made his team stronger through a technological and marketing partnership with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Gordon will switch to Dodge immediately and he said Friday afternoon he plans to lean on the three GEM Sprint Cup teams for help. “I look at it as it’s a stronger way for my team to survive,” said Gordon, who was 26th in [driver] points [and 28th iin owners pts, #96 Hall of Fame Racing was the highest single car team at 25th in ‘owners’ points’] despite missing a race last year. “Hopefully it’s going to make a good partnership going forward. Right now, today, we’re probably receiving a few more benefits than they are. We’ve got a decent group of engineers at our place, but having teammates is going to be important, It’s going to be nice to have people that we can walk over and say, ‘What are you running for shocks? What are you running for springs?’ I haven’t had this kind of information the last three years. We’ve been able to make it and be competitive, but I think this will take us from the 20s, hopefully back to the teens and maybe even [to] an opportunity to make the Chase.” Short term, Gordon said he believes his team will be ready with its Dodges when practice for Daytona 500 qualifying begins Feb. 9. “I’ve never converted a COT before, especially ones that had never been raced,” Gordon said. “Our cars were ready. I’ve got a good group of guys back in the shop, and I’m confident they’ll do a wonderful job converting these cars. I think we’ll be competitive when we roll out at Daytona.”
    But why now? Why a week before the season starts? “These were the guys that were willing to do it with me now,” Gordon said. “The season is starting. There is no better time than at the beginning of the season. Right now is the right time. We’re getting ready to go racing.” Another reason was that Gordon’s motorsports operations had spent about $4.5 million for the Dakar Rally, which ended up being canceled. There likely will be a substitute race later this year, but Gordon said that the Dakar situation made him look more urgently about a partnership because “it cleaned some of our slush fund out.” Gordon said he had no problems with Ford as a manufacturer. Gordon had moved from Chevy to Ford for the 2007 season. “Ford was great to work with,” Gordon said. “I didn’t feel there was a suitable team there that was willing to open up their books and share their technology with us. Ford, as a manufacturer, they stood up to everything they said they were going to do.”(SceneDaily.com)(2-3-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR Now Returns Monday for Second Season: NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily NASCAR news and information program, returns to the air for its second season Monday, Feb. 4, at 6:00pm/et on ESPN2. The program includes highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. The program airs for 30 minutes at 6:00pm/et Monday through Friday of the opening week, and the Monday edition will expand to one hour beginning Monday, Feb. 11. The show also has a one-hour edition at 10:am/et on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race and a Sunday night weekend wrap-up edition. NASCAR Now is hosted by Nicole Manske, Ryan Burr and Allen Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Tim Cowlishaw, along with NASCAR insiders Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, David Newton and Marty Smith, as well as D.J. Copp, a member of Bobby Labonte’s team. NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake, Dale Jarrett and ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentators  Andrés Agulla and Alex Pombo.(ESPN PR) Comment here

    News from February 2, 2008

  • Richard Petty honored at 2008 NC-Motorsports Industry Awards: The North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) recently presented 10 industry awards and honored Richard Petty with the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award for having a strong positive impact on the motorsports industry in the state. In addition, The North Carolina Motorsports Foundation awarded $25,000 in scholarship grants distributed equally among five North Carolina schools or training centers that have two-year or four-year education programs with a concentration in motorsports. A variety of deserving students were called to the stage and awarded scholarships that will allow them to pursue a career in the $5.9 billion motorsports industry in the state of North Carolina. Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue welcomed nearly 650 attendees, and Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Motor Racing Network broadcaster, served as master of ceremonies. For the full list of awards and more info, see motorsportsnc.org.(2-2-2008)

    News from February 1, 2008

  • California Testing over with #11B-Denny Hamlin being the overall fastest in a Toyota at 182.523mph in the Day 1 morning session, followed by #12A-Ryan Newman in a Dodge [Day1morning], #18-Kyle Busch in a Toyota [Day1morning], #8A-Mark Martin in a Chevy [Day1morning] and #99A-Carl Edwards in a Ford [ Day1evening]. 49 drivers ran laps. All teams who tested were full-time teams except #34-John Andretti [could end up full time with a sponsor and making the top-35 in owners points], #65A-Chad McCumbee ran a 3rd Haas CNC Racing Chevy and could run some races this season. Mark Martin and Aric Almirola shared the #8A-Chevy as they will this season. See the California Test Speeds Best by Driver page to see who ran the best, when they ran the best lap.(2-1-2008)
  • Something up with Robby Gordon? UPDATE teams up with GEM..to Dodge: been hearing a bunch of rumors the last few days about Robby Gordon Motorsports, driver/owner Robby Gordon and the #7 Ford. Everything from he is selling the team, merging the team or/and switching manufacturers. Rumored teams include Yates Racing, Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Hall of Fame Racing. I have been told Gordon tested at California Speedway Thursday, then left and headed back to California and didn’t test there Friday, and he is not listed on the California Test Speeds and News page.
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham Motorsports today announced a technical, manufacturing and marketing services agreement with Robby Gordon Motorsports which will race Dodges in the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Gordon’s team will use Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge engines when practice begins next week at Daytona International Speedway. BAM Racing and Petty Enterprises also use Gillett Evernham Motorsports engines and receive technical assistance. Gillett Evernham Motorsports fields cars for drivers #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Patrick Carpentier in the Sprint Cup Series as well as a Nationwide Series entry. “I feel this agreement with Gillett Evernham Motorsports helps make the learning curve of the COT little bit easier to navigate,” said Gordon whose 28th-place finish in owner points was the best of any single-car team in 2007. “I like what they have going on over there and I think both organizations will benefit. As an owner I want to do what is best for my employees and sponsors.” Gordon’s move to Dodge comes after one year with Ford. “Ford has been very good to me, and this move is not a reflection on our relationship at all,” said Gordon. “Ford was planning on supporting me, and even increasing its engineering support for my program in 2008. However, I felt that I needed to make this move to help put my team in a more stable financial situation in terms of marketing and sponsorship help.” Based in Charlotte North Carolina, Robby Gordon Motorsports is home to the No. 7 Dodge. With sponsorship from Jim Beam, Menards, Mapei, and Camping World Robby Gordon will run the entire 2008 Sprint Cup series schedule.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • Claritin to sponsor Edwards for a few races: Schering-Plough, makers of the non-drowsy allergy medication, Claritin, today announced a first-time sponsorship deal with allergy sufferer Carl Edwards for the 2008 Sprint Cup racing season. Edwards, a member of the Roush Fenway Racing team and 2007 Nationwide [then Busch] Series champion, will drive the #99 Claritin Ford Fusion during selected spring races, and Claritin branding will appear on his #99 Office Depot Ford Fusion and firesuit throughout the season. Edwards, who takes Claritin to treat his allergy symptoms, will serve as spokesperson for the Claritin “Clear to Drive” campaign. He will also be featured in the Claritin brand’s new advertising campaign. Additionally, a sweepstakes launching later this year will give five lucky NASCAR fans the opportunity to win a trip around the track with Edwards, and one will win a Ford Mustang.(PR Newswire)(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • California Testing over with #11B-Denny Hamlin being the overall fastest in a Toyota at 182.523mph in the Day 1 morning session, followed by #12A-Ryan Newman in a Dodge [Day1morning], #18-Kyle Busch in a Toyota [Day1morning], #8A-Mark Martin in a Chevy [Day1morning] and #99A-Carl Edwards in a Ford [ Day1evening]. 49 drivers ran laps. All teams who tested were full-time teams except #34-John Andretti [could end up full time with a sponsor and making the top-35 in owners points], #65A-Chad McCumbee ran a 3rd Haas CNC Racing Chevy and could run some races this season. Mark Martin and Aric Almirola shared the #8A-Chevy as they will this season. See the California Test Speeds Best by Driver page to see who ran the best, when they ran the best lap.(2-1-2008)
  • California speeds, final session Day 2 PM: in the final test session at California Speedway, only 17 cars stuck around, with 16 running laps. #48A-Johnson was the fastest in the afternoon session with a speed of 179.497mph in a Chevy, followed by #24A-Gordon in a Chevy, #2B-Busch in a Dodge, #5A-Mears in a Chevy and #66B-Riggs in a Chevy. The fastest Toyota was #84A-Allmendinger in 9th. No Ford teams stuck around for the final session. #45B-Petty was the slowest of the 16 cars at 175.653. #43B-Labonte was listed as 17th on the chart but no speed listed.
    See speeds on the California Test Speeds and News page.(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • Associate sponsor named for Front Row: Front Row Motorsports (FRM) announced it has acquired sponsorship from Waverly Property Group for the 2008 Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events at Daytona International Speedway. Waverly Property Group, Daytona’s #1 independent real-estate company, with a focus on waterfront properties, will serve as an associate sponsor on FRM’s # 34 [John Andretti] and #37 [Eric McClure] Sprint Cup entries and the #24 [McClure] Nationwide Series entry during February and July events at DIS, including the prestigious Daytona 500 festivities. The 2008 season will mark Waverly Property Group’s debut as a sponsor in NASCAR. For more information on WPG, please visit www.daytonabeachluxuryrentals.com.(Team McClure- Hefty Brand Racing PR)(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • Andretti gets a ride…for now: Some late moves at #49 BAM Racing, for whom John Andretti did well to get into six of the 10 Chase races last season, and 10 of the last 14 overall, put the Indiana veteran on the sidelines. But Andretti was at Las Vegas and California with two former Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolets — one new and one previously raced — carrying Front Row Motorsports’ #34. Andretti said the team was using engines from Joe Gibbs Racing’s former Chevrolet inventory before JGR switched to Toyota. Andretti said at least some early season rides were in the offing. “I didn’t have many laps on the new Las Vegas, so I figured it was an opportunity to work on the new car, and stay up to date, and hopefully we can do some good,” Andretti said. “Hopefully we can get it going and make the races. Who knows? You never know what’s going to happen in Cup, but Bob [Jenkins, team owner] went and bought a lot of Gibbs engines and some cars from DEI. I like working with Bob, I did some stuff with he and John Carter last year so we’re going to try to come out and do some good.”(NASCAR.com)(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • Jon Wood appears in Air Force driving safety video: The Sprint Cup Series driver of the Air Force-sponsored #21 Ford recently appeared in a public service announcement video on driving safety. In the 1.5 minute production, Jon Wood emphasizes the use of seat belts, observing speed limits, and not driving after drinking. Mr. Wood, the third-generation member of the Wood Brothers Racing family, progressed through the ranks of karts and late-model stock cars to the Craftsman Truck Series, where he won races for Roush Racing. He moved to the Busch Series for the current family conglomerate, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, and in 2007 made his long-anticipated Nextel Cup debut in the #21 Wood Brothers Ford.(Air Force Link)(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • TMS replaces billboards referencing Earnhardts: Four identical Texas Motor Speedway billboards referring to the strained relationship between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his stepmother, Teresa, will be replaced within the next two weeks. The flap is over ads featuring a picture of the driver and the wording “Reason #88: Step-Mom.” TMS president Eddie Gossage said Thursday night that the billboards, part of a series of similar ads to promote the Sprint Cup weekend at the track in April, will be changed after a request from Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, the driver’s sister and business manager. “The first thing I told her when I answered the phone was if you guys are uncomfortable with it, all you have to do is say the word,” Gossage said. “We had a very pleasant talk.” #88 is a reference to Earnhardt’s new car number with Hendrick Motorsports, the team he went to after last season when he decided to leave Dale Earnhardt Inc., his late father’s company that is run by Teresa Earnhardt. He left DEI after months of contentious negotiations with his stepmother. Earnhardt will still be displayed on the billboards, but the wording will change to “Reason #88: New Car Smell.” Gossage said Elledge thought the new slogan “was cool, and Dale Jr. loved it.”
    There are billboards with catchy slogans featuring the car numbers of three other drivers. One features a wide-eyed, grinning Tony Stewart with “Reason #20: Road Rage!” Then there is one for Jeff Gordon with “Reason #24: 81 Cup Wins. Zip At Texas!”, and one for two-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, “Reason #48: Twice As Good As 24!” After getting the call from Elledge, Gossage decided to make sure Stewart was all right with the #20 ad. “I e-mailed Tony, ‘What do you think?’ He thought they were hilarious,” Gossage said. Gossage said he didn’t follow up with Gordon and Johnson, Earnhardt’s new teammates with Hendrick, because the TMS president considers those slogans “benign” despite one small glitch. Johnson’s slogan “Twice As Good As 24!” was supposed to end with a question mark, not an exclamation point.
    Elledge told Gossage that she and her brother still have friends and family at DEI and want to see the company succeed, but that they were “excited about Hendrick Motorsports” and saw no reason to point to past issues. “We were trying to be edgy,” Gossage said. “If this went over the line, in their opinion, we don’t want to.” There are 15 billboards, three featuring Johnson and four for each of the other drivers, displayed on Interstates and busy highways throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Gossage said there will be similar-themed broadcast and print ads in the coming weeks.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-1-2008) Comment here
  • California Speedway testing Day 2 AM Speeds: 50 cars ran laps on Friday at California Speedway with #99A-Edwards fastest in a Ford at 180.945mph, followed by #41B-Sorenson in a Dodge, #12B-Newman in a Dodge, #07B-Bowyer in aChevy and #31A-Burton in a Chevy. The fastest Toyota was #55A-Waltrip in 12th.
    See speeds on the California Test Speeds and News page.(2-1-2008) Comment here