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January 2004 News Archives


 

  • (1-31-2004)

  • The FanZCar Join Forces with SCORE Motorsports and Hermie Sadler: SS Racing Inc. founders of The FanZCar and SCORE Motorsports, a joint venture between NASCAR Busch Series veteran Hermie Sadler and retired NBA star Bryant Stith today announced that they have joined forces for the 2004 NASCAR Season. The FanZCar will serve as primary sponsor in selected Busch Series races with SCORE Motorsports as well as major associate sponsor for the remaining Busch Series races and Nextel Cup races run by SCORE and Hermie Sadler.
    FanZCar is a unique program that gives the fans a chance actually be involved with the team rather than simply watch from the stands. The FanZCar members will have the chance to join the team in the pits for races, and attend various events throughout the year with driver Hermie Sadler.
    “We are very excited about being involved with The FanZCar”, stated Hermie Sadler, “It is a great interactive program that allows our team to work directly with who makes our sport go, the fans. We look forward to offering our members and sponsors a once in a lifetime opportunity. I encourage all NASCAR fans to join me in making this program a success.”
    In addition to giving its members the opportunity to attend races with Sadler and the team, they will also have the chance to join him at other events, such as concerts, professional wrestling events, college sporting events and other team functions. For more information on memberships and event schedules, visit www.thefanzcar.com. This partnership is another sign of the growth of SCORE Motorsports, who was recently chosen to house one of NASCAR’s “Drive for Diversity” teams. SCORE Motorsports will field a Late Model at South Boston Speedway.(PR)(1-31-2004)
  • Kurt Busch, Irwin Industrial Tools To Kick-Off Rebuilding Together At Super Bowl: For three homeowners in Houston, the most anticipated kickoff of this year’s Super Bowl week will take place two days before the game gets underway. Those homeowners look forward to the ninth annual Kickoff to Rebuild, when Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie / IRWIN Ford Taurus will join with a team of NFL players, celebrities and IRWIN Industrial Tool Company volunteers on Friday, Jan. 30, 2004 to rehabilitate three houses in the city’s historic Row House District of Ward III. The event is a joint effort of Rebuilding Together, the NFL, and IRWIN, a global manufacturer and distributor of professional grade hand tools and power tool accessories co-sponsoring Kurt Busch for 18 races during the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. More than 8,000 low-income families around the country will be warm, safe and dry in 2004 thanks to these volunteer efforts. Held annually in the Super Bowl host city, Kickoff to Rebuild is a one-day blitz of rehabilitation and renewal for homeowners who don’t have the means to do the work themselves. Rebuilding Together’s rehab work this year will take place in the Row House District of Ward III, a community rich in history and diversity. Extensive repairs and renovations are planned at the homes of Mr. and Mrs. George Overton and Ruby Rusk Young. A third house across the street, owned by Thelma Brown, will receive a new roof. Mrs. Brown’s home was restored in 2003 as part of the October rehab project conducted by Rebuilding Together’s Houston affiliate. The new roof will complete the restoration.(Roush Racing PR)(1-31-2004)

    (1-30-2004)

  • New Book: The Sands of Time: Celebrating 100 Years of Racing at Daytona by Bill Lazarus ($29.95, Sports Publishing LLC) chronicles competition from the early beach-course days through the modern events at Daytona International Speedway. The book includes a DVD with Daytona racing footage. Call 1-877-424-BOOK or visit www.SportsPublishingLLC.com.(1-30-2004)
  • Las Vegas Testing Thursday: A total of 54 teams tested during the four-day NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas. NASCAR Nextel Cup teams made up 34 of the testing teams, while 20 NASCAR Busch Series teams participated in the test. “I told Ray (Evernham) when he came in here this morning, the last couple of days I had never seen so many people test, especially this far away. It’s pretty impressive.”
    Rusty Wallace was unofficially the fastest car in testing on Thursday, tearing off a lap in 31.55 seconds, 171.694 mph, while Las Vegas’ Kyle Busch had the top Busch lap at 31.80 seconds, 169.811 mph. Busch’s time is faster than the track record for Busch cars, but the time is unofficial.
    #42-Jamie McMurray looked a lot like #21-Ricky Rudd at the test on Thursday. Because McMurray was testing both his Cup and Busch cars Wednesday, he left his driving uniform in his Cup hauler following testing on Wednesday. McMurray forgot his Cup hauler was leaving on Wednesday, so he arrived at the track Thursday without his uniform. Rudd loaned him a spare.(LVMS PR) see past news on Vegas testing and some speeds on my Cup Testing News Page.(1-30-2004)
  • Geoffrey Bodine won’t run the Shootout: Geoffrey Bodine, who signed a six-race contract with EJP Racing to drive in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year [#03], hasn’t been able to find a team interested in running him in the Feb. 7 Budweiser Shootout. Bodine is a guaranteed starter in the all-star race for Nextel Cup pole-winners from the previous year because he’s a past race winner. “Nothing has come together, and I’m surprised about that,” Bodine said Wednesday from his North Carolina home. “I don’t understand it because it’s a high visibility race for teams and sponsors. I’ve talked to a lot of team owners and no one has taken me up on the deal.” Bodine will compete in the truck series opener at Daytona on Feb. 13.(Elmira Star Gazette)(1-30-2004)
  • Burton has two race sponsorship; but for what races? UPDATE: from the #99-Jeff Burton Fanclub Driver Diary: “As for sponsorship the remainder of the year. We will be making an announcement this week with regards to a sponsor for two races and I believe we have some more announcements coming soon.” Burton is in Las Vegas testing.(Jeff Burton Fanclub Driver Diary/Roush Racing site)(1-29-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing it could be longtime Roush Racing sponsor SKF.(1-30-2004)
  • Roush Loses Plates and Screws: When Jack Roush narrowly escaped death after crashing an experimental plane into an Alabama lake back in 2002 he had a few remnants of the experience to carry with him as a reminder. Those remnants included the plate and screws doctors used to hold his badly fractured left leg together. However, those bits and pieces were removed during a mid-December procedure, leaving Roush free off the shrapnel of his death defying experience. Describing the best part of losing the extra implanted medical gear Roush joked, “Now I can go through the airport without setting anything off.”(Ford Racing)(1-30-2004)
  • NASCAR’s Bill France Jr., Legendary Auto Racing Writer, Shav Glick; among 2004 Inductees: Shav Glick is going to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. No, not to interview some famous race driver or car owner, although anyone in the Hall probably has been interviewed, at least once and probably more often, by Glick. This time, Glick will be granting the interviews. He’s going to be enshrined as an inductee. The Times’ longtime motorsports writer, Shavenau Glick — “My mother didn’t give me a middle name, because she thought Shavenau was long enough” — will be among the honored guests at the 16th annual induction ceremony July 29 at the State Theater in downtown Detroit. The Hall is in nearby Novi, Mich. As usual, Glick, one of the most respected racing journalists — and certainly the best liked — will be in fast company. The other inductees, announced Thursday, are Bobby Rahal, Bill France Jr., Joe Amato, Geoff Brabham, the late Don Vesco and the late Johnnie Parsons.
    France, who succeeded his late father, Big Bill France, as president of NASCAR, the country’s most successful racing organization, is the stock car representative.
    2004 inductees for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America:
    Bill France Jr. [President of NASCAR from 1972-2000];
    Shav Glick [Award-winning motor racing writer, Los Angeles Times];
    Bobby Rahal [1986 Indy 500 winner and three-time national champ];
    Joe Amato [NHRA’s only five-time top-fuel champion];
    Geoff Brabham [Four-time IMSA champion in GTP series];
    Don Vesco [Land-speed record-setter in cars and motorcycles];
    Johnnie Parsons [Indy 500 winner in ’50; national driving champ in ’49](Los Angeles Times)(1-30-2004)
  • Norris Out? UPDATE 3: hearing reports that DEI executive vice president Ty Norris has left Dale Earnhardt Inc???(1-27-2004 5pm/et)
    UPDATE: Sources close to Dale Earnhardt, Inc., told NASCAR.com Tuesday that executive vice president Ty Norris has resigned from the team, effective immediately. An announcement from the team is expected Wednesday. Sources said Norris’ decision was made in reaction to Teresa Earnhardt’s decision to restructure the team’s upper management, thus sending Norris to a lesser role. Norris, an employee at DEI since 1996, bore the brunt of the company’s executive responsibility following Dale Earnhardt’s death in February 2001.(NASCAR.com), hearing Richie Gilmore will assume Norris’ position or some of the duties.(1-28-2004 – 12mid)
    UPDATE 2: Sources close to Dale Earnhardt Inc., confirmed that a “blow-up” took place at the shop over the weekend, leaving Ty Norris, the organization’s executive vice president, with the option of stepping down or stepping out. Team owner Teresa Earnhardt was expected to meet with teams Tuesday to discuss the developments that include a restructuring of upper management. Richie Gilmore, DEI’s chief engine builder, is expected to move up to the front office. Gilmore told TSN he’s looking forward to the challenge and had not yet been told what his official title would be. The general consensus in the garage during Las Vegas testing was that having “a racer” run the day-to-day business would benefit DEI significantly. Gilmore, a native of Rochester, N.H., began his racing career in Super Modifieds as a teenager. Gilmore met Ron Bouchard and moved to North Carolina in 1988 to work on his Winston Cup team. In 1991, after an apprenticeship with Keith Dorton, Gilmore joined Hendrick Motorsports and began working with Randy Dorton. At Hendrick’s, Gilmore was assigned to the lease program at Joe Gibbs Racing when Dale Jarrett won his first Daytona 500. He continued with Hendrick’s on Terry Labonte’s team in 1995 and 1996 when the No. 5 car won the title. In 1998, he was approached by Dale Earnhardt to build engines for the No. 8 car and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was making his Cup debut the following season. When Gilmore took over the engine shop, DEI had just 19 employees and 21 engines. Gilmore helped to grow the department to 61 employees and 115 engines during his tenure as DEI’s head engine builder.(FoxSports)(1-28-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Effective immediately, Richie Gilmore will direct all motorsports functions at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. The position was previously held by Ty Norris, who resigned on Jan. 26, 2004. Teresa Earnhardt, CEO and co-founder of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated stated, “Because of close teamwork at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Richie Gilmore has prepared to manage all motorsports responsibilities. Looking at programs he has implemented over the years, we’re confident he will continue to develop our success, both on and off the track.” Gilmore, a 38-year-old Rochester, NH native came to DEI in 1998 as Head Engine Builder, after an eight-year stint at Hendrick Motorsports. In addition, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated’s Sponsor Services Division is being strengthened with additional personnel. Earnhardt added,”To develop new marketing strategies and fulfill the needs of our current partners we will be focusing on growth while continuing to direct primary energies toward winning the Nextel Cup and BGN championships; fulfilling the goals established for this company over a decade ago.”(DEI PR)(1-30-2004)
  • Ganassi team wins pole for 24: Scott Pruett put the #01 CompUSA Lexus Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing on the pole for the 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Pruett set a new Daytona Prototype track record with his 1:45.783 lap at 121.154mph, shaving more than four seconds off the previous record held by David Donohue.(Speed Channel)(1-30-2004)

    (1-29-2004)

  • Revamping of Totally NASCAR: TOTALLY NASCAR is FSN’s half-hour weeknight show dedicated to the sport of NASCAR, providing viewers with the latest information, highlights, analysis and interviews from the newsmakers in stock car racing. Debuting on Mon., Feb. 9 and airing each weeknight at 6:00pm local time, TOTALLY NASCAR returns with over 200 new episodes, bringing the total number of episodes since its inception to over 700. This season, the show runs exclusively on FSN. This season, TOTALLY NASCAR has been given a complete facelift. Former reporter Krista Voda now serves as the host, bringing a new and different perspective to the show. Also, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond return for their fourth season as in-studio analysts and Sean Pragano returns as TN’s on-site reporter. Segments to watch for in this upcoming season include more of the popular Road Trip series as well as the all-new Sports Writer Roundtables, where different writers debate the hottest issues in the NASCAR world and Driver Guy, featuring a mysterious NASCAR wannabe who sneaks into qualifying sessions and driver meetings as he tries to learn how to ride with the big boys.(FoxSports)(1-29-2004)
  • Jeff Green to sit OUT of the Bud Shootout: When young Richard Petty began his racing career some five decades ago, his mother fretted about her son getting involved in a wild and reckless sport that was just a hiccup removed from moonshine running. Petty tried to ease his mother’s concern by promising her that his race team never would have anything to do with alcohol. That 50-year-old promise will keep #43-Jeff Green out of the Feb. 7 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Green won last year’s Daytona 500 pole, making him eligible for the Shootout. The race matches the previous season’s pole-winners, plus past Shootout champions. But there’s a catch. In order to qualify for the Shootout, a driver’s car must carry a small Budweiser decal during the season. Petty refuses to permit any beer advertising on his cars. That means his driver is not eligible for the lucrative Bud Shootout. While Petty is adamant about no beer decals on his cars, over the years he has competed in beer-sponsored races like the Budweiser 400 and Miller 400. Petty’s response: he has no control over who sponsors a race, but he does have control over who sponsors his cars. With Green sitting out, the Bud Shootout will consist of 21 drivers.(Tennessean), note: Green could still run the race if he runs another car and if, of course, the Petty’s ok that.(1-29-2004)
  • Starr could attempt Cup race at Texas again: A 15-race trial this season in NASCAR’s Busch Series will become a full-time effort in 2005 for Texans David Starr and Michael Holigan. Driver Starr and owner Holigan, the former home builder from Plano, laid the groundwork for their start-up team Wednesday during the Texas Tour 2004 Media Day at Texas Motor Speedway. Though committed to a part-time Busch schedule, including an appearance at the O’Reilly 300 on April 3 at TMS, Starr said his No. 1 goal is to win the Craftsman Truck Series championship. Starr plans to compete in 40 races between the Busch and Truck series but could add a 41st. He and his uncle Mike, who runs the Team Texas Driving School at TMS, have discussed entering the Samsung/RadioShack 500 Nextel Cup race April 4 at TMS [Starr attempted last year in the #75 and didn’t make the race](Fort Worth Star Telegram)(1-29-2004)
  • Less of a driver ‘feel’? The NASCAR Busch and Cup teams have headed west for the first big test of the new downforce and tire package. Several teams hit the asphalt of Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday. They were joined on Tuesday by about 40 teams as preparations for the 2004 season hit a high gear. In speaking with Roush Racing’s Brad Parrott, who is here with Matt Kenseth and a Busch car, www.teamfordracing.com learned that the new aero and tire package is making the cars a little less driver friendly. This is something that can easily be heard as the drivers are back to sawing at the throttle as they set their car for corner entrance. A shorter rear spoiler along with softer tires that Goodyear is running this year is driving the new feel. Looking at the tire Parrott, who is one of the best in the game at understanding the role of the tire on the car, tells TFR that the test tire, and the tire slated for the early March race, is the same tire that Goodyear brought to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season-ending Ford Championship weekend in 2003. These tires are very similar in construction to the 2001 Goodyear offering and had Parrott offering the warning regarding camber that bit so many teams that season. Camber, which is a measure of a tire’s vertical relationship to the travel path, can help a car turn through a corner quickly. But too much camber can chew a tire apart, predominantly on the inner inch or two of the tire and lead to premature failure. Of the four tires most likely to suffer from overly aggressive camber settings the right front comes in at the top of the list as a majority of the car’s weight leans on this quarter of the car at corner entry. This tire, which gets good wear, has a softer sidewall and gives the driver that “I’m hanging onto my butt out here” feel, according to Parrott. Parrott says that the lower rear blade and other NASCAR template issues have taken some of the aero load off the car, but not enough to totally change the approach to getting a car dialed in.(Ford Racing)(1-29-2004)
  • Milestone for Racing Milestones Magazine: Writers at Racing Milestones Magazine, Trader Publishing Company’s monthly magazine for NASCAR race fans, earned the two most prestigious writing awards in motorsports journalism for stories published in 2003.
    Monte Dutton earned first place in magazine writing from the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) at its annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 18th for his story, “Dale Jr.: True to Himself,” published in November 2003.
    Four days later, on Jan. 22, Godwin Kelly won the magazine writing category and a Rolex watch in the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin for his story, “Ryan Newman: One-Track Mind,” published in October 2003. The Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin recognize outstanding motorsports coverage in five categories while honoring the memory of Catlin, a motorsports journalism pioneer. These are presented annually at the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour in Charlotte.(Racing Milestones PR)(1-29-2004)
  • Brian Vickers and T. Wayne Robertson Fund Team Up to Sponsor Camper Cabin at the Victory Junction Gang Camp: When NASCAR driver Brian Vickers won the 2003 Busch Series Championship, he carried a photo of Adam Petty in his driver’s uniform to remind him of his close friend and to keep his memory alive. Now, the 20 year old champion has teamed up with another friend, fellow racer Toby Robertson, and the T. Wayne Robertson Fund to permanently honor Adam and the memory of T. Wayne Robertson by sponsoring a camper cabin at the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The donation will simply be acknowledged as, “a gift from the friends of Adam Petty and T. Wayne Robertson in their memory.” Vickers and Robertson, son of the late T. Wayne Robertson – former head of RJR’s Sports Marketing Enterprises, are both friends of the Petty family and their son, Adam, in whose honor the Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded. “Our families and the Pettys have enjoyed a relationship for years,” said Toby Robertson, “and we’re proud that the T. Wayne Robertson Fund can continue giving back to the community by honoring the memory of Adam and my father.” The funds will be used to underwrite the cost of a camper cabin. Victory Junction will have sixteen 2,300 square foot cabins capable of accommodating up to 10 campers and 10 counselors each session. During family weekends and specialized retreats, the cabins will accommodate two families per cabin. The maximum capacity for the cabins will be 160 during camper sessions or up to 32 families during the weekend sessions. The T. Wayne Robertson Memorial Fund was established in 1998 and is managed by the Winston-Salem Foundation. The fund benefits a variety of local North Carolina charitable and public service-related efforts dear to Robertson, including the racing, police and fire department sectors.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(1-29-2004)
  • oops, Tracy rumor back: Reigning CART champion Paul Tracy, a Las Vegas resident, visited the Nextel Cup garage Tuesday — perhaps looking for a ride if the CART series folds. The open-wheel series’ future should be decided today during a bankruptcy hearing in Indiana.(Las Vegas Sun) NOTE: OWRS Awarded CART Assets: see full story at the Speed Channel site.(1-29-2004)

    (1-28-2004)

  • Gordon rooting for the Panthers: Even though he’s a San Fransisco 49ers fan, Jeff Gordon says he’s going to this weekend’s Superbowl in Houston to root for the Carolina Panthers. Gordon, who lives in the Charlotte area said he saw the enthusiam, excitement and adrellian flowing through the city and became an instant Panthers fan. “I’m gonna put my Panthers hat on, be a big supporter and hope they win it…and I think they’ve got a shot at winning it.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(1-28-2004)
  • A Sponsor for the #23 and Blaney in the Shootout? UPDATE: hearing that Whelen will be the sponsor of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge and driver Dave Blaney in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Frb 7th.(1-28-2004)
    UPATE: In continued efforts to promote the fact that Whelen products [www.whelen.com] are designed and manufactured in the United States of America, Whelen Motorsports has negotiated an agreement to sponsor the Bill Davis Racing #23 Dodge in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500. The car will be driven by Dave Blaney and it will be painted and decaled to look just like their trademark Marsh Racing #31 Busch Series Ford. This is a one weekend deal only. Also, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. logo will be displayed on the rear quarter panels of the Whelen #23 Nextel Cup Dodge. It is their hope and mission to attract other companies to join them in their support of the USA Olympic and World Cup Bobsled Teams by providing funds for the design and manufacture of the most competitive bobsleds possible. These bobsleds are built in Oxford, CT and more will be heard about their support of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. in the future.
    The schedule for the Whelen #23 NEXTEL Cup races are as follows:
    Budweiser Shootout – Saturday, February 7th @ 7:30 p.m. on TNT (70 laps, 175 m)
    Gatorade Twin 125’s – Thursday, February 12th @ 1:00 p.m. TNT (50 laps, 125 m)
    Daytona 500 – Sunday, February 15th @ 12:00 Noon on NBC (200 laps, 500 m)(Whelen PR)(1-28-2004)
  • Kyle Petty denies retirement talk: Kyle Petty isn’t quite ready to hang up his driving suit. Petty on Monday denied a published report that he would step out of the #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge and into retirement at some point this season. “I don’t know where that (rumor) came from; I don’t have a clue,” Petty said during a break in testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If I was going to retire, I wouldn’t have come out here and run in the half-marathon and then got up this morning at 6 o’clock to come to the track.” Petty said that “there is no plan at all” for him to turn over the driving duties of the Petty Enterprises car to Shane Hmiel, as was rumored. Hmiel currently is serving an indefinite suspension by NASCAR for violating its substance-abuse policy. Although both Petty Enterprise’s cars struggled last season, Petty said the addition of veteran driver Jeff Green in the #43 car already is paying dividends. Both Green and Petty finished in the top 20 during testing earlier this month at Daytona International Speedway. “Realistically, Jeff brings a lot to the table,” Petty said. “He drove for DEI and he drove for Childress, so he came in and looked at our stuff and he said, ‘look, you guys are not a 40th-place team; we’ve got to get this thing straight.’ Jeff has done a lot to get us turned in the right direction.”(Las Vegas Sun), see the past news/rumors on this at my #45 Team News and Links page.(1-28-2004)
  • Texas Hall of Fame Inductions: Johnny Rutherford and fellow Indy-car legend A.J. Foyt of Houston, the first four-time winner of the Indy 500, were honored as inaugural inductees into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. The racing peers, who trace their careers from the state’s dirt tracks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, were honored for outstanding achievement in motorsports.
    Other award recipients included Carroll Shelby, a former winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and still active as a sports car designer at 81, who was presented the Bruton Smith Legends Award for lifetime achievement in motorsports.
    Gil de Ferran, winner of the Indy Racing League’s season-ending Chevy 500 IndyCar Series event at TMS in October, was presented the 2003 Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. De Ferran, who retired after the race, was cited for his character and cooperation with media and fans.
    Brendan Gaughan, who swept both NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at TMS last year and has won four in a row at TMS, was honored as the track’s Racer of the Year.(Fort Worth Star Telegram) and more info on the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame site(1-28-2004)
  • And Some More Schrader News: Federated is pleased to report that Federated Auto Parts and Ken Schrader Racing will continue their association in 2004. For 2004, the Ken Schrader Racing Team will again dedicate their resources to the Federated Auto Parts Racing Program. NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader will drive Federated vehicles in 19 races plus over 20 dirt track events. Road racing veteran Boris Said will be behind the wheel of the Federated entry in the NASCAR Southwest Tour race in Sonoma. The Federated/Schrader vehicles are scheduled to carry an in car camera in all televised events. In addition to his duties as driver of the Winston Cup #49 BAM Racing Dodge, Ken Schrader’s 19 plus Federated Auto Parts racing schedule includes 3 ARCA events, 13 Truck races, 1 Winston Southwest Tour races, 2 Winston West series events and more than 20 dirt track events. Federated will also be an associate sponsor of BAM Racing’s #49 Winston Cup Dodge driven by Ken Schrader. Federated’s logo will be prominently displayed on the vehicles B-pillars and Schrader’s Winston Cup driving suit for the entire 2004 season.(Federated Auto Parts Site)(1-28-2004)
  • Honda and Nissan next? Ford’s Jack Roush and Chevrolet’s Rick Hendrick both expect Honda to make a move into NASCAR soon, and Hendrick said he also expects Nissan to make overtures.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-24-2004)
    AND – not NASCAR but about Nissan: In a bold announcement that could dramatically alter the balance of power in the Pro Class RWD divisions in all three professional drag race series in the United States, Performance Motorsport of Smithtown, New York, formally announced today its arrival into the world of Sport Compact drag racing – the fastest growing segment in motorsports. The Performance Motorsport Nissan 350Z is a pro rear wheel beast, fueled by a 3.5L Twin Turbocharged 350Z engine spitting out more than 1700 Horse Power at speeds in excess of 200 miles an hour. Sport Compact drag racing fans and automotive enthusiasts will be blown away by this new entry into the class. Nissan executive and owner of several of Nissan’s most successful car dealerships, Gary Rubio, will be the man responsible for leading Performance Motorsport to the top. As a former professional race car driver with years of CART racing under his belt, Rubio will rely on his knowledge of cars, racing and the 350Z to lead his team to a successful 2004 racing season. Team Performance Motorsport, already equipped with a new Toterhome and new support vehicles, plans to tour events at all major sanctioning bodies (NDRA, NHRA and IDRC) as well as attend several major industry shows. Determined to be a top 5 finisher in the NDRA and NHRA pro RWD classes, sport compact drag racing fans may very well be looking at the year of the Team Performance Motorsport and their Nissan 350Z. To inquire about the exciting sponsorship opportunities available or for more information on Performance Motorsport, and its 2004 racing schedule log onto www.TheExperience.com.(PR)(1-28-2004)
  • Diversity Update: Representatives from prospective teams are reviewing video tapes, resumes and combine testing and evaluation results of the 12 drivers and 28 crew competitors who competed in the inaugural Drive for Diversity Combine Testing and Evaluation held at Hickory Motor Speedway, Hickory, NC, and 5 Off 5 On Race Team Performance Center, Mooresville, NC.(see full article at the Speed Channel site)(1-28-2004)
  • Testing at Atlanta in Feb: #45-Kyle Petty is scheduled to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb 24th; #22-Scott Wimmer on Feb 25th. Testing is closed to the public.(1-28-2004)
  • Schrader wins at PIR..again: Ken Schrader earned his second consecutive Grand National Division West Series victory in the United Rentals 150, Sunday in Phoenix International Raceway’s fourth annual Winter Heat. His ninth overall series win boosted his total wins at PIR to 14 in the 15 years he has been coming to Phoenix during NASCAR’s off-season. Schrader, fresh from a seventh-place finish in the AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series www.phoenixraceway.com 100, switched cars and took the green flag in the 150-mile race in PIR’s double feature. Child’s play for the racer accustomed to 500 miles and four hours of turning left. Schrader charged from his 19th-place starting position to seventh in only 14 laps and moved steadily through traffic until he caught Austin Cameron. Cameron started fifth and passed pole sitter and October winner Scott Lynch of Burley, Idaho, by the second lap around PIR’s mile oval. Cameron led until Lap 50 when he got wide in Turn 3, with the help of Schrader, he said, and fell to second. After a round of pit stops on Lap 89, Cameron clawed his way back into the lead. An incident on Lap 116 in Turn 1 involving Schrader, Cameron and Clint Bowyer put Bowyer sideways and ended Cameron’s challenge for the win. Schrader finished seven seconds ahead of Cameron, who held on to second. Matt Kobyluck, who started 24th in the 30-car field, finished third.(Arizona Republic)(1-28-2004)
  • Boris is a Dad: Road race specialist Boris Said became a first-time father Jan. 23 when his son, Boris Said Jr., was born at Scripps Hospital in Carlsbad, Calif. Boris Jr. weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 20 inches long. When asked the obvious question, Boris explained, “Not quite a ‘fro, but he had a good amount of hair,” a reference to Said’s trademark bushy-hair afro look. Said added, “Mother (Deanne Gray) and son are doing great.” Along with competing in this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, Said will also compete in the Feb. 7th Budweiser Shootout, driving the #01 U.S. Army/MB2 Chevrolet. Said earned the invitation as a result of qualifying on the pole in the Army car at last year’s NASCAR Cup road race in Sonoma. The Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway will be Said’s first NASCAR superspeedway race.(US Army PR)(1-28-2004)
  • Goody’s Re-Ups with NASCAR: Goody’s Headache Powder and NASCAR announced the renewal of Goody’s status as the “Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR” – a title it has held for the past 27 years. Of NASCAR’s current 2004 official sponsor roster, Goody’s Headache Powder is the longest serving, non-automotive sponsor of NASCAR. In addition to maintaining its status as the “Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR,” Goody’s will continue its long-running sponsorship of the the Goody’s “Extra Strength Award” presented to the highest-finishing eligible driver in the NASCAR Busch Series as well as the Goody’s “Headache Award” presented during MRN race broadcasts to the driver/team who experiences the biggest “headache” as a result of the day’s racing activities in the NASCAR Busch Series.
    Beginning this year, Goody’s will also present the “Goody’s Fast Relief Zone” at selected tracks on the NASCAR circuit, offering fans an interactive and engaging respite. The Goody’s Fast Relief Zone will feature free Goody’s samples, chilled water, portable misters on hot days, racing-themed activities, and games where fans can win prizes such as a chance to climb in a race car and drive around the track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
    The Goody’s Relief Zone will be available at ten events this season at the following five venues: Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 13 & 14, October 30 & 31), Bristol Motor Speedway (March 27 & 28, August 27 & 28), Lowe’s Motor Speedway (May 21 & 22, May 29 & 30, October 15 & 16), Texas Motor Speedway (April 3 & 4) and Richmond International Raceway (May 14 & 15, September 10 & 11).
    In addition to its 27-year history with NASCAR, Goody’s is also the official pain reliever of Petty Enterprises. Goody’s announced in October 2003 that Richard Petty had signed on for another two years to continue as the brand’s spokesperson. Richard Petty, who personally uses Goody’s, has been the face of the product for nearly 25 years. Petty will once again appear in electronic and print advertising, point-of-sale and instore materials and direct mail pieces. He will also sign autographs in the Goody’s Fast Relief Zone at selected events.
    In 2004, Goody’s will share title sponsorship with NASCAR for the “Fun Walk On Track for Charity” at three Speedway Motorsports tracks, Bristol, Texas and Lowes Motorspeedways. Proceeds from the events will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities and the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC.(NASCAR PR)(1-28-2004)
  • 24 at Daytona Diecast: Action Performance is preparing to release a limited-edition series of specialty endurance racing collectible racing replicas. The cars will be reproductions of three of the cars in the Grand American Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway, which begins Saturday and runs for 24 hours. Action Performance will produce die-cast replicas of the #2, #4 and #09 Daytona Prototype race cars, all of which use the Chevrolet Crawford DP03 chassis. Action Performance normally specializes in NASCAR collectibles, and there will be familiar NASCAR drivers among the teams for each of the three cars. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart will be among the drivers of the #2 car, Jimmy Johnson will take turns behind the wheel of the #4 car and Robby Gordon is part of the #09 team.(Phoenix Business Journal)(1-28-2004)

    (1-27-2004)

  • Fans can visit Daytona, ISC websites To pledge “Laps for Victory Junction”: Fans who visit Daytona International Speedway and International Speedway Corporation’s websites during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, can make a difference for Kyle Petty and his Victory Junction Gang Camp. Competing in one of the most prestigious sports car races in the world, Petty hopes to raise money for the medical specialty camp with the help of motorsports fans that pledge “money per lap” as he competes in the season opener to the Rolex Sports Car Series at Daytona International Speedway. The 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will get underway on Saturday, Jan. 31, with the checkered flag falling on Sunday, Feb. 1. The donation form available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or www.iscmotorsports.com includes an amount pledged per lap for the #45 Gunnar Racing team of Petty, Gunnar Jeannette, Paul Newman and Michael Brockman.(DIS PR)(1-27-2004)
  • Wimmer crashes at Las Vegas during testing, but has been checked out by the medical staff and is OK.(1-27-2004)
  • USG to Continue Partnerships with NASCAR, MB2/MBV Motorsports: USG Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building materials, including the industry leading Sheetrock Brand, announced it will continue its partnership affiliations with NASCAR and MB2/MBV Motorsports. The 2004 sponsorship programs that USG Sheetrock Brand will be actively involved in are as follows:
    * Primary, Associate Sponsorships with MB2/MBV Motorsports
    Along with being a season-long major associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army/MB2 Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek, USG Sheetrock Brand will also be the team’s primary sponsor at four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in 2004 — Las Vegas (March 7), Chicago (July 11), New Hampshire (Sept. 19) and Darlington (Nov. 14).
    USG will also carry a season-long associate sponsorship with MB2’s teammate, the #10 Valvoline/MBV Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs in 2004.
    * NASCAR Promotional Partner
    * USG Person of the Year
    The award is designed to honor NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year award, the program will be divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track charitable efforts. A group of panelists will select one of the quarterly finalists as the USG Person of the Year. The award will be presented in New York during the week of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet.
    * USG Driver of the Race
    At each NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points race, the driver displaying the USG contingency decal on their car who has the best finishing position will win the cash award. The award will be split between the driver and the driver’s selected charities.
    * NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series USG Night at the Races
    USG will sponsor “USG Night at the Races” at 26 local race tracks that are part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The events are intended to provide USG customers an opportunity to enjoy an evening of stock car racing.
    USG Corporation, based in Chicago, is a Fortune 500 company with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their key product groups: gypsum wallboard, joint compound and related gypsum products; cement board; gypsum fiber panels; ceiling panels and grid; and building products distribution. For more information about USG Corporation, visit the USG home page at www.usg.com.(PR)(1-27-2004)
  • More on the ‘Hand Signals: NASCAR on Monday unveiled the penalties its officials will use hand signals to call during races in its top three series – Nextel Cup, Busch and Trucks – this season. Last week during the annual media tour in Charlotte, NASCAR President Mike Helton announced pit-road officials would use hand signals to indicate when teams committed one of the five most common infractions. Monday, NASCAR announced those penalties:
    pitting out of the box
    non-compliant refueling
    too many crew members over the wall
    crew members over the wall too soon and
    improper removing of equipment.
    The officials also will have signals for the category of penalty (driver, team, equipment) and severity of the penalty (15 seconds, one lap, pass-through, end of the longest line and stop-and-go).
    Until now, all communications between NASCAR and its officials have been by two-way radio. The communications between officials and teams have mostly been verbal.
    “The idea is to utilize the hand signals to convey quicker what is going on on pit road,” Helton said. Demonstrations of the hand signals are expected during the Feb. 5 Media Day at Daytona prior to Speedweeks.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-27-2004)
  • Kyle Retiring Sometime in 2004? Hmiel to drive #45? UPDATE 2 Denied: At some point this season, for the first time in the history of NASCAR there will not be a Petty in the roster of drivers. Shane Hmiel is in line to replace Kyle Petty in the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge. Petty would remain CEO of Petty Enterprises. “It’s really not going to affect anyone but us,” said seven-time champion Richard Petty, Kyle’s father. “But it will be a family thing because we won’t have anyone out there. We might have to adopt someone.” Hmiel could be reinstated to compete in NASCAR as early as this week and be ready to race as early as Daytona. After failing a drug test last fall following the Busch race at Richmond, Hmiel, 23, was suspended from racing in NASCAR events. Gary Smith, NASCAR’s director of event logistics, said last week that Hmiel has been involved in a rehabilitation program administered by an independent agency and is doing well.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-26-2004)
    UPDATE: being told by Petty sources that this is not true and Petty plans to run the full 2004 season, Hmiel could run a few select races in the #44. No idea what the plan is for Christian Fittipaldi in 2004.(1-26-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Contrary to a unconfirmed Internet report, Kyle Petty has no plans to retire in 2004, a source close to Petty Enterprises said. The report said that some time during the 2004 season, Petty would be replaced by Shane Hmiel in the #45 Dodge. Hmiel is currently undergoing a NASCAR-mandated program to gain reinstatement to the sport after being suspended last year for an undisclosed substance violation. Hmiel attempted to qualify in a Petty [#43] car last year in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona but was too slow to make the field. The report that Hmiel would replace Petty, however, is “not true at all,” a source said.
    “(It) was never checked with anyone at Petty Enterprises and had the quotes taken out of context,” the source said. “Richard (Petty) was asked, as he has been more than once over the past few years, of the day that would sometime come when there would not be a Petty driving at Petty Enterprises, and this was not in any way a reaction to this ‘story.’ But the quotes were placed to make it look as if it were.” Petty has been in NASCAR since 1979, competing in 678 races, making him ninth on that all-time list. He hasn’t won since 1995, however, as Petty Enterprises has struggled in recent years. Petty has taken on the role of car owner, running the two-car team out of the famed Level Cross, N.C. shops. But retirement as a driver? A “baseless” claim, a source said.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(1-26-2004)
    UPDATE 3: been told there are no plans to run Hmiel in a Petty car in 2004, plans are still to run Christian Fittipaldi in some races, depending on sponosrship in the #44 Dodge.(1-27-2004)
  • Kyle Petty runs in the Las Vegas marathon: this is a few days old and have not seen results, but Kyle Petty was scheduled to run a marathon in Las Vegas: Kyle Petty, 43, will be wearing bib #5001 as he takes part in Sunday’s [1/25] Las Vegas Marathon, half-marathon race. Petty is mixing business with pleasure by combining a Tuesday practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a spot in the 6,500-person marathon field.(from Friday at the Las Vegas Sun)
    No word on where Petty finished but the half marathon was won by Jason Warick of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 1:07:31.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-26-2004)
    UPDATE: Petty finished 163rd in his division with a time of 2:09:41; see results at www.lvmarathon.com AND see a column at the Las Vegas Sun: Despite ‘pit stops,’ Petty happy with his Vegas run(1-27-2004)
  • Some Notes/Speeds on Las Vegas Testing – Day 1: #45-Kyle Petty said that a weekend snowstorm prevented many of #43-Jeff Green’s crew from getting out of the Charlotte, NC. area in time to take part in today’s test at LVMS. Petty said he would test today and Tuesday and it was likely that Green would test Tuesday and Wednesday.(Las Vegas Sun)
    AND The first day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas gave 18-year old Las Vegan Kyle Busch his first laps in a NASCAR Nextel Cup car at his hometown track. Busch is set to make his Nextel Cup Series debut in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7. The younger brother of NASCAR star Kurt Busch also will compete in the March 6 Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. Monday, Busch joined nine other Nextel Cup teams and five Busch Series teams taking part in the open test session.
    At day’s end, Busch was unofficially listed second among the Nextel Cup cars with a best lap of 31.82 seconds and 169.447mph. Though no official speeds were kept, #19-Jeremy Mayfield had the fastest known time of 31.70 seconds and 170.347 miles per hour. In addition to Busch and Mayfield, Nextel Cup drivers #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Robby Gordon, #30-Johnny Sauter, #9-Kasey Kahne, #49-Ken Schrader, #45-Kyle Petty, #43-Jeff Green [guess the car and team made it ok?] and #4-Kevin Lepage participated in the test.
    Six NASCAR Busch Series teams tested Monday as well. Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Matt Kenseth tested his Busch car along with Michael Waltrip, Ron Hornaday, Mark MacFarland, Eric McClure and David Reutimann. There were no incidents on track during the test. NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas will continue through Thursday. On Tuesday, 17 more teams including Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers, Gibbs drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte and Ganassi drivers Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray will join the test. Testing is open to the public free of charge.(LVMS PR)(1-27-2004)


    (1-26-2004)

  • Kerry Earnhardt to run five Cup races for RCR in the #33 UPDATE 2 Skinner in the Daytona 500?:– Kerry Earnhardt will compete in five NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races in 2004 for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in the #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy. Earnhardt, 34, is the eldest son of Dale Earnhardt who, with RCR, earned 67 race wins and six of his seven NASCAR Cup Series championships. He is scheduled to compete April 25 at Talladega, May 22 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord for the NASCAR All-Star Challenge, July 3 at Daytona, Oct. 3 at Talladega and Atlanta on Oct. 31 [Halloween]. Earnhardt has one Nextel Cup start, driving the #71 Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet at Michigan on Aug. 20, 2000. He also has 65 NASCAR Busch Series starts since 2000, earning two top-five and five top-10 finishes. In 11 starts over two seasons (2000-01) in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, he had four wins, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes. RCR and Bass Pro Shops have maintained a relationship since 1998, when the nation’s leading retailer of premium outdoor gear signed on as an associate sponsor of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. That same year, Dale Earnhardt drove a Bass Pro Shop paint-schemed car in The Winston at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(RCR PR)
    AND Earnhardt will attempt to make the starting field for the Daytona 500.(Gaston Gazette)(1-22-2004)
    UPDATE: been told by RCR there are no plans for Earnhardt to run the Daytona 500.(1-23-2004)
    UPDATE 2: from a FoxSports column – The color black is part of Bass Pro Shops sponsorship package for the five Nextel Cup races that they plan to do. In fact, I [Larry McReynolds] think Mike Skinner is going to drive the #33 car in the Daytona 500, but I think it’s going to be an AOL car.(FoxSports)(1-26-2004)
  • Dale Jr. ATV Deal: Polaris ATVs has announced the signing of Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a personal services agreement that will see him represent Polaris ATVs in a variety of promotions and have his signature on a new special-edition vehicle. The special Predator model will feature a red and black chassis, Earnhardt Jr.’s signature and the No. 8 on each rear fender. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.(NASCAR Scene need sub to read online)(1-26-2004)
  • Special Scheme for Newman at select race and a CONTEST: A long-time supporter of NASCAR racing, ExxonMobil is marking its 14th season in 2004 as a major sponsor of Penske Racing with veteran driver Rusty Wallace and NASCAR 2003 Speed Channel American Driver of the Year Ryan Newman. The Mobil 1 brand will be featured on the hood of Newman’s #12 Dodge during five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2004: the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, and the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway(TRPR).
    CONEST: Mobil 1 Gives NASCAR Fans A Million Reasons To Get Into the Action in ‘04: Mobil 1, the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR” and the world’s most popular synthetic motor oil, is launching Mobil 1 Million — a consumer promotion where one lucky fan can win a total of $1 million by predicting the winners of all 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2004. The promotion, which splits the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series into four quarters, with nine races in each quarter, provides consumers with a chance to win $250,000 per quarter. If a consumer correctly picks all of the winning drivers, that person could win $1 Million. Also, the top two performers in each quarter will win VIP trips-for-two to a 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race of their choice. For more info on this contest and deallines…..plus a few other contests, see my Racing Contests page.(1-26-2004)
  • Miller leaving the #2? NO and UPDATE: heard a rumor earlier on Thursday that Miller Lite would be leaving as the sponsor of the #2 Penske Racing Dodge and driver Rusty Wallace [Wallace also has a long term personal services contract with Miller]. After some checking around, found out that Penske Racing, Wallace and Miller are close to signing a two year extension and it is all but a done deal.(10-24-2003)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace recently signed a two-year extension with Miller that will cover him until the end of the 2005 season, when he is expected to retire from Nextel Cup.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-26-2004)
  • NASCAR Looking at Europe? Brian France has been looking at Europe as a possible market for NASCAR, not Nextel Cup races but perhaps a NASCAR-branded series, to help pump up TV ratings over there.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-26-2004)
  • Template Engine? Expect to see a common-template engine from NASCAR before the end of this season, Hendrick Motorsports head engineer Randy Dorton says. Plans that could lead to common engines in Nextel Cup for 2005 are being discussed.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-26-2004)
  • The Latest on Ford and Kahne: Kasey Kahne’s immediate future is still the subject of speculation, with Ford officials mum about what they might do. Kahne had a contract with Ford but has jumped to [the #9] Dodge and Ray Evernham. “I try to stay out of that,” Evernham says. “Kasey has honored his commitments (to Ford). His attorneys have told me they’ve honored their commitments. And we’ve kind of put that behind us and we’re looking ahead now. I can only tell you what I’ve been told by Kasey and his attorneys.”(Winston Salem Journal)(1-26-2004)
  • Testing at Vegas Jan 26-29th: More than 50 Cup [NNC] and Busch [NBS] teams are expected to descend on LVMS on Jan. 26-29 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to experiment with the new tires, spoilers and body designs that will go into effect in the coming season. It’s the first open test for teams on an intermediate (1.5-mile) speedway. In past years, many race teams have used NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas as both a chance to tune their cars as well as a final getaway for their crews before the long grind of a 36-race season gets under way. But this year, thanks to new NASCAR rules, it will be all business in preparation for the March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and March 6 Sam’s Town 300.
    NASCAR and Goodyear have developed a new, softer tire compound that is untested on any track other than Daytona, which employs restrictor plates, unlike all other speedways other than Talladega. NASCAR also has implemented new body styles and spoiler angles for all makes. These changes are some of the most dramatic in the sport’s history. Tickets for the NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas are available by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com.
    Here is a complete listing of teams currently scheduled to test:
    Monday, Jan. 26-Tuesday, Jan.27
    NNC – #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #4-Kevin Lepage, #49-Ken Schrader, #84-Kyle Busch, #29-Kevin Harvick, #30-Johnny Sauter, #31-Robby Gordon, #45-Kyle Petty, #43-Jeff Green.
    NBS – #?-David Reutimann, #9-Matt Kenseth, #2-Ron Hornaday, #6-Paul Wolfe, #6-Mark McFarland, #99-Michael Waltrip
    Tuesday, Jan. 27-Wednesday, Jan. 28
    NNC – #0-Ward Burton, #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers, #32-Ricky Craven, #18-Bobby Labonte, #20-Tony Stewart, #10-Scott Riggs, #01-Joe Nemechek, #22-Scott Wimmer.
    NBS – #00-Jason Leffler, #18-J.J. Yeley, #20-Mike Bliss, #14-Casey Atwood, #12-Tim Fedewa, #37-David Green, #22-Jason Keller.
    Wednesday, Jan. 28-Thursday, Jan. 29
    NNC – #88-Dale Jarrett, #2-Rusty Wallace, #97-Kurt Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #17-Matt Kenseth, #16-Greg Biffle, #91-Bill Elliott, #21-Ricky Rudd, #38-Elliott Sadler, #77-Brendan Gaughan.
    NBS – #46-Ashton Lewis Jr., #47-Robert Pressley, #66-Billy Parker, #27-Johnny Sauter, #?-Jamie McMurray, #5-Kyle Busch.
    Dates TBA
    NBS – #8-Martin Truex Jr..(See full PR and quotes on my Las Vegas Motor Speedway page or at the (LVMS site)(1-12/26-2004)

 


(1-25-2004)

 

  • #4 Close to a sponsor: [#4 Team Owner] Larry McClure says he has received a deposit from a new sponsor, and hopes to announce the sponsor soon. The team owner has reached a verbal agreements with Kevin Lepage to drive the #4 Chevy this season. Tim Brewer will serve as Lepage’s crew chief and the team manager.”(NASCAR Scene need sub to read online)(1-25-2004)
  • Robby Gordon signs to drive in 24 At Daytona: It’s official, the Spirit of Daytona team grew by one more really hot shoe Saturday as Nextel Cup driver Robby Gordon was added to the team’s roster for Saturday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. Gordon joins Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty and Jimmie Johnson in the temporary leap from NASCAR to open-wheel racing for the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 endurance event at Daytona International Speedway. With five top-10 and four top-five overall finishes in the five Rolex 24 events in which he has participated, Gordon has demonstrated an ability to drive in a race that calls as much upon a driver’s finesse as it does shear speed. Gordon will team with the Spirit’s regular driving duo of Goad and IRL veteran Gregoire (greg-WAH) in a Crawford DP03 Daytona Prototype.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-25-2004)
  • Harvick Paint News: Kevin Harvick is scheduled to run a #29 Ice Breakers Liquid Ice Chevy at Texas, the new mint item is billed as the future of instant breath freshening.(1-25-2004)
  • Harivick to Snap On in the Challenge: #29-Kevin Harvick scheduled to run at the new Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowes Motor Speedway – May 22 – with a Snap-On scheme.(1-25-2004)
  • Another Skinner: 18 year old Dustin Skinner, son of 1995 Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Skinner, tested for the first time in a David Watson-owned Toyota Dash Series Car on Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway. “I’m excited about it,” Dustin said of his chance to go superspeedway racing in the Dash series, which earlier last year was on hardly anything more than on life support in the wake of NASCAR’s decision to cut it loose. I appreciate the opportunity that David Watson gave me here.” After using Friday for technical inspections, the garage area slowly filled to nearly 30 teams by Saturday morning and Dustin was heading for pit road exit as soon as he could when the track opened for practice. Dustin will return for his first superspeedway race Feb. 8, the IPower Dash 150, after Nextel Cup pole qualifying.(DaytonaBeach News Journal)(1-25-2004)

    (1-24-2004)

  • Newman finishes testing at California: #12 Ryan Newman and his ALLTEL Dodge team completed a two-day test at California Speedway January 21-22. Through qualifying and longer runs the team took 285 laps around the two-mile, D-shaped oval with the quickest lap registering in at 39.55 sec. (182.28 mph). Newman hold’s the pole speed record of 187.432 mph (38.414 sec.) set on April 26, 2002 at the superspeedway. He’ll return to defend his record and take on the 43 other drivers on their way to Gatorade Victory Lane on May 2 for the Auto Club 500 and September 5 for the “Finish Under the Lights” Pop Secret 500. For tickets or information on these events log onto www.californiaspeedway.com or call 800-944-RACE (7223).(Calirfornia Speedway PR)(1-24-2004)
  • Busch to have co-sponsors in 2004: Roush Racing announced that Sharpie Markers and IRWIN Industrial Tools will be “co-primary” sponsors of the No. 97 Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Both Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools are brands of Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL), which has been a supporter of the team since 2001. Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools will split time on the car throughout the season. The new black and metallic colors of Sharpie will adorn the car for 18 of the season’s 36 races, beginning in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 15. The blue and yellow IRWIN Industrial Tools car will compete in 18 events, beginning at North Carolina Speedway on Feb. 22. IRWIN will also sponsor the car in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge event in May.(Roush Racing PR) See images of the cars on my #97 Paint Scheme Page; and the Sponsor Race Schedule for the team on my #97 Team News and Links page.(1-24-2004)
  • Oscar Meyer at Daytona: For the third year in a row Roush Racing’s #6-Mark Martin will run a special Kraft Foods paint scheme in the Budweiser Shootout. Martin will make a record 16th straight start in the all-star event. For the second straight year, the Shootout is slated as a night race and will be run on the evening of Feb. 7, 2003. “The shootout is always a fun event,” said Martin. “We’ll be driving the Oscar Mayer/Team Kraft car again this year and it’s always fun for the fans to run different paint schemes and stuff. As for the race you just never know in the Shootout. Basically you go out and look to win an event like the Shootout. Last year we gambled a bit to get up front and in the end it didn’t pay off. But the bottom line is that second place is no better than 17 or 18 in the Shootout, so it’s not uncommon to see teams go for it all. This year we are going to go out and try and win it again like we did in ’99. Hopefully we can have those type of results. You just never know in that race.” Martin, who has 41 career Nextel Cup poles, did not capture a pole in 2003, but will start his 17th Shootout on a past champions provisional via his 1999 victory in the all-star event.(Roush Racing PR)(1-24-2004)

    (1-23-2004)

  • Hand Signals on Pit Road: NASCAR officials calling pit road penalties have received their share of what might euphemistically be called “hand signals” flashed their way before. In 2004, those officials will have some signals of their own to dish out. NASCAR president Mike Helton said Thursday that a new group of five signals have been devised to indicate the types of pit-road rules violations being called on teams in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck series in 2003. Helton did not detail which violations would be indicated by the new signals – and declined an offer of $20 if he’d demonstrate them himself. He said they would demonstrated to the media during Speedweeks in Daytona prior. Common pit road infractions in NASCAR races involve speeding on or off pit road, cars stopping outside the marked boundaries of their pit stall, cars inadvertently taking equipment – fuel or fuel catch cans or wrenches, for instance – with them as they leave their pit boxes, running over air hoses, too many men going over the wall and allowing tires to roll across pit road.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-23-2004)
  • NASCAR to Hire EMT: NASCAR president Mike Helton Helton said at Thursday’s session at the NASCAR research and development center in Concord that the sport will hire an emergency medical technician to travel from race to race and ride in a chase vehicle that’s designed to be among the first on the scene in the case of a crash where a driver might be injured. The EMT’s role, Helton said, will not be to supervise the medical care given to an injured driver – that would be the job of doctors and other medical personnel from each track’s medical staff. “An addition of an EMT to our staff is to help NASCAR provide direction and supervision over the standards and the requirements that we ask the tracks for,” Helton said. “Also it provides a familiar face, if you will, in addition to other familiar faces that we’ll use in chase vehicles or pace cars or in different situations so that the competitors to see and to feel that they have someone that they recognize that they can communicate with.”(ThatsRacin.com)(1-23-2004)
  • Hmiel Could be Reinstated this year: Shane Hmiel. The Busch series driver, who was suspended indefinitely in September for an undisclosed violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, has been in a treatment program and likely will be reinstated this year.(USA Today)(1-23-2004)
  • Restrictor plates news: Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition, says he’d like to get rid of the plates, which officials use to control speeds at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, but NASCAR has yet to find an alternative. The plates reduce engine horsepower by slowing down air as it flows into an engine. The cars end up racing in large, tight packs at Talladega and Daytona — thrilling for fans, but just short of terrifying for drivers. “I’m still trying, but we haven’t found anything better,” Nelson said. The plates also lead to conspiracy theories in the garage; some teams believe NASCAR officials show favoritism in handing out less-restrictive plates to their rivals. Nelson says the officials take the responsibility of making all the plates equal “very seriously.”(USA Today)(1-23-2004)
  • Gordon, Pepsi and a Billion: #24-Jeff Gordon and Pepsi Team up again to bring the Pepsi “Billion” car back to the track at the July 3rd, 2004 Pepsi 400 in Daytona.(1-23-2004)
  • NBC Plans High-Definition Broadcast of 500: NBC Sports says it will broadcast the season-opening Busch Series and Nextel Cup races at Daytona International Speedway in the high-definition format for the first time. Both the Feb. 14 Hershey’s Kisses 300 Busch race and the Feb. 15 Daytona 500 Cup race will be available via affiliate stations that broadcast to homes with digital televisions capable of receiving the high-definition signals. NBC says it has 115 digital television affiliates, reaching approximately 83 percent of U.S. digital television households.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-23-2004)

    (1-22-2004)

  • Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Award Winners: The five journalists honored Wednesday night during the 19th annual presentation of the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin included a writer for the prestigious The Washington Post and a freelance motorsports photographer from Honolulu who captured his winning image at Hawaii Motor Speedway. The Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize outstanding motorsports coverage in five categories while honoring the memory of Russ Catlin, a motorsports journalism pioneer. A record number of entries in three of the five categories were submitted to the Indiana University School of Journalism where faculty members selected the winners. Each of the winners received a plaque and a Rolex watch from Miller Lite NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Rusty Wallace following a dinner at the Rusty Wallace Inc. facility in Mooresville, N.C. The event was part of the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour’s annual visit with Penske Racing South drivers and team officials.
    The 2003 Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin winners:
    Print – Daily
    Liz Clarke – The Washington Post; Entry: “The Old Coach Builds on His Track Record”
    Print – Other
    Godwin Kelly – Racing Milestones; Entry: “One Track Mind”
    Broadcast – National
    Rob Nelson – SPEED Channel; Entry: “Heroes of Indy”
    Broadcast – Local
    Chuck Howard – WCNC-TV; Entry: “Lyndon Amick – Racing for America
    Photojournalism:
    Earl Ma – National Speed Sport News; Entry: “Hot Seat”
    “When the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence started, a majority of the entries came strictly from motorsports journalists in the Southeast,” noted Scott Bussen, marketing communications manager for Miller Brewing Co. “The fact that this year’s winners include a staff writer for The Washington Post and a photojournalist from Hawaii clearly shows how media coverage of motorsports has changed through the years. Miller Brewing Co. is proud to continue its support of these awards that not only recognize the achievements of today’s journalists, but honor the memory and accomplishments of Russ Catlin.”(TRPR)(1-22-2004)
  • Kelloggs Re-Ups with Hendrick Motorsports: Hendrick Motorsports and Kellogg Company have extended one of stock-car racing’s most enduring relationships, today announcing a multi-year agreement that secures the Michigan-based cereal maker as primary sponsor of the #5 Chevy’s in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Back behind the wheel of the Kellogg’s Chevrolets in 2004 will be two-time Cup Series champion Terry Labonte, who also has signed a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports. Labonte and Kellogg’s debuted with the #5 team in 1994, two years before winning the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Series title together. “We’re excited about extending our longstanding relationship with both Kellogg’s and Terry Labonte,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “This team is capable of great things, so we’re all looking forward to seeing what happens when the season begins next month.” Entering its 15th year as a NASCAR team sponsor, Kellogg’s has been an Official Status Partner with the sanctioning body since 1995 and is the “Official Breakfast Food of NASCAR.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-22-2004)
  • Petree selling Cup stuff; concentrating on Busch: Over the next five days, Andy Petree is going to finally empty some space in his shop complex outside Asheville, N.C., via a comprehensive auction to clear out a huge inventory of Nextel Cup racing equipment. “We’ve never had a sale in the eight years I’ve owned the team,” Petree said. “And we’ve got tons of stuff, just everywhere, so we’re getting rid of all of the Winston Cup stuff.” Petree, who will race the full Busch Series schedule for the first time this season, using #33 Menards Chevrolets for promising driver Paul Menard, is selling at auction some 20 cars in various states of assembly. He also has about 20 engines — from fresh to broken — and countless spare parts and equipments. “We’re selling all of our Winston Cup stuff because we’ve kind of changed the way we’re doing our deal, this year,” Petree said. “We’re running all Busch cars, which we didn’t have that many of, so we’re having to build all new cars and all new engines. There really wasn’t any sense in keeping all that Winston Cup stuff around. We had enough stuff lying around to do two Winston Cup teams and a Busch team — and now we’re just a full-time Busch team. It didn’t make much sense to have, I think 185 gear sets in the shop; when 60 will do you plenty (so) we’re just getting rid of a lot of stuff we don’t need that’s taking up space and resources.”(NASCAR.com)(1-22-2004)
  • Congrats: Congratulations to Lisa Shealy, team Public Relations Director for Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 Nextel Cup Series Chevrolet, and Chuck Hawke, Visiting Clubhouse Manager for the Kansas City Royals MLB team, on their recent engagement. December 2004 wedding is planned. Shealy starts her 14th year in NASCAR and sixth year with Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Hawke has been with the Royals for 13 years.(1-22-2004)
  • Testing at The Rock: North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham says two Nextel Cup teams have tests scheduled today. Rookie Brian Vickers was scheduled to test Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 25 Chevrolet, and Jeff Green was expected to test Petty Enterprises’ No. 43 Dodge. Busch Series driver Eddie Beahr was also scheduled to test the No. 90 Dodge.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-22-2004)

    (1-21-2004)

  • Elliott has a new title: Bill Elliott, who plans to run 5-15 races this year, was officially dubbed “competition director” by owner Ray Evernham for the teams of Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne.(Gaston Gazette)(1-21-2004)
  • Bruton would like costs cut: Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., remains convinced that cutting costs will be the key to stock-car racing’s future. “The one thing I’d be impressed with would be if NASCAR could cut the cost,” he said. “Until they cut the cost, I’m not very impressed. As far as changing the points, that doesn’t mean a thing to me because it’s not helping to cut the cost. One thing that will help our attendance for the October race (in Charlotte) will be if they cut the speeds, so we can have a full field of cars. Now we see a lot of guys pull in after 10 or 15 laps and say they blew up or something. When you look at somebody like Jeff Burton that doesn’t have a sponsor, it’s a concern because we’re going to see a lot more of it.”(The State)(1-21-2004)
  • Didja Know? If the “Chase for the Championship” had been in place over the last five seasons, four Winston Cup champions would not have finished first. If we apply the new formula based purely on the drivers’ performances over the final 10 races, we find that Jimmie Johnson would have won instead of Kenseth in 2003; Kurt Busch instead of Tony Stewart in 2002; Sterling Marlin instead of Jeff Gordon in 2001; and Bobby Labonte instead of Dale Jarrett in 1999. Only Labonte would have survived the change in retaining his crown in 2000.(Philadelphia Inquirer)(1-21-2004)
  • Reporter OK: During the announcement of the new plan, at the NASCAR research-and-development center in Concord, a television reporter covering the event collapsed, apparently as a result of a seizure. Among those attending to him was NASCAR vice president Paul Brooks, a onetime paramedic.(Gaston Gazette), Speed Channel reported the reporter as being OK and leaving under their own power.(1-21-2004)
  • Points pioneer Latford honored by NMPA: NASCAR historian Bob Latford, who developed the point system used by NASCAR to determine champions from 1975 through 2003, has been named the 2003 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award. The award, determined by the voting membership of the NMPA, recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. “He was one of the true pioneers in our sport and a good friend,” Jim Hunter, vice president of corporate communications for NASCAR, said. “A great statistician, historian and a true friend to the media. “He was always trying to help the media with ideas, providing facts and figures to generate a story. It’s a shame that many members of today’s media didn’t know Bob in his heyday.”(ThatsRacin.com)(1-21-2004)
  • Sporting News Preview: Sporting News The Premiere Edition of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Preview is a 224-page guide to the upcoming racing season. There are expert Scouting Reports on every driver and every track. Plus, FOX racing commentators Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond provide insight, and star drivers describe the fastest way around every track. You also get the Sporting News’ exclusive driver rankings, a guide to the key issues and trends for the upcoming season and schedules for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. By the way, you’ll never guess who we’re picking to win the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.(Sporting News)(1-21-2004
  • NASCAR Preview Mag: Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick; Jeff Gordon; Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman; each grace the cover of Athlon’s Racing magazine which provides a comprehensive preview of the 2004 NASCAR season. Athlon Racing profiles and ranks the top 40 drivers, details each track on the Nextel Cup circuit and has an informative Drivers Forum where the stars of the sport speak out on various issues. This magazine is a must as fans gear up for Daytona and another exciting season of racing. More info at the www.athloncollectibles.com site.(1-21-2004)

    (1-20-2004)

  • MB2/MBV Racing Owners Sell: Atlanta banker Tom Beard and attorney Read Morton have sold their interests in the MB2 and MBV teams to Chattanooga businessman Nelson Bowers. Bowers now owns the #01 U.S. Army team [Joe Nemechek/Jerry Nadeau] outright, and he and Valvoline each own half of the #10 Valvoline team [Scott Riggs]. Beard said the three remain friends and simply decided that the teams would be better off with a single owner. “You can’t run a race team by committee, especially when we live in different cities,” Beard said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-20-2004)
  • Nadeau Still Healing: Jerry Nadeau still is healing from a head injury sustained in a May 2 wreck at Richmond International Raceway and hasn’t set a timetable for returning. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to get in a car this year,” he said yesterday. “In the last nine months, I’ve realized there is life besides racing. If I don’t race again, at least I can say that I did it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch and see another column at the Winston Salem Journal) and see past info on Jerry and the injury/recovery on my #01 Jerry Nadeau page.(1-20-2004)

    Jerry Nadeau and a fan at Motorsports 2004 in Ft. Washington, PA
    Thanks to Jim Garrahan Photo for the image

  • Waltip and the Simpsons [a Jayski fave]: The Simpsons are celebration it’s 15th consecutive season on Fox. There will be a maximum of three Cup schemes, one Busch [#99 Michael Waltrip] and an event diecast. The schemes are scheduled to run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 29th & 30th.(1-20-2004)
  • Guard and Reserve Busch Grand National cars schemes: The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a government-funded program that enlists the support of America’s corporations to procure employment of American military service men and women. The ESGR will sponsor 5 Busch races, with Richard Childress in an attempt to create awareness and to promote the 5 Freedom Award recipients selected in 2003. Here are 3 of the drivers that are available for preorder. All cars will be #29, so far three drivers:
    Tony Stewart Coast Guard scheme to be run at Homestead in November
    Bobby Labonte Army scheme to be run at Texas in April
    Jimmie Johnson Marines scheme to be run at California in May.(1-20-2004)
  • Gordon goes Retro for the Challenge: Since Retro is in, Hendricks Motorsports and DuPont are returning to the rainbow scheme for the Nextel All-Star Challenge race weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May for #24-Jeff Gordon.(1-20-2004)
  • #48 Johnson Power of Pride Once again Lowe’s will be celebrating patriotism when they roll out the #48 Power of Pride at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May with driver Jimmie Johnson.(1-20-2004)
  • EMP becomes an assoc sponsor for the #25: Hendrick Motorsports announced a multi-year agreement that will feature Engineered Machined Products Inc. (EMP), the world leader in automotive thermal cooling and oil management systems, as an associate sponsor of the #25 Chevrolets driven by Brian Vickers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. “EMP has already enjoyed a successful association with Brian and we’re delighted they’ve chosen to continue that relationship by joining the #25 team,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re looking forward to many years of partnership.” EMP began its relationship with Vickers in 2001 as a primary sponsor in the USAR ProCup Series and continued into the following year on the driver’s NASCAR Busch Series entry.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-20-2004)
  • #57 Switches to Chevy and to #75: The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns for their season opening event at Daytona International Speedway for the 41st annual Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 on February 7, the same-night as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Bud Shootout. The race will be covered live on SPEED Channel at 4 pm eastern, Saturday, February 7. Team CLR Racing will be there with driver Shane Hmiel. #57 Team CLR has been busy in the shop since testing with Shane in mid December. Since testing the team has cut the body off of their new 2004 Ford and have turned it into a 2004 Chevy. Shane’s seats have been installed in the cars and final tweaking of the body is being done before the cars head to the paint shop. Chevy power will be under the hood for the first time for Team CLR and the power is being provided by Dale Earnhardt Inc. Another new look for Team CLR at Daytona for the ARCA race will be that they will run with #75 on the door. With DEI Power under the hood and the body hung by some of the best body hangers in NASCAR. Team CLR is looking forward to an exciting trip to Daytona. Team CLR plans on running selected ARCA and Nextel Cup races in 2004. They also hope to participate in some form or another in the Busch series. Many of their plans are dependant upon securing sponsorship.(OTWRacing.com)(1-20-2004)
  • Congrats: Richmond [VA] TV and radio broadcasters Joe and Ruth Kelly won first, second and third place in the TV spot news category during the National Motorsports Press Association’s annual awards banquet. The Kellys have won 10 national awards in TV and 10 in radio.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-20-2004)
  • Congrats II: NASCAR president Mike Helton was on hand for the ceremony Monday during which the red Winston Cup sign at the main entrance was replaced by a bright-yellow Nextel Cup sign at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and was displaying the results of his decision to go on the Atkins diet. “I’ve lost 75 pounds,” Helton said. “I’ve got 15 to go.” The svelte Helton was asked whether he has also been running. “I only run when I’m being chased,” he replied.(KC Star), Jayski lost 30 doing a similar diet…lost a lot of bad eating habits.(1-20-2004)
  • Sebring 2004 inductees: Sebring International Raceway’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee has announced its 2004 inductees. Sir Stirling Moss, Mario Andretti, Carroll Shelby, Bobby Rahal, Bob and Al Holbert, race official Ford Heacock Sr., and the legendary manufacturer Ferrari headline the prestigious list of inductees. Induction ceremonies take place Friday, March 19, the day before the 52nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, at the Chateau Elan Hotel and Spa overlooking the raceway’s famous Hairpin Turn. The Sebring Hall of Fame luncheon is a non-profit event that benefits the Sebring International Raceway Hall of Fame Museum fund.(Speed Channel)(1-20-2004)

    (1-19-2004)

  • TV Guide Rolls Out Third-Annual Full-Size Nascar Preview Magazine Hits Newsstands January 19
    Two Collectors’ Covers Feature Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick

       
    (click on image to see larger

    Following the enormous success of its first two NASCAR preview publications, TV Guide rolls out its third-annual full-size NASCAR season preview on January 19. TV Guide Auto Racing Yearbook features a pair of collectible covers, spotlighting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick, two of the most successful and popular names in the sport. The 96-page definitive guide for all NASCAR fans is an exciting full-color look at the upcoming season, filled with stirring photos, vital information [even a now out-dated story on provisionals by Jayski] and stories by the nation’s top motor sports journalists. TV Guide Auto Racing Yearbook also includes such bonus features as a full-size two-sided poster with overhead views of every Nextel Cup track on one side, and the coolest championship cars on the reverse; and a collectible “build-your-own” cutout version of Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 Chevy. In addition, through a special sweepstakes, fans can enter to win an all expense-paid trip for two to the Brickyard 400.
    On newsstands for its February 14th issue (on sale Monday, February 9th), TV Guide magazine will publish three different special effects lenticular NASCAR collector’s covers. Each cover features an alternating image of a top driver’s 2004 car, and another of his popular past paint schemes. The cool cars of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick are each featured on each of these special covers. See my Racing Bookstore page for the FULL release on the TV Guide Preview.(1-19-2004)

  • NMPA names Newman its driver of the year: Ryan Newman accepted the 2003 Richard Petty Driver of the Year award from the National Motorsports Press Association. Newman won eight races and 11 poles in 2003, statistics that led 68 percent of the NMPA members voting for the driver of the year award to choose him. Newman got 53 votes to 15 for Matt Kenseth, who won the Winston Cup title. Newman said Richard Petty is one of his heroes. “To have my name and his name on the same trophy is great for me,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-19-2004)
  • UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour this week: About 200 journalists from around the country began arriving in Charlotte over the weekend to take part in the 21st annual UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway this week. The preseason tour of race shops and sessions with NASCAR drivers officially begins Monday, with a session with executives from Nextel headlining the first day’s schedule.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-19-2004)
  • Sad News: Condolences to Larry and Ginny McClure of Morgan-McClure Motorsports [#4 Chevy] for the loss of her mother, Lilly Flanary, on Sunday, January 18, 2004. The team’s thoughts and prayers are with Larry, Ginny and her sister, Wilma Blevins, the team receptionist. A funeral will be held on Tuesday in Jonesville, VA.(1-19-2004)
  • SAFER at all tracks by 2005: NASCAR held safety meetings with drivers and crew chiefs during both Daytona testing sessions to update them on the latest advancements. NASCAR said it plans to have the SAFER barriers installed at every Nextel Cup track where they are recommended by the start of the 2005 season.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-19-2004)
  • Shorter Fields? Could NASCAR be looking at shortening the fields? Just 38 full-time teams showed up for Daytona testing. Decreasing the fields from 43 to 38 cars could be considered in the future.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-19-2004)

 


(1-18-2004)

 

  • Jack Roush Named First SKF X-Tracker Award Recipient: SKF has awarded its first X-Tracker Award for Extraordinary Achievement in the North American Automotive Industry to Jack Roush, Chief Executive Officer of Roush Industries and owner of the Roush Racing Team. The international award recognizes an individual who has achieved success in the face of extreme challenges or adversity. Jack Roush was selected as the first X-Tracker Award recipient due to his legendary success in the automotive and racing industries and his perseverance through his recovery from life-threatening injuries sustained in a 2002 airplane crash. More information about SKF is available at http://www.skf.com.(PRN Newswire/WPVI.com)(1-18-2004)

    (1-17-2004)

  • DW Book: Pre-Orders for signed copies of Darrell Waltrip’s autobiography, DW – A Lifetime of Going Around in Circles, are available Monday January 19th at www.DWStore.com. The book will be released nationwide on Monday Feb. 9th.(FoxSports) See past info about the book on my Racing Bookstore page.(1-17-2004)
  • Pit Crew Trainees/Drive for Diversity story: All they wanted was a chance, an equal opportunity to put their abilities and know-how on display. They got it courtesy of the motorsports scouting combine testing and evaluation branch of the Drive for Diversity program, a NASCAR-backed outlet designed at giving the industry at stock car racing’s premier level a more widespread demographic look. The Mooresville [NC] area in general played a direct hand in helping reach that goal, doing so specifically through the use of the local-based Five Off Five On race team performance and pit crew instruction and training facility situated in the Lakeside Park.(See full story at the Mooresville Tribune)(1-17-2004)
  • Gordon [Robby] plans to run the Indy 500: Robby Gordon said he has a program in place that will allow him to compete in the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, and he will announce details of that plan during the week of the Feb. 15 Daytona 500. It will be the third straight year he competes in the Indy race before flying to Concord, N.C., to compete in the 600-mile Cup race that night.(Las Vegas Journal Review)(1-17-2004)
  • Tracks Adding Sensors for Yellow Flag Rule: This season NASCAR hopes to clear the confusion of the “No racing to the caution” rule by using computerized scoring. According to NASCAR competition director John Darby, each Nextel cup track is currently being equipped with sensors that will quickly enable scorers to identify driver’s exact running position at the time of a caution. The system is a modified version of the loop that currently exists at the start-finish line of all tracks. Expanding upon that, tracks will now incorporate multiple sensor loops that will divide each track into trap zones.(ESPN), see past nres/rules on the ‘yellow flag rule’ on my No racing to the caution page.(1-17-2004)
  • Racing Electronics News: Racing Electronics announced the addition of Pat Frossard, formerly of Racing Radios. “Major” Pat brings with him over eight years experience as a Winston Cup Rep and sales & service representative of racing communications. Based in the Racing Electronics – Charlotte store, he will provide field technical services, as well as general sales and customer service. “Pat is a great addition to our staff, with his positive attitude, knowledge and experience in the racing community, we look for him to complement our already highly regarded team of employees,” says Bruce Silver, president.(RE PR)(1-17-2004)
  • Sad News: Duane Sweeney, who waved the checkered flag as the chief starter when Al Unser and Rick Mears each won the Indianapolis 500 for a fourth time, died Jan. 15 at his home in New Berlin, Wis. He was 81. Sweeney was starter of the Indianapolis 500 from 1980-96, taking over for Pat Vidan. Sweeney’s first checkered flag unfurled over Johnny Rutherford’s third victory. Over 16 years, Sweeney’s flags waved over some record-breaking, precedent-setting and bizarre races. Included among those finishes were the fourth Indy victories of Unser, in 1987, and Mears, in 1991, Danny Sullivan’s famous “spin and win” triumph in 1985, Arie Luyendyk’s 185-mph average-speed victory in 1990 and Al Unser Jr.’s half-car edging of Scott Goodyear in 1992. Sweeney also waved the checkered over the controversial finishes between Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti in 1981 and between Jacques Villeneuve and Scott Goodyear in 1995. Sweeney concluded his career as chief starter in 1996, waving the checkered flag over Buddy Lazier. Due to failing health, he turned the duties over to Bryan Howard for the 1997 race. He stood in as assistant starter that year, his last time on the starter’s platform. Sweeney retained all of the checkered flags from his Indianapolis 500 tenure and donated a number of them to a children’s cancer fund benefit in Milwaukee. Sweeney died one week after his daughter, Joan B. Ramirez, passed away following a vehicle accident. She was 51. Survivors include his wife, Mary; a son, Mark; two daughters, Cathy Gudlin and Jean Niedercorn. Services will be at 7 p.m. (CST) Jan. 20 at Krause Funeral Home, New Berlin, with calling from 3 p.m. The family will distribute memorial contributions among Mr. Sweeney’s favorite charities.(ThatsRacin.com and more at the Indianapolis Star)(1-17-2004)
  • New Show on Speed Feb 21st: Host Steve Byrnes will take to the stage with NASCAR beat writers Ben Blake, David Poole, Mike Mulhern and Marty Smith as SPEED Channel’s new live program — Pit Bull — debuts Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. from North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. “SPEED continues to bring the fans fresh ways of looking at our sport, and Pit Bull is yet another example of that continued effort,” said Smith, a featured columnist on NASCAR.com. “David, Mike, Ben and I are all rather opinionated people when it comes to the intricacies of NASCAR racing, its personalities and the folks that run the show, and profess those feelings daily in print. So, taking those opinions and putting them in a live television format should make for some serious fireworks. It’s going to be a hoot, and I’m really excited about the opportunity. I think the show has great potential, because with each of the four of us, what you see is what you get.” The live show, which will air Saturdays at 6:30pm/et on NEXTEL Cup weekends when on-track action permits, will be produced from SPEED Channel’s new traveling stage truck from the site of each week’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. Additional reporters will join Pit Bull throughout the racing season.(Speed Channel)(1-17-2004)
  • Robin Miller to Speed: Veteran motor sports journalist Robin Miller joins Speed Channel for the 2004 season as a regular contributor to Speed News and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Miller also will write regular columns for SPEEDTV.com and make appearances on Pit Bull. “Robin has long been viewed as one of — if not the — leading open-wheel journalist in America,” said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer. “SPEED Channel couldn’t be happier with the addition to our outstanding group of reporters.”(Speed Channel)(1-17-2004)
  • Changes in the Truck TV Lineup? UPDATE 2: Hearing Speed Channel may make some changes to their Truck Series broadcast team for 2004, both in the booth and on pit road.(12-12-2003)
    UPDATE: been told that the Speed Channel on-air team for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be:
    Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and either Michael or Darrell Waltrip in the booth. Ray Dunlap and Wendy Norris in the pits. Norris was formerly a producer for NASCAR Victory Lane and NASCAR This Morning.(1-15-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Wendy Norris, formerly a producer for the Fox Sports Net programs NASCAR Victory Lane and NASCAR This Morning will join SPEED Channel as a pit reporter for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Norris is a 2000 graduate of the University of North Carolina with a BA in Communications Studies focus on Media, BA in Psychology and a Minor in Journalism. Norris started her on-air television career with Adelphia Cable in Mooresville, N.C., before joining Wheeler TV behind the scenes as an associate producer on Race Day, later taking on production roles with other NASCAR programming. The 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on-air team will include Rick Allen, Phil Parsons in the booth with Darrell and/or Michael Waltrip. Norris will be joined in the pits by veteran Ray Dunlap.(Speed Channel)(1-17-2004)


    (1-16-2004)

  • Skinner in the #10 for the Shootout UPDATE: Mike Skinner will race in the upcoming Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, whether a Daytona 500 ride is in his future or not. MB2/MBV Motorsports general manager Jay Frye said Thursday that the team would field a #10 Valvoline Chevrolet for Skinner if some other prospects he is trying to secure don’t come through. Mike Skinner qualified for the Shootout by winning the Bud Pole at Richmond in September. Skinner had what he thought was a sure deal to drive not only in the Feb. 7 Shootout, a special event for the 2003 Bud Pole winners, but also in the Daytona 500, along with a handful of other Nextel Cup races.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2004)
    UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports and Valvoline Racing announced today that Mike Skinner will drive the team’s #10 Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Budweiser Shootout, Feb. 7 at Daytona International Speedway. Skinner’s ride will be crewed by the Valvoline team, led by crew chief Doug Randolph, who serves in the same capacity for rookie driver Scott Riggs in the Nextel Cup Series. Skinner earned the right to compete in the Budweiser Shootout, a special race for 2003 pole winners and former champions, as a result of winning the pole position while driving the U.S. Army/MB2 Motorsports entry in the 2003 fall race in Richmond. Skinner will be joined in the Shootout by MB2 teammate Boris Said, who will compete in the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. Said qualified for the Shootout by winning the pole in the Army car at last year’s race in Sonoma, CA.(MBV PR)(1-16-2004)
  • Gordon on the road again: Robby Gordon will take time out from his preparations for next month’s Daytona 500 and drive in the Trophy Truck division at the 10th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. Gordon will drive the No. 31 Chevy CK1500 Trophy Truck that was built at his Anaheim, Calif., race shop. Gordon, a two-time winner of the SCORE Baja 1000, drove in the Trophy Truck division in Baja last November but experienced shock problems with a little more than 100 miles remaining in the 808-mile race and was forced to park his truck.(Las Vegas Sun)(1-16-2004)
  • Nextel TV Campaign to Debut Sunday: Nextel is scheduled to debut its first television ads promoting its sponsorship of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup during Sunday’s NFL championship games, The New York Times reports. The story says the first spot during the AFC championship on CBS will feature Michael Waltrip “interrupting a football daydream” of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Spending plans for the campaign were not disclosed, but the story says the media portion of Nextel’s title sponsorship agreement is estimated at $30 million a year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-16-2004)
  • No Hard Liquor Sponsors: NASCAR will not follow the lead of the International Race of Champions series and accept advertising money from hard liquor companies, CEO Brian France said Thursday. IROC officially announced Crown Royal as its new sponsor Thursday. The sponsorship will allow the all-star series to quadruple its championship prize to $1 million. NASCAR has had a longstanding policy of not allowing sponsorship from hard liquor brands. “We think the negatives outweigh the positives in terms of accepting hard liquor at this time,” France said. “We understand other series might feel differently. There’s been a lot of loosening up in the last several years. Remember, in the ’70s, the networks voluntarily pulled those ads off. Some of them have brought them back on. We’ll monitor that, but right now we just think it’s best to stay as we are.”(Tampa Tribune)(1-16-2004)

    (1-15-2004)

  • BAM and Pizza? heard from a source very close to the situation Red Baron Pizza has reached an agreement to sponsor BAM and Ken Schrader in the #49 car starting in 2004. Red Baron Pizza sponsored Schrader in the past and has been involved in NASCAR before.(1-15-2004)
  • Toyota Special: Speed Channel will premiere a new one-hour special on Monday night February 2nd at 11:00pm/et. Road to Daytona USA: Toyota Joins the Craftsman Trucks Series tells the story of Toyota’s design, construction and testing for its inaugural season of competition in the NASCAR series. The program will run four times before Speed’s season premiere Trucks telecast Friday night February 13th. The show will also re-air on: 2/4 at 1:00am/et; 2/8 at 5:30pm/et; and 2/12 at 10:00pm/et.(1-15-2004)
  • Stewart Gives: Tony Stewart’s foundation made a $15,000 donation Wednesday to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & Western North Carolina in honor of Hope Stout, the 12-year-old from Weddington, N.C., who made her dying wish to grant the wishes of the other local children with life-threatening illnesses. A fund-raising effort for the Make-A-Wish Foundation has raised more than $800,000 to meet Hope’s request, with the goal of $1 million in sight. Hope died Jan. 4 from a rare form of bone cancer. Her story, first reported in The Charlotte Observer, has inspired many in the Charlotte area to contribute toward her wish. “We’ve been involved with Make-A-Wish in Indiana for a long time now, and it’s impressive to see all the work that goes into granting a child’s wish,” Stewart said. “When we heard of Hope’s story and what she was able to do before she passed away – it was amazing. Make-A-Wish is a great organization and she made it even better.”(ThatsRacin.com)(1-16-2004)
  • Inductees to the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame include Humpy: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler is one of nine new members to be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in Raleigh on May 20. Wheeler, a Belmont native and a leader in NASCAR’s success, has been president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway since 1975 and is recognized as the foremost showman in stock-car racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-16-2004)
  • Been asked……what’s up with IROC? UPDATES OFFICIAL Announcement..Drivers?:
    Series winner gets $1 million
    New sponsor: Crown Royal
    Old Tracks Out…except Dayotna
    New Tracks In: Texas, Richmond and Atlanta
    Drivers can use their familiar car number
    Vickers can’t run the series
    Looks for at least 5 Cup drivers, but Jeff Gordon will likely bow out
    Announcement on Thurs Jan 15th at 1:15pm/et
    see column at ThatsRacin.com or the last week or news/rumors about IROC on my 2003 IROC page)(1-13-2004)
    UPDATE – New Sponsor: The International Race of Champions [IROC] announced today the signing of a multi-year agreement with Crown Royal to be the official title sponsor of the IROC Series for 2004 and beyond. The 2004 Crown Royal International Race of Champions schedule will include the traditional Speedweeks opener at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Friday, Feb. 13. New venues are in the works for the remainder of the season including, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, April 2., and Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, September 9. IROC is also finalizing a fall date for the Crown Royal IROC Championship finale at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Ga. IROC is in negotiations with Fox/Speed Channel to televise all four events [LIVE!]. With the new Crown Royal sponsorship comes a significant increase in the Series’ prize money. The purse for the 2004 IROC season will be $1.9 million including $1 million to the Series champion. This is a major increase from the 2003 season in which the champion received $250,000 and represents the highest payout for a Series Champion in IROC history.
    Another big change taking place in 2004 will be the appearance of the Crown Royal IROC cars. Instead of the history-long tradition of drivers having different color cars and numbers, representing their position in the point standings, at each of the four races, a color scheme and car number, representing the driver’s native series team, will be assigned pre-season and will remain with the driver throughout the four events. The pre-assigned color and utilizing the driver’s team number will better enhance tracking and recognizing the individual competitors throughout the season. The traditional process of a blind draw will still take place among the lot of Crown Royal IROC race cars brought to each event. After the draw, color graphics and numbers will be applied to the field of race cars.
    Crown Royal, America’s leading super premium whisky, has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal’s smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. In addition to its sponsorship of the Crown Royal IROC Series, the brand also sponsors Team Crown Royal, a professional fishing team; The Crown Royal Comedy Soul Fest and a number of other major regional and national events. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.(IROC Racing Site)(1-15-2004)
    DRIVERS? Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick will compete from NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series. Helio Castroneves, Scott Sharp and Scott Dixon, the winner of last year’s SunTrust Indy Challenge, will represent the IRL. Craftsman Truck champion Travis Kvapil, USAC star J.J. Yeley and World of Outlaws stars Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski also are expected to participate.(Richmond Times Dispatch/Fort Worth Star Telegram)(see above in this story why Vickers won’t be in it.(1-16-2004)
  • Benson in the #09 UPDATE 4 schedule; and Benson to the Busch car: Word in the Daytona International Speedway garage area Monday is that Johnny Benson would make an unexpectedly quick return to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Benson is expected to test James Finch’s Phoenix Racing #09 car when the final three-day round of Nextel Cup Preseason Thunder opens Tuesday morning. Benson was released at the end of last season by MBV Motorsports, despite having another year on his contract, and has been seeking another ride. Finch has run a limited schedule of Winston Cup races in past seasons, most recently with Mike Wallace in 2003.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(1-12-2004)
    UPDATE: David Stremme’s site says Stremme is out of the #1 Phoenix Racing Dodge Busch ride and that he will run for Braun Racing [#19/#30] with support from Chip Ganassi. Rumor has Benson running the full season in the #1 Busch Dodge.(1-13-2004)
    UPDATE 1a: The plan is for Benson to drive the #09 Dodge, owned by James Finch at Daytona. He will be part of the field qualifying for a spot in the Daytona 500. Benson will NOT be testing the car at Daytona this week. Joe Ruttman will be handling the testing duties. The plan is for Benson to run eight Cup races in this car in 2004. No word on the Busch team/plans.(1-13-2004)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that Dodge is pushing to get John Andretti in the #1 Phoenix Racing entry.(BGNRacing.com)(1-13-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Joe Ruttman is a hired gun at Daytona International Speedway this week, testing the #09 Dodge for crew chief James Ince. Johnny Benson is scheduled to drive the car this season.(Daytona Beach News Journal), been told that James Ince is NOT with the team and not at the track.(1-14-2004)
    UPDATE 4: Johnny Benson has agreed to drive the #09 Dodge owned by James Finch. Their first race will be in Daytona – Johnny will be part of the field qualifying for a spot in the Daytona 500. Benson will NOT be testing the car at Daytona this week. Joe Ruttman will be handling the testing duties. Benson will be making a trip to Daytona to check things out.
    Johnny Benson’s Schedule #09 Dodge NEXTEL Cup
    Daytona – February 15th
    Las Vegas – March 7th
    Talladega – April 25th
    Richmond – May 15th
    Daytona – July 3rd
    Richmond – September 11th
    Talladega – October 3rd
    (Schedule Subject to Change) This is the information we have as of today – more information to be coming. There may be more races added to the schedule based on sponsorship.(JBFC Site)(1-14-2004)
    AND MORE: James Finch apparently has an agreement with Johnny Benson to pilot his cars in at least 8 and perhaps as many as 13 Nextel Cup races this season. Phoenix Racing Team Manager Marc Reno says Joe Ruttman is testing their #09 Dodges because Benson’s agreement wasn’t reached prior to testing at Daytona in time to change seats which were fitted for Ruttman. Meanwhile, Finch’s Busch Series team is driver shopping after David Stremme, who is under contract with Ganassi Racing, was moved over to Braun Racing. Reno says Ganassi Racing decided it was not in their budget to further support Finch and the Yellow Transportation Dodge team. Reno said “To be pure and simple about it, if they’re not gonna put support behind him (Finch) we’re not gonna train their rookie for them…we’re gonna put a veteran in, and race.” Reno says Benson could run their BGN cars as well and John Andretti is also in the mix. Also, the door could be open for Jimmy Spencer to re-join the team and Reno plans to talk with his former driver. Spencer, who won races in the Yellow Dodge, was forced out when Ganassi decided to back Finch’s efforts. Spencer says right now his plans are to “keep going on” with the 7-car and owner Jim Smith and “see how far we can go, I guess.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-14-2004)
    UPDATE 5: Pheonix Racing car owner James Finch has signed Johnny Benson to run the Busch Series full-time in the #1 Yellow Transaportation Dodge. Benson will also compete in eight to fifteen next Cup events in the #09 Dodge. Finch said John Andretti was also considered.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-15-2004)
  • Johnson OK: Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevy was just the second car on the track Thursday morning, spun in Turn 3 and hit the wall, doing extensive damage to the front end of the car. Johnson was unhurt. The car, however, was expected to be Johnson’s entry for the Feb. 15 Daytona 500 and had been his fastest during this week’s test. “Maybe the track’s just wet, especially in the shadows,” Johnson said. “We run the top all the way around here the first two laps basically and maybe it was still wet up there. Without a doubt there was something on the track.” #41-Casey Mears was the first car on the track, starting just before 9 a.m. Eastern. He also experienced problems in Turn 3. “I went through there the first time and thought there was something on the track, but it could have been possible it was my car,” Mears said. “The second time I went through the turn, I took it easy and it was OK. Then, Jimmie went in there and went into the wall.” Johnson said losing car will likely mean his team will not chance participating in Thursday afternoon’s scheduled drafting practice. They don’t want to risk damaging both cars.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-15-2004)
  • New NASCAR Magazine AND: American Thunder, a monthly targeting men who love NASCAR racing and other guy pursuits, such as salt-water fishing, will hit newsstands next month. Popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the first cover. The mag, the brainchild of editor in chief Lucas Mast, is being published by American Content Inc., bankrolled by Clarium Capital Management. Clarium, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, was founded last year by Peter Thiel, after the former PayPal CEO sold the online payment service to eBay. Hmm…it even has a column by some guy named…..Jayski…..see more about the magazine at: www.getthunder.com.(1-14-2004)
    UPDATE: American Thunder, debuting in February 2004, will bring its readers the drama, excitement, and inside story on America’s hottest and fastest growing sport-representing the first publishing endeavor for American Content Inc., a new venture established by Clarium Capital Management LLC of San Francisco.
    The March issue hits newsstands on February 1, 2004, and will feature NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on the inaugural cover. Launching with a rate base of 100,000, American Thunder will be published monthly. It will be distributed by Kable News and sold for $4.99 at retailers across the country.
    Earnhardt and Gordon, Daytona and Talladega…200-mph fender-to-fender action and excitement is at the heart of American Thunder’s editorial coverage. But this magazine isn’t just about racing-American Thunder reflects on and rejoices in all the interests of this audience’s active, pedal-to-the-metal lifestyle. Features in the debut issue include:
    —— An in-depth profile of NASCAR’s prodigal son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
    —— Best and Worst of NASCAR 2003, and a look at the season ahead
    —— The first in a series of monthly diaries by 2003 NASCAR Rookie of the Year Jamie McMurray
    —— A strategy kit and online “power rankings” of drivers for participants in fantasy leagues
    —— Articles targeting the NASCAR enthusiast’s ‘lifestyle,’ including features on Norton Motorcycles and Final Four “March Madness.”
    In upcoming issues, American Thunder will also provide “Race of the Month” pullout section, which will offer a pre-race “playbill” to enhance the fans’ appreciation of the sport. The pullout section will include: pre-race analysis; diagrams of the track and insights on race strategy; crew chief commentary on how race cars need to setup; pre-race favorites and drivers to watch; maps and ticket information; “Track Trivia”; best and worst moments at that track in history; and best places to stay and eat.
    American Thunder has assembled an all-star cast of writers to deliver its NASCAR content; writers for the first two issues include: Ryan McGee, an award-winning motor sports journalist for Foxsports.com; Thomas Pope, motor sports editor of The Fayetteville Observer; David Poole, a columnist for The Charlotte Observer; Jay “Jayski” Adamczyk; and B. Duane Cross, senior producer for SI.com.(see PR on my Racing Bookstore page)(1-15-2004)


    (1-14-2004)

  • Part Time for the #7? #7 Cup Team Owner Jim Smith [who also owns the #1 and #2 truck teams] says his Ultra Motorsports Nextel Cup team won’t compete in any more than three or four races without sponsorship and Rockingham the first event his crew would skip. Smith hopes something will come up, however he says the plan right now is to at least run Daytona, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Texas. Smith thinks he might find some backing, however it may not be a full year deal. “Am I optimistic, no…but I’m not a pessimist either…there’s a chance there…we’ve got a shot at getting something.” Sirius Satellite Radio opted not to resign at the end of the 2003 season.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-14-2004)
  • Holm Leaves Foyt: been told that #14 Crew Chief, Ben Holm, left Foyt Racing to join Penske working on #2 car in the shop. No word on the #14 Team Status, they have not tested in Daytona either this or last week.(1-14-2004)
  • Ford Engine News: The new cylinder head that’s supposed to help Ford catch up to its NASCAR counterparts in power may not be ready until midsummer. NASCAR approved the new design last summer, but development of the improved engine has come slowly, even with Ford rivals Jack Roush and Robert Yates combining their resources. “Jack doesn’t expect to see the new cylinder head until maybe Indy [Aug. 8] or the second Michigan race [Aug. 22],” driver Greg Biffle said. “I thought it was going to be a lot sooner than that. I figured it would be Vegas [March 7] or something like that, so I was a little disappointed.” Ford does have a new nose and tail for its Taurus, and that should provide a boost for Daytona. But it remains to be seen whether Ford will be able to match Chevrolet and Dodge in horsepower early in the year.(Tampa Tribune), see past news on the Ford engine on my Ford News page.(1-14-2004)
  • Kahne – Ford update: Kasey Kahne, taking over for Bill Elliott in the #9 Dodge has neither the time nor the will to engage Ford Racing officials who claim he reneged on their development deal. Kahne insists he fulfilled his contractual obligations before leaving Akins Motorsports to take over the semi-retired Bill Elliott’s ride at Evernham Motorsports. “I’ve done everything for Ford I needed to do for them at the end of last year,” Kahne said. “As far as I see it, there is nothing going on but me driving for Dodge.” Jan. 6, however, during the first of two test sessions at Daytona International Speedway, Ford Racing Technology operations manager Greg Specht still insisted differently. “He’s still currently under contract with Ford,” said Specht, whose company had no Nextel Cup plans for Kahne until at least 2005. Retorted Kahne: “He obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” The question is whether Ford will attempt to make a point with Kahne.(in part from the St Petersburg Times)(1-14-2004)
  • Gordon’s Hair: only posting this ’cause getting emails from folks wondering if Jeff Gordon is ill [not looking for comments, further email or images]……#24-Jeff Gordon wasn’t looking for an aerodynamic advantage for Speed Weeks. He didn’t lose a bet or accept a dare. He wasn’t the victim of a prank. The reason the four-time NASCAR champion wore a ball cap most of Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway was to hide his self-inflicted haircut. Gordon, known for his pricey, model-like haircuts, arrived at the Speedway with head stubble and a smile. “This is actually a lot compared to what I had a month ago,” Gordon said sheepishly at the end of Tuesday’s Nextel Cup test session. “The hair thing, well, it was the offseason and I just wanted to do something different.” Gordon said he had an expert shave his head the first time soon after the NASCAR awards banquet in New York City. Gordon said his head was never completely bare. “It wasn’t bald, but like a ‘No. 1,’ I think they call it,” he said. “It was really short so it’s taken a little longer. I was hoping it was going to be a little bit more grown out by now, but it’s not.” The 32-year-old driver, who wheels the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, said shaving his head was a lark. He fully intends to grow his black mane back out to its normal length. “I plan on growing it out the rest of the year, then next year I’m going to do it again but it’s going to be blonde,” he said with a laugh. “No, I’m just kidding.”(Daytona Beach News Journal), see an AP image at ThatsRacin.com…..if Gordon doesn’t want his hair…the bald Jayski will take it.(1-14-2004)
  • ISC not interested in buying CART: The Indianapolis Star reported in Monday’s editions that International Speedway Corporation, which owns tracks including Daytona International Speedway, had a presence at the Dec. 30 bankruptcy hearing for Championship Auto Racing Teams. ISC spokesman David Talley said that his company is not interested in bidding on the faltering open-wheel series, and that the company’s presence at the hearing was a representative of 88 Corp., an ISC subsidiary that owns California Speedway. That track is seeking reimbursement of a $2.5-million sanctioning fee for the cancellation of its CART race this fall. CART claimed the track canceled the race because of wildfires. Open Wheel Racing Series, made up of three CART team owners, has submitted a bid to purchase the circuit. A judge will review all bids on Jan. 28.(St Petersburg Times)(1-14-2004)
  • Sales Up for DJ: The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure announced that Holiday Sales recorded in December of 2003 were 68% above last year’s sales. The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure was created to fill the public’s need for adventure, excitement and most importantly SPEED! The founders of DJRT have assembled the finest and most authentic equipment available, the most professional and creative staff and the fastest and most aggressive NASCAR driving school in the world. The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure allows participants the thrill of getting behind the wheel of an actual race-driven, 600-hp NASCAR Winston Cup stock car. Winston Cup Champions Dale and Ned Jarrett along with Glenn Jarrett and Arca racing series driver Jason Jarrett represent the school. The school is also represented by three times NFL MVP quarterback Brett Favre. For more information on Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure visit www.racingadventure.com.(Yahoo Biz)(1-14-2004)

    (1-13-2004)

  • TNT to sponsor Burton at Daytona: Turner Network Television (TNT) is planning to sponsor Jeff Burton and the #99 Roush Racing Ford team for the Feb. 15 Daytona 500 and the Gatorade 125-mile qualifying races on Feb. 12. An official announcement is expected Wednesday. During the Daytona 500, the hood of the #99 car will carry images of 2004 NBA All-Stars, the NBA All-Star logo and TNT branding. For the 125-mile qualifying race, the entire car will carry the NBA All-Star on TNT message. Burton’s team still lacks a full-time sponsor for this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-13-2004)
  • Best Driver List AND: Not that a British publication should be considered particularly authoritative where stock-car racing is concerned, but the Autosport magazine’s list of the world’s top 50 drivers did not include NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth. Jeff Gordon didn’t make the list, either. Six NASCAR drivers did make the list, which was headed by Formula One champion Michael Schumacher. Ryan Newman ranked 26th, Jimmie Johnson 29th, Kevin Harvick 34th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 42nd, Kurt Busch 43rd and Tony Stewart 49th.(Gaston Gazette)(1-11-2004)
    AND a column from David Poole at ThatsRacin.com: British magazine’s list of racing’s best a farce.(1-13-2004)
  • BACE Still Looking for a sponsor, has a new crew chief: Tony Raines has a new crew chief to replace the departed Larry Carter, and BACE Motorsports looked inside its own team to find him. Buddy Sisco was promoted from car chief, the position he held under Carter last year, and recently began serving as Raines’ crew chief. “He’s the crew chief as we speak,” Raines said Tuesday during NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway. “He’s been around. I’m thinking he’ll be more than capable of doing a good job. We’ve just got a lot of work to do, like we did last year. It’s never easy.” Raines finished the 2003 season 33rd in points as BACE completed the year without a full-time sponsor. The team wants a backer, of course, but it’s not easy finding sponsorship these days. “We’re looking to finalize something or put something on there,” Raines said. “It’s a hard road to hoe like that.” And they’ll try it again this year, Raines said. Car owner Bill Baumgardner has promised to run the full season again, with or without sponsorship.(NASCAR.com) Raines was originally scheduled to begin testing last week, but was granted permission by NASCAR to switch testing weeks to this week.(1-13-2004)
  • Torquespeed Carter Working To Put Nextel Program In Place, not testing at Daytona: Torquespeed Carter, the NASCAR Nextel Cup team formed by Torquespeed, the United Kingdom-based motorsports organization and NASCAR owner Travis Carter announced Monday it would not participate in this week’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Preseason Thunder test session at the Daytona. Despite this decision, Torquespeed Carter is aggressively pursuing sponsorship in hopes of competing in the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
    “We are diligently pursuing sponsorship and our decision not to test at Daytona does not mean Torquespeed Carter is not going to run in the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season,” said Travis Carter who oversees the organization’s race operations. “It means we are still diligently pursuing sponsorship. Our discussions with potential sponsors are promising but are still in the early stages. It is our goal to start the season racing in the Daytona 500 but realistically we are not putting a stringent timeline on when we will start racing. Our season will begin when the appropriate funding is in place.”
    “Discussions with major global brands are ongoing,” elaborated Paul Musselle, spokesperson for the UK Investors. “We are hoping to have funding in place soon, however, we realize the challenges facing us with a late start to the sponsorship acquisition process as well as the ongoing state of economy. Those factors may cause a delay in launching Torquespeed Carter’s on-track activities. “As we mentioned in Charlotte (N.C.) back in October, our business plan is in place for the next four years. We are up and running and aggressively searching for sponsorship. We are going to race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. It’s just a matter of time and funding.”
    Torquespeed Carter is planning to run the Ford Taurus. The team will operate out of the existing Travis Carter Enterprises complex in Statesville, NC. The alliance between Torquespeed and Travis Carter establishes Torquespeed Carter as the only motorsports organization operating on both sides of the Atlantic.(Cox Marketing PR)(1-13-2004)
  • Best Damn Garage to Have an Open House during Speedweeks: Smokey Yunick’s family will host racers and race fans for an open house during Speed Weeks 2004. With the imminent sale of the property, the family wanted to allow the legions of race fans who have never been inside to see what was behind the painted windows and high fences. The event is scheduled for February 14, 2004 and the gates will open at 5pm and close at 9pm. The event is free and open to the public. Race fans will be able to walk through the shop and see where Smokey worked and played, including his office. Further details will be posted on www.SmokeyYunick.com in the coming weeks. This three-acre property still holds a mythical place in the hearts of race fans. The upcoming 2004 Speed Weeks would have been the last time that legions of loyal Smokey fans will be able to come by and have their picture taken with the sign out front – now they will actually be able to go inside and see what has been hidden all these years.(1-13-2004)
  • Hermie gets a new crew chief: SCORE Motorsports, a joint venture between NASCAR Busch Series veteran Hermie Sadler and retired NBA Star Bryant Stith, announced the hiring of Ernie Cope as Crew Chief and General Manager. Cope previously served as crew chief for Derrike Cope and car chief for Evernham Motorsports. “Ernie is very talented and his experience will make a tremendous impact on our team,” stated Hermie Sadler. “We are proud to have him and are looking forward to a very successful season. We’re gearing up to run the first eight NASCAR Busch Series races and select NEXTEL Cup races. I’ve been very impressed with Ernie’s knowledge and work ethic and know his hard work will pay off with solid results.” Sadler also announced a partnership with Jenkins, Jenkins and Jenkins. The LaPlata, Maryland based law firm will join SCORE Motorsports as a major associate sponsor for 2004. SCORE Motorsports is seeking additional sponsorship in order to run the entire 2004 schedule and compete for the NASCAR Busch Series Championship. Sadler will run the #02 Chevy’s in both series.(Elliott Sadler Enterprises/Score Motorsports PR)(1-13-2004)
  • Add Kenny to the Show: Kenny Wallace will be visiting the Motorsports 2004 Presented by Sunoco show on Friday, January 16th and signing autographs for his many fans at the Stacker2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series booth. This will not be the first appearance of Wallace during the 19 year history of the show and he has proven to be very popular with the fans in his previous visits. Wallace is one of the most visible NASCAR drivers due to his Stacker2 commercials and his TV work. This season Wallace is expected to be “taking some time off” from the NASCAR Nextel Cup series and will put his efforts into running on the NASCAR Busch Series with sponsorship support from Stacker2. Perhaps there will be some Nextel Cup appearances included for Wallace. His only wins in NASCAR racing have come in Busch Series competition. The Stacker2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series display will be a popular attraction during the three day show with several special attractions planned. The Motorsports 2004 Presented by Sunoco show opens at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 16th and closes at 6 p.m. Sunday, January 18th. More than 40,000 people are expected to “travel through” the show that covers close to 300,000 square feet at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center. More info about the show on my PAGE 2 of the News page, many other drivers appearing.(1-13-2004)
  • Sad News: Brewco Motorsports [Busch #27 and #37 teams] lost a huge part of its heart and soul Sunday when long time employee, Barry Priest, died from an ATV crash in Muhlenberg County, KY.(Brewco PR via BGNRacing.com)(1-13-2004)

    (1-12-2004)

  • Nextel Cup and Franklin Mint? hearing that Bruce Hayes, owner of Hayes Jewelers in Lexington, NC, who had made the Winston Cup trophy for RJR [Winston] for years, will not be doing so this year and that it will be made by the Franklin Mint.(1-12-2004)
  • J.J. Yeley Named AARWBA Driver of the Year: USAC Triple Crown titlist J.J. Yeley was named winner of the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy as driver of the year for 2003. The announcement was the climax of festivities Saturday night at the annual Auto Racing All America Team banquet hosted by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). Yeley, who was not present at the event because he was competing in the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., is the first Titus winner from a category other than Open Wheel, Stock Car, Drag or Road racing.(Speed Channel)(1-12-2004)
  • Speaking of the Chili Bowl: Cory Kruseman battled past Danny Lasoski at the midway point then held off “The Dude” over the final rounds to win Saturday night’s 18th Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals 50-lap feature at Tulsa Expo Raceway. With the victory, Kruseman joins Sammy Swindell and Dan Boorse as the only multi-time winners of the nation’s most prestigious Midget racing event. Piloting the second Andy Bondio entry as Kruseman’s teammate, USAC triple crown champion J.J. Yeley put the finishing touches on perhaps the most spectacular performance in Chili Bowl history by snaring the show position after swapping third with Tony Stewart a handful of times over the final rounds. Yeley’s incredible drive included 120 laps of intense action and 69 positions gained after starting the day in the second “F” Main.(more info at the Chili Bowl site) Been told there will be NO TV coverage [taped or otherwise] for the Chili Bowl.(1-12-2004)
  • Odds: some Nextel Cup and Daytona 500 Odds have been posted see Las Vegas Insider site for the rundown. For the 2004 Nextel Cup, the favorites are: #12-Newman at 7/2, #48-Johnson at 9/2 and #24-Gordon at 5/1. For the Daytona 500, the faves are: #8-Earnhardt Jr. at 4/1; #15-Waltrip at 4/1; and #48-Johnson at 8/1.(1-12-2004)
  • Said gets in some testing at DIS: Boris Said had nothing to do but eat barbecue for the first two days of testing, but a rule relaxation allowed him his first experience on the track Thursday. As pole winner last season at Sonoma, CA, the road-racing specialist has a spot in the Feb.7 Bud Shootout in the MB2/MBV Motorsports #01 U.S. Army Chevy, but his only previous superspeedway experience was an ARCA race last year at Talladega. “Now that was cool,” said Said, who had to wedge his 6-foot-3 frame into a car prepared for 5-9 regular driver Joe Nemechek. “I can’t believe they go three-wide here. It’s a lot different than Talladega; you have to do a lot more driving here.” NASCAR originally told the team it would be charged a test if Said split time during the session, but allowed Scott Wimmer and Dave Blaney to share a test [#22 CAT Dodge] (Wimmer left to get married) and Mike McLaughlin to replace #20-Tony Stewart. The two #01 cars were consistently among the fastest all week, an “encouraging” development, Nemechek said, after producing a top-10 finish and good qualifying efforts in four races with his new team to end last season.(St. Petersburg Times)(1-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Boris Said, who will drive the #01 Chevy in the Bud Shootout (Feb. 7), joined Joe Nemechek and the U.S. Army team in Thursday’s final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway. “The goal was to get out there to feel the bumps, to feel the air and to just get a good handle of the track,” commented Said, who earned a spot in the Bud Shootout by qualifying on the pole when he drove the 01 Army Car in last year’s road race in Sonoma, CA. “This (superspeedway racing) is all new to me. The seat time I got today was valuable. Now I get to go home and think about it for a few weeks. I can’t wait to come back here and jump in the U.S. Army car for the Bud Shootout. That will be a dream come true.”(US Army Racing PR)(1-12-2004)

 


(1-11-2004)

 

  • Not NASCAR but some notes from the AC indoor races: Saturday’s 50-lap main event was won by Joe Payne Jr. of Fair Lawn, NJ. Lou Cicconi Jr. won Friday’s feature. Attendance Saturday was about 5,500. … Curtis Truex Jr. of Stafford Township picked up a ride in the Slingshot division race, which served as an undercard to the Three-Quarter Midgets. His cousin, Martin Truex Jr., will drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team in several Nextel Cup races this year. The last qualifying race was delayed for nearly a half-hour after a car dropped fluid on the track. The maintenance crew sprayed a mixture of rosin and Pepsi-Cola syrup on the track to clean it up.(Atlantic City Press), Jayski went Friday night and had a great time, nothing like the smell of burning rubber and racing. I was quite impressed with the great job the track crews did with all the wrecks and spills.(1-11-2004)
  • Speed Chooses first 4 drivers for Reality show: NASCAR Busch Series drivers Casey Atwood, Kasey Kahne, Tim Fedewa and two-time series champion Randy LaJoie are the first drivers confirmed for the new SPEED Channel reality series NBS 24/7, set to debut with back-to-back half-hours on Feb. 16 at 8:00pm/et. SPEED Channel Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer Rick Miner is quick to point out that NBS 24/7 will be a true “reality” show. Three of the teams — Atwood in the #14 Navy Chevy, Fedewa in the #12 sponsored by SuperCuts and Hot Tamales and LaJoie, running a partial schedule in the #82 Jani-King Chevy — are all part of the growing FitzBradshaw organization owned by NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw and North Carolina businessman Armando Fitz. The series will run for 40-plus weeks, chronicling the lives of multiple NASCAR Busch Series drivers and their teams. Designed to highlight the personalities of the participants, the program will focus on activities between events as well as each team’s success or failure on the race track. #38-Kasey Kahne and Akins Motorsports also are ready to go.(SPEED Channel PR), see full PR on my TV/Media News/Links page.(1-11-2004)
  • Arnold Motorsports and Cope UPDATE 2: being told that the #79 Arnold Motorsports team, will switch to the #50 and Derrike Cope will drive the car full time and the sponsor Cope announced last year for his #37 Quest Motorsports team, PHM – Paramount Hospitality Management, could be part of the package. More info on the team at www.arnold-motorsports.com [but no mention of this, confirmed it with the team].(12-11-2003)
    UPDATE: from the Derrike Cope site: Derrike told us that he will be teaming with Arnold Motorsports and driving the #50 Dodge for the Nextel Cup season. Derrike said, “We currently have two very nice speedway cars that will be ready for the test sessions at Daytona next week. We test Jan. 13, 14, 15. Also we will be testing for two days in Las Vegas later this month on the 26th and 27th.”(Derrike Cope site)(1-7-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Arnold said the 45-year-old Cope would “probably” become part owner of the team in addition to handling the driving duties. Mike Hillman, who joined the team as crew chief in place of Doug Howe just prior to the Atlanta qualifying attempt, still holds that position for Arnold in the shop in Concord, NC. “Both Mike and Derrike have told me that in terms of preparation, the cars we have right now are far ahead of any of the cars they’ve had before at this stage. So I’m real pleased with what we’ve accomplished in the offseason,” Arnold said. Finances and sponsorship continue to be obstacles for Cope and Arnold. At Homestead, Cope said he had a sponsor signed, yet he never received the backing that was supposedly promised.(Naples Daily News), no word on what the status of the #37 Quest Motorsports team yet [may be headed to Busch [see my Busch site for the Cope rumor there] or what happened to the #37 sponsor PHM – Paramount Hospitality Management.(1-11-2004)
  • Best Driver List: Not that a British publication should be considered particularly authoritative where stock-car racing is concerned, but the Autosport magazine’s list of the world’s top 50 drivers did not include NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth. Jeff Gordon didn’t make the list, either. Six NASCAR drivers did make the list, which was headed by Formula One champion Michael Schumacher. Ryan Newman ranked 26th, Jimmie Johnson 29th, Kevin Harvick 34th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 42nd, Kurt Busch 43rd and Tony Stewart 49th.(Gaston Gazette)(1-11-2004)
  • Been asked……what’s up with IROC? UPDATES: The International Race of Champions [more about IROC on my 2003 IROC page] opener is still up in the air. The folks at IROC are apparently waiting to get the final, final, final OK from a new series sponsor. Daytona Intl Speedway is reserving them space on the Speed Weeks schedule (Feb. 13).(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-19-2003)
    UPDATE: have heard nothing on who could drive [no one has been named or rumored] or what model of cars they will run…if the series is run in 2004…..and on ThatsRacin.com, the Daytona International Speedway Speedweeks schedule has practice and race times listed, the official IROC site: www.irocracing.com has simply the following: 2004 Announcements Coming Soon!.(1-7-2004)
    UPDATE 2: The International Race of Champions will not be part of the 2004 Brickyard 400 weekend schedule, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Friday. Since 1998, IROC had staged one of its four races at IMS in conjunction with the NASCAR race. IROC, which uses 12 drivers from different racing series in identically prepared cars, had lost its sponsor, True Value, after last year’s race. An announcement about a new IROC sponsor [Jayski hears it is Crown Royal? OR Smith and Wesson?] and format could come as early as next week. NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson won the 2003 IROC race at IMS. Drivers from NASCAR won each of the six IROC events staged at IMS, with Mark Martin taking the first three local races.(Indianapolis Star)
    UPDATE 3: from the official IROC site: Stay Tuned to IROCracing.com For a Momentous Announcement Regarding the 2004 Season on Thursday, January 15th!(1-10-2004)
  • Not NASCAR but some notes from the AC indoor races: Saturday’s 50-lap main event was won by Joe Payne Jr. of Fair Lawn, NJ. Lou Cicconi Jr. won Friday’s feature. Attendance Saturday was about 5,500. … Curtis Truex Jr. of Stafford Township picked up a ride in the Slingshot division race, which served as an undercard to the Three-Quarter Midgets. His cousin, Martin Truex Jr., will drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team in several Nextel Cup races this year. The last qualifying race was delayed for nearly a half-hour after a car dropped fluid on the track. The maintenance crew sprayed a mixture of rosin and Pepsi-Cola syrup on the track to clean it up.(Atlantic City Press), Jayski went Friday night and had a great time, nothing like the smell of burning rubber and racing. I was quite impressed with the great job the track crews did with all the wrecks and spills.(1-11-2004)
  • Fan Fest vs. Preview AND: NASCAR executives may be having second thoughts about moving the NASCAR Preview – now the NASCAR Fanfest -out of North Carolina. What was a successful Saturday-long venture in Winston-Salem for so many years was a flop here [Daytona] Wednesday night. Daytona Speedway officials said that 4,600 people showed up (at $10 a head) to ask questions of nine drivers, who sat on stage and didn’t sign autographs, although autographs were available in souvenir packs. Others pegged the audience at fewer than 1,500. While in Winston-Salem, the event annually drew a sellout of 25,000. The drivers’ stage was so low that most in the audience couldn’t see the drivers. NASCAR officials said they would consider moving the preview around, perhaps one year in Charlotte, the next year in Richmond.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-9-2004)
    AND Reporting with one ear to the ground, there are some valid complaints following Daytona International Speedway’s first attempt at FanFest. Yes, there were problems. Despite all the planning, some of the 4,000 people who attended the event left Speedway grounds unhappy. The primary gripe was the sightline of the stage under the temporary big top tent, which houses the Daytona Club during Speed Weeks. The stage was too low for some of in the audience to watch the Nextel Cup Series drivers talk about their teams and ambitions for the upcoming 2004 season. There was also grumbling about the long line to get into the function and the scarcity of promised goody bags. These complaints did not fall on deaf ears. Speedway president Robin Braig had the stage raised to 8 feet, improved access to the facility and ordered a bounty of goody bags. Round 2 of FanFest, featuring Truck Series drivers who are in town for three days of testing, was Saturday night. “We still have our rookie stripe on when it comes to the inaugural NASCAR Preseason Thunder FanFest,” Braig said. “We listened to our race guests and we see some opportunity for improvements and we’re making them immediately.”
    The FanFest was created for two reasons. First, it raises money for four charities, including Speediatrics at Halifax Medical Center. Second, Braig says the event helps creates interest in the Speed Weeks program. The admission fee to FanFest — $10 for Nextel Cup and $5 for trucks and Busch Series — will be funneled to the string of charities. There were rumors that this might be the first and last FanFest, but Braig said this event will become a fixture on the Speedway schedule. “NASCAR has told us they are pleased with our efforts and see an opportunity to grow the event,” Braig said. “We’ve had testing here forever, and from now on, we’ll have some type of FanFest here during testing. It’s inconceivable that we wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to charity.” Braig said FanFest is a work in progress and he promises a better experience for fans during the last three sessions. “We did our best that night and we hope people give us another chance.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-11-2004)


    (1-10-2004)

  • Carter Looking: Car owner Travis Carter [#54 and #66] appears in trouble, and he may not field a team this season unless there is a dramatic turnaround on the sponsorship front.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-10-2004)
  • Hmiel Passes: Shane Hmiel, a promising young racer who ran afoul of NASCAR’s drug policy last September, passed another NASCAR drug test this week and could be cleared for racing next month. Hmiel, 24, has already been cleared to run the ARCA 200 during SpeedWeeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-10-2004)

    (1-9-2004)

  • Skinner in the #10 for the Shootout: Mike Skinner will race in the upcoming Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, whether a Daytona 500 ride is in his future or not. MB2/MBV Motorsports general manager Jay Frye said Thursday that the team would field a #10 Valvoline Chevrolet for Skinner if some other prospects he is trying to secure don’t come through. Mike Skinner qualified for the Shootout by winning the Bud Pole at Richmond in September. Skinner had what he thought was a sure deal to drive not only in the Feb. 7 Shootout, a special event for the 2003 Bud Pole winners, but also in the Daytona 500, along with a handful of other Nextel Cup races.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2004)
  • News on the Bodine’s: Geoffrey Bodine is off to a busy start in 2004. After returning from a trip to Iraq on Saturday, where he entertained American and coalition troops, the Chemung native announced Wednesday he has signed a deal with Steve Prescott, owner of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Team EJP Racing, to drive its #03 Chevrolet Silverado in 2004 [more info on my Truck Series Site]. Last week, Bodine spent two days in and around Baghdad during a six-day trip to the Middle East as part of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves NASCAR Civic Leaders II Tour. He visited soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar with a group of eight NASCAR personalities, including car owners Richard Childress and Jack Roush, and drivers Rick Crawford and Ron Hornaday. While on his Middle East tour, Bodine spent time at the Baghdad airport and also traveled several hours by convoy to a military controlled power station, where he greeted servicemen and signed autographs. He also witnessed what life is like for many Iraqis. “We saw the people, the culture and hundreds of little kids lining the road to see us,” he said. “The poverty in the towns was saddening.” Bodine also flew in military Blackhawk helicopters to a remote base where he said no entertainment group had ever been to before. “Those guys were ecstatic to see us,” said Bodine, who admits it was the most dangerous part of his trip. “If you try to drive there in a vehicle you’ll get shot at.” He also witnessed the tragedies of war when two dead American soldiers, including a female helicopter pilot, where transported on their military C-130 flight out of Baghdad. At 54, Bodine’s career had seemingly come to a crossroads, but now it is his two younger brothers, Todd and Brett, who are faced with uncertain starts to the 2004 season. “I’m worried about my other two brothers,” Bodine said. Geoffrey said they aren’t expected to take part in official Nextel Cup testing at Daytona, which began earlier this week. Both are still trying to secure sponsors to drive in the upcoming season. He said Todd is talking to some potential Nextel Cup sponsors, but “nothing has been put together.”(in part from the Elmira Star Gazette)
    AND Todd’s wife, Lynn posted this on Todd’s website message board – “We wish we could tell you that Todd will be driving at Daytona but chances are not. We are keeping our heads high and working on a few sponsors that we will take somewhere when they come through. It will be later in the spring we think when that may happen.”(www.todd-bodine.com)(01-9-2004)
  • Add Fittipaldi to the 24 Hours at Daytona: Nextel Cup driver Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the 2004 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Other NASCAR regulars such as Kyle Petty, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will also take the green flag on January 31 for 24 hours of tough competition. Fittipaldi, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil will be driving with the defending North American Road Racing Champions Bell Motorsports. Co-driving the #54 Doran/Chevy in the Daytona Prototype division along with 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber and Andy Pilgrim, Fittipaldi feels the team has a better chance at success this year as compared to their 2003 effort at the endurance classic. In the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona they were able to complete only 67 laps before retiring with mechanical difficulties.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2004)
  • Evernham cars get some spinach for July Daytona Race: hearing that the #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne and the #19 Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield will sport Popeye The Sailorman 75th Anniversary schemes in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July.[no images…yet](1-9-2004)
  • ESPN to make Earnhardt movie: ESPN has decided on its third original, made-for-TV movie, and its title begins with the number 3. That’s an obvious clue to stock car racing fans, who will get to see a biography of Dale Earnhardt this summer. The show, “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story,” will be produced by Orly Adelson, also responsible for “The Junction Boys” and “Playmakers” on ESPN. The cable network has not announced the actor who will portray Earnhardt.(AJC)
    AND ESPN announced Wednesday it will present a docudrama on Dale Earnhardt in the late summer that explores seminal moments in the racer’s life. “It’s not a controversial movie. It’s an inspirational one,” said Ron Semiao, ESPN senior vice president of original entertainment. Shooting on 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story will start in the next two months in Atlanta or Charlotte, N.C., executive producer Orly Adelson said. The title represents the number of Earnhardt’s car and the three generations of racers in his family, said writer Robert Eisele. Adelson is starting to cast the film with director Russell Mulcahy. The chronological script will span Earnhardt’s life and end with his death at age 49 in the Daytona 500 in 2001. Three actors will portray Earnhardt. His family is not involved in the production, Semiao said. “It touches the important moments of his life, the moments that changed Dale or his career or his relationships,” Adelson said. “It gives you a look into the man.” She said the inspiration comes from Earnhardt’s learning the value of life before he died. “He had built something he hadn’t had before,” she said. “Those are the things you’d want to see because the racing is obvious.” The film will mix authentic racing with re-created scenes. To prepare the script, Eisele said he watched videos, read articles and books and interviewed people in the racing world who knew Earnhardt. “I actually love the character of Dale Earnhardt, and I never knew him,” Eisele said. “He’s a fascinating individual, the Intimidator. He was loved by fans, feared by his fellow competitors, and some of them didn’t like him much because he changed the way that they raced on those tracks.”(Orlando Sentinel)
    AND II: ESPN has accelerated its development of several made-for-TV movies in 2004, including one devoted to the late seven-time Winston Cup champion, Dale Earnhardt. ESPN made the announcement Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Hollywood, Calif. The project, called “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story,” will chronicle the life of Earnhardt, who died in a last-lap crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. ESPN hopes the show will be ready by late summer. Casting is expected to begin soon. It will be ESPN’s third original long-form production. The 24-hour sports network is also planning movies this year on baseball star Pete Rose; track star Roger Bannister; and the 1997-78 New York Yankees. Negotiations regarding the movie have been ongoing between ESPN and officials with Dale Earnhardt Inc., including owner Teresa Earnhardt.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-8-2004)
    UPDATE – ESPN doing Earnhardt movie, but without widow’s blessing: ESPN officials confirmed Thursday much of the footage of a planned made-for-TV movie devoted to the life of the late NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt could be filmed in Charlotte and Atlanta. Rob Tobias, ESPN’s director of media relations, said the network originally had discussions with officials with Dale Earnhardt Inc., including owner Teresa Earnhardt, the driver’s widow. “In the end, we couldn’t agree on a story line, so we have proceeded on with the project. The script has been given the green light,” he said. Tobias said the movie should be ready by late summer. Production is under way and casting decisions will be made soon, he said. DEI officials reached Thursday declined to comment on the movie. A spokesperson at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., said ESPN had not been in touch with the track as yet.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-9-2004)
  • Black and White for Sadler: #38-Elliott Sadler will run a black and white M&M’s scheme to promote M&M’s ‘Great Color Quest’ at all the Cup races in Daytona, Rockingham and Las Vegas.(M&M’s site)(1-2-2004)
    IMAGE added of the scheme to the #38 Car Paint Scemes page [all will load] and the 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(1-9-2004)
  • IMAGEs added; #1 Maxwell House/Post Chevy, #17 DeWalt Ford to the 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page and the #17 Car Paint Scemes page [all will load]. Also added images to the #6 Car Paint Scemes page#31 Car Paint Scemes page#88 Car Paint Scemes page and #19 Car Paint Scemes page(1-9-2004)
  • Trimming of the Spoilers? NASCAR is planning the next step in cutting aerodynamic downforce, which would be to trim the rear spoiler by half an inch for the second half of the season at all tracks except Daytona and Talladega. Under the rule, which would go into effect at Chicago on July 11, cars would carry five-inch-tall spoilers. NASCAR has already trimmed spoilers by three-quarters of an inch, down to 5 1/2 inches for the year’s first 14 downforce events.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-9-2004)
  • Clean Fuel: Some engine builders say Sunoco’s new racing gasoline is cleaner than Unocal’s, which makes “reading” sparkplugs more difficult, when determining how to set up an engine. But Jack Roush says he has found no such problems: “When I look at how some people try to read sparkplugs, I’m like the dog that didn’t hear the whistle and didn’t get to the dish in time.”(Winston Salem Journal)(1-9-2004)

    (1-8-2004)

  • NASCAR official confirms changes in points system, while the exact format was NOT announced, some changes announced that are coming include: a “playoff formet”, a possible wild card for the ‘playoffs’, more points for the race winners, no points for a pole sitter [boo], still drivers and owners points, for playoffs drivers will NOT go back to zero points, and higher minimum speeds to stay in the race. As an added incentive for the drivers not in the playoffs over the final 10 races — if winning a race weren’t enough — NASCAR will create an award for the highest finishing driver out of the playoffs and will recognize him at the Awards Banquet in New York. See updates and news from different sources on my NASCAR News page. Expect an announcement sometime in mid-to-late Jan.(1-8-2004)
  • Elliott schedule to be more limited? Sponsorship may limit Bill Elliott’s 2004 Nextel Cup Series schedule, team owner Ray Evernham said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Evernham said all he could confirm this season for Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup champion, was three events: The Feb. 7 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona and Nextel Cup races at Las Vegas and Texas. Evernham said lack of sponsorship was tying his hands in terms of planning any further. Evernham also said although he had done a one-race experiment in the Busch Series with Mayfield, which resulted in a fourth place finish at Rockingham last fall, he did not immediately foresee running Busch races this season. Evernham said Elliott, who will work as Kahne’s advisor for many of the early-season races, likely would not do more than 15 races no matter what the sponsorship program is.(NASCAR.com)(1-8-2004)
  • Gibbs/Reggie White Diversity Update: North Carolina A&T graduate Chris Bristol is expected to be one of two minority drivers selected to drive a Late Model for a team owned by NASCAR owner and NFL coach Joe Gibbs and former NFL player Reggie White. The announcement is expected to take place later this month. Gibbs and White announced last year plans to create their own driver diversity program. Steve de Souza, vice president of Busch operations and special projects at Joe Gibbs Racing, said the organization received more than 200 resumes for the two openings. de Souza declined to name the two drivers but said Bristol was one of five who tested for the program last month. Bristol, a Greensboro resident, graduated from A&T in 1999 with a mechanical engineering degree. He finished second in the Late Model Super Truck division last season at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, winning rookie of the year honors, along with three races. Bristol, an African-American, first began racing six years ago in A&T’s motorsports program and has been trying to race fulltime since. He was one of 13 candidates selected to try out earlier this week for the NASCAR-backed Drive for Diversity program — which will put at least four minority drivers with Late Model teams in the Southeast. Bristol called program officials before the tryout to say he had other plans and wouldn’t need to take part in the program. Bristol and his new team are expected to race regularly at Caraway. The other team is expected to compete regularly at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw.(News and Record)(1-8-2004)
  • DW Dealership Helps Out: Darrell Waltrip Honda Volvo sponsored the building of a new home with Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County [Tenn], the third home the dealership has helped build. Waltrip, a retired three-time NASCAR champion, presented the keys to the home to new owner Diane Cunningham and her children. Waltrip supplied the funding and Page High students contributed to the construction.(Tennessean)(1-8-2004)

    (1-7-2004)

  • Been asked……what’s up with IROC? The International Race of Champions [IROC] opener is still up in the air. The folks at IROC are apparently waiting to get the final, final, final OK from a new series sponsor. Daytona Intl Speedway is reserving them space on the Speed Weeks schedule (Feb. 13).(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-19-2003)
    UPDATE: have heard nothing on who could drive [no one has been named or rumored] or what model of cars they will run…if the series is run in 2004…..and on ThatsRacin.com, the Daytona International Speedway Speedweeks schedule has practice and race times listed, the official IROC site: www.irocracing.com has simply the following: 2004 Announcements Coming Soon!.(1-7-2004)
  • Gibbs back to the NFL? UPDATE 2 It’s Official – He is Back: Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs could make a surprise return to the Washington Redskins. The Washington Post, citing sources with connections to Gibbs, reported late Tuesday on its Web site that Gibbs was in serious discussions about returning to the team that he led to three Super Bowl titles. The 63-year-old Gibbs coached the Redskins from 1981-92 before resigning to pursue a career with his own NASCAR team. He has been adamant over the years about not wanting to coach again, although he has retained NFL connections. He is currently a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. The Redskins are seeking a replacement for Steve Spurrier, who resigned last week. Calls to the Redskins and to Gibbs’ racing team were not immediately returned. Gibbs’ racing teams have been among the most successful in NASCAR with two Winston Cup championships in the last four seasons. #18-Bobby Labonte took the title in 2000 and #20-Tony Stewart in 2002.(CNNSI/AP)(1-7-2004)
    UPDATE: The Washington Redskins [Go Eagles] expect to name Joe Gibbs their coach Wednesday, a source within the NFL told The Associated Press. The Hall of Fame coach has been negotiating a surprise return to the team he led to three Super Bowls, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source said the team hoped to complete the deal and make an announcement later Wednesday. The negotiations were first reported by The Washington Post and CBS Sportsline.com. Gibbs’ oldest son, J.D., is president of Joe Gibbs Racing. The former coach’s youngest son, Coy, finished 14th last season in the Busch Series standings [but is not racing in 2004 and is supposedly ‘retired’.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), no word on how this effects the team, but Gibbs has his son’s in place running most of the day-to-day operation already.(1-7-2004)
    AND from the Joe Gibbs Racing site: Joe Gibbs, former head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and owner of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), announced today his return as head coach of the Washington Redskins. Gibbs retired as head coach of the Washington Redskins following the 1992 season after leading the Redskins to three Super Bowl victories in four appearances. In 12 seasons, Gibbs’ record with the Redskins was 140-65 with a 16-5 playoff record.
    “The desire to coach has always been with me, even after being away from the game for 11 years,” said Gibbs, whose contract with the Redskins will run for five years. “After speaking with my wife Pat, we both agreed it would be a thrill to go back. I appreciate Daniel Snyder giving me the opportunity to coach again. But rest assured, I remain personally committed to Joe Gibbs Racing and each and every sponsor who supports the many employees of Joe Gibbs Racing.”
    JGR, winner of two NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championships and 40 Nextel Cup victories since its inception in 1992, will not be affected by Gibbs’ return to the NFL sideline. Key management remains in place, with Gibbs’ oldest son – J.D. Gibbs – continuing his role as team president. All of the drivers and key sponsors have long term deals, and the management structure will not change, with Jimmy Makar and each team’s respective crew chiefs directing the racing operations. Joe Gibbs will remain as the race team’s CEO.
    “I am real excited for my Mom and Dad,” said J.D. Gibbs. “I think this move gives our sponsors added value in terms of getting national exposure. JGR is a strong organization and it’s in capable hands. I feel great about the state of this race team and its future success on the race track.”
    Prior to making his decision to return to the NFL, Joe Gibbs met with the race team’s key corporate sponsors, most notably The Home Depot and Interstate Batteries. “Joe Gibbs is an integral part of The Home Depot family, and I speak for the more than 300,000 company associates in support of his new challenges as coach of the Washington Redskins,” said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO, The Home Depot. “Given Joe’s success at building teams, it comes as no surprise that he would add NFL coach to his current responsibilities for the #20 Home Depot car driven by Tony Stewart. We look forward to a successful 2004 season with Joe Gibbs Racing.”
    “All of us at Interstate are extremely excited for Joe and look forward to the Cowboys – Redskins rivalry heating up again”. said Norm Miller, chairman, of Interstate Batteries. “Joe Gibbs has been terrific for racing, leading Interstate and Bobby Labonte to the 2000 Winston Cup Championship and I know he will quickly return the Redskins to Super bowl form.” In addition to meeting with the race team’s sponsors, Joe Gibbs also visited with his two NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers, Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte.
    “I’m very happy for him,” said Stewart. “He’s always been a coach, and football has always been very close to him. After working with Joe for a number of years, I know his commitment to winning is unmatched. Fans of the Redskins should be very happy.”
    “I’m thrilled for Joe” said driver Bobby Labonte, who has driven for Joe Gibbs since 1995, “Donna and I think this is the coolest thing we’ve heard in a long time. The race team will be just fine, and all of us on the #18 team will work just as hard to win another championship in 2004 “(JGR site)(1-7-2004)
  • Changes to the Hot Pass credential system: NASCAR has made a slight modification to its “hot pass” credential system for its Nextel Cup series for the 2004 season. Beginning with the Feb. 6 Budweiser Shootout and extending for the remainder of the 2004 season, the “hot pass” rule will remain in effect until one hour after track activity has completed. When the system was implemented at the beginning of last season, it required media and spectators to vacate the garage and pit road 30 minutes before and 10 minutes after any track activity unless they had a “hot pass” distributed by NASCAR or an annual credential or “hard card.” “If you think about everything that happens at the conclusion of a Cup race – 43 teams moving equipment, pushing it up on the lift-gates and rolling all of that stuff into the trucks – it takes a lot more than 10 minutes to get that done,” Nextel Cup series director John Darby said. “This is a lot more comfortable feeling to allow the teams to work through this process without interference. “Beyond that,” he said, “it’s about the inspection process. Our inspectors need to do their jobs. We won’t have to worry about who is in the garage and who isn’t.” Hot passes are limited to working personnel including drivers, officials, crew members, the working media and emergency and safety workers. The new policy was designed to improve safety in the pits and in the garage for spectarors, drivers, crews and working personnel.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-7-2004)
  • Maryland legal firm to be associate sponsor for three Cup, three Busch and four Truck Series teams: Starting a unique sports marketing initiative in 2004, one of the country’s fastest-growing legal firms will become the most active car associate sponsor in NASCAR racing. Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins, P.A., a top personal injury firm based in La Plata, will sponsor three NASCAR Nextel Cup teams, three NASCAR Busch Grand National teams, and four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams this season. These associate sponsorships make the firm the first legal firm to be involved in motorsports sponsorship on a full-time basis, and make it one of the very few companies of any type to sponsor teams in all three divisions. Their involvement with 10 teams will be greater than any car sponsor in the sport.
    Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins not only handles personal injury claims but also is well known for its contract and business representation, as well as a vast criminal and real estate practice.
    BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Dodge of driver Ken Schrader, will be sponsored by Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins the entire 2004 season. The logo will also appear on the #02 Score Motorsports NASCAR Nextel Cup entry of driver Hermie Sadler in selected events, while also appearing on Sadler’s NASCAR Busch Series entry. In addition, the #0 NetZero car of driver Ward Burton will carry the firm’s logo in the four NASCAR Nextel Cup races at Dover, Del., and Richmond, Va., while the #00 Haas/CNC Busch entry of driver Jason Leffler will carry the Jenkins colors throughout the season. The #77 Moy Racing-owned Busch Grand National entry of driver Donnie Neuenberger will be sponsored the entire year, as will the Bobby Hamilton-owned #4 and #18 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entries; the #38 Cure Autism Now Ford Truck of driver Brandon Whitt; and the #21 Innovative Motorsports Toyota Truck of driver Hank Parker, Jr.(Williams Company PR). NOTE: these are associate sponsorships, teams such as the #49 BAM Racing and #02 Hermie Sadler are still looking for primary sponsors.(1-7-2004)
  • Roush and Yates? UPDATE 3 mergine engine programs: hearing Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing are teaming up to build engines together at Yates engine shop?
    hearing it’s a two way technology transfer as chassis info is headed back to Yates’ group from Roush. It’s along the lines of GM’s “Key Partners” group. The idea is to have the gear as optimized as it can be, then race amongst themselves for the win —- which is what GM’s been doing with great success this year.(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing more and more unconfirmed rumors that Roush Racing is buying out Roberts Yates two car operation [#38 and #88], but that Yates would maintain the engine side of things and build engines for all seven teams [Yates #38, #88; Roush’s #6, #16, #17, #97, #99] and run an engine lease operation.(1-4-2004)
    UPDATE 2: been told that Roush is not buying Yates out, but Yates is supposedly doing some engine work for Roush.(1-5-2004)
    AND see a column at FoxSports: A Roush-Yates alliance could be RAD for Ford.(1-6-2004)
    UPDATE 3: A few versions of how it’s playing out: “Jack Roush is buying Robert Yates Racing”; Robert Yates Engines has become the “Official Ford Engine builder of NASCAR” or, as a longer story has it, a Ford Motor Company executive one day wondered why Ford’s top teams didn’t collaborate on their stock car programs. “Ford has encouraged them to work together, particularly with the new cylinder head having been approved by NASCAR during the offseason,” Ford Motorsports spokesman Dan Zacharias said Tuesday. “Roush has not bought Robert Yates; Yates is not building all of the Ford engines used in NASCAR.” Finally, the story continues, the Ford executive got the guys together and asked them: “Why don’t you all just work together?” Everyone involved supposedly likes the idea that each would no longer waste money on producing something that the other can bring to the table and have, supposedly, already started doing just that. “They’ve established a cooperative arrangement to work together instead, to get everybody up to speed.”(in part from a Daytona Beach News Journal column)
    UPDATE 3a: Two of the biggest names in NASCAR racing, car owners Robert Yates and Jack Roush, are merging their engine-building operations, in a stunning development for the two long-time rivals. The move comes, Roush said, to meet the challenge of a tremendous influx of European Formula One technology into stock-car racing over the past 18 months and the pending Toyota challenge. At the moment, the Roush-Yates merger involves only engine technology, but sources said that the opportunity is now there for much tighter work between the two Ford camps – Yates, with drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler, and Roush, with drivers Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle. “Ford has encouraged Robert and me to have a ‘technology transfer’ to become competitive with what Toyota is bringing and what Chevrolet is doing and what Dodge has done,” Roush said. The Ford thing has been disjointed. Robert and I didn’t cooperate, and Ford was not in a position to carry any amount of meaningful technology to both of us, even though both of us were being funded for different projects. The agreement was to help our programs singularly, but that is just not going to work going forward, because you can’t have half a program and get the whole result. So we’re working to organize how to build better engines by taking both programs and putting them together. Beyond that there are discussions that could lead to deeper involvements, but those aren’t finalized at this point.” Some crewmen sense an even deeper merger of the two camps may be looming.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-7-2004)
  • New NASCAR.com Correspondent: Leilani Munter will be doing double duty during the 2004 racing season. Leilani and Turner Sports Interactive have come to an agreement for 2004 for her to work as a correspondent for NASCAR.com. Leilani will continue to race a late model stock car in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series for LesCare Kitchens and Evernham Performance Parts. Currently Leilani is in Daytona reporting for NASCAR.com on the first test session of NASCAR Nextel Cup testing. She will also be reporting from Daytona during the second test session on January 13-15. Tune in to TrackPass on NASCAR.com to view the coverage.(PR)(1-7-2004)
  • New Testing Rules in 2004 UPDATE: Nextel Cup teams received a last-minute holiday gift from NASCAR in the form of a testing bonus. Starting this month through November 14, Cup teams will be allowed five two-day and four one-day tests [total of 9]. Rookies get seven two-day and five one-day tests [total of 12]. The only mandatory test sessions will occur before the Daytona 500. Last season, non-rookie teams were allowed five tests of one or two days, and rookie teams were allowed seven.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-5-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced changes in testing policies for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, increasing the number of tests available to teams at facilities hosting events on the three 2004 national series schedules.
    For the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and the NASCAR Busch Series, the new policies allow for five two-day private-car tests and four single-day tests (14 total days); teams with Rookie of the Year candidates will be permitted seven two-day tests and five single-day tests (19 total days). Previously, teams were allowed five two-day tests while rookies were allowed nine two-day tests.
    For the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, all manufacturers will be allotted two two-day test sessions at a track of their choice, provided the track hosts a series event. In addition, each team will be allotted two private, two-day tests – thus increasing the maximum number of test days to eight. Those tests must be at a track on the series schedule, provided all series races at that track have been held.
    In addition:
    * As in the past, all teams are free to test at facilities that do not host national series events, with those tests not counting toward their allotment.
    * For the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series, new teams or those not among the top 45 in the 2003 owner points and/or in the top 45 in the current season’s owner points will receive one two-day test and one single-day test (total of three days) until they attempt to qualify for a race. Each time a qualification attempt is made, teams will receive an additional two-day/single-day allotment, up to the maximum amount.
    * The three-day test sessions at NASCAR Preseason Thunder count as a two-day test for all teams in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series. NASCAR Preseason Thunder does not count against NASCAR Craftsman Truck teams’allotment.(NASCAR PR)(1-7-2004)
  • Arnold Motorsports and Cope UPDATE: being told that the #79 Arnold Motorsports team, will switch to the #50 and Derrike Cope will drive the car full time and the sponsor Cope announced last year for his #37 Quest Motorsports team, PHM – Paramount Hospitality Management, could be part of the package. More info on the team at www.arnold-motorsports.com [but no mention of this, confirmed it with the team].(12-11-2003)
    UPDATE: from the Derrike Cope site: Derrike told us that he will be teaming with Arnold Motorsports and driving the #50 Dodge for the Nextel Cup season. Derrike said, “We currently have two very nice speedway cars that will be ready for the test sessions at Daytona next week. We test Jan. 13, 14, 15. Also we will be testing for two days in Las Vegas later this month on the 26th and 27th.”(Derrike Cope site)(1-7-2003)
  • Cool Helmet: Brendan Gaughan will wear a special helmet in the Daytona 500. It was signed by an Army unit stationed at the Baghdad (Iraq) Airport. “We got the second guy who interrogated Sadaam Hussein on here,” Gaughan said. “I’ve been given permission to wear it in the Daytona 500, so this is it. I’ve got to support the troops.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-7-2004)
  • Daytona/Talladega Aero Package: The Nextel Cup aero package for the 2004 season includes a 55 degree spoiler angle; 6.75-inch spoiler height; 57-inch spoiler width; and 29/32-inch restrictor plate openings. Last year’s spoiler height was 6.25-inch and the plate opening was set at 28/32-inch.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-7-2004)
  • Ephedra Banned: NASCAR has added the supplemental product ephedra/ephedrine to the list of banned substances under its drug policy, series officials confirmed Tuesday. On Dec. 30, federal officials announced it was moving to ban dietary supplements containing ephedra because of continued health concerns about the product. Last season, NASCAR advised its participants in all of its series to seek guidance from their personal physician before taking any supplemental product labeled as containing ephedra/ephedrine. Ephedra, which is extracted from an Asian plant, was already banned in college sports, the Olympics, the NFL and minor league baseball. Supplement manufacturer Stacker 2 sponsors the NASCAR Busch Series car of Kenny Wallace. That sponsorship should not be affected since Stacker 2 offers other non-ephedra products.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-7-2004)
  • Andy Petree Racing News: Andy Petree Racing (APR) and Monaco Coach Corporation announced plans for primary sponsorship in 2004. “This marks the fourth consecutive year that we have the opportunity of working with such a committed company, we have really enjoyed this relationship and look forward to winning again for Monaco Coach Corporation in 2004. We got involved with Monaco Coach Corporation over four years ago and haven’t looked back. Their sales and marketing department really understand the benefits of being involved in NASCAR and that helps us focus on the performance side of our operation. I can’t say enough good things about the group of people that run Monaco Coach Corporation.” said Steve Barkdoll, General Manager of APR.
    Monaco will sponsor driver Paul Menard in the season opening ARCA event in Daytona, FL on February 7, 2004. The focus will then shift to the Craftsman Truck Series in Martinsville, VA on April 17, and Indianapolis Raceway Park, IN Aug. 6. Plans also include a Monaco Coach Corporation entry into the Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond, VA on September 9, as APR attempts to defend their two-year consecutive win streak.(APR PR)(1-7-2004)
  • Congrats to Ryan Newman and Krissie Boyle, who got married this past Saturday [Jan 3rd]; best man was crew chief Matt Borland.(1-7-2004)
  • Wimmer next: congrats to Scott Wimmer, driver of the #22 CAT Dodge, who left Daytona testing to head to Las Vegas, where he is getting married to girlfriend Jody Ambrose. As reported, Dave Blaney will test the car for the remainder of the testing this week.(1-7-2004)

    (1-6-2004)

  • Changes Announced in the Provisional System for 2004: The provisional system for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series will have several changes beginning with the 2004 season, NASCAR officials announced today.
    The most significant change in the system will increase the number of cars that make the 43-car fields via qualifying times, raising the total from 36 to 38. The move reduces the amount of provisional starting positions assigned to a field from seven to five. The “champion’s” provisional remains in place for the 43rd and final starting position when applicable.
    The other key change involves the eligibility for the provisional starting positions for new car owners and also those not among the top 45 in the owner standings. Those owners are ineligible for provisionals until after their entry makes an attempt to qualify at four events. After attempting to qualify for four events, the car owner will receive two provisionals and additional ones can be earned by attempting to qualify for six events, with a season maximum of eight. Previously, those outside the top 45 and new car owners earned four initial provisionals following their first attempt to qualify for a race.
    Additional changes include:
    Car owners in the top 45 positions of the 2003 owner championship standings will receive four provisionals at the outset of the season and will receive an additional one after attempting to qualify for six events, for a season maximum of 10. The previous season maximum was eight.
    Each provisional used by a car owner during the season – regardless of standing – counts against the owner’s season allotment earned. Previously, the top 25 car owners were not charged for provisionals used after the fourth race of the season.
    In the event the number of entrants is equal to or less than the number of starting positions available for an event, provisionals assigned to fill starting positions 39 through 43 will not count toward the maximum season allotment.
    The provisional starting positions procedure for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will remain unchanged for the 2004 season. Also unchanged for 2004 in the NASCAR Busch Series will be the rule in which car owners who utilize a driver who is among the top 35 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship points will be ineligible for a provisional starting position.(NASCAR PR), see past rules and 2003 standings on my 2003 ProvisionalLand Page.(1-6-2004)
  • #77 Announcement Tuesday UPDATE, OFFICIAL: hearing the announcement of the long rumored Kodak and Brendan Gaughan to the #77 {Ford to Dodge] ride with Penske buying into the Jasper Motorsports team will be announced on Tuesday, Jan 6th. For much more on the rumor, see my #77 Team News and Links page.(1-5-2004)
    UPDATE: Eastman Kodak Company and Penske Performance, Inc. announced that Kodak would sponsor Penske-Jasper Racing Company’s #77 Dodge for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The companies forged a multi-year agreement for Kodak to be the primary sponsor of the #77 Dodge, which will be driven by Brendan Gaughan. Gaughan, the 2002 “Rookie of the Year” in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, won eight races over two full seasons and finished fourth in the Truck Series point standings in 2003.
    “Kodak has had a long and rewarding relationship with NASCAR and we are pleased to be continuing with our race team program with this great sport and its fans,” said Carl Gustin, Chief Marketing Officer, and Senior Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. “We are excited to be aligned with Penske, one of the premier organizations in all of motor sports.”
    The #77 Kodak-sponsored Dodge will be co-owned by Jasper Engine Exchange, Inc., a long-time Penske business partner, and will have the benefits of its relationship with Penske’s other NEXTEL Cup teams, the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, driven by Rusty Wallace, and the #12 Alltel Dodge, driven by Ryan Newman. “Having the opportunity to partner with Kodak brings a tremendous amount of credibility to our race team and I look forward to the business-to-business opportunities that will develop from this new relationship,” said Roger Penske.
    Kodak plans to utilize its race team sponsorship and its NASCAR Official Imaging Sponsor status as a marketing platform for many of its 2004 strategic initiatives. Kodak will adorn the #77 Dodge with a wide representation of Kodak’s digitally-oriented products and services, including KODAK EASYSHARE digital cameras and its OFOTO online photo fulfillment service (www.ofoto.com). Kodak will leverage its digital leadership through a variety of racing-related programs, such as using in-car KODAK EASYSHARE cameras, utilizing its OFOTO service for print fulfillment and incorporating race team content on KODAK PictureMaker kiosks. Additionally, Kodak plans to enable a system for fans to purchase NASCAR photos at the track, at retail and online through various KODAK digital services.
    Kodak will continue its Retail Partner Program, where select retailers will partner with Kodak’s racing program, beginning with Eckerd Corporation at the Daytona 500 in February 2004. Kodak expects to have 15 to 20 partners participate in this program throughout the season. Through its Entertainment Imaging operations, Kodak plans to engage movie studio customers to market new releases. In 2003, Kodak teamed up with Walt Disney Pictures to promote “The Pirates of the Caribbean” release at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
    “I am thrilled to get this opportunity and thankful to so many people,” said Brendan Gaughan. “I appreciate the confidence that Kodak and the Penske organization have shown in my abilities, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to represent Kodak, one of the most respected brands and companies in the world. To drive the Kodak Dodge for an organization the caliber of Penske-Jasper Racing is a dream come true. I can’t wait for the 2004 season to begin.”
    Jasper Engine Exchange and Transmissions, Inc., which has been the primary sponsor of the #77 Jasper car for the past 13 seasons, will become an associate sponsor with the new race team. Jasper will be identified as the primary sponsor in several races each year. In addition to its sponsorship, Jasper will provide engineering support and power train development to the Kodak-sponsored #77 Dodge.
    For the past 18 years, Kodak has been identified with the #4 car, teamed with Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Kodak will remain with the Morgan-McClure team as an associate sponsor. The Kodak and Morgan McClure relationship has resulted in 14 Winston Cup wins, including 3 Daytona 500 victories in 1991, 1994 and 1995. “We thank Larry McClure and Morgan-McClure Motorsports for our long-standing relationship with them,” said Gustin. “We wish them the best of luck as a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor in the coming seasons. Kodak, EasyShare and Ofoto are trademarks of Eastman Kodak Company [www.kodak.com].(Yahoo Biz)
    see two images of the car on my #77 Team Paint Schemes page [both will load] or on my 2004 Paint Schemes page.(1-6-2004)
  • Assoc sponsor re-ups with the #17: GE Advanced Materials announced that it has renewed as an associate sponsor of 2003 Winston Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth, and the #17 DEWALT Ford Taurus for the 2004 NASCAR racing season. The extension marks the second year that GE Advanced Materials has teamed up with DEWALT and Roush Racing to promote its LEXAN brand of polycarbonate plastic, which is used as an ingredient component in many consumer products. The #17 DEWALT Ford Taurus will once again feature the green LEXAN resin logo across the back. LEXAN resin is one of the toughest and most versatile polymers in existence and can be found in everything from DVDs to automotive headlamps and steering columns, to camping equipment, cell phones, and computer housings. LEXAN is a registered trademark of General Electric Company.(Business Wire)(1-6-2004)
  • Kenseth’s Busch team sold? hearing that #17 Busch Series team that Matt Kenseth drives for and owned by John Reiser has been sold to Roush Racing.(1-6-2004)
  • Steve Young to be involved with NASCAR team: Legendary NFL quarterback Steve Young, already successful in off-gridiron endeavors such as business and broadcasting has become involved in the world of NASCAR auto racing. Young announced Thursday [1-1-2004] that Jugular [goforthejugular.com] and YET [getyet.net], a line of energy drinks of which he is an investor and company spokesperson, will be the primary sponsor of the BH Motorsports 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Car [#36 Chevy per the BH Motorsports site].
    “Like many Americans, I have been very excited by the explosive growth of NASCAR. To be a part of a NASCAR team, and to promote healthy energy drinks like YET and Jugular at the same time, was an irresistible opportunity,” said Young, a Super Bowl MVP and a regular commentator on ESPN. “And we’re very happy to be working with BH Motorsports on our entry into NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. BH Motorsports have fielded cars in NASCAR competition since 1989, with great drivers like Mike Skinner, Darrell Waltrip, Ken Bouchard, Carl Long and Ron Hornaday.”
    The NASCAR sponsorship will mark the start of a national marketing and advertising campaign for Jugular and YET. BH Motorsports, signed Sudden Impact Partners, Inc. – who own the Jugular and YET brand energy drinks – to a long term sponsorship which will include merchandising and promotional campaigns. Jugular has sponsored downhill skateboard competitions, street luge races, and Team Jugular athletes. Over the past six years Team Jugular has medaled over 20 times in the X Games, the Gravity Games and other major competitions throughout the world. BH Motorsports owner Tinsley Hughes has also worked tirelessly to increase urban participation in motorsports. A native of Virginia, who now resides in Charlotte, Hughes founded the Hughes Motorsports Academy, a program formed to increase participation by Urban Americans in all aspects of auto racing. ”We have helped Urban drivers for a number of years,” said Hughes. “So we have been doing this longer than a lot of people realize.” The goal of Hughes Motorsports Academy is to give urban drivers a chance to develop the needed skills to make a career in motorsports whether their interest is in driving, becoming a crew member or a future team owner. Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been extremely supportive of the program.” Hughes added, “They are one of the greatest assets we have.” The Hughes Motorsports Academy Drivers had a very successful 2003 season with 11 wins and 26 top 10 finishes. BH Motorsports will announce the driver for the Jugular/ YET Racing Team in late January or early February.(BH Motorsports PR)(1-6-2004)
  • Congrats: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy got engaged recently to girlfriend Chandra Janway.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(1-6-2004)
  • DEI Tuner leaves to start own biz? hearing that DEI Engine Tuner and #8 Gasman, Jeff Clark has left DEI to start a Motorcycle Business in the Charlotte, NC area.(1-6-2004)
  • Speed Channel’s Autorotica: Speed Channel is launching a two-hour programming bloc on Wednesday nights that’s dubbed “Autorotica.” The expanded programming debuts Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. and will include international car shows, motorcycle programming, profiles of celebrity-owned vehicles and racing films. The network initiated the programming in August with a one-hour broadcast. Speed Channel, available in more the 64 million homes in North America, is a 24-hour sports cable network that broadcasts NASCAR and other racing events.(Charlotte Business Journal)(1-6-2004)
  • FanZCar Continues Sponsorship of Weekly Segment on Raceline: SS Racing Inc., founding company of The FanZCar, a fan-based sponsorship program, announces it extended it sponsorship throughout 2004 with nationally syndicated NASCAR racing television program, RACELINE. The FanZCar sponsors the fans forum portion of its broadcast. The segment is titled the “The FanZCar Fan’s Forum” and features one question asked on-air each week, and one fan’s response, read on air, to the previous week’s question. The fan chosen as each week’s winner will receive a race fan grab bag including an honorary membership in The FanZCar program, a $100.00 value. The FanZCar logo and a link to The FanZCar website at www.thefanzcar.com will also be displayed each week during the FanZ Forum segment of the show. RACELINE (www.racelineonline.com) will also highlight new events and programs within The FanZCar each month. Raceline is hosted by Joe Moore and airs on many stations, including the Outdoor Channel. The FanZCar will be sponsoring #13-Black Cat Racing in NASCAR’s Busch Racing Series in 2004.(1-6-2004)

    (1-5-2004)

  • Bill Davis Racing News and 2004 plans; Blaney to test the #23 at Daytona: Bill Davis Racing has expanded its operation to include two Craftsman Truck Series teams. Shelby Howard, an Indiana native, will compete in the #23 Toyota truck with Dave Fuge Jr., as his crew chief. Bill Lester will drive the #22 Toyota truck for Bill Davis Racing’s second entry in the Craftsman Truck Series with the experience of Jeff Hensley as his crew chief.
    Kenny Wallace returns to the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004 with Stacker 2 backing the #23 Chevrolet. Wallace has amassed 10 poles, nine wins, 58 top-five and 131 top-10’s in his Busch Series career. The #23 will return with the same Busch team that led Scott Wimmer to victory lane five times in the last two seasons. Chris Rice will return as crew chief for the #23 Stacker 2 team.
    Scott Wimmer will compete for Rookie of the Year honors in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge under the tutelage of Frank Stoddard. The team got a jumpstart on the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season after competing in the final four races of 2003. Wimmer scored his first top 10 finish in just his second start with the team. The crew kicks off Daytona testing this week with Wimmer behind the wheel for just one day, before heading off to Las Vegas to get married to longtime girlfriend Jody Ambrose. Dave Blaney will fill in for the final two days of testing for Wimmer.
    Dave Blaney will also test the #23 NEXTEL Cup entry at Daytona International Speedway for Bill Davis Racing in preparation for the 2004 Speedweeks. Discussions regarding sponsorship for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series are ongoing and once they have been finalized, an announcement will be made at that time.(BDR PR)(1-5-2004)
  • New #40 Crew Members: Sterling Marlin will work with the new #40 Ganassi Racing crew. Paul Clapprood, who had been the front mechanic on Ganassi’s #41 car, is the new car chief. Randy Cox, formerly the #41’s car chief, is Marlin’s new rear tire changer and will be an asset to the team on race weekends. Shocks specialist Jeff Price joins the team from the #49 car, and Dave Atkins will be Marlin’s spotter.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-5-2004)
  • Grant of $1 million will help save Halifax land: A $1 million federal grant will help preserve a 1,123-acre tract in Halifax County known as the Cove, which includes two archaeological digs and an 18th-century plantation house. The grant to the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation comes from a U.S. Forest Service program. “It’s pretty emotional to know that we are this close to making this happen,” said NASCAR driver Ward Burton during a recent event to announce the grant. The Southside native, who started the foundation, was joined by Sen. George Allen, R-Va., and Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., R-5th. Burton’s close relationship with the Cove’s landowner, a retired minister, prompted the man to persuade his family to place the land in the foundation’s hands after his death in 1999. The foundation hopes to raise additional funds to build an educational center on the land that would include natural history exhibits and an auditorium. ( Free Lance Star via Richmond Times-Dispatch)(1-5-2004)
  • Lane goes to the #41: After two seasons as a crew chief with Petty Enterprises, Steven Lane will bring his expertise to the #41 car and Ganassi sophomore Casey Mears. Lane will be the car chief and work with crew chief Jimmy Elledge.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-5-2004)

 


(1-4-2004)

 

  • Add Park to 24 of Daytona: Steve Park, who reportedly will switch from Winston Cup to the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, is also slated to see sports car action for the second consecutive year. Park will once again drive in the companion Grand Am Cup event scheduled for Friday, Jan. 30, in a Nissan 350-ZX fielded by Schuitemaker Motorsports.(NASCAR.com), see my Truck Series page for more on Park to the Truck Series.(1-4-2004)
  • Wood Brothers in Mooresville: hearing the Wood Brothers team, #21-Ricky Rudd, has made the move from Stuart, VA, to Mooresville, NC.(1-4-2004)
  • #23 has a sponsor? needs a driver? Blaney? Benson? UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing [BDR] crew chief Phillipe Lopez has two new cars ready for the second week of Daytona testing, which starts Jan. 13, and two additional cars for the Las Vegas test on Jan. 26. The only piece missing from the #23 car puzzle is a driver; sources say BDR has a sponsor lined up. Former Davis pilot Dave Blaney is on the short list, as is Johnny Benson. If a driver isn’t enlisted this week, expect Kenny Wallace to test the car.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(12-30-2003)
    AND: From the Johnny Benson Fan Club web site [dated 12-28]: At this point in time, it doesn’t look like Johnny will be competing full time in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Since the notification of his release, Johnny has been taking to several owners and owners have been talking to him – but a full time ride has not transpired.(JBFC Site – check out the ‘Renewal Contest’ while there)(12-31-2003)
    UPDATE: Toward the end of last season, PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells said that, sponsorship permitting, he would start a second team and [Johnny] Benson would be the leading candidate to drive. But when sponsorship fell through, the second team and deal with Benson were put on hold. “I’m still talking to (PPI),” Benson said. “I’m still thinking that’s where I’d like to end up.” But for now Benson is in driver limbo. With mandatory testing for the Daytona 500 beginning this week, time is running out if he hopes to secure something for opening day.(ESPN)(1-4-2004)
  • Jimmy Johnson to run Rolex 24 at Daytona AND II: Jimmie Johnson is the latest NASCAR driver to join the Rolex 24 at Daytona field. Johnson will drive with Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and owner Dave Brule in the #4 DP03 Daytona Prototype in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race that begins on Jan. 31. Three days of Grand American Road Racing Association testing for the race begins today at Daytona International Speedway. More than 50 sportscars — including 16 Daytona Prototypes — will participate in the test sessions. One of the newest teams comes from the Chip Ganassi Racing stable and has enlisted drivers Max Papis, a 2002 Rolex 24 winner, and reigning SCCA Trans-Am champ Scott Pruett for the team’s season-long effort.(Daytona Beach News Journal)
    AND: Howard-Boss Motorsports and Crawford Race Cars announced today that former Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson (EFR) will team with car owner Dave Brule and NASCAR Superstar Jimmie Johnson to drive the No. 4 Boss Snowplow DP03 Daytona Prototype entry in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Jimmie Johnson will be making his first-ever start in the Rolex 24 At Daytona after finishing second in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings in 2003. Johnson posted three wins and captured two Bud Pole Awards as well as winning “The Winston” in May. Howard-Boss Motorsports will participate in pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway, January 3-5. Admission to the Oldfield grandstands during testing is free of change and can be accessed through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets to the 42nd Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 29 – February 1, are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(Grand-Am Rolex Series site); Johnson joins Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Christian Fittipaldi, Boris Said and Anthony Lazzaro as NASCAR drivers who plan to run the race. Other former NASCAR drivers entered include: David Donohue, Coy Gibbs, David Murry and Scott Pruett.(1-3-2004)
    AND II: Kyle Petty has been added to the entry list in the DP #79 with Paul Newman and Gunnar Jeannette; also Kevin Harvick could be added to a Flis motorsports entry and rumor has Bobby Labonte in the race.(1-4-2004)


    (1-3-2004)

  • Parker leaves Yates? UPDATE: hearing that former #88 Crew Chief, Shawn Parker have parted ways. Mike Ford was named a few weeks ago as Jarrett’s new crew cheif. No word on Parker’s plans.(12-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Shawn Parker will attend the Truck Series test session at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 10-12 with Ultra Motorsports [#’s 1 and 2]. Parker is listed as the chief mechanic for driver Ted Musgrave on Ultra’s #1 truck. Former #1 Truck crew chief, Gene Nead, was promoted to crew chief on Ultra Motorsports’ #7 Nextel Cup Dodge driven by Jimmy Spencer. Nead replaced Tommy Baldwin Jr., who went to Evernham Motorsports to work with rookie Kasey Kahne.(NASCAR.com)(1-3-2003)
  • Update on Brooks: Racing veteran and car dealer Dick Brooks continues to recover in a local hospital from injuries he received during a plane accident Sunday. Brooks, 61, remained in serious condition at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, according to a spokeswoman. Witnesses said Sunday’s accident happened after Brooks got into his favorite plane and taxied along an asphalt runway on his Woodruff property. The plane was going about 10 mph, they said, and as he made his way back toward the hangar on the grass runway, the plane got caught and tipped over. Brooks was thrown out of the pilot’s seat.(GoUpstate), see the inital report and updates on my Retired Drivers News and Links page.(1-3-2003)
  • Gaughan to test #77 at Daytona: Firming up reports that Craftsman Truck contender Brendan Gaughan will drive for a third Penske Racing team in 2004, Gaughan has been listed as driver for the #77 team in season-opening tests next week at Daytona International Speedway. Although no official announcements have been made, for whatever reasons, it has been rumored for a month that Penske would acquire, or become partner, in the #77 team heretofore owned by Jasper Engines principal Doug Bawel. Penske and Jasper had developed an increasingly close relationship, beginning in engine development, over the past year or so. Kodak, 15-year sponsor of the Morgan-McClure team, was known to be on the move in October and had examined possibilities with several top racing organizations. Apparently, the company has reached agreement with Penske, although details are not final. Kodak, reports indicate, would become sponsor of the #77, which would become a team car with the #2 of Rusty Wallace and the #12 of Ryan Newman, currently in the Penske stable. How Gaughan entered the picture is not clear. Gaughan, 28, has run two full seasons in Trucks, contending for the championship last season with his Las Vegas-based team, owned by his father, casino/hotel magnate Michael Gaughan. Gaughan led the circuit with six race victories but was knocked out of the title hunt in an early wreck in the season finale at Miami/Homestead.
    Penske has developed his two current stock-car teams via acquisition, taking over the debt-ridden Raymond Beadle organization in 1991 (with Wallace) and connecting with the former Newman-Haas team in 2000, transforming it into a vehicle for young Newman, who led the Cup circuit in wins and poles last season. The Gaughan/77 entry offers an interesting opening to the 2004 news season, with testing beginning Jan. 6. Teams which finished last season in the odd-numbered positions (1-3-5 etc.) in the owner points will test Jan. 6-8. The even-numbered finishers (2-4-6 etc.) will have the track Jan. 13-15. The NASCAR part of Speedweeks opens with Daytona 500 pole qualifying Feb. 7. The Daytona 500, which honestly opens the 2004 season, is Feb. 15..(Speed Channel), more on Gaughan/Kodak/Penske to the #77 rumor on my #77 Team News and Links page.(1-3-2004)
  • Speaking of Motorsports 2004….Nadeau to attend/appear: After suffering a life-threatening and a career-threatening injury Jerry Nadeau is hoping that he will be able to return to NASCAR Nextel Cup competition. Nadeau told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Pete Schnatz in a recent article, “Some people might say I had a very unfortunate year, but I look at it so much differently. We had a healthy daughter come into our lives, and I survived a serious accident. That’s anything but unfortunate, and I feel extremely blessed.” The veteran Nextel Cup racer will appear at Motorsports 2004 Presented by Sunoco on Friday, January 16th. Nadeau will talk about his accident and his future plans in a 30 minute interview with veteran journalist Ernie Saxton and will answer questions from the audience. The interview will run from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by a two hour autograph session.(1-3-2004)
  • Nemechek and Cellular One back together for 2004 Busch races: NEMCO Motorsports announced its 2004 Busch Series schedule for Driver Joe Nemechek and returning sponsor Cellular One from Dobson Cellular Systems. Nemechek will pilot the #87 Cellular One Chevy in 14 events beginning with the Hershey Kisses 300 at Daytona International Speedway in February. Nemechek also competes full time in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series where he drives the #01 US Army Chevrolet for MB2/MBV Motorsports.(NEMCO Motorsports PR) full PR on my Busch Series site.(1-3-2003)
  • NASCAR Racing Meets Reality TV – New Show Premieres Saturday, Jan. 3rd: The most unique television show in motorsports premieres Saturday morning, January 3, on Spike TV [formerly TNN]. “The Reality Of Speed,” a weekly national television program, will run at 10:30am/et every Saturday morning beginning January 3 on Spike TV. The show will follow Holigan Racing and its NASCAR Busch Grand National and Holigan Walters Racing AMA Motocross teams throughout the 2004 season, following the lives of drivers, riders and members of both teams as they prepare to compete on the grueling circuits.
    The day-to-day efforts behind both teams will be featured, the first time such an attempt has been made in motorsports. Holigan Racing’s #50 Team Enzyte with driver David Starr will run 15 NASCAR Busch Grand National races this year, while the motocross team will run the full 16-event AMA Supercross schedule and the full 12-event AMA Outdoor Nationals schedule.

    “This show is an opportunity for race fans to see everything that goes on behind the scenes at a race team, everything that is done to get the cars and people ready and prepared,” said Michael Holigan, owner of Holigan Racing and the star of his own nationally-syndicated television show on home building. The basis of the entire program is showing people the intricacies of stock car and motorcycle racing, and doing so in an entertaining fashion. I’d say we’ve squarely hit the mark with ‘The Reality of Speed’ on Spike TV,” Holigan added.
    Lifekey Healthcare, Inc. is sponsoring the Busch team through its brand of Enzyte, a once-a-day tablet for natural male enhancement. “We are proud to break ground with this exciting new series on Spike TV, and bring a new sponsor into NASCAR,” Holigan said. Holigan Racing LP is a newly-formed motorsports team created by Holigan, a former NASCAR Winston Cup team sponsor [see more on the team on my Busch Series site]. Spike TV, the first network for men, is available in 86 million homes and is a division of MTV networks.(Williams Company PR)(12-30-2003)
    NOTE: have seen NO re-air dates or times for the show.(1-3-2003)


    (1-2-2004)

  • NHL and the #19 and NASCAR: #19-Jeremy Mayfield will supposedly run an NHL All-Star Game scheme in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on February 7th, 2004.(12-22-2003)
    UPDATE: Dodge, Evernham Motorsports and the National Hockey League will meet at Center Ice For the Unveiling of the NHL All-Star #19 Dodge To Run in the 2004 Bud Shootout on Thursday, January 8, 2004.(Clear!Blue PR)
    see an image of the car on my #19 Team Schemes Page and there are many drivers ‘dropping pucks’ in Jan/Feb, see the Driver Appearances page for the info.(1-2-2004)
  • Happy 20th to Todd and the boys: The LTN Hour, a Milwaukee-based, nationally syndicated radio show focusing on NASCAR, begins its 20th season at 10 a.m. Sunday on WAUK-AM (1510).(1-2-2004)
  • Black and White for Sadler: #38-Elliott Sadler will run a black and white M&M’s scheme to promote M&M’s ‘Great Color Quest’ at all the Cup races in Daytona, Rockingham and Las Vegas.(M&M’s site)(1-2-2004)
  • Foyt and the #14 to return: hearing that while Harrah’s is no longer the sponsor of the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing team and driver Larry Foyt, the team plans to run at least the first three races of 2004, the Daytona 500, Rockingham and Las Vegas.(1-2-2004)
  • Labonte’s to appear at Motorsports 2004: Two time NASCAR Nextel Cup (yes…we know, formerly Winston Cup) champion Terry Labonte went 156 races before winning the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway this past Labor Day weekend. It was a popular victory for the veteran driver and it topped off a great season that saw the Kellogg’s sponsored racer return to the top ten in the final Nextel Cup point standings. Labonte, along with his son Justin, will be at the Motorsports 2004 Presented by Sunoco show at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center chatting with fans and signing autographs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 18th. The show, set for three days and covering close to 300,000 square feet of the Expo Center, will open at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 16th and continues through 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 18th.
    In addition to the Labontes, Robert Huffman, the last NASCAR Dash Series Champion, will be signing autographs at the Toyota display, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on opening day of the show. Huffman will part of a Toyota supporting racing effort on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit. Legendary Nextel Cup owner Junie Donlavey, a fan favorite, will be signing autographs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 17th. Recently added to the list of national racing talents to be at the show is Greg Sacks, 1985 winner of the Daytona Firecracker 400. Sacks will be doing autographs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Both Sacks and Donlavey will be at the Tommy Gale Haulmark Trailer display.(1-2-2004)


    (1-1-2004)

  • Tragic News: The train that struck and killed Dover [NJ] police officer Arthur Ohlsen III Tuesday night did not honk its horn, and Ohlsen was so busy directing firefighters on his radio that he did not hear its quiet approach, authorities said yesterday. Ohlsen, an 18-year veteran of the department, was standing near the tracks shortly before 9 p.m. using his shoulder-mounted microphone to tell firefighters how to reach a brush fire beneath the South Salem Street overpass. Ohlsen was standing on the berm near the tracks holding a flashlight to show firefighters where to park their truck and how to snake a hose down to the blaze when he was hit, Valentine said. The officer was flown by helicopter to Morristown Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:45pm. The mood was solemn yesterday at the 37-member department. It was the department’s first death in the line of duty since 1938. Off duty, Ohlsen belonged to the pit crew for a Dover-based NASCAR racing team, traveled to New Hampshire and South Carolina for races, and stenciled the computer-generated graphics for police cruisers’ Sept. 11 memorials, officer Anthony Smith said. Ohlsen, a native of Dover, is survived by his wife Bonnie, his sons A.J., 16, and Trevor, 14, among other relatives. Out of respect for the mourners, the town rescheduled its reorganization meeting from today to Monday at 7 p.m. The viewing will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Tuttle Funeral Home at 272 Route 10 in Randolph. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Church in Dover. Interment will follow at Locust Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions for the education of Ohlsen’s two sons can be made to the Arthur Ohlsen Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1002, Dover, N.J. 07801.(more at the Star-Ledger)(1-1-2004)
  • Dale Jr. and Stewart to run 24 at Daytona: Howard-Boss Motorsports and Crawford Race Cars announced that veteran road racer Andy Wallace will team with NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the #2 Crawford DP03 Daytona Prototype. “This is an exciting time for all of us at Howard-Boss Motorsports,” Rick Howard stated. “We have set our standards high with the new DP03 Daytona Prototype car. Our unique blend of driving talent with Andy Wallace, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes this event even more exciting, not only for our team, but for the fans of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. Our expectations are also high for our teammates in the No. 4 Boss Snowplow Dave Brule-owned car. The results of our recent test session at the Homestead-Miami Speedway are very encouraging and we’re really looking forward to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”
    Tony Stewart will be making his second start in the Rolex 24 for Crawford Race Cars. Stewart teamed with Jan Lammers and Johnny Mowlem in a Crawford SSC2K Prototype in the 2002 endurance race. After an impressive run at the front of the field, engine problems sidelined the Stewart, Lammers and Mowlem team just past the midway point in the twice-around-the-clock event.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be making his second start in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Earnhardt Jr. teamed with his father Dale Earnhardt, Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins in a Chevrolet Corvette to finish fourth overall in the 2001 event.(Grand-Am Racing Series site)(1-1-2004)
  • Ditech to move up to Cup: Ditech.com has elected to continue its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports in 2004 and will expand its involvement by joining the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series next season. Ditech.com will sponsor Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 Chevy driven by Brian Vickers.(Ditech Site), see images on the 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page or the #25 Team Schemes page (all will load, may take a bit)(1-1-2004)
  • Born on Date scheme: Been told that #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a Budweiser Born on Date special paint scheme for the 2004 Budweiser Shoot Out. Budweiser is running this car to promote a company freshness campaign. Budweiser will offer the sale and sampling of Budweiser products to fans age 21 and over. These are Budweiser beers that will be brewed that morning / same day. Actually will run one at the Bud Shootout and one in the Daytona 500.(12-12-2003)
    IMAGE: see an image on the 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page or the #8 Team Schemes page (all will load, may take a bit)(1-1-2004)