January 2005 News Archives

  • News from January 31, 2005

  • ISC and IMS’s George set to make announcement? There is a long-standing rumor that there will soon be a joint announcement involving the International Speedway Corporation and Tony George. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation (IMSC) and ISC are already partners in The Motorsports Alliance, which ensures that their activities in circuit ownership do not conflict with one another. NASCAR uses Indianapolis Motor Speedway for one of its biggest events of the year and the IMSC-owned Indy Racing League regularly race on ISC circuits across the United States. Thus is in the interest of the ISC that the IRL remains healthy. The problem is that no-one is quite sure what is going to be announced although logically ISC must see open-wheeler racing as a good way to develop in the future now that NASCAR is reaching saturation point and international expansion is being considered. It may be that the parties consider that to be too big a step and want to increase their hold on the racing scene across the United States. ISC has already made a foray into sports car racing with the GrandAm championship, which it established in 1999 to bring stability to professional endurance road racing in America. This has been a big success and there has been speculation that ISC may now try to do the same thing with IRL, in league with George. It should be remembered that GrandAm was one of the companies that showed interest when CART’s assets were up for sale at the start of 2004. Whatever the case, something is brewing that could have an effect on the popularity of open-wheeler racing in the United States – which would be a good thing for F1 which remains the exotic but respected cousin of Champ Car and IRL and the place where ambitious young drivers in both series want to end up.(Grandprix.com)(1-31-2005)
  • Nextel Raised Nearly $600,000 in 2004 to Benefit Military Families via the American Red Cross: Nextel Communications collected nearly 80,000 wireless phones and raised nearly $600,000 in 2004 to benefit the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) program through the DONATE A PHONE program, as well as other fundraising efforts. With more than $900,000 raised since the campaign’s inception in May 2003, Nextel, along with assistance from Nextel Partners Inc. and the American Red Cross, anticipates reaching the $1 million mark by the program’s two-year anniversary this May.(TMC)(1-31-2005)
  • Mikey finishes LV Marathon under 4 hours, Petty just over: #15-Michael Waltrip and #45-Kyle Petty competed in the Las Vegas International Marathon in Las Vegas on Sunday with Waltrip finishing 747th [of 2189] with a time of 3:59.23 [4 hoursd was Mikey’s goal] and Petty finished 1112 with a time of 4:18.34. Poker Game with drivers tonight. Full results at tri-a-run.com.(1-31-2005)
  • Gilliland wins at Phoenix: David Gilliland used lap traffic to slip by [#29 Cup driver] Kevin Harvick and pull away to win the United Rentals 100 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. Defending series champion Mike Duncan finished the race in second, with series rookie Jason Jefferson taking third. Mike David finished fourth, followed by Brandon Ash in fifth. #10 ppc Racing’s Busch driver ended up 6th, Kevin Harvick ended up 13th, Sarah Fisher finished 21st, Ken Schrader ended up 31st.(Phoenix International Raceway PR)(1-31-2005)
  • Rusty Kicks off ‘Last Call” with Charity News: #2-Rusty Wallace has claimed that his 2005 retirement tour, dubbed “Rusty’s Last Call,” is all about giving back to the fans. After some of his recent charity initiatives, he has more than enough evidence to lend credibility to such a claim. Wallace and NASCAR Team Owner, Felix Sabates, recently made a trip to Boca Raton, FL, for a January 15 fundraiser. The event, held at the Boca Raton Airport, featured an auction to benefit the Cancer Center at Boca Raton Community Hospital. During the event, attended by nearly 1500 guests, Wallace auctioned one of his Miller Lite driving uniforms. The uniform brought $22,000 in proceeds for the hospital. Sabates personally matched this amount, bringing the grand total for the uniform to approximately $44,000. Additionally, Wallace and Sabates teamed up to offer a one of a kind opportunity to witness, up-close and personal, Wallace’s final attempt at the famed Daytona 500. The package included 2 pit passes to this year’s race, team uniforms, accommodations on Sabates’s private yacht and more. The audience responded with a winning bid of approximately $27,000. Overall, Wallace and Sabates together raised nearly $71,000 to benefit the Cancer Center.
    Following this event, Wallace headed to Kansas City, Kansas, where he, along with various celebrities such as baseball legend, George Brett, participated in a fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. During the event, held at the Fairmont Hotel, Wallace auctioned a set of his driving shoes and gloves. Together, the items brought approximately $1800 for the fight against blood cancers.
    Needless to say, Wallace was thrilled with the events’ results. “Over the years, the fans have been so great to me. Their support is really wonderful and what better way to show my appreciation than to lend help to these two wonderful causes. Both the Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society do very noble work; Felix and I are both really proud to be able to have lent them some support. Additionally, my son Greg recently started a company, located on the web at www.blueflameauthentics.com, which will help support the Victory Junction Gang Camp. This is just the very beginning of the things we’re doing this year to give back to the fans,” noted Wallace.(RWI PR)(1-31-2005)

News from January 30, 2005

  • Win a Charger, help a cause: Following the world introduction of the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger this month in Detroit, Chrysler Group is auctioning the NASCAR body shell used in the press reveal along with first volume production Dodge Charger to roll off the line at its Brampton, Ont. (Canada) Assembly Plant. “The King,” Richard Petty, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series title winner and legendary Dodge Charger driver will personally deliver the keys to the top bidder at the May 7, 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway. The auction proceeds will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Salvation Army. The mock race car shell is a replica of NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year driver Kasey Kahne’s No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. The shell covered the production version of the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger as it was revealed to more than 3,500 international media in a press conference at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Petty and Kahne took part in the introduction of the vehicle representing the past and present of Dodge dominance in NASCAR racing. The NASCAR shell has been autographed by Petty, Kahne and Chrysler Group President and CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche. Bidding will begin at www.ebay.com/charger on February 1. Proceeds from the winning bid will be shared between Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Salvation Army. The auction will close on February 11, 2005.(1-30-2005)

    News from January 29, 2005

  • Congrats: Racing Electronics [long time advertisor of Jayski.com] President & CEO Bruce Silver and longtime companion Glenda Lang who married in Las Vegas at a private wedding ceremony held at the East Chapel at the Bellagio Hotel on January 25, 2005. The happy couple is honeymooning in Hawaii, and they plan to celebrate their nuptials with family and friends after their return to their home in New Jersey.(1-29-2005)
  • Fittipaldi to run stock cars in Brazil: After two unsuccessful seasons in NASCAR, former Champ Car and Formula 1 driver Christian Fittipaldi has decided to return to Brazil to race stock cars. Fittipaldi had been looking for work since his deal with NASCAR’s Petty Enterprises collapsed because of a lack of sponsorship. “For various reasons I didn’t have the success I was hoping for,” Christian Fittipaldi told Radio Jovem Pan on Saturday. “But I’m glad I got the opportunity in Brazil, where everybody knows stock car racing is growing rapidly.” Fittipaldi, nephew of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, started 16 races in NASCAR, failing to finish better than 24th. The 34-year-old Brazilian signed a contract to drive for team Avallone Motorsport beginning in May.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-29-2005)
  • Airplus Footcare Returns Comfort with ppc Racing in 2005: ppc Racing officials announced the return of Airplus Footcare as associate sponsor with driver #14-John Andretti. Entering its second year of sponsorship with ppc Racing, the Implus Footcare logo will be featured on the deck lid of the #14 VB / APlus at Sunoco Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. At the track and at the shop, the ppc Racing team uses the Airplus insoles to keep members comfortable on their feet. The Airplus insoles provide the team with the latest in technological and help reduce the stress on team members feet, knees and back. For more information, visit www.airplusfootcare.com.(ppc Racing PR)(1-29-2005)
  • Rusty comments: Brandon Mudd of KFNS (www.kfns.com) in St. Louis spoke to Rusty Wallace today at a new conference discussing the Wallace Family Tribute 250 [Busch Series Race] to be held July 30th at Gateway International Raceway. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay proclaimed July 30th as Rusty Wallace Day in honor of his outstanding acheivement in NASCAR. Rusty said he plans on winning the race, since his Busch Series team will be running for an owner’s points championship with Jamie McMurray, Jeremy Mayfield, and himself in the driver’s seat (Rusty is running the Gateway race as well as the Mexico City road race). Discussing his testing at Daytona, he said his car wasn’t very good the first day, but came around and he was very pleased with it at the end. He also said he doesn’t feel much difference between the new Charger and the Intrepid, the car formerly representing Dodge in the Cup and Busch Series.(KFNS.com)(1-29-2005)
  • ISC Profits up 72% Fourth-quarter profits at International Speedway Corp. soared 72 percent, pumped up by two additional Nextel Cup races and the newly acquired Martinsville Speedway. ISC, owner of Daytona International Speedway and 11 other racetracks, reported Thursday it finished the September-November period last year with net income of $54.4 million, or $1.02 a share, up from $31.6 million, or 60 cents per share, the previous fall. The results gave ISC a 48 percent boost in its profit tally for the full year — $156 million, up from $105 million in 2003. Most of the fourth-quarter gain came from schedule changes that resulted in additional fall events at California Speedway and Darlington Raceway. A Nextel Cup race at Martinsville also boosted company revenues, which were $231.3 million for the quarter, a 52 percent increase. For the full year, revenue surged $99 million to hit $647.8 million, an 18 percent gain.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-29-2005)
  • Sadler Plays DJ: #38-Elliott Sadler gladly accepted the task to be featured as a Celebrity DJ for CMT.com Radio, in support of the network debut of The Greatest: CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments special. A self-admitted music fanatic, the Virginia native confesses to aspirations of becoming a country music singer if his racing career had not come to fruition. Thus it posed no problem for the 29-year-old driver to select over 75 of his favorite songs from all music genres for inclusion in his own radio station. This is not the first foray into the world of country music for Sadler, a participant in last season’s inaugural NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase for the Championship. He made his Country Music Television debut in the video for hit “Ol’ Red” released by singer Blake Shelton in 2002 followed by a second cameo in a Shelton video, this time for the singer’s No. 1 hit “Some Beach.” Sadler’s Celebrity DJ Station can be accessed by logging on to CMT.com and visiting Radio CMT. Sadler also is scheduled to be one of several NASCAR drivers featured in the CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments airing on CMT.(Elevation Group PR)(1-29-2005)
  • Adrian Fernandez to run Busch race in Mexico? Hendrick car? NASCAR is believed to be working at securing Mexico’s biggest auto racing star, Adrian Fernandez, a one-off ride for the upcoming Busch Series race at Mexico City. Fernandez, who was shut out of an IndyCar ride this year due to lack of sponsorship dollars – he preferred to focus on his ownership role at Fernandez Racing, which will campaign cars for Scott Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura – could join his former Champ Car colleague Michel Jourdain Jr, so far event’s biggest fan-drawer. Jourdain has signed a deal with [#10 Ford] ppc Racing to contest the full 2005 Busch Series season. Mexican touring car standouts Carlos Contreras [#13 FBR] and Jorge Goeters have already been confirmed to race at the inaugural Telcel-Motorola 200 at the famed Autodromo.(Speed Channel)(1-28-2005)
    UPDATE: hearing it could be in a Hendrick Motorsports car, maybe #5?(1-29-2005)

    News from January 28, 2005

  • Lots of special schemes for McMurray in 2005 UPDATE: #42-Jamie McMurray will race five different Texaco/Havoline “Shine On” paint schemes in 2005. McMurray will drive the first special paint scheme at Texas on April 17.(RacingOne)(12-7-2004)
    UPDATE: added four schemes that will be run at Texas (Apr), Lowe’s (May), Sonoma (June) and Talladega (Oct) to the #42 Team Scheme page. The fifth one, that was posted before, not sure where that will be run, Texas in Nov.?(1-28-2005)
  • Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence: The five journalists honored Wednesday evening during the 20 th annual presentation of the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin included a writer who detailed the Hendrick plane tragedy for The Baltimore Sun and a television producer who told the story of legendary Bowman-Gray Stadium for “Totally NASCAR.” 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 were submitted to the Indiana University School of Journalism where faculty members selected the winners. Each winner received a plaque and a Rolex watch from Miller Lite NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Rusty Wallace following a dinner at the new Penske Racing South facility in Mooresville, N.C. The event was part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Media Tour’s annual visit with Penske Racing South drivers and team officials.
    The 2004 Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin winners: Print – Daily: Sandra McKee: The Baltimore Sun, “Haunted by Tragedy”
    Print – Other, Gordon Kirby – Road & Track, Famous Sons
    Broadcast – National: Matt Dillner – Totally NASCAR, Bowman-Gray Stadium
    Local – Broadcast: Jeff Gravley – WRAL – TV, History of Occoneechee Speedway
    Photojournalism: Chuck Yadmark – NASCAR Illustrated, Keeping Cool
    (Tom Roberts PR)(1-28-2005)
  • RYR beefs up pit crews: Andy Ward, who helped build the crew that led Matt Kenseth to back-to-back pit-crew championships, has become the pit-stop coach for Dale Jarrett’s team. Robert Yates Racing also has acquired Ryan McCray, an ace member of Jimmie Johnson’s crew, for Elliott Sadler’s team.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-27-2005)
    Hearing that Ward will be with the #38 and not the #88, former #20 team tire changer will be the front tire changer.(1-28-2005)
  • Earnhardt tests the #33 at Talladega: Kerry Earnhardt and his Richard Childress Racing team are fine-tuning the black #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for the fast-approaching Daytona 500. While the season opener is the true focus of the next two days of testing, they’re also gaining a little more information for May 1, when Earnhardt will drive the machine in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. Toyota Racing Development booked the two-day test for its NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams, and allowed Earnhardt to share track time with truck drivers Johnny Benson, Bill Lester and Mike Skinner of Bill Davis Racing’s #23, 22 and 5 teams, as well as Robert Huffman of Darrell Waltrip Racing’s #12 team. Earnhardt said he still hopes to run a full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the Billy Ballew-owned #15 Chevrolet powered by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. engines. (Talladega Superspeedway PR)(1-28-2005)

    News from January 27, 2005

  • NASCAR Day Returns in May 2005: NASCAR has announced that the second annual NASCAR Day will be held Friday, May 20. NASCAR Day, NASCAR’s largest annual charity, will once again unite fans across the country for a common goal. In exchange for a $5 donation to the 2005 NASCAR Day Designated Charities, fans, businesses and schools will be able to wear their favorite NASCAR gear to work that Friday. In addition, participants will receive a commemorative NASCAR Day 2005 lapel pin.
    This year, NASCAR Day will benefit three proud charities – Speedway Children’s Charities, Victory Junction Gang Camp and Speediatrics. Each of these charities shares a common thread – to better the lives of children in need. Speedway Children’s Charities is dedicated to providing direct assistance to children with medical, educational and social challenges. Victory Junction Gang Camp is a free racing-themed camp for children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. Speediatrics is a NASCAR-themed pediatric unit located at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach and Homestead Hospital in Miami.
    “We are thrilled to be back as one of the beneficiaries of NASCAR Day 2005,” said Kyle Petty, co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp. “We encourage the entire NASCAR community to show their enthusiasm for the sport while helping children in need.”
    Individuals and organizations can participate in NASCAR Day by visiting www.nascar.com. Individuals can make their $5 donation through the website and will be mailed the commemorative lapel pin. Businesses, schools and other organizations can take part as a group by requesting a NASCAR Day Participation Kit. The kit includes posters, pins, envelopes and a Crew Chief Manual; everything needed to jump start NASCAR Day within the organization.
    “NASCAR Day is a unique platform for the NASCAR community to display its trademark compassion for others to support special causes like the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Speediatrics and Speedway Children’s Charities” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “We are committed to bringing together our resources from across the sport to help make a difference through programs like NASCAR Day.” In its inaugural year, fans embraced NASCAR Day as a way to celebrate the NASCAR spirit and support related causes, namely Victory Junction Gang Camp. With 50,000 individuals and over 700 companies participating in 2004, NASCAR Day found a permanent place in the hearts of the NASCAR community.(NASCAR PR)(1-27-2005)
  • Nicorette to be an assoc on the #41 UPDATE: Nicorette will be both a three-year sponsor of NASCAR and an associate sponsor of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing #41 Team — led by driver Casey Mears. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but are believed to exceed $3 million annually. NASCAR now has no tobacco sponsors at the national level. While there is no ban on them, given the advertising limits set by the terms of the tobacco settlement with the government, a new one would be “highly unlikely,” NASCAR spokesman Andrew Giangola says. One cigarette maker, Victory Brands, is sponsoring a NASCAR team this season: #14 ppc Racing, led by driver John Andretti. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, makes Nicorette gum, NicoDerm patches and Commit lozenges, which will jointly sponsor NASCAR.(USA Today)
    UPDATE: During the 2005 NASCAR season, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s Nicorette gum, NicoDerm CQ patches and Commit lozenges will be an associate sponsor with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team. Casey Mears will drive Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s #41 Dodge with a special paint scheme at the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20. More information about the sponsorship and quitting smoking is available online at www.quit.com.prnewswire.com and see a watermarked image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(1-27-2005)
  • Penske’s New Shop: The new Penske Racing South shop [#2, #12, #77] debuted Wednesday night and entering the cavernous facility you felt as though you were there for a rock concert or looking for the anchor store of a major shopping mall. Penske himself acknowledged this: “If (this) doesn’t work as a race shop, we can always have concerts in here.” He quipped. Much of the space is done, but the team has yet to fully move from their present multi-building location five miles away, although the move should be completed by March. Penske purchased the former Matsushita manufacturing facility last summer and has been hard at work ever since getting it ready for occupation by his three Nextel Cup teams. Two shifts worked seven days a week to gut the interior and rebuild it to Penske’s specifications. The building itself (there are actually two if you include a smaller shop in the rear) encompasses a total of 424,697 feet. 240,781 square feet, that’s 8 acres under roof by the way, of which are occupied by the race teams. There are 3 paint booths, one for each team, 3-body prep stations and 17 surface plates. By far the most fan friendly shop on the tour, there is a 300-foot long second floor catwalk that will allow fans to view the ongoing work. Penske made sure to note to Lowes Motor Speedway president, “Humpy” Wheeler, that the 300 foot long stainless steel rail is the longest in North Carolina. See more and some images of the shop at Cupscene.com and some pics of the media tour also at Cupscene.com [looks like the site is down].(1-27-2005)
  • Jarrett plans to run three more seasons: “A lot of good things have happened at Robert Yates Racing in the last year after Mike Ford came in and reorganized everything. Our focus for 2005 is clearly to get back to victory lane…I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve seen a lot of the guys my age getting ready to retire, but they started earlier than I did, so I am going to stay at it a little longer. My contract is for two more years, but I’d like to stay around a little longer. If Robert and Doug Yates and UPS would have me back, I think I would look at racing through probably 2007. I have a minimum of two years and probably three left.”(LMS Media Tour Quotes)(1-27-2005)
  • Goodyear out? Michelin in? Goodyear has been a stalwart on the NASCAR tours for decades, but rumblings are getting stronger that NASCAR is considering a major change in its tire-supplier contract. Michelin is rumored to be in line for the exclusive deal in the next year or two. NASCAR people are still talking about Goodyear running out of tires for last year’s 24 Hours of Daytona, a faux pas that was probably a key in the France family’s switching to Hoosiers for this year’s 24 Hours.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-27-2005)
  • Testing at Nashville: Sterling Marlin and David Stremme are testing at the Nashville Superspeedway on Wednesday. Stremme tested the #40 Coors Light Dodge Charger on Tuesday while Marlin was out of town. Both drivers are on track Wednesday testing out the new Dodge Charger. Marlin’s new crew chief, Steve Boyer, is in town and stated he’s looking forward to his first season as Marlin’s crew chief and they have high expectations of visiting Victory Circle in the very near future.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-27-2005)
  • No Timetable for Rudd retiring: #21-Ricky Rudd hasn’t decided when he will retire from NASCAR, but he has settled on the criteria that will determine his decision. “If we can’t get it done and run up front this year, you probably won’t see me next year,” Rudd said during yesterday’s NASCAR Nextel Media Tour. “If I’m competitive this year, and we run up front, maybe win a race or two and be a factor in that top 10, then you’re probably going to deal with me a couple more years.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-27-2005)
  • Wells 2nd Team? Gaughan? another team? Cal Wells has been looking for a sponsorship deal for a second Cup team for the past few years, given the difficulty of being a single-car team on the tour. Now it appears he has finally put together that deal – with Brendan Gaughan. Gaughan drove last season for Dodge’s Roger Penske as a rookie, but Gaughan is now without a Cup ride. Gaughan has an 18-race Dodge truck deal in place for this season with the Las Vegas team his father sponsors. Now, according to unconfirmed reports, Wells is ready to announce hiring Gaughan to drive this season as teammate with Bobby Hamilton Jr. But other sources say that while Gaughan is ready to announce a new Nextel Cup ride, it may not be with Chevy’s Wells but rather with a car owner working for another manufacturer..(Winston Salem Journal)(1-27-2005)

    News from January 26, 2005

  • Scotts Company returns to #99…for nine races as primary: Roush Racing announced that The Scotts Company will sponsor Carl Edwards and the #99 Roush Racing Ford Taurus in 2005. The Scotts Company sponsored the #99 Ford for a total of six races in 2004. Scotts has decided to return as a primary sponsor on the #99 Ford in 2005 for a minimum of nine races and will be carried as an associate sponsor for the remaining races. The Scotts Company is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the Twin 150’s in Daytona, the first Atlanta, Martinsville, Texas, Talladega and Richmond races, and all three races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway including the All-Star event in May. The Scotts Company will also feature their leading brands Miracle-Gro, Ortho and Roundup in their paint schemes during the year. The Scotts Company is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care, with a full range of products for professional horticulture as well. The Company owns the industry’s most recognized brands. In the U.S., the Company’s Scotts, Miracle-Gro and Ortho brands are market leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto.(Roush Racing PR)(1-26-2005)
  • USG to the #17 UPDATE: nothing official, but looks like USG will leave the #01 MB2 Motorsports team and go to #17-Matt Kenseth, running the USG scheme at the races at Californinia in February, The Brickyard 400 and Atlanta in the fall. See an image of the car on my 2005 #17 Paint Schemes page.(11-18-2004)
    UPDATE: USG Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building materials, including the renowned Sheetrock Brand, announced that its 2005 NASCAR program will include a new partnership with DeWalt Racing, Roush Racing and champion driver Matt Kenseth. USG Sheetrock Brand will be a primary sponsor on Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford Taurus at three Nextel Cup races — Feb. 27 at Fontana, Calif., Aug. 7 at Indianapolis and Oct. 30 at Atlanta. At all of the other 2005 Cup races, USG SHEETROCK will assume a major associate sponsorship role on the DeWalt Ford, owned by Roush Racing. USG will continue as a NASCAR promotional partner in 2005 with the “USG Improving The Finish” contingency award at each of the 36 Nextel Cup point races and as a sponsor of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The USG Improving The Finish award will pay $5,000 at each race to the driver who gains the most places from the opening green flag to the closing checkered flag. At the conclusion of the 2005 season, the driver who earns the most USG Improving The Finish points will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. USG will sponsor “USG Night at the Races” at 26 local tracks that are part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The events are intended to provide 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.(Roush Racing PR)(1-26-2005)
  • #2, #12, #77 to run Mobil schemes at Las Vegas: NASCAR sponsor ExxonMobil is partnering with Penske Racing South to help every-day drivers improve their cars’ performance. As part of the initiative, all three of Penske Racing South’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will race cars promoting the new line of Mobil high-endurance motor oils — which guarantee engine protection for longer intervals — during the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 13 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #12-Ryan Newman will run the Mobil 1 Extended Performance car in Vegas, with teammate #2-Rusty Wallace behind the wheel of the Mobil Clean 7500 car and NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year candidate #77-Travis Kvapil driving the Mobil Clean 5000 car. Specially formulated for today’s longer oil change intervals, Mobil Clean 5000, Mobil Clean 7500 and Mobil 1 Extended Performance were created to help alleviate consumer confusion about when to change their oil. The complete line of Mobil high-endurance oils guarantees performance and long-lasting protection of critical engine parts for 5,000, 7,500, or 15,000 miles, respectively. Special advertising for the new line of products will make its debut on Sunday, Feb. 20, during the Daytona 500. For more information about this new line of Mobil products, go to www.mobiloil.com. Additional information about Mobil racing programs can be found at www.mobil1.com.(Business Wire)(1-26-2005)
  • Car of the future….three years away? The car of the future — NASCAR’s so-called “car of the future” is at least three years away, according to competition official Robin Pemberton. “I could see us starting to implement some of the changes next year,” said Pemberton. “The car of the future isn’t going to be implemented at one time. It will be at least a year away before we make any changes, and it will probably be implemented over at least a three-year period, in which various aspects are implemented partially each year in order to hold down the costs associated with the changes. That’s so that teams don’t have to build new cars all at once and incorporate all the changes at once.” The “car of the future” is a project of NASCAR’s Research and Development Center. The concept involves different methods of construction designed to make racing safer.(Gaston Gazette)(1-26-2005)
  • Dale Jarrett to Continue Support of Komen Foundation: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Dale Jarrett announced today that he and his wife Kelley will continue their support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation through a new on-track performance-based program they created. The Dale Jarrett Foundation, formed by Dale and Kelley in 2002, will provide the primary funding for the new program. With Ford Credit not returning as an associate sponsor of the #88 UPS Ford this season, Dale and Kelley Jarrett began looking for a way to continue their support of the Komen Foundation. Ultimately, they decided to create their own performance-based program benefiting Komen. The Jarrett’s new program will generate donations of $10,000 when Dale wins, $7,500 for second place, $5,000 for third, $4,500 for fourth, $4,000 for fifth and decrease by $500 increments to $1,500 for 10th place finishes. Each pole position earned by Jarrett will generate an additional $5,000 donation.(Dale Jarrett Foundation PR)(1-27-2005)
  • New DW DVD: The newest stock-car racing DVD from NASCAR Images will be “Darrell Waltrip: His Passion Behind the Wheel,” which will be available Feb. 15. The DVD will be distributed by Melee Entertainment in conjunction with Good Times Entertainment and will carry a list price of $19.95.(Speed Channel’s Media Tour Notes)(1-26-2005)
  • Chex to sponsor Most Popular Driver Award in 2005: Chex cereal will begin sponsoring the NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award for the Nextel Cup Series beginning this season. The award is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association. Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the only fan-based award in motorsports begins Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59am/ct, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site. The Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award has been sponsored by General Mills since the start of the 2002 season. In that time period, more than 9.3 million votes have been cast. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the award the past two years. The Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956, making it one of the oldest and most traditional awards in NASCAR racing. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and later grew to incorporate all NASCAR Nextel Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it is a prestigious award voted on by racing fans throughout the world. Through the years, voters’ choices have ranged from the obvious to the surprising. Bill Elliott’s 16 most popular wins tops all drivers. He is followed by Richard Petty, who has won nine times. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win last year made him the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons, while his win in 2003 made him and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(Williams Company Site)(1-26-2005)
  • Harvick comments on missing Cup testing at Daytona: While some made a big deal over Kevin Harvick skipping the Daytona 500 test, it appears it was no big deal. Harvick said “When we went to the test our car sat in the shop and were painted ready for the Daytona 500 so that’s something a lot of people probably don’t understand…but I know for a fact that both 29 cars were sitting in the shop painted and never even went to the test. Kerry Earnhardt tested the #29 Chevy at Daytona.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-26-2005)
  • Cope and Hollenbeck to team up at Daytona UPDATE for the season: Derrike Cope’s site quotes Cope as saying that “Quest Motor Racing [was to run #37 a few years back] is working together with S.W.A.T. Racing [was the #62 Larry Hollenbeck Team] to take a Nextel Cup car and a Busch Series car to the Daytona tests in the coming weeks. We are currently searching for sponsorship for these events but are planning to field a pair of Chevrolets at Daytona. I am really excited about the Cup car we have and look forward to getting started. Hopefully we can provide more information to you with regard to the number we will be running and sponsorship shortly.”(Derrikecope.com)(1-8-2005)
    UPDATE: Derrike Cope and Larry Hollenbeck put forth a great team effort at the Daytona tests. Larry piloted his #62 Busch Series SWAT Racing Chevy to an 11th place finish over all, and Derrike Cope piloted his #55 Chevy at the cup test 38th over all. The team is preparing to debut at the Daytona 150, the Hershey Kiss 300 and the Daytona 500 race. The team will, for now, operate under SWAT Racing with Derrike and Larry at the helm and sharing driving duties. The team is planning to run the cup full season and a few Busch races. This one week old team is looking for full sponsorship for the season.(S.W.A.T. Racing PR))(1-26-2005)
  • News coming on the All-Star Race: Lowe’s Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler said to expect some announcements in the next couple of weeks about the annual NASCAR Nextel All-Star race, held each May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Although he offered no details, Wheeler said the city of Charlotte and Cabarrus (N.C.) County both have made major commitments to the continued success of the race.(Speed Channel’s Media Tour Notes)(1-26-2005)
  • NASCAR Nation to debut on Feb 21st: Speed Channel’s much-anticipated new show, NASCAR Nation, will make its debut on Feb. 21 at 7:00pm/et and pt. Airing each week of the race season, Monday through Thursday, NASCAR Nation will be the signature show for Speed’s NASCAR TV block of programming, concentrating heavily on features and all-access content. On-air talent for NASCAR Nation will include Ralph Sheheen and Courtney George in the lead anchor positions, Krista Voda as Senior Correspondent, Connie LeGrand at the News Desk, Michelle Fizer and John Willenborg as field reporters and NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith on the business of NASCAR. Rick Miner, Speed Channel SVP Programming/Production and Executive Producer, has been supervising the development of NASCAR Nation. Having introduced successful shows including Trackside and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Miner feels the new Speed show will have a feel all its own. Although Sheheen, Voda and Smith have all spent extensive time in the world of NASCAR, several of the NASCAR Nation faces will be new to the sport. Viewers may recognize Willenborg, a cast member on last season’s reality television hit, The Apprentice, and — believe it or not — a former Speed Channel intern.(Business Wire)(1-26-2005)
  • Evernham to design and manufacturer racing parts: The Evernham Group has made its first venture outside the United States with Evernham Advanced Engine Technology, a company based in Northampton, England. It will design and manufacture racing parts for NASCAR and other series and will be headed by Mark McArdle, a veteran engine builder with a long background in Indy Car racing prior to moving to the stock-car ranks.(Speed Channel’s Media Tour Notes)(1-26-2005)
  • Whoops, Allison back to 84 wins: Darrell Waltrip is again tied for third all-time in career wins after NASCAR disallowed Bobby Allison’s claim to an additional win. Darrell Waltrip’s place in the NASCAR record book has shifted again. The record for all-time victories will be revised to put the Franklin resident back in a third-place tie with Bobby Allison at 84 wins apiece, NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said. Hunter said a ”computer glitch” resulted in a change to the records last year that awarded Allison one more win than Waltrip. ”As long as they don’t take any wins away from me, I don’t care,” Waltrip said yesterday at the NASCAR Nextel Media Tour. Both remain behind Richard Petty (200 wins) and David Pearson (105). Allison for decades has claimed that he owned a 1971 victory at North Wilkesboro, N.C., for which he was never credited. NASCAR had ruled that win didn’t qualify as a victory in what was then the Grand National Series [now Nextel Cup]. Said racing historian Bob Moore: ”Bobby was driving a Mustang in what was then the Grand American Series. NASCAR needed to fill out the field at North Wilkesboro that day and invited him to enter the car in its Grand National race. After Bobby won the race he was told it didn’t count as a Grand National win.” Allison appeared to have won the argument. Last year NASCAR’s media update book listed Allison with 85 wins and Waltrip with 84. ”There had been some discussion with NASCAR about changing the record,” Moore said. ”Apparently the editor of the update book thought a decision had been made to give Bobby the win and printed the revised record.”(Tennessean)(1-26-2005)
  • Reggie to be honored: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Late Model diversity program will keep its Reggie White Motorsports name in honor of the defensive end who died unexpectedly last month. One of the cars will carry White’s #92. “Reggie White was somebody who changed the people around him in a great way,” Gibbs said. “He did chapel services for us [at the shop]. I wish I had a chance to coach him.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-26-2005)
  • Bowers involved in Diversity: Chattanooga [TN] businessman Nelson Bowers, who fields the Nextel Cup cars driven by #01-Joe Nemechek, #10-Scott Riggs and #36-Boris Said, said he’ll join NASCAR’s diversity effort by hiring Joe Henderson to drive selected Late Model and ARCA races this year. Bowers said Henderson, a teenage African-American driver from Nashville, will start the season at the Nashville Fairgrounds, where he ran last year with the assistance of Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-26-2005)
  • Speed Weeks on TV: Fresh off the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the family of FOX Sports Networks opens the 2005 NASCAR racing season with comprehensive coverage of Daytona Speed Weeks, highlighted by the 47th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 at 2:00pm/et (pre-race coverage begins at 1:00pm/et) on FOX. For the first time, FOX will broadcast this year’s coverage of the Great American Race in 720p high-definition pictures with Dolby 5.1 audio. FX takes to the track Feb. 17 at 1:00pm/et with live coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona – a pair of 50-lap qualifying races used to set the Daytona 500 starting grid. “We’re looking forward to dropping the green flag on our fifth year covering NASCAR,” said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill. “Our coverage from Daytona is especially significant this year in that it begins the HD era for NASCAR on FOX. Every race on the network this season is being produced in 720p HD, the best HD format for sports, and the latest Dolby 5.1 digital audio.”
    NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX Nextel Cup and Busch Series events, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Pre-race coverage is again hosted by Chris Myers with analyst Jeff Hammond, and returning to cover pit road for FOX are reporters Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Jeanne Zelasko. Speed Channel, home to NASCAR TV, will offer fans nearly 70 hours of programming over 10 days from Daytona, highlighted by the night running of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 18, 8:00pm/et), the IROC race (Feb. 18, 6:00pm/et) and the debut of the much-anticipated NASCAR Nation on Feb. 21 at 7:00pm/et and PT.
    A nightly, feature-driven magazine show, NASCAR Nation will take race fans into the lives of their favorite NASCAR personalities on and off the track (Speed Channel PR). See the Speed, FOX, FX schedule for Speedweeks on my TV Listings page.(1-26-2005)
  • Special Atlanta Scheme for Harvick: looks like Kevin Harvick will run a special #29 Black and White GM Goodwrench Chevy at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, see my #29 Team Schemes page for a few images of the car.(1-26-2005)
  • Humpy: Hall of fame belongs here: NASCAR has asked four cities to submit their proposals for a hall of fame. Charlotte is an early favorite to land the facility, but it has competition in Atlanta; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo. “Atlanta’s going to be the formidable competition, but this is where it started,” said Humpy Wheeler, the president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord. “This is where the peach basket was put up in 1949, right out on Little Rock Road near the airport.” The proposals are due in May, and NASCAR is expected to make a decision by the end of the year. Humpy Wheeler, the president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, wants to see the NASCAR hall of fame in Charlotte. “NASCAR was born here, it was built here, and its hall of fame belongs here,” said Mike Crum, the chief operating officer of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. “However, we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re willing to put together what will be a very competitive proposal to bring the facility to our city.” An organizing committee, led by Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, will draft the proposal. Wheeler thinks the building belongs in the Center City. “Outside of Joe Gibbs, we really don’t have another race shop in Charlotte, I don’t think,” he said Tuesday. “And (the fans) are not getting downtown except for when we have Speed Street. So there needs to be something to pull them in.” NASCAR’s headquarters is located in Daytona Beach, so many think it has a strong chance of landing the facility, too. Kansas City is considered a long shot, though.(News 14 Carolina)(1-26-2005)
  • #37 and Lepage still looking for a sponsor: R& J Racing and driver Kevin Lepage prove that their currently unsponsored Nextel Cup Team can still be a threat to win and can still prove to be fast. The 2005 Dodge Charger powered by Ernie Elliott Engines which was started during the second week of December was completed on January 17, just before the first day of the second test session in Daytona Beach, Florida. The test which began with a morning session on the 18th provided the team with the information and the results that confirmed their initial beliefs. They were fast and getting faster. Lepage ran approximately 20 runs and picked up 1 3/10 progressively. Day one Speeds started at 180.238mph and consistently progressed every session and everyday ending with the competitive Speed of 184.008 with a lap time of 48.911! The team finished 28th out of all the 54 teams. Crewchief, Billy Poindexter and the entire crew worked long hours and the effort definitely provided dividends and extended their momentum. “They all did a great job preparing the car at the track and I am very proud of everyone and we are excited about starting the season and coming back to Daytona in February.” The #37 team based in Huntersville, NC hosts the talented and experienced driver Kevin Lepage who eagerly awaits the start of the Nascar Nextel Cup Series. “We had a productive test and we surpassed our goal. We were fast and we will be able to show it in February.” The team is currently searching for a sponsor for the Nascar Nextel Cup Series. Any inquiries can be directed to R&J Racing at 704-875-0271.(R&J Racing PR)(1-26-2005)

    News from January 25, 2005

  • Robby Hits The Hospital, getting ready for testing out west: During Monday night’s PRN Fast Talk with Benny Parsons radio show, Robbie Gordon told Benny he’s been sick since returning home from last weeks Daytona test and checked himself into the hospital Sunday for about four hours where doctors performed a series of blood tests. Gordon’s concern stemmed from running the Dakkar Rally overseas. “I just want to be careful that I don’t get myself in a situation where I catch one of these diseases or something like that from Africa. I did breathe an awful lot of dust. It wasn’t bad the first couple of days when we were out front leading but then when we got behind there was a couple of days when we didn’t see anything but dust for the whole day and I’m sure I inhaled something that’s not healthy for me. They took all kinds of blood tests to make sure I don’t have malaria or anything like that and hopefully we can get this thing cleared up and be good for our California-Vegas test next week.(PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons and Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-25-2005)
  • 12 drivers to play Poker at Vegas: NASCAR is coming to the Palms in Las Vegas for a Celebrity Poker Tournament featuring 12 of the top NASCAR drivers. The $100,000 top award will benefit the winner’s favorite charity and Michael Waltrip’s Operation Marathon which provides support to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Tournament Director, Matt Savage will call the Texas Hold’em tournament beginning on Monday, January 31st at 7pm with 12 drivers being narrowed down to 6 drivers with the finals on Tuesday, February 1st beginning at 6pm. Featured in the tournament will be NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler, Casey Mears and Dale Jarrett. no idea who the other two are]
    “Operation Marathon, Going the Distance for Kids” is Michael Waltrip’s fundraising campaign to raise money for the operating expenses of the North Carolina based kid’s camp. Waltrip pledged to raise $1 million for the camp in July of 2004 and has raised over $700,000 to date. Guests are welcome to come out and watch the tournament, however there will be limited space. No autographs please. For room reservation information, call toll free at (866) PALMS-RES, (866) 725-6773, or visit www.palms.com.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR), no word on if it will be televised.(1-25-2005)
  • Vickers gets a major associate sponsor – Garnier Fructis: Garnier Fructis and Hendrick Motorsports announced a multi-year agreement featuring Garnier Fructis as a major associate sponsor of the #25 Chevys driven by Brian Vickers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The deal marks the first foray into motor sports by Garnier Fructis, the wildly popular unisex haircare brand owned by L’Oreal USA. In addition to the associate-sponsorship on the #25 GMAC / ditech.com Chevrolets in 2005, the union will be highlighted when Vickers and the #25 car don the trademark bright green Garnier Fructis color scheme in two races — April 17 at Texas Motor Speedway and Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Under the associate sponsorship agreement, Vickers will serve as a spokesperson for Garnier Fructis haircare and styling products. His likeness will be featured in print advertising, at point-of-purchase and in-store displays, and throughout public relations campaigns and Internet initiatives.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), more info on Garnier Fructis at garnierfructis.com, image of the scheme on my #25 Team Schemes page.(1-25-2005)
  • Speed’s Driver of thr Year – Greg Anderson: In a time when it seems that drivers are better rewarded for consistency than winning, Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR for 2004, Greg Anderson, accomplished both. As a result, Anderson, who won his second-straight NHRA POWERade Pro Stock world championship, was voted the most prestigious honor in United States auto racing. Anderson, 43, had a year of stunning success winning two out of every three races in 2004, for a record 15 victories, in the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am. He also qualified first sixteen times. In the professional ballot Anderson’s victory might be considered an upset as he beat NASCAR Nextel Cup runner-up Jimmie Johnson, (who was the Speed Channel Driver of the Year in quarters two and four) and Nextel Cup Champion, Kurt Busch. Also getting votes were World of Outlaws ace, Steve Kinser, and IRL Champion Tony Kanaan. Sebastien Bourdais, winner of the Champ Car World Series won the fan vote, beating Johnson, and Kanaan.
    In its 38th year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. plus the fan vote on SpeedTV.com determine the winner.(Speed Channel PR)(1-25-2005)
  • Hammond to Wrestle: Jeff Hammond, the well-groomed TV reporter for Fox Sports and former championship crew chief, is set to make his professional wrestling debut next month. Hammond, 48, will be part of a TNA Wrestling’s “Against All Odds” pay-per-view event Feb. 13. He and wrestler BG James will face Michael Shane and Kazarian. In the 1970s and ’80s, Hammond won three Winston Cup championships as a jackman for Cale Yarborough and three more as a jackman and then a crew chief with Darrell Waltrip.(Tampa Tribune)
    AND 2005 is set to be a crazy year on the track, What rookie will shine? Will DEI dominate? Who will hate who? and the racing year is starting out in even a crazier way as NASCAR’s own Jeff Hammond will set into a professional wrestling ring on February 13th not to commentate but to fight! The long time crew chief and FOX Sport’s analyst will compete in a tag team match on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s pay-per-view event “Against All Odds”. Hammond serves as a commentator and analyst for TNA Wrestling’s show on Fox Sports Net “iMPACT!”. He will team with BG James (formally Road Dogg in WWE) against the cocky young tag team of Kazarian and Michael Shane. Hammond commented on a recent “iMPACT!” “I have been dodging race cars my whole life, these two punks don’t scare me” This is an interesting story to start the racing season and I would like to talk to you further about Jeff and TNA Wrestling.(Trifecta Entertainment PR)(1-25-2005)
  • INC Expands to 90 minutes: Future plans for Speed’s NASCAR broadcasts include an expansion of the popular Inside NEXTEL Cup TV program from an hour to an hour and a half each Monday evening.(FastMachines.com). What is Inside Nextel Cup? This popular series, hosted by Allen Bestwick and featuring NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Johnny Benson, features weekly recaps and analysis of Nextel Cup racing action. From the pits to victory lane Inside Nextel Cup provides up-to-date coverage of all the important develop-ments on the Nextel Cup circuit. The show will now air at 8:00pm/et on Monday’s with re-airs during the week with the season premiere being on Monday, Feb 14th.(1-25-2005)
  • No Pension Plan Planned: NASCAR chairman Brian France said Monday he doesn’t think a pension fund for retired Nextel Cup drivers is a realistic possibility in the near future. “Compared to many other leagues that allow it, we have differences in how we’re structured,” France said. “Our drivers are independent contractors with independent teams.” France addressed the topic at the NASCAR Research and Development Center, the first stop on the NASCAR media tour. Veteran Cup driver Rusty Wallace, who is retiring after this season, brought up the idea of a pension fund last week.(Dallas Morning News)(1-25-2005)
  • Some NMPA awards: Jimmie Johnson was named Richard Petty Driver of the Year at the National Motorsports Press Association’s [NMPA] annual convention in Charlotte. Johnson won more races (8) than anyone else in NASCAR’s major touring series and finished second to Kurt Busch — oddly enough, by eight points — in the Nextel Cup point standings. Kyle and wife Pattie Petty won the Pocono Raceway Spirit Award and were honored for their work in building and maintaining the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman. Kristi King of Talladega SuperSpeedway won the Ken Patterson Award for service in the field of public relations. Another veteran publicist, Denny Darnell, won the NMPA’s Joe Littlejohn Award for service to the organization.(Shelby Star)(1-25-2005)
  • NASCAR’s Points System will Remain Unchanged: NASCAR’s points system will remain unchanged from last year, when the debut of a 10-race shootout format resulted in the closest championship finish in series history. “We feel like we have a pretty good system and we’re set for ’05,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said Monday. “We did look hard at making any potential adjustments.” In 2004, France began his first year as head of NASCAR by overhauling the decades-old points system and creating a playoff structure for 10 drivers over the final 10 events of the Nextel Cup season. In resisting the urge to tinker with the system, NASCAR will begin the season without any major changes for the first time in four years. So, by standing pat, France had nothing to announce when the Nextel Cup media tour made its annual stop at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center. Instead, he used his time to give a State of the NASCAR address and denying rumors that he was looking to leave the family-run business to pursue bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles. France said there are no plans to stage a Nextel Cup race in Mexico or Canada anytime soon.(New York Newsday/AP)(1-25-2005)

    News from January 24, 2005

  • New GM Named at Hendrick: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick today introduced Marshall Carlson as general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. The 32-year-old will oversee day-to-day operations of the company, which fields five full-time stock-car teams and employs more than 500 people. “I can’t think of a more appropriate or capable person to serve our 500 employees and their families,” Hendrick said. “Marshall has been with our racing and automotive operations for years and has experience in many different areas of this business. From working in a team shop to overseeing millions of dollars in new construction, he’s always played a key role and will certainly continue to do so for a long time.”
    A native of Charlotte, N.C., Carlson most recently managed more than $200 million in real estate projects as vice president of corporate financial management with the Hendrick Automotive Group, a company owned by Hendrick that operates more than 60 automotive retail locations across the United States. “I’m honored by the opportunity to come back home (to Hendrick Motorsports),” Carlson said. “It’s been a tough few months for all of us, but we have a deep team of dedicated and talented people who have all stepped up to meet an extremely difficult challenge. Our primary goal is to continue the Hendrick traditions of teamwork, dedication and success, both on the race track and in our communities. I look forward to being a small part of that.”
    Carlson started with Hendrick Motorsports literally at the ground level, sweeping floors in the chassis shop as part of a college summer internship. After earning a degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996, Carlson served as team engineer for the organization’s fledgling NASCAR SuperTruck Series (now Craftsman Truck Series) entry. Under the direction of crew chief Dennis Connor, the group earned the organization’s first of three circuit championships in 1997. Following the 1998 season, Carlson was reassigned to work under longtime Hendrick Motorsports executive Dan Lohwasser, who oversaw the team’s sponsorship and marketing efforts. As director of marketing services, Carlson worked with sponsors, managed the team’s show-car business and launched Hendrick’s first e-commerce Internet site. In 2000, Carlson started as project manager on a $10 million facilities effort at the Hendrick Motorsports campus, which included the design and construction of race-shop space now housing the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams of drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The role prepared Carlson well for his 2002 assignment to lead Hendrick Automotive Group’s real estate initiative.
    Serving as a spotter and crew member, Carlson was also an early influence on the racing career of his late brother-in-law Ricky Hendrick, who in 1998 began NASCAR Late Model and USAR Pro Cup competition throughout the southeastern United States and later enjoyed driving success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Carlson, who lives in Charlotte with wife Lynn and daughter Kate, will continue the work of former Hendrick Motorsports vice president and general manager Jeff Turner, who was lost in an aircraft accident Oct. 24. Turner assumed the role in March 2002 after nearly two decades in various management roles with Rick Hendrick’s companies.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-24-2005)
  • No McMurray in the #2 in 2006: Rusty Wallace admits he’d love to see McMurray replace him in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Nextel Cup series next season. But he knows that’s not happening. “I would love to see Jamie drive the 2 car, but Felix Sabates and ( Chip) Ganassi have a contract with him,” said Wallace, 48, who is retiring. “If they didn’t, I would love to have him drive for me. (But) those two are some of my best friends and there’s nothing I could ever do with it.” Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates invoked a one-year team option to retain McMurray, the 2003 rookie of the year, this season and reportedly can do so again in 2006 and 2007. Ganassi indicated with a no-dice smile that he doesn’t plan to let McMurray get away. “Fortunately, I value our friendship as well,” he said.(St Petersburg Times)(1-24-2005)
  • NASCAR and Security: The second annual NASCAR security summit took place last week in Orlando. Representatives from all Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck tracks attended. Tim Christine, NASCAR’s director of security, headed up the two-day meetings and briefed the officials on potential threats facing the tracks.(Fox Sports/Sporting News)(1-24-2005)
  • Sad News: James R. (Bobby) Scruggs, 68, of Roanoke, passed away, Saturday morning, January 22, 2005 at his home. Bobby was born in Roanoke, Va., on June 4, 1936, a son of the late Charles Edward, Sr. and Helen Davidson Scruggs. He served in the United States Air Force in Germany for three years, worked for Nelson Roanoke Hardware for thirty years, and was a member of Emmanuel Wesleyan Church. Bobby was the founder and owner of Racing Image in Roanoke and Radford and served as a NASCAR official for 38 years. Surviving are his loving and devoted wife of 43 years, Jackie Reynolds Scruggs (PhD. candidate); his son and daughter-in-law, James (Jamie) David and Donna Scruggs of Roanoke. A service celebrating his life will be held at Oakey’s North Chapel Tuesday, January 25, 2005, 1:00pm with Pastor Mike Ennis, the Rev. Ron Pegram, and the Rev. Joe Braisted officiating. Interment in Sherwood Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Bobby Scruggs Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 7811, Roanoke, Va. 24019, or Emmanuel Wesleyan Church, 402 Hershberger Rd., NW, Roanoke, Va. 24012, or a charity of your choice. The family will receive friends Sunday, 4 to 8 p.m. and Monday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Oakey’s North Chapel.(Roanoke Times)(1-24-2005)

News from January 23, 2005

  • Sacks/Rabbe split: Greg Sacks and Ed Raabe Jr. joined forces last summer to form [#13] Daytona Racing Inc. with primary sponsorship from Arc Dehooker, a product that safely removes a hook from fish and other wildlife. Sacks competed in a handful of races in the #13 Daytona Racing Dodge, some nice, hand-me-down cars from the Evernham Motorsports stable. Last week in the second round of Nextel Cup testing, Sacks rolled into Daytona International Speedway in the #13 Dodge while Raabe was positioned at the other end of the garage with the #73 Chevrolet. The #73 was decaled with Arc Dehooker decals while Sacks’ machine was without sponsorship. Raabe remains as 45 percent owner, actually the trustee of the owner, of the #13 Daytona Speed Inc. racing team but has no plans to be actively involved with the Sacks effort. “We fulfilled our financial obligations with Daytona Speed,” Raabe said. But Sacks sees it differently. He said the deal he struck with Raabe last year was plain and simple — Sacks would run the race team and Raabe would be responsible for marketing and sponsorships. Arc Dehooker, the company is owned by Shawn Dick and his wife, Chris Raabe, who are setting up a new office in Raabe Racing Enterprises, a race shop off of Mason Avenue [Daytona]. Chris Raabe is Ed Raabe’s daughter. Sacks said he will press forward. He will take delivery of two more Ray Evernham Dodges this week. His two sons, Paul and Brian, have come to town to help. Sacks said this turn of events caught him completely flat-footed early last week. He was a day late to testing because of the Raabe pullout. “We didn’t get here until the second day of testing, again the product of being double-crossed by my partner,” Sacks said. “That put us behind the 8-ball.” Sacks said if does not get sponsor satisfaction, this union, which started at Daytona Speedway, could spill into a Daytona courthouse. Meanwhile, Raabe plans to house the #73 Chevy in a local shop and run young McClure for Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year honors. As for Sacks, Raabe said, “I wish him the best. I’d like to see a financial return on our investment with that team. My focus is on the #73 car under Raabe Racing Enterprises.”(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-23-2005)
  • Gaughan and 2nd PPI team? UPDATE 2: hearing former #77 Cup driver [and current #77 Truck Series driver] Brendan Gaughan may be running a 2nd PPI Motorsports Nextel Cup team [#96?], not sure if full-time or limited schedule. PPI Motorsports currently fields the #32 Tide Chevy for Bobby Hamilton Jr.(1-18-2005)
    UPDATE: Brendan Gaughan would neither confirm nor deny a published report that he is close to signing a deal that would have him running the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season in a second PPI Motorsports Chevrolet. PPI, which is owned by Cal Wells, fields the No. 32 Chevy for Bobby Hamilton Jr. Gaughan only said that he is committed to running 18 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races — including all that are companion events on Nextel Cup weekends — in the #77 Orleans Racing Dodge. Steve Park will return to the Las Vegas-based team this season and drive the #62 Dodge in all 25 races. Gaughan reiterated last weekend during truck testing at Daytona International Speedway that he had not ruled out the possibility of also competing in the Nextel Cup Series this season. “I may be looking at a few things (in Nextel Cup),” Gaughan said. “There’s talk about a lot of things. I let everybody talk. I listen to all the deals. You never know what might be there. A lot of people have called and expressed some interest (and) I’ve called a few people and expressed interest. I’m fortunate right now that people look at my last season and think something else had to be wrong besides the driver. My sponsor thinks that and a lot of teams think that. I’m at a point in my life where I can kind of do it like I want and right now I want to come run 18 truck races with my Orleans guys.”(Las Vegas Sun)(1-22-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Defending Grand American Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Papis has become a fixture around NASCAR garage areas, and has even tested cars for owner Ray Evernham, among others. Last week at Daytona, Papis said he had established a relationship with owner Cal Wells, and Thursday Wells confirmed he’d love to put a program together for the personable Italian. “I’d love to run him in the two road course races,” Wells said of the driver who was named to the 12-man field for the IROC Series on Wednesday. Wells also said that, despite rumors to the contrary, he was not ready to announce any definite plans for the second Nextel Cup team he has been attempting to launch since last season. “When the economy is right, the performance hasn’t been there,” Wells said. “But I think Bobby (Hamilton Jr.) and Harold (Holly, crew chief) will bring that.”(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2005)

    News from January 22, 2005

  • Raceline adds more affiliates: Raceline, the nation’s only 30-minute syndicated television program covering NASCAR Racing, is proud to announce several additions to its growing family of affiliates and networks for the 2005 season. These additions include:
    · C-SET, all sports programming serving North & South Carolina with 1.0 million households.
    · Comcast Local in Michigan serving 1.3 million households.
    · Comcast SPORTSNET West in California serving 2.2 million households.
    · Comcast SPORTSNET Chicago serving 1.6 million households.
    · COX Sports New England in Rhode Island & Connecticut serving 450,000 households.
    · Gulf South COX in New Orleans serving 1 million households.
    Along with Raceline’s previous affiliates and networks, including several prominent FOX affiliates, the show is now in approximately 75 million homes nationwide. The show is also available to our troops overseas and worldwide via the American Forces Network.
    Raceline, hosted by MRN Radio anchor Joe Moore, began production in 1993 as a local racing show serving the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Now entering its 12th year of production, Raceline is the longest running racing program of its kind on the air today. Raceline is also the only weekly racing program that runs 52 weeks a year, covering all off-season events. In addition, Raceline would like to extend a welcome to Ford Motor Company, their newest sponsor for the 2005 season. They would also like to welcome back Mechanix Wear, their longest-running major sponsor. To find a Raceline affiliate in your area, check local listings or go to www.racelineonline.com. To get Raceline in your area, contact your local cable provider.(PR)(1-22-2005)
  • #98 switches to #34: Denver, NC based MACH 1, Inc announced today that they have officially changed their car number for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. MACH 1 ran the #98 in 2004, they will display #34 as their car number in 2005. The team was issued #198 last year by NASCAR. The team ran into logistical issues when the owner of the #98, Winston Cup Champion Bill Elliott competed in Cup races where MACH 1 was also entered. MACH 1 ran the #96 at races where Elliott entered his car. “The change between #98 and #96 confused a lot of folks last year. I received questions from friends, sponsors and even officials when we had to switch numbers. I’m glad we don’t have to deal with that issue this year. NASCAR has already transferred my owner points from last year over to #34,” stated team owner Chris Edwards. MACH 1 remained in the top 10 on the speed chart at the conclusion of NASCAR Preseason Thunder test for the Cup teams at Daytona. Randy LaJoie posted a lap of 48.588 seconds, for 185.231 mph securing the seventh best time out of the 54 teams who tested. Chris Edwards commented “We made a number of changes during the off season in an effort to improve our program. I’m encouraged with the results I have seen, especially around our test session at Daytona”.(MACH 1 PR)(1-22-2005)
  • Benny to be honored: NASCAR champion Benny Parsons, Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva and LeMans 24-Hour king Hurley Haywood will lead a group of nine racing greats into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America annual induction ceremony Aug. 18 at the State Theatre in Detroit. Parsons, Sneva and Haywood will be enshrined along with drag racer Tommy Ivo, motorcyclist Jay Springsteen, powerboat racer Danny Foster, car owners/builders John Holman and Ralph Moody and 1952 Indy 500 winner Troy Ruttman. The Class of 2005 will join the 126 racers already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, located in Novi. Currently a NASCAR analyst on NBC, Parsons won the 1975 Daytona 500 and the 1980 Coca-Cola 600, as well as 19 other Winston Cup races. Tickets for the induction ceremony are available by calling 800-250-7223.(Detroit Free Press)(1-22-2005)

    News from January 21, 2005

  • Pit Road Speed to be electronically timed: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby says hardware for the pit road speeding system is being installed at racetracks and NASCAR hopes to have software perfected in time to use it at the Feb. 20 Daytona 500. NASCAR enforces speed limits on pit road to help protect crewmembers from being hit by cars. Teams have complained that the old monitoring system, which involved officials timing cars by hand with stopwatches, led to inconsistent and inaccurate enforcement. Darby says there wasn’t anything wrong with the old system but NASCAR is changing at the teams’ request. Under the old system, Darby says, officials had discretion to not penalize drivers who might have sped on pit road, for example, to avoid an accident. But with electronic monitoring, Darby says, officials have no choice but to make speeding penalties black and white, regardless of the circumstances.(USA Today)(1-21-2005)
  • Back-to-back champs: Only nine drivers have won back-to-back Cup championships. They are Buck [not Buddy] Baker (1956-57), Lee Petty (1958-59), Joe Weatherly (1962-63), David Pearson (1968-69), Richard Petty (1971-72 & ‘74-75), Cale Yarborough (1976, 77, 78), Darrell Waltrip (1981- 82), Dale Earnhardt (1986-87, ‘90-91, ‘93-94) and Jeff Gordon 1997-98)(Caledonian Record)(1-21-2005)
  • Childress Team Member Leaves: NASCAR’s controversial decision to allow liquor sponsorships has caused a popular personality in the garages to quit because of his religious convictions. David Smith, a former crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt and team manager and pit crew coach for Richard Childress Racing, told Childress during the offseason that he couldn’t work on a car backed by a liquor company. Last season, Childress teams were sponsored by AOL, Cingular and Goodwrench. When AOL dropped out, Jack Daniels took the spot. “The absolute hardest part of this deal was to tell Richard that I was leaving after 25 years,” said Smith, who in four decades has been a six-time all-pro jackman. I had a great job, the best anybody could ask for. I may never have a job as great as that again, but I’ll have peace of mind from knowing that what I did was the right thing to do. That’s worth more than money.” Liquor sponsors Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam and Crown Royal will be prominent throughout the sport this season. Smith said his decision actually was made years ago when he gave up his wayward ways to become a Christian. “I trusted the Lord with my life, and He changed it around for me,” Smith said. “I went to work for Richard in 1979 and told him when I went there that I’d work for him as long as he didn’t have an alcohol or dirty magazine or gambling sponsorship on his car. And he was OK with that.” Dave Blaney, who drives the #07 [RCR Chevy] sponsored by Jack Daniel’s, said he’s not much of a drinker, but he’s proud to be associated with his sponsor. Childress said that although he and Smith are on different sides of the liquor issue he still respects him highly. “I’ve admired David Smith for years,” Childress said. “I’ve always said I wish I could have been as strong a man as he was many, many years ago.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-21-2005)
  • Schrader to test at Talladega: Afterward racing at this year’s six-race Early Thaw circuit at Central Arizona Speedway in Arizona, #49-Ken Schrader, will hit the highway toward Talladega, Ala., where his team will drop him off for testing early next week. A few days later, he’ll return to the Valley for the Copper World Classic, where he will drive in two of the four scheduled races (NASCAR West and Southwest Series). Then, it’s off to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and California Speedway for more testing.(Arizona Republic)
    PLUS he WINS: One of the nation’s busiest dirt late model racers during the short winter break that he gets from his NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule and the owner of his own dirt track, Missouri’s Ken Schrader led the final 28 laps Thursday night as he scored a $3000 win in round four of the six race, $140,000 Early Thaw Speedweek at Central Arizona Raceway.(latemodelracer.com)(1-21-2005)
  • Rusty’s plans? Drivers Pension and possible run in Rolex at Daytona: There are two other items on #2-Rusty Wallace’s agenda. He wants to spark interest in a pension plan for NASCAR drivers. It’s an idea he said he, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon floated about five years ago but was shunted aside by Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500. He also wants to run the 2006 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race.(Florida Today)(1-21-2005)
    AND Entering his final season in Nextel Cup, Rusty Wallace is calling on NASCAR officials to establish a pension plan for drivers similar to those provided to athletes in other professional sports leagues. NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter says officials would look into a pension system if the “right plan” came along. But Hunter notes drivers are “independent contractors” working for teams, not for NASCAR — so any plan would need to be supported financially by team owners as well as NASCAR.(USA Today)(1-21-2005)
  • 4th season the magic number? The past three Cup champions – #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #20-Tony Stewart – all won the title in their fourth season. This season will be #48-Jimmie Johnson’s fourth.(Caledonian Record)(1-21-2005)
  • Rusty and Ryan still not talking UPDATE: #2-Rusty Wallace, 48, and #12-Ryan Newman, 27, had a falling out last fall at Martinsville Speedway. They haven’t talked about it since, and the animosity between them has festered. Their strained relationship is generating a fair amount of banter and media attention during Daytona testing. During a Dodge dinner Tuesday night, Wallace was asked if he received a Christmas present from Newman. He laughed, raised an eye and gave a definite “no.” A week earlier, Newman was asked how things are going with Wallace. “We’re just peachy,” he said wryly.(more at the Tampa Tribune)(1-20-2005)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace said he’s planning a meeting with teammate Ryan Newman “to defuse” things before the season starts. Newman and Wallace had some run-ins last season, most notably at Martinsville. “What I want is respect,” Wallace said. Wallace is a part-owner of the Penske South team.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-21-2005)
  • Best Western: RaceFan Rate: Best Western International, the Official Hotel of NASCAR, celebrates the start of the 2005 season next month by dropping the green flag on its new RaceFan Rate. Beginning February 1, customers will be able to take advantage of this select year-round rate at Best Western hotels throughout North America by visiting www.bestwesternracing.comand entering “RaceFan” in the promotion code box, or by calling 1-800-WESTERN and asking for the RaceFan Rate. To celebrate its premiere, Best Western is providing race devotees with another special offer. Guests who stay twice at the RaceFan Rate between February 1 and April 30, 2005, will earn 1,200 bonus points in the chain’s Speed Rewards loyalty program – enough to redeem a free night stay or a $50 gift certificate to the NASCAR.com Superstore. Best Western is currently in the second year of a three-year agreement as the Official Hotel of NASCAR. The company also serves as an associate sponsor of driver Michael Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #15 NAPA Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.(Best Western PR)(1-21-2005)
  • More on Honda and NASCAR: Honda racing officials haven’t said anything officially about a NASCAR effort, but the company’s debut of a pickup truck at last week’s Detroit auto show has sparked considerable interest. The Honda Ridgeline truck will be for sale this spring, as a 2006 model, with the company expecting to sell about 50,000 this year. The pickup will be built at Honda’s plant in Ontario, Canada, and will have a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. NASCAR’s new common-template rules would make it easy for Honda to put the machine in NASCAR’s trucks series, if Honda comes up with a NASCAR-legal V-8.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-21-2005)
  • Racing Logistics, long known for providing unparalleled aviation charter services to NASCAR teams, announces its partnership with WorldTravel BTI, the world’s second largest travel agency. WorldTravel BTI presently serves a majority of the Fortune 100 and 500 companies. The partnership will introduce a wide variety of services never before offered to the NASCAR industry. Aside from additional services that will be provided to the NASCAR teams, Racing Logistics and WorldTravel BTI will offer new services to agencies, sponsors and vendors that do business in the sport. Details of the partnership, new services and participant benefits were unveiled to the NASCAR community today at the Joe Gibbs Racing Auditorium. For more information on this exciting program and how it can benefit your team or agency, please call Racing Logistics at 704-664-9888.(PR)(1-21-2005)

    News from January 20, 2005

  • Kahne paces testing Thurs AM, Truex Jr. fastest in PM: in what looks like mostly drafting speeds, #9-Kasey Kahne was the fastest at 188.088mph, followed by #43-Jeff Green at 187.633, #39-Bill Elliott at 187.496, #31-Jeff Burton at 187.418 and #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. at 187.282.
    PM in the afternoon session, once again a mix of single car runs and drafting, the top five were: #1-Martin Truex Jr. 188.798 mph; #43-Jeff Green, 188.052; #2-Rusty Wallace, 187.931; #25-Brian Vickers,187.903; and #48-Jimmie Johnson, 187.805
    See all the speeds from each seassion, links and commulative single lap speeds on my Daytona 500 Testing News and Results page.(1-20-2005)
  • IROC 2005 UPDATE 2 the drivers: there will be an announcement at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday, Jan. 19th to announce the 2005 IROC [International Race of Champions – www.irocracing.com] drivers and new paint schemes for the four race 2005 season. Expect 5-6 Nextel Cup drivers, the Busch Champ [Truex Jr.], Truck Series champ [Hamilton] a few IRL, WoO drivers nad maybe a surprise or two. The 2005 Crown Royal IROC Series will feature 12 drivers from different forms of auto racing in equally prepared cars. The 2005 driver field will consist of seven drivers who captured their respective series championship in 2004 [Busch, Truex Jr., Hamilton, Kanan, Kinser, Kenseth (IROC) and ?]. This year’s Crown Royal IROC Series champion will take home a $1 million first-place purse. Also for info on 2004, see my 2004 IROC page.(1-17-2005)
    UPDATE the drivers: the following drivers will run the 2005 IROC Series:
    Matt Kenseth – NASCAR Nextel Cup (2004 Crown Royal IROC champion)
    Kurt Busch – NASCAR Nextel Cup (2004 Series champion)
    Mark Martin – NASCAR Nextel Cup (4-time Crown Royal IROC champion)
    Sebastien Bourdais – CHAMP CAR (2004 Series champion)
    Bobby Hamilton NASCAR – Craftsman Truck (2004 Series champion)
    Steve Kinser – World of Outlaws (2004 Series champion)
    Max Papis – Grand American Road Racing (2004 Series co-champion)
    Scott Pruett – Grand American Road Racing (2004 Series co-champion)
    Martin Truex Jr. – NASCAR Busch Series (2004 Series champion)
    Helio Castroneves – IRL IndyCar Series (2-time Indianapolis 500 champion)
    Buddy Rice – IRL IndyCar Series (2004 Indianapolis 500 champion)
    Danny Lasoski – World of Outlaws (2001 Series champion)(1-18-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) officials have announced the driver field for the 2005 Crown Royal IROC Series. The invitational series will feature 12 champion drivers from different forms of auto racing, including seven drivers who won their respective series titles in 2004. The Crown Royal IROC Series will kick off its 29th season on Friday, February 18 at Daytona International Speedway. Following the season opener, the series will shift to Texas Motor Speedway (April 15), followed by Richmond International Raceway (September 8) and conclude at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (October 29).(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(1-19-2005)
    IMAGE: see an image of the 2005 IROC car on my 2005 Paint Schemes page.(1-20-2005)
  • RCR borrows Hendrick engine AND GM’s idea – never made it on the track: [Richard] Childress [teams #07, #29, #31, #33] borrowed an engine from the Rick Hendrick team [#5,#24,#25,#48] for a few laps [at Daytona 500 testing], to see if the problem was engine or aerodynamics. The Hendrick engine provided more speed.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-20-2005)
    AND: What appeared to be a simple engine change caused quite a stir in the garage at Daytona. Crew members installed a Hendrick Motorsports engine into the #29 Chevrolet owned by Richard Childress Racing, which has its own engine shop. Childress said the experiment was initiated by General Motors, which supports both teams. Drivers using Hendrick engines have dominated preseason testing, and Childress’ teams have struggled. Scott Riggs and Nemechek, using leased Hendrick engines, have been fastest on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The #29, driven this week by Kerry Earnhardt, who is filling in for Kevin Harvick, was 38th fastest Wednesday. The switch was not completed in time for Earnhardt to run a lap with the Hendrick engine. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    AND II been told the motor wasn’t borrowed but a program that we RCR is working on together with Hendrick to further develop the GM Engine and never made it on the track.(1-20-2005)
  • Sadler and Stewart test at Texas: #38-Elliott Sadler and #20-Tony Stewart completed two days of Goodyear tire testing preparing for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sadler is the defending champion of the race. “This is one of my favorite tracks,” said Sadler. “It is like an old jacket you put on, it just feels comfortable when you come here, drive up on pit road to go out on the track.” The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will make its first of two 2005 appearances at Texas in the Samsung/RadioShack 500. Tickets are still available at the speedway ticket office, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations.(TMS PR)(1-20-2005)
  • Update on the “engine of the future”: NASCAR’s “engine of the future” project may have hit another roadblock, according to Ford team owner Jack Roush, who says that fellow engine builder Doug Yates tells him NASCAR’s plan would be a disaster for Ford teams. NASCAR will hold another planning meeting with Detroit executives next week to try to put some specific numbers on the 40 engine parameters NASCAR would like to pin down, to keep engine designers in a box. “I don’t know what the latest iteration of the ‘engine of the future’ might be, but when Toyota came in (two years ago), they (NASCAR) gave Toyota more than they meant to,” Roush said. “Toyota negotiated very well, and they basically obsoleted every other engine”.(Winston Salem Journal), see past news on engines from last wekk on my Engine News page.(1-20-2005)
  • Jasper Engines on the #77 for four races: Jasper Engines & Transmissions will return as the primary sponsor of the #77 Dodge driven by Travis Kvapil for four races in 2005. The scheduled races for the Jasper car are: Texas (April), Dover (June), Chicago (July) and Atlanta (October).(RacingOne)(1-20-2005)
  • Some Ward News AND: have heard NOTHING about a Cup, Busch or Truck ride for Ward Burton, but this is posted on his website [wardburton.com]: Initial planning for a new TV outdoor show is underway – Ward is working with writer/producer Jason Thomas whose book on the life of Doris Duke, Too Rich, was made into the CBS miniseries Too Rich. The show will be an opportunity for Ward to share his love of nature with viewers of all ages.(1-19-2005)
    AND Jeff Burton’s comments on brother Ward not having a ride: “Ward doesn’t have a lot going on at the Cup level, and there’s really nothing out there right now,” Burton said. “Until some changes start happening – and things will start happening – there won’t be a whole lot for him, unfortunately. But certainly he’ll be on the top of the list when changes do start happening.”(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND II Jeff Burton said his brother, Ward, does not have any firm racing plans for this season. “He’s a capable driver,” Burton says. “Unfortunately, he’s gotten caught up in the fact that people want to hire 12-year-olds.”(USA Today/AP)(1-20-2005)
  • Sad News: Longtime U.S. Auto Club official and local sports broadcaster Charles T. Brockman died Tuesday. He was 77. Brockman was USAC president from 1969-72 but held many positions in the organization over several decades. He graduated from Speedway High School and Purdue University’s engineering school, but soon became involved in sports broadcasting. He worked for radio stations WXLW and WIRE and joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s radio announcing crew. He conducted the Indianapolis 500 winner’s interview from 1954-59. He was sports director at WLWI-TV (which is now WTHR-13) during the 1960s, and also worked on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” program. Through his broadcasting work, he became a master of ceremonies for Indy 500 and USAC banquets from the late 1950s until he became USAC president. Visitation will be 4-6 p.m. Saturday at Conkle Funeral Home, 4925 W. 16th St. in Speedway, IN to be followed by a memorial service.(Indianapolis Star)(1-20-2005)
  • Lunch at DEI with Teresa: Teresa Earnhardt is donating her time to the Communities in Schools Networks to help raise funds through their Lunch with a Leader auction. People can bid to have lunch with celebrities and leaders in the entertainment, sports and business worlds. Teresa is listed in the Business Leaders section and you place your bid via www.lunchwithaleader.com starting on January 18 – February 11. The winning bidder will not only get to have lunch with Teresa in the renowned Trophy Room here at DEI, but it will also include a tour of the DEI race shops.(DEI Site), for more info to bid on lunch with Teresa or with Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Richard Petty……. see www.lunchwithaleader.com.(1-20-2005)
  • TSN (Canada) to Broadcast 20 Nextel Cup Races in 2005: Canadians will be able to see every 2005 Nextel Cup event via TSN, FOX or NBC – and every Craftsman Truck Event via SPEED Channel. The Sports Network (TSN), Canada’s premier cable sports broadcaster, has released its 2005 schedule of NASCAR Nextel Cup event broadcasts. TSN will air 20 Nextel Cup race events this year. Their schedule will include some of the major races like the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte, the Pepsi 400 from Daytona, the Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis, the Sharpie 500 night race from Bristol, the UAW-GM Quality 500 from Charlotte, and the Ford 400 season finale from Homestead. More importantly, TSN will air every Nextel cup event which will be shown on the FX or TNT cable services in the U.S. Hence, with TSN filling in the gaps in the US network schedule, every 2005 Nextel Cup race, including the all three non-points events, will be available to Canadian cable or satellite subscribers. In addition, NASCAR has announced that the SPEED channel, which is available in Canada via cable or satellite service, will again provide broadcast coverage of every NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.
    When it comes to the NASCAR Busch Series, things are not so rosy for Canadians. Of the 36 Busch Series races scheduled for 2005, only ten will be available via US-based networks. There will be five Busch Series races on each of FOX and NBC through the 2005 season. The remaining 26 races are scheduled to be aired on the cable-only FX and TNT services which are not available to Canadian residents. In 2004, the Rogers Sportsnet, a Canadian regional cable sports service, carried 18 Busch Series races, reducing the number of Busch Series races not seen in Canada to eight. Rogers Sportsnet has not yet announced its plans for the 2005 NASCAR season.(Race Fan TV)(1-20-2005)
  • #6 looking for a driver and sponsor for 2006: Since Mark Martin’s sponsorship contract with Pfizer’s Viagra is up at the end of this season, Roush and team president Geoff Smith are looking for both a new driver and a new sponsor. Carl Edwards was slated for that [#6 Ford] ride, but Edwards wound up in another Roush car when Jeff Burton left last summer to join Richard Childress. “We’re hoping to get some of our associate sponsors to step up to a full car sponsorship,” Smith said.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND Martin’s plans? Mar Martin still doesn’t have firm plans for 2006, but he said they probably won’t include a part-time Nextel Cup schedule. Martin, like Rusty Wallace, is doing a retirement tour this year. But he plans to continue racing in some capacity. “I still say again that there are no plans for Nextel Cup racing for the obvious fact that if you really sit and analyze it, to have what you would call a short program or a limited program, you would also have to have limited people,” Martin said. “You couldn’t possibly have the quality of car that I drive today, and I’m not going to do it like that. `I didn’t say it never would happen for a lot of reasons. Someone could get injured. I’m not going to say never.” Martin repeated his interest in the Craftsman Truck series, which is becoming something of a seniors circuit for NASCAR veterans.(Tampa Tribune)(1-20-2005)

    News from January 19, 2005

  • Elliott and Ganassi? UPDATE 3: hearing Bill Elliott will run a limited schedule in a Ganassi Racing Dodge with a retro paint scheme, 1985 Coor’s.(1-17-2005)
    UPDATE: hear the first race could be the Daytona 500.(1-18-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Team owner Ray Evernham has given semi-retired veteran driver Bill Elliott permission to run the Feb. 12 Budweiser Shootout all-star race for a rival NASCAR Nextel Cup team, Chip Ganassi Racing. The Ganassi team had no official comment but has scheduled a news conference for today at Daytona International Speedway, where NASCAR teams are testing in preparation for the Feb. 20 Daytona 500. Evernham said Elliott’s decision to drive for another team doesn’t signal any sort of rift between the veteran driver and Evernham Motorsports. Evernham hired Elliott after leaving his job as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief to field his own team and prepare for Dodge’s return to NASCAR during the 2001 season. Elliott is scheduled to run between 10 and 12 races in a third Evernham [#91] car this season, with sponsorship from Stanley Tools [and Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper]. “We don’t have Bill locked-in (exclusively) or anything — he’s sort of free to do what he wants,” Evernham said. However, Evernham added he “would prefer” that Elliott limit his association with Ganassi to only one race.(USA Today)(1-19-2005)
    UPDATE 3 – Official: Coors Brewing Company will take a trip down memory lane during the Shootout at Daytona International Speedway when Bill Elliott makes a one-race appearance behind the wheel of a retro Coors Dodge. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will field a second entry in the Shootout for Elliott who was partnered with the team’s current sponsor Coors Brewing Company from 1984-1991. Elliott’s Dodge will sport the paint scheme that he earned the coveted Winston Million during the 1985 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
    “I am really looking forward to partnering back up with Coors Light,” Elliott said. “I think that this is a great opportunity and I really like running that race. I think it is also going to be fun to work with my brother Ernie. Ernie worked on my motors when I was just starting out. Now I get a chance to have him build my engines again and it is something I will thoroughly enjoy.”
    “I think this is a great way to honor Coors Brewing Company’s history in racing,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “Coors had a long and successful affiliation with Bill and has been a sponsor with Felix and I since 1995. This is a great way to partner the company’s past and present for one night under the lights at Daytona. We look forward to having Bill in one of our cars and giving Coors this opportunity to celebrate the start of its 21st year in NASCAR.”
    “We here at Coors Brewing Company are very excited about having Bill in the car and partnered up with us again for this one race,” said Steve Saunders, Director of Event Marketing for Coors Brewing Company. “He had an impressive eight seasons with Coors and won a championship while he was sponsored by us. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to run our two brands of beer Coors and Coors Light at Daytona International Speedway. First we have Elliott in the Coors car and Marlin in the Coors Light Dodge.” The Shootout is scheduled for Saturday, February 12th at Daytona International Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR). See an image of the car on my #39 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2005)
  • Riggs back in front in Daytona 500 testing: #10-Scott Riggs ran the fastest speed in Wednesday afternoon Daytona 500 testing session at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 186.097mph [the second fastest overall], followed by #09-Johnny Sauter at 185.935, #01-Joe Nemechek at 185.924, #7-Robby Gordon at 185.300 and #48-Jimmie Johnson at 185.193. See the full rundown of aftenoon speeds and cumulative speeds for all five days on my Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-19-2005)
  • Robby and Jim Beam? UPDATE yep: hearing another sponsor for #7 Robby Gordon will be Jim Beam Whiskey.
    UPDATE: Jim Beam Brands Co. announced today that its flagship brand, Jim Beam Bourbon, has teamed up with Robby Gordon Motorsports to sponsor the #7 car for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Team owner and veteran driver Robby Gordon will race the #7 Jim Beam Chevrolet on February 20 at Daytona International Speedway [Daytona 500]. Jim Beam will be the primary sponsor for a designated number of races and serve as an associate sponsor for additional races throughout the 2005 season. As a veteran sponsor in motorsports, Jim Beam also has an existing track-record in leveraging its drivers to raise awareness about responsible drinking with its drink smart program. Established in 1995, drink smart is an educational program that communicates the importance of responsible consumption by adults of legal purchase age that choose to drink. drink smart has been a cornerstone of the 2004 IRL Jim Beam sponsorship of the Andretti Green Racing Team and will be a key element of its sponsorship with Robby Gordon Motorsports in NASCAR. To that end, Gordon’s car and firesuit will feature the company’s trademark drink smart icon.
    “Robby Gordon Motorsports is excited to partner with a leading brand like Jim Beam Bourbon,” said owner/driver Robby Gordon. “It means a lot to us and our fans to have a sponsor with an established interest and commitment to motorsports – it speaks to the integrity of our combined motivations and is a great fit for both of us. Our goal is to be number one – just as Jim Beam Bourbon is – and with our sponsors, experienced crew and great facilities, we’re on track to keep racing for the Winner’s Circle every week.”
    For more information about Jim Beam and drink smart, please visit www.jimbeam.com and www.drinksmart.com.(Robby Gordon site)
    IMAGES see images of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2005)
  • Nemechek/Riggs pace Wed AM Testing: #01-Joe Nemecheck led Daytona 500 testing at Daytona International Speedway during Wednesdays AM session, with a speed 185.605mph, followed by #10-Scott Riggs at 185.601, #48-Jimmie Johnson at 185.185, speed #43-Jeff Green at 184.904 and #1-Martin Truex Jr. at 184.843
    See the full rundown of AM speeds on my Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-19-2005)
  • #99 gets more sponsorship, from AAA UPDATE: Auto Club Group/AAA has had a longtime relationship with Michigan International Speedway in mid-Michigan. With the sponsorship of Roush Racing’s #99 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car driven by Carl Edwards, AAA has partnered with one of the leaders in the motorsports field. If racing and AAA still seem an unlikely match, consider the role motorsports has played in advancing auto safety. In fact, many of the safety features we now take for granted in our cars, trucks and SUVs were introduced and tested in auto races. Such features as lap and shoulder safety belts, hydraulic brakes and radial tires are just a few. AAA’s support of the sport is directed to efforts to make driving safer and more enjoyable. With its support of the motorsports program, AAA has found an exciting way to promote their name, products and safety message. These programs also provide AAA with a way to encourage young people to drive responsibly and to seek careers in automotive-related fields. AAA was one of the original sponsors of the Indianapolis 500 and the governing body of U.S. auto racing until the 1950s.(AAA Site)(1-12-2005)
    AND the races AAA will supposedly be the primary sponsor are:
    Michigan International Speedway – June 19
    Chicagoland Speedway – July 10 [major assoc]
    Indianapolis Brickyard 400 – August 7
    Michigan International Speedway – August 21
    but they could change as it was mentioned in the Office Depot PR that they would be the primary there.(1-12-2005)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that the AAA Auto Club Group (ACG) will be carried as the primary sponsor on the #99 Roush Racing Ford of Carl Edwards for three races in 2005. In addition to being the primary sponsor for both Michigan races and the Brickyard 400, AAA will also be a major associate at Chicago and an associate for the remainder of the races in 2005. The Auto Club Group, based in Dearborn, Michigan, is the largest AAA affiliate in the Midwest and includes the Auto Club Insurance Association as well as six AAA clubs: AAA Chicago, AAA Michigan, AAA Minnesota/Iowa, AAA Nebraska, AAA North Dakota and AAA Wisconsin, which serve approximately 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG is the first AAA affiliate to sponsor a car in the Nextel Cup Series. An endeavor that AAA is looking forward to embarking on. “Carl Edwards is definitely one of the rising stars in NASCAR racing,” said Charles H. Podowski, president/CEO of ACG. “The Auto Club Group is extremely pleased that we will be the primary sponsor of his car #99 in three Nextel Cup Series races this year, and that his car and racing gear will carry the AAA logo as a sponsor in each of the other 35 races in which he is scheduled to compete. Sponsorship of a car and driver on the hugely popular NASCAR racing circuit will help raise AAA’s profile with the many fans of this major spectator sport. The sponsorship ties very nicely into AAA’s century-long commitment to supporting continued improvement in vehicle safety.” Podowski continued, “Many of the safety features we take for granted on today’s passenger vehicles, such as lap-and-shoulder safety belts and hydraulic brakes, were introduced and perfected in racecars. NASCAR races will continue to be the proving ground for new safety equipment, and the AAA clubs that comprise The Auto Club Group are pleased and proud to help support that progress.”(Roush Racing PR)(1-19-2005)
  • Andrews the new #45 Crew Chief: Paul Andrews, a Nextel Cup champion who is one of NASCAR’s most well-known and respected crew chiefs, has been hired to handle the crew chief role for the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge and driver Kyle Petty. Petty, also CEO of Petty Enterprises, made the announcement today. Andrew’s duties begin immediately. Andrews, 47, comes to the legendary organization as one of the most knowledgeable and trusted crew chiefs in the NASCAR garage. Having worked with some of the sports greatest names, Andrews won a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship with Alan Kulwicki, and has helped bring winning success to drivers such as Geoffrey Bodine, Jeremy Mayfield, Steve Park and Jeff Burton. Andrews most recently served as crew chief for the #38 Akins Motorsports Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series. “We’re very excited to have a person of Paul’s caliber join our team,” said Petty. “His past speaks for itself. He’s a proven winner and can help accelerate this team into top form. The addition of Evernham Engines was huge. Adding Paul is another big step forward as we prepare for 2005 and beyond.” Andrew’s successes in the sport are some of the most impressive of any crew chief. A champion crew chief in 1992, Andrew’s has accumulated a dozen wins, over 75 top-five and twice as many top-10 finishes. He expects to continue that winning trend at Petty Enterprises. “I just like the way Petty Enterprise is heading,” said Andrews. “Adding Evernham Engines this season was a tremendously positive move. They are striving hard and taking steps to win. I want, and am ready, to make a difference. They are going in the right direction, and I think I can help offer some good input. I’m excited to start working with Kyle and the Georgia-Pacific/Brawny team.”(Williams Company PR)(1-19-2005)
  • Gordon to co-host Live with Regis and Kelly: Jeff Gordon is scheduled to co-host with Kelly Ripa on the daytime talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” for two days on January 26-27. Although Gordon has co-hosted the show five times, this will mark the first time he has co-hosted on consecutive days.(Gordonline)(1-19-2005)
  • Still No Word on Daytona 500 Qualifying Format: When NASCAR announced its new qualifying procedures for 2005 last week, questions surrounded the Daytona 500, which has a unique qualifying format, which in the past has included Bud Pole Qualifying, two qualifying races, qualifying speeds and provisional starting positions. With the exception of the so-called “Champion’s Provisional,” the provisional system has been done away with. The qualifying races have been extended to 150 miles each, from 125 in the past. The only sure thing at this point, according to NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo, is that the top 35 team owners from the 2004 Nextel Cup owners’ standings are guaranteed starting positions in the race. Beyond that, Zizzo said, the qualifying format is “still being tweaked,” with the details expected when the race’s entry blank is available.(NASCAR.com)(1-19-2005)
  • Holograms planned thwart counterfeit NASCAR goods: NASCAR has announced plans to put tags with holograms on officially licensed products in a program designed to thwart those who sell counterfeit goods. The program will require all companies producing NASCAR-licensed merchandise to attach the holograms. “With the increasing popularity of NASCAR and the expansion of our licensing business, knock-off goods are a growing problem in our sport,” said Mark Dye, vice president of licensing for NASCAR. An advertising campaign using print publications and radio shows to spread the word about the program is scheduled to start this month. NASCAR says 150 licensees have signed on for the program so far.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-19-2005)

    News from January 18, 2005

  • Gaughan and 2nd PPI team? hearing former #77 Cup driver [and current #77 Truck Series driver] Brendan Gaughan may be running a 2nd PPI Motorsports Nextel Cup team [#96?], not sure if full-time or limited schedule. PPI Motorsports currently fields the #32 Tide Chevy for Bobby Hamilton Jr.(1-18-2005)
  • Daytona 500 Testing returns Tuesday UPDATE Speeds: Next up at “The World Center of Racing” is the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The even-numbered teams in the 2004 owner’s standings will begin a three-day test session on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway. Among the drivers expected to test include: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #18-Bobby Labonte, #2-Rusty Wallace, #6-Mark Martin and #9-Kasey Kahne. The third NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest is scheduled for Wednesday in the new FanZone in the infield of the Speedway. During the day, fans that purchase a Fan Fest ticket can watch testing from the FanZone. Beginning at 5 p.m., the Fan Fest will begin with bands, pit stop demonstrations, auctions and inquisitive fan forums. Admission is $15 and the proceeds from the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest will also benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp, The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports and American Red Cross for tsunami relief. For any events at Daytona International Speedway, tickets can be purchased online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR), last weeks Daytona testing news and speeds on my Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-17-2005)
    UPDATE: #10-Scott Riggs was fastest in the morning session for Daytona 500 testing, the second wave of teams testing, this week is the teams who finished the 2004 season in the even numbers owners points position [with a few exceptions]. Riggs ran a lap of 185.109mph, followed by #01-Joe Nemechek at 184.816 [seems MB2, MBV, MB-Sutton teams have the Daytona testing down pretty good], #43-Jeff Green [new Evernham power working good], #6-Mark Martin and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Eric McClure is driving a 2nd Morgan-McClure car, the #73. Busch driver David Stremme is testing the #39 Dodge of Chip Ganassi [could this be the rumored Bill Elliott ride?] and Derrike Cope is listed in the #55 Chevy [reportedly teaming up with Larry Hollenback who ran #62 last year in a few attempts]. No speed listed for #37-Kevin Lepage, #2-Rusty Wallace or #27-Kirk Shelmerdine [switched from #72].
    FLIP-FLOP: in the afternoon testing, #01-Joe Nemechek was fastest with a lap of 184.661 while #10-Scott Riggs was second with a lap of 184.646. See the full rundown of speeds on my Daytona 500 Testing page.(1-18-2005)
  • Robby Gordon to make announcements on Tues/Wed UPDATE..AND the INDY 500: Robby Gordon will discuss his sponsorship of the #7 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series program on Tuesday at Daytona Internations Speedway.
    AND Robby Gordon Motorsports will make a second sponsorship announcement while testing at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 1:30pm/et involving its 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series program. Gordon, who returned to the United States Monday following his first Dakar Rally in Africa, will be on hand for questions and answers, and a car unveiling/photo opportunity will follow the announcement outside the media center.(PR’s)(1-18-2005)
    UPDATE: Fruit of the Loom and Robby Gordon Motorsports are carrying their NASCAR partnership to the next level in 2005 by announcing today that the world-renowned apparel company will sponsor Gordon in nine NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events and one NASCAR Busch Series race. The Fruit of the Loom Racing Team debuted in the Busch Series last season; during which Gordon drove the #55 Chevrolet to a victory at Richmond, four other top-five finishes and ten top-10s. Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) hopes to match that success during Speedweeks 2005 at Daytona, where Gordon is entered in the Feb. 19 Hershey’s 300 Busch Series event. For that race only, the team will again run car #55. It will campaign car #7 in NEXTEL Cup competition, with Fruit of the Loom’s first race in that series slated for April 3 in the Food City 500 at Bristol [the 8 other Cup races include the Coca-Cola 600]. Gordon has three wins, including a sweep of both road-course events in 2003, won the Gatorade 125 Daytona 500 qualifying race in 2003 and has banked more than $15 million in NASCAR winnings. Bob Temple will return as crew chief. The team will utilize Hopkins Chassis with engines supplied by Menard Engineering. The Indianapolis and Oxfordshire, England-based company has supplied engines for cars that have won the pole for the famed Indianapolis 500 three times, powering Team Menard to a pair of Indy Racing League championships in 1997 and 1999. RGM ran Menard engines in three Busch Series races last season. Fruit of the Loom’s remaining schedule of 2005 races (following Bristol) will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit www.fruit.com(Camp and Assoc PR)(1-18-2005)
    INDY 500 plans: Saying that his biggest weakness last year was engines, Robby Gordon said the team will run Menard engines and are testing the new Menard restrictor plate engine here at Daytona. The first restrictor plate engine ever produced by Menard. The parts for the engines are produced in England and assembled in the States on a Chevrolet block. Utilizing a total of four sponsors in 9 race packages. The next sponsor will be announced tomorrow and the other sponsors by the time the Daytona 500 begins in February, Gordon also talked about his departure from Richard Childress Racing saying that he was not fired and that there is no rift between him and Childress. Gordon also seemed(?) to say that he will be running the Indianapolis 500 this year. He said that a sponsor deal is “on the table” and that he is now an owner. “Last year I had to leave early, this year, I’m a car owner and I don’t have to leave early,” Gordon said.(Greg from Cup Scene Daily)
    IMAGES see some images of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page.(1-18-2004)
  • Dale Jr. in DC UPDATE 2 DW too: Dale Earnhardt Jr. listed among the celebs and entertainers for the “A Celebration of Freedom” event on the inaugural event list announced today by the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee. PIC director Greg Jenkins announced the list which includes Dale Junior, Kenny Chesney, Buzz Aldrin & Others under the astronaut category. The Gatlin Brothers, The Temptations, Singer Daniel Rodriquez, the Radio City Rockettes, Boxkar, Kristen Chenoweth, Yolanda Adams and others will also be a part of the “Clebration of Freedom” event which is part of inaugural week events in Washington, DC. The Celebration of Freedom event is Wed., Jan 19th at 4:00pm/et in Washington, DC.(Claire B. Lang – XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(1-13-2005)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t expect to attend the inauguration later this month of President George W. Bush; however the Bud Chevy driver will join NASCAR President Mike Helton in several pre-inaugural celebrations. Junior told PRN’s Garagepass he was invited to the concert hosted by twins Jenna and Barbara Bush, however he cannot attend due to a prior commitment. Still, Dale hopes to visit the President’s daughters in person to thank them for the invitation and said “If I get a chance to talk with George that would be awesome!” He went on to say, “When you’re in the racing business they bring the President around every once in a while and you get to meet him. I met George Bush more than, of course, than I ever saw Bill Clinton, but probably met him (Bush) face-to-face shaking hands three or four times…talked to him on my cell phone once…that was a highlight of my life.” While in Washington DC, “I’m just hanging out with Mike Helton and he’s going to show me where we’re supposed to be and hopefully we’ll get to give George a shout out.”(PRN’s Garagepass Radio Show)(1-15-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Darrell Waltrip will be attending the Inauguration, Parade and Presidential Ball on Thursday, Jan 20th.(1-18-2005)
  • 12 Newsmaker of the Half-Century Nominees: Twelve of the greatest names in U.S. motorsports history were announced Saturday night as nominees for the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s Newsmaker of the Half-Century Award, the most important event of AARWBA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The dozen nominees (in alphabetical order) are: Mario Andretti, Kenny Bernstein, Dale Earnhardt, John Force, A.J. Foyt, the France family, Jeff Gordon, Dan Gurney, the Hulman-George family, Wally Parks, Roger Penske and Richard Petty. The announcement was made at AARWBA’s annual All-America Team dinner at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel by AARWBA President Dusty Brandel and 50th Anniversary Celebration Chairman Michael Knight. AARWBA is the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. The nominees were selected by AARWBA’s Board of Directors from an original list of 50 newsmakers. The full AARWBA membership will now vote for one of the 12 as Newsmaker of the Half-Century and their choice will be revealed at a public ceremony this May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the days leading up to the 89th Indy 500. The winner will receive a specially commissioned painting and AARWBA will make a donation to the recipient’s favorite charity.(AARWBA PR/Speed Channel)(1-18-2005)
  • NASCAR Viewership Increased in 2004: NASCAR said today that all three of its national series drew more television viewers in 2004 than in 2003. Nielsen Media Research figures show that 196 million households tuned in to watch Nextel Cup events in 2004, a 2 percent increase over 2003. The Busch Series drew 52 million households, up 8 percent from 2003, while the Craftsman Truck Series drew 10.5 million households, a 22 percent increase over 2003. NASCAR also said today that an unprecedented 38 races from all three series will be aired during television’s prime-time evening hours this year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-18-2005)
  • #4 Gets Sponsorship: Morgan-McClure Motorsports has secured sponsorship for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series with Lucas Oil Products. Mike Wallace, who won the Winn-Dixie 250 Busch Series race last July at Daytona International Speedway, is owner Larry McClure’s choice to drive the car this season and he will test the #4 Chevrolet in Tuesday’s second round of Preseason Thunder. Wallace said his conversations with McClure have been ongoing, but they haven’t had a chance to sit down since the deal with Lucas was done. “First and foremost my goal is to drive Larry’s car this season,” Wallace said. “We hope to get that deal done this week, and once we are able to do that, we’ll see if it’s possible to do anything in the Truck Series.” McClure said that Chris Carrier would once again be the team’s crew chief.(NASCAR.com)(1-18-2005)
  • FOX to air Mexico City Busch Series Race: NASCAR said that the Fox network will broadcast the March 6 Mexico 200 Busch Series race, the sport’s first points race to be run outside the United States. The race is scheduled to air at 3 p.m. Eastern time.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-18-2005)
  • Peak Performance has new home: The #66 Peak Performance Motorsports Team has moved into its new race shop at 2668 Peachtree Road, Statesville, NC 28625. The #66 Peak Fitness Ford Taurus powered by Roush-Yates engines is now housed in the 35,000 sq ft race shop facility located at Travis Carter Enterprises. Crew Chief James Ince says the move to the new facility will expedite preparations for the 2005 season. “I feel like we’re in pretty good shape all things considering,” Ince said. “For a two-and-a-half week old race team, you hear that and most people are horrified by that. “But the reality of it is we went from having no racecars and no people to having 10 people working in the shop and five racecars in stages of being completed. “We’re definitely growing. All of these things, coupled with the Roush-Yates engine package and the things Ford Motor Company is providing us, we’re able to skip over a lot of hurdles that would have taken me at least six months to go out and gather up.” “All of the parts and pieces are laying there. Some of it isn’t necessarily a perfect world, but at the same time, it’s a whole lot more than I had a week ago (and) that gets me going.” “My focus is to assemble the people and worry about race cars right now. Our focus is on the team and on the cars and being as good as we can be right off the get-go.” For the latest news and information visit the new and updated Peak Fitness website at www.peakfitnessclubs.com.(PR)(1-18-2005)

    News from January 17, 2005

  • Kennon joins MWR: Longtime NASCAR crew chief Gere Kennon, who recently was general manager at Innovative Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series, has joined Michael Waltrip Racing. Kennon’s primary focus is MWR’s Busch Series effort, but he was at Daytona last week overseeing Waltrip’s Nextel Cup program with driver Kenny Wallace.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(1-17-2005)
  • Kenny to run a gold #00: Aaron Rents announced it will officially open its 1,000th store location. The Company’s milestone store is located in Swainsboro, Georgia and the grand opening is expected to kick off another record-breaking year for store-count growth. Aaron’s marked the 1,000th store opening with an event in Swainsboro, Georgia on Thursday, January 13th. In order to honor 2005 as the Company’s 50th year in business, Aaron’s has announced the Company will conduct a Golden Anniversary Sweepstakes worth more than $78,000 in prizes. “Capitalizing on our long-standing and very successful partnerships in motorsports, five first prize winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Texas Motor Speedway on November 5 and 6, 2005. Fifty runners-up will each receive an autographed racing helmet signed by NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, one of our spokespersons. And, Aaron’s will put one lucky grand prize winner in the driver’s seat of a car manufactured the same year the very first Aaron’s opened for business – a mint condition 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air,” said Mark Rudnick, Aaron’s Vice President of Marketing. Consumers can enter the Golden Anniversary Sweepstakes by visiting any Aaron’s location or by visiting the Company’s website at www.aaronrents.com. Aaron’s will have two distinct paint schemes for 2005. This year will mark Aaron’s 50th anniversary and their race cars will reflect the celebration of Aaron’s golden anniversary. The #99 Busch car and the #00 Cup car will sport a golden paint scheme at the two Daytona and Talladega races. The #99 Busch blue paint scheme will run at all other scheduled events. Kenny Waalace will drive the #00 Chevy for Michael Waltrip Racing. See an image of the #00 Cup car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(1-17-2005)
  • Honda to NASCAR? With the debut of the Honda Ridgeline truck at the Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this month, speculation heated up that the Japanese automaker soon will follow Toyota’s lead into the Craftsman Truck Series. Au contraire, says T.E. McHale, manager of motorsports public relations for Honda. “In the three years I’ve been here, I have heard no discussions in these hallways about getting into the NASCAR series,” McHale says. “Honda is in racing to further its technology, and I’m not sure that NASCAR provides the right platform for us.” McHale says Honda’s emphasis is on winning its second Indy Racing League title.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(1-17-2005)
  • Changes at Roush: hearing that Mike Janow, the engineer on the #97 Roush Racing Ford and Nextel Cup Champ Kurt Busch has moved over to Mark Martin in the #6. Journeyman engineer Mark Catania is now the engineer for Kurt Busch in 2005.(1-17-2005)

News from January 16, 2005

  • Robby Gordon at Dakar STAGE 16 finishes 12th: Looking for all the latest Barcelona to Dakar updates? Robbygordon.com will have all the official Red Bull/Volkswagen press releases, photos, occasional updates from Robby and other information
    . Race Information:
    Dates: December 31st, 2004 – January 16th, 2005
    Team: Volkswagen
    Sponsor: Red Bull
    Driver: Robby Gordon
    Co-Driver: Dirk von Zitzewitz
    One can differentiate the Race Touareg of Robby and Dirk with the starting number 317 in addition at the neon-green screen over the windshield from the other three Volkswagens.(12-31-2004)
    STAGE 16/END: Volkswagen newcomer Robby Gordon quite literally lit the New Year fireworks when he took the overall lead, which he held for two days, after setting the fastest time on the opening stage held along the beach in Barcelona on 31st December. Following a second stage win, the Californian retook the overall lead from ex-World Rally Champion Colin McRae on the fourth stage. In Africa, on day six, ‘Dakar’ debutant Gordon fell victim to a bump and lost almost eight hours after rolling his car. The American and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz displayed unstinting motivation during their fight back from 101st to twelfth position overall and provided help to his team mates on numerous occasions on the remaining stages. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret in a Mitsubishi won the overall race in 52:31.39 hrs.(volkswagen-motorsport.de)
    AND France’s Bruno Saby won the car category’s final stage Sunday in 19 minutes, with fellow Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi 20 seconds behind. Peterhansel finished the last leg in 11th place, 3:09 behind Saby. Some 465 cars, trucks and motorcycles started this year, but by Sunday, only 216 were still in the rally, the rest having broken down or crashed. Before Sunday’s final stage began, race organizers held a minute of silence for the two fatalities recorded this year: Spanish motorcyclist Jose Manuel Perez and Italian motorcyclist Fabrizio Meoni, a two-time winner who had said this Dakar Rally would be his last.(CBS Sportsline/AP)(1-16-2005)
    Sites to check out with updates includeRobbygordon.comwww.dakar.com and volkswagen-motorsport.de. And TV Listings for updates on Outdoor Life Network on my TV Listings page and see my #7 Team News and Links page for past news.(1-16-2004)

    News from January 15, 2005

  • New: see the Budweiser Shootout Info site and see my 2005 Bud Shootout page.(1-15-2005)
  • Harvick skipping Daytona testing, Kerry to test: Kerry Earnhardt is assigned to test Harvick’s #29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet next week during the second round of Nextel Cup Series Preseason Thunder. Earnhardt has a busy testing schedule. Earlier this week, he tested RCR’s #33 Chevrolet that he’ll try to qualify for the Daytona 500. He is also scheduled to test his full-time 2005 ride — owner Billy Ballew’s #15 Chevrolet truck, this weekend.(NASCAR.com)(1-15-2005)
  • New Vukovich Book: A new book on the legendary two time winner of the Indianapolis 500 has arrived from the printer. Race fans have long clamored for an in depth look at the mysterious, charismatic racing icon who dominated auto racing’s greatest race like no one before him, or since. The biography, authored by Bob Gates, the critically acclaimed writer of Hurtubise, has accomplished just that. Titled Vukovich, the book is based on years of research by the author, and covers Vuky from his first roadster race at the age of 17, to his death at Indianapolis in 1955. The book also details the life and careers of the two generations of racing Vukoviches, Bill Jr, and Bill III, that followed him. The book has a forward by Dick Berggren, of Fox Sports, and Speedway Illustrated fame. It contains 320 pages, with 260 photos, 72 in color. Vukovich is available in soft cover for $30, or hard cover for $40, postage paid. The book can be bought at Amazon: hardcover or paperback.(1-15-2005)
  • More on the Goodyear tire test at Atlanta: Goodyear Tire testing continued Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway as Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson ran an array of tire compounds in preparation for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear’s stock car tire development group, said the second day of testing really helped to narrow the field of potential tire compounds for the upcoming Atlanta race weekend. “Today went really well,” Keto said, “There are four new tires we’ve been working with, plus several from yesterday that are giving the drivers some extra grip and confidence.” Engineers also found that even with the new NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height, Kahne and Johnson were running speeds comparable to last fall’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Goodyear Tire experts will analyze data from the two-day test before finalizing which compound drivers will run during the Golden Corral 500.(AMS PR)(1-15-2005)
  • Bid on a lunch date with Bill Elliott: Have lunch with NASCAR Winston Cup Champion “Awesome” Bill Elliott! You and up to two guests are invited to join this NASCAR driver for lunch in Blairsville, GA. Discuss the life of NASCAR and what it’s really like to be behind wheel. If time permits, a tour of Bill’s shop will be provided! More info on my Racing Charities page.(1-15-2005)
  • Waltrip and McMurray…..not back in current rides in 2006? UPDATE: yeah, I know….a little early…but: ………….is the question surrounding [#15-Michael Waltrip’s future with DEI. The 2005 NASCAR season opener is still a few weeks away, but already the future of two of NASCAR’s top stars is being debated: Will Waltrip get a contract renewal, and will #42-Jamie McMurray sign a contract with Chip Ganassi. And the answers to both questions appears to be no. Waltrip said he has to make something happen by April or May “or I probably won’t be back.” However insiders say Waltrip is already penciled in for a new ride elsewhere in 2006. And McMurray, who was heavily wooed by Joe Gibbs and others last summer, isn’t expected to sign a renewal with Ganassi. McMurray yesterday declined to say much about his future. He is widely figured to be #2-Rusty Wallace’s choice to replace him in the Roger Penske camp next season. This is Wallace’s final season on the tour. “We hear the same rumors you here… and with Darrell tied in with Toyota, there’s the question, ‘Will Michael going to end up with Toyota?’ “Eury Sr. said.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(1-14-2005)
    UPDATE: been told that Ganassi has an option with McMurray thru the 2006 season.(1-15-2005)
  • Sad News: Earl H. “Bub” Strickler, 66, of Elkton, VA died Thursday, Jan. 13, 2005, at Harrisonburg Health and Rehabilitation Center. Mr. Strickler was born Dec. 18, 1938, in Rockingham County and was the son of the late Lucy Dinges. He owned and operated Body repair shops in the Rockingham and Shenandoah County areas for a number of years and also in Charlotte, N.C. He was a race car driver who drove short tracks in Virginia, including East Side Speedway and in North Carolina, later for NASCAR Winston Cup from 1961 to 1985 [21 starts 2 top 10’s]. He was involved in an accident in the Rebel 300 at Darlington in 1965 that was featured on Wide World of Sports for a number of years. Surviving are a son, Mitch Strickler of New Market; a daughter, Connie Fulton of Elkton; two brothers, Jimmy Strickler of Broadway and Butch Dinges of Dayton; four sisters, Elsie Long of Charlotte, N.C., Anna Sprouse of Broadway, and Frances Walton and Lucy Rhinehart, both of New Market; one grandchild and a number of nieces and nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1920 H Medical Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22801 or the SPCA, P.O. Box 413, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.(Daily News Record)(1-15-2005)

    News from January 14, 2005

  • New Procedure for Determining Race Line-Ups – No more provisionals [accept the champ]: NASCAR will institute a new procedure for establishing the starting race field in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series effective with the 2005 season, NASCAR officials announced today. NASCAR has revamped the system by simplifying the procedure with teams no longer accruing provisionals throughout the season to gain entry into the starting fields. While starting positions one through 42 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series still will be determined by qualifying speed, the new system will assure the highest-ranked 35 positions of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series owner championship points that have entered the event prior to the entry deadline one of those starting positions in the field, providing they have made an attempt to qualify [which usually means the team at least practiced and made an effort to qualify]. The remaining seven positions will be assigned to those drivers with the fastest qualifying speeds whose car owners are not among the top 35. The final starting position – the champion’s provisional – can be utilized by a car owner whose driver is a current or past NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion who participated as a driver during their 2004 season and was entered in the event for that owner in that car prior to the entry deadline. If there is more than one series champion vying for the position, it will be given to the most recent series champion. If the final provisional starting position – 43rd in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup – is not filled by a current or past series champion, it will be assigned to the next eligible car owner according to qualifying results. Through the first five races of the season for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the top 35 in the NNCS of the 2004 owner championship points entered in the event prior to the entry deadline will be assured one of the 42 starting positions in the field, provided they have made an attempt to qualify. From the sixth race on, the current owner championship points will be used to determine the top 35 each race week. In the event that conditions prevent qualifying from being run, starting positions will be assigned according to the respective series’ 2005 Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)
    so…… the way it reads, the top 42 are lined up by speeds ran. If any of the drivers/teams in the top 35 in owners points are not in, then they would start 42nd…and so on if more are not in the top 42. So someone not in the top 35 can still win the pole. NO WORD on how the Daytona 500 lineup will be set and it is not mentioned in this PR. Last year, the first 2 spots were filled on qualifying day by the two fastest drivers, then 3-30 were filled by Twin 125 [now the Gatorade Duel – 150’s], then eight spots by the fastest remining drivers, four using provisionalsbased on 2003 owners standings, and a champions provisional, which if not used, went to the next team in onners points not in the race.(1-13-2005)
    BASICALLY How it Works [how I understand it]:
    The drivers/team qualify for the race
    the top 42 drivers/teams are lined up based on qualifying speed
    any drivers/teams in the top 35 in Owners Points not in at that point, will be placed in spots 42, 41, etc depending on how many there are.
    example: #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #24-Gordon qualify outside the 42 spots, they would line up 14st and 42nd, but by their speed, if neither had a time/speed, Gordon would presently start 41st [his team was 3rd in 2004 owners points] and Earnhardt Jr. would start 42nd [his team was 5th in 2004 owners points], the drivers 41st or 42nd would be bumped.
    spot 43 is filled by either a past series champ or the next fastest team/driver.(1-14-2005)
  • Not NASCAR but some Hickory news and some local Mooresville stuff: The Hickory Motor Speedway will host the X-TREME Racing League in 2005 for 5 races with the first scheduled for April 23. 1990 and newer cars and trucks that have formerly competed in NASCAR’s top 3 divisions plus ARCA and Hooters Pro-Cup cars are eligible to compete. Engines are limited to 358 cubic inches and the racers will compete on new 2004 Goodyear Eagle Radials that are available for $100 per set from Cup Tire of Mooresville NC. A meeting is scheduled for Jan 16 at 3 PM at LEWS Fine Foods in Mooresville NC for interested competitors.(xtremeracingleague.com.(1-14-2005)
  • California Testing – Fans Invited: As part of NASCAR’s Preseason Thunder, several NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams will participate in a test session at California Speedway from January 31 – February 3, 2005. As of early January, nine NASCAR Busch Series drivers have confirmed for the first two days of the test and 32 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers have confirmed for the remaining two days of the test. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test dates, February 2 – 3, will be open to the general public, free of charge from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Guests will be invited to park inside the oval in the Suite Parking Lots and view the test session from above the Terrace Suites on Pit Road to get up close to the action. A few additional entertainment-type opportunities are also being worked on for guests who attend the test, including a Terrace Suite opening, which will allow guests to experience how the NASCAR weekend’s Suite Action puts them right on top of the action in one of the Speedway’s well-appointed luxury suites. A three-day Suite Action package for February 25-27 is $1,100 and a two-day for February 26-27 is $950. Individual tickets for the upcoming race weekend will also be on sale, and guests who purchase tickets at the test to any one of the three February 25-27 race dates will receive a free license plate frame. Those that have already purchased tickets and bring a friend to the test who purchases a race ticket will receive a free license plate frame as well as the ticket purchaser. Party Zone passes, featuring driver question and answer sessions on race weekend, are also on sale. This fan hospitality area is located inside the Infield and every Party Zone pass includes a pit pass for the day purchased. Saturday’s pass is $85, Sunday’s pass is $125 and a combined two-day pass is $175. A weekend pit pass, which will allow guests to tour pit road prior to each day’s race, is also available. For ticket and event information, call 800-944-RACE [7223] or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.
    A tentative list of drivers confirmed as of January 13 for the NASCAR test at California Speedway follows:
    NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Drivers (2/2-3):
    #01-Joe Nemechek, #07-Dave Blaney, #0-Mike Bliss, #2-Rusty Wallace, #5-Kyle Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, #9-Kasey Kahne, #10-Scott Riggs, #12-Ryan Newman, #14-John Andretti, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #21-Ricky Rudd, #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #38-Elliott Sadler, #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Jeff Green, #44-Terry Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #49-Ken Schrader, #77-Travis Kvapil, #88-Dale Jarrett #91-Bill Elliott and #97-Kurt Busch.
    NASCAR Busch Series Drivers (1/31-2/1):
    #6-Paul Wolfe, #2-Clint Bowyer, #10[#15?]-Michel Jourdain Jr, #18-JJ Yeley, #20-Denny Hamlin, #22-Kenny Wallace, #32-Shane Hmiel, #41-Reed Sorenson, #44-Justin Labonte.(California Speedway PR)(1-14-2005)
  • Baldwin looking for safer racing: Tommy Baldwin wants to make short-track racing safer. Baldwin, an accomplished crew chief on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit [#9-Kasey Kahne], wants to promote an awareness of safety issues at the short tracks – and lessen the possibility of an accident like the one that claimed the life of his father, Tom Baldwin Sr., during a modified tour event last August. “If a race driver comes to a track and does not like the conditions, he should just walk away,” he said. Baldwin, crew chief on the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne, will be at this weekend’s Motorsports 2005 [more info click here] show at the Fort Washington Expo Center. On Saturday afternoon, Baldwin plans to deliver his message to short-track racers, promoters and officials during a one-hour seminar. Two-time Busch Series champion driver Randy LaJoie, who fashions custom seats for drivers, and John Downing, creator of the Head and Neck Restraint System (HANS), will also be on hand for the seminar, titled “Helping to Save Lives.” The elder Baldwin was killed on Aug. 19 when his race car hit a concrete block at the foot of a light tower after spinning out of a multicar crash at Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Conn., according to a report in the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette. “We want to make the local short-track racing industry aware that what happened to my dad can happen to them,” Tommy Baldwin said. “What can car builders do? What can racers do? What can promoters do? What can we all do to make the sport safer? The seminar will answer those questions.” Baldwin and LaJoie will also take part in autograph sessions, which are free with the purchase of an admission ticket. The three-day extravaganza opens at 1 p.m. on Friday [Jan 14-Jan 16 and runs through Sunday at 5 p.m.(Philadelphia Inquirer)(1-14-2005)
  • NASCAR teams testing at Talladega UPDATE 2: doesn’t say what teams or series but three drivers, on Tuesday & Wednesday, Jan. 11-12, 2005, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series Drivers Test at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Teams Including drivers Joe Ruttman, Eric McClure and Keith Segars; NASCAR Busch Series Driver Johnny Sauter and ARCA RE/MAX Series Teams Including Drivers Chad Blount, Mike Guerity, Chris Serio, Jeff Spraker, Doug Reid III, Tim Steele and Terry Jones.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(1-11-2005)
    UPDATE: A couple teams might have been warming up for upcoming Preseason Thunder sessions with a test Tuesday and Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway. Joe Ruttman tested a Phoenix Racing Nextel Cup car for owner James Finch, while Johnny Sauter tested Phoenix’s Busch ride — which is his full season gig. Former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Keith Segars tested a Cup car for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.(NASCAR.com)(1-12-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, a NASCAR Busch Series team and three ARCA RE/MAX Series teams participated in testing this week at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for the 2005 series season opener at Daytona next month. Phoenix Racing brought its #1 Busch Series team with driver Johnny Sauter as well as its #09 NEXTEL Cup Series team with test driver Joe Ruttman. Morgan McClure Motorsports brought its #4 and #73 teams with test driver Keith Segars and Eric McClure respectively. The ARCA RE/MAX Series ML Motorsports #67 and #30 teams with drivers Chad Blount and Terry Jones respectively, Cunningham Motorsports #4 team with drivers Mike Guerity and Chris Serio, 3D Motorsports #78 team with driver Doug Reid III, HS Motorsports team with driver Tim Steele, Kentucky Motorsports #07 team with driver Jeff Spraker were also on hand to work primarily on picking up extra speed at Talladega Superspeedway prior to making finishing touches in handling adjustments for the 2005 racing season’s opening events at Daytona next month. Prior to hitting the track today, drivers Ruttman, Sauter, Segars and McClure weighed in on what they had accomplished the day prior and shared their thoughts on the legendary 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(1-14-2005)

    News from January 13, 2005

  • Daytona 500 Testing – Day 3, Jan 13, 2005, PM Session – DRAFTING Speeds: Morning rain showers delayed the start of the final day of testing. Teams were able to get on track around 1:30pm/et and tested through 7:30pm/et. While some teams worked on qualifying setups, other teams participated in drafting sessions. #0-Mike Bliss was the fastest at 186.959 [not much faster then Jarrett’s single car speed from Wed], followed by #42-Jamie McMurray at 186.459, #16-Greg Biffle at 186.189, #77-Travis Kvapil at 186.181 and #19-Jeremy Mayfield at 186.070.
    See the speeds for each session, cumulative after Wed for all four sessions and which session they ran their fastest lap and Thursday’s full drafting speed list……..on my Daytona 400 Testing 2005 page.(1-13-2005)
  • World Financial Group to sponsor Roush teams, #99: Roush Racing announced today that World Financial Group will expand its primary sponsorship to include Todd Kluever in the #50 Ford F-150 entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for 15 races this season. In addition, World Financial Group will also be the primary sponsor for Carl Edwards in two NASCAR Nextel Cup races, and three Busch Series races. They will also sponsor one ARCA entry for Kluever. After sponsoring Edwards’ #99 entry in the Nextel Cup Series twice last season, World Financial Group decided to expand its sponsorship opportunities with Roush and move into the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series as well. The sponsorship will include 15 Craftsman Truck races with Kluever throughout the season, Busch Series events with Edwards in the #60 Ford at Las Vegas and both Phoenix events, and two Nextel Cup races with Edwards at Las Vegas in March and Talladega in October. They will also be on board for the ARCA race with Kluever in Daytona during SpeedWeeks. For more information on World Financial Group, log on to www.worldfinancialgroup.com.(Roush Racing PR)(1-13-2005)
  • More on Burton testing in Mexico: NASCAR says Jeff Burton averaged laps at almost 100 mph in the first test of a Busch Series car on the Mexico City road course that will host the series’ first race outside the United States on March 6. The Richard Childress Racing Nextel Cup driver averaged laps in the 91.9-second range around the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in a car prepared by RCR’s No. 21 Busch Series team. NASCAR officials who watched the test included Vice President of Research and Development Gary Nelson, Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and Busch Series Director Joe Balash. The test, originally scheduled for one day, will continue today. Balash said data gathered from the test will be shared with all teams.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-13-2005)
  • Engine Changes Coming? Unleaded Fuel? NASCAR also began to put out word that it will ask the car factories to begin thinking about a new engine platform for introduction in the next two or three years. It was not stated whether this move indicates a move toward a more “common” engine, much as NASCAR has done with the car bodies since 2002. Even with Ford’s having received cylinder heads with equivalent port heights for 2003, there remain significant differences between the engines of the three makes. Dodge, for example, has a shorter crank-to-cam dimension, allowing for shorter stroke and higher rpm. Dodge (and Toyota, in Trucks) has had the only “blueprint” engine introduced to NASCAR. The Ford and Chevrolet engines are loosely based on ancient small-block V8 designs — Chevy’s 350 and Ford’s 351 — having hence evolved over 35 years into what amount to pedigree racing engines. Unleaded fuel appears to be the prime mover, although most say that issue could be resolved on the present platform. NASCAR garage chief John Darby said all issues are on the table, although it appears unlikely NASCAR would move directly to a modern, factory-type injected engine. “We will look at any areas,” he said. “Is the compression ratio right? Is the cubic inch right? Do we need eight cylinders or do we need 20?”(Speed Channel)(1-13-2005)
  • Mikey up to $650,000…and Hootie: MIchael Waltrip discussed the Jan. 30 Las Vegas Marathon he will run, along with Kyle Petty for Operation Marathon that will benefit Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with life threatening illnesses. “We’ve raised over $650,000 through Operation Marathon for the camp,” he said. “When we were here in July we committed to raise $1 million and I think we can.” Las Vegas will be Waltrip’s fourth marathon, including one appearance in the storied Boston Marathon. His best marathon time is 4:13 while his goal for Las Vegas is 3:59:59. Beyond Las Vegas, Waltrip said he is setting his sights on racing an Olympic-distance triathlon, usually a 1-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 10K (6.2-mile run). For more information on Operation Marathon, visit www.michaelwaltrip.com/marathon.(Florida TodayAND Hootie and the Blowfish will perform in Las Vegas as part of Michael Waltrip’s Operation Marathon to raise $1 million to benefit the operating expenses for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The concert will be at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after the marathon. A minimum donation of $25 will be collected at the door.(1-13-2005)
  • ‘Dash’ Series is done: the IPOWER Dash Series, the successor to NASCAR’s now defunct Goody’s Dash Series, has canceled its 2005 season that was to open on Sunday, Feb. 13 at Daytona. Front-row qualifying for the Feb. 20 Daytona 500 will continue as planned on Feb. 13. The Dash Series cited issues regarding sponsorship and corporate involvement as the reasons for the series being scrubbed. The series debuted at Daytona in February of 2004 with a less than auspicious beginning when a track worker was struck and killed by a race car while picking up debris under a caution period.(Florida Today)(1-13-2005)
  • Hotel Rooms a problem for Daytona 500?: Damage from last summer’s hurricanes could have a significant impact on this season’s Daytona 500, because about 3,700 hotel rooms of the city’s 13,548 were knocked out of commission by the storms and many may still be under repair when SpeedWeeks kick off. It’s unclear how reservations with those properties will be handled, or even how many of those Daytona 500 ticket holders are even aware of the situation. About 60 Daytona Beach hotels and a number of high-rise condos were damaged by the hurricanes. (Winston Salem Journal)(1-13-2005)
  • Dale Jr. gets a jet: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t have to bum a plane ride from his racing pals anymore. Notoriously frugal, Earnhardt has joined the ranks of drivers with his own plane, having purchased a Lear 60 twin-engine jet. “I’ve been trying to avoid getting a plane because it’s really expensive, but we got to looking at them and talking about it and it seemed like there were a couple of places where we got stuck and hung up,” Earnhardt said Wednesday. “With your own plane you don’t have to wait on everybody to show up to take off.” Earnhardt always had the option of riding on the Dale Earnhardt Inc. company plane, but because that plane transported team members for both his car and teammate Michael Waltrip, he would have to leave earlier and stay longer. Having his own jet will allow Earnhardt to spend at least another week at home over the course of the season. Last summer, while suffering with burns suffered in a sports car crash in Sonoma, Calif., Earnhardt accepted plane or helicopter rides from some of his driver friends, including Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart. The Lear 60 seats six passengers comfortably, plus two pilots, and travels at about 520 mph. Earnhardt wouldn’t give specifics on his purchase but said they cost between $5 1/2 million and $8 1/2 million. And that doesn’t include the cost of pilots and fuel.(Tampa Tribune)(1-13-2005)

    News from January 12, 2005

  • #99 gets more sponsorship, from AAA AND: Auto Club Group/AAA has had a longtime relationship with Michigan International Speedway in mid-Michigan. With the sponsorship of Roush Racing’s #99 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car driven by Carl Edwards, AAA has partnered with one of the leaders in the motorsports field. If racing and AAA still seem an unlikely match, consider the role motorsports has played in advancing auto safety. In fact, many of the safety features we now take for granted in our cars, trucks and SUVs were introduced and tested in auto races. Such features as lap and shoulder safety belts, hydraulic brakes and radial tires are just a few. AAA’s support of the sport is directed to efforts to make driving safer and more enjoyable. With its support of the motorsports program, AAA has found an exciting way to promote their name, products and safety message. These programs also provide AAA with a way to encourage young people to drive responsibly and to seek careers in automotive-related fields. AAA was one of the original sponsors of the Indianapolis 500 and the governing body of U.S. auto racing until the 1950s.(AAA Site[the link no longer works, looks like they jumped the gun on the announcement and removed it from their site](1-12-2005)
    AND the races AAA will supposedly be the primary sponsor are:
    Michigan International Speedway – June 19
    Chicagoland Speedway – July 10
    Indianapolis Brickyard 400 – August 7
    Michigan International Speedway – August 21
    but they could change as it was mentioned in the Office Depot PR that they would be the primary there.(1-12-2005)
  • Driver of the Year Vote is On – Last day to vote: In its 38th year the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Award will be determined by an independent vote of an 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on a cumulative tally by fans voting at www.speedtv.com. That means that you, the fans, can help us decide the winner of the award by casting your vote right here for the driver you feel most deserves recognition for each quarter of the 2004 season. The award encompasses all racing platforms including NASCAR, Champ Car, IRL, NHRA, SCCA, World of Outlaws and Sports Cars. The year-end winner is determined by 18 journalists’ secret ballots and the overall winner of the fan vote on speedtv.com. Fan voting for the 2004 Speed Channel Driver of the Year begins January 1, 2005 and continues until January 16, 2005. The winner will be announced exclusively on Speed Channel January 24. The drivers nominated: Kurt Busch (NASCAR); Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car); Tony Kanaan (IRL); Greg Anderson (NHRA); Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR); Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws); Tony Schumacher (NHRA).(1-12-2005)
  • 35 Cup drivers to test at Las Vegas: Just how important is Preseason Thunder Las Vegas? All 10 drivers in last year’s Chase for the Nextel Cup have indicated they will visit LVMS Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 to prepare for the March 13 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. In 2004, eight of the 10 drivers who made the Chase for the Championship tested in Las Vegas. The top-10 drivers from 2004 are part of a record list of 35 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers who will attend the two-day test on the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The testing list includes Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman – two drivers who didn’t test in 2004 and struggled during the race. The Las Vegas test will mark the first full test for most of the teams with the shorter spoilers and new tire compounds instituted by NASCAR and Goodyear for the 2005 season. In addition, 14 NASCAR Busch Series drivers are scheduled to test Feb. 2 and 3. Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr., former Champ Car star Michel Jourdain Jr. and Shane Hmiel, who won the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 2004, are among the drivers scheduled for the two-day Busch test. The speedway’s grandstands will be open to the public free of charge all four days. The testing starts at 9:00am and will conclude at 5:00pm each day.
    Following is a complete list of the drivers scheduled to test.
    Nextel Cup drivers (Jan. 31-Feb. 1): John Andretti, Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Jason Leffler, Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Scott Riggs, Ricky Rudd, Elliott Sadler, Johnny Sauter, Ken Schrader, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip.(LVMS PR)(1-12-2005)
  • New Spotter for Vickers: after many years with Richard Childress Racing, Spotter Danny Culler has left RCR and will be the spotter for #25-Brian Vickers at Hendrick Motorsports. Culler takes over for the late Ricky Hendrick.(1-12-2005)
  • Why no Stewart in the #20? why #20 testing this week? Tony Stewart’s [#20 Home Depot chevy driver] absence was duly noted. Stewart was scheduled to test at Daytona next week [even owners points], but he [and the team] will be doing a Goodyear tire test at Texas instead. Stewart may not be the only star skipping Daytona 500 testing. Kevin Harvick might pass [due in next week]. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli said that the driver really has little to do here, so he’s not worried about not having Stewart at the wheel. “We just tested Kentucky, we’re going to Texas for two days of testing, then we’re going to Vegas and California for more testing this month, and Tony is running in the 24 Hours here,” Zipadelli said. “And Tony just ran the Chili Bowl too. So basically we’re just giving him a couple of days off.”(Winston Salem Journal), plus Zipadelli said on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio that his charity event – Zippy’s Crusade For Kids Snowmobile Ride is on Jan 21-22 and he has to leave for that.(1-12-2005)
  • France and the NFL? NASCAR chairman of the board and CEO Brian France has denied recent speculation that he might be in the market for a National Football League team. Speculation during the holidays was that France planned to sell his NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. stock [not public stock] to his sister, Lesa France Kennedy, and his uncle, Jim France. He would then buy outright or be part of a group that moved an existing NFL franchise to Los Angeles, where he once lived. Through a NASCAR spokesman, France said he was not interested in owning a professional football team.(Autoweek.com)(1-12-2005)
  • Tire Testing at Atlanta Jan 11-12th UPDATE: A Goodyear Tire test is scheduled for January 11-12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 2004 Rookie of the Year #9-Kasey Kahne and #48-Jimmie Johnson will test the brand new Goodyear compound at NASCAR’s fastest track next week as they prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. The test session will be closed to both the media and the public. The test will be the first with the new Atlanta Goodyear tire, which is a different compound than any for any other speedway. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear’s stock car tire development group, said the session will be used to gauge how well the new compound works with the 2005 NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height. NASCAR officials are expected to be on hand to analyze the results. Additional NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams are scheduled to test throughout February and March for the spring race weekend. For more information on the Golden Corral 500 weekend, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(1-9-2005)
    UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway’s 2005 racing season officially started Tuesday at 10:45am/et, as Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne sprinted around the 1.54-mile quad-oval at near-qualifying speeds during a two-day Goodyear Tire test. Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and recent AMS Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 winner Jimmie Johnson will continue to test the new Goodyear compounds Wednesday as they prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear’s stock car tire development group, said this week’s test will help Goodyear establish which tire compound is best for the lightning-fast Atlanta track, the fastest in NASCAR, with the new spoiler rules. “We’re going through different tire compounds, but we really just want to know what the driver thinks,” Keto said, “And also if the tires which run well on the shorter runs will run well on the longer runs.” As the day progressed, Johnson and Kahne made short runs and relayed pertinent information to Goodyear engineers. “Going through the different tires, we’re finding the cars are more on the loose side. It’s the tires with softer grip that the drivers seem to like and also perform well,” Keto said. “We have several that we’re carrying over to tomorrow’s long-run test.” Kahne said he also used Tuesday to think about not only tires, but also the redesigned body of his Dodge Charger. “It’s great for us to get this track time with the new design,” Kahne said. “Hopefully this will put us ahead of the game to have an even more consistent season.”(AMS PR)(1-12-2005)
  • Daytona 500 Testing – Day 2, Jan 12, 2005:
    AM session: #24-Jeff Gordon was once again the fastest in Daytona 500 testing at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 184.786 mph, followed by #88-Dale Jarrett at 184.509, #16-Greg Biffle at 184.487, #19-Jeremy Mayfield at 184.411 and #36-Boris Said at 184.098.
    PM session: Three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett, driver of the #88 UPS Ford, was fastest during Wednesday’s testing with a lap of 186.455 mph in the afternoon session and the fastest overall in two days of testing. Rounding out the top five were #24-Jeff Gordon at 185.736, #16-Greg Biffle at 185.094, #19-Jeremy Mayfield at 184.972 and #38-Elliott Sadler at 184.926
    See the speeds for each session, cumlative after Tuesday and cumulative after Wed for all four sessions and which session they ran their fastest lap on my Testing 2005 page. (1-12-2005)
  • Another series rumor…again: There are reports – as outlandish as they may seem – that some NFL figures are interested in creating a stock-car series of their own, if they can persuade some top NASCAR team owners to sign on. According to sources, there was similar talk around the NFL in the early 1990s, when Joe Gibbs first joined NASCAR, after winning three Super Bowls as coach of the Washington Redskins. Finding enough big-market tracks on which to race would seem to be a problem; unless there is a Bruton Smith angle at play.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-12-2005)
  • Allison wins up a notch UPDATE sort of: hadn’t heard this..so…..When Darrell Waltrip quit Cup racing four years ago, he was tied with fellow retiree Bobby Allison at third in all-time wins. According to the NASCAR record book, both had 84 victories (behind Richard Petty’s 200 and David Pearson’s 105). At the start of the 2004 season, however, those records were altered. Allison was awarded an 85th win, leaving him alone in third and dropping Waltrip to fourth. Allison had long argued that decades ago he won a race for which he was never credited. There was a dispute over whether the race Allison won was, at the time, part of NASCAR’s official premier series [he won in a Mustang]. Last year NASCAR finally decided in Allison’s favor. Waltrip still holds the distinction as the winningest driver in NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present), during which time all of his 84 victories came. Second is Dale Earnhardt (76) followed by Jeff Gordon and Cale Yarborough (69 each), Petty (60) and Allison (55). Waltrip is preparing for his fifth season as a Fox Sports racing commentator. He begins his duties during next month’s Daytona SpeedWeeks.(Tennessean)(1-5-2005)
    UPDATE: from a DW Q&A column at FoxSports.com: Linda from Manassas, Va.: I just read where NASCAR, after reviewing the situation, has given Bobby Allison a win he had in a Mustang. Wonder if NASCAR will ever “review the situation” and give you the win at North Wilkesboro that they gave to Brett Bodine?! [Jayski Note: Bodine was put on the lead lap by NASCAR who said after the race they erred but let the win stand, DW finished 2nd – DW doesn’t address that part of the question]
    DW’s Answer: “I heard through the grapevine — through Jayski actually — that NASCAR had revised the results after 30 years and given Bobby Allison credit for some race that he won in a Mustang. No one has called me and told me anything about it, not that they necessarily would. A Mustang has never been a Cup car so I don’t know if that change is official or not. If it is, it would be one of those things that make you go “Hmmm.”(FoxSports), been told by sources that Bobby Allison also had not heard about the win being added.(1-12-2005), for the winner list see my All-time Nextel Cup winners list page.

    News from January 11, 2005

  • Edwards doing double duty in 2005, #99 Sponsor announcement next week UPDATE 2 Office Depot: Roush Racing driver Carl Edwards will compete for championships in two of NASCAR’s national touring series this season. In addition to a full, 36-race Nextel Cup season in owner Jack Roush’s #99 Ford Taurus, Edwards will also run the 35-race Busch Series schedule in Roush’s #60 Charter Communications Ford. Roush plans to announce a sponsorship program [Office Depot?] for Edwards’ Cup program next week, a team spokesman said.(NASCAR.com)(1-7-2005)
    UPDATE – #99 Has a Sponsor: On Tuesday, January 11, 2005 in Daytona Beach, FL at Daytona International Raceway, Roush Racing will make an announcement regarding a new primary sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing Ford in 2005. The announcement will be made following the completion of Cup practice on Tuesday afternoon at approximately 5:20pm/et in the media center. There will also be an unveiling of the new paint scheme.(Roush Racing PR)….Office Depot?(1-8-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Office Depot, one of the world’s leading resellers of office products and services, and Roush Racing announced today that Office Depot will sponsor Roush Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford Taurus driven by Carl Edwards in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race season. The sponsorship comes on the heels of Office Depot’s new multi-year agreement with NASCAR to become the sport’s first-ever Official Office Products Partner. Beginning with the Daytona 500 in February, Office Depot will be the primary sponsor of Roush Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford Taurus for a minimum of eight races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and an associate sponsor for the remaining races in the season. The Office Depot paint scheme, unveiled today during the first day of testing at Daytona International Speedway, will be featured on the #99 Office Depot Ford Taurus for the Daytona, Darlington, Chicago, California, Atlanta, Homestead, Texas and Bristol races. Just last week, Office Depot introduced its new multi-year agreement with NASCAR as the company’s primary national sponsorship platform. The relationship with NASCAR is also a central component of Office Depot’s new Taking Care of Business brand positioning and advertising campaign. Office Depot will link its entry into the 2005 NEXTEL series and its alliance with NASCAR through aggressive marketing efforts on the local and national level, leveraging the association with NASCAR to reach out to its core audience of business customers. Office Depot’s NASCAR agreement includes category exclusivity in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series. Activation plans include a large-scale national promotion, advertising campaign, merchandising, signage and sales events. Further, Office Depot will utilize the proprietary tagline “Where NASCAR Stops for Office Products” in the company’s more than 900 retail stores and online. In addition, Office Depot plans to launch a national advertising campaign featuring Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Taurus. The company will also support an upcoming NASCAR diversity initiative, as NASCAR is the fastest-growing sport among African-Americans and Hispanics, according to independent research.(Roush Racing PR/Site), more about Office Depot at officedepot.com, see an image of the car at the Roush Racing site or on my #99 Team Schemes page..(1-11-2005)
  • Terry Labonte Announces 2005 Race Schedule: NASCAR veteran Terry Labonte, who in October announced plans to drive partial schedules with Hendrick Motorsports in 2005 and 2006, laid out his calendar for the upcoming NEXTEL Cup Series season. Driving a Kellogg’s-sponsored #44 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the two-time Cup Series champion will kick off the first leg of his “Shifting Gears — Lone Star Style” tour Feb. 27 at California Speedway. Entering his 27th year of NASCAR competition, Labonte, 48, will compete at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 3, followed by the first of two Texas Motor Speedway appearances April 17. He will also enter a pair of races — the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the Memorial Day-weekend 600-miler — at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. The June 12 event at Pocono Raceway will kick off the second half of the 10-race slate, prior to dates at Chicagoland Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Labonte’s 2005 season-finale will come Nov. 6 at Texas.(Terrylabonte.net)(1-11-2005)
  • Pepper nominated for award: Nominations for the 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards for outstanding performances in 2004 in five film and eight primetime television categories were announced in Los Angeles at the Pacific Design Center’s SilverScreen Theater. Screen Actors Guild will honor its own at its 11th Annual Awards ceremonies on Saturday, February 5, at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center, televised nationally on Turner Network Television (TNT) at 8:00pm/et. SO….why is this on a NASCAR page? Barry Pepper was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for his role as Dale Earnhardt in ESPN’s movie ‘3’. Other nominee’s are:
    Jamie Foxx / REDEMPTION – Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams – F/X
    William H. Macy / THE WOOL CAP – Gigot – TNT
    Barry Pepper / 3: THE DALE EARNHARDT STORY – Dale Earnhardt – ESPN
    Geoffrey Rush / THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS – Peter Sellers – HBO
    Jon Voight / MITCH ALBOM’S THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN – Eddie – ABC.(sagawards.com), past news on many NASCAR/Racin movies on my Racing Movies page.(1-11-2005)
  • Charger the new Dodge in NASCAR – official – image links: after months of rumors and news reports, the official PR: After almost 30 years, the legendary Dodge Charger race car will roar again in 2005 as Dodge Motorsports revealed its modern-era version of the Charger for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series here today. Riding the waves of Dodge’s success in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing since returning to the sport in 2001, the new Dodge Charger race car will make its NASCAR Nextel Cub Series debut in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 20. Four Dodge factory-backed teams, including 10 drivers, will compete in the Daytona 500. “Racing is the core of Dodge’s DNA, and we’re excited to bring back a car that has an accomplished and heralded record as the Dodge Charger,” said Darryl Jackson, Vice President – Dodge Marketing. “The Dodge Charger is firmly woven into the all-American culture and heritage of stock car racing. The all-new Dodge Charger will exhibit a modern upgrade to the same kind of power, performance and style that it represented throughout its gloried stock car history.” The newly designed 2005 Dodge Charger race car represents Dodge Motorsports’ modern-day foundation in powerful performance and technical innovation, while retaining original design cues of the baby blue #43 STP Dodge Charger that racing legend Richard Petty made famous in the 1970s.
    “When the 2005 Dodge Charger race car hits the track in February for its first race, Dodge will be prepared to carry the winning tradition that legends including David Pearson, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty established with their Chargers in the ’60s and ’70s,” said John Fernandez, Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations. “Today’s Dodge racing heroes will make the Charger famous again.
    “Dodge has an incredible heritage in auto racing, and the return of the Dodge Charger makes the statement that we will continue to make our mark in NASCAR’s history books,” Fernandez added. “The new Charger is a natural evolution for the Dodge brand that has our NASCAR Nextel Cup teams energized and eager to start the 2005 season.” The Dodge Charger for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition features the same bold styling, signature grille and powerful performance found throughout the Dodge lineup. It takes its design cues from the new Dodge Charger production vehicle with its crosshair front grille, bold rear fascia and signature rear side windows.
    The development of the race car was led by Dodge Motorsports Engineering with the support of each of Dodge’s primary Nextel Cup Series teams: Evernham Motorsports, Petty Enterprises, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Penske Racing South. Much of the on-track testing was done by veteran driver Bill Elliott. NASCAR approved the race car for competition in August. “While we worked within NASCAR’s templates, we found innovative ways to build great horsepower and aerodynamic performance into the Charger,” said Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “We are looking forward to putting the Dodge Charger in the winner’s circle of the 2005 Daytona 500.”(Clear!Blue PR) see past news on my Dodge News page and some images on the 2005 Cup Schemes page, the #9 Team Schemes page and the #12 Team Schemes page.(1-11-2005)
  • NASCAR VP Bolts for the NBA: Brett Yormark, NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing, has submitted his resignation to the sanctioning body and will soon be announced as the chief executive officer of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Not only did Yormark develop NASCAR’s New York marketing office over the last six years, he was instrumental in closing the deal that made Nextel the title sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series. Yormark returns to the Nets where he began his sports marketing career as an account executive in 1988.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(1-11-2005)
  • Site Stepping Up: The Cup Scene Daily, (www.cupscene.com), the worlds first daily e-newspaper devoted exclusively to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing [well….. not quite true as we have Stockcarfans.comNASCAR Scene and MotorSportsNews.Net and Racin’ News -n- Views who have had daily email newsletters for years], has announced plans for a bold new National Marketing campaign and revealed the intention to transition from internet to print by Q4 2005. “After five years the site has grown to the point that we are now prepared to make a statement on a National level,” said Greg Engle, editor in chief of the Cup Scene Daily and president of A&J Racing Enterprises Inc., parent company of the Cup Scene. As the first step in this plan, the Cup Scene will be onsite to cover the first round of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup testing at the Daytona International Speedway beginning this week. With a daily “blog” as well as audio reports from the “World Center of Racing”, the Cup Scene Daily will provide coverage to its readers unprecedented in the five-year history of the publication.(PRWEB)(1-11-2005)
  • Gordon fastest in Tuesday’s AM Practice and repeats in PM, LaJoie and Said at the top: #24-Jeff Gordon was fastest in the morning testing session at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 [Feb. 20th] with a speed of 185.265mph, followed by #36-Boris Said at 185.181, #19-Jeremy Mayfield at 184.506, #16-Greg Biffle at 184.430 and #97-Kurt Busch at 184.419. Slowest of the 26 was #92-Jeff Fuller at 176.585. Some drivers in different ride: Mike Skinner tested the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge, Jeff Fuller was in the #92 Chevy, Mike McLaughlin tested the #20 Chevy for Tony Stewart. 26 drivers ran the early session. There are 12 Chevy’s [3 in top 10], 8 Dodge’s [2] and 6 Ford’s [5]. No speeds listed for #9-Kahne or #49-Schrader, who are odd number owners points. #19-Mayfield and #9-Kahne switched as Kahne is tire testing at Atlanta. Been asked me why #29 Harvick is not testing, he is not scheduled until next week as his team finished in an even points [14th] position in owners points.
    Afternoon: #24-Jeff Gordon was once again fastest in Tuesday’s afternoon session with a speed of 185.448, followed by #98-Randy LaJoie at 185.231; #36-Boris Said at 184.642, #38-Elliott Sadler at 184.604 and #16-Greg Biffle at 184.456. The fastest Dodge Charger was #19-Jeremy Mayfield who was 7th, Ganassi’s two teams were very slow. More testing on my 2005 Testing page.(1-11-2005)
  • Burton wants more drafting testing: With the first Nextel Cup test session underway at Daytona, the emphasis, as usual, is for the two laps of qualifying for the 500. By next week Jeff Burton would like to change that. He’s been “politicing” other drivers to join his “drafting” party. “I think it’s a complete waste of time to go down there and run two laps at a time all by yourself. I was on the phone yesterday with Mark martin saying the heck with this running one and two laps at a time. Let’s go down there and draft. We only get like two hours of practice before the 150’s this year where before we had much more so I think it’s really gonna be important to get some drafting practice in”.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-11-2005)
  • Nadeau talks about the future UPDATE: More than 18 months after the crash that nearly took his life, Jerry Nadeau told MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody that he is not sure he will ever return to the cockpit. “I can’t find the fire I used to have,” said Nadeau, “and I’m getting sick of waiting for that light switch to turn on in my brain. My doctors say it could take another year for me to get everything back that I’m going to get, and while I feel like I’m getting better every day, I’m starting to face the fact that I might not be able to race for a living anymore.
    “I bumped my head pretty good in that wreck, and the doctors say if it happens again, I might not wake up this time. I’m not sure I want to take that chance. I have an 18-month old daughter now, and the last year and a half has given me a healthy dose of the big picture. When I laid in that hospital bed in a coma for three weeks, my race car never came to visit me. My family was there, and my friends. I know how it hurt them to watch me those three weeks, and I’m not sure I want to take a chance on putting them through that ever again.
    “I haven’t made a decision yet, and I’m still acting like I’m coming back. I go to the gym every other day, I practice on the simulator…the whole deal. But a part of me is starting to feel like, `if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to happen. Maybe it’s time to move on.’ I’m not getting any younger, and with the way this sport is going, I’m not sure the opportunities will be there for me in another year.
    “I would love to find a way to work with young racers, maybe as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program,” said Nadeau. “I would love to spot for someone, or work as a pit reporter. I have also enjoyed speaking to groups about what I went through in racing; both the good and the bad. I feel like I still have something to offer, whether I ever drive again or not.”(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(12-29-2004)
    UPDATE: Since it’s now unlikely he’ll ever fully recover from his May 2003 wreck at Richmond, injured Nextel Cup driver Jerry Nadeau is trying to find another way to stay involved in the sport. Last week he met with NASCAR’s Jim Hunter and Don Hawke about finding work within their organization. Nadeau followed that up by talking with the sanctioning body’s president Mike Helton while in Winston-Salem Saturday for the Fitness 500 to benefit the Brenner Children’s Hospital. “I don’t have a very positive outlook on my future in racing. I don’t feel like I’m getting much better so I’ve gotta figure out what am I gonna do with the rest of my life. I’ve gotta make payments on my house and building . You know you make good money in racing but the sad thing about it is I wasn’t in it long enough to make a whole bunch.”.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show), past news on Nadeau on my #01-Nadeau page.(1-11-2005)
  • Rusty’s Crew Intact: Rusty’s Miller Lite “Over-the-Wall Gang” completely intact for the 2005 season: “Did you see those guys during the last three races last year – they were just incredible,” said Rusty of the pit crew assembled by crew chief Larry Carter. “We had eight stops well down in the 13s (13-second bracket), a couple even in the 12s (12-second bracket) and they were so consistent. We didn’t lose a single guy during the off-season and they’re already getting practiced up for this year. They’ve all continued a pretty rigorous training schedule right on through the winter and Larry says he guarantees they’ll be even better in 2005 than they were in 2004. I can’t wait to see my guys back in action this season.” (Wallace’s pit crew members include rear tire changer Donald (D.J.) Richardson, front tire changer Jay Hackney, jackman Dave Cox, gasman Doug Ingold, rear tire carrier Andy Brown, front tire carrier Dave Littau and gas catch man Nick Giambruno.) “The neat thing about our group of guys is that they all get along so well and they love working with each other. They are constantly challenging each other to get even better, but if one guy makes a mistake, they’ll all rally around him and get him right back in the swing of things. It’s truly a team effort and my hat’s off to Larry for putting together such an iron-clad bunch like we have.”(Tom Roberts PR)(1-11-2005)
  • Penske Racing moving into their new digs: Penske Racing South is currently busy moving into its new home at 200 Penske Way in Mooresville, N.C. While many divisions of the race team have already moved, the #12 ALLTEL team looks to be completely and permanently housed in the new facility following the 2005 Daytona 500.(Penske Racing PR)(1-11-2005)
  • Stetson University pays tribute to the Rev. Hal Marchman: To honor the life’s work and community ministry of the Rev. Hal Marchman, Stetson University is establishing a professorship to be funded with a $2 million endowment – the largest ever for an endowed chair at Stetson. Daytona Beach businessman J. Hyatt Brown and his wife, Cici Brown, are making the lead gift to Stetson for the new Hal S. Marchman Chair of Civic and Social Responsibility. The university will raise additional money to complete the $2 million endowment. The idea of a Chair of Civic and Social Responsibility was inspired by Marchman, the longtime Daytona International Speedway chaplain who is known for his nationally televised prayers before NASCAR races. Marchman has given the invocation before every Daytona 500 since it started in 1962 and plans to be there again in February. For many years, he stayed at the track’s infield care center during races to help families and pit crews in case a driver was injured, and he has close ties with the racing community. Both Marchman and his wife, Mary Mathis Marchman, graduated from Stetson, and he served for nine years on the Board of Trustees. The couple lives in Holly Hill.(more and to to make a contributionssee go to: stetson.edu)(1-11-2005)
  • NASCAR License Special Truck: NASCAR has signed a multiyear licensing contract giving American Specialty Trucks of Danielsville, Ga., the right to design the officially licensed truck of NASCAR, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The company has the rights to customize Ford F-150 trucks, which are the sanctioning body’s “official truck,” with NASCAR logos and emblems. The company plans to design 5,000 of the trucks, which will be available in black or white and will cost $9,000 to $10,000 more than the dealership ticket price. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-11-2005)
  • Herbie’s NASCAR Movie opens June 3rd: Lindsay Lohan has a new co-star: Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle. Lohan stars in the forthcoming movie, “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” due in theatres June 3. The film takes place in the world of NASCAR, and Lohan plays Maggie Peyton, a racer and the new owner of the magical Volkswagen. “Herbie: Fully Loaded” also stars Matt Dillon, Michael Keaton, Breckin Meyer and Justin Long [and some NASCAR Drivers have cameos](netmusiccountdown.com) see more about the Herbie movie and other NASCAR Movies on my NASCAR Movie News page.(1-11-2005)

    News from January 10, 2005

  • LaJoie in the #98 for 2005: MACH 1 announced today that they have signed NASCAR veteran and two time Busch Series Champion Randy Lajoie to drive the #98 for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. “I am extremely pleased to have Randy officially join our team. He ran the last three races of 2004 with us. Randy & I continued to talk during the off-season concerning the direction of MACH 1 and his goals as a driver. He expressed interest in a full time Cup ride and I was searching for a quality driver to put in the seat. I’m glad it worked out for both of us. This is our second year in the Cup series, Randy’s experience in our sport will add immediate value to our entire organization” stated team owner Chris Edwards. “I’m looking forward to getting into the #98. I’ve been in this business for some time now and one thing is for sure, you never stop learning. The rule changes are constant so you have to stay on top of your game to be competitive. I’m excited that this comes only two weeks after my full time Busch Series ride announcement was made. I hope that what I learn in the Busch car will transfer over to my Cup ride. Any additional time on the track does nothing but help me as a driver. I’m focused on becoming a better driver and helping MACH 1 become competitive and succeed in the NEXTEL Cup Series,” stated Lajoie. LaJoie will be testing the #98 this week in Daytona as part of the first of two weeks for testing the NEXTEL Cup cars. MACH 1 continues to search for sponsorship both from a primary and associate level.(MACH 1 PR)(1-10-2005)
  • Charter to be a sponsor on the #16: Charter Communications announced an expansion of its NASCAR profile for the 2005 season with sponsorships in both the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series. Charter will once again sponsor a full Busch Series slate with the #60 Charter Ford Taurus. The Company will also serve as an associate sponsor for the #16 National Guard car in Nextel Cup Series races. Both sponsorships are in affiliation with Roush Racing, the team that’s been home to the Nextel Cup Series Champion for the last two seasons. As an associate sponsor for the #16 National Guard Ford, to be driven again by Greg Biffle, Charter will have its logo prominently featured on the car and on driver and crew uniforms throughout the season. For a handful of races in key Charter markets, the #16 will feature a dedicated Charter paint scheme as Biffle looks to build on a successful 2004 campaign, in which he won two Nextel Cup Series races and became the first NASCAR driver to ever race full seasons in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in the same year. With Biffle cutting back on his Busch Series schedule in 2005, relative newcomer Carl Edwards will drive the #60 Charter Ford Taurus. In 2004 Edwards finished fourth in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings and took home five top-10 finishes in his 13 Nextel Cup starts, including a third-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway. More information about Charter can be found at www.charter.com. (Roush Racing PR)(1-10-2005)
  • Some Crew Changes: Chief engineer Chad Walters is the latest to defect from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Walters, who worked with former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Gary DeHart on Terry Labonte’s #5, will bring his expertise back to Hendrick and the #5, which will be driven by Kyle Busch. Ed Young, who was the shop foreman for Matt Kenseth’s #17 team, has left Roush Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing. Justin Nottestad, who also is Kenseth’s front tire changer, will take over Young’s duties.(FoxSports)(1-10-2005)
  • So..what is up with Hall of Fame racing: been a while since we have heard about the Hall of Fame Racing team with form Dallas Cowboy QB’s Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman starting a NASCAR team, from Aikman’s site:
    “Hall of Fame Racing is still moving forward although suffering some set backs and tragedies. Our alliance partner and friend Rick Hendrick and his family have suffered an unimaginable loss of family and friends with the crash of a team airplane. Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with everyone in the Hendrick family. Our team attracted a world class sponsor in 2004 and we thought we would be on the track in 2005. We then found out that our sponsor would be prohibited from participating in NASCAR because of a conflict with the Nextel sponsorship of the Cup series. We were extremely disappointed but understand the position of Nextel. We feel our associate sponsorship is relatively assured if we can secure our primary sponsor. The cost of racing these days is not insignificant and there are just so many companies which can make the kind of expenditure necessary to be a primary sponsor. We are in talks with several organizations and expect to have something secured for the 2006 season. Hall of Fame Racing is committed to entering the sport with enough money to compete at the highest level. For that reason we won’t cut corners or try and do a half way program. There is a possibility of us entering the Busch series first. The team is working hard on making our collective goal a reality. We just need a few bounces of the ball in our favor. We’ll keep you posted with our progress.”(Aikman.com site)(1-10-2005)
  • Good Point by Larry Mac – Daytona 500 lineup?: In the past, the Twin 125 [now the Gatorade Duel] results dictated how the field started in the Daytona 500. The top 15 finishers from the Twin 125’s — excluding the front row — made up positions two through 30. Then the eight fastest speeds that did not make it through the Twins made up positions 31 through 38. The final five positions were filled by provisionals. With the top 35 drivers in 2004 owner points locked into the field this year, NASCAR has not determined how many drivers they advance from the Duel races into the Daytona 500. Following the same procedure they used to come up with the Chase for the Championship format, NASCAR is looking at the last 10 or 15 years to make sure they don’t paint themselves in a box with the Duel qualifying races on Feb. 17th.(FoxSports)(1-10-2005)
  • You will see Dale Jr. on TV in 2005: It’s an incredibly busy month for Dale Jr… Between test sessions, he is becoming tan from all of the klieg lights and flashbulbs. At last count, Junior will appear in 891 different TV commercials in 2005 [actually told this is a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ statement. just meaning Dale Jr. will be in many commercials, no exact count has been made].(fingerprint inc)(1-10-2005)
  • Wally at the Rolex 24 at Daytona: After a successful test in December, NASCAR Busch Series racer and NBC Broadcaster Wally Dallenbach is poised for victory in the 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Piloting the #74 74 Ranch Auto Racing Riley/Lexus, Dallenbach will be reunited with his driving team from almost ten years ago, co-drivers Paul Dallenbach, Johnny Unser and team owner/co-driver George Robinson. The race begins on Saturday February 5, 2005 and goes through Sunday, February 6, to be broadcast live on Speed Channel. “There looks to be quite a field shaping up for this year’s race,” said Dallenbach, who has competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona more than ten times. “It should be a lot of fun out there, and I cannot wait to race at Daytona with my brother Paul and good friends John and George in the #74 Riley/Lexus.” Many NASCAR fans know of Wally Dallenbach as a NASCAR stock car pilot and NBC Sports commentator. What they may not remember is that Dallenbach is one of the premier road-racing experts in the U.S., bringing a wealth of experience and an engineer’s sense of precision to road courses. “Road racing is my first love,” said Dallenbach. “I’ve had a lot of success on road courses in IMSA, Trans-Am and NASCAR, but I’m always looking to add another trophy to the mantle.” Dallenbach’s racing career spans more than 20 years with more than 300 starts in series including NASCAR Nextel Cup, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, IMSA GTS and GTU, and SCCA Trans-Am. He has driven and performed well for some of the biggest names in US racing, including Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick.(Motorsports Management PR)(1-10-2005)

News and Rumors from January 9, 2005

  • Chili Bowl UPDATE: More than 250 drivers including 2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart hit the track this weekend in 19th annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals [chilibowl.com] at the indoor Tulsa Expo Center. Stewart heads a group of three NASCAR drivers — 2004 Rookie of the Year Kasey Khane and J.J. Yeley are also entered — along with Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski, the top two World of Outlaws sprint-cart drivers. Open wheel driver PJ Jones and drag racing star Cruz Pedregon also plan to race. Qualifying begins Friday night [Jan 7th] and the finals are Saturday. Cory Kruseman is back to defend his title.(USA Today), NOTE: no TV Coverage info found.(1-5-2005)
    UPDATE: Tracy Hines won the 19th annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl over Cory Kruseman. Some NASCAR drivers: P.J. Jones finished 7th, Tyler Walker finished 15th and on lap 12 of 50 Tony Stewart got together with another car and spun ans was out of the race on lap 15. See the full night rundown at whowon.com.(1-9-2005)
  • Glick Honored: Shav Glick, 83, one of the most distinguished motor sports journalists in the U.S. [Los Angeles Times], was honored by the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award panel for his lifetime of service to the award. Glick has been the motor sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times since 1963 and a member of the award panel since 1969—second longest tenure on the panel. Earlier this year, he became the first daily print journalist and the second media member to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi, Mich. Glick was friends with the late Jim Murray, another LA Times legend.(Rock River Times)(1-9-2005)
  • NASCAR Fiction Book AND: In another example of NASCAR stock car racing moving into the mainstream of the American public, the first novel completely based on the sport’s lifestyle and fans will be published within the next few weeks and distributed nationally. Sharyn McCrumb, a Virginia writer best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket, has based her new novel on another Southern tradition: stock car racing. St. Dale, the story of a modern-day group of racing fans on a ” Earnhardt pilgrimage” to the Southeast speedways from Tennessee to Florida., will be published in February, 2005, by Kensington Publishing Corporation of New York. In St. Dale Harley Claymore, a down-and-out ex-Cup driver, takes what he thinks is a job leading a tour of Southern speedways, only to be told that the tour is a memorial pilgrimage, and that the passengers intend to lay a wreath in honor of Earnhardt on every Southern speedway from Bristol, Tenn., to Daytona Beach, Fla. The horrified tour guide, who raced against Earnhardt, did not think the Intimidator was a saint, but from Bristol’s 2002 Sharpie 500 through the Labor Day Race at Darlington, and at all the empty speedways they visit in-between, he has to keep his opinions to himself. McCrumb calls the novel The Canterbury Tales set on the NASCAR circuit. The bus is filled with a diverse group of characters, all there for various reasons. For Harley and his passengers, the trip soon becomes one of self-discovery as all of their lives are altered forever. Miracles begin, prayers are answered, secrets are revealed and bonds are forged as the bus rolls onward.(Williams Company PR)(1-5-2005)
    AND all copies sold through ballowax.com will be autographed by Sharyn McCrumb and Ward Burton! Profits from books sold through ballowax.com go to the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation.(1-9-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 8, 2005

  • Edwards doing double duty in 2005, #99 Sponsor announcement next week UPDATE: Roush Racing driver Carl Edwards will compete for championships in two of NASCAR’s national touring series this season. In addition to a full, 36-race Nextel Cup season in owner Jack Roush’s #99 Ford Taurus, Edwards will also run the 35-race Busch Series schedule in Roush’s #60 Charter Communications Ford. Roush plans to announce a sponsorship program [Office Depot?] for Edwards’ Cup program next week, a team spokesman said.(NASCAR.com)(1-7-2005)
    UPDATE – #99 Has a Sponsor: On Tuesday, January 11, 2005 in Daytona Beach, FL at Daytona International Raceway, Roush Racing will make an announcement regarding a new primary sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing Ford in 2005. The announcement will be made following the completion of Cup practice on Tuesday afternoon at approximately 5:20pm/et in the media center. There will also be an unveiling of the new paint scheme.(Roush Racing PR)….Office Depot?(1-8-2005)
  • Bliss to keep #0 Gig? UPDATE 2 Best Buy?: hearing that Mike Bliss will shed the interim driver tag and be the full-time #0 NetZero Chevy driver in 2005, supposedly the team will have a new major associate sponsor also.(12-2-2004)
    UPDATE: Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss will return to the Nextel Cup Series in 2005 with Haas CNC Racing. Bliss announced his three-year deal to drive the #0 NetZero Chevrolet for owner Gene Haas during the Busch Series Award Ceremony on Friday. The deal with Haas marks Bliss’ first full-time ride in the Cup series since 2000, when the 1993 USAC Silver Crown champion had a rough go of it after posting five consecutive top-10 points finishes in the Craftsman Truck Series. After starting the season for A.J. Foyt, making the Daytona 500 but then hitting a dry spell that led to his release, Bliss made 25 Cup starts in 2000, with one top-10 finish. Bliss’ career best Cup finish, fourth, came in a Gibbs Racing car in September at Richmond. He said he has three tests planned with Haas CNC before Christmas.(NASCAR.com)(12-11-2004)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the major asscoiate will actually be the co-sponsor of the car and will be Best Buy. Look for an announcement on Jan 12th at Daytona.(1-8-2005)
  • Cope and Hollenbeck to team up at Daytona: Derrike Cope’s site quotes Cope as saying that “Quest Motor Racing [was to run #37 a few years back] is working together with S.W.A.T. Racing [was the #62 Larry Hollenbeck Team] to take a Nextel Cup car and a Busch Series car to the Daytona tests in the coming weeks. We are currently searching for sponsorship for these events but are planning to field a pair of Chevrolets at Daytona. I am really excited about the Cup car we have and look forward to getting started. Hopefully we can provide more information to you with regard to the number we will be running and sponsorship shortly.”(Derrikecope.com)(1-8-2005)
  • Ferrari and NASCAR? The latest word from Italy is that the NASCAR teams are sitting up and taking notice of some of the engine technology which is available now in Modena, Italy, and that High Performance Engineering, a company run by Piero Ferrari (Enzo’s son) is to be developing engines for one of the NASCAR teams in 2005. It is not clear which teams is involved but with engine development largely in the hands of the automobile manufacturers Dodge, Chevrolet and Ford it is likely that the work will be done for one of them. The most likely connection is with Chevrolet as there are links between General Motors and Fiat. HPE is independent of FIAT but works for both Ferrari and Maserati, doing high-performance engine development work.(grandprix.com)(1-8-2005)
  • #37 Team Looking for help: The #37 R & J Racing team is enlarging their workforce. They are looking for fabricators and mechanics – both with experience. They need people that have worked on race cars in the past. They can call (704) 875-0271, fax a resume (704) 875-2997 or stop in the office/shop at 107 Parr Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078.(1-8-2005)
  • Kenny all over the tube in 2005: Kenny Wallace has signed a 2 year contract with SpeedTV to be in the following shows:
    NASCAR Drivers 360: Wallace will be filmed and shown in six out of the eight episodes starting in Speed weeks in Daytona.
    Inside Nextel Cup: Wallace will play a more active role in the show in 2005 and 2006 and be seen in many more shows.
    NASCAR This Morning – NASCAR Victory Lane: Wallace will be seen on both shows every NC race day as long as he is able to be at the show in person.
    NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Wallace will be the Craftsman Truck color commentator for Speed on weekends in which the Truck Series and Wallace are in the same location.(Kenny Wallace Racing site)(1-8-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 7, 2005

  • More on the possible ‘new’ provisional system: NASCAR’s controversial provisional system could be getting a major overhaul. Spokesman Mike Zizzo said NASCAR officials are finalizing a plan in which the top 35 drivers in the points standings would be guaranteed starting spots in races. The remaining eight starting spots would go to the fastest qualifiers not in the top 35 in points.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-7-2005)
  • Hermie will run #66 UPDATE: Hermie Sadler’s new ride will be the #66 Peak Fitness Clubs Ford, it is yellow and lavander, see images of the car on my new #66 Team Paint Schemes page. And see the #66[#02] Team News and Links page for the past news on Hermie’s new full-time Cup ride and owner that was announced a few weeks ago.(1-6-2005)
    UPDATE: Driver/owner Hermie Sadler and crew chief James Ince will try to rebuild their NASCAR Nextel Cup careers in 2005 using Roush/Yates horsepower. Sadler, who ran nearly all of both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in 2004 as either an owner or a driver, announced a plan to run #66 Peak Fitness Fords this season, using factory-backed Roush/Yates engines. Sadler made the announcement in conjunction with Peak Performance Motorsports primary owner Jeff Stec, the CEO of Peak Fitness, who purchased a controlling stake in Sadler’s SCORE Motorsports’ Cup team last month and immediately began an aggressive plan.(NASCAR.com)(1-7-2004)
  • Kenny back with Mikey: Kenny Wallace has signed a contract with Michael Waltrip Racing to compete in at least four Nextel Cup races in 2005. Driving the #00 Chevy Aarons Rent Car at both Daytona and Talladega Races. The car being used is the ex-Dale Jr Bud Shootout car from 2004, in which Dale came in 2nd. Wallace will have no provisionals available in any of the races so will have to race into each, but he can’t wait to show everyone his speed in that car.(Kenny Wallace Racing site)(1-7-2005)
  • Jarrett and Herbie: #88-Dale Jarrett will help promote the movie “Herbie: Fully Loaded” with a special paint scheme at Richmond in May. This is the same movie, which features Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton, that was filmed during the 2004 Pop Secret 500 weekend Sept. 3-5 at California Speedway.(RacingOne)(1-7-2005)
  • Dodson to work with another Wallace: Barry Dodson, noted veteran crew chief who helped lead Rusty Wallace to the 1989 NASCAR premier series championship title, has been selected to lead promising young racing star Steve Wallace with his team’s efforts in USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series competition during the 2005 season. “Barry was so instrumental in helping one kid named Wallace make it all the way to the top and now he’s been given the challenge to take another capable young driver named Wallace up the ladder of success,” said Rusty Wallace, owner of Steve Wallace Racing, in making the official announcement on Wednesday morning. “Barry was watching me when I was just a rookie on the Cup series and he helped get me the Blue Max ride. We’ve been like brothers ever since. There’s nobody I’d trust my kid with more than Barry Dodson and we’re so pleased that he’s agreed to take the reins and lead Steve’s team.”
    “Steve is the real deal and I can guarantee you that,” said Dodson, a winner of more than 75 NASCAR events during his career. “They always talk about the apple falling near the tree when sports reporters draw comparisons with father and son athletes. Well, this is a case where the apple didn’t fall near the tree – it hit it. Steve’s shown that he can drive ever since he climbed behind the wheel of that little Bandelero car over at the (Lowe’s Motor) speedway. He’s known how to drive, but now he’s really learning how to race and that’s where we think we can be the most help – teaching the patience and bridling the great aggressiveness that Steve has. We’re going to be really busy this season, but it’ll be so much fun and so rewarding to see Steve mature into a great young racer,” said Dodson, who also served as a television analyst for Fox Sports Net and Speed Channel for a five-year period before his appointment last season as general manager of RWI Racing. “The schedule calls for us to run the 13 regular season southern division races, up to five northern division races and then the five races in the championship series. Rusty and I have already been talking about possibly putting Steve in a Busch car at Memphis and at Phoenix late in the season. But the biggest focus will be getting Steve the seat time in these heavier cars and our big goal is to win the 2005 rookie title.” The younger Wallace and his Dodson-led team will compete in a familiar #27 Dodge in the Southern Division of the Hooters Pro Cup Series competition. They will be competing in Steve Levitt-built chassis Dodge racecars that will be powered by Maurice Petty-prepared power plants. Wallace will be a candidate in the $90,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year Program this season.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-7-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 6, 2005

  • Petty Crew Chief Leaves, other changes: Petty Enterprises announced today a change in the leadership of the #45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. The move was sparked by the departure of team engineer Adam Stevens to Joe Gibbs Racing, after which the team elected to part company with crew chief Bill Henderson. “When we made the change to put Adam and Bill in charge of the 45 team in August of last year, we looked at it as a combination effort,” said Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “When Adam came back from the Christmas holiday and told us of his intention to take an offer with Gibbs, we decided to reevaluate the leadership of the team.” Petty is currently exploring options. “We have made a number of significant moves forward since the end of the season. Our relationship with Evernham Motorsports supplying our engines is the most public of those moves. We intend to have an experienced crew chief and team engineer in place when we leave for the first race in Daytona,” Petty said. “I have a lot of faith in the 45 team, our engineering group and the rest of the team in Level Cross that we will be competitive right out of the box in 2005.”(Williams Company PR)(1-6-2005)
  • HANS Device is it, no Hutchen’s Device in NASCAR UPDATE 2 another device?: NASCAR will require drivers in the Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series to wear the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device during practice, qualifying and race competition. Drivers will no longer be able to use the Hutchens device to meet NASCAR’s requirement to use a head-and-neck restraint. The story says the Hutchens device failed to meet minimum standards in tests conducted by SFI Foundation Inc. The Hutchens device, which was developed by Richard Childress Racing team manager Bobby Hutchens, has been used by some drivers who have said it gives them more freedom of movement inside their cars.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-3-2005)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will only allow its competitors to use the HANS device in 2005 because the other head-and-neck restraint system did not meet performance standards. Drivers have had a choice of restraint systems since 2001, when NASCAR began requiring all competitors to use either the HANS or Hutchens devices following an investigation of Dale Earnhardt’s death. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said Monday that the Hutchens failed to meet minimum standards from testing by SFI Foundation Inc. The HANS device was approved by SFI, a California-based nonprofit organization that sets standards for specialty/performance automotive and racing equipment. The HANS (Head and Neck Support) resembles a collar and slides on like a football players’ shoulder pads, then hooks onto the helmet. The Hutchens device is a series of straps that connect across the chest and at the waist. Most drivers preferred the HANS, but Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart [and Rusty Wallace] have been known to race with the Hutchens. NASCAR mandated use of a restraint system in October 2001, after an investigation of Earnhardt’s death the previous February. Earnhardt died of a skull fracture, the same injury that killed NASCAR drivers Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin and Blaise Alexander in a one-year span. Many experts believed the fractures could have been prevented with use of a restraint system. But with drivers reluctant to use restraint systems and lingering questions about their effectiveness, NASCAR did not require their use until Earnhardt’s death made the issue a top priority. After numerous studies, the sanctioning body required the use of a restraint and allowed drivers to choose. Last season, NASCAR evaluated several different systems, hoping to approve new ones before the 2005 season.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-4-2005)
    UPDATE 2: The following is a statement from Trevor Ashline, President, Safety Solutions, regarding NASCAR’s ban of Hutchens Device: “I have spent the last three years working closely with NASCAR officials to successfully develop and distribute head and neck restraint systems that provide life-saving protection to its drivers. While one of my systems, the Hutchens Device, consistently met NASCAR’s testing requirements during those three years, I applaud their recent decision to raise the bar and mandate the use of only those head and neck restraint systems that meet or exceed the stringent testing criteria recently developed by NASCAR for the SFI Foundation. The Hutchens Device was among those systems tested last November that has not yet met the SFI specification. The Hutchens Device will be submitted to SFI at the end of January 2005. Over the past three years, we have developed and introduced the next generation of head and neck restraint systems, called the R3 (LFTTech.com). As one of the products that were submitted to NASCAR last November, the R3 was the first head and neck restraint system to exceed the SFI 38.1 specification after it was written. Yet, to date, the only restraint system selected by NASCAR has been the HANS Device. If there were additional criteria beyond the SFI specs that NASCAR used to make their selection, I am unaware of it. The R3 has been providing superior head and neck protection to drivers in other auto racing sanctioning bodies such as Local Tracks, SCCA, IMCA, NHRA, IHRA, APBA, HSR, Porsche Club and USAC. As the first to pass the SFI specification test last November, I am anxious to learn what additional NASCAR criteria the R3 needs to meet in order to provide the same level of superior protection to NASCAR drivers.” For more information on the R3 restraint please go to www.lfttech.com.(Safety Solutions PR)(1-6-2005)
  • Spencer to the #50? NASCAR.com’s Team List has Jimmy Spencer in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge.(1-6-2005)
    AND Jimmy Spencer will pilot Ultra Motorsports’ #1 Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series this season and also plans a partial Nextel Cup campaign, NASCAR.com reports. Ted Musgrave, who has driven the #1 truck for the past four years, will take over as driver of the team’s #2 Dodge. The story says Spencer, 47, expects to drive for Arnold Motorsports in a Nextel Cup schedule that will depend on sponsorship. He will run some Busch Series events for Michael Waltrip and hopes to field his own entry in others. Spencer says he may also have an unspecified television deal for the year. Also the #50 team will skip Speedweeks [Daytona] due to budget constraints.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-6-2005)
  • Office Depot and NASCAR UPDATE: Takin’ Care of Business is back for a third stint as Office Depot Inc.’s advertising jingle. Starting today, the Delray Beach[FL]-based office supply giant will launch a series of radio and television ads geared toward business customers, who account for more than 80% of the company’s sales. Takin’ Care of Business is part of a new marketing strategy that also includes a promotional partnership with NASCAR. Office Depot in February will begin touting its multiyear NASCAR deal, which will be the company’s primary national sponsorship platform in 2005. Sponsorship activities include NASCAR displays in Office Depot’s 900 stores nationwide and advertising during NASCAR race telecasts on NBC, Fox and TNT. Office Depot plans to unveil a NASCAR Nextel Cup sponsorship later this month. A recent survey of fans found that nearly three-quarters consciously buy products because of a company’s relationship with NASCAR and that 44% of those who shop at other office supply stores would switch to Office Depot because of its affiliation with NASCAR.(Palm Beach Post) Additionally, Office Depot plans to unveil a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team sponsorship later this month. The company will also support an upcoming NASCAR diversity initiative.(1-3-2005)
    UPDATE: hearing Office Depot will be on a Roush Racing Ford, not sure which series, the #99 in Cup is still open.(1-6-2005)
  • Petree Racing Auctions: saw this in this weeks NASCAR Scene: As Andy [Petree] has closed his Cup and Busch Shops – sold the building and will be moving, he has chosen the Auction way to liquidate all his personal property. This will be the first of two sales. Charlie Sentman Auction’s will sell at Public Sale to the Highest Bidder Sale Days with no Minimums or Reserves. Sale will be inside with air conditioning, seating, food, etc. The first sale is January, 6, 7, 8, 2005, the second sale is January 26, 27, 28, 29, 2005 at the Andy Petree Racing location in Flat Rock, NC. For additional info go to: www.sentmanauctions.com.(1-6-2005)
  • Not NASCAR but a Safety Thing so: ASA Late Model Officials announced that starting in 2005, the series and its competitors’ will utilize the RaceSafe System. The RaceSafe System is a dash mounted light that will alert the driver instantaneously when the yellow flag is displayed. The signal is controlled by the series race director, which means that as soon as the decision to put out the yellow is given each and every driver will immediately know. For information regarding the RaceSafe System please visit their website site www.race-safe.com or call 1-800-910-8089. RaceSafe System is owned by Racing Electronics – www.racingelectronics.com, long time sponsor of the Jayski site and presenting sponsor of my Scanner Links page. Racing Electronics also signed with the ASA Late Model Series to a three-year deal to become the Official radio supplier to the series. As part of the deal ASA Late Model teams and fans will have the opportunity to visit the R.E. trailer at most of the ASA Late Model races.(RE PR)(1-6-2005)
  • Steele Back full-time in ARCA: Three-time ARCA Champ Tim Steele and crew chief Lee Leslie have united for what they are determined to be a full season in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2005 with Steele at the helm of the #44 all black Ford and Leslie turning the wrenches. Leslie, the brother of ’88 RE/MAX Series driving champion Tracy Leslie and veteran Cup crew chief Ben Leslie [now working for Ford], crew-chiefed Brent Sherman [now in Busch] to a runner-up RE/MAX Series points finish in 2004. Steele suffered head injuries in an accident at Atlanta testing a Cup car for Bud Moore in 1997.(ARCARacing.com)(1-6-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 5, 2005

  • Robby Gordon looking for some crew members: hearing Robby Gordon Motorsports is still looking for a few over the wall pit crew members to run the full Nextel Cup Series in 2005 and selected Busch races. The team says it is only interested in crew members with previous Cup or Busch Series experience, and would prefer crewmen that also can fill a roll in the shop as mechanics or fabricators. Anyone interested can fax or e-mail bio and contact information to 704-949-1259 or see Robbygordon.com.(1-5-2005)
  • France is #2: The Sporting News Power 100 lists NASCAR chairman and CEO, Brian France #2, with only NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue ahead of him. France ranked #17 last year. 3rd is Bud Selig, MLB commissioner. 1st in 2003, George Bodenheimer of ESPN/ABC is 5th this year. NASCAR’s vice chairman, Bill France Jr. is 23rd. Also listed: Bruton Smith, chairman, Speedway Motorsports Inc.; Lesa France Kennedy, president, International Speedway Corp. See the story and links to the list at: FoxSports/Sporting News.(1-5-2005)
  • NASCAR Photo Display: Photographs of NASCAR Events by Jason Smith, through Feb, 26th from 10:00 to 4:00pm/et, Monday-Friday and 12noon-4:00pm/et on Sat-Sun at the Art Institute of Charlotte (more info).(Charlotte Observer print)(1-5-2005)
  • NASCAR on the ‘West Wing’: Taking a page out of President Bush’s campaign playbook, the fictional administration of “The West Wing” will visit the NASCAR Nation. Last February, Bush visited Daytona for the start of the racing season. On the Jan. 19 episode of “The West Wing,” the First Lady (Stockard Channing) visits a racetrack where she congratulates real-life driver Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane. Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet can’t make the trip because of a flareup of his multiple sclerosis.(New York Post)(1-5-2005)
  • Allison wins up a notch: hadn’t heard this..so…..When Darrell Waltrip quit Cup racing four years ago, he was tied with fellow retiree Bobby Allison at third in all-time wins. According to the NASCAR record book, both had 84 victories (behind Richard Petty’s 200 and David Pearson’s 105). At the start of the 2004 season, however, those records were altered. Allison was awarded an 85th win, leaving him alone in third and dropping Waltrip to fourth. Allison had long argued that decades ago he won a race for which he was never credited. There was a dispute over whether the race Allison won was, at the time, part of NASCAR’s official premier series [he won in a Mustang]. Last year NASCAR finally decided in Allison’s favor. Waltrip still holds the distinction as the winningest driver in NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present), during which time all of his 84 victories came. Second is Dale Earnhardt (76) followed by Jeff Gordon and Cale Yarborough (69 each), Petty (60) and Allison (55). Waltrip is preparing for his fifth season as a Fox Sports racing commentator. He begins his duties during next month’s Daytona SpeedWeeks.(Tennessean), see my adjusted All-Time Winners page for the full list.(1-5-2005)
  • New Hires: Alan Taylor Communications (ATC) announced that Nealie (Hamilton) Stufflet and Jenna Gruhala have joined the agency as senior account executives, in the firm’s Charlotte, North Carolina office. Responsibilities for the two executives will include strategic planning and media relations for key client partners NASCAR, Diageo, Sara Lee Branded Apparel (Duofold Brand) and Soap Box Derby. Stufflet joins ATC after three years at Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) where she played a key role in the organization’s media relations and licensing departments. Gruhala comes to ATC from St. Louis where she held several key account service positions at The Vandiver Group, a full-service independent strategic communications firm, and Adamson Advertising.(ATC PR)(1-5-2005)
  • NEMCO Motorsports puts coach behind the wheel: In an era where most rookie drivers in the top NASCAR series are young enough to still be in school, NEMCO Motorsports opted for a different approach by entering a teacher instead of a student for four NASCAR races in 2005. Chris Cook, a driving instructor for NASCAR drivers including NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Kenny Wallace and Tim Fedewa for more than a decade, will enter the road-course events at Mexico City (Busch Series), Watkins Glen (Nextel Cup and Busch Series) and Infineon Raceway (Nextel Cup) with the NEMCO Motorsports team. Cook, 33, who owns the driver coaching and testing company Shift Into Gear, has more than 20 years of racing experience. He has raced everything from late-model stocks at the Nashville Fairgrounds (Rookie of the Year in 1992), to less traditional categories like the Alaska Ice Racing Series, Grand-Am Racing Series and the Formula Drift Series. Cook has one previous start in a NASCAR Busch Series event at Watkins Glen in 1999. He ran as high as second place until a mechanical failure ended his race. Cook earned the new opportunity through the financial backing of Western Pennsylvanian entrepreneur and racing enthusiast Chris Evans, one of Cook’s students. With a testing schedule in place, the search for primary sponsorship has begun. Cook’s support from Stewart has generated interest from companies focused on the Hispanic market for the Mexico City event, as well as companies located near his birthplace of Sonoma, Calif., also home of Infineon Raceway. Chris and his fiance Tabitha Meready are relocating to North Carolina from Phoenix and will continue to operate the Shift into Gear business.(NEMCO PR)(1-5-2005)
  • Engine Contest Starts: RCR will be hosting the first round of the 2005 Clevite Engine Builders Contest this Wednesday, Jan. 5, and Thursday, Jan. 6, at RCR. There will be four builds each day, at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. RCR’s Lanny Barnes and Todd Hamm took top honors in last year’s final round. They will begin the defense of their title Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Everything kicks off Wednesday at noon when RCR’s Ron Liddell and Freddie Turza go up against RCR’s Wes Adams and John Goodwin. 2002 runners-up Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell step into the ring Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. The six quickest competitors will move on to the second round. No word on if the public is allowed to attend.(RCR PR)(1-5-2005)
  • Kyle to retire…after 2006? Rumors continue to grow that #45-Kyle Petty will announce his retirement after the 2006 campaign to devote all of his energies to running the team.(Yahoo Sports)(1-5-2005)
  • Schumacher Pledges help: Formula One champion Michael Schumacher plans to donate $13.60 million — or 10 million euros — to aid efforts for tsunami victims in Asia.(MSNBC)(1-5-2005)
  • More Cup drivers in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, up to 11: Chip Ganassi Racing’s [#42] Jamie McMurray will this weekend join regular CGR Cup team-mate [#41] Casey Mears and sometimes CGR road-racer Scott Pruett in one of the three Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototypes the team is looking to field for the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona. That makes for nine fulltime and one part-time Nextel Cup drivers who will participate in Grand American’s annual Test Days at Daytona International Speedway and, presumably, go on to the Rolex 24 race itself. In all, there are five past or present NASCAR Cup champions – [#97] Kurt Busch, [#17] Matt Kenseth, #44]Terry Labonte, [#18] Bobby Labonte and [#20] Tony Stewart – actually representing six championships, who are going to be on hand for the first race in Grand American Road Racing Association’s 2005 season. At least three of the above-named drivers have additionally stated their intentions to run in at least one other 2005 Rolex Series race. Champ Car’s Paul Tracy, the last driver to wear a CART crown, will be teaming with defending Rolex 24 champ Bell Motorsports. Again along for the ride this year are Forest Barber, Terry Borcheller and Christian Fittipaldi.(Crash.net), another Cup drivers running include [#16] Greg Biffle
    AND been told that Krohn-TRG signed Boris Said for the Rolex 24 and he’ll be at the DIS test this weekend. Boris will be in the No. 67 DP, with Krohn, Nic Jönsson of Buford, Ga., and 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, whose IndyCar Series ride is with Letterman-Rahal Racing.(1-4-2005)
    AND: add Jimmie Johnson to the entry list in the Howard – Boss Motorsports Pontiac with Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger. Stewart will not be testing this weekend at DIS as he will be in Phoenix at the Chili Bowl. And NBC Broadcaster/driver, Wally Dallenbach is on a team with brother Paul, who did some ASA Racing in 2004 running the #74 Robinson Racing Lexus Riley 74 Ranch Resort with George Robinson and Johnnie Unser.(DBNJ)(1-5-2005)
  • Charlotte Interested in a NASCAR Museum UPDATE: Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory’s arts task force is nearing the finish line, and he’s waving the checkered flag — literally — as he calls for adding a NASCAR museum to the list of possible new projects. In early 2005, when the Charlotte City Council starts talking about public money for new museums and theaters, it should discuss the NASCAR idea, too, McCrory said. Since late summer, NASCAR reportedly has been shopping the proposal around to several cities, including Atlanta and Daytona Beach, Fla. McCrory said an uptown NASCAR museum could be the hub of what he’s been calling NASCAR Valley, racing’s version of the California wine country. “You come to Charlotte, spend a couple days, go to the NASCAR museum and other cultural facilities and from there, go visit the incredible racing team exhibits throughout the museum,” McCrory said. NASCAR will tell cities more about the project in early 2005, said Tim Newman, president of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. That includes details about its size, cost and location. “Whatever process they design, we’ll make it a highest priority to respond and make the case for why Charlotte ought to be the home of an officially sanctioned NASCAR hall of fame,” Newman said. NASCAR officials could not be reached for comment.(ThatsRacin)(12-29-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR wants to build a hall of fame in one of four cities, and Charlotte leaders want to land it to cement the city’s claim as the center of the stock-car racing world. Charlotte, Atlanta, Kansas City and Daytona Beach, Fla. will get letters from NASCAR this week asking them to pursue the chance to host it, NASCAR vice president of licensing Mark Dyer said. They will have five months to respond. NASCAR, the private corporation that owns and operates the most popular U.S. auto-racing league, could select a site by the end of the year. “We want to feel good about it 10 years from now, rather than just have a big flashy opening and make headlines for a short time,” said Dyer, who is based in NASCAR’s Charlotte office. NASCAR’s proposal will not include requirements about size and funding sources, Dyer said. But NASCAR wants something as large and as attractive as the baseball, basketball and football halls of fame, all in smaller Northern cities. The motor sports sanctioning body will probably want the cities or local groups to build and operate the facility, Dyer said. Auto racing already has several halls of fame adjacent to NASCAR tracks, including one in Talladega, Ala., and another in Darlington, S.C. The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, about 20 miles north of Charlotte, draws 250,000 visitors per year. Many race teams have their headquarters near Charlotte, and their shops attract thousands of visitors. One racing team, Hendrick Motorsports, has 150,000 visitors a year Since last spring, arts leaders have been lobbying the city for at least $88 million worth of downtown cultural projects, including a new art museum. Later this month, a mayoral task force on cultural facilities is scheduled to suggest revenue sources, including a higher rental car tax, a targeted uptown property tax hike and a parking surcharge.(Wilmington Star-News/AP)(1-5-2004)
  • Schumacher donates big to tsunami victims: Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher plans to donate $10 million to aid efforts for tsunami victims in Asia, making the Ferrari driver the leader among a growing number of sports stars providing help. Schumacher’s manager Willi Weber made the pledge Tuesday during a telephone call to a fund-raiser on German television, organized in collaboration with the German Red Cross, the U.N. Children’s Fund and other organizations.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-5-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 4, 2005

  • Larkin leaves BAM for FBR: Hearing that BAM Racing [#49] Business Manager, Gus Larkin has left the team and accepted a similar position at FitzBradshaw Racing [#12,#14, #40,#82](1-4-2004)
  • Crew Chef Challenge Helps the Tsunami Relief Effort: RACE Motorsports Marketing LLC announced today they will join the Tsunami Relief efforts by donating $10 from the sale of their ‘Taste of Victory’ Cookbook to the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund. Within its covers, “Taste of Victory”, contains 300 recipes that are sure to become some of your family’s favorites. This edition has a true sense of what fans love to eat. Your taste buds will dance in delight over such entries as Bacon Wrapped Grilled Shrimp, Smoke’s Chili or Coconut Colada Tart. The 3-ring binder contains 5 unique categories which include Gas and Go; We can make that pit stop in 13.8 seconds and Ahh! Victory is so Sweet. Each category divider features original artwork designed by Lori Munro. “Taste of Victory”, part of the NASCAR Library Collection, makes a great gift for any occasion. To order your copy for $20 plus shipping visit www.racesports.net.(RACE Motorsports Marketing PR)(1-4-2005)
  • NASCAR on Animal Planet: To help NASCAR launch its 2005 season, Animal Planet will broadcast a one-hour programming special on NASCAR drivers and their family pets the week of the Daytona 500. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW answers the question — “What’s with all the pets?” — by bringing fans behind-the-scenes with NASCAR’s tough competitors to reveal their soft sides. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW debuts on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 8:00pm/et only on Animal Planet.
    Produced by Tomwil Entertainment for Animal Planet, NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW features footage shot at NASCAR events in Rockingham, North Carolina, Atlanta and Charlotte, as well as on location with drivers at home. The family pets featured are big and little, ordinary and unusual, two- and four-legged, but all similar in that they provide comfort in a career of tough competition and normalcy to a life led on the road.
    In addition, NASCAR and Animal Planet have teamed with Halifax Humane Society in Volusia County to offer NASCAR fans attending the 2005 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 20) with a sneak peek at the special, and the opportunity to bid on unique, autographed NASCAR items. The Halifax Humane Society will hold the benefit auction on February 16 at the Daytona International Speedway [see my Racing Charities page for more info]. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW was created for NASCAR fans and animal lovers alike. The special chronicles how families and drivers navigate the NASCAR circuit with their cats and dogs in tow, where NASCAR pets such as “Mr. Bigfoot,” “Shortrack,” “Vegas,” “Chuck,” “Ragdoll” and “Pluto” play a starring role alongside their famous owners.
    NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW takes the viewer away from the track and onto family farms treasured by NASCAR’s Todd Bodine, Jeff Burton, Richard Petty, all of which look forward to spending quiet time in the country with horse, cattle, goats, rabbits and more. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW also shares the stories of animal rescue and adoption as told by the drivers and their families, such as Ryan and Krissy Newman, who support causes such as “Friends in Need” and “Paws with a Cause.” More info on Animal Plant at their website.(PRN Newswire)(1-4-2005)
  • Brazilian to attempt two Cup and two Busch races: Brazilian driver Carlos Bueno, the current runner-up in the Stock Car V8 championship – the country’s version of NASCAR, tested one of Richard Childress’ NASCAR cars at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Bueno’s characteristic #0 was emblazoned in an orange Monte Carlo with his name and the Brazilian flag plastered on its skin. Two days and 520 laps around Caraway Speedway, the second Brazilian to ever steer a NASCAR car was ecstatic: his quickest time of 17.0 seconds topped 2004 team regular Ron Hornaday’s best, who also tested on the same days, by 0.2sec. The Brazilian is committed to another season of Stock Car racing this year, but intends to attempt four NASCAR races in 2005: two Busch starts, “preferably on short ovals,” and a step-up as a hired gun for the Nextel Cup’s two road races [Sonoma and Watkins Glen]. His ambitious planning stretches way ahead, though: “My target is to be a full-time Cup driver in four years.”(full column at Speed Channel)(1-4-2005)
  • Triplett back in Motorsports: Kevin Triplett, former NASCAR executive and a veteran of the sport since 1987, has joined Corporate Racing Group, LLC, a motorsports media/public relations firm headquartered in Bristol, TN. Triplett left NASCAR in June 2003 to pursue a U.S. Congressional seat. Corporate Racing Group is a subsidiary of The Corporate Image, a media and public relations firm headquartered in Bristol, Tenn., with offices in Asheville, N.C., and Washington, D.C. Triplett began his NASCAR career in 1987 covering motorsports part-time for the Bristol Herald Courier in Bristol, Va., and in 1989 he became the full-time racing writer for the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia, N.C. In 1992, General Motors hired Triplett to direct media relations and marketing for GM Parts, Richard Childress Racing, Ken Schrader Racing and drivers Dale Earnhardt and Ken Schrader among many others. Triplett joined NASCAR’s public relations department in 1994 and was promoted to manager of communications in 1996. During that time, NASCAR was featured in a number of “non-traditional” mainstream publications such as Sports Illustrated, Forbes and Fortune. In 1997, Triplett was named director of operations for NASCAR’s competition department. Triplett was elevated to NASCAR’s managing director of business operations in 2001, overseeing the operation and administration aspects of what is now the NASCAR Nextel Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Triplett resides in Abingdon, Va., with his wife, Jill, and their four-year-old son, Lucas, and two-year old daughter, Sarah Grace.(Corporate Racing Group PR), see full PR with quotes on my Press Release Links page.(1-4-2005)
  • DEI Sends Young Drivers for road testing: Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) is trying to stay a step ahead of the competition. With the 2005 racing season rapidly approaching and a new road race in Mexico City slated for the NASCAR Busch Series schedule, DEI recently enrolled members of its driver development program into the Advanced Road Racing two-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving near Phoenix. The goal was to sharpen the drivers’ road-race skills under the supervision of some serious road-course masters. The students included Shane Hmiel, who has shown great promise since joining the Busch Series at the end of 2001, and Ryan Moore, a 21-year-old upstart who only recently signed with DEI after earning Busch North Series rookie-of-the-year honors in 2003. Driver Paul Menard, another DEI hopeful, was also on hand for a day of instruction. To help accelerate the learning curve, GM Racing called upon veteran Corvette driver Ron Fellows. Fellows’ role was to assist Bondurant’s expert team in teaching advanced road-racing skills to the DEI drivers in both the classroom and on the track. Hmiel will run a full Busch schedule this year, and to be successful he will have to apply what he learned from Fellows and the Bondurant instructors. Moore will again compete in the Busch North Series and is standing by for the rest of his upcoming duties for DEI. Fellows, who will be back behind the wheel of a Corvette in the American Le Mans Series this year, says he will be “very surprised” if he doesn’t compete in the Busch Series race in Mexico City.(Autoweek)(1-4-2005)
  • Dale Jr. Special on CMT, the 60 Minutes Interview: CMT presents a night of NASCAR with two thrilling premieres including CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments on Friday, Jan. 28 at 8:00-10:00pm/et/pt, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special at 10:00-11:00pm/et/pt. A new two-hour original special, CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments when CMT counts down 40 of the most memorable wins, wrecks and rivalries in NASCAR history. Narrated by veteran race announcer Ken Squier, CMT 40 GREATEST NASCAR MOMENTS drives fans through more than 50 years of their favorite moments, from the first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949 to Dale Earnhardt’s first Daytona 500 win, and features new interviews with Robert “Junior” Johnson, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Richard Childress, Jeff Gordon, Donnie Allison, Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR President Mike Helton and more.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special with Mike Wallace premieres exclusively on CMT with never-before-seen footage of one of NASCAR’s elite, Dale Earnhardt Jr. In the in-depth special, Earnhardt Jr. discusses everything from his fiery crash in Sonoma, Calif. to his legendary father, Dale, to Dating for Dummies. Champion driver and friend Tony Stewart guests.(Arizona Racing Times)(1-4-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 3, 2005

  • Spencer and Shelmerdine? Jimmy Spencer still has not been picked up by another Cup team – nor by a Busch or Trucks program – for a full-time ride in 2005. With few opportunities, Spencer may be relegated to driving for a second- or third-tier team, or may have to be content with occasional fill-in stints in Cup, Busch or Trucks. There have been rumors about Spencer driving on an occasional basis for #72 Kirk Shelmerdine, but those do not appear to have much substance behind them.(Yahoo Sports)(1-3-2005)
  • Stoddard Looking Full-time at MB2/MBV? Although #36 Boris Said’s deal is for just a minimum of 10 races in 2005, the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook with job offers after [crew chief] Frank Stoddard was released from Bill Davis Racing [#22]. Expect Stoddard’s trial period at MB/Sutton Motorsports to be just that. My guess is Stoddard has his eye on the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet, which is in need of an overhaul after finishing 29th in points. Scott Riggs is the driver for the #10, with Doug Randolph as the crew chief.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(1-3-2005)
  • Top 10 Prospects from NASCAR.com: since I am a list freak, thought this was an intersting top-10 of driver prospects:
    1. Martin Truex Jr.[DEI]
    2. Shane Hmiel
    3. Reed Sorenson [Ganassi]
    4. J.J. Yeley [Gibbs]
    5. Brendan Gaughan
    6. Erin Crocker [Evernham]
    7. Kraig Kinser
    8. Bobby East
    9. Blake Feese [Hendrick]
    10. Clint Bowyer [RCR]
    See the reasons why these drivers were chosen at NASCAR.comSpeedwaymedia.com also has a similar column today.(1-3-2005)

News and Rumors from January 2, 2005

  • Labonte’s buy a sports car for the Rolex 24 at Daytona…UPDATE 2: hearing that Bobby and Terry Labonte bought themselves a Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype and will be running in the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona and will additionally run two other races in the Rolex Series: the Thursday-night June 30 Paul Revere 250 at Daytona and at the Friday Aug. 12 Watkins Glen Cup race weekend. I’m hearing they MIGHT also run July 31 at Birmingham’s Barber Motor Sports Park, which is a free date between Cup’s Pocono and Brickyard dates. Their Pontiac-powered Doran JE4, built by Doran Designs, will be maintained by the car’s constructor, Kevin Doran, through another company, Doran Racing. The Brothers Labonte have actually tried to get a Rolex 24 team together for the last two or three years. So it’s something they’ve wanted to do but, for one of any of the myriad reasons that racing deals can fall apart, just weren’t able to get an effort off the ground until this year.(12-17-2004)
    UPDATE: Past Nextel Cup champions Bobby and Terry Labonte will be teaming with IRL IndyCar Series’ star Bryan Herta of Andretti-Green Racing and former Formula One driver Jan Magnussen for the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The four will be one of two team cars fielded by Doran Racing. “Bobby tested the car at Homestead the second week of December,’ team owner Kevin Doran said of the 2000 Nextel Cup champ. “He put in a couple of 10-12 laps stints and he was completely comfortable with the car by the second stint.’ While the upcoming Rolex 24-Hour will be Bobby Labonte’s first such race, older brother Terry ran in five 24-hour races at Daytona in the early to mid-1980’s. Indeed, the two time Cup champion Terry Labonte scored his first Cup championship in the same year in which he had earlier scored a GTO-class victory and a sixth-place overall finish in the classic twice-around-the clock race. Interestingly, in that Rolex 24 victory, Labonte teamed with his Cup car owner of that year, Billy Hagan. Gene Felton rounded out the driving team. Doran’s second car will be driven by Italians Fabrizio Gollin, Matteo Bobbi and Doran Racing veteran Didier Theys. As a car owner, Doran won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 1998 and 2002 and Theys went on to win the Grand American Sports Racing Prototype championship in 2002.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-1-2005)
    UPDATE 2: more details at Crash.net – Labonte duo join Doran for Daytona)(1-2-2005)

    News and Rumors from January 1, 2005

  • DW plans at least one more Truck race in 2005…then retire?: Darrell Waltrip plans to run the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway in the spring. That’s a make-up race. Qualifying got rained out in October, and DW didn’t get to race at Martinsville. DW has a brand new truck. The Toyota Racing Development crew took it home, covered it up the one DW was to run at the Oct Martinsville race [qual rained out] and will bring it back out in April. DW says that more than likely, it will be his last race. So DW will probably run that Martinsville spring race and unless he happens to win that race, that will probably be his last one.(paraphased from FoxSports)(1-1-2005)