January 2006 News Archives

  • News from January 31, 2006

  • Daily NASCAR Shows: been told there will NOT be any daily NASCAR News type shows on Speed Channel in 2006 and have not heard of any plans for other networks/cable channels to have a daily NASCAR Show.(1-31-2006)
  • Sadler added to Speed’s Trackside: #38-Elliott Sadler will fill the fourth seat on Speed Channel’s popular Friday night show Trackside with Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds. Waltrip will continue to handle the first-half duties, with Sadler taking over for DW on July 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. Trackside, now in its fifth season, is a live, Friday night pre-event show from the site of each NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race.(Speed Channel)(1-31-2006)
  • Bruton to make offer to buy NHRA: Speedway Motorsports [SMI] track owner Bruton Smith [Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Bristol, Texas, Infineon Raceway] says SMI will make a formal presentation in the next seven to ten days to purchase the National Hot Rod Association [NHRA]. The proposal was to be made last week however due to the death of the wife of NHRA director Wally Parks the meeting was postponed. “I hope that (the presentation) will mean something”, said Smith, “but we haven’t bought it yet. I expect to buy it but when I don’t know. They approached me about selling to me…that was the first indication and of course I got interested and so I’m still interested. They do what we do but in a different way…they forget to turn left…they go straight but they sell tickets and that’s what we do. If I buy it we’ll be doing the same thing.” If SMI completes purchase of the drag racing series Smith says the headquarters would be moved from Glendora, California to Las Vegas.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-31-2006)
  • Labonte gets Heisman if he wins Daytona 500: Roger Staubach gave a speech to his new NASCAR team [#96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Chevy] last week in Charlotte. He was trying to pump up his charges for the daunting task at hand. Driver Terry Labonte wasn’t at the shop that day. Staubach already dangled a special prize to his famous driver. “I told Terry if he wins the Daytona 500 next month, I’ll give him my Heisman trophy,” Staubach said. Labonte, racing his final Cup season, will drive seven races for the new team – the first five events and the two road-course races. Tony Raines will drive the other 29 Cup events. Using Labonte, a two-time Cup champion, is a smart move. It assures the team of making the field no matter how they qualify. Labonte has an automatic starting spot as a former champion. The plan is for Labonte to earn enough points in the first five races to guarantee Raines a starting spot every week. The top 35 teams in points are assured of making the 43-car field.(in part from the Dallas Morning News)(1-31-2006)
  • Allied Steel Bldgs to Bill Davis Racing: Allied Steel Buildings Inc is taking a next step in their NASCAR involvement by joining Bill Davis Racing Teams during this year’s events. Allied is expanding its NASCAR involvement after serving as a part-time associate and primary sponsor of the #50 Arnold Motorsports car during the 2005 season. “Allied Steel is still fairly new to this sport, so it is an honor the company has chosen to come on board with us. It’s also an honor to get to carry the Allied Steel banner. It is a great company with great standards,” said Bill Davis, team owner and president. “We are really thrilled to be a part of NASCAR as a full-time sponsor for the new 2006 season,” said Allied’s President, Michael Lassner. “It’s such an honor to be affiliated with Bill Davis and his racing teams. They plan to be one of the best on the race track this year and we will do everything that we can to help them make that happen,” said Lassner.(eMediaWire), no word on which of BDR’s teams it will be a sponsor for or at what level, primary or as an associate.(1-31-2006)
  • Inside Nextel Cup Show returns on Feb 13th: Dave Despain will once again climb into the host’s chair for SPEED’s popular Monday night program Inside Nextel Cup, beginning Feb. 13 at 7:00pm/et. Joining Despain, will be veteran drivers Michael Waltrip and Kenny Schrader, both in new rides for 2006. Brian Vickers, the Hendrick Motorsports driver who joined the show late last season, will return for 20 shows in 2006. “I think 2006 should be exciting for everyone – especially the fans of Inside Nextel Cup,” said Vickers, the youngest national series champion in NASCAR history. “Kenny (Schrader) and Michael (Waltrip) are driving for new teams, the GMAC Racing team and I are ready and we’re all optimistic about a new season. I’ve gained some valuable experience working with them and Dave (Despain) on the set, so hopefully I’ll pass the SPEED rookie stripe to someone else and we’ll bring viewers even more insight and entertainment. I appreciate the opportunity they’ve presented by welcoming me back to the program.”
    “It took a lot of courage for Brian to step onto a show that had changed for the first time in 10 years last year,” said Chris Long, VP of Studio Production for SPEED. “We made some aggressive changes to a fan favorite SPEED show midway through the year and Brian did a great job blending in with the team. We’re thrilled to have him back for 20 shows in 2006.”(Speed Channel)(1-31-2006)
  • Gordon, Superman and Daytona: #24-Jeff Gordon will run a special Pepsi Superman Returns paint scheme at Daytona in the Julu 1st Pepsi 400.(Pepsi Free Ride Site)(1-31-2006)
  • Special CAT schemes: the #22 Caterpillar Dodge will run two special schemes with Dave Blaney, Ground Engineering Tools scheme at Michigan in June and E-Series Backhoe scheme at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. See the schemes on my #22 Team Schemes page.(1-31-2006)
  • DirecTV to sponsor RCR? looks like DirecTV will be an associate sponsor on the #07 Jack Daniel’s RCR Chevy Clint Boyer will drive in 2006. See the schemes on my #07 Team Schemes page.(1-31-2006)
  • Putnam Joins PPI Motorsports: PPI Motorsports announced that Gary Putnam has been named competition director. Putnam, a ten-year veteran in the Nextel Cup Series rejoins his former crew chief James Ince. Ince and Putnam worked side-by-side during the 2000-2002 Cup seasons. “I am very pleased to have Gary Putnam join my organization,” said Cal Wells III, owner of PPI Motorsports. “He will be an invaluable asset to me as well as our crew chief. He adds a tremendous amount of depth to the Tide Racing program and will help us grow as we move forward into a multi-car team.”
    “Any time you can bring back a quality crew chief that can do other things only strengthens your race team,” added Ince. “He was my car chief at MBV Motorsports and went on to do great things as a crew chief. I feel fortunate he was open to the idea of joining forces again. I consider him my equal. He’s almost like having my alter-ego around.” Putnam’s duties start immediately as the Tide/Downy Chevy takes part in test sessions at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Before joining PPIM, he served as crew chief at NEMCO Motorsports (2004-2005) and Petty Enterprises (2002-2004).(PPI Motorsports)(1-31-2006)
  • Ganassi doesn’t want wing: While the wing on the NASCAR “car of tomorrow” is intriguing, team owner Chip Ganassi said that he didn’t want to see a wing on the cars. Ganassi said he is happy that NASCAR has had dialogue with the teams and considered their input – and he hopes that could include eliminating the idea of a wing on the cars. Ganassi has had experience with wings in open-wheel and road racing. “There better not be a wing on the car of tomorrow,” Ganassi said. “It is an area that is wide open and rampant for cheating, and it’s an area that’s very hard to police. Why they would want to get involved in something that’s hard to police, I have no idea.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-31-2006)
  • Martin to run limited CTS sched, starts at Daytona: Mark Martin will kick off his 2006 Craftsman Truck Series schedule in the series’ season opening Daytona 250 on Friday, Feb. 17. Martin, who plans to run a limited schedule in both the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series in 2006, will compete in four races over Daytona Speedweeks, including the Budweiser Shootout, the IROC season opener, the Craftsman Truck opener and the famed Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. It will mark Martin’s fourth career start in the truck series, his second consecutive; he finished eighth in the ’05 series finale at Homestead. Martin won at North Wilkesboro in 1996 in his second career truck series start, and finished third in his first start at Richmond that same year. This will be Martin’s first venture in the series at Daytona, although he did take part in a truck at Daytona with teammate David Ragan two weeks ago.
    “I’m excited to get out there in the truck,” said Martin, who plans to go full-time in the series in 2007. “We had a chance to test the truck at Daytona a couple of weeks ago and I really had a ball out there. I’ve been excited about the Truck Series for a while now, and I can’t wait to get out there in the #6 Ford and see what we can do against the competition. The truck is really fast and Mike Beam and the entire #6 crew have really put together an awesome team for David (Ragan) and myself for 2006 and we are really looking forward to sharing the Ford for 2006.” Martin will run a limited number of Truck races in 2006, sharing the seat with up and comer David Ragan. Martin will be in the seat for the first three races of 2006 at Daytona, Fontana and Atlanta before handing over the reigns to Ragan at Martinsville. Martin is currently scheduled to make seven starts in the #6 Ford.(Roush Racing PR)(1-31-2006)
  • Boris Said unsure of future Cup plans: Boris Said hasn’t heard his phone ring, so he is assuming he has no deal with sponsor Centrix and MB2 Motorsports for this year. The veteran road racer drove in nine races for the team in 2005. He said he was scheduled to run the Daytona 500 before the team was able to land Bill Elliott for that race. “The last I talked to Centrix, they shook my hand and said we’re doing the Daytona 500 and haven’t returned a phone call since,” Said said Jan. 27. “I don’t really know. I’m pursuing and looking for sponsors. I have something to offer to do a partial season and a chance to win two races, with a sponsor that maybe wants to get their feet wet. Maybe Centrix will return my calls, but right now, I don’t know what to think but it’s not good.” Said will compete in the two Busch Series road course events with a “really great” team, he said.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-31-2006)
  • Stremme Wrecks…is OK: Testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedwat was stopped for about a half-hour after the engine let go on David Stremme’s #40 Coors Light Dodge. The car slipped in the oil and crashed getting into turn three. Stremme was seen and released from the infield care center. His team rolled out a backup Dodge Charger.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show), #48-Jimmie Johnson also spun, but didn’t hit anything.(1-31-2006)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 2:
    AM Speeds: 44 drivers in 76 cars took to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Jan. 31st. The fastest in the AM test was #26-Jamie McMurray [his 2 cars were 1-2] with a speed of 169.316mph [track record is 174.904 set in Mar 2004], followed by #2-Kurt Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #17-Matt Kenseth and #31-Jeff Burton. Todd Bodine was in the #03 Chevy, Bobby Hamilton Jr. was in the #04 Dodge, Larry Foyt in the #50 Dodge.
    PM Speeds: 44 drivers in 68 cars took to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Jan. 31st. The fastest in the PM session was #66-Jeff Green at 169.263, followed by #31-Jeff Burton, #42-Casey Mears, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #9-Kasey Kahne.
    Speeds for the LVMS test can be seen on my Las Vegas Testing Page.(1-31-2006)

    News from January 30, 2006

  • #51 Team names driver and sched: #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports has teamed with driver Mike Garvey for the upcoming Nextel Cup season. Garvey is well-known in the racing circuit where he has driven in almost every racing series, including ASA, Craftsman Truck, Busch, and NASCAR Nextel Cup [in the #66, now #61 and #75 in 2005]. In 2005, Garvey qualified nine times for the Nextel Cup Series races, with his best finish of 25th place at Poco# The Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil #51 Chevy will open up the 2006 season at the California Speedway on February 26 with a fresh focus on elevating performance. Competitive Edge Motorsports will follow the California race with races at Las Vegas, Atlanta, Bristol and Martinsville. The Marathon Chevrolet #51 Team and Garvey will be testing in Las Vegas, January 30 to February 1. “The team has done an outstanding job with the 2006 body and the preparation is going as planned. The cars are really good. It should get interesting this year,” said Garvey. “We’re nearly ready for the new season, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming tests at Las Vegas. With refreshed bodies and engines for the cars, an experienced driver, and a team with focused enthusiasm, we expect 2006 to be our best yet,” Competitive Edge Motorsports owner Joe Auer concluded.(Yahoo Biz)(1-30-2006)
  • Craven Charity Ride Raises Another $135,000: Despite some challenging weather conditions, Ricky’s annual Snowmobile Ride for Charity completed a 35 mile ride on Saturday afternoon. The event raised an additional $135,000 for some of Ricky’s favorite charities, bringing the Charity Ride’s 9 year total to over $1.1 million. Ricky would like to thank the volunteers, sponsors, and participants that helped make this year’s event a success.(Ricky Craven Site)(1-30-2006)
  • Wood to run 7 Cup races, McSwain to crew chief UPDATE: Michael “Fatback” McSwain, who stepped down as crew chief from the Wood Brothers #21 Ford to oversee the team’s move from Mooresville, NC, to Harrisburg, NC, and the competition end of the team’s merger and expansion, will be back atop the pit box later this season. McSwain will be the crew chief for Jon Wood’s #47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, which will be entered in seven Cup races. And there could be more such work in the future. “Have I done my last (full-time) crew chiefing? Have I been on the pit box for the last time? I don’t know,” McSwain said. “Me personally, the only thing that I’d like to do that I haven’t done … I’d like to win a championship. If I could take a young guy who’s learning to be a Cup crew chief and help him or teach him, that’d be equally as gratifying as me doing it myself.”(Speed Channel)(1-26-2006)
    UPDATE: Jon Wood will run a limited Cup schedule starting midsummer. Wood, a third-generation racer, will drive the #47 Ford, which is likely to be sponsored by the Air Force. It will be the first time in 14 years Wood Brothers Racing has fielded a second car. Fatback McSwain will be the crew chief.(Sporting News)(1-30-2006)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 1:
    AM Speeds: 24 drivers in 41 cars took to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday, Jan. 30th AM session. The fastest was #66-Jeff Green with a speed of 170.068mph [track record is 174.904 set in Mar 2004], followed by #38-Elliott Sadler, #6-Mark Martin, #31-Jeff Burton and #29-Kevin Harvick.
    PM Speeds: 24 drivers in 40 cars ran the afternoon session with #38-Elliott Sadler as the fastest at 168.429mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #6-Mark Martin, #66-Jeff Green and #31-Jeff Burton.
    Speeds for the LVMS test can be seen on my Las Vegas Testing Page.(1-30-2006)

News from January 29, 2006

  • NASCAR Drivers running Rolex 24 At Daytona UPDATE winners: At least nine drivers with NASCAR ties are scheduled to test Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series cars Thursday through Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Jan. 28-29 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Defending Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart and recently retired Rusty Wallace are on the entry list for testing. They will be teammates – but in different cars – for Howard-Boss Motorsports. Ganassi Racing driver Casey Mears will be part of Ganassi’s driver lineup, which includes former Cup driver Scott Pruett, who still drives road-course Cup events. Two-time Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie is on the entry list, as are Mexican drivers Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain, who ran partial schedules in the Busch Series last year. NBC commentator and former Cup driver Wally Dallenbach will also participate.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), also Northeast short-tracker Ted Christopher and former Truck/Busch Series driver David Donohue will run the race.(Elmira Star Gazette)(1-5-2006)
    MORE NASCAR Ties: other drivers with “NASCAR Ties”:
    Christian Fittipaldi (Cup/Busch); Butch Leitzinger (Cup/Busch); Darrin Brassfield (Cup in 1989); Tommy Riggins (Cup/Busch); Jack Baldwin (Busch); Tommy Archer (Trucks); Mike Borkowski (Busch/Trucks); Tony Ave (Cup start); Chris Bingham (Busch); Ron Fellows is testing the #40 with Bingham this week in Daytona and could end up running the race.(Mike Paz, DIS PR Announcer)(1-6-2006)
    PLUS: NASCAR NBC Broadcaster and racing legend, Benny Parsons, will be the grand marshal of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.(1-9-2006)
    WINNERS The team of Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon and Casey Mears survived the Rolex 24 to give car owner Chip Ganassi a victory in America’s most prestigious sports car endurance event. Reigning Indy Racing League champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Wheldon, former IRL champ Dixon and NASCAR star Mears drove together for the first time and put together a solid effort on the way to victory Sunday. Avoiding major trouble was the key in this grueling twice-around-the-clock battle that saw seven different leaders, all of them among the 31 Daytona Prototypes that started at the front of the 66-car field at 12:10 p.m. Saturday. The winning Lexus Riley covered 734 laps and 2,613.04 miles on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile, 14-turn road circuit. That was good for a one-lap victory over the Lexus Riley of Champ Car teammates A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson and Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson. The winner among the 400-horsepower GT entries was the Porsche GT3 Cup car driven by Randy Pobst, Michael Levitas, Ian Baas and Spencer Pumpelly, finishing ninth overall. NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart fell out of the race with mechanical problems.(ESPN.com/AP)
    INFO: more information about the race at grandamerican.comDaytona Beach News JournalDaytona Intl Speedway site or daytona24hr.com..(1-29-2006)
  • Emerson Climate Technologies partners up with RCR: Emerson Climate Technologies has been named an official partner of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and will be an associate sponsor of the #29 GM Goodwrench/Reese’s team in the NEXTEL Cup Series and #2 ACDelco team in the Busch Series. Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, is a provider of technology solutions for the global heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries serving residential, industrial and commercial markets. Key products of Emerson Climate Technologies include Copeland Scroll compressors, White-Rodgers thermostats and controls, and Emerson motors. Emerson Climate Technologies will use its RCR program as a relationship-building tool with industry-leading HVAC and refrigeration contractors through point of purchase and internet promotions, driver appearances at industry events, show car appearances, bringing contractors to race events, and events at the team’s race shop. For more information, visit www.EmersonClimate.com.(RCR PR)(1-29-2006)

    News from January 28, 2006

  • Stewart: Rib might be cracked: Tony Stewart said Friday that his ribs are hurting more than his arm, two weeks after his accident in his Midget car at the Chili Bowl. Stewart said he likely has a cracked rib, but it did not shown up on X-rays taken after his Jan. 13 accident in the race in Tulsa, where he flipped his car. Stewart talked about his injuries before he had a chance to practice for the Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. The race begins at noon Saturday, and Stewart is teamed with road racing aces Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. The team will start the race 21st. “It’s actually my ribs that are bothering me,” Stewart said. “The arm is fine. The arm is back to 100 percent. The ribs, there is really nothing you can do but rest and relax. That’s what we’ve done from the time it happened until now. We just tried to rest as much as possible and give it time to heal. It’s going to be a painful weekend, I’m sure. The good thing about adrenaline is that adrenaline will mask a lot of that and we will get through 24 hours no problem.” Stewart said the X-rays on his ribs were inconclusive. “[The doctor] is pretty confident that there is a crack somewhere they couldn’t find,” Stewart said. “I’m not a doctor and don’t understand this stuff, but he said if I came back two days later, he would probably be able to see it better. He said there’s no point in coming back and verifying that because there’s nothing they can do anyway. It’s just painful.” The injured ribs will hurt him more driving on a road course rather than when he tests Monday and Tuesday in his Nextel Cup car at Las Vegas, Stewart said. “The hard thing is we’re doing it back-to-back for four straight days,” Stewart said.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-28-2006)
  • Kenseth signs multi-year deal with Roush UPDATE: Matt Kenseth has signed a multi-year contract with Roush Racing to continue to drive the #17 DEWALT Ford. Kenseth and Roush Racing’s relationship dates back to 1999. “We are very pleased that Matt extended his contract with Roush Racing last fall,” said Jack Roush, owner of Roush Racing. “Matt is one of the most talented drivers in the garage and he’ll always hold a special place in our organization, having helped to bring us our first Cup championship in 2003. It’s very assuring knowing that he will be staying on with us and I know that the first goal on his agenda is to take that championship trophy back.”(Roush Racing PR), no terms mentioned.(1-27-2006)
    UPDATE: Terms were not disclosed, beyond the deal being described as “multi-year.” Team owner Jack Roush has said he has driver and sponsor agreements for all five of his Nextel Cup cars until 2010 or beyond.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-28-2006)
  • Busch’s court date postponed again UPDATE 2: #2-Kurt Busch has a court date today in Maricopa County (Ariz.) on charges of criminal reckless driving stemming from a Nov. 11 traffic stop near Phoenix International Raceway where he verbally abused officers, according to charging documents.(St. Petersburg Times
    UPDATE: For the second time Kurt Busch has had his Maricopa County Arizona court date postponed. Tolleson Justice Court Judge Joe “Pep” Guzman granted Busch’s lawyer another continuance however the date has not yet been set. Busch was charged with reckless driving after being stopped by a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy last November.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-27-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Lawyers for Kurt Busch have asked for a continuance in his pretrial hearing originally set for Jan. 27 at the Agua Fria Justice Court in Tolleson. His lawyers have 30 days to reschedule his hearing.(Arizona Republic)(1-28-2006)

    News from January 27, 2006

  • UMI’s NASCAR Preview and Press Guide marks 20th year: UMI Publications announces the 20th annual issue of The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide 2006 marks the magazine’s 20th year of being the trackside companion since 1986. With unmatched quality, insightfully written features and unique format, there is no question why for 20 years the Press Guide has been THE magazine of choice for true NASCAR fans and industry professionals alike! The 2006 Press Guide waves the green flag on the beginning on this year’s racing action with over 450 pages of the most accurate and valued sources of information highlighting and previewing every NASCAR series across the country. The Press Guide will be available on newsstands beginning February 1st or copies may be ordered directly from UMI at 800-747-9287 or umibooks.com.(1-27-2006)
  • Vickers cleared to test: #25-Brian Vickers, who missed the Daytona test earlier this month because of sports hernia surgery, received clearance from his doctor Wednesday to participate in the Nextel Cup test at Las Vegas later this week. David Green will be on standby as a backup driver.(Charleston Post and Courier)(1-27-2006)
  • Newman/Busch split Busch duties: Penske Racing announced its two drivers, #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch, will split time in 14 Busch Series races this season [#39 Dodge](Florence Morning News)(1-27-2006)
  • DW and Buzzie make EMPA HOF: This Saturday, Jan 28th, Darrell Waltrip and Emil “Buzzie” Reutimann will be inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame during the annual convention at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Trevose, Pennsylvania. To be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame, is a special honor for Waltrip and the elder Reutimann. “It is always flattering when people want to recognize your accomplishments that you worked so hard to earn,” said Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion with 84 career wins. “I’m thrilled Buzzie and I are both winners together. The Reutimann family is a class act and I am excited about the opportunities that lie before Buzzie’s son, David, for the future with my team.”
    The 64-year-old echoes Waltrip’s sentiment. “I would like to thank the press for telling our stories over the years,” said Reutimann. “If it wasn’t for them writing the stories, we wouldn’t be anywhere. Without them, Buzzie Reutimann wouldn’t be Buzzie Reutimann. I wouldn’t be receiving an award tomorrow night if it wasn’t for them. What they write is what you save in your scrapbooks. It is the memories you have. They write the memories we have and I know DW feels the same.” As Waltrip supposedly competed in his final NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway last October, Reutimann continues to race and win championships at age 64. As Reutimann accepts his award, he will be also accepting on behalf of Waltrip in his absence. “I want to thank my dear friend Buzzie Reutimann for filling in for me,” said Waltrip. “I am so thankful for this honor, but I do have one concern. Buzzie is a racer and he always has been and always will be. He is like me and he is always racing for the trophy. So, I’m a little concerned that Buzzie is taking two trophies to his house tomorrow tonight and that I will never see mine.”(Darrell Waltrip Motorsports PR)((1-27-2006)
  • Quit Smoking Program teams up with NASCAR: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare has launched “QUIT Crew” a smoking cessation program through its 2006 NASCAR sponsorship. The program is designed to help partnering teams within NASCAR to quit smoking and help reduce the number of smokers throughout the sport. Last season, GSK Consumer Healthcare conducted a pilot program with the Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing team [#41 Dodge in Cup]. Sixteen members of the Ganassi Racing Team in Concord, NC participated in the program last year. Thus far, Hendrick Motorsports, Petty Enterprises and Chip Ganassi Racing have signed up to offer the program to their employees. Other teams are expected to join the program as it’s offered more broadly over the next several weeks.
    When a group enrolls in the program, interested team members will be invited to an orientation and seminar about quitting smoking presented by Frank Vitale of the University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy School. During orientation, Vitale will explain the process of quitting, the products available to help them and enroll those interested in joining the 10-12 week program.
    Program participants will be counseled and monitored closely by GSK Consumer Healthcare smoking cessation counselors on a weekly basis. Vitale will meet with participants privately the afternoon of the seminar and will be available to them by telephone during the program. GSK Consumer Healthcare is providing counselor services free of charge as well as a starter kit of smoking cessation products. In addition, GSK Consumer Healthcare smoking cessation counselors will be available to crew members in the garage areas at 30 NASCAR races this season.
    To inspire NASCAR fans to quit, each participating team will be given an opportunity to take a video camera provided by GSK Consumer Healthcare to document their thoughts and experiences during the quit smoking process. The challenges they encounter will be documented on the quit2winracing.com web site to help others understand what the quitting process is really like.(Lighthouse Marketing PR)(1-27-2006)
  • Randy LaJoie to drive the #34 car in 2006: Front Row Motorsports announced that Randy LaJoie has been retained to drive the #34 car for the 2006 season. Randy will join teammate Chad Chaffin, driver of the #92 FRM Chevy. The second team was formed as a partnership between car owners Bob Jenkins and Chris Edwards [former Mach 1 owner]. ” We worked with Chris and his team last year, and felt like we were able to share information between the two cars. With the success that Randy has had in the Busch series, and Chad has had in the truck series, we believe that we will continue to improve upon last year’s results. We have a unique opportunity for these two teams to compete for spots with in the top 35 in points and we intend to do everything within our power to get them there.”
    “Our philosophy is that in this sport, you have to make your own place at the table and our goal is to do exactly that,” stated Jenkins. Both teams will be based out of FRM’s Denver, NC facility. The team is currently adding additional positions including crew chief, fabricators, and track personnel, see my Racing Schools page for more info.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(1-27-2006)
  • Alltel Extends #12 Sponsorship: Alltel has signed an agreement to extend its sponsorship with Penske Racing South through 2008, company officials announced Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Our relationship with Penske Racing and Ryan Newman has provided invaluable exposure and creative marketing opportunities over the past six years to win new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones,” said Scott Ford, Alltel President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to capitalizing on those opportunities even more this year and, with this extension, for many years to come.”
    “Alltel has become synonymous with myself and the #12 Dodge in NASCAR Cup racing,” Newman said. “They’ve been with us since the very beginning of this venture. They have always been very supportive of me, Matt (Borland, crew chief), the entire Alltel team and Penske Racing. Alltel stands by their service with America’s only network quality quarantee and I stand by their quality as a sponsor in this series. I’m proud to be associated with Alltel and to have them on the #12 Dodge.”
    “Penske Racing South is excited and proud to have the opportunity to continue our successful relationship with Alltel,” Roger Penske said. “Alltel has been a terrific sponsor with great products, services and people. We look forward to providing the Alltel employees, their customers and their race fans with many more victories over the next several years.”(Penske Racing)(1-27-2006)
  • No Plans for Penske to switch: Penske officials announced a contract extension that will keep Alltel as Ryan Newman’s sponsor through the 2008 season. Walt Czarnecki, Penske Racing LLC president, also said the team has “a long-term commitment from Dodge,” obviously implying that no move to Toyota was imminent. “We wanted to answer that question because I anticipated that coming up,” he said.(Gaston Gazette)
    AND John Fernandez, Dodge’s racing boss, was asked about the possibility that some of his Dodge teams might jump ship. “Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi and Ray Evernham are all under contract for periods of time beyond when Toyota is coming into the marketplace,” Fernandez said. “Nothing is guaranteed, but we believe those people will be loyal to us.” Penske Racing’s Don Miller said that Roger Penske’s Dodge contract runs through the end of 2009.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-27-2006)
  • Three Teams to field Camry’s in 2007 Cup Series UPDATE 2 Harvick?: hearing that Bill Davis Racing [#22,23], Michael Waltrip Racing [#55] and Team Red Bull will run the Toyota Camry in 2007 when Toyota enters the series. In addition to Red Bull, other sponsors that will be associated with the Toyota teams are Caterpillar (Bill Davis Racing) and NAPA (Michael Waltrip Racing). Team Red Bull will be based in Mooresville, NC, and stock car veteran Marty Gaunt [Penske] will serve as the team’s general manager. Who will drive for Red Bull? how many teams/cars? not sure, Robby Gordon, who owns his own team has been sponsored by Red Bull. And have heard that Kevin Harvick, who drivers the #29 RCR Chevy, could be one of the drivers for Red Bull team. Expect these teams, but doubt the Red Bull drivers, in part to be announced at Toyota’s Press Conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tonight.(1-24-2006)
    UPDATE: One veteran race team with close to 20 years of stock car experience, another with an owner who has been driving race cars for more than 20 years, and a third totally new team will all be running the Toyota Camry in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull will all utilize the “Most Popular Car in America” when the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season kicks-off next February with the Daytona 500, Toyota and teams announced.
    Bill Davis Racing has been a regular competitor in the NASCAR Cup Series since 1993, while Michael Waltrip Racing has primarily been involved in the Busch Series. Team Red Bull is new to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, although the company has been heavily involved in worldwide motorsports. In addition to Red Bull, other primary sponsors that will be associated with the Toyota teams are Caterpillar (Bill Davis Racing) and NAPA (Michael Waltrip Racing). Caterpillar has been associated with Bill Davis Racing for nine years and NAPA has had a relationship with Michael Waltrip for five years. Team Red Bull will be based in Mooresville, N.C., and stock car veteran Marty Gaunt will serve as the team’s general manager. Although Red Bull is new to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition, the world’s leading energy drink company has been increasingly involved in global motorsports over the last decade. Red Bull owns and operates two Formula One teams — Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso — plus is an active supporter of action and adventure sports, music and culture, along with motorsports.(Toyota Motorsports Site), see full PR on my Toyota News page.(1-25-2006)
    UPDATE 2 more on Harvick: Unless car owner Richard Childress can sign him to a long-term extension, Kevin Harvick will be one of the top free agents for the 2007 season — just in time for Toyota to make its NASCAR debut. “They are going to make a run at a lot of drivers, and everyone is aware that Kevin’s contract is up,” Childress said Thursday. “I am sure they are going to make a run at him.” Harvick has been reluctant to negotiate with Childress, unsure of where the program is headed. Until he’s sure that Childress can give him a team capable of winning a championship, Harvick doesn’t want to commit to anything. “We’ve kind of agreed to sit down in April and just kind of evaluate where things are,” Harvick said. “I’m not going to rush into things and do things I don’t want to do. I think right now we are in the same frame of mind about our goals, and our goals are to go out and get the season going out good and make the Chase. All the rest of it, the paper stuff, is something that’s not high on the list right now.”
    But contracts are high on the list to Toyota, which announced Monday it will field Nextel Cup teams in 2007. The Japanese automaker will have at least three teams and anywhere from four to seven drivers, depending on sponsorship. Bill Davis Racing is expected to field two drivers, and Michael Waltrip, who will drive for his own team, wants to field two cars. Team Red Bull, a startup, was Toyota’s announced third team and has revealed very few details about its operation. It’s led to speculation that Toyota will recruit top drivers and hand-deliver them to Red Bull. Harvick should be on the top of Toyota’s list, and he apparently knows it. “Our position right now is favorable,” he smiled.
    But Childress knows it will take more than a blank check to lure Harvick away. “I don’t know that it’s all about money with Kevin Harvick — if we can get our teams back to where he’s competitive that’s going to mean a lot to him,” Childress said. Aside from his unquestionable driving talent, Harvick’s growing business could also be an interest to Toyota. In just three years, Kevin Harvick Inc. has grown to an established operation with 65 employees, two Busch Series and a Truck Series team. It could be just the operation Toyota would like to support. “I think there are a lot scenarios, but we just have to concentrate on what we are doing,” Harvick said. “Right now, I don’t have a whole lot of comment on that.”(ESPN.com/AP)(1-27-006)
  • Danica thinks Cup sched is too long: Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick said Thursday that the 36-race Nextel Cup season intimidates her. Patrick, who is teaming with Rusty Wallace, Allan McNish and Jan Lammers this weekend at the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race at Daytona International Speedway, offered the assessment at the track. “The thought of NASCAR has always been there,” Patrick said. “It definitely is something that I would never rule out. Like I’ve told Rusty and everyone else, I’m just not sure that I have the energy to do that many races. That’s my biggest complaint. So if NASCAR cuts down their year – by half maybe? – I’d think about it. I think it would be a lot of fun racing it.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-27-2006)
  • Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Award Winners: The six journalists honored Wednesday evening during the 21st annual presentation of the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin included a writer who detailed former driver Ward Burton’s wildlife conservation efforts for the Richmond Times-Dispatch;and a Bristol, Va., television reporter who earned first-place in two categories for a story that allowed viewers to see in Rusty Wallace’s face and hear in his voice his belief that son, Stephen, will carry the Wallace racing torch into the future.
    The Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence traditionally recognize outstanding motorsports coverage in five categories while honoring the memory of Russ Catlin, a motorsports journalism pioneer. This year, two additional categories were added to recognize outstanding print and electronic coverage of Wallace’s “Last Call,” the 1989 series champion’s final season of Nextel Cup racing.
    Each winner received a plaque and a Rolex watch from Miller Lite Nextel Cup driver Kurt Busch following a dinner at the Penske Racing South facility in Mooresville, N.C. The event was part of the Nextel Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedeway.
    The 2005 Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin winners:
    Print – Daily: Nate Ryan – Richmond Times-Dispatch, Entry: “Call of the Wild (Ward Burton)”
    Print – Other: Mike Hembree – NASCAR Scene, Entry: “The Driver and the Dandy”
    Print – “Last Call”: Rea White – NASCAR Scene; Entry: “End of the Show”
    Broadcast – National: Mike Massaro – ESPN “Outside the Lines”, Entry: “Cheat to Win”
    Broadcast – Local: Paul Johnson – WCYB – TV, Entry: “The Crash”
    Broadcast – “Last Call”: Paul Johnson – WCYB – TV, Entry: “The Crash”
    Photojournalism: Phil Rider – Sports Illustrated, Entry: “Fire Escape”
    (Tom Roberts PR)(1-27-2006)

    News from January 26, 2006

  • Testing at Las Vegas – Jan 30/31-Feb 1: Las Vegas Motor Speedway has received 41 entries for NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas. This test session, which many NASCAR drivers are calling the most important of the season, will take place Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1. Each team will be allowed to test for two of the three days. The public is invited to watch the test sessions free of charge each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for the March 10-12 NASCAR Weekend are available by calling 1-800-644-4444 or logging on to www.lvms.com.
    Here is a tentative list of test dates and drivers:
    Jan. 30-31: #07-Clint Bowyer, #31-Jeff Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #7-Robby Gordon, #66-Jeff Green, #29-Kevin Harvick, #88-Dale Jarrett, #32-Travis Kvapil, #6-Mark Martin, #26-Jamie McMurray, #38-Elliott Sadler, #00-Hermie Sadler, #21-Ken Schrader, #49-Brent Sherman, #41-Reed Sorenson, #40-David Stremme, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #55-Michael Waltrip and #4-Scott Wimmer.
    Jan. 31-Feb. 1: #16-Greg Biffle, #22-Dave Blaney, #2-Kurt Busch, #5-Kyle Busch, #99-Carl Edwards, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #9-Kasey Kahne, #17-Matt Kenseth, #43-Bobby Labonte, #96-Terry Labonte, #14-Sterling Marlin, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #42-Casey Mears, #01-Joe Nemechek, #12-Ryan Newman, #45-Kyle Petty, #10-Scott Riggs and #25-Brian Vickers.
    Jan. 30 and Feb. 1: #11-Denny Hamlin, #20-Tony Stewart and #18-J.J. Yeley.
    NOTES: also scheduled to test is #04-Bobby Hamilton Jr.(Dodge), #51-Maike Garvey and #03-Todd Bodine.
    PLUS: There will be a major announcement regarding construction projects at LVMS on Monday, January 30th at LVMS.(LVMS)
    TV: news and info from the test session will be aired on Speed Channel at 7:00pm/et on Wed., Feb 1st.
    AND on Tuesday, Jan. 31st, the track will hold “LVMS Night of Champions”, more info on my Racing Charities page.(1-26-2006)
  • Geoff Bodine honored, coins to help: On Saturday, 19 Cup race winner, Geoff Bodine was inducted into the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of a Fame during its annual awards banquet in Albany, NY. The NYSSCA has a Hall of Fame display in the Saratoga Automobile Museum. More info and images of the event at geoffbodinefanclub.com
    AND The medals that were awarded to the 10 NASCAR drivers competing in the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge earlier this month were collectible coins that are now on sale to the public. Proceeds will go to the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. Boris Said and Kevin Lepage were the winners of the Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid on Jan. 7. The event will be televised on ESPN2 with a one-hour show at 11:00am/et Sunday [Jan 29] and on Speed Channel with a two-hour special at 2:00pm/et, Saturday, Feb. 4. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project was started by Bodine to design and build Made in America bobsleds for the USA Bobsled Team.(Elmira Star Gazette)
    More info on the coins on my Racing Charities page.(1-26-2006)
  • Hendrick offer bonus for The Chase: Hendrick Motorsports Team owner Rick Hendrick said he will split a $1,248,525 bonus between his four full-time teams if they qualify, figuring to increase his odds of winning the title. Last season Roush Racing placed its five Fords in the 10-race playoff among the top 10 drivers. Hendrick’s lone qualifier, Jimmie Johnson, finished fifth. “We’re thankful for what we’ve done, but that doesn’t count,” Hendrick said Wednesday during the media tour of Nextel Cup garages. “We’re hungry for another championship here. We want to win Busch and Cup titles, we want to all be in the Chase, we have bonuses, we have coins that say all four are in the Chase …” The bonus amount is comprised of the car numbers of four-time champ Jeff Gordon (24), Johnson (48), ’05 Rookie of the Year Kyle Busch (5) and Brian Vickers (25).(USA Today)(1-26-2006)
  • More on Toyota’s move to Cup: According to Toyota Racing Development officials, the newest manufacturer will field six Camrys when it debuts in 2007. Bill Davis Racing, Waltrip-Jasper Racing and Team Red Bull will each enter two apiece. The only driver sure to be racing a Toyota in 2007 is Michael Waltrip. Dave Blaney, who will drive a Dodge for Davis this year, is only under a one-year contract with the team.(Gaston Gazette)(1-26-2006)
  • Ganassi’s comments about Toyota: Q) Does the new Manufacturer’s Lineup [now with Toyota] surprise you and would you consider joining them [Toyota]? A-Chip Ganassi – #40, #41, #42 team owner) “I’ve been in Phoenix all week, so I’m not exactly sure what they announced or who they announced. Whoever they go with, I think you saw in the truck series they made winners out of teams that were otherwise not. I don’t really know what their plans are for teams or drivers, but I can assure you they’ll do it right no matter who they’re with. We were with them for a lot of years and had some success with them on the Indy car side. Right now we don’t have any plans to switch off from Dodge. We’ll see what happens down the road, but right now that’s not in our plans.”(Clear!Blue PR)(1-26-2006)
  • Wood to run 7 Cup races, McSwain to crew chief: Michael “Fatback” McSwain, who stepped down as crew chief from the Wood Brothers #21 Ford to oversee the team’s move from Mooresville, NC, to Harrisburg, NC, and the competition end of the team’s merger and expansion, will be back atop the pit box later this season. McSwain will be the crew chief for Jon Wood’s #47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, which will be entered in seven Cup races. And there could be more such work in the future. “Have I done my last (full-time) crew chiefing? Have I been on the pit box for the last time? I don’t know,” McSwain said. “Me personally, the only thing that I’d like to do that I haven’t done … I’d like to win a championship. If I could take a young guy who’s learning to be a Cup crew chief and help him or teach him, that’d be equally as gratifying as me doing it myself.”(Speed Channel)(1-26-2006)
  • Boys and Girls Club to Honor DW: Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader and football great Terry Bradshaw are a few of the sports figures that will be on hand to “roast” NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip at the 17th annual Steak & Burger Dinner on March 14, 2006, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Franklin/Williamson County. Newschannel 5 sports director Hope Hines will emcee the event. Other roasters include Mike Helton, president of NASCAR; David Hill, CEO of FOX Sports; Rudy Kalis, of WSMV; George Plaster, of WGFX The Zone; and entertainer T. Graham Brown along with several surprises. See full details on my Racing Charities page.(1-26-2006)
  • Energizer scheme for Sorenson at California IMAGE: Energizer has announced plans to unveil a special edition paint scheme on the #41 Dodge driven by Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) rookie Reed Sorenson. The new design will be unveiled on January 25 as part of a media day at the CGRFS facility in Concord, NC. This uniquely designed Energizer e2 Lithium Dodge will be featured exclusively in the Fontana, Calif. race on February 26. The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World’s Longest Lasting AA /AAA Batteries in High Tech Devices, alongside the famous Energizer Bunny.(Yahoo Biz)(1-24-2006)
    IMAGE: see image of the car and more #41’s on my #41 Team Schemes page.(1-26-2006)
  • N.C. college announces motorsports degree program: Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC, has disclosed plans for what it says will be the first four-year degree with emphasis on the business of motorsports management. Students in the program will work toward a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration on motorsports management. The Charlotte-area college will begin offering the program during the next fall semester. The courses will focus on four areas, including a traditional liberal arts core combined with courses in sports marketing, racing management, team management and three required internships in various areas of the industry. NASCAR specialists will be involved in teaching the coursework.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-26-2006)
  • Checkers Expands Role with NASCAR Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, the nation’s largest chain of double drive-thru restaurants and the Official Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, announced that it is expanding its popular Double Drive-Thru Challenge Contingency program from the NEXTEL Cup Series to include the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series as well. Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge focuses on the team element of the race that is integral to successful performances each week. To win, teams were required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time in pit lane. For details on the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, visit checkers.com.(Yahoo Biz)(1-26-2006)

    News from January 25, 2006

  • Rusty auditions for ABC/ESPN IRL gig UPDATE: Don’t look now, but the IRL’s television broadcast team is about to get a new face. Actually, it figures to be an old one. Auditioning as Autoweek went to press was retiring NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, who appears to be prepping for a switch to the Nextel Cup announcers booth when ABC and ESPN get back in the game in 2007. Hiring Wallace, an avid Indy car fan, figures to be a win-win for all parties, including the IRL, which is in desperate need of a ratings jolt. The IRL’s play-by-play voice figures to be Brian Kenny, host of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2, with former driver Scott Goodyear joining Wallace in the booth. Jerry Punch, Jack Arute and Jamie Little will be the pit reporters.(Autoweek)(1-20-2006)
    UPDATE: Retirement didn’t last very long for Rusty Wallace, who only needed about two months to land a job in a new profession. Wallace became the first on-air hire by ESPN and ABC Sports when he was named lead auto racing analyst on Wednesday. His first assignment will be covering next month’s Daytona 500 for ESPN’s SportsCenter. “I feel like broadcasting is my calling,” Wallace said. “I knew when I retired this is what I wanted to do. I feel like I am well educated in the cars, NASCAR, the whole industry.” ESPN and ABC will broadcast 17 Nextel Cup races beginning in 2007, the first year of an eight-year contract the networks signed with NASCAR. In preparation for his move into the broadcasting booth, Wallace will spend this upcoming season analyzing Indy Racing League events, including this year’s Indianapolis 500. Wallace, the 1989 Cup champion, ended his 22-year career last November. “Rusty earned the respect and admiration of fellow drivers and fans with his engaging personality and unquestioned racing ability — attributes that will continue to entertain race fans,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-25-2006)
  • Looks like Mikey, NAPA and Toyota in 2007 UPDATE, IMAGES: hearing that NAPA will continue to sponsor Michael Waltrip in the #55 NAPA Camry and welcoming Toyota into their first year of Nextel Cup competition. Expect this to be announced at Toyota’s Press Conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tonight. See images of the #55 NAPA Toyota on my Toyota Images page.(1-24-2006)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip announced that Michael Waltrip Racing will field multiple Toyota Camry entries in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series when the green flag waves for the 2007 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. “Toyota is a leader in the automotive industry and has quickly become a consistent winner in the NASCAR Truck Series,” Waltrip said. “The logical step is for them to come into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and I am honored to be a part of their entrance into the sport.”
    Driving the #55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Waltrip has support from all of his sponsors and he has the resources in place to chase the coveted NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship. In addition to NAPA supporting Waltrip’s efforts, Best Western, Klaussner (Sofa Express and More) and Coca-Cola will be heavily involved in his racing endeavors during Toyota’s inaugural year in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. To prepare for the future of Michael Waltrip Racing, Waltrip devised a plan to achieve his goal of becoming a successful owner in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Setting the stage in August of 2005, Waltrip announced his plans to design and create Waltrip Racing World, an interactive high-tech race shop designed for the ultimate fan experience.(MWR PR), see the full PR on my #55 Team News and Links page.(1-25-2006)
  • MB2 Update on sponsorship: MB2 Motorsports CEO Jay Frye said Tuesday that the team right now has sponsorship commitments for only 14 of 36 races this season for Sterling Marlin’s #14 Chevy [12 with Waste Managment, 2 with Centrix]. Frye said he expected to have another partial sponsor signed by week’s end to take 12 additional races and has some good candidates to sponsor the car in the remaining 10 dates. As for the team’s part-time #36 third car, which will be driven at Daytona by Bill Elliott, it only has sponsorship for two races at the moment. Frye said if he can find funding for it, Elliott, Boris Said or both could do some additional races behind the wheel.(Speed Channel)(1-25-2006)
  • Stewart and team visit President Bush: #20-Tony Stewart has had such a successful racing career that he’s becoming a regular at the White House. Stewart said President Bush recalled his two previous visits to the Oval Office — one for his first Cup championship and another with other top drivers — when he came in for a third Tuesday. “It’s a real big honor to be able to come here and have the president remember you,” Stewart told reporters as he left the West Wing. “He said, `I’d like to see you back here next year.’ So I’m definitely on his side on that. I would love to come back here next year as a champion again.” Stewart’s entire team was included in the meeting. Stewart gave Bush a team driving suit, and Bush checked out the car parked outside. Joe Gibbs, owner of the team and coach of the Washington Redskins, said Bush was joking with all the guys. It got so chummy that one team member gave the president a sporty pat on the rear and told him he is doing a good job, Gibbs said. “I was talking to Tony, and I said, `Who would believe that eight years ago when I was talking to you on this ramp at this little airport and we were trying to get together racing, we’d wind up at the White House?”‘ Gibbs said. “So, it’s a big thrill for all of us.”(ESPN.com/AP)(1-25-2006)
  • Race Purses Won’t Drop: NASCAR will attempt to keep race purses in 2007 at the same level as 2006 even though the television contract will be worth approximately $70 million to $100 million less. The new $4.48 billion contract eventually will increase the annual revenues, but the first year of the eight-year deal is less than the final year of the six-year deal signed in 2001. About 25% of the contract goes to the purse. The 2006 deal is worth approximately $575 million, while the 2007 deal is worth $470 million to $500 million, according to International Speedway Corp. estimates. “We’re working on that to make sure that there is a smooth bridge,” France said Jan. 23. “It is not uncommon – the NFL’s deal has the same issue that we had. These contracts sometimes are back loaded. Even though the total amount is higher in the new contract, it could be a slight decrease from one year to the next. “But we’ll work on that and to make sure we keep the purses going to the right direction.” NASCAR could require tracks to put more money into the purses, NASCAR could put more money into the purse or NASCAR could increase the plan and contingency money to increase the purse.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), see a race-to-race comparison of 2004 purses vs. 2005 purses on my MISC States page.(1-25-2006)
  • Roush and NASCAR agree on downsizing: Five-Team Owner [#’s 6,16,17,26,99] Jack Roush said he and NASCAR have agreed on the basics of how to get his Nextel Cup team down to four cars, which was mandated by the sanctioning body late last season. “We will go back to four teams, but it’s not immediate,” Roush said. “There is a cap of four [Cup teams]. I will comply with that when I’m past my commitments I have with drivers and sponsors. We’ve finally got an understanding of what is possible and what we can do.” Roush would not speculate on when his team might go back to four cars, but said his existing commitments expire between 2009 and 2011.(Ford Racing)(1-25-2006)
  • Hendrick makes $3 million donation in Ricky’s name: Carolinas Healthcare System announced the commitment of $3 million from the Rick and Linda Hendrick family to benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. In recognition of the gift, Levine Children’s Hospital will dedicate its Pediatric Intensive Care Centers in honor of the Hendrick’s late son and youngest child, Ricky Hendrick. Encompassing the sixth floor of the new hospital, the Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care will house the facility’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the region’s first Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. The Centers will feature a five-room sleep inn for parents, two private family waiting areas, a large open waiting space and a state-of-the-art business lounge. “Our family is proud to make this pledge in Ricky’s name,” said Linda Hendrick, Ricky’s mother. “He was a young man who would run, not walk, to wherever he was going. This hospital will make certain that others have the same opportunity.” Lauded by planners as the hospital’s “heart and soul,” the Centers will treat the most critically ill and injured children from across the region. Upon completion in summer 2007, the 234-bed facility will be the third-largest of its kind in the southeastern United States and the largest between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. “Our son placed a great importance on doing one’s part to help others,” said Ricky’s father, Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports. “He had a passion for making a difference in people’s lives, which is exactly what Levine Children’s Hospital will do for families of this region.” Currently under construction on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center, Levine Children’s Hospital will have the capacity to provide daily treatment to hundreds of patients from all walks of life. Its forward-thinking design will foster a warm and loving environment that is also state of the art. Levine Children’s Hospital, already under construction on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center, will be dedicated solely to the needs of children and their families. Expanding upward to 12 stories, the new children’s hospital will feature several of the region’s “firsts,” including a dedicated cardiac intensive care unit and a 24-hour pediatric emergency department.(Carolinas Healthcare System PR)(1-25-2006)
  • Testing at Texas: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #43-Bobby Labonte had an early opportunity to gain some valuable track time at Texas Motor Speedway as they participated in a special two-day tire test session Tuesday. With NASCAR’s new testing policy limiting NEXTEL Cup teams to six designated tracks (Daytona, Las Vegas, Lowe’s in Charlotte, Richmond, Indianapolis, Homestead-Miami) at appointed dates during the season, Earnhardt Jr. and Labonte are getting dialed in for the two races at Texas Motor Speedway during the two-day test. Labonte and Earnhardt Jr. will close out their test session Wednesday with another full day before heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week with their NEXTEL Cup competitors for one of the six NASCAR-sanctioned test sessions.(TMS PR)(1-25-2006)
  • Newmans make donation to Humane Society: Ryan Newman, Nextel Cup Series driver of the #12 alltel Dodge, and his wife Krissie Newman have revved up the Humane Society of Catawba County Capital Campaign by pledging a $400,000 donation to name the facility’s regional spay/neuter clinic. The Newmans have a close relationship with the Humane Society, which is located in Hickory, North Carolina. They serve as the honorary co-chairs of organization’s capital campaign, and Krissie Newman serves on the no-kill animal shelter’s board of directors.(Ryan Newman Foundation)(1-25-2006)

    News from January 24, 2006

  • Schwan’s to #45? hearing that Schwan’s Home Service, who sponsored the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2004-2005 with Ken Schrader, could be heading to Petty Enterprises to be the primary sponsor for Kyle Petty on the #45 Dodge for 10-12 races in 2006. Wells Fargo already announced they would run 12 races as primary. Also there is a rumor floating around, but unable to confirm it at all, the new Coca-Cola soft drink, Vault could sponsor Petty in some fashion.(1-24-2006)
  • Hill presents artwork to Martin: One perk of winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is that Mooresville-based artist Garry Hill does a commemorative painting of each year’s key moment, and the members of the winning team get prints of the limited edition work. Hill unveiled the 2005 painting showing Mark Martin celebrating his victory in that race on Monday. “That’s probably the most meaningful victory of my career, and just because I’m getting old and it’s hard to remember the other ones,” Martin joked.(Thatsracin), see an image on my Image Links/News page.(1-24-2006)
  • IROC: Edwards out, Newman in; sched conflict: Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) officials announced a change in the 2006 driver roster. Ryan Newman will replace Carl Edwards representing the NEXTEL Cup Series. A scheduling conflict remains unresolved involving Crown Royal IROC Race Four at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Busch Series race in Memphis, both taking place on Saturday, October 28. Edwards will be competing full-time in the Busch Series in 2006.(IROC Racing PR), see more on my IROC 2006 page.(1-24-2006)
  • Drive for Diversity Drivers Announced: The 2006 Drive for Diversity driver roster was announced by NASCAR Director of Diversity Tish Sheets. The program, which is managed by Access Marketing & Communications, will give eight ethnic and gender diverse drivers the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The drivers were chosen from a pool of over 300 applicants. The Drive for Diversity program was founded in 2004 to help develop diverse and female drivers and crew members and is endorsed as NASCAR’s leading on-trac diversity initiative. Nineteen applicants were chosen to participate in the Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine last October. They were observed during various on-track test sessions and off-track interviews.
    The following eight drivers were selected by their respective team owners to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series this season: Chris Bristol, Brianne Cronrath, Allison Duncan, Marc Davis, Paul Harraka, Jessica Helberg, Jesus Hernandez and Peter Hernandez.(Drive for Diversity PR), see my Racing Schools/Jpbs page for more detail on each driver and which team they will drive for.1-24-2006)
  • Three Inducted into NMHOF: O. Bruton Smith, Paul Sawyer and Butch Lindley were inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 21. Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports Inc. empire currently includes race tracks hosting Nextel Cup Series events in Charlotte, Atlanta, Bristol, Texas, Las Vegas and Sonoma, Calif., debuted in NASCAR in the late 1950s when he, along with driver Curtis Turner, built Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile track opened in 1960, one year after Daytona International Speedway. Although he later lost ownership the track because of financial difficulty, Smith eventually was able to regain control. Years later, it became one of the first to feature sponsor suites, condominiums overlooking the track and lights for night racing, something never before attempted on a 1.5-mile facility.
    The late Sawyer founded Richmond International Raceway, developing it into a 3/4-mile short track that annually sells out two Nextel Cup night races. Sons Wayne and Billy Sawyer were on hand for their father’s induction, with Wayne Sawyer recalling his father’s well-known work ethic. “There was the right way, the wrong way and Paul’s way,” Sawyer said. “There was more than one occasion when I left his office after being told that, and no doubt times when I did so with his footprint on my backside.”
    The late Lindley’s legacy includes Late Model Sportsman championships in 1977 and 1978, as well as points finishes of third or better in 1979, ’80 and ’81.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-24-2006)(

    News from January 23, 2006

  • Nine IMAGEs of the 2007 NASCAR Toyota Camry on my Toyota Camry Scheme page.(1-23-2006)
  • Toyota’s Press Release: NASCAR and Toyota announced Monday the manufacturer’s plans to expand its NASCAR program by competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series starting in 2007, fielding the Toyota Camry model. The expansion will follow three years of Toyota competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and will result in all three of NASCAR’s national series having four manufacturers competing, as Toyota will join Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford.
    “NASCAR welcomes Toyota to the greatest auto racing in the world,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, who made the announcement on Monday at NASCAR’S Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. “Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series is good for drivers, teams and the fans. This move provides for even more intense competition on the track between drivers and manufacturers, which will provide more excitement and fan interest. Toyota’s entry also provides more options for drivers and teams, which will increase the competition between manufacturers.”
    “It’s a great pleasure to announce Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series with the Toyota Camry,” said Dave Illingworth, senior vice president and chief planning and administrative officer for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “Next year – 2007 – will be a special year for Toyota in more ways than one. Toyota will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the United States, and we will be joining the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP Series, America’s premier racing series. Toyota has been an important part of the U.S. motorsports community for almost 25 years. We’ve competed and won in different series and on tracks across America. Toyota drivers and teams have won championships in a variety of different series. But, if you want to compete against the best, in America that means NASCAR. We look forward to February of 2007 when the green flag waves to start the Daytona 500 and the starting lineup features the Toyota Camry.”
    Illingworth, who joined France in making the announcement, said more information – regarding possible sponsor and driver lineups – will be released Tuesday night, during a media gathering at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord.
    Toyota, which has been doing business in America since 1957, now has eight plants in the United States – 14 if you count all of North America. Toyota will build approximately 1.6 million vehicles this year, including production at its new Tundra pickup plant in Texas. Toyota and its dealers now directly employ approximately 142,000 Americans. Since 1986, Toyota has built more than 12 million vehicles in the United States. More than 6.5 million Camrys have been sold in the United States and it has been the bestselling car in America for eight of the past nine years. Camrys are built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Ky.(Toyota.com)(1-23-2006)
  • NASCAR: COT or nothing: NASCAR has unveiled its plan for slowly implementing the car of tomorrow [COT] into competition. NASCAR president Mike Helton says it’s not a matter of whether it’s going to happen but when, so resistance from teams concerned about costs is futile [the Borg?].(Sporting News)(1-23-2006)
  • NASCAR Makes Announcements: at 12:15pm/et on Monday, January 23, NASCAR and CEO Brian France made some announements from the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, NC:
    Toyota: Toyota’s Dave Illingworth announced that Toyota will run the Toyota Camry model in the Busch and Nextel Cup Series in 2007 and continuing in the Truck Series. Toyota will not have any Toyota branded teams/cars as teams will bring theie owns sponsors to the teams. The 2007 Camry was unveiled. Past news and the PR and iamges of the car on my Toyota News page. There will a more detailed press conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Tueday evening [Jan 24th]
    Car of Tomorrow: will debut at Bristol Motor Speedway in early 2007. France said the goal was so teams didn’t have to have special cars for each type of track [short term, road course, intermediate, super speedway]. NASCAR’s Gary Nelson then gave many details on the COT.. Past news and the PR on my Car of Tomorrow News/Image page.(1-23-2006)
  • Car of Tomorrow [COT] announcement: NASCAR announced the Car of Tomorrow will begin competition in 2007. Teams will use the newly-designed race car for 16 events next season, beginning with the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway – currently the fifth event on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. A five-year project overseen by NASCAR Vice President for Research and Development Gary Nelson, the Car of Tomorrow offers important safety and performance upgrades. It also addresses cost reduction, providing teams with a more efficient car to produce and tune. “The Car of Tomorrow represents one of the sport’s most significant innovations, and we feel everyone involved in NASCAR will experience the benefits,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “No subject is more important than safety, and while the Car of Tomorrow was built around safety considerations, the competition and cost improvements will prove vital as well.”
    Aside from Bristol events, teams will use the Car of Tomorrow in 2007 events at Phoenix, Martinsville, Richmond, Dover, New Hampshire, Darlington, Talladega [the fall race and last restrictor plate race of the season] and road-course events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen.
    The 2008 Car of Tomorrow implementation schedule includes 26 events – adding both races at Daytona, California, Pocono, Michigan, the spring event at Talladega and Indianapolis. Teams will run the entire 2009 schedule with the Car of Tomorrow, adding both events at Atlanta, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Texas, plus events at Chicagoland, Kansas, Las Vegas and Homestead. The rollout schedule could be sooner.
    “All of our engineering staff and each of the teams and manufacturers that contributed will now be able see the product of their hard work in competition,” Nelson said. “Many of the obvious safety and competition benefits have been a topic since the beginning of this project. We think one of the major benefits is yet to be realized as the car owners begin to build a more cost-efficient race car.”
    The next round of Car of Tomorrow on-track testing will be scheduled following Speedweeks in Daytona, with officials from the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., refining car components and performance baselines. The Car of Tomorrow is a collaborative effort, with Nelson’s team leading the way. Manufacturers, teams and industry suppliers all contributed during the design phase, with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams and drivers offering important feedback during the latest round of on-track testing. NASCAR’s prototype car, built by the Research and Development staff, is driven by Director of Cost Research Brett Bodine, a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor and team owner. The Car of Tomorrow began as a design five years ago, progressing through simulation, laboratory and wind tunnel tests. Of primary significance are the safety innovations: the Car of Tomorrow is four inches wider and two inches taller than current NASCAR race cars. The driver compartment, or “roll cage,” has been shifted three inches to the rear. The driver’s seat has been shifted four inches to the right, allowing more protection from a driver’s side impact. More “crush-ability” is built into the car on both sides, ensuring even more protection.
    The Car of Tomorrow exhaust system is another safety innovation. It runs through the body, diverting heat away from the driver and exiting on the right side. Another important Car of Tomorrow feature is performance – how the car handles in traffic and reacts to downforce. The project represents the latest move by NASCAR to reduce current cars’ aerodynamic dependence, and several innovations have addressed it:
    • The windshield is more upright, designed to increase the amount of drag, thereby slowing the cars.
    • The more box-like front bumper, which is three inches higher and thicker, catches air rather than deflecting it, another way to slow the car.
    • The air intake is below the front bumper, which eliminates the problem of overheating. Wind-blown trash can cover current car grilles, blocking air flow.
    Several components – both those built into the Car of Tomorrow and those being tested – will make the car easier to drive in traffic. Some of those components also are bolt-on, bolt-off pieces that teams can use to tune their cars, making them cost-efficient as well. Those include:
    • The “splitter,” a flat shelf below the front bumper that can be adjusted.
    • A wing, like those commonly used in sports car series, also is a possibility. It fits on the car’s rear deck lid, in the same spot where the spoiler is bolted.
    • The spoiler, a NASCAR staple, is a straight line on the Car of Tomorrow, rather than curved, as on current cars. A straight spoiler yields more stability in traffic.
    “We designed this car to run for a long time, at road courses, short tracks, intermediate-sized tracks all the way to Daytona,” Nelson said. “You would be able to run the same foundation car, the frame, the cage, the body, all of the components that today are being swapped around as the cars are purpose-built for certain types of tracks. We’re eliminating that with this car.”(NASCAR PR)(1-23-2006)
  • NMPA names Stewart DotY: #20-Tony Stewart, winner of the 2005 Nextel Cup title, added another award to his five-win season Sunday when he was named the National Motorsports Press Association’s Richard Petty Driver of the Year. Stewart is the 11th driver to win the award, established in 1969, more than once. He also won it after his first Cup championship in 2002. Stewart did not attend Sunday’s luncheon in the NMPA’s annual convention in Charlotte, where the award was announced. He accepted via a videotaped message, saying he had a commitment at a charity snowmobile ride hosted by his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli.(Thatsracin)(1-23-2006)
  • Shepherd Wins NMPA Pocono Spirit Award: Morgan Shepherd, at 64 the oldest full-time driver in Nextel Cup Series racing, was named winner of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award Sunday night. The award, determined by a vote by the full NMPA, is sponsorred by Pocono International Raceway. Shepherd was the fourth quarter winner of the award, mainly due to his 19th annual Morgan Shepherd Charity Ride, dedicated to helping handicapped and underprivileged people eac December. With a passenger bus and passenger vans, a group of drivers, racing personnel and media travelled from Conover to the PARC Workshop in Stuart, Va., and other towns in the region. “We carry friends, presents and hope for these people,” Shepherd said. “Besides a donation, hopefully a large donation each year, to the PARC Workshop, we are delighted to have the chance to meet with old and new friends, and to show the love of Christ to these folks.” The annual Christmas trip began in 1986 when the Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund was established to assist the needy and handicapped in the Virginia mountains. That first year the trip culminated with the group putting a new roof on the house of a needy person in Fries, Va., and has grown since then. The trip now assists over 300 needy and handicapped persons each year. Race fans and corporations can help by making donations via MasterCard or Visa at www.morganshepherd.com.(Williams Company PR)(1-23-2006)
  • Kurt Busch to test at Nashville: #2-Kurt Busch is scheduled to test at Nashville Superspeedway Tuesday, January 24. The test is closed to the public.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-23-2006)
  • #51 Team gets assoc sponsor: Print Media Inc. has joined forces with #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports for the first four races of their 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup campaign. Jordan Wachtell, President of Print Media, said, “As one of America’s top business printers, we are proud to be part of such a first-class operation. We look forward to a long term relationship with Competitive Edge.” Competitive Edge Motorsports owner, Joe Auer, looks forward to the chance of representing Print Media, Inc. at the track and throughout his other business relations. “There is no better place to supplement your marketing efforts than NASCAR. The quality of work and service Print Media provides, gives me the confidence to recommend them to our other business relations throughout the country, and we are glad to have them aboard.” The #51 Marathon Chevy team will test two cars in Las Vegas with Mike Garvey driving the cars, January 30-31 and Feb 1. Later on that month, the team will start their race season in California February 26.(Competitive Edge Motorsports PR)(1-23-2006)
  • Schrader wins again at Phoenix: Nextel Cup driver Ken Schrader raced to his record 16th title at Phoenix International Raceway and fourth West Series victory on the track Sunday, winning the feature race in the Copper World Classic. Schrader, second in a 100-mile NASCAR Southwest Tour event earlier, had better luck in the 125-mile West Series race that capped the combined USAC-NASCAR lineup in the 29th Copper Classic. The 50-year-old Schrader took the lead three times while leading a total of 50 laps. The third time, he passed Spencer Clark after 108 laps and held off the Eric Holmes to take the United Rentals 125 by 0.0128 seconds. Schrader broke a tie with Richard Petty for West wins at Phoenix. “We’ve run so many races here we ought to have won one,” Schrader said. “You know, we haven’t won any Cup races here. Finished second once.” Matt Kobyluck finished third, Clark fourth and rookie Peyton Sellers fifth.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-23-2006)
  • Toyota Announcement coming? UPDATE 4…Monday?: NASCAR President Mike Helton said Tuesday on MRN’s NASCAR Live with Eli Gold that NASCAR hopes to make some sort of announcement about Toyota’s future involvement within the next few weeks.(1-4-2006)
    UPDATE: Toyota officials were present for last week’s Car of Tomorrow tests at Daytona, marking the first time they were officially invited by NASCAR to attend a CoT test. Although the manufacturer hasn’t officially announced its intention to enter both the Busch and Nextel Cup Series in ’07, there should be something official from the Toyota camp soon, possibly as early as the weekend of the Feb. 26 Cup race at California Speedway.(Yahoo Sports)(1-18-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Toyota could join the three American manufacturers [Chevy, Dodge, Ford] within two years. NASCAR is expected to address the issue Monday when it holds its state of the sport address on the annual media tour [in Charlotte]. Toyota, which already competes in the NASCAR truck series, has a press announcement scheduled Tuesday.(St. Petersburg Times)(1-19-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Toyota will move into NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series beginning in 2007, becoming the first foreign manufacturer to compete in the top racing series since Jaguar in the 1950’s. The announcement is expected Monday in a news conference at NASCAR in Concord, N.C., according to a person with knowledge of the announcement who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it. Toyota will join the American brands Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge in the top two levels of competition. Toyota has competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since 2004, ending a long-held rule by NASCAR that only American-based manufacturers could compete in its events. Toyota has paid to align itself with elite teams and drivers in the Truck series. There has been widespread speculation that Honda will follow Toyota into NASCAR.(New York Times)(1-20-2006)
    UPDATE 4: Toyota will race in Nextel Cup events beginning in 2007, becoming the first foreign competitor in NASCAR’s top stock car series since the 1950s. The Japanese auto maker will also run the Busch Series races after the 2006 season, joining Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge. The announcement was expected at a Monday news conference from NASCAR’s research and development facility in Concord, a person close to Toyota told The Associated Press. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn’t been made, said Toyota “is looking forward to being competitive right off the bat” in both series. The last foreign manufacturer to participate in NASCAR’s top racing series was Jaguar, which entered several races in the 1950s [and even won a race]. The move by Toyota was not a complete surprise. The company moved into NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series in 2004 and quickly became competitive, with Travis Kvapil giving the manufacturer its first win in July of that year. Toyota raced in several American-based sports car series before moving into open-wheel racing in 1996.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-23-2006)

News from January 22, 2006

  • Inaugural Sprint Sound and Speed Does Well Freezing temperatures and a steady wind did not keep fans of country music and NASCAR from enjoying all of the activities at the inaugural Sprint Sound and Speed – Presented by SunTrust – A Celebration of Music & Motorsports Saturday in downtown Nashville on Jan 13-14. Attendance to all of the weekend’s events exceeded organizer’s expectations, including advance ticket sales of over five thousand to the festival alone. Walk up sales pushed the number far past the pre-sale total, pleasing organizers and sponsors alike and providing proof that the marriage of country music and NASCAR is a match made in heaven. All proceeds from Sprint Sound and Speed benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with chronic medical conditions and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum charities. More than $180,000 was raised from two separate music and racing memorabilia auctions — one for fans and one for those attending the VIP gala, The Groove at Sound and Speed. Some of the high ticket items included Richard Petty’s hat that went for $17,000 and a Triumph motorcycle that went for $33,000.(PR)(1-22-2006)
  • RCR Personnel Moves: Mike Brown has been named director of licensing for Richard Childress Racing (RCR), replacing Chuck Spicer who has assumed the new position of director of competition business operations. Brown is responsible for all aspects of RCR’s licensing programs. He has been involved in the sales, marketing and licensing end of the NASCAR industry for more than a decade, most recently in a three-year stint as director of sales and marketing with Team Caliber. Prior to that, he spent more than four years as director of licensing for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), establishing and then supervising the sales, marketing, licensing and purchasing activities of its Charlotte office. Spicer’s new responsibilities include RCR’s driver development and diversity programs, team travel, engine department business opportunities, and to serve as the liaison between the competition and business sides of the company. He served as RCR’s licensing director since moving from Bill Davis Racing in December 2000.(RCR PR)(1-22-2006)
  • Racing Job Seminar: On May 26th from 7-10 PM in Mooresville — during Coca-Cola 600 Race Week — Mike Calinoff will present his 7th Annual “Get Into Racing” Seminar. It is a great opportunity for those interested in a career in professional motorsports. The “Get Into Racing” program is not your typical seminar format. Traditionally, participants sit for several hours and try to absorb as much information as possible, while jotting down notes and thinking silently of questions they need answered. There is usually one host who does all of the speaking. The “Get Into Racing” program takes a totally different approach. While Mike Calinoff, serves as the primary speaker, he is complimented with a panel of experts who are in the business. More info on my Racing Jobs/Schools page.(1-22-2006)

    News from January 21, 2006

  • Pyne leaving NASCAR: George Pyne, chief operating officer for NASCAR since 2002, will leave his post to become president of the International Management Group early next week, according to a high-ranking official in the racing organization. IMG, founded by the late Mark H. McCormack in 1960 on a handshake deal with golf legend Arnold Palmer, is considered one of the top sports marketing and representation firms in the world. “George got the kind of opportunity that you don’t say no to,” said the NASCAR official. “His success at NASCAR in negotiating the big deals will easily translate into success at IMG. NASCAR wishes him well and hopes to do business with him in his next endeavor.” Pyne could not be reached for comment last night. NASCAR is expected to announce Pyne’s resignation at a press conference on Monday.(Boston Herald)(1-21-2006)
  • NASCAR to switch to Unleaded Fuel starting 2008 UPDATE: NASCAR will use unleaded fuel for its racecars and trucks beginning in 2008, making the switch from the high-octane leaded fuel that it has used for decades. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s vice president for research and development, said yesterday that the series had been testing a new fuel since the fall and that early results had been promising. The fuel, Sunoco 260 GTX, will be used in NASCAR’s three main racing series – Nextel Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck. Nelson said it was already being used in the Grand American road racing series. “Sunoco came up with a formula that really seems to do the job,” Nelson said in a telephone interview. “It does a very good job inside the engine,” he said, adding that “we’ve got more testing to do and more work to do.” NASCAR is exempt from the 1970 Clean Air Act, which required the transition to unleaded fuel for all automobiles. But the series has worked to find an unleaded substitute for years. Nelson had said there were problems finding a fuel that provided the same lubrication as lead. The new fuel alleviates that problem without using MTBE, an additive that had been considered in the past but was rejected because it was barred in some states as a health hazard.(New York Times)(1-20-2006)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced that a special unleaded fuel has been developed and will be used by the start of the 2008 season as a result of its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its fuel supplier, Sunoco. “We’ve been back and forth to the drawing board for several years to find an unleaded fuel that is compatible with NASCAR engines. NASCAR congratulates Sunoco and is proud of the progress it made on developing a fuel that works in NASCAR engines,” said Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s vice president of research and development. NASCAR tested a number of possible alternative fuels in recent years, but none that didn’t cause engine problems. NASCAR tested an unleaded product in its NASCAR Busch Series in the late 1990s. However, the tests were unsatisfactory and required the sanctioning body to conduct further research. Other fuel solutions were incompatible and led to engine failure. NASCAR began testing the current unleaded fuel, Sunoco 260 GTX, last fall at its Research & Development Center in Concord, NC. The fuel will be used in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(NASCAR PR)(1-21-2005)
  • PRN’s “Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach”: For the 15th consecutive year, Performance Racing Network (PRN) will kickoff its broadcast season with “Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach” and the roster of scheduled guests includes defending NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Co-hosted by 1973 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Benny Parsons and Mark Garrow, host of “PRN’s Garage Pass,” the popular radio program will air Feb. 12-16 from the Volusia Mall, located directly across from Daytona International Speedway on International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach, Fla. The shows are open to the public and there is no admission charge. “Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach” will debut Sunday, Feb. 12, from 4pm to 5pm and a two-hour edition airs Monday, Feb. 13, from 6pm to 8pm The final three shows will each be one-hour in length, airing from 6pm to 7pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 14-16. “Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach” can be heard on over 100 radio stations across the nation, on XM Satellite Radio’s channel 144 and at www.nascar.com. A listing of drivers scheduled to appear on each of the five “Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach” programs can be obtained by visiting www.goprn.com.(1-21-2006)

    News from January 20, 2006

  • Owners trying to buy #77 team for owners points UPDATE 2 Waltrip-Bawel partner up: At least six car owners have inquired about the possibility of buying the #77 [Penske-Jasper] team that won’t race this year. That’s because that team finished in the top 35 in last year’s car owner points. If a new team can transfer the #77’s points from last year, that would mean it would be guaranteed a spot in the starting field for the 2006 Daytona 500 and the new season’s next four races beyond that. Any such arrangement would have to be submitted to NASCAR for its approval.(ThatsRacin), it was reported on NASCAR.com a few weeks ago, that since the #77 was not being run in 2006, the #4 Morgan-McClure team with driver Scott Wimmer would move up and be guaranteed a spot in each of the first five races, if someone bought the #77, would ‘assume’ that the #4 team would get knocked out.(1-17-2006)
    UPDATE: #55-Michael Waltrip, who enters the season without a spot in the top 35 in owners points after his move to Bill Davis Racing, may be the beneficiary if a deal can be worked out between BDR and Penske Racing South, which won’t field its #77 team this year. The deal, which would be subject to NASCAR’s approval, would require an agreement to be reached between official #77 owner, Doug Bawel and BDR. Other team supposedly have made inquries about acquiring the rights to #77’s 2005 owners points. One techicality could be whether or not the owners points would revert to Penske’s #77 team should it return in 2007.(NASCAR Scene Print Version)(1-20-2006)
    UPDATE 2: President and CEO of Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc., Michael Waltrip and President of Jasper, Doug Bawel, announced they have formed Waltrip-Jasper Racing Company, LLC. Waltrip-Jasper Racing will field the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Nextel Cup Dodge in 2006,driven by Waltrip. Bawel has been in racing for over 15 years, previously as an owner of Penske-Jasper Racing Company’s #77 Kodak Dodge. Bawel will serve on the Board of Directors and will be active in business management and sanctioning body relationships for the new company. “I have been in the sport as a driver for 22 years and the logical progression for me was ownership at the highest level, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series,” Waltrip said. “This is such a big step, that I wanted to partner with someone who has intimate knowledge about ownership at this level. Doug Bawel and I have been friends for a number of years and I have always respected the way he handled himself in the garage and with NASCAR.”
    “I learned quickly that Michael is a goal oriented person,” Bawel stated. “When we began talking about the possibilities of teaming up, he started dialing the phone and making things happen immediately. He is a talented driver and a proven NASCAR Busch Series car owner, but most importantly as he moves into NASCAR’s premier series, he is a man with a vision that likes to take ideas from paper to reality. I am delighted to lend my experience and management support to Waltrip-Jasper Racing.”
    Waltrip-Jasper Racing has contracted Bill Davis Racing to be the source of cars, engines and personnel. Additionally, Waltrip-Jasper Racing has created their own team of people. The foundation of Waltrip-Jasper Racing is sculpted with experienced people vested in NASCAR. Ty Norris, former EVP of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will serve as the general manager overseeing the operation. Waltrip’s long-time confidant, Bobby Kennedy will serve as the Competition Director and Larry Carter, a veteran crew chief, has also been contracted by Waltrip-Jasper Racing to be a part of the team.(Waltrip-Jasper Racing PR), so this allows Waltrip and the #55 team to use the #77 owners points and guaranteed to make the first five Cup races. Thus knocking the #4 Morgan-McClure team back to 36th in owners points and out of the guaranteed spot.(1-20-2006)
  • Petty joins COT test at Daytona: The NASCAR Car of Tomorrow had company Thursday at Daytona International Speedway as NASCAR Research and Development officials put their prototype through its paces for a second consecutive week. This time, Petty Enterprises’ Kyle Petty (#45 Wells Fargo Dodge) joined NASCAR Director of Cost Research Brett Bodine on the track, guiding his gray prototype alongside the black, white and yellow NASCAR prototype. Thursday’s test followed the second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series session of NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, the annual preseason tests at Daytona, and Petty’s fresh experiences in his current car lent valuable perspective to the Car of Tomorrow test. “It’s different the way it sucks up in the draft,” Petty said. “It’s different the way it feels around other cars. The nuance of the car is just a lot different.”
    Last week, Bodine and the NASCAR Research and Development team led by NASCAR Vice President of Research and Development Gary Nelson conducted the first Car of Tomorrow test at Daytona, spending time on solo runs, and gathering baseline information for the second test. “We’re just here to do multi-car runs, try to evaluate its effect on the second car,” Bodine said. “All the aero configurations that we worked on last week, we’re letting Kyle do all the analysis. He was just here (Wednesday) with his current car, so he’s got a good feel for the differences between the two.” Both Daytona tests were open to any teams that wished to test their prototypes. Bodine said the fact that only Petty Enterprises brought its prototype wasn’t a hindrance to either test’s success. Petty is one of several drivers who tested his team’s prototype last October at Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    “We can learn a good bit with two cars,” said Bodine, a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor. “Kyle’s been working with us since the beginning with this project. He’s been to Atlanta and Talladega, and now here at Daytona with us. We’ve had a really good working relationship, and just the fact that there’s only two cars, we can still learn a good bit about them. We already have.”
    In the final stages of a five-year project, the Car of Tomorrow represents NASCAR’s next major step in safety and performance innovations, and cost reduction. The redesigned chassis is boxier, with an open front bumper that catches air and creates drag – one of numerous features aimed at minimizing aerodynamic dependence. Current tests are targeting on-track handling and balance, testing the effects of both a redesigned spoiler, and a wing similar to what is employed in the sports car series. Both are bolt-on pieces that could help teams tune cars more efficiently at more tracks, thus reducing fleet costs.
    Many Thursday morning runs saw Petty following Bodine in a drafting mode, with the NASCAR prototype utilizing the spoiler, then the wing for comparison. During the afternoon, Bodine planned to follow Petty in the draft, with the wing and spoiler bolted on the Petty Enterprises prototype, to gather data and observations on the trailing car. “We’re trying the wing, we’re trying the spoilers,” Petty said. “You’re trying a lot of different stuff and I think you’re still in that stage of development. I think that’s a big thing. I think everybody jumps to conclusions – ‘oh my god, the Car of Tomorrow, it’s going to change racing, it’s going to do this.’ How do you know until you come up with the end product? And we don’t have the end product. I think every time you take it to a race track, you get closer and closer.”(NASCAR PR)(1-20-2006)
  • Rusty auditions for ABC/ESPN IRL gig: Don’t look now, but the IRL’s television broadcast team is about to get a new face. Actually, it figures to be an old one. Auditioning as Autoweek went to press was retiring NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, who appears to be prepping for a switch to the Nextel Cup announcers booth when ABC and ESPN get back in the game in 2007. Hiring Wallace, an avid Indy car fan, figures to be a win-win for all parties, including the IRL, which is in desperate need of a ratings jolt. The IRL’s play-by-play voice figures to be Brian Kenny, host of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2, with former driver Scott Goodyear joining Wallace in the booth. Jerry Punch, Jack Arute and Jamie Little will be the pit reporters.(Autoweek)(1-20-2006)
  • NMPA to induct three in Hall: On Saturday night in Charlotte the National Motorsports Press Association will induct three new members. Mega-track owner and veteran promoter Bruton Smith will be honored in person. NASCAR pioneer promoter Paul Sawyer and two-time Late Model Sportsman Series champion Butch Lindley will be inducted posthumously. It marks the first time in decades that the press organization’s induction ceremony has been held anywhere other than either Darlington or Florence, S.C. The NMPA Hall Of Fame for years has been located at Darlington Raceway as part of the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Racing Museum. But there’s a possibility that the hall might be moved sometime soon, maybe to the Charlotte area.(ThatsRacin)(1-20-2006)
  • Not a Bomb..as NASCAR commerical prop: Charlotte-Mecklenburg [NC] Police say the suspicious package found Thursday morning at an Interstate 485 construction site was not a bomb. Police were called to the site, near I-485 and Interstate 85, when a surveyor found a package between two construction trailers. The package had wires sticking out of it and had what appeared to be a cell phone attached to the exterior. Police officers, the bomb squad and the K-9 unit were sent to the scene. According to WCNC-TV, the Charlotte Observer’s news partner, the package turned out to be a prop left at the scene by a crew which recently filmed a NASCAR-related commercial there.(Charlotte Observer)(1-20-2006)
  • Dale Jr. to do XM Radio show: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will join XM Satellite Radio for a weekly show to be broadcast exclusively to XM’s six-million-plus subscribers from coast to coast. Dale Jr.’s show will debut during the week of February 13 on XM’s NASCAR Radio (XM Channel 144) during Daytona Speedweeks. XM is the nation’s leading provider of satellite radio and the official satellite radio network of NASCAR. Dale Jr. will discuss the latest happenings on the NASCAR circuit, as well as music, video games and other personal interests on the wide-ranging show. Dale Jr. will also play a key role in various XM promotions as part of a multi-year agreement with XM.(Yahoo Biz)(1-19-2006)

    News from January 19, 2006

  • New Speed Show featuring Dale Jr.: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is putting his newly formed production company to work, as Hammerhead Entertainment has reached a deal with Speed Channel to deliver up to 13 30-minute episodes of Back in the Day, a modern adaptation of the vintage race program Car and Track with Bud Lindemann. Back in the Day will make a Prime Time premiere during Daytona Speedweeks on Feb. 13 at 9:30pm/et. Car and Track, a collection of American racing footage from the 1960s and early 1970s, ran in replays on Speed from 1996-2000. Earnhardt Jr., a longtime fan of the series, will host the updated version, which will revisit NASCAR in its infancy, touching on not only what was going on at the race track, but what was going on in America. “I’ve always been a big fan of Car and Track,” Earnhardt said. “Bud Lindemann had the vision to bring auto racing to television over 30 years ago. I watched every episode as a kid and still watch them today. We’re going to show everyone the grassroots of our sport and bring the past to the present in a fun and entertaining way.”(Speed Channel PR)(1-19-2006)
  • Speed to have over 70 hours of Speedweeks coverage: SPEED, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, will be live from Daytona Speedweeks for 10 days, beginning Feb. 10 at 2pm/et with Speedweeks on SPEED. In addition to live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 17, 8pm/et), the IROC race (Feb. 17, 6pm/et), the ARCA race (Feb. 11, 4pm/et), SPEED also will air multiple practice and qualifying sessions from all of NASCAR’s three major divisions. SPEED favorites, including Trackside, Inside Nextel Cup, NASCAR Live, NASCAR Performance, SPEED News and NASCAR Victory Lane also will be on-site, with a new high-energy pre-race show entitled NASCAR RaceDay [instead of NASCAR This Morning] set to make its Daytona debut. “NASCAR RaceDay will take the team from NASCAR this Morning and add several new segments, including tech reports from crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker, off-track items from Vicki Johnson and Craig Reynolds and long-form interviews with the weekend’s storymakers,” said Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production. “John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will continue to anchor the show and offer their no-holds-barred perspective, something our viewers have come to expect from SPEED. NASCAR RaceDay will set the tone for the entire weekend.” SPEED will have multiple stages on-site, including its 53-foot mobile stage truck just outside the main tunnel entrance, a central location inside the track in the FanZone and a third stage positioned atop the viewing garage in the NASCAR Nextel Cup team area.
    SPEED also has multiple specials planned for Speedweeks, including NASCAR Five Years Later, a look at NASCAR five years after the loss of Dale Earnhardt, a Daytona documentary hosted by Dave Despain, a look back at Toyota’s NASCAR experience and Champions Quest, a one-hour special on the Rolex 24 at Daytona efforts of NASCAR champions Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. As part of its coverage, SPEED will announce the 2005 SPEED Channel Driver of the year with a special one-hour program on Feb. 15 beginning at 8pm/et.(SPEED Channel)(1-19-2006)
  • Mountain Dew signs on as sponsor for Hendrick Motorsports: Mountain Dew will be an associate sponsor of Brian Vickers’ #25 GMAC Chevy throughout the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series season announcing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports. The season will mark the 20th anniversary of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team, which has 29 pole positions and 15 wins since 1986. Vickers will also pilot #57 Mountain Dew Chevys in three Busch Series races in 2006: Feb. 25 at California, May 12 at Darlington, and Aug. 19 at Michigan. Vickers will be featured in Mountain Dew advertising and on in-store display materials. He joins teammate #24-Jeff Gordon as part of the Pepsi-Cola racing team. Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew’s parent company, has been involved with stock car racing for more than five decades. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 15 of the 22 NEXTEL Cup tracks and is the title sponsor of the Pepsi 400, which is held annually at Daytona International Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-19-2006)
  • Jim Beam renews sponsorship of #7 and Gordon: Jim Beam announced that it will continue its relationship with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) as a primary sponsor of the #7 Chevy driven by team owner and veteran driver Robby Gordon for a designated number of races (11) during the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. “Jim Beam is committed to motorsports and to supporting the only team owner/driver in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series today,” said Brian Gallagher, manager of Jim Beam Racing. “We admire Robby’s passion for racing and his determination to succeed as both a driver and a team owner. We look forward to continuing our sponsorship of Robby Gordon Motorsports in 2006.”
    “RGM has the experience, people and capabilities to put a competitive car on the track,” said Gordon. “Over the last several months our team has grown significantly, and our second season of competition will look much different than the first given the experience we have gained. We look forward to a successful 2006 season with Jim Beam.”
    Similar to 2005, Jim Beam will utilize its sponsorship of Gordon and the #7 Chevy to activate the Jim Beam Racing drink smart initiative. In 2005, Gordon donated $100,000 from a fund provided by Jim Beam to colleges and universities to fund alcohol education programs such as Alcohol 101 Plus from The Century Council (www.centurycouncil.org), an organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. The 2006 Jim Beam Racing drink smart program will be announced at a later date. In addition to sponsoring the #7 Chevy, Jim Beam helped make history as a sponsor of Gordon and Team Dakar USA, the first and only American team to compete in the Dakar Rally. For more information on Jim Beam Brands, and the Company’s sales and distribution partners, please visit www.jimbeambrands.com or www.drinksmart.com.(Ketchum PR)(1-19-2006)
  • NC family reaches settlement with Ford over limo deaths: A family has settled its lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. stemming from a rear-end collision where a limousine erupted into flames, killing the wife of a former NASCAR crew chief and her two sisters, lawyers for both sides said Wednesday. Neither side would disclose terms ending a wrongful-death lawsuit over the safety of the fuel-tank system in Lincoln Town Car limousines, which are manufactured by Ford. The three women were stopped in traffic on Interstate 40 in Greensboro on Sept. 10, 2003, after attending a concert. A pickup truck driven by Jeffrey Niles McFayden rammed into the back of their limousine, which exploded almost immediately and trapped them inside. Tara Howell Parker, 29, her stepsister Mysti Howell Poplin, 24, and her half sister Megan Elizabeth Howell, 16, died of smoke inhalation and burns suffered in the fire. Parker was the wife of NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett’s former crew chief [Shawn Parker]. Brenda and Ricky Howell, the women’s parents, alleged in their lawsuit that the Lincoln Town Car was defective because the fuel tank was behind the rear axle, which increased the risk of fire in rear-end collisions. They said Ford could have fixed the problem by distributing a safety shield to protect the fuel tank. McFayden was convicted in May of three counts of involuntary manslaughter. Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes blamed the deaths on the driver, who collided with the limo at 60 mph. “Unfortunately, there is no vehicle on the road that can adequately protect people in such collisions,” Vokes said. “We do not believe any other comparable vehicles’ fuel tanks could have survived the severity of this impact.”(ESPN.com/AP)(1-19-2006)
  • McGlynn Racing & Cope partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: McGlynn Racing and former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope have partnered, for the 2006 NEXTEL Cup season, with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the fight against childhood cancer. The partnership includes a commitment from McGlynn Racing to raise national awareness and funds for St. Jude – the world’s premier pediatric cancer research center – through its driver, team and sponsors. As a component of the partnership, McGlynn Racing will display a St. Jude logo on its cars [currently #00] throughout the season. Cope, a veteran of more than 400 NASCAR races and the team’s primary driver, will also make visits to St. Jude during the NASCAR race season to interact with the patients. “I am very pleased to have St. Jude involved with our organization,” says Cope. “They have a dynamic facility that touches so many children and their families. St. Jude is a leader in providing the most sophisticated care for their patients and we as a race team look forward to assisting them throughout the year.” McGlynn Racing, a Pennsylvania-based NASCAR team will compete in its first full season at the NEXTEL Cup level. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.(McGlynn Racing)(1-19-2006)
  • #97 to #26? UPDATE 2 to #26: hearing the new number for the #97 team and driver Jamie McMuuray could be #26, which Roush Racing used years ago with Johnny Benson and the Cheerios car.(11-12-2005)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing has decided to bring back the #26, replacing the #97, when Jamie McMurray steps into the car next season starting at Daytona. The sponsors of Kurt Busch’s old ride – Sharpie, IRWIN and Crown Royal – will transfer over to the new number along with new paint schemes [and owners points]. Although Busch won the championship with the #97 in 2004, the move is a smart one from a marketing point of view. With the recent troubles for Busch, the rebranding will help build a new base for McMurray and the sponsors. The last time Roush ran the #26 was during the 1998-1999 seasons with driver Johnny Benson. Benson, who ran the Cheerios sponsored car at the time, posted 12 top-10 finishes in 48 races behind the wheel of the car. The #26 has seen multiple drivers and owners over the years, most recently with Todd Bodine and Haas-Carter Motorsports in 2002.(RacingOne image there)(11-16-2005)
    UPDATE 2 Crown Royal kicked off a year of new beginnings as they unveiled a brand new paint scheme and car number for the #26 Roush Racing Ford Fusion piloted by new driver Jamie McMurray. The car will feature a purple and white color scheme, with gold striping reminiscent of the stitches that line Crown Royal’s famed purple bag packaging. There will be both daytime and nighttime versions of the paint scheme. Crown Royal’s parent company Diageo – the world’s leading premium drinks business – announced in November 2005 that it will take over primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray’s Roush Racing Ford Fusion beginning with the 2006 season. Crown Royal will own the primary paint scheme for 18 races this season, with Smirnoff ICE – another Diageo brand – owning three, and Newell-Rubbermaid [with Sharpie and Irwin Tools] retaining the remaining 15 races.(Alan Taylor Communications), see many images of all the schemes on my #26 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2006)

    News from January 18, 2006

  • Daytona 500 Testing – Day 6 – the final day: AM Drafting speeds: #88-Dale Jarrett ran the fastest drafting speed of the 6 day testing at Daytona on Wed morning with a speed of 189.215mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #09-Mike Wallace, #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle. 51 cars made runs out in the draft.
    PM Drafting Speeds: hit the 190’s today with #5-Kyle Busch being the fastest in drafting today and overall with a quick lap of 190.251mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #45-Kyle Petty, #42x-Casey Mears and #15-Paul Menard. The fastest Ford was #16-Greg Biffle at 14th. 32 drivers ran today in 51 cars.
    See the speeds on my 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page
    See pics and notes on Cup Scene Daily LIVE Daytona Blog: Day 5.(1-18-2006)
  • Overall Daytona 500 Speeds: after six days of testing at Daytona International Speedway, 53 drivers have made non-drafting runs. The top five were are: #24-Jeff Gordon at 188.466mph [ran on Jan 10th/afternoon-pm], followed by #5-Kyle Busch [17th/pm], #36-Bill Elliott [10th/pm], #38-Elliott Sadler [10th/pm] and #48-Jimmie Johnson [10th/pm].
    Fastest Manu:
    Chevy: #24-Jeff Gordon at 188.466mph, 1st overall
    Dodge: #10-Scott Riggs at 186.776, 10th overall
    Ford: #38-Elliott Sadler at 187.594, 4th over all
    See the top speeds for the 53 drivers and the best overall drafting speeds on my
  • Daytona Testing Cumulative Day 1-6
  • Dodge and Bill Davis Racing lock horns in lawsuit: A multimillion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit between DaimlerChrysler and Bill Davis Racing is expected to get under way today in U.S. District Court in Detroit. DaimlerChrysler says Bill Davis Racing, based in North Carolina, violated the terms of a six-year contract in 2003 by passing confidential information to Toyota. The suit says Davis was helping the Japanese automaker develop a prototype Tundra truck for NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series. At the time, Davis was under contract to prepare DaimlerChrysler vehicles for the NASCAR Winston Cup series, now the Nextel Cup series. After terminating the contract and suing Davis, DaimlerChrysler says it learned that Davis had signed a contract in February 2003 to provide a car to General Motors for the Winston Cup series. DaimerChrysler is seeking $6.5 million in damages and an injunction to prevent Davis from divulging confidential automotive data acquired from DaimlerChrysler. Davis has denied the charges, countersued and is seeking $8.5 million to $9.8 million from DaimlerChrysler for breach of contract. Davis intends to run two Dodges in the Nextel Cup series this year with drivers Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney. In the truck series, he will run three Toyota Tundras with drivers Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner and Bill Lester. U.S. District Judge George Steeh will preside over the trial, which is expected to last 2-3 weeks.(Detroit Free Press)(1-18-2006)
  • NASCAR Foundation established: NASCAR announced the establishment of the NASCAR Foundation, a 501 © (3) non-profit entity that will serve as the liaison between the sport and all of the charitable causes supported by its different constituents. The Foundation will review charity requests on a regular basis and over time, will expand its focus beyond the industry-related charities that NASCAR currently supports. Betty Jane France has been a leader of NASCAR charitable projects, most notably Speediatrics, a NASCAR themed pediatric unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach and Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. Mrs. France believes the NASCAR Foundation will be an effective tool in making a positive and lasting impact in the community. “NASCAR actively supports charities and is devoted to being a leader in the area of public service,” said Mrs. France, who will serve as chairman of the NASCAR Foundation Board. “We are fortunate to have a wonderful group of drivers, owners, teams, tracks and sponsors, along with more than 75 million fans that believe in providing opportunities for those in need. The NASCAR Foundation will link all of our charitable initiatives, and working together, we will make a difference.” The NASCAR Foundation will also work with drivers and their foundations or favorite charity. Kyle Petty, who along with his wife, Pattie, founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of their late son, Adam, says the NASCAR Foundation will be a great asset to furthering the assistance the sport can provide to those in need. The NASCAR Foundation Board will consist of Betty Jane France, chairman; Mike Helton, vice chairman; Jim Hunter, vice president; Todd Wilson, treasurer; and Jennifer F. Bates, vice chairman, secretary. Sandy Marshall, who has served as NASCAR’s senior manager for Community Relations for the past three years and is based in Charlotte, will be executive director of the NASCAR Foundation. For more information on the NASCAR Foundation, visit www.NASCAR.COM/foundation.(NASCAR PR), more on my Racing Charities Page.(1-18-2006)
  • Hermie Sadler to run 20-22 races: Hermie Sadler says he is partnering with Mike and Bonnie Anderson, friends of his from Virginia, to form MBA Racing, with plans to run 20-22 NASCAR Nextel Cup races this season in a #00 Ford. Sadler will have sponsorship from Aaron’s rentals for eight races in a partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing. As a new team, the group does not have one of the 35 guaranteed starting positions for the opening five races. Sadler, who is testing at Daytona International Speedway this week, also plans to test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway later this month. Sadler has 52 Nextel Cup starts in his career, mostly in cars he owned. “The bug is hard to get rid of,” Sadler said. “The situation with Michael came along and the situation with Aaron’s, and things kind of fell into place. Hopefully there won’t be as much pressure this time, because we do have a little help. We’re going to put all of the effort we can into these first five races and see where it takes us.” Kevin Caldwell is crew chief for the team, which will run Roush-Yates engines and has purchased cars from Robert Yates Racing and ppc Racing.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-18-2006)
  • Subway back with Biffle: Subway will once again be the primary for Greg Biffle on the #16 Ford, this time for two 2006 Nextel Cup races, Phoniex in April and Martinsville in October. See an image on the #16 Team Schemes page.(1-18-2006)
  • McGlynn Racing to announce sponsor; car # change: There are lots of rumors flying around about the #00 team and Ryan McGlynn was reached today to comment on some of them:
    * The new sponsor is solid. “It’s a done deal” Ryan was quoted as saying. “We do not want to release any of the details until the sponsor has everything in place. They are waiting for the right timing to coincide with the best effectiveness for speed weeks.”
    * The team is listed as number 200 right now but that may change. The new sponsor would like to have a number that is firm for every race, not one that needs to be changed if a similar number shows up (as happened last season.)
    * The race shop’s move to Charlotte was delayed because the real estate transaction fell through. “It was pulled out from under us by the seller” said Ryan. He plans to take his time and find the perfect property over the next season, and the move to Charlotte is still definitely planned.
    * Derrike Cope will be driving a McGlynn Cup Car at Daytona! No ifs, ands or buts, Derrike is driving the car and attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500. The car make and number will be released later.(McGlynn Racing site), however the team didn’t test at Daytona.(1-18-2006)
  • Johnson Hits the Big Screen at Atlanta: While his Hendrick Motorsports teammates were hitting the Daytona pavement testing their stock cars, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus were hitting the big screen at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, filming an upcoming episode of the hit NBC TV series “Las Vegas.” Johnson, playing himself, starred with Nikki Cox, who gets driving tips from the two-time winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Knaus, Johnson’s crew chief, also plays himself in the episode which is tentatively set to air on February 6. While Johnson may seem like a natural on the track, he admits acting isn’t quite so easy for him. “You have a writer trying to write things that you would say and you have to make it sound like what you would say,” the driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet said. “Fortunately, I am playing myself, so I can turn to the writers and say ‘I would do it like this,’ and they are OK with that.” Johnson also admits that it could be even more difficult for him. “Remembering the lines and trying to look like you’re not thinking about the lines that you have to deliver is the most difficult part,” Johnson commented. “If I was playing someone else and there was a particular way I had to deliver lines and have a certain personality, I would be in big trouble.”(AMS PR)(1-18-2006)
  • Lepage back with Peak Performance: Peak Performance Motorsports announced Tuesday that it has signed Kevin Lepage to drive its #61 Ford [was #66 in 2005] in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series this season. “We are beginning the season on a high note with this announcement,” team owner Jeff Stec said. “Kevin has performed well for the team in the final nine races of 2005 [and] proved that we are capable of producing excellent results for out sponsors both on and off the track.” Crew chief Greg Conner returns with the team as does primary sponsor Peak Fitness.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-18-2006)

    News from January 17, 2006

  • 2006 IROC Drivers Announced: Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) officials announced today the driver field and race event schedule for the 2006 Crown Royal IROC Series. The four-race invitational all-star series, which matches 12 drivers from different disciplines of auto racing in equally prepared cars, will open its historic 30th season February 17 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). Five-time Crown Royal IROC Series and 2005 champion Mark Martin will look to capture consecutive series crowns for the first time since Dale Earnhardt accomplished the feat in the 1999-2000 seasons. Martin won three in row from 1996-1998 and owns an IROC-record 13 checkered flags. The 2006 driver field will consist of representation from seven major racing series, including six drivers that captured their respective series championship in 2005.
    The drivers are: Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth; 2005 Busch champ Martin Truex Jr., 2005 Truck Champ Ted Musgrave; Steve Kinser from WoO; ARCA Champ Frank Kimmel, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Scott Sharp from the IRL, and road racers Max Papis along with Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor [who will split duties, two races each];(Alan Taylor Communications/IROC Racing PR), driver capsules, schedule and more on my 2006 IROC Page.(1-17-2006)
  • Steadman Marlin gets a ride at Daytona..maybe more: Sadler Racing team owner Earl Sadler will field a car for Steadman Marlin [Sterling’s son] in the Feb. 18 Busch Series opener at Daytona International Speedway and hopes to enter some Nextel Cup races later in the season if funding permits. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m grateful to Mr. Sadler for it,” said Steadman, 25. “He’s got a pretty good race car. Bobby Hamilton had a good run in it last year at Daytona, and maybe I can do the same. Racing has always been a big part of our family. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I sat out seven or eight months. I’m anxious to get back.” While his father, Sterling, is a 30-year racing veteran, Steadman has struggled to get his racing career up to speed. “I’ve told Steadman he has to work at it,” Sterling said. “Nobody’s going to drop anything in his lap. He has to get out there and earn it.” The Sadler-Marlin racing relationship goes back to the early 1980s, when Sterling drove in some races for the team. Could Sadler give Steadman’s career a similar jump-start? “Well, things have changed a lot over the years,” said Sadler, 83, who has also assisted such drivers as Davey Allison, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Green and Jeremy Mayfield with their early careers. “Every year racing gets more expensive, which makes it harder for a small operation like ours to compete. We do the best we can with what we’ve got, but we’re limited.” Sadler said how many Busch races the team enters after Daytona depends on how much sponsorship funding can be generated. Said Steadman: “We’re working on some deals to bring in some funding. I feel like we’ve got a lot to offer sponsors.” Steadman was to share a Busch Series ride with his father for FitzBradshaw Racing. That team fields Dodges, however, and when Sterling signed to race Chevrolets for MB2 Motorsports the Busch deal fell through. “It’s been frustrating, but at least I have a ride for Daytona,” Steadman said. “If we can come out of there with a good run maybe it will lead to some other things.”(Tennessean)(1-17-2006)
  • Stewart Cleared to Race: #20-Tony Stewart got clearance Monday to drive in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona as well as the test session at the end of the month at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway following two separate flips last week in a U.S. Auto Club Midget race. Stewart left a Tulsa, Okla., hospital last Friday with his right arm in a cast, but doctors said there were no serious injuries during a follow-up visit on Monday, team president J.D. Gibbs said. “Everything checked out fine,” Gibbs said. “We told him he’s still driving in the Daytona 500 even if his arm was broken.” Stewart was participating in the Chili Bowl, one of the premier Midget races of the team. Job Gibbs Racing teammate J.J. Yeley and Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne also participated in the race. Stewart flipped and crashed on Thursday during a heat race. He wasn’t injured in that accident, Gibbs said, but he struck his right arm on the shifter when he flipped again on Friday. “The reality of it is, when he first started with us he did way more (races) than what he’s doing now,” Gibbs said. Gibbs said the race team has restricted Stewart from some of his outside races in the past, but the defending Nextel Cup Series champion has reduced his schedule in the past couple years. “For him to go back to the local tracks where he started, we think it’s all right,” Gibbs said. “He enjoys that.”(Athens Banner-Herald)(1-17-2005)
  • #5 Paint Scheme plans: hearing that Kyle Busch will run a few paint schemes in 2006 besides the normal Kellogg’s scheme. At Las Vegas, Busch will run the Ice Age 2 [movie] scheme. Some sort of Disney Pixar Animation Film scheme in June, not sure which race. Cheez-It at Daytona in July. Carquest Auto Parts schemes at Darlington, both Pocono races, Chicago and Texas in November. Delphi at Texas in April, Indy, Michigan in August and Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October.(1-17-2006)
  • Vickers to skip Daytona testing UPDATE: Vickers comments from brianvickers.com: “I hate having to miss any time, but given the timing of it all and making sure the impact was minimal, the conclusion was for me to have the [hernia ]surgery [Jan 16th], skip Daytona testing and rest in order to be able to get back in the car for the Las Vegas test. I appreciate very much David Green, who agreed to go to Daytona a few days early to help out with the #25 Cup test, and Justin Labonte, who will drive the #57 car during Busch Series testing.”(Brian Vickers site)(1-14-2006)
    UPDATE: Brian Vickers’ #25 GMAC Chevy was sixth fastest in Monday’s test session at Daytona International Speedway, but he was back home in North Carolina having surgery to repair a hernia. Team spokesman Chris Haid said Vickers, 22, was resting comfortably Monday evening after a successful operation.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-17-2006)
  • Daytona 500 Testing – Day 5: AM Speeds – #10-Scott Riggs [Dodge] was the fastest in Tuesday, Jan 17th’s morning testing session Daytona Intl Speedway, with a quick lap of 185.345mph, followed by #01-Joe Nemechek [Chevy], #5-Kyle Busch [Chevy], #66-Jeff Green [Chevy] and #25-David Green [Chevy – subbing for Vickers]. The fastest Ford was #26-Jamie McMurray at 11th. 58 cars made runs in the session.
    PM Speeds: #5-Kyle Busch was the fastest on Day 5, Jan 17th of testing at Daytona with a speed of 188.119mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #29-Kevin Harvick, #88-Dale Jarrett and #66-Jeff Green. The fastest Dodge was #10-Scott Riggs at 10th. 60 cars made runs in the PM session. See all the speeds on my 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page.
    Have updated the driver list for the two Daytona 500 test session, speeds are posted for the first session [Jan 9-11]…on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 1 Testing Page. Up to 33 drivers this week. Will post any speeds reported for each session on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page. Also check out Truck Series testing speeds on my Daytona Truck Series Testing Page.
    See pics and notes on Cup Scene Daily LIVE Daytona Blog: Day 5.(1-17-2006)

    News from January 16, 2006

  • COT to make debut in 2007: NASCAR’s “car of tomorrow” [COT] will be phased into competition beginning with short-track and road course races in the 2007, Nextel Cup Series director John Darby confirmed Monday. As a second week of Cup testing began at Daytona International Speedway, Darby said NASCAR will soon announce an official schedule for the new car’s implementation. That could come next Monday on the first day of the annual media tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Darby confirmed that plans are to use the car, which is approximately 2 inches taller and 4 inches wider than cars currently used in Cup competition, at short tracks and road courses in 2007, then at the circuit’s largest tracks of 2 miles or longer in 2008, and finally at intermediate tracks in 2009. But, Darby said, he expects to see teams “accelerate” that schedule once the phase-in begins, figuring they’ll want to see the new car used at more intermediate tracks sooner. “Within the next couple of weeks we’ll release the official ‘car of tomorrow’ schedule and that will be the official schedule,” Darby said. “We’ll say, ‘Here is it, we’re not turning back.’ … The important thing is to get that official schedule out, because when it goes out it’s printed and everybody says, ‘here’s the deal,’ and then it’s time to get going.” NASCAR tested its own prototype of the car of tomorrow with a rear wing assembly here on Thursday, and plans another test on Thursday of this week with as many as eight prototypes made by various Cup teams. “We’ve made a ton of progress with it over the winter and it’s down to small changes now,” Darby said. “We’re doing a lot of work with the wing right now to test it out and see how it’s going to work. It’s has been real positive. We will keep pressing on and in ’07 it will race.”(ThatsRacin/David Poole)(1-16-2006)
  • Shepherd teams up with Victory Motorsports: With backing from Christian businessmen nationwide, Victory Motorsports will field driver Morgan Shepherd on the Nextel Cup Series for the entire 2006 season. The announcement was made Monday by Tony and Brian Mullet, two businessmen and brothers from Ohio, who are leading the effort. “This is a tremendously exciting time for me as a race car driver but is also tremendously exciting because of the possibilities in spreading the Gospel,” said Shepherd, 64, who is becoming the oldest full-time driver in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series history. Shepherd has dedicated his career, as well as his life, to spreading the Gospel and the salvation story. He has competed in a car emblazoned with “Racing With Jesus.” Shepherd is testing in Daytona Beach, Fla., through Wednesday, preparing for the Daytona 500 in February. Doug George is the crew chief of the #89 Dodge, and the team will be using Joey Arrington engines. “Our goal is to go down there and get this team off to a solid start,” Shepherd said. “We want to be at least in the top 35 of the car owners’ standings after the first five races (which guarantees starting positions for races following that), and build this team. We know we have a long way to go, but we have every intention of getting there.” The Mullets, whose Dutch Quality Stone is based in Mt. Eaton, Ohio, are leading putting together a group of Christian businessmen who are backing Victory Motorsports financially, and are working to develop sponsorship. “This is a great opportunity for Christians to help promote salvation and to promote the importance of our Savior to the world through one of the best means possible – motorsports,” said Tony Mullet. “We’re encouraging other businessmen to join us, to promote and market their companies in the traditional sense but to also, in doing so, ‘market’ eternal life.” Said Shepherd, “We have a lot of work ahead of us and it’s going to be a tough road, but I’d rather start with nothing and have Jesus Christ on my side than start with millions and millions of dollars and not have Jesus. We want to run and run competitively but our main goal, our main focus, is educating as many people as we can about salvation and God’s plan for them.”(Williams Company PR), this team has nothing to do with the Victory Motorsports Racing team that is owned by former NFLer, Terrance Mathis and last heard from, was alligned with #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but has not been heard from in a while.(1-16-2006)
  • Parrott expected back with #43 team after illness: Petty Enterprises competition director Greg Steadman stepped back into his previous role as crew chief for Bobby Labonte last week at Daytona testing because new chief Todd Parrott was recovering from a bacterial infection in a Huntersville, NC, hospital. Parrott was expected to return to Petty Enterprises this week. The #43 team is scheduled to test for Goodyear at Texas Motor Speedway later this month and also will test its intermediate program starting January 30 at Las Vegas. Executive vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis says Petty’s immediate goal is to “focus on the moment” and build confidence among the teams.(Sporting News)(1-16-2006)
  • Long may run Daytona 500 with 2nd Peak team: Long Looking to Run Daytona 500 with Peak Performance: Peak Performance Motorsports, who will field the #61 Peak Fitness Ford in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with Kevin Lepage as driver for 2006, is looking to have Carl Long run a 2nd team car in the Daytona 500. The team will make a decision on whether or not they will run the 2nd team after the three-day Daytona testing session beginning this Monday. Only Lepage will test, Long will not.(Carl-long.com)(1-16-2006)
  • Busch team gets Cup experienced help: Former Hendrick chassis guru Eddie Dickerson is joining forces with crew chief Billy Wilburn at Clay Andrews Racing. Andrews will back David Gilliland, 29, who is the son of former Winston West champion Butch Gilliland, in Nextel Cup. The team will test with Chevrolets later this month at Las Vegas and plans to run 15 races, starting in March with Vegas.(Sporting News)(1-16-2006)
  • Daytona 500 Testing – Over for Day 4: AM Speeds: #5-Kyle Busch was the fastest i the opening session of Daytona 500 Testing, Session 2 for the Cup teams with a speed of 186.629mph, followed by #14-Sterling Marlin, #26-Jamie McMurray, #10-Scott Riggs and #01-Joe Nemechek. 58 cars made runs in the AM session.
    PM Speeds: #14-Sterling Marlin was the fastest in the afternoon session 2 of Daytona 500 testing with a speed of 187.110mph, followed by #10-Scott Riggs, #26-Jamie McMurray, #01-Joe Nemechek and #25-David Green [subbing for Vickers]. 60 cars made runs in the afternoon session.
    AND have updated the driver list for the two Daytona 500 test session, speeds are posted for the first session [Jan 9-11]…on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 1 Testing Page. Up to 32 drivers this week. Will post any speeds reported for each session on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page. Also check out Truck Series testing speeds on my Daytona Truck Series Testing Page.
    DAY 4 NOTES: Robby Gordon is testing the #7, not Paul Tracy since Gordon made it back from Drakar early and David Green is testing for Brian Vickers who had hernia surgery today. Hermie Sadler is in the #00 Ford [Waltrip team will run Ford in 2006], Lepage is in the #61 Chevy [was a Ford in 2005 and #66], #27-Kirk Shelmedine is in a Chevy, #89-Shepherd is listed in a Ford; #95-Stanton Barrett is testing too. Testing contunies, Tuesday, Jan 17th, with drafting on Wed. Jan 18th.(1-16-2006)

News from January 15, 2006

  • Testing at Kentucky: #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Monday, Jan. 16th; #4-Scott Wimmer is scheduled to test on Tuesday, Jan. 17th. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(1-15-2006)
  • McCreadie wins Chili Bowl: Tim McCreadie battled past Jay Drake to take command on the 35th round en route to capturing the coveted Golden Driller trophy at Tulsa Expo Raceway’s 20th Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals on Saturday night. After battling with former Chili Bowl winners Drake and Cory Kruseman most of the way, McCreadie slipped away in the final rounds to score the win over Drake, Kruseman, 15th-starter Brad Kuhn and 21st-starter Josh Wise. Some NASCAR drivers who ran the event were: Tracy Hines [finished 7th], P.J. Jones [11th], Kasey Kahne [13th]; Jason Leffler [14th] and Justin Allgaier24th/last].(FoxSports). More info on the Chili Bowl at www.chilibowl.com or racinboys.com. No update on Tony Stewart’s arm injury or status, Stewart was listed in the F2 Main race but been told he did not race.(1-15-2006)

    News from January 14, 2006

  • Stewart flips again, Kruseman wins at Chili Bowl UPDATE Stewart is OK: Two-time Chili Bowl king Cory Kruseman outlasted P.J. Jones and a host of other challengers in Friday night’s hotly-contested 25-lap Warren CAT Qualifying night feature at Tulsa Expo Raceway’s 20th Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. Friday night’s feature was loaded with talent, it didn’t include NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart. Stewart, who scratched from Wednesday’s card after a flip in hot laps, flipped wildly down the backstretch in his Friday night qualifying race after a heat race win. Shaken, the 2002 Chili Bowl winner was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released. No word on any injuries. More info on the Chili Bowl at www.chilibowl.com or racinboys.com. Besides Stewart, other NASCAR drivers scheduled to be running some races there include Kasey Kahne, J.J. Yeley, Jason Leffler, Tracy Hines, Aaron Fike, A.J. Fike, P.J. Jones, Justin Allgaier and Damon Lusk.
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart, the reigning champion in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, was taken to a local hospital for a preliminary examination after he flipped his Midget car in the opening laps of last night’s qualifying race for the 20th annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway. Complaining of pain in his right arm after the crash, Stewart was taken to the hospital where X-rays revealed no broken bones and a CT scan proved negative. In a precautionary measure, Stewart was fitted with a cast until a more extensive evaluation can be made by his own doctors on Monday. “I’m a little sore,” said Stewart. “The doctors were great and did a pretty thorough evaluation of me. They didn’t find anything broken, but just to be sure, they fitted me with a cast that I’ll wear until I meet with my doctors on Monday. It looks a lot worse than it is. “In no way should this affect my upcoming test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, my plans to compete in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona or my participation in Daytona Speedweeks.”(True Speed Communication)(1-14-2006)
  • Death at Dakar AND another: Former top French skier Luc Alphand had victory in sight in the Dakar Rally after winning Friday’s 13th stage marred by the death of a young boy hit by a race car. Alphand, driving a Mitsubishi, extended his overall lead by clocking the fastest time over the day’s 348-km timed section on narrow dirt tracks between Labe, Guinea, and Tambacounda, Senegal. The boy, who had come with his parents to watch the rally pass just outside the Guinean village of Kourahoye, 25 km into the stage, was hit as he crossed the road. “A young boy that had come with his family to see the rally go by was hit by vehicle #420 of the car class while crossing the track,” organizers said. “He immediately received treatment from the medical staff of the rally, but died during his transfer by helicopter to Labe.” Saukans drives with Dambis Andris. Friday’s stage runs from Labe to Tambacounda, Senegal. The boy is the second casualty of this year’s rally after Australian motorcyclist Andy Caldecott died in a crash during the ninth stage on Monday. Alphand, the 1997 Alpine skiing World Cup champion, won the day’s stage ahead of twice world rally champion Carlos Sainz of Spain and South African Giniel De Villiers, both driving Volkswagen Touraeg prototypes. Alphand, who was the world’s best downhiller before switching to rallying, was more than 22 minutes ahead of De Villiers overall with two stages remaining before the race ends in Dakar on Sunday. In the motorcyle section, the KTM riders continued to dominate, filling the top six spots. Italian Giovanni Sala won ahead of Frenchmen Cyril Despres and Alain Duclos. Spaniard Marc Coma came fourth to retain the overall lead. The gruelling race across seven countries and covering more than 9,000 km started in Lisbon on Dec. 31.(ESPN.com/AP), NASCAR’s Robby Gordon was in the race but his race ended after stage 8, see more on my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-13-2006)
    AND For the second day in a row, a boy died after being hit by a vehicle involved in the Dakar Rally. A support truck hit and killed a 12-year-old boy Saturday, said organizers of the cross-continental road race — which ends Sunday. The truck struck the boy during the 14th stage on a road reserved for support vehicles. Police were investigating the accident, which occurred between the Senegalese cities of Tambacounda and Dakar.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-14-2006)

    News from January 13, 2006

  • Stremme feeling better: #40 Coors Light/Lonestar Dodge Driver David Stremme is feeling better after twisting his ankle and tearing all the ligaments in his right foot while using a leaf blower. The injury occured at his home near Charlotte several weeks before Christmas. Stremme said, “I’ve been fighting with the landscape company…they’ve not been showing up and they’ve been a pain in the butt. All my leaves were blowing across the street into my neighbor Joe Nemechek’s yard so I figured I needed to clean them up.” Stremme made sure he was okay to start the season by testing his foot riding go-carts. Stremme added, “I wish it had been my brake pedal foot instead of my gas pedal foot.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-13-2006)
  • NASCAR Teams head to England for help: NASCAR teams raided the Autosport International Racing Car Show in England this week in a quest for new technology to keep them ahead of rivals in Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck competition. Engineers from the Richard Childress Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing were combing the 500 booths at Britain’s biggest motorsports show. “With NASCAR closing the box on what teams can do to the cars, we are looking for everything from materials to engineering and products, wind tunnels and aerodynamic resources,” said RCR boss Richard Childress, who was making his first visit to the show. He was accompanied by his new director of engine research and development — former Formula One engine designer Nick Hayes.(National Speed Sport News)(1-13-2006)
  • #51 Team Scales Back a bit: been told the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports team will not run the full 2006 Cup season, opting out of the restrictor plate races [Daytona/Talladega] and attrempting as much of the other races as possible. Mike Garvey is scheduled to test the #51 Marathon Chevy at Las Vegas at the end of January.(1-13-2006)
  • Congrats: Penske Racing South’s Ben Holm and wife Mildred (Skeetz) Holm are proud parents of Nikki Rose Holm, born on Jan 6th.(1-13-2006)

    News from January 12, 2006

  • NASCAR tests COT at Daytona: the NASCAR Car of Tomorrow tested for the first time at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday. NASCAR Vice President for Research and Development Gary Nelson and his group began the latest round of on-track data acquisition for the Car of Tomorrow using the prototype produced by the NASCAR Research and Development Center and driven by Brett Bodine, NASCAR Director of Cost Research. Previous on-track sessions set performance baselines. Now, the quest to fine-tune those baselines begins at Daytona. The Car of Tomorrow, which is two inches taller and four inches wider than current NASCAR race cars, represents the sport’s next major step in safety and competition enhancements, and cost-reduction improvements. NASCAR is in the final stages of the five-year Car of Tomorrow project, and Thursday’s test marked another step toward the finished product.
    “The last part of the Car of Tomorrow is, ‘How does it run in traffic,’ ” Nelson said. “The only way you can do that is in traffic. You can’t do that in the laboratory. You can’t do that in the wind tunnel. And so we’re working our way into that to close up the specification to where we have a very nice package that works on the race track and in traffic, and the leader and the overtaking cars are able to have the right amount of balance as they’re running in clean or dirty air.” The tests that preceded Thursday’s – last October at Talladega Superspeedway, then at Atlanta Motor Speedway – featured the NASCAR prototype along with teams’ prototypes. Although Thursday’s Daytona test was open to teams, the NASCAR car worked in solitude, with Bodine’s laps building a framework of information to be used in the next test, next week. On Jan. 19, teams that have built Car of Tomorrow prototypes are scheduled to test with NASCAR at Daytona. Everyone will use the baselines developed in Thursday’s test to see how the cars react in traffic and drafting situations.
    Part of the future being tested Thursday included a wing rather than the usual spoiler attached to the car’s rear deck lid. NASCAR tested the wing briefly last October in Atlanta, but didn’t complete it because of a team’s engine problem. Most of Bodine’s runs today were done with the wing rather than the spoiler, and both he and Nelson say the possibility of using a spoiler adds to the pieces teams can use to tune their cars.

    The rear wing was added for this test session to give NASCAR more information on the handling characteristics of the new car design. (Photo Credit: NASCAR)

    “Today we’ve been able to tune it with bolt-on pieces, not cut fenders off and not cut quarter panels off, to change the balance of the car,” Bodine said. “And that’s one of our goals. We want a car that’s very tune-able, very adjustable, so maybe the car can be very adaptable to several race tracks instead of being track-specific.” Nelson said the idea of using a wing came from the Grand American Road Racing Association, where wings are common components in several different classes of sports car racing. “There’s actually several theories that are working when we start experimenting with the wing,” Nelson said. “The wake that is left behind the car at speed is what affects the following cars. And so as we explore ways to have better competition on the track, we want to understand that wake. And a wing produces a completely different wake than a spoiler does.”
    “The wing is very adjustable,” Bodine said. “You can change the angle and the shape of the wing. We’re still in development. The wing on the car is strictly a prototype piece. By no means is that something that could be final, but certainly the concept is starting to prove itself worthy of continued investigation.” Part of that continued investigation will take place next Thursday, when Bodine – a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitor – is scheduled to test in traffic with other cars.
    “We’re establishing a baseline with the spoiler and the speed that it produces,” Nelson said. “Our plan is to have a car follow us next week with the spoiler, switch to the wing and have that same car follow us so we run the same speed with the spoiler, the same speed with the wing and get the feedback from the driver that’s following on how that effects the turbulence.”
    Along with spoiler and wing configurations, the Car of Tomorrow also features a much more box-like front bumper that catches air rather than deflecting it. It’s one of several components that Nelson and Bodine say will help team owners with cost reduction; those components can be adjusted on the car, rather than having to be replaced. The goal is to produce a car that can perform at high levels at many different race tracks instead of just a few. “That is all going away for this car,” Nelson said. “The purpose of that is on the car owner side for the expense. If you have one size fits all, when you talk about the body of the car and the frame of the car, then how do you make that car run well at all the tracks? You bolt on aerodynamic devices, the spoiler, the wing or the splitter. You can’t sit here in early stages of that kind of development and say what the end result is going to look like. All you can say is that the end result will be what turns out best in testing.” (NASCAR PR)(1-12-2006)

  • #0 Sponsorship/Driver Announcement UPDATE new number 66: Best Buy and #0 Haas CNC Racing will make a sponsorship and driver announcement on Thursday, Jan 12th.(PR), Jeff Green has tested the #0 Chevy in the past few weeks.(1-12-2006)
    UPDATE: Best Buy announced that it will sponsor the #66 [was #0] Haas CNC Racing team in the Nextel Cup Series with driver Jeff Green. “This is really good news for me and our team,” said Green, the 2000 Busch Series champion. “Joining Best Buy Haas CNC Racing is a real thrill for me. With Best Buy coming on board and our plans for a new race shop, I think we have a pretty bright future ahead of us.” Green said joining this team allows him to work with crew chief Robert (Bootie) Barker, who he has long admired. “We have the makings of a very good team. With Bootie as my crew chief, and a terrific crew and equipment to work with, I know I’m going to have a good year,” said the Owensboro, Ken. native who, in addition to his 2000 Busch Series championship, owns 16 Busch Series victories and five top-5 finishes in Nextel Cup competition. “Haas CNC Racing is a top-notch organization and I think we will make some headlines in 2006.” The Haas team has raced #0 since 2003, and in 2006 the team’s Chevy will wear #66. This number was selected in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Best Buy, which opened its doors as Sound of Music in 1966 and is now North America’s leading retailer of consumer electronics. While Best Buy will serve as primary sponsor on the #66 for a minimum of 12 races, Mike Linton, chief marketing officer for Best Buy, anticipates the #66 will have full sponsorship throughout the 2006 season, with additional announcements coming soon. “Our entry into the world of NASCAR last year was a fun experience–energizing both Best Buy employees and customers,” Linton said. “As we looked to expand our presence this year, it was an easy choice to continue with the Haas CNC team. Anyone can do a sponsorship but not everyone can create a partnership and have fun at the same time. We know it’s going to be a great season and that Jeff is going to be a great driver for the team.” The Best Buy sponsorship will be highlighted on the #66 car as well as on driver and crew uniforms, trailers and merchandising items. Additionally the Best Buy Fun Zone Technology vehicle, a mobile unit featuring interactive technology displays, will make appearances at select races. Best Buy stores in key locations also will host driver and car appearances throughout the season. The Haas CNC Racing team is owned by Gene Haas, who founded Haas Automation in 1983. Based in Oxnard, California, Haas Automation is the largest machine tool manufacturer in the United States. Haas said the combination of a secure sponsorship combined with a championship-caliber driver and crew chief has created the most excitement at his 90-person race shop since it started in Nextel Cup racing in 2002. “There is a lot of excitement about this season–from Best Buy coming on as primary sponsor to Jeff Green taking over the car,” said Haas. “We’re looking forward to coming out of the gate strong at the Daytona 500 and being a contender for the championship.” The race team is currently based in Harrisburg, NC, where it occupies a 40,000-square-foot building containing both the business offices and the garage where Haas cars are prepared for upcoming races. The team plans to break ground on a new state-of-the-art 140,000-square-foot shop on 23 acres at the Kannapolis, N.C., Gateway Business Park on Jan. 19.TMCnet), yes…the #66 will get the #0 owners points, as the #1 will use #15’s from 2005 and the #61 team will use last years #66 points.
    IMAGE added of the scheme, see my #66 Team Schemes page for the image.(1-12-2006)
  • Dodge-Davis Lawsuit to go to jury trial: The Bill Davis-Dodge lawsuit is to go to jury trial in federal court in Michigan next week and could last two weeks. The long-running legal battle is over Dodge’s decision two years ago to withdraw financial sponsorship of Davis’ NASCAR team because of his racing ties with Toyota. Davis has Toyota truck teams and is expected to have one of Toyota’s lead teams when Toyota steps up to the Nextel Cup tour in 2007.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-12-2006)
  • #78 team plans to run full schedule: #78 Furniture Row Racing, one of the few sponsor owned Nextel Cup teams, is scheduled to run 36 Nextel Cup races with Kenny Wallac and Jerry Robertson driving. Wallace is committed to run the first 5 Cup races of the season for Furniture Row Racing. Kenny Wallace states, “Furniture Row Racing has the resources, Joe Garone has the knowledge, and I’m very excited to help this new team get started.” Robertson’s explains, “To race in Cup is my ultimate dream. We’ve got a year under our belts in the Busch Series, and the team is working very hard to get competitive for Cup. Everybody’s really excited.” Owner Barney Visser says, “Our original 2005 NCS [Cup] plans were based on Kenny’s NBS [Busch] sponsor commitment and scheduling. Our intention of running Kenny in 15 NCS races and the remainder with Jerry did not fully pan out, but it was a year of tremendous growth. Now, in 2006, Kenny has been approved to run as many races as possible, without interfering with his NBS commitment. This has put Jerry in a pinch hitter position for Cup. We are actively pursuing any top NBS teams that may be interested in having Jerry drive for them, with Furniture Row Racing supplying race engines, sponsorship, and technology. This will keep Jerry behind the wheel in the NBS while Kenny is racing in his select cup races.” Crew Chief is NASCAR vet Joe Garone. The Furniture Row Racing is Based in Denver, Colorado. Furniture Row operates more than 270 stores, in 30 states nationwide.(Furniture Row Racing site)(1-12-2006)
  • Edwards and Busch Finish Goodyear test at Atlanta: #99-Carl Edwards and #2-Kurt Busch completed today the second of a two-day tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Goodyear tires. Busch was fastest today with an unoffical best lap of 184.620mph (30.03 seconds). Edwards’ fastest lap was 183.450mph (30.22 seconds). With the new testing rules NASCAR has imposed this year, drivers covet the opportunity to gain extra time on the track. “This was beneficial to our team because it gave us the chance to come out here to a track I love and knock the rust off,” said defending Atlanta race winner, Carl Edwards. “It was nice just getting back in the car and gaining a little extra seat-time.” Tickets are on sale now for all three days of racing excitement during the March 17-19 Golden Corral 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with ticket prices starting at $30. For fans who want to attend all three days or racing action, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup races, three-day tickets start at $70 (quantities are limited). For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, 1-877-9AMSTIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(1-12-2006)
  • Carter to Bill Davis Racing UPDATE 2: although it was announced at Penske Racing that former #2 crew chief Larry Carter was staying there in another capacity, saw this reported on FoxSports.com in a Darrell Waltip article: “With my brother Michael being over at Bill Davis Racing, he’s bringing NAPA and some resources. Davis brought back Dave Blaney, who is one of those consistent guys. If you put Blaney in a good car next year, Michael and Blaney could work well together next year. They brought in Larry Carter from the #2 car to help them. That’s going to be a big plus. Derrick Finley has a few years under his belt as a crew chief. I see good things happening at Bill Davis Racing. But Michael has to stay out of trouble and finish races — that’s got to be his number 1 priority.(FoxSports)(12-28-2005)
    UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing will field three teams at Daytona; Mike Skinner will pull double duty between trucks and the #23 Cup car. Former Penske South [#2] crew chief Larry Carter has been retained as a consultant and will primarily assist Skinner’s team through Speedweeks.(Sporting News)(1-9-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Crew chief Larry Carter, who led #2-Rusty Wallace into the Chase for the Nextel Cup in Wallace’s final year in Cup racing, was a victim of a reorganization at Penske Racing South after Kurt Busch was named driver of the team’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge at the end of last year. This week at Daytona, Carter was in Daytona helping driver Mike Skinner test a pair of #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodges. He said he hoped to have his next career step in place shortly. “I don’t really know yet what I’m doing but I’ve got a couple opportunities that I’m looking at, and I’m probably going to be making a decision this week,” Carter said. “There’s nothing official yet, and I’m just down here helping Bill Davis with a couple of his cars, so we’ll see what happens by the end of this week and into next week.”(NASCAR.com)(1-12-2006)
  • Stewart flips, Lasoski wins at Chili Bowl: Danny Lasoski scored a wire-to-wire victory as the 20th Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals kicked off with Wednesday night’s 25-lap Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Night main event. Lasoski fought off Steve Kinser for the win, with Jerry Coons, Jr., taking the show position. Tim McCreadie made a last lap pass of youngster Brady Bacon to snare the fourth and final transfer position to Saturday’s championship main event. Tony Stewart scratched from the night after a wild flip in hot laps. Stewart has been rescheduled for Friday night’s Warren CAT qualifying action. More info on the Chili Bowl at www.chilibowl.com or racinboys.com. Besides Stewart, other NASCAR drivers scheduled to be running some races there include Kasey Kahne, J.J. Yeley, Jason Leffler, Tracy Hines, Aaron Fike, A.J. Fike, Justin Allgaier and Damon Lusk.(1-12-2006)
  • COT to test at Daytona UPDATE ‘Dead in the Water?’: NASCAR will test the “car of tomorrow” Jan. 12 and Jan. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Jan. 10 that all the teams have been invited to the tests, but he is unsure how many will actually participate in the tests on the restrictor-plate track. About 12 tests for the car, which could debut in 2007, are being scheduled for 2006. Among one of the pieces NASCAR is testing is a wing that goes across the deck lid, Darby said. “There was a lot of favorable results from it,” Darby said. “One thing a wing does is that it can duplicate the good parts of aerodynamics in regards to downforce and side-force things without creating the weight that a big spoiler would. It sits up off the deck lid a ways. We can use it a lot for testing purposes to learn more about what the car likes and what doesn’t like and take it from there. We have got two choices. We can just go ahead and leave the wings on them or we can go back and take that information [for the spoilers]. It’s a test piece for right now.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-10-2006)
    UPDATE: NASCAR’s proposed “car of the future” appears to be dead in the water for the moment. Detroit car makers are putting on hold their own operations for the time being, saying that NASCAR executives aren’t offering any clear directions on body configurations or timetables. NASCAR has planned an exhibition [at Daytona] today of its own in-house built version of the car, which was originally set to debut this fall at Talladega. But it appears no other stock-car teams will be participating. Another test of the car of the future in its quite different downforce configuration is expected in the next few days at Homestead, although it’s still unclear how many, if any, NASCAR teams will participate.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-12-2006)

    News from January 11, 2006

  • Day 3 Testing – Daytona: #17-Matt Kenseth was the fastest in Wednesday’s morning session, with a speed of 188.403mph in drafting sessions. #38-Sadler, #12-Newman, #41-Sorenson and #21-Schrader round out the top five drivers. The fastest Chevy was #24-Jeff Gordon, which was 10th fastest. Afternoon speeds: #24-Jeff Gordon was back at the top during Wednesday afternoon’s drafting practice with a speed of 189.298mph, followed by #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #40-Stremme and #1-Truex Jr. 19 drivers in 31 cars tested on Wednesday, opting opt was #78-Kenny Wallace.
    NOTE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammates Dale Eanrhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. swapped seats during Wednesday’s afternoon test session to evaluate each other’s race cars . . . Jeff Fuller, driving the #80 Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, spun in the afternoon session but drove away without making any contact.(DIS PR)
    For the days speeds, speeds from the past few days, who is testing when and test schedule, see more on my 2006 Daytona 500 Testing Page.
    for images and some news from the track, see Cup Scene Daily – Day 3 blog.(1-11-2006)
  • Domino’s sticks with Waltrip: Domino’s Pizza is going the distance with two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip as they extend their partnership into the 2006 NASCAR racing season. Domino’s will have an associate sponsorship throughout the 2006 racing season on Waltrip’s #55 NAPA Dodge. Additionally, Domino’s will be a primary sponsor on Waltrip’s #55 Dodge during one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race [supposedly Michigan in August]. The agreement also provides Domino’s the opportunity to continue featuring Waltrip in NASCAR-themed commercials and promotions.(Domino’s PR), see an image of the scheme on my #55 Team Schemes page.(1-11-2006)
  • Elliott wants to run 11-12 Cup races in 2006: Bill Elliott said Jan. 11 that he would like to run 10 to 12 races in 2006, but his only firm commitment is for the Daytona 500 in the #36 car for MB2 Motorsports. He would run the rest of the races for Evernham Motorsports [#91]. The 1988 Winston Cup champion retired from full-time racing after the 2003 season and has run a limited schedule the last two years for Ray Evernham. “My goal would be to run 10 or 12 races, that’s what we’ve always said in the past,” Elliott said. “We’ve kind of fallen short of that with the way things have fallen within Ray’s camp. Right now, his main focus is to get his third-car deal with Scott Riggs and all those things in place. For me, this is an opportunity for me to come down and do this and let him to get his program in place and then work toward whatever we do as we continue on down the road.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-11-2006)
  • Rusty and Danica teammates: Danica Patrick, who finished fourth as a rookie in last year’s Indianapolis 500, is teaming up with stock-car legend Rusty Wallace in one of racing’s most storied events. They’ll be partnered with Allan McNish and Boris Said in the 24 Hours of Daytona, Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway. Wallace, who retired from NASCAR last year, said Patrick, a Scottsdale resident,was impressive behind the wheel of the Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. “She got in the car and was all business,” Wallace said. “My fastest lap was 1:47 flat (on the 3.56-mile road course), and Danica ran a 146.60. She outran me. I said, ‘Guys, she’s not hurting my feelings.’ I was relieved she was able to get up to speed and run good.”(Arizona Republic)(1-11-2006)
  • Knaus leaving #48 rumors were just that: Jimmie Johnson said he and crew chief Chad Knaus laughed at the off-season rumors that Knaus was about to leave the Hendrick Motorsports team that fields the #48 Lowe’s Chevy for Johnson. “I think it started banquet week,” Johnson said. “He called me and asked if I fired him and my response back was, ‘No, are you leaving?'” Johnson did admit that he and Knaus were both frustrated near the end of the 2005 season as they again unsuccessfully chased a Nextel Cup title. “Last year was tough at the end and we were frustrated,” Johnson said. “I give Chad a lot of credit for how hard he was working. It just didn’t give us the results that we wanted. I think…the rumors kind of generated from that. And really, there was not any internal talk, there was not any discussion about a different crew chief, ever, and those rumors were something that we kind of laughed about and joked about.”(ThatsRacin)(1-11-2006)
  • Hermie Sadler’s UWF Launches 2006 Tour; Cup ride in 2006 UPDATE #00: The United Wrestling Federation, owned by NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler in partnership with TNA Wrestling, will launch its 2006 “Buckle Up” Tour next weekend in Sadler’s hometown of Emporia, Virginia. Of the tours 32 events scheduled by the UWF, several of them coincide with NASCAR weekends, giving fans the opportunity to see big-time professional wrestling while in town for race weekends, including an April 1 show in Martinsville, Virginia and a May 25 show at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, NC. The UWF will give discounts to NASCAR members and fans who have purchased tickets to races. Talent contracted by TNA include NWA Champion Jeff Jarrett, Team 3-D, AJ Styles, D-Lo Brown, and many others. For more information on events and tickets, visit www.uwfusa.com.
    AND hearing Hermie Sadler will drive a limited Nextel Cup schedule in the #00 Aaron’s Rent car in 2006.(1-6-2006)
    UPDATE: Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership and Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. (MWR) are pleased to announce the extension of their motorsports partnership through 2008. Aaron’s will be identified as the primary sponsor on the No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s Dream Machine racecar for twenty-two Busch races each year of the agreement with Michael Waltrip as the driver. The 2006 schedule expands to include eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races with the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine and Hermie Sadler as the driver. Waltrip also continues a driver development program that will compete in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series with Ken Butler III competing in the Southern Division and Brett Butler driving in the Northern Division.(Shopaarons.com)(1-11-2006)
  • Newman’s comments on Rusty: Q) Lookings back, is there a place where you wish you could have gone back and changed things with Rusty [Wallace, former teammate]? A) “It would have taken a different Rusty Wallace and a different Ryan Newman, and that wasn’t the situation. It probably never could have been any different than the way it was. We all know Rusty is the way he is and I’m the way I am. That wasn’t the best scenario for teammates. There wasn’t a point where we could have fixed it.”(Clear!Blue PR)(1-11-2006)
  • Edwards, Busch test tires at Atlanta: Kurt Busch sported new colors today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Dressed in a brand new blue firesuit, Busch took his first laps in the historic #2 Miller Lite car. Busch and three-time Atlanta Motor Speedway winner, #99-Carl Edwards, were at the track today to assist Goodyear Racing Tires with the first of a two-day test session. Busch’s new crew chief, Roy McCauley said, “Today, Goodyear is looking at wear, heat, overall lap times, grip level and load. Based on all the data taken during the test, they will choose the tire that will not generate too much heat, but provide enough grip to make the driver comfortable.” Edwards posted the fastest unofficial time of the day with a lap of 189.993 mph (29.18 seconds), while Busch’s fastest lap was 187.869 mph (29.51 seconds). Both times were comparable to race speeds. “Atlanta…man, this place is fast,” said Busch. “I enjoy coming here. I think all the drivers enjoy coming to this race track. With the new testing rules, this test is beneficial for our team,” said Busch. “Goodyear gets to use our resources to test their tires, but the biggest thing is we get track time.” Tickets are on sale now for all three days of racing excitement during the March 17-19 Golden Corral 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with ticket prices starting at $30. For fans who want to attend all three days or racing action, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup races, three-day tickets start at $70 (quantities are limited). For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, 1-877-9AMSTIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(1-11-2006)

    News from January 10, 2006

  • Irvan, Nadeau and LaJoie take on the virtual world: A squadron of NASCAR drivers will take on the virtual racing world in the first-ever Race2Safety Showdown on January 24 at Quaker Steak & Lube, just up the road from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The entire 40-car field was filled in less than 48 hours after it was announced. The 200-mile race will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.realracingonline.com, more info on my Ernie Irvan site or Racing Charities page.(1-10-2006)
  • UNC Charlotte Accepting Nominations for Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship: The Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is now accepting applications for the 2006-2007 Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship. Lee College annually awards the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship to an outstanding high school graduate who has an affiliation with NASCAR and who exemplifies the late Alan Kulwicki’s commitment to education and love of auto racing. More info and the link to apply on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(1-10-2006)
  • No new nose for the Charger: While Dodge teams are lobbying for concessions to make the one-year-old Dodge Charger more competitive, Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Jan. 10 that it is unlikely they will get them. “We’ll continue to watch the Dodge, but there are no changes on the table,” Darby said. Dodge teams, which won only two races in 2005, still have the option of using the 2004 Intrepid, which two teams used at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-10-2006)
  • Flights for Race Teams offered: Teams now have something new to consider for the 2006 race season. CharterSearch, Inc, an Air Charter Management Company that has been in business since 1987, is working on a new program that will provide the Performance, Consistency and High Level of Service that NASCAR team’s need. CharterSearch will be working this year to help provide the teams a lower cost option as the needs continue to grow with more new teams or higher demanding schedules on and off the track. USA Jet will be working exclusively with CharterSearch and provide the dedicated aircraft and crews which operate as a Part 121 carrier. They will be using three DC-9 Series aircraft that are configured in an executive/business class configuration to give the race crew members the comfort they need. More info at www.chartersearch.com.(1-10-2006)
  • Belmont to attempt Daytona 500: FansCrew.com announced that they will be in the ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway and plan to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 in February. “We’ve entered into a sponsorship agreement with Andy Belmont,” David Westrick, co-founder of FansCrew.com said. “We will be working with Andy throughout the ARCA season and will be on the car he attempts to qualify for the Daytona 500.”(FansCrew.com PR via Catchfence.com), no word on car# or team.(1-10-2006)

    News from January 9, 2006

  • Sad News: Elizabeth Toomes Petty, wife of NASCAR champion Lee Petty and mother of NASCAR champion Richard Petty, passed away Sunday morning at age 88. She is survived by sons Richard and Maurice, as well as nine grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, one great great grandchild, two sisters and two brothers. Funeral services are to be held privately. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations by made to Level Cross United Methodist Church, Victory Junction Gang Camp or to Hospice of Randolph County.(Williams Company)(1-9-2006)
  • The New Wood Brothers Racing Shop to open: A new racing company expected to open Jan. 25 in Harrisburg, NC could help the town become a destination for auto racing enthusiasts. Wood Brothers Racing/JTG Racing Inc. will bring a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team [#21-Ken Schrader], two NASCAR Busch Series teams [#47-Jon Wood and #59-Stacy Compton] and two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams. A second Nextel Cup team will arrive in 2007. The teams’ drivers are Ken Schrader, Stacy Compton, Jon Wood, Bobby East [CTS #21] and Marcos Ambrose [CTS #20]. The company will have a staff of 120, he said. Plans include hiring 20 more employees by the end of this year. It will cost about $750,000 to upgrade the 129,000-square-foot former warehouse on N.C. 49 at Caldwell Road. It will be able to house up to 70 racing cars and trucks. Wood Brothers Racing/JTC Racing Inc. has said it planned to invest $6.5 million and will bring new jobs in exchange for $76,914 in tax incentives from Cabarrus County and $20,787 from Harrisburg.(Charlotte Observer)(1-9-2006)
  • Kyle runs at Disney: Kyle Petty finished the Walt Disney World Marathon in 4 hours 42 minutes. He laughed when asked if he thought about “going behind the wall.” Petty said his knee began to bother him a lot around Mile 15. ”I walked a bunch so I wouldn’t hurt it,” he said. “This is not what I do for a living. I do drive race cars, so I don’t need to blow my knee out doing this. But it was a lot of fun. And the fans here are great, lining the course. Then you feel bad for walking, man.” Some of the competitors recognized Petty and talked to him along the way. Petty said next year he might try to get in good enough shape to run Disney and the Miami Marathon, which is at the end of January. Petty was talked into running his first marathon by fellow NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip. They ran the Las Vegas Marathon last year. Petty finished in 4:14.(Miami Herald)(1-9-2006)
  • Stewart skips Daytona testing: Considering Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart’s dramatic Daytona victory in July, it’s not surprising he’s blowing off testing there this week to concentrate on competing in the 20th annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. Smoke won the Chili Bowl title in 2002 and this year will face an expected field of 270 competitors, including Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski and Kasey Kahne. As happened last year, Mike McLaughlin will fill in for Stewart in the #20 Chevrolet during testing.(Sporting News)(1-9-2006)
  • BDR to have three teams at Daytona: Bill Davis Racing will field three teams at Daytona; Mike Skinner will pull double duty between trucks and the #23 Cup car. Former Penske South [#2] crew chief Larry Carter has been retained as a consultant and will primarily assist Skinner’s team through Speedweeks. Dave Blaney returns to BDR in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge and will be reunited with former Richard Childress Racing crew chief Kevin Hamlin. Michael Waltrip will make his debut for the organization in the #55 NAPA Dodge in February–the #22 and #55 will test next week, but former Winston West driver and current rear tire changer Tom Hubert will sub for Waltrip. Tony Anderson, a six-year BDR veteran who was the chief mechanic for the 22, has been promoted to car chief.(Sporting News)(1-9-2006)
  • Busch tests at Lakeland: Kurt Busch was at Lakeland Speedway last Wednesday getting acquainted with his new team. Breaking in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge with Busch was crew chief Roy McCauley and new car chief Corey Tucker, who honed his skills on Ryan Newman’s Penske team that won six races in nine Busch Series starts last year.(Sporting News)(1-9-2006)
  • #31 Jackman back: #31-Jeff Burton’s jackman, Josh Yost, who suffered cut tendons and ligaments and a shattered ankle when he was hit by Rusty Wallace’s car on pit road in May at Talladega, returned to RCR in November and is expected to return to the roster for Daytona.(Sporting News)(1-9-2006)
  • Congrats: MB2 Motorsports fabricator, Kenny Hough and wife Robin welcomed baby girl Kayla Marie Hough born at 11:58pm/et on Jan 7th, weighing in at 7 lbs 1 oz and 20 1/2inches long.(1-9-2006)
  • Stewart hands out awards at Eldora: Eldora Speedway capped the 2005 racing season with its awards banquet on Sunday by awarding nearly 100 trophies to drivers and car owners at the Eldora Ballroom. Track owner and Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart was on hand to help hand out the hardware, including points championships to Aaron Scott (Late Models), Scott Orr (Modifieds) Chad Kemenah (Sprints) and Mike Dirksen (Stock Car). Eldora also honored Sunoco American Late Model Series champion Brian Ruhlman and the series drivers.(Daytona Daily News)(1-9-2006)
  • Robby Gordon Dakar Update – 8th stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal, ending on Jan. 15th.
    Unofficially Team Dakar USA is out of the Dakar Rally. While the team battled overnight to make repairs to the Hummer’s clutch and radiator apparently they did not make the ASO’s allowed starting time. We will await word from the team for more details.
    AND Gordon’s attempt to win the famed Dakar Rally in his first try as a team owner/driver came within half an hour of becoming a reality before a large clump of camel grass hidden behind a huge sand dune ended his chances. Gordon was making the treacherous Special Stage run over open desert, in fading light, between Zouerat and Atar, Mauritania when he came over a dune and found the sandy crest breaking away under him. Instead of landing in soft sand on the other side the Hummer impacted a large patch of native grass filled with hard sand known as “camel grass.” The otherwise minor impact pushed the front bumper bar through the grill of the Hummer which punctured the radiator. Gordon his navigator Darren Skilton made repairs, then worked to extract the Hummer from the sand, but the effort caused the repaired damage to radiator to blow. Since it was dark and far from any roads, no assistance could reach them and the spare truck was also stuck, Gordon called for assistance which eliminated the H3 from the days race. Plans were to get the truck fixed for the next days race. At dawn the crew finally located the H3 team and replaced the radiator but it was now another race against time to make it to Atar to restart the next stage between Atar and Nouakchot, some 170 kilometers away. The official closing time for the restart was 1 p.m., but officials graciously allowed the H3 team a half-hour grace period to make the start. It wasn’t enough. The Hummer arrived one hour beyond the official allotted time and the Hummer was disqualified. Gordon still planned to reenter the race, accepting full-time penalties, so the team could get experience racing in the desert for next years event. The decision of the race officials, after much careful consideration, was still negative but they did grant the team the right to run the next day’s Nouakchot-Kiffa stage for experience. After completing the 9th Stage the Hummer will drive directly to Dakar for shipment home. Once back at the team’s headquarters in Anaheim, Calif., Gordon’s off-road crew will completely disassemble the H3 and begin preparations for the Baja 500 in June. See full release at robbygordon.com.
    For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(RGM PR)(1-8/9-2006)
  • NASCAR Drivers running Rolex 24 At Daytona: At least nine drivers with NASCAR ties are scheduled to test Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series cars Thursday through Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Jan. 28-29 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Defending Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart and recently retired Rusty Wallace are on the entry list for testing. They will be teammates – but in different cars – for Howard-Boss Motorsports. Ganassi Racing driver Casey Mears will be part of Ganassi’s driver lineup, which includes former Cup driver Scott Pruett, who still drives road-course Cup events. Two-time Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie is on the entry list, as are Mexican drivers Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain, who ran partial schedules in the Busch Series last year. NBC commentator and former Cup driver Wally Dallenbach will also participate.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), also Northeast short-tracker Ted Christopher and former Truck/Busch Series driver David Donohue will run the race.(Elmira Star Gazette)(1-5-2006)
    MORE NASCAR Ties: other drivers with “NASCAR Ties”:
    Christian Fittipaldi (Cup/Busch); Butch Leitzinger (Cup/Busch); Darrin Brassfield (Cup in 1989); Tommy Riggins (Cup/Busch); Jack Baldwin (Busch); Tommy Archer (Trucks); Mike Borkowski (Busch/Trucks); Tony Ave (Cup start); Chris Bingham (Busch); Ron Fellows is testing the #40 with Bingham this week in Daytona and could end up running the race.(Mike Paz, DIS PR Announcer)(1-6-2006)
    PLUS: NASCAR NBC Broadcaster and racing legend, Benny Parsons, will be the grand marshal of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.(1-9-2006)
  • Day 1 AM Speeds – Daytona: #24-Jeff Gordon led the morning sessions with a speed of 187.029mph. Gordon led a Chevy contingent in the top 3. He was followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson and #36-Bill Elliott. The new Ford Fusions made a strong debut, led by #17-Matt Kenseth with a speed of 186.023, 4th fastest. The Dodges still appear to be struggling, with the top Dodge being #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 12th fastest with a speed of 184.983mph.
    PM: #36-Bill Elliott’s speed if 187.219mph was the fastest of today’s afternoon session. Elliott was followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #38-Elliott Sadler and #24-Jeff Gordon.(Cup Scene Daily)
    Three drivers/teams not on the original list are testing: #23-Mike Skinner, #78-Kenny Wallace and #80-Jeff Fuller [4th Gibbs car]. One driver on the list has not seen on the speed charts: #13-Greg Sacks.
    See full rundown of Day 1- AM, PM and BEST speeds for the 20 drivers/37 cars on my 2006 Daytona 500 Testing Page
    See drivers times for Jan. 10th’s Fan Fest on my Drivers Appearances page.(1-9-2006)

News from January 8, 2006

  • Foyt to the #50? hearing Larry Foyt will attempt to make the Daytona 500 in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge.(1-8-2006)
  • Said and Lepage take the gold: The near zero temperatures made for a slick track for the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge Saturday at the Verizon Sports Complex. It was an eventful and exciting day at the track as 10 NASCAR drivers competed against each other in two bobsled races which they had prepred for since Thursday afternoon. NASCAR racer Boris Said captured the gold medal in the first race of the day with a combined time of one minute, 44.38 seconds. Said, the son of former Olympic bobsled driver Bob Said, was ironically pushed by his father’s former brakeman Phil “Bear” Duprey at the start of all of his runs throughout the day. After sliding the two best qualifying runs on Friday, Todd Bodine came in second place during the first race followed by Stanton Barrett in third. Kevin Lepage and Tim Fedewa rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth places, respectively. NASCAR short-track legend Dick Trickle certainly made his mark on the bobsled track as well. The animated 64-year old had the fastest training time earlier in the day, however he flipped his sled on both runs of the first race. The Trickle Turn, as commentators re-named curve 18 of the track, saw Trickle flip twice as he tried to gain speed and better his time. Trickle, as well as the rest of the NASCAR drivers, remained in high spirits for the second and final race of the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. The drivers could not thank Geoff Bodine enough for putting this program together and wished the United States bobsled teams well as they prepared themselves to race again.
    Trickle was able to keep his sled on all four runners for both heats of the second race and said, “It’s a lot better to stay on your skis than on your side.” Lepage placed first in the second race of the day with a combined time of 1:44.14. A hush fell over the crowd as Lepage prepared for his second run, the last sled of the day. Lepage joked, “This ain’t the golf course. You guys can talk.” After winning the race, he said, “I’m looking forward to next year.” Former Hollywood stuntman Stanton Barrett captured second place after his second run at 51.96 seconds broke Todd Bodine’s previous track record of 52.01 for best run of the day. During his record-breaking run, Barrett found himself on two runners at times and nearly flipped the sled. Barrett commented, “That was insane. I was thinking ‘Oh, here I come, Trickle.'” Third place went to Tim Fedewa, while Todd Bodine and Geoff Bodine took fourth and fifth, respectively.
    Thanking the fans, the U.S. bobsled athletes and coaches, the sled mechanics, and the town of Lake Placid, Geoff Bodine was all smiles at the end of the event. Bodine said, “I knew the drivers were going to love this. They had some doubts, but by the smiles on their faces you could tell how much they liked it.” More info at bodynbobsled.com or Lake Placid Olympic Region Site.
    ESPN will televise a one-hour program at 5:00pm/et Jan. 29, while SPEED Channel will provide two hours of coverage on Feb. 4 at 2:00pm/et Feb. 4.(1-8-2006)

    News from January 7, 2006

  • Sporting News – Brian France 5th: NASCAR’s Brian France was chosen 5th most powerful in the Sporting News Power 100, behind only: 1. David Stern, commissioner, NBA; 2. George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports; 3. Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, NFL; 4. Bud Selig, commissioner, MLB. Blurb from the Sporting News reads: As head of a family-run business, NASCAR’s Brian France has more freedom than traditional commissioners. And although he didn’t do anything as revolutionary in ’05 as his implementation of the Chase for the Nextel Cup in ’04, he continued expanding NASCAR’s presence with a points race in Mexico, changed the rules specifically to clamp down on owner Jack Roush’s reach and listened to the pitches of several cities hoping to land the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Other NASCAR folks in the list: Multi-team owner Jack Roush, 26th; NASCAR’s George Pyne, 34th; ISC’s Lesa France Kennedy, 65; Driver Jeff Gordon, 73; Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO, Speedway Motorsports, 76. See full column and list at the Sporting News.(1-7-2006)
  • Robby Gordon Dakar Update – 7th stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal, ending on Jan. 15th.
    Earlier reports from Africa indicated that Robby Gordon and his Hummer H3 Dakar effort had “crashed heavily” while competing in the seventh stage of the famed Dakar Rally. There was no crash, and communication directly from Gordon and his navigator Darren Skilton indicate, that while the car is down for repairs, it is for a broken radiator and clutch problem. While night has arrived in Mauritania, and repairs are obviously difficult, every effort is being made to return the Hummer to competition when the race resumes Sunday. Saturday is a day off for all competitors. An overall victory is clearly impossible, however, should Gordon and Skilton make the necessary and expected repairs to the vehicle, the tandem will have eight more race days in which to secure stage victories. More information will be provided regarding the status of the repairs as they are made available.RGM site)
    AND Stephane Peterhansel of France won for the second time in the Dakar Rally, taking the seventh stage Friday in the grueling road race. Fellow Frenchman Luc Alphand was second, 4 minutes, 23 seconds behind, and claimed the overall lead with a time of 22 hours, 32 minutes, 41 seconds. He is followed by Peterhansel, 3 minutes,12 seconds behind. Peterhansel, who also won the fifth stage, was timed Friday in 5:52:18.(ESPN.com/AP), no word on where Gordon finished or where he currently stands.
    For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(RGM PR)(1-7-2006)
  • Todd Bodine put bobsled on the pole: Todd Bodine heads into Saturday’s Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge “on the pole” after qualifying runs for the event wrapped up on Friday afternoon at the Verizon Sports Complex. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, founded by Geoff Bodine (9th fastest), provides American-made bobsleds to the United States bobsled teams free of charge. The two Bodine brothers, along with eight other NASCAR drivers, including Tim Fedewa (2bd fastest), Kevin Lepage (3rd), Boris Said (4th), Dick Trickle (5th), Brad Noffsinger (6th), Stanton Barrett (7th), Steve Park (8th), and Joel Kauffman (10th), will compete in the challenge on Saturday. All NASCAR racers were in competitive but high spirits when they arrived in Lake Placid for the Challenge, as they joked with each other and signed autographs for adoring fans.
    The Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge got underway on Thursday afternoon when the NASCAR drivers arrived at the Verizon Sports Complex for a lesson in Bobsled 101. The drivers took to the track with U.S. bobsled team athletes for an overview of the sport, followed by a ride down part of the track behind a U.S. team driver. When it came time for the NASCAR drivers to actually drive themselves, they could not get enough of the action and finished the evening with a craving for more speed. The drivers started higher up the track on Friday to complete their final training runs and two qualifying heats. As the temperature dropped, the ¾ mile track became faster and the NASCAR racers got all the speed they wanted as they flew through the 17 curves at speeds of nearly 60 miles an hour.
    Driving the last sled of the day, Todd Bodine came out on top after the second run with a combined time of 1 minute, 47.24 seconds. Bodine was followed by Fedewa and Lepage in second and third, respectively. Bodine credits much of his successful bobsled driving to the U.S. bobsled athletes saying, “It’s great to see our young kids as good as they are. And now with the bobsled project giving them good equipment, our future for bobsledding is looking pretty bright. It’s a great feeling.” All 10 drivers as well as their many eager fans are looking forward to the feature race of the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge beginning at 10 am on Saturday morning, with an afternoon race set for 1 pm. Country artists Cowboy Crush will open the proceedings with their rendition of the National Anthem. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the main gate of the Verizon Sports Complex. More info at bodynbobsled.com or Lake Placid Olympic Region Site.
    ESPN will televise a one-hour program at 5:00pm/et Jan. 29, while SPEED Channel will provide two hours of coverage on Feb. 4 at 2:00pm/et Feb. 4.(1-7-2006)

    News from January 6, 2006

  • Kyle gets a 12 race sponsor: gearing that Wells Fargo will move up from an associate sposnor to be the primary sponsor of the #45 Dodge of Kyle Petty for at least 12 races this season, including the season opening Daytona 500. Petty Enterprises is talking with other sponsors as well at this point. They will run the full schedule in 2006, but still have some sponsorship openings available.(1-6-2006)
  • Cup team considering move to Indy? in Darrell Waltrip’s latest column at FoxSports: “by the way I was in Indy this past week on some business. There’s a rumor going around that some big NASCAR team was thinking about moving to Indianapolis, and I was talking to some folks who may have given me an inside track on who it might be. It’s a guy that’s got three cars and no crew chiefs, if that helps you any.”(FoxSports), no crew chiefs? Evernham Motorsports uses Team Directors…not crew chiefs.(1-6-2006)
  • Martin to be featured in AAA teen driver safety announcements: Jack Roush will join AAA officials in previewing its new 2006 NEXTEL Cup race car sponsorship in Detroit’s Cobo Center, at the AAA Motorsports exhibit in Michigan Hall in the lower level on Tuesday, January 10th. AAA has signed a contract with Roush Racing to sponsor the #6 Ford Fusion, driven by Mark Martin, at NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2006. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the #6 AAA Ford racecar will be on display, as well as a racing simulator for media members to test their driving skills in a virtual experience of roaring around the track at over 200 miles per hour. In addition to announcing the new AAA-Roush sponsorship, AAA officials will discuss the Auto Club’s plans to advocate for improved teen driver safety and will preview a series of public service announcements featuring Mark Martin.(GMR PR)(1-6-2006)
  • Larry Foyt Seeks NASCAR Ride for 2006: Larry Foyt, Dave Tomasello and Zekko Racing have ended their business relationship after two months. Foyt cited differences in business philosophy as the underlying reason for the termination of the relationship. Foyt, son of A.J. Foyt, is now looking for a ride in one of the NASCAR-sanctioned series for the 2006 season. “I don’t think there is enough time to secure sponsorship for the 2006 season in the NASCAR Busch Series, so I am focusing now on landing a ride,” said Foyt, who has driven in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series. “While I haven’t ruled out running my own team, it has been really difficult to secure sponsorship and the time is getting critical to field a car for the opening race at Daytona,” said the 28-year-old Texan. “I really want to get back to driving so I’m looking seriously for a ride with an established team. Obviously if one of my sponsorship pitches works out, we’ll spare no effort putting a program together that works best for everyone. However, right now my focus is on getting a ride.” Foyt, who graduated from Texas Christian University in 2000 with a degree in communications, has competed in NASCAR since his debut there in 2001. He also is a two-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 driving for his father’s Indy car team.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(1-6-2006)
  • More on Boris Said’s 2006 plans: Boris Said is still waiting for his 2006 Nextel Cup plans to be finalized. After running a part-time schedule in 2005 [in the #36 Centrix Chevy for MB2 Motorsports], Said expected to run at least 12 Nextel Cup races this season. But his deal hasn’t been completed other than a commitment to run two Busch Series road races for Ray Evernham. “I know I will run at least six to eight Nextel Cup races,” Said said. “But I’d hate to miss the Daytona 500 and right now a package for Daytona has not been finalized.” Bill Elliott will drive the #36 Chevy at Daytona in Feb.(San Diego Union Tribine)(1-6-2006)

    News from January 5, 2006

  • NASCAR HOF, three cities left: NASCAR announced Thursday that three cities – Atlanta, Charlotte and Daytona Beach – are still under consideration for serving as the host site for the sport’s first-ever officially-sanctioned Hall of Fame. Kansas City and Richmond were the two other cities that had submitted proposals to NASCAR and been involved in the process since the early part of 2005. “NASCAR is extremely appreciative of the time, effort and commitment put forth by the cities of Kansas City and Richmond,” said Mark Dyer, NASCAR vice president for licensing. “Both of their proposals were outstanding and the passion and enthusiasm the people involved showed for the NASCAR Hall of Fame has made a lasting impression on all of us. We’d like to thank Gov. Sebelius of Kansas and Gov. Warner of Virginia, along with all of the other people who put so much work into this project. Both of these cities are extremely important to our sport and should be congratulated for their efforts. As we move forward in this process, we believe it is necessary to focus our attention on the three cities of Atlanta, Charlotte and Daytona Beach. Based upon the proposals that we have reviewed internally for the past several months, we believe these three cities provide us with the best opportunity to build and develop a world-class NASCAR Hall of Fame for our millions of loyal fans.” NASCAR hopes to make a final decision on its Hall of Fame site sometime within the first quarter of 2006.(NASCAR), past news about the NASCAR HOF on my NASCAR HOF page, so much for the ‘breaking news’ that Kansas was getting it.(1-5-2006)
  • Terry Labonte’s 2006 #44 Schedule: Hendrick Motorsports unveiled the 2006 schedule of two-time champion Terry Labonte, who will appear in 10 races with the organization during his final year of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. The team will again campaign its #44 Chevrolets with primary sponsorship from Kellogg Company, GMAC and CARQUEST Auto Parts. Kellogg’s will continue its 12-year relationship with Labonte as primary sponsor in half of the planned events. “This is an opportunity for me to have a little more fun,” said Labonte, 49, who has 22 career Cup victories and two series championships (1984 and 1996) to his credit. “I’ve been fortunate to do this for nearly three decades and I’m excited to go back to some of the places that have meant so much to me, my team and my family over the years.” Labonte, who began racing at the Cup level in 1978, will appear at six different venues during his 2006 Hendrick Motorsports “Shifting Gears – Lone Star Style” schedule, including multiple races at Texas Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. A Corpus Christi, Texas, native, Labonte will compete April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, followed by dates at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway. The July 23 event at Pocono will open the second half of the 10-race slate, prior to dates at California Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The final race of Labonte’s storied career will come Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR). Labonte will also drive the #96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Chevy in the first five races of the 2006 season.(1-5-2006)
  • Tracy to test for R. Gordon at Daytona: Paul Tracy is scheduled to test for Robby Gordon’s Nextel Cup team to Daytona on Jan. 16th. According to this week’s Autosport magazine, Tracy will handle the beginning of next week’s sessions while Gordon travels back from the Dakar rally, which doesn’t end until January 15. “It helps me out and it helps him out, it’s a win-win situation for both of us. It lets him work around NASCAR when he’s not testing his Champ Car,” Gordon revealed. “He’ll get some more superspeedway experience. He can learn from my engineers, but at the same time it helps me because I need a driver who can drive and test as well.” Gordon, who currently lies 44th overall in his Hummer H3 at the Dakar, intends to test in the final two days of activity at Daytona [see story below]. Last year, Tracy tested for Richard Childress Racing at Michigan but ended up not making his NASCAR race debut as originally planned.(Speed Channel)
    Tracy also plans to run some Busch Series races, orignally for for Biagi Bros. Racing [#4-Mark Green] but that deal fell thru so it will be a different team.(Busch Site).(1-5-2006)
  • IROC adds road course…Daytona: The International Race of Champions [IROC] series will be on the road again in 2006, holding a road-course event as part of its four-race schedule for the first time in 14 years.The IROC series, sponsored by Crown Royal, will hold its third race this season on Thursday, June 29, on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. The last road-course event in IROC was at Watkins Glen International in New York in 1991, with Rusty Wallace winning. As part of its 30th anniversary season, IROC will also race Feb. 17 on the 2.5-mile oval at Daytona, on April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway and on Oct. 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “We’ve missed the road racing element of the series over the years and I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to add a road course back into the mix,” said Jay Signore, IROC president and general manager. “This will be the first time the Crown Royal IROC Series will race on the Daytona road course since our inaugural season.” IROC’s test drivers began making laps Thursday on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course in conjunction with testing for the Rolex 24 of Daytona endurance race. The 12-driver field for this year’s event is scheduled to be announced Jan. 17 in Daytona at a news conference during NASCAR’s “Preseason Thunder,” two weeks of testing that begins Monday.(ThatsRacin.com), the Daytona road course race takes the place of Richmond, which ran in Sept.(1-5-2006)
  • Shepherd to run Daytona: #89-Morgan Shepherd will test for the Daytona 500 in the 2nd session [Jan 16-18] and plans attempt to make the race in the #89 Dodge. Shepherd recently hired Doug George as the crew chief.(Morgan Shepherd site), Shepherd also has a NC appearance, see my Drivers Appearance page for more.(1-5-2006)
  • Robby sticks with DEI? UPDATE: hearing that Robby Gordon will start the 2006 Nextel Cup season with DEI [Dale Earnhardt Inc.] engines after running well in the final two races. Once Menards engines are ready, he will then go back to those engines.(12-7-2005)
    UPDATE: While Robby Gordon and his off-road racing team navigate their Jim Beam/Toyo Tires Hummer H3 through Northern Africa’s Sahara Desert, his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team is preparing for its second season of competition from its shop in Charlotte, N.C. Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM), which was originally scheduled to participate in Daytona testing Jan. 9-11, will now test at Daytona Jan. 16-18 due to Gordon’s participation in the Dakar Rally through Jan. 15. While Gordon will use the first day of the test as a travel day back from Dakar, the team will employ a replacement driver on the first of the three days, with Gordon back in the seat for the session’s final two days. The test will be the first outing for the team with its new DEI engine package that it will campaign the entire 2006 NASCAR season. With the prowess of DEI engines on all types of tracks, particularly at NASCAR’s two restrictor-plate tracks – Daytona and Talladega – better results from the second-year program are expected. “Last year was a frustrating season for everyone here, but we would like to believe those days are behind us,” said John Story, general manager of RGM. “Not only did we have a completely new group of people working together for the first time and a new engine program, but we also came into the Nextel Cup Series in a year where the rules were amended to protect those teams that have shown loyalty to the sport. Given our bad start, we fought the new “top-35” rule all season and were never able to get ourselves into the position we hoped. At some point early this season we will benefit from the same rule we fought all season. While we’re still outside the top 35, we have so much going for us that we didn’t have last season. Chief among them is our team. With the exception of one person, the entire team that spent the last half of the season together is back again for 2006, and we have added a number of people to the staff to improve what was already a good team. We also have a fleet of cars that are all but complete and ready for the race track. At this time last year we didn’t have a single car on the ground. We now have as many as 11 cars all but ready to go. “The final, and perhaps biggest key to RGM having a successful 2006 season is the fact that we will again have sponsorship from Menards, Jim Beam, Harrah’s and CarLoan.com in addition to a long list of associate sponsors. I believe our sponsors see where we’re headed as a team and are also anxious to see how far we can improve this year.” Following three days of testing at Daytona, RGM will take part in NASCAR’s second test Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before returning to Daytona International Speedway for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500 with Jim Beam as the primary sponsor.(RGM PR)(1-5-2006)
  • Mike Wallace back in the #09 for at least 7 races: Mike Wallace confirmed with Motorsports Lounge that he will attempt to qualify and race the #09 Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts Dodge owned by James Finch in the 2006 Daytona 500, and run six other races in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Season, and possibly more if the team can pick up additional sponsorship. “I am excited about going to Daytona with James Finch, Marc Reno and the team,” said Team ML driver Mike Wallace. “We do have to qualify to get into the race, but once in, we are going for the win”. Wallace and the team are not strangers as he has driven the #09 Dodge many times in the past. Wallace has had multiple top 12 finishes with the team, and came close to winning the Daytona 500 in 2003. Wallace also drove for Marc Reno in his first NASCAR Busch Series race and his first ARCA Series race. “Marc and I have a good working history, and we are confident we will have a good run in Daytona in the #09 Miccosukee Dodge.” The team will be taking three cars (one old and two new) to Daytona for testing on January 16th, 17th and 18th [2nd session]. Currently, Mike Wallace and the team are looking to race seven races in 2006, which includes the two Daytona and two Talladega restrictor plate races, Richmond in Sept., night, Bristol in August and Homestead. However, the team is looking to race more events if they acquire additional sponsorship. Interested parties can contact James Finch of Phoenix Racing for details and sponsorship opportunities.(Motorsports Lounge PR)(1-5-2006)
  • May testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway…and repaving: Nextel Cup drivers are scheduled to test on May 1-2 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Since the May events at Charlotte will be held at night, testing will be held until 9:00pm/et each evening. Fans can watch the Charlotte test session free of charge from the track’s main grandstand.(Paraphrased from Gordonline.com), also hearing that the track will be repaved with a scheduled start of Jan 16th thru March.(1-5-2006)
  • Evernham tests at Kentucky: #10-Scott Riggs and Erin Crocker in an R&D Dodge, testing for Evernham Motorsports at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, Jan 4th. Also of note The Richard Petty Driving Experience will award four lucky fans a Rookie Experience package on Saturday, Jan. 7 when 2006 Kentucky Speedway single-event race tickets go on sale at 9:00am. More info at Kentuckyspeedway.com.(1-5-2006)
  • Robby Gordon Dakar Update – 6th stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal, ending on Jan. 15th.
    Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi won the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally as the cars crossed from Morocco into this desert nation Thursday. Magnaldi, driving a Schles-Ford-Raid, won the 275-mile stage that began in Tan-Tan, Morocco, in 3 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds. Jean-Louis Schlesser, also of France, was 2 minutes, 55 seconds behind. Giniel de Villiers was 51 seconds farther back in third, but the South African jumped from fifth place to take the overall lead. Carlos Sainz of Spain was another 22 seconds and gave up the overall lead.(ESPN.com/AP)
    AND An 11th place finish in the sixth stage of the 15 stage Dakar Rally has once again vaulted Team Dakar USA up in the overall classification. Gordon, who was as high as eight in the overall standings after stage three, dropped to 69th after suffering a transmission problem in stage four. Since then the duo of Gordon and Skilton have logged two stong stages and are working their way back to the top-10. Beginning the day, Gordon was in the 45th position. After today the #335 Hummer H3 is now four hours and 28 minutes back of the lead car of Giniel De Villiers.(RGM site)
    For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(RGM PR)(1-5-2006)
  • Stewart..Hockey Coach: Tony Stewart will add another accomplishment Jan. 6 to his impressive career resume – hockey coach. Stewart, a native and resident of Columbus, Ind., will serve as “Honorary Assistant Coach” of the Indiana Ice against the Sioux Falls Stampede on Friday, Jan. 6 at the Pepsi Coliseum, located at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Game time is 7:00pm. The Ice will announce “lucky rows” throughout the game, and fans seated in those rows will have the opportunity to meet reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Stewart and get an autograph. The Tony Stewart Foundation, which supports numerous local and national youth-focused charitable causes, will benefit from the game as the Ice will pledge $2 from every ticket sold to the Foundation. In addition, the Ice will raffle two collectible jerseys during the game, and the winners will meet Stewart and get an autograph. A silent auction also will take place, with proceeds going to the Tony Stewart Foundation. “I’ve been a big fan of hockey since I attended a Dallas Stars game in Texas several years ago, but having the opportunity to support my hometown team and sit right on the ice will be a very cool experience,” Stewart said. “I’m looking forward to greeting the fans and the Ice players, and my thanks go to the whole organization for supporting the Tony Stewart Foundation.” J.D. Byrider, a longtime Stewart backer, is sponsoring the night. More info at indianaice.com.(PR)(1-5-2006)

    News from January 4, 2006

  • Bill Elliott to run Daytona 500…in a Chevy UPDATE: Longtime Dodge [and longer time Ford] driver Elliott has Chevy ride for Daytona Bill Elliott will get another chance to add to his Daytona win total next month, and the longtime Ford and Dodge driver also will have a chance to size up a Chevy. Elliott, who has four wins at Daytona International Speedway, including two in the prestigious Daytona 500, said Tuesday that he’ll be driving the #36 Chevy for MB2 Motorsports in the sport’s showcase event. “I wanted to run the 500 again, one more time at least,” said Elliott, who has run a part-time schedule for the past two seasons after ending a full-time career that saw him win a Nextel Cup championship, 44 races and 55 poles. “I’ve always enjoyed running Daytona.” It’ll mark one of his rare starts in a General Motors car, although he did run Chevys and an Oldsmobile in the late 1970s. “The General Motors stuff has been awfully good on superspeedways,” he said. “We’ll see what they’re all about.” He still plans to run some races in a [#91] Dodge for his regular car owner, Ray Evernham, but those starts will come later in the season. Elliott said it’s best for Evernham to focus on getting his third full-time team — the #10 Valvoline Dodge driven by Scott Riggs — up to speed at the start of the season. “I want Ray to put all his effort into that right now,” he said. Elliott’s first ride in the #36 will come next week when Daytona holds the first round of preseason test sessions.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    NOTE: Boris Said usually drives the #36 car for MB2 Motorsports, making 9 starts in 12 2005 attempts. Supposedly Said will again run a limited schedule in 2006, not sure if this move changes that. Elliott also has a past champions provisional available to use unless Terry Labonte needs it [goes to the most recent past champ not making the top 42 spots] for the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team.(1-4-2006)
    UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports announced that its #36 entry for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 19) will be driven by Bill Elliott, a two-time winner of NASCAR’s biggest race. Elliott will also drive the MB2-built #36 Chevrolet in the Feb. 11th Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, an invitational race for 2005 pole winners and former Shootout champions. Elliott earned his automatic berth as a result of winning the Shootout in 1987. Frank Stoddard will serve as Elliott’s crew chief for both races and also oversee Elliott’s Daytona test session next week (Jan. 9-11). “MB2 has a top-notch superspeedway program and I am looking forward to being part of it,” said Elliott, who will team with MB2’s full-time drivers #14-Sterling Marlin and #01-Joe Nemechek at Daytona. “Both Sterling and Joe are good on the big tracks and having them as teammates gives us added potential.” Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup champion, has run a limited schedule the past two years. His last Daytona 500 appearance was in 2003. “We’re thrilled that Bill will be joining us, he brings a wealth of superspeedway experience to our MB2 Daytona 500 lineup,” said Jay Frye, MB2’s CEO and general manager. Frye also said that a sponsor for the #36 Chevy during Daytona Speedweeks will be announced at a later date.(MB2 Motorsports PR)
    NOTE II: been told that MB2 Motorsports is currently working on a package to have Boris Said run a limited schedule in the #36 this season.(1-4-2006)
  • Toyota Announcement coming? NASCAR President Mike Helton said Tuesday on MRN’s NASCAR Live with Eli Gold that NASCAR hopes to make some sort of announcement about Toyota’s future involvement within the next few weeks.(1-4-2006)
  • #34 Team Done: looks like the #34 Mach 1 Nextel Cup team is no more as there wil be an auction to sell the remaining assets of the #34 Nextel Cup team on Tuesday Jan 17th. More info on my #34 Team News and Links page.(1-4-2006)
  • Knaus leaving Hendrick? UPDATE 3 staying..but changes: hearing that #48 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief, Chad Knaus may leave the team and driver Jimmie Johnson and go back to Evernham Motorsports [was one of Evernham’s first hires, until moving to #92 Melling team in 2001], then Hendrick Motorsports in 2002 to crew chief Johnson.
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports says Knaus has no plans to leave Hendrick Motorsports and has multiple years remaining on his contract.(12-2-2005)
    UPDATE 2: hearing some crew members from the #48 Lowe’s Hendrick Motorsports team have left and gone to Evernham Motorsports recently and that one of the Evernham’s engineers could be headed over to be the crew chief on the #48.(12-19-2005)
    UPDATE 3: Chad Knaus is not leaving Hendrick Motorsports. It seemed inevitable at the end of the 2005 season, and the rumor is still hot, but Knaus told [Marty Smith] late last week he is working with HMS officials on a new long-term contract that will keep him atop the #48 pit box for the foreseeable future, and he was in the wind tunnel with the #48 team last week. Many key HMS crewmembers, however, have departed the #24/#48 shop during the offseason. No less than four crewmembers are gone from the #48 team, one to Robert Yates Racing, another to Richard Childress Racing, another to Evernham Motorsports and another to Bill Davis Racing. Sources close to HMS said the #24 team lost roughly the same number of crewmen, and to the same teams.(NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(1-4-2006)

    News from January 3, 2006

  • Rusty to be inducted into Missouri HOF: Rusty Wallace, who just retired from drivng the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will be named a Missouri Sports Legend during the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies Feb. 12. Becoming the 14th Hall of Fame member to receive the Missouri Sports Legend award, Wallace will attend the enshrinement reception and bronze bust unveiling ceremony at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame from 12noon-2pm on Feb. 12. He also will be recognized that evening during the enshrinement banquet. Among the Hall inductees is St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.(Cup Scene Daily)(1-3-2006)
  • R+L Carriers to sponsor Kenseth in 3 races: #17-Matt Kenseth is scheduled to pilot the R+L Carriers Ford at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, the July race at Daytona and and Martinsville Speedway in Oct.(RacingOne), see an image there or on my #17 Team Schemes page.(1-3-2006)

    News from January 2, 2006

  • Goodyear Testing in January at Atlanta & Texas: Goodyear will get a head start on its track tire development when it tests January 10-11 with Carl Edwards at Atlanta Motor Speedway and January 24-25 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte at Texas Motor Speedway. Neither track has changed dramatically, but Goodyear engineers want to gather feedback on new compounds, tire designs and mold shapes.(Sporting News)(1-2-2006)
  • Robby Gordon Dakar Update – 2nd stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal.
    The car special was again made for WRC specialists: hilly tracks, slippery curves where pure driving skills were requested to grab victory. Carlos Sainz clinched his second success in a row. This time it took the Spaniard 1h34’28” to cover the 115km, beating Luc Alphand by only 25”. A good performance from the Frenchman who finished runner-up of last year’s event. Third position went to Nasser Al Attiyah, another WRC specialist (winner of the Pan- Asian championship) who seemed to have forgotten his disappointing 13th spot yesterday. The following three spots were for the Mitsubishi drivers with Masuoka fourth at 1’01”, Roma fifth at 1’02” and Peterhansel sixth at 2’25”. The title holder who again was forced to stop because of a puncture. Local hero, Carlos Sousa this time had to settle for an 8th position, over 3’ off the winning pace. Robby Gordon’s time of 01:38:18 left him 3’50” off the best time of the day and gave him a 13th position in the special. Overall Gordon retained his 14th place classification and is 8’29” off the best mark set by Sainz.
    Gordon’s quotes: “I’m on a ferry crossing over from Europe to Africa. All systems with the H3 are good. The truck is performing flawlessly. The roads on the stage today were tight and narrow. The smaller vehicles definitely have had an advantage. Stage one and two have been more like a World Rally race but that’s going to change when we get to the full throttle terrain in Africa. We came to Dakar knowing this race is neither won or lost in Europe. We are gauging our performance off Stephane Peterhansel who has won this event the past two years. Right now we are a minute and forty two seconds back of him and by no means out of this race. As long as we are in touch with the leaders we are going to have a shot. Right now we are just plugging along with no real dramas.”
    PLUS it is Robby’s birthday today….
    For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(1-2-2006)

News from January 1, 2006

  • Georgia NASCAR License Plates: Georgia racing fans can sign up for new custom license plates that show off their love of NASCAR beginning this week. And if racing’s not your thing, the state will also offer license plates that honor doctors, emergency medical technicians, Purple Heart recipients, Elks and police officers hurt in the line of duty. The state is expecting to offer roughly 40 different NASCAR plates. Officials are working with the vendor to come up with the plate designs, which will include the NASCAR logo and either a specific driver or a general motorsports theme. But there’s a catch: 1,000 people must apply for each tag before it goes into production. If the state does not receive 1,000 applications within two years, the customers who applied would receive a refund of their $25 manufacturing fee. Once the tag is produced, Georgians will have to pay a $25 specialty tag fee in addition to an annual registration fee and ad valorem taxes.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-1-2006)