January 2007 News Archives

  • News from January 31, 2007

  • RCR Announces 2007 Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will run its 2007 Driver Development Program through the Golden Gate Racing Team (GGRT) with drivers Tim McCreadie and Ryan Foster competing in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. GGRT, headed by Jim Offenbach, competed in the NASCAR Grand National Division West Series from 1997 to 1999 with a lineup of drivers that included Mike Skinner, Mike Dillon, Steve Portenga and Jay Sauter. Portenga, who finished fifth in the final standings in 1999 while driving the GGRT entry in the series, will serve as the team’s crew chief this year. Foster will run the #21 Golden Gate Meat Company Chevry in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. The Anderson, Calif., native is a seven-time go-kart track champion who won two of the four North State Challenge Series Super Late Model events he competed in last year for GGRT.
    McCreadie, of Watertown, N.Y., will drive the #29 Golden Gate Meat Company Chevy in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series an selected NASCAR Busch Series events for RCR. The 2006 World of Outlaws Late Model champion, 2006 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals champion and 2006 Eastern Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year will also continue to run his own dirt late model program.(RCR PR)(1-31-2007)
  • Past Champions Limited To 6 Provisional Berths in Cup: NASCAR announced today an update to the past champion’s provisional rule in the Nextel Cup Series for 2007. Beginning this season, a past champion’s provisional may be used by an eligible driver a maximum of six times over the course of the season. In addition, a team with a past champion eligible driver may only use this provisional a maximum of six times during a season. Previously, there was no limit on usage of the past champion’s provisional over the course of the 36-race season. The provisional gives the eligible driver the 43rd and final starting position in the race field. “As NASCAR seeks to place more emphasis on competition, we have decided the time is right to limit the number of provisionals allowed,” said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. “We believe this revision brings the provisional policy in line with the continued growth of the sport.”(NASCAR PR)(1-31-2007)
  • PRN Dominates NMPA Awards, Garrow Earns Broadcaster of the Year Honor: Members of the Performance Racing Network broadcast team received seven awards and co-anchor Mark Garrow was named Broadcaster of the Year during the National Motorsports Press Association’s recent awards dinner at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Concord Convention Center. PRN staff members took home seven of the possible 12 awards in the four radio categories, including three first-place trophies. In addition to being named Broadcaster of the Year for the second time, Garrow claimed first place in the Short Form Feature category for “Bowyer Joins the Mob,” a clever take-off on the popular HBO television program “The Sopranos.” Garrow, host of PRN’s “Garage Pass” and co-anchor of the network’s live event coverage, also claimed second-place honors in the Spot News category for “The Ultimate High for the Lowe’s Team.”
    PRN staff members claimed all three trophies in the Long Form Feature category. Doug Rice earned first place for “Kasey Chasem’s Top Tem,” a spin-off on the popular music countdown show. Alicia Lingerfeldt claimed second place for her work on documenting 10 years of racing at Texas Motor Speedway and third place went to Kent Bernhardt for a feature on the 30th anniversary of Janet Guthrie’s first NASCAR start in the 1976 Coca-Cola 600. Bernhardt also claimed first place in the Live Event Broadcast category for his work on the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Steve Richards, a pit reporter for the PRN team, earned second place in the Short Form Feature category for a story about Tony Stewart moving back to his hometown of Columbus, Ind. “Our entire staff is dedicated to bringing the best in motorsports programming to listeners across the country and these awards reflect that commitment to excellence,” said Doug Rice, president of PRN.(LMS/PRN PR)(1-31-2007)
  • Bristol COT Testing open to public: With NASCAR debuting the Car of Tomorrow [COT] during the Food City 500 weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway March 23-25, Nextel Cup teams will be visiting the famed half-mile oval in advance to put the new car through its paces. The Feb. 28-March 1 COT test session, which is expected to feature nearly every Nextel Cup team, will be open to the public both days. The test sessions will begin at 9:00am and end at 5:00pm/et. An hour break in on-track action is scheduled from noon to 1:00pm/et each day. Fans wishing to watch the test sessions will enter BMS through the South entrance and will enter the backstretch grandstands through Gate 6. Parking will be in the lot directly across from Gate 6. Spectator gates will open at 8:45am. both days. Concessions also will be available for spectators. Tickets for the races are available online at www.bristoltix.com or may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900.(BMS PR)(1-31-2007)
  • Skinner could run more races for Davis: Mike Skinner is testing Bill Davis Racing’s #23 Toyota this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Skinner said Monday he likely won’t drive the car in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at the track on March 11. Skinner will drive the #23 in the Daytona 500 as a teammate to Dave Blaney and Jeremy Mayfield and could be in the car in more Nextel Cup races in 2007. Skinner drives the #5 Toyota for Davis in the Craftsman Truck Series. “We might possibly run more [than the Daytona 500],” Skinner said. “I’m not going to run a lot, I don’t think. We are going to focus on the truck. I’d like to run there and Indy, maybe a handful. We’ll see what happens with sponsorship and see if Bill Davis wants to do some R&D with the 23 car. He might run Johnny [Benson] a couple races, might run me a couple of races.” The reason Skinner is testing the #23 at Vegas is to help Davis’ other Cup teams. Blaney is guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races in the #22, but Mayfield’s #36 car is not. “We are not really trying to put big numbers up there right now,” Skinner said. “The purpose for the 23 car – I don’t think the 23 is going to come back to run this race – we are doing some research and development for the 22 and 36 and [to see] if we can help the 22 and 36 do better. They need to do really well the first five or six races, especially the 36, so they have a shot at some success this year.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-31-2007)
  • Roush-Red Sox partnership not a done deal yet: While addressing the media last week in Charlotte, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush spoke as if the pending sale of a portion of his racing organization to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, and Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, was effectively complete. It isn’t. In fact, it could be a while. It’s one of the most elaborate transactions Roush Racing president Geoff Smith has ever seen. “The deal is not done,” Smith told ESPN.com Tuesday. “It’s a really complex transaction with more separate contracts than anything I’ve ever seen.” More than 50, in fact, Smith said. “There are lawyers engaged around the clock, basically, trying to work through all the details of all these documents,” Smith said. “So that’s why nobody wants to talk exactly, because the deal’s not done.” Both parties remain committed, though, Smith said. “We both want it to be done and want to be in business together, and are hoping we can agree on everything necessary to close in a short period of time,” Smith said. He doesn’t have a timetable. “We’ve been saying that for two full months, maybe three full months now,” he said. “That’s how long it’s been going on.” Smith is uncertain how many individuals are working on the project of the Fenway Sports Group side, but said no less than seven Roush Racing employees, including a pair of lead lawyers and three senior financial executives, are working on Roush’s behalf full time. Then there are multiple folks weighing in on a part-time basis, such as Smith. Smith also said the speculated dollar figure involved in the sale — $50 million — is inaccurate. And he isn’t giving any hints as to what it is, either. “No, they are not accurate,” Smith said. “I never comment one way or another about any numbers, any money, but I’ve read a couple different numbers and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s people hypothesizing.’ “There are people making assumptions about what our revenue is and what our profitability is, and they’re trying to figure out what [team owner] Richard Childress sold his interest [to a group of investors] for, or what someone else is looking for, then coming up with a number.”
    Asked for comment on the status of the deal Monday, Fenway Sports Group chose instead to respond via e-mail statement from FSG president Mike Dee: “As we have previously stated, Fenway Sports Group is in discussions with Roush Racing. While we continue to explore this opportunity, there is nothing new to report at this time.”(more at ESPN.com) and past news on the #6 Team News and Links page.(1-31-2007)
  • Kenny Wallace Book coming out later this year: One of auto racing’s most likable personalities, #78-Kenny Wallace is also a dedicated racer. In a fascinating recounting of his roller coaster life and career, Wallace shares hilarious stories from a racing-obsessed youth, the pain of losing his best friend, and remarkable insights from a life well-lived. A NASCAR crew chief before he was 21 years old, a nine-time winner in the Busch Series, and a go-to driver for Nextel Cup car owners, “Herman” provides an insider’s view of great drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Richard Petty and so many more, including brother Rusty Wallace, as well as a behind-the-scenes view of motorsports TV. Inside Herman’s World is the rollicking good-time fans would expect, but it’s also poignant and perceptive. Another must read for NASCAR and short track fans alike!(Kenny Wallace site)(1-31-2007)
  • Journalist’s awarded: A quintet of journalists were honored Wednesday evening during the 22nd annual presentation of the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin. The group included a veteran sportswriter who detailed the importance of each NASCAR pit crew members’ role for a story in The Charlotte Observer, and a Chattanooga, Tenn., television reporter who took viewers along as a group of high school students prepared and attempted to race a stock car. The Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence annually recognize outstanding motorsports coverage in five categories while honoring the memory of Russ Catlin, a motorsports journalism pioneer. A record number of entries were submitted to the Indiana University School of Journalism, whose faculty members selected the winners. Each winner received a plaque and a Rolex watch from Miller Lite NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch following a dinner at the Penske Racing facility in Mooresville, N.C. The event was part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 2006 Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin winners:
    David Poole – The Charlotte Observer, Entry: “Time Tested”
    Seth Livingstone – USA Today Sports Weekly; Entry: “NASCAR’s Love Fuels Kids Camp”
    Mike Massaro – ESPN “Outside the Lines”; Entry: “Cheat to Win”
    Heather Williams – WTVC – TV; Entry: “Fast Times at Sequoyah High”
    Photojournalism: Will Lester – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin; Entry: “Burnin’ Up”.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-31-2007)

    News from January 30, 2007

  • Las Vegas Testing Day 2 PM: The 2nd day [of two] of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had 78 cars with 53 drivers/teams. #19B-Elliott Sadler was fastest in the afternoon session with a speed of 188.772mph [fastest of the 2 days, the old track record before the banking was added: Kasey Kahne 174.904 in 2004] followed by #10B-Riggs, #38A-Gilliland, #40A-Stremme and #70H-Sauter. The fastest Toyota was #55B-Waltrip who was 9th fastest. Slowest was #4A-Ward Burton at 176.338.
    See my 2007 Las Vegas Testing Page for speeds/notes from both days of testing.(1-30-2007)
  • Las Vegas Testing Day 2 AM: The 2nd day [of two] of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had 88 cars with 56 drivers/teams. 15B-Paul Menard was fastest in the morning session with a speed of 188.370mph [the old track record before the banking was added: Kasey Kahne 174.904 in 2004] followed by #19A-Sadler, #38B-Gilliland, #88B-Rudd and #20-Stewart. The fastest Toyota was 23A-Skinner who was 9th fastest. Slowest was #02A-Brandon Ash at 178.389.
    See my 2007 Las Vegas Testing Page for speeds/notes from both days of testing.(1-30-2007)
  • Las Vegas Testing Day 2 Incidents.: About 10 minutes into the Tuesday test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, #84-A.J. Allmendinger crashed again in the turn 2. Allmendinger looped the car coming out of two and damaged the drivers side. It appears Red Bull Racing is putting Allmendinger in the #83 Toyota back-up car of teammate Brian Vickers. Allmendinger also wrecked on Monday. A few minutes after Allmendinger wreck, #4-Ward Burton’s car blew a motor coming down the front stretch.
    Allmendinger ended up not getting in the #83 backup and was done for the day. #6-David Reagan slapped the wall about 15 minutes before the end of the test session. Flattened the right side and drove it back into the garage. According to #16-Greg Biffle the 6-car went out on new tires as the weather cooled down. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost a motor on Tuesday, his second of the test but Earnhardt Jr. is not worried about the engine problems as the first engine was caught it before it did too much damage while the other is completely lost. The DEI engine dept will look into what happened with those engines.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-30-2007)
  • Oreo to sponsor Biffle in the Busch Series? looks like Greg Biffle will drive the #26 Oreo Ford in at least one race in the Busch Series as the have been commercials on TV showing Biffle and the #26 Ford with a Busch decal on the car and in an Orea Driver suit but with a Nextel Cup patch. Jamie McMurray is scheduled to run the #26 Ford in the Busch Series with the Dish Network as the sponsor for a few races. Biffle will also run some Busch races in the #16 Ford, sharing the ride with Todd Kluever; and the #37 Ford of Brewco Motorsports for some races.(1-30-2007)
  • NASCAR looking for $30 million from new ‘Busch’ Series sponsor: NASCAR is seeking approximately $30 million annually to sponsor its second series, multiple sources close to ongoing negotiations told
    ESPN.com on Monday. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that is roughly twice the annual investment Anheuser-Busch forked out to sponsor the series with its Busch brand for the past several years. Sources say there is no clear front-runner at this point, but did admit that previously-speculated suitors Subway, Samsung and Wal-Mart are accurate. Sources also said Dunkin Donuts is a player, and that NASCAR met with Allstate last week. One key issue, though, is potential conflicts with existing sponsors. Sources said NASCAR went through all sponsors that would present conflicts with NASCAR’s official partners, the race teams and tracks — which is where Allstate presents an issue; all six Speedway Motorsports tracks are sponsored by Nationwide — and created a short list before approaching existing partners to gauge interest. One source said the best-case scenario is to close the deal within the next three months. Asked for worst case, the source said “it doesn’t sell.” Asked for comment on the matter, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston didn’t deny the accuracy of the speculation and did say there is plenty of interest from corporate America. “I can confirm that there has been great interest from a number of multinational companies that are interested in this sponsorship,” Poston said. “The entitlement would provide the eventual sponsor over $100 million annually in brand exposure, and that, along with the partnership with ESPN2, makes this a very desirable position in sports.”(ESPN.com)(1-30-2007)
  • First Five Drivers named to DIRECTV’s Hotpass [in car]: In 2007, DIRECTV will take the NASCAR television experience to another level as it debuts the highly anticipated and exclusive NASCAR HOTPASS only on DIRECTV during the Daytona 500 on February 18 at Daytona International Speedway. DIRECTV announced the first five drivers for the debut of this new interactive television service that will enable fans to ride shotgun with their favorite drivers by literally taking them into the cars and pits of the top drivers and teams in NASCAR. NASCAR HOTPASS only on DIRECTV, will feature five channels (DIRECTV channels 794-799) completely devoted to specific drivers and their racing teams each week. The service will debut at the Daytona 500 with the following lineup of top Nextel Cup Series drivers: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #29-Kevin Harvick; #48-Jimmie Johnson; #20-Tony Stewart; and #55-Michael Waltrip.
    To drive national awareness for this exciting and exclusive new package, DIRECTV has completed its first national advertising campaign for the service, featuring the sport’s most popular personality, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The spot is set to debut just before the Daytona 500 and is a continuation of DIRECTV’s “Fourth Wall” campaign where top actors and athletes recreate a scene from a famous movie or a noteworthy moment of sports competition. With NASCAR HOTPASS only on DIRECTV, each of the five dedicated driver channels will offer multiple camera angles, real-time car telemetry, in-car audio communication and a dedicated announcer team. The new service, combined with race day telecasts and nascar.com coverage, will give fans the most comprehensive and powerful NASCAR experience possible. DIRECTV customers can now purchase NASCAR HOTPASS only on DIRECTV. The full-season price of the package is $99, but customers can take advantage of an Early Bird offer by purchasing the package by Jan. 31, 2007 for $79. The exclusive service is also available on a pay-per-week basis for $29.99. More information is available on www.directv.com/hotpass.(businesswire.com)(1-30-2007)
  • Evernham Motorsports Promotes four: Evernham Motorsports announced the promotions of four senior team members who, along with Ray Evernham, team owner and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, comprise the leadership of the organization. Rick Russell, who has been with Evernham Motorsports since 2000, was promoted to president in addition to his current responsibilities as general manager and chief financial officer. Dr. Eric Warren was promoted to vice president in addition to his current responsibilities as technical director. A member of Evernham Motorsports since 2002, he leads the company’s engineering operations. Sammy Johns was named vice president in addition to his current responsibilities as competition director. Johns joined Evernham Motorsports as the head of the team’s research and development effort in April 2001, then stepped into the team director role on the #19 Dodge later that season. He went on to become the competition director at the end of the 2003 season. Mark McArdle was promoted to vice president in addition to his responsibilities as managing director of Evernham Engines.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(1-30-2007)
  • ESPN names Said and Compton Analysts of NASCAR Now: NASCAR drivers Boris Said and Stacy Compton and popular urban radio host Doug Banks have joined the experienced team of hosts, analysts and reporters for NASCAR’s return to ESPN’s multimedia platforms in 2007. The three will be part of NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first-ever daily news show totally dedicated to NASCAR, debuting Monday, Feb. 5 [at 6:30pm/et]. Said and Compton will bring their years of racing experience to NASCAR Now as expert analysts, joining two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Tim Brewer and five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty in that position. Banks will contribute to the show’s host role with primary host Erik Kuselias. NASCAR Now will air at 6:30pm/et Monday through Friday on ESPN2, with special editions to air on NASCAR race weekends. Reporter Shannon Spake and NASCAR Insiders Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw and Marty Smith will also contribute to a fast-paced menu of highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. Live NASCAR racing returns to ESPN for the first time in six years with coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 1:15pm/et on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(1-30-2007)
  • SPEED to televise Gatorade Duels Live, then re-air in primetime: SPEED will offer special “Duels Day” coverage on Feb. 15 from Daytona Speedweeks, as the network hosts the high-anxiety qualifying races for the first time. Opening the broadcast day at 11:00am/et with NASCAR Live!, SPEED will offer 14 hours of programming from Daytona, including live coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona at 2:00pm/et and a Prime Time replay at 10:00pm/et. Dave Despain will host SPEED coverage of the Duel 150s, with Mike Joy offering play-by-play and Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond providing Analysis. SPEED pit reporters will include Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum. In addition to inaugural SPEED coverage of the Duel 150s, including a special edition of NASCAR RaceDay (1 p.m. ET) with John Roberts, Kenny Wallace, Jimmy Spencer and Wendy Venturini, “Duels Day” will feature NASCAR Victory Lane, Craftsman Truck Series practice and qualifying for the Chevy Silverado 250, a special edition of The SPEED Report at 8:00pm/et. The Duels at Daytona are two 150-mile qualifying races to determine the starting order for the Daytona 500. Two drivers from each race will earn spots not already achieved in the 2006 owner point standings and Bud Pole Qualifying.(Speed PR)(1-30-2007)

    News from January 29, 2007

  • Las Vegas Testing Day 1 PM: The first day [of two] of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had 93 cars with 56 drivers/teams. #9B-Kasey Kahne was fastest in the morning session with a speed of 184.685mph [the old track record before the banking was added was by Kasey Kahne 174.904 in 2004] followed by #07A-Bowyer, #99A-Edwards, #18B-Yeley and #88B-Rudd. Slowest car was #02A-Ash at 93rd.
    See my 2007 Las Vegas Testing Page for speeds/notes etc.(1-29-2007)
  • Las Vegas Testing Day 1 AM: The first day [of two] of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had 94 cars with 56 drivers/teams. #10A-Scott Riggs was fastest in the morning session with a speed of 183.511mph [the old track record before the banking was added was by Kasey Kahne 174.904 in 2004] followed by #20-Stewart, #9A-Kahne, #29B-Harvick and #22B-Blaney
    Slowest driver was #34-Lepage at 90th, slowest car was #78B-Wallace at 93rd.
    See my 2007 Las Vegas Testing Page for speeds/notes etc.(1-29-2007)
  • Las Vegas Testing Day 1 Incidents:
    AM: #07-Clint Bowyer’s blown motor occurred in turn four as he was about to pass #36-Jeremy Mayfield. Went down low and all of a sudden it went “boom”. #96-Tony Raines slammed the turn 4 wall saying his car got tight and he looped it then went along for the ride. He damaged three of the four corners of his Chevy. #84-A.J. Allmendinger said he felt some sort of vibration and was going to pit but decided to stay out one more lap. The right front tire blew and he hit the wall in turn two.
    PM: #41-Reed Sorenson spun and backed into the wall. #16-Greg Biffle slapped the right side of his Ford into the turn two wall, but did not re-injure his sore right shoulder. #72-Brandon Whitt blown motor in the final hour [reported by NASCAR, denied by the team, says they didn’t blow an engine]. #9-Kasey Kahne flattened the right side of his car between turns three and four. That was the car Kahne won the majority of his races with last year and were planning on running that car here in the race.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-29-2007)
  • Montoya on Sirius weekly: Sirius Satellite Radio, has announced that Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in 2007 for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will participate weekly in an exclusive interview spot heard only on Sirius Radio. Starting January 29 [at 3:15pm/et], Montoya will be heard every Monday on Sirius Speedway, the exclusive talk show hosted by Dave Moody that airs weekdays (3:00-7:00pm/et) on Sirius NASCAR Radio/ch. 128. Montoya will provide updates on the #42 team and comment weekly on his experiences in NASCAR as he transitions from open-wheel racing to stock car racing.(Sirius Radio PR)(1-29-2007)
  • Edwards going for the triple at Daytona: Carl Edwards is looking to kick off the 2007 season with a bang at Daytona International Speedway. Edwards, who drives the #99 Office Depot Ford in the Cup Series and the #60 Scotts Ford in the Busch Series, has signed up to race Roush Racing’s #50 Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night. Edwards will run a handful of truck races throughout the 2007 season (the schedule is TBD) while Peter Shepherd drives the truck for the remaining races. The #50 truck that the two will share is still yet to be sponsored but Edwards is confident a new sponsor partner will come on board. Edwards and Shepherd will join truck teammates #99-Erik Darnell and #6-Travis Kvapil to round out the 2007 Roush Racing truck lineup.(Roush Racing PR)(1-29-2007)
  • Ragan to run ARCA race at Daytona: Roush Racing has paired NASCAR Nextel Cup Rookie driver of the #6 AAA Ford, David Ragan with Roulo Bros. Racing to run the 2007 Daytona ARCA Race on February 10th at Daytona International Speedway. Ragan, who competed in his first Nextel Cup race at Dover last fall, will be running full time Cup and Busch Series schedules in 2007, with AAA and Discount Tire respectively as full time sponsors. He is eager to get as much seat time as possible going into the start of the season. Brothers Gary and Rusty Roulo, who serve as crew chief and car chief respectively, are no strangers to the ARCA Series. With 22 ARCA RE/MAX Series wins under their belt and a roster of past drivers including Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Jimmy Spencer, Dick Trickle, David Green and many others, experience is one thing that their team is not lacking. Over the past two seasons, Roulo Bros. Racing has worked with several of Roush Racing’s development drivers including Ragan, Erik Darnell, Danny O’Quinn, Jr. and Peter Shepherd.(Roush Racing PR)(1-29-2007)
  • Starter partners with JGR: Starter, a leader in developing licensed and innovative team apparel and footwear, formally announced a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] to develop footwear and apparel solutions for the NASCAR team’s crews and drivers. The partnership is designed to provide a “Living Laboratory” for Starter to apply its experience working with world-class athletes in other sports to the needs of the drivers and crews of Joe Gibbs Racing’s teams in the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series. Starter and its parent company Nike Inc. already provide 70% of the footwear worn by NASCAR crews, but this partnership signals a deepening of the company’s commitment to the sport. Starter is partnering with Motorsports Authentics, the leading consumer apparel provider in NASCAR, to build a line of merchandise for trackside sales and other distribution channels, providing consumers with the closest experience possible to being part of the team. Starter, which grew to prominence in the 1980s with its line of Starter athletic jackets, is aggressively building its presence in NASCAR by delivering performance apparel and footwear products valued for all consumers. Among the first products to be introduced in 2007 is an authentic race-day jacket to be worn by #’s 20, 18 and 11 Nextel Cup teams. All products will meet a mandate of expressive, authentic, cool, reliable, crafted and durable performance, while utilizing the latest fabric and technology advancements over the past few years.(JGR PR)(1-29-2007)
  • Drive for Diversity Program Introduces 2007 Driver Lineup: The 2007 Drive for Diversity class was unveiled Monday, a seven-driver group that will compete in both the NASCAR Grand National Division and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. This marks the first year the Drive for Diversity program will advance multiple drivers to the Grand National level. The Drive for Diversity program is entering its fourth season as NASCAR’s leading on-track initiative. The program is designed to give minority and female drivers an opportunity to compete with established teams in NASCAR’s grassroots series. In each of the first three years of the program, the drivers selected raced in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, formerly the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. In 2007 four drivers will compete in the NASCAR Grand National Division – two in the Busch East Series and two in the West Series – and three drivers will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Over 300 drivers submitted resumes to participate in the program this year. Eighteen of those drivers were selected to take part in the Testing & Evaluation Combine held last October at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. At the combine, the drivers were evaluated based on their on-track performance and interview sessions with team owners. The following seven drivers were selected by their respective team owners to compete in the program in 2007: Chris Bristol, Michael Gallegos, Paul Harraka, Jessica Helberg, Jesus Hernandez, Peter Hernandez and Lloyd Mack.(NASCAR PR)(1-29-2007)
  • Las Vegas Testing TODAY: NASCAR’s greatest drivers are about to get their first look at the sport’s newest race track. A record 55 drivers [up from 47, #78 team not listed, expected to test] are scheduled to take part in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 29 and Tuesday, Jan. 30. For most of those drivers, it will be their look at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s new 20-degree banking. Race fans will be allowed to watch the test from the grandstands free of charge each day. “It’s a totally different race track than what it was before,” said #5-Kyle Busch, who is one of the few drivers who have tested on the new surface. “It’s fast and it’s challenging. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to race on. It will be interesting to see how the test session goes.” Busch and #16-Greg Biffle completed a Goodyear tire test in December and unofficially turned speeds almost 15 miles per hour faster than Kasey Kahne’s track record of 174.904 miles per hour set in 2004. #36-Jeremy Mayfield and #00-David Reutimann, who both competed in the September Craftsman Truck Series event on the new surface, are the only other [FULL TIME] Cup drivers who have turned competitive laps since the re-banking. Kurt Busch took the first laps around the new surface last August in a Richard Petty Driving Experience car. Teams will be testing in preparation for the March 11 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 Nextel Cup race. NASCAR Busch Series teams are scheduled to test Monday, Feb. 5 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 in preparation for the March 10 Sam’s Town 300. A complete list of teams who have filed testing vouchers for testing is below.(LVMS PR), SPEED will air two 30-minute NASCAR Thunder Preseason Testing shows from Las Vegas next week on Monday, Jan. 29 and Tuesday, Jan. 30, both at 7:00pm/et. Drew Johnson and Nicole Manske, from The SPEED Report, will host, with Bob Dillner on-site from Las Vegas. See my 2007 Las Vegas Testing Page for the current driver list and check back there later today for news and speeds.(1-23/29-2007)

News from January 28, 2007

  • Jerry Nadeau’s father, Gerald ill: former Cup drver [#01 US Army] Jerry Nadeau’s dad, Gerard Nadeau, was recently diagnosed with a rare type of cancer: Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. A caring bridge website has been set up and created for Jerry’s father: caringbridge.org/visit/gerardnadeau.(1-28-2007)
  • Montoya, Pruett win Rolex 24 At Daytona for Ganassi: The finish in the 45th anniversary of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona came down to a three-car battle on the same lap in the final hours. The #01 Telmax Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley and driver Scott Pruett outlasted the #11 Samax Citgo Pontiac Riley and Patrick Carpentier and the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley and Jan Magnussen to win the Rolex 24. It’s the second straight victory in the Rolex 24 for owner Chip Ganassi and the second Rolex 24 victory for Pruett, who won the twice-around-the-clock challenge back in 1994 with Nissan. For Salvador Duran and Juan Pablo Montoya, the other co-drivers on the #01 car, it was their first Rolex 24 triumphs in their first Rolex 24 starts. The #01 car had the third closest Rolex 24 margin of victory – 1 minute, 14.749 seconds – over the #11 car while the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley, which battled clutch and brake problems in the final hours, finished third. The winning #01 car turned 668 laps and 2,378 miles on the historic 3.56-mile road course, which is equivalent of a road trip from Daytona Beach to Phoenix, AZ. The #10 car featured the driving lineup of Magnussen, Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon. Montoya becomes the first driver since Mario Andretti to win a Rolex 24, a Formula One race, an Indianapolis 500, and a Champ Car/IndyCar Series title. Meanwhile, Gordon, who was joined by fellow NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, hopes to return again in the future for the Rolex 24.(DIS PR), for news see daytona24hr.com and/or grand-am.com.(1-28-2007)
  • Craven’s Charity Ride raises $110k: Wind chills exceeding 25 degrees below zero couldn’t dampen spirits on Saturday in Greenville, Maine as 400 riders joined Ricky Craven for the 10th annual Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity. Ricky led 250 sleds on a 50 mile ride before making presentations to the ride’s charities [total of $110,000].(Ricky Craven site)(1-28-2007)
  • Hoosier race tires do not mock Goodyear’s models: The Hoosier racing tire that some Nextel Cup teams are using in testing is not being made to specifically mock a Goodyear tire, a Hoosier executive said Saturday. “As far as lateral forces go and spring rates and those kinds of things, I wouldn’t have a clue [how they match],” said Dennis Sherman, Hoosier vice president-marketing. “I know they don’t match up dimensionally and I also know that they have different staggers.” Sherman said he could not estimate how many tires his company has sold to Cup teams. Cup teams cannot purchase Goodyears to test at non-NASCAR-sanctioned sessions. Sherman said Hoosier has had no recent discussions with NASCAR about building tires for Nextel Cup. He said he would still entertain the idea.(SceneDaily.com)(1-28-2007)
  • Wally remembers BP at the Rolex 24 race: Wally Dallenbach’s weekend at the Rolex 24 At Daytona has been an uphill battle, but he thinks the Robinson Racing car could last to the finish. If he needs inspiration, Dallenbach can look at the car and the name “Benny Parsons” that is on the side behind the driver’s door. Dallenbach wanted to put a memorial to Parsons on the car. Parsons, who shared the TNT and NBC booth with Dallenbach the last six years, died Jan. 16. “The TV thing and all the other stuff is a big part of it, but the friendship that we had of going out after we left the race track and the stories, that’s the stuff that meant more to us than anything,” Dallenbach said. “He was just a lot of fun to be with. He’ll be missed. We’ll be thinking about him a lot this year.” Parsons was the grand marshal of the 24-hour race last year at Daytona International Speedway. Dallenbach’s team, which includes Champ Car driver Katherine Legge as well as his brother Paul Dallenbach and owner George Robinson, was 16th after eight hours. They had motor problems early in the weekend in qualifying.(SceneDaily.com)(1-28-2007)
  • HANS Performance Products Receives Jack O’Neal Safety Award: Bob Hubbard and Jim Downing, inventors of the critically acclaimed HANS Device, received the Jack O’Neal Safety Award at USAC’s 51st National Awards Banquet this past weekend. The award originated in 1957. It is presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to the safety of motorsports. The award is presented in honor of Jack O’Neal, a longtime USAC safety official. Receiving the award, Bob Hubbard commented, “We are honored to be presented with the Jack O’Neal Safety Award. Jim and I started developing head and neck restraints 25 years ago. It’s highly satisfying to have USAC recognize our hard work and to know that we have significantly advanced racing safety.” Details and information about HANS Performance Products are available on the company’s website hansdevice.com.(HANS Performance Products PR)(1-28-2007)
  • Spokesmen named for NASCAR Speedpark: NASCAR SpeedPark, “the official family fun park of NASCAR” announced that #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #11-Denny Hamlin will be the 2007 official spokesmen for NASCAR* SpeedPark’s North American locations in Myrtle Beach, SC, Concord, NC, Sevierville, Tenn., St. Louis, MO and Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. As official NASCAR SpeedPark spokesmen, Kahne, Sadler and Hamlin will make park appearances throughout the year in an effort to enhance the experience of visiting fans by providing autographs and posing for photographs. The 2007 driver appearance schedule will be announced at a later date.(NASCAR Speedpark PR)(1-28-2007)
  • Johnson to be honored in San Diego: San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will proclaim “Jimmie Johnson Day” in San Diego on Wednesday, January 31 at San Diego Hall of Champions, Balboa Park, 2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA. The event is open to the public and scheduled to start at 10:30am. California Speedway President Gillian Zucker will make remarks and discuss West Coast Premiere of NASCAR February 23-25 at California Speedway. To purchase tickets or to receive more information, call 800-944-RACE [7223] or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.(California Speedway PR)(1-28-2007)

    News from January 27, 2007

  • Stewart still talking to IROC about race at Eldora: Defending IROC champion Tony Stewart said he still is talking to IROC officials about hosting an event at his dirt track, Eldora Speedway, in Indiana [actually Ohio]. The International Race of Champions is on hold because no sponsor has stepped forward since Crown Royal pulled out. The traditional opener at Daytona already has been canceled.(ESPN.com/Newton Blog)(1-27-2007)
  • Castroneves to NASCAR? Add Helio Castroneves’ name to the list of open-wheel stars wanting to try NASCAR. The two-time Indy 500 winner said late Wednesday he is intrigued by the possibility of racing in America’s most popular series. “Because of the popularity and attention the sport has gotten, there is no question I would like to try,” he said during NASCAR’s preseason media tour of race shops. “The closest thing I have gotten so far is the IROC and I have liked it.” Castroneves drives for Penske in the IRL and will drive a sports car for the team at Sebring in March. He has gotten more exposure to the company’s NASCAR operation since Penske has moved all of its racing operations into one complex north of Charlotte, N.C. “With everything under one roof, I’m going to be looking at it even more,” Castroneves said. “I know it is a challenge, but if I go for it, I will give my 100 percent to it.” (Tampa Tribune)(1-27-2007)
  • Robots building race cars at Evernham? Team Owner Ray Evernham disclosed Thursday, is that robots are part of the team’s car-building future. NASCAR’s ultra-strict chassis rules involving its Car of Tomorrow, which will debut in March at Bristol, Tenn., make it possible for robots to perform welding and similar duties in the chassis-building process. That, Evernham said, will free humans up to fine-tune other areas of the car.(Fayetteville Observer)(1-27-2007)
  • ESPN signs Compton as lead analyst: Stacy Compton has agreed to terms on a contract that will make him ESPN’s “lead analyst,” the driver confirmed Thursday. He said the contract is for one year with a two-year option for 2008 and 09. ESPN will make a formal announcement of Compton’s hiring next Tuesday. Compton made his first ESPN appearance on Thursday night’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter. He will be a regular contributor to the ultra-popular sports news show, and he will share his racing expertise on three racing-exclusive programs a week during the season. He and host Erik Kuselias will do a Monday “NASCAR Now” program, and Compton will also appear on two Sunday “RaceDay” shows. Most of the programs will air from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios, but Compton expects to do some work from NASCAR tracks. Official airdates of “NASCAR Now” [Feb 5th at 6:30pm/et and weekdays at that time] and “RaceDay” will be announced next week. Compton’s only regret about his budding television career is it will cut into his racing slate. He recently signed to drive an abbreviated Craftsman Truck Series schedule for 2007 with Wood Brothers/JTG Motorsports, the team he drove for in the Busch Series from 2001-06. Compton will share the driving duties of the #09 Ford F-150 with Georgia driver Joey Clanton. Compton is signed to pilot the truck for nine races, and Clanton is scheduled to drive the other 16. There also are plans for Compton to drive some Busch Series races for Wood Brothers Racing. Compton is talking with other teams about possible race dates, too.(News and Advance)(1-27-2007)
  • MRN has Hall of Fame and Award-Winning Weekend in Charlotte: Motor Racing Network (MRN) Radio garnered recognition for hard work this past weekend in Charlotte, NC during the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Convention activities. On Saturday, MRN Lead Booth Announcer Barney Hall was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame. Amongst a room of “who’s who” in NASCAR history, Hall was inducted for his 50 years of professionalism and talent in covering NASCAR races on MRN Radio; the Voice of NASCAR. Junior Johnson, legendary driver, team owner and friend of Hall gave the induction speech. Up until his name was called, Hall didn’t know his long-time friend was going to put him in the Hall of Fame. The NMPA held their annual Awards Dinner on Sunday evening to recognize media professionals in the print, photography, radio and television categories. And, MRN Radio was recognized four times in the Broadcasting Category for its exceptional work.
    Mike Storms, Executive Producer, won Third Place, Live Event Broadcast for the UAW Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October. Dave Moody, MRN Radio announcer and host of “Sirius Speedway” took Third Place, Spot News for “Kevin Harvick reacts to speed,” which aired on Sept. 18, 2006.
    Marty Hough, Producer of Sirius Speedway, won First Place, Spot News for “Ted Musgrave Let Go,” which aired on Jan. 9, 2006. Hough also won Third Place, Short Form Feature for “Manufacturer Pullout? Delorenzo talks to Sirius Speedway,” which aired on April 20, 2006.(MRN PR)(1-27-2007)

    News from January 26, 2007

  • Yellow moves to Cup with Sauter: Yellow Transportation has announced plans to sponsor the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy of Johnny Sauter in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season. Yellow, who celebrates their 10th season in NASCAR in 2007, has teamed with Sauter since 2005 and together they joined Haas CNC Racing in 2006 where Team Yellow finished eighth in the Busch Series championship standings. Making the steady progression from the Craftsman Truck Series to the Busch Series, Yellow now looks to NASCAR’s premier class to further evolve their race program. In addition to their commitment at the Cup level, Yellow returns as title sponsor of the Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway in 2007. The Yellow 300 will take place on Saturday, September 29 with plans for Sauter to field a Yellow Chevy in both events that weekend rounding out a complete hometown swing.(teamyellowracing.com)
    AND While Sauter is slated to carry the Yellow logo throughout the entire schedule, Yellow will take center stage as primary sponsor in 14 events, this season. Those events include: Daytona-2/18, California-2/25, Las Vegas-3/11, Atlanta-3/18, Bristol-3/25, Texas-4/15, Richmond-5/5, Dover-6/3, Pocono-6/10, Chicago-7/15, Michigan-8/19, Kansas-9/30, Charlotte-10/13 and Homestead-11/18. Joining the Team Yellow family this season is NASCAR veteran and Haas CNC Racing teammate Jeff Green, who will pilot the #66 Yellow Chevy for two of the 14 primary events at California and Atlanta.(teamyellowracing.com)(1-26-2007)
  • #66 Best Buy Racing Team picks up associate sponsor: Best Buy announced that one of their retail partners, Samsung Electronics America, Inc., will be an associate sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy, driven by Jeff Green in the Nextel Cup Series. Samsung will be featured on the rear quarter panels of the #66 entry in the 21 events in which Best Buy is the primary sponsor, and will serve as the primary sponsor in one additional event (TBD). Samsung Electronics America, Inc., markets a broad range of award-winning, advanced digital consumer electronics, information systems and home appliance products, many of which are available at Best Buy retail locations and at www.BestBuy.com. Driver Jeff Green, along with representatives from Samsung and Best Buy, unveiled the new paint design of the #66 during a luncheon for media members at Haas CNC Racing’s new 150,000-square foot facility in Kannapolis, NC, on Thursday.(Best Buy Racing/GMR Live Marketing PR)(1-26-2007), see images on my #66 Team Schemes page.
  • Dodge staying in NASCAR..Ford?: So said Dodge racing boss Mike Accavitti in opening remarks at the Evernham Motorsports NASCAR media stop Thursday, the final day of the tour. Accavitti, director of Dodge Motorsports Operations and SRT Planning, said Dodge wouldn’t back out of Nextel Cup racing, as some have suggested, and Ford might. “Dodge is here to stay,” Accavitti said. “I’m very proud our message is sinking in. Dodge buyers value the fact that we race.” Accavitti said Dodge’s goal this year is to improve upon last season’s Cup performance, in which its teams won seven times and claimed 16 poles — the manufacturer’s best year since rejoining NASCAR’s premier series in 2001. Achieving more consistent finishes is a priority, Accavitti said. Accavitti will try to entice Dodge drivers, including Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, at Daytona next month. Should one win the Daytona 500, the driver will get to choose an SRT vehicle, including the V-10 Viper.(Detroit Free Press)(1-26-2007)
  • Unser Jr. charged with DUI after crash: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. was charged with driving under the influence after leaving the scene of a freeway crash. He was arrested after he was identified as the driver of a car that sideswiped another on the Las Vegas Beltway on Thursday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Honea said. Unser’s vehicle had little damage, but the other car crashed into a cement center median. The driver reported no injuries at the scene, Honea said Friday. Honea said Unser failed several field sobriety tests before being taken into custody. The 44-year-old Unser was charged with driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit and run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident. Andrew Leavitt, a lawyer representing Unser, did not immediately respond to a message Friday.(ESPN.com/Associated Press)(1-26-2007)
  • Penske plans a test track behind shop in Mooresville: from a Clear!Blue/Dodge PR: COMMENT ON BUILDING A TEST TRACK, team owner Roger Penske said: “Our goal here is to take the roughly 70 acres out back and we build a test track [in back of their shop in Mooresville NC]. We’re in an exploratory stage today. I’d like to see an oval with a big skid pad, also a road course would be intermingled within the oval side. I think the cost we have to go to tests and the fact we can use this for customer entertainment, for our sponsors, maybe police academies. It’s like when we built the wind tunnel people said no one would use it. I can tell you it’s being used every day. I think this is an opportunity for us to extend our commercial relationship within the sport. We really haven’t said how big it is, but it’ll be bigger than a half mile. Let’s put it that way. Maybe we could build a Bristol here, but I don’t have enough room for the stands. I’m not going into the track business. Don’t get the wrong idea. This will be a test facility.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge PR)(1-26-2007)
  • Evernham looking for financial partner: Ray Evernham, owner of Evernham Motorsports [#9,#10,#19] is looking for a financial partner to help keep up with rising costs, and he believes other owners will follow suit if they hope to survive. Some already have. Jack Roush is close to a deal that would sell 25-50 percent of Roush Racing to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and Fenway Sports Group. Real estate tycoon Bobby Ginn purchased a reported 80 percent of MB2 Motorsports — now Ginn Racing — in August. Richard Childress sold part of Richard Childress Racing to Chartwell Investments a few years go.(ESPN.com)(1-26-2007)
  • Furniture Row Racing unviels car and 2007 plans: The #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy, piloted by veteran driver Kenny Wallace, will take to the track every weekend to compete against multi-car teams that quickly accrue owner’s points [the #78 is currently outside the top 35 in owner’s points]. Acutely aware of the challenges, the team has decided to focuses all of its energy, resources, personnel, and driver talents towards the unified goal of strengthening the competitive level of its Cup program. General Manager Joe Garone elaborates on realigning the organization’s focus. “Cup is always a challenge, but with the car of tomorrow being implemented, a new manufacturer joining the series, and new teams jumping on board, 2007 promises to be an unusually challenging year. “Our team was started from scratch in ’05 with the intent of running a handful of Busch races. At the start of the ’06 season, the opportunity came up to compete in Cup on a full-time basis. However, we were still a very small team and unsure of a lot of important factors. The most important factor for us was our choice of driver. With the huge financial investment it takes to compete in Cup, as well as limited testing at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks, it was important for us to find a veteran driver that could guide our competition department as well as assist with sponsorship awareness.”
    “In addition, transportation issues out of Denver, Colorado became as important as any of the traditional competition-related factors for our program. There were no full-time Cup teams to model our transportation program after, as everybody runs their teams out of the southeastern region of the U.S. We currently have a full season under our belt, and feel we have a handle on the logistics. But with the changes in the series, we have had to make some major additions and adjustments to our team. In addition to new personnel, more equipment, and more engineering resources, we have made the decision to not run in the Busch Series in the ’07 season. We are proud to be representing Colorado in the Cup series, but it comes at a high price and demands all of our focus to be pinpointed in the direction of Cup. Although we appreciate the assets a Busch team brings to the table, we are still in a building year and can’t spread ourselves too thin. Basically, it comes down to a division of resources. Running both teams ran the risk of taxing the organization’s time, resources and energy. Ultimately, we felt it would negatively impact our Cup team’s performance at this time.” For more information on the #78 Nextel Cup team, visit www.furniturerowracing.com. Based in Denver, Colorado, Furniture Row Racing is owned and sponsored by Furniture Row Companies.(American Digital Networks), see some images of the car on my #78 Team Schemes page.(1-26-2007)
  • Negotiations progressing between Roush and Red Sox owner UPDATE 2: The negotiations in the sale of a portion of Roush Racing to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group are progressing well, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. Many of the major points have been agreed upon since the negotiations began in earnest in September. “The big principal points, that’s all buttoned up,” Smith said. “I think by the first of the year, we’ll [know]. We’re going along pretty fast. By Daytona for sure.” One of those pieces involves what percentage of the racing organization the Fenway Sports Group will own. Jack Roush will not relinquish control of the team. “We have been open to being all the way up to equal [partners], but not more than equal [for them],”(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)
    UPDATE: the [Red] Sox deal for a half-interest in Roush Racing, the class of NASCAR racing, is done. Reported price: $62 million. Formal announcement to follow.(at the bottom of a Boston Globe article)(1-5-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Jack Roush says his deal with the Fenway Sports Group is not complete, but his Roush Racing team has scheduled a “BIG” announcement Feb. 14 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach. That would be an appropriate place for Roush to announce that he has partnered with FSG, the marketing arm of Boston Red Sox owner John Henry. Roush said the contracts are in the hands of the lawyers, and he would expect a decision by the end of March. He indicated that there could be a name change to the team. FSG has been negotiating with Roush for about the last five or six months. Roush said FSG’s ownership role could be anywhere from 25 to 50%.(SceneDaily.com)(1-24-2007)
    UPDATE 3: The principal owner of the Boston Red Sox could close a deal next month to buy half of Roush Racing, one of the most prominent teams in NASCAR, officials said Wednesday. Negotiations between John Henry and Jack Roush , the owner of the racing team, are in their final stages, and if all goes well, details could be disclosed before the Daytona 500 race on Feb. 18 , said Mike Dee , the president of Fenway Sports Group , which handles Henry’s non baseball sports ventures. That disclosure came hours after Roush told a group of reporters in Charlotte, N.C., that a deal was close and could be unveiled in Daytona on Feb. 14, comments that apparently caught the Red Sox off guard. “Obviously we’re not going to refute what Jack said,” Dee said in a telephone interview yesterday evening. “Our goal has always been to try to have this all completed by the start of the racing season, and racing season starts Feb. 18, so that would be consistent with the goal that we have been trying to work toward.”(Boston Globe)(1-26-2007)
  • Petty selects Motorcycle for his 2007 Kyle Petty Charity Ride: Kyle Petty announced he will ride a new Victory Vision luxury touring motorcycle during this year’s Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The new Victory Vision family of motorcycles – both the new Victory Vision Tour and the new Victory Vision Street – were unveiled to consumers and press members [recently] with the help of Kyle and Richard Petty at the International Motorcycle Show in New York City. Both bikes boast Victory’s own thunderous Freedom V-Twin engine, unmatched comfort and breakthrough styling, redefining what it means to be an American touring bike. The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is an annual motorcycle ride that raises money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Each year, more than 250 motorcyclists from around the U.S. join Petty on the cross-country trip and have raised more than $8 million to date. Along the way, Petty and the bikers stop to visit with motorcycle and NASCAR fans across the U.S. and spread the word about the ride and the mission to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Weber Shandwick PR)(1-26-2007)
  • Dale Jr. sponsors a Bull Rider Clash: Charlotte, N.C., hosts the high octane excitement of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) this weekend at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena for the Dale Jr. PBR Clash on January 26-28. The world’s top 45 bull riders will clash against the best bulls in the industry in this three-day event. It couldn’t be the Dale Jr PBR Clash without the host of the weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The four-time most popular driver in NASCAR will be at Bobcats Arena on Saturday and Sunday waiting to see who will be crowned the Dale Jr. PBR Clash Champion. “I can’t wait to see all the action,” said Earnhardt Jr. “It’s been a while since the PBR has come to Charlotte and I’m glad to be included in their return to the area. It’ll be fun to see J. B. represent his home town, along with some of my other friends like Ross Coleman and Sean Willingham go for some wild rides. I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with the PBR and watching to see who I’ll be giving the big check to on Sunday.” Tickets start at $20 and guarantee you more than two hours of bull riding action including rock & roll music, pyrotechnics and an up close and personal view of the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Tickets are available at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena Box Office, online at charlottebobcatsarena.com, by phone at 800-495-2295, or at your local Lebo’s retail store.(PR)(1-26-2007)

    News from January 25, 2007

  • Chevy offering Free Premiers of ‘Dale’ to race fans: Chevrolet and GM Goodwrench will support the premier of the highly anticipated documentary “DALE” as presenting sponsors and by hosting exclusive screenings in 40 markets across the U.S. mirroring the Nextel Cup schedule. Chevrolet and GM Goodwrench dealers will hold over 100 premiers of “DALE,” a documentary showcasing the life of Dale Earnhardt. The first Chevrolet/GM Goodwrench showing will take place in Clearwater, Fla. on Jan. 28 with 23 additional Florida screenings to be held throughout Daytona, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach prior to the Daytona 500. Go to www.dalethemovie.com or see your local Chevy Dealer for details? Race fans can find a list of participating dealers, relive their favorite memories of Earnhardt, express their relationship with the #3 team, view exclusive interviews and fresh content on the film, as well as Earnhardt’s racing career at www.Goodwrench.com.(GM Racing PR)(1-25-2007)
  • NCMA to honor Benny Parsons at Banquet Saturday: North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) announced the nominees for the Inaugural NCMA Awards banquet scheduled at the new Embassy Suites and Conference Center in Concord, NC on January 30. Candidates from all forms of motorsports were nominated for nine awards in seven distinct categories including Education, Diversity, Marketing, Economic Development, Safety Innovation, Event Facilities, and Manufacturers and Suppliers. Although membership is not required to be nominated, only NCMA members will cast votes to determine the winners. Winston Kelley, executive director for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will host the event and various presenters will announce winners. Award presenters include CEO of DIRT Motorsports, Tom Deery, director of cost research for NASCAR and former NASCAR Cup Series driver, Brett Bodine, FOX broadcaster and one of the founders of PIT Instruction, Jeff Hammond, Sports Marketer, Max Muhleman, and Ralph Sheheen, who covers a wide variety of motorsports as a broadcaster on SPEED, to name a few. The ceremony will conclude with an Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award and will honor the memory and lifetime achievements of International Hall of Fame inductee, NASCAR Cup Series champion, PRN Radio show host and NBC/TNT broadcaster Benny Parsons. Parsons died from complications associated with lung cancer last Tuesday.(Performance PR Plus/NCMA PR)(1-25-2007)
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Plaza Groundbreaking to Take Place Jan. 25 UPDATE 2: Plans are finalized for an exciting first event for the one and only NASCAR Hall of Fameand NASCAR Plaza Office Tower. The groundbreaking will be the ‘grand finale’ of the annual Nextel Cup Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 3:00pm/et at the site of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Plaza bordered by Brevard, Caldwell, Stonewall and Second streets in Charlotte, NC.(NASCAR PR)(1-11-2007)
    UPDATE: The city of Charlotte, NASCAR, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the hall’s main developer will host a 3:00pm/et groundbreaking at the site, bordered by Stonewall, Caldwell and Brevard streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The public is invited. For that matter, the public is actively courted. Organizers, while releasing few details, said they plan an event to accompany the usual officials-with-shovels photo opportunity that will honor NASCAR’s storied past. Such notables as Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison and NASCAR President Mike Helton are expected, along with N.C. Gov. Mike Easley and Mayor Pat McCrory. Current stars Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were invited, but are preparing for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona race, said CRVA spokeswoman Molly Hedrick.(Charlotte Observer)
    UPDATE 2: The NASCAR Hall of Fame took one step closer to opening its doors to the public as fans, VIPs and racing legends from NASCAR’s past and present gathered on the Hall’s site today to officially break ground and begin construction of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and NASCAR President Mike Helton headlined the celebratory event that also included NASCAR legends from the last fifty plus years of racing such as Buddy Baker, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Raymond Parks, Richard Petty, Rex White and many others. The 100,000 square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame, which will be located on a five-acre site in Charlotte’s Center City, will be a special place that brings NASCAR’s rich history to life. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be designed by Pei, Cobb & Freed, a firm known for its expertise with public buildings including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the expansion of The Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
    As shovels were put into the ground, engines roared from historic stock cars driven by seven-time Nextel Cup champions Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.. Fans cheered loudly for the 30-plus NASCAR legends in attendance while Rick Hendrick joined the groundbreaking team not only as a championship car owner in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series, but as the Honorary Grand Marshal of the bid to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to the Charlotte region.
    The Hall of Fame, which is expected to total approximately $155 million and be financed by a hotel occupancy tax, will give NASCAR fans the ultimate destination spot to learn about or relive NASCAR’s history. Ralph Appelbaum and Associates (RAA), which has design experience that includes the National Constitution Center and the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, will design the Hall’s exhibits. BE&K Building Group is the construction management firm, with Turner Thompson Davis chosen as the construction contractor. With the estimated completion date being the first quarter of 2010, this state-of-the-art facility will honor NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others who have impacted the sport in the past, present and yet-to-come. The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which will be owned by the City of Charlotte and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, will include approximately 40,000 square-feet of the most interactive and historical NASCAR exhibit space in the world.(NASCAR PR)(1-25-2007)
  • Banquet 2007: NYC? Vegas? CORRECTION It looks like NASCAR has decided it no longer needs the media capital of the world to be the gathering place of its yearly season-ending awards banquet. News out of Charlotte yesterday during the annual Lowe’s Motor Speedway Media Tour indicates NASCAR might be strongly considering moving the awards banquet from The Big Apple to Las Vegas. After a 21-year relationship with the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, maybe it’s high time NASCAR move from Manhattan to Vegas. NASCAR has pushed real hard to get the local newspapers in NYC interested in Champions Week and the lack of coverage from the major dailies this past December was pretty poor, to say the least. While the Boston Herald was there for the final two days of the event, other big city papers like the New York Post, Daily News, the Times, and Newsday pretty much were a no-show.(Boston Herald)
    AND: Is the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup banquet definitely going back to New York City, where it has been for more than a quarter of a century? Well, despite some recent announcements that talked about this year’s banquet in the Big Apple, that’s still be determined. “It’s fair to say that we’re still evaluating where the 2007 banquet will take place,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR vice president of operations. It’s no secret that we like New York, but we’re still evaluating.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-25-2007)
    UPDATE/CORRECTION earlier reported in error that NASCAR did not receive proper press coverage NASCAR in fact had its bases covered: According to NASCAR’s pr man Andrew Giangola, NASCAR received two pieces in the New York Daily News (with great photos), four in the New York Times (City and National editions – also terrific photos), seven in Newsday with photos, one in the New York Post, two from El Diario (the second largest Spanish newspaper in the country), as well as coverage in AM New York, Metro New York, and four hits in the Journal News, which is distributed throughout White Plains. There were 23 print items locally. With more than 100,000 New Yorkers lining the Victory Lap route, this loud and unforgettable event also received significant coverage from local New York broadcast affiliates: 11 hits from WNBC-TV, 9 from WABC-TV, 7 hits on CW/Channel 11, 2 on WCBS-TV, 5 on WNYW/FOX, 6 on NY 1 (local New York City news station), and 7 hits on MSG Network. The total number for broadcast coverage is 47.(Boston Herald)(1-25-2007)
  • New sponsor for Burton? UPDATE 2 no, sponsor extends with NHIS: Nextel Cup driver Jeff Burton and New Hampshire International Speedway will conduct a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 11:30am/et at Boston Park Plaza Hotel [Boston, MA]. With recent news that Burton’s Cingular sponsor has decided not to extend its relationship [have not heard that, just that AT&T was taking over Cingualr name] with Richard Childress Racing, its expected that Danvers-based Sylvania lighting company will become the #31 car’s primary sponsor for the 2007 season. Sylvania also partners with NHIS by sponsoring the Sylvania 300 each September.(Boston Herald)
    UPDATE: been told by sources that the press conference at NHIS will be about LENOX becoimg more involved with the team somehow and about re-upping at the title sponsor for the July race at NHIS. Sources tell me that Cingular/AT&T will stay as the primary sponsor of the #31 RCR Chevy and Jeff Burton at least thru 2007.(1-22-2007)
    UPDATE 2: LENOX Industrial Tools, a leading manufacturer of premium power tool accessories, hand tools, torches and band saw blades announced it has extended its sponsorship of the LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS). For years to come, the summer Nextel Cup Series race at “The Magic Mile” will be known as the LENOX Industrial Tools 300. The announcement was made during a luncheon at The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers in Boston, Mass. After much success with the race entitlement last year, LENOX, based in East Longmeadow, Mass. (just 150 miles from New Hampshire International Speedway), decided to join the track with a long-term partnership. In addition to the race entitlement, LENOX will also have another presence. Jeff Burton, the driver with the most Nextel Cup Series wins at NHIS, will race a special white and blue #31 Chevy in the event with LENOX Industrial Tools Chevy as his primary sponsor. LENOX is also an associate sponsor on Burton’s Richard Childress Racing car throughout the 2007 season. Advance tickets for the LENOX Industrial Tool 300 are on sale now, please call Speedway Guest Services at 603-783-4931 or visit the track website at www.nhis.com for more information.(Pro Sports Management & Marketing/LENOX PR), no terms were released.(1-25-2007)
  • Petty to TNT? to run less races UPDATE 2: hearing that Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Racing Dodge, will be part of the TNT broadcast crew that airs six Nextel Cup races in June and July of 2007 and that Petty would not drive in some or all those six races, being replaced by another driver, no idea who that driver may be. Bill Weber will return as TNT’s play-by-play announcer and Wally Dallenbach returns as a race analyst.(1-20-2007)
    UPDATE: from a Clear!Blue/Dodge PR, Kyle Petty quotes during the Nextel Media Tour, day 2:
    DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO QUIT DRIVING? “No. All that stuff is back like it was last year. Wells Fargo has come back. We have a multi-year deal with Wells Fargo, with Marathon, with Tire Kingdom, with Coca-Cola. We had a huge promotion around the Nextel All-Star race last year with Coca-Cola. There is so much going on right now. I’m like one of those guys if you ever thought about cutting back, it just keeps getting busier with camp with Victory Junction with everything we do there. With everything that’s going on at Petty Enterprises, that’s good. I’m glad that’s story keeps moving because last year about this same time this was a hot story.”
    DO YOU HAVE OPTIONS TO WORK IN TV? “I’ve talked to the TNT people about numerous options. I did four or five races for them last year in the Busch Series. We had talked a month or so ago and obviously with Benny’s passing and with the way things have gone there hasn’t been a lot of communication lately. If I have an opportunity to do some stuff with them I would more than welcome the opportunity to do something at some point in time. If that’s this year, great. If it’s in two years or 10 years, that’s great, too. I just want to keep that option open. I could possibly do anything. There’s a couple of years there I sat out 10 or 15 just because I wasn’t fast enough. I can sit out any amount.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge PR)(1-24-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Petty said he’s intrigued by the idea of becoming a broadcaster and might make the change, on a part-time basis, as early as this summer. Petty said he has talked to Turner Sports officials about a position. “They’ve got six or seven races right in the middle of the season; they’ve got NBA stuff; they’ve got golf stuff,” Petty said. “If I wanted to go do something different and keep Kyle Petty’s face in the public, what better place to do it than a place like that?” Jeff Pomeroy, senior director of public relations for Turner Sports, said there have been preliminary discussions with Petty, who has broadcast for the company in the past, but no final determination has been made.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-25-2007)
  • #19 to run Siemens colors at Phoenix in November: Evernham Motorsports announced that Siemens, the global leader in automation and control, will serve as primary sponsor of the #19 Dodge driven by Elliott Sadler in the Nextel Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on November 11, 2007. Siemens currently serves as an associate sponsor of the #19 Dodge and the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne. Siemens also plays a vital role in technology development through its partnership with Evernham Motorsports.(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(1-25-2007)
  • Chevy engine approved: Chevrolet’s new R07 NASCAR engine is now legal, but Pat Suhy, GM’s NASCAR field director, said he doesn’t expect to see any large changeover among stock car teams until March.(Winston Salen Journal)(1-25-2007)
  • Ford withdraws Champ Car sponsorship/No effect on NASCAR: Ford Motor Company said Wednesday it has withdrawn as an official Champ Car World Series sponsor. “We evaluate all of our racing programs on an annual basis and have decided that this sponsorship does not align with our current business objectives,” said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. Davis said Ford’s withdrawal from Champ Car will not affect the other racing programs the company supports, including NASCAR’s three major national touring series, the NHRA PowerAde Drag Racing Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car and KONI Challenge Series, as well as several U.S. Auto Club-sanctioned series.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-25-2007)

    News from January 24, 2007

  • Gibbs struggling with grandson’s leukemia diagnosis: A 2-year-old grandson of Washington Redskins head coach [and Nextel Cup team owner] Joe Gibbs has been diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, a development that has been “devastating” to the Hall of Fame coach. According to Gibbs’ personal Web site [joegibbsonline.com], Zachary Taylor Gibbs — the son of NASCAR [team] executive J.D. Gibbs — was ruled to have leukemia two weeks ago. Zachary Taylor has already undergone surgery. “We got the news on Taylor, and it was really devastating to our whole family,” Gibbs said on his Web site. “So I’ve kind of been going through a process here the last two weeks, and I’m probably like a lot of you, this is much more important than winning football games. And winning football games is important. That’s the third most important thing in my life. God’s first, family and loved ones second and then my occupation third. “So as we struggle with this news with Taylor, we did get a good report this week, and he’s had a number of surgeries that he’s been through, he’s in chemo now, and so we sure appreciate your prayers,” Gibbs said. The coach is about to enter the fourth year of a five-year contract, a deal he has vowed to complete, assuming his health holds up. He turned 66 last season and often talked about spending offseason time with his “grandbabies.” J.D. Gibbs, his oldest son, serves as president of Joe Gibbs Racing in North Carolina, and Gibbs’ other son, Coy, is an offensive quality control coach for the Redskins. Between them, they have six sons and one daughter. On his Web site, Joe Gibbs said that Zachary Taylor’s leukemia “kind of threw us all for a loop” and added it “way overshadows anything like our occupation and me winning football games.”(ESPN.com)(1-24-2007)
  • Petty Enterprises Moving?..to Charlotte area? from a Clear!Blue/Dodge PR, Robbie Loomis quotes during the Nextel Media Tour, day 2:
    DO YOU EVER ASK YOURSELF IF IT’S ALL WORTH IT? “It’s definitely all worth it. We’ve talked about that about planning and organizing. We hope the next time we have one of these it’s in that new facility. That’s one of the things we want to work toward. At the same time, we obviously want to get ready for the Daytona 500, the Bristol race, other things along the way, but that’s one of our major goals to be in our new facility. It would definitely be toward the south, whether it be Salisbury or Charlotte. It’s a long way away. Right now we have to be focused on winning the Daytona 500. That’s first and foremost on our minds.”
    COMMENT ON RELOCATING PETTY ENTERPRISES “Richard knows he needs to do it. He knows he needs the competition thing to keep attracting and drawing the better people. Deep down inside does he want to do it? No, but he knows it’s something that needs to be done to raise the level of the team and keep building on that foundation we’ve got started. It would be at least 12-18 months before we have ground breaking. I think there will always be something here (Level Cross, N.C.). That’s always been Richard’s biggest concern. If we come up with the planned facility, the big thing is going to be what goes on here. Kyle and Bobby both love road racing. I would love nothing more to have a series here so the boys here could work on those cars, the ones that don’t want to transfer. I think this will be a combination of a race shop and museum.”
    COMMENT ON DRIVER DEVELOPMENT “We are watching a couple of young drivers. We’re very high on Chase Miller. We think he’s got a lot of natural raw talent, but it’s got to be developed.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge PR)(1-24-2007)
  • DEI hires two more executives: Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has announced the appointment of John Story to the DEI executive team. Story, a sports marketing veteran who has served as CEO and General Manager of Robby Gordon Motorsports since the company’s inception in 2003, will manage sales, marketing and communication’s activities at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and will assist and report to recently appointed company president, Max Siegel, in strategic development of the company. In addition to his role with Robby Gordon Motorsports, Story has held marketing and/or communications positions with Greg Norman’s Great White Shark Enterprises, International Speedway Corporation, Walt Disney World and the PGA of America. Mrs. Earnhardt also announced the appointment of Andrew Campagnone to Director of Sales. Campagnone has a long and varied sports sales career, and comes to DEI from Ganassi Racing where he served a similar role.(DEI Site)(1-24-2007)
  • Wrangler re-ups with Dale Jr: As the 2007 NASCAR season begins, the Wrangler brand is strapping in with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and DEI’s #8 Budweiser Chevy once again. Earnhardt Jr. has re-signed as an endorsee for Wrangler and its Wrangler Jeans Co. TM line. The relationship extends Wrangler’s high-profile sponsorship of the #8 team and continues to build on a historic NASCAR partnership. Wrangler Jeans Co. reigns as the official jean of Dale Jr. and the #8 DEI racing team.(DEI Site)(1-24-2007)
  • Office Depot extends with with NASCAR: Office Depot announced that it has extended its sponsorship of NASCAR as the sport’s Official Office Products Partner. Office Depot’s exclusive relationship with NASCAR began in 2005 and has been supported by the successful sponsorships of the #99 Office Depot Ford, Roush Racing and driver Carl Edwards. During its first year in the sport, Office Depot received the NASCAR “Marketer of the Year Award.” The award recognized Office Depot for its multi-channel program that leveraged NASCAR to help differentiate the Office Depot brand and connect with millions of potential customers and business owners who are fans of the sport.(Office Depot/Edelman PR)(1-24-2007)
  • Dale Jr. is the Co-Founder of the New Social-Networking Site: Infield Parking (www.infieldparking.com), a new social-networking website targeting NASCAR’s more than 75 million fans, has chosen ABC Regional Sports Sales, a division of ABC National Television Sales, as its exclusive national sales representative. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is President and Co-Founder of Infield Parking. Currently available as a Beta launch and gearing up for its formal debut prior to the February’s start of the 2007 NASCAR season, Infield Parking allows website users to create a personal profile (“Infield Parking Space”); exchange messages; and post photos, blogs, podcasts and video clips.(ABC PR)(1-24-2007)
  • Teresa a ‘deadbeat’ owner per Harvick; Dale Jr. says “That’s ridiculous”: #29-Kevin Harvick knows the odds of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaving the company his father built for the company his father raced for are very long. But Harvick would understand if NASCAR’s most popular driver left Dale Earnhardt Inc. for Richard Childress Racing after the 2007 season if contract negotiations broke down. He can’t imagine how difficult it is for Earnhardt Jr. to work in a company where the owner, stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, seldom comes to the track. “It’s hard when you have what I call a deadbeat owner that doesn’t come to the racetrack,” Harvick said during Tuesday’s visit to RCR on the second day of NASCAR’s 2007 media tour. “Richard [Childress] is one of the best owners in the garage. You always see Richard Childress. You always see Chip Ganassi. All these owners, they all come to the racetrack. It’s not just a money pit that somebody says, ‘Well, I can make money off of Dale Jr. I can make money off of Dale Earnhardt.’ ” Harvick, who owns a Busch Series team, said race teams can’t be run from home. “You have to be at the racetrack and you have to play the politics of the sport and you have to be a part of your team and you have to understand what’s going on,” he said. “To me, from the outside looking in, it doesn’t look like that’s happening.”
    Earnhardt Jr., at a dinner Monday night in Concord, said, “You’re killing me. That’s ridiculous,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I don’t think there is a comment for that remark.” Earnhardt Jr. said with everything his stepmother has dealt with since the death of his father in 2001 on the last lap of the Daytona 500, “she had a full plate. We’re successful on the racetrack, the people are in the right place.” Earnhardt Jr. said negotiations are ongoing for a contract beyond 2007, and he expects to settle in the next couple of months.(ESPN.com)(1-24-2007)
  • More on the Cingular Sponsorship Story: Team owner Richard Childress is still hopeful a solution can be reached that will allow him to keep his sponsor on his #31 Nextel Cup car. Cingular is the current sponsor, but that company has been bought by AT&T. The AT&T brand cannot be put on the car because of Nextel’s agreement to sponsor NASCAR’s premier series. Nextel grandfathered existing sponsorships for Cingular and Alltel, but its NASCAR agreement does not allow any changes. “I’m going to let that ball roll on its own, that globe roll on its own,” Childress said Tuesday in reference to AT&T’s logo. “I laid some plans out there, and it’s up to NASCAR to make that call.” NASCAR is still looking for a possible solution. “We are positive we will be able to come to an amicable relationship with those guys and look forward to 2007,” said NASCAR Vice President of Operations Steve O’Donnell. “We’re working with folks at Cingular and Richard Childress Racing.” O’Donnell said the AT&T brand cannot be on the car. “Is there a way that we can work with Sprint [which has taken over Nextel in a merger] and figure out what might work?” O’Donnell said about the discussions. “At the end of the day, we need team sponsors.” Dean Kessel, who handles the Nextel Cup marketing program for Sprint, said he has not been involved in any discussions, leaving it up to NASCAR and RCR to figure out if there is a solution. “Paint schemes have to be approved, and [NASCAR officials] are charged with protecting our rights,” Kessel said. The issue is not new. The team has been aware of the situation since the Cingular-AT&T merger was first discussed nearly a year ago. Childress called Nextel a great series sponsor, and the negotiations continue. “I’m going to leave all of that up to those guys to work that out,” Childress said. “We’re just going to try to win some races this year with Cingular Wireless. [NASCAR] controls the paint schemes and stuff like that. Right now, we’re working through any details on that.” Kessel said he didn’t think the new iPhone, a product of Cingular and Apple, could be on the car.(SceneDaily.com)(1-24-2007)
    MORE: Dean Kessel, director of Nextel Cup Series marketing for Sprint Nextel, said it is written in Nextel’s contract that they can only have one name change . In other words, they can only change their name from the Nextel Cup Series once. But it’s also written that if Cingular and Alltel want to sponsor cars while Nextel is the title sponsor, they can, but they can’t make a name change. Kessel was very adamant about not altering his feelings on that point.(Larry McReynolds/FoxSports)(1-24-2007)
  • Former Ford Executive Specht hired by Wood Brothers/JTG Racing: Recently retired Ford Racing Technology employee Greg Specht couldn’t stay “retired” for long. After a 30-year career with the Detroit-based auto manufacturer, many of which were spent on the racing side of the equation, Specht returns to his roots after signing on to lend his assistance to the Wood Brothers/JTG Race teams in 2007 [which run the #21 Ford for Ken Schrader and Jon Wood in the Cup Series and have two Busch abd Truck teams]. “He’s been a fixture among us for a long time,” said co-owner Eddie Wood. “What we’ve come up with makes a lot of sense for us both and I think we stand to make some pretty big gains in areas where, quite frankly, we’ve needed some help,” he added. Greg Specht’s lists of accomplishment at the Ford Motor Company are numerous. He began with the company in March, 1977 and first handled positions in facilities engineering and finance. For eight years, he was in charge of Ford’s test and proving grounds in Dearborn, Michigan, Naples, Florida and Minnesota. He moved into his final position with the company in 1996, serving as the North American Operations Manager, where he oversaw all racing operations with the Ford. In that time span, Ford’s teams won three Nextel Cup Titles.
    At the Wood Brothers/JTG Organization, Specht will work closely with Director of Competition Michael “Fatback” McSwain and their newly-revamped engineering staff, of which is headed by long-time Wood Brothers employee Hoyt Overbaugh. The team has recently added nine engineers, bringing the total engineering staff to 21.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing)(1-24-2007)
  • Past Champ Provisional rules to stay the same UPDATE 2 limited at 6? NASCAR sources indicated that the sanctioning body would not alter its past championship provisional rule for the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. For two decades, NASCAR has allotted a spot in the race — if needed — for Cup champions that otherwise failed to qualify for the field. NASCAR’s decision to leave the rule alone is significant for Dale Jarrett, who is the only full-time former champion without a guaranteed starting spot in 2007. Jarrett is driving for Michael Waltrip Racing’s brand-new #44 Toyota, which enters the season without any owner points. NASCAR awards guaranteed starting spots to the top-35 teams in the owner standings from 2006. Because every former champion from 2000 to 2006 finished in the top 35, the past championship provisional will be available to Jarrett, who won the Cup title in 1999. There is a good possibility Jarrett will not need to use his past championship provisional in many races. Because he is essentially guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races, his chances of remaining in the top 35 in 2007 owner standings are high. If Jarrett is in the top 35 in owner points after the season’s fifth race, the past championship provisional is available to Bill Elliott [he could also use the provisional spot if Jarrett qualifies for the races in the first 5], who won the title in 1988. Elliott is the only active former champion — besides Jarrett — without a guaranteed starting spot. Beginning with the sixth race of the season, NASCAR awards guaranteed starting spots to the teams in the top 35 in points. NASCAR considered altering the rule for 2007 but opted to leave it alone. The past championship provisional rule is different in the Busch Series — a past championship provisional can only be used once every eight races.(NASCAR.com)(1-22-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials say the past champion’s provisional will be altered in 2007. That’s news to past champion #44-Dale Jarrett, who on Monday night said he had not been told of any changes to the program. Jarrett could end up needing a past champion’s provisional because his new #44 team lacks owner points. Since he moved to the new Michael Waltrip Racing team to start this season, Jarrett has no points for the first five races. He must qualify for each of those based on speed – or by using the past champion’s provisional. The driver, who won the 1999 Cup championship, would be locked into the final position in the field if he failed to post a fast enough time to make the race. Jarrett said that he understood the concerns surrounding possible abuse of the provisional system, but that those weren’t applicable in his case. NASCAR officials said Tuesday that the change would not be in the rule book, but would appear on entry blanks sent out prior to each race. Vice President Steve O’Donnell said that limiting use of the provision to six races per year was what the sanctioning body had been looking into. “That is still being talked about. I think what we’re looking at is six for the driver and owner,” he said during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “The one change [from the Busch Series] is maybe that you can use six concurrently. … [T]hat’s what it looks like it’s going to be.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-23-2007)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR plans to announce before next month’s Daytona 500 a cap on the number of provisionals a former champion can use in a season, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said on Tuesday. That number likely will fall around six, sources said.(David Newton/ESPN.com)(1-24-2007)
  • Testing at Nashville UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing and #44-Dale Jarrett are scheduled to be testing today [Jan 19th] at the Nashville Superspeedway. And on Monday and Tuesday (January 22 & 23) scheduled testing includes Penske Racing’s #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman.(Nashville Superspeedway), no word if they are testing COT’s regular car or what tires they will run.(1-19-2007)
    UPDATE: Testing continued Monday at the Nashville Superspeedway Penske Racing’s #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman tested Monday and are testing Tuesday on the 1.33-mile “D”-shaped oval concrete track. . Petty Enterprises Team #45 will test at Nashville on Wednesday, January 24 and Thursday, January 25.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-23-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprise and Kyle Petty will be testing the #45 Dodge at the Nashville Superspeedway today.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-24-2007)
  • All NASCAR Races on ESPN to be in High-Def..including In-Car Cams: NASCAR fans are welcoming back an old friend this year with ESPN’s return to coverage of the sport, but the old friend is going to have a sophisticated new look when live NASCAR coverage resumes next month. ESPN and ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series will be the most technologically advanced programming in the history of televised motorsports, according to Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer for ESPN. “ESPN’s presentation of NASCAR will be state of the art at every level of production,” said Drake. ”We have built a production plan that will provide a truly exceptional presentation to our viewers.”
    All NASCAR on ESPN races and associated programming will be totally produced in High Definition, a first for televised motorsports. Of the approximately 60 to 75 cameras that will be used by ESPN in televising races, more than used in any other sport, all will be HD. ESPN, a pioneer in the development of in-car cameras during its 20 seasons of NASCAR coverage from 1981-2000, has been preparing for use of HD in-car cameras in advance of the Busch Series season-opening Orbitz 300 from Daytona on ESPN2 February 17. The camera systems had to be re-engineered for HD, as did the camera power and transmission systems within the race cars, all while maintaining a delicate balance to not add weight to the cars and possibly affect their performance. ESPN’s NASCAR coverage will also include HD cameras providing other interesting points of view, including grass cam, wall cam, crew cams, pit overhead cams, blimps and multiple robotic cameras at various points around the tracks. In addition to 100% use of HD cameras, ESPN will also produce NASCAR’s top two series with Sportvision technology, which Rich Feinberg, senior coordinating producer, said no TV network has ever used in Busch Series coverage. Sportvision utilizes satellite technology to create on-screen “pointers” to designate specific cars within a pack, helping viewers distinguish their favorite driver’s car, lead-lap cars and produces telemetry from the race cars to show speeds, braking and other compelling information to viewers. All cars in the races will carry Sportvision transmitters.
    6 – Tractor-trailer rigs used each event (including pit studio, in-car camera trailer, custom office trailer)
    10 – Number of months ESPN’s NASCAR fleet will be on the road (February-November)
    26 – Tracks ESPN’s mobile fleet will visit in 2007
    38 – NASCAR events ESPN’s mobile fleet will attend in 2007
    52 – NASCAR races to be televised live by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC in 2007 (full 35-race Busch Series season, final 17 Nextel Cup events)
    60-75 – HD Cameras used by ESPN to televise a NASCAR race (including in-car cameras)
    200 – Credentialed ESPN personnel working on NASCAR each week
    78,000 – Weight in pounds of ESPN traveling studio for NASCAR Countdown shows
    ESPN commissioned the creation of four of what Feinberg said are “the most sophisticated mobile production units ever built in the history of TV motorsports, designed just for our NASCAR coverage.” Among the innovations within the ESPN-branded units is a radio room in which radio transmissions of all 43 teams in NASCAR races will be recorded during races, allowing producers to be able to lift specific transmissions of any driver or team at any time. “I call it the ultimate TiVo,” said Feinberg.
    For its NASCAR Countdown studio shows that will precede all NASCAR race telecasts, ESPN will originate from the most technologically-advanced traveling studio ever used in sports television. The studio, which weighs nearly 78,000 pounds and will travel to 26 NASCAR tracks this season, will allow ESPN to bring the look and feel of its Bristol, Conn.,-based studio shows such as SportsCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown to the tracks.
    The mobile pit studio will be outfitted with state-of-the-art LED lighting, three robotic HD cameras and a dramatic, contoured, video display fronting the anchor desk. Situated near the pits at every track, the studio will be elevated 14 feet while in use and 30 foot glass windows will give viewers a look at the cars, grandstands and pageantry prior to the race start. “We want to show the scope and size of the sport,” Feinberg said. Feinberg also said ESPN will have an exciting new animation, graphic and musical package featuring Aerosmith.(ESPN PR)(1-24-2007)
  • Marathon signs with Petty for two years, 14 races in 2007: Marathon Oil Corporation announced that the Company has signed a two-year contract with Petty Enterprises LLC. The contract, covering the 2007 and 2008 NASCAR racing seasons, sponsors the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. “Continuing to partner with the legendary Richard Petty and his race team brings a great deal of added value to Marathon’s NASCAR sponsorship,” said Mary Ellen Peters, MPC senior vice president, Marketing. The #45 car will carry the Marathon Brand as the primary sponsor for 14 races [in 2007]. “We can’t thank Marathon enough for their added support in 2007,” said Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Marathon Dodge Charger. “Marathon’s primary sponsorship of more races shows increased confidence in our commitment to winning at Petty Enterprises. We’re proud to partner with Marathon in NASCAR. We are looking forward to their partnership in the years to come.”(PRN Newswire)(1-23-2007)

    News from January 23, 2007

  • Nextel Challenges changes for 2007: Sprint Nextel and NASCAR unveiled several enhancements to the 2007 Nextel Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman and Nextel All-Star Challenge today during the annual media tour. “We anticipate the excitement will carry through the entire Nextel All-Star Challenge week,” said Dean Kessel, director of Nextel Cup Series marketing for Sprint Nextel. “We have worked with each of our partners, including NASCAR, SPEED and Lowe’s Motor Speedway, to develop a format that honors the spirit of what the Nextel All-Star Challenge activities should be about.”
    The Nextel Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, slated for May 16 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, will be directly linked to the Nextel All-Star Challenge, as the finishing order in the pit-crew competition will decide the selection order of pit stalls for the May 19 race. The Nextel Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, now in its third season, will feature several new competitive elements.
    New Format: The Nextel All-Star Challenge’s new format consists of four, 20-lap segments and features teams that qualify for the event by winning a Nextel Cup Series event during the 2006 or 2007 seasons. Additionally, two drivers will qualify for the premier event by finishing first and second, respectively, after two 20-lap segments in the Nextel Open. Finally, one driver will once again join the Nextel All-Star Challenge field by winning the Nextel Fan Vote.
    Teams will have the option of pitting after the first 20-lap segment of the event, giving up their respective on-track position by doing so. A mandatory 10-minute stop will follow the second 20-lap segment. Teams will resume their position at the start of the third segment.
    Following segment three, all remaining participants on the track will circle the track under caution. Each team will then conduct a pit stop under race-like pitting conditions. The order of the teams exiting pit road will serve as the starting lineup for the fourth, and final, 20-lap segment. The Nextel All-Star Challenge will be broadcast live on SPEED. Additional details about the Nextel All-Star Challenge will be announced at a later date.(DEI site)(1-23-2007)
  • Truex Jr. gets in trouble in Daytona MORE: #1-Martin Truex Jr. thought he was making a pit stop out of view, in a corner of the county’s parking garage, but like a scene right out of “Seinfeld,” the wrong person was watching. The bathroom break in the garage connected to the Ocean Walk Shoppes earned Truex a $208 ticket from a Volusia County Beach Patrol officer. “I got a ticket for doing something stupid,” Truex said by phone Monday afternoon. It was just after midnight Friday (Jan 12th) and Truex — in town to test for the Jackson-Hewitt Preseason Thunder Busch Series — was walking back to his car on the third floor of the parking garage on Earl Street with a group of friends, a police report shows. When the group approached a silver Chevy Suburban, Capt. Rich Gardner noticed that Truex began urinating on the right front tire of the SUV. At that point Gardner, sitting in an unmarked patrol car, called out: “I hope that’s worth 100 bucks,” a Beach Patrol report states. According to Gardner; Truex then responded, “It is worth 100 bucks,” and he held out a $100 bill. Not amused, Gardner told the 26-year-old race car driver that the matter was not a joke, then asked for Truex’s identification. The officer also said he doesn’t take bribes. “It sounds like you’re trying to bribe me,” Truex answered, according to the report. “You said, ‘Is that worth 100 bucks?’ and I said yeah. Did you say that?” After a few more words exchanged, Gardner attempted to handcuff Truex, only to meet with resistance, the report states. After telling him to place his hands behind his back seven times, and ordering him to stop resisting, Truex, cooperated with Gardner, but then offered the captain the $100 bill again, the report states. But in the end, Truex was not charged with urinating in public. Because of all the talking that was done, Gardner smelled a hint of alcohol on Truex’s breath and charged him with disorderly intoxication. Truex, who is employed by Dale Earnhardt Inc., denied resisting Gardner, but he did recall urinating on the tire of his vehicle. “I had to take a leak in the corner of a parking garage where no one could see,” he said. “It was a stupid mistake and I’ll never do it again.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)
    MORE: Statement from Martin Truex, Jr. “The incident that recently occurred in Daytona Beach, Fla. was in poor judgment and shouldn’t have happened. I want to apologize to Bass Pro Shops, the NASCAR community and my fellow employees of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. After testing on Thursday afternoon, some team members and I went to a local restaurant that evening. We had a few drinks, I was not intoxicated and we had a designated driver. Afterwards, while I was standing by our SUV, a man walked up to me in the parking deck. He didn’t immediately identify himself as a police officer. I was taken a little off guard, but once I realized he was an officer, I fully cooperated. There was no resistance on my part in any way. I don’t feel I was being disorderly, but that doesn’t make what happened right, and again, I want to apologize for my behavior.”(DEI PR)(1-23-2007)
  • Gillette Young Guns team to get new driver: To kick off the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season, the Gillette Young Guns are inviting race fans to visit GilletteYoungGuns.com for a chance to guess who will be the newest member of the team. From now until February 18, consumers can visit the Web site to correctly predict the new Gillette Young Gun driver. Each correct selection registers fans for the opportunity to win the grand prize package – a Phantom race car, a trip for two to a 2007 Nextel Cup Series race and the chance to meet the new Gillette Young Guns driver. The newest member of the team will be revealed prior to the Daytona 500 and will officially join the Gillette Young Guns team of drivers – Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson. The drivers listed are: #5-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin, #9-Kasey Kahne and #1-Martin Truex, Jr. (Alan Taylor Communications PR), Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the driver out.(1-23-2007)
  • Rheem Manufacturing to be a major associate sponsor on #29 RCR Chevy: Rheem Manufacturing Company announced its sponsorship of the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) #29 car for the 36-race Nextel Cup Series season. Rheem will be featured prominently on the lower rear quarter panels of RCR’s #29 car driven by Kevin Harvick. Rheem becomes the major associate sponsor of the car, while Shell is the primary sponsor. The new Rheem-RCR relationship takes to the track for the Nextel Cup Series opener at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. According to Rheem President J.R. Jones, Rheem will fully leverage its sponsorship through numerous business-driving initiatives, with a main emphasis on reward, recognition, and new business development programs for heating, cooling and plumbing distributors and contractors. In addition to a fully-integrated sales and marketing communications program that will be rolled out throughout the year, Jones says Rheem will also explore new business and marketing relationships with other motorsports sponsors. More info about Rheem at www.rheem.com.(RCR PR)(1-23-2007)
  • Wheldon may test for Ganassi at Las Vegas: The 2005 Indy Racing League champion, an Englishman who lives in St. Petersburg [FL], will have his first test in a stock car, perhaps as early as next week in Las Vegas. If all goes well, he said, he might eventually follow [Juan Pablo] Montoya to NASCAR’s highest level. “I look to have a good IndyCar season,” said Wheldon. “But I definitely want to start looking very seriously at the NASCAR stuff.” Wheldon was unable to conduct his first scheduled Busch test last week on the road course at Virginia International Raceway because of rain. He insists he needs to feel he can be as good in stock cars as in Ganassi’s open-wheel machines to make a full-time switch.( St. Petersburg Times)(1-23-2007)
  • Parsons honored with Pocono Spirit Award: Benny Parsons was honored with the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award Sunday night in Concord, NC. Parsons, 65, passed away Jan. 16 after a six-month battle with lung cancer. He made 526 starts and earned more than $4.4 million, winning 21 times in NASCAR’s top series to rank 28th on the career-win list. He won the series’ championship in 1973 while driving for car owner L.G. DeWitt. His television duties, which continued through the 2006 season, began in 1989, a year after he retired from driving. He also later began hosting the popular radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” on the Performance Racing Network. Outside the glare of the sport, Parsons often reached out to those less fortunate. For several years, he helped oversee a local school drive in his hometown of Ellerbe, N.C., that provided clothing and toys for area schoolchildren during the Christmas holiday season. The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected and an overall winner is chosen by a vote of the NMPA membership. Other quarterly winners for 2006 included: Craftsman Truck Series owner/driver Bobby Hamilton (first quarter); longtime photojournalist Dozier Mobley (second quarter); and Owen Kearns, manager of communications for the Craftsman Truck Series (fourth quarter).(SceneDaily.com)(1-23-2007)
  • COT Update: Project on Schedule for Bristol Debut: NASCAR provided the latest round of updates Monday on its heralded Car of Tomorrow project, which is slated for a March debut at Bristol Motor Speedway. The culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., the Car of Tomorrow was built primarily with safety in mind. During the development process, NASCAR also discovered ways in which the Car of Tomorrow could improve competition and enable teams to be more cost-efficient. Safety features on the new car include:
    * Double-frame rail on driver’s side with steel plating covering the door bars.
    * Energy-absorbing [foam] materials installed between the roll cage door bars and door panels.
    * Enlarged cockpit – the driver is moved closer to the center of the car and the roof is 2½ inches higher.
    The Car of Tomorrow also features a pair of unique aerodynamic pieces that teams may adjust at the race track:
    Rear Wing:
    The rear wing is an adjustable aerodynamic feature that provides better balance and control in traffic. It replaces the rear spoiler.
    The rear wing reduces turbulent air behind the car.
    The rear wing angle adjusts between 0-16 degrees, enabling teams to change rear downforce to suit individual drivers and tracks.
    Various combinations and adjustments to sideforce-generating end plates and flat end plates allow for further at-track adjustments.
    Front Splitter:
    Teams can adjust the exposed portion of the front splitter fore and aft from 4-6 inches to impact downforce and aerodynamic balance.
    The front splitter is another element to achieve the aerodynamic balance that their setup, driver or track conditions might dictate.
    The adjustable front splitter enables teams to tune the front downforce to suit individual drivers and tracks.
    With the adjustable rear wing and front splitter along with a more defined body and chassis inspection process, teams will not need to build track-specific race cars. These factors help make it more cost-effective for the teams.
    The Car of Tomorrow design has also enabled manufacturers to have an increased product and branding opportunity. The manufacturers’ 2007 Car of Tomorrow models – the Chevrolet Impala SS, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry – more closely resemble production cars than the current race cars do. Through input from team owners, NASCAR has implemented a multiple-year rollout schedule for the Car of Tomorrow to race in its Nextel Cup Series. In 2007, the Car of Tomorrow will race 16 times – 13 times at ovals less than 1.5 miles, plus the two road-course events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International and the fall race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.(NASCAR PR)(1-23-2007)
  • Darrell Waltrip and Mountain Dew Celebrate a “Flashback to Glory”: Mountain Dew will once again be partnered with legendary NASCAR Champion Darrell Waltrip for the upcoming 2007 NASCAR season. Mountain Dew Racing will be celebrating DW’s Championship seasons in the Mountain Dew car over 25 years ago. In 1981 and 1982, Waltrip won back-to-back NASCAR Cup titles behind the wheel of the #11 Mountain Dew Buick. DW’s 1981 Championship season is now recognized as one of the most impressive runs in NASCAR history, as he fought back from a 341-point deficit in the final 17 races to capture the Cup. During those two seasons, Waltrip amassed an unbelievable 24 victories, 18 poles, 38 top-five finishes, and two Cup titles. Now, a television analyst for FOX Sports, Waltrip remains legendary to the sport. “It truly is an honor to be back with my friends at Mountain Dew”, states Waltrip. “Those years together were the glory years of my career. Just look in the record books – in ’81 and ’82…Mountain Dew and DW were virtually unbeatable!” Mountain Dew will honor DW’s history-making moments with the Fueled by Dew: Flashback to Glory national campaign. Waltrip and the #11 Mountain Dew Buick will be featured in national Mountain Dew advertising, including radio commercials, print materials, online, and on in-store point of sale materials. Mountain Dew has even refurbished one of the actual #11 Buick race cars from the Championship season and will let fans check it out at events throughout the year. Fans will also have the chance to win VIP race trips, meet Darrell and receive retro Mountain Dew Racing merchandise by participating in retail promotions throughout the country over the course of the Flashback to Glory campaign.(Darrell Waltrip Motorsports PR)(1-23-2007)
  • Goody’s and Petty to Celebrate 30th Anniversary Together: For 30 years, the “King” Richard Petty has been synonymous with Goody’s Headache Powders and its fast pain relief. Now through a landmark agreement, Petty’s status as spokesperson for the fast pain relieving headache powders will be guaranteed for life. This announcement marks the first time a current or former NASCAR driver and a sponsor have agreed to lifetime terms. The lifetime contract guarantees that Petty, NASCAR’s most decorated champion will continue his role as Goody’s spokesperson and “expert on fast pain relief.” This is a title that he has held since Goody’s entered the sport in 1977. Petty will continue to star in Goody’s advertising and make appearances on behalf of Goody’s. Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to celebrate with “The King” and Goody’s through a host of special promotions throughout 2007. These include limited edition Commemorative Goody’s Headache Powders packaging featuring Petty’s greatest moments along with a new logo titled “Goody’s and ‘The King’, 30 Years Together.” A sweepstakes to win “The King’s” 30th Anniversary custom Dodge Charger will also take place to give fans a chance to drive like “The King.” Petty’s lifetime contract announcement is only the beginning of the most exciting year ever for Goody’s. In 2007, Goody’s will dramatically increase its involvement and participation in NASCAR with the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, the Headache of the Race Award, the Goody’s Fast Relief Zone and a multitude of celebrations surrounding the Brand’s 30th Anniversary in NASCAR, including car paints that will delight fans. Fans can also look forward to a major upcoming announcement with Goody’s and two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart. To further celebrate Richard Petty and his 30 years with Goody’s, the brand has also announced a $50,000 donation to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Since the camp opened in 2004, Goody’s has continued its status as a major sponsor of Victory Junction and was the first company to donate $1,000,000 to help build the camp’s hospital named “The Goody’s Body Shop.”(Lighthouse Marketing PR)(1-23-2007)
  • Carmichael Ready for Stock Cars: Unlike Juan Pablo Montoya, who has moved to NASCAR from a successful open-wheel career with a wave of publicity, motorcycle superstar Ricky Carmichael is getting little attention, and that’s just fine with him. The 27-year-old Carmichael has captured a record 15 AMA National championships but plans to run a limited schedule in Supercross this season while also beginning his stock car career as part of Ginn Racing’s driver development program. Carmichael had stock cars tests with Evernham Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing before signing a three-year contract with Bobby Ginn’s team – former MB2 Motorsports. He will begin his four-wheel career this season driving 15 late model stock car races in Florida in a car provided by Mark Martin, who left Roush Racing at the end of 2006 to join the Ginn team for a partial Nextel Cup schedule in 2007. “I’m kind of glad I’m running late model stocks to start with and working my way up to the top,” Carmichael said. “I think it’s good I’m not going to be the center of attention here. I think you need a lot more concentration in stock cars than on motorcycles, especially when you’ve been doing it as long as I have.” Martin, who oversaw one of Carmichael’s tests, is sold on the youngster. “I think he’ll be as good a driver in NASCAR as anybody who ever came to stock cars from motorcycles,” Martin said. “As soon as you get to know him and see his work ethic, drive and determination, you know it isn’t possible that it’s not going to work. I thought he’d be good and he’s further along than we expected. If things move along well, we might run him in an ARCA race or two later in the season.” Carmichael plans to run 25 stock car races in 2008, with some in ARCA and some in NASCAR’s Busch Series. In 2009, the last year of his current contract, he expects to run a full season in Busch and possible a few Cup events. “I’m just a racer,” Carmichael said Friday in an interview during the first day of the NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I like a challenge and I like what NASCAR is about.”(Associated Press)(1-23-2007)

    News from January 22, 2007

  • Announcements the next few days, the ‘new’ Chase for one: More than 200 print and electronic media members from 22 states and as far away as Germany are registered to participate in the Jan. 22-25 Nextel Cup Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The largest off-season media event in Nextel Cup racing, the 24th edition of this annual season preview begins Monday afternoon, Jan. 22, and continues through Thursday afternoon, Jan. 25. With support from sponsors Nextel and NASCAR, the Media Tour gives registered participants the opportunity to tour race shops; meet with drivers, crew chiefs and team owners; and discuss the latest developments and news with motorsports industry leaders. Many Nextel Cup teams scheduled to host Media Tour events. The Media Tour will also make its annual visit to the NASCAR Research and Development Center where officials are expected to make several announcements {The Chase, COT, etc]. A groundbreaking ceremony for the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte is also part of the schedule [Thursday, Jan 25th].(LMS PR)(1-22-2007)
  • possible Budweiser Super Bowl ad to feature Dale Jr..under attack: It’s an image of doomsday, Mad Max-style. Mud-streaked mutants racing down a desert highway in stripped-down muscle cars and motor bikes, lobbing Molotov cocktails at their prey — NASCAR hotshot Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his #8 Budweiser car. In an effort to stoke interest in its Super Bowl ads, Anheuser-Busch Cos. this week sent media outlets sneak previews of its “Apocalypse” ad, which may run during the Super Bowl as part of A-B’s five minutes of commercials. The country’s largest brewer has not yet determined its final lineup of commercials.( St. Louis Post-Dispatch)(1-22-2007)
  • Panasonic Joins Marlin’s #14 Chevy as Primary Sponsor for 24 races: Panasonic Joins Ginn Racing as a Primary Sponsor on Marlin’s #14 Chevy for the 2007 season. The agreement also calls for Panasonic to be a major associate sponsor on the #14 for the other 24 point races that will comprise the 36-event Nextel Cup schedule. Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company, a leading supplier of broadcast and professional video products and systems, is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Panasonic joins Waste Management as a 12-race primary sponsor on Marlin’s Chevy. Marlin’s #14 Chevy is one of three full-time Nextel Cup cars that Ginn Racing will field in 2007. The other two are: the #01 U.S. Army Chevy to be co-driven by Mark Martin and Regan Smith and the #13 Chevy, driven by Joe Nemechek. Information about Panasonic and its products is available at www.panasonic.com.(Ginn Racing PR)(1-22-2007)
  • Stewart, Schrader and Kenny Wallace buy into Macon track: One of the oldest race tracks in Illinois gets new life with new owners. Macon Speedway revealed the new ownership team Sunday as part of the Racing Expo at the State Fairgrounds. Past track owner-operator Macon’s Bob Sargent and NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader make up the team. Racing on the dirt track ended ahead of schedule last season because of financial hard times. The track was built back in 1946 in Macon.(wandtv.com)(1-22-2007)
  • Smith to debut in Daytona in 4th Ginn Racing car:While Regan Smith’s first official ride in the #01 Army Chevy is scheduled for Bristol Motor Speedway (March 25), the upstate New York (Cato) native is looking to make his Nextel Cup debut in the Daytona 500. Last week Smith tested the #39 Chevy at Daytona for Ginn Racing, which plans to enter four Cup cars for NASCAR’s season opener. Joe Nemechek (#13) and Sterling Marlin (#14) took part in the previous week’s Daytona test session for Ginn Racing. “We’re going there (Daytona) with four cars and I have every intention of the Daytona 500 being my first Cup start,” said Smith, who filled in for Nemechek for a pair of test sessions in Daytona last week. Since Smith’s #39 Chevy is not part of the top 35 in points from 2006, he will have to qualify for the Daytona 500. Smith will also compete in the Busch Series in 2007 for Ginn Racing. He will share the #04 Chevy ride with Kraig Kinser.(Ginn Racing site)(1-22-2007)
  • Whitt plans at least 15 races in the #72: from a Raybestos Rookie Notes & Quotes PR, Q&A with Brandon Whitt, who will drive the #72 CJM Racing Chevy in Nextel Cup this season:
    WHAT IS YOUR SPONSORSHIP SITUATION FOR THE 2007 SEASON? DO YOU PLAN TO RUN THE FULL SCHEDULE? “Well, we would like to, but as of right now, the sponsorship is limited to 15 races so we’re going to get through the 15 races and hopefully we can get a sponsor to come and help us finish the year. I think they are spread out throughout the whole year but if something comes up here or there, the races are spread out enough we could still get to those ones and be prepared for ‘em.”
    DO YOU PLAN TO RACE IN THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES? “That’s still up in the air right now. Nothing has been confirmed. If I have an open weekend or a companion race, I’d like to do something over there.”
    ARE THERE A LOT OF CHANGES ON THE TEAM? “We have the same key people, but we have made changes from where we were at Homestead. We switched over to RCR engines so that was a very big help. They’ve got a lot more equipment in the shop now to help with the resources and getting the car better when we get to the track so we’re a lot closer. We’re hiring more and more people and kind of getting rid of the weak links and getting stronger ones so we can keep building every week.”(Raybestos Rookie Notes & Quotes PR)(1-22-2007)
  • Wood Brothers/ JTG Racing sign development driver: Jonathan Cash, driver of the Strutmasters.com 2006 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series late model car, signed a five year contract with the Wood Brothers/ JTG Racing. Cash will pilot the famous number #21 NASCAR Busch Grand National East Touring Series ride for the full 2007 race season as part of the developmental driving program overseen by Competition Director Michael “Fatback” McSwain. The NASCAR Busch East Series represents NASCAR’s top regional touring series. In this series drivers compete in cars that are similar to those used in the NASCAR Busch and Nextel Cup Series. Cars are powered by 600+ Hp V-8 engines, with a minimum weight of 3,300 pounds, and are equipped with Goodyear bias-ply tires. Strutmasters.com is the primary sponsor on the new Busch East #21 Ford Fusion as well as an associate sponsor on the teams’F-150 Craftsman Trucks. John Goss, a key crew member of the Strutmaster.com team, will also make the move to Charlotte with Jonathan Cash from their home town of Oxford, NC. Many local fans wish them well and will continue to follow their careers with great pride and anticipation of success. (eastseries.com)(1-22-2007)
  • Johnson wins award: Nextel Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson was named the 2006 Richard Petty Driver of the Year by the National Motorsports Press Association. Johnson, who also won the award in 2004, was named on 28 of 72 ballots cast. The Hendrick Motorsports driver edged Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick, who received 22 first-place votes. Others receiving votes were Evernham Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, Roush Racing’s Mark Martin and RCR’s Jeff Burton.(SceneDaily.com)(1-22-2007)
  • H&K Motorsports announces 2006 Cup/Truck/ARCA plans: H&K Motorsports is a new NASCAR team that is going to be based outside the Mooresville NC area. Their planned drivers are Trevor Boys [last Cup race in 1993], from Calgary, Alberta [Canada] and Eddie Kucharski from Denton, TX. Boys and Kucharski will both be competing in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 2007 to re-qualify their NASCAR licenses. Boys has over 15 years racing experience, including some in the former Nextel [then Winston in 1993] Cup Series. Once Boys re-qualifies for his NASCAR license, H&K Motorsports plan to run him in the Nextel Cup Series and Kucharski will compete in the Craftsman Truck Series. Boys is the longest running Canadian in NASCAR. He competed in over 112 Nextel Cup Races [note: records I found (racing-reference.info) has Boys having 102 Cup starts with two top 10’s running races between 1983-1993, his best finish was a 9th at Richmond 1983 in the #48 Chevy].(H&K Motorsports site), the team made an announcement early in 2006 that the would run 15 Cup races with Boys out of a shop in Statesville, NC, but that never happened. The car supposedly will be the #08, the site lists it as #58.(1-22-2007)

News from January 21, 2007

  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 15 race over:: French driver Stephane Peterhansel won the 2007 Dakar Rally on Sunday, claiming his third trophy in one of the world’s most punishing and dangerous races. Peterhansel, who also has six motorcycle victories in the tough transcontinental competition, secured the win after finishing a final Atlantic Ocean beach stretch of the 5,411-mile race from Europe to Africa. Overall results on the race’s official Web site put the Mitsubishi driver’s final time at 45 hours, 53 minutes, 37 seconds. Defending champion Luc Alphand was second – 7 minutes, 26 seconds behind. Nextel Cup driver Robby Gordon finished third in the final stage, 26 minutes behind stage winner Giniel de Villiers of South Africa, who won his fourth stage of the race. Gordon finished 8th overall, 7 hours, 4 minutes and 7 seconds behind leader Peterhansel. Fox Editor’s note: On Saturday, FOXSports.com reported that Robby Gordon slipped to 10th in the overall standings. He actually finished fifth in Stage 14 and remained eighth overall.(FoxSports)
    The Dakar Rally can be seen on the Versus Network in the United States. See full reports and video at robbygordon.com, also at dakar.comraid-live.com and doindonuts.com.(1-21-2007)
  • Rusty Wallace takes some laps in his son’s Busch car: Rusty Wallace visited Daytona International Speedway Saturday with several of his ESPN announcing colleagues to meet with Busch Series competitors testing for the Orbitz 300. Wallace, who will provide color commentary for nearly 50 ESPN race broadcasts, was asked by his son Steve to shake down one of his #66 Dodges. “Steve said the car was real loose, so I made some changes to it, fired it up and went out to draft,” Rusty Wallace said. “I made four laps and the spotter tells me, ‘Here comes the draft.’ “As soon as they caught me, the thing blows up on the front stretch right near the start/finish line.” Wallace said he hopes to draft with his son today and give him pointers via two-radio while turning laps over the 2.5-mile tri-oval. “I want to watch him and I want to talk back and forth with him, plus I want to give him some input and help him,” he said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2007)
  • Another Hero chosen in Jackson Hewitt National Guard promotion: Sergeant First Class (SFC) Todd M. Tilkens, of Bravo Company 2/127th in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has been chosen as an honoree in the Jackson Hewitt National Guard “Heroes of the Year” campaign. Sponsored by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, an industry leader providing full service individual federal and state income tax preparation, this year-long campaign recognized National Guard soldiers, families and even employers around the country who have made a difference in their states or on foreign shores. In his nearly twenty years of working with the National Guard, SFC Tilkens has held a variety of duties within the community and abroad. He has recently returned home from Kuwait, where he assisted in escorting convoys as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following the 9-11 attacks, he volunteered at the local airport working with security teams. On a local level, he has made the streets of Green Bay safer for trick-or-treating children as a volunteer working to patrol neighborhoods on Halloween. When not on active duty, he works for Moore Wallace, an RR Donnelley Company, as a printing press operator. He lives in Green Bay with his wife, Teresa, who nominated him, and his children.
    Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, in partnership with the Army National Guard, launched the Jackson Hewitt National Guard “Heroes of the Year” campaign in early 2006 as a unique opportunity for people across the county to nominate a loved one, friend or neighbor who serves in the Army National Guard. This program recognizes the efforts of the thousands of Guardsmen and women – as well as families and employers – who are making a difference within our communities and abroad.
    Ten monthly honorees have been chosen, and Jackson Hewitt will soon announce the grand prize winner, who will have the opportunity of a lifetime – to have their image featured on a NASCAR race car [supposedly #16 Greg Biffle as seen on supporttheguard.com but National Guard is now on the #25 and Casey Mears] that will be raced at a 2007 Nextel Cup Series Race in February [that would be Daytona or California]. This is the first time that a non-celebrity’s image will be featured on a NASCAR race car. In addition to spotlighting soldiers, the campaign also recognized families and employers who show exceptional support for, and service to, the core mission and values of the National Guard. To view the soldiers, families and employers who have been nominated for their dedication to and support of the National Guard’s mission, visit www.supporttheguard.com. In each case, monthly nominees were selected based on service to their community, their support of the values of the National Guard and the unique ways they have enhanced their lives and the lives of those around them through their affiliation with the Guard.(Yahoo Biz)(1-21-2007)

    News from January 20, 2007

  • Sad News: Benny Parsons: Benny Parsons, 65, passed away today [Jan 16] at the Intensive Care Unit of the Carolinas Medial Center in Charlotte, NC. Parsons, who became a popular television and radio personality after retiring from driving in 1988, entered the hospital Dec. 26 as the result of complications stemming from his battle with lung cancer. The cancer was diagnosed earlier this year and was recently reported to be in full remission.
    Survivors include his mother Hazel Parsons; wife Terri Parsons; sons Keith and Kevin Parsons; brothers Steve and Phil Parsons; sister Patty Severt; and granddaughters Emily and Libbie Parsons.(PRN/LMS PR)
    See info about Benny’s career and bios at BennyParsons.comgoPRN.com or rendezvousridge.com and many articles, quotes, slideshows on my Article Links page.(1-16-2007)
    Benny Honored Friday: Benny Parsons was remembered by the NASCAR community Friday for everything from his gift of gab, voracious appetite, love of golf and skill on the race track. But more than anything, “Ol’ BP” was remembered for being a friend to everyone in the racing community. “I’ve lost a buddy and it’s hard to take,” two-time NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett said in one of six eulogies given for Parsons. “But I know I’m not alone: Benny was everybody’s buddy.” Parsons, the 1973 Cup champion and an award-winning NASCAR broadcaster, died Tuesday from complications stemming from his brief battle with lung cancer. He was 65. NASCAR’s past and present turned out to celebrate his life at the Grace Covenant Church, which hosted the ceremony dubbed “A Service of Victory.” The eulogies – given by five of Parsons’ broadcasting partners and childhood friend Tom Thornton – all touched on Parsons’ love of food. His popularity as an announcer started during the popular “Buffet Benny” ESPN segment that he did about food available at race tracks. Parsons will be buried following a private family service Saturday in Millers Creek.(Associated Press)(1-20-2007)
  • DEI signs development driver? UPDATE: hearing that Jeff Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt, has signed a development deal with DEI that will have him driving a second car owned by Andy Santerre to team up with Sean Caisse in the NASCAR Busch East Series, with a few potential Busch Series races with DEI.(1-14-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. didn’t have to look very far to find its soon-to-be newest driver. He shares a last name with organization’s founder. Jeffrey Earnhardt, the 17-year-old grandson of Dale Earnhardt, will compete in the NASCAR Busch East Series next season in a Chevrolet prepared by DEI, said Tam Topham, who fielded cars for Earnhardt last year at Motor Mile Speedway. An official announcement about the fourth-generation driver’s future should come next week at the NASCAR preseason media tour in Charlotte, N.C, his stepmother, Rene, confirmed. The son of Kerry Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will share time between Busch East, the UARA Late Model touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (formerly the Dodge Weekly Series). A handful of Late Model dirt track starts could also be in the cards. “This week or next week, they’re going to try to have everything finalized,” Topham said. “His mom and dad and DEI and himself — they’re all working out the particulars.” DEI will field the Busch East entry exclusively; Topham will be under contract with Kerry Earnhardt to oversee the Late Model and UARA operations out of his Wytheville-based TAMCO Motorsports shop. Jeffrey Earnhardt’s 2007 schedule will include up to eight races in a Late Model at Motor Mile as well as the Bailey’s 300 at Martinsville Speedway in late September. Busch East, along with the NASCAR AutoZone West Series, is a regional feeder division for NASCAR’s three national series — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck. Jeffrey Earnhardt’s Late Model Stock car will have #01. The news of Earnhardt’s deal with DEI comes just days after Kerry Earnhardt took a full-time position with the company. The elder Earnhardt will serve as a liaison between the organization’s Cup and Busch programs and make cameo driving appearances.(Roanoke Times)(1-20-2007)
  • Almirola to run some Busch races and possibly some Cup: Aric Almirola estimates he will run 20 Busch Series races and possibly a few Nextel Cup events in 2007. Almirola, testing the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy during Busch Series practice at Daytona International Speedway, said Friday his 20 races will be split between the #18 and #20 JGR entries. Almirola, who added he is working on a truck deal for four or five races. Almirola has tested the “car of tomorrow” three or four times for JGR and that might lead to him running a few Cup events. He also might do other NASCAR test sessions. He said the Cup races will possibly be determined by sponsors and where they would want him to run. Almirola said the fourth team would be primarily used as a research and development team.(SceneDaily.com)(1-20-2007)
  • Front Row Motorsports to run #34 team in 2007: Kevin Lepage, who recently tested the #92 Front Row Motorsports Dodge ar Daytona, will in all likelyhood, tun the #34 Dodge for the team with Ernie Elliot Engines. Gere Kennon is the Director of Competition & Randy Seals the crew chief. No word if the team will run the #61 or #92 teams it ran in 2006 along with the #34. The team also has a job opening, see my Racing Schools/Jobs page for more info.(1-20-2007)
  • #78 to unviel 2007 car and plans: on Wednesday, January 24, #78 Furniture Row Racing and driver Kenny Wallace will unveil their 2007 Nextel Cup car and Wallace and Team Mgr Joe Garone will discuss issues regarding enhancements to the program, team goals, Daytona 500, and field questions from the media. at Furniture Row Marketing in Denver, CO(businesswire.com)(1-20-2007)
  • No 2007 Indy 500 for Montoya: New NASCAR driver #42-Juan Pablo Montoya is back with Chip Ganassi’s organization, for whom he won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, but that doesn’t mean he is likely to return for this year’s race. “I want to really focus myself at the moment on stock cars,” Montoya said. “If Chip would come and say, ‘I want you to do it (Indy 500)’ . . . I don’t know. Been there, done that.”(Indy Star)(1-20-2007)
  • Sadler and Hamlin slim down: #11-Denny Hamlin and #19-Elliott Sadler both have new looks for the upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup season, but it has nothing to do with paint schemes. Hamlin hired a physical trainer in the offseason, and Sadler is hoping to lose weight and return to the size he was in his rookie season. Hamlin, who sported a slight bulge in the midsection of his racing uniform last year, said he already notices a difference. “I feel better than I have ever in just the short amount of time I’ve been doing it,” Hamlin said of his workouts. “To me, it’s more about working on those last 100 laps of the race when you need to dig down and get the most out of yourself. I felt like I was kind of slack on it last year.” Sadler said he weighed 211 pounds in 1999 and had not been below that until now. Sadler weighs 210 pounds. He says he’s lost 10 pounds since last year’s season finale at Homestead and wants to lose another 10 pounds before this season begins. “I just want to be prepared mentally and physically the best I can to make sure I pull my weight,” Sadler said. He says he is not on a particular workout program other than watching what he eats. “I can eat as much as anybody I think that you’ve ever met in your life,” said the 31-year-old, who finished fourth in last year’s Daytona 500. “I ordered two or three Big Macs at a time. I’d eat two or three steaks at a time when I go to a steakhouse.”(Roanoke Times)(1-20-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 13: Carlos Sainz won the 13th stage of the Dakar Rally on Friday as the race entered its final stretches in the West African nation of Senegal. Sainz finished the 160-mile route from Kayes, Mali, to Tambacounda in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 22 seconds .That’s 26 seconds ahead of Mitsubishi driver Stephane Peterhansel. Peterhansel of France still leads the race overall in a total of 43:13:22. Another Frenchman, Luc Alphand, is 11:15 behind in second place. American Robby Gordon finished 11th in the 13th stage, 10 minutes and 47 seconds behind Sainz. He’s in eighth place overall, trailing Peterhansel by 7 hours, 13 minutes and 18 seconds. The race wraps up Sunday at Lac Rose, a lake outside the Senegalese capital of Dakar.(FoxSports)(1-20-2007)
  • Chrissy Wallace Going for three in a row in Arena Racing: Team ML driver Chrissy Wallace will attempt to win her third consecutive Main race in Arena Racing USA competition Saturday night as she takes to the track for the ‘Motorsports Lounge 250’ at Cricket Arena in Charlotte. Wallace is the daughter of NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace [#09 Chevy in Cup, #7 in Busch]. The ‘Motorsports Lounge 250’ takes place Saturday, January 20th at Cricket Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The doors open at 6pm/et for the “pit party”, where fans can go inside the track to meet the drivers and get autographs, and at 7pm/et the racing action starts with the opening ceremonies. Tickets are available through the Cricket Arena Box Office at 704-335-3100. For more information on Arena Racing, visit ArenaRacingUSA.com.(Motorsports Lounge PR)(1-20-2007)

    News from January 19, 2007

  • Teresa wants Junior at DEI: Teresa Earnhardt is willing to discuss a larger role at Dale Earnhardt Inc. with stepson #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as part of the ongoing contract negotiations to keep him at his late father’s company. “We are moving full speed ahead with negotiations, moving ahead as we normally would,” Teresa Earnhardt said Thursday night in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where she was promoting the documentary “Dale.” Asked if she was committed to keeping Junior behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet, she didn’t waver: “Absolutely.” Junior’s contract expires at the end of this season, and his status with the company has been in question since Teresa Earnhardt seemingly questioned his commitment in a December article in The Wall Street Journal. Teresa Earnhardt indicated the two have since spoken but seemed fuzzy on when the conversation occurred. “I don’t know, it has just been a short while ago,” she said. “We talk.” Teresa Earnhardt said Thursday there’s been nothing unusual about these extension talks. “It’s all been very typical,” she said. “We’re moving forward, discussing everything and trying to get this done.”(in part from the Associated Press), see past news on Dale Jr. comments, signing status and more on my #8 Team News and Links page.(1-19-2007)
  • Sharpie Signs Dale Jr., to run spring Bristol Busch Race: Sharpie, a Newell Rubbermaid brand, announced it has inked an agreement with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2007. The first time associate sponsorship will feature Dale Jr. driving the #8 Sharpie car in the Sharpie MINI 300, the Busch series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. In celebration of the partnership, a line of “#8” Sharpie markers also will debut in stores nationwide in April. Sharpie is planning a series of on and off track activities throughout the year, including brand advertising and in-store merchandising support for its new line of #8 Sharpie markers, a special #8 appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie MINI 300 March 24 and a nationwide show car program. Dale Jr. will also lend a hand to Sharpie’s Autographs for Action program, a national cause-related marketing platform benefiting charities with $1 million in both funds and supplies. For more information, visit sharpie.com.(DEI PR)(1-19-2007)
  • Sirius and XM Radio to merge? UPDATE 2…maybe?: Shares of satellite radio operators XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. rose Friday, on speculation that the companies might merge or combine in another way. “We believe a 50/50 enterprise value split or perhaps a slight premium to XM shareholders may be warranted in a merger scenario,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Kit Spring said in a Thursday client note, keeping a “Buy” rating on XM shares. RBC Capital Markets analyst Ryan Vineyard in a Friday note to investors said a combination would generate long-term value for shareholders, given slow retail channel growth. Advertising, office, retail incentives and other synergies total between $5 billion to $6 billion, he wrote. Vineyard believes XM would need to be the acquirer, since it has 7.6 million subscribers to Sirius’s 6 million.(Business Week), so..what does this mean for NASCAR Radio, which is now on Sirius? no idea, but looks like total speculation at this point.(1-12-2007)
    UPDATE: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin talked about the potential merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio yesterday [Jan 17th], and based on what he said, that merger is not looking good. Martin told reporters after yesterday’s FCC meeting that a restriction against having a single owner for both satellite services was written into regulations that authorized the two licenses in 1997. Martin summed it up in one sentence: “There is a prohibition on one entity owning both of these businesses.” Following Martin’s comments, shares of XM fell 9.9 percent, its biggest drop in eight months; while Sirius fell 7 percent for its biggest decline in a month.(Radio Ink)
    HOWEVER? U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said on Thursday a rule that bars XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. from merging could be altered, if requested. Martin, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in New York, said he was not aware of any request to change the rule on satellite radio licensing ownership, which currently prohibits one entity from owning both licenses. “The commission looks at anything that is presented to it (and) all of the commission’s rules are open to be changed,” Martin said. He declined to comment on the specifics of any potential satellite radio merger.(Yahoo/Reuters)…so in otherwords…clear as mud.(1-19-2007)
  • Motorsports This Week on ESPN2: In the seventh episode of the documentary series, Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era (ESPN2 Sunday, Jan. 21, at 11:00pm/et), Michael Waltrip competes in a half-marathon for Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang charity. In addition, the race team’s first superspeedway Toyota is completed and taken to the track for its all- important first test drive. A previously-aired episode of the show will air Saturday morning, Jan. 20, at 11:00am/et. Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
    New episodes of Truck Stop and Chopper Nation, part of the ESPN2 Garage block of programming, will air this Saturday. Truck Stop will air on ESPN2 at 10:00am/et on Saturday, Jan. 20, followed at 10:30am/et by Chopper Nation.(ESPN PR)(1-19-2007)
  • DEI Using Hoosier at Lakeland UPDATE 2 more testing at Lakeland: A top DEI official stated Monday afternoon that the company would be using Hoosier tires on at least one car they will test at Lakeland Speedway later this week. One of the burning questions since Goodyear started leasing, instead of selling, tires to race teams was where would the teams to get tires to test with away from the seven official NASCAR test sessions. While it was widely speculated teams would turn to Hoosier for the tires needed to test, most teams had a sufficient stockpile to get them through the 2006 season. A DEI executive confirmed Monday that organization’s stockpile was almost gone. In fact, it was low enough that at least one of the their teams testing at Lakeland Speedway later this week would do so on Hoosier tires. “It’s working,” said the executive of NASCAR’s desire to reduce the amount of testing teams could do away from the official tests. “The lack of tires has forced us to rethink how we test and what we test. At Lakeland we won’t be able to compare one car against another. We’ll look more to establish a baseline and then gauge our improvement based on the incremental speeds after each change. How that will relate to a race set-up we just don’t know yet.”(Circletrackplus.com)(1-15-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing that #25-Casey Mears, an Hendrick Motorsports unmarked Chevy COT, the #20 Home Depot team [no idea on driver] and an unmarked Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy COT tested at USA Speedway/Lakeland on Wednesday and were running Hoosier Tires.
    AND #5-Kyle Busch will test Hendrick Motorsports’ COT today at Lakeland.(St Petersburg Times)(1-18-2007)
    UPDATE 2: #5-Busch was joined at Lakeland Thursday by #24-Jeff Gordon…both COT testing.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show); AND hearing all three DEI teams were there testing COT with the Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard. Bill Davis Racing’s #36-Jeremy Mayfield tested a Toyota COT and will be back on Friday. Hendrick Motorsports tested with #25-Mears, #5-Busch and Gordon in an un-numbered Hendrick Chevy Impala.(1-19-2007)
  • Labonte’s Subway 500 Finish Helps Martinsville-Henry County Youngsters: Richard Petty’s race cars have always run well at Martinsville Speedway. In fact, his cars have won more races on the half-mile oval than any other team. But it was a third-place finish by one of Petty’s race cars at Martinsville Speedway on October 22 that made big winners out of youngsters in Martinsville and Henry County. Bobby Labonte, who now drives Petty’s familiar #43 Dodge, finished third in the Subway 500 Nextel Cup race that afternoon, completing all 500 laps. That was the best run in several years at Martinsville for both Labonte and Petty Enterprises. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for reading programs in Martinsville and Henry County. Last fall Cheerios, Labonte’s sponsor, and nonprofit organization First Book created “Race to Books,” an initiative to donate 43 books for every lap Labonte completed during the final 10 races of the 2006 season. By completing all 500 laps in the Subway 500, 21,500 children’s books have been contributed to the United Way of Martinsville and Henry County by Cheerios and First Book. The books will be distributed by Success By 6, an early childhood program. Some of the books have also been given to the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club to use with their children’s programs. The “Race For Books” projects raised a total of 126,893 books during the final 10 weeks of the 2006 Nextel Cup season.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(1-19-2007)
  • A special tribute to Benny Parsons to air during the Auto Show coverage Sunday on NBC: NBC Sports will present a two-hour special broadcast of the “International Auto Show” on Sunday beginning at 1:00pm/et. The show will feature exciting new production and concept vehicles unveiled for the first time at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The special will allow car lovers across the nation to step inside the most celebrated auto event in North America. NBC’s Bill Weber hosts the “International Auto Show” on NBC, along with reporters Marty Snider, Lindsay Czarniak and CNBC automotive reporter Phil Lebeau. The broadcast will include sneak previews of some of the hottest new cars on the market.
    As part of the “International Auto Show” broadcast, NBC will feature a special tribute to legendary broadcaster and 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Benny Parsons, who passed away Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer. Weber, who worked alongside Parsons on NBC & TNT’s NASCAR broadcasts for the past six years, will present the tribute.(NBC PR)(1-19-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 12: Carlos Sainz of Spain won the 12th stage of the Dakar Rally on Thursday with the race crossing the southern Mauritanian desert and entering Mali for the first time. Sainz finished the 160-mile trek in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 56 seconds in his Volkswagen. Carlos Sousa of Portugal, also in a Volkswagen, was second, 3:53 behind. Defending champion Luc Alphand of France was third in his Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi driver Stephane Peterhansel of France still leads the overall race, 6:29 ahead of Alphand. American Robby Gordon finished 13th in Thursday’s stage, 18 minutes and 22 seconds behind Sainz. Gordon remains in eighth place overall, 7 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds behind leader Peterhansel. The 15-stage race began in Lisbon, Portugal, and ends in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday.(FoxSports)(1-19-2007)

    News from January 18, 2007

  • Wood to make Cup debut at Las Vegas: Jon Wood, third-generation driver for one of NASCAR’s most respected teams, will make his Nextel Cup debut for Team Ford Racing in March. He’ll get 10 starts in the famous #21 Ford Fusion of Wood Brothers Racing and drive the team’s #47 Ford in another. He’ll drive for team veteran Ken Schrader in 10 races and be Schrader’s teammate in the other, at Las Vegas. Wood will debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the second Sunday in March, then race at Texas Motor Speedway a month later. He’ll run the Coca-Cola 600 near Charlotte in May, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona Beach in July, the second race (in July) at Pocono International Raceway and the Saturday night race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The fall portion of his schedule includes dates at Richmond and Dover in September, back to Charlotte in October, then to Texas and Phoenix in November. Except for the spring race in Texas, (where he’ll carry #47), he’ll be in the team’s familiar #21. He didn’t come to Daytona Beach for Cup testing, choosing, instead, to fly in Thursday for the three-day Busch Series test in his #47 Ford Fusion. (He’ll continue to run the full Busch schedule in cars fielded by JTG/Wood Brothers Racing). (Ford Racing)(1-18-2007)
  • Toyota Over Spending?….One fear is that Toyota will spend its way to domination in the sport [NASCAR], raising costs for everybody and perhaps eventually running off an ailing domestic manufacturer. Officials at Ford, which has struggled financially while sales of Toyota’s have gained greater share in the United States, have been most vocal in their criticism. Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, said his manufacturer’s NASCAR operation is financially sound. But he said Toyota’s spending spree in acquiring crew chiefs, drivers, engineers, tire changers and other support personnel has affected his teams. That includes Robert Yates Racing, which lost Jarrett and his UPS sponsorship [#44 Toyota]. “I think they have been predators, and people would say that might be extremely negative,” Davis said. “I would say that in the business world, people are predators. That’s how you get things done. When anything new comes in with a lot of resources, then those entities are going to try to acquire the best people, the best equipment, the best that they can get. That’s a bit predatory to me. And if you pay people more money than they were getting and you entice them other ways, in a way that’s more than normal, then it’s a bit predatory.” Team Red Bull has been accused of paying 200 to 300% more to hire John Probst, a top Ford engineer. Davis said he heard that Michael Waltrip Racing came up with more than $20 million to lure Jarrett, the 1999 Cup points champion and a favorite among longtime Southern race fans, away from the Yates team. Salaries are a closely held secret throughout NASCAR, and Michael Waltrip Racing officials have denied those figures. Davis said he voiced his concerns privately with NASCAR. So far, NASCAR officials say they see this as business as usual in a sport in which teams openly raid competitors. Earlier this month, for instance, Roush Racing [#26 Ford] hired the crew chief Larry Carter away from Michael Waltrip Racing [#00 Toyota].(New York Times)(1-18-2007)
  • RoadLoans.com to be an associate sponsor on #29: Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) announced a partnership with RoadLoans for the 2007 season. The internet direct-to-consumer auto lender will sponsor the #33 Chevy for 14 Busch Series races. RoadLoans.com will also be an associate sponsor on the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) #29 Shell Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick in the Nextel Cup Series.(KHI PR)(1-18-2007)
  • Penske to test COT at Daytona UPDATE: Speed’s Bob Dillner reported on Speed’s Preseason Thunder report Monday night that Penske Racing is bringing two COT’s [Car of Tomorrow] to Daytona and will test them on the track Tuesday or Wednesday with #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman.
    AND Kurt Busch says his #2-Miller Lite Dodge team will “surprise everyone” on Wednesday at Daytona when they shake down their superspeedway version of the Car of Tomorrow [COT]. Busch says “It’s just matter of us wanting to get ahead of the game and set the curve and raise the bar for people that are thinking they have their Car of Tomorrow scienced out while we’ve got ours here ready to go for a speedway test.” Meanwhile, while the acronym “COT” for the Car of Tomorrow has been widely used, some have felt the need to create initials for the current racecars. In the spirit of fun, Busch revealed his Miller Lite Dodge team has come up with several including “CORN” meaning the “Car of Right Now” and “COY” is the “Car of Yesterday.” Busch said, “We’ve got a bunch of engineers in the back with way too much time on their hands I guess. Or they’re just working so hard they’ve got to curse the car somehow.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-16-2007)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing South drivers worked on a variety of gear and restrictor-plate combinations as they tested a “car of tomorrow” Wednesday during Nextel Cup practice at Daytona International Speedway. Both #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch took turns in the car, which won’t be used on a restrictor-plate track until the October race at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch turned a top lap of 191.188 mph in a single-car run with a 1 1/8th-inch restrictor plate. The team went as low as a 15/16ths-inch restrictor plate. The current version car uses a 7/8ths-inch restrictor plate. Newman said the test proved that NASCAR couldn’t run these cars without restrictor plates.(SceneDaily.com)(1-18-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 11: The 11th stage was an untimed session in Mauritania as competitors rested for half a day in Nema before heading to Ayoun-el-Atrous, a small town 174 miles away. In December, officials decided to cancel the planned stage between Timbuktu and Nema, due to safety concerns. Thursday’s 12th stage is a 300-mile trip between Ayoun and Kayes. Stephane Peterhansel of France is the overall leader, 9:56 ahead of defending champion Luc Alphand. American Robby Gordon remained 23rd and remained in eighth place overall, 6 hours, 52 minutes and 54 seconds behind Peterhansel. The 15-stage race began in Lisbon, Portugal, and ends in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday.(FoxSports)(1-18-2007)
  • A special tribute to Benny Parsons to air during the NBA Tip-off Show on TNT Thursday: TNT NBA Thursday continues this Thurs., January 18 at 7pm/et with the NBA Tip-off Show presented by AutoTrader.com, where Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley will tip-off the evening’s doubleheader coverage. During the pre-game show, the network will air a special tribute to TNT NASCAR colleague Benny Parsons who passed away this week after battling lung cancer. The tribute was written and will be voiced by TNT NASCAR announcer Bill Weber, a long-time friend and colleague of Parsons. NBA doubleheader coverage will begin at 7pm/et with the Indiana Pacers facing Miami Heat. TNT NBA announcers Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins and Craig Sager will be courtside announcing the action.(TNT PR)(1-18-2007)

    News from January 17, 2007

  • Daytona 500 testing – Day 7 OVER: AM Speeds: with rain approaching later in the day and testing now scheduled to stop at 4pm/et, 33 drivers in 48 cars tested today at Daytona, #2C-Kurt Busch, driving a Dodge Avenger COT [car of tomorrow] led the speeds 191.188mph [using a 1 1/8″ restrictor plate instead of the 7/8″ plate], after that, speeds dropped back to normal, 2nd fastest was #24A-Gordon at 184.596, followed by #40-Stremme, #38A-Gilliland and #42-Montoya. #12C-Newman also in the Dodge Avenger COT was much slower at 181.003 which was 36th fastest. Slowest of the session was #30-Barrett at 178.288. #58-Hylton wasn’t listed on the sheet.
    RAINED OUT: the rains came at 1:30pm/et and testing has been called off and is over, 33 drivers in 56 cars tested, fastest in the short PM drafting session was #15A-Menard at 187.099mph, followed by #5B-Busch, #21A-Schrader, #39A-Smith and #09B-Mike Wallace. The fastest Dodge was #19A-Sadler at 16th and the fastest Toyota was #00B-Reutimann at 8th. Slowest was #19B-Sadler at 179.530 [but he ran 16th in the #19A], slowest by driver was #49B-Bliss at 181.668
    Next up is Las Vegas testing on Jan. 29-30, 2007.
    For all the speeds, [plus image of the #2C] news, links and notes see my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 2 page.
    and see the speeds for all 64 teams/drivers who tested on my 2007 Daytona 500 Overall Composite Cumulative Speeds page.(1-17-2007)
  • Nextel Cup Series Week 2 Testing Wrapup:
    The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series completed its second and final week of testing Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. This week’s test – featuring all cars which fell in the even-numbered positions in the owner’s standings as of July 12, 2006 – had 36 drivers participating.
    • Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman each tested their Car of Tomorrow on Wednesday. Though the COT will not participate in the Daytona 500, it fared well. Busch’s COT ran the fastest lap of testing with a speed of 191.188mph.
    Rudd Fastest Single Car Run:
    • 4,663 total laps were run this week.
    • Juan Pablo Montoya ran the most laps in a given session — 70 laps in Tuesday’s afternoon session.
    • Kurt Busch ran the most laps this week (207).(NASCAR Media)(1-17-2007)
  • ESPN Unviels First Phase of Marketing Campaign for NASCAR: ESPN is unveiling the first phase of its multimedia marketing campaign for NASCAR on ESPN, announced by Katie Lacey, senior vice president, marketing. Created by Wieden+Kennedy New York, the campaign honors NASCAR’s rich heritage and pays tribute to the teams, drivers and dedicated legions of fans whose combined passion has fueled the sport’s tremendous growth. This is the opening campaign for NASCAR’s eight-year, multi-platform return to ESPN.  “Our NASCAR on ESPN brand campaign is intended to generate awareness and excitement of NASCAR coming to ESPN and, importantly, demonstrate our understanding of the sport and the passionate culture that surrounds it,” said Lacey. The brand campaign bears the new NASCAR tagline, “NASCAR on ESPN: It’s The Life”, and provides an inside look and behind-the-scenes glimpse of the sights, sounds, energy and fandom that makes up the NASCAR experience. An additional phase of the campaign is scheduled to roll out in February and will run throughout the NASCAR NEXTEL and NASCAR Busch Series season, as well as the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.” This year will mark the first time all of “The Chase” races will air on one network – ESPN on ABC. The NASCAR on ESPN brand campaign will run on all ESPN TV and Radio networks and will include outdoor, print and online components. Flag-to-flag NASCAR racing returns to ESPN on February 17th with the NASCAR Busch Series season-opener from Daytona International Speedway.(ESPN PR)(1-17-2007)
  • Toyota Racing to build plant near Charlotte: Toyota Racing Development (TRD) said Wednesday it would build a plant in Rowan County. The company announced the decision a day after Rowan commissioners voted to put up $519,000 over five years to lure the plant. The company has an option to buy 89 acres near Salisbury to build a racing production plant. Toyota Racing has said the $22 million plant would hire at least 40 employees. If state officials approve incentives worth $100,000, the plant could open by the fall. The company chose the Rowan location as its preferred site over locations in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Iredell counties and three other states, Rowan economic development officials said.(Charlotte Observer)(1-17-2007)
  • Rudd helps out Gilliland at Daytona testing: #88-Ricky Rudd was a surprise visitor to Daytona International Speedway, today. He ran last week’s NASCAR test with Robert Yates Racing, then returned to help teammate #38-David Gilliland learn his way around the 2.5-mile track. Rudd, a 23-time Cup winner, is back for his second stint with RYR after sitting out last season. He and Gilliland took turns in Gilliland’s #38 M&Ms Ford Fusion, each running a few laps before huddling over computers to compare notes and analyze data. It was a classic case of a graying veteran with 108 combined DIS starts helping a newbie whose next speedway start will be his first. “I’m here to offer help and advice, but mostly to give drafting help,” Rudd said. “The 500 will be his first start here, and drafting’s awfully important. David won the pole last fall at Talladega, so he can get around big tracks. But Daytona changes so much during runs. He’s got to decide if he wants the car a little snug or a little loose, and I think I can help with that.” Rudd, who turned 50 years old last fall, is impressed by his 30-year-old teammate. “He’s going to be awfully good,’’ he said of Gilliland. “Some people might think Robert took a chance because David’s gotten in some wrecks and all. But he’s fast, and I’d rather have someone who’s fast. You can always calm them down, but you can’t always make them fast.” Rudd has already helped smooth Gilliland’s learning curve. Specifically, he showed his teammate that, yes, DIS is bumpy and, no, it’s not just you and, yes, this line is better than that one. “You can tell in a rental car that the track’s bumpy,’’ Gilliland said, “but never having raced here, I didn’t know if it was me or our car or the lines I was taking. Ricky drove my car for a while, then came back and said, ‘No, the car definitely needs to go over the bumps better.’ That’s something I wouldn’t have known without him being here. “As a guy coming here for the first time, there’s nothing I’d rather have more than a teammate with that many starts. He’s already helped me a lot, and I look forward to working with him everywhere we go. He’s been there for any questions, so I’ll lean on him as much as I can. All the little suggestions he’s made will add up to a lot.’’(Ford Racing)(1-17-2007)
  • Daytona 500 testing – Day 7 OVER: AM Speeds: with rain approaching later in the day and testing now scheduled to stop at 4pm/et, 33 drivers in 48 cars tested today at Daytona, #2C-Kurt Busch, driving a Dodge Avenger COT [car of tomorrow] led the speeds 191.188mph [using a 1 1/8″ restrictor plate instead of the 7/8″ plate], after that, speeds dropped back to normal, 2nd fastest was #24A-Gordon at 184.596, followed by #40-Stremme, #38A-Gilliland and #42-Montoya. #12C-Newman also in the Dodge Avenger COT was much slower at 181.003 which was 36th fastest. Slowest of the session was #30-Barrett at 178.288. #58-Hylton wasn’t listed on the sheet.
    RAINED OUT: the rains came at 1:30pm/et and testing has been called off and is over, 33 drivers in 56 cars tested, fastest in the short PM drafting session was #15A-Menard at 187.099mph, followed by #5B-Busch, #21A-Schrader, #39A-Smith and #09B-Mike Wallace. The fastest Dodge was #19A-Sadler at 16th and the fastest Toyota was #00B-Reutimann at 8th. Slowest was #19B-Sadler at 179.530 [but he ran 16th in the #19A], slowest by driver was #49B-Bliss at 181.668
    Next up is Las Vegas testing on Jan. 29-30, 2007.
    For all the speeds, [plus image of the #2C] news, links and notes see my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 2 page.
    and see the speeds for all 64 teams/drivers who tested on my 2007 Daytona 500 Overall Composite Cumulative Speeds page.(1-17-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 10: BMW driver Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah won the 10th stage of the Dakar rally on Tuesday. The Qatari driver completed the 227-mile route beginning and ending in the desert oasis of Nema in 3 hours, 49 minutes, 48 seconds. Hiroshi Masuoka of Japan, driving a Mitsubishi, was second, 28 seconds behind Al Attiyah. In third was Mark Miller of the United States in a Volkswagen, who finished the trek across the Mauritanian desert in 3:51:37. Stephane Peterhansel of France is the overall leader, 9:56 ahead of defending champion Luc Alphand. American Robby Gordon finished 23rd and remained in eighth place overall, 6 hours, 52 minutes and 54 seconds behind Peterhansel. The 15-stage race began in Lisbon, Portugal, and ends in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday.(FoxSports)(1-17-2007)
  • Shepherd testing news, may test this week NOPE: Faith Motorsports and #89-Morgan Shepherd will not be attending NASCAR’s Pre-Season Thunder test session January 8-10 at Daytona, the team announced January 7. The team had registered and was scheduled to test at the first of two sessions, but does not have a speedway car ready to test and has not been able to obtain a car that is race ready from another Dodge team, co-owner Dana Tomes said. “If things come together this week we will try to make next week’s session, but if not we will probably not be able to do a speedway test before the season starts,” Tomes said. “We are involved heavily in sponsorship talks with various potential sponsors right now and we should know in a week or two what we will be able to do this season as far as how many races we will be able to enter. We are hopeful that we can secure sponsorship to run the whole year, but right now those negotiations are still ongoing.” Tomes said the team is open to running in NASCAR’s Busch or Craftsman Truck Series if a potential sponsor has that desire. “Right now we are discussing several different options,” he said. “There is a chance that nothing will come of any of it, but we are optimistic that prior to the Daytona events in February we will have something to announce.”(morganshepherd.com)(1-15-2007)
    UPDATE: Shepherd has not practiced during the 2nd session this week at Daytona.(1-17-2007)

    News from January 16, 2007

  • Kenny Wallace deals with more sad news: As race fans and NASCAR family mourn the death of former champion and broadcaster Benny Parsons, Kenny Wallace’s family was dealt a blow of its own Tuesday morning. Shortly after Parsons passing Wallace’s father-in-law Charlie Poole died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61. “This day has not been a good day for me. In six days you have Bobby Hamilton die, Benny Parsons, my father-in-law…and I thought of Kevin Harvick because (last year) he lost his father-in-law too. My wife and the family asked me to please stay down here because Charlie liked racing so much. Unfortunately the pearly gates are backed up right now like a toll booth…and I don’t mean that funny…just not a real good two weeks you know…its pretty rough.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)
    AND Charles “Charlie” Poole died Tuesday, January 16 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was the husband of Dolores Sunshine Poole and the son of Edna Poole. He is survived by daughters Kim Wallace, Kelly Shackelford, Jenny Melton, son Jason Poole and 10 grandchildren. Cards may be sent to Dolores Poole and Family to the fan club office at 8949 Harris Road, Concord, NC 28027. Details of memorial donations will be available soon. Please leave online condolences at Kenny Wallace Official Forum.(Kenny Wallace site)(1-16-2007)
  • Cingular / AT&T hope to stay as #31 sponsor: #31-Jeff Burton said sponsor Cingular would like to stay in the sport and is looking at ways to remain a car sponsor while changing its name to AT&T. When Nextel signed the title sponsorship for NASCAR’s premier series in June 2003, it grandfathered in Cingular and Alltel as team sponsors. It prohibited other telecommunication companies from becoming team sponsors and prohibited any moves by Cingular and Alltel to other teams or, in case of a merger or name change, to a new brand. With Cingular’s merger with AT&T and the Cingular name being phased out, the sponsorship of the #31 Richard Childress Racing team and Burton is up in the air because AT&T cannot be branded on the car. Cingular is in its final year of its deal with RCR. “I can tell you that Cingular is extremely excited about their involvement with AT&T,” Burton said Monday. “I can tell you that they’re extremely excited about being involved in this sport. They love their sponsorship opportunity and they’re going to do everything in their power to continue it. It’s an interesting situation to be in, and time will tell exactly what happens. But from a marketing standpoint, it certainly is going to require some creativity and it’s going to require some interesting strategies. But they’re committed to doing what it takes to make it work, and I’m confident that they will.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-16-2007)
  • Vickers takes over for Allmendinger at Daytona UPDATE: #84-AJ Allmendinger will finish his week of testing at Daytona International Speedway early. Allmendinger, the open wheel star and newest addition to the Red Bull driver lineup, will step aside Tuesday to allow teammate Brian Vickers to return. Vickers, who has more stock car experience than Allmendinger, will help the team try to find the speed that has eluded them so far in the Daytona test sessions. Vickers scheduled test session was last week, but team officials confirmed Monday that they would bring him back to Daytona. During last week’s session, Vickers and Team Red Bull posted the slowest laps among the Toyota’s that tested. Allmendinger managed a 34th place lap [of 62] on the speed charts on Monday.(Cup Scene Daily)
    UPDATE: Vickers is slotted to test the #84 Totota on Wednesday as Allmendinger will be truck testing down in Homestead, FL that day. To make up for the schedule conflict, Allmendinger ran laps last week in the 83 car in Daytona.(Red Bull Racing)(1-16-2007)
  • Daytona 500 testing – Day 6: AM Speeds: 34 drivers in 57 cars took to the track in the AM session of Day 6 at Daytona, the fastest was #42-Montoya at 184.574mph, followed by #40-Stremme, #38B-Gilliland, #24A-Gordon and #17-Kenseth. Slowest was #58-Hylton at 180.086.
    PM Speeds: 34 drivers in 58 cars took to the track in the PM session of Day 6 at Daytona, the quickest was #12A-Newman at 186.540mph, followed by #6A-Ragan, #2B-Busch, #24-Gordon and #17B-Kenseth. Slowest was #58-Hylton at 180.658mph.
    For drivers scheduled to test, speeds [as found/posted], news, links and notes see my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 2 page.(1-16-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 9: Jean-Louis Schlesser of France won the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday, while Stephane Peterhansel took the overall lead. Schlesser, driving a Schles-Ford-Raid, finished the 307-mile trek from Tichit to Nema in 5 hours, 32 minutes, 3 seconds. He was 13 seconds ahead of defending champion Luc Alphand and 4:14 ahead of Peterhansel, who both drove a Mitsubishi. Giniel de Villiers of South Africa, who won the eighth stage and was the overall leader, had an engine fire a quarter of the way through and was towed to the finish. American Robby Gordon finished 11th and move up to 8th place overall, 6 hours, 20 minutes and 59 seconds behind leader Peterhansel. The 15-stage race ends Sunday in Dakar, Senegal.(FoxSports)(1-16-2007)
  • Daytona 500 Testing ends Wednesday: after four days of testing at Daytona International Speedway for the 2007 Daytona 500, the fastest was #66-Jeff Green at 186.722 in last weeks session 1. This week, Jan 15-17th, session 2 begins. Testing is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. The first day of NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest will be on Tuesday. The Fan Fest events start at 5:00pm/et but fans will be able to enter the Nextel Fanzone beginning at 9 a.m. to watch all of the exciting testing action on those days. Admissions for the Nextel Cup Fan Fest dates are $15. More info and appearances on my Driver Appearance page. Speed will carry a 30-minute show on testing each night. For drivers scheduled to test, speeds [as found/posted], news, links and notes see my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 2 page.(1-16-2007)

    News from January 15, 2007

  • Daytona 500 Testing Day 5: The second week of Nextel Cup testing was delayed by rain Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway. But the weather cleared, and a little before 11:00am/et, cars took to the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The noon lunch break for today will be canceled, and the teams will test until 5 p.m. There are 33 drivers at the second and final Nextel Cup session, which runs through Wednesday.(SceneDaily.comSPEEDS: 34 drivers in 62 cars took laps at Daytona 500 Testing in Day 5 practice [with the early rain, speeds were combined for the day]: #38B-Gilliland (Ford) was the fastest at 185.090mph, followed by #36A-Mayfield (Toyota), #24A-Gordon (CHevy), #40-Stremme (Dodge) and #39B-Smith [in a 4th Ginn Racing Chevy]. Slowest was #58-James Hylton at 180.058.
    For drivers scheduled to test, speeds [as found/posted], news, links and notes see my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 2 page.(1-15-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 8: With its 589 km special, stage eight proved to be the longest special yet in the 2007 Dakar Rally. It was the first special where the competitors faced the serious sand dunes of Mauritania and a day where Robby Gordon and his Monster Hummer felt at home. Gordon, a frequent visitor to the Glamis sand dunes in Southern California had high expectations for the day. Gordon and navigator Andy Grider began the special in the 13th slot and at days end they managed to move up five positions for an eight place finish for the special. The Hummers time of 8:46:36 put the team 1:14:44 adrift of stage winner Gniel De Villiers of South Africa. The result vaulted the team up into the top ten in the overall classification. The first American team and car manufacture to win a stage in the Dakar Rally now finds themselves back 06:23:17 from the overall lead.
    Robby Gordon’s Quotes following Stage eight: “We have moved ourselves into the top ten which is a testament to how hard the team is working. The Monster Energy guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car for the eighth and ninth stages. Tonight we are without assistance in Tichit which meant we had to be easy on the Hummer. The team is making its way to Nema were we’ll meet up tomorrow. Today’s stage was very difficult. The sand was fine and very soft – much different from the coarser sand in Glamis. Everything ran well but had to be slightly conservative because we were stretching the fuel window and we don’t have any support tonight – there really was no room for error. Now that we are in the top ten we are going to set ours sights on a top five finish. There is still quite a bit of racing and in this business you never know what is going to happen until the end.”(RGM PR)(1-15-2007)

News from January 14, 2007

  • Stewart wins Chili Bowl: Tony Stewart added another Golden Driller trophy to his collection as he raced to victory lane in Saturday night’s 50-lap O’Reilly Chili Bowl Nationals championship feature event. “Smoke” gridded his Chevrolet/Bass Pro Shops #20 Spike Chassis fifth and made his way to second in the opening handful of laps before overtaking Shane Cottle for the lead on the tenth lap. Stewart was chased to the checkered flag by J.J. Yeley, Justin Allgaier, Cottle and Chili Bowl rookie Donnie Ray Crawford. See more at chilibowl.com.(1-14-2007)
  • DEI signs development driver? hearing that Jeff Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt, has signed a development deal with DEI that will have him driving a second car owned by Andy Santerre to team up with Sean Caisse in the NASCAR Busch East Series, with a few potential Busch Series races with DEI.(1-14-2007)
  • Some NASCAR Sponsor Highlights from the Joyce Julius Newsletter:
    2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Top-10 Team Sponsors:
    Sponsor Driver Total Exp. Value* Team-Related Non Team-Related 1) Budweiser #8-D. Earnhardt, Jr. $183.1 68.8% 31.2% 2) Lowe’s #48-J. Johnson $143.6 90.2% 9.8% 3) Cingular Wrls. #31-J. Burton $116.6 71.8% 28.2% 4) The Home Depot #20-T. Stewart $98.6 78.4% 21.6% 5) DuPont #24-J. Gordon $88.9 100.0% 0.0% 6) Miller Lite #2-Ku. Busch $71.1 84.7% 15.3% 7) NAPA Auto Pts. #55-M. Waltrip $68.6 35.2% 64.8% 8) DLP #96-T. Raines $67.6 37.4% 62.6% 9) Subway #16-G. Biffle $64.4 82.6% 17.4% 10) DeWalt Tools M. Kenseth $63.3 52.7% 47.3% Exposure was monitored by Joyce Julius & Associates during each event telecast of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season (excluding commercials). To determine a value, clear in-focus time and verbal references were compared to the non-discounted cost of a commercial during each respective broadcast. These comparable exposure values provide a standardized measurement for all brands appearing within the series. *Exposure values reflected in millions.
    Motorsports Sponsorship: Craftsman windshield identity appeared clear and in-focus during 4% of the total broadcast time devoted to the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (including commercials). The windshield logos were the most-monitored, non-television graphic exposure source present in the series. Incidentally, Chevrolet truck identity was next (excluding graphics), appearing on-screen about 2% of the time.
    Kevin Harvick’s NASCAR Busch Series driver uniform was worth more than $1 million to his sponsor, the U.S. Coast Guard. Altogether, USGC identity on Harvick’s uniform was monitored for 21:56 during 2006 event broadcasts, some 43% more than the second-ranked driver uniform of Kyle Busch, which prominently featured Lowe’s identity.
    NBC’s final telecast of the Daytona 500 last February proved to be the single largest telecast for cumulative sponsor exposure of the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season, generating $412.3 million of comparable value for the 252 brands monitored during the broadcast. The Coca-Cola 600 ($200.0 million), Pocono 500 ($197.5 million), Dodge/Savemart 350 ($197.2 million) and DirecTV 500 ($189.3 million) rounded out the list of top five exposure-producing event telecasts of the year.(JoyceJulius Newsetter)(1-14-2007)

    News from January 13, 2007

  • Mike Wallace to run all three NASCAR races at Daytona, #09 to Chevy: Mike Wallace says that he will be attempting the “Daytona Triple” in the NASCAR 2007 season opening events February in Florida. Wallace will drive the #46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevy sponsored by DirecTV NASCAR Hot Pass in the Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday February 16th. He will then jump into his full time 2007 ride, the #7 GEICO Chevy for Phoenix Racing, in Saturday’s Busch Series event. Sunday Wallace will drive the #09 Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts Chevy in the Daytona 500 Nextel Cup race. Both the #46 Truck and #7 Busch vehicles are locked into the field for their races based on last season’s points. Wallace will have to qualify and race his way in the Daytona 500 with the #09 car. For more information on Mike Wallace, visit www.mikewallace.com.(Motorsports Lounge PR)(1-13-2007)
  • Bodine to conduct special Q & A session on COT at Daytona USA, Fans welcome: Brett Bodine, NASCAR’s Director of Cost Research, will give race fans a behind the scenes look at NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow with a special Question and Answer session at Daytona USA – the only permanent place fans can see the vehicle – on Monday, Jan. 15 from Noon to 12:30pm/et. Daytona USA is open daily from 9am – 7pm. For more information on the attraction, log on to www.daytonausa.com.(DIS PR)(1-13-2007)
  • Settlement reached in Turner suit against Hendrick: Attorneys for Linda Turner have informed U.S. District Court in North Carolina that she has reached a settlement in her wrongful death lawsuit against Hendrick Motorsports and its pilots stemming from the death of her husband, team general manager Jeff Turner, in the Oct 24, 2004, accident that killed 10 people on the way to the race in Martinsville, Va. The terms of the settlement are confidential, and the court still must approve the settlement. The settlement provides for an equal distribution of settlement proceeds among Linda and her three children. Turner also has sued the U.S. government over the actions of the air-traffic controllers. That suit is still pending, as are two other suits from widows Dianne Dorton and Tracy Lathram against Hendrick Motorsports.(Scenedaily.com)(1-13-2007)
  • SPEED Adds 50-Foot ‘Fan Tower’ to help fans locate SPEED Stage: Fans won’t have any trouble locating the SPEED Stage this season, as the network has commissioned a 50-foot “Fan Tower” to ensure fans can find their way through the crowd. The rotating SPEED logo at the top of the tower will be lit in the evenings. The SPEED Fan Tower will make its debut at Daytona, directing fans from anywhere on the 480-acre property to the main SPEED Stage outside the Turn Four Tunnel. At Speedweeks, SPEED will have multiple additional stages, including one in the Fan Zone, one on top of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series garages and another on a barge in the middle of Lake Lloyd in the infield of Daytona International Speedway.(Speed PR)(1-13-2007)
  • Robby’s Dakar Update – Stage 7: With a sandstorm brewing in the region the organizers of the Dakar Rally cut the seventh stage from 542km down to 407km. The storm provided some additional challenges to an already complex stage. Team Dakar was the first to make tracks after winning the sixth stage the previous day. Some challenging navigation in the dust cost the team some precious time and by the end of the day they finished in the 13th position – 1:22:37 adrift of the eventual stage winner Giniel De Villiers. The result continued the teams ascension in the overall classification to 16th which is now 5:08:33 behind race leader Giniel De Villiers.
    Robby Gordon’s Quote following the seventh stage of the 2007 Dakar Rally: “We have made it to the rest day in Africa. I’ve been trying to be really smooth and avoid problems. Today was one of the more difficult stages. We got into some really soft sand so we aired the tires down to 10lbs and we were just bogging down in second gear. There were a lot of guys that got stuck and you are starting to see quite a few cars drop out of the rally. Visibility was a major issue and we lost the track for a while which cost us some time. Overall I’m pretty happy with the effort. The Hummer is running great and the Toyo Tires have been very good. Our strategy for the rest of the race to finish and anything outside of the top ten will be a disappointment, anything better we will consider a success. The Monster guys have done a good job of preparing the car, the Hummer has been fast enough to win a special and without the fuel problems we probably could have won a couple more and probably sitting well within the top five.”(RGM PR)(1-13-2007)
  • Stewart/Kahne/Yeley entered in Chili Bowl: Nextel Cup drivers Tony Stewart [who flipped and was injured last year], Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley are entered in the 21st Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, Tulsa, OK, held January 9-13, 2007. .A.J. Foyt is the grand marshall of the event, other NASCAR drivers [current/former] include: Billy Boat, Aaron Fike, Cory Kruseman, A.J. Foyt IV, A.J. Fike, P.J. Jones, Jason Leffler, Bobby East and Justin Allgaier.(1-2-2007)
    MORE: J.J. Yeley and Interstate Batteries announced they will team up for the 21st annual Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., with the local Interstate All Battery Center retail store sponsoring Yeley’s #47 car and Interstate Batteries of Tulsa sponsoring the #18 car owned by Yeley and driven by veteran open-wheel racer Ricky Gaunt.(True Speed Commications PR)(1-11-2007)
    see www.chilibowl.com for updates, results and news.(1-13-2007)

    News from January 12, 2007

  • Mooresville NASCAR Artists Exhibition: Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc (www.garryhill.com) . is pleased to announce that Motorsports Artist Garry Hill will be exhibiting his original paintings and limited edition prints in association with RM Auctions RM Auctions. The RM Classic Car Auction and Garry Hill Racing Art Show will be held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, February 8-11.For the better part of three decades motorsports artist Garry Hill has captured racing’s great heritage and tradition with his limited edition fine art prints. Many are personally autographed (Hand signed) by racing’s greatest drivers and personalities. RM Auctions is world renowned for thier auctions featuring historic automotive marks and memorabilia. For additional information please contact Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc. at 1-800-847-0043 or via email at www.garryhill.com.(1-12-2007)
  • ESPN the Magazine allows fans to vote for next cover: Each year, ESPN The Magazine’s trademark NEXT issue looks ahead and identifies those athletes whose talent and style will shape the landscape of sports in the years to come. This year, in addition to showcasing the innovations and trends that are changing the games we love, The Magazine has selected five finalists to vie for the prize of NEXT cover athlete: Dwight Howard, Calvin Johnson, Evgeni Malkin, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jose Reyes.  For the second year in a row, fans can log on to ESPN.com, from January 10-17, to vote on who should be NEXT. The winner of the poll will appear on the cover of The Magazine’s NEXT issue, on sale January 31. Previous NEXT cover athletes include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Yao Ming, Alex Rodriguez and Brian Urlacher.(ESPN PR)(1-12-2007)
  • Sirius and XM Radio to merge? Shares of satellite radio operators XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. rose Friday, on speculation that the companies might merge or combine in another way. “We believe a 50/50 enterprise value split or perhaps a slight premium to XM shareholders may be warranted in a merger scenario,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Kit Spring said in a Thursday client note, keeping a “Buy” rating on XM shares. RBC Capital Markets analyst Ryan Vineyard in a Friday note to investors said a combination would generate long-term value for shareholders, given slow retail channel growth. Advertising, office, retail incentives and other synergies total between $5 billion to $6 billion, he wrote. Vineyard believes XM would need to be the acquirer, since it has 7.6 million subscribers to Sirius’s 6 million.(Business Week), so..what does this mean for NASCAR Radio, which is now on Sirius? no idea, but looks like total speculation at this point.(1-12-2007)
  • Germain team scales back 2007 Cup plans: driver Todd Bodine says that the Germain Racing team he drove to the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series title is scaling back its Nextel Cup plans for this year. The team had planned to run the 16 “car of tomorrow” races, but the team won’t run that many, Bodine said. “Winning the championship kind of put a kibosh on the whole program or a monkey wrench in it,” Bodine said Friday during truck testing at Daytona International Speedway. “We decided we wanted to run for the championship again in the trucks and to run as many Cup races as we wanted to probably would hurt that program. So we don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t know what races we’re going to run. We’re going to run some. That’s about all I can tell you.” Bodine said the first race for the team could be the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, which is not a car-of-tomorrow race.(SceneDaily.com)(1-12-2007)
  • Cingular name going away? UPDATE yes: The largest wireless service provider in the United States, Cingular Wireless, will soon undergo a name change. This carrier had been jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth, but last week AT&T finally got Federal permission to acquire BellSouth. As the sole owner of Cingular, AT&T has said in the past that it intends to change the carrier’s name to “AT&T Wireless”. The re-branding is expected to happen over the next several months. This wireless service provider’s headquarters will remain in Atlanta.(cdrinfo.com)
    MORE: Cingular’s sponsorship contract with Richard Childress Racing expires at the end of the 2007 season, but the Cingular name will expire before then, leaving the branding of the #31 car driven by Jeff Burton up in the air, according to a story in this week’s NASCAR Scene. With the Bell South-AT&T merger approved Dec. 29, AT&T has announced that it is phasing out the Cingular name and replacing it with AT&T. That’s a problem for RCR’s #31 team because it cannot change the name on the hood of the car. When Nextel became NASCAR’s top series sponsor in 2004, the sponsorship agreement grandfathered in existing team-sponsor telecommunications relationships, but it does not permit any changes. Sprint Nextel’s Dean Kessel confirmed that remains the group’s position Jan. 3. Cingular spokesman Clay Owen would not speculate about the future of the sponsorship. “We look forward to the start of the 2007 NASCAR season with Jeff Burton behind the wheel of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet,” Owen said in a statement Jan. 5. “It’s an exciting time as we begin the early planning stages of transitioning our brand into the AT&T family.” Kessel said there is no wiggle room to allow a change. “We grandfathered in the companies that were involved in the sport, and that was our take,” he said. “We’re not looking to renegotiate anything.” Part of the Bell South-AT&T merger includes yellowpages.com. Kessel said Sprint hadn’t investigated whether that would be permissible as a possible replacement for the team. Cingular could still sponsor a car in the Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series.(SceneDaily.com)(1-10-2007)
    UPDATE: AT&T Inc. will begin next week to extinguish the brand of cellphone operator Cingular to imprint its more-than-century-old name firmly across its services. AT&T (Charts), which took full control of No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier Cingular with its $86 billion purchase of BellSouth Corp. last month, will launch a campaign Monday to mark the change. In its first stage, Cingular will share its orange logo of a bouncing jack with the AT&T globe logo on everything from television ads to sales uniforms and monthly bills. AT&T’s name and logo will eventually replace Cingular in a process expected to take several months, with the exact timing determined as more customer feedback comes in, Wendy Clark, vice president of advertising at AT&T, said. One new ad will portray a familiar Cingular image – grain harvesters mowing a field to represent “bars” showing maximum cellphone reception. But in a new take, the harvesters will change direction and mow the AT&T globe out of the stalks. The new AT&T was formed in the merger of SBC Communications and AT&T Corp. in late 2005. Adding to the mix, in late 2004 Cingular bought AT&T Wireless, eradicating that brand because of its poor reputation among customers.(CNN)
    NO WORD how this effects the sponsorship of the #31 Chevy Jeff Burton drives for Richard Childress Racing as it is not mentioned in the article and have not heard.(1-12-2007)
  • TNT looking at no commercial breaks in 2007? UPDATE 2 Pepsi 400 to be ‘branded’: Sports Business Journal reports that TNT is floating a package to potential advertisers that would allow advertising during the race broadcast and eliminate commercial breaks. The advertising would take place on the screen during the broadcast and allow continuous race coverage. TNT will broadcast six Nextel Cup races next summer. The story reports that officials from Turner and NASCAR would not comment. The story also reported that TNT’s Cup ratings are down 8.3% from last season.(Roanoke Times)(10-18-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing that the Pepsi 400 at Daytona will be shown with no commercials by TNT [in primetime] and the coverage will be sponsored by…Pepsi, but the other five races, as of now, will be shown with commercial breaks.(1-4-2007)
    UPDATE 2: TNT, for the prime-time July 7 Pepsi 400, wants to add some wrinkles. Trish Frohman, TNT executive vice president, hopes to enlist 12 advertisers — she says Pepsi, DirecTV and pain reliever 360 OTC are in — to air commercials, running up to two minutes, in about a quarter of the TV screen as race shots continue. Correction. Those “won’t be commercials,” says Frohman, but rather “branded content” that’s “organic to the environment.” Meaning, she says, that TNT’s production staffers will work with advertisers to make ads — er, “content” — specifically for the race. TNT announcers, she says, will “absolutely” be “as engaged as anybody” in the effort. Which shouldn’t surprise anybody. TV networks, paying millions or even billions for big-time TV rights, already seem like ad agencies for sports they cover. While Pepsi 400 coverage will still include local cable ads beyond TNT’s purview, Frohman says the total time devoted to marketing messages will be less than normal NASCAR coverage.(USA Today)(1-12-2007)
  • Busch Series to be televised in Canada: TSN and RDS will be the home of NASCAR Busch Series races in 2007 after the networks agreed to a new multi-year deal to become the exclusive Canadian broadcasters of the stock car series. Under the agreement, TSN and RDS have secured the Canadian broadcast rights to all 35 NASCAR Busch Series races, all of which will be available in High Definition on TSN, with a broad selection of events on RDS. The Busch Series complements TSN’s extensive auto racing broadcast package, which will see TSN televise 28 Nextel Cup Series races in 2007, up from 21 races last season. The announcement also strengthens RDS’s commitment to expanding awareness of NASCAR in Quebec and throughout French Canada. This marks the first time both TSN and RDS will air the NASCAR Busch Series property. NASCAR has a strong fan base in Canada with 5.8 million fans, representing one out of four Canadian adults. NASCAR is the No. 1 motorsport series on television in Canada. TSN recorded record ratings for its coverage of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with a national average audience of 332,000 viewers, up 15 percent from 2005.(TSN.com)(1-12-2007)
  • Speed signs Voda to Multi-Year Deal: SPEED has signed veteran sports journalist Krista Voda to a multi-year deal that will include hosting the network’s pre-race show for all of the Craftsman Truck Series races in 2007. Voda also recently signed with FOX Sports as a pit reporter for their Nextel Cup Series races in 2007. Voda began her work in NASCAR for FOX Sports and SPEED in 2002 as a reporter and host for Totally NASCAR. Over the last several years, Voda has worked on multiple programs for both networks, including SPEED’s coverage of the popular Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series.(SpeedTV.com)(1-12-2007)
  • Speedway case hearing begins in shooting of detective at Kansas Speedway: Detective Susan Brown was guarding a vault building at Kansas Speedway when she saw a masked man approach with a gun in his hand. After telling a worker to get inside, Brown pulled her handgun and tried to shut the door, she said. But before she could get the door closed, an object — later determined to be a handgun — was jammed into the space between the door and its frame, near the hinges. That’s when the gunfire started and she was critically injured, Brown testified during a preliminary hearing Tuesday for two men, Fredrick Douglas and Nolden Garner, who are accused of attempting to rob the speedway the evening of Oct. 1. During the hearing, a worker overseeing the operations of the vault building testified that at the time of the robbery attempt, workers were getting ready to move about $1 million after a weekend of racing. The robbers struck just after workers had moved eight $500 boxes of quarters into a minivan outside the vault building. At the end of testimony, Wyandotte County Judge Robert L. Serra ordered both Douglas, 66, of Kansas City, Kan., and Garner, 51, of Grandview to stand trial. They are charged with attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated robbery. Attorneys for the men entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf. The men are not thought to have gotten away with any money. The day’s testimony outlined the evidence that linked the men to the crime, including testimony by a detective who said Garner admitted to the crime and that a third person was involved. That person provided aprons and caps that would allow Douglas and Garner into the area where the vault was located, Howard testified. A spokesman for the Wyandotte County district attorney’s office said this week that no one else has been charged in connection with the case. In her emotional testimony, Brown testified that she was shot between four and six times. She suffered injuries to her right shoulder, right wrist and a leg. She testified that at least one of the suspects continued to shoot at her when she was lying on the ground wounded.(Kansas City Star)(1-12-2007)
  • Robby Dakar Update – wins Stage 6: Robby Gordon has given Hummer its first-ever Dakar stage victory on the sixth special of the 2007 edition of the event, a 246-mile stretch between Tan Tan in Morocco and Zouerat in Mauritania. The American completed the high-speed section – speeds above 115mph were possible – in under three hours, beating former winner Jean-Louis Schlesser by 17 seconds. It was Gordon’s third career Dakar stage win, the previous two coming in ’05 when he led the overall standings early in the event as part of Volkswagen’s factory team. The German marque held on to the top spot today, with Carlos Sainz finishing fourth on the stage, 7min17s behind Gordon. The Spaniard is now 3min11s ahead of teammate Giniel de Villiers, with Carlos Sousa in another VW another 11 minutes further back. The Mitsubishis of defending champion Luc Alphand and eight-time winner Stephane Peterhansel round out the top-five. Plagued by early problems, Gordon is now 18th overall, more than four hours adrift of Sainz.(Speed Channel)
    AND Wind and rain made the night miserable for most of the bivouac on Thursday night but Robby Gordon woke up with a smile on his face. Gordon knew that the conditions would provide perfect racing conditions for the Monster Energy Hummer. In the previous days stage Gordon had charged to a 15th place finish through the dust. Today the dust would be neutralized. During the night the Monster crew worked tirelessly to replace the fuel delivery system along with the clutch, transmission and drive shafts. At the end of the stage, Robby Gordon Motorsports became the first American team to capture a stage in the Dakar Rally. For Gordon it was his third stage win since he started competing in the Dakar in 2005. The stage was won in 2:58:57, just 17 seconds ahead of the second place buggy of Jean Louis Schlesser. The victory moved Team Dakar USA up to 19th in the overall classification – 3:49:07 back of the Volkswagen driven by Carlos Sainz. Robby Gordon’s Quote on the sixth Stage: “That was a good result for the team. It’s just what we needed. We lost two days trying to diagnose the fuel problem, which in the end turned out to be bad fuel. There still is so much racing left so who know what can happen. For now the immediate goal is to get up into the top ten.”(RGM PR)(1-11/12-2007)

    News from January 11, 2007

  • Biffle to test the COT at the Rock: #16-Greg Biffle will test the COT [Car of Tomorrow] at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Thursday, Jan 18th.(NASCAR Transcript)(1-11-2007)
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Plaza Groundbreaking to Take Place Jan. 25: Plans are finalized for an exciting first event for the one and only NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Plaza Office Tower. The groundbreaking will be the ‘grand finale’ of the annual NASCAR Nextel Cup Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 3:00pm/et at the site of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Plaza bordered by Brevard, Caldwell, Stonewall and Second streets in Charlotte, NC.(NASCAR PR)(1-11-2007)
  • Daytona 500 Testing Session 1 overall: after four days of testing at Daytona International Speedway for the 2007 Daytona 500, the fastest was #66-Jeff Green at 186.722 followed by #8A-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #44C-Dale Jarrett, #96A-Tony Raines and #25B-Casey Mears. Slowest of the 28 drivers was #27-Kirk Shelmerdine at 182.667mph. 4,842 total laps were run this week. #41-Reed Sorenson ran the most laps in a given session (105 on Wednesday afternoon). #22-Dave Blaney ran the most total laps (295) this week. Of the 26 teams that tested this week, 13 were Chevys, five were Dodges, five were Fords and three were Toyotas.
    On Friday, Jan 12 thru 14, the Craftsman Truck Series will test and the Nextel Cup Series returns to Daytona to test from Monday, Jan 15-17th. See each session speeds, plus overall speeds for the four days on my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 1 page.(1-11-2007)
  • Daytona 500 testing, Day 4: AM: Only 16 drivers in 25 cars took laps at Daytona 500 Testing in Day 4 AM practice: #88B-Rudd was the fastest at 186.405mph, followed in the top 5 by #26A-McMurray, #29-Harvick, #10B-Riggs and #14X-Marlin. The fastest Toyota was #22-Dave Blaney at 9th. Four were Ford’s, Five Toyota’s, Eight Chevy’s and Eight Dodge’s. That should be the end of this weeks Nextel Cup tesign at Daytona.
    See speeds, times, laps run on my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 1 page.(1-11-2007)
  • Jeff Burton tests COT at Phoenix: #31-Jeff Burton wrapped up a day of testing the COT [Car of Tomorrow] Goodyear Tire test at Phoenix International Raceway on Wednesday.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-11-2007)
  • Kerry Earnhardt to work at DEI, as test driver and more: Kerry Earnhardt will join Dale Earnhardt Inc. as a full-time employee next week, serving as a liaison between the Nextel Cup and Busch programs and driving in a handful of races. “Teresa and Richie have been talking to me about coming there for several years,” Kerry said of team owner/stepmother Teresa Earnhardt and director of motorsports Richie Gilmore. “I’ve been thinking about the company a lot in my head. It’s hard to give up driving. Now I’ve come to a point where I realize that doing the things I’m doing is not doing me any good, just riding around and not having any decent finishes.” Kerry, 37, has asked to drive in at least five Busch races and a couple of Cup races for DEI, but said his future with the company doesn’t hinge on that. “I always wish I had the opportunity to be in equipment like this,” said Kerry, who was 20th-fastest in the morning practice while Earnhardt Jr. honored previous commitments. “Now if I run three to five Busch races and can be successful with that maybe more things can come to me.” Kerry hopes to fill part of the role of Tony Eury Sr., who has moved from team liaison to crew chief for DEI’s third Cup team with Paul Menard.(ESPN.com)(1-11-2007)
  • New team plans to attempt some Cup races: In addition to running the full ARCA Series schedule, #54-Carter-2-Motorsports will also leap into the premier series of NASCAR for four races in the later stages of the year. Carter-2-Motorsports will attempt to make their Nextel Cup Series debut at New Hampshire International Speedway and close out their rookie season at Atlanta Motor Speedway in late October. The team also plans to fun at Kanasas Speedway in Sept. and Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Oct. Roger Carter, II who is running for Rookie-of-the-Year honors in ARCA plans to utilize the #54 Dodge Charger in Cup competition with primary backing from Isaiah10.com In addition to Isaiah10.com, C2M (Carter-2-Motorsports) will also carry associate sponsorship from The Idaho Observer, RvRentToGo.com and 100Fold.net. The team is also in negotiations with additional potential sponsors to join their effort. Dan Collins will assume the duties of crew chief in the team’s Nextel Cup Series efforts.(Carter-2-Motorsports site/Motorsport.com)(1-11-2007)
  • Ginn Racing Names DeHart as Director of Shop Operations: Ginn Racing announced that former championship crew chief Gary DeHart has joined the organization as director of shop operations. DeHart, who spent nearly the past 20 years at Hendrick Motorsports, will oversee shop employees and assist in managing the company’s growth during the NASCAR team’s expansion, according to Jay Frye, Ginn Racing’s CEO and general manager. “With the growth taking place at Ginn Racing, we’re excited to have someone as experienced as Gary to help us through this new phase of our racing organization,” said Frye. “Hendrick Motorsports has grown over the years in the same way we’re working toward and Gary was a part of that growth. His experience will be vital to making the process go smoothly and we’re thrilled that he has chosen to join us.” Ginn Racing has nearly doubled its employees — from 85 to 160 — since Bobby Ginn purchased majority ownership in the team last July. The team, which has operated two full-time Cup programs for the past six seasons, will add a third full-time Cup program [#13 Chevy for Nemechek] in 2007, as well as a full-season Busch program and an aggressive driver development program. As a crew chief at Hendrick motorsports, DeHart teamed with Terry Labonte in 1996 to capture the NASCAR Cup championship. DeHart retired from the crew chief ranks following the 1997 season. He spent the past six years managing shop operations at Hendrick Motorsports and directing the company’s safety program.(Ginn Racing PR)(1-11-2007)
  • Carl Long 2007 Plans: Plans for 2007 have Carl Long taking on NASCAR with a different approach than years past. Long has decided to focus his efforts in the Busch Series division of NASCAR. Long has already scheduled a few races to run with the Long Brothers Racing team in the coming season, as well as a continued partnership with veteran team owner Stan Hover. The team-up with Hover would have Long and Hover’s team geared up to run a limited Busch Series schedule in 2007, most likely starting at either Atlanta or Bristol in the spring. Further details will be available as the new season draws closer. In addition to running in the Busch Series, Carl Long will be running a handful of Hooters Pro Cup and Late Model races in 2007 with Long Brothers Racing.(Carl Long site)(1-11-2007)
  • Cope not testing at Daytona: per the Derrike Cope site….Derrike confirmed that the #74 Dodge will not be testing in Daytona. No further information is available at this time.(1-11-2007)
  • Biffle says LVMS response team was slow, LVMS responds: #16-Greg Biffle was cruising around Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 204 mph when his tire exploded, sending him crashing into the wall. Knocked unconscious, he dislocated his right shoulder and briefly had blurred vision. This week’s three-day testing session at Daytona is the first time Biffle has been back behind the wheel of a race car since the Dec. 7 accident, and he admitted being nervous. Although his shoulder has healed, he wasn’t sure what kind of limitations he might have with getting his helmet on, grabbing his seat belts and hooking up the safety devices – all of which require a full range of motion. Biffle said he was sore after Monday’s session but felt a little better Tuesday. He raised his arm above his head Wednesday to demonstrate how well he was doing. But he acknowledged Wednesday that the emergency response team that responded to him in Las Vegas was slow and unprepared to treat his injuries. Instead of taking him to the hospital or infield care center, Biffle said he was given a ride back to the team truck. After receiving no medical advice, Biffle said he drove out of the race track and immediately flew home to North Carolina to see a doctor. Once there, he learned the injury to his brain made it dangerous for him to fly. Asked Wednesday if Biffle was competent enough to decline medical attention after being knocked out, a track spokesman said officials had no authority to force him to go to the hospital. The accident destroyed his favorite race car (the one that won the past three season finales at Homestead-Miami Speedway) and limited his activity during NASCAR’s brief offseason.(Associated Press)
    LVMS Responds: Las Vegas Motor Speedway wishes to respond to statements attributed to NASCAR driver Greg Biffle regarding his crash Dec. 7 while he was conducting a Goodyear Tire test at LVMS. “We were surprised and shocked that Mr. Biffle would make – almost five weeks later – critical remarks about the response of our fire and safety team in the moments following his crash,” said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. “His criticism is misguided and has no merit in fact. His recollection of the event is in gross error. Mr. Biffle’s crash occurred in the middle of turns one and two. Our safety team was positioned on the inside of the speedway across from the point at which Mr. Biffle’s car made contact with the wall. The safety truck rolled toward Mr. Biffle’s car, which came to a halt in the middle of the backstretch, as soon as our personnel were assured that the other car on the speedway, driven by Kyle Busch, also had slowed and it was apparent that Mr. Busch was aware of an on-track emergency situation. When the speedway’s safety truck reached Mr. Biffle’s car, he already had removed his head-and-neck restraint and was attempting to exit his car. The speedway paramedic rushed to Mr. Biffle’s aid, but Mr. Biffle assured the paramedic that he (Mr. Biffle) was fine and wanted only to be returned to his team’s hauler in the infield. Mr. Biffle was attended to by the paramedic in the ambulance during the ride back to the hauler and received aid for several minutes upon reaching the infield destination. The speedway’s paramedic strongly urged Mr. Biffle to consent to being transported to the hospital, but Mr. Biffle steadfastly refused. In fact, Mr. Biffle signed a form saying that he refused being transported and he himself wrote, ‘I feel fine’ on a release document. Mr. Biffle himself completed that document at 1:25 p.m., several minutes after he had been returned to the team’s hauler. Mr. Biffle’s statement was written as a response to a demand on the document that requested a reason for his refusing to be transported. Mr. Biffle was tended to by the speedway’s paramedic for several minutes at the hauler. He stated firmly that he was unhurt but said he was, in his words, ‘just upset because I crashed my best race car.'”
    LVMS’s Powell added: “At no time since Mr. Biffle’s crash on Dec. 7 has he or anyone else from Roush Racing or from NASCAR made statements to me or anyone from our speedway that our safety efforts were lacking. We regret that comments attributed to Mr. Biffle now have been published that seem to say otherwise. Our safety team members have long been cited by NASCAR and other sanctioning bodies as among the best in motorsports, and we are more than confident in their skill level and dedication to the well-being of anyone who comes onto the property of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.”(LVMS PR)(1-11-2007)
  • Gordon’s Dakar Update – Stage 5: While Carlos Sainz won the fifth stage of the 2007 Dakar, much of the buzz in the bivouac surrounded the impressive performance of American Robby Gordon and his Monster Hummer. Team Dakar USA was relegated to a 77th place start based on their finish in the previous stage. Gordon charged his black Monster Energy Hummer to a 15th place finish in the stage which moved him up to 36th in the overall classification. The finish was the best for the day in the Open Category. Robby Gordon’s Quote after Stage Five “The tires that Toyo brought to Dakar have been spectacular and it really showed today in the very rocky track. We passed quite a few cars today by leaving the track and we punished the tires and they survived extremely well. Our finish today will get us a much better start tomorrow so we are looking at getting the Hummer closer to the front so we can contend for stage wins. Much has happened so far but you have to realize that this race is just five days old and there is a lot of racing left. Our team is working hard and since we solved our fuel problem the Hummer is running exceptionally well. We are going to push hard and make something happen!”(RGM PR)(1-11-2007)

    News from January 10, 2007

  • Benny Parsons Health UPDATE 3: Benny Parsons is dealing with a complication stemming from his battle with cancer earlier this year. Parsons missed NASCAR’s postseason activities in New York after having breathing difficulty. His doctors performed a scan of Parson’s entire body and found no cancer. However, the original tumor found in his left lung was large and the radiation used to treat it was so extensive that the lung is now damaged and not functioning properly. Parsons’ right lung is healthy and strong, and doctors believe Parsons’ body will eventually adjust to having just one healthy lung. But until then, the former Winston Cup Series champion driver will need to use oxygen to assist his breathing.(Charlotte Observer)(12-15-2006)
    UPDATE: The lung specialist put Benny in CMC the day after Christmas with blood clots in the right lung and behind his right knee. They have Parsons on complete bed rest and will not allow him to get up at all and Parsons will be at CMC from 5 to 7 days. The doctor has started Parsons on blood thinners to dissolve the clots, which were caused from the aggressive radiation from treating the lung cancer [is still cancer free](12-30-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Benny Parsons is currently hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit of the Carolinas Medial Center in Charlotte, NC. Parsons, who became a popular television and radio personality after retiring from driving in 1988, entered the hospital Dec. 26 as the result of complications stemming from his battle with lung cancer. The cancer was diagnosed earlier this year and was recently reported to be in full remission. Parsons’ family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from fans and the NASCAR community and they encourage everyone to keep Benny in their thoughts and prayers. Parsons is not allowed visitors at this time, but fans and associates can continue to send him messages, to email Benny, go to BennyParsons.com or goprn.com.(PRN PR)(1-5-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Benny Parsons remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Carolinas Medical Center, but his condition has not changed since the weekend, his family said on Tuesday. Parsons, 65, is listed as critical, but his condition has stabilized. He continues to fight complications brought on by treatments for lung cancer. Parsons is not allowed visitors at this time, but fans and associates can continue to send him messages at [email protected].(NASCAR.com)(1-10-2007)
  • NASCAR Now Daily News Shows to Debut Feb 5th on ESPN2: ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily program dedicated solely to NASCAR news and information, will debut February 5 at 6:30pm/et. Starting February 18, NASCAR Now will also be aired Sundays at 10:00am/et. Erik Kuselias will serve as NASCAR Now host, giving up his role hosting ESPN Radio’s SportsBash (4:00-7:00pm M-F), but maintaining a fill-in role at ESPN Radio. For the week of February 12, NASCAR Now will originate from Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR Now’s Daytona coverage will include the Busch Series’ Daytona 300 on February 17, the first race on ESPN2. When NASCAR Now returns to Bristol (Connecticut, not Tennessee) Monday, Feb. 19, the show will originate from a high-tech, garage-like, HD studio. “We’re looking forward to providing NASCAR fans the latest news, analysis and opinion in the timeliest and best format — HD — six days a week,” said Jack Obringer, NASCAR Now coordinating producer. “Erik will elicit the best information from our team of NASCAR reporters, experts and insiders.” Kuselias will serve as the show’s spotter, navigating viewers through 30 minutes of highlights, opinion, debate, analysis, and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. NASCAR Now will also feature Busch Series news and fantasy elements. Additionally, joining the ESPN and ABC NASCAR team will be the front-tire changer for the #8 Budweiser Chevy D.J. Copp, who’ll lend pit-crew expertise as a NASCAR Now contributor. Kuselias will be joined by reporters, crew members, drivers and former drivers, allowing NASCAR Now to cover every angle of the sport. The NASCAR Now team will include:
    Tim Brewer, two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief
    Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News NASCAR writer and columnist
    Marty Smith, NASCAR.com senior writer
    Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News NASCAR writer and columnist
    D.J. Copp, front tire changer on the #8 Budweiser Chevy
    Shannon Spake, reporter for SPEED’s NASCAR Nation and Backseat Drivers host
    Brad Daugherty, five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team owner
    NASCAR Now viewers will also benefit from frequent contributions by the ESPN / ABC NASCAR team including Rusty Wallace, Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Dale Jarrett andESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentators Andrés Agulla and Alex Pombo.(ESPN PR)(1-10-2007)
  • COT Chassis Approved: The first NASCAR-approved Car of Tomorrow chassis didn’t clear inspection until the final week of the 2006 season, leaving teams with considerable concern that they’d be ill-prepared for the March 25, 2007 debut [at Bristol]. That particular concern has subsided a bit. The COT still has several question marks, but it seems the chassis issue is all but resolved. Nextel Cup director John Darby said Tuesday that the sanctioning body is closing in on 100 approved COT chassis, and that virtually every team in the series has submitted a viable product. Even Cal Wells, whose team has currently suspended operations, has submitted an approved COT chassis, Darby said. NASCAR inspected five COT chassis Monday and all were approved, Darby said, marking the first day they’ve had a 100-percent approval rate.(ESPN.com)(1-10-2007)
  • Cingular name going away?: The largest wireless service provider in the United States, Cingular Wireless, will soon undergo a name change. This carrier had been jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth, but last week AT&T finally got Federal permission to acquire BellSouth. As the sole owner of Cingular, AT&T has said in the past that it intends to change the carrier’s name to “AT&T Wireless”. The re-branding is expected to happen over the next several months. This wireless service provider’s headquarters will remain in Atlanta.(cdrinfo.com)
    MORE: Cingular’s sponsorship contract with Richard Childress Racing expires at the end of the 2007 season, but the Cingular name will expire before then, leaving the branding of the #31 car driven by Jeff Burton up in the air, according to a story in this week’s NASCAR Scene. With the Bell South-AT&T merger approved Dec. 29, AT&T has announced that it is phasing out the Cingular name and replacing it with AT&T. That’s a problem for RCR’s #31 team because it cannot change the name on the hood of the car. When Nextel became NASCAR’s top series sponsor in 2004, the sponsorship agreement grandfathered in existing team-sponsor telecommunications relationships, but it does not permit any changes. Sprint Nextel’s Dean Kessel confirmed that remains the group’s position Jan. 3. Cingular spokesman Clay Owen would not speculate about the future of the sponsorship. “We look forward to the start of the 2007 NASCAR season with Jeff Burton behind the wheel of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet,” Owen said in a statement Jan. 5. “It’s an exciting time as we begin the early planning stages of transitioning our brand into the AT&T family.” Kessel said there is no wiggle room to allow a change. “We grandfathered in the companies that were involved in the sport, and that was our take,” he said. “We’re not looking to renegotiate anything.” Part of the Bell South-AT&T merger includes yellowpages.com. Kessel said Sprint hadn’t investigated whether that would be permissible as a possible replacement for the team. Cingular could still sponsor a car in the Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series.(SceneDaily.com), no word how this effects the sponsorship of the #31 Chevy Jeff Burton drives for Richard Childress Racing.(1-10-2007)
  • Crew chief named for Hylton team: James Hylton, Jr, has been named as Crew Chief and Andy Kirkpatrick as Car Chief on the #58 GrahamFestUSA.com Chevy for the Daytona 500.(GrahamFestUSA.com / Hylton Motorsports PR)(1-10-2007)
  • NASCAR Day announced: May 18th: The NASCAR Foundation officially kicked off NASCAR Day 2007 by announcing May 18 as the date for this year’s fundraising celebration. Joining NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter at Daytona International Speedway was artist Sam Bass, who unveiled this year’s NASCAR Day pin that he specially designed for the Foundation. NASCAR Day, an annual, charitable celebration of the spirit of NASCAR fans, last year raised more than $1.3 million, with 98,000 pins sold online at NASCAR.com and more than 3,000 company locations participating all across the country. Fans interested in participating in NASCAR Day can purchase a pin, sign up his or her company and even purchase NASCAR Day apparel by going to www.nascar.com/foundation. NASCAR fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country are encouraged to donate $5 and all participants receive a collectible 2007 NASCAR Day lapel pin for their donation.(NASCAR PR)(1-10-2007)
  • NASCAR now requires six-point belt harnasses: NASCAR is requiring drivers in its three national series to wear six-point belt harnesses beginning this season. Most drivers already used a six-point device but some still used five-point seat belts. The six-point harness has an extra strap and does not come straight up through the crotch as a five-point. Some of those using the five-point belts have added two straps to make it a seven-point system. Drivers went through their annual safety briefing with NASCAR’s safety expert Steve Peterson, General Motors biomedical research scientist Dr. John Melvin and General Motors Racing Safety Manager Tom Gideon on Tuesday morning. Melvin said the change in belt requirements was probably the biggest change for 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(1-10-2007)
  • Online Voting Opened for 2007 NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award: Voting for the 2007 NASCAR NMPA ChexR Most Popular Driver Award opened recently as pre-season testing started at Daytona International Speedway. As drivers hit the track for the first time in 2007, race fans that attended the test session had the opportunity to be the first to vote at www.MostPopularDriver.com. Voting kicked off earlier this year than in years past to give fans as much time as possible to vote for their favorite driver. As the race season begins, fans are encouraged to make their vote count and get their favorite driver in the running for the title. Fans can log on once a day, each day, before voting ends on Monday, November 19, 2007, at 11:59am/ct.(NMPA PR(1-10-2007)
  • Jarrett to test COT at Daytona, Allmendinger to test #83: during Speed’s coverage of Nextel Cup testing at Daytona, Bob Dilner reported that Dale Jarrett will be testing a third #44 Toyota at Daytona this week, a COT model. ROTY Candidate A.J. Allmendinger, slated to run the #84 Red Bull Toyota in 2007, will share testing of the #83 Red Bull Toyota today with teammate Brian Vickers.(Speed’s coverage of Nextel Cup testing at Daytona)(1-10-2007)
  • Kerry to take over testing for Dale Jr. at Daytona: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he plans on leaving the rest of the testing of the #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy to sibling Kerry Earnhardt. Speaking at the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, Earnhardt Jr. seemed satisfied with his two days of testing, which wound up with him on top of the drafting chart Tuesday night. Kerry Earnhardt will test Wednesday. The teams also can stay and do single-car runs during a four-hour session Thursday.(SceneDaily.com)(1-10-2007)
  • Daytona 500 testing, Day 3: AM: 26 drivers in 40 cars took laps at Daytona 500 Testing in Day 3 AM practice: #20B-Mike McLaughlin [subbing for Stewart] was the fastest at 184.090, followed in the top 5 by #14X-Sterling Marlin, #26A-Jamie McMurray, #66H-Jeff Green, and #48-Jimmie Johnson. The fastest Toyota was #22-Dave Blaney at 14th and the fastest Dodge was #43B-Bobby Labonte at 17th.
    PM: 26 driver in 45 cars took to the track in PM testing at Daytona with many of the teams participating in drafting sessions. #66-Jeff Green (Chevy) set the pace with a top speed of 186.722mph. The remainder of the top five drivers were #44C-Dale Jarrett (Toyota), #96A-Tony Raines (Chevrolet), #10A-Scott Riggs (Dodge), and #7A-P.J. Jones (Ford).
    NOTES: #29-Harvick and #44-Jarrett brought a third car [had to remove one of the other 2 and neither was a COT as reported before] and A.J. Allmendinger was in the #83 for Vickers [to get used to the track a bit], Regan Smith subbed for #13-Nemechek [who had a previous commitment] and Kerry Earnhardt subbed for Dale Jr. who was tired or testing the #8 Chevy and headed back to Mooresville with DEI’s Richie Gilmore.(Speeds Daytona 500 Testing show)
    See speeds, times, laps run on my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 1 page.(1-10-2007)
  • Gordon’s Dakar Update – Stage 4: Africa begins to show her many traps in today’s stage. This was the competitors’ first opportunity to see the dunes in the 2007 Dakar Rally. Today’s stage was a test of the competitor’s patience and endurance. Gordon had high hopes for today’s special which was 405km over terrain that was well suited to both the H3 and Robby Gordon’s driving style. He felt that this Moroccan stage from Er Richida to Ouarzazate would have given both he and navigator Andy Grider the chance to showcase the team’s speed. Contaminated fuel caused the Team Monster Energy/Toyo Tire/Hummer to have less horsepower than the H3 race engine is capable of producing and never allowed the team to really show their strengths. “Our goal was to come here and win,” said Gordon as he returned to the bivouac. We have been plagued with bad luck, but we won’t let it get us down. This is a long rally and we must put the bad luck behind us and keep moving forward.” As the team prepares the H3 for the following day’s special to Tan Tan they believe that the fuel issue has been resolved. The rocky terrain of the stage 6 special will be a favorable environment for the Hummer to regain momentum and to improve the overall standing of the team.(RGM PR)
    AND Motorcyclist Elmer Symons died Tuesday in a crash at the Dakar Rally, race organizers said. The 29-year-old South African was killed on the fourth stage from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate in Morocco.(USA Today)(1-10-2007)

    News from January 9, 2007

  • Bobby Hamilton dies at age 49: former Nextel Cup driver and 2004 Truck Series Champion Bobby Hamilton passed away today at age 49, according to his son, Bobby Hamilton, Jr. Hamilton, a former Fairgrounds [Nashville] Speedway champion, missed most of the 2006 season after being diagnosed with cancer.(Tennessean…more details Monday)(1-7-2007)
    MORE: Bobby Hamilton Racing is saddened to announce that its owner Bobby Hamilton Sr. passed away this afternoon at his home in Nashville, TN from complications of Cancer. “He will be greatly missed as a husband, a father, a grandfather, an owner and a friend,” said the Hamilton Family. “We want to thank everyone for their love and support of our racing operation and the outpouring of care and concern during his cancer battle. One of Bobby’s greatest loves in life was racing and we will continue on in his honor.” Hamilton won four Nextel Cup Races and the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion. Funeral arrangements are pending.(BHR PR)
    Articles/News: see more articles about the passing of Hamilton at:
    Motorsports Soapbox
    and more on my Articles Links page.
    SERVICE INFO: Bobby Hamilton Funeral Services will be held Tuesday January 9, 2006
    5PM till 8PM – Visitation for the Public; at Hermitage Funeral Home, 535 Shute Lane, Old Hickory, TN 37138
    In lieu of flowers please make donations to the American Cancer Society or Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Bobby Hamilton Racing site)(1-8-2007)
    ARM BAND a fan has started a site: armbandforbobby.com, asking folks to wear a black armband in honor of Hamilton at Daytona.(1-9-2006)
  • Sad News: Kathryn Helton: Kathryn Helton, mother of NASCAR President Mike Hleton, passed away Sunday, Jan. 7. Funeral services were held today. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that memorial donations be made to: First Baptist Church P. O. Box 116 Bristol, VA 24203.(1-9-2007)
  • Dodge and Chevy to change models in 2007? UPDATE Yes Beginning in 2007, Dodge and Chevrolet will campaign new models in Nextel Cup competition, Yahoo! Sports has learned. Dodge will run the Avenger, while Chevrolet will run the Impala SS, according to sources with some of NASCAR’s manufacturers. The change also was indicated in a technical bulletin distributed to all teams last week. Both Dodge and Chevy soon will announce that they have been given approval by NASCAR to change to the new models, with Chevy’s announcement possibly coming as soon as this week. According to the sources, the stock car version has been approved for use by Dodge teams for both the current Nextel Cup car as well as the Car of Tomorrow version, starting next season. The switch from Monte Carlo to Impala could signal the end of the Monte Carlo name from the Chevrolet lineup, as its rear-drive design [NOTE: the Monte Carlo is front wheel driven – verified at the chevrolet.com site] is used on its model alone and at the present time, no replacement is on the drawing boards at GM. However, unlike its Dodge counterpart, the Impala SS will only be used by Chevrolet teams for their Car of Tomorrow, according to sources. Manufacturers and NASCAR also are continuing to move forward with plans to change all of the models used in the Busch Series, perhaps as soon as the 2010 season. That change would put smaller, sportier models into competition, like the retro-designed Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger – as well as the Toyota Solara.(Yahoo Sports)(10-24-2006)
    NOTE: Chevy already announced it would use the Impala for the COT races and overall when the COT runs all the races [2009].
    UPDATE: Chrysler Group announced today that the Dodge Avenger will race at select events in Nextel Cup competition beginning in 2007, joining the Dodge Charger in the Dodge NASCAR racing lineup. The Dodge Avenger race car debuted along side the all-new 2008 Dodge Avenger at the North American International Auto Show [Detroit. The Dodge Avenger is a mid-size sedan that combines bold, aggressive Dodge styling with innovative interior features, high-levels of safety and reliability, exhilarating performance and excellent fuel efficiency of 30 miles per gallon (mpg) (32 mpg based on 2007 EPA fuel economy standards). Dodge drivers #19-Elliott Sadler, of the Dodge Dealers/UAW Evernham Motorsports team, #2-Kurt Busch, of Penske Racing South, and, new to NASCAR, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team participated in the announcement. “With NASCAR Nextel Cup racing two distinct cars for 2007, it makes perfect sense to have the Avenger join the Charger in the Dodge racing family,” said Mike Accavitti, Director – Dodge Motorsports and SRT Product Planning, Chrysler Group. “Dodge is all about delivering bold, capable performance, and that will become even more evident when the Avenger hits NASCAR’s race tracks this year.” The Dodge Avenger race car is scheduled to make its competition debut at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007, as the Dodge entry in NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow” implementation. During the multi-year phase-in of NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, the Dodge Charger will continue to race in NASCAR Nextel Cup competition.(clearblue.biz PR), see images of the car on my COT Image Page.(1-9-2007)
  • IROC Delays start of 2007 season, needs a sponsor: The International Race of Champions (IROC) officials announced today a delay in the start of the 2007 season due to not having a title sponsor in place. The traditional IROC season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February will not take place while the Series continues to pursue a new title sponsor. IROC President Jay Signore said, “We’re very disappointed about not making it to Daytona this year and we’re working very hard to find a title sponsor. Our hopes are to find a new title sponsor in enough time to be able to have a full four-race season within 2007. I want to thank Robin Braig and his entire staff at Daytona International Speedway for all of their patience and support during this difficult period. All of IROC’s partners and associates have been, and continue to be, very loyal and supportive of our efforts to continue the IROC Series.” The elite All-Star invitational competition, which matches 12 drivers from different disciplines of auto racing in equally prepared cars, celebrated its 30th anniversary season in 2006 with Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart winning the prestigious $1-million IROC championship. All plans regarding the remainder of 2007 are pending the procurement of a title sponsor.(IROC PR)(1-9-2007)
  • Daytona 500 testing, Day 2: AM: 26 drivers in 47 cars took laps at Daytona 500 Testing in Day 2 AM practice: #26-McMurray was the fastest at 184.090mph, followed in the top 5 by #20B-McLaughlin [subbing for Stewart], #48-Johnson, #88A-Rudd and #96-Raines, The fastest Toyota was #44-Jarrett and the fastest Dodge was #41-Sorenson at 14th. There were eight Fords testing, eight Dodges, five Toyotas and 26 Chevys.
    PM: 26 drivers in 47 cars at Daytona 500 Testing in Day 2 PM practice, the leaders were drafting, but not all drivers drafted. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest at 186.606mph, followed by #25B-Mears, #96A-Raines, #41-Sorenson and #37-Elliott. The fastest Ford was #88B-Rudd at 6th. The fastest Toyota was #44-Jarrett at 14th.
    See speeds, times, laps run on my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 1 page.(1-9-2007)
  • Ragan Cleared to run Daytona; Allmendinger & Whitt to be ‘observed’: Roush Racing’s David Ragan, whom owner Jack Roush named as Mark Martin’s replacement this Nextel Cup season in the #6 AAA Ford, has been approved to compete in the Nextel Cup Series events of Speedweeks 2007 at Daytona International Speedway. Two Nextel Cup rookies #72-Brandon Whitt and #84-A.J. Allmendinger will come to Speedweeks with “observation” approval. They must also participate in the final session of Cup testing Jan. 15-17.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2007)
  • Said to run at least 7 races: #60-Boris Said announced that he’s got enough sponsorship to compete in seven Cup races this season with the No Fear Racing team he co-owns.(Associated Press)(1-9-2007)
  • Gordon’s Dakar Update – Stage 3: Days like these will separate the amateurs from the professionals. The start of the stage began with a 205km liaison from the ferry which brought the race vehicles to Nador for the start of the special. The length of the special was 252 km with an ending liaison of 192 km to reach the destination of Er Rachidia for a total distance of 649 km . Today’s special began with a very technical aspect including numerous elevation changes and a winding course which tested the navigation skills of the competitors. The course consisted of rocky trails and several perils, with longer stretches that allowed the competitors to push their vehicles to more aggressive speeds. A course very well suited to Team Gordons race Hummer H3. “The terrain of the special was quite rocky and ideal for the H3.” said Gordon “If there was anything I would have changed it would have been the length of the special. A longer course would have given me more time to pass more of the competitors that are just ahead of our team.” Gordon said with a smile. “We started the day in some what of a catch up mode,” explained Gordon. “Any problems from the previous day will follow you to the start of the proceeding day.” A finish of 41st from the day before will mean you start from that same position the next day.” Team Gordon’s Monster Energy Toyo Tire Hummer made the most of the day and finished the special in 21st place. This will place the H3 in the 21st starting postion for stage four. The Dakar Rally can be seen on the Versus Network in the United States. In addition Team Dakar USA has teamed up with Micron to provide daily video updates that can be seen on RobbyGordon.com.(RGM PR)
    AND Motorcyclist Elmer Symons died Tuesday in a crash at the Dakar Rally, race organizers said. The 29-year-old South African was killed on the fourth stage from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate in Morocco.(USA Today)(1-9-2007)

    News from January 8, 2007

  • NASCAR to expand Chase field and more points for wins in 2007 UPDATE: The Nextel Cup 2007 season will feature more points for victories and more drivers in the Chase for the Cup, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter said this afternoon. How many points and how many drivers are being determined, Hunter said during a visit to USA TODAY’s newsroom in McLean, Va. “We’re still running the models,” Hunter said, adding that an official announcement will be made during NASCAR’s media tour Jan. 22-26 in Charlotte.NASCAR added the Chase for the Cup in 2004 with the top 10 drivers in the points standings and anyone within 400 points of the leader, competing in the final 10 races for the Cup championship.(USA Today)(1-4-2007)
    UPDATE: Staying within 400 points of the lead no longer will be a factor to get in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. A source close to NASCAR said the governing body is finalizing a plan that will allow the top 12 in points in the 10-race playoff with no provision for how many points a driver is from the lead. The top 10 and anybody within 400 points after 26 races qualified for the playoff during the first three years of the Chase. But because the 400-point margin hasn’t been a factor — seven or fewer drivers were within that range from 2004-06 — NASCAR decided to set a hard number. Barring a last-minute change, that number will be 12. NASCAR also will award 10 more points to the winner after running several models that showed after 10 the system created more runaway scenarios. An official announcement will come later this month at the media tour in Charlotte. NASCAR officials considered putting in a provision that would allow a driver with the most wins outside the Chase in the playoff, but decided against it. They also decided against expanding the 400-point margin to another figure such as 500.(ESPN.com)(1-8-2007)
  • Gilmore Expects Dale Jr to sign with DEI soon AND Dale Jr comments, quarrel slowing deal?: Dale Earnhardt Jr. likely isn’t going anywhere. Negotiations to re-sign the signature driver of Dale Earnhardt Inc. are on the fast track and likely will be finalized by May if not sooner, DEI director of motorsports Richie Gilmore said on Monday. “Before we come back here in February [for the Daytona 500] would be my wish [to have a deal done] so we wouldn’t have the distraction of that every week,” Gilmore said during the first day of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. “I would say, realistically, probably May.” Gilmore said losing the most popular driver on the Nextel Cup Series and the son of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt never has been a consideration for anybody at DEI, including owner Teresa Earnhardt. Gilmore discounted comments in the Dec. 14 edition of The Wall Street Journal in which Teresa said: “Right now the ball’s in [Earnhardt’s] court to decide on whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver or whether he wants to be a public personality. I’m around Teresa pretty much every day and I’ve never heard her comment that way,” Gilmore said. “Teresa doesn’t get out there a lot to the media, but when I talk to her, it’s never negative against Junior that way.” Gilmore said every conversation he’s had with Teresa involved re-signing her stepson. Gilmore said Teresa has tried to remove herself from negotiations as much as possible “because she thinks it will happen faster maybe if she takes the personal side out of it.” Gilmore doesn’t find it unusual that Teresa and Earnhardt haven’t discussed the comments to the WSJ, noting the two sometimes go two or three months without talking. But he wouldn’t describe their relationship as tumultuous as it often is made to sound. “A lot of stuff does get blown out of proportion that makes for good stories,” Gilmore said. Gilmore said Earnhardt has become DEI and he can’t imagine the company without him, although Earnhardt does talk of driving his father’s black #3 for Richard Childress Racing late in his career. “I’ve never even thought that far down the road,” Gilmore said. “Being in the circle with [Earnhardt] and Teresa I don’t believe any of us have thought that way.”
    AND Dale Earnhardt Jr. made it clear on Monday that the tumultuous relationship with his stepmother would be a factor in negotiations to return to the Nextel Cup organization his father built after the 2007 season. He also made it clear he wants to return. Ownership appears to be the biggest stumbling block. “That’s the obvious,” Earnhardt said during the first day of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. “I want to be very involved in the company. Aside from [DEI], I have no interest in ownership.” To own a part of DEI, Teresa Earnhardt would have to relinquish at least partial control of an organization she has run since Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. That means comments such as the one she made in the Dec. 14 Wall Street Journal about how Earnhardt needs to decide whether he wants to be a driver or a celebrity will make negotiations more emotional than most. “My relationship with the car owner is definitely going to be a factor in my decision to drive there,” Earnhardt said. “I haven’t talked to Teresa about what she said in [the Journal]. I figured if anything needed to be said she’d call me up and say it. But you know, my and her relationship definitely factor into my decision.” Earnhardt became increasingly pointed in remarks about the contract and his stepmother during a break between practices, at one point saying the relationship with Teresa “ain’t a bed [of] roses.” He took several shots at her, indirectly referring to her absence from the track. He admitted the uncertainty of having the contract issue settled is the most frustrating part about approaching this season. He also said it is the goal of him and his sister, JR Motorsports executive Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, to get a deal done.(much more at ESPN.com)(1-8-2007)
  • Johnson’s wrist ok to test at Daytona: From a GM PR at Daytona Preseason Testing:
    Q) The Burning Question Is How Is Your Wrist Doing And How Are You Feeling? JJ) “My wrist is good. I’m going to wear a splint in the car just to be smart and to be sure, but the cast is off and the hand is working and everything is good. The timing was perfect. I got the off-season to heal up and I’m ready for Daytona.”
    Are You In Any Pain? “No. The pain quit – I’d say the first couple of weeks into it the pain was there, but after that, the pain was gone.”
    How Much Driving Have You Done Since Then? “I was down in the islands and they have these crazy little cars that we raced around the islands in and I did a lot of driving there, so this (the test) is my first time back in a race car.”
    Will This Affect You In The Daytona 500? “No, not at all. It won’t affect the 500. I’m going to be able to race in the 24 Hours of Daytona coming up here real soon and so it’s just something that kind of slowed me down over the off-season. I had a cast on my hand and it kind of kept me on the sidelines watching my wife swim and being on vacation and watching my friends do all these fun things and I had to sit around and watch. But, beyond that, everything is good.”
    How’s Your Pain Threshold? Would You Tell Us If It Hurt Or Would You Try To Not Show It? “Well, it’s been almost five weeks. So it’s been a long time. The cast is off. I was at the doctor’s on Friday and the x-rays look good so everything is in great shape and I’m ready to go.”
    How Much Of This Test Session Is To Test The Car And How Much Is It To Test Your Wrist? “None. My wrist is running it’s course. We’re down here just doing single car testing – three laps at a time basically. I’m just trying to focus on the car. My hand is working. I’m fine. I’ll put a splint on it to drive the car just to be smart and to be safe with it. But beyond that, I’m scheduled to run the 24 Hours of Daytona and then the Vegas test and I’m right back in the middle of things.”(GM PR)(1-8-2007)
  • Delphi to announce NASCAR plans at open house in Vegas UPDATE: Delphi Corp. will host a media open house on Monday, Jan. 8 from 3 – 5 p.m. at its exhibit at the Las Vegas Convention Center (#Exhibit 5206). Jeff Owens, president of Delphi Electronics & Safety and Francisco (Frank) A. Ordonez, president, Delphi Products & Service Solutions, will host the reception. Also hosting is: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. Kyle will be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans. Along with Kellogg’s, Delphi was a major associate sponsor of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy driven by Busch during the past NASCAR season. Delphi will announce its 2007 sponsorship at the open house. During the event, a host of Delphi subject matter experts will be available for interviews and to demonstrate the new technologies.(Yahoo Biz)(12-21-2006)
    UPDATE: Delphi Product & Service Solutions announced today at a media reception held at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev., that it will continue its major associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2007 NASCAR season. Nextel Cup Series driver Kyle Busch personally attended the reception to help kick-off yet another year with Delphi. An associate sponsor of all 2007 Hendrick Motorsports entries, Delphi will also be the primary sponsor of Busch’s #5 Chevy in the Busch Series for five races. Delphi sponsored events in the Busch Series will include Las Vegas (March 10), Talladega (April 28), Daytona (July 6), Chicago (July 14), and Texas (Nov. 3). In addition, Delphi will receive preferred logo placement on both the #5 Chevy driven by Busch and the #25 Chevy of Casey Mears in select 2007 Nextel Cup Series races.(Hendrick Motorsports site)(1-8-2007)
  • Day 1 – Daytona 500 Testing: AM: 25 drivers in 47 cars took laps at Daytona 500 Testing in Day 1 AM practice: #96-Raines was the fastest at 183.974mph, followed by #48-Johnson, #22-Blaney, #26-McMurray and #20-McLaughlin [subbing for Stewart]. The fastest Dodge was #41-Sorenson at 18th. The afternoon session has been rained out, so testing has been extended to include a half day Thursday, Jan 11th, the testing was scheduled to end Wednesday. See speeds, times, laps run on my 2007 Daytona 500 Testing Session 1 page.(1-8-2007)
  • Gordon’s Dakar Update – Stage 2: Carlos Sainz won the second stage of the Dakar Rally on Sunday, ahead of Nani Roma and Luc Alphand, as the race prepared to move into Africa. Sainz, driving for Volkswagen, clocked 59 minutes, 26 seconds, while Roma and Alphand both timed 59:55 in Mitsubishis to finish second and third. Volkswagen driver Carlos Sousa, who won Saturday’s opening stage, retained the overall lead. Sousa finished ninth in the second stage, which took riders and racers from Portimao, Portugal, to Malaga, Spain, through a mountainous trek over a total of 339 miles, with 42 miles timed. Robby Gordon finsished 46th in the second stage, falling from 13th to 18th overall. The Nextel Cup driver is 18 minutes and 8 seconds behind leader Sousa.(FoxSports)(1-8-2007)

News from January 7, 2007

  • Boris Said wins Bodine Bobsled Challenge: Road race ace Boris Said, whose late father, Bob, drove in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics for the U.S. bobsled team, overcame a whipping wind and pelting rain on Saturday and won both races in the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge on the Olympic track at Mount Van Hoevenberg. “It was awesome, perfect,” said Said, who also won the inaugural race of this unique event last year. “Two wins is a good way to start the year.” The Bobsled Challenge features race car drivers on ice. It’s an effort to raise funds to keep the U.S. men’s and women’s bobsled teams at the forefront of international racing.(Associated Press), see more at bodinebobsled.com(1-7-2007)
  • Villeneuve’s sponsorship drive stalls UPDATE…maybe not? Former Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve’s road to NASCAR continues to hit speed bumps. After weeks of searching for a sponsor to come up with the roughly $18-million (U.S.) he needs to secure a ride in the NASCAR Busch Series [plans were to team up with Roush Racing], the 1997 world champion driver has apparently set his sights a bit lower. A source close to the 35-year-old native of Iberville, Que., said he is now looking into other ways of getting into a stock car. “He’s even talking about doing the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series now and then, do some Busch, to try to get into it,” the source said. On his official website, Villeneuve’s Christmas message alluded to a forthcoming deal, but did not specify where he might land. (Globe and Mail)(1-3-2007)
    UPDATE: Craig Pollock, Villeneuve’s manager, said Friday that talks are ongoing with several NASCAR teams to secure a drive for the 35-year-old former Formula One champion in the coming weeks, despite published reports to the contrary. “What’s appeared in newspapers has been absolutely ludicrous,” Pollock told CanWest News Service. “The fact is we’re putting together a package which is necessary for Jacques. We’re in a very strong position with any team he wants to go to and there are many, many teams really interested in Jacques. We’re hoping by the end of the month, NASCAR-wise, as far as knowing which direction we want to go.” Pollock’s comments were in response to a story in the Globe and Mail this week, which was subsequently picked up by a myriad of racing websites. A Toronto newspaper reported Villeneuve’s efforts to join NASCAR’s Busch Series [NOT Busch Grand National Series since 2002] had stalled because of the absence of a sponsor ready to invest about $18 million US on his behalf. Other reports suggested the cost might be as high as $23 million to secure a ride in NASCAR’s premier Nextel Cup series. The Toronto story also reported Villeneuve’s sights were now set on NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series as a last option in an attempt to resurrect his racing career following an abrupt departure from BMW Sauber last August, which ended a 10-year mostly tumultuous run in F1 for the 1997 world champion. Earlier reports said Villeneuve who became a father in November when his wife, Johanna Martinez, gave birth to a son, Jules was close to signing a deal with Roush Racing, which runs six cars [actually five, the sixth was part time in 2006] in the Nextel Cup series. The deal supposedly fell through, however, when Villeneuve insisted Pollock be given a major role in the management of the team. Pollock denied the account as “the biggest load . . . I’ve ever heard” and said talks were continuing with team owner Jack Roush, with whom Pollock said his relationship was “excellent.”(Canada,com/Montreal Gazette)(1-7-2007)
  • Gordon’s Dakar Update – Stage 1: Robby Gordon and Andy Grider in their Toyo tire clad Monster Hummer were the 20th vehicle on the 117km special. By the end of the stage they were 13th overall in the car class – 8 minutes and 44 seconds behind the stage winner and Portugal native – Carlos Sousa. Robby Gordon quote after the first Stage: “The stage was very tight and technical and the sand was soft and deep. We had a good race going but we got stuck trying to avoid hitting some fans. I would say we lost close to five minutes by being bogged down. That was the biggest problem. We had a couple of technical issues with the truck. The clutch was slipping so we had to baby it a bit. Overall we are going to be ok. I’m satisfied with how we are going to stack up against the competition.” See full reports at robbygordon.com, also at dakar.comraid-live.com and doindonuts.com.(1-7-2007)

    News from January 6, 2007

  • Skinner to attmept the Daytona 500 in the #23: Mike Skinner will start testing next week in Daytona in his #5 Toyota Tundra Truck – then head right into the 2nd Nextel Cup test in the Bill Davis Racing #23 Toyota in preperation to make the Daytona 500 with Tommy Baldwin leading the attempt.(mikeskinner.com)(1-6-2007)
  • Wheldon would like to race NASCAR…someday: Former Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway that he expects to make a run at NASCAR one day, but not until he wins another 500, and hopefully, another Indy Racng League title. “I came to Chip Ganassi Racing to win another Indy 500, and another IRL championship. I owe that to him, but if I can accomplish those things, I you take a very serious look at NASCAR. In fact, I’m sure you’ll see me test a NASCAR car in the not-too-distant future.”(1-6-2007)
  • Edward’s crew chief to receive award from Penn State: In recognition of his outstanding professional accomplishments, Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford, will receive Penn State University’s Alumni Achievement Award for 2006. The award is sponsored by the Alumni Association at Penn State University and is presented to one person from each college at Penn State (a total of 10). Osborne is receiving his award as a member of the engineering college. “It’s pretty cool to be recognized by your alma matter for your accomplishments,” said Osborne. “I’m proud to be associated with and recognized by such a great institution. I definitely have to credit some of my success to the great education I received at Penn State.” This is the third year the award has been given. The award is presented in an effort to demonstrate, particularly to students, that Penn State alumni can succeed in exceptional fashion at an early age and that it does not necessarily take a lifetime to make one’s mark on society. Osborne has certainly done that. With his work as an engineer and crew chief at Roush Racing, Osborne continues to make history with drivers such as Carl Edwards. “I’m really proud of Bob”, said Edwards. “He’s a really smart person and he’s had a lot of success in a short amount of time so I think it’s awesome that Penn State would recognize that.” Since 1997, crew chief Bob Osborne has worked his way up the NASCAR ladder of success. Patience, drive and determination have helped land Osborne in the coveted position of Nextel Cup crew chief for Carl Edwards and the #99 Office Depot team.(Roush Racing PR)(1-6-2007)
  • Tony George crashes in Daytona test: Tony George’s return to driving race cars was met with an accident today at Daytona International Speedway. George, the 47-year-old chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, crashed his Daytona Prototype sports car at about 3:15 p.m. while testing for this month’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. He was not injured. George, who raced extensively in his younger days, said he hasn’t driven a race car since 2001. He doesn’t think he’s been in a road race since 1993. The car George crashed was purchased from Eddie Cheever’s sports car team. George, who owns Vision Racing, has entered the Rolex 24 with his stepson, Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and Tomas Scheckter as co-drivers. The Rolex 24 is Jan. 27-28.(Indy Star)(1-6-2007)
  • Gordon’s Dakar Update – Day 1: Robby Gordon’s Team Dakar USA arrived at the Belém Cultural Centre in Lisbon for scrutineering in an impressive all black convey that consisted of six off-road vehicles that include the H3 race Hummer, a T4 4×4 race entry to support the H3, a 4×4 support truck, a 6×6 support truck, and two assistance Hummer H1’s. See full reports at robbygordon.com, also at dakar.comraid-live.com and doindonuts.com.(1-6-2007)
  • Wood Brothers/JTG Racing sign delvelopment driver: 17-year old Georgia native John Wes Townley has signed a developmental driver contract with the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Organization. Townley will continue his late model campaign in 2007 with backing from long-time sponsor Zaxby’s, as well as BB&T Bank, Coca-Cola and Lang Signs. He intends to run the entire 2007 ASA Late Model South schedule in addition to five selected USAR Hooters Pro Cup events. Currently, Townley is enrolled in the Future Stars in Racing Training and Development Academy, where he is working on his skills outside the race car.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(1-6-2007)
  • ESPN2 Garage Programs Set for Jan. 6th Debut…Today: Motorsports and automotive enthusiasts will be able to continue their celebration of the New Year during the first weekend of January with three new television programs that will premiere on ESPN2. All part of the new ESPN2 Garage block of programming, Truck Stop, Chopper Nation and Autotrader.com DRIVE in HD will debut on ESPN2, while Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era will continue its run, giving viewers the opportunity to catch up on episodes they may have missed since the show’s early-December debut. The first episode of Truck Stop will air at 10am/et on Saturday, January 6, followed at 10:30am/et. by the premiere of Chopper Nation. The next day, a one-hour episode of Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era airs at 10am/et, followed at 11am/et by Autotrader.com DRIVE in HD. ESPN2 Garage will include 19 different shows that feature nearly every facet of the industry – from car auctions to custom-car programs to an animated series and reality shows. The programming will be aired Saturday and Sunday mornings on ESPN2 during January, and will expand to include weekday afternoons and evenings in February. Other groups of shows are scheduled to run in the second, third and fourth quarters of the year. ESPN2 is seen in 91.7 million homes.(ESPN PR)(12-28-2006/1-6-2007)
  • Boris Said fastest in Bodine Bobsled Challenge Friday: Boris Said posted the fastest two runs Friday at Mount Van Hoevenberg and easily won the qualifying for the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. Said bested the driver who organized the unique event by nearly a second and was the target of more than a few barbs when he finished. Said figured to be the man to beat over the 17-turn layout. He won the first race in the event’s inaugural run a year ago and his late father, Bob, drove in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics for the U.S. bobsled team.(Associated Press), see more at bodinebobsled.com(1-6-2007)

    News from January 5, 2007

  • Negotiations progressing between Roush and Red Sox owner UPDAT done deal: The negotiations in the sale of a portion of Roush Racing to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group are progressing well, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. Many of the major points have been agreed upon since the negotiations began in earnest in September. “The big principal points, that’s all buttoned up,” Smith said. “I think by the first of the year, we’ll [know]. We’re going along pretty fast. By Daytona for sure.” One of those pieces involves what percentage of the racing organization the Fenway Sports Group will own. Jack Roush will not relinquish control of the team. “We have been open to being all the way up to equal [partners], but not more than equal [for them],”(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)
    UPDATE: the [Red] Sox deal for a half-interest in Roush Racing, the class of NASCAR racing, is done. Reported price: $62 million. Formal announcement to follow.(at the bottom of a Boston Globe article)(1-5-2007)
  • Carter leaves MWR? heads to Roush? UPDATE 2: hearing that Crew Chief Larry Carter, recently announced as #00-David Reutimann’s crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing, supposedly has left MWR and will be #26-Jamie McMurray’ crew chief at Roush Racing.(12-18-2006)
    UPDATE: Larry Carter has left Michael Waltrip Racing to join Roush Racing, MWR general manager Ty Norris said Wednesday. Carter had been a part of building of MWR from the beginning and was slated to serve as crew chief for rookie #00-David Reutimann in 2007. He told Norris of his decision to leave shortly after Matt Borland was named crew chief for #44-Dale Jarrett earlier this month. Norris refused to call Carter’s departure a setback. “We only need people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a period of time for the betterment of our company,” he said Wednesday. “You’re either in the mode to do it or you do not want to. There were a couple of people who were not willing to do it.” Norris said Carter was given an out in his contract. Carter will be McMurray’s fourth crew chief at Roush Racing in less than a year. McMurray began last season with crew chief Jimmy Fennig, then inherited Bob Osborne from Carl Edwards’ team in April. Osborne returned to Edwards for the final two races and Wally Brown, who has since left Roush Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished out the year with McMurray.(ESPN.com)(12-21-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing announced Larry Carter will serve as the crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the #26 Crown Royal / IRWIN Industrial Tools team. Carter, who has more than 12 years in the NASCAR industry, will lead the #26 team in the upcoming Nextel Cup season. “It was a great opportunity when I first got the call from Jamie (McMurray),” Carter said. “I know last year the No. 26 team had their struggles, but I think with the team we have assembled for next year, we’ll have everything in place to have a good season. I’m looking forward to starting this season with Jamie. Not only will I be working with Jamie, but with the other four crew chiefs here at Roush. Being able to put five heads together is what makes Roush such a great team.”(Roush Racing PR)(1-5-2007)
  • Kelley expects Dale Jr. to re-sign with DEI, talks about Teresa’s comments: Thursday [Jan 4th] on “The Morning Drive” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128, hosts Marty Snider and David Poole spoke with Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Dale Jr.’s sister and JR Motorsports executive.
    On Dale Jr.s’ contract:
    Host, David Poole: “Where does [Dale’s] contract stand? What’s the situation? Obviously he’s got one more year [signed thru 2007] with DEI and beyond that where do we stand?”
    Kelley Earnhardt Elledge: “Well, we are continuing to negotiate with DEI and it is our hope and intent that we can remain a driver there for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and to carry on what my dad has started in the late 90s but we haven’t come to terms on anything yet. It’s our hope that we have something about mid-year that we can announce our direction and maybe even sooner if we can get things worked out. It’s just a very lengthy process. There are a lot of variables for all of us to contemplate. Obviously they’ve added new staff over there so as the new people come on board, maybe they have some new ideas and changes as we continue down the path and try to negotiate with them. We’ve been negotiating for about four months, I would say, and there’s just a lot to think about on both sides of the plate. So, to date we haven’t come to terms on any kind of agreement but we’re working diligently at it and we hope to be able to announce something in probably mid-year of 2007.”
    Host, Marty Snider: “Have other car owners called you just to say, ‘Hey, just in case, just want to let you know we’re here and if you’re interested we would be interested?'” [see story/comments on my #8 Team News & Links page]
    Earnhardt Elledge: “It’s actually pretty interesting. We haven’t had a lot of calls in that regard. I think most everyone in the sport believes and would like to see Dale continue at DEI. It’s obviously the perfect fit in terms of family, in terms of the fans, in terms of the sport and what all that means to the sport. So I think the reason that people haven’t called is because of that, because they automatically think, ‘Hey, that’s the best place for him.’ So if we can work out all the things on the side of competition and our endorsements and sponsors and how we work together and partner with them, that is the best scenario. So it’s just a matter of whether we can come to terms with that.”
    On Teresa’s comments on Dale Jr. in the Wall Street Journal:
    In the December 14 article on new DEI executive Max Siegal, Teresa Earnhardt was quoted as saying about Dale Jr., “Right now the ball’s in his court to decide on whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver or whether he wants to be a public personality.”
    Earnhardt Elledge: “I was surprised at the comment. I think Dale was surprised at the comment. But I think most everybody in the industry knows that Dale’s focus has been at its highest. His number one desire and his passion is driving that race car and that’ll never change. He’s not interested in the business and the personality in the way that he is with the race car. And I don’t think any of the drivers are. When you’re a race car driver your passion is the excitement and what you get out of the feel of that race car. I’ve been in the race car and I know how that feels. We have a strong staff here at JR Motorsports that handles the business side so he can concentrate on driving.”
    “Being a public personality comes with the territory of being a public sports figure and Dale is the most popular driver, voted by the fans for the fourth year in a row. He’s the son of Dale Earnhardt. That, in itself, lends it to being a public personality and it just comes with who he is. He is extremely marketable. He’s extremely popular. He’s very true to himself. He’s very authentic and that’s why the fans, that’s why other entertainers, other music entertainers, that’s why they like him and want him to be a part of things.”
    “We haven’t been able to speak to Teresa about exactly what she meant with the statement but it is part of who he is and who he is as a race car driver but his number one focus is being competitive in that race car. If he’s not doing that he’s not having fun and the rest of it doesn’t matter to him.” “The Morning Drive” airs weekdays (7-11am/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / Channel 128.(Sirius PR)(1-5-2007)
  • No Crew Changes at the #48, but new spotter UPDATE: hearing that the #48 Lowe’s / Hendrick Motorsports Chevy team and driver Jimmie Johnson expect no changes to the over-the-wall championship team when Nextel Cup testing begins next week in Daytona with the exception of spotter Earl Barban who is no longer with the team [no idea what team he is going to]. Crew Chief Chad Knuas is reviewing resumes for a new spotter.(1-4-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing Barban will be #38-David Gilliland’s spotter in 2007.(XM Radio)(1-5-2007)
  • New Sponsor for the #25? hearing that Labor Ready will sponsor the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears in some form in 2007.(1-5-2007)
  • Finley named #36 crew chief, also many addtions to organization: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that Derrick Finley will serve as crew chief for the #36 OTC 360 team and driver Jeremy Mayfield. In addition, the team has added several key employees to its organization. Finley, 35, began his tenure at Bill Davis Racing near the end of the 2003 season and was chosen to become the crew chief of the #22 Caterpillar team for the final two races of the 2004 campaign. Finley spent 2005 calling the shots for that team before moving to the #55 [Michael Waltrip] team for the 2006 season. Midway through 2006, Finley returned to his engineering roots and became a key part of both the #55 and #22 teams’ efforts. Finley will pair up with veteran driver Jeremy Mayfield in 2007.
    In addition, Bill Davis Racing has added several key employees to its roster. Gene DeHart has been called upon to oversee the team’s speedway program. DeHart most recently was involved with DeHart, Inc., using his expertise hanging bodies and building Chassis for various Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Series teams. Prior to that he was with Kevin Harvick, Incorporated.
    Gary Grossenbacher has also joined BDR and will function as the Cup program aerodynamicist. Grossenbacher spent the past three years working as the Technical Director for Synergy Racing in the Grand American Sports Car Series. Before that, Grossenbacher worked for G2 Inc., on its General Motors Motorsports Technology Group contract, which included engineering design, manufacturing, application and support of NASCAR suppliers and race teams.
    Veteran crew chief Gene Nead has also been hired by Bill Davis Racing. Nead comes to BDR from Kevin Harvick, Inc. where he guided the #77 Busch Series team. At BDR Nead will oversee research and development as well as lead the ARCA RE/MAX and Busch Series programs for BDR driver Bobby Santos.
    The engine department has added the knowledge and skills of Dr. Andrew Randolph. Dr. Randolph received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1985. During a 22-year career at General Motors and in NASCAR, Dr. Randolph’s work has ranged from fundamental engine research to mass-production engine development and from Wankel rotaries to Pro Stock drag engines. In the process he has become one of the world’s foremost authorities on combustion analysis. He has contributed to five NASCAR Cup championships with three different teams. Dr. Randolph most recently served as Director of Engine Development for Hendrick Motorsports.(BDR PR)(1-5-2007)
  • Motorsports this week on ESPN2: ESPN2 will air back-to-back new episodes of Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era, Sunday, Jan. 7, starting at 10:00pm/et. In episode five of the documentary series, Waltrip races a Toyota for the first time in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and the driver and his future teammates end the 2006 Nextel Cup season with a difficult weekend at the Florida track. The sixth episode airs at 11:00pm/et and features Waltrip attending the NASCAR awards banquet in New York City. Teammate Dale Jarrett gets hand surgery and David Reutimann tests the new intermediate track Toyota at Kentucky Speedway. A repeat episode will air earlier in the day at 10:00am/et as part of ESPN2 Garage which includes Truck Stop, Chopper Nation and Autotrader.com DRIVE in HD, will debut this weekend at 10:00am/et.(ESPN PR)(1-5-2007)
  • Penske tests at Nashville: Penske Racing Team Drivers #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch tested Thursday at the Nashville Superspeedway. The 1.33-mile “D”-shaped concrete oval was used for testing Newman’s #12 Dodge Cup Car and Busch’s #2 Dodge Cup Car. The test was rained out at approximately 3:15. Testing will not resume tomorrow. The test was closed to all media and fans.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-5-2007)
  • Sad News – Dan Shaver: Dan Shaver, 56, ARCA/Busch Series driver and team owner, died Tuesday Jan. 2 at his home after a battle with cancer. A lifelong resident of Charlotte, he was a graduate of South Mecklenburg High School, attended Central Piedmont Community College and served in the US Army Reserve. An exceptionally successful entrepreneur, he left a Texaco distributor in 1979 to start his own petroleum wholesale firm, Carolina Petroleum Distributors. Shaver established Shaver Motorsports in 1992, and drove in the IMSA, SCCA, ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Dash and Busch Series. In SCCA and IMSA competition, Shaver recorded 23 victories. In 17 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts his best finish was 9th at Michigan. Shaver also made two Busch Series starts in 2002 for Jay Robinson with a best finish of 38th at Chicago. Shaver Motorsports also formed divisions focusing on engine building and driver development. As a team owner, Shaver´s drivers included Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Todd Bodine, Justin Marks, Jeff Buice and Ron Cox. Dan Shaver is survived by his wife Donna and two children. On-line memorials and tributes may be made at www.mem.com. In honoring Dan’s wishes, funeral services will be private. Contributions can be made to the Dan Shaver Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 240606, Charlotte NC 28224 or to Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region, 1420 E 7th St., Charlotte NC 28204.(Charlotte Observer/ARCARacing.com)(1-5-2007)
  • New Driver for Hendrick Motorsports? Landon Cassill UPDATE: The Gazette [of Cedar Rapids Iowa] is reporting: Landon Cassill, a 17-year-old senior at Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School, has signed a contract to drive for NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports, he told The Gazette today [1/2/2007]. Cassill joins a powerhouse race team that includes Nextel Cup champions #48-Jimmie Johnson and #24-Jeff Gordon, as well as #5-Kyle Busch [and #25-Casey Mears]. “I feel really, really honored to be part of this organization,” Cassill said. “I’m honored to be in such an elite group.” it says to “See more of this story in Wednesday’s Gazette.”(The Gazette)
    AND Landon will move to North Carolina in March to begin working full time for Hendrick Motorsports.(kcrg.com), of note: Cassill can’t drive in the NASCAR Cup, Busch or Truck series until he is 18 [July 7th] and since Hendrick Motorsports has four team in Nextel Cup [the limit], it won’t be a full-time Nextel Cup ride, look for this to be a development program of some sort [ARCA, Trucks, Busch], also Cassill was part of the GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation program and made it to the final stages.(1-3-2007)
    MORE: Landon Cassill — most recently an ASA racer who surged from 30th to fourth in the October race at Iowa Speedway — will graduate high school in February and journey to Hendrick headquarters March 1, his father said. Roger Cassill said Landon has already tested cars for Hendrick, and his future role with the team will include more of that while he’s groomed as a developmental driver. Cassill said his son may test Gordon’s “Car of Tomorrow” next week. “Hendrick was really good about coming in and saying they think he’s got the talent and they are more interested in developing him rather than making a bunch of promises,” Cassill said. “If he’s not ready he’s not going to race. As soon as he’s ready, he’s going to race.”(Des Moines Register)(1-3-2007)
    UPDATE: Cassill will take part in two tests – one this month – while continuing to build a base of knowledge and experience. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said Cassill is the only driver with the organization other than defending Cup champion Johnson, four-time series champ Gordon, Busch and Mears. Cassill’s progress toward a possible behind-the-wheel NASCAR career will be measured in baby steps. “Right now we’re solely focused on seat time,” Essex said.(Des Moines Register)(1-5-2007)

    News from January 4, 2007

  • TNT looking at no commercial breaks in 2007? UPDATE Pepsi 400 only?: Sports Business Journal reports that TNT is floating a package to potential advertisers that would allow advertising during the race broadcast and eliminate commercial breaks. The advertising would take place on the screen during the broadcast and allow continuous race coverage. TNT will broadcast six Nextel Cup races next summer. The story reports that officials from Turner and NASCAR would not comment. The story also reported that TNT’s Cup ratings are down 8.3% from last season.(Roanoke Times)(10-18-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing that the Pepsi 400 at Daytona will be shown with no commercials by TNT [in primetime] and the coverage will be sponsored by…Pepsi, but the other five races, as of now, will be shown with commercial breaks.(1-4-2007)
  • Martin’s early 2007 sched announced: Mark Martin, who will run a limited Nextel Cup schedule for the first time since 1987, will once more run the Bud Shootout and the Daytona 500. Martin’s Ginn Racing team announced the first 14 races of the 47-year-old driver’s limited 2007 Cup schedule Tuesday. Martin will compete in the #01 Army-sponsored Chevy in 2007, sharing the ride with rookie Regan Smith. Martin returns for both the Bud Shootout and Nextel All-Star Challenge non-points events. In addition to the season-opener at Daytona, he’ll also compete at California Speedway (Feb. 25), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 11), Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 18), Texas Motor Speedway (April 15), Phoenix International Raceway (April 21), Richmond International Raceway (May 5), Darlington Raceway (May 12), Lowe’s Motor Speedway (May 27), Dover International Speedway (June 3), Pocono Raceway (June 10) and Michigan International Speedway (June 17). Due any unforseen circumstances, when Martin skips the March 25 race at Bristol Motor Speedway, he’ll snap a string of 617 consecutive starts dating back to Feb. 14, 1988. Martin’s first “car of tomorrow” race will be at Phoenix. Smith will compete at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 25), Martinsville Speedway (April 1) and Talladega Superspeedway (April 29). The remainder of Martin’s schedule will be announced later this year.(SceneDaily.com)(1-4-2007)
  • BAM Racing retains Bliss, hires McCall, to run Evernham engines: BAM Racing announced that Mike Bliss will return as driver of the #49 WhatsOnline.com Dodge heading into the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season. In addition, the team is pleased to welcome veteran crew chief Lee McCall to lead the team. Bliss joined BAM Racing toward the end of last season amidst restructuring efforts for the team. In just seven attempted starts with BAM Racing, he qualified on time for six events with an average starting position of 27.0 and an average finish of 32.8. He garnered attention in Atlanta and Charlotte by nearly capturing top-10 finishes in both events. With the anticipated increase in the number of teams in the Nextel Cup Series coupled with tighter competition, BAM Racing has opted to utilize Evernham Engines in 2007. After a successful relationship with Arrington Engines, the move provides additional research and support for the team. Veteran crew chief Lee McCall brings the wisdom and insight of over 20 years in motorsports to BAM Racing. McCall comes to BAM Racing from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates after years with the organization. Most notably, he served as crew chief for Sterling Marlin for over three seasons with the team contending for the championship title in 2002. For more information about BAM Racing, visit www.bam49racing.com.(BAM Racing PR)(1-4-2006)
  • Whitt to run for ROTY in #72: ROTY candidate Brandon Whitt in the #72 for Daytona 500. The CJM Racing Team will participate in Daytona’s 2nd testing session January 15th-17th and also at a later date in Las Vegas. Crew Chief Doug George and Derek White, Team Director, are excited about the direction of the #72 Chevy Team. “We’ve added some key personnel in the off-season along with equipment upgrades, and our December Kentucky test showed it,” stated Derek White. “We had a really strong test in Kentucky. Brandon has shown us the poise and consistency on the track necessary to make this Team a strong one.” The Team is looking for sponsorship to join co-primary Dutch Quality Stone.(CJM Racing PR)(1-4-2006)
  • Congrats: Cooper Berrier was born early Saturday, December 30th at 1:44am to Todd and Ginger Berrier. Cooper weighed 8lbs 9oz.(1-4-2007)
  • Sad News: Larry Childress: Mr. Larry J. Childress [brother of Richard Chirldress], 59, of Pfafftown, NC went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at his home. He was born Sept. 5, 1947, to the late Robert Reed and Virginia Harrell Childress. Mr. Childress was a member of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church, where at one time he was a member of the United Methodist Men’s Fellowship. Racing was his life and joy. He was associated with NASCAR for the past 25 years in many different aspects. He also was affiliated with RCR [Richard Childress Racing] Promotions and most recently with Childress Properties. He was an avid motorcyclist and loved the outdoors. He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Judy C. Childress of the home; a son, Larry C. Childress, and wife Tia of King; two grandchildren, Carter Jackson Childress, 2 years old and Avery Michelle Childress, 4 months old, whom he adored; two sisters, Linda Cline and husband Thomas of Cherokee and Becky Hodge and husband Johnny of Winston-Salem; two brothers, Richard Childress and wife Judy Kay of Lexington and Ronnie Childress and wife Debbie of Winston-Salem, many, many cherished friends and a very special companion, his dog Angel. A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel, with the Rev. Richard W. Payne officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-4-2007)
  • More testing at Kentucky Speedway: #19-Elliott Sadler, #10-Scott Riggs and #55-Michael Waltrip were scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, Jan 3rd and #21-Ken Schrader and #21-Jon Wood are scheduled to test there on Tues. January 9th. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentuckyspeedway.com)(1-4-2007)

    News from January 3, 2007

  • Rudd to run #88 for RYR: Sources close to Robert Yates Racing told ESPN.com Wednesday that Ricky Rudd’s Snickers Ford will carry the #88 in 2007. An announcement is expected as soon as this weekend, one source said. Since the mid-December announcement that Rudd would return to Nextel Cup Series racing following a year layoff, considerable speculation has centered on what number his RYR Ford would carry. Team officials were undecided and a bit evasive during a conference call following the announcement, leading many to speculate the number would switch to# 28 — the number carried by Yates’ first-ever Cup Series entry from its inception through 2003, when the car was switched to #38. Asked his preference, Rudd said he’d take the #28, which he drove for Yates from 2000-2002, posting three wins and 34 top-five finishes. But he’ll get the #88, a decision made based on a 2002 agreement between RYR and Texaco/Havoline, sources said. The agreement, sources said, was that RYR could keep the #28 when Texaco left for Chip Ganassi Racing [#42 Dodge], but that Yates would wait several years to run the number. Yates and Masterfoods — Snickers’ parent company — wanted to run the #28, but couldn’t reach the required agreement with Texaco to do so, sources said.(ESPN.com)(1-3-2007)
  • Kerr named Reuitmann’s crew chief: Frank Kerr will replace Larry Carter as crew chief for #00-David Reutimann at Michael Waltrip Racing. Carter recently left MWR to become the crew chief for #26-Jamie McMurray at Roush Racing. “Frankie has been running our testing and Reutimann has been our test driver because everybody else has been busy,” Waltrip said. “They’ve had some wonderful tests and have worked real well together.” An official announcement is expected over the next few days. Kerr, a former car chief for #7-Robby Gordon and crew chief for Travis Kvapil in the Busch Series, will join Matt Borland (#44-Dale Jarrett) and David Hyder (#55-Waltrip) as crew chiefs for MWR’s three Nextel Cup teams.(ESPN.com)(1-3-2007)
  • James Hylton Enters Daytona 500 in RCR car: in 1966 James Harvey Hylton was named “Rookie of the Year” in NASCAR’s Grand National Division [now known as Nextel Cup], starting an amazing career that would span five decades. During his career, Hylton would go on to finish second in NASCAR Grand National points in 1966, and repeat that performance during the 1967 and 1971 seasons. He would also score wins in the 1970 Richmond 400 [Cup], the 1970 NASCAR Grand American Citrus 250 [a NASCAR touring series] and the 1972 Talladega 500 [Cup] along with capturing four pole positions in NASCAR Winston / Nextel Cup competition. During his career, Hylton recorded 140 Top-Five finishes and 301 Top-Ten finishes in NASCAR Winston / Nextel Cup and in 2006, he finished 18th in points in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
    When asked why he has set his sites on the 2007 Daytona 500, Hylton states “I have never been able to come to Daytona with a well-financed operation and a first-rate car. I have always wanted to be able to race the 500 and not be limited by budget constraints and even though it has taken over 40 years, I am finally at that position. At my age, the odds against me are astronomical but it’s a challenge and I love a good challenge.”
    Long-time friend J.C. Weaver and his upcoming music festival, GrahamFest, will sponsor Hylton. Weaver is owner of Mountain Rock Music, a publishing and recording company.
    Hylton will drive the #58 Chevy built and prepared by Richard Childress Racing of Welcome, NC. The car was constructed on a Ronnie Hopkins chassis and is powered by engines from the RCR shop. A crew chief for the team will be named during January. Hopkins is also constructing a “Car of Tomorrow” for Hylton Motorsports, which will debut in March at Bristol. When Hylton Motorsports comes to Bristol, Damon Lusk of Kennewick, WA, will take Hylton’s place in the seat of the #58 car and Hylton will become Crew Chief. Lusk has two wins in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition along with along with 10 Top-5 and 23 Top-10 finishes. Lusk has also recorded 17 Busch Series starts and six Craftsman Truck series starts. “We are looking at running 19 Nextel Cup races in 2007 and Damon is a perfect fit for our plans,” states Hylton. Hylton has competed in 16 Daytona 500s, with his best finish being a third in 1967.(Hylton Motorsports PR)(1-3-2007)
  • Speed to air Daytona testing shows; SPEED will begin its NASCAR season with coverage of NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing days on Jan. 8 at 7:00pm/et. The 30-minute highlight shows will feature testing coverage from the Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series sessions at Daytona International Speedway, giving NASCAR fans their first looks at new drivers, new teams and new race cars. NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing shows on SPEED (subject to change; check local listings):
    * Jan. 8 at 7pm/et – Nextel Cup Series testing
    * Jan. 9 at 7pm/et – Nextel Cup Series testing
    * Jan. 10 at 7pm/et – Nextel Cup Series testing
    * Jan. 11 at 7pm/et – Testing highlight show
    * Jan. 12 at 7pm/et – Craftsman Truck Series testing
    * Jan. 14 at 6:30pm/et – Craftsman Truck Series testing
    * Jan. 15 at 6:30pm/et – Nextel Cup Series testing
    * Jan. 16 at 6:30pm/et – Nextel Cup Series testing
    * Jan. 17 at 6:30pm/et – Nextel Cup Series testing
    * Jan. 18 at 6:30pm/et – Testing highlight show
    * Jan. 22 at 7pm/et – Busch Series testing
    Beginning Jan. 29, SPEED also will cover NASCAR test sessions from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    NASCAR testing coverage will lead into SPEED’s 12-day Daytona Speedweeks program schedule, highlighted by LIVE coverage of the Gatorade Duels repeated in Prime Time, the Craftsman Truck Series season opener, the inaugural SPEED Performance Awards, the Bud Shootout Drawing, the ARCA season opener and the return of popular SPEED shows, including NASCAR RaceDay, Trackside, NASCAR Live!, Wind Tunnel, Tradin’ Paint, NASCAR Performance, Inside Nextel Cup, NASCAR Victory Lane, The SPEED Report and the debut of the SPEED Road Tour Challenge.(speedtv.com PR)(1-3-2007)
  • Villeneuve’s sponsorship drive stalls: Former Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve’s road to NASCAR continues to hit speed bumps. After weeks of searching for a sponsor to come up with the roughly $18-million (U.S.) he needs to secure a ride in the NASCAR Busch Series [plans were to team up with Roush Racing], the 1997 world champion driver has apparently set his sights a bit lower. A source close to the 35-year-old native of Iberville, Que., said he is now looking into other ways of getting into a stock car. “He’s even talking about doing the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series now and then, do some Busch, to try to get into it,” the source said. On his official website, Villeneuve’s Christmas message alluded to a forthcoming deal, but did not specify where he might land. (Globe and Mail)(1-3-2007)
  • Nardelli resigns from Home Depot: Bob Nardelli abruptly resigned Wednesday as chairman and chief executive of The Home Depot Inc. after a six-year tenure that saw the world’s largest home improvement store chain post big profits but left investors disheartened by poor stock performance. Nardelli has also been under fire by investors for his hefty pay and is leaving with a severance package valued at about $210 million. He became CEO in December 2000 after being passed over for the top job at General Electric Co., where Nardelli had been a senior executive. Home Depot said Nardelli was being replaced by Frank Blake, its vice chairman, effective immediately. Blake’s appointment is permanent, Home Depot spokesman Jerry Shields said. What he will be paid was not immediately disclosed, Shields said.(Associated Press), no idea what, if anything this means to the sponsorship of the #20 Home Depot Chevy that Tony Stewart drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, Home Depot is signed thru 2009.(1-3-2007)
  • #5 looking for new car chief: been told that the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team that Kyle Busch drive for, is looking for a new car chief after Craig Smokstad left to go to the #83 Red Bull Racing team that Brian Vickers drive for.(1-3-2007)
  • COT – Did You Know? from a David Newton article at ESPN.com:
    Did you know NASCAR will pay for the rear wings used on the new Car of Tomorrow, then distribute them at the track and collect them after each race?
    Did you know the COT, which is two inches taller and four inches wider than the current car, will fit inside the current haulers?
    Did you know the inspection process at the track should be faster with the COT because of nine radio frequency IDs that will be installed on each chassis, allowing inspectors to verify its legitimacy electronically instead of manually?
    Did you know the restrictor plate as we know it at Daytona and Talladega likely will become obsolete with the design of the COT engine package?
    Did you know the COT looks more like the car on the street than the one currently on the track because the angles of the windows and headlights aren’t nearly as severe?…….see more and the full article at ESPN.com: Car of Tomorrow shaping up as pretty nice ride.(1-3-2007)

    News from January 2, 2007

  • Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart not testing at Daytona: #20-Tony Stewart and #7-Robby Gordon don’t plan to attend the preseason Nextel Cup testing session scheduled to begin Monday [Jan 8th] at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart did not test at the track in 2005 and 2006 and once again will skip the session with approval from his team. Daytona testing typically means more for crews to get the cars set up right than it does for the drivers. Veteran racer Mike McLaughlin will test the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy for Stewart. Gordon is competing in the Dakar Rally, which runs Jan. 6-21 through seven countries in Europe and Africa. Gordon, who has made the switch from Chevy to Ford, likely will be replaced by P.J. Jones for the test session.(SceneDaily.com), for the tenative list of drivers testing at Daytona, see my 2007 Testing Page.(1-2-2007)
  • Stewart tests winter driving skills: Year after year, vehicles slip and slide out of control as winter conditions wreak havoc, often rendering even the most experienced drivers helpless — but some of the rules drivers have been taught for years have changed. #20-Tony Stewart tested his winter driving skills in upstate New York at a charity event for his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli. He practiced several tips that experts say can help drivers stay safe when they find themselves behind the wheel in bad weather. (see more at ABCnews.com)(1-2-2007)
  • Stewart wins two at Fort Wayne: USAC “Triple Crown” winner Tony Stewart did what many of the sellout crowd wanted – win Saturday night at the Ft. Wayne Memorial Coliseum. And just like he did in Friday’s campaign, he battled from midpack to take the point early. On Saturday, he started ninth, one spot behind where he was Friday, but it took him one less lap to get to the front. He stayed in eighth after the first lap, then picked off four cars on the second and was past Rich Corson – whom he took the lead from Friday – on Lap 7 on the inside of Turn 2 and ran away.(USAC Racing site)(1-2-2007)
  • Kahne races down under: After two nights of thrilling the crowd at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway in Australia, Kasey Kahne’s ability to stay inconspicuous may have come to an end. He finished fourth Monday in the second of two Kasey Kahne International Sprintcars/Coca-Cola Track Championship races at the .28-mile dirt oval in Grenville, a victim of a poor qualifying run that left him with a 14th-place starting position. Kahne was only 20th fastest of the 59 entries during time trials, but won his heat race and steadily worked his way through the field during the A-main feature to finish behind red-hot North Dakota native Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana in one of Kahne’s team cars and Australian Peter Murphy, now a resident of Fresno, Calif. Steve Kinser also raced.(more at NASCAR.com)(1-2-2007)
  • Ward Burton to Drive for Brewco in Busch Series: Brewco Motorsports Inc. announced that Ward Burton will drive the #27 Kleenex Ford in the Busch Series in 2007. Burton will drive 20 races for Brewco and Kleenex Racing, beginning with the Daytona 300. The driver of the remaining 2007 races in the #27 Kleenex Ford will be named in the coming weeks.(Brewco PR), David Green started the 2006 season in the #27 and Casey Atwood finished the season, no word on Atwood’s 2007 plans.(1-2-2007)
  • Stewart/Kahne entered in Chili Bowl: Nextel Cup drivers Tony Stewart [who flipped and was injured last year], Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley are entered in the 21st Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, Tulsa, OK, held January 9-13, 2007. .A.J. Foyt is the grand marshall of the event, other NASCAR drivers [current/former] include: Billy Boat, Aaron Fike, Cory Kruseman, A.J. Foyt IV, A.J. Fike, P.J. Jones, Jason Leffler, Bobby East and Justin Allgaier.(1-2-2007)
  • Sad News: William B. Coleman, Jr: Keith Coleman Racing is sad to announce the passing of owner Keith Coleman’s father, Mr. William B. Coleman, Jr., of New Orleans, LA on December 29th.. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the NASCAR Foundation.(KCR PR)(1-2-2007)