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January 2008 Nationwide Series Archive

  • Gay to Crew Chief for Wallace? Hearing Rick Gay will be Kenny Wallace’s crew chief with Fitz Motorsports. Wallace and Gay worked together at ppc Racing, with Gay serving as Kenny’s crew chief in 2002.(2-1-2008)
  • Cicci Motorsports being auctioned off: UPDATE: Gavel Auction will be auctioning off the #34 team of Cicci Motorsports on February 2 at 10:00 am/et. More info at gavelauction.com(1-22-2008)
    UPDATE: It pains him to do it, but Frank Cicci Jr. is preparing to walk away from the Busch Series race team he’s owned since 1987. The 59-year-old Elmira native, who has tried in vain to secure a sponsor to keep his team running, has put both his race shop and house in Mooresville, N.C., up for sale just two weeks before the opening of the 2008 season.(Elmira Star Gazette)(1-31-2008)
  • Nationwide Series Broadcast Schedule Announced: NASCAR announced the 2008 broadcast schedule for the Nationwide Series. The series, which welcomes new sponsor Nationwide Insurance, opens the season with television partners ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. ABC will televise four events; ESPN will televise three and ESPN2 will have 27. The Oct. 25 race at Memphis Motorsports Park has not yet been assigned. ESPN2 begins its slate with the season-opening race at Daytona at 1:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 16. ABC will broadcast the events at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 15, 2:30 p.m. ET), Talladega Superspeedway (April 26, 3 p.m. ET), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 28, 3 p.m. ET) and Watkins Glen International (Aug. 9, 3 p.m. ET). The Nationwide Series will again race internationally this season – once at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez (ESPN, Apr. 20, 2 p.m. ET) and once at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (ESPN2, Aug. 2, 3:30 p.m. ET). The season-finale Ford 300 on Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 4:30 p.m. ET.Another highlight on the schedule is the first ever NASCAR “double-header” involving the Nationwide Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. Both series will race on Feb. 23 at California Speedway – the NCTS race will be televised on FOX at 3 p.m. ET and the NNS race starts at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.(NASCAR PR), see the complete schedule on the 2008 Nationwide Series Schedule page.(1-30-2008)
  • Eury Sr. staying on as JR Motorsports crew chief: #88-JR Motorsports tried to find a permanent crew chief for driver Brad Keselowski in the Nationwide Series, but in the end, the team has decided to stick with Tony Eury Sr. Eury Sr., who joined the team last year as director of competition, took over as Keselowski’s crew chief last October. Eury Sr. took the crew chief role on an interim basis, but team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. asked Eury to stay on this year.(SceneDaily.com)(1-30-2008)
  • NASCAR Announces Rules Changes for Nationwide Series: UPDATE: NASCAR has issued two major rules changes for the 2008 Nationwide Series season, both designed to save teams money. The first is a tapered spacer on the engine that will be used at all non-restrictor-plate races. The spacer acts like a restrictor plate, cutting horsepower and extending engine life. The second is a hold on the brake package teams use, meaning no upgrades to brake systems will be permitted in 2008.(SceneDaily.com)(1-16-2008)
    UPDATE: Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash says the series will handle the new tapered spacer much the same way it does restrictor plates. The new spacer will be used in all non-restrictor plate races in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series this year as NASCAR tries to lengthen engine life and reduce horsepower. Balash said NASCAR will distribute a random spacer to every team at every track. Each will have a serial number so NASCAR can account for them.(SceneDaily.com)(1-30-2008)
  • Baker Curb Still Working on Sponsorship for #37 Team: UPDATE 3 Burney Lamar Driving?: The [Back Curb] race shop will field at least two Nationwide Series cars this season and, possibly, as many as four, depending on sponsorships. Brad Coleman will drive the #27 Kleenex Ford. Baker said no driver has been placed in the #37 car, which is still attempting to round out its sponsorships. He said the car would race this season. Baker’s son Brad Baker is one of two drivers along with an unnamed Sprint Cup driver that might drive it this season. Gary Baker said the team would also field a No. 43, so Curb can keep the number.(Tennessean)(1-4-2008)
    UPDATE: The team intends to field a second – and possibly a third – car for a partial schedule. Veteran driver Kenny Wallace and Brad Baker, Gary’s son who had an impressive Late Model career, are expected to share wheel time. Those plans remain in development.(Baker-Curb Racing PR)(1-15-2008)
    UPDATE 2: [Kenny] Wallace said he began seriously bargaining for his NASCAR driving future near the end of last season, talking most seriously with a couple of Nationwide Series teams, the management of Baker Curb Racing and Fitz Motorsports owner Armando Fitz. Two weeks ago Baker Curb called to ask Wallace if he’d like to test their #37 Ford at Daytona Preseason Thunder and then later this month when the Nationwide Series tests at Las Vegas. But sponsorship is the big holdup to Baker Curb running the #37, which is a locked-in starter for the season-opening Camping World 300 thanks to its top-30 position in the 2007 Busch Series owner standings. “I guess an ideal situation for me, right now would probably be to run for the championship in the [Nationwide] Series and run a limited amount of Cup races,” Wallace said. “I feel real confident that this team is going to put together a sponsorship,” Wallace said. “Gary Baker and Mike Curb have hired all the boys, built a brand-new shop and it would be hard for me to fathom that they’re just going to shut [the 37] completely down. “I could see them running maybe a limited schedule, but they just moved into a state-of-the-art, 75,000-square-foot building and have got new employees.”(NASCAR.com)(1-20-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Both of the Baker-Curb cars purchased from Brewco Motorsports finished in the top 35 in owner points in 2007 guaranteeing the new team a spot in the first five races of 2008. That will allow driver Brad Coleman in the #27 Kimberly Clark/Kleenex-sponsored Ford and either Brad Baker or Burney Lamar in the yet to be fully-funded #37 ride to get situated and ready to race.(Florida Today)(1-29-2008)
  • Neuenberger Has Sponsor for Daytona; Maybe More: Donnie Neuenberger recently hooked up with Quaker City Castings of Salem [Maryland] for his appearance in the Nationwide Series’ Daytona 300. “We have a one-race contract for now and I am awaiting Donnie’s racing lineup for the balance of 2008 to determine future sponsorships,” said Quaker City Castings president Joe Korff. Neuenberger will pilot the Jimmy Means Racing #52 car at Daytona International Speedway Feb. 16. Royal Farms is the car’s primary sponsor. As an associate sponsor, “The Foundry Guy” and QCC will have an 8×14-inch, full-sized sticker behind the number on both sides of the car.(Vindy.com)(1-29-2008)
  • Daytona Purse Announced: The 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 – the most anticipated event in racing history – will carry a record purse of more than $18 million. The posted awards for “The Great American Race” on Sunday, Feb. 17 will be $18,689,238. The purse for the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy Nationwide Series race is $2,640,772.(Daytona International Speedway PR)(1-28-2008)
  • Ganassi Working on Sponsors for Second Nationwide Car: Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Laulette says the team plans to have two full-time Nationwide Series cars for 2008, but sponsorship hasn’t been finalized for the second car, which will be the #41. Dario Franchitti, Reed Sorenson and Scott Pruett are slated to drive the #40 Fastenal-sponsored Dodge in most of the 35 Nationwide races this year, with development driver Bryan Clauson also getting a few events. “Once we get the second car finalized, then we’ll be able to look at [Clauson] and say, ‘OK, do we pull him out of some of those and put him in a second car?'” Lauletta said. “It’s a few moving pieces. I’m not sure he’s going to get a full season this year, but he’ll get at least half.” And if Clauson is moved to the #41, Kevin Hamlin will replace him in the #40. CGR has changed crew chiefs for the two teams, with Brian Pattie taking over as crew chief for the #41 and Brad Parrott becoming crew chief of the #40 team.(SceneDaily.com)(1-28-2008)
  • Nationwide Series Still Working on COT: Work continues on the Nationwide car of tomorrow program, with the four manufacturers helping to push up the timeline for development of the new car, Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash says. Another wind tunnel test is planned, Balash said, after the four manufacturers in the series – Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Toyota – have constructed “identity” pieces for the car. The chassis is based on the Sprint Cup COT, but the body is all new and likely to be based on “heritage” cars for each manufacturer – though Toyota will likely be the only car maker to stick with the same model as in Sprint Cup. Balash said NASCAR’s plan is still to have the new car run the entire 2009 season, but officials from the sanctioning body have not formally announced the rollout. (SceneDaily.com)(1-28-2008)
  • Willie Allen Working on Nationwide Ride for Daytona: Willie Allen has spent the past month looking for a new NASCAR ride for the start of the coming season. It was the last thing the Hickman County resident expected during the racing offseason after his 2007 campaign. Allen was 15th in the Craftsman Truck standings and was named the series’ rookie of the year. But any perception of job security ended in December when Thorsport Racing dropped him as its driver of the #13 truck and replaced him with 22-year-old Shelby Howard of Greenwood, Ind. “It was a big shock to me,” Allen said. “We had success. We achieved goals we had set. “But that’s racing, I guess.” Allen, 27, said he has been working on signing a one-race deal for the Feb. 16 Nationwide season opener at Daytona. An announcement on a deal could come as early as next week, he said.(Tennessean)(1-27-2008)
  • Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers Sponsoring Gateway Race: The Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers have been named as the title sponsor for the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway and will now be called the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. The 50-dealer organization moves to the Nationwide event after a successful decade of sponsoring GIR’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races.(Gateway Raceway PR)(1-25-2008)
  • Riley – D’Hondt Motorsports Dissolved?: UPDATE After much fanfare, the partnership between Bill Riley and former Yates Racing general manager Eddie D’Hondt is no more. The two announced goals to form an ambitious Cup and Busch program back in August, 2006, aligning themselves with Toyota. But sponsorship never materialized, and the team only made one Nextel Cup race throughout its existence; Marc Goossens finished 38th last June at Infineon Raceway. The Busch program appeared in better shape, with veteran David Green driving a handful of races; however, he and development driver Bobby Santos never could drudge up the financial support to go with them. In half-a-dozen events, their highest finish was 11th with Green at Nashville. While that team has dissolved, Eddie D’Hondt supposedly still plans to remain in the ownership business – he hopes to run some Busch and ARCA races in 2008 under the D’Hondt Motorsports banner.(Fronstretch.com Newsletter)(12-17-2007)
    UPDATE: Eddie D’Hondt announced that his team will field Toyota Camry’s in a limited ARCA effort out of his new shop located in Lakeside Business Park – Mooresville, NC. Piloting the #19 D’Hondt Motorsports entry in the upcoming February 9 Daytona ARCA event will be driver, Jack Bailey. Under the banner of D’Hondt Motorsports, LLC, Bailey will also pilot the # 19 Toyota Camry at, Pocono, Michigan, and Talladega. As the season progresses, there is a strong possibility of additional ARCA races for Bailey, as well as, other drivers competing in DMS cars in both the ARCA Series and some selected Nationwide Series events.(D’Hondt Motorsports PR)(1-24-2008)
  • Darnell to Run 6 Nationwide Races: Craftsman Truck Series driver Erik Darnell said Thursday he will run six Nationwide Series races this season for Roush Fenway Racing, making his Nationwide debut at Mexico City on April 20. Darnell will drive Roush Fenway’s #17 Ford, normally driven by Matt Kenseth, in the Mexico road race. His other races in the Nationwide car are scheduled to be at O’Reilly Raceway Park, the Milwaukee Mile, Gateway, Daytona in July and Montreal.(SceneDaily.com)(1-24-2008)
  • Nationwide Insurance gears up for 2008 Nationwide Series: Nationwide Insurance unveiled key new initiatives that will be launched to enhance the experience of the Nationwide Series for fans, drivers and teams. New initiatives include:
    * The Up to Speed Challenge, an exciting new “fantasy league” experience in partnership with ESPN, not previously available for the series.
    * Nationwide Insurance will provide the largest sponsor contribution to the NASCAR Nationwide Series points fund in series history.
    (Nationwide PR)(1-24-2008)
  • MacDonald Motorsports Announces Daytona Sponsor: CHDT Corp. a consumer products company focused on product placement with wholesalers and retailers nationwide announced today that it will be the primary sponsor for the #72 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge, driven by DJ Kennington, at the upcoming Nationwide Series Camping World 300 at Daytona. CHDT Corp., through its wholly owned subsidiary Capstone Industries, recently launched a complete line of STP branded tools and automotive accessories which logos will be featured on the hood and back side quarter panels on car #72. STP tools will become the official tools of MacDonald Motorsports and will be placed on their website as well as in their garage. The sponsorship also includes a 12-race schedule in the Canadian Tire Series this summer with DJ Kennington, which is viewed on the Speed Channel.(MacDonald Motorsports PR)(1-23-2008)
  • RWI Looking for Top-30 Spot for #64 Car: [Rusty Wallace] is trying to engineer a deal to transfer the owner points from one of the top-30 teams from last season that disbanded for 2008 to his #64, to lock it into the first five races this season, but he wasn’t ready to announce that.(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2008)
  • Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Sponsoring Gillett Evernham: Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will appear on the Gillett Evernham #9 Dodge in four Nationwide races with drivers Patrick Carpentier, Elliott Sadler, and Chase Miller. Those races include Carpentier’s car in Mexico City on April 9, Chase Miller at Kentucky Speedway on June 15 and Sadler at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11 and Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 22.(GEM PR)(1-23-2008)
  • Racing Electronics Chosen at Radio Equipment Supplier for JR Motorsports: JR Motorsports announced a multi-year partnership with Racing Electronics, the industry leader in racing communication equipment. Currently celebrating their 20th year anniversary, Racing Electronics will serve as exclusive 2-way radio equipment supplier to JR Motorsports.(Racing Electronics PR)(1-22-2008)
  • Leicht to Run Some Races for Childress: Stephen Leicht will drive at least two Nationwide Series races for Richard Childress Racing this season and possibly more. The 21-year-old Leicht, who drove for Robert Yates Racing the last two seasons, said that the exact number of races he will run in the #21 entry depends on sponsorship. Bobby Labonte is slated to drive in 15 events in that car. Team owner Richard Childress indicated that Leicht could have a full-time ride in the future, especially if NASCAR changes rules that won’t allow Sprint Cup regulars to win a championship.(SceneDaily.com)(1-22-2008)
  • Northeastern Supply Joins Braun Racing: Northeastern Supply Company will move its support in the Nationwide Series to the #38 Great Clips Toyota of Braun Racing. The leading, regional distributor of plumbing, heating, HVAC, water systems and hardware products in six Mid-Atlantic states will now have been involved in some form of team sponsorship in the Nationwide Series for 16 consecutive years. The familiar Northeastern Supply Company logo graced the #1 Miccosukee Gaming & Resort Chevy race cars the last two seasons in Nationwide Series competition. Northeastern Supply will be joining the Dollar General Corporation as an associate sponsor of the #38 Great Clips Toyota.(On Track Marketing PR)(1-22-2008)
  • Rusty shakes down Nationwide car: Rusty Wallace, the retired NASCAR champion and current ESPN analyst, returned to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the first time since 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series testing when he shook down one of his Rusty Wallace Inc. Chevrolets [#64J, was 13th fastest in the afternoon session]. Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion, has both of his Nationwide Series teams in attendance for this week’s test as his drivers David Stremme and son Steve were preparing for the season-opening Camping World 300 presented by Chevy.(DIS PR)(1-22-2008)
  • Steve Wallace Wrecks in Daytona Garage: IMAGE Steve Wallace knocked down the fence – literally – at Daytona on Monday. The second-year driver was leaving the garage through an opening on pit road when he lost control of his #66 Rusty Wallace Racing Chevy and slammed into a chain-link fence and pole behind the pit wall. Part of a gate was knocked off its hinges, and another part of the fence was twisted. “Sometimes you do the most embarrassing stuff you ever thought you’d do in your life, and today was it,” Wallace said. The front end of Wallace’s car was damaged enough that track workers needed a rollback to take the car back to the team’s garage stall. Wallace said he had been making drafting runs in the afternoon, when brake pads are pulled back off the rotors. “It usually takes four or five pumps to build the pedal back up so the car can stop, and I just honestly forgot the brakes were pulled back, went around the corner too fast, went to hit the brakes, and the brake pedal hit the floor,” Wallace said. “There was nothing I could do about it.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-21-2008)
    IMAGE: See an image of the car on the Daytona Testing page(1-21-2008)
  • Guliani Visits Daytona During Testing: Former New York City Mayor and Republican Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani made a surprise visit during the lunch break of Monday’s Nationwide Series testing. Giuliani, who attended last year’s Sprint Cup Series July race at DIS, took a parade lap around DIS in his campaign bus and then toured the garage area. Giuliani said NASCAR is a sport that must be witnessed in person. “This is a sport that I think most people don’t get this sport until they come and see it,” Giuliani said. “In a strange way, it reminds me of hockey. Hockey is a game that when people watch it only on television, they don’t get it. The minute they go to a hockey match, they are hockey fans. “There’s something about the speed (of NASCAR), the excitement, the risk, tremendous amount of team work. It’s a fabulous sport.”(DIS PR)(1-21-2008)
  • Go or Go Home Drivers to Qualify Together; NASCAR to Provide Tires for Tests: Michael Waltrip suggested last season that drivers outside the top 35 in owners’ points should be allowed to qualify together so nobody would have an advantage in track conditions. NASCAR officials must have listened. The governing body kicked off its annual media tour by announcing that those outside the top 35 in all three series [acutally top 30 in Nationwide and CTS] — Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series — will qualify at the end of their respective session. It also was announced that teams will be provided tires for testing at non-sanctioned NASCAR tests. Sprint Cup teams will be given 200 tires, Nationwide teams 160 and Craftsman Truck Series teams 120.(ESPN.com)(1-21-2008)
  • Keller Uncertain of This Year’s Plans: #11-Jason Keller is testing with CJM Racing this weekend at Daytona in preparation for the season-opening Camping World 300. Keller just hopes he’ll be racing at Daytona International Speedway with CJM come February. Sponsor uncertainties have left Keller’s plans with CJM Racing for the 2008 season in limbo. “Coming down to test there is a little bit of an uncertainty,” Keller said. “CJM, we’ve been looking for a sponsor since the inception last April. We had plans to run the first part of the season but when you’re looking for sponsors, sometimes sponsors come with drivers. I don’t know if that’s going to work in my favor. Some things have popped up of late that could slow my progress down in the Nationwide series. We’ll see how that plays out.”(Daytona PR)(1-20-2008)
  • Wolfe Named Crew Chief for Sauter: Johnny Sauter is back to pilot the #1 Miccosukee Chevy for the entire season. Phoenix Racing has contracted Hendrick Motorsports to supply the power plants for their Chevy this season. The only piece that was missing was a crew chief to guide the team. Jon Wolfe returns in that position for 2008. Wolfe who has 13 wins as car chief with Gibbs Racing and two wins in the Nationwide Series. He returns to PRI from Robert Yates Racing where he was in charge of Research and Development in 2006-2007.(Phoenix Racing PR)(1-18-2007)
  • CitiFinancial Sponsoring Roush: CitiFinancial announced it will be the primary sponsor on a variety of Roush Fenway Racing entries in all 35 Nationwide Series events in 2008. The sponsorship is part of Citi’s new multifaceted, strategic marketing partnership with Roush Fenway Racing. As part of the relationship, CitiFinancial will tap into Roush Fenway’s all-star driver lineup to pilot the CitiFinancial Ford. In addition, Citi will become a major associate sponsor on all Roush Fenway Racing teams, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries of Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, and David Ragan. In the Nationwide Series, Biffle, Kenseth, McMurray, Erik Darnell, Colin Braun, Carl Edwards will split seat time in the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion – which will rotate among the Roush Fenway #s 16, 17, and 60 Fords throughout the season. In addition to displaying the CitiFinancial logo on the quarter-panels, the Citi logo will adorn the hood.(Roush Fenway PR)(1-18-2008)
  • Nationwide on Sideline for Super Bowl: Despite back-to-back Super Bowl spots, with Kevin Federline in 2007 and Fabio in 2006, Nationwide has decided to stay out of the game in 2008, shifting the extra dollars from its estimated $100 million annual budget to an expensive NASCAR sponsorship. Nationwide entered the Super Bowl fray for the first time in 2006 with an ad that featured Fabio and set off a media frenzy worth $7.2 million in ad value, thanks to 158 million impressions and 500 media stories, according to the company’s own in-house return-on-investment measurements. Beyond the challenge of finding a perfect-pitch creative concept, Steven Schreibman [VP-advertising and brand management at Nationwide] also said one-day event just didn’t compare with the almost yearlong opportunity of the company’s new NASCAR sponsorship. “The thing with Nascar is that it lasts 10 months out of the year,” he said. “When it kicks off with the Daytona in February, that’s like the Super Bowl of racing. For Nationwide to be a part of that is huge. This is our first time stepping up and doing a gigantic naming-rights sponsorship of a series. No one in our category is doing this,” Mr. Schreibman said. “For us it was about what was going to be the most consistent, long-term message.”(Advertising Age)(1-18-2008)
  • Kansas Lottery to Sponsor Kansas Nationwide Race: The Kansas Lottery has renewed their sponsorship agreement with Kansas Speedway and will sponsor the Nationwide Series race on Sept. 27, which will be called the Kansas Lottery 300.(Kansas Speedway PR)(1-18-2008)
  • Man Faces Charges for Scamming Drivers Father: UPDATE 2: Abdulmalik Ado-Ibrahim will face additional felony charges for allegedly scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars from the father of a NASCAR Busch Series driver. Ado-Ibrahim is accused of scamming Robert Richardson Sr., of McKinney, the father of NASCAR driver Robert Richardson Jr. According to a bond reduction motion filed by Ado-Ibrahim’s attorney Charles Woods of Dallas, he claims that Richardson Sr. entered into a contract with Maverick Motorsports, Ado-Ibrahim’s company, for race promotions. The motion doesn’t list a date when the two entered into the contract or the services the company promised to provide, but notes that Richardson Sr.’s son, who currently races for Jay Robinson Racing, wanted to be a race car driver and competed in several “sanctioned NASCAR events.” The two eventually engaged in a civil lawsuit, which resulted in drafted settlement agreements that broke down in late 2005 and led Richardson Sr. to file a criminal complaint with the DA’s office.(McKinney Courier-Gazette)(12-14-2007)
    UPDATE: A man accused of scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars from the father of a NASCAR driver will have his day in court Monday. The trial of Adulmalik Ado-Ibrahim is scheduled to begin Monday in 380th Judicial District Court before Collin County District Judge Charles Sandoval, according to Collin County court records. Ado-Ibrahim will be tried on a first-degree felony charge of theft over $200,000 and a second-degree felony charge of securing execution of a document by deception. He also has two additional second-degree felony counts of securing execution of a document by deception and seven third-degree felony counts of aggravated perjury, which he allegedly committed in court proceedings leading up to Monday’s criminal trial and a related civil trial. The Collin County District Attorney’s Office’s Special Crimes Unit alleged Ado-Ibrahim stole about $625,000 from Robert G. Richardson Sr., of McKinney, father of Busch Series driver Robert Richardson Jr., by promising the money would be deposited into a Bank of America trust account that did not exist. They also allege he stole $125,000 of the $625,000 from Richardson Sr. through four checks worth $31,250 each that he made out to Maverick Motorsports, Ado-Ibrahim’s company, according to the indictments.(McKinney Courier-Gazette)(1-11-2008)
    UPDATE: A man accused of scamming the father of a NASCAR Busch Series driver out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was acquitted on Thursday. A jury of four men and eight women took approximately 8-1/2 hours to reach not-guilty verdicts for Malik Ibrahim on three felony counts of securing execution of a document by deception and one felony count of theft. Ibrahim still faces seven third-degree felony counts of aggravated perjury. The SCU claims he made ‘inconsistent statements’ in regards to whether he purchased plane tickets to Malaysia, owned a brokerage account, placed $200,000 in an offshore account and received a master’s degree from the University of Southern California in several pre-trial hearings for his criminal trial, according to grand jury indictments.(McKinney Courier-Gazette(1-17-2008)
  • Gillett Evernham Announces Personnel Changes: Gillett Evernham Motorsports made several personnel announcements involving its engineering and competition departments today as it prepares for the 2008 Sprint Cup and Nationwide seasons with drivers Kasey Kahne, Patrick Carpentier,  Elliott Sadler and Chase Miller. Kirk Almquist, formerly the car director of the #19 Best Buy Dodge, has been promoted to team director of the #9 Dodge in the Nationwide Series.(GEM PR)(1-17-2008)
  • NASCAR Announces Rules Changes for Nationwide Series: NASCAR has issued two major rules changes for the 2008 Nationwide Series season, both designed to save teams money. The first is a tapered spacer on the engine that will be used at all non-restrictor-plate races. The spacer acts like a restrictor plate, cutting horsepower and extending engine life. The second is a hold on the brake package teams use, meaning no upgrades to brake systems will be permitted in 2008.(SceneDaily.com)(1-16-2008)
  • Childress Still Seeking Nationwide Sponsorship: Richard Childress Racing still needs to find sponsorship for development driver Tim McCreadie in the team’s #21 Nationwide Series car. Bobby Labonte will drive the car in 15 races, but the rest of the season is unsponsored, Vice President of Competition Mike Dillon said Monday at Daytona. “We’ve got a commitment to Bobby for the races he’s going to run,” Dillon said. “We’re still trying to sell sponsorship for it, and if we can get it done, we’ll get McCreadie in it.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-15-2008)
  • New Crew Chief for Ambrose: Former Australian racing star and former DEI race engineer Walter Giles will serve as Crew Chief for Marcos Ambrose and the #59 Kingsford/Bush’s Beans Ford. Giles has amassed an impressive list of NASCAR accomplishments since moving to America 12 years ago. Greg Conner [Ambrose’s crew chief last year] will serve as Crew Chief for the team’s R&D efforts. In addition, he will be on the pit box for Ambrose’ Nationwide Series races that fall on weekends when JTG helps alleviate some scheduling conflicts for the Wood Brothers by fielding a four race Sprint Cup campaign for Ambrose and his Cup Sponsor Little Debbie Snacks.(JTG Racing PR)(1-15-2008)
  • Marshall University-Themed Team Planned: Herd Racing, LLC, a West Virginia based Nationwide Series team has received permission to put together a proposed Marshall-themed Nationwide Series car for the 2008 season, using university approved logos. The team has applied for #75 in honor of the 75 lives lost in the Marshall football plane crash on November 14, 1970. Dana Tomes is the Herd Racing majority shareholder, along with his wife Tonya, and both are alumnus of Marshall, and are excited about entering the Nationwide Series and promoting his, and many of his race team’s, alma mater. Marshall University will not pay any sponsorship money for the car as Tomes said Herd Racing, LLC, is trying to promote the university and the Tri-state. Just like the cars, plans to get sponsorship are now under the caution flag, so to speak, for the approaching 2008 NASCAR season now less than a month away. Tomes has some sponsors, and hopes to announce them soon, and is working on more, needing $300,000 to just go to the opening race of 35 this year on the former Busch series. Tomes, and driver Brett Rowe, hope support will come either locally as well as regionally to make the Marshall car, and Herd Racing, LLC, go at top speeds once the flag drops.(Scout.com), more information available at HerdRacing.com. An image is posted on the 2008 Nationwide Paint Schemes page.(1-14-2008)
  • Wood Brothers, JTG Split Stock-Car Operation: After two seasons of cooperatively fielding teams in NASCAR’s three national tours, Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing have split their competition elements for 2008. The two groups will still work together in several administrative functions, including marketing and the teams’ show car programs; as well as their race parts operation, both teams’ principals said Saturday. This season, the two organizations will continue to work out of a 120,000-square-foot shop in Harrisburg, N.C., that currently houses pairs of teams in Cup, Nationwide and the Truck Series.(NASCAR.com)(1-12-2008)
  • Sherman Testing Indy Pro Cars: There’s been no shortage of open-wheel racers switching to NASCAR. Now we have someone going the other way. Former Nextel Cup and Busch Series driver Brent Sherman has tested for Panther Racing’s Indy Pro Series car. Sherman isn’t a stranger to open-wheelers, though. He spent two years racing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. In 2000 he tested a Toyota Atlantic car.(Palm Beach Post)(1-10-2008)
  • Wise sched cut back? hearing that lack of sponsorship has Michael Waltrip Racing cutting back on development driver, Josh Wise. The plan was to run slect Nationwide and Truck Series races and maybe even a Cup race or two in the #00 Toyota.(1-10-2008)
  • Trucking Ministry Joins Morgan Shephed / Faith Motorsports: A missions-based trucking ministry has joined Faith Motorsports as an associate sponsor for the 2008 race schedule, the team announced. Faith Motorsports fields Morgan Shepherd in the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge in NASCAR’s Nationwide racing series. The group, 18 Wheels of Faith Ministries, provides Christian truckers with an opportunity to fellowship and receive edification through an online resource, as well as provide Sunday services and Bible study for America’s over-the-road truckers.(Faith Motorsports PR)(1-10-2008)
  • MacDonald Motorsports to Compete in Full Season: #72-MacDonald Motorsports announced that the organization would be running the full Nationwide Series schedule for 2008. This will be the first time the organization has run a full season since the 2003 Craftsman Truck Series season where the team finished 15th in owner points. “DJ Kennington of Canada, will be returning for 20 events this season, as we are currently constructing a driver developmental program, that will utilize drivers for the remainder of the races. We have also improved our engine program and look forward to a competitive season in the Nationwide Series this season”, claimed owner Randy MacDonald.(MacDonald Motorsports PR)(1-9-2008)
  • Camping World Renews with RCR; Will Sponsor Bowyer: Camping World Inc. and Richard Childress Racing have agreed to a one-year contract extension. The extension will showcase Camping World as the primary sponsor of Clint Bowyer’s #2 Chevys in 10 races. Camping World will also be a major associate sponsor on RCR’s #2 machine for the remaining 25 races and be featured on the car’s lower front quarter-panels.(RCR PR)(1-8-2008)
  • Kvapil not competing in Nationwide Series: Travis Kvapil regrets that he will not be able to compete in the Nationwide Series for Roush Fenway Racing as originally planned, but the Yates Racing Sprint Cup driver says that there are benefits to that decision as well. He says that with no sponsor for his car in the Nationwide Series, the idea of running for the championship was abandoned.(Scene Daily)(1-7-2008)
  • Future of McGill Motorsports in Doubt: UPDATE 2: Crew chief Ricky Pearson has denied rumors that yet another Nationwide Series team, #36-McGill Motorsports, has closed its doors. Pearson says however that the team is dependent upon sponsorship and that they have been put on guard that a decision should be coming within the next few weeks. He adds that barring the team does find the needed funding they would like to continue with Jeremy Clements, “Even if it’s a limited schedule.”(TheHotLap.com)(11-29-2007)
    UPDATE: McGill Motorsports is one of the only remaining stand alone Nationwide Series teams, and they now sit one month removed from the Daytona test with no driver and no sponsor. McGill Motorsports is looking forward to another season in the nation’s #2 racing series, but it will take a sponsor and a driver to ensure the team arrives ready to race in Daytona in February.(Player Management International PR)(12-17-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Pearson said Friday that Boiling Springs-based McGill Motorsports won’t compete in the 2008 Nationwide Series. Pearson, who served as the team’s crew chief for five years in the series formerly known as the Busch Series, said the independent team was forced to take the year off because of a “lack of sponsorship.” “(Our owner) John McGill had spent millions of dollars of his own money to keep the team going,” Pearson said. “He’s at the point where he can’t do that anymore.” Pearson said McGill has sold off some equipment but is still searching for a sponsor and hoping to return to the Nationwide Series in 2009.(Spartanburg Herald Journal)(1-4-2008)
  • National Guard Sponsoring Cassill and Earnhardt Jr in #5: The Army National Guard will continue its involvement in the Nationwide Series in 2008 with a 21-race primary sponsorship of the #5 Chevy with drivers Landon Cassill and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The team will be fielded by JR Motorsports in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports. Cassill will pilot 19 events in the #5 National Guard Chevys, kicking off his season Feb. 23 at California Speedway. The campaign will mark the most extensive racing action for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native and 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate since he signed with Hendrick Motorsports in December 2006. Providing bookends to the 2008 schedule, Earnhardt will drive the “Guard Car” in the Feb. 16 season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and the Nov. 15 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-3-2008)
  • Dollar General to Braun Racing: After three seasons of single team sponsorship in what is now called the Nationwide Series, the Dollar General Corporation is moving to Braun Racing in 2008 with the development of a diverse support program. Dollar General, which supported the Nationwide Series efforts of Kevin Harvick, Inc., for the last two seasons, will serve as a full-time major associate sponsor of the #38 Great Clips Toyota to be driven again in all 35 races by veteran Jason Leffler. Dollar General will also serve as the entitlement sponsor of Braun Racing’s #32 Toyota in 11 Nationwide Series races in 2008. In addition to its support of the #38 and #32 Toyotas, Dollar General will serve as the entitlement sponsor of Braun Racing’s #10 Toyota for one race and in an associate sponsor capacity for the remaining events of both the #10 and #32 cars.(1-2-2008)