January 2008 News Archives

  • News from January 31, 2008

  • Childress named to N.C. Sports Hall of Fame: Richard Childress, the owner of Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, NC will be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in May. Childress is one of eight honorees in the Class of 2008. The NASCAR team owner won six Winston Cup [Now Sprint Cup] championships with Dale Earnhardt Sr. behind the wheel, the Busch Series [now Nationwide Series] Grand National championship in 2001 and 2006 with Kevin Harvick and the Truck Series title in 1995 with Mike Skinner. His team became the first in NASCAR history to win the championship in all three national series. His teams have also won two Daytona 500s. Childress was inducted into the Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame in October. He also owns Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC. The eight inductees will be enshrined at the 45th annual induction ceremony in Raleigh on May 15. They will be introduced at an afternoon news conference at the N.C. Museum of History. Formal induction will come during an evening banquet at the North Raleigh Hilton. Banquet ticket information is available from the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in Raleigh at (919) 845-3455 or at the Hall’s Web site, www.ncshof.com. The museum is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the museum is free.(Lexington Dispatch)(1-31-2008) Comment here
  • Hershey to Honor Dale Earnhardt with Collector Edition Bars: The Hershey Company is offering racing fans a taste of history with the debut of four Collector Edition bars this month featuring iconic images of racing legend Dale Earnhardt. The bars coincide with this year’s 50th Anniversary of the Daytona 500 and the 10th Anniversary of Earnhardt’s historic 1998 Daytona 500 victory. The promotion invites fans to show their respect for the racing legend by visiting www.hersheys.com/dale. The Hershey/Dale Earnhardt Web site gives fans the opportunity to make a donation to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation and also allows visitors to post their name, message and picture online for other fans to view. These individual pictures will become the pieces of a large fan photo mosaic designed to look like Earnhardt, which will be displayed throughout the year. Hershey will notify fans of the exact location of their image within the mosaic. The final mosaic, along with a check representing the funds earned from the promotion, will be unveiled and presented to The Dale Earnhardt Foundation on “Dale Earnhardt Day,”April 29, 2008, at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., in Mooresville, NC. More info on the Dale Earnhardt Tribute page.(Hershey PR)(1-31-2008) Comment here
  • Super Bowl Commercials featuring some NASCAR drivers: The pulse of American pop culture is racing right through Super Bowl Sunday and it’s hitching a ride on the back of Pepsi’s unprecedented slate of Super Bowl advertising that features a lineup of brands, images and stars as diverse as Pepsi’s portfolio of drinks. Promising a one-of-a-kind lineup for a one-of-a-kind day, Pepsi’s Super Sunday lineup includes: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. getting a charge out of AMP Energy drink as he gets over the hump and harness the energy, focus and control he needs to compete in a camel race.(PepsiCo)
    #99-Carl Edwards will appear on advertising’s largest stage this Sunday, February 3 – Super Bowl Sunday in a 60 second Under Amour spot, the brand’s first-ever Super Bowl Commercial. The commercial, showcasing several professional athletes will mark the first time audiences will see Under Armour’s new performance trainers. “I am really looking forward seeing the commercial. I’m going to the Super Bowl and I hope that they show the commercials at the game,” said Carl Edwards. “The scale of the production was huge and I’m looking forward to seeing the end product.”(Roush Racing PR)(1-31-2008) Comment here
  • California Testing – Day 1, night: a much lighter car count of 42 ran laps under the lights at California Speedway testing with #99A-Edwards running the quickest lap in a Ford of 181.228mph, followed by the Ford of #17A-Kenseth, the Toyota of #55A-Waltrip, #16B-Biffle in a Ford and #26B-McMurray in a Ford. The fastest Chevy was #1A-Truex, Jr. at 7th and the fastest Dodge was #9A-Kahne in 12th. Testing contines Friday with a morning and afternoon session. The test involves five sessions over the course of two days and teams are only allowed to test in four of those.
    See speeds on the California Test Speeds and News page.(1-31-2008) Comment here
  • California Testing – Day 1, afternoon: in the 2nd of 3 testing sessions on Thursday at California Speedway, 67 cars ran laps with #24A-Jeff Gordon the fastest in a Chevy at 180.505mph, followed by #99A-Edwards in a Ford, #00B-Reutimann in a Toyota, #8A-Martin in a Chevy and #11B-Hamlin in a Toyota. The fastest Dodge was #9A-Kahne in 9th. The slowest car was #10A-Carpentier at 170.547 then #66A-Riggs. The test involves five sessions over the course of two days and teams are only allowed to test in four of those.
    See speeds on the California Test Speeds and News page.(1-31-2008) Comment here
  • California Testing – Day 1, morning: on the first day of testing at California Speeway, 54 cars ran laps, with a double dose of #11A &B at the top, Denny Hamlin took the top two spots in the morning session on Day 1, with the #11B Toyota at 182.523mph, followed by the #11A Toyota at 181.800. Then #12A-Newman was next in a Dodge, followed by #18-Busch, #8A-Martin and #24A-Gordon was the 5th fastest driver and 8th fastest car. The fastest Ford was #99A-Edwards in 10th. John Andretti tested the #34 Chevy again for Front Row Motorsports as he in in Las Vegas. #40A-Franchitti had the slowest car at 173.435. The track qualifying record is 188.425mph, set by Kyle Busch in Feb 2005.
    Where are #88-Earnhardt Jr., #45-Petty, #43-Labonte on the speed list? they skipped…..The test involves five sessions over the course of two days and teams are only allowed to test in four of those.(SceneDaily.com)
    See speeds on the California Test Speeds and News page.(1-31-2008) Comment here

    News from January 30, 2008

  • Sponsor for Gilliland? It appears that Yates Racing has signed its first sponsor. Freecreditreport.com is expected to sponsor #38-David Gilliland for the first six races of the season.(FoxSports)(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • Dale Jr. upset over DEI’s removal of his memorabilia UPDATE: A mix-up over memorabilia has created hurt feelings with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., while his former team claims it’s all a misunderstanding. Earnhardt said Monday he’s upset that all signs of his stint at Dale Earnhardt Inc. had allegedly been removed from the shop. First told of the absence of his memorabilia last week, he originally said he didn’t care. But at the first day of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt said time to think about it had made him mad. He said the team members that were part of his Daytona 500 victory and two Busch Series championships should be recognized at the shop. “It sort of hurt my feelings that it’s sort of a hack at even the guys that are still there and have worked on that car,” Earnhardt said. “To not see the accolades or any sort of appreciation for the work that they did, and they’re still there.” The absence of Earnhardt-related items was noticed by media who attended a luncheon at DEI last Wednesday. The driver left his late father’s company at the end of last season, and he’ll drive for Hendrick Motorsports this year. But Max Siegel, president of DEI, said Monday that the team has Earnhardt memorabilia on display and “about nine of his old cars” had been moved off the showroom floor to make room for the luncheon. “There seems to be some confusion over memorabilia and merchandise,” Siegel said. “We no longer have a relationship with Dale Jr. or Budweiser, so we have no license, agreement or business reason to sell any of that merchandise in our gift shop. But as far as memorabilia, more than half of the showroom floor is dedicated to Dale Jr.’s history here.”(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(1-29-2008)
    UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said his feelings about the removal of show cars and memorabilia at Dale Earnhardt Inc. were mischaracterized, and he has no ill will toward his late father’s company. Max Siegel, president of DEI’s global operations, said Wednesday that the cars and memorabilia were returned to the showroom after the media luncheon on Jan 23. “There is no anger or ill-feeling towards DEI, period,” Earnhardt wrote Wednesday on his Web site. “Nearly half the cars that were moved out of the showroom to accommodate the media tour consist of cars I’ve won races and championships with, and any fan of mine who wants a glimpse of my past can still and always will find it at DEI. I know that DEI is proud of its past. Max Siegel has been nothing but honest, direct, and supportive. We both sincerely wish success for each other. We both want to move forward diligently with our individual futures in this sport. To continue to have to answer about the past makes it difficult for either one to achieve that. We’re both solidly entrenched in new chapters of our lives, and it’s a great feeling.”(AP/ESPN.com)(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR Now Returns Monday for Second Season: NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily NASCAR news and information program, returns to the air for its second season Monday, Feb. 4, at 6:00pm/et on ESPN2. The program includes highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. The program airs for 30 minutes at 6:00pm/et Monday through Friday of the opening week, and the Monday edition will expand to one hour beginning Monday, Feb. 11. The show also has a one-hour edition at 10:am/et on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race and a Sunday night weekend wrap-up edition. NASCAR Now is hosted by Nicole Manske, Ryan Burr and Allen Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Tim Cowlishaw, along with NASCAR insiders Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, David Newton and Marty Smith, as well as D.J. Copp, a member of Bobby Labonte’s team. NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake, Dale Jarrett and ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentators  Andrés Agulla and Alex Pombo.(ESPN PR)(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • Carpentier not moving to NC: #10-Patrick Carpentier will keep his home in Las Vegas instead of moving to the Charlotte, N.C., area like many drivers. “This year, I’m not moving,” he said. “We love Vegas. Been here since ’99. My daughter, my son were born here. They’ve got a lot of friends here. There’s direct flights from basically everywhere in the States back to Vegas, so for this year we’re going to stay.”(ESPN.com)(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • Robby Gordon wins Laughlin Leap: Sprint Cup team owner/driver #7-Robby Gordon nearly set an event-record in winning Thursday’s SCORE Laughlin Leap competition, a prelude to this weekend’s season-opening 14th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in Laughlin, Nev. Gordon won the large truck division by sending his powerful #77 Chevy CK1500 SCORE Trophy-Truck off the six-foot dirt jump for a distance of 152 feet, 2 inches. A total of 17 of the 29 SCORE Trophy-Trucks entered in last weekend’s race competed in the optional SCORE Laughlin Leap. Gordon came close to the event record of 160’ 6” set in 2004 by Mark Post and nearly topped in 2006 when Carl Renezeder won with a leap of 159’ and Marty Coyne jumped his SCORE Trophy-Truck 157’ in 2005.(RobbyGordon.com)(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • Coronado High school students gain on-the-job training through racing: Thanks to a new program, students at Coronado High School in Las Vegas are learning what it’s like to operate a real-life NASCAR race team. During the 2008 school year, the students will apply the skills they are learning in technical career classes to develop Team Coronado Racing with the goal of operating a Super Late Model race team at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s 3/8-mile asphalt oval, the Bullring. See the full PR at LVMS.com.(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • Some Changes at SPEED; INC changes: In 2008, SPEED will use a wide variety of hosts for The SPEED Report, the network’s signature Sunday motor sports news program, headlined by veterans Bob Varsha, Krista Voda and Leigh Diffey. The new format will begin Feb. 17 at 7pm/et, following the 50th running of the Daytona 500. In addition, the long-running Monday night Inside Nextel Cup will undergo a format change for 2008, as veteran NASCAR personality Steve Byrnes takes over hosting duties on the newly named This Week in NASCAR, set to premiere Feb. 18 at 8:00pm/et. This Week in NASCAR will move away from a Sprint Cup race re-cap and analysis show, moving into a “handoff” position between events, reviewing topical items from previous races in all three NASCAR national touring series, while also looking forward to upcoming events. Familiar faces, including Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle and Ken Schrader will remain as regular Monday night panelists, with NASCAR crew chiefs, including two-time champ Chad Knaus also joining the show.(SPEED PR)(1-30-2008) Comment here
  • Some Las Vegas Day 2 testing notes: Trading places took on new meaning for Gillett Evernham Motorsports teammates #10-Patrick Carpentier and #9-Kasey Kahne Tuesday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Each driver hopped in the other’s seat for a few laps – a crucial learning exercise for Carpentier, a 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate. “It’s been wonderful,” he said of Kahne’s willingness to help. “They’ve been working with me, helping quite a bit. We’ll see how it goes this afternoon, but it really helps me in the way I describe the car,” Carpentier said of Kahne’s driving comparison. “If his car is really different, I’ll say, ‘Maybe that’s what I need to have and get used to. I have to get a bit better car.’ He’s pretty nice to just say, ‘Stop this test.’ Get in the car, says what he thinks about it. It’s always helpful.” The Sprint Cup field – were completing their second day of testing at Las Vegas, part of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, NASCAR’s annual preseason test sessions.(NASCAR PR)
    MORE Turn 3 doubled as Calamity Corner today. #55-Michael Waltrip, #20-Tony Stewart and #31-Jeff Burton left their marks on the Turn 3 fence but no injuries were sustained. The NASCAR Nationwide Series (formerly Busch Series) will test at LVMS Wednesday and Thursday.(LVMS PR)
    AND: The afternoon session was shortened by about 10 minutes when #24-Jeff Gordon’s car dropped oil on the track as darkness was closing in on the speedway. In other on-track incidents, #31-Jeff Burton wrecked his Chevrolet in the morning session, while #20-Tony Stewart scraped the wall in the afternoon and #55-Michael Waltrip spun his car.(ESPN.com)(1-30-2008)
  • California Testing: Southern California area motorsports fans can get their first look at NASCAR’s Cars of Tomorrow at a two-day testing session for Sprint Cup Series cars Thursday and Friday [Jan 31-Feb 1] at California Speedway. The session will put the car on the Fontana 2-mile oval for the first time. The Auto Club 500 is Feb. 24 at California Speedway, a week after the Cup season opens with the Daytona 500. The sessions will be open to the public, with free grandstand seating. There will be access to the infield rooftops to fans who buy Auto Club 500 tickets by Thursday, or for a $5 donation to the NASCAR Foundation for those who haven’t bought tickets. Season-ticket holders who have renewed their seats for 2008 will have a question-and-answer session with #7-Robby Gordon after Friday’s testing is complete. Testing will open Thursday, with sessions 9 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. There are two sessions scheduled for Friday: 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5.(Press-Enterprise)(1-30-2008)
  • Grand Marshals named for Daytona Community Motorsports Parade: Alli Owens, a Daytona Beach native, is proud to announce that she will serve as the Co-Grand Marshal for the Inaugural Community Motorsports Parade. The event, which marks the start of Daytona Speedweeks festivities, is being held on February 2, 2008 in conjunction with the Community Motorsports Festival. NASCAR driver Mike Skinner is the other Co-Grand Marshal. Owens is entering her rookie season in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Driving the #12 ElectrifyingCareers.com Chevy, the 19-year-old is making her first start on the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway. The parade, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00am/et, starts at Lincoln and Mary McLeod Blvd. runs to Beach St. to Magnolia Ave. to City Island.(PR)(1-30-2008)

    News from January 29, 2008

  • Hornish doubtful to run Indy 500 in 2008: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. said Monday it’s doubtful he’ll be able to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600 on May 25. In making the switch from open-wheel to stock car racing, his focus, he said, must remain on NASCAR and the Coca Cola 600. “If it was up to me, I would,” said Hornish, the 2006 Indy 500 champion. “It really depends how things are going over here. I think Roger (Penske) and I have talked about it a couple of times. There’s obviously nothing set. I think if we’re to a point where we feel confident with how we’re doing over here, (if) it’s not going to hurt us, that we would try it,” he continued. “But I would say it’s still way more not going to happen than could happen. So we’ll just see how the first couple months of this season play out. Hopefully, if I don’t get to race there this year, maybe next year.”(Yahoo! Sports)(1-29-2008)
  • LENOX and Jeff Burton Team Up: LENOX announced the kick-off of the LENOX Extra Mile Heroes Program. #31-Jeff Burton and LENOX are conducting a search for users and suppliers of industrial tools who go the extra mile. The winner of the LENOX Extra Mile Heroes Program could receive up to $1 million to split with their charity of choice. In recognition of the LENOX Extra Mile Heroes, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) Sprint Cup race has added a lap; making it the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. For the first time in NASCAR history, the length of the Sprint Cup race will be 301 laps to honor the efforts of these heroes. For more information and to vote, see the Jayski’s Racing Charities Page, see an image of the car on the #31 Team Schemes page.(1-29-2008)
  • Las Vegas Speeds Day 2 PM: 74 cars tested in the afternoon session on Day 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with #42A-Montoya being the fastest at 186.761mph [faster then the track record of 184.856mph ste last March] followed by #84A-Allmendinger in a Toyota, #5B-Mears in a Chevy, #9B-Kahne in a Dodge and #41A-Sorenson in a Dodge. The fastest Ford was #99A-Edwards in 8th. Slowest cars were #42B-Montoya at 178.743mph [ironically #42A was fastest] and #21B-Wood at 178.737mph.
    See speeds on the Las Vegas Test Speeds and News page.(1-29-2008)
  • Las Vegas Speeds Day 2 AM: 75 cars took laps today in Day 2 of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fastest in the AM session was #99B-Edwards in a Ford at 184.256mph [almost as fast as the track record of #9-Kahne set in 2007….184.856mph], followed by #00B-Reutimann in a Toyota, #18-Busch in a Toyota, #17B-Kenseth in a ford and #20A-Stewart in a Toyota. The fastest Dodge was #12B-Newman in 7th and the fastest Chevy was #24A-Gordon in 8th. #31A-Burton smacked the wall and did right side damage to the car. There will be one more session in the afternoon, then the teams travel to the California Speedway near Los Angeles for testing on Thursday and Friday.
    See speeds on the Las Vegas Test Speeds and News page.(1-29-2008)
  • IBEW Sponsor Teen Driver’s Run at NASCAR History: The National Labor Management Cooperation Committee, a joint entity of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), announced that it has signed on as sole sponsor of 19-year-old racing phenom Alli Owens, powering her quest to become the first woman to successfully climb the ladder in stock car auto racing. The sponsorship will run through the 2008 racing season featuring Alli in the ARCA Remax Series.(PR Newswire)(1-29-2008)

    News from January 28, 2008

  • Company signs deal to market NASCAR Members Club: Dynamic Response Group, Inc. (DRGP) announced it has signed an exclusive three year deal to market The Official NASCAR Members Club to NASCAR fans residing in the US. Effective immediately, the deal comes on the heels of a successful marketing test, for which Dynamic Response Group created a scalable model to market both “The Club” itself and a bundled merchandise package marketed as a VIP membership.(tradingmarkets.com) and more info at dynamicresponsegroup.com.(1-28-2008) Comment here
  • Who did the cameras focus on in 2007? cawsnjaws.com started to keep records of how many commercials there are during Cup races and how much time they take of every broadcast was in response to many fans’ unhappiness with those numbers. Soon after I started posting the numbers and even have them archived on their own page, Commericals 2007. Also kept track of how much camera time different drivers receive during races. Some results:
    Car No. / Driver / Focus Total (top 5/bottom 5) full time drivers:
    (24) Jeff Gordon – 928
    (48) Jimmie Johnson – 906
    (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 763
    (20) Tony Stewart – 604
    (17) Matt Kenseth – 579
    (44) Dale Jarrett – 54
    (36) Jeremy Mayfield – 42
    (84) A.J. Allmendinger – 36
    (00) David Reutimann – 33
    (4) Ward Burton– 32
    Crew Chiefs:
    (48) Chad Knaus – 57
    (24) Steve Letarte – 44
    (20) Greg Zipadelli – 23
    (8) Tony Eury Jr. – 12
    (5) Alan Gustafson – 9
    See full report at cawsnjaws.com.(1-28-2008) Comment here
  • Las Vegas Speeds Day 1 PM: 74 cars tested in the afternoon session on Day 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with #18-Kyle Busch being the fastest of the day at 183.580mph [getting closer to the track record of #9-Kahne set in 2007 at 184.856mph]. #20B-Tony Stewart was 2nd [and 3rd in thr #20A], then #99A-Edwards [with his #99B 5th]. #29B-Harvick and #88B-Earnhardt Jr. The fastest Dodge was #12B-Ryan Newman who was 16th fastest. Slowest cars were #77A-Hornish Jr. and #26A-McMurray. #65A-McCumbee was in a Chevy, a possilbe 3rd Haas CNC Racing car? Jon Wood tested the #21A Ford. Some Incidents during a very windy day at Las Vegas included: #01-Smith spun off turn two in the early session and spun around and smacked the nose into the inside wall. #77-Hornish scraped the wall hard. #40-Franchitti spun and the rear of the car was heavly damaged. #27-Villeneuve spun around but failed to hit anything. #6-Ragan spun off turn 2, the car was pretty much destroyed. #8-Martin hit a cement piling avoiding a tow truck in the garage area, doing damage to the front end of the car. See speeds on the Las Vegas Test Speeds and News page.(1-28-2008) Comment here
  • Las Vegas Speeds Day 1 AM: on opening day of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 67 cars took to the track. The fastest was #11A-Hamlin in a Toyota at 178.265mph, followed by #07B-Bowyer in a Chevy, #17B-Kenseth in a Ford, #24A-Gordon in a Chevy and #18B-Busch in a Toyota. The fastest Dodge was 19A-Sadler who was 9th. Michael McDowell tested a 4th MWR Toyota [#32] and Chad McCumbee tested one of the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy’s, with Jeremy Mayfield testing another #70 Chevy. NOTE: the track record is held by #9-Kahne who ran 184.856mph to get the pole in 2007.
    See speeds on the Las Vegas Test Speeds and News page.(1-28-2008) Comment here

  • Tragic News for the Motorsports world: The two young sons of Top Fuel racer Doug Herbert were killed in an automobile accident Saturday morning in Lake Norman (Cornelius), NC. Jon, 17, and James, 12, died instantly when their Mazda3 collided with a second vehicle [2004 Hummer]. Herbert, who was in Phoenix for preseason testing, is heading home to be with his family. Condolences can be sent to Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, N.C. 28078. In lieu of flowers, Herbert asks that people make a donation to the Speedway Children’s Charities in Jon and James Herbert’s name.(NHRA.comCharlotte.com), thoughts and prayers are with the Herbert family. Guest Book: Post thoughts, condolences.(1-26-2008)
    Services: The service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at SouthLake Christian Academy at 13901 Hager’s Ferry Road in Huntersville, N.C. The family visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Raymer Funeral Home at 16901 Old Statesville Road in Huntersville.(1-27-2008)
  • Kentucky Derby scheme at ‘Dega: #44-David Reutimann is scheduled to run a special UPS Kentucky Derby paint scheme at Talladea Superspeedway in April. See image on the Paint Scheme Gallery.(1-27-2008) Comment here
  • Montoya, Franchitti, Pruett and Rojas win Rolex 24: Chip Ganassi’s guys are making this look easy. The quartet of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas encountered no serious problems, giving Ganassi an unprecedented third straight victory in America’s premier sports car race — the Rolex 24-Hour at Daytona International Speedway. Other than a minor handling problem for Pruett at the start of the race Saturday afternoon, the team’s #01 Lexus Riley Daytona Prototype was nearly perfect, racing at or near the lead in an event that was the most competitive in the 46-year history until the waning hours. At dawn Sunday, with about six hours to go, there were five other prototypes on the lead lap. But, as often happens in endurance events, attrition suddenly took its toll. The Ganassi car had been swapping leads with the Ford Riley shared by NASCAR’s A.J. Allmendinger, Ian James, Burt Frisselle and John Pew. That car, driven by Frisselle, was just seconds behind the leader when a tire blew, damaging the suspension midway through the 21st hour and knocking it out of contention. Montoya, who had taken the wheel near the end of the 18th hour, had a comfortable five-lap lead on the 3.56-mile road circuit and his team was able to cruise the rest of the way. The race began with scattered rain showers and a treacherous track and ended on a warm, sunny afternoon. Fifteen different cars led, breaking the record of 11, set last year. Overall, there were 60 lead changes, 16 more than the record of 44 set in 2005. In the end, though, the winning car led a race-high 252 of 695 laps, completing 2,460 miles and beating the runner-up Pontiac Riley co-driven by two-time defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, former CART champion Jimmy Vasser and 2007 Rolex Grand-Am Series prototype champions Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney by two laps. Johnson, who has raced in this event four times, also finished second in 2005. Four more laps back in third was the Pontiac Riley co-driven by NASCAR champion Kurt Busch, two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe.(ESPN.com), More info at grand-am.com and the DBNJ site.(1-27-2008) Comment here
  • Nationwide Deal for Kenny Wallace? UPDATE 3 confirmed: hearing Kenny Wallace will make his 2008 Nationwide Series announcement at Gateway Internationl Raceway on Friday, Jan 25th. Wallace tested at Daytona in the #37 Baker Curb Racing Ford and has been rumored to be driving for that team or for the #22 Fitz Motorsports ride.(1-24-2008)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace announced that he will drive a second Nationwide Series car for Fitz Motorsports. Wallace unveiled his plans at a news conference that also announced the Dodge sponsorship of the Nationwide race at Gateway International Raceway. Wes Ward, formerly of JR Motorsports, will be the crew chief for Wallace. The number and sponsor will be announced prior to the season-opening race, Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway.(SceneDaily.com)(1-25-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Hearing that Wes Ward will not be the crew chief, but will continue to work with Mark McFarland in the Hooters Pro Cup Series.(1-25-2008)
    UPDATE 3: “Kenny is a great guy who has multiple wins in the NNS and we are very excited to have him drive for us this year,” owner Armando Fitz stated. “We have a great sponsor lined up and we are looking forward to what we can do with two cars on the track this year. I think it will be very beneficial to our entire team.”(Fitz Motorsports PR)(1-27-2008) Comment here
  • 1998 Daytona 500 to be aired: In advance of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, ESPN Classic will be televising six of the best Daytona 500 races of all time every Monday at 2:00pm/et through Feb. 11. On Monday, Jan. 28, ESPN Classic will air the 1998 Daytona 500 [won by Dale Earnhardt….nothing like the end when he drives down pit road and all the crews come out to great him….look for the Jayski.com sign on the pit wall].(1-27-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch stays to run at Lakeland: #18-Kyle Busch will spend an additional day at USA Speedway in Lakeland, Fla. after Saturday’s SpeedFest was delayed until 1:00pm/et on Sunday by rain. Then he will head to Las Vegas to test his Sprint Cup cars.(Speed51.com)(1-27-2008)

    News from January 26, 2008

  • Villeneuve cuts ties with manager: #27-Jacques Villeneuve has cut ties with his long-time manager Craig Pollock just weeks before the start of the 2008 Sprint Cup season. According to the Journal de Montreal, the split was primarily due to Pollock’s personal life going in another direction. However, there are also reports that the two differed on the management of Villeneuve’s NASCAR career. “Craig has a new wife and he seems to want to concentrate on his new family life which will be centered in Europe,” Villeneuve tells the newspaper. For my part, I chose to base myself here, in Canada, with my family, in order to pursue my career as a NASCAR driver. It’s going well so far with Bill Davis Racing. I want to concentrate on it and do my things here.” Villeneuve is set to start his first full season in the Sprint Cup series but reports he has not yet secured financing for the entire year meaning he is only guaranteed to compete in the first five races. It’s believed the former F1 and Indy 500 champion has been able to secure two-thirds of the sponsorship needed for a full time ride but suggestions that Pollock’s management style was becoming an obstacle for both Bill Davis Racing and Toyota may have forced Villeneuve’s into the decision to part ways.(TSA.ca)(1-26-2008) Comment here
  • Remember 360 OTC? getting sued again: World Wrestling Entertainment, the producer of Wrestlemania, has sued an Athens [GA] company that markets a hangover pill, alleging the company failed to pay for a sponsorship agreement worth more than $1 million. The WWE suit claims that Three Sixty Inc., which distributes over-the-counter hangover medicine 360 OTC, promised in 2006 to pay $1 million to sponsor Wrestlemania, but paid only $75,000. Three Sixty has continued to represent itself as the “official pain relief” of Wrestlemania against WWE’s demands to remove the claim from the company’s Web site, according to the suit. The suit also names IAHL Corp., Three Sixty’s new corporate name; Three Sixty’s subsidiary Rockford-Montgomery Labs Inc.; company officers Michele Shearer and Mark De Mattei; and Air, Sea and Ground Inc., an advertising agency De Mattei runs. WWE asked the U.S. Middle District Court of Georgia to force Three Sixty to pay for the sponsorship, including a percentage of 360 OTC profits, and to stop using the Wrestlemania name to promote the 360 OTC products. The WWE lawsuit is the latest in a barrage of legal troubles for Three Sixty, Shearer and DeMattei.
    Last year, Virginia-based NASCAR racing team Morgan-McClure Motorsports, sued, claiming that Rockford-Montgomery failed to make payments on a $10.1 million race team sponsorship. The two parties settled the case on Jan. 14, and Rockford-Montgomery Labs promised to pay Morgan-McClure $3 million.
    In another case, Dirt Motorsports, a Delaware company that sponsors the World of Outlaws racing tour, sued in August, claiming that Three Sixty and others failed to pay $4.8 million in sponsorship agreements. That case remains unresolved.
    Just Marketing International, an Indiana-based firm, also sued Rockford-Montgomery, Three Sixty, Shearer and De Mattei last summer for failing to pay for marketing work the company did for Rockford-Montgomery. Gary Coulter, the Athens attorney who represents Shearer and DeMattei, had no comment on any of the cases. Shearer and DeMattei did not respond to e-mails.(Athens Banner-Herald)(1-26-2008) Comment here

  • Roush looking to re-sign drivers: Roush Fenway Racing officials say they are working on contract extensions for #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle. The contracts for both drivers expire after this season.(Virginia Pilot)(1-26-2008) Comment here
  • Sprint Cup Series teams coming to test at Las Vegas: Race fans are invited to watch the cars and stars of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series Monday and Tuesday as Las Vegas Motor Speedway conducts the annual NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas test session. The grandstands will be open to the public and fans are invited to watch their favorite drivers test the new Car of Tomorrow on the high banks of LVMS. The so-called Car of Tomorrow competed at select tracks in 2007 but will be used at all tracks in 2008. The Car of Tomorrow never has been raced at LVMS. LVMS’ grandstands will be open to the public from 9am-5pm during the Jan. 28-29 NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas. The Nationwide Series will test at LVMS Jan. 30-31. Tickets for the Feb. 29-March 2 NASCAR Weekend – featuring the UAW-Dodge 400 for the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 sale by calling (800) 644-4444 or visiting www.LVMS.com. Race fans also may purchase tickets to the Neon Garage fan experience as well as Driver Introduction passes and Lucky 7 preferred parking passes.(LVMS PR)(1-25-2008)
    AND For Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series teams, the western swing of NASCAR Preseason Thunder – the sport’s annual preseason test sessions – extends some recent learning curves. Next week, both series test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the Sprint Cup Series also testing at California Speedway. Both series are fresh off preseason sessions at Daytona International Speedway; now they head west. Sprint Cup teams will test Monday, Jan. 28 and Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Las Vegas, and Thursday, Jan. 31 and Friday, Feb. 1 at California. NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will test Wednesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 31 at Las Vegas. Times are 9am until 5pm, with a noon-1pm lunch break each day, except for Thursday, Jan. 31 at California, when Sprint Cup teams test from 9am until 9pm. That day’s schedule includes a dinner break from 5-6pm. “I’m not aware of anybody that’s going to switch out the cars,” Darby said, between West Coast sessions. “I think everybody’s gearing-up to bring two cars to Las Vegas and California. And that is a good part about the new car. According to Sprint Cup Director John Darby, teams can adjust their schedules at California, running two sessions on Thursday and Friday, or three Thursday and one Friday, if they prefer. Sprint Cup teams also can use Wednesday’s travel day as a garage work day at California, prior to taking the track Thursday morning.(NASCAR PR)(1-26-2008)
    Will report speeds as they are released on the Las Vegas Test Speeds and News page.(1-28-2008) Comment here

    News from January 25, 2008

  • Hendrick museum closes for renovations: The Hendrick Motorsports museum, located on the team’s racing complex in Concord, has been temporarily closed to the public while it undergoes a full renovation. The redesigned facility will reopen in time for NASCAR’s annual visit to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. Hendrick Motorsports is located one mile from the race track. Also undergoing a facelift is Hendrick Motorsports’ team store, which will reopen in a temporary location on Jan. 28. The store will operate under its regular business hours in the race shop of drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson until construction on the new facility is completed. Other areas of the Hendrick Motorsports complex, including the team race shops, will remain open to the public during the museum renovation.(HMS Site)(1-25-2008) Comment here
  • Petty in KC to work on children’s camp: #45-Kyle Petty’s vision to open a Victory Junction Gang Camp in the Kansas City area moved a step closer to reality today. Petty, and his wife, Pattie, addressed more than 200 business and community leaders at the Kansas City Area Development Council this morning at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. They were to spend the afternoon visiting 11 potential sites for the camp, which helps children with chronic and terminal illnesses. An announcement on a site is expected by the end of February, Pattie Petty said. The facility would cost about $50 million to build and could open as soon as 2010. Thursday marked the Pettys’ third visit with representatives from the business, political and medical communities since announcing their interest in a camp in Kansas City last September.(Kansas City Star)(1-25-2008)

  • New car chief for #43: Long time Yates Racing employee [car chief, crew chief, mechanic], Ray Fox Jr., is now the car chief for the #43 Cheerios Dodge for Petty Enterprises and driver Bobby Labonte. So Fox is working in the same building as he worked in last year since Petty Enterprises moved into the old Yates Racing shop over the ‘off season’.(SPEED’s coverage of the Media Tour)(1-25-2008)
  • some NASCAR drivers to run Rolex 24 at Daytona: quite a few drivers with NASCAR ties [ran a race in Cup, Nationwide, Trucks, track owner] will be running the Rolex 24 at Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Including: Jimmie Johnson, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Boris Said, Michael McDowell, Scott Pruett, Bill Lester, John Andretti, A.J. Foyt IV, Tony George, Brent Sherman, David Donohue, Buddy Rice, JC France, Colin Braun, Marc Goossens, Andy Pilgrim, Anthony Lazzaro, Jack Baldwin, Andy Lally, Max Papis, David Murry, Chris Bingham, Joe Varde. Tony Stewart will NOT run the race. More info at grand-am.com and the DBNJ site. Fox and SPEED will televise parts of the race.
    UPDATE: Eight hours into Saturday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, half of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in the race showed that they were going to be players in the twice-around-the-clock event. The rides of Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson all led during the first third of the event, and most of the others stayed trouble-free. Busch, driving the #9 Penske-Taylor Racing Pontiac Riley, stayed in the top 10 for the first third of the race and teammate Helio Castroneves was in the lead just before 9 p.m.(Daytona Beach News JournalComment here

  • Andretti still looking for 2008 ride: John Andretti says he is looking for a ride for 2008 and won’t totally rule out a return to #49 BAM Racing in the future. Andretti drove 15 Cup races last year, including 14 for BAM and had been slated to drive for the team until a couple of weeks ago when the team put Ken Schrader in the driver’s seat for the season-opening Daytona 500. For now, the only thing solid for Andretti is this weekend, where he will drive in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Indy Racing League CEO Tony George, who will be one of Andretti’s teammates along with Anthony Foyt IV and others. “I think the sponsorship [at BAM] didn’t come through like they had hoped – they’re still working on it,” Andretti said Thursday in the Daytona garage. “That’s all I really know. … I’m out looking and talking.” Andretti said he anticipates participating in the Las Vegas test Monday and Tuesday if he can finalize a deal with a Cup team. Andretti wouldn’t confirm which team he would test with, although one possibility would be Front Row Motorsports, which he drove for last year. He also said he has talked to teams in other NASCAR series. He also is seeking an Indianapolis 500 ride. “I probably am going to do a few races in the truck series, and then we’ll see,” said Andretti, who has 355 career Cup starts. “Everything happened so late [at BAM]; it happened after the new year. I guess I thought I was going to be doing that, so [now] I’ve got to change course.” Andretti didn’t rule out a return to BAM, which hasn’t named a driver for anything past the opening race.(sceneDaily.com)(1-25-2008) Comment here

  • Ford commits to NASCAR: Ford isn’t giving up on NASCAR. After a dismal 2007 season that saw the manufacturer win only seven Nextel Cup races – to Chevrolet’s 26 – Ford officials made a point Thursday to show their commitment to the newly named Sprint Cup. Edsel Ford II, a member of Ford’s board of directors and the great-grandson of Henry Ford, visited Roush Fenway Racing’s shop Thursday during the final day of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour. “There’s been a lot of talk in the Ford Motor Company in the media in the past year, much of it negative,” Ford said. “People have wanted to write us off, to say we couldn’t compete in the marketplace or on the race track. I’m here to tell you one thing today: don’t underestimate our resolve.”(Canadian Press)(1-25-2008) Comment here

  • Fox announces 2008 Cup broadcast schedule: As Fox Sports prepares to begin its eighth year of NASCAR coverage, the network revs its engine with the unveiling of 2008 NASCAR on Fox broadcast schedule. Prior to exclusive, live coverage of the 50th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17, Fox Sports hits the gas on its coverage with night racing from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 9 (8:00pm/et) with The Budweiser Shootout. This 70-lap exhibition pits last season’s Sprint Cup pole winners and past champions in an all-out “sprint” for the checkered flag. Mike Joy, with almost 40 years in racing, returns as race announcer, and is joined by NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds, who return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on Fox events. Prerace coverage is again hosted by Chris Myers with analyst Jeff Hammond, and returning to cover pit road are reporters Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum. In all, Fox Sports airs 13 Sprint Cup points races, highlighted by races from Las Vegas on Sunday, March 2; Texas on Sunday, April 6; Talladega on Sunday, April 27; Charlotte on Sunday, May 25 from Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the NASCAR on Fox season finale from Dover on Sunday, June 1. In addition to its Sprint Cup coverage, Fox Sports presents two live Craftsman Truck Series races: Saturday, Feb. 23 from California Speedway and Saturday, March 29 from Martinsville Speedway.(Fox PR)(1-25-2008) Comment here
  • Junior Achievement honorees include NASCAR founder France: Junior Achievement announced the inductees into its 2008 U.S. Business Hall of Fame, one of the most prestigious honors awarded for success in the business world. Junior Achievement selects inductees for their business excellence, courageous thinking and actions, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership, and philanthropy. The 2008 Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame laureates included William H.G. France (1909-1992): Founder and President of NASCAR. For more information and the other inductee’s, see www.ja.org.(1-25-2008)
  • Lesa France Kennedy honored by Daytona Chamber of Commerce: Lesa France Kennedy, President of International Speedway Corporation, received the Lou Fuchs Award on Wednesday from the Daytona Beach/Halifax Area Chamber of Commerce. The award is named for a champion of the local tourism industry who organized an effort to prevent weekend closings of gas stations during the oil embargo of the 1970s. Kennedy, daughter of the late William C. France Jr., also is the Vice President and Assistant Treasurer of NASCAR. The United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties was selected as the 2008 Enterprise Award winner by The Chamber. The Enterprise Award is given “to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the quality, vitality and growth of our community,” said Ed Williams, chamber chairman and sales manager for Coca-Cola in Daytona Beach.(NASCAR PR)(1-25-2008)

  • McDowell to take over #00 after 5 races UPDATE 2: Michael McDowell, the 2007 runner-up on the ARCA circuit, will succeed David Reutimann in the #00 Sprint Cup car at Michael Waltrip Racing. McDowell, a 22-year-old native of Phoenix, likely will take over the #00 Toyota in late March at Martinsville, Va., when Reutimann will slide into the #44 car being vacated by the retirement of teammate and 1999 series champion Dale Jarrett [Jarrett will also run the All-Star race in the #44]. A formal announcement is expected later this month. Michael Waltrip Racing officials tested McDowell and Wise repeatedly during the offseason in the hopes that one would be ready to take over the #00 car in 2008. Wise, a two-time U.S. Auto Club champion, likely is bound for a Nationwide Series ride, pending sponsorship.(NASCAR.com)(1-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Michael McDowell was tabbed Wednesday to drive a Sprint Cup car for Michael Waltrip Racing after Dale Jarrett’s retirement. The 23-year-old McDowell will get his Cup car when Jarrett steps out of his ride following the fifth race of this season. David Reutimann will actually replace Jarrett in the #44 Camry, while McDowell will get Reutimann’s #00 Camry. McDowell won four races, nine poles and rookie of the year honors in ARCA last season, but had to undergo significant testing for Waltrip to earn his ride. Waltrip, in his second season as a car owner, also relied on the recommendation of driver Boris Said, who vouched for McDowell and praised his skill on tricky road courses. “Boris said, `That kid gets it. He can go. No matter what he gets in, he’s fast,” Waltrip said. “Once I talked to Boris, and went to a couple of tests with Michael, to me it was a no-brainer. And there’s never been that many of them.” Waltrip has been looking for a third driver since last October, when Jarrett said he was ready to get out of the car. The 1999 Cup champion will move into the broadcasting booth for ESPN following his retirement. But the candidates were slim, and Waltrip focused mostly on McDowell and Josh Wise, the two drivers in his development system. Both tested, and Waltrip said McDowell got the nod because he’s more experienced right now than Wise. McDowell will make his Cup debut in March at Martinsville Speedway. He’ll team with Guy Cosmo and Marc Camirand to run the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, and he’s scheduled to race the #00 Camry in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona next month.(AP/ESPN.com)(1-24-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Wednesday night, sitting on a stage with racing royalty, 23-year-old Michael McDowell heard the words he thought were only audible in his dreams as Michael Waltrip announced his organization’s 2008 Sprint Cup Series driver lineup. Waltrip officially revealed that the Arizona native will drive the #00 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing, beginning on March 30th at Martinsville Speedway, joining MWR’s driver lineup of Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and David Reutimann. Reutimann will start the season in the #00 Toyota Camry while Jarrett finishes out his career in the #44 UPS Toyota Camry, running the first five races on the schedule. Jarrett will turn the #44 UPS ride over to Reutimann and McDowell will fill the seat vacated in the #00 by Reutimann starting at Martinsville. McDowell, a four-time race winner, nine-time pole-sitter and Rookie of the Year in the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series, has been sharpening and showcasing his skills with extensive testing in preparations to drive the #00 Toyota Camry. McDowell will take into account everything he has learned from testing as he begins to write his first chapter in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Waltrip’s guidance. McDowell is extremely focused and also serious about being a 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender joining a formidable class, which includes Dario Franchitti, Regan Smith, Sam Hornish Jr., Patrick Carpentier and Jacques Villeneuve. Before making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut, McDowell will run the Spirit of Daytona entry during the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway with Guy Cosmo and Marc Camirand. He is also scheduled to drive the #00 Toyota Camry in the Nationwide Series Camping World 300 at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.(MWR PR)(1-25-2008) Comment here

    News from January 24, 2008

  • Shifting Gears on ESPN Goes Behind Scenes with Dale Earnhardt Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the focus of a new television series on ESPN, Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, premiering prior to next month’s opening of the 2008 NASCAR season. The five-part series chronicles Earnhardt’s move from Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team founded by his father, to Hendrick Motorsports, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The first episode airs Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:00pm/et on ESPN2.  The series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with the five-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver award recipient changing teams. Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears is produced by Earnhardt Jr.’s Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of JR Motorsports, in cooperation with Hendrick Motorsports and is presented by the National Guard. The new program is part of an exclusive, multimedia agreement between ESPN and Hammerhead Entertainment. “We were working on a new DVD about my life and the guys kept getting more and more footage, so they decided to put a whole TV show together to document the biggest career decision I’ve ever made,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “The past year of my life has been a roller coaster, and it’s pretty cool that we’re giving everyone an inside look at how everything came together.” Three of the five episodes of Shifting Gears air on ESPN2 in the nine days prior to the Daytona 500, including following ESPN2’s live coverage of Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 15, and the Nationwide Series Camping World 300 at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 16. The final two episodes air on ESPN in prime time the week of the July 27 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, ESPN’s first live Sprint Cup event of the season. The pre-season episodes reveal never-before-seen footage from the 2007 press conferences and fan response to the announcements. Shifting Gears also chronicles the design process of the new paint schemes, the makings of Earnhardt Jr.’s Adidas fire suit and how the driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew AMP/National Guard Chevrolet handles the pressure of working with new sponsors as he prepares for his first season with Hendrick Motorsports. The final two episodes, each one hour in length, will catch up with Earnhardt Jr. and the Hendrick team as he chases his first Sprint Cup championship. Previews and additional video from the show will be made available on ESPN.com Video and DaleJr.com starting next week and the full episodes will be made available shortly after they air on ESPN2 on ESPN MobileTV and ESPN.com Video.
    The air schedule (all times Eastern):
    Friday, Feb. 8 7-8 p.m. ESPN2
    Friday, Feb. 15 6:30-8 p.m. ESPN2
    Saturday, Feb. 16 4:30-6 p.m. ESPN2
    Thursday, July 24 7-8 p.m. ESPN
    Friday, July 25 7-8 p.m. ESPN.(ESPN PR)(1-24-2008) Comment here
  • McDonald’s to sponsor Sadler UPDATE: McDonald’s will make its return to NASCAR’s Cup series as one of three primary sponsors for Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #19 Dodge of Elliott Sadler this season. McDonald’s, Best Buy and Stanley Tools were announced as company’s sharing sponsorship on the car Tuesday. Best Buy is expected to be on the car for 15 races, while Stanley will have 13 and McDonald’s eight, although those numbers are still subject to change.(SceneDaily.com)(1-23-2008)
    UPDATE: McDonald’s USA and Gillett Evernham Motorsports [GEM] announced that McDonald’s will sponsor Elliott Sadler’s #19 Dodge in six [not 8] Sprint Cup races in 2008. “McDonald’s is thrilled to partner with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which is one of the premier teams in the Sprint Cup Series,” said John Lewicki, McDonald’s senior director of alliance marketing. “This partnership is a great fit as McDonald’s, Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Elliott Sadler are all committed to delivering quality experiences to fans and customers alike.” McDonald’s will sponsor Sadler’s #19 Dodge all season and serve as the primary sponsor at Martinsville on March 22, Darlington on May 10, Michigan on June 15, California on Aug. 31, Talladega on Oct. 5 and Atlanta on Oct. 26. McDonald’s logos will also appear on the uniform of Sadler’s teammate Kasey Kahne in the 2008 season. McDonald’s has sponsored Gillett Evernham Motorsports since 2004 and has continued to grow its involvement. “McDonald’s is obviously one of the great brands of American history and we feel proud a company of its prestige selected Gillett Evernham Motorsports,” said team co-owner Ray Evernham. “The sponsor partners we have at this race team are second to none. McDonald’s has supported my team and my family for quite a few years now. They are more than just a sponsor, they are my friends.” Sadler will carry “trimary sponsorship” in 2008 with Best Buy and Stanley taking turns serving as primary sponsor along with McDonald’s throughout the season. “The cool thing is I’ve always been a McDonald’s, Best Buy and Stanley kind of guy,” Sadler said. “We have some great partners and I am glad they are coming on board with us. McDonald’s has been a big part of my life growing up.” For more information about McDonald’s visit www.McDonald’s.com.(GEM PR).see an image for the car on the #19 Team Schemes page.(1-24-2008) Comment here

  • McMurray misses media tour due to jury duty: #26-Jamie McMurray will not be present at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Media Tour Thursday afternoon. It’s not because McMurray is testing a racecar, or at a sponsor appearance, but serving his civic duty at the Iredell County Courthouse. “I can’t believe that I’m going to miss the media tour this year,” said McMurray. “Instead of being the driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, I’m Juror #7 at the Iredell County Courthouse, after being selected for jury duty earlier this week. So rather than joining my teammates at Roush Fenway Racing this afternoon, I’ll be at the courthouse serving my civic duty. I’m looking forward to returning to Daytona in a couple weeks and hope to catch up with all the media when I get there. We have some really exciting things coming up with both Crown Royal and IRWIN Industrial Tools. The #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will have a new look when we return to Daytona – we’re running the Cask #16 paint scheme on it. It’s a great looking car that I hope we can return to Victory Lane for Crown Royal.” The new paint scheme is intended to celebrate the recent unveiling of Crown Royal Cask #16*, a special blend of Crown Royal whisky, which is finished in rare Cognac casks.(Roush Racing)(1-24-2008) Comment here

  • Motorcraft, Elliott and Wood Brothers team up in 2008: Three longtime Ford Motor Company icons are teaming up again in 2008: The Motorcraft brand, Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers. Motorcraft, a Ford Motor Company brand of automotive parts ranging from filters and spark plugs to engines and transmissions, will be the primary sponsor on the famed Wood Brothers #21 Sprint Cup Ford Fusion for eight races, beginning in April at Texas and culminating with the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Motorcraft brand will also be an associate sponsor for all other 2008 NASCAR events. Bill Elliott is scheduled to be the driver for all of Motorcraft’s races. Elliott, Motorcraft and the Wood Brothers first joined forces last season. Motorcraft first sponsored Wood Brothers Racing in 2001. The Wood Brothers are acknowledged pioneers in the sport of stock-car racing, and have earned 96 wins in over 50 years of NASCAR competition – second most in Ford Racing history. The 2008 Motorcraft Primary Sponsor Sprint Cup Schedule: Texas on April 6, Phoenix on April 12, Michigan on June 15, Indy on July 27, Bristol on Aug 23, New Hampshire on Sept 14, Talladega on Oct and Homestead-Miami on Nov 16. For more information, visit www.motorcraft.com.(PCGCampbell/Ford PR)(1-24-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart in no rush to sign contract extension: #20-Tony Stewart, who has spent his entire NASCAR Cup Series career at Joe Gibbs Racing, says he is in no rush to begin talks regarding a contract extension with the successful racing operation. “Right now I just want to get started with this year,” Stewart said Tuesday. “I’m really not concerned about the end of ’09 right now because we’ve still got to get through ’08. Obviously, it’s a topic with the team here, and they want to get it taken care of, but right now I want to see how the beginning of this year goes. Get halfway through the season before we even worry about talking about it again.” Stewart’s contract ends after the 2009 season. A change in manufacturer – the team will field Toyotas in 2008 after a long, successful stint with General Motors products – is of a more pressing concern to the 36-year-old Stewart. “There’s nothing that has to be done right now anyway,” he said of contract talks. “I’m here. It’s about now to me; it’s not about what’s going to happen. Right now … we’ve got a big change with a new manufacturer coming in, let’s worry about running good and winning races and worry about the rest of it [later].” Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli have been paired together since Stewart departed the open-wheel ranks to make the move to NASCAR.(in part from SceneDaily.com)(1-24-2008) Comment here

  • Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Award Winners Announced: A quintet of journalists were honored Tuesday afternoon during the 23rd annual presentation of the Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin. 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. The 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 Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch during a Dodge Motorsports luncheon at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Concord Convention Center. The event was part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 2007 Miller Lite Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin winners: Print – Daily: Nate Ryan of USA Today; Print – Other: David Caraviello of NASCAR.com; Broadcast – National: Drew Gallagher of ESPN, NASCAR Countdown; Broadcast – Local: Blair Miller of WSOC-TV; Photojournalism: David Griffin of NASCAR Scene.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-24-2008)

  • TNT Fuels Six Weeks of Sprint Cup Series Coverage: TNT is gearing up for the network’s 2008 Sprint Cup coverage, which includes telecasts of six consecutive Cup races beginning on Sunday, June 8th from Pocono Raceway. The NASCAR on TNT Summer Series will feature two marquee primetime races with the Daytona race on July 5 and racing from Chicagoland Speedway on July 12; both races take off at 8pm/et. Rounding out the network’s schedule are races in Michigan (June 15), Sonoma (June 22) and Loudon (June 29). The Daytona 400 will feature the return of Wide Open Coverage, the highly lauded innovative broadcast format that provides continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and offers original branded content and on-screen graphic elements from sponsors. The production features 22% more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast. The network’s 2008 race programming marks TNT’s 24th year of televising Cup coverage, making it NASCAR’s longest running broadcast partner. TNT’s NASCAR coverage will include comprehensive pre-race coverage to provide viewers with analysis, updates, interviews and features and will include all of the TNT announcers and pit reporters who will provide analysis and commentary on the NASCAR season to date. Also, TNT will cover the drivers preparing for the race and all of the exciting moments leading up to green flag action.(Turner Sports PR)(1-24-2008) Comment here

    News from January 23, 2008

  • Jarrett and Rusty Headline ESPN’s Season-Long NASCAR Coverage: Dale Jarrett will expand his role with ESPN and join high school friends Dr. Jerry Punch and Andy Petree in the booth for ESPN’s full season of NASCAR coverage in 2008. Rusty Wallace will become lead analyst for ESPN studio programs in 2008, highlighted by serving as analyst for an enhanced NASCAR Countdown, the program that precedes all NASCAR telecasts. Wallace also will appear across multiple ESPN platforms, including regularly on NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily NASCAR news and information show, and will call several race telecasts in place of Jarrett. Allen Bestwick moves into the fulltime role of host of ESPN’s race telecasts and host of NASCAR Countdown. Wallace and Bestwick will appear with analyst Brad Daugherty on the pre-race program, and the three will be integrated with the booth team during race telecasts. ESPN also has named motorsports television veteran Nicole Manske as host of NASCAR Now, which returns to the air for its second season Feb. 4 on ESPN2. Manske, who joins ESPN after two years as co-host of a weekly motorsports news program on the SPEED Channel, will share the NASCAR Now host role with Bestwick and ESPNEWS anchor Ryan Burr. On ESPN’s event coverage, Shannon Spake, a reporter for ESPN’s studio programs and fill-in pit reporter last year, will take Bestwick’s position as a fulltime pit reporter, joined by returnees Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. Two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer returns to report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center. “We now have the opportunity to provide our viewers with analysis from a pair of former NASCAR Cup champions with Dale Jarrett in the booth and Rusty Wallace on the NASCAR Countdown set as well as on other platforms,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and event production. “We were pleased to have Dale with us in a limited role last year and look forward to his participation on a regular basis,” Williamson said. “Rusty’s enthusiasm, team spirit and knowledge make him an invaluable contributor to our coverage. These champion drivers in their new roles add tremendously to ESPN’s championship team for our second year back in NASCAR.” ESPN’s 2008 NASCAR season begins with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 16, at noon ET on ESPN2. In addition to coverage of all 35 races in the Nationwide Series, ESPN also will have telecasts of the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Jarrett, who is retiring from driving after the first five races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, was booth analyst for 10 Nationwide Series ESPN race telecasts last year and worked several Sprint Cup races as a guest analyst on NASCAR Countdown. Punch, ESPN’s lead announcer, Petree, booth analyst and a two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief, and Jarrett are all natives of Newton, N.C., and attended Newton-Conover High School within a few years of each other in the early 1970s. The three were partners in one of Jarrett’s first race cars in 1979. “It was exciting to see ESPN return to NASCAR last year and be a part of it when my racing schedule allowed,” said Jarrett, winner of 32 NASCAR Cup Series races and 11 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “To have this opportunity to shift from fulltime driver to fulltime analyst for ESPN’s second year back is a great privilege and I can’t wait to get started.” Jarrett followed the footsteps of his father, Ned, a two-time NASCAR champion, into driving and television. Ned Jarrett was a popular analyst on ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR from 1988-2000 and returned to the booth as a guest analyst for one race last year to work alongside his son for the first time. Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 season and spent 2006 as analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series in preparation for ESPN’s return to NASCAR in 2007. Bestwick served multiple roles for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage last year, including pit reporter, host of NASCAR Countdown for Nationwide Series races and play-by-play announcer for several events. Along with returning NASCAR Insiders Angelique Chengelis and Marty Smith, ESPN.com reporters Terry Blount and David Newton and analysts Boris Said, Tim Cowlishaw and D.J. Copp, many members of ESPN’s event coverage team also will contribute to NASCAR Now in 2008.(ESPN PR)(1-23-2008) Comment here
  • IROC up for auction: Looks like no IROC in 2008. The series took 2007 off, in search of a sponsor for the series. None was found and the cars were up for sale and now the cars, engines and equipment will be up for auction Match 6-8, 2008. More info at IROCracing.com.(1-23-2008) Comment here
  • Earlier Start Time for Races This Year? UPDATE: [Humpy] Wheeler [president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway] said the start times for many Sprint Cup races this coming season will be earlier, a departure from the mid-afternoon green flags used to try and entice West Coast viewers. “I think we all yielded to pressure from the networks a little more than we should have,” Wheeler said. “We paid the price for it, and we’re getting back to sanity again.”(NASCAR.com)
    AND: Wheeler says, “It’s not a fancy sport. It’s guys with big hands and getting sweaty and getting out there and banging on each other and knocking each other around and all-American fans sitting there having a good time.” Earlier and more consistent starting times is the first move to correct that. When NASCAR announces starting times on Tuesday, races beginning at 2:00pm or earlier will go from 15 to 18 on the 36-race schedule.(1-22-2008)(ESPN.com)(1-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Broadcast times for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season have been announced, beginning with FOX’s broadcast of the non-points Budweiser Shootout at 8:30pm/et on Feb. 9 at Daytona International Speedway. The 2008 season marks the second year of an eight-year partnership between NASCAR and FOX, TNT, ABC, ESPN and SPEED. This year, in an effort to standardize the start times and better accommodate the fans, 18 races on the 2008 Sprint Cup Series schedule will have a 2:00pm/et Sunday start time, up from 15 in 2007. All Sprint Cup Series points events will be seen on FOX, TNT, ABC and ESPN. In addition, two other non-points events – the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (2:00pm/et on Feb. 14) and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7:30pm/et on May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway), will be broadcast by SPEED. FOX will broadcast the first 13 Sprint Cup events, beginning with the 50th running of the Daytona 500 (Feb. 17, 3:20pm/et) and ending with the June 1 event at Dover International Speedway at 2:00pm/et. TNT will broadcast the next six series events, beginning with the Pocono 500 at 2:00pm/et on June 8 at Pocono Raceway and ending with Chicagoland Speedway’s first night race, July 12 at 8:00pm/et. ESPN and ABC will broadcast the final 17 Sprint Cup events. ESPN will broadcast six, beginning with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at 2:00pm/et on July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ending with the Aug. 31 event at California Speedway (8:00pm/et). ABC completes the season with 11 broadcasts, beginning with race #26, the cutoff event for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6 at 7:30pm/et. ABC will also air the entire Chase, encompassing the final 10 series events. The season ends with ABC’s broadcast of the Ford 400 at 3:45:00pm/et on Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR PR), see the 2008 Sprint Cup Schedule with times page.(1-23-2008) Comment here
  • Edwards testing at Nashville: #99-Carl Edwards is testing his Cup car at the Nashville Superspeedway today. Roush Fenway rented the facility for the one day test. Edwards won the two Nationwide [then Busch] races at the Nashville Superspeedway in 2007.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-23-2008)

  • Sprint Woes? Sprint, the sponsor for NASCAR’s premier series, recently cut 4,000 jobs and closed 125 retail outlets. The company reportedly lost 683,000 postpaid subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2007. But NASCAR chairman Brian France isn’t concerned that the series will be looking for a new title sponsor after this season, saying he has talked to company officials and they have assured him of their commitment to NASCAR.(ESPN.com)(1-23-2008) Comment here

  • Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper to sponsor GEM: Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper has contracted with Gillett Evernham Motorsports as the primary sponsor for six 2008 races. The Auto Value logo will decorate the Dodge race car for three races during the season while the other three races will showcase the Bumper to Bumper logo on the renowned Gillett Evernham Dodge racecar. Taking the wheel of the #10 Dodge in 2008 Sprint Cup races will be new GEM teammate Patrick Carpentier. He will drive the #10 Bumper to Bumper Dodge on June 1 at the Dover International Speedway and the #10 Auto Value Dodge at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008. Auto Value will be making their first appearance in international racing during the Nationwide Series race with the #9 Auto Value Dodge on the track in Mexico at the Autodromo in Mexico City, April 20, 2008 with Carpentier taking the wheel. A driver, yet to be announced, will be at the Kentucky Speedway on June 15, 2008 behind the wheel of the #9 Bumper to Bumper Dodge for another Nationwide Series race. Elliott Sadler will begin his second year of driving for Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper in two Nationwide Series races in 2008. Sadler will be racing the #9 Auto Value Dodge July 11, 2008 at the Chicagoland Speedway and the #9 Bumper to Bumper Dodge August 22, 2008 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will be an associate sponsor of the Gillett Evernham Dodges for all other Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in 2008 and will receive branding on Gillett Evernham team uniforms, team haulers and pit equipment.(Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper site and GEM PR)(1-23-2008), see images of the schemes on the #10 Team Schemes pageComment here

  • BAM Racing has Schrader at Daytona, Andretti unlikely: BAM Racing has not solidified its driver lineup beyond the Daytona 500. Ken Schrader will attempt to qualify the #49 for the team with sponsorship from healthlife.com, BAM Racing marketing coordinator Rhett Vandiver said Tuesday. A sponsor for the Budweiser Shootout is still to be named and a driver beyond Speedweeks is still to be determined, Vandiver said. Vandiver also confirmed that John Andretti, who drove for the team at the end of last season, likely would not return to the seat.(Scenedaily.com)(1-23-2008) Comment here
  • BofA boosts its NASCAR incentives: A sharp drop in profits isn’t keeping Bank of America from pursuing NASCAR fans as new customers. The Charlotte-based bank on Tuesday announced it was more than doubling the number of drivers featured in race-themed accounts. The bank also will boost its NASCAR rewards program, providing more access to drivers and behind-the-scenes experiences. Bank of America launched the NASCAR-themed “affinity banking” accounts last spring as part of its push to win business from loyal race fans. The bank also sponsors the October Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, issues officially licensed NASCAR credit cards and, since 2006, has been the official bank of NASCAR. In its NASCAR banking program, Bank of America issues cards and checks printed with a driver’s image or the NASCAR logo. Account holders get “RacePoints” that can be redeemed for merchandise, race tickets or — for those with high point totals — special honors, such as meeting a driver or waving the green flag at the Bank of America 500. Along with the NASCAR logo, Bank of America offers accounts with several current and past drivers’ images: Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Dario Franchitti, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr., Kenny Wallace and Rusty Wallace.(Charlotte Observer)(1-23-2008)
  • “The Humpy Show” to premiere Feb 12th: Lowe’s Motor Speedway President & General Manager H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler will put his skills as NASCAR’s ultimate promoter, storyteller and diplomat on display for SPEED viewers beginning with a one-hour pilot Feb. 12 at 9:00pm/et, when The Humpy Show debuts with guests Buddy Baker and Kurt Busch discussing great NASCAR rivalries. Calling the shots behind the camera will be Wheeler’s daughter, Patti, whose team from Wheeler TV delivered the idea to SPEED. During his 33 years at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Wheeler has increased the track’s seating capacity from 75,000 to 160,000 and made it one of the most modern facilities in sports entertainment.(SPEED PR)(1-23-2008)Comment here
  • Villeneuve’s Uncle injured in snowmobile crash: Jacques Villeneuve Sr., the uncle of 1997 Formula One world champion and NASCAR newcomer #27-Jacques Villeneuve, was released from the hospital Tuesday after breaking his pelvis and suffering a spine injury at the 45th World Championship Snowmobile Derby. Villeneuve is a three-time winner at the event in Eagle River, Wis. During a heat Friday in the 440 class championship, Villeneuve was knocked off his snowmobile and hit by another racer. The 54-year-old was airlifted to a hospital in central Wisconsin, about 120 miles away. Track general manager Todd Achterberg said Villeneuve’s Ski-Doo sled appeared to blow its engine before it was hit from behind on a straightaway, leaving Villeneuve vulnerable. Villeneuve, a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, previously raced open-wheeled vehicles in Formula Atlantic, CART, Can-Am and Formula One. He is most well-known for being the first Canadian to win a CART IndyCar race when he captured a title at Elkhart Lake, Wis., in 1985. Villeneuve, who had a wide open and sometimes wild driving style, also raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1986 after a bad wreck in practice in 1985 forced him to skip the event.(Associated Press)(1-23-2008)

    News from January 22, 2008

  • Evernham not leaving NASCAR: Ray Evernham said that rumors of his retirement from NASCAR were greatly exaggerated. After selling part of his business to the Gillett group (GEM) Evernham, Jeff Gordon’s former crew chief who started his own team full-time with Dodge in 2001, admitted that racing is not fun any longer in an interview during the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour in Concord. “Honestly, no, I wasn’t having fun,” he said, adding “it wasn’t just because of the (team’s poor) performance. There was a lot going on, over the last few years, that took the fun out of it for me because I love racing. Some of the fun had gone away, but, there’s a lot of great people in the sport and I want to spend time with those people and maybe being away from the negative people will help a little bit.” Remaining in NASCAR’s top series was a battle he explained “it was a constant fight to keep people, to keep sponsors, to keep relationships in a in a highly competitive world not all things don’t always go well. Evernham said that since it took three people to take over his previous job, he was working too hard to accomplish his goals. For now he’ll remain an “owner” but have the freedom to chose what role he’ll continue with at Gillett Evernham Motorsports.(Franckly Speaking/Lewis Franck)(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • All-star race will stay in Charlotte for now: Sprint Cup officials have changed the name and logo for the annual all-star race, added a few laps to each segment and indicated that the race will remain in Charlotte [NC] beyond this season. The race will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race XXIV. The event was previously known as the Challenge, but officials say they decided to call it what it is – a race. The race involving drivers not already qualified for the event, previously known as the Nextel Open, will now be called the Sprint Showdown. While the all-star race will still feature four segments, the former 20-lap segments have been lengthened to 25 laps each, giving drivers more time to actually race. The race, held annually at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, appears to be staying at the track for some time. Sprint Cup Director of Marketing Dean Kessel said that he and Lowe’s Motor Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler have been in discussion about the 2009 race, which will be the 25th anniversary of the all-star event. During all-star week, the pit crew challenge has been moved to Thursday night, leaving a packed Friday night for fans. The start time for the all-star race will remain the same [Showdown at 7:30pm/et, All-Star race approx 9:00pm/et].(Scenedaily.com)(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • Elliott to run the #21 at Daytona..after that? UPDATE 2 17 races: Wood Brothers Racing is set to announce driver and sponsor information regarding their #21 Sprint Cup entry for the 2008 Daytona Speedweeks events. Veteran driver Bill Elliott has agreed to once again serve as the driver of the #21 Ford Fusion in this year’s opening event. The team will test with Elliott on January 14-16th of this month. He will compete in all Speedweeks events, which will include the February 9th Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duels-and the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on February 17th. For the Daytona 500 event, the team will have primary sponsorship from McKee Foods, Little Debbie Snack Cakes Brand. Associate sponsors for this event will again be the United States Air Force and Ford Motor Company’s Motorcraft Brand. Crew Chief Gene Nead will lead all efforts in the Sprint Cup Series.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR), no word on other driver schedules for the team such as Ken Schrader. Marcos Ambrose is scheduled to run 12 races, no schedule announced yet.(1-4-2008)
    UPDATE: Bill Elliott will drive the Wood Brothers’ #21 at Daytona before eventually turning the team’s entry over to Marcos Ambrose and Jon Wood for most of the races. “I’d just as soon run a good bit at the start and then let Ambrose and Jon run as time goes on here,” said Elliott. “I kind of like that plan. Let’s get started and run a little bit. Really, it’s a perfect world for me, and I can’t argue with it.”(Gaston Gazette)(1-20-2008)
    UPDATE 2: per billelliott.com, it shows Bill Elliott’s 2008 planned Cup schedule in the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. Seventeen races, including the 2008 Budweiser Shootout along with the Daytona 500, then California [2/24]; Atlanta [3/9]; Bristol [3/16]; Texas [4/6]; Phoenix [4/12]; Darlington [5/10]; Pocono [6/8]; Michigan [6/15]; Chicago [7/12]; Indianapolis [7/27]; Bristol [8/23]; New Hampshire [9/14]; Kansas [9/28]; Charlotte [10/11] and Homestead [11/16].(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • Ganassi expects to line up sponsors for Franchitti UPDATE: Team owner Chip Ganassi says that he expects to put together a “patchwork” of sponsorship for Dario Franchitti and his #40 Sprint Cup team. Franchitti, the 2007 IndyCar Series champion, will debut as a rookie in the NASCAR series this season. The team has not announced sponsorship plans for that car. Ganassi didn’t seem too worried about that while speaking with reporters during the annual NASCAR media tour put together by Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(SceneDaily.com)(1-22-2008)
    UPDATE 2 – Energizer to sponsor Franchitti for 5 races? hearing that #40-Dario Franchitti will be sponsored by Energizer batteries for the first five races of the 2008 season while the team looks for other sponsors and a full primary sponsor. Also hearing that Fastenal, who will sponsor Ganassi teams in the Nationwide Series, could sponsor the #40 Sprint Cup a few races. See images of the #40 Fastenal Nationwide scheme on the Nationwide Paint Schemes page.(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • Reeses back on the #29 in 2008: Reese’s/Hershey’s will be the primary sponsor for #29-Kevin Harvick for two races; at Phoenix in May nad at Daytona in July. See images of the scheme on the #29 Team Schemes page.(1-22-2008)

  • Cheez-It back on the #5 for a few races: #5-Casey Mears is scheduled to run the Cheez-it paint scheme in Sprint Cup four races: Texas [4/6]; Pocono [8/3]; Michigan [8/17]; and California [8/31]. Kellogg’s and Carquest will split the rest of the races. See an image of the scheme on the #5 Team Schemes page.(1-22-2008)

  • Furniture Row Racing to field two cars in 2008 UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing enters its third year of competitive Sprint Cup racing this season, and the team is positioning itself to have its best opening season yet. Striving to reach its top potential, the team will be powering their Chevy Impala’s with Hendrick Motorsports engines. Team Manager Joe Garone comments, “Having a world class driver in Joe Nemechek, and in our mind the best power in the garage with Hendrick engines, allows us to put the driver and engine program behind us. Crew chief Jay Guy and his staff can now focus on the vehicle dynamics and aero package of the new COT’s.” Furniture Row Racing will be running the #78 Chevy Impala this season with sponsorship from both Furniture Row and Denver Mattress. The Team will continue to seek associate sponsorship for the #78 and primary sponsorship for the #87 Chevy Impala which will be making its debut at the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500. Additional races for the #87 will only be scheduled when sponsorship is secured. The #87 Chevy Impala will be piloted by former Furniture Row driver Kenny Wallace. “I’m honored that Furniture Row Racing has asked me to attempt to qualify the #87 Denver Mattress Chevy in the 50th Anniversary of the Daytona 500. It’s a team effort, with Joe and I hopefully both qualifying. It’s also a chance… which is better than no chance at all to race.” Ed Nathman will be the crew chief for the #87 Denver Mattress Chevy Impala. Furniture Row Racing looks forward to having Kenny as Joe Nemechek’s teammate. As this sport evolves into more and more multi-car teams, single car teams are becoming a thing of the past. To be able to continue their two car effort, Furniture Row is eagerly seeking sponsorship for the #87 car. For more information on sponsorship opportunities you can go to www.furniturerowracing.com.(FRM PR)(1-22-2008)
    UPDATE: There is a catch, however. If Kenny Wallace qualifies [for the Daytona 500 in the #87] and teammate #78-Joe Nemechek doesn’t, Wallace must relinquish the seat to Nemechek.(SceneDaily.com)(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • PRN Radio wins six NMPA Awards: At the annual National Motorsports Press Association dinner, the Performance Racing Network [PRN] walked away with six radio awards. PRN’s Doug Rice was named Broadcaster of the Year co-winner along with capturing first place in the short form feature and second place in the live event categories. Kent Bernhardt collect two awards – first place in long form radio and third place in short form feature. Mark Garrow, host of PRN’s Garage Pass, won second place in radio spot news, his 32nd NMPA award.(PRN PR)(1-22-2008)

  • MRN Radio wins seven NMPA Awards: The National Motorsports Press Association held their annual Awards Ceremony on Sunday, January 20 and MRN Radio earned multiple honors. Motor Racing Network (MRN Radio) – The Voice of NASCAR, won seven awards in four different categories. The awards were won by the network as a whole, with three individuals being sited for their efforts, as well. In the Long Form Radio category, Live Event Director Ryan Horn won Third Place for the “Road to the Nextel Cup” which aired during the 2006 Nextel Cup Series Awards ceremony in New York City. In the Short Form category, Producer Marty Hough won Second Place for “NASCAR Live.” MRN Radio took two of three awards in the Spot News category. Producer Marty Hough won First Place for “NASCAR Live” and Co-Lead Anchor Joe Moore won Third Place for “NASCAR Today.” Both shows are long-time staples of the MRN Radio Network heard throughout the country on a majority of their 750 affiliates. For the Live Event category, MRN Radio earned two of three honors. They were awarded First Place for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. That race featured a last-lap chase to the checkered with Jamie McMurray winning by .005 seconds over Kyle Busch. The network also won Third Place for the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The prestigious Broadcaster of the Year Award is the one saved for last. And, MRN Radio represented with Producer Marty Hough winning Co-Broadcaster of the Year honors.(MRN Radio PR)(1-22-2008)

  • Earnhardt Jr.’s Big Mo’ Chocolate Bar Hits Store Shelves:“Dale Jr.’s Big Mo’ ” chocolate bar was created specifically for NASCAR’s mega star driver through the R.M. Palmer Company. The name Big Mo’ is a play off Earnhardt Jr.’s hometown of Mooresville, N.C., and the longtime moniker used for he and his closest friends, the Dirty Mo’ Posse. Weighing in at an impressive 2.5 ounces for only .99 cents, the king size milk chocolate filled bar is currently available in two popular flavors- creamy caramel and peanut butter. The exclusive recipe of the Big Mo’ bar included numerous taste-tests by Earnhardt Jr., and was tailored to please his pallet. “We went though a few rounds of taste tests with the team at RM Palmer, and I was very happy with the final result of the Big Mo’. I’m excited it’s available now so I can share it with racing and chocolate fans,” Earnhardt Jr. said. To coincide the launch of the Big Mo’ bar, R.M. Palmer Company has created the “Big Mo’ment with Dale Jr.” sweepstakes which runs from January 10th to April 30th 2008. More info about the sweepstakes on the Racing Contest page. For more information in RM Palmer Company please visit www.rmpalmer.com.(PR)(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • 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)
    AND Steve Wallace knocked down the fence – literally – at Daytona on Monday. Wallace 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. More to the story and an image of the car on the Nationwide Silly Season main page.(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • Wheldon Talked to Ganassi About Move to NASCAR: Dan Wheldon might be driving in the Sprint Cup Series this season instead of Dario Franchitti had team owner Chip Ganassi let him. Wheldon said on Monday he had several conversations with Ganassi about making the jump this year from the IndyCar Series, which he won in 2005, to NASCAR. “I talked to Chip enough about it to know that for whatever reason he didn’t want to let me move from the Indy car,” Wheldon said on the first day of the 2008 Sprint Cup media tour. “He definitely wants to keep me [in the IndyCar Series]. We’ll see. “I’ve got some big decisions to make at the end of next season. The main thing is I need to put myself in a strong position so I can make the decision I want to make.”(ESPN.com)(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • SPEED Announces Daytona Speedweeks Schedule: SPEED will deliver 100 hours of High-Definition programming from Daytona Speedweeks, highlighted by coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 at 2:00pm/et with a prime time replay at 9:00pm/et, the season opening Craftsman Truck Series race Feb. 15 at 7:30pm/et, the ARCA 200 on Feb. 9 at 4:00pm/et and special editions of the high-energy NASCAR pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay. Krista Voda and Jeff Hammond will host SPEED coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, with Hammond being joined in the booth by Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip for race coverage. Steve Byrnes, Dr. Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum will report from the pits. SPEED opens its Daytona Speedweeks lineup with coverage NASCAR Media Day on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the Bud Shootout Drawing at 8:00pm/et. The second annual SPEED Performance Awards (10:00pm/et), culminating with Mario Andretti’s crowning of the SPEED Performer of the Year will close out first-day coverage. In addition to extensive on-track action, Daytona Speedweeks marks the return of popular NASCAR on SPEED programming, including NASCAR RaceDay, NASCAR Victory Lane, Trackside Live, Tradin’ Paint with Kyle Petty, NASCAR Live!, NASCAR Performance, Go or Go Home, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain and The SPEED Report. Speedweeks on SPEED also will mark the debut of The Humpy Show, with legendary promoter and NASCAR storyteller Humpy Wheeler making the connection between NASCAR’s past and current storylines. The premiere airs Feb. 12 at 9:00pm/et with guests Buddy Baker and Kurt Busch.(SPEEDtv.com)(1-22-2008) Comment here

  • Petty Returns to Tradin’ Paint: NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty steps back into the SPEED boxing ring this season for his weekly rounds with NASCAR media on Tradin’ Paint, which premieres Feb. 8 at 9:00pm/et as part of the network’s 100 hours of Daytona Speedweeks in HD. “Kyle Petty is credible, informative, engaging and current on every issue in NASCAR,” said Steve Craddock, SPEED Senior VP of Programming. “It is so important for the fans to hear every angle of a particular issue and whether or not Kyle agrees with the media guest, he can and will debate them fiercely and in an entertaining manner. Kyle is part of racing royalty and his passion for NASCAR is evident in his weekly discussions about the sport. We are thrilled to have him continue on Tradin’ Paint and become a more permanent fixture on the network.” Petty, known for his confrontational, engaging and heated debates with media guests last year, has signed on for another season of trading volleys on the hottest topics in NASCAR. John Roberts will return as host.(SPEEDtv.com)(1-22-2008) Comment here

    News from January 21, 2008

  • Go or Go Home Drivers to Qualify Together: 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 [30 locked in for Nationwide and Trucks] — Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series — will qualify at the end of their respective session.(ESPN.com)(1-21-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR to Provide Tires for Tests: It 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) Comment here

  • NASCAR Fine Payments Going to NASCAR Foundation: NASCAR announced that starting this season, all money collected from fines issued to drivers will go to the NASCAR Foundation for its charitable initiatives. “Now that the NASCAR Foundation is well established and supporting dozens of charitable organizations it is the logical place for fine money to be distributed,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “We are excited to be able to work with our charities and help them develop a program that will maximize the impact they can have with their organizations,” said Sandy Marshall, executive director of the NASCAR Foundation.(NASCAR PR)(1-21-2008) Comment here

  • Childress auctioning ‘Intimidator’ Camaro: UPDATE: A highlight on the auction block of the 2008 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event will be “The Intimidator,” a one-of-a-kind Richard Childress ’69 Series 3 Camaro that honors the accomplishments of Childress with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The Intimidator ’69 Series 3 Camaro is scheduled to roll onto the main stage Jan. 19 at approximately 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The bidding for this one-of-a-kind vehicle can be seen live on SPEED. To pay homage to the #3 Chevy made famous by Dale Earnhardt Sr., Richard Childress joined forces with Total Performance, Inc. to build the ’69 Series 3 Camaro. The car crossing the block in Scottsdale will be Serial #3 and the only one with the official title of “The Intimidator” – a total of 50 ’69 Series 3 Camaros will be built over the next three years. The black, red and silver muscle car commemorates the dynamic relationship forged between Childress, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Earnhardt.(RCR PR)(1-18-2008)
    UPDATE: “The Intimidator,” a one-of-a-kind RCR Series 3 Camaro with direct ties to Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and the legendary Dale Earnhardt, sold Jan. 19 at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $575,000. The RCR Series 3 Camaro (www.rcrseries3.com) is a joint venture between RCR and Total Performance Incorporated (TPI) of Wichita, Kan. “The Intimidator,” serial No. 3 of the 50 which will be produced through 2010, is equipped with the actual engine block and other engine components that powered Earnhardt and the #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevy in the 2000 Daytona 500. The buyer, Jimmy Richardson, principal of Colson Park Capital, Inc., in Hickory, N.C., also has ties to the famed No. 3 GM Goodwrench teams. His Mom ‘N’ Pop’s Old Fashion Sugar Cured Country Ham was an associate sponsor of the team for six years (1991-96), three of which resulted in championship seasons (1991, ‘93, ‘94).(RCR PR)(1-21-2008) Comment here

  • Johnson Named NMPA Driver of the Year; Houston Named to Hall of Fame: There was little doubt about who was going to be chosen the National Motorsports Press Association’s driver of the year for 2007. The question, instead, was whether Jimmie Johnson would personally accept the Richard Petty trophy. The answer, for the second year in a row, was no. Johnson, who repeated as NASCAR champion last season, was announced as 2007’s top driver Sunday at a luncheon during the NMPA’s annual convention. When he was unable to attend last year’s awards presentation, Johnson videotaped an acceptance message. He did likewise this time, too, but the video wouldn’t play. It’s the third time in four years that Johnson was voted the NMPA driver of the year, and it was part of the spoils that went with a 10-win season by the 32-year-old native of El Cajon, Calif. Johnson is the fourth driver to win the NMPA award more than twice. Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough each captured the trophy three times, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. won it by himself four times and shared it with Tim Richmond in 1986. The trophy has been given annually by the media group since 1969.(Fayetteville Observer)
    AND: On Saturday night Tommy Houston, one of the truly significant figures in the history of what was previously known as the Busch Series, joined the National Motorsports Press Association’s Stock Car Hall of Fame. Like most of the men honored by the NMPA, the honor clearly moved Houston. He basked in the attention, answered every question and went out of his way to be cooperative. Houston’s last words to the audience — the dinner was near Lowe’s Motor Speedway at the Concord Convention Center and Embassy Suites hotel — were, “Thank you for remembering me, and good night.”(Gaston Gazette)(1-21-2008) Comment here

  • HANS in space? Astronauts wearing HANS devices? It could happen, according to Dr. John Melvin, who helped NASCAR improve the safety features of its stock cars since the start of the 2001 racing season. Melvin said NASA has taken an interest in the data gathered by NASCAR’s black box recorders over the last five years and may apply stock car safety standards to its upcoming moon and Mars programs. “NASA has become interested in this data for protecting the crew of the lunar and Mars modules,” Melvin said. “I’m working with them, along with some other people, trying to get this data built into their understanding on how to protect people.” When NASA ditches the shuttle program and goes back to Apollo-like capsules, the space agency plans to bring the returning space craft home with a ground landing.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2008) Comment here
  • Sprint Cup Series Media Tour Starts Monday: More than 200 print and electronic journalists from 23 states and as far away as Germany will make their annual pilgrimage to the heart of NASCAR racing as Lowe’s Motor Speedway hosts the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. An integral part of NASCAR’s pre-season schedule, the 26th edition of this media event begins Monday morning, Jan. 21, and continues through Thursday afternoon, Jan. 24. Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Petty Enterprises, Hall of Fame Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing are among the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams scheduled to host events. Media members will also get their initial look at the new Windshear wind tunnel facility during an event co-hosted by Haas/CNC Racing. In addition, the Media Tour will also make its annual visit to the NASCAR Research and Development Center.(Lowes Motor Speedway PR), NASCAR and teams have typically used the media tour to make a variety of announcements for the upcoming season. (1-21-2008) Comment here

News from January 20, 2008

  • Kenny to Run Some Cup Races? Kenny Wallace will come right out and tell you that he’s not yet ready to gain his identity from his career in motorsports television — he’s still a racecar driver. Wallace said he plans to be part of an announcement on Monday for a Sprint Cup deal to attempt the 50th annual Daytona 500 — the keystone event to Speedweeks — as well as a limited number of other Cup races throughout the season. Wallace said he was signed [to a TV deal with SPEED] prior to the 2007 season to a three-year deal, with two option years. “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. But Wallace said he’s a couple of years away from doing media full time — or even thinking about it.(NASCAR.com)(1-20-2008) Comment here

    News from January 19, 2008

  • Judge rules on discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR: A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed virtually all claims in a racial discrimination and breach of contract lawsuit against NASCAR and other parties stemming from a highly publicized 1999 incident at New Hampshire International Speedway. The incident occurred when former Penske Racing motorcoach driver David Scott, who is black, was greeted by a pair of motorcoach drivers, one of whom was wearing a white pillow case over his head as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. NASCAR indefinitely suspended the two motorcoach drivers involved. In his complaint, Scott said he was promised a job with NASCAR in response to the incident. NASCAR had claimed in its filings that Scott “was given several work opportunities which were declined” and “was not qualified” for the racing official job he wanted. Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled Thursday that the three-year statute of limitations had passed for all of the allegations, except for one on whether NASCAR did not award Scott a minority vendor contract in 2005 and 2006 based on race. Scott must re-file his lawsuit within 45 days to focus on that claim.(SceneDaily.com)(1-19-2008) Comment here

  • CitiFinancial sponsoring Roush: CitiFinancial 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 Sprint Cup Series entries of #16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth, #26-Jamie McMurray, and #6-David Ragan.(Roush Fenway PR)(1-19-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News – David Weiss: David Michael Weiss 47, of Summerfield, died Thursday, January 17, 2008, at his residence. A memorial service will be held at a later date to be announced. David was born September 20, 1960, in Ohio, a son to Tom and Patricia Weiss. He worked with Toyota Racing Development and spent many years working in the aerospace industry in Denver, Colorado. His true passion was racing which brought him to California and to Toyota Racing Development. David was also a graduate of Youngstown State University. Survivors include his wife, Kristie Weiss of the home; his father , Tom Weiss of Nashville, Tenn.; and his mother, Patricia Manus of Atlanta, Ga.; one brother, Stephen Weiss of Atlanta, Ga.; and his dog, Lucy of the home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to U.N.C. Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center CB# 7295, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295. Forbis & Dick N. Elm Street Chapel is serving the Weiss Family.(News & Record)(1-19-2008)

    News from January 18, 2008

  • NASCAR to increase age requirement? MORE A reliable inside source tells rowdy.com that NASCAR is seriously considering raising the age limit for drivers in the Sprint Cup Series from the current 18 years of age to 21. Should the change happen, and a decision has not yet been made according to the source, the driver who comes most quickly to the mind of Rowdy listeners is phenom Joey Logano. Logano, currently with Joe Gibbs Racing, turns 18 on May 24th of this year (he’s scheduled to make his Nationwide Series debut at Dover shortly afterward), and under the current rules he would be eligible for Cup duty in 2009. Presumably any change would affect the Sprint Cup series only.(Rowdy.com)(1-16-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR sources confirmed Wednesday that the sanctioning body is considering raising the minimum age for drivers racing in the Sprint Cup Series from 18 to 21. Currently, drivers must be 18 to compete in the Cup, Nationwide or Craftsman Truck series. If a change is made, drivers between 18 and 21 would remain eligible for Nationwide and Truck competition but would have to wait to make the move into stock-car racing’s top series. There are concerns that young drivers are being moved up through the ranks too soon, and that more time in the second-tier series would give them time to develop their skills on the track and to mature off of it. Such a change could, theoretically, also bolster interest in the Nationwide and Truck series, since it would ensure that promising young drivers could build fan followings and attract sponsorships while competing at those lower levels.(Thats Racin)(1-18-2008) Comment here
  • New sponsors for DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has secured two new sponsors for the 2008 season, Steak-umm and Cub Cadet. Both deals are for mostly associate positions on DEI cars but also involve primary positions in select Sprint Cup races. Terms of the deals were not available. Steak-umm’s sponsorship will involve a full season of associate sponsorship on Mark Martin’s #8 Chevy, as well as a primary for the June Pocono race. In May, Steak-umm will be the primary sponsor on DEI’s #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith at Richmond. Cub Cadet, which also has status as NASCAR’s official outdoor power equipment, has bought associate space on Martin Truex Jr.’s #1 Chevy with a primary planned for the Chicagoland race in July. Charlotte-based Camp Strategy represented Cub Cadet. There’s also a business-to-business component, which involves Bass Pro Shops, the yearlong primary on Truex’s car, possibly selling Cub Cadet equipment in its stores. .(Sporting News/Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal)(1-15-2008)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced that they have secured Steak-umm Company LLC as a primary sponsor on the #8 and #01 Chevys for select races during the 2008 season, including the May Richmond Sprint Cup race with Regan Smith and the June Pocono Sprint Cup race with Mark Martin. Steak-umm will also serve as an associate sponsor on the #8 car for the full 2008 season. Steak-umm’s entry into the NASCAR sponsorship arena coincides with the company’s introduction of Steak-umm Burgers, a new line of frozen burgers available in Original, Sweet Onion and Real Cheese varieties. It is also part of a broad new Steak-umm marketing initiative that began last year with national TV ads for the company’s thinly sliced, portion-controlled frozen sandwich steaks.(DEI PR)(1-18-2008) Comment

  • Gillett Evernham Announces Personnel Changes: Gillett Evernham Motorsports made several personnel announcements involving its engineering and competition departments as it prepares for the 2008 Sprint Cup and Nationwide seasons with drivers Kasey Kahne, Patrick Carpentier,  Elliott Sadler and Chase Miller. The announcement included:
    * Tommy Wheeler, who joined the organization in 2001 and served as technical director of Gillett Evernham Engines since 2006, has been promoted to engineering services director.
    * Rodney Childers, formerly the team director of the #10 Valvoline Dodge, has been moved to team director of the #19 Best Buy Dodge.
    * Mike Shiplett, formerly the team director of the #9 Dodge in the Nationwide Series has been promoted to team director of the #10 Valvoline Dodge.
    * 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.
    * Iain Watt, who joined the organization in 2007, has been promoted to director of performance engineering responsible for the team’s on-track performance.
    * Sam Johns was promoted to director of operations responsible for building and preparing all of the team’s Sprint Cup Dodges.
    (GEM PR)(1-18-2008) Comment here

    News from January 17, 2008

  • Marlin Has Concerns About Chances at Daytona: Sterling Marlin twice has won the Daytona 500 in his racing career. A shot at winning number 3 in the 50th running of the race Feb. 17 took a huge hit this week after three sub-par days of testing. Marlin’s #09 Chevy, owned by Phoenix Racing, had the 46th-fastest speed, at 186.162 mph, of the 58 drivers who tested the past two weeks. The slow speed has Marlin doubting his chances of qualifying for the race. “It looks like the Toyotas are looking like they have their bases covered,” said Marlin, a Columbia native. “They are really fast. Realistically looking, you are not going to make the (restrictor) plate races on speed because you can’t get yourself fast enough to make it.” Marlin is scheduled to attempt to qualify in seven Cup races. That list originally included four restrictor plate races – two at Daytona and two at Talladega. Max Papis is scheduled to attempt to qualify for both road races during the season. Marlin said the team should rethink attempting to qualify at Daytona and Talladega. “We might want to get rid of the superspeedways and go with more short tracks,” Marlin said. “I told them today that if we come back like we are today, we are wasting money and time. The car drafts pretty good, but you need some speed. We’ve got to find out the problem.”(Tennessean.com)(1-17-2008) Comment here

  • Rules Change Before Daytona? NASCAR is still evaluating data from Sprint Cup Series testing at Daytona International Speedway, but it looks as if there likely will be a change in the gear rule when competitors return in February. Teams currently have a choice of a 370 gear or a 375 gear, but their RPMs are above what NASCAR is looking for. A change in gear – likely a 364 gear – would reduce RPM. That would make the engines more durable. It could even make the cars faster. “If we change the rule, we won’t do it officially until all of testing is completed,” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said Wednesday during testing. “I think all of the teams are already anticipating a change. I know a lot of teams last week tried a 364 gear and a lot of teams here have got 364s in.” NASCAR would like to keep the RPMs below 9,000, Darby said. Darby said no one has reached 9,000 RPM. “We’re getting too close to that,” Darby said. “The key to it is if 10 cars are drafting and they see 8900, when we put 43 out, they’re going to be over 9000.” Darby said NASCAR is fine with the overall speeds, which have hit 188 mph in drafting.(SceneDaily.com).(1-17-2008) Comment here

  • Gant to Race the Famed #33 in the Old School Racing Tour: Old School Racing will take old school fans back in time when they kick off their inaugural Old School Racing Tour this May. That is when the fans will be able to see their favorite drivers and the paint schemes they made famous. Harry Gant will pilot the #33 that he made famous. Along with the green and white paint scheme made famous by Gant, “old school” fans will also see the familiar red and white scheme made famous by David Pearson, the gold and black scheme made famous by Davey Allison, the “Kings” paint scheme and many others that will bring back memories of the good ‘ole days of racing. The inaugural race at Concord Speedway on May 18th of 2008, the season will run a ten race schedule. The OSR will field cars for such racing legends as Harry Gant, James Hylton, David Pearson, Geoff Bodine and some 30 other racing icons. More info at the Old School Racing Champions Tour (OSRCT) site.(1-17-2008) Comment here

  • Riggs testing at Kentucky: #66-Scott Riggs is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, Jan 20 and Monday, Jan 21. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(1-17-2008)

    News from January 16, 2008

  • Daytona Testing Speeds – Day 6: Due to threat of rain, lunch was cancelled and only one session was run in the final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday. The rain never came and the session lasted until 4:00pm/et. #9B-Kahne was the fastest in a Dodge at 189.111mph [the fastest overall of both weeks of testing], followed by #11B-Denny Hamlin in a Toyota, #40-Franchitti in a Dodge, #01A-Smith in a Chevy and #12B-Newman in a Dodge. The fastest Ford was #6B-Ragan at 10th. #88B-Earnhardt Jr. was 19th fastest. Slowest of the 52 cars were #57A-Benning at 179.386 and #15B-Menard at 180.766. Any single car runs were not noted or mentioned.(NASCAR Media). See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-16-2008
  • Overall Speeds at Daytona:
    Single Car Speeds: 56 drivers/cars made single lap runs during the first three practice sessions [1st day and first half of the 2nd day]. The top six speeds came for those drivers testing in the 2nd week [Jan 14-16] with #88B-Earnhardt Jr. being the fastest in a Chevy at 185.820mph, then #22B-Blaney, #55-Waltrip, #83A-Vickers and #44A-Jarrett all four in Toyota’s]. #48A-Johnson was the fastest from the first week at 184.782 [7th overall]. Slowest were #57A-Benning at 176.856 and #08A-Long at 178.536.
    Drafting Speeds: 57 drivers/cars ran drafting testing with most in packs of cars. #9B-Kahne was the overall fastest of all six days/two session with a speed of 189.111mph in a Dodge, followed by #18B-Busch in a Toyota the first session, then #11B-Hamlin, #40-Franchitti and # 01A-Smith. Slowest were Chevy 47.703 188.667 Day6. #57A-Benning at 179.386 and #98A-Keller [who only tested on Day 1 in single car runs] at 182.278.
    NOTE: Some drivers did single car runs during the drafting practice sessions, but have not seen them separated. For the best speeds per session and overall, see the 2008 Daytona Cup Testing Speeds – Best by Driver all sessions.(1-16-2008)
  • GEM names Mark McArdle VP and Managing Director of Competition Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced the promotion of Mark McArdle to Vice President and Managing Director of Competition. McArdle formerly served as the Vice President and Managing Director of Gillett Evernham Engines. “This is another example of the business and performance related improvements Ray Evernham and I are committed to making,” said George Gillett Jr., team owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “The goal is to position our resources and leadership where they will have the greatest impact, conduct assessments and then make any additional strategic investments necessary to compete for championships. That’s what we expect as an organization and we are committed to delivering that level of performance to our partners.” McArdle spent 10 years building engines in CART with organizations such as Penske Racing and Mercedes-Benz. After visiting victory lane in the Indianapolis 500 three times, McArdle made the move to NASCAR and has been with Gillett Evernham Motorsports since 2003. In addition to his management responsibilities at Gillett Evernham Engines, he also provided oversight and direction to Advanced Engine Technology, the Gillett Evernham facility based in Northhamptonshire, England. McArdle’s technology-based approach to competition together with the added business expertise and resources of Gillett should help Gillett Evernham Motorsports move closer to its goal of becoming a championship organization.(GEM PR)(1-16-2008)
  • State Water Heaters to #66..with Riggs UPDATE 3: hearing that State Water Heaters will sponsor the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and that Scott Riggs will drive the car, supposedly Jeremy Mayfield and the #66 crew will move over to the #70 Team. State Water Heaters sponsored the #4 Morgan McClure team and driver Ward Burton in 2007, no word on MMM or Burton’s 2008 plans.(1-2-2008)
    UPDATE: Scott Riggs told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Friday that be will drive the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy next season, with the Bootie Barker-led team that worked with Johnny Sauter’s #70 car last year. In addition, Riggs confirmed that talks are underway to brng State Water Heaters aboard as sponsor. “We’re in negotiations pretty heavy with State Water Heaters, and while the deal is not signed, we’re hopeful that we can get it done.”(1-4-2008)
    UPDATE 2: State Water Heaters has signed a multiyear contract to sponsor the Haas CNC Racing Sprint Cup cars. The company will be the primary sponsor for the #66 Chevy driven by Scott Riggs for an undisclosed number of races in 2008 and will be an associate sponsor for the rest, according to a team spokesperson. It will also be an associate sponsor for the #70 Chevy of Jeremy Mayfield while also appearing as a primary on that car in select races. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.(SceneDaily.com), see images of the car testing on the #66 Team Schemes page.(1-16-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Haas CNC Racing announced it has entered into a multi-year, global, business-to-business partnership with State Water Heaters to be a primary sponsor of the #66 with Scott Riggs. The program also includes primary placement for select races with Jeremy Mayfield on the #70 and an associate sponsorship position on both cars for the full 2008 season. “We couldn’t be happier than to partner with a quality brand like State Water Heaters,” said team marketing manager Carl Cline. “With the recent changes we’ve made at Haas CNC Racing, 2008 should prove to be an exciting year for us and we are thrilled to have State Water Heaters share in our future successes. Through our commitment to performance, both on and off the track, we hope to grow a long, proud partnership with State Water Heaters,” Cline added. For more information about State Water Heaters visit www.statewaterheaters.com.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(1-16-2008)

  • Kodak back with Newman in 2008: been told Kodak will be the primary sponsor for #12-Ryan Newman for six races: Pocono – June 8; Chicago – July 12; Watkins Glen – Aug 10; California – Aug 31; New Hampshire – Sept 14; Atlanta – Oct 26. See an image of the car on the #12 Team Schemes page.(1-16-2008)

  • Dodge plans to phase in new engine: Dodge officials expect to have a new engine on the track sometime this summer. The new engine should improve water flow and the ability to make power reliably, said Howard Comstock, Dodge’s Sprint Cup program manager. Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Penske Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing build their own engines. Petty Enterprises uses Gillett Evernham motors. “We did the initial development in-house at Chrysler and made parts available to the teams,” Comstock said. “Now they have got parts, and they can get their engines put together and run them for the first time on their dyno. We will get some additional feedback and make some engineering changes as we go along and make sure that everything is solid before the engine actually sees competition.” With Chevrolet and Toyota having introduced new engines last year, Comstock said Dodge has looked at those engines and learned. Ford most likely is coming out with a new engine in 2009.(SceneDaily.com)(1-16-2008) Comment here

  • Grooved Tires in Dale Jr’s garage? A set of grooved Goodyear tires in #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s garage created a buzz Tuesday. The tires, which are the same specifications as the race tires teams lease from Goodyear, are set-up tires which teams can use when pushing the car through the garage en route to inspection, thus saving wear on their race tires.(Florida Today)(1-16-2008)
  • Hornish baby due on..Feb 10th..pole day at Daytona: Sprint Cup newbie #77-Sam Hornish spent most of December getting ready for a new arrival. Sam’s wife, Crystal, is due to deliver their first child next month. “I’ve been decorating the nursery and getting everything ready,” Hornish said. “The due date is a bit of a concern for me. It’s February 10th [pole day for the Daytona 500]. I really want to be there for the birth. We’ll see what happens.”(ESPN.com)(1-16-2008) Comment here
  • Marlin set to run 10 races in 2008: This year, Sterling Marlin plans to be behind the wheel of the #09 Chevrolet owned by Phoenix Racing for a total of just 10 Cup races — the two Daytona races, the two Talladega races, several of the short tracks and the season finale at Homestead. The car’s primary sponsor is Miccosukee Indian Gaming, which owns and operates a resort and casino near Miami, Fla.(NASCAR.com)(1-16-2008) Comment here
  • Calinoff returns to spot the #40 car: When David Stremme arrived on the Sprint Cup Series scene in 2006, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates hired 15-year veteran spotter Mike Calinoff to provide experience and guidance for the rookie. Now, two years later and faced with a similar scenario, Ganassi has signed Calinoff to once again provide that experience from the spotter¹s tower for his newest Sprint Cup rookie, 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and IRL Series champion Dario Franchitti. An entrepreneur with an array of successful and growing businesses, Calinoff has a vast amount of experience working with drivers in the developmental stage and is eager to begin working with Franchitti. Calinoff began as a NASCAR spotter in 1992. He spent six years spotting for Matt Kenseth, including his 2003 Sprint Cup championship season. He spent the last two years as David Stremme¹s Sprint Cup spotter.(MCI PR)(1-16-2008)

    News from January 15, 2008

  • Goodyear to run tire test at Texas this week UPDATE: Two Sprint Cup teams will conduct a tire test Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway, a Goodyear spokesman confirmed today. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #07-Clint Bowyer will participate in the two-day test. Goodyear wants to come up with a tire that’s suitable for the track, where NASCAR”s new car will be raced for the first time this year.(SceneDaily.com)(1-15-2008)
    UPDATE: #07-Clint Bowyer was certainly pleased with his team’s effort Tuesday after day one of a two day Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “We were fast”, said Bowyer. “I ran a 29 flat so that’s still getting off in the corner over 200 miles per hour. In turn one I looked over at the board and it said 200.” The bad news was the Jack Daniels Chevrolet lost a motor. Bowyer said; “It looked to me like the oil pan broke. There was a piece of piston on the back straightaway so it (chuckling) grenaded.” #42-Juan Pablo Montoya also tested with Bowyer. Montoya was scheduled to test at Daytona this week, however the Texaco Dodge driver practiced last week so he could take part in the Texas test.(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(1-15-2008) Comment
  • Four wins for Dale Jr.? #88 crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. is convinced they [he and Dale Earnhardt Jr.] can make the most of that close relationship and win races this season, something that didn’t happen in a lame-duck year at DEI. How many will they win? “I’d be very disappointed if we don’t win at least four,” Eury said. “I don’t think that’s out of line at all. We can get the job done. It’s just a matter of getting the right breaks and making the right calls. If we do that, we have a shot at getting in the Chase and winning the title.”
    “We have to get a little bit faster, but all in all, I couldn’t be happier,” Eury said from Daytona International Speedway. “I’ve been pumped, and Dale Jr. is more pumped up than I’ve ever seen him.”(paraphrased from ESPN.com)(1-15-2008) Comment
  • Haas starts prison term: Gene Haas, a reclusive entrepreneur who built a multimillion-dollar company in Oxnard, surrendered to federal authorities Monday to begin serving a two-year prison sentence. The 55-year-old Camarillo resident was convicted of conspiring to cheat the government out of millions of dollars in taxes owed by his company, Haas Automation Inc., the country’s largest machine tool builder. Haas must serve the entire prison sentence because parole isn’t granted in the federal system. He pleaded guilty in August to one of 11 federal charges brought against him. His plea deal also requires him to pay about $75 million in restitution and fines, which he has done. The company also owns Haas CNC Racing, which has competed in NASCAR since 2002. The race team currently fields two Sprint Cup Series teams with a 2008 lineup featuring drivers #66-Scott Riggs and #70-Jeremy Mayfield. On Monday, Haas checked into the Federal Correctional Institution, a low-security prison for male inmates near Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, according to his attorney Brian Hennigan. Haas has long been regarded as an extraordinary success who founded his company in 1983 and built it into the country’s largest machine tool builder. Haas Automation remains one of Ventura County’s larger employers, with about 1,550 workers at a manufacturing complex at 2800 Sturgis Road in Oxnard. Haas also is known as one of the county’s more generous philanthropists. According to previous company statements, Haas has not been involved in the daily operation of the business for nearly a decade and the business has not been affected by the federal charges.(Ventura County Star)(1-15-2008) Comment
  • New sponsors for DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has secured two new sponsors for the 2008 season, Steak-umm and Cub Cadet. Both deals are for mostly associate positions on DEI cars but also involve primary positions in select Sprint Cup races. Terms of the deals were not available. Steak-umm’s sponsorship will involve a full season of associate sponsorship on Mark Martin’s #8 Chevy, as well as a primary for the June Pocono race. In May, Steak-umm will be the primary sponsor on DEI’s #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith at Richmond. Cub Cadet, which also has status as NASCAR’s official outdoor power equipment, has bought associate space on Martin Truex Jr.’s #1 Chevy with a primary planned for the Chicagoland race in July. Charlotte-based Camp Strategy represented Cub Cadet. There’s also a business-to-business component, which involves Bass Pro Shops, the yearlong primary on Truex’s car, possibly selling Cub Cadet equipment in its stores. .(Sporting News/Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal)(1-15-2008) Comment
  • Daytona Drafting SPEEDs – Day 5 PM: 54 cars took to the track for drafting test at Daytona International Speedway in the afternoon in Day 2 of Session 2 on Tuesday. #12B-Newman was the fastest in the draft at 188.013mph, followed by #01A-Smith, #15B-Menard, #29B-Harvick and #40A-Franchitti. The fastest Toyota was #20A-Stewart at 6th, the fastest Ford was #6B-Ragan at 16th. Slowest were #57A-Benning at 178.338 and #08A-Long at 179.311.(NASCAR Media) See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-15-2008) Comment
  • Daytona Testing SPEEDs – Day 5 AM: 52 cars took to the track testing at Daytona International Speedway in Day 5 overall of testing and Day 2 of Session 2 on Tuesday. #88A-Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest in single car runs Tuesday morning at 185.820mph [the fastest overall single car run so far]. #55-Waltrip was 2nd fastest [and 6th in his 2nd car] followed by three more Toyota’s. #83A-Vickers, #44A-Jarrett and #20A-Stewart. #40-Franchitti was the fastest Dodge at 7th and #38B-Gilliland was the fastest Ford at 15th. Slowest were #57A-Benning at 175.097 and #08A-Long at 178.536. This afternoon, drafting testing will start, some teams will run single cars runs, but they are not usually reported as such.(NASCAR Media). See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-15-2008) Comment

  • Dale Jr. to appear in Super Bowl Ad: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will go bumper-to-bumper with his former backer before the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 if he makes the starting grid in a Feb. 3 Super Bowl ad for the company sponsoring his new ride. Earnhardt recently shot two ads for Pepsi’s Amp energy drink, sponsor of his race car this year. Pepsi is the No. 2 Super Bowl ad spender this year behind Anheuser-Busch, which was Earnhardt’s sponsor last season. “There’s only a few Super Bowl spots and it’s limited on what celebrities get chosen; after a while, you start to understand the competition between the brands,” Earnhardt said by phone from a commercial shoot in Los Angeles, where he said he and a crew of 30 took over a “nice woman’s café. You start to see how big a deal it is not to bomb,” he said. “It’s important to be at the top of the list. When they go out and spend all this dang money, they don’t want to bomb out.” Pepsi shot two ads with Earnhardt and they’re in a pool of ads in testing to see which will get a piece of its two minutes of in-game ad time. With that time valued at about $10 million and more than 90 million people expected to be watching, Pepsi is testing to see if they are game-ready. Either way, the Earnhardt ads will air in the telecast of the Daytona 500. Pepsi marketers think Earnhardt’s appeal can help the Amp ads top soft-drink rival Coca-Cola and end Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl Ad Meter winning streak. A-B has taken the checkered flag for the most-liked ad for nine games. Before Anheuser-Busch began its Ad Meter run, Pepsi reigned as king of Big Game ads for six consecutive Super Sundays. With the Earnhardt ads, Pepsi’s formula has mixed in some of the traditional ingredients of crowd-pleasing Super Bowl ads: celebrity star power and animal antics. In one of the ads, Amp gives Earnhardt the energy to take on a camel (real), in the other a gorilla (human powered). The beasts are meant to represent the forces that drivers endure on a race track at 200 mph.(USA Today)(1-15-2008) Comment

  • LaJoie participates in NASCAR seat testing: In an ongoing effort to improve race driver safety, NASCAR, General Motors and a select group of safety equipment manufacturers recently met to further evaluate ways to improve racecar seat standards for NASCAR racing at all levels. Randy LaJoie, owner of “The Joie of Seating”, was one of just a few manufacturers invited to participate in a discussion and seat testing conducted at a Delphi facility. Other companies represented included: Hendrick Motorsports, ISP, Richardson, and HANS Performance Products. According to LaJoie, the purpose was to further research ways to establish seat standards for the racing community and further reduce driver injuries contributable to poor seat design, materials and installation. LaJoie’s willingness to participate in this effort further reflects his passion to improve racer safety. LaJoie has been an activist in much of the safety R&D that NASCAR has conducted over recent years and has been working to see these innovations transcend beyond the top 3 NASCAR series. In his own effort to do just that LaJoie began touring around the country in 2007 with an interactive unit to help bring safety education and innovations to all levels of racing. Still seeking a Title Sponsor for “Randy LaJoie’s Safer Racer Tour”, LaJoie plans to continue this tour in 2008, and for years to come, in hope of getting racers to use safer equipment and practices. The North Carolina Motorsports Association presented Randy LaJoie with their 2007 Industry Safety Innovation award for his work in helping to improve auto racing safety with the racecar seats designed and manufactured by The Joie of Seating.(PR)(1-15-2008) Comment

    News from January 14, 2008

  • Sponsor for the #01? Dale Earnhardt Inc. has not announced sponsorship for its #01 Sprint Cup entry with driver Regan Smith, but it appears that one of the sponsors will be Principal Financial Services. Smith got into his car at testing Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway wearing a Principal Financial Services uniform, and the company logo graced the rear quarter panel of its car. The company’s Web site was featured on the rear bumper. “Principal Financial and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have executed a letter of intent for a 2008 sponsorship relationship,” DEI President Max Seigel said. “The details are still being worked through to make Principal Financial a primary and associate sponsor for DEI in 2008. Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Principal Financial will be making a proper announcement once the contract has been signed.” DEI officials have said that they would piece together sponsorship from more than one company for the Smith car. DEI Vice President John Story said earlier this month that he could not confirm Principal as one of the team’s sponsors.(SceneDaily). of note: Principal Financial Services was a associate and sometime primary on the #01 [and #13 and #14] with Ginn Racing, which merged with DEI in 2007.(1-14-2008) Comment
  • NASCAR This Week on ESPN: In advance of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, ESPN Classic will be televising six of the best Daytona 500 races of all time every Monday at 2:00pm/et through Feb. 11. On Monday, Jan. 21, ESPN Classic will air the 1990 Daytona 500. ESPN.com’s NASCAR page features a poll where viewers can log on to choose their favorite Daytona 500 from the six. Then, on Saturday night, Feb. 16, the night before the 2008 version of NASCAR’s biggest race, ESPN Classic will show the top five races as chosen by the fans in their order of preference, starting at 10pm/et.  #3-Dale Earnhardt was all but the 500 winner in 1990 when his car blew a tire in turn 3 of the last lap, leading to an unlikely Daytona 500 victory for Derrike Cope. Cope cruised by Earnhardt to win the 500, his first career NASCAR win, and one of only two in his career, the other coming later that season [at Dover].
    ESPN Classic will give NASCAR fans a chance to see the final NASCAR race at historic Riverside International Raceway with an airing of highlights of the 1988 Budweiser 400 Friday, Jan. 18, at 3:00am/et. Rusty Wallace, now ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, was always a threat to win on road courses during his driving career and Wallace drove his Kodiak Pontiac to victory over Terry Labonte in the 400-kilometer race on the 2.62-mile circuit located east of Los Angeles. Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt and Phil Parsons completed the top five in the race that was run June 12, 1988. Riverside held races for NASCAR’s top series from the early 1960s until 1988. The track closed in 1989 and a shopping mall now sits on part of the land.(ESPN PR)(1-14-2008)

  • Garnder wins Chili Bowl: Damion Gardner went from outside looking in to looking back at everyone as he scored a dominating victory in Saturday night’s 22nd annual Chili Bowl. Gardner was a last-minute entry for the biggest midget race of the year but he wound up being the class of the record 284 entries in front of a standing-room only crowd of 13,000. Starting on the outside of the front row, Gardner took command in Turn 1 and led all 50 laps despite 10 caution flags and a couple of challenges from Dave Darland. Darland, the USAC veteran from Kokomo, had to settle for second after starting fourth while Shane Cottle came home third. Defending champ Tony Stewart started 13th and ran eighth in the main event after capturing one of the B features while fellow NASCAR ace Kasey Kahne dropped out early with mechanical trouble.(more at SPEEDtv.com and at chilibowl.com)(1-13-2008)
    Chili Bowl Telecast to be Replayed: For fans who missed Saturday’s live pay-per-view broadcast of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, and for those who must see again, by popular demand the event will be available to viewers for replay via Cable On Demand and Satellite for two additional weeks. The pay-per-view replays will be available starting Monday, January 14.
    Cable: The race telecasts will be widely available via Cable On Demand on cable systems nationally beginning Monday, January 14 through Saturday, January 26. Watch whenever you want; play, pause, rewind and fast forward; consumers are in control of the action. On Demand content location varies by system. Check your electronic guide for specific channels. A subscription to HBO is not required.
    DirecTV: All Day Ticket available on Channel 124; Wednesday, January 16; Monday, January 21; Friday, January 25
    Dish Network: Channels 455/472: Monday, January 14 @ 9:00pm/et; Tuesday, January 15 @ 9:00pm/et; Wednesday, January 16 @ 9:00pm/et.(1-14-2008)

  • Brandon Ash Racing Develops Plan for Growth: Brandon Ash Racing, owned by the father-son combination of Ed and Brandon Ash and Ken Wood, have outlined a plan to bring their #02 Brandon Ash Racing Dodge Sprint Cup operation east after partnering with potential sponsors to help grow the team at their current home base in Winston, Oregon. “We’ve thought hard about our next step for Brandon’s career and what’s best for this race team,” said team owner Ed Ash. “We feel that eventually moving east, to the heart of the racing business, is the best answer for us, but we want to do it the right way. We want to find partners to grow with us here, and eventually make the move when the time is right. Finding that partner is our primary goal now.” Brandon Ash Racing has immediate plans to race in Sprint Cup events in the western half of the country this season with Brandon Ash behind the wheel of their trademark #02 flamed Dodge. The team is prepared to enter its first event at the Phoenix International Raceway in April. Ash, 30, started his professional career racing in the Camping World West Series in 1998 at the young age of 21. Ash recorded over 20 top-10 and over a dozen top-five finishes including a win at the Kansas Speedway while in the series. Ash made the leap to the Sprint Cup Series in 2004. Brandon Ash Racing is currently speaking with potential partners for the 2008 season and beyond. More information can be found at www.02brandonash.com.(Breaking Limits Marketing PR), Ash has ran four Cup races in the past few seasons.(1-14-2008) Comment

  • Fuller testing 2nd Furniture Row car at Daytona: Furniture Row Racing, whose full-time driver Joe Nemechek tested last week [in the #78], has brought its #87 entry for this test, with Jeff Fuller behind the wheel.(SceneDaily.com)(1-14-2008) Comment

  • BAM Racing and Schrader team up for Daytona UPDATE: Been told that BAM Racing plans to field a “Diamond Driven” Dodge Charger with veteran driver Ken Schrader for both the Bud Shootout and the Daytona 500 with David Hyder as the crew chief and engines by Evernham Motorsports.(1-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Ken Schrader is among the 31 drivers on hand for the second Sprint Cup test session today through Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. Schrader, who is eligible to compete in the Budweiser Shootout, confirmed Monday morning that he would run the Speed Weeks events for BAM Racing and also will do the tests at California and Las Vegas later this month. “We’re just going to see what happens,” said Schrader, who owns his own race team and often races at short tracks across the country. “The only thing I know for sure is I’m going to race every weekend this year. I don’t know where or what.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-14-2008) Comment

  • Dale Jr’s night club under construction: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the process of opening a nightclub in Charlotte [NC]. “It’s coming along,” Earnhardt said. “It’s really early in the building stages. I went over there for the first time to see it this week. It looks terrible right now. Hopefully once they paint it and do all the tricks that they’ll do to make it look cool and then make it half lit it’ll look cool. Hopefully I’ll at least break even. That’s all I’m hoping to do. They are never moneymakers. I just want to have some fun with it.” The bar will be named Whiskey River. Earnhardt said he’d been planning the place for about three years. But at the time he couldn’t use the name Whiskey River because his affiliation with Budweiser as his primary sponsorship at Dale Earnhardt Inc. “I thought that would be fun to name a club that and was surprised there aren’t many clubs named that,” Earnhardt said.(Tennessean)(1-14-2008)Comment
  • AARWBA Titus Trophy to Franchitti: Dario Franchitti, who won the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series championship and then moved on to NASCAR, was announced as recipient of the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy for 2007 at Saturday night’s 38th annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s All-America Team ceremony. The Titus is earned by the driver who receives the most All-America Team votes cast by AARWBA members. Named in memory of the late journalist and professional racer, it is the highest honor offered by the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. Emerson Fittipaldi, the legendary Indy-Formula One-Champ Car champion, was the featured speaker. Other Team drivers on-hand to claim their “Horsepower” Trophies were: Tony Schumacher and Tony Pedregon (drag racing); Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Scott Pruett (road racing); Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Alex Lloyd (at-large); and Frank Kimmel (touring series). Also elected were Sebastien Bourdais (open wheel); Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (stock car); Donny Schatz and Jerry Coons Jr. (short track); and Ron Hornaday Jr. (touring). Several special awards were presented:
    Pioneer In Racing Award: Carl A. Haas
    Jim Chapman Award: Dave Densmore and Bob Carlson received the honor for excellence in motorsports public relations.
    Dusty Brandel President’s Award: Robert (Rocky) Entriken, journalist and longtime chairman of the All-America Team selection committee, received the honor from Brandel. Entriken was acknowledged for his many contributions to the organization.
    Gorsline Scholarship: The 15th annual scholarship, given by John Gorsline of The Gorsline Co., went to 19-year-old Star Mazda series champion Dane Cameron. The prize is awarded to an up-and-coming driver who displays the attributes of a future champion. Cameron became the first rookie to win the overall series championship.
    A special audio-visual tribute was offered in memory of members Bill France Jr., Wally Parks and Shav Glick. Bob Jenkins was Master of Ceremonies. Army Staff Sergeant John Adams and Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club executive director Jack Martin led the Pledge of Allegiance.(AARWBA PR)(1-14-2008)

  • NASCAR licence plate leads to capture: Masking his appearance with a coat of drywall compound wasn’t enough to protect the identity of a bank robber, authorities said. A NASCAR plate on the getaway car led police right to him. Robert Coulson Lavery, 56, was convicted Wednesday in the Nov. 24, 2006, robbery of the New Cumberland [PA] Federal Credit Union, which netted $7,910, Fairview Township police said. He was charged along with Robert Steven Miller, 53, who drove the getaway car, which bore a Rusty Wallace NASCAR plate on the front. A tip from someone familiar with the car led police to Miller, who confessed to helping Lavery in the robbery, police said. When Lavery was arrested at Miller’s home in Harrisburg, police found $3,775 in cash, clothing with smears of drywall compound, and more drywall compound in the passenger side of the car. Miller pleaded guilty to robbery and theft in October.(Associated Press)(1-14-2008)
  • SPEEDs – Day 4 PM: 53 cars took to the track testing at Daytona International Speedway with #22B-Blaney being the quickest at 185.445mph in sigle car runs, followed by #88B-Earnhardt Jr., #83A-Vickers, #44A-Jarrett and #55-Waltrip. Toyotas had 8 of the fastest times in the top-10. #40-Franchitti was the fastest Dodge Charger at 10th and #38A-Gilliland was the fastes Ford Fusion at 14th. Bringing up the rear were #57A-Benning at 176.856 then #08A-Long at 177.291.(NASCAR Media). See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-14-2008)Comment
  • Daytona Test Session 2 – Day 4 AM: Sprint Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway is back for the second session, with 28 drivers and 50 cars taking single car runs, the fastest was #44B-Jarrett with a speed of 184.987mph, which was faster then last weeks fastest single-car run of #48-Johnson [184.782], followed by #88B-Earnhardt Jr. in his new Hendrick Motorsports ride, #40-Franchitti, #20A-Stewart and #11B-Hamlin. The fastest Ford was #38A-Gilliland. Slowest car was #09A-Marlin at 178.880. See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-14-2008)

News from January 13, 2008

  • Frye named Red Bull GM: Red Bull Racing Team [#83-Vickers, #84-Allmendinger] announced Jay Frye as General Manager effective January 14, 2008. Frye brings on board 16 years of experience in the NASCAR industry, most recently with a 12-year stint as CEO and GM of Ginn Racing (formerly MB2 Motorsports). “Red Bull along with Toyota has all the necessary tools to compete at a very high level. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with an organization that has unlimited potential,” says Frye. With a long-standing history of industry success, Frye completes Red Bull Racing Team’s search for a GM, since the position was vacated in June 2007. Guenther Steiner, who joined the team in 2006 with extensive Formula One technical expertise, will continue to work as Technical Director and focus fully on delivering advanced engineering performance and technology. Red Bull Racing Team’s focus on superior and precision engineering paired with Jay Frye’s industry expertise is certain to lead to consistent and successful results in 2008.(Team Red Bull PR)(1-13-2008) Comment

  • Wood Brothers, JTG Split Stock-Car Operation: Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing have changed their business model, but the two are still working together in a marketing and technological partnership, JTG Racing owner Tad Geschickter said Saturday afternoon. Geschickter will still be responsible for finding sponsorships for both the teams he owns and the Wood Brothers teams. The teams will have separate directors of competition and separate budgets. The Wood Brothers will field the #21 Sprint Cup Ford (with multiple drivers likely including Ken Schrader, Jon Wood and Marcos Ambrose [……and Bill Elliott]) and the #21 truck with Jon and Keven Wood in the seat. JTG Racing will field a Cup car in four races for Ambrose as well as Nationwide Series cars for Ambrose (#59) and Kelly Bires (#47) and a truck for Scott Lagasse Jr. (#20). Geschickter said that he changed crew chiefs for Ambrose in the Nationwide Series as Walter Giles (a fellow Australian to Ambrose) has come over from his position as director for race engineering at DEI.(SceneDaily.com)
    AND 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. [Bill] Elliott will test the #21 car Monday-Wednesday at Daytona and compete in all Speedweeks events that car will contest, including the Feb. 9 Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duel qualifying race on Feb. 14 and the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. The team has sponsorship for nine Cup races from the U.S. Air Force, with Jon Wood driving; and for 14 weekends from the Little Debbie brand of snack cakes. Little Debbie will be on the car for the Daytona 500, but Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose will be the primary driver of the #21 in the other Little Debbie races. Elliott will drive the #21’s other Cup races, with most of their sponsorship in place, Eddie Wood said. He said the team had primary sponsorship available for six races. Geschickter said Ambrose would also drive four races in JTG Racing’s #47 Little Debbie Sprint Cup car, at Indianapolis, Kansas, Atlanta and Homestead.(NASCAR.com)(1-13-2008)Comment

  • Park has a ride: Steve Park announced today on Press Pass on Sirius NASCAR Radio 128 that he has signed to run the full NASCAR Camping World East Series schedule with Waste Management as sponsor. He is in Daytona talking to numerous Craftsman Truck Series team owners as well and told hosts Alex Hayden and Steve Post “I just know in my heart that I can still win races.”(Sirius NASCAR)(1-13-2008) Comment

  • Long to run the #08 at Daytona: Carl Long is running the Daytona 500 with the #08 E&M Motorsports team with sponsorship from Millstar Tools and Rhino’s Energy Drink. The team will be testing their #08 Dodge at Daytona on Monday. Long is also scheduled to drive at Bristol with California and Las Vegas as a possibilities.(Carl Long Racing)(1-13-2008) Comment

  • Chili Bowl to Be Televised Live for First Time RESULTS: For the first time ever, race fans can watch the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals featuring a who’s who of racing stars, including NASCAR’s Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, who’ll battle aboard 800-hp midgets for one of the most coveted trophies in motorsport. Broadcasted live worldwide by HBO Pay-Per-View, the star-studded dirt track race takes place on Saturday, January 12, 2008 from Tulsa, Okla. Since its 1987 inception, the annual Chili Bowl has built a reputation as one of the premier and most unique motorsports events in America. Champions from various racing circuits travel to Tulsa’s QuikTrip Center during auto racing’s winter break for the opportunity to compete on the indoor, quarter mile-banked dirt oval in front of a sold-out crowd lucky enough to secure tickets the summer before. Motorsports Media Entertainment is promoting the broadcast in conjunction with HBO Pay-Per-View and title sponsor Lucas Oil. NeWave TV Productions of Tinley Park, Ill. is handling the event TV production. General Tire and Dodge are presenting sponsors. The live broadcast on Saturday, January 12 begins at 8:00pm/et, with an immediate pay-per-view replay and additional replays on Sunday. The HBO Pay-Per-View racing telecast has a suggested retail price $24.95 and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes in the United States and Canada and millions more worldwide. Ordering information is available at www.hbo.com.(HBO PR)(12-7-2007)

    Thursday RESULTS: Brad Kuhn won Thursday’s Warren CAT Qualifier, Tony Stewart was 5th. Cole Whitt made a lap 20 pass of defending Chili Bowl champion Tony Stewart to snare the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday night’s 50-lap Chili Bowl championship main event. Stewart rounded out the top five and will start from the front row of one of Saturday night’s “B” Main events as he tries to become the first back-to-back winner in Chili Bowl history, see Chilibowl.com for the story and all the results.(1-11-2008)
    Friday RESULTS: Just when it looked as though Jason Leffler was going to win Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Qualifying event at Tulsa Expo Raceway’s Dodge Chili Bowl Nationals, his hired gun foiled his victory plans. California native Damion Gardner, piloting Leffler’s Pace Electronics/Team ASE #71g, made the top side of the ¼-mile clay oval inside the QuikTrip Center work over the latter stages of the 25-lap feature and swept into the lead on the 22nd lap to snare the win. Working his way from deep in the field, USAC ace Dave Darland slipped around Leffler on the final round to take second, with Leffler settling for the show position. Kasey Kahne batted past Ron Shuman on the 24th circuit to take the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday night’s 50-lap Chili Bowl championship main event. Gardner, Darland, Leffler and Kahne join Wednesday night’s top four (Josh Ford, Aaron Fiscus, Jerry Coons, Jr., and Bryan Clauson) and Thursday’s top four (Brad Kuhn, Jon Stanbrough, Shane Cottle and Cole Whitt) as the dozen drivers locked into Saturday night’s main event, which will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View. The balance of the record 274 competitors will battle it out for the remaining dozen starting positions through Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops slate of Chili Bowl championship feature events, which get under way at 1:00 p.m., see Chilibowl.com for the story and all the results.(1-12-2008)
    Saturday results: Damion Gardner went from outside looking in to looking back at everyone as he scored a dominating victory in Saturday night’s 22nd annual Chili Bowl. Gardner was a last-minute entry for the biggest midget race of the year but he wound up being the class of the record 284 entries in front of a standing-room only crowd of 13,000. Starting on the outside of the front row, Gardner took command in Turn 1 and led all 50 laps despite 10 caution flags and a couple of challenges from Dave Darland. Darland, the USAC veteran from Kokomo, had to settle for second after starting fourth while Shane Cottle came home third. Defending champ Tony Stewart started 13th and ran eighth in the main event after capturing one of the B features while fellow NASCAR ace Kasey Kahne dropped out early with mechanical trouble.(more at SPEEDtv.com and at chilibowl.com)(1-13-2008)

    News from January 12, 2008

  • Morgan-McClure Motorsports closes shop MORE: #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports closed its doors today [Friday], laying off 28 employees and further damaging any slim hopes the last Virginia-based Sprint Cup team has of competing in its 26th season. Team Manager and co-owner Larry McClure said earlier this afternoon that if the team did not find sponsorship money by the end of today, there would be mass layoffs. The layoffs happened around 3pm. “It’s been a good 25 years,” McClure said after the announcement. “Circumstances made us take a step back.” McClure said he and co-owner and President Tim Morgan would work with their marketing team to continue to search for sponsorship to run the full season. They are working on an agreement to have Mike Wallace drive the #4 Chevy in the Daytona 500, a race Morgan-McClure has won three times. McClure did say if sponsorship came together in the next several weeks, the team would have cars available to race at Daytona.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-11-2008)
    UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports President Tim Morgan announced today that operations will be scaled back until a sponsor or investor is found. Many employees were laid off but the organization still remains ready to head to Daytona if a sponsor signs up in time. Tim Morgan, President of Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced today at 3:00pm/et that, “We are basically closing the doors on 25 years of NASCAR racing if we don’t find a sponsor. We have been searching for sponsorship for months and decided that if nothing materialized, we would have to cancel testing and release most of our employees.” Morgan continues, “We will continue our marketing efforts and still try to put something together but we cannot continue the way we are today.”
    Larry McClure, Team Manager said, “We will continue to search for sponsorship and if something becomes available, we have the cars ready to go to Daytona. This is a very hard day for me. I’ve had a lot of fun racing and it’s just hard to believe it might come to this. I would like to say thanks to all our fans who have remained loyal through all these years and to thank everyone who has ever supported us in any way, whether it be through this race team or our dealerships. We are still the best bargain in NASCAR if we could just find the right sponsor.” Morgan-McClure Motorsports was a force to be reckoned with in the 90’s when they won three coveted Daytona 500’s, two of them back-to-back. MMM completes 25 years of history that includes 14 wins, 63 top-5’s, 146 top-10’s and 13 poles.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(1-12-2008) Comment

  • NASCAR Settles with Family of Plane Crash victim: NASCAR has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement with a man who lost his wife and son when a NASCAR owned plane slammed into their Sanford Florida home. That plane crash last July set off a massive fire. Joe Woodard lost his wife Janice and his 6 month old son Josiah. In the home next door four year old Gabreila DeChat died and her brother 10 year old Daniel Happy is still recovering in the Shriners’ Burn Center in Cincinnati. The plane was piloted by Dr. Bruce Kennedy the husband of Lesa France Kennedy president of International Speedway Corporation. NASCAR pilot Michael Klemm was also killed. DeChat’s parents were also burned but have since recovered from their injuries. Woodward’s attorney wouldn’t discuss the terms of the settlement.(Fox News Orlando), past news on the crash at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(1-12-2008)

  • Kentucky Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR/ISC dismissed APPEALED: Today on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio at approximately 11:15am/et, SIRIUS host Steve Post reported that the U.S. District Court in Kentucky has dismissed the anti-trust lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR and ISC alleging the two worked together to restrict the Kentucky track from acquiring a NASCAR Cup race. SIRIUS host, Steve post: “Breaking news and to my knowledge you are hearing it first right here on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio. We just have word that the courts in Kentucky, the case Kentucky vs. ISC, have entirely dismissed this case. It looks like the whole thing has been thrown out.”
    AND A judge has ruled in favor of NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. in an anti-trust lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway’s owner. U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertlesman’s opinion was issued Monday morning. In it, he ruled that even by granting Kentucky Speedway the benefit of the doubt on all reasonable inferences, the track failed to make a case. Kentucky Speedway alleged that NASCAR, which is privately held by members of the France family and sanctions races, conspired with ISC, which is publicly traded but under majority control by the Frances, to keep track Kentucky from getting Sprint Cup races. NASCAR and ISC had sought a summary judgment from the court before a trail that had been scheduled for March. Kentucky Speedway has the right to appeal Bertlesman’s ruling.(Thatsracin)(1-7-2008)
    NASCAR Statement: NASCAR is very pleased by the U.S. District Court’s ruling to dismiss this case. It puts an end to any question about which locations and dates NASCAR can operate its races. Like other sports such as the NFL, MLB and the NBA, NASCAR can host its events where it decides is best for the sport and its fans.(NASCAR PR)
    Kentucky Speedway Statement: In response to today’s decision in the antitrust suit brought by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR and ISC, Stanley Chesley, attorney for Kentucky Speedway stated: “We are disappointed in the Court’s decision, both for ourselves, for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and for all those fans who have been hurt by what we believe are NASCAR’s and ISC’s anticompetitive actions toward Kentucky Speedway. We are convinced that there are serious issue of both fact and law, and we intend to appeal.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(1-8-2008)
    UPDATE: The Kentucky Speedway formally notified the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday that it will challenge a federal judge’s decision to dismiss its antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. “We’re moving forward,” Stan Chesley, the speedway’s lead lawyer, said Friday. “We wanted to move on that appeal as quickly as we could.” U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman on Monday ruled in favor of NASCAR and ISC by dismissing the lawsuit filed by the Kentucky Speedway more than two years ago. NASCAR and ISC filed a joint motion for summary judgment last summer and on Nov. 19 the opposing sides presented arguments before Bertelsman in U.S. District Court in Covington. The track sued in July 2005, alleging NASCAR and ISC violated federal laws by restricting which tracks host Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel Cup) races. In an amended complaint filed last year, the speedway said it wanted to develop “objective factors” for the awarding of Cup races; for the France family to give up control of either ISC (a public company that operates tracks and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the Frances) or NASCAR (a private company owned by the Frances); and for ISC to sell at least eight of the 12 tracks it owns that host Cup events. It also sought more than $200-million in damages.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(1-12-2008)

  • BAM Racing teams up with sponsorship agency: RainMakers International announced that it has signed a services agreement with BAM Racing to sell sponsorship on the #49 car. RainMakers is focused on bringing family oriented and moderately priced sponsorships to national and international businesses. This sponsorship is a revolutionary new sponsorship program — over one year in development. The program’s use of high-tech programming and patent-pending systems makes possible low-cost season-long space on the car for a limited time introductory price of only $4,995. The sponsorship includes high-tech turnkey marketing components for those who secure their sponsor space. RainMakers is the exclusive seller of this specially priced package. The marketing components include, but are not limited to, a promotional video customized for each sponsor, a sponsor promo-pack that includes a royalty free image license, a comprehensive sweepstakes campaign customized for each sponsor, a race website customized for each sponsor, four recorded messages for the sponsor’s telephone “on-hold” system, and a chance to become a primary sponsor for one race in 2008. The introductory price of $4,995 is discounted for a limited time from the program’s regular price of $10,080 and is subject to change without notice. However, even at the full price, sponsors would invest just $280 per race for a sponsor space on a Sprint Cup car, nearly the same size as other more traditional sponsor spaces costing thousands per race. To learn more about the program, log on to www.49team.com.(PrimeNewswire)(1-12-2008)

  • To ‘Boogity’ or not to ‘Boogity’: Long time readers of Darrell Waltrip’s columns know that every year he likes to take an annual poll as he try to keep my finger on the pulse of fans, the media, the TV critics, and the racing community as a whole. DW would like to see where everybody is concerning one issue in particular: To “Boogity, boogity, boogity!” or not to “Boogity, boogity, boogity!” DW takes a lot of heat, and it seems like it’s mostly from insiders, about using the “Boogity, boogity, boogity!” catchphrase before every race. DW has been told that the saying “is ridiculous,” and that “it doesn’t make him sound very intelligent.” Every year he feels like he almost have to defend starting a race with those words, but he does travel a lot all over the country and talks to fans — from little guys that are five, six, seven years old, teenagers, old race fans, new race fans, senior race fans, perimeter race fans, you name it, but they always come up to me and say, “Man, I can’t wait to get the NASCAR season started again and to hear those magic words…” and they are not talking about “Gentlemen, start your engines.” The last three years the vote has been held and it’s been 60-40 pretty much across the board, 70-30, 60-40. As long as it’s above 50%, DW is going to keep doing it.(vote at FoxSports.com), it was at 15% as of Saturday evening, then the poll was removed due to technical difficulties.(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 Cup [#49 BAM Racing] and Busch [now Nationwide] 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)(1-12-2008)

    News from January 11, 2008

  • Air Force returns to the #21 in 2008, Wood to drive: Wood Brothers Racing announced the United States Air Force will not only be the primary sponsor for nine Sprint Cup Series races in 2008, but will also play a role in the Wood Brothers’ upcoming campaign in the Craftsman Truck Series as an associate sponsor. The United States Air Force is entering its eighth year of marketing, recruiting and sponsorship of the Wood Brothers’ family-based team. Third-generation drivers-and cousins-Jon Wood and Keven Wood will share the Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford F-150 entry in the Craftsman Truck Series for the 2008 season. Jon is the 26-year-old son of Eddie Wood; Keven is the 23-year-old son of Len Wood. Jon Wood is anxious to get back to racing after the off-season break. “I’m very enthusiastic about this year’s schedule as I will be representing the United States Air Force in both the Sprint Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series,” said Jon, a two-time winner in the Truck Series. “It’ll be a lot of fun to share time with Keven in the truck because it’s something we’ve always known would happen-and now it’s here.” Jon and Keven are grandchildren of Glen Wood, who founded the team in 1950 and was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Crew chief Gene Nead will lead the efforts of the #21 Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series. John Monsam will return as the crew chief for the #21 F-150 in the Craftsman Truck Series.(Wood Brothers Racing PR)(1-11-2008)

  • Five Cup races planned for Said in 2008: Fresh from winning his second straight Bodine Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid, N.Y., #60-Boris Said has set his schedule for the 2008 season. Now a regular on ESPN’s “NASCAR Now,” Said is to drive in only five Sprint Cup races this season, starting with the Daytona 500. “But we could be in a little trouble there,” said Said. “There are only six spots open and there are seven Toyotas going for them. We’ve made it every time before, but Ford is the only program without a new engine this season.” Plus, Said’s Carlsbad-based No Fear team hasn’t had as much time in the Car of Tomorrow, which will be making its Daytona International Speedway debut with the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, as most other teams in the garages. In addition to the Daytona 500, Said plans to enter the second Sprint Cup race in Daytona in July plus the road races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen and the fall race at Talladega. He also plans to run the three road-course races in the Nationwide Series plus selected sports car races to include the 24 Hours of Daytona (in a Mustang GT) and the 12 Hours of Sebring.(San Diego Union Tribune)(1-11-2008)

  • Wimmer not running Daytona 500; Shelmerdine will make attempt: Scott Wimmer won’t race in the Daytona 500 this year as he had hoped. Wimmer drives part time in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series for Richard Childress Racing, but Kirk Shelmerdine, who won four championships as a crew chief with the team, drove RCR’s fourth [#33] car in the opening Sprint Cup testing this week at Daytona International Speedway. “It was a race that maybe we were going to run but we weren’t 100% sure; we didn’t have sponsorship,” said Wimmer, who placed third in the 500 in 2004. “Kirk ended up coming with some sponsorship dollars. I’ll still be there in the Busch car, and I’m looking forward to doing some more testing in the Cup car and maybe running some races after Daytona.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-11-2008)
  • Sad News – Hank Schoolfield: Henry “Hank” Palmer Schoolfield Jr., 79, of Winston-Salem passed away Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008, at Silas Creek Manor. He was born in Reidsville on July 5, 1928, to Henry Palmer and Margaret Wheeler Schoolfield. Mr. Schoolfield was president and owner of Universal Services Inc., which is a public relations and advertising agency with Universal Printers and Southern MotoRacing divisions. He was a publisher and editor of Southern MotoRacing, a bi-weekly tabloid newspaper with emphasis on motor racing news from the Southeast. He also covered major national and international events. Auto-racing clients have included a variety of tracks. The longest-running of these relationships were with North Wilkesboro Speedway, from 1961 until it closed in 1996; and seasonal weekly racing in Winston-Salem’ s Bowman Gray Stadium from 1961 to 2004. He founded the Southern MotoRacing publication in 1964. Also in 1964, he co-founded Universal Racing Network in a partnership with radio announcer Bob Montgomery, and became the network’ s sole owner when Montgomery died in 1971. The network produced and syndicated radio broadcasts of as many as 16 NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) races yearly with as many as 300 stations. He was on the production staff for the first ‘ live’ television broadcast of stockcar races, a closed-circuit venture of TelePrompter Corp. for Daytona 500 in 1967 and 1968. His recreational activities included fishing, and until recent years, hunting. Mr. Schoolfield is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Thelma H. Schoolfield; and a daughter, Judy S. Holstrom, and her husband Bruce of King. The funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel, with the Rev. Lee Strange officiating. Burial will follow at Shiloh United Methodist Church Cemetery in Julian. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today, Jan. 11, at the funeral home. He was loved and will be missed by his family, friends and the racing world. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 4A Oak Branch Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407.(Winston Salem Journal/Guest Book)(1-11-2008)
    Comment by Fox’s Mike Joy at FoxSports.com: With the passing of Hank Schoolfield Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C., I wanted to share a few of my thoughts: Hank was a stalwart and a pioneer of racing news in print, radio and television, and had a lifelong devotion to the sport that is seldom seen today. We were friendly competitors when I ran Motor Racing Network radio, which broadcast the races not carried by Schoolfield’s Universal Racing Network. When MRN eventually acquired the rights to URN’s tracks, Hank refused Bill France, Jr.’s offer of compensation. The highly-principled and independent reporter preferred to fold his radio network rather than be bought out by NASCAR. I’ll always admire Hank for his energy, his independent spirit, and the great success he had in promoting the sport he loved.(1-11-2008)

  • Makoto’s sponsorship for Front Row: Tom Cobb, owner of Makoto’s Seafood and Steakhouse of Japan in Melbourne and Palm Bay and the Makoto’s Ginger Dressing brand will once again be an associate sponsor on the Front Row Motorsports Sprint Cup [supposedly 2 teams in Daytona #34-Driver TBA and #37-McClure] team for Speedweeks at Daytona. No driver has been named.(Florida Today)(1-11-2008)

  • Petty’s Victory Invitational Golf Tournament announces sponsors: Kyle Petty’s Victory Invitational Golf Tournament has announced a partnership with financial services company Wells Fargo & Co. for the NASCAR-themed golf benefit scheduled to take place in the Greater Phoenix area on Thursday, February 28, 2008. Wells Fargo will join Kyle Petty’s Victory Invitational as a Victory-level sponsor, which lends naming rights to the California-based company for the post-tournament awards luncheon: the Victory Lane Luncheon Sponsored by Wells Fargo.
    AND Kyle Petty’s Victory Invitational Golf Tournament has announced a partnership with sports television programmer Turner Sports, Inc. for the NASCAR-themed golf benefit scheduled to take place in the Greater Phoenix area on Thursday, February 28, 2008. The Time Warner subsidiary will join Kyle Petty’s Victory Invitational as a Victory-level sponsor, which lends naming rights to the company for the pre-tournament player breakfast.(PRs), more info about the Golf Tournament on the Racing Charities Page.(1-11-2008)

  • Clint Bowyer Racing names driver: Clint Bowyer Racing has tabbed dirt late model standout Shannon Babb to handle the driving duties for its newly formed dirt late model team in 2008. The team, owned by Clint Bowyer, driver of Richard Childress Racing’s #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy, will be entering its first year of competition among the elite ranks of Dirt Late Model competition. The team plans to compete in more than 60 nights of racing from early February to late November. Clint Bowyer Racing will call Welcome, N.C., home for the 2008 season. The team will start the year with three new chassis in its shop. Clements Automotive will provide Chevrolet engines. The Bowyer/Babb combination plans to make its debut at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 4.(Clint Bowyer Racing)(1-11-2008)

    News from January 10, 2008

  • Stanley Tools to sponsor Sadler: Stanley Tools will have a fresh new look in 2008. NASCAR fans will now see the familiar yellow and black colors of the Stanley brand on Elliott Sadler’s Gillett Evernham Motorsports #19 Dodge at a dozen races plus the All-Star race during the upcoming Sprint Cup season. The Stanley brand has served as a co-primary sponsor on the #10 Dodge at Gillett Evernham Motorsports since 2006 as well as an associate sponsor. Stanley will sponsor the #19 Dodge for 12 races in 2008, including races at Las Vegas, Phoenix (April 12), Richmond (May 3), Pocono (June 8), Infineon, Indianapolis, Michigan (Aug. 17), New Hampshire (Sept. 14), Lowe’s (Oct. 11), Texas (Nov. 2) and both Bristol races plus the All-Star race in Charlotte. In addition to the #19 primary sponsorship, Stanley will continue its involvement as an associate sponsor on the #9 Budweiser Dodge of Kasey Kahne and the #10 Valvoline Dodge of Patrick Carpentier. Stanley logos will also be on Carpentier’s #9 Dodge for the Nationwide Series race in Montreal. More information about The Stanley Works can be found at stanleyworks.com.(GEM PR), see an image of the scheme on the #19 Team Schemes page.(1-10-2008)

  • Villeneuve not to run full season? On SPEED’s coverage of Preseason Thunder testing coverage from Daytona, that things are up in the air with Jacques Villeneuve and the #27 [was #36] Bill Davis Racing team. Villeneuve was to run for the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award, but supposedly now, will run the first five races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season and see where the team is after those races and if they get in the top-35 in owners points and the guaranteed spot.(1-10-2008)

  • New Crew Chief for Vickers: Red Bull Racing Team announced Kevin Hamlin [no relation to Denny] to crew chief the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry piloted by Brian Vickers for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Hamlin’s past crew chief roles include his most recent stint with Dave Blaney’s #22 Toyota, preceded by nine years of crew chief duties with RCR drivers including Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. To date, Hamlin has amassed nine Cup wins; five of those with Earnhardt Sr. Despite Hamlin’s “nine” theme, there are no plans to change the #83 to #89. Red Bull Racing Team Competition Director Elton Sawyer: “Finding the right crew chief for the 83 team was a pivotal decision in an effort to restructure the foundation on that team. We need a crew chief with not only the right experience and background to work effectively with our driver and crew, but someone who also shares the same vision for success. We found that package with Kevin Hamlin. Our focus between now and Daytona is not only getting our cars up to speed for the season opener, but also getting Kevin up to speed working with Red Bull, Brian (Vickers) and the 83 team.”(Red Bull Racing PR)(1-10-2008)

  • NASCAR announces pit road rule changes: NASCAR officials distributed two rules changes that will be in affect this season in regards to pit road regulations: “Cars may not be pushed past the flag person at the end of the pit road. Unless otherwise authorized, once the race is underway, cars may be started by hand pushing in the pit area only, but under no circumstances is any car to be hand pushed more than three pit boxes away from their assigned pit box or into the acceleration zone or onto the race track from the pit area. Cars may not receive any assistance after the white flag has been displayed, except those cars making pit stops …”.
    “A team member must be in contact with the outside tire(s) until the outside tire(s) reach the inside half of the pit box before the car leaves its assigned pit box. Any tires let in the outside half of the assigned pit box, or beyond, will result in a time or other penalty.“ These changes came about as a way to promote a safer pit road after several incidents occurred during the 2007 season where tires were being knocked around like projectiles by cars on pit road because they were not under the control of crew members. NASCAR felt like they had to take control of these tires better and this policy is something that teams will have to follow as the 2008 season starts.(FoxSports)(1-10-2008)

  • RCR reaches agreement with Garage company: Richard Childress Racing has agreed to licensing terms with garage interiors and home storage market leader, Slide-Lok, for the categories of garage cabinets, garage flooring, Slat-Wall storage and closet systems for a multi-year term. Slide-Lok’s most recent licensing agreement with Richard Childress Racing, which comes in the wake of their latest announcement with NASCAR, Inc. and Roush Fenway Racing, includes the signing of Richard Childress Racing’s drivers #29-Kevin Harvick and #31-Jeff Burton. The RCR drivers will be notably featured in Slide-Lok’s new “Racing Garage” product line which will brandish the names, numbers, color schemes and signature logos of the top drivers of NASCAR integrated into Slide-Lok’s patented plywood garage cabinets, Slat-Wall storage, closet systems and garage floor coatings. The unveiling of the new Slide-Lok Racing Garage line is set for early 2008. For more information on Slide-Lok garage cabinets, garage floor coating systems, garage storage and their patented, innovative design advantages, contact Slide-Lok directly at 800-835-1759 or visit them on the web at www.slide-lok.com.(Marketwire)(1-10-2008)
  • Chili Bowl to Be Televised Live for First Time UPDATE: For the first time ever, race fans can watch the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals featuring a who’s who of racing stars, including NASCAR’s Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, who’ll battle aboard 800-hp midgets for one of the most coveted trophies in motorsport. Broadcasted live worldwide by HBO Pay-Per-View, the star-studded dirt track race takes place on Saturday, January 12, 2008 from Tulsa, Okla. Since its 1987 inception, the annual Chili Bowl has built a reputation as one of the premier and most unique motorsports events in America. Champions from various racing circuits travel to Tulsa’s QuikTrip Center during auto racing’s winter break for the opportunity to compete on the indoor, quarter mile-banked dirt oval in front of a sold-out crowd lucky enough to secure tickets the summer before. Motorsports Media Entertainment is promoting the broadcast in conjunction with HBO Pay-Per-View and title sponsor Lucas Oil. NeWave TV Productions of Tinley Park, Ill. is handling the event TV production. General Tire and Dodge are presenting sponsors. The live broadcast on Saturday, January 12 begins at 8:00pm/et, with an immediate pay-per-view replay and additional replays on Sunday. The HBO Pay-Per-View racing telecast has a suggested retail price $24.95 and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes in the United States and Canada and millions more worldwide. Ordering information is available at www.hbo.com.(HBO PR)(12-7-2007)
    UPDATE: As a special treat leading up to the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, which will be telecast live on pay-per-view on Saturday, January 12, NASCAR.com and Foxsports.com will stream a special webcast of the final qualification night live from Tulsa’s QuikTrip Center. On Friday, January 11 at 10:30pm/et, racing fans can log on to NASCAR.com and Foxsports.com to watch the live stream webcast of the second Twin B feature (15 laps) followed by the A feature (25 laps). Notable driver entries scheduled for Friday’s qualification heats include defending champion Tony Stewart, fellow NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne and Jason Leffler, former two-time Chili Bowl champion Cory Kruseman, multiple USAC champion Dave Darland, and road racer PJ Jones. The live webcast will be hosted by veteran broadcaster Ken Stout and include color commentary by Dave Argabright, Larry Rice, Dr. Pat Sullivan and pit reporting by Matt Yocum. On Friday, January 11 at 10:30pm/et, racing fans can log on to NASCAR.com and Foxsports.com to watch a special live stream webcast of the final night of qualifications.(Motorsports Management PR)(1-10-2008)

    News from January 9, 2008

  • NASCAR Day 2008 – May 16th: The NASCAR Foundation announced that it will celebrate “Five Years of Caring” May 16 during the fifth anniversary of NASCAR Day. Present for the announcement at Daytona International Speedway was country music superstar Garth Brooks. As part of his role, Brooks will appear in a print, radio and television advertising campaign that will debut during the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008 (FOX, 2:00pm/et). Past celebrity supporters for NASCAR Day include Will Ferrell and Kelly Clarkson. More info at foundation.nascar.com or Jayski’s Racing Charity page.(NASCAR PR)(1-9-2008)

  • Gibbs retires as coach of the Redskins UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing [#11,#18, #20] resigned as coach and team president of the Washington Redskins on Tuesday. The Redskins said in a statement that Gibbs will remain part of the Redskins family and serve as a special adviser to owner Dan Snyder.(ESPN.com)(1-8-2008)
    UPDATE: The retirement of Joe Gibbs from coaching the Washington Redskins caught some members of his race teams by surprise including driver Kyle Busch. “Yeah, I figured he had one more year left (on his NFL contract) so I figured he was gonna keep diggin’. I don’t know what his decision process was about resigning but I’m sure it will be for the better of Joe Gibbs Racing.” The decision by Gibbs may mean he’ll spend more time with his race teams this year and Busch thinks that would be a good thing. “I think it’ll be fine. I don’t think it’s going to hurt any. Whenever we need something you go to Joe and you tell him that we need something and he’s like fine…go get it…do what you’ve got to do and we’ll figure out how to pay for it later, so that will pay dividends here in what we need.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)
    UPDATE 2: The following is a statement from J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) since October 1997, about the return of his father, Joe Gibbs, to JGR after spending the past four years as head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. “Obviously, it’ll be great to have him back here on a regular basis. It’s a biased opinion because he’s my dad, but there’s so much that he brings to the table. He has such a gift for leading a team. He’s been coaching for 40 years and a leader of this race team since we formed it in 1992. Having him back will be a huge encouragement to our 430 families and a benefit to all of our corporate partners. I know my dad loves the Redskins and thinks the world of Dan Snyder (Redskins Owner). As a huge Redskins fan myself, I’m thrilled he will remain in partnership with Dan as a consultant, helping the Redskins wherever he can in the years to come. As far as my role with the team goes – nothing changes, just like nothing really changed when he went back to the Redskins in 2004. I guess it’s a good thing I never moved into his office. We’re all working really hard to win races and championships, just like we always have.”(JGR PR)(1-9-2008)

  • Tire issues at Daytona: #99-Carl Edwards told reporters tire blistering appeared to be an issue with the new race car on Tuesday. Edwards said his Ford experienced blistering with its right front Goodyear tire. #5-Casey Mears blew a right front tire before his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy car brushed the wall. #41-Reed Sorenson blew a right rear tire and spun his Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge. “I believe every set we’ve put on that’s (blistering) been the limiting factor in single car runs and in the draft,” Edwards said. “I don’t think it’s a function of the draft. We have worked with the camber a little bit and gotten it better. That’s the #1 issue right now.” Goodyear’s Rick Heinrich acknowledged issues with tires. “We have a new car and we have a new tire and what these test sessions are all about is for the teams to experiment and get dailed in and to figure out where they need to be when they come back for Speedweeks,” he said. “Right now we’ve got, some of the teams have got a lot of heat in the right front tires and we have seen some blistering but then what the situation is from there is it’s up to the team to make adjustments and improve on that condition.” #19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge driver Elliott Sadler said his team also experienced some blistering but he wasn’t concerned. “I think this is a normal issue in winter testing until we get some rubber down on the race track,” he told reporters. “By the time we have the 24-hour race and stuff like that, there will be plenty of rubber down, we’ll slide around a little bit more and tire problems will take care of themselves.”(Florida Today)
    AND Despite a bunch of blistered Goodyear tires Tuesday in Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway and one crash that might have been a result of that issue, NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said don’t expect any tire changes before Speedweeks 2008. Pemberton said teams were using a different tire at Daytona than was used in the COT’s previous outing on a similar racetrack, last October at Talladega Superspeedway. He said the Daytona tire had “more stagger,” or more circumference from the right to the left side to aid the cars’ turning.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2008)

  • Safety Meeting News: Seats and helmets were hot topics at NASCAR’s annual safety meeting for drivers and crew chiefs Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway. Attendance is mandatory for the gatherings, which continue this month with a second Sprint Cup test and sessions for the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series. Tom Gideon, safety director for GM Racing, said drivers were particularly interested in new seat specifications in the wake of Ricky Rudd’s Sept. 2 crash at California Speedway. Rudd, who made a NASCAR-record 788 consecutive starts, suffered a severely separated left shoulder and missed five races, the first time he had been sidelined by an injury. “They have rigid seats now with shoulder and head support, and they want to make sure there’s nothing in the seat to hurt the shoulder,” Gideon said. “There can be edges of the seat that can get into the shoulder, and that might have happened in Ricky’s case.”(USA Today)(1-9-2008)

  • Testing at Nashville: Michael Waltrip Racing took time Wednesday, January 9 for a team test at Nashville Superspeedway. Drivers Michael Waltrip and Michael McDowell tested two Sprint Cup cars on a sunny day in Middle Tennessee.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(1-9-2008)

  • No urgency on Johnson extension with Hendrick: neither #48-Jimmie Johnson nor Hendrick Motorsports has much sense of urgency to extend a contract that expires after the 2010 season. “We want to race with Jimmie Johnson as long as Jimmie Johnson wants to be racing and we’ve had discussions around that,” Hendrick general manager Marshall Carlson said. Carlson said discussions will “probably take their own pace,” presumably, he said, because “the discussions have been, ‘Hey, would you like to look into something long-term?’ and there have been affirmatives on both sides.” Hendrick Motorsports signed four-time champion Jeff Gordon to a lifetime driver contract in 1999, which included an equity stake in his and what became Johnson’s team. He is officially listed as Johnson’s car owner. “The sport has changed a lot since Jeff formed that deal with Rick,” Johnson said. “It’s hard for me to even think of that. It’s nothing I’ve ever thought was possible. I certainly would look at that and would love that opportunity. I don’t plan on going anywhere else. This is home for me. In a way, I feel like we already have that understanding.” Lowe’s sponsorship agreement with Hendrick for the #48 Chevrolet also expires after the 2010 season.(Yahoo Sports)(1-9-2008)

  • Benning to test at Daytona: ARCA driver Norm Benning plans to test the #57 NBR Sprint Cup car [Chevy?] in Daytona. (NBR) Norm Benning Racing has secured a Car Of Tomorrow and Engine and will be testing in Daytona for the Daytona 500. Testing the week of January 14th.(Norm Benning site)(1-9-2008)
  • Daytona testing Session 1 is over – DAY 3 PM Speeds: Daytona testing is over for the first session with #18B-Busch being the fastest in a drafting session, Busch was also fast in the AM practice. #17B-Kenseth was 2nd, followed by #41B-Sorenson, #24B-Gordon and #1B-Truex Jr. No incidents were reported.(NASCAR Media). On SPEED’s coverage of practice, it was reported that Carl Edwards helped test the #28 Yates Racing Ford, #5-Mears lost an engine and the #16 and #1 teams each brought a third car for Wednesday test, didn’t see them listed on the speed chart, they were #16C-Biffle and #1C-Truex Jr. See the speeds on the Daytona Testing page.(1-9-2008)
  • SPEEDs – Day 3 AM – Drafting: Toyota once again took the fastest speed in drafting practice, with #18-Busch being the fastest in the AM session at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday with a fast lap of 187.786mph. 2nd fast was #84B-Allmendinger [fast in drafting and single car runs] then #16A-Biffle, #2B-Busch and #48B-Johnson [fastest in all the single car runs so far]. 25 teams and 41 cars practiced.(NASCAR Media), see the speeds on the Daytona Testing page.(1-9-2008)

    News from January 8, 2008

  • New site for Yates? Travis Kvapil ran two cars on Monday at Daytona testing, one in gray primer and another black with orange numbers both with the Yates Racing logo and the following site on the quarter panels – sponsoryates.com.(1-8-2008)

  • Crew Chief Switch at Yates: on SPEED’s coverage of testing at Daytona, it was reported that Todd Parrott will be #28-Travis Kvapil’s crew chief in 2008 and Cully Barraclough will be with #38-David Gilliland. Parrott had been Gilliland’s crew chief.(1-8-2008)

  • AAA leaves NASCAR and #6 team after 2008: AAA’s national motorsports sponsorships will hit the end of the road after the 2008 season. The primary sponsor on Roush Fenway Racing’s #6 Ford [David Ragan] and the official auto insurance for International Speedway Corp. tracks, AAA has decided that it will not renew those deals at the end of this season. AAA’s exit at ISC could open the door for Nationwide Insurance, the new title sponsor of NASCAR’s #2 circuit, formerly known as the Busch Series. ISC tracks are the site for 19 of NASCAR’s 36 Sprint Cup events. Sources say that ISC has reached out to Nationwide and possibly other insurance companies in an effort to fill that category beginning in 2009. Nationwide owns status as the official insurance company at Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks. AAA’s status as the official auto club and auto insurance of the Indianapolis 500 also will end after this season. AAA made its decision this early in the year based on deadlines that were in its agreements.(SportsBusiness Journal/SceneDaily.com)(1-8-2008)

  • Petty Enterprises Completes Move to Mooresville N.C.: Petty Enterprises is the newest resident of Race City, U.S.A. As of January 7, the organization began operating completely out of their, 115,000 square foot facility in Mooresville, N.C. Since its inception in 1949 through the 2007 season, Petty Enterprises had been based out of Level Cross, N.C. Intertwined in the movement of man and machine is a renewed commitment to winning that produced such a successful legacy. “This is an exciting time to be a part of the Petty Enterprises’ family,” said Executive Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis. “NASCAR is going in a new direction with the new car, so we felt this was the right time to make our transition. The fact that the move was finished ahead of schedule shows our determination.”(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(1-8-2008)

  • Dakar race cancellation, lost money, angers Robby Gordon: #7-Robby Gordon arrived for testing at Daytona International Speedway on Monday with a pack on his back and a chip on his shoulder. Gordon had planned to skip the three-day test for his Sprint Cup team to drive in the Dakar Rally in North Africa. Those plans changed on Friday when organizers canceled the event because of the Dec. 24 slayings of French tourists in Mauritania — where eight of the 15 stages were scheduled to be held and — and direct threats of terrorism from al-Quida-linked militants. Gordon said he was upset because the Amaury Sports Organization that puts on the rally had no backup plan for a race that he estimated cost Robby Gordon Motorsports out of California $4.5 million to prepare two cars to send overseas with full crews. “They did not have a plan,” Gordon said as he shook his head in disbelief. “That’s the part I’m mad about. Cancel the race for safety. I’m with you. Good. But there was no reason to cancel the whole entire event with 16 days or racing. We could have run Martinsville or a couple of specials. Us racers, we like to race. Just get creative. They’re right there in Portugal [where] they have a Formula One track down the street. Get creative. Do something to keep the show in place. I can’t believe they gave up that easy.” It was the first time the 30-year-old event, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, was canceled. Gordon said the ASO has promised to pay back the $360,000 entry fee, but he’s not sure how he will recoup other losses for his team and sponsors. Officials with the ASO could not be reached for comment. Gordon heard of the cancellation less than an hour before the race was to begin.(ESPN.com)(1-8-2008)

  • Keller tests for GEM: Jason Keller, who set a Nationwide Series record last season with his 422nd career start, is testing Gillette Evernham Motorsports’ #98 Dodge Charger at Daytona, an effort tended by test team director Pete Rondeau. “We’re going to run a schedule similar to what we did with the #98, our R&D team, last season,” GEM’s Keith Barnwell said after getting down from Daytona’s spotters’ stand. “At this point, we’re not exactly sure what that schedule will be.” Barnwell said the car wouldn’t participate in the tests at Las Vegas and California due to the logistical difference of “taking a van to Daytona Beach and only being able to put a certain number of people on a plane to the West Coast.” Keller, who has previous Cup starts on his resume in the former “standard car,” as well as a test last season for GEM and one a couple of weeks ago at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in his native South Carolina, said the Car of Tomorrow’s higher profile and center of gravity resulted in as-advertised handling characteristics, but said he appreciated the better forward visibility in the car.(NASCAR.com)(1-8-2008)

  • Haas CNC Racing announces Marketing Hire: Hass CNC Racing continues to take major strides in identifying itself as a mainstay in the Sprint Cup Series. With its most recent addition, the team announced Mike Verlander will serve as Director of Business Development. Verlander brings his experience from MCG Sports where he managed business development for Joe Gibbs Racing. Verlander has worked with leading teams including Evernham Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. He has introduced and managed corporate partners through the highest levels of NASCAR. Verlander will begin duties immediately from Haas CNC Racing facilities.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(1-8-2008)

  • Carmichael could drive for DEI in 2008: Mark Martin said DEI is negotiating to sign motocross star Ricky Carmichael to drive a full Camping World East Series (formerly Busch East) schedule this year. “Ricky has the fire, desire and talent to do this stuff,” said Martin, who worked with Carmichael at Ginn Racing before the merger with DEI last season.(ESPN.com)(1-8-2008)

  • Martin: First day of testing a waste of time: #8-Mark Martin said it was “idiotic” for NASCAR to only allow drivers to do single-car runs on the first day of testing at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR does not permit drivers to practice drafting in packs – and thus race conditions – on the first day, meaning Monday is a long day of cars running by themselves around the mammoth 2.5-mile speedway. Drivers expect that NASCAR will allow drafting beginning on Tuesday afternoon. “I feel that we’re wasting our time with single-car runs,” Martin said during the lunch break on Monday. “We should be drafting already, but it is what it is. We do get to start drafting tomorrow afternoon, so that’s half a day sooner than we might have. Once we start drafting, we’re really working on racing. The rest of this stuff is idiotic, with the [questions between driver and team]: ‘Does this help? Not help? Is that faster? Is it not faster? Can you tell anything?’ That’s what we’re doing right now.”(SceneDaily.com)(1-8-2008)

  • Defending Champion Stewart Seeks Chili Bowl Repeat: Tony Stewart knows a thing or two about world-class venues and motorsports events surrounded by high publicity and international intrigue. And yet it is a Midget-car contest held each January inside a converted rodeo arena and livestock hall in Oklahoma that Stewart calls “the best race of the year for me.” Stewart declares, “Yeah, if I could run only one race a year, and I had to pick, it would definitely be the Chili Bowl.” He is referring to the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, the 22nd annual edition of which will be held Jan. 8-12 inside the Tulsa Expo Center. Saturday night’s headline action will be televised live, for the first time, on HBO Pay-Per-View. The Chili Bowl, in Stewart’s opinion, is “the toughest race to win,” and he should know. Twice, in 2002 and ’07, he has emerged as the victor in the Saturday-night A-Main finale, one of the most coveted short-track events in America. This year, some 280 plus Midgets are expected to haul to Tulsa for the mid-winter classic. Watch the live television broadcast of the 2008 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 8:00pm/et. The HBO Pay-Per-View telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes in the United States and Canada and millions more worldwide. Order directly from your digital cable or satellite TV system or contact your provider’s customer service for details. A subscription to HBO is not required. Visit hbo.com.(PR)(1-8-2008)
  • SPEEDs – Day 2 PM: #96A-Yeley took over the leader board Tuesday afternoon as drafting practice started. Speeds only jumped up just under 3mph, with Yeley running 187.359mph, #2B-Busch was 2nd fastest, followed by #18B-Busch, #78B-Nemechek and #17A-Kenseth. 45 cars practiced.(NASCAR Media) Two incidents occurred during the afternoon session when #5-Casey Mears brushed the wall when a tire let go and #41-Reed Sorenson spun.(RacingOne)(1-8-2008)
  • SPEEDs – Day 2 AM: #48-Johnson continues to be the fastest after funning both of Monday’s sessions as the quickest, on Tuesday AM, Johnson ran 184.763mph, followed by #27B-Villeneuve, #28B-Kvapil, #5B-Mears and #84B-Allmendinger. #42-Montoya was the fastest Dodge at 21st of the 45 cars that took laps. Martin Truex Jr. is back in the #1 DEI Chevy, Aric Almirola tested the car on Monday. There could be some drafting runs on Tuesday afternoon.(NASCAR Media), see the speeds on the Daytona Testing page.(1-8-2008)

  • Johnson signs with CAA to broaden his appeal: #48-Jimmie Johnson has signed Creative Artists Agency to represent him in marketing, licensing and endorsement deals. Michael Levine, co-head of CAA Sports, will lead a team that will attempt to capitalize on Johnson’s success on the track. Johnson’s signing is the latest win for CAA Sports, which represents more than 350 athletes, including LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Sidney Crosby, LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson and David Beckham. CAA Sports football agents Tom Condon and Ben Dogra also last week signed Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft. In recent months, CAA Sports has signed the New York Yankees, the AVP Tour and MMA brand TapouT as well. Johnson considered eight agencies before selecting CAA Sports and Wasserman Media Group as his finalists.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(1-8-2008)

    News from January 7, 2008

  • Martin and DEI announce 2008 Cup Schedule: Mark Martin will race in 26 Sprint Cup events in 2008, including 24 point races and two non-point events. Martin will kick off the 2008 season and his tenure in the #8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy with his record-extending 20th-consecutive Budweiser Shootout. Highlights of Martin’s 2008 schedule include the 50th running of the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, Brickyard 400 and Sprint Cup All-Star event. Martin will share the #8 ride with rookie Aric Almirola, who will run the remaining 12 events in the car. Martin will enter in the first four point races of the season before handing the wheel over to Almirola at Bristol (March 16) and Martinsville (March 30). “I think it’s going to be an exciting season,” said Martin, who will enter his 26th year of Cup racing. “I’m so excited to be behind the wheel of the #8 U.S. Army Chevrolet and to be working with Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the #8 Team. It’s an incredible honor to drive the #8 car for Dale Earnhardt Inc. and we are excited about moving into the season. Martin will compete in both the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 before making his 700th career start at California Speedway in February.(DEI PR), see Martin’s schedule on the #8 Team News and Links page.(1-7-2008)

  • 3M Donates Two Full Paint Schemes to Red Cross for the 2008: 3M, in partnership with Roush Fenway Racing, announced that it will donate the #16 Ford’s full paint scheme to the American Red Cross for two races during the 2008 Sprint Cup season. 3M will also donate space on the rear quarter panel of the car where the Red Cross logo will appear in eight other races during the year. For more information on donating blood, or to make an appointment, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or log on to www.givelife.org. Greg Biffle will drive the Red Cross Ford at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27 and at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9. He will also appear in television and radio public service announcements to support the mission of the Red Cross. 3M has a long history of supporting the Red Cross through in kind contributions of disaster relief supplies. Last year, the 3M gave generous financial contributions to the Twin Cities Area Chapter of the Red Cross—and its employees gave over 2,000 units of blood. For more information about 3M, including the latest product and technology news, visit www.3M.com. (Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the car on the #16 Team Schemes page.(1-7-2008)

  • Johnson wins 2007 Driver of the Year Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson crushed the competition for Driver of the Year – 2007, much like he trampled his rivals on the way to his second-straight Nextel Cup Series championship. It was also Johnson’s second-consecutive title in the United States most prestigious award in auto racing because the voting is done by an elite panel of journalists and broadcasters from coast-to-coast. The California-born driver becomes only the third driver to achieve this honor after Darrell Waltrip (1981-1982) and teammate, Jeff Gordon (1997-1998). “I am truly humbled to be honored as Driver of the Year. I appreciate this award and the recognition from the press,” said Johnson. He added “they watch every race and for them to think I did the best job is awesome!” About the only surprise was that the vote, while conclusive, wasn’t unanimous. In the year-end ballot each panelist votes for only one candidate. Johnson tallied 14 votes, while Champ Car champion, Sebastien Bourdais, earned two votes, the World of Outlaws’ – Donny Schatz – and Carl Edwards, a Cup regular and Busch Series champion, also received one vote apiece. Johnson, who also won the fourth quarter ballot, will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date. Go to www.dotyaward.com to see a new website devoted to Driver of the Year news, opinions and reader comments.(DOTY PR)(1-7-2008)

  • New tire changers for Johnson in 2008: Jimmie Johnson said he expects to have two new tire changers with his Hendrick Motorsports team in 2008. Rear-tire carrier Ron Malec, the car chief, remains with the #48 team as does Kenneth Purcell, who was jacking the car during the latter part of 2007. Front-tire carrier Art Simmons also will return, a team spokesman confirmed Sunday night in clarifying Johnson’s earlier remarks over the team’s changes. “It was a tough thing, we’ve won championships with these guys,” said Johnson, who was at Daytona International Speedway testing Sunday for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. “But we just felt like we could be a little faster and we needed to make some changes. It didn’t go over easily with everybody, but [crew chief] Chad [Knaus has] got to make those decisions and we feel it will make our team stronger.” Rear-tire changer Tim Ladyga has moved to the #24-Jeff Gordon team, Johnson said.(SceneDaily.com)(1-7-2008)

  • Riley still interested in NASCAR ownership: Bill Riley, whose family is well known in the building of open-wheel and road-racing chassis, has not soured on NASCAR after his fledgling Riley/D’Hondt Racing has closed its doors. The #91 Toyota team ran one Cup race in 2007 after Riley and Eddie D’Hondt announced its formation in 2006. Riley had moved his company from Indianapolis to Charlotte, in part to be more connected to NASCAR. “Eddie and I were promised a lot of things and had a lot of signed documents and promises, and they just didn’t work out,” Riley said. “It was simple as that. … It’s not an easy place to get in. It’s not like you can walk in and beat the 48 team [of Jimmie Johnson]. But that’s where you need to be in motorsports. You need to be involved with that series. I’d like to try,” Riley said Friday at Daytona International Speedway where his company had several cars testing for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. “There’s some people talking to me, but I’m really taking my time with it. I have quite a bit of commitments with sports-car racing right now. … The next time I get an opportunity to come in, I will be a bit more cautious [with potential sponsors] and a bit slower.”(Scene Daily)(1-7-2008)
  • Daytona Test Notes – Session 1, Day 1: #7-Robby Gordon will test his Ford since the Dakar Rally race was cancelled; #20-Tony Stewart will test at Daytona for the first time in three years [due to the change to Toyota and the COT]; Jason Keller will test a 4th Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge; Kirk Shelmedine will test for his old boss, Richard Childress, in the #33 Chevy.
    SPEEDs – Day 1 AM: 2007 Cup Champ #48-Johnson was the fastest in the opening round of practice at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 184.782mph, followed by #5-Mears, #27B-Villeneuve, #84B-Allmendinger [2 cars, other was 6th] and #24A-Gordon. #42-Montoya was the fastest Dodge, 13th fastest and #28A-Kvapil was the fastest Ford at 14th. 26 drivers in 42 cars took to the track. The #1 DEI Chevy has Aric Almirola driving.
    SPEEDs – Day 1 PM: #48A-Johnson was fastest again of the 45 cars that tested on Monday, with a speed of 184.672mph in a Chevy. The rest of the top-5 were #5B-Mears, #18-Busch [Toyota], #84B-Allmendinger and #27B-Villeneuve. The fastest Ford was #28-Kvapil, 8th; the fastest Dodge was #42-Montoya, 14th. Slowest were #1B-Almirola [subbing for Truex Jr.] and #70B-Mayfield.
    OVERALL Day 1: #48-Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest lap on the first day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing for the Sprint Cup Series with a lap of 184.782 mph in the morning session. Rounding out the top three were #5-Casey Mears at 184.475 mph and #18-Kyle Busch in his new ride at Joe Gibbs Racing at 184.064. The test session is the first shake down that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have had with the new winged car (Car of Tomorrow) at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 50th running of the Daytona 500. A surprise visitor during the first day of testing on Monday was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who stopped by DIS to see how his new Hendrick Motorsports teammates – Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears – were doing. Earnhardt Jr., who left Dale Earnhardt Inc. to join Hendrick Motorsports beginning with the 50th running of the Daytona 500, will shake down his new ride – the #88 Chevrolet – during next week’s second wave of Sprint Cup Series testing. Nationwide Series veteran Jason Keller is testing a #98 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge during this week’s test …Kirk Shelmerdine is behind the wheel of the #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy.(DIS PR)(1-7-2008)

News from January 6, 2008

  • Said wins Bobsled Challenge: Boris Said has been bobsledding longer than any of the other drivers at the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering, but he’s still learning new tricks. He utilized some of what he picked up Saturday morning to successfully defend his title. In his second championship run, Said shaved more than 1.5 seconds off his time to beat L.W. Miller and three other finalists. Said’s two runs were 52.12 and 50.53 seconds, for a total time of 1:42.65. Miller, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion, posted the fastest first run time at 52.11 and finished second overall at 1:43.37. Three-time NHRA Powerade Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin was third with an overall time of 1:43.99, followed by former NASCAR driver Larry Gunselman at 1:44.90 and 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia at 1:45.46. The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will be aired on SPEED Jan. 20 and 27. Fans can go to www.bodynbobsled.com to learn more about the project and make contributions.(NASCAR PR), for more info, results, speeds…..see the Ongoing Racing Charity page.(1-6-2008)

  • Shelmerdine to test at Daytona for RCR: Kirk Shelmerdine will be testing the #33 RCR Chevy at the Daytona International Speedway Monday, January 7th and Tuesday, January 8th 2008 in preparation for the 2008 Daytona 500 on February 17, 2008. Kirk Shelmerdine began his career as a Crew Chief and tire changer at the age of 18. Shelmerdine is best known for his record-breaking achievements while working as Crew Chief for Richard Childress Racing. Between 1986 and 1992, he lead Dale Earnhardt, Sr. to four Winston Cup Championships and won honors such as Mechanic of the Year and UNOCAL Pit Crew Race Competitions multiple times. His statistics include 246 top tens, 142 top fives, 14 pole positions and 46 wins. Shelmerdine decided to become a full time Cup driver in 2002. In February 2006 he qualified for the Daytona 500 and finished 20th driving his Kirk Shelmerdine Racing Chevy. With his long history with Richard Childress Racing, Shelmerdine looks forward to driving for his friend and previous boss.(Wabash Motorsports PR)(1-6-2008)

    News from January 5, 2008

  • Kahne pleads not guity for Homestead pushing incident: Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #9-Kasey Kahne has filed a written plea of not guilty to a charge of misdemeanor battery stemming from an alleged pushing incident with a security guard Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The not guilty plea was filed Thursday and cancels the arraignment scheduled for Tuesday. Kahne has hired Richard Sharpstein as his attorney. Sharpstein has been in the news recently as the attorney and family friend of murdered Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. Kahne also faces a civil suit stemming from the incident. According to witness statements, Kahne’s brother said Kahne was pushing the guard’s hands off of him, while the security guard claims Kahne shoved him.(SceneDaily.com)(1-5-2008)

  • McDowell to take over #00 after 5 races: Michael McDowell, the 2007 runner-up on the ARCA circuit, will succeed David Reutimann in the #00 Sprint Cup car at Michael Waltrip Racing. McDowell, a 22-year-old native of Phoenix, likely will take over the #00 Toyota in late March at Martinsville, Va., when Reutimann will slide into the #44 car being vacated by the retirement of teammate and 1999 series champion Dale Jarrett [Jarrett will also run the All-Star race in the #44]. A formal announcement is expected later this month. Michael Waltrip Racing officials tested McDowell and Wise repeatedly during the offseason in the hopes that one would be ready to take over the #00 car in 2008. Wise, a two-time U.S. Auto Club champion, likely is bound for a Nationwide Series ride, pending sponsorship.(NASCAR.com)(1-5-2008)

  • Latest on the #4 team: With preseason testing beginning next week in Daytona, Sprint Cup teams are finalizing their plan of attack for the 2008 season. The approach at #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports is radically different. Over the past few weeks, Southwest Virginia’s NASCAR team has lost its crew chief, primary sponsor and driver. “It feels like a hurricane,’’ MMM general manager Larry McClure said. “The way NASCAR has changed, I don’t know if its been good or not.’’ The Morgan-McClure organization, which featured veteran driver Ward Burton last season, has struggled in recent years with lack of sponsorship and driver turnover. Just days before Christmas, McClure learned that State Water Heaters was leaving. According to media reports, the State Water Heaters sponsorship will move to the #66 Haas CNC Racing team with driver Scott Riggs. “I’ve heard the sponsorship went to the 66 car,’’ McClure said “Right now we don’t have a thing.’’ McClure said the agreement with State Water Heaters last year was for 10 races. He was surprised by the change in direction. “It must have been an instant decision because we had no idea it was going to happen,’’ McClure said. “We found out about this before Christmas, then it became official after the holiday. We’ll see how things work out.’’ Lucas Oil will return as an associate sponsor. As for a driver, it appears Burton is gone from the seat of the #4 MMM Chevy. Burton, a former Daytona 500 winner, joined the team with three races remaining in the 2006 season. “[Burton] probably won’t be back,’’ McClure said. “We’re looking at using either Mike Wallace or P.J. Jones for testing next week, then we will go from there. “It’s not going to be hard to find somebody to drive at Daytona. Right now, I’ve got a couple options.’’ One of those options involves a driver bringing a financial package to the team. That step is common in the open-wheel ranks. “We’ve got capable people here for the crew chief role … the biggest thing we need are sponsorship dollars,’’ McClure said. “We’ve been working on a deal with one of the bigger multicar teams where we could be a satellite team and share some information. That deal is on the table if we get our sponsorship stuff put together.’’ As for the big question of their 2008 schedule, the always-ambitious McClure said to stay tuned. “We’re just going to see how much money we get in the door,’’ McClure said. “We’re not going to race on our own money anymore.’’ On a related note, Abingdon’s Eric McClure plans to runs the Nationwide Series schedule with the Front Row Motorsports team. The Denver, N.C.-based team also plans to field a Sprint Cup car for McClure in the Daytona 500.(Bristol Courier Herald)(1-5-2008)

  • Jeff Gordon to co-host “Live with Regis and Kelly” on the 18th: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his 11th appearance as guest co-host on the popular daytime talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” on Friday, January 18. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy will fill in for host Regis Philbin. “Live with Regis and Kelly” is in its 20th year of national syndication and continues to wake up millions of Americans each day. “Live with Regis and Kelly” is executive produced by Michael Gelman and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York, “Live with Regis and Kelly” airs in over 200 markets across the country. Check local listings for time and channel.(Performance PR Plus)(1-5-2008)

  • Talladega Keeps Its Crown As The King of Speed and Competition: Below is a list of the top-five race speeds recorded at the tracks and the driver that recorded that speed during competition. Only the fastest driver counts for each race during point races.
    Fastest Driver of Race for 2007 Sprint Cup:
    1. 4/29 Talladega, #31-Jeff Burton, 195.704 mph
    2. 10/7 Talladega, #26-Jamie McMurray, 192.904 mph
    3. 2/18 Daytona, #38-David Gilliland, 185.229 mph
    4. 7/7 Daytona, #2-Kurt Busch, 183.214 mph
    5. 2/25 California, #1-Martin Truex Jr, 178.277 mph
    Top 5 Races in Green Flag Passes for 2007 Sprint Cup
    1. 4/29 Talladega – 16,808
    2. 10/7 Talladega – 7,979
    3. 2/18 Daytona – 7,786
    4. 7/7 Daytona – 5,220
    5. 9/2 California – 3,753
    Talladega Superspeedway Tickets are available by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA, (1-877-462-3342).(TSS PR)(1-5-2008)
  • Bobsled Challenge Day 2: Boris Said used a borrowed sled to prove he’s still the man to beat at the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering. Said topped the time charts for the two qualifying runs, which set the lineup for Saturday’s championship runs. The field of NASCAR and NHRA drivers practiced Friday morning and then took a pair of qualifying runs Friday afternoon. The combined times of those two runs ranked the drivers, with Saturday’s order going from slowest to fastest. It means Said will be the last one out of the gate. He was ninth-fastest in his own sled during the first qualifying run. He borrowed the sled of NHRA driver Morgan Lucas and posted the fastest time of the day at 53.23 seconds – beating Lucas’ second-fastest time of 53.96. Said’s time converts to 94.48 km/h. The friendly rivalry will continue with Saturday’s afternoon session, which will match the NASCAR drivers against NHRA drivers. The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will be aired on SPEED Jan. 20 and 27.(NASCAR PR), for more info, speeds…..see the Racing Charity page.(1-5-2008)

    News from January 4, 2008

  • Dakar Race Cancelled: The annual Dakar Rally was canceled Friday on the eve of the race because of terror threats and the recent slaying of a French family in Mauritania blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants. It was the first time in the 30-year history of the automobile, motorcycle and truck race across the Sahara Desert that it has been called off. In a statement, organizers blamed international tensions, the tourists’ Dec. 24 murders and “threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organizations.”
    “No other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken,” they said. France, where the race organizers are based, had urged the rally to avoid Mauritania after the slaying of the four family members in an attack blamed on a terror cell that uses the Mauritanian desert as a hideout. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner “hailed the organizers’ courage and wisdom” in calling off the rally, said a spokeswoman for his ministry, Pascale Andreani. The race, organized by the France-based Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), had been due to start in Lisbon, Portugal, on Saturday and finish in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 20. Eight of the stages had been set to take place in Mauritania. Some 550 car, truck and motorcycle drivers were expected for the 5,760-mile trek. The race’s central appeal — its course through African deserts, scrubland and savannas — is also a weak point for security, making it difficult to protect thousands of people as they traverse such remote regions.(AP/ESPN.com/Dakar.com/Robbygordon.com), Sprint Cup driver, #7-Robby Gordon had been scheduled to run the race, and will test at Daytona in the first session, scheduled for Jan 7-9th, Brendan Gaughan was to sub for Gordon.(1-4-2008)

  • Riggs to the #66; State Water Heaters sponsor…looks like it UPDATE: hearing that State Water Heaters will sponsor the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and that Scott Riggs will drive the car, supposedly Jeremy Mayfield and the #66 crew will move over to the #70 Team. State Water Heaters sponsored the #4 Morgan McClure team and driver Ward Burton in 2007, no word on MMM or Burton’s 2008 plans.(1-2-2008)
    UPDATE: Scott Riggs told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Friday that be will drive the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy next season, with the Bootie Barker-led team that worked with Johnny Sauter’s #70 car last year. In addition, Riggs confirmed that talks are underway to brng State Water Heaters aboard as sponsor. “We’re in negotiations pretty heavy with State Water Heaters, and while the deal is not signed, we’re hopeful that we can get it done.”(1-4-2008)

  • Petty Enterprises Hires Derrick Finley as Technical Director: Petty Enterprises announced the immediate hiring of NASCAR veteran Derrick Finley to the position of technical director. Finley, 36, will oversee the full-time implementation of the Car of Tomorrow for the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, driven by 2000 Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte, and the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/PVA Dodge, driven by Kyle Petty. His first order of business will be to accompany both teams to the NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing that will begin February 7th at the Daytona International Speedway. Finley brings over a decade of NASCAR experience to Petty Enterprises. Upon his graduation from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Finley held crew chief and engineering positions with several racing organizations. This gives Finley the unique blend of an engineering education and hands-on knowledge that is highly sought after in today’s world of auto racing. Finley is another integral piece in the growth of Petty Enterprises back to a championship-contending team. The move by the organization to a state-of-the-art shop in Mooresville, N.C. is almost complete. Several new hires will also give the team plenty of resources to compete for wins immediately.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(1-4-2008)

  • Elliott to run the #21 at Daytona..after that? Wood Brothers Racing is set to announce driver and sponsor information regarding their #21 Sprint Cup entry for the 2008 Daytona Speedweeks events. Veteran driver Bill Elliott has agreed to once again serve as the driver of the #21 Ford Fusion in this year’s opening event. The team will test with Elliott on January 14-16th of this month. He will compete in all Speedweeks events, which will include the February 9th Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duels—and the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on February 17th. For the Daytona 500 event, the team will have primary sponsorship from McKee Foods, Little Debbie Snack Cakes Brand. Associate sponsors for this event will again be the United States Air Force and Ford Motor Company’s Motorcraft Brand. Crew Chief Gene Nead will lead all efforts in the Sprint Cup Series.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR), no word on other driver schedules for the team such as Ken Schrader. Marcos Ambrose is scheduled to run 12 races, no schedule announced yet.(1-4-2008)

  • Aaron’s to sponsor #00, MWR testing: As early as Sunday, Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota team departs to participate in the first official 2008 Sprint Cup Series test session at Daytona International Speedway. David Reutimann, who switches to the #44 UPS Toyota Camry after the first five events, will test the #00 entry from January 7th-9th. Session two will commence on January 14th and include both the #55 Napa Toyota team and the #44 UPS Toyota team with drivers Michael Waltrip and Dale Jarrett respectively. The second session will wrap on the 16th. After the Sprint Cup Series test sessions conclude, there is no downtime for Michael Waltrip Racing. Not only is MWR testing Daytona this month, they are scheduling various test sessions simultaneously at different locations on a weekly basis. This weekend Josh Wise heads to the Harley Davidson Florida Evaluation Center in Naples (Fla.) for a straight-line test. Next week, Michael Waltrip and Michael McDowell are scheduled to test Cup cars at Nashville Superspeedway. Then McDowell heads back to Nashville on the 17th with David Reutimann to test at the venue again. Michael Waltrip Racing returns a third time as Josh Wise takes his turn at the 1.33-mile D-shaped oval on the 22nd in a Cup car.(MWR site)(1-4-2008)

  • NASCAR Official leaving post: NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting and New Media Dick Glover will leave the sanctioning body later this month, a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Thursday. Glover will become CEO of Funny or Die Networks, a celebrity and user-generated video content site co-founded by comedian/actor Will Ferrell, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. Glover, who worked at ABC and ESPN prior to joining NASCAR in 2003, managed the sanctioning body’s television partnerships, new media and entertainment. Glover’s last day at NASCAR will be January 15, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reported.(SceneDaily.com)(1-4-2008)
  • Bobsled Challenge starts: A field of NASCAR champions traded the asphalt for the ice Thursday as the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering kicked off with an afternoon of training runs. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Steve Carlson was among the first ones down. Carlson is one of three NASCAR Developmental Series champions invited to participate by Whelen vice president of motorsports Phil Kurze. Carlson is joined by NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified champion L.W. Miller. Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday is also participating, along with Craftsman Truck drivers Johnny Benson, NASCAR Camping World Series East champion Joey Logano, and Sprint Cup Series driver Boris Said. This year’s challenge also includes a full contingent of NHRA drivers. Friday, the drivers will take more practice runs and then a qualifying run. Saturday, they will take two final runs. The afternoon session will feature a face off between the NASCAR drivers and the NHRA drivers.(NASCAR), for more info see the Racing Charity page.(1-4-2008)

    News from January 3, 2008

  • Atlas Copco to sponsor #70 at NHMS…and Mayfield: Atlas Copco Compressors is proud to continue its partnership with Haas CNC Racing for the 2008 Sprint Cup Season. Atlas Copco’s 2008 program consists of primary sponsorship of the #70 Chevy by Jeremy Mayfield for the June 29th race at New Hampshire and secondary sponsorship throughout the season. Jim Bruce, Atlas Copco’s Regional VP, says he’s very happy looking back at the company’s first year in NASCAR in 2007 and even more excited about the preparations underway for the #70 team in 2008. “Our involvement with both Haas CNC Racing and the Windshear Inc wind tunnel project has brought tremendous exposure of Atlas Copco Compressors to a very broad audience from local grass roots fans to global B-2-B partners. We are working very hard to achieve Atlas Copco’s vision to become and remain First in Mind First in Choice of its customers and other key stakeholders.” For additional information visit atlascopco.us.(Atlas Copco Compressors)(1-3-2008)

  • Stewart to test at Daytona: Tony Stewart will test the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota during the Jan. 14-16 session [2nd session] at Daytona International Speedway after skipping the session for the last three years. Sprint Cup teams will begin testing Monday [Jan 7th] and are split into two three-day sessions. Stewart will test in the second session, according to a team spokesman. The test will be the first full NASCAR test of the car of tomorrow at Daytona and will be the first NASCAR test for JGR in a Toyota after the team left Chevrolet following the 2007 Cup season.(SceneDaily.com)(1-3-2008)

  • AARWBA Dinner to Draw Champions, Winners, Headliners: Dario Franchitti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Carl Haas are among the headliners confirmed to attend the Jan. 12 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s All-America Team dinner presented by A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. The 38th annual ceremony will be at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. AARWBA is the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. The All-America Team, voted on by AARWBA media members, includes drivers from open wheel, drag racing, stock car, road racing, short track, touring and at-large categories. The highlight of the evening will be the announcement and presentation of the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy. The Titus goes to the Team driver who received the most votes. In addition to Indy 500 winner/IndyCar Series champion Franchitti, other Team drivers set to attend include: NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher (last year’s Titus winner); NHRA Funny Car champ Tony Pedregon; Rolex Series co-titlists Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty; Rolex runner-up Scott Pruett; ALMS GT2 co-champions Mika Salo and Jamie Melo; and Indy Pro Series champ Alex Lloyd. AARWBA will offer its tribute to Bill France Jr., Wally Parks and Shav Glick. Popular broadcaster Bob Jenkins will serve as dinner Master of Ceremonies for the third consecutive year. The event is open to the public and tickets can be ordered at the www.AARWBA.org.(1-3-2008)

  • Front Row Motorsports to Busch, some Cup UPDATE: been told that Front Row Motorsports [ran the #37 and #34 Dodges part time in 2007] will run the full Nationwide schedule with Eric McClure as the drive and Hefty as the sponsor, with McClure attempting to make the Daytona 500. The team plans to run the first 5-6 Sprint Cup races in 2008 with either McClure or another driver and see how the owners points shakes out and decide from there, either to continue to go every week or pick and choose which races to enter. Also hearing that former driver Kevin Lepage is actively seeking a ride in Cup, Nationwide or Truck Series.(12-29-2007)
    UPDATE: McClure will run the full Nationwide Series in the #24 Hefty Chevy; McClure to attempt the Daytona 500 in the #37 Hefty Chevy and may run some more races; FRM plans to run the #34 Chevy full time in 2008, driver is TBD with Scott Eggleston as the crew chief.(1-3-2008)

    News from January 2, 2008

  • Gaughan to test for Robby at Daytona UPDATE: Brendan Gaughan will fill in for Robby Gordon in the #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Ford during the upcoming Sprint Cup test session at Daytona International Speedway [didn’t say which session]. Gordon is in Africa to compete in the Dakar Rally, which runs Jan. 5-20. With Gordon tied up, the #7 team opted to go with a substitute driver for the session, which begins Monday. Gaughan will fill that role, a team spokesman said Wednesday. Gaughan is currently without a NASCAR ride after his South Point Racing team in the Craftsman Truck Series closed down after a failed merger with Wyler Racing in the offseason. Gaughan will be working with the team’s new crew chief, Frank Kerr, who came to RGM after being released from Michael Waltrip Racing, where he worked as a crew chief with David Reutimann’s team last year.(SceneDaily.com)
    UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon had been scheduled to run the race in Dakar, which was cancelled, and will test at Daytona in the first session, scheduled for Jan 7-9th, Brendan Gaughan was to sub for Gordon.(1-2-2008)
  • Sad news – Ed Sutton: Ed Sutton, father of Truck Series driver, Kelly Sutton, passed away December 30 in Crownsville, MD at the age of 61. Sutton followed in his father’s footsteps into the world of Motorsports, racing locally in Maryland. Sutton began drag racing, but quickly moved into Figure 8 racing and eventually oval tracks in the early 1980s throughout the east. Sutton passed his racing legacy on to his daughter, Kelly, in 1991, establishing Capitol City Motorsports and launching her racing career. In 2003, Sutton built Sutton Motorsports and took his daughter’s career to one of the top levels of NASCAR – the Craftsman Truck Series. Viewing for Ed Sutton will be held on Thursday, January 3rd from 2:00pm — 4:00pm and from 7:00pm — 9:00pm at Hardesty Funeral Home at 851 Annapolis Road in Gambrills, Maryland. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Friday, January 4th at South Shore Baptist Church at 725 Herald Harbor Road in Crownsville, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kelly Sutton Let it Shine Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.(Billy Ballew Motorsports)(1-2-2008)

    News from January 1, 2008

  • Lake Speed still racing: Lake Speed, who won a world karting championship in his youth, competed in 402 Cup Series races, scoring one victory at rugged Darlington Raceway in 1988. This past weekend, he was back on a go-kart flying over the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, the site of his famous runner-up finish to Bill Elliott in the1985 Daytona 500. Speed, who celebrates his 60th birthday Jan. 17, is now a business real estate developer who plays every so often on a stock class go-kart. Speed dabbled with historic stock car racing for a few years, but said the costs of fielding a competitive car got too high for his budget. “So I sat around a few years and this NASCAR official I know said, ‘Hey, come out and do karts with me at the kart track in Charlotte,’ ” Speed said. “Then the bug hit me again real bad. I had forgot how much fun these things are to drive.” Speed was one of hundreds of competitors who have made camp at the Speedway for Daytona KartWeek by Cometic Gasket. The World Karting Association’s races ended Sunday. Speed may add more racing to his schedule this season if an old-timer series launches in May. Old School Racing Champions Tour hopes to run 10 races featuring stars of NASCAR past and other motorsports notables. “Those people asked me about racing with them and I told them to put my name on the list,” Speed said. “It would be like waking up like 15 years ago.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-1-2008)
  • Sad News – “Penny” Paniagua: James “Penny” Paniagua, who gave NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon his first taste of speed, died Saturday, a week after suffering a heart attack. “He was at home, surrounded by all his family,” said son Jimmy Paniagua of his father’s passing. James Paniagua, 89, introduced hundreds of youngsters – including a 4-year-old Gordon – to quarter-midget racing. An innovative designer and mechanic, he custom built more than 100 quarter-midget cars. Among his first models was one bought by John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather, for the racing prodigy. His wife of 65 years, Naomi, also has been in poor health. The couple have four children, all of whom have been active in the local auto racing community. Their grandson, Paul McMahan, is a veteran sprint-car racer in the World of Outlaws. Visitation for Paniagua will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Elk Grove Funeral Chapel, 9101 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove. His memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the United Methodist Church, 6th and M streets in Rio Linda.(Sacramento Bee)(1-1-2008)