July 2004 News Archives

  • July 31, 2004

  • Charger to NASCAR II: DaimlerChrysler expects NASCAR to approve its new Charger model as its 2005-and-beyond entry by early September. The company returned to NASCAR in 2001 with Intrepids but will not make that model past this year.(Autoweek), see past news and rumors about this on my Past Dodge News page.(7-31-2004)
  • Biffle says he is staying at Roush: Take Greg Biffle’s name out of the 2005 sweepstakes. He says he’s staying with Jack Roush, even though it’s unclear if his sponsor, the National Guard, will return. Biffle has been under consideration for the third-team ride with Joe Gibbs [#11 Fed Ex Team](Winston Salem Journal)(7-31-2004)
  • What is up with McSwain: Elsewhere on the job front, crew chief Michael McSwain is now being mentioned for possible jobs with car owners Jack Roush, Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-31-2004)
  • Stevie Waltrip doing TV Spots: Stevie Waltrip, wife of former three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion driver and FOX Sports analyst Darrell Waltrip, is appearing in the new television and radio public service announcements for Our Daily Bread now airing throughout the United States and Canada. In the spot, Stevie shares how being the wife of a NASCAR driver can have its frightening moments and that her daily devotions with Our Daily Bread give her comfort and encouragement. An ODB reader for over 15 years, Stevie has partnered with RBC Ministries and Motor Racing Outreach to encourage others to receive Our Daily Bread. Motor Racing Outreach, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, works hand-in-hand with the racing community, providing spiritual support for drivers and their families as well as the pit crews and fans throughout the US. MRO provides chaplain support, Bible studies, print resources, and it conducts chapel services at the tracks before the races. To contact MRO, call 1-800-424-8138 or www.go2mro.com.(7-31-2004)
  • Kenseth’s Backup deal: Matt Kenseth called it a dumb mistake, like someone running into a door backing out of their garage. He wrecked his primary #17 Ford in practice Friday and had to go to a backup when he hit the wall near pit road. He qualified 15th. “I just wasn’t paying attention,” Kenseth said. “I just hit the corner of the wall [on the entrance to the garage] and opened up the side like a can opener. We had the backup car prepared well, and it’s the car we had here the last time so I feel good about it.” The wrecked car was experimental, Kenseth said. “It wasn’t driving very good this morning, which might turn out to be a good thing. I wanted to get a whole weekend on it and hoped it would work better to run it at [Indianapolis]. But what we have here is kind of tried and true.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-31-2004)

    July 30, 2004

  • Tony Stewart concerned about his father’s career: Nelson Stewart, the 66-year-old father of Tony Stewart, made his USAC Silver Crown spring car debut last weekend at Milwaukee. He finished 31st of 34 drivers. “I haven’t exactly been supportive of that,” Tony said. “I’m not sure he should be doing it, and I’m concerned about his safety. But they said they couldn’t wipe the grin off his face all day.”(Dallas Morning News)(7-30-2004)
  • McReynolds and Green Going for the Championship: Two young members of the NASCAR family-15-year-old Tyler Green and 13-year-old Brandon McReynolds-will continue their “Chase for the Championship” during round eight of the Hardee’s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Green, son of veteran NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark Green, and McReynolds, son of former NASCAR crew chief and FOX television commentator Larry McReynolds, are separated by just 38 points after six races in the battle for the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns title. Consistency has been the key for Green who leads the standings on the strength of six top-five finishes, including a victory in round two. McReynolds has won twice, but a mechanical problem and an accident resulted in two finishes outside the top 15. Tuesday night’s action will be pivotal in the title chase as the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns will run two main events. The first 20-lapper will be a make-up for the race that was rained out July 27.
    A full slate of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing is on tap with nearly 160 race cars expected to jam the pit area. The Road Hawgs, the division designed to put the “stock” back into stock car racing, will make their final summer appearance. The 10-week Hardee’s Summer Shootout runs every Tuesday night through Aug. 17. Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:25. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and will conclude by 10:15. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information.(LMS PR)(7-30-2004)
  • Mears wins pole at Pocono: #41-Casey Mears won his first ever Budweiser Pole at Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500, the 10th pole winner of 2005 and puts Mears in the 2005 Budweiser Shootout. It is the first time that a driver has won their first career pole at Pocono Raceway. The rest of the top five: #01-Joe Nemechek, #97-Kurt Busch, #40-Sterling Marlin [looks weird in a white car] and #38-Elliott Sadler. #17-Kenseth wrecked in practice and went to a backup, but will not have to go to the back as the team put the primary engine n the backup car. Missing the race are #90-A.J. Henrikson, #51-Kevin Lepage and #37-Andy Hillenburg. #13-Greg Sacks and #02-Jason Jarrett make their first Cup starts of the 2004. #80-Carl Long will run a race with a 4th different car # [also drove #02, #46 and #00]
    Qualifying results at my Jayski’s Pocono Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page.
    Other Pocono Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup at:
    MotorSports One
  • Pocono Qualifying Notes: Casey Mears won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 52.411 seconds at 171.720 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph, set June 11, 2004.
    This is Mears’ first career Bud Pole in 56 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He became the fourth first-time Bud Pole winner this season.
    It is Mears’s second top-10 start in his four races at Pocono.
    Mears is the 16th different Bud Pole winner in the past 17 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002.
    Joe Nemechek had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 52.431 seconds at 171.654 mph and will join Mears on the front row. This is Nemechek’s ninth top-10 start this season and his ninth in 21 races at Pocono.
    This is 10th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has eight Bud Poles and Ford has two.
    Greg Sacks (38th) qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Texas in 1998.
    The last two Pennsylvania 500s have been won from the Bud Pole. Eleven of the last 14 races here have been won from fifth or better. There have been nine different race winners at Pocono since Bobby Labonte swept both races at the Pennsylvania track in 1999.
    Eleven of the last 14 races at Pocono Raceway have been won from a starting position of fifth or better. Only five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Pocono have ever been won from a starting position worse than 15th, most recently by Jeremy Mayfield who won the 2000 Pocono 500 from 22nd. The farthest back that a race winner at Pocono has started was 27th by Terry Labonte in the 1995 Pocono 500.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-30-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Pocono: Casey Mears grabbed his first ever Bud Pole today at Pocono Raceway for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 with a time of 52.411 (171.720 mph). He becomes the 10th qualifier for next years Budweiser Shootout at Daytona in February, and smashed his previous best starting spot in the process (a 4th at Chicagoland in July of 2003). In what was a good day for the Ganassi Dodges (all three will start in the Top-7 on Sunday), Casey edged out Joe Nemechek by .02 seconds. For Front Row Joe (2nd), this is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at California in May.
    Sterling Marlin (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Daytona in February.
    Elliott Sadler (5th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th at Lowe’s in May.
    STREAKIN….Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Greg Sacks (38th) makes his first start since his accident at Texas Motor Speedway in April of 1998! It’s been a long road back, and anybody who remembers that race knows the hospital list was rather long that day.
    Jason Jarrett (42nd) makes his first start since Talladega last October (and second overall in his career). He started 25th and finished 29th in that race in a Robert Yates Ford.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(7-30-2004)
  • Biffle to Run Cup and Busch this weekend: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford, will race in Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway and Saturday’s Busch Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Biffle, who is 25th in Cup points and seventh in Busch points, will run the final Cup practice session Saturday and then fly to Pikes Peak International Raceway. Mike McLaughlin will practice and qualify Biffle’s #60 Roush Racing Busch Series Ford.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-30-2004)

    July 29, 2004

  • Flag of appreciation: Members of the 193rd Special Operations National Guard unit, based out of Middletown, Pa., are presenting the #31 Cingular Wireless pit crew an American flag that flew during an Iraqi Freedom combat mission on April 23, 2003. The flag is being presented Sunday, August 1, at Pocono Raceway as a token of appreciation to the Richard Childress Racing crewmen for their spontaneous hospitality and support they devoted to the National Guard servicemen during their visit in June 2003 to the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway(RCR PR)(7-29-2004)
  • Eury Sr. Wins Crew Chief Honors for NHIS: Tony Eury Sr., crew chief of the #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for his efforts during Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Eury continues to lead the overall Wypall standings with five victories. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season wins $10,000.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2004)
  • Busch’s Pit Crew Scores New Hampshire Win: Pacing Kurt Busch to victory in Sunday’s Siemens 300 Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway was his pit crew, which took top honors in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the third time this season that Busch’s #97 crew pocketed the first-place prize that is worth $20,000 for each win. The other pit crew victories for Busch’s team were at Las Vegas and Martinsville. In the quest for the $200,000 McDonald’s/POWERade bonus that goes to the crew that garners the most points at the end of the season, Dale Earnhardt’s team has a slim six-point lead over Elliott Sadler’s crew (690-684). Busch’s team remains in fifth place with 652 points. Busch’s IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on New Hampshire’s pit road –113.812 seconds. Stewart’s Home Depot Chevrolet came in second with a time of 115.241. Third was Jamie McMurray’s Texaco/Havoline Dodge at 119.200. “These IRWIN guys really stepped it up to show what being a team is all about,” said crew chief Jimmy Fennig. “Our car chief stayed in Charlotte over the weekend with his wife to have a baby, so the rest of the guys all did more than their fair share to fill in and make sure everything was perfect. The over-the-wall guys hit their marks all day during those three stops and helped us gain some positions in the pits.” Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can).(DMF Communications PR) and see top 10 from NHIS and season standings on my Pit Crew News page.(7-29-2004)
  • Testing at Kentucky Speedway: #48-Jimmie Johnson was scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, July 28th. Richard Childress Racing driver #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to join Johnson.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-29-2004)
  • Seven to be Inducted into Motor Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night: Seven inductees will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (www.mshf.com) on Thursday, July 29th in Novi, Mich. Being inducted into the 16th class will be NASCAR executive Bill France Jr., Indy 500 winners Bobby Rahal and Johnnie Parsons, NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, multiclass sports car champ Geoff Brabham, driver-designer-builder Don Vesco and longtime Los Angeles Times motorsports writer Shav Glick.(Augusta Chronicle)(7-29-2009)
  • Hamilton Jr. will not be a rookie: Bobby Hamilton Jr. will not be running for 2005 Raybestos Rookie of the Year as he started 10 races in one season, 2001, a driver cannot start more then seven Cup races in one season and run for the award.(7-29-2004)
  • Dale Earnhardt Foundation supports food delivery: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will sponsor a Feed The Children semi tractor-trailer truck of food, nonfat dry milk and personal care items to help children and families in the Pocono area on July 29. The delivery is part of a partnership with international hunger relief organization Feed The Children.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2004)
  • Product Placement Lifts Game Revenue: Levi Strauss and Procter & Gamble have purchased placement in EA Sports’ “NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup,” according to a front-page story by Kevin Delaney of the Wall Street Journal. The game is “generating over $1 million in ad revenue” for EA Sports, according to Delaney. EA is “expecting to generate $7 million of in-game advertising revenue this year, a 60 percent increase from 2003, helped by a recent five-game deal with P&G,” according to Delaney.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2004)

    July 28, 2004

  • Hamilton Jr./Holly to PPI? UPDATE 2 – OFFICIAL: see the past rumors and news on my #32 Team News and Links page..and below. The stir in the Winston [um..Nextel] Cup garage today came courtesy of Cal Well II’s PPI Racing team, which announced late last night that they’d be parting company with driver Ricky Craven at the end of the year. Wells’ #32 crew chief Dave Carpentier status with the team, is solid, according to him, “I’ve still got over two years left on my contract and I plan on honoring my commitment to the team.” Wells’ team has been in the news in recent weeks said to be looking at elements of Team Rensi Motorsports, run by brothers Sam and Ed Rensi, along with business partner Gary Weisbaum. Ed, who fields the #25 Ford in the Busch Series, did confirm with TFR that he’s spoken to Wells about his talent and that there will be a change at the end of the year as a result of those talks.
    “Cal Wells approached me before Dover and told me that he wanted to talk to both Harold [Holly] and Bobby [Hamilton Jr.] about going over to PPI,” Rensi told TFR today. “I said – and I take this position with anybody who has ever worked with me, if you’ve got an opportunity to improve yourself God bless you. I’ll do everything I can to help you. Harold has made a tremendous contribution to our team as has Bobby. They’re both very talented young men who are on the upslope in their careers and Nextel Cup is something that everybody dreams of and I’m certainly not going to stand in their way. I wish them the very best. Harold is a very good friend of ours,” Rensi added. “He’s not only an employee but he’s a damn good friend. We’re happy to have him working for us. Both of those young fellows are moving forward. Cal did it the right way. [Wells] came and chatted about it and talked about it. I’ve know Cal since his days with McDonald’s and I said, ‘Hey man, if you’ve got a position for him and you can treat him right and help them further their careers, I’m all in favor of it.’ In fact I’ve said all along if Bobby and Harold can get the right kind of a situation that would make them happy and further their careers, I’d drive them over there. I’m frankly disappointed that they’re not going to stay in the Ford family because Ford has done so much for us but I can’t control that.” Rensi has asked Harold Holly to help the team with the team re-building project. “Harold and I and Sam and Gary have had continuing conversations and we’re going to kind of let Harold direct us to who he thinks our next crew chief ought to be,” Rensi told TFR. “Harold is a good friend of the family. The last two years have been terrific. I love working with the guy and we said, ‘Hey Harold, have you got any ideas about who we ought to hire as crew chief?” While the deal between Hamilton and Well’s in not quite done the paperwork on Holly has been completed, according to team members on Rensi’s operation. TFR asked Rensi about his once talked about plan to move to Cup, and where they stand now. “Money,” answered, in a word. “I’m not going to go Nextel Cup racing unless I have the money to do it the right way. How are you going to compete with DEI and Childress without money? You can’t do it.”(Team Ford Racing Site)(7-24-2004)
    UPDATE: Cal Wells’ pending split with Ricky Craven at the end of the season is not unexpected, given the team’s slump. Since last year’s win at Darlington, things have gone slowly downhill. Now Wells says he could within the week announce Bobby Hamilton Jr., 26, in the car for next year, with Harold Holley as crew chief. Wells also said, again, that he would like to expand to a second team. With only 35 full-time Cup teams, and with 43 spots on the grid available each weekend, it would seem likely that Wells could put something together.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)
    UPDATE 2 – OFFICAL: PPI Motorsports announced today it has signed a driver-crew chief team to helm the #32 Tide Chevrolet full-time in 2005: Bobby Hamilton, Jr., and Harold Holly. Hamilton, Jr., currently drives the #25 car in the NASCAR Busch Series. He owns five Busch wins, of which four were earned with Holly as his crew chief, and finished a career-high fourth in the series in 2003, just 43 points behind champion Brian Vickers. Hamilton, Jr., also has 19 Cup starts to his credit, including five to date this year in the #09 Dodge. Holly currently serves as crew chief for Hamilton, Jr., and the #25 Busch Series team. After joining the team, Holly quickly helped propel them to a series-best four wins in 2003 and into championship contention this season. Holly also has championship experience, having earned the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series title with the largest margin in history (616 points) as crew chief to driver Jeff Green. From 1999-2001, Holly and Green earned 13 wins, 13 poles, 56 top-fives and 72 top-10s, finishing no less than second in championship points each year. Overall, Holly has amassed 25 wins in 248 Busch series starts to date. By signing Hamilton, Jr., and Holly in tandem, Wells hopes to capture the same chemistry that has propelled the duo to four wins and championship contention in the NASCAR Busch Series.
    “We are excited about Bobby’s potential in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series,” Wells said. “He’s been a standout performer in the Busch series and has several Cup starts already to his credit, and he’s definitely ready for a shot at full-time Cup racing. Harold, with his championship experience and proven ability to lead and motivate a team, is a tremendous asset to our overall organization. We expect the two to be a strong, positive force for our team and in the Cup garage.”
    “All I can say is I’m more than ready to go Cup racing,” said Hamilton Jr., who has turned down full-time Cup rides in the past to wait for the right time in his career. “I’m excited about this chance to drive full time in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for PPI Motorsports in the #32 Tide Chevrolet. What makes this even better is the chance to keep working with Harold. He’s been a great leader for our Busch team and has inspired all of us to perform at our best and achieve what we set out to do. I’m also grateful to the people at Team Rensi Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive for them the past two seasons and wish them all the best.”
    “Working with PPI Motorsports represents a great opportunity for me to transition full-time into the Cup series, something I’ve wanted to do if the right chance came along,” said Holly. “The environment is very similar to what I’ve been accustomed to, and I believe that Bobby and I together can find success with this team. I’m looking forward to getting started.” Both Hamilton, Jr. and Holly will begin testing under the PPI Motorsports banner later this month. Current #32 crew chief Mike Beam continues to serve as the team’s crew chief this season and will help oversee the transition. PPI Motorsports, based in Hickory, N.C., fields the #32 Tide Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Since joining the series in 2000, the team has earned two wins, three pole positions, ten top fives and 20 top tens. The team also owns multiple titles and victories in off-road and open-wheel racing and will celebrate its 25th year in racing in 2005.(PPI Motorsports)(7-28-2004)
  • Watkins Glen testing washed out: no official reports, but have heard that testing at Watkins Glen on Monday [official] and Tuesday [unoffically] was rained out. Track officials have been able to schedule additional NASCAR testing time around existing track rental customers on Monday, August 2 from 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The session will be open to the public. No word on what drivers will attend thge practice on August 2nd.(7-28-2004)
  • Dale Jr. hopes to go all 200 laps: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver, #8 Budweiser team: “The plan is to rest and take it easy this week so I’ll be ready to do 500 miles Sunday. The burns heal a little more every day, but I’m still in a lot of pain. I felt pretty good inside the car, but I’m going to need all my strength. Pocono can wear you out even when you’re 100 percent healthy. I couldn’t have finished 300 laps (at New Hampshire) but I’m going to do all I can to get through this and be ready to go this week. I owe it to my team. They’ve worked so hard for so many years to put us in a place where we’re in position to grab a championship, and I owe it to my sponsors and especially my fans. Everyone has been really supportive of me and that means a lot. Anybody can be cool and get along great when you’re winning races and kicking butt, but when things don’t go right, it’s important to have that support behind me.” Dale Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team have four top-10s in nine races at Pocono Raceway and have finished no worse than sixth in the last three events at the unique 2.5-mile tri-oval. Dale Jr. has led at Pocono four times for 89 laps and has been running at the finish in each of his nine events there. Dale Jr. is still recovering from injuries sustained in an American LeMans Series race in Sonoma, Calif., but is hoping to attempt the full 500-mile race at Pocono. Should Dale Jr. not be able to run the full race, John Andretti will stand by as a relief driver in case needed. Andretti, who drives a part-time schedule for Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #1 team, has 20 races under his belt at Pocono.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(7-28-2004)
  • New Hampshire TV/Cable Ratings: NASCAR fans revved up ratings for TNT’s coverage of the Siemens 300. The Sunday night race was the most watched basic-cable show, with 6.8 million viewers. As usual, HBO’s Six Feet Under [Jayski Fave] was the most watched pay-cable show, with 3.8 million.(Yahoo)
    AND New England doubleheader a hit … In the off-to-a-good-start department, TNT’s season debut at New Hampshire mirrored that of its sister network, NBC, three weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway. The two networks will televise the second half of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, and just as NBC enjoyed significant viewer response in Chicago, TNT scored big last week with its season-opening coverage of the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. According to Nielsen Media Research, an average of 4,706,000 households tuned in, a 17% increase from 2003. An average of 6,766,000 viewers tuned in, a 15% increase from 2003. The Siemens 300 was the most-watched NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event since premier-series competition began at New Hampshire in 1993. But that’s not all. The NASCAR Busch Series event, the Siemens 200, also was a viewer hit. An average of 1,514,000 households tuned in, a 41% increase from 2003. An average of 1,954,000 viewers tuned in, a 43% increase from 2003. The Siemens 200 was the most-watched NASCAR Busch Series event since that series debuted at New Hampshire in 1990.”(NASCAR PR)(7-28-2004)

    July 27, 2004

  • New Mooresville Boutique to help out Computer Lab Fund – Grand Opening Tuesday: Take Too, a new upscale resale boutique located on Williamson Road in Mooresville, will celebrate its grand opening on Tuesday, July 27, and formally kick off its consignors’ matching program to support Victory Junction Gang Camp, a specialized camp for chronically ill children founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty. The #24 Jeff Gordon and #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. show cars will be at the event, courtesy of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Hendrick Motorsports, which is open to the public from 10:00am until 5:00pm.
    Take Too Boutique is a partnership between owners Carol Bickford, Deb Haskett and Cindy Sisson, all of whom have strong ties to NASCAR. Bickford, who is the mother of NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, is in business with her husband, John, manufacturing race components for open wheel racing, including sprint and midget cars. John also serves as SVP and General Manager of JG Inc., overseeing his step’sons racing and other business interests. Haskett, who originally created the boutique, moved from Michigan to Mooresville four years ago when her husband, Gene, became an executive with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Deb is a lawyer and still practices as a litigator specializing in hospital defense. Sisson is currently SVP and founder of Digital Orchid, a company that owns the wireless rights to NASCAR and other major sports properties. She is the former owner of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team with rider Lance Armstrong, five-time winner of the Tour de France.
    Take Too, located at 131-A Williamson Road [across from Tuffy’s], offers one-of-a-kind and upscale clothing for women and men, as well as shoes, jewelry and other accessories. The grand opening will mark the summer clearance event. Consignors of Take Too will have an opportunity to help the owners with a cause that is very important to each of them -Victory Junction Gang Camp. Proceeds from the matching charitable program will benefit the camp’s Jayski.com Computer Lab.
    Take Too also is enlisting the help of the racing community for this charity. Clothes donated by racing celebrities with an autographed photo wearing the consigned outfit will be matched at a certain level of Take Too’s profits.
    Grand opening schedule and events: 9:30am/et – Ribbon-cutting event as new member of Mooresville Chamber of Commerce [attended by Jayski]
    10:00am – 5:00pm/et – Take Too open to the public; summer clearance sale begins; show cars at store location.
    Event Supporters include: Absolute Signs, Camille’s Sidewalk CaféDale Earnhardt Inc.ECMS AdvertisingGrapevine, JG Motorsports, Jayski, Hendrick Motorsports, Legends Espresso Bar & Sweets, Mooresville Chamber of CommerceSkirt MagazineVictory Junction Gang.(7-26/27-2004)
    UPDATE: the ribbon cutting went nice, met some local officials and Take Too donated $1,500 to the computer lab, THANKS! (7-27-2004)
  • Stewart Welcomes 3-car Team; Talks to Kahne also: #20-Tony Stewart is not concerned about dwindling resources at Joe Gibbs Racing if the team adds a third Nextel Cup team for the 2005 season. The team currently fields a pair of Chevrolets for Bobby Labonte and Stewart. “You don’t have to have three times the equipment,” Stewart said. “A lot of times you can utilize the same resources and not necessarily have to have so many extras. If you have adequate resources to start with I think it helps. If you’re a team that doesn’t have enough funding to begin with it can be a distraction and take away from the effort.” Regarding the addition of a driver, Stewart doesn’t have a preference between a veteran and a rookie. “There’s pros and cons to having a veteran, and there’s pros and cons to having a rookie. It could really go either way. You could have a rookie and do just fine or you could have a veteran and do just fine.” The 2002 series champion also says that he had a phone conversation with Kasey Kahne today, discussed their Ju! ly 11 coming together at Chicagoland Speedway and that “there’s no problems between Kasey and I. It was a very productive phone call.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-27-2004)
  • NBC’s Ad Revenue Up: NBC’s ad revenue from NASCAR is up 20 percent this year, a “jump attributed primarily to the new format in which the final 10 races will act as a playoff” for the Nextel Cup, according to Andy Bernstein of the Sports Business Journal. The network has “sold title or presenting sponsor ad packages for 10 races and expects to close a few more by the end of the season. Last year it sold 11 in all.” Presenting deals require the purchase of at least six 30-second spots per race, and title sponsorships require eight to 10 spots, costing $750,000 to nearly $1.5 million. ExxonMobil retailers recently signed on as the presenting sponsor for the Aug. 8 Brickyard 400. Subway, already title sponsor of the Oct. 24 race in Martinsville, bought the presenting sponsorship of the Checker Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix Nov. 7. But NASCAR is still “not making money for NBC.” NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer, on breaking even with NASCAR: “We’re not there, but we’re gaining on it.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-27-2004)
  • Dashboard Caution Lights Coming? Tail Lights too? NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter says that series officials are looking at the possibility of adding dashboard caution lights and functioning tail lights to cars. The caution lights, which already are being used in other racing series, could be used to quickly warn drivers to slow down for accidents; a yellow light would be mounted on each car’s dashboard and could be activated by NASCAR officials. As it stands, drivers must rely on their team spotters, trackside yellow lights or the official at the start/finish line to determine when officials have issued a caution. The lights could be a safety improvement, but officials remain concerned that they could lead to more timing and scoring disputes between teams and NASCAR. Having functioning taillights on race cars, meanwhile, would be a radical change. They could play a marginal role in helping a driver avoid plowing into the car in front of him, an issue on restarts during several recent races. But drivers likely would not want the driver behind them able to tell precisely when they were braking heading into a turn; that would allow the trailing driver to better judge where passing might be easier.(USA Today)(7-27-2004)
  • Marlin to run low-carb beer scheme UPDATE: In support of their new low carb beer Aspen Edge, Sterling Marlin will be driving an all White Aspen Edge themed #40 Dodge at the August 1st Pocono Raceway race.(4-23-2004)
    UPDATE: In support of its new low-carb light lager, Aspen Edge, Coors Brewing Company will display a special Aspen Edge paint scheme on Sunday, August 1st at the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. “NASCAR is one of Coors’ highest profile sponsorships, and we have showcased our Coors Light brand with great success over the years,” said Steve Saunders, director of event marketing for Coors Brewing Company. “We are really excited about the opportunity to bring the Aspen Edge brand into the fold and increase awareness among NASCAR fans.” Coors Brewing Company launched Aspen Edge nationally in early May and since then, the beer has steadily been gaining popularity and market share. Now, Aspen Edge is the second-largest-selling low-carb beer in supermarkets. Aspen Edge has just 2.6 grams of carbohydrates and 94 calories and is available in retail outlets nationwide.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR) See the scheme on the #40 Team Paint Scheme page.(7-27-2004)
  • Yates Promotion: hearing that longtime Robert Yates Racing employee, Tim Lancaster has been promoted from the manager of the Machine Shop to Production Manager of RYR.(7-27-2004)
  • Hamilton Jr. and RCR? no idea if Bobby Hamilton was serious or pulling Dave’s leg, but on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Bobby Hamilton was asked about the rumor of Bobby Hamitlon Jr. going to the #32 Tide ride, Hamilton said, didn’t know about that but that Bobby Jr. was over talking to Richard Childress Monday.(7-27-2004)
  • Hammond looking for some help for the troops: In Iraq, members of the NASCAR community had an opportunity to visit the 10th Mountain Division, Camp Chosen, and Jeff Hammond got an e-mail recently that said they took a really serious mortar attack. All of the troops lost all of their personal items. Basically, they got out of there with only the clothes on their backs. The military will replace some of their items, but pictures from home, shaving kits, towels, CD and DVD players were lost. If you would like to donate some money or items to these men and women overseas, Hammond will take care of getting it to the folks who need to issue it to the troops in Iraq.
    Please send your notes and packages to:
    5 Off, 5 On
    c/o Jeff Hammond
    156 Byers Creek Road
    Mooresville, N.C. 28115 (FoxSports)(7-27-2004)
  • #99 / Roush still looking for a sponsor: Jeff Burton has been in a funky mood since NASCAR’s Mike Helton rejected a $15 million a year team sponsorship offer from Crown Royal three weeks ago – a sponsorship package that NASCAR’s sister company, the International Speedway Corp., quickly picked up without batting an eye about a conflict of interest. But car owner Jack Roush says he has some new leads for sponsorship for Burton’s team. “We’ve got a number of new, potentially positive discussions going on,” Roush said. “I’m very hopeful based on some news I got today that we’ll have full sponsorship, at the kind of numbers we’re looking for, for next year for Jeff’s car. I’m very hopeful that we’ll get the help we need to help us have a reasonable finish with it this year. We have the resources to stay with the program until we decide that there is no prospect for sponsorship for it, and it’s very much alive today.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2004)

    July 26, 2004

  • Mike Beam resumes Crew Chief role for Tide Team: Cal Wells has reinstated crew chief duties to competition director, Mike Beam for the #32 Tide Racing team. Beam returned to PPI Motorsports as competition director at the end of 2003 after a one-year absence from the team, while Dave Charpentier was hired as crew chief. “Mike Beam has been operating as the crew chief on the Tide team for some time now,” said owner, Cal Wells. “Despite the fact that we announced last week that Ricky Craven will be parting ways with PPI Motorsports at the end of the season, I am committed to making sure the team has all the right elements in place to perform to their potential for the rest of the 2004 season. Mike and Ricky have a successful history together which is why I decided to make the change. Chemistry between driver and crew chief is essential at the competition level of NEXTEL Cup racing and I need to make sure I’m providing the best combination to make our Tide team run up front. I need to make sure Ricky has what he needs in making decisions about the car and calling the races.” While with PPI Motorsports during the 2001 and 2002 season, Beam and Craven scored one win at Martinsville in the spring of 2001, and three pole positions at Michigan, Rockingham and Darlington.(PPI Motorsports PR), no word on what Dave Charpentier is doing or if he is still with the team, as reported the other day, he is quoted as saying he is signed thru 2006 with PPI.(7-26-2004)
  • Said gets sponsor for Watkins Glen: USG Corporation announced that it will sponsor Boris Said in the Aug. 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup road race at Watkins Glen International to help promote its Durock Brand Cement Board, a high-strength ceramic tile backer that provides superior tile adhesion. Said will drive the #36 USG Durock Brand Chevrolet as a third entry for MB2 Motorsports, which fields Joe Nemechek’s #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet and Scott Riggs’ #10 Valvoline Chevrolet. USG is also an associate sponsor on the #01 and #10 MB2 cars plus a primary sponsor on Nemechek’s #01 car at four Nextel Cup races.(MB2 Motorsports PR), plans are also for Said to run the #36 at California Speedway in Sept. with Centrix Financial as the sponsor.(7-26-2004)
  • Fashion Sense: G-III/Carl Banks has joined forces with NASCAR to launch a men’s and women’s fashion collection that will be available for Fall 2004. The collection consists of track suits, T-shirts, sweatpants, hats and wool outerwear. The items will retail from $20 to $125 and will be sold at Macy’s West, Bon Marche and select mid-tier and specialty retailers nationwide.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-26-2004)
  • Craven to Retire? UPDATE 2 to Roush: Ricky Craven announced last night he will be separating from his team at the end of the 2004 NASCAR season and possibly retiring [see past news on the #32 Team News and Links page]. After a disastrous start to the season, Craven, of Newburgh, Maine, said car owner Cal Wells decided to terminate his contract at the end of the 2004 season. With two years left on his contract, financial terms were settled. “We’ve had a lot of heated discussions and it’s mutual and I agreed to finish this year,” Craven said. “This is a performance business. I’m going to work as hard as I can for the rest of the 2004 season.” Craven then speculated that after the season he may retire from NASCAR.[but doesn’t expand of offer anymore](Portland Boston Herald)
    HOWEVER an excerpt from the Press Herald: “I still have a passion to compete,” said Craven, the popular driver from the tiny Maine town of Newburgh. “I still hate to lose. I still have the hope and desire to succeed in this business and to compete at this level. I’m interested in exploring the options that might be available to me next year.”(in part from the Portland Press Herald)(7-23-2004)
    A – Craven: “Part of the strategy of announcing this weekend and going into the second half of the season is that this is the beginning of the end of our association (with Cal Wells). We still have a lot of racing left. But I absolutely intend on racing next year and for a few more years. But if I’m not, I’ll capitalize on the time off to teach my boy to go bird hunting or chase a moose in northern Maine or do something that has been completely opposite of what I’ve done for 25 years.”(GM PR)
    AND Craven could be getting a look-see from Bill Davis for a possible second-team shot.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2004)

    UPDATE 2: Despite Craven’s struggles this season, he has attracted some interest to drive for a new team in 2005. One owner who could be interested is Jack Roush, whose five-car team includes Siemens 300 winner Kurt Busch, defending Nextel Cup points champ Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle. “Ricky Craven is on my short list of people that I think can do a nice job in these cars,” said Roush. Roush runs Fords and Craven’s best year came in 2002 when he was driving a Ford for PPI-Motorsports. Craven finished 15th in points with nine top-10 finishes, including three top-fives, and two poles. Craven said, “If I get what I consider an opportunity that I can enjoy and be competitive or productive for 2005, then great. I’ll look forward to that. But I won’t just race part time. I’m not interested in just being here. The bottom line is I want to have a good ride. I definitely would like to race a couple more years,” said the 38-year-old Craven. “I’m still relatively young. When I came back to Cal [in 2001], I ran in the top 10 [at various stages of races] every week. For two and a half years, we were very, very competitive. I felt like I had earned that. I earned that through my years of Busch North and Busch Grand National. and even my frustrations in Winston Cup led me to the win at Martinsville and the win at Darlington. That’s the way I want to end my career.”(Bangor Daily News)(7-26-2004)

  • Kahne and Crew OK after wreck: A van carrying six members of Kasey Kahne’s crew was hit from behind Sunday morning on the way to New Hampshire International Speedway. The van was stopped in traffic when it was rear-ended and knocked into another car. The only reported injury was to Jeff Seaburg, driver of the team’s transport truck, who was sitting in the back of the van. Seaburg was treated at a Concord hospital for a strained back and released. He got to the track in time for the start of the race, but team officials decided Seaburg would use someone else to drive the transporter back to the team’s shop in Statesville, N.C.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-26-2004)
  • Fatback and Rudd back together? UPDATE: FoxSports Larry McReynolds, in his latest column mentions….”I bet it won’t be long until we see him [Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain] surface with a pretty good race team. I’ve even heard some rumblings — not to take anything away from Ben Leslie — but I’ve heard rumblings that he may reunite with [#21] Ricky Rudd. But that’s strictly rumors and rumblings.”(FoxSports)(7-25-2004)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Michael McSwain may not be on the sidelines long. McSwain, who had Ricky Rudd in the national-championship hunt a few years back and who had Bobby Labonte sixth in this year’s standings when he was abruptly dropped by car owner Joe Gibbs last week, is getting a long, hard look from Jack Roush and could be joining the Roush camp soon, according to team sources. McSwain and Rudd split acrimoniously [bitter] two years ago, but there are reports the two could be getting back together. Roush yesterday didn’t directly comment on the reports about hiring McSwain but indicated “there might be something there.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)
  • 2005 Truex Sponsor close: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is close to signing a new sponsor for Martin Truex Jr. for 2005. The current proposal would have Truex Jr. running seven Nextel Cup races and the full Busch Series schedule. Subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire, Truex finished 31st. Truex Jr. has gained recognition throughout his first full season in Busch by leading the points and winning four races and five pole positions.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(7-26-2004)
  • Belts Illegal And Confiscated Bobby Hamilton Jr’s, NASCAR Nextel Cup #09 Miccosukee Dodge had a full set of lap belts confiscated at New Hampshire International Speedway. The red belts had expired in June of 2002, over two years ago.(Insider Racing News)(7-26-2004)
  • Sauter back to Cup for RCR? but not #30: Richard Childress says it’s possible Johnny Sauter will return in an RCR Cup car at Richmond in September, but it won’t be the #30 AOL Chevrolet. Sauter was released from that ride in June because of a lack of success.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(7-26-2004)
  • Graf full time in 2005? Klaus Graf, the erstwhile Formula One racer now working the Porsche Cup tour full-time while working on breaking into NASCAR, will be at Watkins Glen today testing for next month’s stock car race as Ken Schrader’s teammate – if he made connections at New York’s JFK last night enroute from Hockenheim, Germany. If car owners Beth Ann Morgenthau finishes sponsorship deals, Graf would also run the Talladega ARCA race in September, and Cup races at Martinsville and Homestead. “That would hopefully lead to a full schedule next year,” General Manager Eddie Jones said. Graf finished 17th three weeks ago at Sonoma, Calif., in his only NASCAR start. “And he would have finished a lot higher if he hadn’t lost the hose to his water bottle the last 60 laps and become severely dehydrated. He started 38th and could have finished 11th or 12th. He drove the car up to 16th before the first stop. But the heat finally got to him,” Jones said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)

July 25, 2004

  • Busch wins at New Hampshire: #12-Ryan Newman led the first 170 laps of Sunday’s Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway the Nextel Cup race, but as it turned out he was only renting first place. But #97-Kurt Busch started 32nd, it took him a while to make his way to the front of the field on the tight 1.058-mile track. But once he got there, Busch was too tough for anybody to handle. #24-Jeff Gordon, who worked his way into second on Lap 233 at the same time Busch was taking the lead from Newman for the final time, took a couple of shots at getting by Busch on restarts following late cautions. The last came with just three laps to go after #2-Rusty Wallace spun after contact from #88-Dale Jarrett while they raced for eighth, but Busch just had too much. Busch won for the first time since a victory at Bristol in March, his 10th win in his career. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. started the race, but because of burns on his legs suffered in a crash a week ago in a race in California he got out of the car at the first yellow flag and Martin Truex Jr. took over. Truex later hit the wall and wound up finishing 31st, two laps behind the leader. Truex spun and smacked the wall after contact with Ken Schrader on Lap 140. The rest of the top five were #24-Gordon, #12-Newman, #17-Kenseth (31), #20-Stewart.(see a huge race article at ThatsRacin.com).
    For race results, see:
    Jayski’s Loudon Race Results/Awards page
    Motorsports One
  • A question, I get: why do some drivers knock the PowerAde bottles off the top of the car in victory lane? Easy: PowerAde is owned by Coca-Cola
    Gatorade is ownerd by Pepsi
    so drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, who have ties to Pepsi or Gatorade knock the bottles off. Simple as that. comments concerning those actions can be addressed by contacting the teams.(7-1-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR wants Nextel Cup drivers to refrain from removing a conflicting sponsor’s product from their cars in victory lane. At the drivers’ meeting prior to Sunday’s Siemens 300, NASCAR president Mike Helton told the drivers “do not take it upon yourselves to remove products” placed on cars as they come in for victory celebrations. “For years there have been sponsors that conflict with a car’s sponsor or a driver’s personal sponsor,” Helton said. “We’ve been able to work through those with politeness and respect, and we need to get back to that.” The recent issues have mostly been with a large, blue Powerade bottle that some drivers have pushed or even knocked off their cars because of affiliations with Gatorade or with Pepsi, which owns Gatorade. Powerade is a Coca-Cola product. “You can maneuver away from it or work around it,” Helton said. “If that doesn’t begin happening again, we will be forced to deal with it.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-25-2004)
  • Andretti on stand-by for Dale Jr. at Pocono: John Andretti, part-time driver for DEI’s #1 Chevy, will be the stand-by driver for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. next week at Pocono if needed. Martin Truex Jr., subbing for Dale Jr. at NHIS, will be unavailable as he will be at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Colorado for the Busch race.(FSN’s NASCAR This Morning)(7-25-2004)
  • Dale Jr. comments after getting out of car at NH: from FoxSports/Sporting News site:
    “Ain’t many people I’d let drive my car. Martin’s one of them. Luckily he was available this weekend. The car is not that good. It think the car might be worse than I am. It’s real loose in, real tight in the middle – wouldn’t turn in the middle at all. Hopefully we can work on it, get it a lot better and get a pretty good finish. We were real good all weekend in practice with Martin in the car. I know we can get a good run; we just got to get the car a lot better. The car just wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be, or had been all weekend. Just ain’t no fun getting out. I’m a tell ya that. I like running here, but Martin’s gonna do a good job for me, so it’ll be okay.”
    “My injuries really, really hurt bad. It’s a pain I’ve never felt before. But I was in two burn centers and I saw some people in there that were a lot worse off than I was and it made me really appreciate how luckily I was to be able get out of there. Just ain’t good enough to drive a car out here all day long. Hopefully next week we will be.”
    See more at FoxSports/Sporting News.(7-25-2004)
  • Makar, Busy Guy: Jimmy Makar is just back from a few weeks of missionary work in South America, and he may now wish to return, given the headaches on his desk as general manager at Joe Gibbs Racing. Talk about being in the eye of the storm. Look at it this way – the boss is about to embark on a return to the NFL, and attempt to revive those glory years with the Washington Redskins. But it’s been 10 years since Gibbs last played that game, which he quit then for health reasons. The never-ending Tony Stewart saga is playing out more chapters, and Stewart found himself dodging debris-throwing fans after winning in Chicago the last time out. Two days after that Makar and J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son and Makar’s immediate boss, found themselves faced with a major shakeup on Bobby Labonte’s team, dealing out crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain and plugging in Brandon Thomas, the new crew chief. On top of all that, Makar and J.D. Gibbs are under the gun to put together a third Nextel Cup for FedEx, a $24 billion company, certain to want its money’s worth and not willing to wait out a long-term investment. “Want my shoes?” Makar asked with a laugh.(see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2004)
  • Dale Jr. to start; Martin Jr. to finish; crew changes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. got in the #8 Bud Chevy and ran about 8 laps of practice. His speeds were within a tenth of Martin Truex Jr’s best time. He did not go out in the second segment [Happy Hour]. Junior said he felt comfortable in the seat. He says he has less discomfort sitting behind the wheel then he does in a standing position. The plan for the Seimens 300 has not changed. Junior will start the race and the team hopes to make the driver switch under the first caution. There are three permanent changes to the No. 8 Budweiser pit crew: Jay Guarneri = Rear Tire Changer; Jeff Clark = Gasman; Bill Snyder = Catch Can.(GM PR), expect to see TV cover the driver swap, when it happens, look for the first caution or 25 laps into the race.(7-25-2004)

    July 24, 2004

    JAYSKI’s One Race Series: Pepsi 400 Results
    Player Name Team Name Prize
    1) Scott Raibikis Baghdad BoB (Panora, IA) $8,000 
    2)  Larry Mello     Larry2 (Red Bluff, CA) $1,750 
    3) Steve Charles Just Turn Left (Murrieta, CA) $750 
    4) Thomas Browne       BIG IRON RACING (CROCKETT, CA) $350 
    5) Herb Olson   pinetrail 103080 (Grand Rapids, MI) $200 
    6) Steve Giebel   CJ’s Cars (Naperville, IL) $200 
    7) Dennis Schreuer     Boink Johnson (Lemon Grove, CA) $200 
    8) Dennis Schreuer   Team Budweiser (Lemon Grove, CA) $200 
    9) Kevin Rankens     Rankens racing (Hamilton, mi) $200 
    10) Don Gerhart   WhatEver?? (Temple, PA) $200 

    More info at fantasythunder.com

  • DEI News? UPDATE 2: some sort of DEI announcement will be made at NHIS, Friday morning, July 23rd.(7-22-2004)
    AND SPEED Channel will interrupt Formula One Practice Friday morning at approximately 8:30am/et to present live coverage of a Dale Earnhardt, Inc. press conference from the New Hampshire International Speedway. At its conclusion, SPEED will resume F1 Practice from the point it left.(SC PR)
    UPDATE On Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Dave reported that DEI will announce in a press conference Friday morning that Martin Truex Jr. will attempt to qualify the #8 car for the Cup race at New Hampshire on Friday [3pm on TNT].(7-23-2004)
    UPDATE 2: It was announced in a press conference at New Hampshire International Speedway, Friday morning [July 23td around 8:20am/et] that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would sit out practice and qualifying on Friday, July 23rd. Chance 2 Busch Series driver, Martin Truex Jr. will practice and qualify the #8 Budweiser Chevy. Dale Jr. may practice the car some on Saturday and plans are for Dale Jr. to start the car Sunday in the Siemen’s 300 at NHIS and have Truex Jr. get in the car at the first oppurtunity/first caution. The reason to remove Dale Jr. is to protect his burns from infection, which being in a hot car and sweating could cause. Dale Jr. has a bandage wrapped around his neck and a 2nd, larger bandage on the left side of his neck. Earnhardt Jr. said he has been totally cleared to practice, qualify and race the #8 Budweiser Chevy. Dale Jr. said he has no plans to spot for Truex Jr. Attending the press conference were Dale Earnhardt Jr., crew chief Tony Eury Sr., DEI’s Richie Gilmore and sub driver Martin Truex Jr., who left the press conference after the initial announcement and before the Q&A. (Speed Channel Press Conference Coverage), if Truex Jr. qualifies the car and Earnahrdt Jr. starts the race, no matter where the car is scheduled to start, Dale Jr. will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag, same as usual.(7-23-2004)
    POINTS: If Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts the race at NHIS, and Truex Jr. replaces him at some point in the race, Dale Jr. gets all the points, just like any other driver change during a race.
    Rookie stripes? been asked if the #8 will have rookie stripes on the car, I would guess so, but am not sure, will see today during qualifying.[yes the car has rookie stripes on it]
    From the DEI site – in part: In a Friday morning press conference at New Hampshire International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced their weekend plans for the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Eury, Sr, Richie Gilmore and Martin Truex, Jr. addressed the media and revealed the team’s intentions and approach for the Siemens 300 on Sunday. The following move was necessitated because of the burn injuries Dale Jr. received last week at Infineon Raceway in an American Le Mans Series event. Martin Truex, Jr., who normally drives the #8 Chance 2 Motorsports Chevrolet, will practice the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet and qualify the car on Friday. He will also partake in the Happy Hour session on Saturday. However, for the start of the race on Sunday, Dale Jr. will take the green flag and, at some point soon after, Martin will replace Dale Jr. in the car. The reason for Dale Jr. to start the race is to earn the assigned points that go along with the car’s finish. Martin will finish the race and whatever position he earns in the final rundown, those points will go to Dale Jr. in the Official Standings for the Nextel Cup Series. All through the week, the team was deciding on what to do in different scenarios and how to prepare for the race weekend. Dale Jr. visited the shop on Thursday, put on his uniform and sat in the No. 8 Chevrolet to see how it all felt. Collectively, Dale Jr, Tony Sr. and Richie came to a conclusion and plan for the weekend. Tony Sr. talked about having Martin in the car to relieve Dale Jr. Martin tested with the #8 Cup team at NHIS in early July and has vast experience at the one-mile oval in Busch and Busch North Series races. The plan is for him to get in the car at the earliest opportunity after the initial green flag. Richie said there is no set time as to when Dale Jr. will get out of the car right now. That factor will be better determined once Dale Jr. takes a few laps in the car, but that won’t happen until Saturday. Because of the rules of a driver change between qualifying and the start of the race, Dale Jr. will start at the rear of the field no matter where Martin qualifies the car. See the full report at the DEI SIte.(7-23-2004)
    AND on FSN’s NASCAR This Morning, Kenn Wallace mentioned the burn on Dale Jr.’s neck [left side] was caused by the drink tube being against his neck, the tube got so hot it melted against his neck and burned him.(7-25-2004)
  • Hamilton Jr./Holly to PPI? see the past rumors and news on my #32 Team News and Links page..and below. The stir in the Winston [um..Nextel] Cup garage today came courtesy of Cal Well II’s PPI Racing team, which announced late last night that they’d be parting company with driver Ricky Craven at the end of the year. Wells’ #32 crew chief Dave Carpentier status with the team, is solid, according to him, “I’ve still got over two years left on my contract and I plan on honoring my commitment to the team.” Wells’ team has been in the news in recent weeks said to be looking at elements of Team Rensi Motorsports, run by brothers Sam and Ed Rensi, along with business partner Gary Weisbaum. Ed, who fields the #25 Ford in the Busch Series, did confirm with TFR that he’s spoken to Wells about his talent and that there will be a change at the end of the year as a result of those talks.
    “Cal Wells approached me before Dover and told me that he wanted to talk to both Harold [Holly] and Bobby [Hamilton Jr.] about going over to PPI,” Rensi told TFR today. “I said – and I take this position with anybody who has ever worked with me, if you’ve got an opportunity to improve yourself God bless you. I’ll do everything I can to help you. Harold has made a tremendous contribution to our team as has Bobby. They’re both very talented young men who are on the upslope in their careers and Nextel Cup is something that everybody dreams of and I’m certainly not going to stand in their way. I wish them the very best. Harold is a very good friend of ours,” Rensi added. “He’s not only an employee but he’s a damn good friend. We’re happy to have him working for us. Both of those young fellows are moving forward. Cal did it the right way. [Wells] came and chatted about it and talked about it. I’ve know Cal since his days with McDonald’s and I said, ‘Hey man, if you’ve got a position for him and you can treat him right and help them further their careers, I’m all in favor of it.’ In fact I’ve said all along if Bobby and Harold can get the right kind of a situation that would make them happy and further their careers, I’d drive them over there. I’m frankly disappointed that they’re not going to stay in the Ford family because Ford has done so much for us but I can’t control that.” Rensi has asked Harold Holly to help the team with the team re-building project. “Harold and I and Sam and Gary have had continuing conversations and we’re going to kind of let Harold direct us to who he thinks our next crew chief ought to be,” Rensi told TFR. “Harold is a good friend of the family. The last two years have been terrific. I love working with the guy and we said, ‘Hey Harold, have you got any ideas about who we ought to hire as crew chief?” While the deal between Hamilton and Well’s in not quite done the paperwork on Holly has been completed, according to team members on Rensi’s operation. TFR asked Rensi about his once talked about plan to move to Cup, and where they stand now. “Money,” answered, in a word. “I’m not going to go Nextel Cup racing unless I have the money to do it the right way. How are you going to compete with DEI and Childress without money? You can’t do it.”(Team Ford Racing Site)(7-24-2004)
  • Waltrip, Wheeler among hall finalists: Three-time Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, Lowe’s Motor Speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and Harry Gant are among 20 finalists to be part of the 2005 class for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega. Waltrip led first-round balloting and was among seven to make the finals for the first time. The other first-time finalists are drag racers Joe Amato and Bob Glidden, Grand Prix champions Rene Dreyfuss and Nigel Mansell, powerboat racer Chip Hanauer and Indianapolis 500 winner Tommy Milton. Wheeler and Gant have made the final round before. They’re joined on this year’s list by Red Byron, the first champion in what is now NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series, 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White, six-time modified champion Jerry Cook, modified and sportsman series champion Ray Hendrick, five-time late-model series champion Jack Ingram, stock-car driver and champion Cotton Owens and Ralph Seagraves, who was instrumental in setting up R.J. Reynolds Tobacco’s involvement in NASCAR. The other finalists are American Auto Association champion Pete DePaolo, pioneer female driver Janet Guthrie, motorcycle champion Wayne Rainey and sprint-car legend Jan Opperman. The 2005 class will be announced this fall. Induction is set for April 28, 2005.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-24-2004)

    July 23, 2004

  • Furr leaves the #0 team: during TNT coverage of Cup qualifying for the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire Intl Speedway, Benny Parsons mentioned that former #0 crew chief, Tony Furr, who swapped jobs with Bill Ingle, and was the shop foreman, left the team. Ingle is now the crew chief.(7-23-2004)
  • Craven out of the #32? DENIED [he is in the car at NHIS] UPDATE 5 Official – Parting Ways after 2004: hearing that driver Ricky Craven and the #32 PPI Motorsports team have parted ways. Not sure who will drive the car at New Hampshire, but hearing a future pairing for the team could include driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and his Busch crew chief, Harold Holly. Johnny Benson could end up in the car a race or two, but is supposedly commited to PPI’s 2nd car, the #96 Chevy which supposedly will run 10 races later this season. Seems like odd timing, if true, as one of Craven’s best tracks is New Hampshire International Speedway, the next race.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE: a PPI Motorsports spokesperson says…..NOT TRUE.
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Craven denied a rumor Wednesday that he has been fired from his NASCAR Nextel Cup team. Craven said that he has not lost his ride in the Tide Chevrolet for the PPI Motorsports Team as rumored on the Jayski.com Web site. “There’s no truth to it at all. I have no idea where it [the rumor of being fired] came from and how it got started,” said Craven, who is spending time with his family in their vacation home on Moosehead Lake in Greenville during a rare off-week in the Nextel Cup schedule. Team owner Cal Wells III could not be reached for comment. Craven is under contract to PPI Motorsports through the 2006 season.(Bangor [Maine] Daily News)(7-15-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Insider Racing News is hearing that that Harold Holly has signed to take over crew chief duties on The Cal Wells owned #32 Team at the end of the 2004 season. Holly is the current crew chief for #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Busch Series. Hamilton Jr. stated last week that 2005 would be the time for him to move up to the Nextel Cup Series but no word on whether he would follow Holly to the #32 team.(Insider Racing News)(7-21-2004)
    UPDATE 4: hearing there will be some sort of announcement at NHIS that PPI Motorsports and Craven will announce, they will part ways at the end of the 2004 season, hearing Holly is signed for 2005 and negotiations are on for Bobby Hamilton Jr. to drive the car in 2005.(7-22-2004)
    UPDATE 5 – Wells & Craven to part ways after 2004 season: Joint statement released today [Thurs night] by PPI Motorsports team owner, Cal Wells and driver, Ricky Craven: “PPI Motorsports and Ricky Craven remain committed to each other and to getting the #32 team into the top-25 in points this season. Together, PPI Motorsports and Craven have evaluated the team’s performance-related challenges and agree that it is in their mutual best interest to part at the end of 2004 and explore opportunities for 2005 and beyond. Both Cal and Ricky want to see the best for each other and remain focused on the second half of this season.”(PPI Motorsports PR)(7-23-2004)
  • Milestones at NHIS: #5-Terry Labonte is expected to make his 800th career start at NHIS, #88-Dale Jarrett, 550; #89-Morgan Shepherd, 500; #99-Jeff Burton, 350.(7-23-2004)
  • Gordon Bluffs ’em UPDATE: Jeff Gordon is not only a winning driver, he can also play a little Texas hold ’em. The four-time Nextel Cup champ drew a 10 on the final river card for a three-of-a-kind to beat “Police Woman” Angie Dickinson and win the latest round of Bravo’s “Celebrity Poker Showdown.” Gordon advances to the championship, where he has a chance to win $100,000 for his charitable foundation.(Charleston Post and Courier)(7-18-2004)
    UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon prevailed as the winner of a recent episode of Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo!. Gordon matched his Texas Hold’Em card playing skills against the likes of Angie Dickinson, Kathy Griffin, Penn Jillette, and Ron Livingston. Taped earlier this year at The Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, each celebrity plays for their favorite charity. Gordon played for The Jeff Gordon Foundation. He now moves on to the championship final sixth episode where he is guaranteed at least $7,500 for his charity of choice and could win as much as $100,000! The show is scheduled to air at 9:00pm/et, August 12th on Bravo! – (Jeff Gordon site)(7-23-2004)
  • Cingular to have ‘COWS’ at NHIS: To ensure that it meets the needs of the more than 100,000 race fans and wireless customers expected to attend this weekend’s NASCAR race in Loudon, Cingular Wireless New England announced the deployment of a “Cell site On Wheels”, known as a “COW”, to the Loudon race track. COWs are mobile cell sites that can be quickly and easily transported to a specific location to boost network capacity in response to temporary surges in cell phone usage. The Cingular COW will be positioned across from the race track and is expected to remain in place for the remainder of the racing season to support the increasing number of wireless customers attending the two Cup races at Loudon on July 25th and September 19th. Cingular Wireless New England has a number of COWs dedicated to the market for use at special events where large crowd attendance can put unusual strain on existing wireless network in the area. The majority of the company’s other COWs are currently deployed in Boston, Mass., to support the Democratic National Convention starting on July 29th.(RCR Site)(7-23-2004)
  • Newman wins pole at New Hampshire: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with an event qualifying record of 132.360mph, it is Newman’s 4th pole of 2004 and 22nd of his 99 race career. #48-Jimmie Johnson is on the outside pole, #8-Martin Truex Jr. did a nice job and qualified 3rd, rounding out the top five are #15-Waltrip and #42-McMurray. #84-Kyle Busch wrecked on his lap before ran his lap and failed to qualify. #00-Ryan McGlynn withdrew before qualifying. #89-Shepherd used a provisional and will start his 500th career race and #5-Terry Labonte will start his 800th race.
    See Jayski’s Loudon Qualifying/Grid Page for pole progression, where the rookies qualified, top manu qualifier, who missed the race and why.
    Other New Hampshire Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup at:
    MotorSports One
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Loudon: Since he took four months off from dominating Fridays, I guess we can say….He’s baaaack! Ryan Newman was a half-mile an hour slower than he was in practice, but he was still the fastest today at New Hampshire International Speedway as he captured his 4th Bud Pole of the season for Sunday’s Siemens 300. In winning his first pole since Bristol in March, Newman sped around this mile oval in 28.776 sec (132.360 mph) to capture the 22nd top-spot of his career, with three of those in Loudon.
    Jimmie Johnson will start outside the front row. He had the pole for most of the session (he went out 21st and Newman 45th), but Newman just beat out both the rain and Johnson.
    Martin Truex Jr. qualified Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car for him today quite well, thank you. They’ll be listed with a third place starting effort, but it was for pit-position only as Little E’ll have to start from the back with the driver change.
    Jamie McMurray (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Martinsville in April.
    Ricky Craven (10th….and dusting off his resume) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Darlington last September!
    A statistical aberation: Bobby Hamilton Jr. has started 28th for the last three races in a row!
    Welcome Back: Ted Christopher (42nd in Kirk Shelmerdine’s ride this weekend) makes his first Cup start since Watkins Glen in August of 1999. He started 33rd and finished 31st that day.
    STREAKIN….An empty category this week.
    The Trouble Train was a short one today with only 46 cars on hand. Kevin Lepage, Kyle Busch (who crashed coming to the green), and Ryan McGlynn (who didn’t take a time – withdrew) all got the early out. Kyle Petty, Todd Bodine, Morgan Shepherd, Ted Christopher, and Hermie Sadler all used provisionals to make the field.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(7-23-2004)

    July 22, 2004

  • Howard out? Benson in the #23 truck? UPDATE 4 Benson at MIS: hearing that Shelby Howard, driver of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota, has parted ways with the team and thay Johnny Benson will take over the ride after the team takes a few weeks off.(6-28-2004)
    UPDATE: been told that Benson will NOT race the #23 Toyota Truck. However the truck has been removed from NASCAR.com’s entry list at Kansas. No mention of the situation at either shelbyhoward.com or billdavisracing.com.(7-1-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Shelby Howard has been released from the Bill Davis Racing truck team.(WInston Cup Scene Print Edition)
    UPDATE 3: Johnny Benson mentioned on Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup that he would be testing a Bill Davis Racing truck at Nashville Superspeedway on July 20th and 21st.(7-20-2004)
    UPDATE 4: Johnny returns to NASCAR competition on Saturday, July 31st at Michigan International Speedway. He will be driving for Bill Davis Racing in the #23 Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(Johnny Benson Site)(7-22-2004)
  • Sad News: Chuck Lamb passed away this past Monday night after a long battle with cancer. Lamb was able to handle all the health problems (the chemo treatments), his daily job and his Phillyracing.com website without skipping a beat right up to the last couple months. Chuck was a big booster of local short track racing as could be seen by his PhillyRacing.com website. He was a regular visitor to many of the area short tracks and was a very active member of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association. The family has requested that donations be made in Chuck’s memory to:
    Colon Cancer Research
    c/o American Cancer Society
    1615 West Chester Pike, Suite 102,
    West Chester, PA 19382.
    The viewing will be at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Stretch Funeral Home, Eagle and St. Dennis Rds. Havertown, PA. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Additional information and directions can be found at www.stretchfuneralhome.com.(7-22-2004)
  • Coors and Molson to merge: Molson Inc., Canada’s largest brewer, has agreed to merge with Adolph Coors Co. [sponsor of the #40 Dodge] in a $6-billion US deal that creates a new beer behemoth and ends the independence of two of North America’s biggest family-run brewing icons. In reporting financial results early Thursday, the Montreal company revealed it had struck a deal to join with Coors, the third-biggest brewer in the United States.(Canadian Press), no word on how or if this would effect the sponsorship of the #40 Dodge Sterling Marlin drives in the Cup Series. Also more on the merger at Yahoo: Coors-Molson Brew Deal, Questions Loom.(7-22-2004)
  • More Green Flag Racing with TNT: TNT will offer viewers more green flag racing during its eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in 2004 as the network revs up for the “Race to the Chase,” the crucial stretch of races before the final 10 drivers are determined for the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship.” In an effort to ensure that viewers can see the most racing action possible, TNT is cutting its in-race promotional time in half by reducing the length of the network’s promotional spots. TNT will air six of the last eight races as part of the “Race to the Chase,” beginning with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing from Loudon on July 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET and ending on September 11 at the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, the last race that will determine the final field for the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship.” The primetime telecast of the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 in Richmond, VA (7 p.m. ET) will be broadcast in high-definition in “TNT in HD” to showcase the drama and intensity of this pivotal race in a crystal-clear picture. During the network’s eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Races, TNT will present Inside the Field, a spin-off of TNT’s Through the Field, as a fresh, new element for the network’s race coverage. Every week, each pit reporter will take viewers inside the lives of drivers and teams who are not in the top-20. TNT will also talk to 10 or 11 drivers during the pre-race show, Discover Card Countdown to Green, each week.(TNT PR)(7-22-2004)
  • The Taurus Replacement?…the Ford 500? someday…not 2005: Ford’s New Flagship: The Five Hundred This all-new flagship of the Ford car showroom was developed in the U.S. with a vehicle architecture and safety package inspired by Volvo, which is part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group. The Five Hundred is about the same length as a Ford Taurus, but it boasts about twice the rear-seat knee room, and a bigger trunk than the much larger Ford Crown Victoria. In fact, the trunk is so well designed it can hold up to eight full-size golf bags. Another feature that drivers and passengers will immediately notice is the Five Hundred’s Command Seating position. A car with Command Seating gives drivers an SUV-like view of the road because their “H-point” – the pivot point of the hip when seated – is about four inches higher than competitive vehicles, such as the Toyota Camry.
    Under the hood, the Five Hundred boasts sophisticated powertrain technology, including six-speed automatic and continuously variable transmissions. These new technologies allow the car to out-accelerate similarly sized sedans with larger, thirstier engines.
    Ford’s fuel-saving transmissions complement Five Hundred’s 3.0 liter Duratec 30 V-6, which has exceptionally clean tailpipe emissions. Five Hundred – along with the Mustang and Freestyle – will be certified to a government standard that is twice as clean as the Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle standard. Another invisible but potentially invaluable feature is the Five Hundred’s available all-wheel drive system. This system, which requires no driver action whatsoever to engage, can shift power between the front and rear wheels almost instantaneously to keep the car moving confidently in rain, snow and sand.(Team Ford Racing site), see past rumors and an image of two on my Ford Past News page and for more info on the 500, see the fordvehicles.com site.(7-22-2004)
  • Mikey to run for Petree in CTS at IRP: Michael Waltrip will wheel Andy Petree’s Monaco Coach Corporation Chevrolet at Indianapolis Raceway Park for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race there, Friday, Aug. 6.. Waltrip’s name joins that of Tony Stewart and hot rookie Clint Bowyer as another in the talent driving Andy Petree Racing equipment. “We are really excited to have Michael joining us and helping give Monaco Coach Corporation a great ride at IRP,” said Petree. “We’ve had some great runs with our Truck, and haven’t done too badly at Indianapolis the past few years. We’re working hard to give Michael a solid piece and we know he’ll be working hard to get this Monaco Coach Corporation team back to Victory Lane.” Waltrip has some NASCAR Truck Series experience, finishing fifth after qualifying 13th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May of this year with another team. The past two years at IRP, Petree has driven the truck, finishing 20th last season and 12th the year before. A few weeks ago, Petree saw his sponsor surprisingly bolt to another team with strong Nextel Cup ties, leaving his in a lurch financially. Still, Petree said, the team is looking to not only run well at IRP but to maintain its position in the NASCAR world.(Williams Company PR)(7-22-2004)
  • Rusty to run some Busch Series, McMurray also for RWI: Effective immediately, Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray will assume primary driving duties for Duraflame RWI Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Wallace, a former NASCAR Premier Series Champion and McMurray, a former NASCAR Premier Series Rookie of the Year, will replace 27-year old rookie driver, Billy Parker, at the helm of the #66 Dodge for the remainder of the team’s 2004 NASCAR Busch Series schedule. McMurray will be tapped for the team’s next start at New Hampshire International Raceway. Said team owner and now driver, Wallace, “This was a really tough decision to make. The team’s performance just isn’t where we think it should be, so we have to start taking a look at what’s going on. In order to do that, we had to get more of a veteran in the car so that we can evaluate our equipment. Jamie McMurray has a great track record in the Busch Series and I think that his input is going to really help this team. He’s an incredibly talented and aggressive driver. Obviously, I’ve been doing this for a long time as well, so hopefully between the both of us, we’ll be able to give the guys some good feedback.” Wallace’s 2004 Busch Series starts will mark his first starts in the series since Milwaukee in 1993. The 1989 Premier Series Champion and 55-time race winner has eight top-five and fourteen top-ten finishes in 33 career Busch Series starts. His 2004 Busch Series stint will mark his reunification with the legendary number 66, the number he drove to the majority of his over 200 short track victories. McMurray will participate in the New Hampshire, Bristol, California, Kansas, Richmond, Atlanta and Miami NASCAR Busch Series races on behalf of Duraflame RWI Racing and will drive in the Phoenix and Michigan Busch Series races for Discount Tire pursuant to a prior commitment with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In accommodation of this commitment, Wallace, eighth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, will take command of the Duraflame Dodge for the Phoenix and Michigan rounds of the series.(RWI PR), see the full PR and the 6 updates on my Busch Series Site. NOTE: actually Wallace last ran in the Busch Series at California Speedway in Oct. 1997.(7-22-2004)
  • Waltrip’s ASA Team Tests at Hickory: Michael Waltrip Racing has been successful in the big leagues of NASCAR, but now it is branching out to a driver development phase and, at least for the time being, it will use the American Speed Association to do so. This Tuesday [July 20th], at Hickory Motor Speedway(NC), the new program hit the track for the first-time. Jimmie Johnson’s little brother, Jarit, and Ken Butler III, whose Dad heads up Aaron’s Rent, were the men behind the wheel of Michael’s machines. “It has been fun,” says Michael with a smile as we sit on the back of his Busch Series rig at Hickory. “We’ve really learned a lot with Jarit and Ken. Ken has never really driven much, so this is new to him. It is a lot of fun though seeing the sport through someone’s eyes who is new to the game. I’m real thankful I am getting to experience this.”(Speed51.com – lots of pics)(7-22-2004)
  • Jeff Green fastest overall at Indy testing: A total of 38 drivers combined to turn 6,284 laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway during six days of testing this month for the 11th annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8. That’s 15,710 miles of testing, nearly the same distance from Indianapolis to Auckland, New Zealand – and back. In fact, each driver averaged 165 laps – five laps more than the actual race distance – during testing July 6-7, July 12-13 and July 19-20 at Indianapolis. The top three drivers in testing this month – Jeff Green, Brian Vickers and Jason Leffler – have combined to complete just three full NASCAR NEXTEL Cup seasons. Green has raced two full seasons, Leffler one, while Vickers is a rookie after capturing the NASCAR Busch Series title in 2003. Green was fastest overall at 181.641 mph in the #43 Cheerios Dodge on July 7, while Vickers was second at 181.554 in the #25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet on July 13. Leffler rounded out the top three at 180.787 in the #60 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet on July 13.(IMS PR/Site), see all the speeds at brickyard400.com.(7-22-2004)

    July 21, 2004

  • DHL to sponsor a team? hearing rumors that DHL could sponsor a Cup team in 2005, one rumored is the #1 DEI team. DHL would join UPS and Fed-Ex as delivery service companies joining NASCAR.(7-21-2004)
  • Dale Jr. — NO Concussion UPDATE Truex Jr. OK’d: contrary to some rumors floating about, I been told that Dale Earnhardt Jr. did NOT suffer a concussion in the ALMS crash at Sonoma on Sunday and will be ready to drive at New Hampshire. Busch driver, Martin Truex Jr. will on standby if Dale Jr. needs a sub on Sunday.(7-20-2004)
    UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr. has experience at New Hampshire International Speedway in the Busch North Series and has tested a Nextel Cup car owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc. there in anticipation for running the Cup race at NHIS in September. A NASCAR spokesperson said Tuesday that approval for Truex as a possible fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. should be a formality. Approval is necessary since Truex is not a Cup regular.(Charlotte Observer)(7-21-2004)
  • Foyt Plans Limited Return To Cup; #14 Cup team and IRL owner, A.J. Foyt said last Saturday that he will run a few Nextel Cup races in the 2004 season and then try to put some sponsorship packages together for a few runs in 2005. Those races are still to be determined. Says Foyt: “I’m not through with the Cup cars just yet, but we’re still looking for some backing. I don’t have any plans for Larry Foyt until we can put something together.”(Insider Racing News), Foyt practiced the past two days at Indy in the #52 Ware Racing Dodge, but wrecked Tuesday, and they packed it up as they had no backup.(7-21-2004)
  • Newman Racecase Offer: ExxonMobil is offering new and existing Speedpass customers an opportunity to get a Ryan Newman #12 Nextel Cup race car Speedpass RaceCase that fits over its standard Speedpass key tag device. For more info, see www.speedpass.com.(7-21-2004)
  • Tuesday Indy Testing UPDATE speeds: #40-Sterling Marlin set the pace in the morning session today on the last of six days of NASCAR testing in preparation for the Brickyard 400. Two drivers made contact with one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s concrete walls. Tony Stewart’s car sustained only minor cosmetic damage when he brushed the wall, but Larry Foyt’s #52 Dodge was battered beyond quick repair when he slammed hard into the turn-one wall. Marlin’s lap of 180.305mph in a Ganassi Racing Dodge was fastest of the 14 drivers completing preparations for the Aug. 8 race. #00-Kenny Wallace, who led Monday’s session at 179.104 mph in a Chevrolet owned by fellow driver Michael Waltrip, improved to 179.895, second behind Marlin. #0-Ward Burton, #91-Bill Elliott and #32-Ricky Craven completed the top five.(Indianapolis Star)(7-20-2004)
    Speeds from Tuesday’s practice:

    Pos. Car# Driver Speed (mph) Session Total Laps
    1 40C Sterling Marlin 180.305 Morning 96
    2 0 Kenny Wallace 179.895 Morning 36
    3 0X Ward Burton 179.878 Morning 103
    4 91 Bill Elliott 179.085 Morning 105
    5 32T Ricky Craven 178.84 Morning 54
    6 20 Tony Stewart 178.078 Morning 115
    7 30 Dave Blaney 177.478 Afternoon 118
    8 5 Terry Labonte 177.098 Afternoon 126
    9 88 Dale Jarrett 176.945 Morning 198
    10 42 Jamie McMurray 176.572 Afternoon 120
    11 34 Geoff Bodine 175.558 Morning 36
    12 31A Robby Gordon 175.172 Afternoon 93
    13 52 Larry Foyt 174.07 Morning 2
      12 Ryan Newman NR   94
            Total: 1,296

    (IMS PR)(7-21-2004)

    July 20, 2004

  • #9 and #19 Schemes for the Summer: the #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will continue to run its new paint scheme this weekend in New Hampshire. The new scheme will run through the August 28th race in Bristol in support of Dodge’s Summer Sales Drive.(Clear!Blue PR)(7-20-2004)
  • New car chief for the #77: Rodney Childers will take over Car Chief responsibilities of the #77 Kodak/Jasper Engines Dodge beginning at Pocono Raceway, next week. Childers replaces Kevin Kidd who has accepted a Race Engineer position with another NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team. Childers is a former Jasper Motorsports employee; he joined the #77 team in January 2003.(Penske Racing PR)(7-20-2004)
  • Stewart / Foyt wreck at Indy – are OK: NASCAR drivers #20-Tony Stewart and #52-Larry Foyt, in the Ware Racing Dodge, crashed today — but neither was hurt — during testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for next month’s Brickyard 400. Stewart returned to the track in a different car. Stewart, fourth in the Nextel Cup driver standings, damaged the right rear of his car when he hit the wall in the second turn. Foyt hit the wall in the first turn, damaging the car’s right side. He did not return to the track because his team brought only one car for the session leading to the Aug. 8 race.(Indianapolis Star/AP)(7-20-2004)
  • Martin Moved to Crew Chief of RCR Special Teams Program: Gil Martin has been named crew chief for Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) special teams program. Martin’s new responsibilities will include the crew chief roles for the #33 Bass Pro Shops team (with driver Kerry Earnhardt) in the Cup Series and the #29 ESGR team (with an all star cast of drivers) in the NASCAR Busch Series. He has been the team manager for RCR’s #29 GM Goodwrench team since midway through the 2002 season. He served as the team’s crew chief for the first 23 races before handing the reins over to current crew chief Todd Berrier. The three races remaining on the 2004 Bass Pro Shops calendar are Aug. 22 at Michigan International Speedway, Oct. 3 at Talladega Superspeedway and Oct. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The ESGR team is scheduled to race twice more this season — Sept. 25 at Dover International Speedway (with Earnhardt/Air National Guard & Air Force Reserves) and Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (with Harvick/Coast Guard Reserve). Martin has earned two victories as a crew chief in the Cup Series and 11 in the Busch Series. Martin replaced Gary Cogswell, who was released July 13.(RCR PR)(7-20-2004)
  • Nemechek extends at MB2; Update on Nadeau: MB2 Motorsports announced that it has extended Joe Nemechek’s contract through the 2005 season to drive the #01 U.S. Army/USG Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Nemechek, who is coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place result in the recent Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway, joined MB2 Motorsports with four races remaining in 2003. “In a short time together, Joe and the team have developed a great working chemistry,” said Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports. “This team continues to turn out solid performances and has the ingredients to reach a new level of success. As a driver, Joe has done an excellent job piloting the 01 car and has been equally outstanding as a spokesperson and representative for our sponsors. We are excited about what we feel is in store for the future of this team.” Frye also announced that a recovery driving program continues to be in place for Jerry Nadeau, who drove the #01 car before suffering a head injury in an accident on May 2, 2003 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Nadeau, 33, is still recovering from the injury and has no immediate timetable for a return to competition. “I want to thank MB2 and all of our sponsors,” said Nemechek. “This Army/USG team has plenty of talent and we are jelling as a unit. We had a streak of bad luck recently, but we hung in there and never lost our focus and confidence in each other. We’ve had great cars at all different types of tracks and I can’t wait for the second half of the season. I look forward to working with the U.S. Army,” Nemechek continued. “It’s a privilege and honor to be associated with this institution. We support our troops and they support us. I want nothing more than to have success on the track and make our soldiers proud of their 01 Army race team.”(MB2 Motorsports PR)(7-20-004)
  • Sub Driver Rule coming? Fox’s Darrell Waltrip reports that NASCAR is probably taking a pretty hard look right now at approving a substitute driver for all competitors who regularly race in Nextel Cup, but especially for those who are in the top 10 in points. I [DW] just feel certain that they’re going to approve a substitute driver in case something like Dale Jr’s accident happens to someone else.(FoxSports)(7-20-2004)
  • Leffler to run the Brickyard 400: This past Monday and Tuesday, July 13-14, Jason Leffler and his Haas Automation Racing team traveled to Indianapolis for a two-day test in the #60 Haas Automation Chevrolet. Working with his current Busch Series crew chief, Robert “Bootie” Barker, Leffler was able to top 180mph during Tuesday’s afternoon practice session. Jason Leffler and his Haas Automation Racing team will be pulling double duty Indianapolis weekend as Leffler will also vie for a spot in the NASCAR Busch Series race held across town on Saturday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Leffler will serve as teammate to #0-Ward Burton and the NetZero Racing team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, also out of the Haas CNC Racing stable.(NetZero Racing PR)(7-20-2004)
  • Indy Testing Continues – Monday Speeds: Nine teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The drivers tentatively scheduled to participate are: former Brickyard 400 winners #88-Dale Jarrett (1996, 1999) and #91-Bill Elliott (2002), #30-Dave Blaney, #0-Ward Burton, #31-Robby Gordon, #42-Jamie McMurray, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart and #00-Kenny Wallace. Last week [7/13], #25-Brian Vickers was fastest at 181.554, the week before [7/6], #18-Bobby Labonte was fastest at 176.013mph. Testing is scheduled each day from 9:00am – 12:00noon and 1:00 -5:00pm, and the public is welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. See my 2004 Test News and Results page for previous speeds from Indy [and other] testing], also…add #40-Sterling Marlin, #5-Terry Labonte, #32-Ricky Craven and #34-Geoffrey Bodine as those testing.(7-19-2004)
    UPDATE – Monday Testing: #00-Kenny Wallace was fastest in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 19 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with an unofficial lap of 179.104 mph in the #00 Aaron’s Chevrolet, a car owned by fellow NEXTEL Cup competitor Michael Waltrip. Wallace’s speed was nearly 2.5 mph faster than the 12 other drivers taking part in testing, and he attributed it to a solid program in place at Michael Waltrip Racing. “This is Michael Waltrip’s new Cup team in collaboration with DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.), so we have good equipment,” Wallace said. “Our concern is to make the race for Aaron’s, the sponsor. We’ve got a real competitive car, and we just keep tuning on it. Right now, we’re where we want to be.” 2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was second fastest in the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet at 176.783, #91-Bill Elliott was third in the Visteon Dodge at 176.638, #88-Dale Jarrett was fourth at 176.604 in the UPS Ford and Geoffrey Bodine was fifth at 176.314 in the #34 RaceElPaso Dodge. #12-Ryan Newman also tested in the Alltel Dodge for Penske Racing. The team did not authorize the release of speeds during the private test. The speeds and laps run:

    Pos. Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Date Session Total Laps
    1 0 Kenny Wallace 179.104 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 45
    2 20 Tony Stewart 176.783 Mon., 7/19/04 Morning 142
    3 91 Bill Elliott 176.638 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 100
    4 88 Dale Jarrett 176.604 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 145
    5 34 Geoffrey Bodine 176.314 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 42
    6 30 Dave Blaney 175.776 Mon., 7/19/04 Morning 138
    7 40C Sterling Marlin 175.555 Mon., 7/19/04 Morning 78
    8 5B Terry Labonte 175.343 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 50
    9 0Z Ward Burton 175.331 Mon., 7/19/04 Morning 46
    10 42 Jamie McMurray 175.059 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 102
    11 32T Ricky Craven 174.634 Mon., 7/19/04 Morning 82
    12 52 Larry Foyt 171.792 Mon., 7/19/04 Afternoon 41
      12 Ryan Newman NR Mon., 7/19/04   85
              Total: 1,096

    (IMS PR)7-20-2004)

  • Kyle Busch to attempt NHIS: Kyle Busch mentioned on Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup that he would run the Siemens 300 Cup race at New Hampshire this coming weekend.(7-20-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt finishes 4th in West race: Kerry Earnhardt turned in a strong performance Saturday night at Evergreen Speedway finishing fourth in his NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series debut. Earnhardt, a veteran of 65 NASCAR Busch Series starts and four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts, qualified his Bill McNally-owned #18 Napa Auto Care Chevrolet sixth in the 24-car field and lurked in the top-five for the majority of the 200-lap event. While tire stagger issues kept Earnhardt from challenging for the win, he paced himself throughout the night at the bumpy five-eighths mile Monroe, Wash., oval. Earnhardt’s Bill McAnally Racing teammate Austin Cameron won the event with fellow BMR driver Jeff Jefferson scoring runner-up honors. Next up for Kerry Earnhardt in the NASCAR Grand National, West Series will be a trip to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway Saturday, July 31, for the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by Southern California Pipe Trades.(RCR PR)(7-20-2004)

    July 19, 2004

  • Last 6 Races what drivers have scored the most points?
    1.  #48-Johnson, 927, overall 1st
    2.  #24-Gordon, 824, 3rd
    3.  #8-Earnhardt Jr., 817, 2nd
    4.  #20-Stewart, 806, 4th
    5.  #88-Jarrett, 779, 12th
    6.  #15-Waltrip, 775, 18th
    7.  #19-Mayfield, 758, 11th
    8.  #29-Harvick, 731, 8th
    9.  #18-Labonte, 724, 6th
    10. #25-Vickers, 722, 20th
    10. #5-Labonte, 722, 21st
  • Dale Jr. suffers moderate burns in wreck UPDATE 3 Released: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., suffered moderate burns Sunday morning when the car he was driving was involved in an accident and caught fire while practicing for the American Le Mans Series Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt suffered what track medical officials described as “moderate-sized burns of moderate intensity” in the facial area and lower extremities. For precautionary reasons, he was transported by air to the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif. Earnhardt was driving a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R in a 30-minute practice session when the accident occurred. The car spun and impacted a barrier in the Turn 8 section of the road racing track and then caught fire. Earnhardt quickly exited the car on his own and was then assisted by safety crews. Earnhardt was scheduled to co-drive in today’s American Le Mans Series sports car race with veteran road racing driver Boris Said. The team has withdrawn the car from the race.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch/Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will be held overnight for observation after suffering minor second degree burns on the inner sides of both legs and on his chin in a racing accident Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. A hospital spokesman said that Earnhardt was ‘resting comfortably’ at University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. and would be examined again Monday morning. “I’m bummed out and disappointed I couldn’t run the race,” said Earnhardt Jr. through a team spokesman. “I hope Corvette gets the victory.” More updates will be provided as they come in and a confirmation of his release Monday morning will be released.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch/Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR)
    AND JJ Lehto and Marco Werner won Sunday’s Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, their third consecutive win this season in the American Le Mans Series. They drove the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8. Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell won the GTS class [the class Dale Jr. was racing in] in the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, their fourth consecutive win at Infineon Raceway. They tied an ALMS record for the most consecutive wins at a single venue.(ALMS Site)
    WOW saw the video of the wreck on Speed Channel’s Speed News, that was one scary wreck and fire, the car burst into flames and was all around car and driver….quite scary, thank goodness he had a full-faced helmet on.(7-18-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Steve Crisp, a spokesman for Dale Earnhardt Inc., said Earnhardt was not badly injured. “They’ve done the X-rays and there’s no bones broken,” Crisp said. “He’ll be fine.” Still, any crash involving Earnhardt always brings up memories of the last-lap wreck at the 2001 Daytona 500 that killed his father, easily the most popular driver of his era. Crisp said the younger Earnhardt will compete in next weekend’s Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NASCAR.com), get well wishes to Dale Jr. can be made thru the dalejrpitboardcharity.com ste.(7-19-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been released from University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., and is currently travelling home to North Carolina. Earnhardt Jr. suffered minor second degree burns on approximately six percent of his body (primarily to his legs and chin) in a practice-session crash Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. His injuries are not expected to prevent his full participation in the NEXTEL Cup Series race this weekend at Loudon, N.H.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch/Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR)(7-19-2004)
  • #800 for Terry Labonte: Terry Labonte is expected to make his 800th career Cup start at New Hampshire. He is the fifth driver in NASCAR history to compete in 800 or more Cup races. Richard Petty heads the list with 1,185, followed by Dave Marcis (883), Ricky Rudd (821 – current) and Darrell Waltrip (809).(ThatsRacin.com)(7-19-2004)
  • So..what’s up with Hut Stricklin? Stricklin Auto & Truck Parts is Owned and Operated by Hut Stricklin, former NASCAR Nextel cup driver (previously Winston Cup). This is one of the premier auto and truck salvage yards across the country. Growing up in his family’s salvage yard for 22 years, Hut has a knack for treating all his customers special. With a fully computerized network and parts locating service, Nationwide shipping, as well as delivery service within 75 miles to most businesses, let Hut and his staff be your source for all your car and truck part needs. See more at hutstricklinusedparts.com. Wonder how much he’ll give me for my old Tbird?(7-19-2004)

July 18, 2004

  • Charger submitted to NASCAR by Dodge: A reborn version of Chrysler’s legendary Dodge Charger muscle car could be screaming around the high-walled turns of the Daytona 500 in February — at least one month before a street-ready Charger sedan lands in dealer showrooms. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Dodge division has submitted a new car design to NASCAR for the 2005 Nextel Cup racing season, and is expected to name it Charger. The racing debut could also create buzz for the mass-market Charger sedan that will be launched in the spring of 2005 and is another key vehicle for the Chrysler Group, which is struggling to return to profitability. That’s part of the reason why Dodge has taken its time in developing a new race car for NASCAR. Mike Zizzo, a NASCAR spokesman, said the racing association and Dodge have been in talks about a new design since the spring of 2003. He said NASCAR will give Dodge final approval on the design by Sept. 1, assuming it passes a variety of safety and performance tests. That would make it ready to race in February’s Daytona 500, the official kickoff of NASCAR’s racing season. “The (review) process is in the final stages, and it’s moving along quite well,” Zizzo said. Dodge has raced the Intrepid sedan in NASCAR’s flagship circuit since 2001, but according to NASCAR rules, could not run the car in 2005 because the car is no longer in production. The Intrepid was replaced in May by the new Dodge Magnum station wagon. The full-size Charger, which will be sold as a four-door sedan, is a closer match to the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Monte Carlo — the only three other vehicles competing in NASCAR’s top-tier Nextel Cup next year. Though the Ford Taurus is expected to be phased out in the next four years, Kevin Kennedy, a Ford racing spokesman said “as long as Taurus is around, it will be our car.” Pat Suhy, GM’s engineering group manager, said the Monte Carlo would not change for the 2005 racing season. The 2005 Dodge Charger will be built at Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant. The rear-wheel-drive sedan will share the same underpinnings as the new Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon.(Detroit News)(7-18-2004)
  • Race Official Killed: A Santa Rosa [CA] resident was killed during a racing event at Petaluma Speedway Saturday night, according to the Petaluma Police Department. Randy Clifton, 41, known as Rollover Randy for a stunt he performs in a pick-up truck at the raceway, was struck by a race car while working as a Second Turn Race Official during the 360 Sprint Car Racing event, reported police. He was struck by a car driven by Adam McCarthy of San Jose while a yellow caution flag was in effect, according to police. Witnesses report that Clifton was on the racetrack when he was struck. Clifton was transported to Petaluma Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.(Local CBS)(7-18-2004)
  • Gordon Bluffs ’em: Jeff Gordon is not only a winning driver, he can also play a little Texas hold ’em. The four-time Nextel Cup champ drew a 10 on the final river card for a three-of-a-kind to beat “Police Woman” Angie Dickinson and win the latest round of Bravo’s “Celebrity Poker Showdown.” Gordon advances to the championship, where he has a chance to win $100,000 for his charitable foundation.(Charleston Post and Courier)(7-18-2004)
  • Japanese Driver tests at Hickory: Aki Okamoto became one of the few Japanese drivers to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR when he tested a Weekly Racing Series car at the Hickory Motor Speedway on Thursday [15 July]. The 25-year-old from Tokyo completed 70 laps of the circuit behind the wheel of the Lackey Motorsports Chevrolet, setting a best time of 15.446 seconds. His performance impressed team owner Mike Lackey, especially as he was running on tyres that had already completed a full race distance. “Aki did a fantastic job,” he said. “He built up at his own pace to turn some very consistent lap times inside the 15’s which for the first time at Hickory is great. At his pace he can run in the top 3 here”. With previous experience on faster ovals from his time competing in the American Barber Dodge Pro-Series, Okamoto was pleased with how the test went.(Crash.net)(7-18-2004)
  • Earnhardt Jr. to partner with Boris Said at Sonoma UPDATE: The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team says Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be paired with Boris Said for this weekend’s American Le Mans Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. “I am really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Corvette C5-R because it is such a great race car,” said Earnhardt Jr., who has the weekend off as the Nextel Cup Series takes a break. “I’m happy that Chevy has given me the chance to crossover and take part in its sports car program, which has been a huge success.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2004)

    Dale Jr. practicing at Infineon
    Image courtesy of Infineon Raceway

    TV – Correction: The race is scheduled to air on CBS from 3:00 – 5:00pm/et on Sunday, July 18th.[not Sat](7-16-2004)
    UPDATE: Marco Werner led a record-shattering American Le Mans Series qualifying session Saturday to win the pole for Sunday’s Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was the star attraction of the day, drawing a long line to a driver autograph session and then watching as co-driver Boris Said qualified third in the GTS class in the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R they will share in Earnhardt’s first ALMS event.”It’s going real good,” said Earnhardt. “The car is real fast and I’m comfortable in the car. My co-driver is very, very quick and we feel like we have a good chance this weekend. It’s a great car. Corvette has done a lot of testing. They deserve it because there is a lot of hard work behind it. I am very fortunate just to be able to climb right in and go so fast. “It’s going to be different, watching for the prototypes, and the GT cars, being careful and just having alot of respect and courtesy out there for everybody,” he said. “You know I don’t do this every weekend and to be here is a big honor for me to race against such a great group of competitors. I am just trying to earn respect and pay my dues out there and take my time and work my way up. I feel like we have a good chance to get a great finish this weekend if we keep our heads straight.” Oliver Gavin of England, driving another car from the factory Corvette team, won the GTS class pole with a track record lap of 1:28.042. He will co-drive with Olivier Beretta of Monaco. The pole was Gavin’s third straight this season. Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell, seeking their fourth straight GTS class win at Infineon, will start second in class in a third Corvette.(Infineon Raceway PR)(7-18-2004)

    July 17, 2004

  • Dawsonville Museum could be back on track: For the first time in months, Gordon Pirkle is optimistic that Thunder Road is headed out of the ditch. The auto racing museum and attraction that Pirkle helped found in his hometown of Dawsonville [GA] has struggled to attract visitors and service its debt since opening in May 2002. It fell into foreclosure and was sold two weeks ago to a group of Dawsonville-area investors operating under the name Phoenix One. But Pirkle, who operates the nearby Dawsonville Pool Room as well as the Champion’s Café inside Thunder Road, said the new owners have the potential to develop unused portions of the Thunder Road property and get the racing attraction back in regular operation. Now it’s only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “I feel better about it than I’ve felt in a long time,” Pirkle said. He said the museum couldn’t have kept going like it was, saddled with nearly $10 million in debt and without the support it needed from Dawson County. “The new owners got into this with the intention of making money,” Pirkle said. “This way it’ll either go forward or collapse for good.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-17-2004)
  • Home Depot Supports Stewart: Home Depot, the Atlanta-based worldwide chain of home improvement stores ran full-page newspaper ads last week celebrating Stewart’s win in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, and a statement from the company seems to indicate Stewart’s post-race run-in at Sonoma, Calif., with Brian Vickers isn’t a big concern. NASCAR fined Stewart $50,000, docked him 25 Nextel Cup points and put him on probation for grabbing Vickers, but he’s received no penalties for several on-track incidents other drivers have blamed him for this season. Home Depot spokesman Eric Oberman issued only a brief statement in response to the recent events. “The Home Depot supports Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR in their response to recent incidents involving Tony Stewart,” the statement read.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-17-2004)
  • Earnhardt movie to be shown in Dec – Image released: Barry Pepper’s days seem to be numbered. He’s been in 61 and 25th Hour. Next, he stars in 3— ESPN’s biopic of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt. The movie — titled after the number on Earnhardt’s car — is set for broadcast in December. A photo of Pepper in character was released exclusively to The Associated Press. But what was it like transforming into the craggy, mustached face of the iconic driver? “I play him from 17 to 49, and there’s all kinds of prosthetics all over my face,” Pepper said. “It was a real challenge — especially in that heat, that North Carolina heat. You’re always having things melting off of you. But it was just the coolest experience.” Some of Earnhardt’s family have expressed reservations about the movie, but Pepper said he had a positive meeting with Earnhardt’s son, racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. “We had an opportunity to hang out and have a few beers. That was really important for me to make a connection with him and express to him how much effort and care went into the making of 3, to bring dignity and respect to his father’s life and legend.”(See full AP story and image at USA Today)(7-17-2004)
  • Hamilton Jr. wants to run Nextel Cup in 2005: Busch Series regular Bobby Hamilton, Jr. said he wants to run in the Nextel Cup Series next season, but only if the right opportunity comes along. Right now, he’s negotiating a new deal with Team Rensi but admits he’s heard things about his career as well. “I’ve head a couple of rumors myself,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. There have been phone calls, but that’s about all that they’ve extended to me so far. We’re still negotiating with [Rensi], and as far as I know, I’m here with [Rensi]. As far as hearing a lot of stuff that I’ve heard, none of it is true.”(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(7-17-2004)
  • What some drivers are doing this week:
    It was NASCAR Night on Tuesday night at St. Francois County Raceway, with guest Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace on hand. Schrader brought his Federated Auto Parts sponsored late model and modified, while Wallace brought his Stacker2-sponsored modified. The UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Modifieds kicked things off, and it was NASCAR veteran Schrader picking up the win with a last-lap pass. Bobby Bittle set the pace for most of the event as he led the first 22 laps of the 25-lap main event. But Schrader wound up in Victory Lane, and he gave the winner’s trophy to a young child in the stands. The youngster was very pleased with his gift and crowd gave a huge ovation to Schrader for his kind gesture. Wallace ended up 5th.(St. Louis Post Dispatch)
    at Jackson Speedway, Jake Peters Wins Non-Winged Sprint car championship on Arnold Motor Supply night at Kemna-Asa Jackson Nationals. Dave Blaney thrills crowd with Stock Car qualifying win.(Jackson Speedway site)(7-17-2004)
  • Driver Killed: A San Jose [CA] man died Saturday after his race car collided with another vehicle during the Chowchilla Speedway races. The collision occurred shortly before 11 p.m. during the final event of the evening, the Figure 8. Chowchilla police said no one mishandled the vehicles, and no malfunction occurred that resulted in the death of Brian Davis, 36. Despite the fact Davis was wearing his harness and helmet, he suffered massive head injuries, according to police, and died at the scene. The driver of the second vehicle was not identified. He received minor injuries to his neck and ankle, police said, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. This is the first fatality at the Chowchilla Speedway. Davis, a native of Nashville Tennessee, had been racing four years, two years in the Figure 8 competition. He was named Rookie of the Year in the Watsonville and Chowchilla Figure 8 competitions, and placed second in Chowchilla Figure 8 points in 2002.(Madera Tribune)(7-17-2004)

    July 16, 2004

  • Drive for Diversity Launches 2005 Recruiter Efforts: “Drive for Diversity” is now formally accepting resumes and information from experienced minority and female drivers and interested minority and female pit crew candidates to be part of its development program for 2005. Interested candidates can submit materials to Access Marketing & Communications from now through Aug. 31, 2004. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a testing and evaluation combine this fall at a location to-be-determined. Drivers will showcase their skills in hopes of receiving an opportunity to compete for an established team in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series next season. Meanwhile, qualified potential crew members selected at the combine will receive “over-the-wall” pit crew training and instruction from 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance, with placement opportunities to various NASCAR Series teams. “Drive for Diversity” is a long-term initiative aimed at developing a steady pipeline of well-trained and supported minority and female drivers and crew members. Interested drivers should send resumes, videotapes, on-track photos, race results, references and other supporting materials; Interested crew members may also send their information; for address and email info, go to www.drivefordiversity.com.(7-16-2004)
  • So where is former #10 crew chief James Ince? The addition of veteran crew chief James Ince to Ashton Lewis’ Busch Series team seems to be paying off. Lewis was in contention for the victory in the Tropicana Twister 300 at Chicagoland Speedway and finished a season-best fifth. “We felt like we had a car that could have won the race, but it did not work out in our favor at the end,” Lewis said. “It is evident that we have made tremendous improvements in our program since the beginning of the year. I feel that we can contend at any track.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-16-2004)
  • Final Chicago TV Ratings up 2%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway drew a 5.5 rating and 13 share, up 1.9 percent from last year’s 5.4/14, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is the highest the Chicago race has drawn since its NBC premiere in 2001.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-16-2004)
  • Wallace and LesCare with the #50 at NHIS: LesCare Kitchens, Inc. will be the primary sponsor on the #50 car to be driven by Mike Wallace in the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 25. LesCare Kitchens also has agreed to be an associate sponsor on the GEICO Ford that Wallace will drive in the NASCAR Busch Series event at the track on Saturday, the 24th. LesCare Kitchens is a builder of custom and semi-custom cabinets, and is the largest privately owned cabinet manufacturer in North America.(PR)(7-16-2004)
  • Ford sues Kahne UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne is being sued by Ford Motor Co. in Wayne County Circuit Court for allegedly breaking a contract with Robert Yates Racing to pursue a more lucrative deal to drive Dodge race cars. Kahne, 24, is the top rookie on the Nextel Cup circuit. He is 14th in the points standings after 18 races and has five top-five finishes. Ford has not yet said how much it would seek in damages, but according to a summons filed in court Friday, the breach of contract is more than $25,000. According to the lawsuit, Ford and Yates signed a contract with Kahne that required him to drive Ford cars for the team and appear in promotional activities. But last October, according to documents filed in court by the plaintiff, Kahne dropped Ford and started driving Dodges for a team owned by Ray Evernham. Kahne took over the #9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports after Bill Elliott decided to run a limited schedule this season. Kahne’s lawyer, Harvey Heller, said Monday that as a policy the firm did not comment on cases involving its clients but said an answer to the charge will be filed in court later this week.(Detroit Free Press)(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE: Kasey Kahne’s lawyer fired back Thursday at Ford Motor Co., saying the NASCAR driver’s former sponsor breached the personal services agreement it made with Kahne, which gave the top-ranked rookie in the Nextel Cup circuit every right to drive for someone else. Ford filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court last Friday that said Kahne broke a contract with the company and Robert Yates Racing by agreeing to drive Dodges for Ray Evernham Motorsports. In documents filed in federal court Thursday, Kahne’s lawyers argued that the personal services agreement was not an enforceable contract and that Ford didn’t offer Kahne a chance to race in the Nextel series, which released Kahne of his obligations to the company. “What’s happened here is Kasey has had an extraordinary rookie season at Nextel,”‘ said Kahne’s lawyer, Paul LiCalsi, who spoke to reporters in a conference call. “Ford is embarrassed. When Ford could not agree with Kasey because they were either unable to or didn’t have the vision to agree to put him in a Nextel car, he had no obligation to them.”(Detroit Free Press)(7-16-2004)

    July 15, 2004

  • Papa Joe Hendrick Passes Away: Joseph R. Hendrick Jr., father of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and company president John Hendrick, passed away Wednesday evening at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He was 84. Fondly referred to as “Papa Joe,” Hendrick began his auto-racing career in the early 1960s with longtime friend Frank Edwards, winning races throughout the state of Virginia at tracks like South Boston, Martinsville and Richmond. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and will be immediately followed by a 1 p.m. memorial service at the Central Church of God, 5301 Sardis Rd., Charlotte, NC 28270. For friends and family in Virginia, a Sunday graveside service will be held at Union Chapel Methodist Church in Palmer Springs at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Nazareth Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1438, Rockwell, NC 28138, or the Papa Joe Hendrick Fund, care of the Hendrick Marrow Program, 4400 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28262.(Hendrick Motorsports Site – more there)(7-15-2004)
  • Dale Jr. wins an ESPY: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser team and winner of the 2004 Daytona 500, scored a victory of a different sort Wednesday night, winning the ESPY Award for “Best Driver”. The announcement came at the annual ESPY Awards banquet Wednesday at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Fan voting determined the winners of 38 different categories (the complete list of winners can be found at www.espn.go.com/espy2004). ESPN, the sports cable network that created the ESPYs in 1993 to recognize sports excellence, will televise the show Sunday, July 18 at 9:00pm/et. Dale Jr. was unable to attend because of scheduling conflicts.
    Other nominees in the Best Driver category included six-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, 2003 NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, Indy Racing League champion Scott Dixon and 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champ Matt Kenseth. This marks the second straight year a NASCAR driver has won the ESPY for Best Driver. Tony Stewart earned the honor in 2003. NASCAR drivers have won the award seven times in 12 years, led by Jeff Gordon with three (1996, 1998, 1999).(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing / Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR)(7-15-2004)
  • Craven out of the #32? UPDATE 2: hearing that driver Ricky Craven and the #32 PPI Motorsports team have parted ways. Not sure who will drive the car at New Hampshire,but hearing a future pairing for the team could include driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and his Busch crew chief, Harold Holly. Johnny Benson could end up in the car a race or two, but is supposedly commited to PPI’s 2nd car, the #96 Chevy which supposedly will run 10 races later this season. Seems like odd timing, if true, as one of Craven’s best tracks is New Hampshire International Speedway, the next race.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE: a PPI Motorsports spokesperson says…..NOT TRUE.
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Craven denied a rumor Wednesday that he has been fired from his NASCAR Nextel Cup team. Craven said that he has not lost his ride in the Tide Chevrolet for the PPI Motorsports Team as rumored on the Jayski.com Web site. “There’s no truth to it at all. I have no idea where it [the rumor of being fired] came from and how it got started,” said Craven, who is spending time with his family in their vacation home on Moosehead Lake in Greenville during a rare off-week in the Nextel Cup schedule. Team owner Cal Wells III could not be reached for comment. Craven is under contract to PPI Motorsports through the 2006 season.(Bangor [Maine] Daily News)(7-15-2004)
  • Ward gets a new crew chief? hearing that Bill Ingle is now crew chief for the #0 NetZero Chevy fielded by Haas CNC Racing for Ward Burton. Former crew chief, Tony Furr supposedly will assume Shop Foreman duties.
    UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing announced today the appointment of Bill Ingle as crew chief of the NetZero Racing Team. Tony Furr, who had been serving as crew chief since April 2003, will now serve as Shop Foreman. Ingle, who had been overseeing the preparation of both the #0 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series NetZero Chevrolet driven by Ward Burton and the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolets driven by Jason Leffler in the Busch Series, will take over duties as crew chief effective immediately. “Essentially, we just swapped their positions,” stated Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing. “We originally asked Tony to join our team last year as shop foreman and about halfway through the season we had the need to fill the crew chief role. Obviously this team is not performing as well as we would like and we are very lucky to have the kind of depth we have here at Haas CNC Racing. Both Tony and Bill are more than capable of handling both of these roles and we’re hoping that having Tony back at the shop overseeing the preparation of both the Busch and Cup cars, and Bill at the track leading our NEXTEL Cup Series team might help us achieve the results we think we’re capable of.”
    I’m looking at this as my latest challenge,” said Ingle. “I was 28 years old the first time I took on my first job as crew chief and it was a challenge then too. Now, the best things I have going for me are my experience and the resources of Haas CNC Racing. I’m not sure there is anything seriously wrong with this team, and sometimes all you really need is a little bit of change.”(NetZero Racing), looks like NASCAR This morning is down to John Roberts, Chad and Kenny, they need more of Steve Waid.(7-15-2004)
  • New #18 Crew Chief: Brandon Thomas, a member of the Joe Gibbs Racing engineering department, will serve as interim crew for Bobby Labonte’s #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Series, team officials announced July 15. Thomas takes over for Michael McSwain, who was released from his duties as crew chief July 14 after severing as crew chief for the 2003 season and 18 races in the 2004 season. Team officials have not set a timetable for when a permanent crew chief will be hired. Thomas, 30, from Kingsport, Tenn., spent the 2003 season as the engineer for Labonte and served as crew chief for Mike Bliss’ JGR-prepared No. 80 Slim Jim/Act II Chevrolet July 11 in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Bliss was the top-qualifying JGR car at Chicago, starting seventh and finishing 31st after an accident on Lap 205. Thomas began his JGR career in December 2001 in the shock department, before leaving in June 2002 to serve as John Andretti’s crew chief at Petty Enterprises for the remainder of the 2002 season. After his stint at Petty, Thomas returned to JGR for the 2003 season as Labonte’s engineer. During the 2004 season he has served as the head of Superspeeedway research and development for JGR. Prior to coming to JGR in 2001, Thomas served as engineer for Rusty Wallace at Penske Racing South from Aug. 1999-Nov. 2001. During that time, Wallace scored six wins and finished seventh in points in 2000 and 2001. From 1998-July 1999, Thomas was the assistant race engineer for Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers and driver Alex Barron in CART. Thomas earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech University in 1997. Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing, will assist Thomas and the team until a permanent crew chief is announced. Makar served as crew chief on the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet from 1992-2002, winning the 1993 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett and the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Championship with Labonte.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(7-15-2004)
  • Arrests made in Victory Junction statue theft: Randolph County [NC] sheriff’s deputies have charged three teenagers in the theft of the bronze statue from the Petty racing family’s new Victory Junction Gang Camp for sick children. Andrew Marco Callicutt, 19, and Edward York Branch, 18, both of Randleman; and Charles Thurman Bailey Jr., 17, of Trinity, have all been charged with felony larceny. Deputies said they obtained arrest warrants Tuesday and served them on Callicutt and Bailey, who were each placed under $2,500 bonds. Officers said Wednesday afternoon that Branch was away with a relative and would be served later. All three confessed to stealing the statue, said Lt. Chris Maness. Investigators don’t know why the teenagers stole it. Maness speculated that the theft was a “spur-of-the-moment thing.” The sculpture depicts two children playing leap frog. It was stolen between June 28 and June 29. That was less than two weeks after the Petty racing family opened the camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The statue has since been returned to the camp. The staff plans to place it back in its original location and secure it to prevent another theft. Detectives said they got a tip July 2 that the teenagers were bragging about stealing the statue, which is 6 feet high and 4 feet wide. Fearing the law was closing in on them, they abandoned the statue in a church parking lot on Providence Church Road on the night of June 30, authorities said. Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, bought the $1,500 sculpture from Metropolitan Galleries in High Point. It was imported from Thailand.(News & Record)(7-15-2004)
  • Can you say ‘Hemi’?: DaimlerChrysler has launched the official HEMI.com Web site dedicated to HEMI owners and enthusiasts worldwide (www.HEMI.com). HEMI.com is an interactive Web site that presents a historical timeline of the evolution of the HEMI engine, beginning with HEMI’s inception back in the early 1950s. The development of the legendary 426 HEMI, which revolutionized NASCAR and NHRA racing (and was ultimately banned by NASCAR), is featured, along with the new generation 5.7L HEMI. In addition, Web surfers will find vintage photographs and biographical information featuring the people who were behind the most famous automotive powerplant in the world. For the history buff, the site contains vintage ads from the 1950s and ’60s, when Detroit muscle was king. For the more technically minded, HEMI.com contains specifications for the historic HEMI engines and provides graphic details of how these engines managed to produce such incredible power. Visitors to the site can also visit our multimedia section where they can download their favorite HEMI ads and wallpaper images.(Clear!Blue PR)(7-15-2004)
  • Chicago Win Gives Sadler’s Pit Crew Third Victory in Last Four Races: The pit crew for Elliott Sadler claimed the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (July 11) Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. It was the third time in the last four races that Sadler’s No. 38 crew collected the first-place $20,000 prize. The other wins were in Michigan and Sonoma. At the halfway point of the 36-race schedule, Sadler’s pit crew remains a top contender for the McDonald’s/POWERade season championship and the $200,000 bonus. The No. 38 crew is in second place, only nine points behind series leader – the No 8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sadler’s M&M’s Ford spent 190.811 seconds on pit road during the Tropicana 400. Tony Stewart’s Home Depot Chevy was second with a time of 193.051. Third was Sterling Marlin’s Coors Light Dodge at 212.097. My M&M’s crew brings their “A” game every weekend to the track,” said Sadler. “I cannot tell you how pumped up these guys are and how fast their stops are week in and week out. Track position is so important these days, and these guys know that. They are prepared, in great shape and have made it their mission to win the McDonald’s/POWERade championship. We all win if they win the race off pit road every week. They are one of the reasons we have stayed in the top-10 in points for the entire season.” Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications), for the top 10 at Chicago, season standings and more, see my Pit Crew page.(7-15-2004)
  • Boyer tests the #31 at Kentucky: Richard Childress Racing [RCR] driver Clint Bowyer conducted a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series fact-finding mission in the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet during a test at Kentucky Speedway today. Bowyer, who is driving a part-time Busch Series schedule for Childress in the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet, used the day to gain valuable NNCS seat time and gather information that will benefit RCR Cup drivers Robby Gordon in the #31, Kevin Harvick in the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet and Dave Blaney in the #30 AOL Chevrolet during the second half of the season. “We’re just working on a whole lot of different things and gathering data,” Bowyer said. “We’re just putting all of those little bits and pieces together for the big package. The RCR cars aren’t running where they’re used to running and that’s why we’re here. There’s a lot of data you can gather from this racetrack that helps on a lot of different racetracks. Hopefully, they can use the data they’ve learned here to put forth a better effort in the Cup series.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-15-2004)
  • Jarrett’s 3rd helps out: Dale Jarrett’s third-place finish in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday results in another $5,000 donation from Ford Credit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help in its mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Ford Credit, a sponsor of the #88 UPS Taurus, now has donated $688,800 to the Komen Foundation based on Jarrett’s on-track performance and end-of-season bonuses since 1998 – including $20,000 in 2004. Ford Credit gives the Komen Foundation $10,000 for each of Jarrett’s victories, $7,500 for each second-place finish, $5,000 for each third-place finish and $5,000 for each pole position won (as fastest qualifier).(Team Ford Racing)(7-15-2004)
  • Elliott Sadler’s Race for Hope Successful for Second Straight Year Elliott Sadler announced today his Race for Hope charity event has raised a total of $86,400. The proceeds from the event are going to the Autism Society of America and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “Race for Hope was a big hit with the fans, the media and the NASCAR drivers that participated,” explained Sadler. “I know the Autism Society of America and The Victory Junction Gang Camp are happy with the results.” More than 3,000 fans were in attendance on May 25th to watch Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Richard Petty, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Sterling Marlin, Michael Waltrip, Jamie McMurray, Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr., and Casey Mears race against fans and sign autographs at the NASCAR SpeedPark in Concord, N.C. Fans were also given the opportunity to attend private dinners with select drivers for up close and personal fan experiences – the experience of a lifetime for some fans. The evening was filled with fun and excitement. One of the highlights was when both Elliott and Hermie Sadler were awarded a certificate of appreciation from the Autism Society of America for their hard work and dedication to the cause over the years.(Team Ford Racing)(7-15-2004)
  • Racin’ the Bases Raises ~$50k: Officials from Chicagoland Speedway announced that the inaugural ‘Racin’ the Bases’ charity softball game raised approximately $50,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Several drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, as well as Chicago media and NBC’s NASCAR Broadcast team, took part in the July 8 ‘Racin’ the Bases’ celebrity softball game. Proceeds from ‘Racin’ the Bases’ were raised primarily through ticket sales, commemorative T-shirt sales, auction items and corporate sponsorship. ‘Racin’ the Bases’ took place at Silver Cross Field which is located three miles north of Chicagoland Speedway in downtown Joliet and is home to the Joliet JackHammers. For more information on Victory Junction Gang Camp visit their website at www.victoryjunction.org.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-15-2004)

    July 14, 2004

  • Crew Chief Change coming at the 18? Denied…UPDATE 3 Yep: Insiders say that a crew chief change on the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Chevy of Bobby Labonte is imminent. Current crew chief, Michael “Fatback” McSwain was involved in an altercation with a crew member at Pocono. Rumor mill has Jimmy Makar returning as crew chief.(Motorsport.com)(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has informed me that this is NOT true, no changes planned.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE 2: been getting this memo sent to me all day……Joe Gibbs Racing has decided in their Chase for the Championship with Bobby Labonte and the Interstate Batteries race team to make a crew chief change effective immediately. Michael “Fatback” McSwain is officially released from his position, and a new crew chief will be announced in the next few days. While McSwain has been a successful crew chief, Joe Gibbs Racing is looking for an individual who will better fit the Interstate team’s style and personnel. As soon as the new crew chief has been selected, we will communicate that to you. Supposedly it will be announced tomorrow [Wed]
    AND Been told by sources, this is true.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Gibbs Racing released Michael McSwain from his duties as crew chief of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy in the NASCAR NEXTEL Series, team officials announced July 14. McSwain joined Joe Gibbs Racing in December 2002 and served as Bobby Labontes crew chief for the 2003 season and the first 18 races of the 2004 season. “Over the past two years, Michael McSwain has worked extremely hard for Joe Gibbs Racing,” J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, said. “This was a difficult decision, but it was time to go in a different direction. We appreciate all that he has done for the team and wish him the best of luck in the future.” McSwain, 37, scored victories with Labonte in 2003 at Atlanta (spring) and the season-finale at Homestead-Miami, en route to an eighth-place finish in the point standings. “Joe Gibbs Racing and I had a successful relationship,” McSwain said. “I wish them the best the remainder of the year and in the future.” An interim crew chief will be named in the near future. Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing, will assist the team as the interim crew chief while team officials search for McSwains replacement. Makar served as crew chief on the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet from 1992-2002, winning the 1993 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett and the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Championship with Labonte. “We hope to make the decision on a permanent crew chief in the near future, but we are going to take our time to find the best person for the job,” Gibbs said. “Michael did a great job when he came in and took over for Jimmy Makar after the 2002 season,” Labonte said. “We won a couple of races in 2003 and won some poles. He works hard, and I wish him success down the road.” Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR, fielding two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams for drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, and two NASCAR Busch Series teams for drivers Mike Bliss and J.J. Yeley.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/Site)
    McSWAIN Surprised: McSwain plans to take a week off to further evaluate his options and determine why he was let go. He says he simply doesn’t know. “It’s no different than anybody else — we’ve had good weeks and bad weeks, but it was a big surprise, I’ll give you that,” he said. “It really was. I can’t say we didn’t do good together, because we did. We had some success together. Sometimes, though, things work out and sometimes they don’t. It was as big a shock to me as it was the rest of the world. If we were 25th in points I probably wouldn’t be so disappointed. But being in the position we were in (sixth), it’s disappointing.”(see full story and quotes at NASCAR.com)(7-14-2004)
  • Crew Chiefs fined for Daytona infractions: Four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs were fined for inspection violations during the recent Pepsi 400 weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
    Marc Reno, the crew chief for the #09 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge of Bobby Hamilton Jr., and Jimmy Elledge, the crew chief for the #41 Target Dodge driven by Casey Mears, were each fined $20,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), because of a misaligned carburetor throttle body. Both infractions were discovered during pre-race inspection at Daytona.
    Reno also was fined $5,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), because of a non-approved rear deck lid that did not fit the templates. The infraction was discovered during opening-day inspection. Todd Berrier, the crew chief for the #29 Goodwrench Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick, and Kevin Hamlin, the crew chief for the #30 America Online Chevrolet of Dave Blaney, were each fined $1,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), because of an unapproved oil tank breather hose. Both infractions were discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.(NASCAR PR)(7-14-2004)
  • Baldwin Fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chief Tommy Baldwin was fined $10,000 for an incident that occurred this past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Baldwin, the crew chief for the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge of Kasey Kahne, was fined $5,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). That penalty was assessed for being involved in an altercation in another Competitor’s pit area. Baldwin also was fined $5,000 for violating Section 9-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (The crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his/her driver, car owner and team members), and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2004. The incident occurred during Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland.(NASCAR PR)(7-13-2004)
    AND Evernham Statement: Responding to the penalties imposed by NASCAR today, Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, issued the following statement: “NASCAR has made its decision; now it’s time to move on,” Evernham said. “I understand why Tommy (Baldwin, crew chief for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) and the team reacted the way they did in the heat of competition. NASCAR has rules. I agree with rules. Evernham Motorsports also has rules. NASCAR has made its decision and imposed its penalties. Now, I will impose the appropriate penalties for Evernham Motorsports. This is behind us now. As a team, our focus is on the upcoming events and the future.”(Clear!Blue PR)(7-14-2004)
  • Indy Testing from Tuesday: The total lap count for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway two-day test was 3,455 laps, and Mark Martin turned the most of any driver, with 316. Twenty-two drivers combined to turn 1,734 laps around the 2.5-mile oval Monday, while 21 drivers combined to turn 1,721 today. Jeff Burton only tested Monday. Today’s fastest driver was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie Brian Vickers, who turned an unofficial lap of 49.5721 seconds, 181.554 mph. Running second to Vickers in the two-day test was Jason Leffler at 180.787. Martin was third of the 22 drivers at 179.690 in the No. 6 Viagra Ford, Elliott Sadler was fourth at 179.587 in the No. 38 M&M’s Ford and three-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was fifth at 179.456. Vickers’ time was only seven-tenths of a second slower than the official event record of 48.822, 184.343 set by Kevin Harvick during qualifications for the 2003 race. Jimmy Spencer recorded the fastest lap of practice July 12 at 178.517, and Jeff Green was fastest in the first round of private testing, on July 6-7, with a lap of 181.641 on the second day.
    Nine additional teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20. The drivers tentatively scheduled to participate are: former Brickyard 400 winners #88-Dale Jarrett (1996, 1999) and #91-Bill Elliott (2002), #30-Dave Blaney, #0-Ward Burton, #31-Robby Gordon, #42-Jamie McMurray, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart and #00-Kenny Wallace.
    Second day IMS testing with rank, car number, driver and speed in miles per hour, day, session, total laps.
    1. 25A, Brian Vickers, 181.554, today, afternoon, 149;
    2. 60X, Jason Leffler, 180.787, today, afternoon, 142;
    3. 6A, Mark Martin, 179.690, today, afternoon, 316;
    4. 38, Elliott Sadler, 179.587, today, morning, 218;
    5. 24A, Jeff Gordon, 179.456, today, afternoon, 103;
    6. 23, Tony Raines, 179.011, today, afternoon, 156;
    7. 2A, Rusty Wallace, 178.833, today, afternoon, 143;
    8. 4A, Jimmy Spencer, 178.517, Monday, afternoon, 141;
    9. 19A, Jeremy Mayfield, 178.244, today, morning, 243;
    10. 77A, Brendan Gaughan, 178.027, today, afternoon 134;
    11. 22, Scott Wimmer, 177.528, today, afternoon, 204;
    12. 01B, Joe Nemechek, 177.362, today, morning, 264;
    13. 9B, Kasey Kahne, 176.489, today, morning, 219;
    14. 41A, Casey Mears, 176.378, today, morning, 161;
    15. 16A, Greg Biffle, 176.259, today, morning, 203;
    16. 10A, Scott Riggs, 176.257, today, afternoon, 173;
    17. 49, Ken Schrader, 175.727, today, afternoon, 91;
    18. 21A, Ricky Rudd, 175.072, today, morning, 142;
    19. 99, Jeff Burton, 174.582, Monday, morning, 87;
    20. 14, Larry Foyt, 172.669, today, morning, 74;
    21. 98, Todd Bodine, 172.601, Monday, morning, 42;
    22. 72, Kirk Shelmerdine, 161.827, today, morning, 50.
    (Team Ford Racing)(7-14-2004)

  • Words from Tony – NOT going to DEI…: in an interview with XM Radio’s Claire B. Lang, Tony Stewart answered some questions:

    On Talking To Kasey:(he’s going to call him but hasn’t yet) “I’m gonna call him and ask him what happened. You know it’s easy to stand on the sidelines or watch on TV and say, ‘Yea, he ran right over him,’ but the only people who know what happened are Kasey and myself and, I don’t even know what happened. I just know that for some reason his car checked up in front of us and we had contact and like I said’ at that part of the race track, that wasn’t the best place to have that happen by any means. We could have got taken out just as easy as he got taken out there but I definitely will call him and find out you know for two reasons. One to let him know that hey I truly did not mean for that to happen and second to find out what happened, what was the reason the car checked up.”

    Should he have eased up on Kasey on the restart: “Nobody gives anybody a break, not as competitive as this series is. Especially as competitive a place as Chicago. track position is very, very important there, the situation we were in there was no where that I could go. It wasn’t a situation where I could push him forward and make things better. Daytona and Talladega tracks like that you can push each other and help each other out but that wasn’t a situation where that was going to help because Kasey had somebody who was in front of him so, There really wasn’t anything to gain from it. Getting that one spot from Sterling (Marlin) that was huge that put us into second spot right away and the only guy we were racing for position at that point was Kasey so you know getting by the lapped cars and getting by the cars that were at the tail end of the lead lap was something that was very important at that point but you know it’s not something that you can sit back and have the luxury, if you take it easy three or four guys are going to drive by you because they know it’s important to get everything you can get when everyone is grouped up like that.

    Should Kasey have signaled if he had slow restart problems? “In Kasey’s defense if he had a problem it’s impossible for him to signal, you’re in crowded quarters right there and if he was shifting and missed a shift he doesn’t have time to signal so he’s still trying to get the thing in gear so you know whatever happened it was something that he was trying to figure out the problem at the same time and it makes it impossible so in his defense it’s hard for him to signal when you have a problem like that in that amount of time.”

    On talk that Joe Gibbs departure has affected his attitude: “Look at all the other stuff that’s happened in my career. Joe was always there then so what’s different now. Joe’s still around the race team. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Joe’s not a phone call away and Joe still talks to us quite a bit. Yet his presence isn’t at the race shop every day but he’s still in contact with Bobby and I and the crew chiefs and his son. J.D. (Gibbs) is just a younger Joe, .J.D. runs that race team just like his father did and I respect J.D. as much as I respect his father so there’s no substance to that. It’s people that are speculating.”

    On the consistent rumor of him wanting to leave the sport and that he’s causing riffs to get released:
    “I like what I do. Is there a lot of headaches and hassles? Sure there is but we’re at the top form of racing in the United States and with that you’re going to have hassles and headaches but you know the one thing that Joe Gibbs has always told me and especially with some of the cases that have happened in the past he goes, ‘If you ever get to the situation that you don’t want to be here anymore let me know.’ If I didn’t want to be there I’d call Joe right now and say, ‘Joe I’ve had enough of this I’m ready to go do something else and we would work it out.’ If I didn’t want to be here I wouldn’t have to go to the extent of causing problems to do that. I mean I want to win another championship. If it were up to me I’d try to win five more championships in the next five years so no it’s not true. I love what I do I love my race team. Greg Zipadelli is like a big brother to me, it would be hard to not race with him, It’s just not true.”

    On continuous rumors that he has his eye on DEI and wants to get out of Gibbs: “Yea. I love it. Claire every time you hear something like that write it down because it’s probably the most amusing thing that I hear. I mean I’ve been with Joe Gibbs racing since I started in the Busch series and Bobby Labonte’s probably the best team mate you could ask for. I love driving for Joe Gibbs Racing..I love the guys there I mean the team I mean it’s the best group of guys. We can start sentences and the guys can finish it or they start sentences and I can finish it. It would be crazy to leave Joe Gibbs racing now especially after we’ve won a championship with them so people if they would sit back and think about what they say before they say it like I need to stop and do sometimes and think of the common sense side of it, questions like that answer themselves when you sit back and think about it.”(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144)(7-14-2004)

  • What the……..? Don’t go looking for Spike Lee at any NASCAR events this summer. The ornery movie director and Knicks fanatic nurses a paranoid fantasy about the NASCAR circuit. “I just imagine hearing some country-and-Western song over a loudspeaker at NASCAR: ‘Hang them n– up high! Hang them n– up high!’ I’m not going to no NASCAR,” Lee vows in the August issue of Playboy.(New York Daily News)(7-14-2004)
  • Peta Ad Pulled: A company that produces official racetrack publications for NASCAR events rejected an advertisement that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] had purchased in a recent NASCAR race-week program. The ad, which showed a leg kicking a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket and a caption that read “Hey, Junior! KFC Races Dirty,” targeted Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s race team. Since signing an endorsement deal with KFC’s parent company, Yum Brands, in January, Earnhardt has become the first person other than Colonel Sanders to be featured on the restaurant chain’s signature chicken bucket. The ad went on to say, “Junior, you may belong in the winner’s circle, but KFC’s treatment of animals is a black-flag pitstop.” Mainstream Media publishes the programs to approximately 20 auto racing events each season, including the program distributed at the recent Pepsi 400 held July 4 at Daytona International Speedway. PETA had purchased its ad in that program. Mainstream Media president Jonathan Wilson said a sales representative with his company called PETA to gauge its interest in placing an advertisement. Believing that officials would “go in a completely different direction,” the sales rep accepted the ad copy and a $9,500 check. The publishing company, however, reserves its right to reject ads that have political agendas or are deemed too risqué for a family audience. NASCAR spokesman Andrew Giangola said “NASCAR is not aware of any plans for a PETA ad or of any controversy surrounding such an ad.”(more at ESPN.com)(7-14-2004)
  • Mikey on TV: Two-time Daytona 500 Winner Michael Waltrip prepares for his close-up during recent filming for a Best Western television commercial on Los Angeles’ Sunset Blvd. As the first Official Hotel of NASCAR, Best Western also serves as an associate sponsor of Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #15 NAPA Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. This fall, Best Western will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip’s #99 NASCAR Busch Series Car for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 in Phoenix, AZ. Waltrip’s Best Western commercial is scheduled to debut nationwide Saturday, August 21.(Best Western/Alan Taylor Communications)(7-14-2004)
  • Pepsi tops Coke at Daytona: An analysis done for the Sports Business Daily shows that Pepsi easily bested Coca-Cola in terms of television exposure during the July 3 Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. The Daily says Pepsi got 58 minutes 22 seconds of exposure to Coke’s 1 minute 19 seconds. The study was done by SRi for the Daily after Coca-Cola put its C2 low-carb soda brand on eight cars for the race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2004)
  • Baldwin takes this week’s crew chief honors: This week’s WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race is #9-Tommy Baldwin. Baldwin’s decision to enter enemy territory and confront the team that spun out his driver earned him the fans’ vote. After Kasey Khane got turned around by Tony Stewart, Baldwin made an unadvised trip to the #20 team’s pit stall to stick up for his driver. WYPALL Wipers spokesman Robbie Reiser gave some insight as to what made Baldwin make the risky move. “The guys at the shop work so hard on their cars,” said Resier. “So much time and preparation goes into each race, and when someone dumps your driver, all that hard work goes down the drain. Even if it’s unintentional, it’s frustrating. It can definitely make you do some crazy things.” Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with four wins. Chad Knaus and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with three wins each. Robbie Reiser and Tommy Baldwin are tied for third place with two wins. Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez and Matt Borland are tied for fourth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-14-2004)
  • 20 Years Ago: today is the anniversary of Nashville’s last Nextel Cup (then Grand National) race. Geoff Bodine won the July 14, 1984 race at the Fairgrounds. NASCAR pulled the track’s sanction shortly thereafter, citing management concerns.(Tennessean)(7-14-2004)

    July 13, 2004

  • Ford sues Kahne: NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne is being sued by Ford Motor Co. in Wayne County Circuit Court for allegedly breaking a contract with Robert Yates Racing to pursue a more lucrative deal to drive Dodge race cars. Kahne, 24, is the top rookie on the Nextel Cup circuit. He is 14th in the points standings after 18 races and has five top-five finishes. Ford has not yet said how much it would seek in damages, but according to a summons filed in court Friday, the breach of contract is more than $25,000. According to the lawsuit, Ford and Yates signed a contract with Kahne that required him to drive Ford cars for the team and appear in promotional activities. But last October, according to documents filed in court by the plaintiff, Kahne dropped Ford and started driving Dodges for a team owned by Ray Evernham. Kahne took over the #9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports after Bill Elliott decided to run a limited schedule this season. Kahne’s lawyer, Harvey Heller, said Monday that as a policy the firm did not comment on cases involving its clients but said an answer to the charge will be filed in court later this week.(Detroit Free Press)(7-13-2004)
  • Redskins Owner to be part owner of Gibbs 3rd team? #18/#20/#80/#11 Cup team owner, Joe Gibbs has apparently persuaded the owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, to take a stake in his newest stock-car team, according to team sources. The third Gibbs team [#80/#11], which finished 31st Sunday with Mike Bliss at the wheel, is still in its infancy, with no driver or crew chief yet for 2005, though there has been heavy speculation that Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray are under consideration. J.J. Yeley, the hotshot USAC Sprint racer driving for Gibbs on the Busch tour this year, is also a long-shot for the ride but probably needs another year or two of seasoning before moving up to Cup.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-13-2004)
  • More on Indy Testing, and more next week UPDATE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says Jeff Green recorded the fastest lap of the three drivers who took part in a two-day test this week. Green lapped the 2.5-mile oval at 181.641 mph in Petty Enterprises’ #43 Dodge. The track says Kyle Petty suffered two engine failures in his #45 Dodge on Tuesday and wound up watching Wednesday’s session. No other times were reported for the second day of the test. Bobby Labonte had been the fastest on Tuesday at 176.013mph in Joe Gibbs Racing’s #18 Chevrolet.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)
    NEXT WEEK: Cup Series private testing will resume Monday, spanning into Tuesday, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 23 drivers, including former Brickyard 400 winners Ricky Rudd and Jeff Gordon scheduled to test. Drivers and teams will prepare for the 11th annual Brickyard 400, scheduled for Aug. 8. Testing is 9:00am – 5:00pm/ct both days, with a lunch break. Although the tests are private, the public may view testing at no cost from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. A final round of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing is scheduled at IMS for July 19-20.
    The tentative drivers scheduled:
    #01-Joe Nemechek; #2-Rusty Wallace; #4-Jimmy Spencer; #6-Mark Martin; #9-Kasey Kahne; #10-Scott Riggs; #14-Larry Foyt; #16-Greg Biffle; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #21-Ricky Rudd; #22-Scott Wimmer; #23-Tony Raines; #24-Jeff Gordon; #25-Brian Vickers; #38-Elliott Sadler; #40-Sterling Marlin; #42-Jamie McMurray; #49-Ken Schrader; #60-Jason Leffler; #77-Brendan Gaughan; #99-Jeff Burton; and #98-Todd Bodine.(Team Ford Racing)(7-9-2004)
    Monday’s Speeds: #4-Jimmy Spencer, the 2001 Brickyard 400 pole winner, was fastest in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spencer, driving the #4 Wide Open Energy Drink Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, turned a lap of 50.4155 seconds, 178.517mph on a sunny and humid day in Indianapolis with temperatures reaching 86 degrees. This was the first day of a two-day test in preparation for the 11th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8. Testing resumes from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, and the public is welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. Additional teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20. Unofficial Speeds at Indy Testing 7-12:
    Rank Car No. Driver Speed (mph)
    1. 4A Jimmy Spencer 178.517
    2. 6 Mark Martin 177.535
    3. 19A Jeremy Mayfield 176.958
    4. 38 Elliott Sadler 176.426
    5. 01B Joe Nemechek 176.074
    6. 2A Rusty Wallace 175.208
    7. 25A Brian Vickers 175.050
    8. 21A Ricky Rudd 175.030
    9. 16 Greg Biffle 174.877
    10. 41 Casey Mears 174.862
    11. 10A Scott Riggs 174.737
    12. 60 Jason Leffler 174.621
    13. 9B Kasey Kahne 174.603
    14. 99 Jeff Burton 174.582
    15. 24A Jeff Gordon 174.566
    16. 23 Tony Raines 174.090
    17. 22 Scott Wimmer 173.833
    18. 49 Ken Schrader 173.131
    19. 77B Brendan Gaughan 173.029
    20. 98 Todd Bodine 172.601
    21. 14 Larry Foyt 167.101
    22. 72 Kirk Shelmerdine 158.581
    (Morgan-McClure PR)(7-13-2004)
  • To the Wind Tunnel UPDATE 2: NASCAR is taking two cars of each manufacturer to the Wind Tunnel [not sure which one] after the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (Speed Channel’s Speed NASCAR News). No word on which cars will go, a guess? #20 and #48 [Chevy], #40 and #19 [Dodge] and from Ford, how about #88 and #16?…(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE…the cars are…. NASCAR impounded the Chevrolets of #20-Tony Stewart and #48-Jimmie Johnson; the Fords of #88-Dale Jarrett and #17-Matt Kenseth; and the Dodges of #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #40-Sterling Marlin, after the race. NASCAR plans to take them to the wind tunnel for testing, in part to check the results of a possible spoiler height change for the 2005 season.(ThatsRacin.com), hey…I was 5 for 6….I forgot about Biffle’s damaged nose.(7-12-2004)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said the tests aren’t necessarily to determine brand differences. He said it was more of a fact-finding mission to determine what race teams are doing to the cars and to see what happens aerodynamically when the rear spoilers are trimmed, as the circuit plans to do next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-13-2004)
  • Craven to test at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway’s weekly calendar shows that Ricky Craven is expected to test PPI Motorsports’ #32 Chevrolet on Wednesday. The track says fans are permitted to watch from the Fan Center but cautions that schedules are subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-12-2004)
    UPDATE: been told Craven is NOT testing at Kentucky this week.(7-13-2004)

    July 12, 2004

  • Chicago overnight TV Ratings up 6%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway drew a 5.2 overnight rating and 11 share from Nielsen Media Research. The overnight rating was up 6.1 percent from the 4.9 last year and represented the highest figure for the race since NBC began carrying it. The Sports Business Daily also reports that NBC’s broadcast of Saturday’s Tropicana Twister 300 Busch Series race drew a 2.1/5 overnight, up 17 percent from the 1.8/5 in 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-12-2004)
  • Making it official…today UPDATE: NBC reported during its prerace show that Michael Waltrip and sponsor NAPA had re-signed with Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #15 Chevrolet for next year. Speculation on Waltrip’s future was fueled in early June when Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Waltrip would like to finish his career at DEI but might not get the opportunity.(Richmond Times Dispatch), see my #15 Team News page for past info on the rumors and DEI saying Waltrip is staying.(7-12-2004)
    UPDATE: NAPA AUTO PARTS will continue its sponsorship of the #15 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL CUP season. Piloting the NAPA Chevy in 2005 will be two-time Daytona 500 champion and current driver, Michael Waltrip. Waltrip will carry the NAPA shield for the fifth consecutive year in NASCAR’s premier series. “We are pleased to announce our continued partnership with both Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Michael Waltrip,” stated Bob Susor, NAPA President. “This partnership began is 1996 and has resulted in two NASCAR Truck Series Championships, a top-five finish in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings in 2000, and four NASCAR Cup Series wins to date including two Daytona 500 victories. Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. are excellent representatives of the NAPA brand and we are proud to have them flying the NAPA colors.”(Champion Sports Group PR)(7-12-2004)
  • NASCAR….Stewart/Kahne = racing incident: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said officials considered the #20-Tony Stewart / #9-Kasey Kahne accident a “racing incident and nothing more,” and if a penalty was required, it would have been assessed during the race. Branham said that NASCAR was reviewing the pit-road brawl. “If any penalties results, they will be announced later this week.”(many sources) all kinds of columns with quotes and comments from all involved on my Article/Column/Story links page.(7-12-2004)
  • Brake Lights? ThatsRacin.com’s Jim Utter’s cure to resolve the questions of when drivers “check up” and when somebody simply runs over them? How about some brake lights? Certainly the technology exists to implement such an addition to the cars and it would at least force drivers to come up with a better excuse.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-12-2004)
  • Yeley to make Cup debut at Michigan UPDATE: during a MRN Radio interview before the Busch race at Chicago on Saturday, it was mentioned that J.J. Yeley will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut at Michigan International Speedway in August in a third Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy [#11?, #80?], the original plan was for Yeley to debut at Talladega in Oct., but NASCAR didn’t hink he had enough speedway experience. Yeley mentioned Home Depot and Vigoro [lawn fertilizer] as sponsors.(MRN’s Busch Series race coverage)(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Vigoro, a leading brand of premium lawn and garden products for over 80 years, along with The Home Depot, will be the primary sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing driver J.J. Yeley as he attempts to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Michigan Speedway. Yeley will enter the #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 22nd. Sold exclusively at Home Depot stores, Vigoro is manufactured by St. Louis-based United Industries Corporation, which goes to market at Spectrum Brands. A native of Phoenix, the 27-year-old Yeley joined Joe Gibbs Racing with an impressive list of credentials. In 2003, he became only the second driver in racing history to win the USAC Triple Crown by earning the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season. En route to that milestone, Yeley earned a total of 24 USAC victories, easily surpassing the mark of 19 set by A.J. Foyt in 1961 and tied in 1988 by Sleepy Tripp and in 2000 by Jay Drake. And while amassing such a large win total, Yeley became the first driver in USAC history to win on pavement and dirt in all three national series in a single season. In 2004, Yeley has competed in 10 NASCAR Busch Series events. His best outing of the year was at Nashville Superspeedway in June, where he scored his first top-ten, finishing eighth. His best start was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when he qualified seventh.(Matrix Sports Marketing PR), see my new #11 Team News and Links page for updates on the Fed-Ex sponsorship and driver rumors. Also see the #11 Old Spice Chevy that Yeley will supposedly drive at Talladega in Oct on my #11 Team Paint Schemes page.(7-12-2004)
  • NASCAR Visits Toronto: Some NASCAR executives were at the Toronto Indy on Saturday [7/10]. The top racing series in North America has expressed an interest in the Canadian market as a jumping off spot for global expansion. NASCAR’s chief operating officer George Pyne told The Toronto Sun he was here on a fact-finding mission. “We’re just kicking the tires,” Pyne said as he led NASCAR technical director Gary Nelson and international director Robbie Weiss on a tour of pit lane. “I have always said that Canada is an important market for us,” Pyne said. “Is it possible we could run (Craftsman) trucks or Busch (at Molson Indy)? Yes, it is possible.” Pyne and his group also met with CASCAR Super Series owner Tony Novotny. While Pyne would not comment on the possibility of NASCAR buying the Canadian stock car series, it was noted that Nelson, who controls all things technical in the Daytona Beach-based series, was inspecting the CASCAR cars that were getting ready to race yesterday. A Molson Indy executive told The Sun they were aware of NASCAR’s interest in Toronto and welcomed any inquiries about future participation by them at the annual event.(Toronto Sun)(7-12-2004)
  • Hendrick and Action deal….for 2006: Action Performance has announced a five-year die-cast licensing agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that takes effect Jan. 1, 2006. The company says the agreement lengthens Action Performance’s deal with drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and extends the license rights to the remaining Hendrick drivers, Terry Labonte, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. The Arizona Republic reports the deal is expected to increase Action’s sales by $25 million under terms of an agreement that guarantees royalties through 2010. Action currently has a licensing arrangement with Gordon and his company, JG Motorsports Inc., that expires Dec. 31, 2005, and a contract with Johnson that concludes Dec. 31, 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-12-2004)
  • Chicago’s Lack of NASCAR Coverage: Chicagoland Speedway is viewed as a gateway to the nation’s No. 3 television market for NASCAR, its teams and sponsors. But the only view of the Windy City’s famous skyline from the 1.5-mile track is when its grandstands are empty, and the vacant seats form an orange and blue pattern of skyscrapers. The Joliet track is located about 45 miles southwest from the Loop, about an hourlong drive. The distance might explain why the Nextel Cup Series, which normally enjoys blanket coverage while criss-crossing the country each week, has struggled for exposure in the metropolitan area.
    NASCAR couldn’t bump the Cubs, White Sox or Olympic trials off the cover of yesterday’s sports section in the Chicago Tribune, the city’s biggest daily newspaper. The Tribune had two stories on Saturday’s events buried on Page 13. Local television wasn’t much better. The two inflatable oranges that got loose during Busch qualifying Friday dominated the weekend’s telecasts, overshadowing Jeff Gordon’s fourth straight pole position.(Richmond Times Dispatch, also see an article about this aty the Winston Salem Journal)(7-12-2004)
  • Kenseth and Harvick to test at Milwaukee: #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to test the Milwaukee Mile on Monday, July 12th and Tuesday, July 13th; #17-Matt Kenseth is scheduled to test there on Tuesday, July 13th and Wednesday, July 14th. Fan can watch, free of charge, go to Gate 3.(Milwaukee Mile site), why? it is a flat one-mile oval, very similar to New Hampshire, the next race on July 25th.(7-12-2004)

July 11, 2004

  • Stewart wins at Chicagoland: #20-Tony Stewart won the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in a backup car, his first win of 2004 and first since his win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October, 22 races wins ago. It is Stewart’s 18th career win. The big controvery came after the 4th caution on lap 127, when #9-Kahne was leading, with Stewart starting 3rd behind #40-Marlin, passed Marlin after the restart on the outside and cam up to the rear of Kahne, who seemed to checkup and Stewart didn’t, Stewart hit Kahne in the rear bumber, who spun and hit head-on into the turn one wall. A bit of a brawl then ensued on pit road between the #9 and #20 crews, sending the #20 car chief to the infield care center for scapes and minor injuries. A few #9 crewmen tried to make their way to victory lane, but were not allowed in security. The rest of the top five were #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Jarrett, #24-Jeff Gordon [was at one point a lap down and way off the pace] and #19-Jeremy Mayfield.
    The Stewart-Kahne incident as reported by ThatsRacin.com: Rookie Kasey Kahne was leading on the restart on Lap 127, but the first car in line because several cars were on the tail end of the lead lap and lined up ahead of Kahne. Stewart was second, Sterlin Marlin third [after the pass], Jeremy Mayfield fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth. As the cars took the green flag, Stewart moved to the outside to pass [Marlin] and ran up on Kahne, hitting him from behind. Kahne went into the wall, which triggered an eight-car wreck and placed the race back under caution. The crews of Kahne and Stewart began scuffling on pit road, causing NASCAR to call Kahne’s crew chief, Tommy Baldwin, and Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, to be called to the hauler. Baldwin made one visit while the race continued on. Kahne’s owner, Ray Evernham, was incensed NASCAR issued no penalty for Stewart’s action. He argued with NASCAR officials over the lack of penalty as the race restarted. “That’s just Tony Stewart doing what he’s been doing all year, driving like a moron, you know? There’s no reason to do that stuff,” Baldwin said. “He gets away with it all he wants, and all NASCAR does is fine him. He’s got plenty of money. The guy needs to sit out a race.”
    Race Re-Air: Speed Channel, Wednesday, July 14th at 3:00pm/et.
    Race Rundown on Jayski’s Chicago Race Info/Rundown page.
    Race Results at:
    Jayski’s Chicago Race Results from NASCAR
    Motorsports One
  • Race Notes – Chicago:
    Tony Stewart has finished third (2002), second (2003) and first (2004) in his last three races at Chicagoland Speedway.

    Stewart led five times for 160 laps including the final 27 of the 267 laps raced in the 2004 Tropicana 400, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2004.

    Jimmie Johnson (second) scored his 13th top-five finish in 2004, the most of all drivers. It was his 14th top-10 finish of the season. He remained first in the point standings for the fifth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and first in the last four races. Johnson scored his best finish in his three races, at Chicagoland Speedway. Johnson finished fourth (2002), third (2003) and second (2004).

    New Modern Era DNF Record: Kevin Harvick (10th) extended his streak of running at the finish in 57 straight races, a streak that began at Rockingham in November 2002. He set a modern era record (since 1972) in eclipsing the old record of 56 held by Jeff Gordon: Bristol – March-2001 through Darlington-September 2002.

    Matt Kenseth has ranked in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 for 53 straight races.

    Jeff Gordon has posted four straight Bud Poles: Pocono, Michigan, Infineon and Chicagoland. The last driver to score five straight Bud Poles was Cale Yarbrough at Nashville, Dover, Charlotte, Texas and Riverside – May 10 through June 8, 1980.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-11-2004)

  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Chicagoland:
    #20-Tony Stewart broke through today and won his first race of the season, and to no one’s surprise, the win was fraught with controversy. Oh, not that he didn’t have the best car (he led 160 of 267 laps)….it was more who you talked to…. In the hometown of Jake & Elwood Blues, Tony took today’s Tropicana 400 presented by Meijer at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet….and for just a moment you’d have thought there were a pile of those big Black & White’s in turn one chasing those guys in black suits and sunglasses. Tony bumped the back of Kasey Kahne on a restart and all heck broke loose, and I don’t mean just on the track. We had a full-fledged melee in the pits (tho most of the guys I saw on the ground were NASCAR officials… holding down Tommy Baldwin), and we hadn’t seen one of those in awhile. But, it’s nice to know that NASCAR is still in control.
    When it was over Tony was standing in Victory Lane for the first time since he won at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October and the 18th time of his Cup career (he’s tied for 33rd on the all-time win list with Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett, and Harry Gant). He’s the 10th different winner of the season (last year we had 17), and this was win #41 for Joe Gibbs Racing. The victory was worth $336,803 from the over $5.7M in posted awards.
    #5-Terry Labonte (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville last October.
    #01-Joe Nemechek (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th in the Daytona 500.
    #1- John Andretti (16th) had his best finish since he was 13th in the Daytona 500 (only 4 races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 11 Top-10’s in the last 12 races.
    Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: Brian Vickers (14th) is the top-finishing first year driver for the 6th time this season (just one behind Kasey Kahne). He was followed by: Scott Wimmer (23rd), Scott Riggs (29th), Brendan Gaughan (30th), and Kahne (36th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: The Operator of the Week is Michael Waltrip (+30), followed by Dale Jarrett (+26), and Sterling Marlin (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-34), followed by Jeff Burton (-27), Ryan Newman (-26), and Mike Bliss (-24). This is Op #4 for Waltrip, trailing only Matt Kenseth who’s captured that award five times this season.
    Kevin Lepage led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Phoenix last November. He’s the 44th different driver to lead a lap this season….last years number was 48.
    Jimmie Johnson padded his points lead today….he’s now up 105 over Little E. Take a look at the current standings…..how farcical is it gonna be if the 10th place driver (who could be over 600 points behind the leader after Richmond) wins the Nextel Cup Championship? Like that 400 point deal meant anything, turn the calendar and gain 550 points or more!
    Dale Jarrett (15th to 12th) made the best move forward today, while Kasey Kahne (11th to 14th) fell the most spots. Jeremy Mayfield is just 65 markers out of the final transfer spot (the only excitement we’re allowed to have at this point in the season).
    Jimmie Johnson’s “Magic Number” is now 16…..that’s the spot he needs to finish to guarantee a spot in the “Chase”. A nice move from the 11th spot where it was after last week’s event.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(7-11-2004)
  • Wallace and Jones to split #50 gig: on an XM Satellite NASACR Radio 144 interview, Mike Wallace said his next scheduled race with the #50 Arnold Motorsports team is at New Hamphire on July 25th. Wallace said he and P.J. Jones will split time driving with the team. Look for Wallace in at Talladega and Jones at Pocono and Watkins Glen and see where it shapes up from there.(7-11-2004)
  • Fox TV Ratings Down II: Fox reports that its NASCAR Nextel Cup ratings dropped three percent this season, as NBC and TNT take over broadcasting the rest of the Cup season with today’s race at Chicagoland Speedway. Greensboro, N.C., was the nation’s No.1 market with a 15.9 rating and a 30 share for Fox’s broadcasts. A rating point is the percentage of TVs tuned to a program relative to the total number of TVs. A share represents the percentage of all TVs turned on that is tuned to that program. Norfolk’s ratings dropped 9 percent. Norfolk’s rating was 9.1 with a 17 share. After Greensboro, the top five markets were Greenville, S.C. (13.6 rating), Charlotte (12.7), Dayton, Ohio, (10.9) and Knoxville, Tenn. (10.2). Overall, Fox’s rating this season was 5.6, down from the 5.8 the network had each of the last three seasons. A rating point equals 1.08 million homes. Fox’s ratings were down 9 percent through the season’s first three races. Network officials blamed the off weekend after the season-opening Daytona 500 for disrupting viewer patterns. After Darlington in March, the network reported a 2 percent increase in the next nine races before dropping at Daytona last weekend. NBC’s ratings dropped two percent last year but could show an increase this season with NASCAR’s new season-ending 10-race championship format.(Ronaoke Times)(7-11-2004)
  • Pit Road Rules Cleared Up: NASCAR cleared up some of its timing and scoring issues when cars are caught on pit road when a caution is displayed. NASCAR will revert to the method it used prior to the implementation of its “freezing the field” policy to score such cars. “It’s very simple, it is where your car is on pit road when the caution comes out, not where you pit,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. If a car is ahead of the start/finish line when the caution comes out, it will remain on the lap it was on when it headed down pit road. If a car is beyond the start/finish line, to remain on its original lap it must beat the race leader to the pit exit line. However, a race leader must still slow when a caution is displayed and any driver on pit road cannot travel faster than the announced speed limit. “We are not going to promote speeding,” Helton said. Since implementing its no-racing-back-to-the-caution policy last season, NASCAR has attempted to utilize electronic scoring to place cars into the running order when they were caught on pit road when a caution was displayed. The revised method of scoring began in Saturday’s Busch Series race at Chicago.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2004)
  • Nadeau back in racing…spotting: Jerry Nadeau, spotted for fellow Connecticut native Todd Szegedy [#7] in yesterday’s Busch Series race at Chicagoland. Nadeau still is recovering from the head injury he suffered May 2, 2003 at Richmond.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-11-2004)
  • Biffle rumors continue: Rumors persist that Greg Biffle is looking to exit his contract with Roush Racing and the #16 Ford at the close of this year. The lead candidate to pick up Biffle is the #1 DEI Chevy.(Motorsport.com), JAYSKI Note: Biffle continues to say he is signed thru 2005 [see #16 Team page] and DEI announced that a sponsor was forthcoming for the #1 Chevy and John Andretti would drive the car in 2005 and 2006 [see #1 Team page].(7-11-2004)
  • McMurray and Gibbs? UPDATE 2: hearing conflicting reports that Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Ganassi Racing has either…..talked to Joe Gibbs Racing [JGR], is rumored to have talked to JGR or JGR wants to talk to McMurray, but has not..yet…..about the new #11 Fed-Ex team gig for 2005. McMurray is either in his option year or still has one or two [Ganassi] options years left on his contract.(7-7-2004)
    UPDATE: The day’s top story swirled around the Chip Ganassi and Joe Gibbs teams, with reports that Jamie McMurray may have been talking with the Gibbs team about becoming a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte next season, driving for Gibbs’ new third team, to be sponsored by FedEx. McMurray downplayed the reports. “You can’t believe everything you hear on that deal,” he said. “I thought Greg Biffle was going there. “I don’t know anything about it. I haven’t talked with Joe Gibbs. I am under contract. So I probably couldn’t go there, not if I’m under contract.” Andy Graves, general manager for Ganassi, says McMurray hadn’t expressed any dissatisfaction to the team but conceded he had heard speculation of a McMurray-to-Gibbs move. “I’ve heard that rumor since Michigan (in mid-June),” Graves said. “But he’s under contract to us and he hasn’t said anything to us that he wants to get out. So I don’t know if Joe and those guys have talked with him or just want to talk with him. I really don’t know what the deal is, to be honest. If there has been contact between Gibbs and Jamie I don’t know. But Jamie hasn’t come to us and said ‘I want out. I’m unhappy,’ or anything like that. The only thing I can think of is that maybe Gibbs is trying to stir something up in retaliation for that deal with Tony Stewart last year.” That was the debate over Ganassi possibly hiring Stewart after Stewart’s contract with Gibbs ran out at the end of 2004. Stewart discussed signing with Ganassi until signing a new contract [thru 2009] with Gibbs. Gibbs, J. D. Gibbs, and general manager Jimmy Makar were all unavailable for comment on the McMurray situation. Sources close to the situation said it was unlikely Ganassi would be willing to let McMurray out of his contract [Jayski Note: been told Ganassi holds the option on McMurray for 2005].(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray’s name continues to pop up as a possible driver for the #11 Fed-Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy in 2005. McMurray has no contractual obligation to the #42 Ganassi Dodge after the end of this season.(Motorsport.com), JAYSKI Note: however, sources tell me that Ganassi holds the contract option on McMurray for 2005.(7-11-2004)
  • Crews waiting for Pemberton: Stock-car crews are anxiously awaiting Robin Pemberton’s takeover as NASCAR vice president for competition, and NASCAR executives want him in place by Aug. 1, which means that Ford officials have to find a replacement by then, too.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-11-2004)
  • North Carolina NASCAR Plates UPDATE: The North Carolina House or Representatives approved a themed license plate that would allow NASCAR fans to display the number and signature of their favorite driver. Proceeds from sales of the $30 plates would go to the nonprofit North Carolina Motorsports Association, which helps promote the industry, among other duties.(St Petersburg Times)(7-9-2004)
    UPDATE: North Carolina Lawmakers signed off on a new series of license plates Friday that will have the car numbers, logos and signatures of at least 28 drivers. If Gov. Mike Easley signs the measure, the plates could be available in a matter of months. Each will cost $50. North Carolina has more than 100 custom tag designs, from ones that honor the Great Smoky Mountains to those backing UNC Charlotte and the Carolina Panthers. But the stock car racing plates were among the most complicated to get approved. The money raised from the state’s current plates goes to state programs, such as highway beautification funds and to charities. The NBA and NFL donate the use of their team logos. NASCAR teams, however, wanted royalties, lawmakers said. After more than a year of negotiating, the teams agreed to donate proceeds to the North Carolina Motor Sports Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit that funds head injury research, tourism and a variety of other activities, lawmakers said. So will Easley sign off on the plates? The governor’s office has touted his ties to NASCAR, including the time his press office said he “brushed the retaining wall” test-driving a race car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last year. Pictures of him running laps appear on his re-election Web site. But the office wouldn’t say whether Easley would approve the bill Friday. He’ll review it, his spokeswoman said.(Charlotte Observer)(7-11-2004)
  • NetZero Team hosts Ronald McDonald Families: Ward Burton and Busch Series driver Jason Leffler hosted three children from Chicago-area Ronald McDonald House programs and their families Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. Joining Haas CNC Racing and the NetZero Racing team on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway were three families who have benefited from the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and the Ronald McDonald House programs located near Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital, the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center: the Voehls from Seward, Nebraska; the Bartolinis from Lake Station, Indiana; and the Goebels from Sandwich, Illinois. Burton and Leffler had the opportunity to meet with all three families prior to the Busch Series race on Saturday afternoon. Nine-year-old Tim Voehl and his family are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Medical Center, while four-year-old Kyle Bartolini and Jessica Goebel, 8, are former residents of the other Chicago Ronald McDonald House programs. To give back and help support families dealing with the hospitalization and treatment of their ill child, a situation they uniquely understand, the Goebel family now volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Memorial Hospital as weekend managers. Ronald McDonald House Charities is the official charity of United Online, a leading provider of value-priced Internet service and the parent company of NetZero HiSpeed Internet service. For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities, visit www.rmhc.org.(NetZero Racing PR)(7-11-2004)

    July 10, 2004

  • New pit crew member for the #8 UPDATE: After problems on pit road again last week Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew has a new look at Chicagoland. Car chief Tony Eury Jr. says the Bud Chevy team has a new rear tire changer. Eury says it’s hard to find a talented tire changer that won’t get screwed up if something small happens during a pit stop. Our main focus is to have a top five pit crew when it comes down to 10 races to go.”(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Tony Eury Sr. said Friday that Jay Guarneri will change rear tires, replacing Shannon Myers. Guarneri changed tires for Earnhardt last season before being replaced by Myers, who will move to the crew for #1-John Andretti. Eury said other changes could be coming. He said that gasman Jeff Clarke, who left the team after last season to start his own [motorcycle] business, has indicated a willingness to return and Eury might take him up on it.(Roanoke Times)(7-10-2004)
  • It’s baaack….Gordon to F1? Jeff Gordon is again the subject of more hot Formula One rumors, this time linking him to a possible ride with the super-star Williams team and with [F1 Head] Bernie Ecclestone possibly willing to pay part of the salary. The Formula One series is increasingly desperate to sign a top American driver in order to improve its lackluster TV ratings in the U.S., and Gordon is widely seen as the most obvious choice. However Gordon says he feels he’s too old, though only 32. Nevertheless, he’s become friends with Formula One team owner Frank Williams, who is in the market for a new driver, to replace Juan Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. And Williams has three major U.S. sponsors, Budweiser, FedEx and Hewlett-Packard. Would Gordon be interested in asking for a full F-1 test? Gordon says he hasn’t talked with Williams or Ecclestone in the last few weeks. “I’m not really in a position to want to do that or going to do that,” Gordon said. “I love the sport and would love to pursue it, but I’m so deep into NASCAR that it would be really hard to pull that off. But I never say never … though Rick (Hendrick) might. I always like to laugh at these opportunities that were never there when I was young enough to be able to make that move. Now I’m into my 30s and implanted into this sport, and it would be a very difficult thing to pull off. And I don’t even know if I could drive those cars. But it sure was fun doing it last year, and it sure is fun talking about it. But who knows what the reality of that is.” Gordon says he doesn’t mind the Formula One questions at all. “I love it, I love it, I don’t mind it. I wish it was true. I wouldn’t change going from a winning situation over here to anything that wasn’t a good team or good car.” Williams, though, would meet that requirement, he said. “It is very difficult to walk away from this. I love where I’m at. I’ve got a group of guys that works extremely hard. They look up to me, and I look up to them. It would be hard to walk away from that. I have had talks, and I have had interest there, but I have had no offers. I really don’t think it’s a realistic thing.”(more at the Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
  • Green Flag Finishes Announcement soon? UPDATE: Sometime after Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland and before the July 25 race at New Hampshire, NASCAR officials are expected to announce a plan that will guarantee green-flag finishes the remainder of the season. The idea is to give drivers a chance to adjust to the change before the 10-race “Chase for the Championship” begins Sept. 19 at New Hampshire.
    Plans NASCAR is considering for mandatory green-flag finishes in Nextel Cup events:
    • Green-white-checkered: A one-time, two-lap dash after the final caution.
    • Green-green-white-checkered: A one-time, three-lap dash after the final caution.
    • Multiple green-white-checkered: A two-lap dash after the final caution with the option to restart if caution comes out during the first lap of the dash.(The State)(7-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said NASCAR has not decided on any one plan to ensure green-flag finishes. NASCAR has been considering several options, including the two-lap shootout plan currently used in the Craftsman Truck Series. The shootout is race extended in two-lap increments until there is a green-flag finish. Another option is a one-time shot at a green-flag finish using a three-lap shootout. If a caution comes out during the shootout, then the race would end under caution. A new policy could be in effect in time for the July 25 race at New Hampshire.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-10-2004)
  • Four Tracks left to conquer for Gordon…including Chicago: Along with Phoenix, Texas and Homestead, Chicagoland is one of only four tracks Gordon hasn’t conquered in Cup. He is the only driver to complete ever lap in the first three races at the Joliet, Ill., oval, averaging a finish of 7.6.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-10-2004)
  • All to have new Ford engine package: According to Ford Racing officials, all Ford primary race teams are scheduled to use the new D3 cylinder head package for this week’s 400-mile event. Specifically the five Roush Racing entries, the Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford and the two Robert Yates Racing cars will run the D3 package. All the primary Ford teams ran the older C3 package in last week’s Daytona International Speedway event, due to engineering required for a restrictor-plate motor with the new cylinder heads.(Team Ford Racing)(7-10-2004)
  • Austin Petty in wreck, is OK UPDATE: Austin Petty, 22-year-old son of Kyle and Pattie Petty, is recovering in a Greensboro, N.C., hospital with non-life threatening injuries following a motorcycle accident last night near Level Cross, N.C. Petty’s motorcycle was hit by a car on Highway 62 near Level Cross Thursday evening. He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro with two broken ankles and some minor injuries. His release is anticipated later this week.(Williams Company)(7-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty was on his way to Chicagoland Speedway when he got word his son Austin’s motorcycle was struck by a car near their home in North Carolina. Kyle talked with Austin several times Friday and says he’s doing well. Petty said “They operated on him yesterday (Thursday) put pins in his broken ankles and may drain his left ankle Saturday. I’m not sure how long he’ll be in the hospital but he’ll be out by mid-week or so and he’ll be in a wheelchair for probably three or four weeks.” While the younger Petty recovers, Dad has a plan for the 22-year old. “He’s going to be out of commission for a few weeks but we’ll send him to camp (Victory Junction Gang Camp) because the camp is wheelchair accessible and we’ll let him be a councilor so he’ll have a good time.”(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(7-10-2004)
  • Elliott four in a row in 1985? aa few coflicting things about whether Bill Elliott has four stright poles in 1985. NASCAR Reports, TV Coverage and most colums state: This is the first time a driver has won four consecutive poles since Bill Elliott did it in July-August 1985. Elliott won five poles in a six-race stretch that year. The one race he didn’t win the pole, he started on it as the points leader after qualifying was rained out. Only Cale Yarborough (1980) and Bobby Allison (1972) have won five consecutive poles [modern era].
    HOWEVER…been asked, if you look at NASCAR.com July Pocono race results from 1985, it shows Bill Elliott starting 2nd and Darrell Waltrip starting 1st, and Pocono Results from racing-reference.com show the same thing, BUT if you above, it says: Pole Speed: 151.973 mph (Pole won by Bill Elliott). So….huh? So I went thru the following books I have: NASCAR Encyclopedia, Stock Car Racing Encyclopedia, 1986 UMI NASCAR Press Guide [stats from 1985], 1985 UMI NASCAR Yearbook and Greg Fielden’s 40 Years of Stock Car Racing: Vol 4 with the following results:
    NASCAR Encyclopedia has on page 977, the 1985 races, pole winners:
    Race#, Track, Driver, Speed
    1448, Pocono, Elliott, 152.563
    1449, Michigan, no qualifying, Elliott was points leader started first
    1450, Daytona, Elliott, 201.523
    1451, Pocono, Darrell Waltrip, 151.973 [same as Elliott’s above]
    1452, Talladega, Elliott, 207.578
    1453, Michigan, Elliott, 165.479
    and if you count the number of poles for Elliott on that list is has 10, where all records show 11.
    Stock Car Racing Encyclopedia has the same EXCEPT, it has Bill Elliott in race 1451-Pocono, same speed.
    The 1985 UMI NASCAR Yearbook simply has DW 1st and Elliott 2nd
    1986 UMI NASCAR Press Guide has Elliott starting 2nd and DW 1st BUT in the notes lists Elliott as the Bud Pole winner with a speed of 151.973.
    OK So why the confusion? finally I got to Greg Fielden’s 40 Years of Stock Car Racing: Vol 4, once again, it shows DW 1st and Elliott starting 2nd BUT with Elliott on the pole with a speed of 151.937mph BUT with an asterick (*), so at the bottom, there is this note: “Darrell Waltrip started on the pole after posting a 152.552 lap. 18 days later NASCAR Disallowed the pole time due to illegal fuel additives.” So Elliott now gets credit for the pole. So didn’t really start from the pole, but was awarded it later, he did start 5 of 6 races from the pole and officially would be 6. Whew…that was a lot of work….(7-10-2004)
  • Brett Bodine back driving: Former driver Brett Bodine, who joined the staff at NASCAR’s research and development facility earlier this year, also has replaced Buster Auton as the Nextel Cup pace car driver. Bodine took over the job in May at Charlotte.(Tampa Tribune)(7-10-2004)
  • Georgia State Patrol in trouble for Elliott trip: The Georgia State Patrol, already slapped for letting the governor fly its aircraft, now is under investigation for letting NASCAR driver Bill Elliott take the controls of a helicopter — and then giving him a lift home. Pilots with the State Patrol invited Elliott to fly their military-style helicopter June 28 during a marijuana-eradication mission in North Georgia. On Friday, the head of the State Patrol, Col. George Ellis, ordered an investigation after he heard a civilian had been brought into a law enforcement mission that also included the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the local sheriff. Elliott, who is a licensed pilot, said the troopers involved in the mission asked him to come along on the trip and offered him the controls. “I wouldn’t do anything to get anybody in trouble,” he said in a telephone interview. “They were out doing this deal. I just thought I could help them out doing stuff. I fly a helicopter . . . I flew it some [on the patrol trip]. It has dual controls.” The patrol was criticized a year ago because it kept poor records and because it shuttled Gov. Sonny Perdue to political events and let him take the controls once the state helicopter was in the air. As a result, the State Patrol adopted detailed policies on aircraft use and record-keeping. Attorney General Thurbert Baker said the state’s aircraft could be used only for legitimate state trips. The helicopter Elliott piloted was one of two military-style aircraft used that day. The task force has access to 11 of the department’s 14 aircraft.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-10-2004)
  • More rules changes? NASCAR is expected to announce two new rules changes today to clarify race procedures for cars on pit road when the caution comes out. But car owners trying to understand the new rules said they were not very clear.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
  • #500 for Shepherd UPDATE 2: if #89-Morgan Shepherd can make the Tropiciana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, it would mark Shepherd’s 500th career starts to go along with 7 poles, 4 wins, 63 top fives and 168 top tens [thats 33%, not bad…](7-7-2004)
    UPDATE: no #89-Morgan Shepherd on the Qualifying Order for the race, haven’t heard why he withdrew, no mention on his site and Shepherd is not listed in the current Cup practice sheets.(7-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: nothing official, but am hearing Shepherd couldn’t get the car ready in time, but plans to be at New Hampshire in two weeks, after next week off weekend.(7-10-2004)
  • More Opinions at MRN: Bill France Jr. has given his OK to MRN reporters to offer more opinionated views.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)

    July 9, 2004

  • Final Daytona TV Ratings fall 13.3%: Nielsen Media Research says Fox’s broadcast of last Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway drew a final rating of 5.2 and a 12 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a drop of 13.3 percent from the 6.0/14 that NBC drew for the race last year but match Fox’s numbers for the race in 2002.(Team Ford Racing)(7-9-2004)
  • Rusty and Kodak UPDATE also special scheme for Gaughan: Rusty Wallace is scheduled to run a Kodak paint scheme on his #2 Dodge at Watkins Glen in August, marking the first time Wallace will drive with another sponsor since he has been with the Miller Brewing Company. Kodak’s main headquarters are located in Rochester, N.Y., and this opportunity now gives them more exposure on the track along with Wallace’s teammate Brendan Gaughan, who is also sponsored by Kodak.(RacingOne)(4-8-2004)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace’s Penske Racing South Dodge will feature Kodak as its primary sponsor in the Aug. 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International due to a unique cooperative effort between Penske Racing South, Miller Brewing Company and Eastman Kodak Company. Miller, which has been Wallace’s primary sponsor since 1990, will be an associate sponsor on the car for the Sirius at The Glen. It marks the first time Wallace has not carried a Miller brand on his car as his primary sponsor in nearly 15 years. The unique marketing arrangement emerged earlier this year when executives with the three companies were discussing business and marketing objectives for the 2004 season. Miller Brewing Company has been involved with Penske’s on-track efforts since 1985, initially with open-wheel star Danny Sullivan when he won the Indianapolis 500. Kodak is in its inaugural season with Penske Racing South, having signed a multi-year agreement to sponsor rookie Brendan Gaughan’s Dodge. Gaughan’s car will feature a paint scheme focusing on Kodak’s Health and Imaging Division at The Glen. The two-car promotion provides Kodak with a major presence on the historical road course that the Rochester, N.Y.-based company considers its home facility.(Penske Racing PR) see an image of the car on my #2 Team Paint Schemes page or Paint Scheme Gallery page.(7-9-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt to run in West Series: Bill McAnally Racing says Kerry Earnhardt will drive for the team for the remainder of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series season. Earnhardt, who has competed in some Nextel Cup events for Richard Childress Racing this season, will join BMR as a teammate to Austin Cameron. Earnhardt is scheduled to make his West Series debut at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on July 17.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-9-2004)
  • Rusty and Puddle of Mudd at Chicago: As part of Miller Lite’s Rock n’ Racing program, Rusty Wallace’s #2 Dodge will feature a special Miller Lite Rock n’ Racing paint scheme featuring Puddle of Mudd to promote a concert by the popular California rock band at the speedway this Friday [July 9th – TODAY] The band will perform after the NASCAR Pole Day at Chicagoland Speedway in Expo Village. The concert is scheduled to begin approximately at 5:00pm, but because of the large crowd expected for NASCAR Pole Day and the concert, guests are urged to arrive early. For more information about Puddle of Mudd, visit their official website at www.puddleofmudd.com.(TRPR.com), see an image of the car on my #2 Team Paint Schemes page or Paint Scheme Gallery page.(7-9-2004)
  • Red Baron swoops in on Schrader’s car IMAGES: Red Baron Pizza – which sponsored Ken Schrader’s NASCAR Winston Cup ride with the #90-Junie Donlavey team during the 1986 and 1987 seasons – will again sponsor the Fenton, Mo., native for two races in 2004: the July 11 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedwayin Joliet, Ill., and the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Red Baron is returning to NASCAR competition in celebration of the Red Baron Pizza Squadron’s 25th anniversary. The nation’s leading civilian aerobatic performance team will participate in in approximately 150 events around the country during 2004, and will play a key role in the NASCAR promotion. Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands that include Tony’s and Freschetta frozen pizzas, Pagoda Asian specialties, and Larry’s potato side-dishes. Schwan’s Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan’s Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season. Red Baron Pizza will give NASCAR fans a chance to fully enjoy itsreunion with Ken Schrader. The brand has teamed with Jewel-Osco stores to offer a special in-store promotion that gives consumers chances to win great prizes that include four tickets to all five Chicago races, pit and garage tours, meet-and-greet opportunities with Ken Schrader and the BAM Racing pit crew, and opportunities to enjoy an exciting flight in a Red Baron Pizza Squadron vintage bi-plane. The promotion began in Jewel-Osco stores this week and continues through June 19.(Williams Company PR)(5-28-2004)
    IMAGES scored some images from the Red Baron Pizza site, see them there or on my #2 Team Paint Schemes page or Paint Scheme Gallery page.(7-9-2004)
  • #4 gets a sponsor for Chicago: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced a new sponsor for the upcoming Tropicana 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Chicagoland Speedway. The #4 Chevrolet, driven by Jimmy Spencer, will carry the primary sponsorship of Wide Open Performance – Enhanced Formula Energy Drink for a one race deal. New to the market, Wide Open Performance – Enhanced Formula Energy Drink is a “Made in the USA,” New Wave Beverage containing a unique proprietary blend of vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants formulated to boost energy, enhance performance and relieve stress. Based in the rolling hills of Southwest, Virginia, Wide Open Performance, Inc. is a homegrown American brand designed specifically for the racing enthusiast and those who live life ‘Wide Open.’ Wide Open Performance, Inc. is revved up to launch the brand’s marketing effort by breaking into NASCAR and sponsoring the #4 Chevy. The national company has aspirations of a long term NASCAR sponsorship in the future. The product was developed by racers for racers and people who live their lives on the edge. Wide Open Performance – Enhanced Formula Energy Drink is receiving rave reviews at taste panels and is available at select convenience stores throughout New Jersey, the Charlotte, NC and Abingdon, VA areas, Food City Stores beginning August 9, 2004, and on www.4wideopen.com. Tom Underdahl, President of Wide Open Performance, Inc.: “Research shows that energy drinks are one of the fastest growing categories in the beverage industry. Given the lifestyle in NASCAR and racing in general, I feel there is an opportunity in the market for a product which specifically caters to Motorsports enthusiasts and to everyone who lives life wide open. Just like most who work in racing, I grew up around a local racetrack and raced on the local level for a while. My start in NASCAR came when I began working for Larry McClure in 1997 as a Business Manager. I worked for Morgan-McClure Motorsports until 2000. Positioning this sponsorship with Larry was natural. Being associated with him and his enthusiasm for competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series is exciting.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(7-9-2004)
  • BANG Racing Cup team on hold UPDATE 2 McReynolds leaves BANG: Larry McReynolds’ plans to expand his two-team Truck program to add a Nextel Cup team are on hold. “Things were in place for six, seven, eight races this year, but it wasn’t solid for next year,” said McReynolds, a Fox broadcaster, Truck team owner and former star crew chief. “I told Alex (Meshkin, the team owner) we don’t need to take our focus away from the Truck championship this year and trying to win races this year, and there is no way you can put together a good Cup program for this year without having everything in place for next year. In all honesty, it’s a little relief to me, because I don’t want to take focus away from the Trucks, and I’m still nervous about Busch and Cup from my standpoint. The Truck deal works, because it’s not a conflict of interests (with his TV jobs). When I walk through this garage, the guys respect me, and respect that when I’m with the Trucks, I’m with the Trucks, but when I’m in with them, I’m a broadcaster. So the Cup deal is not going to happen right now.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2004)
    UPDATE: an hearing that Larry MacReynolds parted way with BANG Racing today.
    HOWEVER: there is a brand new article posted by McReynolds at FoxSports, where the teams switched crews again, back to where they were.(7-7-2004)
    AND no mention of McReynolds anymore on the BANG Racing Site, also of note, the car# listed on the BANG Racing site for their Nextel Cup team is #28.(7-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Fox TV commentator and former Nextel Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds said Friday he had resigned from his role with Bang Racing on Tuesday and will concentrate his time on his family and his broadcasting duties with Fox and Speed Channel. “It was a business decision. I was spreading myself awfully thin,” he said. “Not that I felt like I was short-cutting anything. I still feel I was doing as good a job broadcasting as I was when I didn’t have anything else going on. My days were getting longer and longer and longer. I am going to devote a little more time to broadcasting. I’m going to catch my breath a little bit. I hope I never leave Fox or Speed because I enjoy it and I feel I put a lot into it,” McReynolds said. He did not rule out an eventual role again as a consultant or team owner. “I’m not saying that in the near future I won’t go back and do something” he said. “It would have to be probably under some different circumstances, though. I bit off an awful lot.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-9-2004)
  • Labonte not happy word got out: Bobby Labonte said during a break in Brickyard 400 testing this week that his older brother is not ready to retire and is unhappy that his talks with Hendrick Motorsports have gone public. Terry Labonte, 47, finished in the top 10 of the points last season and won the Southern 500, his first victory in more than four years. Bobby said the two-time NASCAR champion sought to clarify his future with owner Rick Hendrick while exploring what other options he might have. “It was supposed to have been handled really clean and neat, but unfortunately somebody spoke out of turn,” Bobby said. “He doesn’t want to quit driving. The situation might be for him to not drive there, so he has to look elsewhere. He was going to go ask for permission and say, ‘What are you going to do with me?’ instead of them coming to him and parting on bad terms. He really tried his hardest to do it the right way.”(Indianapolis Star), see my #5 News and Links page for the news/rumors on this.(7-9-2004)
  • Kyle to be master of ceremonies at Route 66: The rolling thunder of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship [Motorcycles] rolls into Joliet, Ill., and Route 66 Raceway this Friday, July 9. The leading AMA Grand National riders from across the country will vie for the top prize on the half-mile oval in round seven of the 20-race series. In an historic first, this race is being held in conjunction with a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series race at the neighboring Chicagoland Speedway. The AMA race will be held directly after Nextel Cup qualifying giving NASCAR fans a unique opportunity to see AMA Grand National motorcycle racing. Many of NASCAR’s top drivers are expected to be among the crowd taking in the exciting two-wheel action Friday night and Kyle Petty will be on hand as Master of Ceremonies.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-9-2004)

    July 8, 2004

  • Waltrip’s Pit Crew Takes Daytona Win: The pit crew for Michael Waltrip captured the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Saturday night’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. It was the second time this season that Waltrip’s #15 crew claimed the $20,000 first-place prize. The crew’s other victory was at Texas Motor Speedway in April. The Daytona victory lifted Waltrip’s crew into sixth place in the McDonald’s/POWERade standings with 562 points. Waltrip’s DEI teammate, the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr., continues to lead the competition with 638 points. Elliott Sadler’s pit crew is second with 614 points and Kurt Busch’s crew remains in third with 588. A $200,000 bonus awaits the season champion. During Saturday night’s 400-mile event in Daytona, Waltrip’s NAPA Chevrolet logged the least amount of time on pit road – 175.899 seconds. Coming in second was Ricky Rudd’s Motorcraft Ford with a time of 178.633. Third was Dave Blaney’s AOL Chevy at 180.120. The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip’s team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Tom Vigue (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Richard “Slugger” Labbe and the pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Comminications PR), see the top 10 and standings as well as past races on my Pit Crew Page.(7-8-2004)
  • Loomis Votes Top Crew Chief: Robbie Loomis, crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports’ #24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon, has been voted the top crew chief in Saturday’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway in the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race contest. Loomis took the fans’ vote for the second straight race and is now tied with Chad Knaus of Hendrick’s #48 Chevrolet for Jimmie Johnson for second place with three wins each. Tony Eury Sr. of Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the contest with four wins. The winner of the season contest will receive $10,000.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
  • Another Wallace? UPDATE: Mike Wallace’s daughter, Chrissy, 16, is a candidate for Jack Roush’s Gong Show testing program. Roush is putting together a TV package for the series of driver tests.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2004)
    More on the ‘Gong Show’: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith told Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite Radio that Roush Racing is in the process of ogranizing their Gong Show (driver talent search) that could handle from 12-20 perspective drivers and they’re negotiating with television networks to produce the driver search into a television show. “We are actually in the process of contract negotiation with two (network) parties,” Smith told Lang. “In the meantime if (the broadcast negotiations) don’t quite line up with our needs for 2005 we’ll go ahead and make the driver selection to fill a truck spot for 2005.”
    As to Chrissie Wallace and word that she might be invited to such a Roush Gong show Smith told XM, “Jack Roush had told me at Daytona that Mike (Wallace) had commented about his daughter Chrissie. And of course Jack and I looked at one another and said well you know those Wallaces all of them have a really unique personality. They’re all very up beat,never say die people, all of them have been successful in motorsports and so we thought well if this gal has that same sort of spirit that the Wallaces all show she might be worth taking a look at but we haven’t really gone into looking at it any more than that.” Smith says the Roush “Gong Show” concept is in the hands of LA entertainment attorneys right now and added that “within three weeks we aught to know definitive which network we’re going to be with and then we can make some announcements.”(XM Satellite Radio)(7-8-2004)
  • NBC Returns: Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway launches the fourth season of NASCAR on NBC & TNT – and first with the new “Chase for the Nextel Cup” to determine the series champion. NBC begins its coverage from Chicago with a special one-hour “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show at 2:30pm/et Sunday followed by green flag racing at 3:30pm/et. NBC also provides exclusive live coverage of NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Chicago Presented by Trimspa on Saturday, July 6 at 2:00pm/et. The NASCAR on NBC & TNT team returns for its fourth year together: Play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach; pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber; and pit reporters Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum. Producer Sam Flood and director Mike Wells will have 61 cameras, including robotic cameras in all four turns, at their disposal this weekend. At Chicago – the first of 19 culminating races on NBC and TNT – NBC will introduce “Inside the Field” as a new element for race coverage on NBC & TNT. “The signature of our telecasts has always been our ‘Through the Field’ element, where we go 20-25 drivers deep, four to six times a race,” said Flood.
    Flood on NBC and TNT breaking out of commercials: “It’s critical to break out of a commercial, if at all possible, to show what is happening on the racetrack when something big happens, like a wreck, like even the points leader coming in for a pit stop late in the championship season – all things we’ve done in the past to make sure the audience isn’t missing anything. We find that is an advantage to our advertisers, because there is no opportunity to surf during a commercial on NBC and TNT because if you go away, who knows if we are back after 10 seconds, 30 seconds or a whole commercial break? It’s an added bonus to both our advertisers and to our fans.”(NBC PR)(7-8-2004)
  • Pepsi 400 Early TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway drew an overnight rating of 5.0 and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Research, the Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a 2 percent decline from the 5.1/10 overnight figures in 2003, but the race was again the most-watched televised sports event of the weekend.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
  • Testing at Indy UPDATE: #18-Bobby Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Jeff Green are scheduled to test Tuesday and Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Roanoke Times)(7-5-2004)
    UPDATE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says #18-Bobby Labonte was fastest of three Nextel Cup drivers testing Tuesday as he lapped the 2.5-mile oval at 176.013mph. #43-Jeff Green was second at 175.547, and #45-Kyle Petty was third at 174.123. The three were scheduled to wind up their two-day test Wed.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
  • ISC Report: International Speedway Corp.reported increased revenues for the second quarter but said quarterly earnings fell because of a number of charges. Total revenues for the quarter increased 11 percent from $119.6 million to $132.7 million, but quarterly earnings fell to $6.1 million, or 11 cents per share, from $12.5 million, or 24 cents per share, in the prior year. ISC said it took a pre-tax charge of $13.2 million, or 16 cents per share, for the impairment of the assets of Nazareth Speedway, where it will discontinue racing. It also took a $5 million pre-tax charge for the early redemption of $225 million senior notes due in October. ISC said prior period financial statements have been restated to reflect discontinued operations related to its sale of North Carolina Speedway as part of a settlement agreement in the Ferko lawsuit.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
  • Dale Jr. on 60 Minutes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear on the long-running CBS TV program 60 Minutes later this year. The Bud Chevy driver was interviewed by 60 minutes reporter Mike Wallace for a half-hour in Daytona after Dale Jr. rode the 86-year old Wallace around the track at 130 miles per hour in a 2005 C-6 prototype Chevrolet Corvette. Earnhardt Jr. said “I’ve always liked the show. I don’t think NASCAR is anyplace to g shopping for a gut wrenching story but when I’ve seen a controversial topic on 60 Minutes typically it’s been fair on both sides. They just ask the real questions and want the real answers.” No air date has been set for the interview; however it will run this fall in conjunction with the chase for the championship.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-8-2004)

    July 7, 2004

  • Nextel Connects NASCAR Fans with Real-time Race Action: Nextel announced a new NASCAR content offering, PitCommand, a wireless Java application that delivers real-time race data in an exciting, full-color, visual display. PitCommand is available as part of NASCAR.COM TO GO, which packages NASCAR.COM’s exclusive content in an easy-to-use service available on Nextel phones. PitCommand creates a single view of all the critical race elements – including speed, RPM, throttle/brake indicators, lap counts and more – the same live information that crew chiefs receive at their command stations, or “war wagons,” at the pits. Images of PitCommand are available at ftp.nextel.com/pub/nol/nascarcomtogo.
    PitCommand, available first from Nextel, provides fans with a unique look at their favorite drivers’ position on the track, lap count and time behind the leader. To offer this application, Nextel has partnered with NASCAR.COM, the official site of NASCAR, Digital Orchid Inc., an innovator in the development, management and distribution of branded wireless applications, and Sportvision, a market leader in sports-media technology. PitCommand uses in-car telemetry data that is provided six times per second via Sportvision’s proprietary Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to track the position of the entire field of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series’ drivers in real-time as they compete during a race.
    PitCommand presents a graphical version of the track on the screen of the Nextel phone, with icons representing each stockcar that are synchronized with their relative speed and position. Fans can customize their experience by selecting a virtual speedometer, odometer, gas and brake pedals for any car they choose, plus driver profiles and current standings. NASCAR.COM’s PitCommand mobile application is immediately available for all upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races.
    NASCAR.COM TO GO with PitCommand is available for several color, Java-powered Nextel phones, including the recently-launched i830, which is the smallest walkie-talkie-enabled handset ever; the i730, a sleek feature-rich handset; and the i736 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and Driver Series handsets. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Phone displays a checkered flag and an enlarged NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series logo. The ten NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Phones each feature the number and unique design, colors and signature of a particular driver, including:
    #2 Rusty Wallace; #6 Mark Martin; #8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; #15 Michael Waltrip; #17 Matt Kenseth; #20 Tony Stewart; #24 Jeff Gordon; #48 Jimmie Johnson; #88 Dale Jarrett; #97 Kurt Busch.
    All i736 phones are preloaded with extensive content that is specially designed for NASCAR fans.
    In addition to PitCommand, NASCAR.COM TO GO provides access to NASCAR news, schedules, standings, live leader boards and more as part of the service. Other services available to Nextel subscribers include NASCAR.COM Mobile, a wireless website with NASCAR news and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series content, and NASCAR.COM Alerts, a wireless messaging alert service that provides subscribers breaking news and event results. NASCAR.COM TO GO with PitCommand is available to Nextel customers as part of a bundled data package for $15.99 per month, or for $9.99 per month when also subscribed to a Total Connect data plan and Nextel Online® Web service. Additionally, customers can enjoy a free one-month trial of NASCAR.COM TO GO if activated before September 30, 2004. NASCAR.COM TO GO with PitCommand can be previewed and purchased at www.nextel.com.(7-7-2004)
  • Comcast to sponsor the #99 at Chicago: Roush Racing announced that Comcast will be the primary sponsor for Jeff Burton and the #99 Roush Racing Ford at the upcoming NEXTEL Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable [and own Jayski Fave – NHL Philadelphia Flyers] is a division of Comcast Corporation, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Operating in 17 of the United States’ 20 largest metropolitan areas, Comcast is one of the leading communications, media and entertainment companies in the world. Providing basic cable, digital cable and high-speed Internet services, Comcast Cable is the company to look to first for the communications products and services that connect people to what’s important in their lives. The company’s 55,000 employees, in six divisions, serve more than 21 million customers. Comcast Cable serves more than 1.7 million customers in the Greater Chicago Region. Comcast, whose regional officies are located in Schaumburg, IL, employees more than 4,000 people in Illinois and NW Indiana.(Roush Racing PR)(7-7-2004)
  • To the Wind Tunnel? UPDATE: hearing NASCAR could be taking some of the top finishing cars from the Pepsi 400 to the Wind Tunnel, not sure which Wind Tunnel, but the Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA is on the way back to NC.(7-2-2004)
    AND? have heard nothing about any wind tunnel testing or any cars taken to a wind tunnel or even put on the chassis dyno.(7-6-2004)
    UPDATE: Despite rumors circulating in the garage that the top-finishers from the Daytona events would be taken for NASCAR aero-testing, no cars were gathered-up by NASCAR after either event. It appeared as though NASCAR was going to test the cars. Even NASCAR’s grey hauler, often used for such tasks, was on-property.(Ford Racing)(7-7-2004)
  • Fake Petty making the rounds: Earlier this year at Dover we had a small problem arise. On Saturday during the time when they were trying to get the Busch race started (or the track dry) there was a gentleman who visited the grandstands who was impersonating Richard Petty. The real Richard Petty was in New Jersey that day making an appearance for a sponsor and not at the track. Petty Enterprises was made aware of this imposter when they received a call from another teams’ rep stating that Richard was in the grandstands and they actually thought it was him. This guy apparently had the look because he fooled many fans into thinking he was the real deal. The imposter even went as far as to sign autographs for almost two hours. He was signing the name “Richard Petty” but the signature is not even close to the actual. The ‘fake’ King even had a security escort with him during his ‘autograph session’. Apparently this guy has fooled the fans, the track and even the security or police into thinking that he was Richard. Petty Enterprises wants to make the fans aware that this man was not Richard Petty…for one thing, Petty never visits the grandstands and is usually in the infield or garage area. The fake Richard Petty is a few years younger then the real Richard Petty, who just turned 67. There have been some reports of other sightenings. Richard Petty prides himself in being good to his fans and the fans of this sport. Petty Enterprises do not want is for this imposter to give Richard a bad name.(PE)(7-7-2004)
  • Not Cup but a driver boycott UPDATE:A flag flap caused a boycott of a 75-lap feature by Langley Speedway’s Late Model drivers, then a temporary cancellation of the race, then a show by driver Bobby Spivey and, as midnight neared, a race before nearly empty stands, after an apology by track management. The protest was mounted when track management told Late Model driver Paul DeBolt that he would be disqualified for flying the flag on his hauler. DeBolt continued to fly the flag and track general manager Brink Nelms decided to reverse the disqualification decision, saying that the administration would handle the matter next week. The drivers then refused to race because of the threat of delayed punishment, and all seven of the officials who work in the scoring tower – including chief steward Bryan Bowyer – resigned in support of the drivers. Late Model driver Shawn Balluzzo confirmed that all 15 drivers said they would boycott if DeBolt were disqualified. “It’s unanimous,” Balluzzo said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.” Fans were told that the drivers were boycotting the race, and a crowd of about 2,000 began to file out of the track. Those left were entertained by Spivey, who drove onto the track and did doughnuts in his car while waving an American flag.(full story at Daily Press)(7-3-2004)
    UPDATE: The Langley Speedway flag flap is over for now. But questions remain, even though the ban on infield flags has been lifted. It started Thursday when the track’s general manager, Brink Nelms, told Late Model Sportsman driver Paul DeBolt to take down an American flag flying on his hauler, which was parked in the infield pits. Langley’s management had issued a rule June 21 banning all flags, banners and windsocks from being flown in the infield because they obstructed track patrons’ views. Chief steward and race director Bryan Boyer told one source he was informed by an unnamed track employee that the ban actually was ordered by track owner Dwight Schaubach, who reportedly had been offended by someone flying a Confederate flag in the infield earlier this year. Schaubach denied the Confederate flag was a factor in his decision. DeBolt wouldn’t take down the flag, and Nelms told Boyer to disqualify the driver. Boyer refused, receiving support from six other track officials and all 15 drivers in the race who threatened to boycott the event. After a 40-minute delay, the race was run, though many in the grandstands already had left the track. The following day, Boyer and the six supporting officials resigned from Langley. Yesterday, Nelms issued a statement in which he apologized to drivers, officials and fans. “As of today, I am lifting the flag-flying rule in the infield,” Nelms said. “But I would like – as a courtesy to the fans who are watching the race – to have the flags below the roof line. [Not as a rule but as a request.]” Attempts to reach a track spokesman for verification on whether the officials have been reinstated were unsuccessful.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-7-2004)

    July 6, 2004

  • Marlin tests at NHIS UPDATE and others: hearing #40-Sterling Marlin tested at New Hampshire International Speedway on Monday, July 5th.(7-6-2004)
    UPDATE: Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers converged on NHIS to prepare for the New England 200 and 300, scheduled for July 24 and 25, but were forced off the track and into garages during the morning and afternoon. Scheduled to test are, Cup – #40-Marlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #8/15-Martin Truex Jr. and #19-Jermey Mayfield. Busch – Truex Jr., #11-Paul Menard, #5-Kyle Busch, #31-Todd Bodine and #?-Matt Kobyluck up from the Grand National, Busch North Series and make his first Busch start in the New England 200. Mother Nature surely didn’t cooperate with the test session as a steady rain forced many drivers to sit and wait. Those who didn’t get a chance to test will try again today. The teams expect to test today from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and the speedway’s main grandstand will be open free to spectators.(Foster’s Democrat)(7-6-2004)
  • Tornado Hits Stewart’s WoO shop: Mother Nature has been a thorn in the side of many of the World of Outlaw teams these past few weeks with all the cancelled events due to rain. Things elevated to another level for the Tony Stewart Motorsports team early Sunday morning when a tornado hit the Lasoski Racing shop located Southeast of Higginsville, MO. The full extent of the damage is not known at this time but included structural damage to the building and shop equipment. “The most important thing is nobody was hurt and we are very thankful of that,” said Tony Ross, team manager for Lasoski/Stewart Motorsports. “The tornado blew off part of the roof and blew every door off the shop. We are looking at four to six weeks before the structural damage can be repaired. We do not know the full extent of the damage just yet but we know we hurt some cars, top wings, and trophies and put a gouge in the hauler. It also blew a tree into the main part of the shop. We are really fortunate because it could have been so much worse than it was. Everything that was damaged can be replaced. Danny, Chris, Hope and Landon were all in the house just a few hundred yards away and luckily they were not hurt,” said Ross. “None of the guys were at the shop when the tornado hit. I hate to think of what would have happened if anybody ‘d been here when it hit. Most of the damage was on the side where we keep the racecars. It is a very unfortunate deal, but we can buy more racecars and we are lucky it wasn’t worse.” Jimmy Carr and Todd Splain were able to leave in the hauler as scheduled Monday for the upcoming events at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, SD and Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, ND.(Danny Lasoski site)(7-6-2004)
  • NASCAR Great Jim Paschal passes away: Jim Paschal, a NASCAR pioneer, died Monday. He was 77. Paschal drove in NASCAR’s first race for late model cars. That was in 1949 at Charlotte. His career in racing continued into the 1970s. He won 25 races in what is now the Nextel Cup Series and ranks 23rd on the all-time win list. Paschal died of cancer Monday morning at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, NC. His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Briggs Funeral Home in Denton. Burial will be at North Bend Cemetery near Jackson Creek. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Briggs Funeral Home.(High Point Enterprise)(7-6-2004)
  • 2-Time Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward passes away: Rodger Ward, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner in the glory era of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, died Monday in Anaheim, Calif. He was 83. Ward won the 500 in 1959 and ’62 to become the race’s sixth multiple winner. Ward competed in 15 500s, and he never finished lower than fourth from 1959-64. He was the last surviving race winner from the 1950s. A.J. Foyt said Monday that Ward was as talented on the dirt tracks as anyone he competed against. Ward was born in Beloit, Kan., on Jan. 10, 1921. After World War II service as an Air Force fighter and bomber pilot, he helped prepare a midget car for local competition while stationed at an air base in Wichita Falls, Texas. He drove the car because the team’s regular driver failed to show up for a race. Ward, who was in failing health in recent months, said earlier this year that winning the 500 was “the greatest thing that happened to me in my life.” Ward is survived by his wife, Sherri; sons Rodger Jr., David and Rick; and daughter Robin. Services are pending.(see a full article about Ward at the Indianapolis Star)(7-6-2004)
  • Fox TV Ratings down…more primetime races?: The Fox half of the NASCAR season is over, and the final ratings will come out this week. With Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 not included, Fox’s network telecasts averaged a 5.6 rating, down from 5.8 over the first three years of the TV contract. The reason for the drop in ratings is still not clear, and it’s unknown if NASCAR’s new 26-10 regular season-playoff season system has had any effect. Fox’s David Hill still wants to do more prime-time Nextel Cup races, but it’s still unclear if his bosses will open the schedule for him. He has wanted to put Richmond’s May race on in prime time, but the network bosses have so far vetoed him, leaving it on FX cable. But Phoenix’s race next April, new to the Cup schedule, is already set as a Saturday night race.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2004)
  • Gordon wins from pole 2 straight races 8th time in modern era: Jeff Gordon won the 2004 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway and at Infineon Raceway, winning his second straight race from the Bud Pole, the second time in his career to do so. He also won two straight races from the Bud pole in June 1996: Dover and Poco# What is the modern era [1972-present] record? Darrell Waltrip won 4 consecutive races from the the pole in 1981 [Martinsville, North Wilksboro, Charlotte and Rockingham].(Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup TV Show)
    AND Before Gordon did it in 1996, Bill Elliott was the last driver to accomplish the feat in June 1985, winning at Pocono in June and then Michigan one week later [qualifying was rained out at MIS, Elliott was the points leader at that time and started 1st.] It’s only the 8th time in the modern era that a driver has won back to back races from the pole.(7-6-2004)
  • Maintaining a Top-10 Standard: Four drivers have remained in the top-10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings all season: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-6-2004)
  • Special Scheme for Elliott UPDATE Memphis Busch race: been told that Bill Elliott will drive the #09 Dodge Elvis Presley “He Dared To Rock” 2004 Dodge in the Memphis Busch Series race.(4-16-2004)
    UPDATE and images: On the front steps of Sun Studio, and in harmony with today’s worldwide celebration of “50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” officials from Memphis Motorsports Park, along with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Action Performance Companies, announced that legendary NASCAR driver Bill Elliott will compete in the Sam’s Town ‘He Dared To Rock’ 250 on October 23, 2004 at Memphis Motorsports Park – in a specially-designed race car sponsored by Lucas Oil and Boyd Gaming Corporation’s Sam’s Town Tunica Hotel & Gambling Hall. Elliott and officials from the track unveiled the #09 Elvis Presley ‘He Dared To Rock’ Dodge at the legendary Sun Studio Monday morning, fifty years to the day that a young Elvis Presley stepped inside the studio to record the revolutionary “That’s All Right.” Also on hand at this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of Memphis music were “50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll Ambassadors” Justin Timberlake, Isaac Hayes, Scotty Moore and “Sam the Sham” Samudio. Adorned with a logo of Elvis on the hood, the car will carry “Awesome Bill” Elliott in his first race ever in Memphis and his first NASCAR Busch Series race in more than a decade. For tickets or more information on the NASCAR Busch Series Sam’s Town ‘He Dared To Rock’ 250 Benefiting St. Jude on October 23, 2004, call the Memphis Motorsports Park Ticket Office at 1-866-40-SPEED (77333).(Memphis Motorsports Park PR), see images of the car on my 2004 Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(7-6-2004)
  • Todd Bodine back with the #98: Todd Bodine recently tested with the #31 Whelen Chevy Busch Series team at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for this Saturday’s Tropciana Twister 300. Bodine, will also return to Mach One Racing, the #98 Cup team as well this weekend at Chicago.(Catchfence)(7-6-2004)

    July 5, 2004

  • Congrats: NASCAR honored race director David Hoots in the driver’s meeting before the Pepsi 400, which marked his 500th race in the control tower. Hoots, from Winston-Salem, N.C., has been the director of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup events for the past 15 years. He’s the voice of NASCAR heard by teams and fans over the scanners, directing traffic, calling for the caution flag and issuing instructions. He was presented with a Nextel Cup helmet signed by all the drivers and a crystal Eagle engraved with the slogan ”Soaring to Amazing Heights.”(Tennessean)(7-5-2004)
  • More Parts Confiscated:
    NASCAR inspectors added several parts Saturday to their take for the weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Carburetors with unapproved alterations were confiscated from the #41 Target Dodge driven by Casey Mears and the #09 Dodge driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. Both teams could face penalties for the infractions. Also taken: unapproved fender braces from Ricky Craven’s #32 Tide Chevrolet and an unapproved oil line expansion tubing from the #29 GM Goodwrench/C2 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-5-2004)
  • Sad News: A 27-year-old racer was killed Saturday night when his car sailed over the banking at a Cullman County [AL] dirt track and went full speed into a piece of heavy equipment more than 100 yards away. The throttle on Keith Hays’ car apparently stuck wide open just as a practice session began at River Valley Raceway near Interstate 65 between Cullman and Birmingham. The driver from Morris was pronounced dead at the scene. The track canceled Fourth of July races scheduled for Sunday. Funeral services for Hays will be at Morgan Funeral Home in Gardendale at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, with visitation from 6 to 8 tonight. Hays is survived by his parents, Dan and Mary Jane Hays, and his brother Ken.(Alabama Live)(7-5-2004)
  • 2005 uncertain for Labonte at Hendrick? UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte said Thursday his future with Hendrick Motorsports and the series remains up in the air beyond this season. Labonte, 47, is currently working under a year-to-year contract with owner Rick Hendrick and has said he didn’t expect to drive past age 50. The quick rise of Hendrick’s young talents, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, have prompted questions about how soon Labonte, a two-time Cup series champion, would leave the Hendrick organization. “I told Rick last year I didn’t know how much longer I wanted to do this and we needed to be up front about it so they could make plans for their future down the road,” Labonte said. Labonte said several possibilities remain open beyond this year, including remaining with Hendrick, driving for another team and driving a partial schedule the way veteran Bill Elliott has with Evernham Motorsports this season. “I will be honest with you, there are probably only a handful of teams I would consider driving for and it would have to be a Chevy. I’m not going to drive for another make of car and Rick and I are partners in a Chevrolet dealership,” Labonte said. “If somebody came up and said they had a three-year deal, I wouldn’t do it because I don’t want to run three more years.” Labonte’s name has been mentioned in connection with Richard Childress Racing’s #30 Chevrolet, which has Dave Blaney signed through the end of the year, and a new third team planned for Joe Gibbs Racing [that would give J.J. Yeley another year in Busch and makes sense]. Retirement, whether at the end of this season or later, would be a difficult decision, Labonte said. Earlier Thursday, Busch, 19, confirmed his original contract with Hendrick expires this season, although it includes an option year Hendrick can pick up, but hasn’t yet. “Supposedly, I am going to have some contract conversations sometime in September, or whenever they give me a piece of paper that I can sign,” Busch said. “I hope they give me something to sign because my deal is up. I’m sure they are going to give me something.” Busch said he would like to run in the Cup series next year, but if he did, either a current Hendrick driver would have to leave, or the organization would need to expand to a fifth Cup team. Hendrick spokesman Pat Perkins said Thursday it was “a given” Busch would remain with the organization. Perkins also said Busch was slated to run in the Busch Series again next season, but added, “Anything can happen.”(see full story at ThatsRacin.com)(7-2-2004)

    UPDATE: Terry Labonte is nearing the end of his racing career and hinted Friday that this season could be his last. Labonte, a two-time champion, is in his 26th full season in NASCAR’s top series. He’s on a year-to-year contract with car owner Rick Hendrick, and after finishing last season 10th in the standings with a victory in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway decided the end might be near. “I told Rick last year that this year would probably be my last,” the 47-year-old driver said Friday. “You have to sort of decide those things in advance in order to make plans and move ahead.” Labonte is struggling with the decision. After consecutive seventh-place finishes in Dover and Pocono, he realized he was still having fun racing. But when he ran into Bill Elliott, who has partially retired and will make just his third start of the season in the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, Labonte started thinking about retiring again. “When I saw Bill and he said, ‘I’m having so much fun, I’m having the time of my life,’ I said ‘Man, you are killing me,’ ” Labonte said. So Labonte seemed unsure Friday about what the future holds. Should Hendrick decide he wants to hand the keys to the #5 Chevrolet to young Kyle Busch next season, Labonte said he could consider driving for another team. Labonte is only certain of a few things. He knows that when he does retire, it will be for good and he’s not likely to consider occasional NASCAR races or events in smaller series. And he has no interest in owning a team, even if it was with his son, Justin, as the driver.(NASCAR.com/AP)(7-3-2004)

    UPDATE 2: Car owner Rick Hendrick said that he’ll sit down with Terry Labonte soon to discuss the future. Labonte could cut back to run only selected tour events, opening up his current ride to promising young Kyle Busch. “When the year started, it was decided that Terry and the sponsors would sit down after Daytona,” Hendrick said. “I think we were planning on talking in the next week or two. We want to look at what Terry wants to do, and we want to get the sponsors involved in the decision-making process, too. We haven’t made any decisions, and we were hoping we’d stay out of silly season and do it on our timetable. So I think in the next couple of weeks we’ll make that decision and make an announcement.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2004)

    UPDATE 2a: Hendrick sources say Labonte, one of the most respected and popular drivers in the garage, could continue to race for HMS for the remainder of his career. But if the organization decides to move Kyle Busch up to Cup in 2005, one option for Labonte could be the Cup team [Hall of Fame Racing last news back in March] expected to be owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, with technical assistance from Hendrick.(FoxSports/Sporting News), Hmmmm…..how about a year in the #11 FedEx Chevy at JGR, teaming with brother Bobby, with J.J. Yeley taking over in 2006.(7-5-2004)

  • Truex Jr. to test for DEI at NHIS: Busch Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. was to test two Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars this week at New Hampshire. Truex, who’s 24 and a second-generation racer, has experience at the track, but this will be the first time for him to drive a Cup car on it. “I learned everything from my dad,” says Truex, who raced for his father in New Jersey before joining the Chance 2 team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt. “That’s made me a better racer. Hopefully, our testing can help Junior win the championship.” Truex is expected to make his Cup debut at the fall New Hampshire race, but Slugger Labbe, crew chief for Michael Waltrip’s #15 DEI car, says that if the tests are exceptional, he will gladly allow Truex to race in one of his team’s cars in this month’s race at NHIS.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(7-5-2004)
  • President Bush at RIR? hearing President Bush will attend the Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway on 9/11/2004 and that security for the race will be heightened even more since the race falls on 9/11, the three year anniversary of the attacks.(7-5-2004)
  • Loop problems? NASCAR officials are still working out bugs in their new ‘loop’ scoring system. One problem is that the software can’t take into account a car that might crash in between loops.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2004)

July 4, 2004

  • #8 looking to make changes? AND: XM Satellite NASCAR Radio reports that #8 Crew Chief, Tony Eury Sr. says there needs to be crew changes on the #8 pit crew and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not happy with the pit crew performance and said so in TV and radio interviews.
    AND The slow pit stops hampered Earnhardt Jr. throughout the race and his crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., said that problem would be addressed this week. “Our pit crew was horrible all night for some reason. I don’t know what’s wrong with the pit crew. We definitely have a problem there and we’ve had it for a while,” Eury Sr. said. “We pay good money for those guys to do a job and they don’t do it, so we’re definitely going to fix it.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-4-2004)
  • Waltrip to run for Victory Junction: Michael Waltrip announced he will run the Las Vegas Marathon on January 30, 2005, and has made a commitment to raise $1 million benefiting Victory Junction Gang Camp in an effort called “OPERATION MARATHON, Going the Distance for Kids.” Additionally, Waltrip has teamed up with Devine Racing in a five-year agreement to support OPERATION MARATHON. For every person who signs up to run in this year’s Las Vegas Marathon, Devine Racing will donate $10 to the cause. Over the next three years, the company is committed to spending $2.3 million in advertising and public relations to promote the Las Vegas Marathon and OPERATION MARATHON. According to Waltrip, OPERATION MARATHON stemmed from a desire to help with the operating costs of Kyle and Pattie Petty’s newly opened Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of their late son, Adam Petty. OPERATION MARATHON is an avenue for people to donate money to the camp. Fans can contribute to OPERATION MARATHON by logging onto www.michaelwaltrip.com or calling 1-866-WALTRIP. All the information needed to get involved with the marathon, or to simply donate, can be found on the website. Waltrip offers several ways for fans to get involved including entering the marathon or the 5k Run/Walk on Saturday, January 29, 2005. The 3.1-mile race has designated OPERATION MARATHON as the PresentingSponsor and will be followed by an autograph session with Waltrip. The 39th Annual Las Vegas Marathon is expected to draw more than 10,000 racers, many of them International Elite runners. This year’s prize money will be in excess of $100,000..(PR)(7-4-2004)
  • Last time the Pepsi 400 was won from the pole? 23 years ago UPDATE: The last time a driver won the Pepsi 400 from the Bud Pole was by Cale Yarborough in July 1981, 23 years ago(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-3-2004)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon won from the pole in 2004, becoming the 5th driver in 46 races to do so. The others: Fireball Roberts (1959), Jack Smith (1960), David Pearson (1974), Cale Yarborough (1981)(7-4-2004)
  • Fans struck by lightning..OK: The three unidentified men were struck while walking past souvenir trailers before the start of the Nextel Cup Pepsi 400. They were transported to the care center and held briefly for observation, track spokesman David Talley said. Talley said the men had only minor injuries and were released.(FoxSports)(7-4-2004)
  • Gordon wins from pole at Daytona: #24-Jeff Gordon held off teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson to win the rain-delayed Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The win is Gordon’s 68th career win, 4th of 2004, his 5th at Daytona and 3rd Pepsi 400, his first win at Daytona since the 1999 Daytona 500. #48-Johnson held onto 2nd place and increased his Nextel Cup points lead to 27 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt Jr. made an awesome move late in the race, a slingshot like move to pass two cars and take 2nd place, but the car went away and he fell back before recovering for 3rd. Rounding out the top five were #97-Busch and #20-Stewart. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams, #24-Gordon (WON), #48-Johnson (2nd), #5-Labonte (8th) and #25-Vickers (9th) finished in the top ten and a few times all four were in the top five. The highest finishing Dodge was #41-Casey Mears at 11th.
    Race results at:
    Jayski’s Pepsi 400 Race Results from NASCAR
    Motorsports One
  • Petty and Mears to Visit Target House: Richard Petty and Casey Mears will visit Target House families for a special event which will include an autograph session, a NASCAR simulator and a racecar helmet design coloring contest on Wednesday, July 7 [5-7pm] at Target House, 101 North McLean Blvd. in Memphis, TN. The event will serve as a pre-cursor to the Target House 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on September 4, in Fontana, Calif., which will feature an opening message from the kids at Target House. Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team driver Casey Mears will wear the winning coloring contest design on his helmet during the Target House 300 race.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), for info on Target House, see target.com(7-4-2004)

    July 3, 2004

  • Finish under green, announcement soon? during FOX’s pre-race coverage of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Jeff Hammond said he expects NASCAR to make an announcement during the offweek [no race on the July 18th weekend] that ALL Cup races will finish under green flag conditions [even if there is a caution and the race goes longer then the dvertised distance], what exact format is not clear.(7-3-2004)
  • Stewart 3rd in Grand Am Race at DIS: Tony Stewart and co-driver Andy Wallace finished third in the Paul Revere 250 on the infield road course at Daytona International Speedway. Running a single pit stop strategy, Stewart and Wallace, aboard the No. 20 Howard-Boss Motorsports Crawford/Pontiac, had hoped to steal the win. A late-race caution allowed their competition to pit under yellow, however, and Stewart and Wallace had no chance to defend their lead with well-worn tires. “That yellow didn’t help us at all,” Stewart said. “The one-stop strategy would have worked if it went green the rest of the way. It’s an easy car to drive. This car has got such a good balance. It’s not one that you feel you need to fight. It’s very driver-friendly. I’m looking forward to racing this car again with Andy at Watkins Glen.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-2-2004)
  • So what happened to Robby at Sonoma? Loose wheels: #31-Robby Gordon said his tire problems last weekend at Infineon Raceway were because the team forgot to tighten the lug nuts on all four tires before the race. Gordon said that all four tires nearly came off, wearing the studs off the hubs. He said that ground the sway bar off the car, later popping the left front and right front tires. Gordon had three front tires go down during that race and finished 34th. He has won the previous two Cup road races.(Roanoke Times)(7-3-2004)
  • Hmmmm..what gives? NASCAR vetoed car owner Jack Roush’s multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with Crown Royal [actually parent company Diageo …see my #99 Team News page for the past info], citing worries about hard-liquor sponsors. But NASCAR’s concerns couldn’t be too serious, because its sister company, the International Speedway Corp., just signed Crown Royal to a lucrative sponsorship as “the official whiskey of Daytona International Speedway.”(Winston Salem Journal) and see a full article at ThatsRacin.com: Crown Royal is OK for ISC, but ….(7-3-2004)

    New advertisor at Daytona International Speedway
    would look good on the #99 car
    image sent to me by a few readers, from autoracing1.com

  • #50 gets a sponsor for the Pepsi 400: Surprise winner of the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway Busch Series race, Mike Wallace, will also race the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race on Saturday night in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge. The team will be sponsored by Sport Clips one of Wallace’s Busch Series sponsors. Sport Clips has 185 stores in 41 markets across the country. Moe info on the company at sportclips.com.. Wallace is also scheduled to run the #50 at Talladega, P.J. Jones is scheduled to be back in the car next week at Chicagoland. Also see an article at the Naples Daily News: Team Arnold ‘still here’.(7-3-2004)
  • France on penalties: from an XM Satellite NASCAR Radio interview with NASCAR’s Brian France;
    Clarie B. Lang: Brian where do you form the line? [where the line will be drawn for drivers…some said there needs to be a firm line (like clipping penalty)]:
    FRANCE: “It’s like a basketball game. There’s a penalty if you go on the court just to break up a fight. There’s another penalty that’s more severe if you actually participate. There’s another penalty if you hit somebody. We’re no different than anybody else from that standpoint. Obviously you can’t touch another competitor. You can walk-up and voice your displeasure. That’s perfectly acceptable, but when you go to the point of contact with another individual we’re going to take a discipline action and depending on that contact is how severe we’re going to be with the penalty. It’s as simple as that.”(7-3-2004)

    July 2, 2004

  • Kahne’s Ford Contract Revealed: A lawsuit filed June 16 by Ford against Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne in district court in Michigan provides insight into the Ford/Kahne contract dispute that began when Kahne joined Ray Evernham’s Dodge team for the 2004 Cup season. The contract, which is at the center of the dispute, doesn’t provide any clear answers, however, according to a story in NASCAR Scene. According to the story, Ford was under no obligation to put Kahne in a Cup car for 2004, but Kahne had refusal rights regarding rides set up for him by Ford. In the suit, Ford contends that it “expended substantial financial and other resources to enhance defendant Kahne’s competitiveness and marketability” without reaping any benefits. The contract, signed in 2002, stipulates that Ford would pay Kahne a $30,000 signing bonus and $200,000 annually for being a Ford driver. He was also required to do 12 appearances a year for the automaker. Kahne contends that he has fulfilled his contractual obligations, and he has not filed a response to the suit in court.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-2-2004)
  • Quite a difference: nothing to do with Daytona or the race this week, just interesting [to me] #25-Brian Vickers holds the Cup track record at Richmond with a lap of 129.983mph back on May 14. Helio Castroneves sat on the pole there last weekend for the Indy Racing League race with a lap at 171.202. That’s 61 feet per second faster. Or, in other words, the Cup guys would be getting lapped about every three laps? So in a 400-lap race the Cup guys would be down around 130 laps.(Caledonian Record)(7-2-204)
  • Sacks back in a Cup car? UPDATE: during Speed Channel’s Busch Series Qualifying coverage, Jeff Hammond mentioned that Greg Sacks, attempting to make the Busch Series race at Dover, is working on a deal to get back in a Nextel Cup car, possibly as soon as Chicago in July. No word on what team and no idea if it has anything to do with that #05 Team he announced a few years ago.(6-4-2004)
    UPDATE: Greg Sacks, 51, will debut the #13 Daytona Speed Dodge at Chicagoland Speedway next weekend. Daytona Speed, owned by Sacks, Ed Raabe and James Wilsberg, will be based here, although the team is still searching for a building suitable for a race shop. Sacks has not raced at the Nextel Cup level since 1998 after being injured at Texas Motor Speedway. He has seen spot duty in ARCA, and in the Busch and Truck series in recent years [NOTE: he did, however, announce back in August 2002, the #05 Chevy team, sponsored by a board game, that never made it to the track]. Sacks is buying his cars and equipment from Evernham Motorsports, which campaigns two factory-backed Dodge cars in Nextel Cup. Ray Evernham said his team is developing an in-house chassis. As the new Evernham cars are put into service, the older cars will be sold. Sacks has “right of first refusal.” “He asked if he could be the first guy in line when we start selling cars,” Evernham said. “I’ve known Greg for a long time. He’s a good guy. I told him when we start to sell cars, yeah, he could have first crack at them.” Daytona Speed will get its engines from Mike Egge [who does the Petty Engines]. Sacks will wear the crew chief hat until next season. Sacks will enter 10 races this season. He’ll be joined by a team car, the #73 Dodge, at Dover and Martinsville. “We’ll start the 2005 season as a two-car team,” Sacks said.(Daytona Beach News Journal), see the Greg Sacks Fan Site for a nascar.com image and info and my old #05 Team News and Links page for past news, sorry DO NOT have a shop address or any contact info with this team.(7-2-2004)
  • Another Series? At least three top Nextel Cup team owners have talked recently with officials at Speedway Motorsports about the long-debated issue of a second stock-car racing series, according to sources in the NASCAR garage. Bruton Smith, the head of Speedway Motorsports, has long denied any interest in a second series, despite rumors that date back several years. It’s highly unlikely that any Cup team would leave the NASCAR fold, but talks would be another indication of owners’ extreme frustration and increasing dissatisfaction with some aspects of the direction this sport is taking. Reports of the talks come amid increasing complaints about NASCAR’s handling of a number of issues. While car owners are unlikely to leave, sources say they are more likely to start throwing their weight around in secret talks with NASCAR executives. It is unclear what particular points car owners might want to press, but a more equitable distribution of television money is likely.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-2-2004)
  • Different look for Bobby Labonte at Daytona: Wellbutrin XL, a medicine indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in patients 18 years and older, will serve as the primary sponsor for the #18 Chevrolet that Bobby Labonte drives this weekend at Daytona. Wellbutrin XL served as primary sponsor March 28 at Bristol and April 25 at Talladega and will serve as the main sponsor at Chicagoland (July 11), Michigan (Aug. 22), California (Sept. 5), Richmond (Sept. 11) and Atlanta (Oct. 31). The car is blue and yellow, not purple as it was ay Bristol and Talladega.(JGR Site)(7-2-2004)
  • Jackson back…or never left? Jesse Jackson says NASCAR should feature more African-American drivers because “negroes can drive cars fast.” Jackson made the remarks on Tuesday at a NASCAR-sponsored sports luncheon at the 33rd Annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition conference in Chicago. “One thing I know, negroes can drive cars fast,” Jackson said to laughter. “I mean, we go through red lights, even [drive] at night with our lights off. We can drive cars fast,” he asserted from the podium. NASCAR’s sponsorship of the sports luncheon at this week’s conference is contrary to previous reports indicating that NASCAR had ended its financial support of Jackson and his organizations in 2003 because of negative public pressure.(cnsnews.com)(7-2-2004)
  • Sonoma TV Ratings Down from 2003: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., drew a 4.7 final rating and an 11 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The 4.7/11 represents a 2 percent dip versus last year’s event, which drew a 4.8/11.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-2-2004)
  • Confiscated parts…new spring rule? NASCAR inspectors appeared to have a light day’s work Thursday. Only two items were tagged and placed on display at the NASCAR hauler following Thursday’s pre-qualifying inspections at Daytona International Speedway. The rear decklid of the #09 Dodge driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. was confiscated as were two unapproved oil line expansion hoses from the #30 AOL Chevrolet driven by Dave Blaney.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND Stock-car chassis specialists were up in arms yesterday at NASCAR’s newest Daytona inspection procedures and were demanding changes. NASCAR hands out special shocks to each team here to keep costs down and keep teams from using exotic technology. But NASCAR lets teams use their own springs, and some trick springs can cost $500 apiece. Yesterday, NASCAR cracked down on that, confiscated large numbers of springs and promised a new rule. Crews said the best thing would be for NASCAR to hand them springs along with the shocks. NASCAR, in fact, has talked with spring makers about that possibility.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-2-2004)
  • The Bird? and what is with a few of the drivers giving other drivers, ‘the bird/flipping off/middle finger’, so often? some of recent note: Harvick in a Busch race with Brad Teague and Stewart with Rusty and last week gestured at Jim Inglebright. Pretty childlike….and disrepectful.(7-1-2004)
    AND from the Daytona Beach News Journal – Fists and fenders vs. fines?.(7-2-2004)

    July 1, 2004

  • Stewart fined, docked points, on probation NO Suspension UPDATE: NASCAR is not taking lightly Tony Stewart’s attack of rookie Brian Vickers after Sunday’s road race in Sonoma. Stewart will receive a fine that could be as much as $50,000, a loss of at least 25 points in the Nextel Cup race, which will cost him at least one spot in the standings, and a lengthy probation, sources close to the sport said Tuesday. An official announcement will come Wednesday.(The State)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart has been fined $50,000, penalized 25 driver championship points and placed on probation until Aug. 18, resulting from a post-race altercation with fellow driver Brian Vickers last Sunday at Infineon Raceway. In addition, Joe Gibbs, owner of the #20 Chevrolets driven by Stewart, has been penalized 25 car owner championship points. The point penalty drops Stewart one spot in the series standings, to sixth place. Stewart was found in violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved in altercation with another competitor). “This action we’ve taken speaks for itself,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “Tony Stewart is well aware of what is expected of him going forward.”(NASCAR PR)(6-30-2004), see original story, updates, quotes from NASCAR’s Brian France on my #20 Team News and Links page.
    UPDATE – Response: The following is a statement from Tony Stewart: “I understand and accept NASCAR’s penalty. With NASCAR’s continued growth and their rise in mainstream popularity, I realize their rules have become stricter than they were in the past. And after meeting with Brian France (NASCAR Chairman and CEO), I know it’s my job to live within those rules. I’m putting this incident behind me and I plan no further comments. I’m going to focus on Daytona and the remaining races before the final 10-race run for the championship.”(Joe Gibbs Racing site)(7-1-2004)
  • So…Are they athletes or not? FoxSports.com has an interesting [misguided?] piece up called ‘Are they athletes or not?’ profiling different sports, Auto Racing is one, he is part of what is said: You can get lost on any major urban expressway in the country and employ all the skills needed to succeed in auto racing: turning left, depressing the gas pedal, being forced into a retaining wall by an insane man. Good ol’ boy Jimmy Spencer gets ink as an up-and-coming athlete. In reality, dressed to the nines in his Target-sponsored logo suit [how old is this story? or is the writer just that clueless?], he looks more like a comically resolute fire hydrant than anything resembling an elite competitor. As for drivers in general, their victory celebrations are unspeakably lame. They do donuts in the infield, pop out the driver’s side window à la Bo Duke, stand on the hood, quaff deeply from whatever beverage they endorse and get trash thrown at them by soused rednecks. Then they smoke a Winston, shop at Home Depot, slam a Bud, make out with a Golden Corral race queen [?], order a Papa John’s pizza with their Nextel mobile phone, brush their teeth with Valvoline, use Craftsman tools to eat Swanson Hungry Man Dinners, paint their dogs with the help of Sherwin Williams, make their kids eat Levitra and Folgers’ Crystals, set up a meth lab behind their local Food City and otherwise behave as the inveterate whores of brand loyalty that they are. See the full story at: msn.foxsports.com. All, I know, is that after testing a Bandalero for 45 laps around a 1/5th mile a month ago, and wrecking at LMS a few weeks ago, you need to be in at least decent shape to drive a race car, and I wasn’t out their for 500 laps at Bristol or 95 degree weather in California.(comments can be made to the author at FoxSports NOT jayski)(7-1-2004)
  • RYR to try a Busch team again UPDATE..the young driver?: Robert Yates Racing will add a Busch team to its stable for 2005. Yates will run Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett and a younger driver in the car. “Our drivers are interested in the companion knowledge that could be gained by running in the Busch races,” Robert Yates says. Although a sponsor has not been announced, Citibank, which recently signed on as an associate sponsor on the #38 (Sadler) and #88 (Jarrett) Nextel Cup cars, could be a possibility.(FoxSports/SportingNews)(6-28-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing the younger driver will be David Regan and that their will be an announcement in Daytona on Saturday. Again? remember in 2002 – the #98 ChannelLock team in Busch with…….um…Kasey Kahne?(7-1-2004)
  • G.I. Joe Car Unvieled: On Wednesday at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater [FL], #01 U.S. Army driver, Joe Nemechek publicly consummated his relationship with Hasbro Inc., the company that manufactures G.I. Joe. He unveiled a new race car that highlights its 40th Anniversary. Under the scorching midday sun, about 200 patrons, both young and old, saw Nemechek and his mother, Martha, remove the tarp from the #1 U.S. Army/G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car. The car, blanketed in sponsor decals, is several shades of Army green and glossy black. Occupying most of the car’s hood is a commemorative emblem of the 40th Anniversary G.I. Joe. A camouflage of greens cover its sides and top. Nemechek plans to race the car for the first time Oct. 16, 2004, at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.(Lakeland Ledger), see images of the car on my #01 Team Paint Scheme page.(7-1-2004)
  • Victory Junction statue stolen, UPDATE Returned. Thieves stole a bronze statue from the Victory Junction Gang Camp just two weeks after the camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses opened. Administrators reported the theft to Randolph County sheriff’s deputies Tuesday morning. The 6-by-4-foot statue of two children playing leap frog was beside a gatehouse at the camp’s front entrance. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded the camp in honor of their late son, Adam. Camp officials are trying to contact the art gallery that donated the statue to determine its value. They estimate its worth at $7,000-$10,000.(www.wxii12.com)
    AND Missing: two children, 6 feet tall, with metallic complexions and a combined weight of several hundred pounds. Police have few clues, but one thing is certain. The kids didn’t run away. Thieves boosted a bronze statue from the Victory Junction Gang Camp late Monday or early Tuesday, less than two weeks after the Petty racing family opened their camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Administrators reported the theft to Randolph County sheriff’s deputies about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. “Just the brazenness of it,” said executive director Brian Collier. “We’re in a neighborhood, and they pulled right up, took the statue and made off. You can’t get any lower, to me, than stealing from a children’s camp, especially children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses.” The statue, which was beside a gatehouse at the camp’s front entrance, depicts two children playing leap frog. It is about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Deputies are investigating the theft and have no suspects or leads. Camp officials were trying Tuesday to contact the art gallery that donated the statue to determine its value. Collier said a rough estimate is between $7,000 and $10,000. “I just hope that someone either took it and returns it, or they know who took it and they turn it in,” he said. Anyone with information is being asked to call Detective Brian Arrington at 336-318-6699 or Randolph County Crimestoppers at (800) 672-2530 (News and Record)., let’s hope they catch the moron or moron’s who did this.(6-30-2004)
    RETURNED: from the Victory Junction Gang Camp:” I am very happy to report that the statue was recovered by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department this morning. It was returned to the Victory Junction Gang Camp Administration Building today at 11:30am/et by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department. Victory Junction will make plans to securely replace it at the front entrance. Remember to sign up for National NASCAR Day on August 20th. For more information, go to www.nascar.com/nascarday.(PR)(7-1-2004)
  • Blount to make Cup debut at Daytona in the #37, will run Chicago too: Chad Blount looks to make his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series debut at the Daytona International Speedway in the Pepsi 400. Blount will pilot the #37 Dodge owned by John Carter and Roger Craven for the 46th running of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night. Blount burst onto the scene in 2002 while competing in the ARCA Series for Braun Racing. He went on to post one of the most impressive rookie seasons in the history of that series: as he garnered 4 wins, 5 poles and 2 new track records (Atlanta and Chicagoland). The last two seasons have seen the 24-year-old compete in the NASCAR Busch Series where he has made 20 starts with a career best 5th place finish at Texas last season. He has also spent much time serving as a test driver for Penske Racing. The #37 team will be debuting a newly acquired speedway car from Ganassi Racing along with a strong engine program from Ernie Elliott Engines. The car was prepared for the Daytona race out of the Braun Racing shop and will be led by crew chief Todd Lohse, who has worked with Blount previously in the Busch Series. Blount and the #37 team will also be competing next week at Chicagoland Speedway. The rest of the 2004 schedule for Blount and the team will be determined at a later date.(Integrity Sports Marketing PR)(7-1-2004)
  • #23 gets sponsor for Daytona: Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando would be the primary sponsor on the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge this weekend in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando has been open for eight years and has become the must see location for tourists with over one million visitors per year. Bobby Moore, president of Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando, is a former elephant trainer, a racing enthusiast but more recently a successful restaurant entrepreneur that has assembled some of the biggest names in racing to make Race Rock a success. Richard and Kyle Petty, Mario and Michael Andretti, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Geoffrey Bodine, Ernie Irvan, Don Prudhomme, John Force, Darrell Gwynn, Dave Schultz, and Scott Parker are all owners of Race Rock. Tony Raines will drive the #23 for Bill Davis Racing and Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant this weekend. It will mark Raines’s first start for Bill Davis Racing. For more information on Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando, please visit www.racerock.com.(BDR Site)(7-1-2004)
  • WIX working JGR on a cabin air filtration system: WIX Filters Inc., is working with Joe Gibbs Racing to develop a cabin air filtration system that can remove everything from carbon monoxide to dust, rubber and noxious fumes from the air breathed by drivers. “A few teams have tried to come up with their own (air filtration) system, but the deal for us was the safety of our drivers,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, which employs top drivers #18-Bobby Labonte and #20-Tony Stewart. “We want our drivers to be alert and feeling good throughout the race.” While the WIX system is a complicated piece of engineering, its operation in a race car is relatively simple. Air enters through an intake in the passenger side window and passes through a hose into the filtration system. The air is scrubbed to remove most of the carbon monoxide, and then passed through another air filter that removes soot, debris and fumes. The cleaned air is cooled and sent into the driver’s helmet. NASCAR has been trying to find a way to filter the air drivers breathe during races – which can last five hours with cars approaching speeds of 200 mph – for the last 18 months, since veteran driver Rick Mast announced he would retire at 45. Mast, who made 364 starts at NASCAR’s top level, said years of exposure to toxic fumes in his car gave him acute and chronic carbon monoxide poisoning, a feeling he described as “the worst hangover in your life. You wake up feeling nauseated and you want to throw up and you can’t,” he said at the time. “Your head is pounding all the time and you just feel awful.” When Stewart began complaining of similar symptoms, Joe Gibbs Racing approached WIX about a filtration system that could be installed in their race cars. “Tony is particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide fumes,” Bruce Johnston, brand manager for WIX Filters, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Gastonia. “They wanted to see if we could provide them something to make it easier for him to run at tracks like Martinsville and Bristol.” J.D. Gibbs became a believer after blood tests on Stewart and Labonte following races showed the drivers had been exposed to potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. “In racing, you are always looking for small advantages,” he said. “We think this is a big advantage for our drivers. And both of our guys told me it was a good move.” Greg Rhyne, a WIX product designer, said improved aerodynamics in NASCAR cars have exacerbated the carbon monoxide problem in recent years. “These cars are so aerodynamic that almost no air flows into them,” he said. “Essentially, the drivers are breathing the same air for 500 miles.” Carbon monoxide’s effects on the human body are cumulative, building up each time a driver is exposed to it. Some drivers have undergone oxygen treatments after races to decrease the effects of breathing the fumes. NASCAR’s research and development center has developed a device, called a catalyst, that reduces carbon monoxide in cars and is encouraging teams to design filtration systems around it. The WIX filter uses NACAR’s catalyst, as does a system developed by Penske Racing South and NASA. The Penske system uses two filters – one containing carbon and the other the catalyst developed by NASCAR – to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. In May, during a Nextel Cup race in Richmond, #12-Ryan Newman and #77-Brendan Gaughan tried the Penske system in their cars. Johnston said WIX will offer its system to all racing teams that want to use the technology. After Stewart used the system in his car for the first time at Martinsville last year, he emerged from his car saying: “I could have run 500 more (laps).”(AP/Fox Carolina)(7-1-2004)
  • Black AOL car: Instead of the regular AOL blue and gold paint scheme, Dave Blaney’s #30 Chevrolet will carry an AOL for Broadband special design in black and gold to run under the lights at Daytona for the Pepsi 400.(RCR PR)(7-1-2004)
  • Tired of this question..so…. why do some drivers knock the PowerAde bottles off the top of the car in victory lane? Easy: PowerAde is owned by Coca-Cola
    Gatorade is ownerd by Pepsi
    so drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, who have ties to Pepsi or Gatorade knock the bottles off. Simple as that. comments concerning those actions can be addressed by contacting the teams.(7-1-2004)
  • Sadler’s Pit Crew Shines Again: Elliott Sadler’s pit crew pocketed its second victory in as many weeks by winning the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s Dodge / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Sadler’s #38 pit crew also took top honors the week before at Michigan International Speedway. The back-to-back victories by Sadler’s crew not only increased its prize money total to $40,000 ($20,000 for each win), but significantly closed the gap in the McDonald’s/POWERade season point standings and the chase for the $200,000 champion’s bonus. Sadler’s pit crew gained 16 points on the leading #8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. After 16 of 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, Sadler’s crew has 590 points, only 12 behind Earnhardt’s crew. Kurt Busch’s crew is third with 553 points. During Sunday’s road-race on the twisting 11-turn, 1.99-mile circuit, Sadler’s M&M’s Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road – 104.331 seconds. Jeff Burton’s Roush Racing Ford was second with a time of 105.277 and Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Chevy was third at 108.526. “Two-in-a-row is pretty stout,” said #38 crew chief Todd Parrott. “These guys are working their hardest. I am real excited for this team and I am speaking on behalf of Elliott as well. We would not have the finishes we’ve had without the help of the pit crew. How cool is that!” Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications PR), see the top 10 from Sonoma, season standings and more on my Pit Crew Page.(7-1-2004)
  • Loomis voted as Crew Chief Challenge Winner at Sonoma: Robbie Loomis, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevy which won the Dodge / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 27th, was voted as the WyPall Crew Chief Challenge Winner. For more info, to see season standings, go to www.wypall.com.(7-1-2004)
  • YOKETV.com returns to Morgan-McClure: Eric McClure, who made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start earlier this season in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, is entered in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona this weekend. The 25 year-old McClure will drive the #04 YOKETV.com and 77sports.com Chevrolet in his second NEXTEL Cup Series event. YOKETV.com is pleased to return as a primary sponsor to Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which began the 2004 season with the YOKE logo embellishing its #4 Chevrolets. In addition, 77sports.com returns after launching its first primary sponsorship outing at McClure’s Talladega debut. The #4 car and Jimmy Spencer return to competition at Daytona, where Morgan-McClure Motorsports has five wins. Spencer, who gained his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona on July 2, 1994, will make his 450th career Cup Series start. Brent Meikle, CEO of YOKETV.com, quotes: “I am pleased to be able to announce this resolution with Morgan-McClure and our return to the exciting Nextel Cup series. We have a great deal of confidence in Eric and I want to thank Larry McClure for giving us the time we needed to make a fresh start. While this resolution currently does not include a full season, it paves the way to a 3-year relationship which hopefully will result in our full support for Eric and, in any event, will allow us to work together with the good folks over at Morgan-McClure.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(7-1-2004)
  • NRA on the #33: The #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy with Kerry Earnhardt driving, will sport a special paint scheme this weekend saluting the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA boasts a membership of approximately 4 million people and is the foremost conservation and firearms safety organization. Additionally, the NRA certifies over 48,000 firearm instructors who train millions of gun owners every year. Over 11,800 certified law enforcement instructors educate members of the law enforcement community along with military personnel. The “Eddie Eagle” gun safety program has reached over 16 million kids since 1998. The NRA has spent over $100 million over the last 10 years on gun safety and education programs.(RCR PR)(7-1-2004)
  • Al Unser Jr to retire UPDATE: Al Unser Jr. is retiring, which has been a suprise to just about everyone including Unser Sr. The two-time Indy 500 champion is putting away his driving gloves and retiring from racing. The 42-year-old Albuquerque native has been driving this season with Pat Patrick Racing, but after a disappointing 21st-place finish in last week’s IRL race at Richmond, Unser is calling it quits. Unser has done it all in the sport of open wheel racing. Along with his victories at Indy, he has two cart championships and two IROC championships under his belt. Action 7 News spoke with his father, who was caught off guard by his son’s decision. Unser will make his retirement official at a news conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.(Action 7 News site), Unser Jr. will appear on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Wed.(6-30-2004)
    UPDATE: Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. retired Wednesday because he was no longer having fun as a driver. Unser also won two CART championships, but struggled in recent years and had little success since joining the IRL series in 2000. “I have always said that I would get out of the race car if driving stopped being fun for me and if I felt that I was no longer competitive on the track,” Unser said. “After careful thought, I came to this conclusion just after the Richmond race and knew that it was time for me to retire.” Unser said he would stay with Patrick Racing as an adviser. The team said it would select a replacement driver later. He worked for several months to find a ride for this season after breaking his pelvis last October when he was thrown from an all-terrain vehicle in New Mexico. After months of rehabilitation, Unser signed with Patrick Racing in March but missed the first three races of the IRL season. Unser had three IRL starts this year, never finishing in the top 10. His final race was last Saturday at Richmond, where he ended up 22nd. Unser won the closest Indy 500, defeating Scott Goodyear by 0.043 seconds in 1992. His other Indy victory came in 1994 when he won from the pole and beat Jacques Villeneuve by 8.6 seconds. The 42-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., was the second-generation star from one of auto racing’s most famous families: he is the son of four-time Indy winner Al Unser Sr. and nephew of three-time winner Bobby Unser. Unser missed two races during the 2002 season while staying at a treatment center for alcohol abuse following his arrest in Indianapolis after his girlfriend said he hit her in the face while drunk. Prosecutors didn’t file charges against him. With Unser’s retirement, the IRL has lost two of its best-known drivers since May 2003. Michael Andretti retired at age 40 after last year’s Indianapolis 500 to focus his attention on ownership in the Andretti-Green team.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-1-2004)
  • Glick to be first print journalist inducted into Motorsports HOF: Veteran Los Angeles Times writer Shav Glick will become the first print journalist inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in a July 29 ceremony. Glick, who for decades has covered NASCAR and other motorsports, joins such notables as Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt, Darrell Waltrip, Roger Penske, Marion Andretti and Dale Earnhardt in the Michigan-based Hall of Fame. Glick was a classmate of Jackie Robinson and a member of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s post-war staff in Japan, prior to launching his sports writing career.(Tennessean)(6-30-2004)
  • Some Contest Winners: Richard Childress will present AOL’s Daytona to Daytona Sweepstakes winner an America Online Chopper valued at $150,000 along with a check for $50,000 during pre-race ceremonies for the Pepsi 400. Finalists Stephen Arnold of Phoenix, Ariz. and Jeff Kepschull of Osceola, Ind., along with their guests, have won trips to DIS. Arnold and Kepschull will each pull a key from a bag, and then attempt to start the bike to see which lucky AOL member will walk away with the Grand Prize. Finalists were chosen at random from all contestants who entered the sweepstakes on AOL.(RCR PR)
    AND Cintas Corporation (Nasdaq: CTAS) announced the winner of its “What NASCAR wears on Race Day Sweepstakes.” Dayton, OH resident Sharon Meyers was randomly selected to win an autographed hood from Bobby Labonte’s #18 Interstate Batteries Nextel Cup car. When asked what she was going to do with the hood, Sharon Meyers replied, “First I’m going to hang it above my bed. Then after I enjoy it for awhile, I’m going to give it to a charity to help them raise money for their cause.” The hood came from the #18 car that raced at Miami-Homestead in 2003. Second prize in the sweepstakes was a Washington Redskins racing helmet signed by Joe Gibbs and Bobby Labonte. An Interstate Batteries NASCAR race jacket was given away to the third prize winner.(JGR PR)(7-1-2004)