July 2005 News Archives

News from July 30-31, 2005

    • Computer Crash these two days

News from July 29, 2005

  • EAS to Sponsor #66 at Indy: Peak Performance Motorsports announced a one-race primary sponsorship package by EAS, the world’s leading manufacturer of cutting-edge sports nutrition products and widely known for fueling top athletes in all sports. The company will join PPM for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard next weekend. EAS will also be on board as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2005 season. EAS was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in October of 2004 and has since continued its success as being “the brand that the pros use.” Currently, EAS is the only brand with products certified for use by NFL players under the NFL/NFLPA certification program. EAS products are used by all 32 National Football League teams and more than 1,200 players.(PSE-3/Peak Performace Motorsports)(7-29-2005)
  • 2nd Wood Brothers team? Jon Wood, dirver of the #47 ST Motorsports Ford in the Busch Series, immediate future appears to be moving in the Nextel Cup direction. The status of current #21 Wood Brothers driver, Ricky Rudd for 2006 is unknown [his contract runs thru 2005 and retirement is a possibility]. There appears to be a good chance that Wood will advance to a Nextel Cup car, could be the #21 Ford or a 2nd team car. Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers team, said he is trying to put together a sponsor program to move Jon, his son, into Cup in 2006. It is possible the team could field two cars if Rudd decides to run next year. If Rudd were to retire, Wood could drive the #21.(paraphrased from the NASCAR Scene Magazine)(7-29-2005)
  • Testing at Watkins Glen UPDATE / REVISED: Watkins Glen International has Nextel Cup testing scheduled on their track calander for Mon, Aug 1st and Tues Aug 2nd. No idea what teams/drivers will be testing, if I hear/see, it’ll be posted. No idea if it would be open to the public. UPDATE: NASCAR fever in the Southern Tier heats up next week as nearly 50 Nextel Cup and Busch Series cars and their drivers will take part in a two-day test at Watkins Glen International. The 47 cars scheduled for the Monday and Tuesday test sessions are a record for the annual pre-race event in preparation for the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen weekend, Aug. 11-14. Fans will have access to some of the outside perimeter grandstand seating to watch the test. Details are still being worked out as to what stands will be open. Hope is to have the new start-finish grandstand open if work on installing the former Nazareth Speedway seat-backed stands are completed this weekend.(Elmira Star Gazette)
    AND – REVISED List: Watkins Glen International announced today that 45 cars are expected to test in preparation for the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Zippo 200 NASCAR BUSCH Series races, August 13 & 14. The test is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, August 1 & 2. Several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are planning to test in a NASCAR Busch Series car perhaps to take on double duty when they come back to compete in two weeks. Among those expected to test in both cars are Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Elliot Sadler, Carl Edwards, Travis Kvapil, Robby Gordon and road course specialists Boris Said and Ron Fellows. Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and Joe Nemechek will be testing in NASCAR Busch Series cars as well. The 45-car line-up also includes NASCAR drivers like Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch. Fans are encouraged to attend the test session on both Monday and Tuesday to watch between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. The first 50 fans to buy tickets to the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen and/or Zippo 200 events will get a free Thunder Road Tour ($25 value) and get a chance to “drive” the same track as these NASCAR stars. Fans that already have tickets to the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen and Zippo 200 event weekend will get FREE admission to the test session otherwise admission is $5 each day and fans can enter through Gate 4 or Gate 5. Call 866-461-RACE for details or visit www.TheGlen.com.
    Tickets are still available for SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and the Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race. This year NASCAR Busch Series joins the NEXTEL Cup Series for the first time during the annual SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen weekend, August 11-14. And the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will also make their second stop of the season at The Glen in the newly titled CompUSA 200 on Friday, August 12th.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-28/29-2005)
  • Sad News: Helmer Ellsworth Kenseth, age 96, of Cambridge, died on Wednesday, July 27, 2005, at his home. Helmer was born in Cambridge on April 16, 1909, son of Martin and Hilda (England) Kenseth. Kenseth was Matt Kenseth’s grandfather. Kenseth driver the #17 DeWalt Ford for Roush Racing in the Nextel Cup Series. Those wishing to express their sympathy may wish to consider memorials to Willerup United Methodist Church. Nitardy Funeral Home, Cambridge, is assisting the family. See full obit for info and services at the Capital Times.(7-29-2005)
  • Huffman out of the #12 Truck ride? Hamilton Jr. in? UPDATE 2 DW one more time: it was reported on Speed Channel’s coverage of the Memphis Truck Series race by Ray Dunlap, that Robert Huffman, driver of the #12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota in the Truck Series, would be replaced for the final ten races of the 2005 season with a Nextel Cup regular with “a clean uniform” but the driver couldn’t be named due to contract issues. Word is that Bobby Hamilton Jr. could be the driver, not sure if that means Hamilton Jr. leaves the #32 PPI Racing job or will run double duty…but Chevy in Cup and Toyota in Trucks, both teams factory backed, seems unlikely.(7-23-2005)
    UPDATE: Hamilton Jr. will run the #12 Toyota for DW in all but one or two races. Hamilton Jr. will do double duty, running the #32 car in all but one race as Ron Fellows will run the #32 car at Watkins Glen, so Hamilton will be free to run the #12 Truck at Nashville on the same weekend.(7-24-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Ruttman joined several Truck Series drivers in a Toyota test session at Nashville Superspeedway, and Ruttman hopes the “audition” will land him a ride as Darrell Waltrip’s new driver. Bobby Hamilton Jr. also is on the list of possible replacements for Robert Huffman, who was released from Waltrip’s #12 Toyota Tundra race truck last week. In the spring of 2001, Ruttman, at age 56, became the oldest winner in any of NASCAR’s top divisions when he won a truck race at Colorado Springs. Waltrip said he has a list of possible replacements for Huffman, “and Joe is on the list. He’s here to impress me, and he’s got that opportunity.” Huffman’s replacement will join #17-David Reutimann in the Waltrip stable. Reutimann, seventh in the standings, said he would be delighted to have Ruttman as a teammate.
    Waltrip can empathize with Ruttman’s desire to keep racing. Since retiring from Nextel Cup at the end of the 2000 season, the three-time champion has raced occasionally in the truck series. Yesterday, Waltrip said he intends to run one final race, Oct. 22 at Martinsville, Va., and then retire for keeps. “I know I said that last year,” said the 58-year-old Waltrip. “But after qualifying was rained out I wasn’t able to get in the lineup, so that doesn’t count. This time I really mean it — it’s my last race.”(Tennessean)(7-29-2005)
  • Herman to be part of the ARCA race broadcast crew: Kenny Wallace will add some ARCA RE/MAX Series flavor to his busy line-up during this weekend’s Wallace Family Tribute at Gateway Int’l Raceway in Madison, Illinois. In addition to racing in the Saturday night Busch Series Wallace Family Tribute 250, Wallace will provide the color commentating for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Shop ‘n Save 150 on Friday night, July 29th LIVE on SPEED Channel at 9:00pm/et. Wallace will join veteran play-by-play announcer Ralph Sheheen in the booth with regular ARCA cast members Lindsay Czarniak and Don Radebaugh featured on pit road.(Speed Channel)(7-29-2005)

    News from July 28, 2005

  • Irvan’s Mission Gains Momentum: One prominent NASCAR team’s drivers will be doing more than running laps around the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon July 17 as part of the New England 300; they’ll be helping to promote the August 17 LAPS Walk, an inaugural event at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) that will help NASCAR legend Ernie Irvan and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan combat the silent national epidemic of traumatic brain injury. Team MB2 Motorsports (with affiliate teams MBV and MBSutton) has agreed to carry the LAPS Walk logo underneath the “B” Pillar of each of the cars (driver side panel) during NASCAR races leading up to and including the GFS Marketplace 400 at MIS on August 21, 2005.
    Teammates Joe Nemechek, who drives #01, a Chevrolet (sponsored by U.S. Army) and Scott Riggs, driving #10, also a Chevrolet (sponsored by Valvoline) feature the logo on their cars since the race at New Hampshire. The third team member, Boris Said, driving #36, again a Chevrolet (sponsored by CENTRIX Financial), will join Nemechek and Riggs in featuring the LAPS Walk logo when he joins the field in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. All three will be drawing attention to the LAPS (Leadership and Promotion of Safety) event, to be held the Wednesday of GFS 400 race week at MIS.
    Aside from Ernie Irvan’s history with the team, there’s yet another link to the issue of brain injury awareness — former #01 driver Jerry Nadeau was sidelined with a brain injury accident in 2003; Joe Nemechek is his replacement. Ernie Irvan’s involvement in the cause was sparked by his own experience, when he crashed at MIS (in 1994). Initially not expected to recover from his injuries, he not only did so, but went on to race again [an won 3 more races]. A second injury at MIS (five years to the day of the first accident) prompted his retirement. “I’m personally very grateful to MB2 Motorsports for taking this leadership position with us in bringing positive attention to the LAPS Walk and our Race2Safety Foundation,” said Irvan. “The funds we will be able to raise, including those going to support the valuable work of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, will go a long way toward reducing the incidence and severity of brain injury.”
    The LAPS Walk is a joint effort between Ernie Irvan’s Race2Safety Foundation and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan that will become an annual event to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury. For a minimum $100 registration fee, participants can walk the racetrack with Ernie and other current and former NASCAR drivers by registering online at www.lapswalk.org or by calling 1-888-LAP-4-R2S (7-28-2005).
  • Court Dismisses All Claims by Ford against Kasey Kahne: On July 28, 2005, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed all claims by Ford Motor Company against NASCAR star Kasey Kahne, in connection with Kahne’s move last year from Ford to drive a Dodge in Nextel Cup, the most prominent NASCAR series. The Court found “that the Kahne-Ford personal services agreement is not enforceable…” and that Kahne had been free to switch to Dodge and Evernham Motorsports when Ford failed to provide a full time Nextel Cup car as requested by Kahne for the 2004 season. Pointing to admissions by Ford racing executives, Dan Davis and Greg Specht, the court found that the contract had “intentionally left open for future joint agreement” the “essential” terms of the actual series and team that Kahne would join, and that this was fatal to Ford’s claim.
    Kahne stated: “I’m thrilled that this decision sets the record straight that my move to Evernham Motorsports and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series was in good faith and didn’t breach my Ford contract. My manager, Rod Moskowitz of MMI and I didn’t publicly respond to Ford’s attempts to smear me during this case because we were confident I’d be vindicated in court. Now that we’ve won, I’m glad to put this unfortunate action behind me. Dan Davis told me that I wasn’t ready to move to Cup, and Ford tried to hold me back. I think my performance proved them wrong.” After leaving Ford, Kahne was named NASCAR’s 2004 Rookie of the Year.
    The decision came down after Kahne’s attorneys, Paul LiCalsi and David Baum of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, moved to throw the lawsuit out on the basis of the documents in the case and the testimony given by Ford executives during depositions. “As we said at the onset, this case was nothing more than an expression of Ford’s frustration with its own failure to recognize Kasey’s ability to race at the highest level of the sport”, LiCalsi said. Baum added, “For the last year and a half, Ford and its team of lawyers have tried to bully Kasey in court and demonized him in the press as someone who did not live up to his obligations. The court’s decision is a complete rebuke of Ford’s tactics.”(Clear!Blue PR)(7-28-2005)
  • So..who is in the #15 in 2006? UPDATE Menard to run #1 at Watkins Glen: with Michael Waltrip and DEI splitting, and NAPA’s status with DEI or Waltrip up in the air, who, if anyone will be in the #15 Chevy? Does it go the way of the #1 team, as a part time team or a full-time gig? Been told that the plans are for DEI’s #11 Chevy Busch Series driver, Paul Menard, to run one more full season in the Busch Series and run up to 7 Cup races, it could be in the #15 or a 4th DEI team if the #15 runs full time as DEI plan to do.(7-20-2005)
    UPDATE – Menard to run at Watkins Glen in #1: DEI #11 Busch Series driver, Paul Menard will attempt to make his first DEI Cup start at Watkins Glen in the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen on August 14th. Menard will drive the #1 Kraft Chevy. Menard will run in the Busch Series in 2006 with select Nextel Cup starts and plans got a full-time Nextel Cup ride in 2007.(NASCAR Scene Magazine). but been told Menard will not be in the #15 car in 2006 or 2007.(7-28-2005)
  • MB2 Close to Signing a sponsor for the old #10 team UPDATE #35? #02?: It appears MB-2 Motorsports [currently the #10 Chevy with driver Scott Riggs, along with #01-Joe Nemechek and #36-Boris Said] is close to announcing a new sponsor to replace Valvoline which is leaving for Evernham Motorsports at the end of the season [and taking the #10 with it, this team is un-numbered for 2006]. Driver Scott Riggs says “I know that MB-2 is a lot closer to signing a contract with a sponsor and announcing that within the next week or two, so I know they’ve gotten closer and moved forward.” When asked if he would stay with the team is a full-time primary sponsor is signed, Riggs couldn’t say for sure. “Well, the chances are definitely a lot higher me staying with a sponsor than without.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-14-2005)
    UPDATE: hearing the new team number will be either #35 or #02 and possible sponsors: Allstate, Big Lots or/and State Farm.(7-28-2005)
  • Special Scheme for Biffle at MIS: #16-Greg Biffle is scheduled to run a #16 Prism National Guard car at Michigan in August. The hood of of the black and grey car will feature the Prismthegame.com web address; a game inspired by the National Guard. See an image of the scheme on my #16 Team Schemes page.(7-28-2005)
  • JR Motorsports gets first win: Mark McFarland won the Merchant’s Tire and Auto Center 250 presented by BF Goodrich USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series race at Southern National Speedway (SNS) in Kenly, NC. The win is not only the first for McFarland, but it is the first for the Dale Earnhardt, Jr.-owned JR Motorsports team in a touring series. “I can’t thank Dale Jr. and everyone at JR Motorsports enough for giving me the opportunity to drive this awesome car. WINFUEL has been just a super sponsor and Federal Mogul, Draco Springs and Enders shocks have been very good to us,” said McFarland. You can catch the excitement of Mark McFarland’s first Hooters Pro Cup win on Saturday, July 30 at 10:00pm/et on the Speed Channel.(Jr. Motorsports PR)(7-28-2005)
  • #12 Crewman getting hitched on weekend off: Dennis Terry, the front tire changer for #12-Ryan Newman has made special plans for the series’ off-weekend. Terry and his fiancae, Micki, are getting married Saturday in the historic city of Charleston, S.C. The team’s jackman, Britt Goodrich, also will be in Charleston to attend the wedding.(Penske Racing)(7-28-2005)

    News from July 27, 2005

  • Hamilton Sr. to run Indy, maybe more, not retire?: Bobby Hamilton [#04] will try to qualify for the Aug. 7 Brickyard 400, his first race in NASCAR’s top tier since he left at the end of the 2003 season. “If I can qualify, I’ll be in the race,” said Hamilton, who won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship last year and is currently third in the standings. “It’s a no-pressure thing and I’m looking forward to it.” Hamilton said he is dabbling in Nextel Cup for two reasons. He hopes to transfer some of the chassis technology to his truck racing team, and also help his son, Bobby Jr., get his [#32] car up to speed. Bobby Hamilton Jr. has struggled in his first full Nextel Cup season. “We’re working together, helping each other,” the senior Hamilton said. “We were at Indy testing last week and I had the quickest lap and Little Bobby the second-quickest. After Indy I may run a few more Cup races on some tracks that we need help on.” Hamilton purchased the Nextel Cup car from PPI Racing, the team for which Bobby Jr. drives, and rebuilt it at his racing complex in Mt. Juliet. “It’s a good car,” he said. “I’m anxious to race it. I’ve still got a lot of buddies over there and it’ll be fun to see them,” said Hamilton, who has run five Busch Series races this season for Sadler Racing [#95] in addition to his full-time truck schedule. Hamilton hopes to eventually evolve his truck racing team into a Nextel Cup team, with his son driving for him. Earlier this year Hamilton said he intended to retire from driving at the end of this season in order to oversee his team and develop young drivers on a full-time basis. Since then those plans have become less definite. “I’ll do what I think is best for my race team,” he said. “It’s hard to predict the future.”(Tennessean)(7-27-2005)
  • Tire Testing at Kansas: #07-Dave Blaney and #19-Jeremy Mayfield were at Kanasa Speedway Tuesday for a tire test at the request of Goodyear, NASCAR’s tire supplier. This was a previously unscheduled test, one that Goodyear, NASCAR and Nextel Cup drivers hope will head off the problems that turned the July 10 race at Chicagoland Speedway into a crashfest. Chicagoland and Kansas are fairly similar tracks. Because of that, Goodyear and NASCAR had planned to use the same type of tire at the two tracks in 2005. But that plan underwent some rethinking after Chicago. In that race, car after car went into concrete retaining walls after tires went flat. Fingers pointed in all directions afterward. Some drivers pointed at the tires, and others pointed at decisions made by the teams. That group said that the tires were being abused by teams in a quest to produce more speed — either by not following recommendations on inflation pressure or by opting for chassis setups that put unhealthy pressure on the tires. Goodyear said it just wanted to get to the bottom of the problem before the race at Kansas, which is scheduled for Oct. 9.(Kansas City Star)(7-27-2005)
  • Daytona HOF bid reveals more: The Green Flag Committee has unveiled the second feature of its proposal for the NASCAR Hall of Fame — the Tower of Champions Theater. “It is a high-tech and robotic ‘Interactive Amphitheater’ with the flexibility of presenting any number of highly entertaining NASCAR-themed productions,” David Exline, the committee’s creative director, said in a prepared statement. The staging facility will have a towering glass structure of two “magazine stacks” that house an ever-changing selection of vehicles from NASCAR races. The towering cars would be lit from inside and situated near the attraction’s main entrance. The attraction is designed to allow frequent vehicle exchanges throughout the operating year. An automated conveyance system pulls each car from storage to a stage within the tower. Every movement is automated and can be seen from inside and outside the hall. The committee, the group working to get the Hall of Fame for Daytona Beach, previously revealed its Heritage Walk Gallery, an interactive center with a media montage presentation about NASCAR.(Daytona Beach News Journal), more info on the NASCAR HOF bids, other Hall of Fame and Museum news and links, see my Hall of Fame News and Links page.(7-27-2005)
  • Buddy Baker runs 200mph at Daytona, Rusty’s son tests: Despite having a week off from NEXTEL Cup competition, where he currently sits 4th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, #2-Rusty Wallace was as busy as ever Monday, as his RWI Racing Busch Series operation completed tests at both Daytona International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway on the same day. In Daytona, racing legend Buddy Baker was behind the wheel of the #64 Miller High Life Dodge Charger, completing testing in conjunction with Racing Radios. Similar to the radio test Wallace completed at Talladega last year, in which he hit nearly 230 MPH, Baker wheeled the RWI Racing machine to an average lap speed of an even 200 MPH around Daytona’s high banks. The ever-jubilant Baker was nothing short of thrilled at the opportunity stating, “That was a lot of fun, I have to tell you. Going that fast around here really brought back some memories, that’s for sure. Blake Bainbridge and his guys really put together some first-class equipment and I’m really excited to have had the opportunity to do this.”
    On the other front, Wallace was present for his son Stephen’s first speedway test, conducted at Kentucky Speedway. Stephen Wallace, the 2004 Snowball Derby Champion, wheeled a Penske Racing-prepared Dodge around the 1.5 mile oval in preparation for his first speedway start, the August 19th ARCA RE-MAX Series event at Michigan Speedway. Rusty’s crew chief Larry Carter and the entire #2 Miller Lite team will handle Stephen’s ARCA car. The test was manned by members of the RWI Racing Busch Series team, as well as representatives from Penske-Jasper Engines. To begin the test, the elder Wallace jumped behind the wheel of the #77 Kodak Dodge from Travis Kvapil’s stable and completed a baseline lap of 32.65 seconds [165.390mph]. After some tweaking on the car’s chassis set-up, it was Stephen’s turn at the controls. By the end of his second outing, the younger Wallace had logged a best lap of 32.83 seconds [164.484mph], barely missing the time set by his father.(Rusty Wallace Inc. PR)
    AND ……..And there was Wallace squelching any expectations of seeing his son, fledgling racer Steven, in the seat of the struggling #77 Penske Dodge any time soon. “No, no, none of that,” Wallace said. “Roger (Penske) gave Steven that opportunity to start testing him, like a little driver development stuff, then after he does that Dodge has paid for some races for Steven. He’s going to run Chicago in a Dodge development car and we just want to give him all the seat we possibly can. It’s all about the seat time. Once I get confident with him, I’ll put him in my Busch car for some races, too.”(Florida Today)(7-27-2005)

    News from July 26, 2005

  • VOTE: GM Goodwrench has sponsored a race car for 20 years. Now, for the first time ever, they’re letting fans decide what it’s going to look like. So get in on the excitement by voting for the 2006 standard paint scheme on the GM Goodwrench #29 car, driven by Kevin Harvick. Go to gmgoodwrench.com to vote.(7-26-2005)
  • Highest TV Ratings for Turner of NASCAR race: Turner Network Television says its airing of Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was the highest rated and most watched NASCAR event in its 21-year history of televising the sport [TBS and TNT]. The race was seen in 5.137 million households and drew a 5.7 rating, a 21% increase over 2004, TNT says. The network says its coverage of the July 17 New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway was seen in 4.954 million households and earned a 4.5 rating, a 5% increase over 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter – Scene Daily)(7-26-2005)
  • Two Crew Chiefs Fined for Pocono Infractions: NASCAR announced today that two penalties have been issued to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors as a result of rules infractions this past weekend at Pocono Raceway.
    Kenneth Glen, crew chief of the #52 Dodge driven by Derrike Cope, was fined $5,000 for an unapproved rear end gear ratio, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), and Section 12-4-CC (violation of specified rear end gear ratio) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. This infraction was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.
    Shane Wilson, crew chief for the #77 Dodge driven by Travis Kvapil, was fined $1,000 for an unapproved body modification, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), and Section 12-4-Q (parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR Rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. This infraction was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.(NASCAR PR)(7-26-2005)
  • Chex Most Popular Record Voting Pace Continues; Earnhardt Jr. Leads: Over 2.5 million votes have now been cast by race fans nationwide in the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award balloting, and the record of 3.8 million total votes cast last season seems destined to fall. The newest overall voting figures were released today prior to the only remaining off weekend for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2005. Race fans have been voting at www.mostpopulardriver.com, the official voting site. Since General Mills began sponsoring the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award at the beginning of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, well over 12 million votes have been cast by fans throughout the world. Fans vote at www.mostpopulardriver.com for the only fan-based official award in motorsports.

    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead in the voting. Behind him in the current balloting are second-place Jeff Gordon, followed by Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson.
    Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, the only fan-based award in motorsports, began Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59 a.m. CST, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site.
    The NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956, making it one of the oldest and most traditional awards in NASCAR racing. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and later grew to incorporate all NASCAR Nextel Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it is a prestigious award voted on by racing fans throughout the world. Through the years, voters’ choices have ranged from the obvious to the surprising. Bill Elliott’s 16 most popular wins tops all drivers. He is followed by Richard Petty, who has won nine times. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win last year made him the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons, while his win in 2003 made him and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(Williams Company)(7-26-2005)

  • Wallace’s – Father/Daughter race against each other at Lowe’s Summer Shootout: History will be made Tuesday night [July 26] at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as Mike Wallace [driver of the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy in Cup] will race for the first time against his daughter Chrissy during the Summer Shootout in the Thunder Roadsters race. Mike is filling in for Tom VanWingerden in his Legends car and Thunder Roadster as Tom is high in the owner points, but unable to attend the races Tuesday night. The Legends car is in the Masters division (Chrissy races in the Semi-Pro Legends division), but the Roadsters are in the same class. This one off opportunity will put father and daughter in the same race for the first time in history.(Motorsportslounge)
    Jayski Bandolero will be in action tonight as Jason Haynes go for a much needed victory in the #19 Jayaski.com/Victory Junction Bandolero, images of the car, info and points standings on my Jayski Bandolero page.
    Vote for Jason: Speed51.com, a popular motorsports web site that covers short-track racing [run by Bob and Matt Dillner], is offering fans the opportunity to select the most popular driver in the Hardee’s Summer Shootout at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The online ballot, which can be accessed at www.speed51.com, features the top-20 drivers in each of the seven divisions of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing. Fan voting will determine a most popular driver in each of the three types of cars with the driver receiving the most votes claiming the overall award. Speed51.com will produce a complete web site for the overall winner, a prize valued at $4,500. The Hardee’s Summer Shootout runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 16 on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. For information, call 1-800-455-FANS.(7-26-2005)
  • Seperate Busch TV deal in the works? NASCAR has informed television networks that it may sell television rights to its Busch Series separately from its next Nextel Cup package, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Dick Glover, NASCAR vice president of broadcasting and new media, says the preference is maintain the current Cup-Busch packaging, but no decision has been made. Writer Andy Bernstein reports that insiders predict that Nextel Cup and Busch Series rights will sell for about $500 million a year in the next contract, up from $400 million a year in the current deals with Fox and NBC/TNT.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-26-2005)
  • NASCAR Announces 2005 Diversity Scholarships: NASCAR announced the details for the 2005 diversity scholarship program. NASCAR will honor 12 students with the Wendell Scott Scholarship Award through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). This year will mark the fifth year that the scholarships have been awarded. Eight undergraduate and four graduate scholarships will be awarded to students based on a number of criteria. Students must attend any of the 39 UNCF-member colleges and universities or 39 HACU-member colleges and universities during the 2004-2005 school year. To qualify for the awards, students must carry a minimum grade point average, provide a nominating letter from a current faculty member of the student’s university and write a one-page statement demonstrating an interest in the motorsports industry. This year’s scholarship recipients are: Uralonda Prioleau (Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C.), Michael Coaxum (Claflin University), Tia Carter (St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C.), Crystal Wells (Wiley College in Marshall, Texas), Brandon Ellison (Lane College in Jackson, Tenn.), Kayla Strickland (Lane College), Vanesa Casado (University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.), Ricardo Contreras (Texas A&M University, Kingsville), Jose Cotto (Universidad Metropolitana in Cupey, Puerto Rico), Robert Dominguez (St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas), Monique Nelson (Texas A&M University, Kingsville) and Teresa Ernest (University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.). In addition to the Wendell Scott Scholarship Awards, NASCAR also awards scholarship funds to the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida, the Urban Youth Racing School and North Carolina A&T University Motorsports Program. Wendell Scott was the most prominent African-American driver to compete in NASCAR’s premier division. Scott competed in 495 events in his 13 year career, tying him for 27th on the all-time list. He earned his only career win at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway Park in 1963. (NASCAR PR)(7-26-2005)

    News from July 25, 2005

  • Marlin to the #43? Contrary to the belief held by many, Sterling Marlin will not replace Dave Blaney in the Richard Childress Racing-owned #07 Chevrolet in 2006. On the surface, that move made sense, as the sponsor of the #07 is Tennessee-based Jack Daniels Whiskey, and Marlin is one of Tennessee’s favorite sons. But it’s not happening. [Yahoo] originally heard Marlin was heading to the #0 Chevy to replace Mike Bliss, but banter now has Marlin going to Petty Enterprises and the #43 to replace Jeff Green, as Marlin and his father Coo Coo have been longtime friends of the Petty family. Green isn’t necessarily happy at Petty, anyway, as that team isn’t giving him a car good enough to show off his talents. As for the #07 in ’06, Blaney’s not going anywhere – he’s a lock to stay in the car for next season, providing a good buffer to teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton. It doesn’t hurt that Blaney is one of team owner Richard Childress’ favorite people in racing.(Yahoo Sports)(7-25-2005)
  • Yates still considering a third team UPDATE 2007?: It was not that long ago when Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] was a state-of-the-art team. It would be tough to argue that it still is. In fact, in one key area — cars on the track — the Yates operation is lagging behind such Nextel Cup teams as Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports [Jayski Note: but Yates has two cars in the Chase at current, Hendrick has…one]. Yates still just has two — one for Dale Jarrett and one for Elliott Sadler. While the Yates drivers are doing fairly well — they are both in the top 20 [actually top 10] in points this week — some think they could do better if they would add another car or two to the stable. Apparently, the folks at Yates have been thinking the same thing. “We’ve had a lot of discussions” about adding a third car, Jarrett said this week. Adding more cars is beneficial on several fronts. The most important of those is the data front. More cars means more tests, more laps and more information for engineers and crew chiefs to chew upon. Again, Yates is certainly aware of all that. “We do everything that we can with the people that we have now,” Jarrett said, “but there’s a sign that there is strength in numbers.”(Kansas City Star), Sterling Marlin has been rumors to being the driver for the third team if it happens.(7-22-2005)
    UPDATE: Yates’ proposed third team may be postponed until 2007, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2005)
  • More Labonte rumors…to Evernham? Fed-Ex to the #18, Interstate Batteries? what might happen next at [Joe] Gibbs’ [Racing] is uncertain. While #18-Bobby Labonte insists he has no plans to leave Gibbs, that has not quieted the NASCAR garage, with the talk continuing, focused on the possibility car owner Ray Evernham would like to hire Labonte for his new third team [#10 Valvoline] next season. Gibbs may be moving his FedEx sponsorship from his new third team, with #11-Jason Leffler, to the team for which Labonte currently drives, which has been sponsored for years by Interstate Batteries, according to sources close to the team. And there could be more to the change, though it’s not at all clear just what [Jimmy Spencer reported this last week on NASCAR This Morning]. And it’s not clear just how Gibbs’ Interstate Batteries sponsorship might be aligned next season. Interstate boss Norm Miller is a close friend of Gibbs and is the man whose sponsorship helped launch Gibbs in NASCAR more than a decade ago. But over the years, the Texas battery maker has watched bigger and bigger companies join NASCAR as sponsors.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND rumors have Michael Waltrip possibly being aligned with Interstate Batteries somehow in 2006.
    HOWEVER: last week Joe Gibbs Racing sent this: Claification of Labonte/Gibbs Racing rumors:
    1. Joe Gibbs Racing is not planning a sports car team for 2006 and while Bobby Labonte enjoys the Rolex races, he is still a full-time Cup driver and is signed with JGR through 2008.
    2. Interstate Batteries will be back on the #18 Chevy in 2006, as they have been since 1992, one of the longest running primary sponsors/team relationships in NASCAR.
    3. And, as pointed out through various articles and in Bobby Labonte’s comments. The rumors are untrue and that’s about all that can be said.(JGR team spokesman)(7-25/19-2005)
  • Osbourne Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Pocono: Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 Taurus, had the unenviable task of bringing Carl Edwards from the back of the pack to the front this Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Knowing it would take more than just a fast race car, Osborne executed a risky pit strategy that landed his driver a top-five finish in the Pennsylvania 500. For moving Edwards through the field, Osborne was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    Edwards’ double duty obligations made Osborne’s day double tough. Edwards’ Busch Series responsibilities had him racing in Fountain, Co on Saturday, forcing the team to use a substitute driver for time trials at Pocono. The team was penalized for the driver switch and had to start the Office Depot/Scotts Ford from the rear of the field. Track position comes at a premium at Pocono Raceway and Osborne knew that he had a tough chore ahead.
    Osborne overcame his team’s track position deficit by making a two-tire pit stop, not just once, but twice over the course of the race. Osborne’s strategy moved Edwards into position to end the day with a fourth-place finish.
    The panel of voters; including Chuck Givler of the Easton Express-Times, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr.; all gave Osborne the nod as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Greg Zipadelli, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(7-25-2005)
  • More on possible testing changes: NASCAR is contemplating revamping its testing procedures for 2006. Under the proposal, each manufacturer would receive six two-day tests at tracks that have Nextel Cup races. For example, the Chevrolet drivers would test on the same days at the same six places, the Ford drivers at presumably a slightly different six and the Dodge drivers at six. The tracks would have to be agreed upon by the owners of that brand. The current policy allows teams five two-day tests wherever they want, whenever they want. Daytona still would be mandatory for all teams. The goal of the change is twofold: to cut down on tire costs and to allow teams time to prepare for the car of the future, which is expected to make its debut in 2007. Goodyear would have engineering support on hand and sign out tires at the tests. Teams still would be allowed to test at tracks that don’t have Cup races, but current tires would not be available.(Sporting News)(7-25-2005)
  • Kahne to test at Kentucky: #9-Kasey Kahne is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, July 27th. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(7-25-2005)
  • Kenseth not happy about new teammate? Speaking of Roush drivers, 2003 champion Matt Kenseth, who wrecked McMurray at New Hampshire, said on Sunday’s TNT prerace show from Pocono that he might be teammates with Mac in 2007 and he might not [and he said cause his contract runs out at the end of 2006]. Kenseth wasn’t happy to learn about McMurray’s future arrival at Roush on the Internet.(Sporting News)(7-25-2005)
  • Childress says all 3 teams will remain intact for 2006: [Team owner Richard] Childress said his three teams will return intact next season: “We’re pretty much set on everything right now.” All three drivers, #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick and #07-Dave Blaney, will be back with their current crew chiefs, Kevin Hamlin, Todd Berrier and Philippe Lopez? “Yes, as far as I know,” Childress said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2005)
  • Car of the future tested: NASCAR tested the prototype of the car of the future in the wind tunnel last week. The most dramatic change is a larger cockpit. The bodies will be completely different, according to series director John Darby.(Sporting News)(7-25-2005)
  • Dale Jr. called to the NASCAR Trailer: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was called into the NASCAR trailer after the race to be reprimanded for exceeding the pit road speed on lap 53 when he raced out of the pits in an attempt to stay on the lead lap. He was penalized with a drive-through. His pit road exit speed was clocked at 143 mph. The pit road speed limit was 55 mph. Junior was told by NASCAR officials that they understood his desire to remain on the lead lap, but that they wouldn’t tolerate his methods.(Yahoo Sports)(7-25-2005)

News from July 24, 2005

  • Huffman out of the #12 Truck ride? Hamilton Jr. in? UPDATE: it was reported on Speed Channel’s coverage of the Memphis Truck Series race by Ray Dunlap, that Robert Huffman, driver of the #12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota in the Truck Series, would be replaced for the final ten races of the 2005 season with a Nextel Cup regular with “a clean uniform” but the driver couldn’t be named due to contract issues. Word is that Bobby Hamilton Jr. could be the driver, not sure if that means Hamilton Jr. leaves the #32 PPI Racing job or will run double duty…but Chevy in Cup and Toyota in Trucks, both teams factory backed, seems unlikely.(7-23-2005)
    UPDATE: Hamilton Jr. will run the #12 Toyota for DW in all but one or two races. Hamilton Jr. will do double duty, running the #32 car in all but one race as Ron Fellows will run the #32 car at Watkins Glen, so Hamilton will be free to run the #12 Truck at Nashville on the same weekend.(7-24-2005)
  • Kurt Busch wins at Pocono, Roush Sweeps: #97-Kurt Busch won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, leading 131 of 203 laps for his 2nd win of 2005 and 13th of his career. With #99-Carl Edwards win at Pocono in June, Roush Racing swept the two Pocono races in 2005, Rounding out the top-five were #2-Rusty Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #99-Carl Edwards and #12-Ryan Newman. #0-Mike Bliss had a nice run and finished 9th for his first top 10 of the season. Pole sitter #42-Jamie McMurray never led a lap but was in the top-10 most of the day until finishing 11th. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson got a lap down, got the lucky dog and finished 12th, maintaining the points lead by 66 over #20-Tony Stewart who moved up to 2nd in points after #16-Greg Biffle had a tire go down late in the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 32nd after being unable to get a handle on his car more the early part of the race.
    For the race rundown, cautions, laps led, see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page
    For race results and links, see Jayski’s Pennsylvania 500 Race Results Page.
    For points standings see Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.
    Chase stats updated after Pocono, see Chase Stats after Pocono page.(7-24-2005)
  • Pocono Race Nates:
    • Kurt Busch won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his 13th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 170th career start.
    • Busch’s last victory came at Phoenix, 12 races ago.
    • This is Busch’s second victory in 2005.
    • Busch has scored top-10 finishes in four of his last five races.
    • Busch moved to 45th on NASCAR’s All-time win list tied with Tim Richmond and Dick Rathmann.
    • This marked the ninth victory for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has 10 and Dodge has one.
    • Busch remained fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 262 behind of first-place Jimmie Johnson.
    • Busch scored his first victory in 10 races at Pocono Raceway.
    • This was Busch’s eighth career superspeedway victory in 133 career superspeedway races.
    • Busch led the most laps for the second time in a race this season. He led 131 of the 203 laps raced.
    • Busch led six times including the final 21 laps.
    • Busch has scored 11 top-10 finishes in 20 races this season.
    • Busch scored the second victory for car owner Jack Roush at Pocono Raceway, both in 2005. This was Roush’s 83rd victory as a car owner and ninth in 20 races this season.
    • Jack Roush Racing competed in 34 races at Pocono (since 1988) before scoring car-owner victories in both Pocono races in 2005. (Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch).
    • Three of the top-four finishers were Roush-owned cars: Kurt Busch (first), Mark Martin (third), Carl Edwards (fourth).
    • Rusty Wallace (second) posted his 17th top-10 finish in 44 races at Pocono Raceway. He scored his 11th top-10 finish in 20 races in 2005. Wallace remained fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings now 182 behind first-place Jimmie Johnson.
    • Wallace extended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. He has scored 16 top-15 finishes in 20 races in 2005.
    • Mark Martin (third) posted his 27th top-10 finish in 38 races at Pocono Raceway. Martin has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 2005. Martin remained seventh in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 17 points behind sixth-place Ryan Newman.
    • Carl Edwards (fourth) posted his second top-five finish in two races at Pocono Raceway. It marked his eighth top-10 finish in 2005. Edwards remained 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, just 12 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett
    • Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his fourth top-five finish in eight races at Pocono Raceway. Newman remained sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 30 points behind fifth-place Kurt Busch.
    • Jimmie Johnson (12th) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 53 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Johnson has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers.
    • Jeff Gordon (13th) remained 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 541 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson and 114 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (32nd) dropped from 13th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 537 points behind firstplace Jimmie Johnson and 110 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett.
    • Only two of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Pocono Raceway: Tony Stewart moved to second while Greg Biffle dropped to third.
    • Seven drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson with six races remaining before the Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-24-2005)
  • Rumblings – Pocono: Kurt Busch kinda “stunk it up” today at Pocono Raceway as he was easily the dominant car in the Pennsylvania 507.5. After leading 110 of the first 121 circuits, and falling back after a poor pit stop, Busch took the lead for the final time on lap 183 to record his second victory of the season (he won at Phoenix in April). This was win #13 for Busch in NEXTEL Cup (he’s tied for 45th on the all-time win list with Dick Rathman and Tim Richmond) and was worth $261,275 from the almost $4.8M in posted awards. Till we came here last month Roush Racing had never won on this triangle, now they’ve got a sweep. This was win #83 for Cactus Jack.
    We did better with tires today, but if you were keeping score at home, I counted 3 Left Fronts, 2 Right Fronts, and 2 Left Rears. Everything is relative, after all.
    Rusty Wallace (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Martinsville in April of 2004.
    Ryan Newman (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Lowe’s in May.
    Kevin Harvick (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond in May.
    Mike Bliss (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond last September. His Top-10 gives us 38 drivers at that level this season….last year we had 39.
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    Rusty Wallace has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: A new name at the top this week as Mike Garvey (34th) is the highest finishing freshman. He was followed by Travis Kvapil (38th) and Kyle Busch (39th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is Carl Edwards (+37), followed by Mike Bliss (+25), Elliott Sadler (+23), and Casey Mears (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper is a lonely Jeff Burton (-20). These are the first awards for both Edwards and Burton in a quiet “Shaft” this week.
    P. J. Jones led today for the first time since he led a lap here in June of 2004. He’s the 45th driver to lead a lap this season…..last year we had 50 of ’em.
    We’ve got a new second place driver in the points this week as Tony Stewart is now 66 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. The Top-10 are still the only drivers eligible for the “Chase”, and we lopped another two drivers off the possible list as everybody from 38th on down is now mathematically eliminated. Joe Nemechek (18th to 16th) and Casey Mears (27th to 25th) were the only drivers to move multiple positions this week (in the Top-40). No driver fell more than a single spot.(Stock Car Fans)(7-24-2005)

    News from July 23, 2005

  • Ganassi Racing to pick up McMurray’s option UPDATE 2 more: from a Q&A at USA Today:
    Q.) Will Chip Ganassi’s team let Jamie McMurray out of his contract for next season?
    A:) No. Team co-owner Felix Sabates said Thursday that the team would pick up its option on McMurray’s contract for next season and expected him to honor it. “There never was any question on our part,” Sabates said. Sabates said McMurray would remain in the No. 42 car with sponsorship from Havoline next year. Ganassi hasn’t announced its full driver lineup for next season; Casey Mears’ fate is still up in the air, and the team might expand to four cars in an attempt to keep up with the Roush and Hendrick superteams. “We’ve talked about it, but right now we don’t have anything in concrete,” Sabates said.(USA Today)(7-22-2005)
    UPDATE: It looks more and more like Mark Martin will be back in the #6-car next season. When car owner Felix Sabatas told USA Today the team would pick up its option on Jamie McMurray’s contract for 2006 Mark Martin’s reaction was “That’s what I would do if I was them. You know Jamie is probably the most sought after driver in the cup garage…we’re fortunate enough to have him signed up for ’07…that’s where we’re at…we’ll see what happens and if it’s ’07 then it’s ’07 and I’ll drive the car” in ’06.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-22-2005)

    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing has exercised the option in Jamie McMurray’s contract that will keep McMurray in the No. 42 Dodge for the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season, a team source said Friday. “The option for Jamie is exercised,” said Tyler Epp, Ganassi team manager. “Unless something tragic happens, he will be in the #42 next year driving for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.” Sources close to McMurray said Friday that he is unhappy with the decision, and that McMurray is legally unable to discuss the matter at this time. Mark Martin, whom McMurray will replace in the No. 6 Ford in 2007, isn’t ready to completely accept the viability of the team’s stance. Are you going to take and say that is concrete, or take that and say that’s what they say today?” Martin said. “I’ve been given indication he’ll be at Chip’s next year. It’s Chip’s option. There’s been no indication otherwise. That’s not new news. That’s exactly what Chip said when Jamie told him what he was going to do.”(NASCAR.com)(7-23-2005)

  • Stremme and Sorenson test Cup car at Gateway UPDATE: Both David Stremme and Reed Sorenson tested the #39 Ganassi Dodge Cup car at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis on Tuesday. Stremme in the morning, Sorenson in the afternoon. Not much was said. Sorenson said he didn’t know what was going to happen next year, whether he would be in Busch or Cup. He also said he wasn’t sure if he would drive a Cup car this season. He said being at Gateway killed two birds with one stone: He was getting seat time in a Cup car and he was getting some laps at Gateway, a track he’s never run before.(590 The Fan, KFNS/Brandon W. Mudd)(7-22-2005)
    UPDATE: Tyler Epp, Ganassi team manager, addressed the team’s future plans for Busch Series driver Reed Sorenson, whom some have speculated was already signed to drive the #41 Target Dodge in 2006. Epp discounted the notion, and said unequivocally that Sorenson would once again drive the Ganassi Busch Series car next season. “Reed Sorenson will be in the No. 41 [Busch Series] Dodge in 2006,” Epp said. “[The Cup speculation] are all rumors. Certainly we’re really happy with his development. He’s developed really quickly. If we have an opportunity to put him in a Cup car that we think is beneficial that’s not going to push him too much and still allow him to run the full Busch schedule, certainly that’s something we’ll look at at that point. But we don’t have that capability right now.”(NASCAR.com)(7-23-2005)
  • Home Depot announces community initiative: With the physical activity of children on the decline, The Home Depot, sponsor for last weeks Cup race winner, Tony Stewart, and the national nonprofit organization KaBOOM!, announced an unprecedented community initiative to create and refurbish 1,000 playspaces in 1,000 days throughout North America. Over the next three years, The Home Depot will invest $25 million and nearly 1 million volunteer hours in support of this program, which is expected to benefit 1.5 million parents and children. Communities interested in bringing a new playspace to their area can visit www.kaboom.org for program details.(7-23-2005)
  • McClynn Racing beefing up stable, sponsors on the way: Raynard McGlynn, owner of the #00 Chevy [sometimes Dodge] ran by Carl Long, was in high spirits Friday afternoon, and obviously much happier than six weeks ago at Pocono Raceway. “We think we can get in no problem,” McGlynn said on the eve of today’s qualifying for tomorrow’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Pennsylvania 500. Back in June, hopes for the Hanover Township team [PA] were dashed when driver Carl Long wrecked in practice for the Pocono 500. The team went back to the shop on the Sans Souci Highway to prepare a backup car, but that plan went awry and the team was forced to withdraw before qualifying. “It was a Dodge and the oil pan wouldn’t work in the car,” McGlynn said. “It was either cut the chassis and ruin a car to get back or say enough is enough.”
    Much has changed in six weeks. McGlynn Motorsports has increased its stable of cars to nine with the purchase of four Dodges from Roger Penske and a Chevrolet from Bill Davis, both longtime NASCAR owners. The team also built a Dodge and is having a Chevrolet assembled. Plus, sponsorship deals are coming together. Champion Builders and Sundance Vacations are aboard this weekend. “We have a major deal kicking,” McGlynn said. “As a matter of fact, I have to fly to Atlanta next week. We have some meetings with Carloans.com. It’s a deal; I just have to finish up on it a little bit.” Should Long qualify for the Pennsylvania 500, it will be the first time this season the team has made three consecutive races. Thus far, the team has made six of the 12 races it attended. He was 42nd fastest among 47 drivers in the second practice Friday. Long just needs to be faster today than four of the other 11 drivers who need to make tomorrow’s race based on their qualifying speed. The good news is that five of those drivers were slower in the final practice. If Long accomplishes that, McGlynn said the team will continue to grow. “It’s a business, but there’s a lot of luck involved,” McGlynn said. “All you have to do is get tied up with the right people, then the right people will bring more sponsorship. That’s what is happening. It’s starting to snowball now.”(Times Leader), see images of the #00 on my #00 Team Schemes page.(7-23-2005)
  • Earnhardt leads INHOF candidates vote: With Dale Earnhardt leading the way, NASCAR candidates dominated first round voting for the Class of 2006 at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. This was a switch from the previous two years when stockcar legends managed to grab only three of the ten spots available. Following Earnhardt, who had one of the highest vote totals ever, NASCAR-related candidates took the first six spots, eight of the top ten places, and 12 of the 22 total finalists. There were 22 candidates instead of 20 because of a three-way tie for 20th. Earnhardt’s NASCAR peers include, in alphabetical order, Red Byron, Jerry Cook, Harry Gant, Ray Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Cotton Owens, Les Richter, Jack Roush, Ralph Seagraves, Humpy Wheeler and Rex White. The non-NASCAR contingent is equally talented, and is likely to grab some spots in the final group of five inductees as well. Other finalists include Indy Car standouts J. C. A-gajanian and Pete DePaolo, Formula 1 star Rene Dreyfus, sports car drivers Gene Felton, Janet Guthrie and Brian Redman, sprint car legends Tommy Hinnershitz and Jan Opperman, drag racing’s Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins and motorcycle champion Wayne Rainey. Ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed to the voting panel next week. The announcement of the Class of 2005 will be made on Wednesday, Nov. 2nd.
    The date of the 2006 Induction Ceremony will be Thursday night, April 27th. It will be in the Speed Channel Dome at the Hall of Fame, and will be a black tie affair with a sit-down dinner and receptions both before and after. Tickets are $125 each, or $1,000 for a table of eight. For more information, please call 256/362-5002.(IMHOF PR)(7-23-2005)
  • Martin’s special orange/white scheme at Phoenix instead: RacingOne is hearing that #6-Mark Martin will conclude his “Salute to You” tour [should it still be called that?] at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his standard Viagra paint scheme. The special 1981 orange and white paint scheme that Mark was originally slated to run at Homestead will now run at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. This car will resemble the same car he made his first Cup Series start in. The switch was said to be made because of a scheduling change from Martin’s sponsor Pfizer.(RacingOne), see the image of the car on my #6 Team Schemes page.(7-23-2005)
  • McMurray wins pole at Pocono: #42-Jamie McMurray celebrated his option pickup by owner Chip Ganassi by winning the pole for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The pole is McMurray’s first of 2005 and 2nd of his career and puts him in the 2006 Budweiser Shootout [in either the #42 or the #6]. McMurray’s last [and only] pole came at Homestead in November 2003, 55 races ago, he finished 9th. The rest of the top 5 are: #97-Kurt Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #12-Ryan Newman and #21-Ricky Rudd. #20-Tony Stewart has the highest starting Chevy at 6th. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 9th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts in the back, 38th. #99-Bobby Gerhart qualified the car for Carl Edwards 41st, so Edwards won’t have to fall back to far on Sunday. #27-Kirk Shelmerdine makes his first race of the year. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the best of the non top-35 teams and will start 27th. Missing the race are: #89-Morgan Shepherd, #92-Hermie Sadler, #00-Carl Long and #52-Derrike Cope. Looks like only two drivers were faster on their 2nd laps: #92-Sadler [up a tad, #9-Kahne [up 3.6mph]. #52-Cope spun and hit the turn 2 wall on first lap, then drove on and then hit the turn 3 wall hard, Cope walked away ok. #15-Waltrip scrubbed the wall in turn 2, but still turned in a good lap. #00-Long got loose, spun and smacked the wall in turn 1 on his first lap and drove it to the garage. #41-Mears spun off turn 3 on his first qualifying lap but didn’t hit anything and took the car to the garage.
    For practice speeds, pole progresson, qualifying speeds, starting lineup and links, see Jayski’s Pocono Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(7-23-2005)
  • Qualifying Nugget:There have been 18 different Bud Pole winners in the last 19 races at Pocono Raceway counting this weeks race with McMurray winning the pole. Qualifying was rained out in the 2002 Pocono 500.(7-23-2005)
  • Pocono Qualifying Notes:
    • Jamie McMurray won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 53.330 seconds at 168.761 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph, set June 11, 2004.
    • There have been 18 different Bud Pole winners in the 19 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Pocono since June 1996. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002.
    • This is McMurray’s second career Bud Pole in 98 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. It is his third top-10 start this season. His previous best start this season was fourth here at Pocono in June. This is the third top-10 start in six races at Pocono for McMurray.
    • McMurray became the 13th different Bud Pole winner this season.
    • Kurt Busch posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.402 seconds, 168.533 mph – and will join McMurray on the front row for the Pennsylvania 500. This is fifth top-10 start, including three straight top-threes, in 10 Pocono races for Busch. It is his 10th top-10 start this season.
    • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005 and breaks a streak of four consecutive Chevrolet Bud Poles this season. Four of the last five Pocono Bud Poles have been won by Dodge, each with a different driver. Chevrolet has nine Bud Poles and Ford has two this season. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June.
    • Mark Martin (third) has posted 28 top-10 starts in his 38 races at Pocono. It is only his second top-10 start this season.
    • Ryan Newman (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 start in his eight races at Pocono, but this is his first since 2003. It is his 17th top-10 start this season
    • Ricky Rudd (fifth) posted his 26th top-10 start in 53 races at Pocono, but his first since 2002. This is his fourth top-10 start this season.
    • Only six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Pocono have ever been won from a starting position worse than 15th, most recently by Carl Edwards who won this year’s Pocono 500 from 29th, the farthest back that a race winner at Pocono has started.
    • In 23 years of twice-a-year NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Pocono since 1982, a sweep has occurred only five times: Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1985), Tim Richmond (1986), Bobby Labonte (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2004).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-23-2005)
  • Ramblings – Pocono:
    Jamie McMurray took the Bud Pole today at Pocono Raceway for tomorrow’s Pennsylvania 500 with a time of 53.330 (168.761 mph) in what can only be considered an upset. With Rocket Ryan Newman being the quickest in both practices yesterday, for him to fall to fourth was a bit of a shocker. Getting loose in turn three’ll do that, tho. This is McMurray’s second career pole (he won his first at Homestead in November of 2003), and he becomes the 13th different pole winner of the season.
    All kindsa action today. Casey Mears spun it off three (but kept it off the wall) so they’ll change an engine. Carl Long put it in the wall in turn one and Derrike Cope hit hard in turn three. No racing for those two this weekend as they were on the “go or go home” list.
    Kurt Busch will start on the outside of the front row….the same place he started when we were here last month.
    Ricky Rudd (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Texas last April.
    Ken Schrader (12th) has his best starting spot since he started 11th at Martinsville in April.
    Mike Wallace (31st) has his best starting spot since he timed in 30th at Richmond in May.
    Mike Garvey (32nd) has his career-best starting position this week….he started 33rd last week at Loudon.
    Kirk Shelmerdine (43rd) makes his first start of the season this week after 9 dnq’s). His last Cup race was at Darlington last November.
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races..(Stock Car Fans)(7-23-2005)

    News from July 22, 2005

  • Arnold sells truck team interest to Germain, back to Cup: Saying he’s sold his interest in the Germain-Arnold Racing Craftsman Truck Series [#9, #30] team, Don Arnold confirmed he’s once again focusing on going Nextel Cup Series racing [#50 team]. “I just wanted to concentrate on Cup,” Arnold said from his new 40,000 square-foot shop located in Mooresville, N.C. “I hope within the next week to announce a Cup sponsorship deal for the rest of the 2005 season and all of 2006.” Arnold said veteran driver Jimmy Spencer would remain at the wheel of the #50 Arnold Motorsports machine. He added that the new sponsor officially would be unveiled the first week of August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — just in time for the team’s qualifying effort for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Spencer was among those testing at Indianapolis on July 5 in the Arnold Motorsports Dodge. But he crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team had taken to the speedway. “We were good, but we crashed,” Arnold said. “We’re in the process of building three new cars right now.” Spencer has driven the #50 car in only three Nextel Cup Series races so far in 2005. He qualified 22nd and finished 29th in the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta. The next week at Bristol, he qualified 29th for the Food City 500 and finished 21st. In the Coca-Cola 600 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte on May 29, Spencer had a notable 17th-place spot on the starting grid, only to finish 42nd after getting tangled up in a three-car accident and retiring to the garage after 98 official laps. Spencer, who drives full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series and also appears regularly on SPEED Channel racing programs [NASCAR This Morning and Victory Lane]. Arnold ran his first full season in the Cup series in 2004, with Derrike Cope at the wheel the first 12 races. Before the year was out, Mike Wallace, P.J. Jones and Todd Bodine all got shots in the driver’s seat. With Arnold now set up in the larger Mooresville facility, the truck team continues to lease the shop located in Concord.(Naples Daily News)(7-22-2005)
  • Home Depot wants customers to climb too: In wheeling his #20 Home Depot Chevrolet to three wins in the last four races, Tony Stewart has taken The Home Depot’s do-it-yourself mantra to new heights. The 2002 series champion is chasing a second title, and his front-running ways have allowed him to climb from 10th to third in the championship point standings. But Stewart isn’t just figuratively climbing, he’s doing it literally.
    And while there isn’t a ladder with a red flag hanging from the trunk of his Home Depot Chevrolet, there could be for consumers who read USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, the New Hampshire Union Leader or the Pocono (Pa.) Record. Ladders and all sorts of fences are 10 percent off Thursday through Sunday, only at The Home Depot. Just clip the coupon from the ads featured in the aforementioned publications and present it at purchase. Be sure to thank Stewart.
    The 22-time Nextel Cup race winner started climbing fences with a dominating victory earlier this month at Daytona (Fla.), where after leading all but nine of the race’s 160 laps, he scaled the fencing along the track’s front straightaway to retrieve the checkered flag. And when Stewart won again last Sunday at New Hampshire, he parked his Home Depot Chevrolet at the start/finish line, pointed to the flag stand and climbed the fencing as if it were a cargo net.
    That prompted Stewart’s longtime sponsor – The Home Depot – to run a series of print ads featuring its driver’s climbing prowess to proclaim, “Hey Tony, we have ladders,” and offer its 10 percent discount. “I’m not sure if my contract has any sales incentives in it,” said Stewart, “but if climbing some fences sells more ladders and fences at Home Depot, they better stock up, because I plan on climbing a bunch more before the season is over.”(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed)(7-22-2005)
  • Dave in? Alan Out? UPDATE: hearing that long time Inside Nextel Cup host [Speed Channel. Monday’s at 8:00pm/et] Allen Bestwick will leave the show sometime within the next month and Wind Tunnel’s Dave Despain will assume host duties of the new look show. And as reported on June 28th, hearing Kevin Harvick will become a expert panelist on the show.(7-11-2005)
    UPDATE: from an interview with Speed Channel’s at the The Spin Out Zone (SOZ):
    SOZ: Fans who watch SPEED Channel’s “Inside NEXTEL Cup” will soon see a host change. Allen Bestwick mentioned on Monday’s show that he would be leaving the program. Could you tell us why the change, who will host the “Inside NEXTEL Cup” program and should fans expect changes to the expert driver panel?
    SC: A lot of thought went into changing the longest running NASCAR show on the network. There is a certain audience comfort level with the current cast and many viewers feel like they are just hanging out with friends when they watch INC. The changes being made are aimed at taking a little more control of the show and giving the viewers a true “inside” look at the weekend’s race. Dave [Despain] will replace Allen for the Chase and Johnny will be replaced by a driver currently racing in Cup. Mikey and Kenny both stay on. The feeling with switching hosts was to get a personality that could keep the show a little more focused on the purpose at hand without letting it ramble off too far from the point. There has been some “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comments, but we thought we could give the viewer a little more than they were getting. NASCAR fans are notorious for being against change of any kind, so we’ll have to wait and see if they hang in there with the new lineup … my bet is most will like it.
    SOZ: Same assessment for “Wind Tunnel.” The change in the format took place at the beginning of the racing season. It went from a Monday-Thursday program in 2004 to an extended version aired only on Sunday nights in 2005.
    SC: Ratings have been about the same, but I think we are expecting a lot of the race fans to start their day at 11 a.m. with NASCAR this Morning, watch the races, watch Victory Lane, watch Speed News and still have energy or time left for Dave … Wind Tunnel, more than any show, defines the network and the addition of a weekday edition of the Tunnel is not out of the question.(The Spin Out Zone (SOZ))(7-22-2005)
  • Robby partners with Perfect Water: Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) has announced a business partnership with Electric Aquagenics Unlimited, Inc.. As part of the relationship, EAU, producer of Perfect Empowered Drinking Water (Perfect water), will become the exclusive provider of bottled water for the Robby Gordon Motorsports team throughout the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Season. Because of the healthy infusion of Aquagen, EAU’s proprietary formula that molecularly binds oxygen with sodium molecules and suspends it in distilled water, and Perfect water’s unique process, EAU believes that Perfect water has the ability to hydrate more thoroughly and oxygenate the body like no other water available. Perfect water is currently selling at Harmon’s grocery stores, the largest, fully independent grocery chain in the Rocky Mountain Area, and will soon be available for purchase at other premier health and grocery stores throughout the United States. In the meantime, Perfect water is available for purchase online by visiting drinkperfectwater.com. In addition to drinking Perfect water, RGM will carry Perfect water logos on its coolers and team transporter, and include Perfect water as a team partner on its website. For more information or to order Perfect water, visit drinkperfectwater.com. Electric Aquagenics Unlimited (EAU) is a supplier of technologies with numerous applications targeting a wide array of industries. For more information, visit www.eau-x.com.(RGM)(7-22-2005)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 17, Dale S. of Wilson, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. James picked Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Kurt Busch. This is the fifth time this year that a donation in Busch’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor PR)(7-22-2005)
  • Award for McMurray: #42-Jamie McMurray received an achievement award from the Autism Society of America recognizing his commitment to raising autism awareness. The award was presented to him at the Autism Society of America’s 36th Annual National Conference and Exposition on July 14th in Nashville, Tenn.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(7-22-2005)

    News from July 21, 2005

  • Waltrip to the #11? before end of the season? Motorsport.com is reporting: Speculation has arisen that Michael Waltrip may vacate his seat in the #15 DEI Chevy prior to the end of the 2005 season. Rumors are swirling around the garage that Waltrip has been offered to drive the No. 11 Chevy at Joe Gibbs Racing for the last ten races of the season and next year. Both teams have denied the report.(Motorsport.com)(7-22-2005)
  • 2006 Monte Carlo: images of the street version of the 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo and going from the headlight decals, looks like the #8 2006 Monte Carlo nose, see more on my Chevy News page.(7-21-2005)
  • Former Crew Chief third in fishing tourney: Former NASCAR crew chief Mike Hill was part of a scoring team last weekend in the Midlands Striper Club/Hydro Glow Fish Lights Tournament on Lake Murray. Hill, who lives in Ronda and works at Evernham Motorsports in Statesville, teamed with his brother, Allen, to place third with 341/4 pounds in the night tournament. The Hills had the event’s largest single striper, which weighed 15 pounds, 15 ounces. Tournament proceeds help the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ striper stocking program.(Charlotte Observer/Tom Higgins)(7-21-2005)
  • Johnson to a back up, not a tire: #48-Jimmie Johnson quotes regarding Friday practice accident at Pocono Raceway, Johnson crashed in Turn 1 during Friday’s first practice session.
    Well, I just got loose into Turn 1, spun out and tore up the race car. If there’s a time to have it happen, now is the time. There’s a long break before the second practice. We’ll take it from there. Just trying hard and got loose. One of those deals.
    Everybody’s asked. It was a really soft impact from my spot, so I guess everything crushed around me like it needed to. Everything’s fine.
    No. I knew when I turned off into the corner that I was loose and as I started cycling through the bumps it just kept coming around. At that point you just kind of drop your head and hold on.(GM Racing PR)(7-22-2005)
  • Edwards to run at Pocono and Pikes Peak..with help from Kimmel [now Gerhart] and Parker UPDATE: It was just six short weeks ago that #99-Carl Edwards brought home his second career win in the series at Pocono Raceway. It was Edwards’ first trip to the 2.5-mile track. Not only did Edwards pick up Jack Roush’s first victory as a car owner at the track, his 29th starting position marked the furthest back anyone had started and won a race there. Edwards was also only the second driver to win at the tri-oval in his first career start at the track. The first was Richard Petty in 1974 when he won the inaugural Cup event there. Similar to the Pocono race earlier this year, Edwards will fly between two states in order to make both the Busch and Cup races. Edwards will spend Friday in Pocono practicing the #99 Office Depot Ford then he will depart for Colorado Springs, CO where he will start the #60 Charter Ford in the Busch race on Saturday at Pikes Peak International Raceway. For Saturday’s Cup qualifying session, six-time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel will substitute for Edwards. Kimmel has 50 career victories to his name and has starts in the Cup, Busch and Truck Series. Kimmel will attempt to qualify the #99 Office Depot Ford per NASCAR’s rules but Edwards will return to start Sunday’s 500-mile race. Because of the driver switch, Edwards will have to start at the back of the field but Kimmel’s qualifying position is important as it determines where the team will pick their pit stall for Sunday’s race. Hank Parker, Jr. will practice and qualify the #60-Busch Series car for Edwards on Friday, who will have to be in Pocono, Penn. tending to his #99 Office Depot Cup car. Parker has been on hand to help the #60 Charter team already this season, when rain at Nashville postponed the Saturday race until Sunday, forcing Edwards to hop on a plane for the first NEXTEL Cup race in Pocono. Parker filled his seat, and brought the Charter Communications Ford home with a solid 20th-place finish while Edwards drove to his second-career NEXTEL Cup win in Pennsylvania.(Roush Racing)(7-20-2005)
    UPDATE: Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live reports that ARCA driver Bobby Gerhart will qualifying the #99 Ford in Saturday’s qualifying at Pocono.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live) Defending and six-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel was originally scheduled to relieve Edwards of his qualifying duties, but will be unable to do so since he did not fit into Edwards’ custom-fitted driver’s seat.(ARCA Racing site)(7-22-2005)
  • Reese’s and Harvick at Bristol: #29-Kevin Harvick will run a Reese’s Big Cup / GM Goodwrench scheme in the SHaroies 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. See an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes pages.(7-21-2005)
  • Ford Fusion ready to test: NASCAR and Team Ford Racing will get their first on-track look at the new Fusion in two weeks in a team effort. Wood Brothers Racing [#21] will run a prototype with former Nextel Cup champion #88-Dale Jarrett of Robert Yates Racing testing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 2. The 1.5-mile track south of Atlanta is available despite almost $40 million in property damage from a recent tornado. “As of right now [the Sunday morning of the recent New England 300 at Loudon, N. H.], we’re still planning to test the new Ford and the new Chevrolet that day,” said Robin Pemberton, a former crew chief and Ford Racing official, and now NASCAR’s vice-president for competition. “They were hit pretty hard, but they’re cleaning up and making progress.” With small variations, it will go something like this: The Chevy and Ford haulers will arrive at AMS early in the morning. The team that tests first—that hasn’t been determined—will wait for the other team to leave the premises before unloading and testing. Once its test is done, NASCAR officials will accompany the car to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta. The second car won’t be unloaded and tested until the other car is off the premises. Once its on-track test is completed, officials will accompany the second car to the wind tunnel at Marietta [GA]. “Mainly, we want to compare the cars’ performances to each other on the track and in the wind tunnel,” Pemberton said. “We have target numbers for what downforce and drag numbers we expect in the tunnel, and what speeds we expect on the track. But there’s no reason to think either car won’t be approved. Everybody’s so tuned into what it takes for approval. The teams and engineers know the aerodynamic numbers, so the tests are to cover our bases. They’re just to verify that the cars are what we expect. It’ll be a neat and orderly process. The teams will get the go-ahead within a few weeks to start building new cars.”(Ford Racing)(7-21-2005)
  • Update on the injured #31 Jackman: It’s been difficult for Josh Yost to find his place at the racetrack following a pit road accident May 1 at Talladega Superspeedway. A man who’s comfortable being inches away from speeding cars and teammates working at a frantic, yet precise, pace now feels awkward as he inches along with a bulky cast following reconstructive surgery on his ankle. Yost was struck by Rusty Wallace’s #2 car during the race at what most drivers feel is the widest, safest pit road in all of NASCAR. It will take a year of rehabilitation before Yost can return to his work as #31-Jeff Burton’s jackman, but for now, all he can do is sit around and offer moral support to his teammates – sometimes by simply being in the way. “It’s a matter of inches every time you’re out there,” Yost said. “It’s amazing it doesn’t happen more often.” Yost said fans don’t know about most of the problems for the over-the-wall crewmen because they often continue their work after being knocked down. Despite a serious injury that will take a year to heal, Yost said he plans to be back on the jack next year. “It broke my fibia, kind of crushed it. The side skirt cut through the back of my heel, through all the tendons and ligaments and joint capsule and came out through the front of my foot,” he said. “It basically looked like you de-boned a ham.” During his rehabilitation, Yost only comes to the racetrack when NASCAR is close to his home near Welcome, N.C. “I’ll be back,” he said. “I’m not worried, I’m not scared. I like being close to the action.”(Augusta Chronicle)(7-21-2005)
  • Rusty talks about the future: Brandon Mudd of 590 the Fan KFNS in St. Louis spoke to Rusty Wallace who was at Gateway International Raceway testing his #64 Busch Series car Tuesday in preparation for the Wallace Family Tribute 250 on July 30th. When asked who was taking his place in his #2 Cup car, he said there have been a lot of applicants, but not too many worth looking at. “We don’t have a clue as to who’s going in that 2 car next year. We’ve got a lot of guys wanting to, but Mr. Penske hasn’t made a decision yet. The guys that are wanting to aren’t really guys who have won races and there are a lot of guys who really want to get in a good car, but haven’t had the experience yet. You have to weigh if you’re willing to put a guy in the car who doesn’t have the talent you need to have right now and teach him and waste two or three years. I’m afraid the Miller Brewing Company is not in the mood for that. I think they want a guy who’s going to get in it and roll right now, someone who can win. That’s who Roger’s looking for.” Rusty also said his son, Stephen, will race a limited schedule in the RWI Racing #64 Dodge in the Busch Series next season and will race under the RWI Racing banner at Michigan in the ARCA series later this season.(590 The Fan, KFNS.com)(7-21-2005)
  • New TV Gig for Burton: Each Saturday for the remainder of the 2005 season, #31-Jeff Burton will join host Steve Byrnes from the track on NASCAR Live! as they conduct interviews, profile the competition and handicap the weekend. Direct from each week’s Nextel Cup venue, the SPEED Channel stage truck is powered up for informative and lively pre and post-race coverage of the weekend’s activities. For additional information on the program or to find the location of the SPEED stage at the track, visit www.speedtv.com.(RCR PR)(7-21-2005)

    News from July 20, 2005

  • Marlin to the #0? MORE and Mikey? now hearing Sterling Marlin’s new gig in 2006 could be the the #0 Haas CNC Racing team. No Mikey?
    AND hearing Haas CNC Racing, who is moving soon to a much larger building in Kannapolis, NC, may expand to a two-car team, with Waltrip driving the #00 Chevy and NAPA as the sponsor.(7-20-2005)
  • Congrats: Hayden Philip Wimmer was born July 19th at 5:52pm to #22 driver Scott Wimmer and wife Jody. Baby and Jody are doing fine. Hayden was 8lbs, 6oz and 21 inches long.(7-20-2005)
  • Congats: [alot of baby announcements] Audra Lucille Nottestad was born July 12th to Justin Nottestad, wife Julie and Big Brother Sam. She was 6lbs 2oz and very beautiful. All are doing great. Justin is the Front tire changer and shop foreman of the #17.(7-20-2005)
  • #32 Crew Chief fined for New Hampshire Infraction: NASCAR announced today that Danny Gill, crew chief for the No. 32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has been fined $1,000 for an infraction discovered during opening day inspection at New Hampshire International Speedway last weekend. Gill was fined for a seat belt with an expired manufacturer’s date, a violation of Section 12-4-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 17-2-C (seat belts) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(7-20-2005)
  • New Nose ‘Lip’ for 2007: NASCAR officials are telling crew chiefs that there will be a new nose-lip for all Nextel Cup cars in 2007, perhaps earlier, a new nose valence that would be similar to Trans-Am noses and truck noses – with a lower aerodynamic lip, designed to force teams to limit the wheel-travel of race cars. The new rule would come in response to the radical wheel-travel that teams are using this season to drop the nose of the car and increase speed by literally dragging the nose on the pavement. Wheel-travel is believed to be one reason for the rash of tire problems, with tires taking a fearsome beating. “I think it’s a good rule, and they might do it next year,” #01 crew chief Ryan Pemberton said. “But it will (make) obsolete all the hundreds of thousands of dollars of expensive special springs each team now has. I’ve spent more on springs in the past year than I have in my entire career. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars of springs.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2005)
  • So..who is in the #15 in 2006? with Michael Waltrip and DEI spliting, and NAPA’s status with DEI or Waltrip up in the air, who, if anyone will be in the #15 Chevy? Does it go the way of the #1 team, as a part time team or a full-time gig? Been told that the plans are for DEI’s #11 Chevy Busch Series driver, Paul Menard, to run one more full season in the Busch Series and run up to 7 Cup races, it could be in the #15 or a 4th DEI team if the #15 runs full time as DEI plan to do.(7-20-2005)
  • Newman wrecks at Bristol: What was supposed to be a routine practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway instead nearly turned into a catastrophe for NASCAR driver Ryan Newman arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday hoping to get in some practice with his #39 Busch car, but his day came to an abrupt end. Only a few laps into the session, Newman hit the wall outside of turn four. Emergency personnel and Newman’s team were on hand almost immediately to assess the damage. The right front fender and the right front tire were worse for wear. Newman got out of the car under his own power, but was obviously concerned with what went wrong. 6 Sports tried to talk to Newman after the crash but he refused our questions. He did say that he was all right.(6 Sports – images of the car there)(7-20-2005)
  • Newman goes Mobil: Sunday’s race at Pocono will be the third time this season the #12 Dodge will have Mobil 1 as its primary sponsor. Mobil 1 was the primary at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where driver Ryan Newman earned his first pole of the season. Mobil 1 also sponsored the #12 NNCS Cup team and the #39 NASCAR Busch Series team at Chicagoland Speedway earlier this month.(Penske Racing), images of the car on my #12 Team Schemes page.(7-20-2005)
  • NFL Great Tim Brown to be team owner UPDATE: during his retirement announcement today on ESPNews, NFL receiving great, Tim Brown announced he will become a NASCAR team owner, didn’t say what series, but that he is working with Roush Racing, who will supply engines and chassis.(7-18-2005)
    UPDATE: Monday morning, a few miles west at the Oakland Airport Hilton and a couple of deep post patterns from Raiders headquarters, Brown announced he is retiring in part to become the [actually one of the] first African American owner of a NASCAR racing team, in addition to joining new NFL weekend shows on Fox Sports Net television and possibly Sirius Satellite Radio. Brown said he has accepted an offer to create Tim Brown Racing from Roush Racing, an enterprise that has won NASCAR’s last two Winston Cup/Nextel Cup championships. Brown’s team will use Roush chassis and technology for cars that will begin NASCAR competition in 2006. “See, I even know what chassis are,” Brown joked. “If NASCAR is going to truly be America’s sport, everyone (from all races) has to be involved,” he said, adding he will be involved in promotions and securing sponsorships for his new team. Brown also will continue to be the national spokesman for a Long Beach-based children’s educational program, 9-1-1 for Kids. (Sacramento Bee), wonder if it will be #81?.(7-19-2005)
    AND there have been other African American owner’s, some sucessful, Wendell Scott, owned his own team, drove and won a race? Washington / Irving in the #50 Dr. Pepper Busch car and Sam Belnavis was part owner of the #54 National Guard car that Todd Bodine drove a few years ago [won a pole at Chicago], Belnavis is now with Roush Racing and would imagine he has something to to with Brown being with Roush. Just a few examples.(7-20-2005)
  • Cool stuff in Philly: The Franklin Institute [went there many times as a kid, since I was from South NJ], home to the world famous walk-through human heart [so cool], will offer visitors a glimpse into a heart-pounding sport tomorrow [July 21] when Racecar Day takes the green flag at the museum at 222 N. 20th St. in Center City. In partnership with Comcast SportsNet, the Franklin Institute has lined up a number of special attractions in addition to its usual blend of interactive science exhibits. The first 200 visitors will receive goody bags, one fan will win a VIP trip for four to Pocono Raceway this weekend, and there will be giveaways from other Philadelphia-area tracks and a tire-changing competition for novice pit-crew members. Minority involvement in motorsports will be examined through a presentation by the Philadelphia-based Urban Youth Racing School, with a special appearance by Bill Lester, the only African American driver competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the #22 Toyota Tundra. Robby Gordon, driver and team owner of the 7 Chevrolet on the Nextel Cup circuit, is also scheduled to be on hand tomorrow for a special presentation. In conjunction with the “drink smart” campaign of its sponsor, Jim Beam, Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $10,000 to fund alcohol education programs at Temple University. The Franklin Institute opens at 9:30 a.m. Racecar Day festivities will run from noon to 5 p.m. The regular admission price to the Institute is $13.75 for adults and $11 for children 4 through 11. There is no additional charge for the Raceday activities.(Philadelphia Inquirer)(7-20-2005)
  • Hamiltons 1-2 in final Indy test session: It was a family affair atop the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speed charts July 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the father-son tandem of Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Hamilton Jr. posted the top laps, respectively. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular [and 2004 Truck Series Champ] Bobby Hamilton topped the NEXTEL Cup Series regulars on the final day of testing for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7 with a lap of 183.905mph in the #04 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge. It was the fastest lap overall over six days of testing the last three weeks at the historic 2.5-mile oval. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was second fastest today at 182.576 in the #32 Tide Chevrolet, which he drives full time in the NEXTEL Cup Series. “We were actually up doing some chassis stuff for my truck and ended up running good,” Bobby Hamilton said. “Obviously, if everything goes right we’ve got time to paint the car and all. It’s an in-house car. We built it ourselves; we bought the chassis from PPI (Motorsports) and then put on our front and rear clips.” The top four today were faster than the previous fastest lap of the month, 181.963, by #16-Greg Biffle on July 11.
    Unofficial Speeds, Tuesday, July 19
    Rank) Car#-Driver, Speed (mph), Total Laps
    1.) #04-Bobby Hamilton, 183.905, 53
    2.) #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 182.576, 33
    3.) #91-Bill Elliott, 182.562, 60
    4.) #5-Kyle Busch, 182.450, 73
    5.) #1-Martin Truex Jr., 181.668, 73
    6.) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 181.494, 67
    7.) #6-Mark Martin, 180.760, 78
    8.) #23-Mike Skinner, 180.396, 30
    9.) #24-Jeff Gordon, 180.303, 65
    10.) #40-Sterling Marlin180.083, 84
    11.) #9-Kasey Kahne, 179.601, 107
    12.) #51-Stuart Kirby, 179.293, 15
    13.) #43-Jeff Green, 179.225, 33
    14.) #44-Terry Labonte, 178.683, 61
    15.) #20-Tony Stewart, 178.385, 82
    16.) #88-Dale Jarrett, 178.177, 101
    17.) #92-Tony Raines, 178.115, 18
    18.) #25-Brian Vickers, 177.502, 90
    Tickets: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activities get underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, Aug. 5. with Chevy Day at the Brickyard, a family-friendly event sponsored by Chevrolet, from 9 a.m.-noon (local time) in the east lot of the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield. Admission is included in the price of admission to the IMS grounds for the day’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activities, which is $10 per person and free for children ages 5 and younger. Activities will include appearances by Chevrolet-sponsored NASCAR drivers, interactive games, racing simulators, NASCAR race cars and live music. To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS PR)(7-20-2005)

    News from July 19, 2005

  • Kahne’s attorneys ask judge to throw out Ford’s suit: Attorneys for #9-Kasey Kahne asked a federal judge to throw out Ford’s breach-of-contract lawsuit against the NASCAR driver, one of his lawyers said Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland in Detroit was to hear arguments on the request Wednesday, attorney David Baum said from New York. Ford sued Kahne in Wayne County Circuit Court in July 2004, the county where the Michigan automaker is headquartered. The company claimed he signed a contract that obligated him to drive Fords for Robert Yates Racing and appear in promotional activities. But in October 2003, the suit alleged, Kahne bolted Ford and joined a Dodge team owned by Ray Evernham. The lawsuit was transferred to federal court shortly after it was filed because the parties are from different states, Baum said. Kahne lives in Huntersville, N.C. Ford has called the suit “unfortunate,” and said it believes in honoring contracts. NASCAR views its teams as independents and drivers as contracted workers hired by each team. Disputes are worked out among each other, with NASCAR having no influence in the results.(ESPN.com/AP)(7-19-2005)
  • Claification of Labonte/Gibbs Racing rumors: See all the rumors [a bunch] on my #18 Team News and Links page. Some updates to claify some of those rumors:
    1. Joe Gibbs Racing is not planning a sports car team for 2006 and while Bobby Labonte enjoys the Rolex races, he is still a full-time Cup driver and is signed with JGR through 2008.
    2. Interstate Batteries will be back on the #18 Chevy in 2006, as they have been since 1992, one of the longest running primary sponsors/team relationships in NASCAR.
    3. And, as pointed out through various articles and in Bobby Labonte’s comments. The rumors are untrue and that’s about all that can be said.(JGR team spokesman)(7-19-2005)
  • Kasey doing some more ads: Kasey Kahne, the driver of Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will be featured in two ad campaigns that the Allstate insurance company is preparing to launch, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The first ad is scheduled to air on TNT during Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, and the second will start running during NBC’s airing of the Aug. 7 Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Allstate isn’t disclosing how much the campaigns cost or how much is being spent on placement of the ads, the story says.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-19-2005)
  • NASCAR hires former NFL marketing executive: NASCAR has announced the hiring of former NFL executive Scott Phelps as its vice president of corporate marketing. Phelps, 42, will succeed Brett Yormark, who left to become chief executive officer of the New Jersey Nets. Phelps, who was vice president of corporate sponsorship at the NFL before leaving 13 months ago, is scheduled to start his new position in NASCAR’s New York office on Aug. 8. NASCAR also announced the promotion of Roger VanDerSnick from director of brand and consumer marketing to vice president, marketing.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-19-2005)
  • Mears to stay at Ganassi? UPDATE Sorenson in? #41-Casey Mears appears to be safe in Chip Ganassi’s Dodges for another season, according to sources familiar with the situation. Mears has been anxiously awaiting official word from Ganassi about his future. Word that rival team owner Roger Penske is interested in Mears as #2-Rusty Wallace’s replacement may be spurring Ganassi to exercise his option to keep Mears. Ganassi could expand to a four-car operation next season, with sponsorship available, although it’s unclear who Ganassi might have at the wheel.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
    UPDATE: Word is that Busch rookie sensation Reed Sorenson will get the nod for the #41 Dodge in 2006. Possibilities mentioned for Mears include the #2 at Penske Racing and the #10 at Evernham. There also has been the suggestion that he’ll drive Sorenson’s Busch car.(Sporting News)(7-19-2005)
  • Skinner paces week 3, day 1 of testing at Indy: Mike Skinner put his #23 History Channel AutoManiac Dodge atop the speed charts in private NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 18 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a lap of 180.692 mph. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was second fastest in the #32 Tide Chevrolet at 179.565, and Martin Truex Jr. was third in the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet at 179.460. This is the third consecutive, and final, week of testing at Indianapolis in preparation for the 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not practice in the morning but turned 27 laps in the afternoon, turning a fast lap of 176.470 in the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Earnhardt said the team plans to complete a full day of testing on July 19, the final day of pre-Allstate 400 at the Brickyard private testing.
    The drivers who tested Monday are scheduled to be joined by four-time race winner Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, a resident of Columbus, Ind., and winner of three of the last four NEXTEL Cup Series events.
    Fans are welcome to watch testing July 19 from the South Terrace grandstands, located in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission is free.
    Unofficial Speeds, Monday, July 18
    Rank) Car#-Driver, Speed (mph), Total Laps
    1.) #23-Mike Skinner, 180.692, 57
    2.) #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 179.565, 40
    3.) #1-Martin Truex Jr., 179.460, 90
    4.) #5-Kyle Busch, 178.874, 59
    5.) #04-Bobby Hamilton, 178.690, 25 [no word on what team this is]
    6.) #6-Mark Martin, 178.580, 137
    7.) #9-Kasey Kahne, 178.537, 113
    8.) #40-Sterling Marlin, 178.495, 76
    9.) #44-Terry Labonte, 178.341, 53
    10.) #91-Bill Elliott, 178.304, 76
    11.) #43-Jeff Green, 178.054, 51
    12.) #88-Dale Jarrett, 177.703, 101
    13.) #51-Stuart Kirby, 177.527, 59
    14.) #25-Brian Vickers, 177.384, 65
    15.) #22-Scott Wimmer, 176.918, 75
    16.) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 176.470, 27
    17.) #92-Tony Raines, 174.518, 30
    Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS PR)(7-19-2005)
  • Driver killed at Arkansas track: A modified auto racer was killed when the driveshaft of his car came through the vehicle and struck him, the county coroner said Monday. Tim Phillips, 35 of Fayetteville, died Friday night following the crash at the North Central Arkansas Speedway. Marion County Coroner Dan Duren said Phillips’ death appeared to be an accident. Phillips was driving in the preliminary modified feature and was in fifth place at the time of the wreck. Spokeswoman Mary Jane Erwin, who owns the track with family members, said Phillips sustained head injuries in what she called a “freak accident.”
    “We were ready to cancel … not have it all,” Erwin said of Saturday night’s finals. “But I talked with the Phillips family, and they said they wanted the race to go on. So we changed the name of the race to the Tim Phillips Memorial in honor of him and his family.” The fatality was the first for the North Central Arkansas Speedway, which opened in 1989. It was also the first Arkansas racetrack death since 1995 when a spectator was killed after being struck by a tire in the pits at the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock.(ESPN.com/AP)(7-19-2005)

    News from July 18, 2005

  • Holly leaves #32 team UPDATE 3 sabbatical over, Holly to #44 Busch team: hearing that #32 PPI Motorsports crew chief, Harold Holly has left the Tide team and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., been told Danny Gill will assume crew chief duties at Chicagoland Speedway.(7-5-2005)
    UPDATE: two Nashville, TN TV stations [NBC affiliate WSMV-TV and CBS affiliate WTVF-TV] reported and interviewed driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and he confirmed that Harold Holly has left the #32 car as crew chief. It was a mutual decision between Holly and #32 car owner Cal Wells. Holly wants to get back to Busch for less hectic schedule and it was time for a change. The new crew chief will be Danny Gill (Hamilton drove ARCA car with him as crew chief).(7-6-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Contrary to published reports, Harold Holly remains under contract with PPI Motorsports and is currently taking a sabbatical leave for several weeks. Filling in for Holly is Danny Gill.(PPI Motorsports)(7-6-2005)
    AND Call Wells told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio this morning that Harold Holly is still working for him but is on a several week sabbatical. “What’s Harold’s doing is he’s on a short sabbatical. He’s reviewing our performance challenges. He’s reviewing where we’re coming up short, what we need to evolve and to change,” Wells told CBL. Wells said they’ve hired Danny Gill to come in and straighten out the shop because the prouduct they have been delivering to the crew chief has not been of the quality that Wells said he’s been proud of in the past. Wells further said that Bobby Hamilton Sr. assisted in the hiring of Danny Gill to help square away things in the shop. Gill will cover things for the next couple of weeks as Harold delves into, “where our challenges are.” Wells says ” Harold’s going to come up with some thoughts and ideas and direction that is going to make us better.” Wells told CBL that he wanted to clairify that, “Harold Holly is still with PPI, that rumors to the contrary are inaccurate and that Harold is a good friend a confidant a supporter and I am a supporter of him.”(XM SatelliteNASCAR Radio)(7-6-2005)
    UPDATE 3: Labonte/Haas Racing announced today the appointment of Harold Holly as crew chief of the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Shield of Freedom Chevrolet beginning this weekend at the NASCAR Busch Series event at Pikes Peak International Raceway. See more on my Busch Series site.(7-18-2005)
  • Stewart catching Johnson: Over the past five races, #20-Tony Stewart has gained 295 points on #48-Jimmie Johnson, outscoring the points leader 905-610.(Gaston Gazette)(7-18-2005)
  • Fennig Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at NHIS: After Kurt Busch made an early spin in Sunday’s New England 300, nearly everyone considered the defending race champ out of contention. Despite the setback, Busch, with guidance from crew chief Jimmy Fennig, stormed back to finish the race in second place. Busch’s clutch performance marked his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at New Hampshire International Speedway, including four top-fives. For engineering his driver’s comeback, Fennig was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    Busch qualified his #97 Irwin Industrial Tools Taurus in 5th place, but his track position took a turn for the worse after he spun out in the first forty laps of the event. The incident dropped Busch to the tail-end of the field. To make things worse, Busch overshot his pit stall on the following yellow flag. Once again Busch fell back in the pack, but good pit stops and a strong handling car gave Busch the ammunition he needed to charge through the field.
    The panel of voters; including Chuck Givler of the Easton Express-Times, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Fennig was the crew chief who made the biggest difference in the race.
    Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Fatback McSwain, Greg Zipadelli, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(7-18-2005)
  • Gibbs back to 2 teams? Gibbs to four teams? Not looking at Sorenson: Jimmy Spencer stated on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning that he expects Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Fed-Ex team to go away, Gibbs teams to go back to a 2 car team with Fed-Ex going to the #18 Bobby Labonte team as it is not well funded with Interstate Batteries.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning)(7-17-2005)
    OR Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] is contemplating an expansion to a four-car effort next season, according to team sources. However, J. D. Gibbs, who runs the team for his NFL coaching father, insists the company isn’t looking at hiring Busch hotshot Reed Sorensen, despite reports.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-18-2005)
  • Cope at Pocono in the #52: Cope said: “As for the Cup car, I really felt good about getting the Pro30.com Dodge in the race, but unfortunately we just missed making the race. I just could not get the car to turn in the middle of the corner the way I needed to in order to get back on the gas. But it was a good first effort for us as a team. The guys did a really good job getting a number of changes done on the car to find the speed that we did. We learned a lot about this car and I think we will be better the next time out. We will be going to Pocono to try again. Hopefully we will have more success.”(Derrikecope.com)(7-18-2005)
  • Week 3 of Testing at Indy: The final tune-up for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is taking place July 18-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as 20 drivers – including three past event champions – are scheduled to test on the historic 2.5-mile oval. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. All drivers are testing in preparation for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Speedway.
    Every driver will aim to top the fastest speed posted in four days of testing so far this month, 181.963 mph July 11 by NEXTEL Cup contender Greg Biffle.
    Drivers NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Testing:
    #1-Martin Truex Jr. #5-Kyle Busch #6-Mark Martin #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #9-Kasey Kahne #13-Greg Sacks #20-Tony Stewart (July 19th)
    #22-Scott Wimmer
    #23-Mike Skinner
    #24-Jeff Gordon (July 19th)
    #25-Brian Vickers #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr.
    #40-Sterling Marlin
    #43-Jeff Green #44-Terry Labonte #51-Stuart Kirby #88-Dale Jarrett #91-Bill Elliott
    #00-Kenny Wallace
    #92-Tony Raines
    Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS PR)(7-18-2005)
  • Sad News: Benson’s mother in law Phyllis Jean Crowley, lovingly passed into the arms of her Lord on Thursday, July 14. She was preceded in death by her oldest son, David. She dedicated her life to the caring and nurturing of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by her husband of 59 years. Francis Charles Crowley; her children, Douglas and Peggy Crowley, Janice Scott, Judy and James Bender, D.P.M., Jeffrey Crowley and Ricky Buford, Debbie and Johnny Benson; Her grandchildren, Tami, Marcy, Aaron, Andrew, Adam, Brad, Christie, Katelyn and Mikayla; great grandchildren, Joey Lynn and Jackson; her brothers and sister, Harvey and Ann Dougherty, Frances and William Tuttle; sister-in-law, Ilene Chapman; many nieces and nephews.
    Phyllis was a member of Second Congregational U.C.C. for over 50 years, where she was active in the Friendship Club. Funeral and committal services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday at the Reyers North Valley, with Rev. Bonita Zobeck officiating. Interment in Blythefield Memory Gardens. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the chapel from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday. For those who wish, memorials may be made to Second Congregational U.C.C. If you would like to leave a lasting tribute or fond memory of Phyllis, please go online to www.mem.com.(Johnny Benson site)(7-18-2005)

News from July 17, 2005

  • Stewart dominates at New Hampshire: #20-Tont Stewart won the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, leading 232 of 300 laps. The win is Stewart’s 3rd of the season and 22nd of his career [now tied with Terry Labonte for 22nd on the all-time list]. It is Stewarts 3rd win in 4 races. Stewart climbed the fence again and got to the flag stand to salute the crowd. #97-Kurt Busch finished 2nd, followed by #18-Bobby Labonte [that’ll squash those rumors], #5-Kyle Busch and #16-Greg Biffle. #24-Jeff Gordon was running 6th with 15 laps to go when he lost the brakes and ended up 25th a lap down, really hurting his chances to make the chase. #48-Jimmie Johnson faded towards the end and finished 13th and lost a bit of his points lead, down to a lead of 77 over #16-Biffle and Stewart is now only 85 behind Johnson. Gordon is now 15th, 538 points behind the leader and 120 out of 10th. There are now only 9 drivers under 400 points behind the leader, so the top-10 are the drivers currently in. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 13th, 477 behind the leader and only 59 points out of 10th.(7-17-2005)

    For race results see Jayski’s Loudon Race Results/Awards page.(7-17-2005)

  • New Hamphire Race Notes:
    • Tony Stewart won the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, scoring his 22nd career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 231st career start.
    • Stewart’s last victory came at Daytona, two races ago.
    • This is Stewart’s third victory in 2005.
    • Stewart has won three of the last four races (Sonoma, Daytona and New Hampshire).
    • Stewart has scored top-five finishes in his last five races.
    • Stewart moved into a tie with Terry Labonte for 25th on NASCAR’s All-time win list.
    • Stewart remained third in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, and is now 85 behind first-place Jimmie Johnson and just eight points behind second-place Greg Biffle.
    • Stewart scored his second victory at New Hampshire International Speedway. Stewart also won here in July 2000.
    • This was Stewart’s 13th victory in 179 career superspeedway races.
    • Stewart led six times for 232 of the 300 laps raced – including the final 55, leading the most laps for the sixth time in a race this season.
    • Stewart has scored 11 top-10 finishes in 19 races this season.
    • Stewart scored the second victory for car owner Joe Gibbs at New Hampshire International Speedway.
    • This was Gibbs third victory as a car owner in 2005, all by Stewart.
    • This is the 10th victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has eight and Dodge has one.
    Notebook Items
    • Kurt Busch (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at New Hampshire International Speedway; including four top-fives. He scored his 10th top-10 finish in 19 races in 2005 and climbed from 10th to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He is now 325 behind first-place Jimmie Johnson.
    • Bobby Labonte (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 21 races at New Hampshire International Speedway. Labonte scored just his fourth top-10 finish in 2005.
    • Kyle Busch (fourth) posted his first top-10 finish in his first race at New Hampshire International Speedway and his seventh top-10 finish in 2005.
    • Greg Biffle (fifth) posted second top-10 finish in six races at New Hampshire International Speedway. Biffle remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 77 points behind first-place Jimmie Johnson.
    • Rusty Wallace (eighth) extended a 32-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. Wallace has scored 15 top-15 finishes in 19 races in 2005.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (ninth) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 12 races at New Hampshire International Speedway. He remained 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 477 points behind first-place Jimmie Johnson and 59 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett. He posted his third consecutive top-10 finish this season.
    • Jimmie Johnson (13th) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 52 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Johnson has scored 13 top- 10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers
    • Six 10 of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at New Hampshire.
    • Nine drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson with seven races remaining before the Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.
    • Jeff Gordon (25th) scored his ninth finish of 25th or worse in 19 races in 2005. He remained 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 538 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson and 120 points behind 10thplace Dale Jarrett.(Information Provided by NASCAR Statistical Services [1-888-782-8725])(7-17-2005)
  • Rumblings – New Hampshire:
    Tony Stewart totally dominated again today (that’s 3 of the last 4 for the #20 Home Depot Chevy) and went on to win the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway by a comfortable .0851 seconds. How dominant was he? He led six times for 232 laps….no one else led more than 22. This was win #3 for Tony this season, #22 in his Cup career, and he’s now tied with Terry Labonte for 25th on the all-time win list. Win #45 for Joe Gibbs racing was worth $283,986 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
    Kurt Busch (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Phoenix is April.
    Bobby Labonte (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Lowe’s in May.
    Kasey Kahne (6th) had his best finish since he won at Richmond in May.
    Ryan Newman (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Lowe’s in May.
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-5’s in a row.
    Rusty Wallace has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is NOBODY. It takes a 20 position move for this illustrious honor…..Dale Jarrett gets honorable mention with +18. DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-36), followed by Jamie McMurray (-23).
    Jimmie Johnson had 31 points trimmed from his lead today….it’s down to 77. Only the Top-10 are now qualified for the “Chase”.
    Kurt Busch made the best move upward in the standings today….he advanced five spots from 10th to 5th. Elliott Sadler (5th to 9th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(7-17-2005)
  • Labonte not back with Gibbs? UPDATE 3: CBS Sportsline story reports: Although a former series champion, Bobby Labonte might not be back in the #18 in 2006. Stay tuned.(CBS Sportsline), however back in 2003, Labonte signed an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing thru the 2008 season.(7-14-2005)
    UPDATE: Bobby Labonte and team manager Jimmy Makar were noncommittal about reports that Labonte may be leaving car owner Joe Gibbs at the end of the season after 11 years, including the 2000 championship run. Labonte, according to other team owners, has been checking out the marketplace, and he is being mentioned for three possible rides: with Roger Penske, replacing retiring Rusty Wallace; with Ray Evernham, as a teammate with Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield; and with Nelson Bowers [MB2 Motorsports], if Scott Riggs leaves.(Winston Salem Journal)
    MORE Car owner Joe Gibbs is interested in hiring Busch series hotshot Reed Sorensen for a Nextel Cup ride next season, according to sources close to the situation. While Tony Stewart is Gibbs’ hot driver at the moment, teammates #18-Bobby Labonte and #11-Jason Leffler have had disappointing results. Makar, while enjoying Stewart’s dominating performances these last few weeks, has been struggling to right the staggering other two teams in the Gibbs stable. The Leffler team, new this season, has struggled to get its sea legs, despite new crew chief Mike Ford taking over two months ago. The Labonte team, on the other hand, has struggled since losing crew chief Michael McSwain last summer; those close to Labonte say that the relationship with Gibbs may have “grown stale.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
    UPDATE 2: #18-Bobby Labonte said Saturday that it bothers him when people put his name in the rumor mill without even asking him whether anything’s going on. So, Bobby, is there anything going on? “The real deal is there is no real deal,” Labonte said at New Hampshire International Speedway, where he’ll start 10th in Sunday’s New England 300. “I have got a contract and I am driving the snot out of our car.” Labonte’s name first appeared in the NASCAR rumor mill during the Nextel Cup weekend at Infineon Raceway, with Labonte supposedly looking to leave the #18 Chevrolets despite having a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing that goes through 2008. The rumors surfaced again this week as discussion about who’ll go where in 2006 picks up speed in the Cup garage. “Anytime you’re not running good and there are things changing, people include you (in rumors),” Labonte said. “In some people’s situations, sometimes they do help. But you don’t know how bad it screws up a race team when people write something with no facts at all. You don’t realize how bad it can screw up an organization when you’re all trying real hard to make things work.”(ThatsRacin.com/David Poole)(7-17-2005)
    UPDATE 3: Even though Bobby Labonte has a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing through the 2008 Nextel Cup season, CBS Sportsline reports Labonte might not be back in the #18 car he’s driven since the beginning of the 1995 season and in which he won the 2000 Cup Championship. What didn’t get reported by CBS is a persistent rumor that Labonte, tired of the Nextel Cup grind but enamored with his Rolex Series Daytona Prototype ride, will swap to that series with Gibbs in 2006.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-17-2005)
  • Gordon says Loomis is his crew chief…long term, Bliss update The Punch: #24-Jeff Gordon’s comment’s from a GM Press Release and NASCAR.com about his recent troubles:
    WHAT IS YOUR SITUATION WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF, ROBBIE LOOMIS? “As long as Robbie wants to be the crew chief, he’s going to be the crew chief. He’s a great guy. He works so well with this race team. We brought him here for a reason. And at no time have I doubted Robbie. There have been times when I’ve doubted myself. But I know we’ve got the right people in place and the right team and the resources we need. It really is disappointing to me that so much pressure is put on the crew chief because they usually are the first to go (laughs). And they usually are the first to blame. But, not within our team. That’s not the case. It’s usually the media and the fans that focus on that. Trust me, that’s not the problem. The problem is not any one person. There won’t be any changes there.”
    HAVE YOU AND MIKE BLISS SETTLED YOUR DIFFERNCES?) “I’ve been racing with Mike for a long time. I’ve known Mike since I was 7 years old. We had our instance on the track and if it’s not already settled, which I think it is, I’ve got way too much at stake on the race track to try to get back into the top 10 than to worry about what happened there. It’s a non issue.”(GM Racing PR)
    and from NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith: Ask Jeff Gordon if he has lost any faith in his crew chief and he’ll grin. Chuckle, even. Robbie Loomis’ job is not in jeopardy and never has been, Gordon says. “There is not going to be any other crew chief with me than Robbie Loomis,” Gordon said Friday at New Hampshire International Speedway. “He’s the guy. As long as he wants to be the crew chief, he’s going to be the crew chief.” Gordon’s recent struggles have raised questions about Loomis’ job stability. Gordon maintains the problem isn’t Loomis or his team. He cites lack of testing preparation as the primary culprit.(7-15-2005)
    MORE on Bliss: #0-Mike Bliss denied rumors of an altercation with Jeff Gordon after last week’s race at Chicagoland Speedway. Gordon was bumped into the wall by Bliss late in the race. Gordon, who has raced against Bliss since he was a teen in sprint cars, said the incident was forgotten.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND Jeff Gordon apparently didn’t take lightly his on-track run-in with Mike Bliss during Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400 that sent Gordon into the wall. Gordon, according to sources, confronted Bliss at the airport that night over the issue. But neither man wanted to discuss that yesterday.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND II: Gordon’s frustrations seemed to get the best of him last week after he was wrecked by Mike Bliss at Chicagoland. He criticized Bliss when talking to reporters, and there apparently was a confrontation between the two — possibly involving fisticuffs — at a local airport afterward. Gordon wouldn’t answer questions about the airport incident. “Whatever happened between Mike Bliss and me, we’re going to work it out on our own,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s worth even discussing. As far as I’m concerned it’s over with.” Bliss, who appeared to be recovering from a black eye, said there was some sort of fuss at the airport. “[Gordon] just came up and told me how upset he was,” Bliss said. “I understood it. There was no swing. He was frustrated, and the wreck was the icing on the cake.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-16-2005)
    UPDATE: during NBC’s Countdown to Green pre-race show at New Hampshire International Speedway, Bill Weber announced that NASCAR looked into an off-track incident between Jeff Gordon and said one punch was thrown and since it was away from the track, NASCAR planned no action against either driver. Gordon declined to be interviewed before the race.(7-17-2005)
  • Davis wins round one against Dodge: A U.S. District Court judge granted summary judgment in favor of Bill Davis Racing after determining BDR did not violate terms of an agreement with Daimler-Chrysler by working with Toyota Racing Development USA in 2002 and early 2003. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its Dodge support of BDR in 2003 after learning of its involvement with TRD, which the court said was permitted under the contract. The case now goes to trial on Daimler-Chrysler’s contention that BDR conveyed confidential tech information to TRD and BDR’s suit for substantial damages because of wrongful termination. No trial date has been set. “We are confident the remaining issues in the case will ultimately be resolved favorably to the interests of BDR,” owner Bill Davis said in a statement.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-17-2005)
  • Craven NOT to the #6, will stay in the Truck Series: Ricky Craven won’t replace Mark Martin in the No. 6 Viagra Ford for Roush Racing next year. Team owner Jack Roush indicated Friday that Craven will be back in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next season and that he is hopeful he can convince Martin to return for one more season in the No. 6 car before Jamie McMurray assumes the ride for 2007. Craven is in the first year of a two-year deal. The 46-year-old Martin had announced his intention to retire from the Nextel Cup series to run in the truck series next year. “Ricky’s future is and really has been in the truck series in my world,” said Roush. “Mark has agreed to come back in 2006 if I need him for the 6 car. Ricky was on the short list but he wasn’t the only choice I had for the 6 car for 2006. I had to look at Ricky’s progress and had to look at a number of things to make that final decision. But right now [it] looks like it’s off the table. Mark has said he’s coming back,” said Roush. Craven said that he was “a little disappointed” that he won’t be in the No. 6 car next year but he completely supports Martin and that if Martin returns, it would be an “excellent announcement” for Roush Racing. “That would be pretty exciting. He’s a pillar of the sport. He could win the points championship this year and if he does, he should come back and defend his title,” said Craven. Roush said he has been satisfied with Craven despite Craven’s recent struggles that have seen him fall from a close second in the points race to a distant fifth. Craven said he enjoys racing for Roush and still has a burning desire to return to the Nextel Cup ranks some day.(Bangor Daily News)(7-17-2005)
  • Major Testing Changes for 2006? NASCAR is planning a major change in Nextel Cup testing for next season, limiting teams to six designated manufacturers tests. That means that all three carmakers – Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge – would each have to specify which six tracks they want their own teams to test at, and no other testing at any NASCAR track would be allowed. The Nextel Cup tour runs at 23 different tracks. Such a rule would keep multicar teams from testing at numerous different tracks. For example, Rick Hendrick’s four primary teams can each test at seven different tracks, giving that operation a total of 28 tests, while in contrast, single-car team owners like Cal Wells can only test at seven tracks. Under the proposed new rule, which is still being debated, each manufacturer would have to pick six tracks and its teams could test at those six tracks on those six dates. NASCAR also wants to bar any testing during the final 10 races of the season. Car owner Jack Roush says he would suggest that NASCAR limit testing to the Friday before each race, at that specific track: “As we work toward impound races, which I’m in favor of, if we used each Friday as a test date at the particular track, NASCAR could supervise the tests … and tracks could sell tickets, the media could swarm, and the guys could wreck their cars if they wanted … and we would have people watching with some interest, which, after all, is why we do this sport. Everybody would be at the track, with hotel rooms already, with the same tires, so it’s all relevant, and without us having to run all these tractor-trailers up and down the road … it’s got so much going for it I can’t imagine they’d ever do it.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2005)
  • Patrick Happy in the IRL: Danica Patrick is enjoying life very well right now. And no, she isn’t thinking about leaving the Indy Racing League for some other series like say, NASCAR’s Nextel Cup. “I saw (reigning cup champion) Kurt Busch at the ESPYs. I said, `I don’t know how you do it? How do you do that many races?’ He said, `It’s hard. You don’t have a life,” Patrick said Friday after earning the outside spot on the front row when rain washed out qualifying for Saturday night’s Firestone Indy 200. Patrick said she enjoys the 17-race schedule for the IRL’s IndyCar Series as opposed to the 36-race schedule for Nextel Cup. That leaves her time for the other part of her life.(ESPN.com/AP)(7-17-2005)
  • Britney Spears…team owner? Britney Spears, the sexy singer that NASCAR marketers have been trying to use as a promotional tool for the sport, may be back in the stock-car scene, according to NASCAR sources that report that Brian France is pushing to have Spears listed as a part owner of a Cup team, possibly with wealthy Indy-car team owner Carl Haas. According to one man familiar with the situation, car owner Cal Wells could be the beneficiary. Wells said yesterday that NASCAR executives have been working with him on some options but said that Haas and Spears weren’t part of that project. NASCAR, in 2002, had hopes that Spears would play a role in a racing movie. Now plans for that movie may be dusted off and revived.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2005)

    News from July 16, 2005

  • Racing for Nadeau unlikely: Doctors told Jerry Nadeau a few weeks ago to find something else to do besides driving a race car. But that cold reality doesn’t preclude looking for work at a racetrack, and a new opportunity brought Nadeau back to New Hampshire International Speedway. “I’d say my career is pretty much over,” Nadeau said yesterday, sitting inside the hauler of the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet he drove until May 2, 2003 at Richmond International Raceway. “My whole life I’ve been racing, so all I know how to do is that. My goal now is to be in the business of racing.” Nadeau might have discovered an industry niche this weekend. The Danbury, Conn., native returned to his home track to serve as a driver coach for Boston Reid, a 23-year-old prospect with Hendrick Motorsports in the Busch Series. “I enjoy doing that,” Nadeau, 34, said. “I’m not like another driver afraid to give out secrets because I may never do it again. When you come to the track and don’t do anything, it’s boring because I used to race all the time. So when I’m doing something, it’s good.” It was the first trip to a NASCAR race since Daytona for Nadeau, whose left side still tingles “24 hours a day.” It’s a lingering effect from smacking the wall on the driver’s side during Cup practice at RIR. Nadeau said healing from a head injury normally takes about 2½ years. While he has improved to walking and talking without difficulty, recent tests confirmed he isn’t close to 100 percent. “I should have been dead, but I didn’t die, so I’m alive and can’t do what I used to do,” he said. “It took me two years to figure it out.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-16-2005)
  • Mikey to Toyota? Roush? Ganassi? Waltrip is headed eventually to the Toyota camp – along with Eury Jr., according to one Detroit source very close to the situation – in what is reported to be a top-dollar project. “Toyota has offered Michael and Tony Jr. so much money they can’t turn it down,” the source said. Waltrip has been eyed for a Toyota ride for more than a year, in part because older brother Darrell runs a Toyota team on the Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR has been pushing Toyota to step up its presence in the sport, for the added marketing punch that would provide. And Waltrip could give Toyota quick credibility. Toyota isn’t expected to field a Cup team until 2007, although a Busch team is a possibility in 2006. Toyota does have a formidable presence in the truck series. The Toyota option? “I don’t even know when that’s a possibility, and I need a job for next year,” Waltrip replied. Roush said that Waltrip has talked with him about a ride: “And Michael is on the list, along with Sterling Marlin, Ricky Craven, Jamie – and Mark.” Waltrip has also inquired about openings at Chip Ganassi’s, according to sources. Waltrip declined to be specific. “We’ve just had talks,” he said. “We’ve talked to a lot of people about next year. There are no real offers, just people interested. I’ve got a lot of options. There are some things in the works. Making this announcement will probably complicate that, before it comes clear. I’m just looking forward to getting into the best situation possible.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
  • Martin could return to the #6 in 2006 MORE: Mark Martin continues to mull over whether he will stay on as driver of the #6 Ford as a favor to car owner Jack Roush. As reported last Wed, Jamie McMurray will take over that ride in 2007. Roush has a list of drivers they’re talking with about a 2006 deal. Martin says the whole team is on him hard to stay. “The first time the question was asked I laughed at ‘em and of course I said no. But, for many of us the six-car will always be my car, and Jamie McMurray is my choice to take the car over. When it first came up it was gonna be fine for me for them to find someone to fill the gap but they’ve been working on me pretty hard about the guilt of how that would be letting my team down and that’s why I’m considering it…because of my 18 years with Jack Roush and because of the team giving me everything they’ve got. If I turn my back on it, that will be for selfish reasons. It’s not what I wanna do, I think everybody knows that. 18 months is a whole lot longer than 6 months.” Martin says there arguments for both sides. “One side you could say I told them two years ago…and then you could come back and say, yeah, and Jamie McMurray was the guy you wanted. And I say yeah, Jamie’s the guy I wanted, Jamie’s the guy you guys wanted and we got him and that feels good. My greatest hope would be he could be in it in 2006. I know that Chip (Ganassi) says otherwise, but Chip has an option, and as far as I know he hasn’t exercised that option yet. I don’t mean to cause any problems but all I’m saying is there’s both sides and the perfect scenario would be if Jamie would drive it in 2006. If he doesn’t I would consider doing it rather than having to try to put together a one year race driver deal that would be tough from a marketing stand point and a team standpoint. My hope is to deliver Jamie a championship team. All I know is that when Jamie sits down in that thing they’re gonna see an immediate performance improvement over me, so, I’m anxious for them to get their hands on him as soon as possible.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-14-2005)
    MORE Mark Martin has said yes to another year behind the wheel for Jack Roush, and is willing to race the Nextel Cup tour another year, instead of retiring as planned in November. “Mark has agreed to drive for us again if Jamie McMurray is not available, and we don’t expect Jamie to be,” Roush said. “Mark said he would consider that if we thought the team was in jeopardy, and I do – to keep everybody in place and functioning. So, based on what Mark has told me, I expect Mark to be back in this car next year.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
  • Dodge fastest at the Wind Tunnel and Dyno’s: Dodge teams won NASCAR’s wind-tunnel testing of Chicago’s top finishers [#19-Jeremy Mayfield per Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner], and Jimmie Johnson’s Chevy, to everyone’s surprise, pulled the weakest numbers, according to NASCAR sources. Dodge’s Ernie Elliott won NASCAR’s engine dyno testing of Michigan’s top finishers, according to other NASCAR sources. NASCAR officials completely disassembled the Michigan engines of six top finishers and weighed every part, including the block, and also weighed the entire engine assembly. Ford’s Jack Roush says that NASCAR could make a minimum engine-weight rule. The Ford engine block is much heavier than others, a disadvantage.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
  • Congrats: Matt Lucas, #77 Penske-Jasper Racing’s team engineer, and his wife Jessie welcomed their daughter to the family on Friday, July 15 at 8:52pm/et. Piper Joy Lucas weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces; she is 19 ½ inches long. The newest daddy on the #77 team said both of his girls are doing well. He also said, “It’s a 77 thing. Maybe the 7 pounds 7 ounces is an omen.”(Penske Racing PR)(7-16-2005)
  • Vickers wins pole at Loudon: #25-Brian Vickers won the pole for the New Hampshire 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a speed of 130.327mph for this 3rd career pole, first of 2005, so he is in the 2006 Budweiser Shootout. #9-Kasey Kahne will start 2nd, followed by #38-Elliott Sadler, #12-Ryan Newman and #97-Kurt Busch. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 12th. #49-Ken Schrader and #45-Kyle Petty start 21st and 42nd respectfully, set by owners points. #37-Kevin Lepage gets the final spot in the field, being the slowest of the 8 non-top 35 teams in owners points to make the race. #00-Carl Long qualified for the race [starts 35th], but wrecked on his 2nd qualifying lap and will go to a backup car [from a Dodge to a Chevy]. Missing the race were #92-Joey McCarthy, #52-Derrike Cope, #75-Wayne Anderson and #92-Hermie Sadler.
    For pole progression, qualifying results, start lineup and lineup links on Jayski’s Loudon Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(7-16-2005)
  • New Hampshire Qulaifying Notes:
    • Brian Vickers won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the New Hampshire 300, lapping New Hampshire International Speedway in 29.225 seconds at 130.327 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 28.561 seconds, 133.357 mph, set Sept. 12, 2003.
    • This is Vickers’s third career Bud Pole in 60 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races [first of 2005].
    • Vickers posted his first start better than 23rd in three races at New Hampshire. This is his eighth top-10 start in 2005.
    • Vickers became the 12th different Bud Pole winner this season.
    • Kasey Kahne posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.250 seconds, 130.215 mph – and will join Vickers on the front row for the New Hampshire 300. He posted his second top-10 start in three races at New Hampshire. It is his ninth top-10 start this season, including back-to-back Bud Poles at Darlington and Richmond.
    • This is the ninth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005 [with 8 different drivers], including each of the past four races. Dodge has seven Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June.
    • Elliott Sadler (third) posted just his third top-10 start in 13 races at New Hampshire. It is his 10th top-10 start this season. Sadler also qualified third for the NASCAR Busch Series race.
    • Ryan Newman (fourth) posted his 16th top-10 start in 2005 and his sixth in seven races at New Hampshire.
    • Kurt Busch (fifth), who has won the past two races at New Hampshire, posted his fourth top-10 start in nine races here.
    • Ted Christopher (38th) made the field for his fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. Three of Christopher’s races have been at New Hampshire. His series debut came at Watkins Glen in 1999.
    • There have been 10 Bud Pole winners in 21 races at New Hampshire. Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman both have won three Bud Poles while Ricky Craven, Mark Martin, Ken Schrader and Rusty Wallace all have two. Newman has won the last three Bud Poles at New Hampshire. Qualifying has been canceled three times in the last seven races due to weather.
    • The race winner started in the top 10 in 11 of the 20 races at New Hampshire, including four of the past five.
    • The deepest in the field that a race winner at New Hampshire has started was 38th by Jeff Burton in July 1999.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-16-2005)
  • Ramblings – New Hampshire:
    Brian Vickers captured the Bud Pole today for Sunday’s New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway for his first top-spot of the season. His time of 29.225 sec (130.327 mph) was good enough to knock Kasey Kahne from the pole and give Vickers his 3rd career Bud Pole Award.
    We’ve now had 12 different pole winners this season….same as last year.
    Kasey Kahne (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond in May.
    Rusty Wallace (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Texas in April.
    Kyle Busch (7th) has his best qualifying position since he timed in 6th at Lowes in May.
    Ricky Rudd (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Richmond in May.
    Jeff Green (15th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 14th at Martinsville in April.
    Mike Garvey (33rd) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 34th at Martinsville in April.
    Ted Christopher (38th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 33rd at Watkins Glen in August of 1999! (only 3 starts) This will be only the second start for the #27 car of Kirk Shelmerdine….Tom Hubert put it in the field at Infineon last month.
    Morgan Shepherd (39th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 38th at California in May of 2004
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
    (Stock Car Fans)(7-16-2005)

    News from July 15, 2005

  • NAPA to the #6? hearing NAPA is talking with Roush Racing about being a sponsor on the #6 Ford in 2006, no idea if Michael Waltrip would do a one-year stint in the #6.(7-15-2005)
  • Lepage gets a sponsor UPDATE: looks as though R&J Racing’s #37 with driver Kevin Lepage has got a primary sponsor for 15 of the last 18 races (Patron Spirits for the other three races. BoSPOKER.NET has just signed on and will be on the car this weekend at New Hampshire.(7-14-2005)
    UPDATE: R&J Racing announced its new sponsorship with BoSPOKER.net . The team will be unveiling the BoSPOKER.net car at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH on Friday, July 15th. The team has secured a 15 race sponsorship with BoSPOKER.net, a is a fun, safe place to learn and play ‘no cost’ poker with people from around the world. All of the games on BoSPOKER.net are for no cash value ‘play money’ chips. There is absolutely no charge to participate in the games. BoSPOKER.net provides an ideal environment for you to learn a new game or practice playing a familiar one. “BoSPOKER is elated with the opportunity to join forces with R & J Racing,” said William Griffiths, director of marketing for BoSPOKER.net. “Lepage’s pure dedication to the sport is truly inspiring and we are looking forward to a great finish to this year of racing.”
    “John and I are very excited to have BoSPOKER.net on board with us”, said Roger Craven. “It is a great company that provides a top notch service. There are so many people who want to learn how to play the game of poker and BoSPOKER.net teaches people how to play with no risk since it is a free site. With the growing popularity of our sport and with the growing popularity of the game of poker, it is a good fit for both BoSPOKER.net and R&J Racing.”
    Driver Kevin Lepage is also looking forward to having his new sponsor on board with him this weekend. “This is very exciting for our racing team”, said Kevin Lepage. “John and Roger told us right before we left for New Hampshire that the deal was done. The team and I were thrilled when they told us that BoSPOKER.net had signed on as our primary sponsor for the remainder of the year. This is going to be a big boost for our racing program and I look forward to working with BoSPOKER.net.”(Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(7-15-2005)
    IMAGES see what the scheme will look like this weekend at New Hampshire and then at Pocono and for the other 13 races at my #37 Team Schemes page.(7-15-2005)
  • Sad News: Roger Deppe, who Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and COO Joie Chitwood described as a “true part of what the Speedway is all about,” died July 14 while driving to his vacation home in Minnesota. Deppe worked over a half-century at the Speedway handling credentials and later other assignments and was one of the last employees dating back to the 1950s. His final race was the United States Grand Prix on June 19. Deppe was 83. “I’ve known him since 1996 when I came up here,” Chitwood said. “I would go to lunch with he and Robert McInteer (then Speedway safety director). At the lunches, he and McInteer would just go at each other, and I would just laugh. I think about the people who have been around the Speedway forever. Roger fit into that mode. He would be here whether he needed to be or not. That’s how much he loved the Speedway.” Deppe and his wife, Bea, were making their annual summer trek back to his native Minnesota when he suffered an apparent heart attack on the highway in Wisconsin. His wife was not injured. Deppe came to Indianapolis in 1952 as an engineer with Eli Lilly & Co. He worked with Lilly until his retirement in 1985. His involvement included construction of buildings in Greenfield, Ind., when the pharmaceutical firm expanded its facilities. He joined the Speedway in the mid-1950s as a part-time assistant to public relations director Al Bloemker handling media credential requests. Deppe still was doing media credentials when Gloria Novotney took over credential distribution in 1988. In later years, Deppe was in charge of the pit timing crew for races at IMS. Deppe maintained a desk in the Hall of Fame Museum following his retirement from Lilly and was a familiar figure to most of the Speedway employees and veteran media representatives. At the United States Grand Prix, Deppe helped feed information to foreign radio broadcasters. Hailing from Minnesota, Deppe held a deep passion for hockey and developed one for auto racing. Deppe was a Navy flier during World War II. He also was a life member of the 500 Oldtimers Club. Survivors include his wife and sons, David and Paul. Services are pending.(more at the IMS site)(7-15-2005)
  • DEI and Waltrip part ways after 2005: Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) and Michael Waltrip announced today they will no longer be together beginning in 2006. The DEI #15 NAPA Chevrolet has been driven by Michael Waltrip, a fan-favorite, in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the past five seasons where he earned four victories, including two Daytona 500 wins in 2001 and 2003. “All of us at DEI want to thank Michael for all his contributions to our organization and wish him well as he moves on in his career,” said Richie Gilmore, DEI’s Vice President of Motorsports. “Dale and Teresa gave me an opportunity with a winning organization that I have been proud to be an integral part of for the last five years,” Waltrip said. “My professional relationship with DEI is ending, but my personal relationships have ties that are deep-rooted. Therefore, my decision to leave DEI is a difficult one. Our individual visions for the future are taking different courses, but our goals are the same- to be successful in the premier division of NASCAR.”
    “DEI’s NASCAR Nextel Cup focus for 2006,” continued Gilmore, “will be to sharpen every entity of our race teams by preparing the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, driven by Martin Truex Jr., and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the championship. Additionally, we are working diligently with our current partner, NAPA, on returning to the #15 car.”(DEI PR)
    NOTE: Watch Michael Waltrip on SPEED Channel’s Trackside at 7:00pm/et for more on this announcement and possible news about his ride for next year. Some rumors floating around have him going to the #0 Chevy.
    AND Sources in the NASCAR garage indicate that Waltrip is working on a deal to drive for Hass CNC Racing next year. That team fields the #0 Chevrolets that Mike Bliss now drives. Sources say NAPA, which has been Waltrip’s sponsor, could go with him, leaving DEI with the #8 Chevrolets driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #1 Chevrolets driven by Martin Truex Jr., who will move up from Busch to Nextel Cup in 2006.(ThatsRacin.com/David Poole)(7-15-2005)

    News from July 14, 2005

  • Fusion is it for Ford and NASCAR in 2006 UPDATE – official:: Ford Motor Co. is putting a new face on its NASCAR Nextel Cup entry next year. The automaker is expected to announce as early as this week [Thurs July 14th in Charlotte] that the Ford Fusion will replace the venerable Taurus on North America’s most popular racing circuit, said people familiar with the plan. After 20 years, Ford is pulling the plug on Taurus production early in 2006, and NASCAR rules require that race cars be based on showroom models. The Fusion arrives on dealer lots this fall. Fusion will enter the midsize car segment, where the competition dwarfs even the longtime rivalry between Ford and Chevy on the racetrack. In the midsize car market, it’s Ford vs. Chevy vs. Toyota vs. Honda vs. Nissan. The entry-level midsize car, along with the larger Five Hundred sedan, represents Ford’s latest effort to rebuild passenger car sales. Styling and price are more likely to lure buyers. Ford designed and engineered the Fusion to be more aggressive and nimble than the Taurus. It is priced starting at $17,995. Ford declined comment on specific plans to replace Taurus, promising to unveil details this week. NASCAR entries are subject to strict dimensional guidelines to ensure competitive racing, but to help sell the vehicles, manufacturers take great care to make certain that the cars on the track retain identifiable design cues.(Detroit News), see an image and past news on my Ford News page.(7-11/14-2005)
    OFFICIAL: Thirty-eight years. That’s how long it’s been since Ford introduced an all-new model and went NASCAR racing with that model at the same time. That 1968 car was the Ford Torino, which went on to be a hit in both the marketplace and on the race track. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson took the Torino to championships in both 1968 and 1969. Ford is confident the 2006 Ford Fusion will experience similar success, both on and off the track. “Fusion’s bold, new styling and its dynamic driving personality are very consistent with what you would look for in both a production car and a race car,” said Marty Collins, General Marketing Manager, Ford Division. “We believe that Fusion is a car that demands to be noticed, and in a sport like NASCAR, there’s going to be millions of race fans tuning in every week who are going to have a great opportunity to see Fusion in a winning situation, and associate that winning with the Ford brand.”
    Ford believes the demographics of the NASCAR audience and the customer interested in Fusion match up very well. “NASCAR fans, and the Fusion customer, both encompass a broad spectrum of America,” said Burt Diamond, global marketing manager, Ford Racing Technology. “One in three adult Americans consider themselves NASCAR fans, so that’s a huge population base that we have to work with in helping Ford Division market the car. We know the NASCAR fan base is more family-oriented, and is becoming more ethnically diverse and more affluent than ever before, so it really makes sense for us to feature this new car among these audiences.” The new Fusion production car and the new race version will start appearing together this Saturday when the first of nine Ford Racing Innovation Drives takes place at Kentucky Speedway [hmm…NASCAR gonna love that – lawsuit]. Several thousand consumers will get the first chance to drive the new production Fusion and other Ford products on the Speedway track, while the new NASCAR Fusion, unveiled today in Charlotte, will make its first public appearance at the event.(Ford Racing)(7-14-2005)

  • MB2 Close to Signing a sponsor for the old #10 team: It appears MB-2 Motorsports [currently the #10 Chevy with driver Scott Riggs, along with #01-Joe Nemechek and #36-Boris Said] is close to announcing a new sponsor to replace Valvoline which is leaving for Evernham Motorsports at the end of the season [and taking the #10 with it, this team is un-numbered for 2006]. Driver Scott Riggs says “I know that MB-2 is a lot closer to signing a contract with a sponsor and announcing that within the next week or two, so I know they’ve gotten closer and moved forward.” When asked if he would stay with the team is a full-time primary sponsor is signed, Riggs couldn’t say for sure. “Well, the chances are definitely a lot higher me staying with a sponsor than without.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-14-2005)
  • Latest on Will Ferrell’s NASCAR movie: Wacky comedian Will Ferrell is roaring toward Charlotte to film a NASCAR comedy here this fall. Now, you might automatically imagine Ferrell exploring how fast he can go through a fast-food drive-through, and there will be plenty of Ferrell’s silly screen antics. But experts say the movie represents something significant: This will be the first major studio project made in the state [North Carolina] in three years. The reason? The state is poised to get back in the race for film projects by offering more competitive funding incentives for filmmakers. According to sources close to the Columbia Studios project, Ferrell will be here from about September to December, filming at a Charlotte studio and at racetracks and nearby towns. The project was formerly titled “Talladega Nights,” but that name has been dropped. It is now being referred to as “The Untitled Will Ferrell NASCAR Comedy.” (Expect that to change.) Sources close to the project could not say where the film is set, or if that issue has been decided. The NASCAR comedy is slated for release sometime next year. “That film was set for Alabama,” Frank Capra Jr., president of Wilmington’s ScreenGem Studios, says of the Ferrell comedy. “The incentives — or the promise of the incentives — are what brought it to Charlotte.” Some Carolinians might get into the act, too. At least some actors will be needed, and perhaps plenty of extras to fill racing grandstands.(Charlotte Observer)(7-14-2005)
  • New crew chief for Lepage: R&J Racing owners John Carter and Roger Craven announced the signing of Mark Tudor as the new crew chief for the #37 R&J Racing Dodge Charger. Glenn Darrow has been filling in as the teams interim crew chief since the Charlotte race in May and has been working with Mark to evaluate the teams needs for success. Tudor’s first race as crew chief of the #37 R&J Racing Dodge Charger will be this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH. Before joining R&J Racing, Tudor started the 2005 season with Biagi Bros. Racing as the crew chief for Ryan Hemphill in the Busch Series.(Integrated Marketing Solutions)(7-14-2005)
  • NASCAR Sets Hall of Fame Site Visit Schedule: NASCAR will begin the next phase of the process for selecting the location for its Hall of Fame when it makes visits to the five prospective cities next month that are vying to serve as the home for the sport’s newest facility.
    On May 31, NASCAR received proposals to construct the Hall of Fame from Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Daytona Beach, Fla., Kansas City, Kan. and Richmond, Va.. Since that time, NASCAR has been reviewing and evaluating each city’s proposal. The schedule for site visits has been established and will be as follows: August 9 – Daytona Beach; August 16 – Atlanta; August 17 – Charlotte; August 18 – Kansas City; August 23 – Richmond. At each visit, members of NASCAR will meet with local organizing officials, tour the prospective site location and engage in detailed discussions regarding each proposal. The visit will conclude with a mid-afternoon press availability.
    “There has been a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm generated with the Hall of Fame project and NASCAR is looking forward to visiting each site,” said Mark Dyer, NASCAR’s vice president of licensing. “We have been impressed by the caliber of proposals we have received and are appreciative of all of the effort and commitment that each city has invested. As this process continues, we’re even more conscious of the fact that the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be a world-class facility that will service our loyal fans for many, many years to come.”(NASCAR PR)(7-14-2005)
  • Hutchens II passes NASCAR mandated SFI 38.1 Specification: Safety Solutions announced the new Hutchens II which has passed the NASCAR mandated SFI 38.1 Specification. NASCAR officials were present and set-up the testing done at Delphi. The official request for approval to NASCAR will be submitted by the end of this week, although copies of the test data have been received by there officials. The Hutchens II combines a small carbon fiber spacer used to change the helmet tether pivot points to better control the occupant head motion early in the event. A single 3 inch Kevlar back strap drapes over the carbon spacer and anchors to the seat belt buckle, like a traditional Hutchens Device. The carbon spacer and strap harness combine to provide an all around better performing restraint with major benefits not only in frontal and angular frontal impacts tested in the stringent SFI 38.1 standard, but also in side and multiple impacts where some current restraints fail. For more information on the Hutchens II visit the website www.hutchensdevice.com.(Safety Solutions)(7-14-2005)
  • Congrats: Late News But Welcome to the Crew: The Kodak Racing team would like to extend warm wishes to the newest “little” member of the team. Clay Robinson, front tire changer for the #77 Penske-Jasper Racing crew, and wife Jenna welcomed Joseph “Joey” Andrew Robinson on June 23 at 3:08 am, EDT. Joey was 21.5 inches long at birth and weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces. Joey has two older sisters, Paige, 5, and Antonia, 2.(Penske Racing)(7-14-2005)

    News from July 13, 2005

  • Christopher to run the #27 at NHIS: been told that Modified Racer, Ted Christopher, will drive the #27 Kirk Shelmerdine Racing Ford in an attempt to make the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The team will also have a new associate sponsor. Green Valley Compressor the home of Pumatools.com announced an associate sponsorship agreement with Kirk Shelmerdine for the #27 Nextel Cup Series Team. Green Valley Compressor is a family owned business located in Keller, Texas in the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex just minutes from D/FW International Airport and the Texas Motor Speedway. Pumatools.com is a full service on line store for high quality Puma Air Tools as well as Ingersoll Rand air compressors. Green Valley has been the Ingersoll Rand Southern Region dealer of the year for three straight years. More info at Pumatools.com.(7-13-2005)
  • Crew Chief Fined for Chicagoland Infraction: NASCAR announced today that David [not Larry] Hyder, crew chief for the #49 Dodge driven by Ken Schrader in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has been fined $1,000 for an infraction last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Hyder was fined for unapproved body modifications after inspection, a violation of Section 12-4-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the event do not conform to NASCAR Rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rulebook.(NASCAR PR)(7-13-2005)
  • Riggs fastest at Indy testing on Tuesday, shortened by Rain: Scott Riggs and the MBV Motorsports team led testing on a rain-shortened day July 12 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 181.244 mph in the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet. Riggs’ top lap ranks him as seventh-fastest to date in 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing at the 2.5-mile oval. #16-Greg Biffle remains the fastest of 2005 testing so far, thanks to the lap of 181.963 he posted July 11. The top five overall in 2005 testing at Indianapolis, which includes test days on July 5-6 and 11-12, are Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Ken Schrader, Robby Gordon and Elliott Sadler. Ken Schrader was second-fastest of the day at 181.051 in the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge, and Jamie McMurray was third at 180.810 in the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge. Weather forecasts called for heavy rains July 12 in Indianapolis, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Dennis, but the 14 teams that elected to stay in town were able to find some track time. Brief, intermittent showers tested the patience of drivers and teams until heavier midday rain showers finally ended testing.
    Even though no driver has yet to approach Mears’ track record of 186.293 set in 2004 qualifying, Mears is confident that his record will be broken this year. The third and final round of private testing before the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard continues July 18-19, with former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, scheduled to test both days along with former USAC standout Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon and Indiana native Tony Stewart will test July 19 only. Fans are welcome to watch testing July 18-19 from the South Terrace grandstands, located in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission is free.
    Speeds from Tuesday, July 12th:
    10-Scott Riggs, 181.244, 41
    49-Ken Schrader, 181.051, 21
    42-Jamie McMurray, 180.810. 44 36-Boris Said, 180.703, 25
    29-Kevin Harvick, 180.682, 25
    41-Casey Mears, 180.638, 32
    18-Bobby Labonte, 180.266, 53
    07-Dave Blaney, 179.614, 29
    37-Kevin Lepage, 179.605, 18
    45-Kyle Petty, 179.431, 49
    11-Jason Leffler, 178.813, 42
    2-Rusty Wallace, 178.694, 27
    66-Mike Garvey, 178.646, 11
    77-Travis Kvapil, 178.135, 43
    See Cummulative Test Speeds for all four days on my 2005 Testing Page.
    Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(driver quotes about practice, photos and more at the IMS Site)(7-13-2005)

    News from July 12, 2005

  • Indy Champ looking at NASCAR? UPDATE sooner? Dan Wheldon, this year’s Indy 500 winner, was a guest at Chicago of [Robby] Gordon. Wheldon said he’s looking at the NASCAR world for a possible career move, eventually.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-11-2005)
    UPDATE: Indy 500 Champ Dan Wheldon told Claire B. Lang (CBL) of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio (regarding the possiblity of making the move to NASCAR):
    CBL: Have you talked to some stock car teams seriously:
    Wheldon: “I have talked to some teams seriously, yes. I mean obviously my experience in this right now is zero. But there’s certainly a lot of interest and there’s certainly a lot of interest on my part so we’ll just have to wait and see.
    CBL: What would it take to make the move?
    Wheldon: “I’d need to be obvioiusly in a very very good team I think have a lot of testing and the ability to race some Busch races and stuff like that. I gotta consider everyting, I’m a driver and you know you’ve got to look to the future and that’s what I’m looking at. But, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do as of yet.”
    CBL: Do you have a deadline when you have to decide?
    Wheldon: “Yea I’m going to have to in the next three or four weeks for sure.”(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(7-12-2005)
  • Final Chicago TV Ratings up 4% over 2004: NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway delivered a 5.7 national rating and 13 share, up 4% from the same race last year (5.5/13 in 2004). The rating peaked between 6:30-7 p.m. ET with a 6.7/14 as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the checkered flag for the first time this season. The top rated markets for NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s race were: Greensboro (12.6), Charlotte (12.1), Knoxville (11.9), Greenville/Spartanburg, SC (11.8), Columbus (10.4), Indianapolis (10.1), Nashville (9.8), Jacksonville (9.6), Raleigh-Durham (9.2), Orlando (9.2), Atlanta (9.2).(NBC PR)(7-12-2005)
  • Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. Announces Inaugural NASCAR Drivers Bobsled Race The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project announced Monday that it will organize a bobsled race involving 10 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers. The event will take place Jan. 5-9, 2006 in Lake Placid, N.Y. NASCAR veteran Geoffrey Bodine created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 1992 after watching the 1992 Winter Olympic Games on television and noticing that USA Bobsled athletes competed with European-made sleds. At that time, the USA team had not won a medal since the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina, Italy. Bodine set out on a quest of a “Made in America” sled project that would provide USA Bobsled athletes with sleds designed involving NASCAR technology. He contacted good friend Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to design the new sleds, hence the name Bo for Bodine and Dyn for Chassis Dynamics. At the 1994 games in Lillehammer the USA teams used the new Bo-Dyn sleds but still had no medal results. In 1998, the USA teams missed a medal by two hundredths of a second. The USA teams broke the drought at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games by winning both silver and bronze in the four-man competitions, along with gold in the women’s competition. The USA team is now a constant medal winner on the World Cup circuit and the Bo-Dyn sleds are known as one of the best in the world, with their signature quietness when they are compared to other sleds coming down the mountain.
    Bodine now feels that it is time for his fellow NASCAR drivers to have a chance to drive a sled like he has and he wants to use the race as a fundraiser for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc. “With another track being built for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, I need to take the project to the next level, “says Bodine the 1986 Daytona 500 winner along with 18 other NASCAR wins. “Like NASCAR, the sport is about racing, rules and changes in technology, which mandates research and development and costs money. I need some other NASCAR people to assist me with the project. The best way is to get them into a bobsled environment and give them a feel for the sport. They will not be disappointed.”
    The drivers will not be going from the top of the track with the standard Bo-Dyn sleds, but from the two-thirds start in training sleds that will still see speeds of 50 miles per hour. The sleds will be painted in the colors and with the sponsors of each driver. Following the competition, the Geoffrey Bodine Bobsled Fantasy Camp will begin giving NASCAR fans a chance to drive these same sleds, adding to the weekend’s festivities. Bodine also feels that with the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy just a month after the event, the timing is perfect, as it will drive NASCAR interest in watching the United States compete in his Bo-Dyn sleds.
    “It’s also a great weekend for both NASCAR teams, drivers and fans to come together in a different type of racing”, added Bodine. “Just after Christmas and the New Year, the NASCAR family is, in general, looking for some way to get back out and compete”. Bodine has spoken to many drivers and received very positive feed back. One of the drivers, Boris Said, is very excited and stated that he could not wait for the opportunity.”My father (Bob Said) was an Olympic bobsled driver at the 1972 Games in Sapporo, Japan,” remarked Said. “I used to ride sleds in Lake Placid and it is the fastest and most exciting racing experience I have ever had without a motor.” For additional information on the NASCAR Drivers Bobsled event, please visit www.bodynbobsled.com.(7-12-2005)
  • Petty’s in Newsweek: Kyle and Pattie Petty are featured in the national news magazine Newsweek this week as part of a new series, “Red, White and Proud.” The series “honors those who make helping others their priority.” The Pettys are noted in the prestigious national news weekly for founding the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Williams Company PR)(7-12-2005)
  • Owners spat over McMurray, Roush for sale?: Car owners Felix Sabates [#39,#40,#41,#42] and Jack Roush [#6,#16,#17,#97,#99] had a brief spat in the garage after Sunday’s race. At issue was Roush’s signing of Jamie McMurray to drive for him, beginning in 2007. Roush signed McMurray this week. McMurray’s team, owned by Chip Ganassi and Sabates, has a one-year option on McMurray for next season and is expected to exercise that. After the race, Sabates saw Roush and commented about the move. “I just said it was a great, great move hiring Jamie, so he’ll have a stable of great drivers, so when he sells the company, he’ll get a bunch of money,” Sabates said. “He’s been trying to sell it.” Roush responded to Sabates: “I’m not for sale, pal.” Roush walked away from Sabates soon after that comment.(News and Record)(7-12-2005)
  • 2006 Daytona Testing Dates set: Teams in the odd-number rankings in the car owner points after Sunday’s race [at Chicago] will test at Daytona on Jan. 9-11 with Jan. 12 as the rain date. Teams in the even-number rankings in the car owner points standings will test at Daytona on Jan. 16-18 with a rain date of Jan. 19. Of course, NASCAR allows some teams to switch test dates if needed.(News and Record)(7-12-2005)
  • NASCAR Takes Engines to Examine UPDATE 2: Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner reported on Speed News NASCAR Edition that NASCAR took ten engines from the teams after the race at Michigan. Three Dodge [#12, #9, #41], Four GM [#20, #15, #31, #48], Three Ford [#6, #17, #38]. The engines will be taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC to determine how even the power, parts, etc are.(and from ThatsRacin.com)(6-20-2005)
    UPDATE: NASCAR’s confiscation of engines from Michigan’s top runners was unexpected, but engine men say they don’t expect to get those engines back soon and that NASCAR has told them it won’t be releasing any horsepower figures from its secret tests in Charlotte.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-25-2005)
    UPDATE 2: On the weekend of the Michigan race, NASCAR measured the strength of engines and came away satisfied with the parity of the teams. All three manufacturers were within one horsepower of each other.(Sporting News)(7-12-2005)
  • Wood to the #2? UPDATE: hearing that Busch driver, Jon Wood, recently tested the #2 Penske Racing Dodge.(7-10-2005)
    UPDATE: been told this didn’t happen and has been denied.(7-12-2005)
  • Cope with another team, #52, at Loudon: per the Derrikecope.com site: Derrike Cope will be driving a Cup car in Loudon [NHIS} and possibly Pocono which is the #52 Dodge Intrepid for Rick Ware Racing. The sponsor is Pro30.com. The crew chief, Ken Glenn, is someone Cope has worked with before at Cale Yarborough Motorsports. If things go well at Loudon they will probably go on to Pocono [July 24th]. Rick Ware and Cope have discussed some further plans for events in the future as well. Cope has also made Cup race attempts with the #55/#60 S.W.A.T. team and #79 John Conely team this season but has not qualified for a race.(7-12-2005)
  • Biffle fastest in Monday’s test at Indy: Roush Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth served notice that they will contend for victory in the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard by posting the fastest laps in private testing July 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Biffle turned the fastest lap of the day at 181.963mph in the #16 National Guard Ford. Kenseth was just .22 of a mph slower at 181.742 in the #17 DeWalt Tools Ford. Roush Racing’s #97-Kurt Busch was fastest in two days of testing last week at 180.208. Weather forecasts call for the remnants of Hurricane Dennis to bring heavy rain to Indianapolis over the next several days, so the 23 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers and teams on hand at IMS took advantage of cloudy but dry skies – save for a few afternoon sprinkles – to turn a total of 1,988 laps on the 2.5-mile oval. Boris Said, who will attempt to qualify for his first Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, turned the most laps of any driver with 137. Unoffical speeds from Monday, July 11th:
    Car No., Driver, Speed, Total Laps
    #16-Greg Biffle, 181.963mph, 112 laps run
    #17-Matt Kenseth, 181.742, 90
    #49-Ken Schrader, 181.727, 47
    #7-Robby Gordon, 181.722, 45
    #38-Elliott Sadler, 181.495, 79
    #41-Casey Mears, 181.296, 90
    #01-Joe Nemechek, 180.751, 133
    #31-Jeff Burton, 180.402, 84
    #11-Jason Leffler, 180.270, 126
    #15-Michael Waltrip, 180.260, 95
    #29-Kevin Harvick, 180.060, 62
    #37-Kevin Lepage, 179.725, 27
    #42-Jamie McMurray, 179.674, 117
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 179.661, 134
    #2-Rusty Wallace, 179.633, 49
    #77-Travis Kvapil, 179.525, 92
    #18-Bobby Labonte, 179.506, 109
    #45-Kyle Petty, 179.265, 98
    #07-Dave Blaney, 178.813, 61
    #10-Scott Riggs, 178.477, 75
    #36-Boris Said, 177.298, 137
    #4-Mike Wallace, 177.110, 84
    #66-Mike Garvey, 174.795, 42
    Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, with more testing July 18-19. Drivers scheduled to participate next week include former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, Indiana native Tony Stewart, former USAC standout Kasey Kahne, Indiana native Tony Raines and Dale Earnhardt Jr., winner of the NEXTEL Cup Series race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. Fans are welcome to watch testing July 12, 18 and 19 from the South Terrace grandstands, located in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission is free.
    Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(driver quotes about practice, photos and more at the IMS Site)(7-12-2005)

    News from July 11, 2005

  • Dave in? Alan Out? hearing that long time Inside Nextel Cup host [Speed Channel. Monday’s at 8:00pm/et] Allen Bestwick will leave the show sometime within the next month and Wind Tunnel’s Dave Despain will assume host duties of the new look show. And as reported on June 28th, hearing Kevin Harvick will become a expert panelist on the show.(7-11-2005)
  • Penalties announced from Daytona: NASCAR announced Monday that fines have been issued to five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations leading up to the July 2 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
    Joel Shear, crew chief of the #09 Dodge driven by Johnny Sauter and Dan Kolanda, crew chief for the #89 Dodge driven by Morgan Shepherd, were each fined $10,000 due to unapproved upper rear coil spring mounts, a violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. The infractions were found during opening day inspection June 30.
    Shear was fined an additional $5,000 for violating NASCAR probation, a breach of Section 12-4-A.
    Harold Holly, [former] crew chief of the #32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., was also fined $10,000 when post-qualifying inspection revealed violations of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved lubrication oil reservoir tank cover).
    Additionally, Glenn Darrow, crew chief for the #37 Dodge of Kevin Lepage, was fined $2,500 after being found in violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved fuel cell foam) following opening-day inspection.
    Also, Tony Eury Jr., crew chief of the #15 Chevrolet driven by Michael Waltrip, was fined $500 because he missed the pre-race driver’s meeting, a violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-I (failure to attend driver’s meeting).(NASCAR PR), see more on penalties for 2005, where the money goes and more…on my 2005 Penalties page.(7-11-2005)
  • Six cars to the wind tunnel after Chicago: NASCAR officials plan to take six cars from Sunday’s race to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta [AG] to determine how the various manufacturers stack up on aerodynamic issues: the Chevrolets driven by #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart, the Fords of #17-Matt Kenseth and #6-Mark Martin, and the Dodges driven by #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #2-Rusty Wallace.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-11-2005)
  • Robby to run 2006 ‘double’? #7-Robby Gordon said he will run the Indianapolis 500 next May [and the Coca-Cola 600 later that day], and since he’s a Chevy man, that likely means that General Motors would provide the motors, reversing a GM decision last year to pull out of the Indy Racing League at the end of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-11-2005)
  • Hmiel Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr. may not have had the fastest car in the race, but the driver of the #8 Chevrolet, along with crew chief Steve Hmiel, outfoxed the competition and brought their team their first victory in twenty races. Hmiel made the gutsy call to take only two tires on the final round of pit stops, setting up Earnhardt Jr. to take over the lead on the ensuing green flag run. Hmiel’s bold strategy brought the Budweiser team a win and earned him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. Earnhardt Jr. was in fourth place when the caution flag waved on lap 243. After taking only two tires on his pit stop, Earnhardt Jr. was the first car to exit pit road, moving him into the second position. When the race returned to green, Earnhardt Jr. scooted past Scott Wimmer for the lead and held off the quickly ensuing #17 USG machine piloted by Matt Kenseth. Matt Kenseth held a commanding lead for the majority of the event, staying in the top spot for 176 out of 267 laps. Kenseth’s run helped make Hmiel’s decision on the final stop. The panel of voters; including Paul Skrbina of the Times of Northwest Indiana, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all gave the nod to Hmiel as the Crew Chief of the Race.
    Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Fatback McSwain, Greg Zipadelli, Steve Hmiel and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(7-11-2005)
  • Roush trying to keep Martin in the #6 for 2006: Jack Roush asked Mark Martin if he would consider taking one for the team–“an encore tour”–if Jamie McMurray were unavailable in 2006 to drive the #6 Ford. Roush was beaming ear to ear when he said, “He didn’t tell me no.”(Sporting News)(7-11-2005)
  • Banning testing at some non Cup tracks? NASCAR is considering banning Cup testing at Kentucky and Nashville and possibly other tracks, according to crew chiefs, who say NASCAR may also ban any testing anywhere during the season’s final 10 events.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-11-2005)
  • All-Star Race to move? Look for the Nextel All-Star Challenge to move in 2007. Although the event will remain at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next year, NASCAR is looking to move the All-Star race to Richmond International Raceway, a track that is closer to Nextel’s headquarters in Reston, Va.(Sporting News)(7-11-2005)
  • Kenseth to stay at Roush: #17-Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champ, has no plans to move. Expect him to get his next contract with Roush Racing locked down early. Kenseth, who finished second on Sunday (his best finish of the season), reportedly is signed through the 2006 season and has no plans to change teams. “We’ve never had any problems,” Kenseth says. “Roush has always been fair to me, and I feel like I’ve done the same thing. They’ve done great things for my career, and I can’t imagine racing anywhere else.”(Sporting News)(7-11-2005)
  • Chicago Overnight TV Ratings Down from 2004: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400 Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway earned a 4.9 overnight rating and an 11 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 5.8% lower than the 5.2 overnight figure NBC drew for the Chicago race last year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-11-2005)

News from July 10, 2005

  • Sad News: Charles ‘Chuck’ Galen Rider, 64, of Hilton Head, SC, formerly of Charlotte, passed away July 8, 2005. Rider was the owner of the #30 Bahari Racing Winston Cup team from 1986 to 1999. Drivers included Michael Waltrip and Johnny Benson [remember the total yellow #30 Pennzoil Pontiac?], Jeff Green and Derrike Cope. In 365 starts, his cars had 16 top-5’s, 70 top-10’s and 5 poles. Waltrip scored the best two finsihes for Rider with two seconds [Pocono 6/88 and Charlotte 10/94].(7-9-2005)
    UPDATE: Mr. Rider, 64, of Terrell, NC and Wexford Plantation in Hilton Head, SC, passed away Friday, July 8, 2005 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He was born August 27, 1940 in Carlisle, PA to the late Charles B. and Marion S. Rider. Chuck was a 1958 graduate of Mercersburg Academy and a 1962 graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. During his business career, he was employed by Carter Carburetor, president of AEA Inc., an All Pro Auto Parts franchise and distributor, and president of Preferred Power, Inc., the largest Briggs & Stratton distributor in the Southeast, until his retirement. In 1987, he co-founded, with Lowrance Harry and Dick Bahre, Bahari Racing Inc., which raced on the Nextel-Winston Cup circuit until 2001. Bahari Racing Inc. owned and raced the number 30 car, originally the Country Time Lemonade/Maxwell House Coffee car in 1987 and then Pennzoil Pontiac car which featured drivers Michael Waltrip and Johnny Benson. Mr. Rider was preceded in death by his first wife, Patricia Lawing Rider. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Sue Rider; daughters, Deborah R. McClure of Greenville, SC and Ginger Rider of Cornelius, NC; step son, Jay P. Fischer and step daughter, Rebecca L. Heck; grandchildren, Christian and Austin McClure; step granddaughter, Jena Fischer; brother, John Rider of Reading, PA.
    The interment will be held 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 11, 2005 at Catawba Memorial Park, 3060 Highway 70 SE, Hickory, NC. A Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Mr. Chuck Rider will follow at 3:00 p.m., at Harry and Bryant Company, “Chapel in the Oaks”, 500 Provoidence Rd., Charlotte, NC with the Reverend Max Helton officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at Harry and Bryant Company. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Victory Junction Gang, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317, (336)498.9055 and the American Cancer Society, c/o Research Foundation, 500 E. Morehead St., Suite 211, Charlotte, NC 28202. See full obituary at the Charlotte Observer.(7-10-2005)
  • Dale Jr. wins at Chicago: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, taking the lead on lap 256 and leading the last 11 laps, held off dominant #17-Matt Kenseth [176 laps led] at the end, winning by 0.407 seconds. The win is Dale Jr.’s first in 19 races, Phoenix in November 2004 and the 16th win of his 201 race career. Earnhardt has now won at least one race in each of the last 6 seasons [all six season’s he has been full time] only Jeff Gordon [12 years] and Tony Stewart [7] have longer streaks. On the final pit stop, #8 crew chief, Steve Hmiel went with two right side tires for track position and the crew go Earnhardt out 2nd, behind #22-Scott Wimmer, who didn’t pit. It took a few laps, but Dale Jr. caught Wimmer [who finished 17th]. Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers and #20-Tony Stewart. Johnson increases his points lead to 108 and now only the top-10 are under 400 points. #24-Jeff Gordon, who ran poorly all day, got wrecked by #0-Mike Bliss [who bottomed out on the apron and came up] and finished with another DNF, 33rd. Gordon is now 102 points out of 400 points to make the chase. Dale Jr. is now 91 points out. Kenseth led 176 of 267 laps, a new track record. There were 10 cautions for 47 laps and 17 lead changed by 12 drivers.
    For race results see Jayski’s Chicago Race Results/Awards page.(7-10-2005)
  • Chicago Post-Race Notes:
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, scoring his 16th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 201st career start.
    • Earnhardt Jr’s last victory came at Phoenix, 20 races ago.
    • Earnhardt Jr., moved to 40th on NASCAR’s All-time win list tied with Jimmie Johnson..
    • This marked the ninth victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has eight wins and Dodge has one.
    • Earnhardt Jr. climbed from 16th to 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, and is now 491 behind of first-place Jimmie Johnson.
    • Earnhardt Jr., scored his first victory and second top 10 finish at Chicagoland Speedway.
    • Earnhardt Jr. became the ninth different race winner in 2005.
    • This was Earnhardt Jr’s, 13th career superspeedway victory in 156 career superspeedway races.
    • Earnhardt Jr., led one time for the final 11 laps.
    • Earnhardt Jr., has scored seven top-10 finishes in 18 races this season.
    • This marked the first victory for DEI in 2005 and first at Chicagoland.
    Notebook Items
    • Matt Kenseth (second) posted his second top-10 finish in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. It marked his fifth top-10 finish in 2005 and his best finish of the season. Kenseth led 176 of the 267 laps raced, leading the most laps for the first time in a race this season.
    • Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in four races at Chicagoland Speedway, all top fives. He scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2005. Johnson remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 108 ahead of second-place Greg Biffle.
    • Johnson has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 51 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Johnson has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers
    • Brian Vickers (fourth) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Chicagoland and his fifth top-10 finish in 2005.
    • Tony Stewart (fifth) posted fourth top-five finish in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. Stewart remained third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 43 points behind second-place Greg Biffle.
    • Jeremy Mayfield (sixth) scored his third top-10 finish in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. Mayfield has scored 12 top-15 finishes in 2005. He climbed from 11th to ninth in the point standings.
    • Rusty Wallace (12th) extended a 31-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August.
    • Jeff Gordon (33rd) scored his sixth DNF in 2005. Gordon has finished 30th or worse in eight of the 18 races this season. Gordon dropped from 13th to 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 502 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.
    • Bobby Hamilton Jr., led his first lap in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    • Seven 10 of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Chicagoland Speedway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-11-2005)
  • Rumblings – Chicago: Dale Earnhardt Jr took the lead from Scott Wimmer with 11 laps to go and held off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth to take today’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway for his first victory of the season. This was win #16 for Little E (he’s now tied for 40th with Jimmie Johnson on the all-time win list) and his first since he won at Phoenix last November. He’s the 9th different winner this season (we had 13 of ’em last year), and this was win #22 for DEI. It was worth a nice $325,033 from the over $5.8M in posted awards
    Matt Kenseth (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Loudon last September.
    Casey Mears (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Texas in April.
    Stuart Kirby (31st) had his career-best finish today. His previous best has 37th at Kansas in September of 2002.
    Carl Long (40th) had his best finish since he was 39th at Michigan last August (only 5 races).
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 4 Top-5’s in a row. Matt Kenseth has 3 Top-10’s in the last 4 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+24), followed by Jason Leffler (+23), Ricky Rudd (+21), and Rusty Wallace (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Dave Blaney (-28 ), followed by Ryan Newman (-27), Travis Kvapil (-27), Mike Bliss (-23), Robby Gordon (-23), and Kasey Kahne (-23). This is Op #4 for Jr this season…he’s the leader in that category.
    Bobby Hamilton Jr led today for the first time in his Cup career. He’s the 44th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 50.
    No major change in the race for 35th and the final exempt spot in quals. Scott Wimmer has moved up to 34th, Mike Wallace is still in at 35th, and Jason Leffler and the #11 team are now 13 points out (they were 17 markers back after Daytona). Jimmie Johnson pads his points lead this week….it’s up to 108. We’re down to just the Top-10 alive in the Chase as Dale Jarrett is now 409 out. We had three drivers (Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matt Kenseth, and Casey Mears) advance three spots this week, while Travis Kvapil (30th to 33rd) fell the same number of positions.(Stock Car Fans)(7-10-2005)
  • RCR makes changes in the engine dept: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) continues to make personnel moves to improve its championship-winning engine department. Engine shop manager Spenny Clendenen, an RCR employee since 1985 and head engine builder from 1995 to 1997, has been named to the position of general manager in charge of the department’s business and administrative responsibilities. He will also be the focal point for RCR’s customer engine program, which furnishes engines for Kevin Harvick, Inc. (Busch and Truck), PPI Motorsports (NEXTEL Cup) and Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (Truck). Rick Mann has been named chief engine builder and will oversee all competition-related responsibilities. He brings 17 years of NASCAR engine building experience and nearly 30 years of overall engine building experience to his new position. Assistant engine shop manager Danny Lawrence, an RCR employee since 1985 and head engine builder from 1998 to 2001, has been named assistant chief engine builder. He will responsible for all at-track activities involving RCR’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team engine tuners and will assist Mann at the shop. “I think the reorganization we’ve made is a positive new start to our entire engine department,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. ”We’ve had tremendous growth at RCR over the past couple of years and the workload we’ve asked our management group to be responsible for was keeping us from achieving the success I know we’re capable of. These moves, in addition to bringing on Nick Hayes to head up our engine research and development department, have put RCR in a much better position to reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves.” A new engine shop manager will be named at a later date.(RCR Site)(7-8-2005)
    AND Nick Hayes has been named by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as its engine research and development director and will lead all RCR engine research and development activities from a newly-created R&D facility at the RCR complex. Hayes comes to RCR after a well-documented yet unique career at Cosworth, which is based in England, including spells in Formula One engine design, development and track support before rising through the ranks to lead its F1 program through the late 1990s. Recent years saw him leading all technical activities at Cosworth as Technical Director. The move to RCR marks the start of a new chapter in Hayes’ illustrious and successful race engine career that has covered a wide variety of series but, until now, has not touched NASCAR significantly.(RCR PR)(7-10-2005)
  • RC Wine…the good stuff: A bottle of 2004 Childress Vineyards’ Barrel Select Pinot Gris was chosen as one of the top wines produced by celebrity wine proprietors in today’s USA TODAY. Legendary NASCAR championship team owner Richard Childress is also the proprietor of Childress Vineyards, located at the gateway of the Yadkin Valley in Lexington, N.C. In a “Food & wine” column (“Heard about stars through the grapevine”, July 8, 2005), columnist Jerry Shriver wrote about celebrities involved in winemaking and the taste test USA TODAY entertainment reporter Donna Freydkin conducted with 11 wines having celebrity connections. Freydkin mentioned the Childress Vineyard selection first, commenting that she “preferred the smooth, easy-to-drink-while-sitting-on-your-porch character” of the North Carolina wine crafted by award-winning winemaker Mark Friszolowksi.
    The list of celebrities, other than Richard Childress, proprietor of Childress Vineyards president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, included: movie director Sofia Coppola; her father, director Francis Ford Coppola; the rock band Doobie Brothers, music legend Bob Dylan; golfers Ernie Els, Greg Norman and Arnold Palmer; Vince Neil, lead singer for Motley Crue; and acting legends Fess Parker and Fred MacMurray.(RCR PR)(7-10-2005)
  • more on A.J. Foyt IV to Evernham: Indy Racing League driver A.J. Foyt IV watched Saturday’s Busch Series race with Ray Evernham from the top of the No. 19 Nextel Cup hauler. Foyt, A.J.’s grandson, is testing for Evernham and will run the team’s #6 Dodge in a couple of Busch Series races this year.(Tampa Tribune)(7-10-2005)
  • Driver killed: Sprint car racing veteran Don Townsend died Saturday night during a USAC National event at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway. He was 70. Townsend was on the track in the No. 77R sprint car when he hit the wall in turn 3 during one of the final hot lap sessions before qualifying. He was taken off the track by ambulance and then flown to The Ohio State University in Columbus. According to the Rebman Motorsports Web site, Townsend was in his 52nd year of racing. He has driven several types of open-wheeled racers during his career—from coupes to offset roadsters to winged and non-winged sprint cars. He raced on both dirt and asphalt. Townsend’s first sprint car ride came in 1968. His resume included more than 100 feature wins.(Mansfield News Journal)(7-10-2005)

    News from July 9, 2005

  • More on McMurray signing with Roush: [Jamie] McMurray, who drives for Chip Ganassi [#42 Dodge], has just signed a multiyear contact to drive for Jack Roush beginning in 2007 [in the #6 Ford]. That surprising move is so legally ticklish that McMurray yesterday dodged reporters and refused to answer questions, issuing a brief statement only after it was cleared by his attorneys. McMurray’s move has sparked numerous questions, including the thorny legal issue of whether it’s OK to sign a contract to drive for somebody else while still under a contract. The sticky issue of “interfering” with a driver under contract has been debated, on and off, for more than 10 years, since driver contracts became the norm in NASCAR. Two NASCAR team owners, who asked not to be named, both said they felt that there was a significant potential for legal action over the move. But Roush quickly dismissed any such legal questions, saying that the issues had been thoroughly scrutinized: “We have had discussions, being fully aware of what his contract is. We don’t intend to interfere with his contract in any way. We don’t intend to talk about our sponsors or his sponsors, which would be one of the things to be concerned about. We only have interest in him getting in our car when he has fulfilled his commitments to Chip, whatever they are. We won’t stand in the way of anything. And we’re not interesting in any discussions of a buyout or anything else that might be an inducement for Chip to release him.” Roush said that it’s possible McMurray might even join Roush Racing for the 2006 season, though Ganassi, in a news release, said he wants to keep McMurray through the end of 2006. “He is not under contract for 2006 until Chip elects or chooses not to take his option going forward in September,” Roush said. “This 2005 year for Jamie is the first year of two one-year extensions which were at Chip’s option. Chip is obliged to let him know if he wants him to drive in 2006. And lacking an indication of that, he is released. It isn’t clear what Chip will do. I haven’t had any conversations with him. I don’t think he’s indicated to Jamie what he’s going to do.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-9-2005)
  • Wood still looking at Cup, #21?: Until this weekend, Jon Wood was the heir apparent to Mark Martin in Roush Racing’s famed #6 Ford. Jamie McMurray will take over one of NASCAR’s most visible rides – although possibly not until 2007. Wood can turn his attention back to the Busch Series, where, as a rookie, he’s 15th in the points driving the #47 Ford for mid-level ST Motorsports. “When I first got the job in this [No. 47] race car this year, that was all that I had,” he said. “As the weeks went on and more talk about me going to whichever Cup car next year progressed, it didn’t really distract me, but it was more than I needed at the time.” Wood is under contract with Roush, for whom he drove in the Craftsman Truck Series from 2001 to 2004. That does not mean he will go to the next level with Roush. It is far more likely now that Wood, a third-generation racer in the Wood Brothers family, will wind up driving their #21 Ford. Ricky Rudd, 48 and winless in his three seasons as the Wood Brothers’ lone driver, is nearing the end of his career. Whether he retires at the end of this year or goes one more, Wood is his likely replacement. “There’s a strong possibility that if things work out, I could be in the 21,” Wood said. “That would be a really big deal because the Wood Brothers family and the racing team have both put a tremendous amount of effort into getting me where I am right now, so that would be cool to pay them back.”(Tampa Tribune)(7-9-2005)
  • What’s up with Riggs? it appears more likely than not that Scott Riggs will be leaving the [current] #10 Nelson Bowers-Bob Sutton-James Rocco team at the end of the season, probably to drive for Ray Evernham [in his #10 Valvoline car]. Jay Frye, the team manager for the Rocco-Bowers operation, is glad to get #01-Joe Nemechek [see below] under a new contract but he isn’t happy with the state of negotiations with Riggs, who has apparently told Frye to consider looking for another driver. “We have every intention of re-signing Scott, and we presented an offer to him before Richmond (in May),” Frye said. “But he’s been quoted saying he’s talking with other teams. I think this is where he wants to be, but we’ll see. Since all this got out, we’ve had calls from other drivers, some that would surprise a lot of people. We have every intention of Scott staying, and we want him to stay. We’ve got to decide within the next two or three weeks, because we’re looking a sponsor prospects. So we’ve got to get it secured sooner rather than later.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-9-2005)
  • More on Mears to Penske: With McMurray out of the picture, Casey Mears’ name has popped up as replacing the retiring Rusty Wallace at [#2 Miller Lite Dodge] Penske Racing South. Mears, who drives the #41 for Chip Ganassi Racing, said yesterday he is waiting to hear from Ganassi on next year. “I’ve been told they want me around next season, but that’s the extent of it,” he said. “I just haven’t seen anything solid that says I’m going to be there. I’m happy with my team. I think we can improve and do a lot better than we’re doing now, so if I stick around, I’d be happy with that. If not, I’m keeping options open to go do something else. But right now it’s their option, and as soon as they let me know I can make a decision. . . . The longer they wait to tell me anything hurts me.”.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-9-2005)
  • So would Sterling Marlin take the #6 ride for a year? Actually Roush has more – conversations with Sterling Marlin, possibly to take Martin’s ride for 2006. “Jack and I have talked a little, but I don’t know anything,” Marlin said. “I need to know something pretty quick, and I’ve got some meetings next week. We’ll see how it shakes out.” So would Marlin be willing to take just a one-year deal? “Yeah, if you look at what those guys are doing – it would be hard to give up the opportunity to win a championship,” Marlin said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-9-2005)
  • #0 Moving to Kannapolis? The city of Kannapolis [NC] may soon be home to a $16.1 million Haas CNC Racing facility. The city and the company are in the process of negotiating a deal that would move Haas CNC Racing [#0 NetZero-BestBuy Chevy with driver Mike Bliss] from its current 40,000-square-foot Harrisburg facility to a 140,000-square-foot facility in the Kannapolis Gateway Business Park. Negotiations have been under way for weeks, and the city is in the final stages of negotiating the sale of 23 acres of land to the racing company, said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “It’s a huge project for us,” Legg said. The Cabarrus Regional Partnership has been working with the city and the racing company to initiate and fine-tune the deal. A public hearing will be held Thursday with the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners to consider an incentive grant for the Haas CNC Racing under the county’s Industrial Development Program. Haas CNC Racing teams include the #0 NASCAR Nextel Series car driven by Mike Bliss and the #44 NASCAR Busch Series car driven by Justin Labonte. “We’re confident that we will finalize this land purchase with the City of Kannapolis at their Gateway Business Park site,” said Joe Custer, general manager of Haas CNC Racing. “The site’s location on (N.C.) highway 73 and its accessibility to I-85 and the Lowe’s Motor Speedway area makes it very attractive to our organization.” John Cox, CEO of Cabarrus Regional Partnership, said the firm would employee about 100 people at its new facility. Haas CNC Racing is owned by Gene Haas. Haas founded Haas Automation, the largest machine tool manufacturer in the country, in 1983. Haas Automation is based in Oxnard, Calif., and has partnerships with NASCAR race teams, including Hendrick Motorsports. Cabarrus County manager John Day said, if approved, Haas CNC Racing could get an incentive grant for 50 percent of its tax bill for the next three or four years. The incentive greatly helped to attract the company to the area.(Independent Tribune)(7-9-2005)
  • Crocker 2nd at Kentucky, ties record: Erin Crocker won the pole and raced to a second-place finish Friday night in the ARCA Re/Max Series event at Kentucky Speedway. Crocker matched the best finish by a female driver is series history, Shawna Robinson’s runner-up effort in a 2001 race at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s definitely an improvement,” Crocker said. “We’re heading in the right direction.” No woman has won a stock-car race in any of NASCAR’s major national or regional series or in ARCA’s top series. Chad Blount won the race, taking the lead on the opening lap and leading for 95 of the 100 laps. He and Crocker were 1-2 after the final restart, on lap 86, and stayed that way the rest of the race.(USA Today/AP)(7-9-2005)

    News from July 8, 2005

  • McMurray to the #6?…..in 2007? UPDATE 3: hearing that Jamie McMurray, current driver of the #42 Texaco Dodge for Chip Ganassi, has signed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to drive the #6 Ford beginning in 2007. Hmm…so who drives the #6 in 2006?(7-6-2005 – 2am)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that it will part ways with driver Jamie McMurray following the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. “Jamie’s made a decision to go in another direction after we’ve both fulfilled the commitment that we made to each other in 2002,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “We didn’t do a good job of conveying to Jamie where this team is headed, but we expect a lot of success with Jamie the rest of this year and next year, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors beyond that.” Team owner Felix Sabates added, “This is a total team sport and the Texaco/Havoline team will continue to stay focused on making the Chase and running for the Championship this season, next season and well into the future.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(7-7-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith says they got the man who was at the top of their wish list of drivers to replace Mark Martin in the #6-car. Jamie McMurray will part ways with Chip Ganassi after next season to pilot what is now the Viagra Ford. “He was at the top that’s for sure, but we didn’t know whether it was going to be available and when and so we were able to work through it and we’re good to go in 2007.” If McMurray is released from his contract with the 42-car at the end of this season it would free him to join Roush next year; however Smith isn’t counting on that. “We’re not planning on that at all at this time. The message he’s conveyed to us is that he’s expecting to stay in the #42-car all next year. We’re not planning on any scenario other than that one.” So, who takes over for Mark Martin in 2006? Smith said, “There have been so many balls in the air that we’ve been juggling between drivers and sponsors and when this came up we could do this for 2007 that’s now triggered us into a whole new round of assessment about what we’re going to do for 2006. We hope in a very short period of time we’ll have our 2006 solution figured out.”(PRN’s Garage Pass), Ricky Craven is one driver rumored as a driver for the #6 for one year.(7-7-2005)
    AND from Roush Racing: Roush Racing announced today that it has signed Jamie McMurray to a multi-year contract to drive its #6 NASCAR Nextel Cup entry commencing with the 2007 season. No decision has been made with regard to the driver of the #6 for the 2006 season.(Roush Racing PR)
    UPDATE 3 – McMurray’s statement: “I have signed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to drive the #6 car beginning with the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. However, my focus and commitment remains with the #42 Texaco/Havoline/Home123 team as we continue our bid for the Chase for the Championship.” — Jamie McMurray.(Jamie McMurray Enterprises PR)(7-8-2005)
  • Nemechek and U.S. Army renew with MB2 Motorsports: In conjunction with the U.S. Army partnership renewal with MB2 Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Joe Nemechek has received a multiyear contract extension from MB2 to drive the #01 Army Chevrolet. Nemechek took over the driving duties of the U.S. Army/MB2 entry with four races remaining in the 2003 season. “It’s been a privilege to drive the U.S. Army car and represent the men and women in uniform,” said Nemechek. “This Army team continues to make progress and as time goes on we’re only going to get better and better. The future is bright because we have talented people associated with this team. I am grateful to be part of MB2 Motorsports — it’s a first-class organization that is 100 percent committed to fielding quality teams in the most competitive form of racing.” Jay Frye, MB2’s general manager and chief executive officer, was equally thrilled in Nemechek’s contract extension and the Army partnership renewal. “We are honored with the continued support the U.S. Army has placed with our team,” said Frye. “We have a special partner in the Army and are very proud of the association. Our Army of One team has been competitive week in and week out and we are excited about Joe’s extension. Everyone at MB2 Motorsports feels that we are on the cusp of something great.” Nemechek, a native of Lakeland, Fla., has 375 career NASCAR Cup starts. His first Cup race was in 1993, the year after he won the Busch Series championship.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(7-8-2005)
  • Johnson wins pole at Chicago: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Budweiser Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with a new track record speed of 188.147mph for his first pole since Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May 2004, 41 races ago. The pole is the first of 2005 [he started first at Dover in 2005 due to bad weather that cancelled qualifying] and the 8th of his career. In five races, there have been five different pole sitters: Todd Bodine, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Six drivers broke the track record: #120Ryan Newman will start 2nd, followed by #41-Casey Mears, #17-Matt Kenseth, #01-Joe Nemechek and #16-Greg Biffle. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 25th. Missing the race were #92-Kenny Wallace, #34-P.J. Jones, #66-Mike Garvey and #75-Wayne Anderson. #20-Tony Stewart is back at the track after suffering a hard crash in Friday’s practice, Stewart is OK, but J.J. Yeley qualified the car 13th. Stewart will practice a bit on Saturday nd plans to run the race, he will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the greem flag.
    For qualifying results, pole progrssion and starting lineup and links on my Jayski’s Chicago Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(7-8-2005)
  • Home Depot Racing Team Forced to Backup Car After Crash in Practice: Tony Stewart crashed his primary Home Depot Chevrolet midway through this morning’s practice session at Chicagoland Speedway. He cut a right front tire upon entering turn four of the 1.5-mile oval, making a hard right side impact with the turn four retaining wall. The #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team will now race Chassis No. 100 in Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400. This is just the second time in its six-and-a-half year existence the #20 team has had to use its backup race car following a crash in practice. The only other time where its backup race car was used due to a crash in practice was last year at Chicagoland. There, in the morning practice session, Stewart hit oil in turn three, spun, and impacted the turn three wall with the left side of the race car. Stewart went on to win last year’s race at Chicagoland in his backup race car. Following today’s crash, Stewart was evaluated in the infield care center. While Stewart was awake, alert and able to walk on his own, medical personnel determined that further examination was needed at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Joliet. There, Stewart underwent precautionary X-rays. All tests came back negative.
    J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, qualified the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet a respectable 13th for the USG Sheetrock 400. The sophomore Busch Series driver toured the 1.5-mile oval in 29.006 seconds with an average speed of 186.168 mph. Yeley was fitted into the seat of the #20 car and was able to make two mock qualifying runs before today’s practice session ended. In his first career Busch Series start last year at Chicagoland, Yeley led 25 laps before a late race pit stop dropped him to ninth. With Yeley qualifying the #20 car, Stewart will start the USG Sheetrock 400 from the 43rd and last position. The benefit of Yeley making a qualifying attempt was for the #20 team to obtain the best pit selection possible. Stewart will drive the #20 car in tomorrow’s two practice sessions and in Sunday’s race.
    “My guys had to work and their efforts got us a 13th in qualifying trim,” said crew chief Greg Zipadelli. “So our pit pick is a little bit better than if we didn’t do it. And most importantly, we did the drill. We put somebody else in who hadn’t been in our car and we just missed the top-10 in qualifying. So, I’m proud of my guys. I think a big part of it is keeping our momentum going, but also keeping our confidence that we can do what we need to do. That’s important this time of year.”
    “If Tony’s not feeling up to it, we won’t run that much tomorrow,” added Zipadelli. “We’ll let J.J. run some and go from there. We’ll just keep J.J. as a backup driver. He’s done a great job for us. If he’s got a good race track, this is one of them. He just tested two days up here in his Busch car. He was really good this morning and really comfortable. He got in our car and did a great job. I wouldn’t think twice about anybody else.”(True Speed Communication)(7-8-2005)
  • Office Depot to become Edwards exclusive sponsor: Office Depot, the “Official Office Products Partner of NASCAR” and Roush Racing announced today that Office Depot has signed a new multi-year deal to be the primary sponsor of the #99 Roush Racing Ford, driven by Carl Edwards beginning in the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. “I’m really excited to have Office Depot on board as the primary sponsor of the No. 99 Ford in 2006 and beyond,” said Edwards. “I’m proud to represent Office Depot and all of their employees and customers across the country. There is an obvious cross-over between the NASCAR fan base and Office Depot’s customers and I’m excited that they’ve chosen me, Roush Racing and the #99 team as their vehicle to communicate their messaging. I know I speak for my entire team when I say we look forward to having Office Depot as a part of our team in the future.” Office Depot’s foray into NASCAR began this February when the Company announced its sponsorship of Roush Racing’s #99 Ford that ultimately extended to a total of 17 races for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.(Roush Racing site)(7-8-2005)
  • Kenny Wallace in the #92, #00 withdraws: Kenny Wallace in cooperation with MWR, has decided to run the #92, State Fair Corn Dog Car in Chicago Nextel Cup race this weekend. “The MWR Team is working hard to build some new cars, has a new Crew Chief [Butch Hylton], so we are taking a little side step this weekend to get in the Chicago Race.” Wallace will be driving with a DEI engine, and Front Row Motorsports crew chief Fred Wanke.(Kenny Wallace site)(7-8-2005)
  • More testing at Indy next week: Testing for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard began this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the real rush hours will take place July 11-12 and July 18-19. A total of 40 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers are scheduled to test on those four days, with 23 on track Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12 and 17 turning laps Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. All drivers are testing in preparation for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Speedway.
    The large number of drivers testing at IMS contrasts with the opening week of testing. Four drivers – reigning series champion Kurt Busch, rookie sensation Carl Edwards, 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Ricky Rudd and 2001 pole winner Jimmy Spencer – tested July 5, with just Busch and Rudd returning July 6. Busch was the fastest driver during that two-day test, posting a top lap of 180.208 mph in the #97 Crown Royal Ford. Speeds should be higher over the next two weeks, unless there’s a drastic change in weather, due to the improved track conditions created by increased traffic. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., originally scheduled to test July 11-12, instead will turn laps July 18-19 along with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. teammate and reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr.
    See driver lineup for rach practice on my 2005 Testings news info Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(PR)(7-8-2005)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Pepsi 400: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, James P. of Frederick, MD was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. James picked Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going towww.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt Jr.(Alan Taylor Comminications)(7-8-2005)
  • Chicago Qualifying Notes:
    • Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400, lapping Chicagoland Speedway in 28.701 seconds at 188.147 mph.
    • Johnson broke Jeff Gordon’s track-qualifying record of 28.886 seconds, 186.942 mph set July 9, 2004. Six drivers eclipsed Gordon’s 2004 time. This is the fifth track record set this season.
    • This is Johnson’s eighth career Bud Pole in 129 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. He became the 11th different Bud Pole winner this season.
    • This is Johnson’s third top-10 start in four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
    • There have been five different Bud Pole winners in the five races at Chicago since the inaugural NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race in 2001.
    • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.715 seconds, 188.055 mph – and will join Johnson on the front row for the USG Sheetrock 400. Newman posted his 15th top-10 start in 2005, his ninth on the front row. He has started on the front row in 47 of his career races. Newman has started 14th or better, including two front-row starts, in his four races at Chicago.
    • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has seven Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June.
    • Casey Mears (third) posted just his second top-10 start this season – both top-fives. He started second at Michigan. It is his second top-10 start in three races at Chicago.
    • Matt Kenseth (fourth) scored third top-10 start this season and his first better than sixth. It is the first qualifying effort better than 16th for Kenseth in five races at Chicago.
    • Brian Vickers (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 start in 2005. It is the second top-10 start for Vickers in as many races at Chicago. He started fourth in his rookie season start here in 2004.
    • David Stremme (31st), driving a third Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry, qualified for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    • Stuart Kirby (32nd) posted his career best qualifying effort in for fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. His previous best start was 37th at Kansas in 2002. It is his second race this season. He started 43rd and finished 42hd at Michigan last month.
    • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Chicago was 32nd by Kevin Harvick in 2002.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-8-2005)
  • Ramblings – Chicago – Stock Car Fans:
    Jimmie Johnson takes the Bud Pole today at Chicagoland Speedway for Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400, and it’s his first pole since he captured the top-spot at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May of 2004! Sure, he’s started first three times since….but those were all races we lined up by points, the most recent of which was at Dover last month. This is career pole #9 for JJ. Johnson also becomes our 11th different qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
    The first six qualifiers were all below the previous track record, and Johnson shattered that mark with a time of 28.701 (188.147 mph)…..besting the old record by almost 2/10ths.
    Dave Blaney (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Talladega in April.
    Travis Kvapil (16th) has his best starting spot since he started 9th at Talladega in April.
    David Stremme (31st) makes his first-ever Nextel Cup start. He’s warming up for a full-time ride in the #40 next year.
    Stuart Kirby (32nd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 26th when we were here in July of 2002! (only 3 starts)
    J. J. Yeley (13th) qualified Tony Stewart’s car for him today after he blew a tire and was hurt in practice. Tony had no broken bones but was a little woozy and was held out of qualifying. It’s expected he’ll be good to go on Sunday….but he’ll have to drop to the rear of the field.
    STREAKIN…..An empty category again this week.
    47 cars on hand and it’s wasn’t all that close as Kenny Wallace (in the #92 this weekend), Mike Garvey, P. J. Jones, and Wayne Anderson all get left out this weekend.(Stock Car Fans)(7-8-2005)
  • Stewart wrecks in practice: #20-Tony Stewart crashed in turn 4 during cup practice for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Rescue workers took their time in helping Stewart out of the #20-Home Depot Chevy. He appeared a bit groggy, however walked to the ambulance under his own power and waved to the fans. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital for precautionary xrays. The team will go to a back up car. Stewart’s car may have cut down a right front tire, however at this time crew chief Greg Zipadelli doesn’t know what happened. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Busch driver, J.J. Yeley is practicing Stewart’s backup car.(PRN’s Garage Pass at the track)
    AND Stewart will come back to the track and if cleared at the track, he could qualify the car, if not, J.J. Yeley would qualify the car and Stewart would race the car, falling to the rear of the field on Sunday. Stewart has no broken bones and is alert and ok, may have a possible concussion.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live)(7-8-2005)

    News from July 7, 2005

  • CNBC on Assignment: NASCAR Gold: The stock car race that started on the sands of Daytona nearly 50 years ago is now a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. “NASCAR Gold,” reported by Dylan Ratigan, premiering on CNBC on Monday, July 11, goes behind the scenes at this empire built on the beach in an in-depth, one-hour documentary about the sport – from its corporate boardrooms to the working pits at the Daytona 500. “NASCAR Gold” gives viewers an inside look at:
    – The extreme loyalty NASCAR fans show to corporate sponsors, buying billions worth of licensed gear every year — one reason NASCAR attracts more money from more Fortune 500 companies than any other sports or entertainment property in America.
    – The world of the billionaire France family, who, for three generations have run NASCAR with an iron grip. Diversifying beyond its roots in the South by starting races in places like Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas, they have made NASCAR the nation’s fastest-growing sport.
    Dylan Ratigan is no stranger to racing. After participating in the Baja 1000 as a co-driver last November – as one engine blew up and he was forced to push the truck by hand for the last mile – Ratigan met NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who invited him to work on the Gordon team in the Daytona pits. In “NASCAR Gold,” Ratigan also goes one-on-one with one of the sport’s most legendary team owners, Rick Hendrick.(NBC PR)(7-7-2005)
  • New #45 Scheme for Rest of 2005, Petty Blue Returns: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Chicagoland for Sunday’s Chicagoland 400. Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge will have a new look for the rest of the season starting this weekend. Georgia-Pacific will pay tribute to the Petty family by returning the family Petty Blue to the #45 Dodge. The “Petty Blue” color is unmistakable in the minds of race fans across America. The color is synonymous with winning and with Richard Petty’s record-tying seven Nextel Cup championships.(Williams Company)(7-7-2005)
  • Find the Perfect Jeans at Chicagoland: Imagine buying jeans faster than a NASCAR pit stop! Now you can with the Levi Strauss Signature “Fit Pit” Tour as it stops at Chicagoland Speedway during the NASCAR race weekend – July 8 -10. The Fit Pit features Intellifit technology that in 10 seconds scans a fully-clothed person and produces a print out recommendation of sizes and styles of Levi Strauss Signature jeans. Chicago NASCAR fans will be able to outfit the whole family in new jeans faster than a NASCAR pit stop.(Alan Taylor Comminications)(7-7-2005)
  • #18 Scheme for Chicago: Boniva (ibandronate sodium), a new medicine for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, will serve as primary sponsor for Bobby Labonte on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy at Chicagoland. The primary car for the USG Sheetrock 400 is Chassis #91, which has never been raced before. The car was involved in an accident in May during practice for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/Site)(7-7-2005)
  • Combo’s on the #38 at Chicago: Elliott Sadler will pilot the #38 Combo’s Ford on Sunday in the USG Sheetrock 400. This marks the second race of the 2005 season where Combo’s has held the primary spot on the RYR Ford Taurus. The first race was in Atlanta where Sadler finished tenth.(M&M’s Motorsports)(7-7-2005)
  • Associate sponsor for the #49 at Chicago: Chicago’s number one relocation service company, All Chicagoland Moving and Storage [allchicagoland.com], will be an associate sponsor for driver Ken Schrader and BAM Racing’s #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge for this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Chicagoland Speedway. An affiliate of the national moving company, United Van Lines, All Chicagoland Moving and Storage will don the rear deck lid of the #49 in what will be the company’s first-ever venture into NASCAR.(Williams Company)(7-7-2005)
  • TV Ratings not bad for the Pepsi 400 UPDATE: NBC and TNT’s coverage of the second half of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season kicked off on Saturday night as Tony Stewart took the checkered flag in the Pepsi 400 just before 2:00am/et [1:41am/et], in a race delayed more than two and a half hours by rain at Daytona International Speedway. The race drew a 4.9 overnight rating with a 12 share between 10:30pm/et and 2:00am/et, down only two percent from last year’s 5.0/10 on FOX (9:34pm/et-12:26am/et). The rating peaked between 11:00-11:30pm/et with a 5.5/11, the time that the race, if it hadn’t been delayed, would likely have been completed. The rain-delayed race broadcast (7:45pm/et -2am/et) rated a 4.2/9..(NBC PR)(7-5-2005)
    UPDATE up 6% over 2004: Despite not ending until 2:00am/et Sunday morning, NBC’s inaugural race broadcast of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season, the Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway, drew a 5.5 national rating and 13 share (9:55 p.m.-2 a.m. ET), up six percent from 2004 (5.2/12 on FOX, 9:36 p.m.-12:26 a.m. ET), even with being delayed more than two and a half hours by rain. NBC’s live rain-delay coverage, featuring NBC/TNT pit reporters interviewing NASCAR drivers, (7:45-9:55 p.m. ET) drew a 3.6/8, and was the highest rated program in the 8-9 p.m. ET time period on Saturday. From 8-11 p.m. ET, NBC Sports’ coverage of the Pepsi 400 ranked #1 in Saturday primetime against all networks in adults 18-49 and total viewers. The actual race telecast averaged a 3.2/13 in 18-49 from 9:55 p.m.-2 a.m. ET. Though most of the race occurred outside of primetime in the Eastern and Central time zones, the race telecast of the Pepsi 400 ranked as the week’s #7 program in 18-49.
    This week at Chicago on “Wally’s World,” U.S. Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch, of the U.S. women’s softball team, joins NBC/TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach for a few laps on the racetrack.(NBC PR)(7-7-2005)
  • #650 for Schrader: Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway marks the 650th start for #49-Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series; the veteran is in his 22nd year of Nextel Cup competition.(Williams Company)
    Schrader is 14th on the all-time Nextel Cup Series start list:
  • All Time Winston Cup Starts thru Daytona 7/2005 [* = active]:
    1)  Richard Petty, 1177
    2)  Dave Marcis, 881
    3)  Ricky Rudd, 856*
    4)  Terry Labonte, 823*
    5)  Darrell Waltrip, 809
    6)  Bill Elliott, 743*
    7)  Kyle Petty, 730*
    8)  Bobby Allison, 719
    9)  Buddy Baker, 701
    10) Rusty Wallace, 687* [retires end of 2005, projected 706]
    11) Dale Earnhardt, 676
    12) Sterling Marlin, 657*
    13) JD McDuffie, 653
    14) Ken Schrader, 649*.(7-7-2005)
  • Get Well: to #38 M&M’s and #88-UPS Ford team owner Robert Yates who missed his first race at Daytona in decades. Yates was suffering from kidney stones and stayed behind in the Mooresville, NC area.(7-3-2005)
    UPDATE: Robert Yates, Ford’s legendary patriarch of horsepower, missed last weekend’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona but intends to be back at the track for this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, near Joliet, Ill. Yates, 61, had surgery for kidney stones last week and was advised by doctors and family members to stay home and rest. The news here, of course, is that Yates missed a Daytona race for the first time since the 1960s, when he was beginning his apprenticeship with Ford’s Holman-Moody stock-car powerhouse in Charlotte.(Ford Racing)(7-7-2005)
  • Week One of Indy Testing over: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd improved upon their test speeds from July 5 during testing of race setups July 6, putting the wrap on a two-day Allstate 400 at the Brickyard test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Reigning series champion Busch set the fastest lap of the test July 6 at 180.208 mph in the #97 Crown Royal Ford. Rudd’s fastest lap of the day in the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford was 178.999, slightly faster than his July 5 top speed of 178.937. The second day’s higher speeds came despite more sunshine and higher temperatures and humidity. Busch and 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Rudd took advantage of the two full days of testing at the Speedway while Busch’s Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, tested only July 5. Edwards was fastest Tuesday at 179.165 in the #99 AAA Ford. Jimmy Spencer also joined the group July 5 in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge, but crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team brought to Indianapolis.
    Unofficial Speeds:
    Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps
    #97-Kurt Busch 180.208, 68
    #21A-Ricky Rudd 178.999, 91
    Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
    Private testing continues July 11-12 at IMS, when 23 cars are scheduled to turn laps. Drivers schedule to test include current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Greg Biffle, his Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, and former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick.
    Drivers Scheduled to test the next two weeks:
    July 11-12: #0-Mike Bliss, #01-Joe Nemechek, #2-Rusty Wallace, #4-Mike Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Jason Leffler, #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19- Jeremy Mayfield, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Boris Said, #37-Kevin Lepage, #38-Elliott Sadler, #41- Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #49-Ken Schrader, #77-Travis Kvapil
    More of NEXTEL Cup’s “heavy hitters” are scheduled to test July 18-19. A total of 17 teams and drivers will turn laps, including four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, fellow former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, and Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stewart and Gordon are scheduled to test only July 19.
    (IMS PR)(7-7-2005)

    News from July 6, 2005

  • Holly leaves #32 team UPDATE 2 no…on a sabbatical: hearing that #32 PPI Motorsports crew chief, Harold Holly has left the Tide team and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., been told Danny Gill will assume crew chief duties at Chicagoland Speedway.(7-5-2005)
    UPDATE: two Nashville, TN TV stations [NBC affiliate WSMV-TV and CBS affiliate WTVF-TV] reported and interviewed driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and he confirmed that Harold Holly has left the #32 car as crew chief. It was a mutual decision between Holly and #32 car owner Cal Wells. Holly wants to get back to Busch for less hectic schedule and it was time for a change. The new crew chief will be Danny Gill (Hamilton drove ARCA car with him as crew chief).(7-6-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Contrary to published reports, Harold Holly remains under contract with PPI Motorsports and is currently taking a sabbatical leave for several weeks. Filling in for Holly is Danny Gill.(PPI Motorsports)(7-6-2005)
    AND Call Wells told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio this morning that Harold Holly is still working for him but is on a several week sabbatical. “What’s Harold’s doing is he’s on a short sabbatical. He’s reviewing our performance challenges. He’s reviewing where we’re coming up short, what we need to evolve and to change,” Wells told CBL. Wells said they’ve hired Danny Gill to come in and straighten out the shop because the prouduct they have been delivering to the crew chief has not been of the quality that Wells said he’s been proud of in the past. Wells further said that Bobby Hamilton Sr. assisted in the hiring of Danny Gill to help square away things in the shop. Gill will cover things for the next couple of weeks as Harold delves into, “where our challenges are.” Wells says ” Harold’s going to come up with some thoughts and ideas and direction that is going to make us better.” Wells told CBL that he wanted to clairify that, “Harold Holly is still with PPI, that rumors to the contrary are inaccurate and that Harold is a good friend a confidant a supporter and I am a supporter of him.”(XM SatelliteNASCAR Radio)(7-6-2005)
  • #4 back in the top-35 AND: With Mike Wallace’s 8th place finish at Daytona in the Pepsi 400, the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports team is back in the top-35 in Owners Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Chicago. Thr #4 is now 34th, #22-Scott Wimmer falls to 35th [6 points behind the #4] and #11-Jason Leffer, even with a 18th place finish and leading a lap, falls out of the top-35 and is now 36th, 17 points behind Wimmer.(7-3-2005)
    AND did ya know? the 8th place finish at Daytona was the first top-10 for Morgan McClure Motorsports since Mike Skinner was 6th at Rockingham on Nov. 3, 2002, or 66 races ago [the team missed a few races in that span], and the #4 team has not had a top-5 in 244 races made since Bobby Hamilton scored a 4th at Richmond in May 1999, 244 races ago.(7-6-2005)
  • MLB and Dale Jr. team up again – image UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a MLB [Major League Baseball] scheme at the Chicagoland Speedway race in July, see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2005)
    UPDATE: The once-a-year Budweiser / Major League Baseball promotion returns to the race track this weekend at Chicago. Dale Jr. will also attend All-Star festivities (this year in Detroit) on Monday following the race. Expect his visit to include a ride to the ballpark via the Clydesdales for the on-field media event preceding the MLB Home Run Derby.(Budweiser PR/fingeprint inc)(7-6-2005)
  • Kraft on the #41 at Chicago: The Kraft logo will replace the Target bullseyes on the rear quarter panels of Casey Mears #41 Dodge this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the first year Kraft has partnered with Target to be a season-long associate sponsor of the #41 Dodge. Kraft Foods’ worldwide headquarters are located in Northfield, Ill., just 50 miles north of Joliet.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(7-6-2005)
  • DEI up for awards: The nominees have been released and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is once again up for two awards by Charlotte Trip magazine. And, just like last year, they’ll need some help from our dedicated fans to assist in the voting process. DEI is once again up for Best of Charlotte and Best Day Trip in the annual Visitor’s Choice Gold Awards put together by the magazine. With your help, they won both categories last year. You can vote for DEI [or other nominee] by logging onto www.CharlotteTrip.com, voting ends on August 15 and then the final three nominees in each category are announced. The actual awards ceremony is on September 7 in Charlotte.(DEI)(7-6-2005)
  • Marlin in Childress car? or maybe Yates? Jack Daniels Distillery says it is not lobbying for Columbia’s Sterling Marlin to be the driver of the Nextel Cup car it sponsors, but it expects to be “consulted” about the decision. “We will support whatever decision (team owner) Richard Childress makes, but we will be consulted,” said John Hayes, brand director for the Lynchburg-based distillery. Marlin said he was offered the job near the end of last season but turned it down to honor the final year of his contact with Chip Ganassi Racing. Childress hired Dave Blaney on a one-year contract. With Marlin now officially out at Ganassi after this season, there is speculation that he might join Childress and drive the Jack Daniels Chevrolet next year. Through 17 races, Blaney has one top-ten finish and is 27th in the standings. “Dave is a great guy and has been an excellent representative for us,” Hayes said. “He is a talented driver but has had some bad luck this season. We got into this a little late (waiting for NASCAR to approve sponsorship by companies that produce hard liquor) and everything considered, Dave has done a good job.” Jack Daniels has a multiyear contact to sponsor a Childress Nextel Cup car and Hayes said it is important that the car be “competitive.” “We’re the world’s #1-selling whiskey, and being competitive is important to us in whatever we do,” he said. “We’re in the big leagues now.” Although Blaney has not been in contention to win, Hayes said the company is “very satisfied” with the exposure it has received during the first half of the season. “Our consumer research has been very positive,” he said. “We rank seventh or eighth in merchandise sales and considering that we’re competing against drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, that’s very good. Right now we’re very happy with where we are and we will definitely be back next season.” Marlin said recently he hopes to learn his plans for next season “in the next few weeks.”(Tennessean)
    or Yates: hearing that Marlin could be in a third Robert Yates Racing Ford in 2006, if they decide to field a third team. Yates recently said he had no plans for a third Cup team and would run the Busch team another year, while it was mentioned a few weeks before that RYR was looking into a third team with CitiFinacial sponsoring the team.(7-6-2005)
  • Rusty….Back in Black at Chicago: Rusty Wallace’s #2 Penske Racing South Dodge will be carrying a special “retro” look in this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. “Just tell ‘em that black is back,” chuckled Wallace when discussing his team’s return to the familiar black-and-gold Miller Genuine Draft color scheme that graced his race cars from the beginning of the 1990 season through the end of the 1996 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. “We had so much success during the years we carried that paint job and hope that it’ll bring us some more good luck at Chicago this weekend. The fans loved it back in the early and mid-90s and so many people remember Dale Earnhardt’s black #3 and my black #2 battling it down to the wire in so many races,” Wallace recalled. “We think the fans will really appreciate us bringing that color scheme out another time during our ‘last call’ season.” Wallace drove his black-and-gold #2 Miller Genuine Draft entry (a Pontiac from 1990-1993 and a Ford from 1994-1996) to an amazing 30 wins, 82 top-five finishes and 120 top-10 finishes in 179 races wearing those colors. He recorded 10 of his 36 career pole positions during that time.(Tom Roberts PR)(7-6-2005)
  • Stremme to Debut at Chicago with the Navy UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in an alliance with FitzBradshaw Racing announced today that David Stremme will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10th, 2005, with the United States Navy serving as primary sponsor on the #39 Dodge Charger. The United States Navy will also serve as the primary sponsor for Stremme in the NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on September 10th. This announcement comes on the heels of the announcement that Stremme will compete for the 2006 Rookie of the Year honors in the NEXTEL Cup Series behind the wheel of the #40 Coors Light and #40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodges. The upcoming NEXTEL Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway will mark the first foray into NEXTEL Cup Racing for the United States Navy [actually they were on the #18 car in the 1991 Daytona 500 and on the #4 car in the 2000 Coca Cola 600 – images on my 2000 Paint Schemes Page]. Stremme is currently eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, driving the #14 Navy “Accelerate Your Life” Dodge. He has posted four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 2005, to date.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(7-1-2005)
    UPDATE: David Stremme will be making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut this weekend in the #39 Navy “Accelerate Your Life” Dodge. Stremme and the #39 team tested at Chicagoland June 20th and 21st in preparation for his NEXTEL Cup debut. Lee McCall will serve as Stremme’s crew chief this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. McCall joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at the beginning of the 2001 season to lead the #40 team. McCall amassed five wins as a crew chief at Chip Ganassi Racing, four with Sterling Marlin and one with Jamie McMurray. This is the first of four races where Stremme will be running both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup races. He will also be piloting a NEXTEL Cup car for Chip Ganassi Racing, in addition to his Busch Series obligations, at Richmond, Charlotte and Homestead this season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(7-6-2005)
  • Different look for the #31 at Chicago: The familiar bright orange Cingular paint scheme on Jeff Burton’s #31 Chevrolet will be replaced with a camouflage and orange design for the race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway to highlight associate sponsor Bass Pro Shops.(RCR)(7-6-2005)
  • Testing at New Hampshire: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #20-Tony Stewart, #?[34?]-Joey McCarthy, #38-Elliott Sadler, and #31-Jeff Burton are scheduled to test for the New England 300 [Sunday, July 17] on July 5 and 6th at New Hampshire International Speedway. Been told all were there but Burton and the #34 was there with no driver name on the car [probably McCarthy?]. Ryan Moore is testing an DEI #81 Chevy for the Busch race. Burton will test only on Wedm July 6th. Granstand area will be open to the public free of charge for this test.(7-6-2005)
  • New Minority Owned Team…Carl Long to drive: Victory Motorsports unveiled the names of, Morty Buckles, an accomplished driver that will represent Victory Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Remax Series, and Carl Long, a skillful and experienced driver that will represent Victory Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, and drive car #94. Morty Buckles, an African-American driver, has been a part of the NASCAR world for a number of years, most recently in the Drive for Diversity Program, and the NASCAR/Dodge Weekly Series, winning races and respect all around the organization. Carl Long, a resident of Troutman, North Carolina, has a solid 22 years of racing under his belt. Raised in Roxboro, North Carolina, Long started racing in the early 80’s, and won his first Track Championship at South Boston Speedway in 1987. In 1992, Long was named the Winston Racing Rookie of the Year at Orange County Speedway. In 2000, Long made his first Winston Cup race, and in 2004 made a career high of six Nextel Cup races. Carl Long has participated at several levels of NASCAR racing, including Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series [Long was/is running a limited schedule with the #00 McGlynn Chevy team]. Victory Motorsports is owned by Terance Mathis, former All-Pro Wide Receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. For more information go to Victory Motorsports.(TBG Worldwide PR)(7-6-2005)
  • NASCAR Joins “America Supports You” Team: NASCAR announced its support for the “America Supports You” program, an ongoing nationwide effort to communicate America’s admiration to the men and women of the Armed Forces. The program, launched by the U.S. Department of Defense last year, recognizes citizens’ support for our military men and women and serves as a vehicle to communicate that appreciation to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. NASCAR will seek to raise awareness of the program and drive fans to the website at www.americasupportsyou.mil [posted at Jayski.com for a few months now]. NASCAR is working with the industry to help raise awareness about the effort including signage at tracks, airing of public service announcements on Nextel Vision, decals on race cars, outreach to media outlets and public relations support.(NASCAR PR)(7-6-2005)
  • Testing at Indy: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will test during three separate sessions in July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, preparing for the 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7. The first test session takes place Tuesday, July 5 and Wednesday, July 6. The second session is Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12, with testing wrapping up Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.
    Drivers Scheduled to test:
    July 5-6: #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd, #99-Carl Edwards (7/5 only)
    July 11-12: #0-Mike Bliss, #01-Joe Nemechek, #2-Rusty Wallace, #4-Mike Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Jason Leffler, #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19- Jeremy Mayfield, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Boris Said, #37-Kevin Lepage, #38-Elliott Sadler, #41- Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #49-Ken Schrader, #77-Travis Kvapil
    A list of drivers participating in the final session July 18-19 will be released at a later date.(IMS PR)(7-2-2005)
    UPDATE: Rookie Carl Edwards topped the speed chart July 5 on the first day of 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, posting a lap of 179.165mph in the #99 AAA Ford. Edwards was joined by a short list of testing participants: his Roush Racing teammate #97-Kurt Busch, 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner #21-Ricky Rudd and #50-Jimmy Spencer, who won the pole for the race in 2001. Reigning series champion Busch, driving the #97 Crown Royal Ford, was second fastest at 179.151, Rudd was third in the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford at 178.937 and Spencer was fourth at 178.839 in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge. The track record at Indianapolis, set in qualifying in 2004 by #41-Casey Mears, is 186.293. All of the drivers tested to prepare for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at IMS. Wednesday’s participant list will shorten by two, as Edwards is not scheduled to test and Spencer crashed in the Speedway’s Turn 1. Spencer spun in Turn 1 and backed into the SAFER Barrier at approximately 2:30 p.m. (local time), causing heavy rear-end damage to the car. Spencer was unhurt, but the team brought only one car and ended their test. Private test sessions are scheduled for July 11-12 and 18-19. Testing on July 11-12 promises to be the busiest, with 26 drivers scheduled to participate.
    Unofficial Speeds:
    Rank Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps
    #99A-Carl Edwards 179.165, 49
    #97A-Kurt Busch 179.151, 71
    #21-Ricky Rudd 178.937, 73
    #50-Jimmy Spencer 178.839, 21
    Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS PR)(7-6-2005)

    News from July 5, 2005

  • Yates special ‘light’ car at NHIS: #38-Elliott Sadler is definitely in learning mode during this test [at New Hampshire on Tuesday]. Sadler has a rather average average finish of 18.75 at NHIS. “We’re just trying to get a handle on this racetrack,” he said. “Race cars would be easy to tune if you only had one big bolt and nut to turn to adjust on it, but you have 500 or 600 different options every time you come to a racetrack.” Sadler and Robert Yates Racing are “trying something new,” a lightweight car with a low center of gravity designed specifically for the relatively flat one-mile oval here. The team will also likely run the new car on the mile oval at Phoenix.(Union Leader)(7-5-2005)
  • NASCAR Pets Calander: 12 NASCAR drivers including Greg Biffle; Kurt Busch; Dale Earnhardt, Jr; Kerry Earnhardt; Jeff Green; Jimmie Johnson; Matt Kenseth; Jason Leffler; Casey Mears; Ryan Newman; Elliot Sadler; and Stewart stood still just long enough to pose with their patient pets for the NASCAR Pets calendar. Each month read the drivers’ comments about the relationship between themselves and their pets. For sale at thegregbifflefoundation.com and in many mainstream calendar outlets. Proceeds from the sale of the calendar go to support the Greg Biffle Foundation. The aim of The Greg Biffle Foundation for Animals is to create awareness and serve as advocates to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motorsports industry.(7-5-2005)
  • Hard to beileve….OOPS and CORRECTION #20-Tony Stewart’s victory gave owner Joe Gibbs a new distinction. It was the first time Gibbs-owned cars had ever won two races in a row. Stewart followed up his victory at Infineon Raceway with his first official victory in a restrictor-plate race. “First time in 14 years,” said Gibbs. “It’s hard to do. And it’s been a hard, tough year for us. This is a big deal for Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole.”(Gaston Gazette), Gibbs also owns the #18-Bobby Labonte and #11-Jason Leffler teams.(7-5-2005)
    CORRECTION: Stewart’s back-to-back triumphs at Sonoma and Daytona marked the fourth time in his seven-year Nextel Cup career that he has logged back-to-back wins. In 1999, Stewart’s second career Nextel Cup win at Phoenix in November was followed one week later by his win at Homestead. And twice in 2000 Stewart scored back-to-back wins – in June at Dover and Michigan and again in late September and early October with wins at Dover and Martinsville.(True Speed Communication)(7-5-2005)

    News from July 4, 2005

  • Mikey and NAPA look to be back with DEI in 2006 UPDATE: Now that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has signed Martin Truex, Jr. to a three-year contract extension, the next order of business is to renew the deals for driver Michael Waltrip and his sponsor, NAPA, DEI Director of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said Saturday night. “Michael’s been a great driver for us and a great cheerleader for us this year and a great teammate,” Gilmore said. “I think in the next couple of weeks, we’ll have it all worked out. The Martin (Truex, Jr.) deal just took up a lot more time than we thought, but everybody’s happy with how it worked out.” As for Waltrip’s contract extension — something of a surprise to some, as his job was rumored to be in jeopardy — Gilmore said, “We’re still working out the details on it. We think we can get it done in the next couple of weeks. We got a lot done today with NAPA and Michael and we feel like we can definitely get it done.”(Speed Channel), also being told that Waltrip wil NOT be replaced at Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup show.(7-3-2005)
    UPDATE: DEI is close to signing sponsor NAPA and driver Michael Waltrip to a one year contract with a perhaps three year extension. That according to DEI Director of Competition Richie Gilmore after a series of contract talks at Daytona with sponsor representatives. Gilmore says the deal to sign Martin Truex Jr. took longer than expected and that now it’s important to make sure DEI has three teams to compete with the Roush and Hendrick operations. Meanwhile, Waltrip says has no deadline and “Whenever they’re ready, I’m pretty much flexible to figure out what’s next whenever they are, so I’m happy. I don’t have any issues. I know how it goes and we’ll work it all out.” As far as a back-up plan, Michael said “I’ve been doing this for 20-years and I’ve realized that over the years that you better have a plan “B” …if you don’t you’re libel to be out in left field somewhere so I’m just going right along, happy, just riding a good wave right now. I don’t have any demands. It’d be silly for me to make demands when I haven’t heard what the plan is and when I hear the plan we’ll go from there. Everything’s good as far as I know…I don’t know of any reason to be worried.”(PRN’s Garage Pass/Sporting News)(7-4-2005)

News from July 3, 2005

  • Stewart wins at Daytona: #20-Tony Stewart won the Pepsi 400 at the Daytona International Speedway for his first win restrictor plate points win, 2nd win of 2005, 2nd in a row and 21st of his career. In a move I have never seen and that was very cool, Stewart turned the car around, stopped at the flag stand, got out of the car, climbed the fence and onto the flagstand, high fived the two flagmen and saluted the crowd, very cool. #42-Jamie McMurray held on for second after running in the top five most of the night, following was #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (after started 39th), #2-Rusty Wallace and #88-Dale Jarrett [now 10th in points]. #16-Greg Biffle. the points leader coming in to Daytona, was involved in a wreck when #15-Waltrip lost a tire on a restart and finished 36th. Biffle lost the points lead to #48-Jimmie Johnson, who finished 6th and now leads Biffle by 73 points.
    The rest of the top-10: #48-Johnson, #24-Jeff Gordon, #4-Mike Wallace [started 43rd], #17-Matt Kenseth and #49-Kenny Schrader grabbed the 10th spot. Stewart led 151 of 160 laps, a new record. There were 9 cautions for 41 laps.
    For race results see Jayski’s Pepsi 400 Race Results/Awards page.(7-3-2005)
  • Zipadelli Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: No one came close to topping Tony Stewart this weekend at the Pepsi 400. Stewart led the parade for a record breaking 151 laps of the 160 lap event. Despite the field ganging up on the #20 Chevrolet, Stewart easily held on to the top spot to pick up his second consecutive win. Stewart’s dominant night made his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, the easy pick for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    The panel of voters; including Buddy Shacklette of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Zipadelli unquestionably deserved Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors. “They (#20 team) came here with the right stuff,” said Shacklette. “They were fast off the truck. I don’t think Greg (Zipadelli) had to make very many changes all night. Obviously he did his homework. They were solid here in February and were solid here again. Greg is definitely the man of the hour.”
    “That was one of the best cars that I’ve ever seen at Daytona,” said Reiser. “No one stood a chance against it. Everyone is going to have to raise the bar on their superspeedway program before we go to Talladega or Tony (Stewart) will have another day like this. Greg (Zipadelli) had an awesome day and no one deserved to be Crew Chief of the Race more than him.”
    Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Fatback McSwain, Greg Zipadelli and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(7-3-2005)
  • Anderson Cup debut at Chicago: on the Wayne Anderson site, it lists Anderson as running the July Nextel Cup races at Chicago and New Hampshire, he will drive the #75 Dodge owned by Bob Rinaldi [the team Mike Garvey drove for before going to the #66. Anderson has competed in the NASCAR Truck Series, Busch North and ARCA among many other series. Anderson’s website lists Wayne as the winningest driver in NASCAR All-Pro history.(7-1-2005)
  • Martin and Wallace honored at Daytona: #6-Mark Martin and #2-Rusty Wallace were honored Saturday night before their final race at Daytona International Speedway. The retiring NASCAR stars were given framed photos of the first cars they drove at Daytona in 1982 and greeted with a standing ovation during the drivers meeting before the Pepsi 400. The photos also contained head shots that Martin said reminded him of “Starsky and Hutch.” “You got me beat with the mustache, but I’ve got the hair,” Wallace said.(ESPN.com/AP)(7-3-2005)
  • 2006 Schedule: NASCAR’s 2006 Nextel Cup schedule should be released around its normal Labor Day announcement date. Expect no major changes of dates or venues in any of NASCAR’s top-three series for next year, sources said. Normand Legault, who is Canada’s leading automobile racing promoter, was a guest of NASCAR at the Pepsi 400. Look for a Canadian NASCAR Busch Series race in 2007, sources said.(Speed Channel)(7-3-2005)
  • NBC’s Ebersol thanks NASCAR community: NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol thanked the “NASCAR community” Saturday for supporting him through what has been a difficult time. Ebersol’s 14-year-old son, Teddy, was killed in a plane crash in November in Colorado. The pilot and a flight attendant also were killed. Dick Ebersol, Charlie Ebersol and co-pilot Eric Wicksell were injured. “I wanted to tell you all from the bottom of my heart, ‘Thank you,'” Ebersol said, holding back tears. “This community more than any other in sports has been there for my family and for me through all of this.” NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and team owner Rick Hendrick also have lost sons, and Ebersol said both reached out to him. “To Kyle and to Rick, who belong to the same club that none of you I hope will ever have to belong to, I owe so much,” said Ebersol, who spoke during the pre-race drivers meeting and received a standing ovation. “You don’t ever want to lose a child, but if you do, you want to have your faith in humanity renewed by the love and good works of the people around you trying to help you.”(ESPN.com/AP)(7-3-2005)
  • Ford wants first female Cup winner: Ford executives have put a new twist on the female side of the NASCAR diversity program, by declaring it a battle now to become the first Detroit automaker to put a woman into victory lane at a Nextel Cup race. That considerably ups the stakes in the Ford-vs.-Dodge-vs.-Chevrolet campaign among women drivers. Dodge’s Erin Crocker, set to make her Busch tour debut at Richmond in September, appears to have the upper hand at the moment. Two of General Motors’ best hopes are Allison Duncan and Sarah Fisher. However the two, who drive for car owner Richard Childress, have been salted away on the West Coast, far from the limelight. And the question is if it’s time for Childress to step up their development programs. Duncan, a sports-car racer turned stock-car driver, is running the weekly series at Stockton (Calif.) Speedway, where she won her first feature three weeks ago on the quarter-mile track. But running weekly 50-lappers on a quarter-mile in California is hardly a career path to NASCAR’s Cup tour, even if Duncan is running in the top four regularly.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-3-2005)
  • Presley not happy with Wally: Singer Lisa Marie Presley, who performed several songs during pre-race ceremonies, had quite an experience when she rode around the superspeedway with former NASCAR Cup driver Wally Dallenbach. “I want to kick his [butt] right this minute,” she said. “It would have been great if we just went around really fast in the middle of the track. But he perpetually wanted to make me feel like I was going to die every two seconds, riding me an inch from the wall.”(ESPN.com/AP)(7-3-2005)
  • Rumblings – Daytona:
    And you thought the 400 stood for miles…..it’s minutes! After a nearly 3 hour rain delay we were treated to one of the best plate races we’ve had in years….and when you’ve got the winner leading 151 of the 160 laps, that’s not a stretch! Tony Stewart’s four-wide pass on the outside with 16 laps to go will be talked about for awhile, but the other drivers couldn’t do a thing with him tonight as he was easily the dominant car. He survived the 9-lap shootout at the end (and we’re talking almost 2AM here) to make it back-to- back wins on the season and #21 for his career. He’s now tied for 26th on the all-time win list with teammate Bobby Labonte, Benny Parsons, and Jack Smith.
    Tony’s the second driver to win this season from the pole…..Kasey Kahne did it at Richmond in May. Win #41 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $368,261 from the over $5.9M in posted awards.
    Jamie McMurray (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Texas in April.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd here in February.
    Mike Wallace (8th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Richmond last September. He’s the 37th driver to score a Top-10 this season…..last year there were 39 drivers to hit that mark.
    Jason Leffler (18th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Martinsville in April.
    STREAKIN….Rusty Wallace has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+36), followed by Mike Wallace (+35), Jamie McMurray (+31), Jeff Burton (+31), Ken Schrader (+30), Matt Kenseth (+29), and Ricky Rudd (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Scott Riggs (-39), followed by Kerry Earnhardt (-32), Bobby Hamilton Jr (-26), Boris Said (-24), and Michael Waltrip (-23). You know its a place race when 30% of the field is in the “Shaft”.
    The fight for the final qualifying exemption has become a three-way battle. Mike Wallace is back in…..in fact, he’s 34th! Scott Wimmer is now on the bubble as Jason Leffler and the #11 team are on the outside by 17 points going into next week.
    Jason Leffler led a lap tonight for the first time since he led twice for five laps at Kansas in October of 2003. He’s the 43rd different driver to lead a lap this season…..last year we had 50 of ’em.
    Greg Biffle’s time at the top was short-lived…..one week. Jimmie Johnson reassumes the lead by 73 points as every spot in the Top-10 in the standings changed hands this week.
    We’ve still got 13 drivers above the “Stayin’ Alive” line but Jeff Gordon has replaced Kevin Harvick as the last driver within 400 points of the lead. Check out 9th to 12th tho….four drivers separated by “3” points!
    We’ve also got our first “Mathematically Eliminated” line of the season this week. Everybody from 40th on down is out of the hunt. Jamie McMurray (10th to 7th) made the best move forward tonight, while three drivers (Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, and Casey Mears) all fell three spots in the standings.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(7-3-2005)

    News from July 2, 2005

  • Eury Jr. misses Drivers Meeting for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Eury Jr. is the crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip. Waltrip will not be sent to the rear of the field, but Eury Jr. will probably get a light fine by NASCAR as crew chiefs are required to attend the meeting.(XM Satellite Radio Rain Delay Coverage)(7-2-2005)
  • Bill France comments: NASCAR’s Bill France made a rare public appearance during Busch Series qualifying, taking the opportunity to question Formula One officials and pronounce his own series almost set. France said after tracks near New York City and Seattle are completed and added to the schedule the circuit would be “in pretty good shape.” That pronouncement would seem to rule out possible races in Canada and Asia, both rumored to be future NASCAR venues. “(With races in Seattle and New York) we would pretty much have the nation covered,” said France, who balked at the idea of possibly expanding the 36-race schedule. Construction has not begun on either track. During his wide-ranging chat, France stopped short of expressing disappointment in the way F1 officials handled a dispute over unsafe tires at the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago, but said, “When you have fans coming from all over and everybody there, you have to run that race.”(St Petersburg Times)(7-2-2005)
  • No Decision on Marlin’s 2006 plans yet: #40-Sterling Marlin, who will start 37th in tonight’s Nextel Cup Pepsi 400, said no decision has been made about his racing plans next year. “There’s still some discussions going on and hopefully I’ll know something before long,” Marlin said. Marlin has been notified that his driving contract will not be renewed next season with Chip Ganassi Racing, but he has been offered a “consulting” job with the team. He also has an offer to drive a limited Busch Series schedule for FitzBradshaw Racing, but indicated he would prefer a full-time Nextel Cup ride if he can land with a “competitive” team. Marlin said he has talked to “two or three owners,” believed to include Richard Chidress and Jack Roush, and originally thought a decision might come this weekend. Yesterday he said it “will probably be later next month” before a decision is finalized.(Tennessean)(7-2-2005)
  • Evernham to still field the #91 team in 2006: [#9, #19, #91 owner Ray Evernham] COMMENT ON OWNERS’ POINTS AND WHY YOU’RE MAKING THE ANNOUNCEMENT NOW: “The owners’ points for the 10 will stay with MVB [to whatever number they use, the new #10 will use this years #91 points/race attempts for 2006, the ‘new’ 91 will be treated as a team with no owners points/attempts in 2006]. The 91 will probably run in selected races also (in 2006). My agreement with Bill Elliott is if Bill wants to drive until he’s a hundred I’ll supply a car for him. We were hoping a good partner would come and it has. We decided collectively that the best thing to do would be to go ahead and announce we have the infrastructure in place and we’re doing this and it would be like The Field of Dreams so to speak. If you build it they will come. We’ve talked to several people, but we have not decided nor do we have a driver picked for next year.”(ClearBlue PR)(7-2-2005)
  • Toyota still up in the air, but could run in 2006: Chevrolet and Ford are seeking approval for new models to race in the 2006 Nextel Cup Series, while Toyota has satisfied all requirements to submit a car to compete in Nextel Cup or the Busch Series next season. NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton on Friday said the sanctioning body had already looked at Chevrolet’s new Monte Carlo and Ford’s new model, which will be revealed to the media in Charlotte, N.C., on July 14. “We’ve had conversations with Toyota all along, even though they haven’t officially thrown their hat in the ring,” Pemberton said. “We’ve had good conversations with them and they’re evaluating the Busch and Cup Series now — though no decisions been made (on proceeding). They have done what they need to do by the (deadline), but they’ve made no official request to participate in 2006.” Pemberton said the deadline for getting a vehicle through the approval process — which includes wind tunnel and track testing — to race in either Nextel Cup or the Busch Series next season is Sept. 1.(NASCAR.com)(7-2-2005)
  • Riggs has not be contacted by Evernham: Driver ofthe #10 MBV Motorsports car. Scott Riggs: “The only people I’ve talked to about another contract is the team I’m already with.” He knows that Valvoline would love to have me over there (the new Evernham team), but as far as sitting down and talking to anyone about a contract…no.(Cupscene.com)(7-2-2005)
  • Donnie Allison book on the way: Donnie Allison, one of the toughest stock-car drivers who ever raced, has a new, no-holds-barred book coming out soon entitled, “As I Recall.” The book opens with the infamous 1979 last-lap Daytona 500 crash between Allison and Cale Yarborough and the brawl that followed. Allison said the book pulls no punches about his racing career and the people he raced with and against.(Speed Channel)(7-2-2005)
  • Nice Gesture: NASCAR’s Bill France, Jr. and Jim Hunter presented veteran racing photographer T. Taylor Warren with a plaque honoring him on his 80th birthday Friday.(Speed Channel)(7-2-2005)

    News from July 1, 2005

  • Truex Jr. says he signed with DEI for 2006: after winning the Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday night, Martin Truex Jr. squashed the rumors and said he has resigned with DEI [Dale Earnhardt Inc] to remain with them and run the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series in 2006.(TNT Race Coverage)(7-1-2005)
  • Evernham Motorsports and Valvoline partner up, to use the #10 – IMAGES:Evernham Motorsports today announced that it has agreed in principle to form a partnership with Valvoline to create Valvoline Evernham Racing LLC, which will campaign the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger for the 2006 season. Under the arrangement, Valvoline will be the primary sponsor on the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger for a majority of the races and will be a major associate sponsor on the #10 Dodge Charger for the remaining races in the season. A driver and crew chief for the team will be announced at a later date. Much of the team personnel will transfer to the #10 team from Evernham Motorsports’ #91 team. “This is the next step in our quest for a championship,” said Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “In today’s competitive environment, you need a multiple-car team to win races and championships. When you have more race teams, it speeds your development and learning tremendously. With this expansion, we can compete more effectively against other multiple-car organizations. Having Valvoline as a partner – not just a sponsor – makes this an incredible program,” Evernham said. “They have been a tremendous supporter of mine for many years, and our relationship has now grown into joint ownership of a team. Valvoline has a great history in this sport, and a deep understanding of what it takes to be successful. I look forward to winning championships with them.” The third team will be housed out of the new third facility at Evernham Motorsports headquarters in Statesville, NC. It will lease engines and shop space from Evernham Motorsports and have full access to Evernham R&D. The team expansion allows Evernham Motorsports to continue to grow and advance its operations. The expanded stable also allows Evernham Motorsports to accelerate its R&D efforts, increase its test dates, enhance its ability to collect and analyze data, and make improvements more quickly and efficiently.
    “This is a new era in Valvoline’s long racing tradition,” said Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco. “As is the case with our current team, Valvoline will leave the running of the team – the competition, personnel, equipment – to our partner,” he said. “Valvoline’s expertise is marketing and we will continue to make our NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing effort serve the needs of our family of brands which include: Valvoline, Eagle One and Zerex.” For more information on Evernham Motorsports, visit evernhammotorsports.com.(Clear!Blue / Valvoline PR)(7-1-2005)
    MORE and IMAGES: Ray Evernham will add a third team to his stable for 2006. The team will be co-owned by Valvoline with Jim Rocco listed as the offical team owner. Evernham said that the team will have Chris Andrews as crew chief and will use teammembers alredy in place at Evernham Motorsports. The members will come from exisiting members who now work on the development teams. Evernham insisted that Erin Crocker, his star pupil at the moment isn’t ready to move up, but that he would be “very interested” in bringing Scott Riggs, current driver at MB2 on board. Rocco agreed and said that they would like to see Riggs, but that at this time no decision on a driver has been made.(Cup Scene Daily)
    IMAGES: see images for the new #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger on my first 2006 Team schemes page #10.(7-1-2005)
  • Sad News: Condolences to Gaye Joy, member of the board of directors of WAM (Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports) on the passing of her only sister and best friend, Brenda Broshears Harris, in Phoenix, June 18. Brenda leaves three grown children and five grandchildren, and was the favorite aunt of Gaye and Mike Joy’s children, Scott and Katie. Services were Saturday in Brenda’s hometown of Boonville, IN.(7-1-205)
  • As for Dale Jr. in the #3 and about the #3: If Junior [Dale Earnhardt Jr.] is gonna drive the No. 3 car someday, could it happen under the DEI roof? If so, Childress would have to give up ownership of the number — and all the potential business opportunities that accompany it. “He’s always said, ever since his daddy got killed, one of these days he’s gonna drive a 3 car,” [Tony Sr.] Eury said of Junior. “Just a remark he made a long time ago. Someday Richard [Childress] might give us the number and we’ll run it out of DEI. Depends on how long Richard wants to keep doing it, you know.” Richard? Any chance of giving up the No. 3? “No. As far as the 3, it’s registered,” Childress elaborated. “It’s one of those deals . . . we’re gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing, what Dale and I talked about years ago. We knew it was our number, and we had plans of doing things with it after he retired. We’re gonna put those plans in effect soon.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-1-2005)
  • A.J. Foyt IV to NASCAR for Evernham? IndyCar Series [IRL] regular A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of A.J. Foyt, recently tested an ARCA car for Evernham Motorsports and might be in the team’s plans for the future. “A.J. was very fast in the car, and we were very impressed with him,” team owner Ray Evernham said. “He’s probably going to run some Busch races for us later this year, and we’ll do some further testing.” The 21-year-old Foyt is in his third IndyCar season, but hasn’t finished higher than ninth. “The kid’s been struggling a little bit in the IRL,” Evernham said. “He has a lot of people who believe in him. Who knows what’s going to happen in the IRL shuffle? But he could be a guy who ends up in my driver-development program.”(ESPN.com/AP)(7-1-2005)
  • Drivers Appear in Big Break All-Star Challenge: On Tuesday, July 5 at 9:00pm/et, several of NASCAR’s stars steer for The Golf Channel airwaves by way of long drives and a few chips and putts all in the name of charity. The hour-long Big Break All-Star Challenge will be a spin-off of the network’s successful reality series The Big Break. The popular show pits 10 highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness with the last contestant standing awarded their “Big Break,” a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in select professional tournaments based upon the season’s prize. Hosted by The Golf Channel’s Brian Hammons and NBC Sports’ and former Cup Champion Benny Parsons, this Big Break All-Star Challenge features drivers Dale Jarrett, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip competing in select series challenges, including the viewer-favorite glass-breaking challenge as well as a long drive competition.
    Just like in The Big Break, a player will be eliminated after each round. However, instead of receiving exemptions onto a professional golf tour, these drivers will be playing for charity. The winning driver will earn $5,000 for his selected charity, while the remaining drivers’ charities will receive $2,000 courtesy of The Golf Channel. Taped at the The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, N.C. (near Charlotte), the drivers came out nice and relaxed. Once the cameras were rolling and the competition began their intensity heated up, with each trying to avoid being in the “pits” or being ribbed in the garage if they did not come out the winner.(Golf Channel PR)(7-1-2005)
  • Truex Jr. to the #2? UPDATE 2: on Fox’s pre-race show for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip were asked who would be in the #6 Roush Racing Ford [t1o replace retiring Mark Martin] and #2 Pensek Racing Dodge [to replace retiring Rusty Wallace], for the #6 Hammond said is still up in the air [see some names mentioned on my 2006 Team Chart] and for the #2, Hammond said he keeps hearing the name Martin Truex Jr. popping up as he still has not been signed by DEI for 2006 [to drive the #1 Chevy in Cup next year](6-26-2005)
    UPDATE: when asked about the Truex rumor, Jeff Hammond says: “Anything is possible, but I do know that everybody at DEI expected to get Truex locked in by now. There’s been a lot more pressure put on him, especially from the Penske organization. They’ve offered him a fairly lucrative contract to jump ship and go over there. When that’s going on, it really challenges a guy’s loyalty. DEI has been more than fair with Truex, but he’s faced with a decision that could affect the rest of his career. From what I [Hammond] was told the other day, an offer had been given to Truex, and there was a decision made then not to sign the DEI contract. It puts a lot of people back in the position of almost playing poker with checking and raising. Now the onus is back on DEI and whether or not they want to raise the ante to try to keep him in their camp.”(FoxSports)(6-29-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Martin Truex Jr. hasn’t said why he hasn’t yet signed a contract to remain with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but he did say Thursday at Daytona that he is trying to seal a deal. “It’s not done yet, and we are trying to get it done,” said Truex. At least two top-level Nextel Cup teams have immediate openings for the 2006 season. Truex Jr. is in the final year of his contract with DEI, and as reigning Busch Series champion, it is natural that he has found himself in the rumor mill. For his part, Truex has been mum on his talks with DEI, which are being led by his father.(NASCAR.com)(7-1-2005)
  • Some Goodyear Tire Notes for Daytona: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend at Daytona . . . this is the same tire set-up that Goodyear brought to this track in February . . . Daytona is the only track at which teams will run this combination of left- and right-side tires this season, though it is similar to the set-up run at the other restrictor plate track on the schedule (Talladega) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in their tires at Daytona . . . the inflation in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Goodyear Quote — Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Racing: “This is the same set-up we brought to Daytona in February, when we had a great deal of success during the race. Since teams have that race under their belts, we expect similar, positive results this weekend.” If the race stays green for extended periods… the estimated pit window is every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage. See the full write up on my Daytona Race Info/Rundown page.(7-1-2005)
  • Pennzoil on the #99 for Daytona: Carl Edwards will sports a Pennzoil Platinum paint schemes [or should I call it paint decals now?] on the #99 Roush Racing Ford for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2nd. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil is the most advanced product that Pennzoil has ever produced and is the latest product from the category leader. Pennzoil Platinum’s ultimate-protection formulation is designed to stand up to today’s most demanding engines. This new full synthetic motor oil combines a highly-refined base oil with a proprietary additive package to create a ground-breaking formulation to keep engines running at their full potential.(Coyne PR), no image…yet.(7-1-2005)
  • Stewart wins pole at Daytona: #20-Tony Stewart won the Budweiser Pole for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 185.582mph for his first pole since Chicago in July 2003 and his 8th of his career. The rest of the top-five were #10-Scott Riggs, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #36-Boris Said [best of the non top-35 drivers] and #01-Joe Nemechek. That puts all three MB2/MBV/MBSutton Motorsports drivers in the top five. Chevy has 8 of the top 10 starting spots, Ford’s best is #38-Elliott Sadler starting 6th and the best starting Dodge is #2-Rusty Wallace at 9th. Points leader #16-Greg Biffle will start 18th and is the best starting Roush Racing driver. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was slow and will start 39th [the worse spot a winner has won from at Daytona is 38th by Bill Elliott in July 1988. The winner of the last two Daytona race, #24-Jeff Gordon will start 15th. Missing the race were #66-Mike Garvey and #00-Kenny Wallace. #73-Dan Pardus and #89-Morgan Shepherd both withdrew from the race before practice.
    For qualifying results, pole progression, starting lineup and links on my Jayski’s Daytona Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(7-1-2005)
  • Some Jayski Qualifying Notes:
    WOW, a large fire in an RV in the infield around 7:20pm/et, the fire company got there quick and got it out fast…nice job! No one seriously hurt, one person had slight burns on their hand.
    #17-Kenseth only ran one lap, as the engine started overheating and wanted to protect the engine, if the team has to add water or pressurize the system, is would be an unapproved change and Kenseth would have to go to the rear.
    The #0-Bliss team is reporting that they have an engine problem as Bliss had a transmission problem qualifying and over revved the engine, but someone on the team reset the Tach and crew chief Bootie Barker has no proof there is a problem, the team already changed transmissions after practice and will have to go to the rear of the field anyway.
    After #18-Labonte went out, there was a slight delay as a turtle was on the track and he track worker seemed afraid of it, the TNT reported later that the turtle was ok and returned to the wild..(7-1-2005)
    UPDATE: been told that no drivers will have to go to the rear of the field.(7-2-2005)
  • Daytona Qualifying Notes:
    • Tony Stewart won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Pepsi 400, lapping Daytona International Speedway in 48.496 seconds at 185.582 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 42.783 seconds, 210.364 mph, set Feb. 9, 1987 – prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Ken Schrader holds the track restrictor-plate qualifying record with a lap of 46.434 seconds, 198.823 mph – set Feb. 7, 1988.
    • There have been 10 different Bud Pole winners in the last 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Daytona.
    • This is Stewart’s eighth career Bud Pole in 229 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • It is Stewart’s ninth top-10 start in 14 races at Daytona but only his third in timedqualifying. His last timed-qualifying top-10 start came in July 2000. This is his 11th top-10 start this season.
    • Stewart has never won in 25 restrictor-plate races but he has finished second in five. Four of his runner-up finishes came at Talladega. He finished second at Daytona in the 2004 Daytona 500.
    • Stewart became the 10th different Bud Pole winner this season. His most recent Bud Pole came at Chicago in 2003, 71 races ago.
    • Scott Riggs posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 48.539 seconds, 185.418 mph – and will join Stewart on the front row for the Pepsi 400. Riggs posted his second top10 start in his four races at Daytona and his fifth top-10 start in 2005.
    • This is the seventh Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge also has seven Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Dover.
    • Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his fifth top-10 start in eight races at Daytona. This will be his 10th top-10 start in 2005.
    • Boris Said (fourth) posted his first top-10 qualifying effort on an oval track in his seventh career- oval-track race. This is his second top-10 start in 2005.
    • Joe Nemechek (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in 23 races at Daytona. It is his fifth top-10 start this season but his first since Texas. All three MB Motorsports teams qualified in the top five for the first time.
    • Jason Leffler (eighth) posted his best qualifying effort since he started sixth at Kansas in October 2003.
    • Kerry Earnhardt (10th) posted career-first top-10 start. His previous best start 20th at Daytona in July 2004.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-1-2005)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Daytona: Tony Stewart captured the Bud Pole today for tomorrow night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 185.582 mph (48.496 sec) and it’s his first top-spot since he captured the pole at Chicagoland Speedway in July of 2003! His 8th career pole gives us 10 different pole winners this season (and qualifiers for next February’s Budweiser Shootout).
    Scott Riggs (2nd) will join Tony on the front row, and this is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Martinsville in April.
    Joe Nemechek (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at California in February.
    The Hendrick customer engine program is pretty strong…..could be their own teams may be asking for customer engines from now on. Teammates (and HMS customers) Riggs, Boris Said, and Nemechek all start in the Top-5 tomorrow night.
    Jason Leffler (8th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 6th at Kansas in October of 2003.
    Kerry Earnhardt (10th) has his career-best starting spot for tomorrow night. His previous best was 20th for this race last year.
    Bobby Hamilton Jr (12th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Atlanta in March.
    Hermie Sadler (21st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th at Talladega last October.
    Kevin Lepage (24th) has his best starting spot since he started 8th when we were here in February.
    STREAKIN….Nobody, an empty category this week.(Stock Car Fans)(7-1-2005)
  • Leitzinger wins Rolex race at Daytona, Labontes highest NASCAR reps: Butch Leitzinger drove his #4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford past the #19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley of Michael McDowell on the famed Daytona Superstretch with 23 laps remaining and led the rest of the way en victory in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250. Leitzinger shared the car with Elliott Forbes-Robinson. It was Leitzinger’s 11th career Rolex Series overall victory, which moved him to within two wins of all-time Rolex Series win leader James Weaver.
    The Brumos Porsche 250 featured four stars from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit, and while all four drivers were the only NASCAR pilots to turn any laps at Daytona International Speedway on this day due to heavy midday rains, it was not a banner evening. Two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte and his brother, 2000 NEXTEL Cup champion Bobby Labonte, were the highest-finishing NASCAR representatives. They came home 15th in the #44 Loctite/Henkel/DAYTONA USA Pontiac Doran, one lap down to the winners. Kyle Petty, who ran as high as second place at one point, came home 17th alongside co-drivers Tony Ave and Brian Tuttle in the debut race for the #7 Tuttle Team Racing Pontiac Riley. Tony Stewart, the 2002 NEXTEL Cup champion, worked his way up from seventh on the starting grid to third place at one point during his stint in the #20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. However, problems with the car’s heat exchanger forced a great deal of fluid out of the car as Stewart pitted to turn the car over to co-driver Andy Wallace. Stewart and Wallace wound up 22nd.(Grandamerican.com)(7-1-2005)
  • Kenny in the #00 with Davis: Aaron’s Sales & Lease and Kenny Wallace Racing have put together a deal with Bill Davis Racing to field the #00 Dream Machine [Dodge?] in Saturday Nights Pepsi 400 at Daytona. If more information is available it will be posted.(Kenny Wallace site)(6-28-2005)
    UPDATE: Wallace was originally listed in the #23 HIstory Channel Dodge and is now list in the #00 Aaron’s Sale and Lease Dodge for Bill Davis. This was an announced race for Wallace in the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Chevy, not sure what happened. Either way, if qualifying gets rained out, neither team [#23/00 Davis, #00 MWR] would not have enough race attempts to make the race. Mike Skinner qualified the #23 for the Daytona 500 and other races as the team runs about once a month, Skinner was unavailable as the Truck Series runs at Kansas on Saturday at 3:00pm/et.(7-1-2005)