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July 2006 News Archives


  • News from July 31, 2006

  • Baldwin back to Davis Racing? yes…:Baldwin supposedly is headed back to Bill Davis Racing (nothing about Ward Burton) and Labbe is looking at options.
    UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Tommy Baldwin Jr. will join the organization serving as Competition Director for its Nextel Cup Series multi-car efforts, effective August 1, 2006. Baldwin returns to the team after having spent four seasons with the organization from 1999-2002. Included in Baldwin’s responsibilities as competition director will be overseeing Bill Davis Racing’s conversion to Toyota for the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Baldwin will work closely with leaders from Toyota Racing Development, Inc. (TRD) and Triad Racing Development, Inc. (a technical partner to TRD) to ensure a smooth transition and will also work with existing Bill Davis Racing crew chiefs to guarantee an efficient and effective transformation to Toyota.(BDR/NASCAR PR)(7-31-2006)
  • Menard and Red Bull? UPDATE: Paul Menard is listed on the Red Bull Racing site as one of their drivers, been asked about that….no idea. As far as I know, Menard will drive the #15 Menard’s Chevy for Dale Earnhardt Inc for 2007 in the Nextel [Sprint] Cup Series, have not heard of that plan changing.(7-31-2006)
    UPDATE: the Red Bull site has moved Menard’s profile from Driver to Athlete, been told by DEI folks he will drive the #15 Chevy for DEI in 2007 in Nextel Cup and Menard is considered a Red Bull Atlete which endorses the products and wears a helmet similar to Robby Gordon in the Nextel Cup Series.(7-31-2006)
  • Crew Chiefs out at Yates?: UPDATE 4: Hearing that Robert Yates Racing has released crew chiefs Tommy Baldwin and Slugger Labbe.(7-30-2006)
    UPDATE:Baldwin supposedly is headed back to Bill Davis Racing (nothing about Ward Burton) and Labbe is looking at options.(7-31-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Robert Yates Racing told its organization on Monday that its two Nextel Cup crew chiefs, Tommy Baldwin and Slugger Labbe, would no longer be with the team, a source has told NASCAR.COM. Baldwin and Labbe were brought to RYR amid great fanfare by team manager Eddie D’Hondt, but D’Hondt was fired on May 23. With Baldwin and Labbe gone, RYR has experienced a complete turnover of its top personnel. Veteran crew chief Butch Hylton is rumored to be Jarrett’s crew chief for this week’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.(NASCAR.com)(7-31-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Robert Yates Racing announced today that veteran crew chief Butch Hylton will assume crew chief duties for the #88 UPS Racing Team in an interim capacity beginning with this weekend’s All State 400 at the Brickyard. Hylton has been with Robert Yates Racing since the end of June and served as crew chief for development driver Stephen Leicht at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago.(RYR PR)(7-31-2006)
    UPDATE 4: Baldwin will be replaced by Charles “Cully” Barraclough as crew chief of the #38 team and Elliott Sadler. Baldwin’s departure was by mutual decision as he left for an opportunity to become a team manager at another team, an RYR spokesman said. That team likely will be Bill Davis Racing, where Baldwin was crew chief from 1998 to 2002.(SceneDaily.com)(7-31-2006)
  • Bill Weber Staying with TNT: With NASCAR’s current TV deals expiring this season, networks with new deals kicking in next year are putting together on-air lineups. A piece of those puzzles settled early: TNT, airing six midseason NASCAR Nextel Cup races next year, will announce Monday that Bill Weber will be the host and call play-by-play on its races. Weber said he “talked briefly” to ABC/ESPN, which next year inherits NASCAR late-season coverage from the current joint venture of NBC and TNT that Weber currently hosts. But Weber says he always figured he’d stick with TNT. Turner Sports executive producer Jeff Behnke says Weber won’t be allowed to appear on any other network’s NASCAR coverage, given “he’ll be the face of our coverage.” But Behnke says its possible next year TNT will use announcers who also appear on ABC/ESPN or Fox, which next year will continue to cover early-season NASCAR races. ABC/ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys suggested Sunday that the Disney network probably will require exclusive use of its NASCAR announcers given that, in picking up all NASCAR Busch Series races and adding a daily show on car racing, ABC/ESPN will have “a year-round commitment to covering racing.” (USA Today)(7-31-2006)
  • Wimmer looking for 2007? Hearing #4-Scott Wimmer is looking for a ride next season, as his contract with the #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports team is a one-year deal thru 2006. Wimmer has fielded some offers from a couple of “pretty good” Busch Series teams, but hasn’t committed to anything yet.(7-31-2006)

News from July 30, 2006

  • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)
  • Dale Jr to appear on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to be the first NASCAR driver to appear as an in-studio guest on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”, the Emmy Award-winning news program. Dale Jr. will appear Thursday, August 10. The show airs at 11:00pm/et and repeats throughout the following day. More info on my Driver Appearances page.(fingerprint, inc. / Budweiser Racing)(7-30-2006)
  • Robby running dirt race at Vegas: UPDATE: Robby Gordon, taking every opportunity to get back to his roots of off-road racing, will participate in this weekend’s SCORE International Desert Series Off-Road Race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) Dirt Track. Held July 27th through 29th while the majority of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series regulars take the weekend off, Gordon will race his #83 Red Bull/Toyo Tires-sponsored Chevy CK1500 Trophy Truck around the 1.5-mile course designed specifically for this uniquely fan-friendly event. With almost 90 percent of the track viewable from the over 12,000-seat grandstand area, Gordon and the other competitors will tangle on the man-made course in front of a packed house. Gordon will be filling in for the #83 Chevy’s driver of record, Andy McMillin, who competes in the truck for the majority of the six-race season. More info at scorelasvegas.com.(Robby Gordon site)(7-28-2006)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon made an open weekend on the Nextel Cup schedule a profitable one for himself by running away with the final race in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division of the SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup II Saturday night. A near-capacity crowd of 8,115 turned out for the final night of the closed-course off-road event at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway despite the traffic problems created by a closure of the Interstate 15 freeway throughout the afternoon and early evening due to a fire at a propane storage facility. Gordon rewarded their perseverance by dominating both his heat race and the main event and celebrating with victory donuts in his Chevy CK1500 that sent clouds of dust floating into the grandstand. He had finished third and second in his two races Friday night and said, Gordon, 37, won the opening 6-lap heat race by 35 seconds and the 6-lap main event by 23 seconds, the latter effort earning the team the $15,000 winner’s share of the $25,000 purse for the class. Alan Pflueger, who commutes from his home in Hawaii to race in the desert, started fourth and finished second in his Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck, with Pete Sohren of Glendale, Ariz., third in a Ford F-150.(Robby Gordon site)(7-30-2006)
  • Bowyer not satisfied with Stewart ‘apology’: #07-Clint Bowyer said Friday he and #20-Tony Stewart had talked about their incident at Pocono Raceway last weekend, but Bowyer didn’t sound like he was satisfied with the discussion. Stewart bumped Bowyer on lap 32 of the Pennsylvania 500 after what Stewart later described was a lack of patience on Bowyer’s part. On Monday, Stewart issued an apology to the media, but Bowyer said his talk with Stewart didn’t seem like an apology. “I don’t know exactly what you’d want to call it,” Bowyer said. “I don’t know if Tony knows what an apology is. It’s probably as close as you’re going to get with Tony.” Bowyer didn’t speak with the media at Pocono, leaving the garage area after also failing to talk with Stewart. But Bowyer did speak his mind to reporters at Gateway. “We drove from 14th to sixth in the first run, in 12 laps,” Bowyer said. “It wasn’t like we didn’t have a fast car. It’s a very long race. We over-adjusted a little bit and got the car too loose. I basically was giving spots up. I gave away four before him. I moved over to let him have it, but instead of going to the inside, he went to the outside. I guess he thought I was racing him. That’s the biggest thing about the whole thing: I was trying to get out of his way. Somehow, he took it the wrong way and wrecked me for it.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-30-2006)


    News from July 29, 2006

  • Papis to make Cup debut in #78 at Watkins Glen: Open-wheel veteran Max Papis will make his Nextel Cup debut at Watkins Glen for the #78 Furniture Row Motorsports team, driving the #78 Furniture Row Chevy. Kenny Wallace is the regular driver, and Jimmy Spencer has made a few attempts in the car.(Furniture Row Racing site)(7-29-2006)


    News from July 28, 2006

  • Boris Said and No Fear Racing Look to the Brickyard 400: Coming off a Bud Pole win and a highly impressive fourth place finish in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, No Fear Racing now prepares to head into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, August 6. Race number 21 of the 36-round 2006 Nextel Cup Series, the Brickyard will mark the third start for the Sobe/No Fear Energy Ford Fusion. “The response to the ‘sell more cases, do more races’ line I stumbled on was overwhelming and phenomenal,” offers Said. “NASCAR fans are the most loyal and supportive in all of sports and I think they picked up on the fact that we are a small team doing the best we can with the limited resources we have. I’m amazed at how much attention we received from the press. And from what I am told, Pepsi and SoBe received thousands of E-mails from fans asking how they could buy cases of SoBe/No Fear Energy to help support our team. I’d really like to take this moment and thank the fans and all the press people who have helped us out. It’s our goal to become a full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup team and with the support of the fans and press, we just might pull it off in 2007.” The SoBe/No Fear Energy Ford Fusion will attempt to qualify for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Saturday, August 5. The car will carry the same red, black, red and yellow paint scheme it did in Daytona. K-Mart will serve as the associate sponsor of the Brickyard effort.(No Fear Racing PR)(7-27-2006)
  • More on the Split Screen for TV: Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director for corporate communications, touched off strong reaction on internet message board with a quote in the Long Island (N.Y.) Press about NASCAR’s opinion of the “side by side” approach ABC/ESPN uses with commercials on Indy Racing League races. “We’ve looked at a lot of options to enhance the fan/viewer experience but feel that a split-screen presentation of ads and racing serves neither the fan nor advertiser,” Poston told the newspaper. On Friday [July 21st], Poston said he didn’t mean for his comment to come off as though he was speaking for the fans. “We are open to it, if there is a better way of presenting it,” he said. “But we haven’t seen an idea that we think would work both the advertisers and fans.” On its IRL broadcasts, ABC/ESPN present commercials with audio on part of the screen while showing an image from the track, with no sound, on another part. The method has produced no appreciable gain in IRL ratings for ABC/ESPN, however. Advertisers pay considerably higher rates for ads on NASCAR telecasts.(Thatsracin)(7-28-2006)
  • Drive for Diversity Program Hits Stride in Third Year: The Drive for Diversity program is enjoying a breakout year in just its third season. Drive for Diversity is an ethnic and gender minority driver and crew member development program run by Access Marketing & Communications. The program, which is NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative, currently has eight drivers competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Although the season is only at the midway point, the drivers have combined for eight victories. The eight drivers represent a variety of racing and ethnic backgrounds. Each driver touts an impressive on-track resume that includes several national and track championships. Many of them have already received national attention for historic wins. Chris Bristol’s win at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last season made him the first African-American driver to win in the track’s 55-year history. Jesus Hernandez followed Bristol’s lead this year becoming the first Hispanic driver to win at the track. Peter Hernandez has visited victory lane twice this year at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. Allison Duncan made history at that track last season becoming the first female driver to win at the track. It was also the first win for the Drive for Diversity program. Although all eight of the current drivers have experienced success on the track, the most impressive driver of this season has been Marc Davis. Davis, a 16-year-old from Mitchellville, Md., has won five Limited Late Model races at Hickory in just 11 starts. Since turning 16, he has competed in three NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model races, earning two top-10 finishes. He finished second to Jesus Hernandez in his second career NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series start. NASCAR will spotlight teams, tracks, sponsors and partners throughout the year for significant contributions and achievement in diversity. NASCAR will also be highlighting diverse drivers currently competing throughout the different levels of the sport.(NASCAR PR)(7-28-2006)
  • Sad News: not much info – Condolences to the family of James Hudson who passed away recently, James is the father of Bobby Hudson, spotter for #99-Carl Edwards.(7-28-2006)
  • LAPS Walk at Pocono raises over $30,000: On July 21st, 2006, Ernie Irvan and the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAPA) earned another victory in the fight to prevent Traumatic Brain Injury at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. In a place known for speed and excitement, this victory lap was at a slightly slower pace as a group of over 300 supporters participated in Pocono’s first Leadership and Awareness to Promote Safety (LAPS) Walk. Irvan suffered two Traumatic Brain Injuries while racing, the second of which prompted his early retirement and inspired him to start his non-profit organization Race2Safety. LAPS Walk was created as a partnership between Race2Safety and the BIAPA and well achieved its goal at Pocono Raceway by raising over $30,000 for the awareness and prevention of Traumatic Brain Injury. The next LAPS Walk is scheduled to take place at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Thursday, August 17th, 2006. For more information see my Ernie Irvan site.(7-28-2006)



    News from July 27, 2006

  • 1973 NASCAR Champion Benny Parsons Battling Lung Cancer: Benny Parsons is all about winning. He’s the 1973 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; a Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 winner; and, in recent years, has emerged as one of NASCAR’s leading television and radio commentators.Now, Parsons is calling upon that winning attitude as he battles lung cancer. Parsons, 65, had experienced difficulty breathing and, after consulting with physicians, was informed by his family doctor, Dr. Scott Moss of Charlotte, that he has the disease. His treatment regimen starts immediately. “Needless to say this was a huge shock,” said Parsons. “I’ve got a great deal of faith in all of my physicians, including Dr. Steven Limenpani, who treated NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick during his battle with leukemia. I’m determined to pull through this and I appreciate everyone’s concerns and prayers during this time. The first thing everyone asks me is, ‘are you a smoker?’ The answer is that I smoked my last cigarette way back in 1978 and since then I’ve hated being around smoking. I don’t even allow anyone in my foursome to smoke on the golf course.”
    Parsons is an analyst on NBC and TNT’s coverage of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing and hosts “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” on the Performance Racing Network. He plans to continue his duties with NBC/TNT and PRN throughout his treatment. “Everyone I work with has been gracious and accommodating,” said Parsons. “I plan to keep on talking about racing for as long as I can.” Friends and fans wishing to send words of encouragement to Parsons can do so by e-mailing him at bp@goprn.com or on a special message board at NASCAR.com.(Turner Sports/NBC Sports/PRN PR)(7-26-2006)
    NASCAR Statement – CEO Brian France: “NASCAR is saddened to learn about Benny Parsons’ battle with cancer. As one who has seen this battle fought head-on in my own family, I am confident that with the support of his family and the entire NASCAR community, Benny will show all of us, once again, why he is a true champion. On behalf of the France family, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Benny.”(NASCAR)(7-27-2006)
  • Marlin-Nemechek to stay at MB2 – looking to expand: New MB2 Motorsports owner Bobby Ginn said Wednesday that drivers #14-Sterling Marlin and #01-Joe Nemechek will stay on, and he hopes to give them a pair of teammates next season. “We won’t have any major restructuring this year,” said Ginn, who purchased the Mooresville, N.C.-based Nextel Cup team from Nelson Bowers, one of the co-founders in 1996 [see full PR and story below]. “Our focus will be on next year, when we will strive to become a four-car team.” Ginn said he will add some new equipment this year in preparation for next year’s big expansion. He said NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow,” which is scheduled to debut next season, will make all models more alike and level the playing field. Jay Frye, who will remain the team’s chief operating officer, said the sale will end speculation about the team’s future and make it easier to secure sponsors for next season.(Tennessean)(7-27-2006)
  • Bobby Hamilton Jr. to run at Indy – Cup and Truck: Fastenal and Bobby Hamilton Racing have joined forces and will be pulling double duty,competing at both venues. Bobby Hamilton Jr. will drive the #04 Fastenal Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup event at the Brickyard (The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard) and he will drive the #18 Fastenal Dodge Ram in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Indianapolis Raceway Park (The Power Stroke Diesel 200). In pre-race testing at the Brickyard Hamilton Jr. was the 11th fastest driver posting a time of 50.406 which equates to a 178.550 mile per hour lap around the 2.5 mile oval.(fastenalracing.com)(7-27-2006)
  • Steve Wallace plans full Busch season in 2007: Steve Wallace said this week that he plans to run the entire NASCAR Busch Series next season, as well as eight more Busch races this year and a handful of ARCA events as well. “I am going to run full time for next year, so (I’m) real excited about that,” Wallace said. The youngster, who drives for this famous father, Rusty, said how he does at the track also sets his mood at home. “Well, when you run bad or when you run good it just all depends,” Steve Wallace said. “Mom is real big on cooking. We have dinner every night. We sit down at the table and talk about stuff. So if I run bad and look like an idiot, he (Rusty) makes me feel like one. But if I run good, I’ll kind of the superstar at the house. So it’s definitely a real mood-setting-type deal.”(Speed Channel)(7-27-2006)


    News from July 26, 2006

  • Unleaded Fuel debuts at Gateway: NASCAR will take its first major step toward switching to unleaded fuel this weekend when the Busch Series cars will run it at St. Louis. The Busch cars will have unleaded fuel for the next four races. The change has created extra work for the engine builders. “We’ve had to do a lot of work with the valve-face coating,” said Chris Robinson, who overseas the Busch engine program at Roush Yates Racing. “The lead in the leaded fuel worked as a lubricant on the valve train, so we’ve had to go back and make sure the valve coatings will compensate for the unleaded fuel.”(Tampa Tribune)(7-26-2006)
  • Ginn buys into MB2 Motorsports UPDATE 2: on Speed Channel’s early NASCAR LIVE before coverage of Chicago Happy Hour practice, it was reported by Bob Dilner, that the owner of Ginn Resorts [that would be Edward R. “Bobby” Ginn] has bought into MB2 Motorsports, owned by Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye. Ginn Resorts has also been the primary sponsor on the #14 MB2 Motorsports Chevy that Sterling Marlin drives. #01-Joe Nemechek is the team’s other driver.(7-8-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that that the owner of Ginn Resorts has bought out MB2 Motorsports majority owner, Nelson Bowers 80% stake in the team. Expect a formal announcement at Indy during the week of the Brickyard 400. Also looks like the DEI deal rumored a few weeks ago will not happen.(7-20-2006)
    UPDATE 2: MB2 Motorsports to Make Major Announcement Regarding Ownership of Team on Wednesday, July 26th involving the MB2 New Team Owner, Jay Frye, MB2 CEO/GM, #01-Joe Nemechek, MB2 driver and #14-Sterling Marlin, MB2 driver.(7-26-2006)
    MORE: The sale of MB2 Motorsports to real estate and resort developer Bobby Ginn should shore up the Nextel Cup team’s short- and long-term future. The deal, which will be announced Wednesday at a news conference at a Ginn Clubs & Resorts property in Orlando, will include a 10-race primary sponsorship this year for Sterling Marlin’s #14 Chevrolet, solidifying a car that had lacked full-season funding. “We needed to have a strong identity, something to differentiate ourselves vs. other teams,” MB2 general manager Jay Frye said. “This is a huge opportunity to do that. Financially, it puts us in a different posture than what we’ve been. We have an opportunity to expand, and we’re much better positioned for the future.” Before Ginn’s purchase of the team, Frye was considering a merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. Frye said that option is off the table now that it seems MB2 has the potential for eventually keeping pace with title-caliber powerhouses such as Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Racing.(USA Today)
    UPDATE 3: MB2 Motorsports, which fields NASCAR Nextel Cup entries for drivers #01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin, has announced a change of ownership. Real estate developer Bobby Ginn (pronounced GHIN) has purchased all of the shares owned by MB2 majority owner and founding partner Nelson Bowers. The business transaction takes effect immediately. Jay Frye, MB2’s general manager and chief executive officer since the formation of the racing organization in 1996, will continue in the same capacity and retain his ownership in the company. Ginn’s majority interest and Frye’s interest comprise 100% ownership of MB2 Motorsports. Ginn, 57, is president and founder of the Celebration, Fla.-based Ginn Resorts, a privately held resort development and management firm, specializing in exclusive leisure lifestyle and vacation destination communities in the United States. “We recognize the importance and relevance of NASCAR fans and sponsors to the overall success of our brand,” said Ginn, a native of Hampton, S.C. “MB2 has outstanding partners in the U.S. Army, Waste Management, CENTRIX Financial, Wiley X Eyewear, Ginn Resorts and Mighty Auto Parts. Also announced today is that Ginn Resorts, which has been an MB2 primary sponsor at selected Cup events in 2006, has added 10 races to its primary-sponsorship package on Marlin’s #14 Chevrolet. The sponsorship will be managed through Ginn Sports Entertainment. Regarding the sale of his shares in MB2, Bowers said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed all facets of being a NASCAR team owner for the past 10 years. It’s been a memorable and fascinating ride and I wish Bobby, Jay and the entire MB2 organization nothing but success.” Along with its Nextel Cup teams, MB2 has a driver development program in place with Kraig Kinser in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Jesus Hernandez in the Drive for Diversity program. The MB2 team shop is based in Mooresville, N.C.(MB2 Motorsport PRclick here to listen to the teleconference at )(7-26-2006)
  • Little Debbie commercials to feature Schrader: Wood Brothers Racing’s #21-Ken Schrader is being featured in a new advertising campaign for team sponsor Little Debbie. The commercials will be broadcast nationally, beginning with NBC’s coverage of the Aug. 6 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the 30-second spot, Schrader appears in a convenience store with a mouthful of the company’s donuts. It’s the first time the driver has been featured in an ad for the company that signed with the Wood Brothers in October 2005. The company is in negotiations with Wood Brothers concerning sponsorship in 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(7-26-2006)
  • Gordon’s Team Claims Pit Crew Win at Pocono: Jeff Gordon’s DuPont pit crew claimed its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition, helping boost the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a third-place finish in Sunday’s (July 23) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono Raceway. “I’m glad this over-the-wall crew is getting the recognition it deserves,” said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. “They’ve been great all year long, especially during difficult days when the car wasn’t handling well.” Gordon’s over-the-wall team edged out other crews by spending the least amount of time in the pits during the Pennsylvania 500. Gordon’s 324 Chevrolet spent 228.349 seconds on pit lane. His pit crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. The #24 over-the-wall team includes: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike “Tiny” Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Jason “Penske” Seitzinger (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Matt Clark. With four wins in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, Jimmie Johnson’s team leads the season-long competition. Tony Stewart’s and Kyle Busch’s pit crews are tied for second place with three victories each. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-26-2006)


    News from July 25, 2006

  • Statement from Tony Stewart Regarding Lap 32 Incident at Pocono: The following is a statement from Nextel Cup Series driver Tony Stewart regarding the lap 32 incident in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 that involved Stewart, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards. “I’m taking 100 percent responsibility for the final incident that occurred on lap 32 between myself, the 07 (Bowyer) and the 99 (Edwards). It was totally my fault. At the same time, there were circumstances that led up to that wreck, and after talking with Clint this morning, we both have a better understanding as to what happened. He was trying to get out of my way and didn’t realize that I had gone to the outside. He thought I was to his inside, and when he tried to give me some room, he slid into us and it put us into the outside wall. I reacted, causing the wreck that I take responsibility for and regret.” On lap 32, Stewart was racing on the outside of Bowyer through turn three of Pocono’s 2.5-mile triangle when Bowyer’s car pushed out toward the wall. Stewart gave as much ground as he could until scraping the wall with the right side of his #20 Chevrolet. As he came off the wall, Stewart made contact with Bowyer, sending Bowyer’s #07 Chevrolet into Edwards’ #99 Ford. NASCAR penalized Stewart one lap for aggressive driving, putting the two-time and reigning Nextel Cup champion 41st in the 43-car field. Stewart regained his lead lap status on lap 41 by passing then leader #12-Ryan Newman. Stewart went on to finish seventh in the 200-lap race.(True Speed Communication PR)(7-25-2006)
  • Sad News – David McGehee: David Wayne ‘Rawhide’ McGehee, 46, of the Silver Valley Community, died Saturday, July 15, 2006, at his residence after a period of declining health. Born Jan. 4, 1960, in San Diego, Calif., he worked at Labonte Racing and operated 109 Custom Exhaust south of Thomasville until his health began to decline. Memorials may be directed to David Wayne McGehee Memorial Fund, 102 Christopher Lane, Thomasville, N.C. 27360 or to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, N.C.. 27262.(in part from Thomasville Times.(7-25-2006)
  • Stewart’s Hearse Makeover to be featured on Unique Whips: Tony Stewart and his now famous 1984 Cadillac Brougham hearse will be the main subject of an upcoming Unique Whips mini marathon Aug. 2, starting at 8:00pm/et on Speed Channel. This Unique Whips mini marathon will focus on New York-based Unique Autosports’ build and unveiling of the Indiana resident’s unusual ride. The three one-hour shows begin with a reprise of the original delivery to Unique Autosports owner Will Castro, as he attended Stewart’s dramatic victory during last year’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two new episodes will then journey SPEED viewers through the tricking out and presentation of Stewart’s well-publicized custom whip. “We had never done a build like this,” Castro said. “We’re always taking cars that are worth $100 thousand and up – making them unique. This was the first time we’d taken a $1.99 ‘hoopty’ and turned it into a $100 thousand whip.” Stewart was pleased with the results. “Will (Castro) and the crew did a great job with my hearse,” Stewart said. “Both Will and I knew it was going to be quite a project, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out. As usual, Will assembled a great crew to work on the car and it’s why I’ve always trusted Unique Autosports to complete builds like this. I hope the fans enjoy the makeover as much as I enjoy the car.(Speed Channel PR)(7-25-2006)
  • Danica to stay in IRL…with Andretti team? UPDATE: It appears Danica Patrick will be on the move in 2007, but not to NASCAR. Instead, it appears she will move over to a rival Indy Racing League team. Indianapolis TV station WXIN reports Andretti-Green Racing has made a serious overture for Patrick, whose contract with Rahal-Letterman Racing runs out at the end of this year. The network cited unnamed sources but neither Andretti-Green or Rahal-Letterman would comment on the report. Andretti-Green co-owner Michael Andretti indicated late last week that he would be interested in signing Patrick, who was being touted for a possible move to the Nextel Cup series next year. AGR currently fields cars for Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. Franchitti and Herta’s contract with the team are set to expire at the end of this season.(TSA.ca)(7-17-2006)
    UPDATE: Danica Patrick signed with Andretti Green Racing on Tuesday, deciding to stay in the Indy Racing League instead of switching to NASCAR. Patrick will start driving for her new team in 2007. Her current contract with Rahal Letterman expires at the end of the season. Though she toyed with joining NASCAR, Patrick said last week she was leaning toward saying in the IndyCar series.(Associated Press)(7-25-2006)
  • Tire Air Pressure Tricks? A number of stock-car crews have been playing with tire tricks the past year, trying to prevent excessive air pressure build-up and improve handling over long runs. Two of the tricks have been installing illegal air-pressure bleeders in the valve stems, and the drilling of very tiny holes in the sidewalls, which is not specifically illegal. So when NASCAR officials confiscated Clint Bowyer’s left-front tire at Martinsville after Saturday’s Busch race, there were a lot of questions in the Nextel Cup garage at Pocono Speedway. But Mike Dillon, the director of team operations for Bowyer’s car owner, Richard Childress, said that it was much ado about nothing. “Our left-front was leaking,” Dillon said. “It was a valve stem leaking, but it was leaking at the rim, a bad seal or just not tight. A lot of people have been experimenting with bleeders, and I know there are guys drilling holes in sidewalls, too, to control the air. But if you wanted to use a bleeder at Martinsville, you’d want your left-rear to bleed.I don’t think anything will come from it. We’ve talked with our crew chiefs, and they assured us there wasn’t anything going on.” Crew chiefs say that some tires have such naturally thin sidewalls that, even without doctoring, if they were submerged in a big vat of water, air would bubble out from a number of areas. “I had a tire at Michigan that actually lost seven pounds of air during a tire run, instead of having an air pressure build-up,” one team manager said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2006)
  • RYR Looking to put Leicht in Cup in 2007: Robert Yates Racing is trying to put 19-year-old Stephen Leicht in a Nextel Cup car in 2007, team co-owner Doug Yates confirmed Monday. Yates said that if CitiFinancial agrees to sponsor the team’s #88 Nextel Cup car next season, Leicht will be the driver. If the company decides to remain in the Busch Series, Leicht would drive that car and he also would be a candidate to drive the Cup car, depending on the sponsor. Yates also said if Leicht doesn’t run Cup in 2007, then he would in 2008.(SceneDaily.com)(7-25-2006)


    News from July 24, 2006

  • Carmichael offer from Gibbs? UPDATE: As Ricky Carmichael soldiers on through his last full season on the AMA Motocross circuit, pieces are starting to fall in place as to what exactly his plans are for 2007 and beyond. Besides rumors circulating of Carmichael signing a three-year deal to drive in the ARCA Series for the Joe Gibbs race team starting in 2007, Carmichael is starting to leave hints as to which outdoor nationals he plans on racing next year.(racerxill.com)(7-20-2006)
    UPDATE: If Motocross racer Ricky Carmichael wants to give NASCAR a try, Joe Gibbs Racing will find a seat for him. J.D. Gibbs said Sunday the team has had preliminary discussions with Carmichael, who many consider the greatest motocross racer of all time. “We’re just talking to him, like a “Hey, if it ever comes up and you are interested in doing something, let’s brainstorm,’ ” Gibbs said. Carmichael is expected to make the 2007 season his final one in Motocross, and Gibbs said he didn’t think it would take him long to adjust to stock-cars if Carmichael wanted to give them a try.(FoxSports/AP)(7-24-2006)
  • Gilliland to Yates? UPDATEs: David Gilliland, who has won one Busch Series race, said yesterday he has been contacted by several teams for next year. The Charlotte Observer reported that one of those teams was Robert Yates Racing, reporting that Yates had extended Gilliland an offer to replace Emporia native Elliott Sadler in the #38. Gilliland wrecked out of the Goody’s 250 on Lap 163. Shortly after Gilliland emerged from the team’s hauler, Jack Roush pulled him aside for a short conversation. Gilliland didn’t mention specifics yesterday but said his goal hasn’t changed. “We’ve got a lot of options. I got a lot of phone calls,” Gilliland said. “I want to race full time next year.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-23-2006)
    UPDATE: Forgive David Gilliland if he’s a bit overwhelmed by the sudden rush of calls to his cell phone from top NASCAR team owners like Richard Childress, Robert Yates and Jack Roush. “We’ve got some pretty good opportunities and we’re going to take our time in trying to make the right decision,” Gilliland said yesterday of his unexpected headline status in the stock- car rumor mill. “I’ve talked to probably 10 teams, and we’re just weighing our options. It’s hard to pass up an opportunity because you might not get another one. I’ve talked with Richard Childress a lot, and his operation is on top of the game right now, and it’s hard to pass up a deal like that. But I haven’t signed anything with anyone.” Mike Dillon, Childress’ director of team operations, said his team wants to sign Gilliland to a Busch-Nextel Cup package that would include all the Busch events in 2007, plus a couple of Nextel Cup events. “He has to make a decision on his future, and we’ve got to make decisions, too,” Dillion said. Yates is apparently offering an even bigger deal – a full Nextel Cup ride. Gilliland said he’s bounced his options off his father, Butch Gilliland, a veteran Winston West racer, for advice. “And I just talked with Kenny Wallace, and he gave me some really good advice. He’s been around the sport a long time and seen people move up too fast or not fast enough. I’m not 20, so we might not get another opportunity. But at the same time you don’t want to move too fast. How do you know if you’re ready until you try it?”(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE 2: David Gilliland, who shocked the NASCAR world when he won a Busch Series race at Kentucky Speedway last month in an unsponsored, part-time car, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to replace Elliott Sadler in the #38 Robert Yates Racing Ford next year. Gilliland was at Pocono Raceway Sunday where he reportedly met with representatives from sponsor M&M Mars. While he did not confirm he would drive for the team next year, Gilliland showed up for an interview on SPEED while eating a bag of M&Ms and proclaiming that they were his favorite candy.(Speed Channel)(7-24-2006)
  • Third team for RYR? [Robert] Yates said there’s a “realistic” chance that RYR could go to three Cup teams next season if 44-year-old Ward Burton, who has been out of Cup the past two seasons, comes up with a sponsor. Citifinancial and M&M’s, according to team officials, are looking for younger drivers such as Leicht, 19, and Gilliland, 30. “If Ward walked in with a sponsor today we’d say, ‘Ward, you’ve got the ride,'” Yates said.(NASCAR.com)
    AND: The Yates crew is interested in Gilliland, sources tell Team Ford Racing, with veterans Ricky Rudd and Ward Burton as the team’s fallback position if they are unable to sign a young up-and-comer, Gilliland or someone else.(Speed Channel)(7-24-2006)
  • FRM Owner Comments on Pocono Disqualification: Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins, whose car was found to be a quarter-inch too low following qualifying Friday, said Sunday his team did not intentionally attempt to skirt the rules for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The #61 Dodge of Chad Chaffin was found to be too low in post-qualifying inspection and the team’s qualifying time was disallowed. Because the team wasn’t in the top 35 and locked in, it was one of the four teams to go home. The team said NASCAR’s disallowing its time and thus knocking it out of the race cost the team at least $70,000 in purse winnings. Typically, a team does not lose as much money for being too low after qualifying because it still gets in the race by being locked in the top 35. “Our team is extremely disappointed in the series of events that took place at the track this weekend,” Jenkins said in a statement. “I want to assure our fans and sponsors that we are committed to working within NASCAR’s guidelines to maintain the integrity of our race efforts. At no time this weekend did anyone from our organization purposely attempt to circumvent those guidelines. We are unclear why NASCAR chose the course of action that they did. The penalty levied against our team does not seem to be consistent with previous penalties issued for similar offenses. This has left our team with a number of unanswered questions.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-24-2006)

News from July 23, 2006

  • Hamlin Sweeps Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his second career win, following up his first win at the track in June. Hamlin dominated the entire race, leading 151 laps and never running far out of the lead. #2-Kurt Busch was 2nd (he was also second to Hamlin in the June Pocono race) followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, and #29-Kevin Harvick. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson ran near the front most of the day and finished in sixth. His points lead is now 97 over #17-Matt Kenseth. #20-Tony Stewart overcame an early rough driving penalty to finish in seventh and move back into the top 10 in points. #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was involved in an accident near the midway point of the race and spent several laps behind the wall. He finished in 43rd and fell out of the top ten in points. There were 9 leaders with 13 lead changes and 7 cautions for 29 laps.
    Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page
    Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-23-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Pocono [20 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 2939
    #17-Matt Kenseth 2842 -97
    #31-Jeff Burton 2621 -318
    #5-Kyle Busch 2582 -357
    #29-Kevin Harvick 2563 -376
    #6-Mark Martin 2557 – 382
    #9-Kasey Kahne 2515 -424
    #11-Denny Hamlin 2514 -425
    #24-Jeff Gordon 2512 -427
    #20-Tony Stewart 2477 -462
    and fighting for 10th
    out of 10th and the chase
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. -15
    #16-Greg Biffle -44
    #2-Kurt Busch -166
    #99-Carl Edwards -235
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-23-2006)
  • Rumblings – Pocono Race Notes:
    Denny Hamlin’s raced at Pocono Raceway twice….and he can’t get any better no matter how hard he tries. Two races, two poles, two wins….not bad for a guy who hadn’t even seen this joint six weeks ago. Hamlin led early and often today to sweep to the Pennsylvania 500 victory for his second career win….he’s now tied for 94th on the all-time win list. Win #51 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $230,100 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
    Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer get together and Carl Edwards pays the price….we’ve seen this story before, haven’t we? They just change the names of the players….
    Bobby Labonte (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Phoenix in April.
    Martin Truex Jr (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Texas in April.
    Robby Gordon (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Darlington in May.
    Joe Nemechek (17th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Darlington in May.
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harick has 4 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races.
    Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is NOBODY! It takes a 20 position move to nab this coveted award….honorable mention goes to Bobby Labonte (+19). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-28 ), followed by Clint Bowyer (-27) and Carl Edwards (-23).
    Ken Schrader led today for the first time since he once for 17 laps at Martinsville Speedway last October. He’s the 43rd driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 51 different leaders.
    Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart move back into the “Chase” this week while Dale Earnhardt Jr and Greg Biffle fall out. We’ve hung up our first “Magic Numbers” of the season this week…..that’s the spot where a driver can finish to clinch a spot in the “Chase”. In leader Jimmie Johnson’s case, that number is 17th. Hamlin sweeps everything this week as he advances the most spots in the standings (12th to 8th) while Dale Earnhardt Jr falls the same number of positions (7th to 11th).(Stock Car Fans)(7-23-2006)
  • Pocono Penalty Report: 
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
    20 OL Rough driving 34
    07 TE Pitting too soon 35
    99 TE Pitting too soon 35
    5 TE Too fast exiting pit road 35
    45 TE Pitting too soon 66
    07 TE Pitting too soon 67
    99 TE Pitting too soon 67
    99 OL Aggressive driving 67
    07 TE Pitting too soon 77
    07 TE Pitting too soon 89
    9 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
    07 TE Pitting too soon 151
    12 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
    26 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
    43 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
    4 TE Pitting too soon 180
    45 TE Too fast exiting pit road 181
    55 TE Pitting too soon 181
    44 TE Too fast exiting pit road 181
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits
    (NASCAR Statisical Services)(7-23-2006)
  • Pocono Race Notes: • Denny Hamlin won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 27th career start.
    • Hamlin also won the June race at Pocono, six races ago, and became the first rookie to sweep both races at a track since Jimmie Johnson won both races at Dover in 2002.
    • Hamlin won both Pocono races from the Bud Pole. The last driver to sweep both races from the Bud Pole in a single season was Jeff Gordon at Martinsville in 2003.
    • Hamlin’s two victories at Pocono in 2006 marked the sixth time that a driver has swept both races at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin joined Jimmie Johnson (2004), Bobby Labonte (1999), Tim Richmond (1986), Bill Elliott (1985), and Bobby Allison (1982).
    • Hamlin scored his eighth top-10 finish in 20 races this season. He has posted top-15 finishes in 14 of the 20 races.
    • Hamlin climbed from 12th to eighth in the point standings, the highest points position of his 27-race career.
    • Hamlin led the most laps for the second time in his career. He also led the most laps at Pocono in June when he scored his career-first victory, leading 83 laps.
    • Hamlin led five times for 151 laps including the final 20 laps in the Pennsylvania 500, a career high.
    • This was team owner Joe Gibb’s 51st NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Gibbs has scored six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Pocono Raceway: Bobby Labonte (three), Denny Hamlin (two) and Tony Stewart (one). It was Gibbs fourth victory in 2006.
    • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Kurt Busch (second) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006 and his sixth top-10 finish in 12 races Pocono Raceway. Busch has finished first, second and second in his last three races at Pocono.
    • Jeff Gordon (third) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 19th top-10 finish in 28 races at Pocono Raceway. He remained ninth in the point standings and is now 50 points ahead of 11th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    • Brian Vickers (fourth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his third top-10 in six races at Pocono Raceway – all topfives.
    • Kevin Harvick (fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish 20 races in 2006, including the last four races. It was his fourth top-10 finish in 12 races at Pocono. Harvick extended a 32-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
    • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his 16th top-10 finish in 2006, the most of all drivers. He remained first in the point standings, now 97 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 89 consecutive races. He has scored 10 straight top-15 finishes in 10 races at Pocono Raceway.
    • Jeff Burton (ninth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 14th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April. It marked his 13th top-10 finish in 26 races at Pocono Raceway.
    • Kyle Busch (12th) extended a streak of six straight top-15 finishes that began at Michigan in June.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 20 races this season. Hamlin has been the highest finishing rookie in 11 races in 2006.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-23-2006)
  • Waltrip still looking for a driver: Michael Waltrip speculated that while some driver changes for 2007 are done but not announced, he has not solidified who would drive his #00 Burger King/Domino’s Toyota next season. Waltrip said Friday that #19-Jeremy Mayfield is still among those high on his list to join himself and Dale Jarrett in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable next season. “I had hoped that we could have something done already, but hopefully when we go to Indy [in two weeks], we’ll have something that we can announce one way or another on the driver of the 00 car,” Waltrip said. Speculation has Mayfield leaving Evernham Motorsports for MWR, while Elliot Sadler – who has announced he is leaving Robert Yates Racing but not announced his 2007 destination – could replace Mayfield at Evernham. Waltrip had to catch himself to make sure he was saying the right things about Mayfield. “He’s somebody that we’re definitely interested in and now that he’s available,” Waltrip said before smiling and saying, “Let me say that again: If he becomes available, then we definitely want to be the ones to have a chance to talk to him.” Waltrip said he believes Sadler already knows where he’s going although Sadler said he has nothing inked for next year. “I think a lot of the deals probably are already done and people say stuff like that [they’re looking] to lead y’all down [another] path,” Waltrip said. “For sure, mine is not done. Hopefully soon.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-23-2006)
  • #49 team hopes to team up with another team: #49 BAM Racing driver Kevin Lepage said he expects his team will announce an arrangement with at least one and perhaps several teams for pooling information, sharing test results and comparing notes. It’s not a new idea, but perhaps it’s one that has become better developed. Lepage said he hopes his team, owned by Beth Ann Morgenthau, can put together a workable arrangement where past attempts have fallen shy of expectations.(Gaston Gazette)(7-23-2006)
  • Ware teams up with Barrett for a few races, buys equipment: Ware Racing Enterprises has purchased equipment from #95-Stanton Barrett Motorsports, and Barrett has begun competing on the Nextel Cup level under the Ware banner. Barrett, who failed to qualify for today’s Pennsylvania 500, will also attempt to qualify for races at Bristol, Loudon and Phoenix, team owner Rick Ware said Friday. The team also is hoping to add Charlotte, Texas and Homestead as it works on finalizing a sponsor and a program for 2007.. The team ran the #52 at Pocono but would like to run the #30 in races later this year, Ware said. Ware also plans on entering the Dover race in September with driver Donnie Neuenberger.(Scene Daily.com)(7-23-2006)


    News from July 22, 2006

  • Sadler says he has multiple prospects: #38-Elliott Sadler said Friday his decision to leave Robert Yates Racing at the conclusion of the 2006 season came down to a difference of philosophy with team owner Robert Yates. “They’re great, great people, and I’ve definitely enjoyed driving for those guys, but pretty much we have just come to differences of opinions on which way the sport is going,” said Sadler, 20th in Cup points. “I couldn’t really make myself buy into the system and which way I think the company is going. So we just decided to split ways and do something different.” Sadler said he’s entertaining multiple offers at this point. “There are a lot more seats open than there are drivers available, I think. That’s what caught me off this week with some of the phone calls I got. I’m not in a hurry to try to make a decision. I have no timelines.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-22-2006)
  • Aero Exhaust gone from the #4? UPDATE: #4-Scott Wimmer says although he hasn’t been told anything official, indications are that his Morgan-McClure Nextel Cup team has lost its Aero Exhaust sponsorship.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-21-2006)
    UPDATEL been told the #4 teram has not losy Aero Exhuast as a sponsor. they will appear on the car in select 2006 races, and the team is trying to attract additional sponsors to go with them.(7-22-2006)
  • No Speculations for Martin’s 2007 Plans: #6-Mark Martin refuses to answer any questions about where, if anywhere, he could be running a partial Nextel Cup schedule next year. He’s a longtime Ford driver. Robert Yates Racing is a longtime Ford team. Yates and Roush Racing, which Martin has driven for in his entire Cup career, work together on motors. Yates needs drivers for next season. So … could one of those Yates drivers be Martin? Martin said he didn’t think so. “A bunch of people need drivers right now, not just Yates,” Martin said. “We’ll have to see what happens. We probably won’t get into that until October or November, probably November most likely. I’m not going to answer any questions. I’m not going to go there. It’s not something on my radar screen. I’ve got more important things to think about than what I am going to do next year right now.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-22-2006)
  • Saturday Practices for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway has been cancelled due to heavy fog, then rain. Most of the drivers doing double duty at Pocono and Martinsville have left the track for Martinsville so they can qualify their Busch cars.(11:00am/et 7-22-2006)
  • Petty would step down as driver in right situation: How far would Kyle Petty go to insure the restoration of Petty Enterprises to the glory years of Richard Petty’s seven Winston Cup (now NEXTEL Cup) Championships? Would he surrender the No. 45 Dodge to another driver and hang up his helmet? “Yes, I would retire tomorrow if it would help Bobby Labonte win races and Petty Enterprises contend for the championship,” Petty confirmed candidly when asked if he was willing to step out of his ride under the right circumstances. What would be the right circumstances? Petty said he would gladly step aside as a NEXTEL Cup Series driver if the team was able to sign a marquee driver and sponsor capable of furthering the efforts of Bobby Labonte, Todd Parrott, Robbie Loomis and the rest of the team in Randleman, NC. “And,” he added, “If I retired from this I would go racing in the Grand Am Series or something like that. But, once I retired from NEXTEL Cup that would be it. If I said, ‘I’m done completely then I would be done completely. If I said I would run three or four races then I would only run three or four races.'”(CircleTrackPlus.com)(7-22-2006)


    News from July 21, 2006

  • Hamlin wins pole at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Pole for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 169.827mpg for his 2nd pole of 2006, 2nd in a row at Pocono and 3rd of his career, Hamlin won the race in June at Pocono from the pole. Starting on the outside pole is #12-Ryan Newman followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #25-Brians Vickers and #24-Jeff Gordon. #44-Terry Labonte qualified 37th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Lepage, #90-Leicht [for his first career start], #44-Labonte, #55-Waltrip, #32-Kvapil, #4-Wimmer [who missed Pocono in June], #40-Stremme and #78-Spencer grabbed the final spot after #61-Chaffin’s speed was disallowed for the car being too low. Missing the race were: #74-Cope, #52-Barrett, #34-Sacks and #61-Chaffin. See qualifying speeds, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Starting Grid/Qualifying results page.(7-21-2006)
  • #61 car being looked at UPDATE disqualified: NASCAR is looking at the #61 Front Row Motorsports Dodge as it supposedly failed the height sticks and is too low, no decision on if their qualifying time will be disallowed by NASCAR. If so, #78-Jimmy Spencer could end up in the race as both are out of the top-35 in owners points and Chaffin would go to the slowest qualifier and miss the race.
    UPDATE: the #61 team’s qualifying speed was disqualified and the team will not race, so #78-Jimmy Spencer gets into the race as the #78 Chevy was next to make the race, Spencer will start 43rd, Chaffin was to start 38th.(7-21-2006)
  • Ramblings – Qualifying Notes – Pocono: Denny Hamlin returned to Pocono Raceway today and it was like he never left. When we were here six weeks ago, Hamlin won the pole and won the race….well, he’s halfway home again. He took the Bud Pole today for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 with a time 52.995 (169.827 mph) over Ryan Newman as he attempts to duplicate his June feat. This was the second top-spot of the season for the Virginia driver….and third of his brief NEXTEL Cup career.
    Scott Riggs (9th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    Carl Edwards (16th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Darlington in May.
    Welcome Stephen Leicht (36th). He’ll make his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start on Sunday for Robert Yates….and you might say this is step one in his audition for one of those open RYR seats at the top-level of NASCAR.
    STREAKIN….Brian Vickers has 3 Top-5 starts in a row. Jeff Burton has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
    The Trouble Train had some changes today. Derrike Cope, Stanton Barrett, Greg Sacks and Chad Chaffin were the cars missing the race, but it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Chaffin was origially qualifed for the event in 38th spot, but the car flunked post-qualifying inspection (too low) and he was replaced in the lineup by Jimmy Spencer.(Stock Car Fans)(7-21-2006)
  • Pocono Qualifying Notes:
    • Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 52.995 seconds at 169.827 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph – set June 11, 2004.
    • This is Hamlin’s third career Bud Pole in 27 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Pocono in June, six races ago. Hamlin posted his 12th top-10 start in 2006, including three of the last four races. This was his second qualifying attempt at Pocono.
    • Hamlin became the first Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender to sweep both Bud Poles at a track in a single season since Davey Allison did so at Rockingham in 1987.
    • Hamlin became the sixth driver to score multiple Bud Poles this season.
    • Hamlin became the first repeat Bud Pole winner at Pocono in the last 21 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002 due to weather.
    • A Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender has won a Bud Pole in each of the past 11 seasons (1996-2006). Hamlin actually posted his first Bud Pole last season, before his official rookie year.
    • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.123 seconds, 169.418 mph – and will join Hamlin on the front row for the Pennsylvania 500. This is Newman’s eighth top-10 start this season and the only time this season that he has had back-to-back front row starts. Newman won the Bud Pole last week at New Hampshire. It is his fifth top-10 start in 10 races at Pocono.
    • This is the sixth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has nine Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 12th top-10 start in 2006 and his third in six races at Pocono. Kahne also started third here in June.
    • Brian Vickers (fourth) has posted a top-10 start in all six of his appearances at Pocono. It is his eighth top-10 start this season. Vickers also started fourth here in June.
    • Jeff Gordon (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start of 2006. It is his 16th top-10 start in 28 races at Pocono. Gordon started sixth here in June.
    • Four drivers failed to qualify for the Pennsylvania 500: Chad Chaffin, Derrike Cope, Stanton Barrett, and Greg Sacks. Chad Chaffin’s time was disallowed following post time trial inspection.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(7-21-2006)
  • Latest on Bobby Hamilton: Truck Series driver/owner Bobby Hamilton says he’s feeling good as tries to recover from radiation treatment for cancer in his neck. Hamilton, 49, has lost 38 pounds and some of his hair, but told WSMV-4 in an interview Thursday that he is coming back. “I’m having to learn how to eat again and things like that,” he said. “It just takes time.” He began treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in March shortly after being diagnosed. “I think I can tell a decent story now and have the proof to tell it,” Hamilton said.(Tennessean/AP)(7-21-2006)
  • Rusty practices Busch car…not un-retiring: Rusty Wallace was back in a stock car Thursday for the first time since last year, but he won’t be running Saturday’s Goody’s 250 Busch series race at Martinsville Speedway. Or any other NASCAR race. Wallace attended Thursday’s test session to help son Steve, who has never competed at this track. Rusty Wallace drove some laps, which he said were his first in a stock car since last year’s Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wallace also said that he’s been contacted about returning to the Cup series next season. There will be at least seven new rides next season, creating questions on if there are enough talented and experienced drivers for all the available Cup rides. Bill Elliott, who last drove fulltime in 2003, could be headed to Team Red Bull. Ward Burton, who last raced full time in 2004, also is looking for a ride. So, why not Wallace? “There’s a lot of offers for big money to come back,” Wallace said. “I made my decision, and I’m sticking to it. My six-year contract with ABC Sports forbids me from driving.”(Roanoke Times)(7-21-2006)
  • Congrats: The LTN Hour, a syndicated NASCAR-themed radio program out of Milwaukee, will celebrate its 1,000th show with a live broadcast at 10 a.m. Sunday from Paulie’s Pub and Eatery, 8031 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-21-2006)
  • Tragic News: Former Robert Yates Racing employee, Jay Thompson and his wife Carrie were killed Wednesday night near Davidson, NC. Robert Alexander Morrison, 19, of Cabarrus County, was in critical condition in the burn unit at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after the Charlotte area’s deadliest crash in recent months. Highway Patrol investigators said the accident occurred on Wednesday just before midnight, about two miles east of Davidson. While driving north on Shiloh Church Road just north of Kingsview Lane, Morrison tried to pass a motorcycle in a no-passing zone with a double yellow line, according to the investigators. Morrison’s white Ford truck crashed head-on into a southbound red Chevrolet Blazer, investigators said. The motorcycle then plowed into the truck, which caught fire. “All I saw was a light and that was it,” said Leonard Troutman, a passenger in the Blazer’s front seat. The crash killed Shirley Ann Jones, 38, of Charlotte, who was driving her Blazer toward Charlotte. Motorcycle riders Jay Edward Thompson, 38, and his wife, Carrie Ann Thompson, 36, of Mooresville, also died. Jones’ daughter, Christine Massey, who was in the Blazer’s back seat, was released from NorthEast Medical Center in Concord Thursday. Troutman, a family friend, was in good condition. Carrie Thompson had two children, Amber, 17, and Austin, 14, said her ex-husband, George Ard of Lexington, NC. Ard said Jay Thompson was a trained welder and fabricator who used to work for Dale Jarrett’s NASCAR racing team. Morrison was airlifted to UNC Hospitals and was in critical condition Thursday evening. Investigators were still trying to determine how fast the vehicles were traveling and whether alcohol was involved, a Highway Patrol spokesman said. N.C. Department of Transportation traffic engineer David Naylor said a crew will investigate the accident scene. On Thursday, a DOT maintenance crew was clearing vegetation from the shoulder where the crash occurred.(Charlotte Observer)(7-21-2006)
  • Pocono Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to the track this season . . . when NASCAR Nextel Cup Series teams visited Pocono Raceway last month, they ran on this right-side code (D-4032) with a slightly different left-side code (D-4028) . . . teams also ran the D-4028/D-4032 combination at Las Vegas and Bristol earlier this year . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . .. air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Pocono Race Info/Ruwndown page.(7-21-2006)
  • Bully Hill Vineyards interested in sponsor Montoya in Busch race at Watkins Glen UPDATE 2: Watkins Glen International has partnered with Bully Hill Vineyards to work on a potential sponsorship opportunity for Chip Ganassi Racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya for the upcoming Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 12. “When the announcement was made regarding Montoya’s involvement with NASCAR we thought; what better place for him to race, than right here at The Glen,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. “We hope Juan Pablo makes his NASCAR debut here in 2006 and is able to take advantage of Bully Hill’s generous offer.”
    “Juan Pablo Montoya is an iconic figure, and his entry into NASCAR will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the sport,” comments Lillian Taylor, owner of Bully Hill Vineyards. “We would be proud to have him represent our winery at The Glen.” Although an announcement regarding Montoya’s NASCAR debut has not been made, Watkins Glen International has been contacted by members of the Columbian press for media credentials anticipating a possible track debut at The Glen. Montoya’s history at The Soul of American Road Racing includes a 6th place finish in the open-wheel cockpit of a Barber SAAB Pro Series race in 1994. During the 15 lap Skip Barber support race, he reached speeds of 103.751 mph driving for Nectar/Autoniza/Avianca Airline.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-19-2006)
    UPDATE: From Ganassi Racing: “Nothing has changed for us. As far as Juan Pablo, we don’t know what the timeline is for his debut in a stock car. We hope that over the next few weeks the dust will settle and we will have a much clearer picture as to how this will all play out. The one thing that I can tell you for sure is that Juan Pablo Montoya will be in the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in 2007.”
    AND Being a Champ Car, Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix champion isn’t enough to ensure Juan Pablo Montoya of a Nextel Cup license, NASCAR officials hinted this Wednesday. Speaking to NASCAR’s official website, the sanctioning body’s VP of competition, Robin Pemberton, recommended that the 30-year old Colombian, recently signed to drive Chip Ganassi’s #42 Dodge next year, start out in the Busch Series before dipping his toes in Cup waters – at least as far as ovals are concerned. “We would recommend that [Montoya and Ganassi get a couple of Busch races under their belt and get the dynamics of full-body, side-by-side racing and the problems that may arise on pit road at different places,” he said. Ganassi himself isn’t bothered by the demand, as that was his plan for the Colombian anyway.(SpeedTV.com)(7-20-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates confirmed that Juan Pablo Montoya will not be driving a Dodge festooned in Bully Hill Vineyards colors at Watkins Glen Inter-national, but it isn’t out of the question for the international star driver’s Nextel Cup Series debut to happen at The Glen. “(Ganassi) said he’s already set up with his sponsor commitments, but he didn’t say anything about (Montoya) debuting here,” said Eiron Smith, WGI’s press liaison. “He appreciated it, but wasn’t interested.” Officials from WGI released a statement Tuesday that revealed a pitch made to Ganassi’s Nextel Cup operation from Bully Hill Vineyards owner Lillian Taylor. Taylor expressed interest in sponsoring a car driven by Montoya if the Colombian driving star made his stock car debut at The Glen. However, Ganassi has contracts with companies Chevron Corp., Dayton Hudson Corp. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. – to name a few – and told the WGI marketing staff “thanks, but no thanks.”
    “She would have love to be on the hood of (Montoya’s) car,” Smith said of Taylor. “She had high hopes, and we were working as liaison, but it didn’t happen. Its disappointing we couldn’t confirm (Montoya) would be in a car, but he could still race, (Ganassi) still hasn’t released where or when Juan Pablo would make his debut, but I hope its here. It would be awesome.”(The Corning Leader)(7-21-2006)


    News from July 20, 2006

  • Splitscreen option? No says NASCAR: Fans hoping that NASCAR’s move to ABC/ESPN next year would improve their viewing experience may be in for a rude awakening. Although the networks employ a “Side-By-Side” split-screen feature for its Indy Racing League coverage that allows viewers to continue watching the action while commercials play, NASCAR has forbidden ABC/ESPN or any of its other TV partners from marketing that kind of advertising. “We’ve looked at a lot of options to enhance the fan/viewer experience but feel that a split-screen presentation of ads and racing serves neither the fan nor advertiser,” says Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications. “Our TV partners do an excellent job of immediately returning to significant track action when it happens during commercials. With replays and other technology, the networks make sure NASCAR fans get the best, most comprehensive race coverage anywhere.” But according to George McNeilly, senior director of communications for ESPN/ABC Sports, the networks would be interested in exploring the split-screen option. “We are engaging focus groups and other research in an effort to quantify the positive feedback we’ve received from people who’ve enjoyed the viewing experience,” McNeilly says. “[Allowing the split screen] would be a NASCAR decision. We’re in discussions about that and many other things.”(Long Island Press)(7-20-2006)
  • Ginn buys into MB2 Motorsports UPDATE: on Speed Channel’s early NASCAR LIVE before coverage of Chicago Happy Hour practice, it was reported by Bob Dilner, that the owner of Ginn Resorts [that would be Edward R. “Bobby” Ginn] has bought into MB2 Motorsports, owned by Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye. Ginn Resorts has also been the primary sponsor on the #14 MB2 Motorsports Chevy that Sterling Marlin drives. #01-Joe Nemechek is the team’s other driver.(7-8-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that that the owner of Ginn Resorts has bought out MB2 Motorsports majority owner, Nelson Bowers 80% stake in the team. Expect a formal announcement at Indy during the week of the Brickyard 400. Also looks like the DEI deal rumored a few weeks ago will not happen. The #14 is scheduled to have a Ginn Resorts paint scheme at Pocono this weekend.(7-20-2006)
  • Sadler to the #19? Mayfield to Toyota? UPDATE 6 Official – Sadler to leave: Elliott Sadler has until Saturday to tell Robert Yates whether he plans to drive the #38 M&M’s Ford next year. With Dale Jarrett leaving at the end of the year, Yates might have to fill two seats. Two drivers reportedly on Yates’ short list are Ward Burton and Stephen Leicht.(Orlando Sentinel)
    UPDATE 1: hearing Elliott Sadler, current driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford for RYR, will go to he #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge with current driver there, Jeremy Mayfield going to one of the three Toyota Teams, most likely Michael Waltrip Racing and the #00 car.
    AND Speed Channel’s Bob Dillner on NASCAR Live, that rumor has Sadler going to the #19 and COULD be taking the M&M’s sponsorship with him.
    UPDATEs 2 -3 : see my #38 Team News and Links page for the full progression
    UPDATE 4: Though he denies any contact with Ray Evernham, Elliott Sadler will drive the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge in 2007, multiple sources close to Robert Yates Racing have confirmed. Contrary to recent speculation, M&Ms, Sadler’s current primary sponsor at Yates, will not accompany him to Evernham, those same sources say.(NASCAR.com)(7-18-2006)
    UPDATE 5: hearing Sadler let RYR know on Tuesday he would be leaving after the 2006 season, supposedly their is some talk of putting another driver [??] in the #38 M&M’s Ford..as soon as this weekend at Pocono although that seems unlikely.(7-19-2006)
    OFFICIAL – UPDATE 6: Robert Yates Racing (RYR) announced today that driver Elliott Sadler has requested and been granted a release from his contract to take effect at the conclusion of the 2006 season. Yates has started searching for a driver to take over the No. 38 Ford Fusion for 2007. “We would like to thank Elliott for his commitment to our organization over the past four seasons and for all the success we’ve enjoyed together”, said Robert Yates. “We are excited about the opportunity to find a new driver who will continue the successful run of the #38 Ford as we maintain our focus on the future of our organization.”
    “Our objective this year is to finish the season on a strong note,” said Doug Yates. “It is our goal to continue to build this team so we will be better positioned next season to contend for the championship.”(RYR PR)(7-20-2006)
  • Pocono Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 16 Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hamlin finished sixth, scoring his seventh top-10 of the season and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 10th time in 19 races. Hamlin led the New Hampshire race once for one lap, the seventh race he has led in 2006. Hamlin enjoys a 34-point lead over Clint Bowyer in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 23 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin scored his first Nextel Cup Series win in the June 11 Pocono 500. Hamlin won by 1.328 seconds over Kurt Busch. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to win in 57 races at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin has led more laps (186) and more miles (349.108) than any other Raybestos Rookie in 2006. Hamlin is 12th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 18 points behind 10th-place Greg Biffle. Hamlin leads 13th-place Carl Edwards by 128 points and 14th-place Kurt Busch by 188. David Stremme posted an 11th-place finish at New Hampshire, his best in 22 career Nextel Cup Series starts. Reed Sorenson led the New Hampshire race once for 31 laps, the most laps that he’s led in a race this season. Sorenson has led at least one lap in each of the last three consecutive events. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 19 races this season. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Pennsylvania 500 is second by Ward Burton in 1994. The 1994 Pennsylvania 500 had Three Raybestos Rookies place inside the top-five, the best performance by a rookie class in 57 previous Nextel Cup races at Pocono. Three rookies finished in the top-five: Burton, Joe Nemechek (third) and Jeff Burton (fourth).(Raybestos PR), for the full standings, more Pocono stats, history of the award, see my Rookies Page.(7-20-2006)
  • The Speed Report replaces Speed News: SPEED will replace SPEED News on Sunday evenings with a new show, The SPEED Report, beginning Aug. 6 at 8:00pm/et. In addition to the weekly 60-minute show, The SPEED Report will be the network umbrella covering everything from motor sports and automotive press conferences to a daily news ticker, updating viewers on the day’s events. For the debut show on Aug. 6, SPEED will have reporters on-site at The Brickyard 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race, the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park, the Formula One race in Hungary and the AMA Superbike race at Mid-Ohio. Drew Johnson and newcomer Nicole Manske will anchor The SPEED Report desk, with veteran Ralph Sheheen reporting on-site from race venues. A state-of-the-art set is under construction at SPEED headquarters in Charlotte, NC.(Speed Channel PR), no word on what happened to Connie LeGrand and what her plans are.(7-20-2006)
  • DW and Wadell to be honored by NC Auto Racing HOF in Oct: Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip and legendary engine builder Waddell Wilson will be honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at its annual induction ceremonies on Oct. 11 at Mooresville’s Charles Mack Citizens Center. Waltrip, winner of 84 races and 59 poles, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Wilson, who began building winning engines in the 1960s with the legendary Holman and Moody and then became one of the circuit’s top crew chief and engine builders in the 1980s, will receive the coveted Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his outstanding contributions to the sport. “Both of these men brought something different to the sport,” said Don Miller, co-founder and chairman of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. “Darrell was the stock car driver who led the competitors into corporate America’s board rooms and showed they could be valuable in a firm’s marketing plans with their on-track performances. He was often criticized for being brash, but he always backed up his statements, much as New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath did in the NFL. He also was an owner/driver during a portion of his career, gaining a different perspective on the sport that now serves him well in his broadcasting career with Fox Sports. Wilson was an extremely talented engine builder before becoming a crew chief. He came from the North Carolina mountains to rise to NASCAR stardom with the powerful engines he built.”
    Located in Mooresville, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates the rich heritage of motorsports and its cultural contributions to society. It opened its doors in 1994 and now welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually. More than 30,000 fans visited the Hall of Fame during Charlotte race weeks in May 2006. A non-profit museum, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is dedicated to all forms of motorsports – from drag racing to stock cars. It houses more than 35 cars as well as numerous displays and showcases. For more information about the museum and the 10th annual induction ceremony, log on to www.ncarhof.com.(7-20-2006)
  • Carmichael offer from Gibbs? As Ricky Carmichael soldiers on through his last full season on the AMA Motocross circuit, pieces are starting to fall in place as to what exactly his plans are for 2007 and beyond. Besides rumors circulating of Carmichael signing a three-year deal to drive in the ARCA Series for the Joe Gibbs race team starting in 2007, Carmichael is starting to leave hints as to which outdoor nationals he plans on racing next year.(racerxill.com)(7-20-2006)


    News from July 19, 2006

  • Sad News – Anne Smith: Anne Ford Smith, 57, died Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at her home in Martinsville. Anne’s husband, Mike Smith is the Director, Public Relations at Martinsville Speedway. Surviving are her husband, Mike Smith of the home; two daughters, Julie Metz Arnold of Martinsville and Megan Smith Bowen of Lynchburg; a son, Todd Metz of Roanoke; and one brother, William A. Ford Jr. of Abingdon, Md. The funeral will be held at noon Friday at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church with the Revs. John Monroe and Larry House officiating. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at McKee-Stone Funeral Services and other times at the home. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Memorial Hospital, P.O. Box 4788, Martinsville, Va. 24115.(Martinsville Bulletin), thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, family and friends.(7-19-2006)
  • Crew Chief Changes at the #21: With sponsorship and driver lineup announcements for 2007 expected by Labor Day, Wood Brothers/JTG racing will make several personnel moves effective this weekend. Michael “Fatback” McSwain will assume the duties of crew chief for Ken Schrader’s #21 Nextel Cup car. David Hyder will take over Crew Chief duties for Jon Wood’s #47 Busch Series car, as the third generation driver prepares for his anticipated entry into Nextel Cup next season. Ernie Cope will move from his duties as Crew Chief for Stacy Compton’s Busch Series car to assist Michael “Fatback” McSwain. Jay Guy, Jon Wood’s Busch Series Crew Chief will move to teammate Stacy Compton’s #59 Busch Series car. Team co-owner Eddie Wood explained the transition. “Our goal is to improve our performance this year, while giving our drivers and crew chiefs an opportunity to work together in preparation for next year. We have made a lot of changes this season, including the merger with ST Motorsports’ Busch Series teams and the expansion of a driver development program in the Truck Series. We have been playing catch up and wanted to get a jump on next year to see how everyone progresses with these management moves.”(Wood Brothers Racing)(7-19-2006)
  • Drivers list for Irvan’s L.A.P.S Walk at Pocono: Ernie Irvan has set the initial field of participating drivers for the first of his track walk events this summer to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury – the Leadership and Awareness to Promote Safety (LAPS) Walk, set to take place on Friday, July 21 after Cup qualifying at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. Drivers Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Kyle Petty, Jeremy Mayfield, Martin Truex, Jr., Ken Schrader, Jeff Burton, and Jeff Green along with NASCAR President Mike Helton will join Irvan and the hundreds of supporters who have registered to walk alongside them on the Pocono track. More are expected to support Irvan in his efforts, and these drivers, along with drivers participating in LAPS Walk at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on August 16, 2006, will be announced on his www.lapswalk.org website as they commit. For a minimum pledge, fans can walk the track alongside the drivers and get autographs in order to raise awareness and needed funds in Ernie’s fight against the silent epidemic of traumatic brain injury in America. Created as a partnership between the Brain Injury Association of America and Irvan’s non-profit organization, Race2Safety, the LAPS Walk aims to raise money for and awareness of brain injury and to bring brain injury to the forefront of consciousness in the minds of Americans. Irvan suffered two traumatic brain injuries at MIS during his racing career, the second of which prompted his early retirement. On site registration will take place at Pocono on Friday, July 21 from 3:00pm to 5:30pm, with the actual walk scheduled to start at approximately 6pm.There is a minimum contribution of $100 per person or $250 per family, and there is a $10 admission fee to the Grand Stand the evening of the walk that allows participants to experience two hours of qualifying racing before the LAPS Walk event.(PR)(7-19-2006)
  • Edwards not expecting another crew chief change: In a national teleconference Tuesday morning, #99-Carl Edwards said the team had just had a meeting and that it appeared that crew chief Bob Osborne would remain with Edwards’ teammate #26-Jamie McMurray and Wally Brown would stay with Edwards. Edwards started the season with Osborne and McMurray with Jimmy Fennig, but an early-season switch moved Fennig into another role, Osborne to McMurray and Brown to Edwards. At the time, the team said it would revisit the changes in 90 days to see if Osborne and Edwards would be reunited. “The thinking of that is that either guy would be great, but right now, change for either of us may set us back farther than any long-term benefits to the change,” said Edwards, who is 13th in points and trying to move into the top 10 and Chase-For-The-Nextel-Cup contention. Asked if he wanted to switch back, Edwards admitted he didn’t want to make the first change. “Honestly, I did not want to switch when we first did it just for the simple reasoning that, hey, we were running well and Bob and I had had great success together, and I didn’t want to change anything,” Edwards said. “And [team owner] Jack Roush decided that he thought it would be a decent change to make, and it could help Roush Racing as a whole. I agreed with it just like everybody else, and we’ve worked hard, and Wally has not made many – Wally hasn’t made any mistakes. He’s done a great job, and it just doesn’t seem like changing back just to change back is the right thing to do right now.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-19-206)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Evernham Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports highlight the weekly test schedule at Kentucky Speedway. #7-Robby Gordon and #10-Scott Riggs will test on Wednesday July 19th, with Riggs tentatively scheduled to test July 20 as well. On Tuesday, Billy Wease tested a Penske R&R car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-19-2006)
  • Endangered Beetle Changes Busch’s Wedding Plans: Something else has been bugging #2-Kurt Busch beyond the fact he’s stalled outside of the Chase for the Nextel Cup in 14th place. The tiger beetle! “Those are the insects I guess that have their natural habitat on the Chesapeake Bay in the area we were looking to get married,” Busch said in a conference call Tuesday. “Their mating season is the months of June and July. With this being July, the environmentalists said, ‘Whoa. Whoa. We can’t have a bunch of guys out there building a pier and dock for this wedding because it’s going to disrupt the environment.’ ” Actually, it was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “In terms of being environmentalist, we are part of the federal government and charged with protecting the public’s natural resources, including endangered species,” said Karen Mayne, field supervisor for the agency’s office in Gloucester, Va. Mayne said the temporary pier Busch wanted constructed on land owned by developer Dan Hoffler on Virginia’s Eastern Shore could have harmed the tiger beetles, which are listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The wedding of Busch and Eva Bryan will go ahead next weekend — on the porch of Hoffler’s house.(USA Today)(7-19-2006)
  • 2006 West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Banquet: The 5th Annual West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet will be held on Friday, July 21, 2006 in Monrovia, CA. This is the 5th Annual event to honor the 2006 West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Inductees: the 2006 inductee: 1946-1969, Beryl Jackson, Johnny Kieper, Jim Rush, Walt Faulkner, Jim Cook, Don Noel. 1970 to Present, Ray Clairidge, Mike Curb, Ivan Baldwin, Gary Nelson. This is also the same weekend of the NASCAR Grand National, West division race at Irwindale Speedway July 22, 2006. More info at stockcarreunion.com.(7-19-2006)
  • Allstate’s “Good Hands” Drivers Raise Funds for Inner-City Youth: Allstate recently awarded the Urban Youth Racing School a check for $12,000 on behalf of the insurance company’s “Good Hands” Driver award. As part of its overall support for NASCAR diversity initiatives, Allstate developed the Allstate “Good Hands” Driver award to one NASCAR Nextel Cup driver throughout a 12-week period. Each week, the Allstate “Good Hands” Driver of the race had $1,000 donated to the UYRS in his name. Denise Owens, Allstate’s recruiting and agency development director, presented the check during a test session for this year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, taking place August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Hill & Knowlton Chicago PR)(7-19-2006)


    News from July 18, 2006

  • DW racing Busch Series at Martinsville: After last year’s “One and Done” in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, former three-time Cup champion Darrell Waltrip will return for yet another comeback this weekend, as the current FOX commentator will drive for his brother Michael Waltrip’s #99 Aaron’s Dream team in the Busch Series race at Martinsville. Waltrip will begin testing this Tuesday at Caraway Speedway “from 10 a.m. until I get happy, which might be until 6 p.m. Friday,” he quipped. After today’s test, “we’ll go back to the shop, tune on the car a little bit, put the race motor in and then be in Martinsville on Thursday for open practice.” DW’s biggest concern for his Busch comeback is the Martinsville heat, as temperatures have been scorching in the area this week.(Speed Channel)(7-18-2006)
  • Former team owner looking to get back in the sport: Not much info on this, but hearing that Wayne Burdette and a business partner are looking at coming back into Nextel Cup racing either on their own or partnering with a current team. They are currently working with several sponsors and hope to announce something soon. Burdette partnered with Cale Yarborough in 1998 and part if 1999 with Rick Mast as the driver.(7-18-2006)
  • Kyle Busch’s Crew Takes Top Honors in New Hampshire : Kyle Busch’s over-the-wall crew had two reasons to celebrate when they left New Hampshire International Speedway Sunday. Not only did Busch win the NEXTEL Cup event, but his No. 5 Kellogg’s pit crew also took top honors in the weekly Checkers®/Rally’s® Double Drive-Thru Challenge. “The Kellogg’s guys worked their tails off in New Hampshire,” said Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 5 team. “They had flawless pit stops and never lost focus all day long. It was one of the hottest days we’ve had on pit road and they just went out there and did their job. The No. 5 team deserves respect because they are a great pit crew. I’m proud of how hard they work and they deserve this reward.” This is the third Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season for Busch’s team, which is now tied with Tony Stewart’s crew for second place in the season-long competition. Jimmie Johnson’s crew leads with four victories. “My guys did it for me in New Hampshire,” said Busch. “They were on the money every stop. Alan (Gustafson) made great calls and I just can’t say enough because it was a total team effort, right down to the guys who build the cars and motors back at Hendrick Motorsports.” Busch’s over-the-wall team, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, spent 133.356 seconds on pit road to claim the win. The group includes: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy “JD” Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Whit Satterwhite (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. Busch’s crew collected $10,500 for the win. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-18-2006)
  • 3 Children From Victory Junction Gang Camp To Serve As Grand Marshals at Martinsville Busch race: Goody’s Headache Powders has announced that three children from the Victory Junction Gang Camp will serve as Grand Marshals for the Goody’s 250 Busch Series race set for Saturday, July 22 at 3:30pm/et. They include Nick of Clemmons, NC age 13; Will “Cheese” of Greensboro, NC age12; and Danielle of Martinsville, VA age 12. Race festivities kick off on Thursday, July 20th, when the Grand Marshals will visit Martinsville Speedway to tour the track, participate in pace car rides and visit several drivers at their haulers for autographs and photos. On Saturday, July 22 prior to the running of the NASCAR Busch Series Goody’s 250, the three Victory Junction Gang Camp Grand Marshals will attend the drivers meeting, participate in driver introductions, then jointly give the command “Gentlemen, Start your Engines” to start the Goody’s 250. Tickets to the NASCAR Busch Series Goody’s 250 race on Saturday, July 22 at Martinsville Speedway are now on sale. To order tickets to the Goody’s 250 or for more information, call 877-RACE-TIX (722-3849) or log on to martinsvillespeedway.com.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(7-18-2006)
  • 20 Finalists for Intl Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007: Cotton Owens, the highly successful race driver and car owner, and Jack Ingram, the five-time champion of what is now NASCAR’S Busch Series, head the list of the Top 20 Finalists for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007. Owens won over 400 Modified and Late Model Sportsman races, then captured 40 more as a car owner. Ingram won three Grand National titles in a row, then won the newly-named Busch Series in its first year in 1982 and then again in 1985. The duo heads a group of ten candidates that are affiliated with NASCAR. Others include former Champions Red Byron, Rex White, Jerry Cook, and Ray Hendrick, car owner Junie Donlavey, engine builder and crew chief Maurice Petty, promotional guru Ralph Seagraves and track owner Bruton Smith. Grumpy Jenkins, who won six NHRA titles as a car owner, and Warren Johnson, NHRA’S all-time winner in Pro Stock with 98 victories, represent drag racing. Sports car legends Oliver Gendebein and Brian Redman, Grand Prix driver Rene Dreyfus, car owner and promoter J. C. Agajanian, and Jan Opperman, who won big in both midgets and sprint cars, carry the banner of open-wheel racing. Others on the list of 20 finalists are three-time World Land Speed record holder Art Arfons, two-time AMA Superbike champion Wayne Rainey and record-setting test pilot Chuck Yeager. Final voting will be held over the next two months, and the five-man Class of 2007 will be announced in early November. See more on the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at motorsportshalloffame.com.(7-18-2006)
  • ISC Helps Staten Island Little League: NASCAR is riding to the rescue of the Staten Island Little League, after venerable Hy Turkin Field was torn up from home plate to the outfield in a sickening episode of vehicular vandalism earlier this week. Michael Printup of International Speedway Corp., which seeks to build an 80,000-seat racetrack in Bloomfield, arranged a corporate donation of 500 square feet of sod and some 18 cubic yards of clean fill to make the Dongan Hills field playable again. The work will be done today and tomorrow [July 14-14]. Printup, who coaches in the South Shore Little League, said he wanted to help as soon as he read the distressing details in Wednesday’s Advance. “For something that was so horrible in nature, I knew we [ISC] had to do something,” he said. “This is something for the kids, so they can get back out there and play.” Pete Sclafani expressed gratitude on behalf of the SILL board of directors. “It’s good to see people from the community kicking in,” Sclafani said.(Staten Island Advance)(7-18-2006)
  • Stewart, Wallace Win Fan Voting To Be Inducted Into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Fan voting closed this past weekend for 2006 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 7 during Talladega Superspeedway’s upcoming UAW-Ford 500 weekend, two new names will be added to this prestigious list: Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines. Fan voting for the 2006 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame began on April 3. In addition to Stewart, driver nominees this year included Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader and Carl Edwards. In addition to Wallace, inactive driver nominees for 2006 included Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith, Rex White and Speedy Thompson. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway. More info at the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame site.(TSS PR)(7-18-2006)


    News from July 17, 2006

  • Danica to stay in IRL…with Andretti team? It appears Danica Patrick will be on the move in 2007, but not to NASCAR. Instead, it appears she will move over to a rival Indy Racing League team. Indianapolis TV station WXIN reports Andretti-Green Racing has made a serious overture for Patrick, whose contract with Rahal-Letterman Racing runs out at the end of this year. The network cited unnamed sources but neither Andretti-Green or Rahal-Letterman would comment on the report. Andretti-Green co-owner Michael Andretti indicated late last week that he would be interested in signing Patrick, who was being touted for a possible move to the Nextel Cup series next year. AGR currently fields cars for Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. Franchitti and Herta’s contract with the team are set to expire at the end of this season.(TSA.ca)(7-17-2006)
  • Toyota close to approval: John Darby, Nextel Cup series director, says officials are in the final stage of approving the Toyota Camry for next season. Also, Dodge submitted a car for next season with a new hood and rear. Darby said the car is scheduled to be taken to a wind tunnel Tuesday.(Roanoke Times)(7-17-2006)
  • Labonte denies RYR rumor: #43-Bobby Labonte said quite emphatically to scratch reports he may be on car owner Robert Yates’ list of drivers to try to sign for 2007. Labonte called the Yates’ report “a stupid rumor.” Yates is in the market for a high-profile driver to run for his two-car team, with Dale Jarrett leaving and with major questions about Elliott Sadler possibly leaving too. Yates will be testing newcomer Stephen Leicht, from Asheville, at Pocono and Indy, though it’s unclear if Leight, 19, will even be able to make the field. Leicht is a promising racer, but with little NASCAR experience. However, there is speculation that Yates may go with Leicht in a full Nextel Cup ride next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2006)
  • #44 UPS Toyota in 2007? The UPS-sponsored Toyota Camry that Dale Jarrett will drive in 2007 for Michael Waltrip Racing might be the #44. NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter confirmed Sunday that Waltrip has expressed interest in acquiring the number. Terry Labonte has run the #44 on a limited basis this season for Hendrick Motorsports. But Petty Enterprises, the last team to the run the number on a full-time basis, still has a say in where it goes. “I know Michael is wanting it,” said Robbie Loomis, Petty Enterprises’ executive vice president of race operations. “It will really be up to Kyle and Richard [Petty]. If it’s something that they feel warranted that we might need for the future, then I’m sure we’ll keep it. Otherwise, they see the big picture of the sport. And if it’s good for Michael and good for the other people involved, then we’ll probably end up turning it over.” Waltrip also has inquired about the #33. But car owner Richard Childress indicated he is unwilling to part with the number he campaigned in three races last season with Kerry Earnhardt behind the wheel.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)…and the #33 could be used if Childress expands to a 4-car team as had been rumored.(7-17-2006)
  • Rudd to 4th Gibbs team? car owner Joe Gibbs is possibly interested in expanding to a fourth Nextel Cup team – with Ricky Rudd, if Rudd is amenable. Rudd drove Dover for Gibbs last month while #20-Tony Stewart was recuperating, and the Gibbs team was pleased with how easy Rudd was to work with, and with how competitive Rudd still is. Red Bull has also talked with Rudd about a ride next year.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2006)

News from July 16, 2006

  • Sad News – Bob Brooks: The chairman of the Hooters restaurant chain, Robert Brooks was found dead at his [Mrytle Beach, SC] home Sunday morning, according to information from the Horry County coroner’s office and a funeral home director. He was 69. It was unclear Sunday how Brooks died, but the coroner’s office told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News that an autopsy would be performed Monday. Brooks’ companies sponsored Alan Kulwicki’s team when Kulwicki won the Cup championship in 1992. On April 1, 1993, Brooks’ son Mark was killed along with Kulwicki and two others in the crash of a Hooters-owned plane that was attempting to land at the Tri-Cities Airport at Bristol, TN. Services are pending.(AP Sources)(7-16-2006)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Loudon: #5-Kyle Busch dominated late and won the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, for his 1st win of the year and 3rd of his career. A late race caution caused the race to go into “overtime”, for eight additional laps, causing three drivers who were running in the top-5 with 3 laps to go to run out of gas [#11-Hamlin, #41-Sorenson and #38-Sadler], #99-Edwards finished 2nd, followed by #16-Biffle, #6-Martin & #29-Harvick. Rounding out the top-10 were #11-Hamlin, #31-Burton, #9-Kahne, #48-Johnson & #10-Riggs. #20-Stewart was leading early in the race and got tangled up with #12-Newman who was 2 laps down at the point, sending Stewart into the wall and out of contention, Stewart’s team got the car fixed and he finished 37th, but is now out of the Chase and 11th in points. Newman, who won the pole, had another incident on the track and ended up 39th after the team made repairs. #48-Johnson’s points lead increases a tad to 68 over #17-Kenseth. #8-Earnahrdt Jr. lost an engine just after midway and finished dead last 43rd after running in the top-10 up to that point. There were 21 lead changes among 11 drivers and 11 cautions for 49 laps.
    Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
    Race Rundown: see my Loudon Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-16-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Loudon [19 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 2789
    #17-Matt Kenseth 2721 -68
    #31-Jeff Burton 2478 -311
    #5-Kyle Busch 2455 -334
    #6-Mark Martin 2451 -338
    #9-Kasey Kahne 2445 -344
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2428 -361
    #29-Kevin Harvick 2408 -381
    #24-Jeff Gordon 2342 -447
    #16-Greg Biffle 2342 -447
    and fighting for 10th
    #20-Tony Stewart 2331 -11 out of 10th and the chase
    #11-Denny Hamlin 2324 -18
    #99-Carl Edwards 2196 -146
    #2-Kurt Busch 2136 -206
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-16-2006)
  • PENALTY REPORT: Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
    32 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 20
    31 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 79
    00 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 92
    12 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 96
    32 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 96
    00 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 97
    32 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 102
    49 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 117
    49 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 199
    25 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 200
    66 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 210
    88 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 212
    2 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 234
    21 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 268
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits
    (NASCAR Statisical Services)(7-16-2006)
  • Rumblings – New Hampshire – Race Notes: It was every crew chief’s worst nightmare…. A fairly long overtime led to fuel nerves up and down pit road today, but Kyle Busch had enough to outlast Carl Edwards and win the Lenox Industrial Tools 308 at New Hampshire International Speedway. This was the 3rd career win for the younger Busch, his first of 2006 (we’ve had 11 different drivers grace Victory Lane this season), and moves him into a tie for 86th on the all-time win list. Win #146 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $242,175 from the $5.2M+ in posted awards.
    Greg Biffle (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Darlington in May.
    Mark Martin (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe’s in May.
    David Stremme (11th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 16th twice….at Daytona in July and at Chicagoland in July of ’05.
    Dave Blaney (13th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Homestead last November.
    Sterling Marlin (16th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Richmond in May.
    Scott Wimmer (20th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Bristol in March.
    Kevin Lepage (30th) had his best finish since he was 28th at Talladega in April (only six races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races. Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: The Operator of the Week is Scott Riggs (+32), followed by Greg Biffle (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-38 ), followed by Tony Stewart (-32), Kurt Busch (-28 ), Joe Nemechek (-25), and Kenny Wallace (-23). Newman’s BD is #3 for the season….he’s now tied for the top spot in that category.
    We’ve got a race for the final exempt spot….that all-important 35th place on the owner points list. The #40 car of David Stremme is now only 13 points behind the #21 of Ken Schrader. The pressure could shift after next week, and with Indy coming up in two weeks there might be some sleepless nights in the offing.
    It’s looking more and more like 12 guys for 10 spots in the “Chase”. Greg Biffle moves in this week and Tony Stewart falls out. 9th to 12th is now separated by just 12 points! Jimmie Johnson pads his lead by 17 markers….it’s now 68. Kyle Busch (8th to 4th) makes the best move forward this week while Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd to 7th) and Tony Stewart (7th to 11th) fall the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(7-16-2006)
  • New Hampshire Race Notes:
    • Kyle Busch won the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, scoring his third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 61st career start. All three of Busch’s victories have occurred on a superspeedway.
    • Busch scored his first victory in 2006. His last win came at Phoenix last November 2005, 20 races ago.
    • This was Busch’s first victory and second top-five finish in three races at New Hampshire.
    • Busch scored his 10th top-10 finish in 19 races this season, including top-five finishes in the last three. He has scored five straight top-15 finishes.
    • Busch climbed from eighth to fourth in the point standings, the highest points position of his 61-race career.
    • Busch led five times for 107 laps including the final 69, leading the most laps for the first time in 2006 and the second time in his career laps. He also led the most laps at California in September 2005, when he scored his careerfirst victory.
    • This is team owner Rick Hendrick’s 146th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored six victories in 2006. It also is Hendrick’s sixth victory at New Hampshire International Speedway tying Jack Roush for the most.
    • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years. Notebook Items
    • Carl Edwards (second) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006 and his first top-10 finish in four races at New Hampshire.
    • Greg Biffle (third) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at New Hampshire and his third straight top-five finish here. Biffle climbed from 11th to 10th in the point standings, 11 points ahead of 11th-place Tony Stewart.
    • Mark Martin (fourth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his 13th top-10 in 23 races at New Hampshire. He has scored top-15 finishes in his last five races at New Hampshire.
    • Kevin Harvick (fifth) scored his 10th top-10 finish 19 races in 2006, including the last three races. It is his sixth top- 10 finish in 11 races at New Hampshire. Harvick extended a 31-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
    • Jeff Burton (seventh) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 13th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April. It marked his 10th top-10 finish in 23 races at New Hampshire.
    • Jimmie Johnson (ninth) posted his 15th top-10 finish in 2006, the most of all drivers. He remained first in the point standings, now 68 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 88 consecutive races. Johnson has scored nine straight top-15 finishes at New Hampshire.
    • Denny Hamlin (sixth) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 2006.
    • Matt Kenseth (14th) ended a streak of seven straight top-10 finishes at New Hampshire.
    • Kurt Busch (38th) ended a streak of five straight top-10 finishes that began at Pocono.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (43rd) ended a streak of three straight top-10 finishes at New Hampshire.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 19 races this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-16-2006)
  • 2007 Testing, Talladega added, 5 to be chosen: NASCAR is expected to give Cup teams one more open test session next season. That would give teams seven tests at tracks that host Cup races. Those are the only times teams can test at such tracks. The tests will include Daytona and Talladega. The Talladega test is expected to be for the car of tomorrow. Series officials passed out ballots to crew chiefs to vote on the remaining five tracks to test. No final count has been made, but the five tracks are expected to be Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Richmond, Homestead, Las Vegas and Indianapolis. Daytona testing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 8-11 and Jan. 15-18. The sessions will be divided based on what the car owner points were after last weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway. Teams in odd positions will go one week and teams in the even spots will go the other weekend.(Roanoke Times)(7-16-2006)
  • Leicht to make Cup debut at Indy? UPDATE 2 at Pocono: hearing the RYR Busch Series driver Stephen Leicht, will attempt to make the Brickyard 400 at Indy in a third RYR Ford.(7-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Robert Yates Racing hopes to get development driver Stephen Leicht approved for the Allstate 400 next month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 19-year-old driver tested at the track Monday and will test again Wednesday in preparation for his possible Nextel Cup debut in the #90 RYR Ford.(SceneDaily.com)(7-11-2006)
    UPDATE 2 – Pocono: Robert Yates Racing development driver Stephen Leicht will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut July 23 at Pocono Raceway. Leicht, who was sixth-fastest among drivers Wednesday during the Cup test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Friday that the plan is for him to run Pocono and then at the Brickyard in RYR’s #90 Ford. Leicht has nine Busch Series starts with the best finish of 10th at Kentucky. He has driven in two restrictor-plate Busch Series races. The 19-year-old driver who won the 2005 ASA Late Model Series title is considered a candidate to compete in Nextel Cup next season for the Yates team. Either Raymond Fox III or Butch Hylton will serve as crew chief for the car, said Leicht, who has never raced at Pocono.(SceneDaily.com)(7-14-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Robert Yates Racing announced that Stephen Leicht, driver of the #90 CitiFinancial Ford, will attempt to make his Nextel Cup Series debut at Pocono Raceway on July 23. Leicht, nineteen years of age, will also attempt to become the youngest driver to compete in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 6. Leicht wrapped up a two day test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this week, posting the sixth-fastest time among drivers on Wednesday. RYR will utilize Matt McCall, co-driver of the #90 CitiFinancial Ford, for the Busch Series event at Martinsville Speedway on July 22. This will be the first Nextel Cup event for CitiFinancial Racing. They joined Robert Yates Racing in 2005 for a partial season and currently compete full-time in the Busch Series.(RYR PR)(7-16-2006)
  • Blewett wins Modified race at NHIS; Stewart 9th; Edwards 39th: John Blewett, III of Howell, N.J. drove to his second consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of the 2006 season in the New England 100 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Blewett passed James Civali of Meriden, Conn. on the final lap, just prior to the final caution period occurring, and won the race in a yellow/checkered flag finish. Reggie Ruggiero was third, followed by Eddie Flemke and Mike Stefanik. Two Nextel Cup drivers ran the race with Tony Stewart finishing 9th and Carl Edwards 39th. Both NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers were making their first series start.(NASCARtouring.com)(7-16-2006)


    News from July 15, 2006

  • Elliott fulltime with Red Bull in 2007? According to sources in the garage, Bill Elliott, also known as ‘Awesome Bill from Dawesonville’, will return full-time to NASCAR Cup competition as Brian Vickers’ teammate at Team Red Bull in 2007.(source Ford Racing)(7-15-2006)
  • Danica gets offer from Cup team: Danica Patrick said Friday she has received a preliminary offer from a NASCAR Nextel Cup team for the 2007 season and doubts an IRL IndyCar Series team can match the money being discussed. However, she also said she prefers to stay in open-wheel racing, and that preference could play a part in her decision. “The money doesn‘t really matter,” Patrick said after qualifying at Nashville. “If the top teams came to me, no matter what the number was, and I thought I had a chance to win, I‘d really think about it. Winning is what puts me in headlines.” Meanwhile, IRL team owner Michael Andretti indicated he might – given the right circumstances – be interested in hiring Patrick, but echoed her sentiment that not many open-wheel teams are able to generate the sponsorship money to pay multi-million dollar retainers. Danica Patrick acknowledged Friday that financial numbers have been discussed with a Nextel Cup team, but declined to say which one. “I haven‘t seen an offer, but I‘ve heard about one,” she said. When asked which team made the offer, she said, “I‘m definitely not at liberty to say.” (Speed Channel)(7-15-2006)
  • Sadler deadline – Saturday? Sadler to the #19? Mayfield to Toyota? UPDATE 3: Elliott Sadler has until Saturday to tell Robert Yates whether he plans to drive the #38 M&M’s Ford next year. With Dale Jarrett leaving at the end of the year, Yates might have to fill two seats. Two drivers reportedly on Yates’ short list are Ward Burton and Stephen Leicht.(Orlando Sentinel)
    UPDATE 1: hearing Elliott Sadler, current driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford for RYR, will go to he #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge with current driver there, Jeremy Mayfield going to one of the three Toyota Teams, most likely Michael Waltrip Racing and the #00 car.
    AND Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner on NASCAR Live, that rumor has Sadler going to the #19 and COULD be taking the M&M’s sponsorship with him.
    UPDATE2 : #55-Michael Waltrip, who will graduate to team ownership with Toyota next year, says he has offered a job to driver #19-Jeremy Mayfield, who recently has expressed dissatisfaction with his current situation at Evernham Racing. “The ball’s in his court,” Waltrip told Speed Channel after his qualifying run Friday at New Hampshire, referring to Mayfield. “Hopefully it will all come together, and as soon as it does we’ll let the world know.” That, meanwhile, would open the seat in Evernham’s #19 Dodge for Elliott Sadler, who apparently is looking for a way out of his deal with Robert Yates. Other reports say Sadler could take sponsor M&Ms with him to the #19, although that could not be confirmed. Robert Yates and Doug Yates were not at the track Friday, although Slugger Labbe, crew chief for Sadler teammate Dale Jarrett and the #88, hinted, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Mayfield would complete the lineup for Waltrip’s three-car Toyota stable. Waltrip will drive one of the cars, with NAPA sponsorship [#55]. He has hired Jarrett and landed sponsor UPS for the second car [#?], and Mayfield would drive the so-far-vacant third car [#00], to be backed by Domino’s and Burger King. Mayfield had no comment on the reports. Sadler denied he had had any negotiations with Evernham, and he has a year left on his contract with Yates. He admitted he had had a long talk with Yates this week at the Indianapolis tests.(Speed Channel)(7-14-2006)
    UPDATE 3:Sadler denied that he’s had discussions with Evernham or anybody from Evernham Motorsports about leaving Robert Yates Racing, but admitted there have been discussions with other teams.(NASCAR.com)
    AND Sadler insists his overriding commitment is winning for his team and sponsors. The latest speculation has Sadler taking the #19 Dodge of Evernham Motorsports when Jeremy Mayfield leaves to drive a Toyota for Michael Waltrip. At least one Internet site says Sadler must give Yates a “staying or going” statement this weekend. ”I don’t know about any deadline or date or anything like that,” Sadler said after qualifying 18th for Sunday afternoon’s Lenox Industrial Tools 300. “Robert and I talked at Indy [during a recent test]. Our conversation was that we’re not running as well as we’d like; he’s frustrated and I’m frustrated; what do we need to make it better; what direction do we take? We ran a Roush chassis at Chicago [qualified 29th, finished 32nd], but that didn’t seem to be the answer. That was pretty much our 45-minute conversation. So far as a deadline for deciding about next year: I don’t have one; I don’t think Robert has one; M&Ms doesn’t have one. I haven’t made up my mind what I’m going to do. This is the only uniform I’ve had on in four years, so I can see myself driving this 38 Ford again next year.”(Ford Racing)(7-15-2006)
  • Carpentier may test with unknown Busch team: IRL and Champ Car veteran Patrick Carpentier is exploring NASCAR options at New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend. Carpentier is meeting with a Busch Series team on Saturday morning to firm up a test session that could lead to running some ARCA and Busch series races. “For me, it’s new beginning,” said Carpentier said. “I really enjoyed open wheel, too, but I like long races, close races and ovals, so it was a good fit. The last few years NASCAR gets more and more popular so that Formula One guys now look at NASCAR. The sport has grown so much, and we all know what the open wheel split hasn’t helped the last few years.”(USA Today)(7-15-2006)
  • Roush helping RYR: Car owner Jack Roush is offering what help he can to revive Robert Yates Racing. #38-Elliott Sadler drove a chassis last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway that Yates purchased from Roush. Robert Yates Racing, a Ford team like Roush, has struggled this season with most of its woes on tracks 1.5 miles and longer. Sadler ran well in practice but struggled in the race and finished 29th. “I do have great empathy and sympathy for Robert [Yates] and Doug [Yates] and I wish them well,” Roush said Friday at New Hampshire International Speedway. “I don’t want to see them lose those sponsors and to lose their viability. That’s not what I want.”(Roanoke Times)(7-15-2006)


    News from July 14, 2006

  • Montoya Schedule? BUT: no word when Juan Pablo Montoya will run his first race [Watkins Glen? MIS? Calif] but been told he will run in a combined 22 events, scattered thruout Nextel Cup, Busch and ARCA.
    BUT: McLaren boss Ron Dennis has made it very clear that Juan Pablo Montoya will not be able to drive a Dodge Nextel Cup car for Chip Ganassi until the end of his contract at the end of the year – unless a financial deal of some kind is made in the interim. There is a DaimlerChrysler link between the two camps, but that does not seem to have helped smooth the waters. “He is a contracted McLaren driver and it will stay that way until the end of his contract unless there is some other commercial arrangement between ourselves and the NASCAR team, or Juan himself,” Dennis said Friday at the French Grand Prix. He added that Montoya would not be allowed to test for Ganassi this year, and that the contract extended beyond the end of the racing season. “There is a conflict of sponsors, advertising campaigns and a whole raft or reasons why that is not a practical proposition.”(Speed Channel site)(7-14-2006)
  • Tony Stewart Foundation Donates another $1 Million for Victory Junction: #20-Tony Stewart today announced his foundation’s second donation of $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Located in Randleman, N.C., the Victory Junction Gang Camp is dedicated to creating empowering experiences for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The camp was founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in memory of their son Adam. This is Stewart’s third major contribution to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with his first donation having come in 2001 thanks to the collective efforts of Stewart, The Home Depot, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. When Stewart competed in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, he pledged $100 for every lap he completed, with The Home Depot, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing each matching Stewart’s donation. And after completing all 600 laps, $240,000 was raised for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. In November of 2003, the Tony Stewart Foundation pledged $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Foundation met that goal by hosting benefit concerts at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center in Paducah, Ky., and by staging the Nextel Prelude to the Dream – a dirt track race among Nextel Cup drivers at the Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. This year’s Nextel Prelude to the Dream was originally scheduled for June 7, but rain postponed it to Sept. 6. Nonetheless, drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley will join Prelude veterans Petty, Harvick, Kenseth, Labonte and others in raising even more money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Stewart now has cumulative unrestricted donations totaling over $2 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He is a founding member of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, along with the Pettys, actor Paul Newman and the Bahre family – owners of New Hampshire International Speedway.(Tony Stewart Foundation PR)(7-14-2006)
  • Ernie Irvan’s second annual L.A.P.S. Walk event date changed at MIS: The date for Ernie Irvan’s second annual L.A.P.S. Walk event at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) has been changed from Wednesday, August 16th to Thursday, August 17, 2006. Irvan and the Brain Injury Association of America have chosen to change the date of the walk to better accommodate the schedules of the NASCAR drivers who want to walk alongside Irvan in this event. More info on the event on my Racing Charities page.(7-14-2006)
  • Newman wins pole at New Hampshire: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a speed of 129.683mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 37th of his career. #31-Jeff Burton will start 2nd followed by #25-Brian Vickers, #5-Kyle Busch and #20-Stewart. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 25th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #78-Wallace, #40-Stremme, #32-Kvapil, #4-Wimmer, #49-Lepage, #55-Waltrip, #95-Barrett and #00-Elliott made the field using the Champions Provisional. Missing the race were: #61-Christopher, #34-McCarthy, #74-Cope and #89-Shepherd. See the qualifying results/ starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Loudon Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(7-14-2006)
  • Ramblings – New Hampshire Qualifying Notes: It was Ryan Newman by an eyelash…. Newman grabbed his second Bud Pole of the season today at New Hamphshire International Speedway by .007 seconds over Jeff Burton for Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 300. The 37th top-spot of his career was accomplished with a lap of 29.370 sec (129.683 mph).
    Kyle Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Phoenix in April.
    Reed Sorenson (9th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 13th at Texas in April.
    Tony Raines (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Martinsville in April.
    Carl Edwards (17th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Darlington in May.
    Kenny Wallace (19th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 17th at Phoenix last November.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    There’s a pretty good chance we’ll see the winner come from inside the Top-10 starters this weekend. We’ve had 22 races here, with 18 former wins represented by drivers in this week’s field. Of those 18 victories, the drivers in the Top-10 have accounted for 15 of ’em (six of those on the front row!). Sounds like horses for courses…. (Stock Car Fans)(7-14-2006)
  • Loudon Qualifying Notes:
    • Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300, lapping New Hampshire International Speedway in 29.370 seconds at 129.683 mph. Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 28.561 seconds, 133.357 mph – set Sept. 12, 2003.
    • This is Newman’s 37th career Bud Pole in 171 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is Newman’s second Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in 2006.
    • Newman became the fifth repeat Bud Pole winner in 2006. Kasey Kahne (four), Greg Biffle (two), Kurt Busch (two) and Jeff Burton (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners thi season.
    • This is Newman’s fourth Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in nine NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Qualifying was canceled in two of his nine races – giving him four Bud Pole sin seven qualifying attempts here.
    • Newman is the only repeat Bud Pole winner and one of only three different Bud Pole winners in the last eight races at New Hampshire. Newman has four of those Bud Poles while Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers have one each. Qualifying was canceled twice.
    • Jeff Burton posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.377 seconds, 129.651 mph – and will join Newman on the front row for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300. Burton posted his sixth top-10 start in 23 races at New Hampshire, and tied his career-best set in September 2000.
    • This is the ninth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has five Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Brian Vickers (third) has started from the top 10 in two of his five New Hampshire races.
    • Kyle Busch (fourth) started seventh and 30th in his previous two races at New Hampshire.
    • Tony Stewart (fifth) has posted 10 top-10 starts in 15 races at New Hampshire.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-14-2006)
  • Ryan Newman Foundation kicks off Big Fix Rig in New Orleans: #12-Ryan Newman, and his wife Krissie have been named spokespeople for the National Spay/Neuter Response Team (NSNRT). Their first project for the initiative was welcoming the Big Fix Rig into New Orleans, Louisiana. Krissie Newman traveled to New Orleans with Ryan Newman Foundation Executive Director Rosalie De Fini on July 11 to christen the Big Fix Rig, a new 53-foot mobile spay/neuter clinic capable of performing 120 cat sterilization surgeries per day as part of the effort to reduce pet overpopulation nationwide. The mobile clinic was funded by grants from the PETCO Foundation and the Leonard X. Bosack & Bette M. Kruger Charitable Foundation. Welcoming the Big Fix Rig into Louisiana kicks off a major spay/neuter program in the Gulf Coast. Leading animal welfare organizations-the ASPCA, PetSmart Charities, the Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and United Animal Nations-have joined in an effort to fund $3.2 million in support of spay/neuter programs in the hurricane affected areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. The National Spay/Neuter Response Team is an initiative of the Humane Alliance, which is a nonprofit public, low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Asheville, North Carolina. One clinic that is slated to open in 2007 is the Ryan Newman Foundation Spay/Neuter Clinic at the Humane Society of Catawba County’s multipurpose animal welfare facility that is being constructed this year. The Ryan Newman Foundation pledged a donation of $400,000 to build the clinic, which will serve eight counties in the heart of NASCAR country in North Carolina. While in the Gulf Coast for the Big Fix Rig kick-off, Krissie Newman and Rosalie De Fini took time to visit the Humane Society of South Mississippi and St. Francis Animal Sanctuary. Both organizations received a grant from the Ryan Newman Foundation for Hurricane Katrina Pet Rescue. More info at www.ryannewmanfoundation.org.(7-14-2006)
  • Gordon/Montoya Tradin’ Paint Special to be re-aired TONIGHT: The wheels of Juan Pablo Montoya’s move to NASCAR may have been put into motion on SPEED back in June of 2003 in the network special, Tradin’ Paint. The Columbian Formula One star, and then driver for Frank Williams’ factory BMW operation, swapped vehicles with Jeff Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports #24 DuPont Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entry at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Friday night, July 14, SPEED will once again air Tradin’ Paint at 10:30pm/et, immediately following a replay of Nextel Cup Series qualifying from New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.(Speed Channel PR)(7-12/14-2006)
  • Budweiser Shootout Update – midpoint: With the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup at the halfway point, 19 drivers are already eligible to compete in the season-opening 2007 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The record number of entries for the all-star event is 22, set in 2004. The 2007 event will be the 29th running of the invitation-only event, and includes active drivers that are past winners of the race and all 2006 Budweiser Pole Award winners during the 36-race Nextel Cup season.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR), see more about the Bud Shootout, the 19 drivers eligible, all time poles and more on my 2007 Budweiser Shootout Page.(7-14-2006)


    News from July 13, 2006

  • One count dismissed in Haas case: One of the two counts of witness intimidation in the indictment of NASCAR team owner Gene Haas has been dropped. The U.S attorney’s office asked for the dismissal of the charge because the five-year statute of limitations had expired. The charge stemmed from a May 10, 2001, conversation, and the indictment, while handed down by the grand jury in October 2005, was not filed until June 8, 2006. Haas, who owns the #66 Nextel Cup team of Jeff Green and the #00 Busch Series team of Johnny Sauter, still faces five counts of tax fraud and one count of witness intimidation. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which revolve around his Haas Automation business and not the race team. The company has blamed a former employee for the tax troubles.(SceneDaily.com)(7-13-2006)
  • Edwards to run triple duty at NHIS; Stewart in a Modified too: #99-Carl Edwards aside from running his normal Cup and Busch schedule this weekend, is scheduled to run in Saturday’s Whelen Modified race. With running all three races, Edwards will log 600 laps and more than 634 miles around the 1.058-mile speedway. And before arriving in New Hampshire, Edwards will compete in a 100-lap shootout at a local dirt track in Middletown, N.Y. Once in New Hampshire, Edwards will prepare for three races; Sunday’s Cup race and two races on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon, Edwards will run a Ford Mustang in the Whelen Modified race scheduled for a 1:10pm/et start. Following the Modified race, Edwards will move to his #60 Ameriquest Ford Fusion to compete in the Busch series race, with a scheduled start of 3:00pm/et. On Sunday, Edwards will turn another 300 laps around the New Hampshire International Speedway for the running of the LENOX Industrial Tools 300. The last time this feat was accomplished was in 1996, when Steve Park completed 631 laps in a two day span (September 7-8).(Roush Racing)
    AND while many drivers will be doing the double, running both the Cup and Busch Series races, Tony Stewart will run the Cup and the Whelen Modified race, in a car owned by Curt Chase the father of a Joe Gibbs Racing employee, Mark Chase. Stewart hasn’t raced a Modified since 2003 at Thompson International Speedway in CT. Foxwoods Resort Casino of Mashantucket, Conn., will sponsor Stewart in the New England 100 on behalf of the American Cancer Society. Foxwoods Resort Casino will make a donation equivalent to Stewarts race winnings in the New England 100 to the American Cancer Society through the Racing Against Cancer program. This is the fifth year that Foxwoods has joined Racing Against Cancer for a promotion at NHIS.(Racing Against Cancer/JGR PR)(7-13-2006)
  • New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #41-Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 9 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Sorenson scored a seventh-place finish, his fourth top-10 in 20 career Nextel Cup Series starts and his second in the last four races. He led the race once for six laps, the third event he has led in 2006. Sorenson claimed top Raybestos Rookie honors for the fourth time this season. Three Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 at Chicagoland, the most freshman drivers to finish in the top-10 in a race this season: Sorenson, #07-Clint Bowyer (9th) and #18-J.J. Yeley (10th). Denny Hamlin leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by 24 points (202-178) over Bowyer entering the July 16 LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Bowyer scored his second consecutive top-10 finish and fifth of the 2006 season at Chicagoland. He also moved up two spots in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings to 16th entering the race at New Hampshire. Bowyer trails 15th-place Casey Mears by 54 points. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 18 races this season. Hamlin is 12th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is three points behind 11th-place Greg Biffle and 50 behind 10th-place Jeff Gordon. Hamlin holds an 82-point lead over 13th-place Kurt Busch.(Raybestos PR), see full rookie notes, standings and history on my Rookies Page.(7-13-2006)
  • New Hampshire Goodyear Tire Notes: NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will be the same tire codes at New Hampshire this weekend . . . this is the third time this season that Nextel Cup teams have run this exact combination of left- and right-side tires, and the fourth time for Busch Series teams . . . both series ran this tire set-up at Phoenix and Richmond earlier in the year, while Busch teams also ran these codes three weeks ago at Milwaukee . . . as on all most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at New Hampshire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 85-95 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) For more notes. pressures, codes…see my Loudon Race Info/Rundown Page.(7-13-2006)
  • #400 for Mayfield at NHIS: #19-Jeremy Mayfield will make his 400th career Nextel Cup start this weekend at New Hampshire International Raceway. His first start came at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1993 (10/10/93).(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-13-2006)
  • Auto Value on the #10 at NHIS: For the first time Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will be the primary sponsor on Scott Riggs’ #10 this weekend at NHIS as part of a two race partnership. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper’s next race will be at Richmond in the fall.(Clear!Blue/Evernham PR), see an image of the scheme on my #10 Team Schemes page(7-13-2006)
  • Gordon looking to talk with Kenseth: When #24-Jeff Gordon arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday, he said he was looking for #17-Matt Kenseth – and not just to push him out of the way like he did at the end of Sunday’s race in Chicago. “I’d certainly like to see him before I leave here,” Gordon said before the third day of testing began. “I was hoping just to see him here because I figured we’d all be here.”(Associated Press)(7-13-2006)
  • Hendrick Marrow Program Present Gordon with Award: #24-Jeff Gordon is no stranger to giving. Through The Jeff Gordon Foundation, he has provided support to several organizations committed to helping children with chronic illnesses and their families. Now, two of these partner organizations have given Gordon something in return. On Saturday, July 8, Gordon was presented with an award in recognition of his devoted support of The Marrow Foundation and the Hendrick Marrow Program. The award presentation took place at the Jeff Gordon Network Fan Event at Chicagoland Speedway in front of 240 of Gordon’s most loyal fans. Courtney Hurd, Manager of The Marrow Foundation’s Hendrick Marrow Program, presented Gordon with the award on behalf of both organizations. Founded in 1997 by Rick Hendrick in partnership with The Marrow Foundation, the Hendrick Marrow Program works to increase public awareness of the need for marrow and blood cell donors by providing funds for marrow donor recruitment drives, and financial assistance to patients and their families for uninsured transplant-related expenses.(pprplus.com)(7-13-2006)
  • Burton to visit ESPN and Online Chat: Prior to his arrival at New Hampshire International Speedway for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 race weekend, #31 Team Cingular driver Jeff Burton will spend Thursday, July 13 in Bristol, Conn. at the ESPN campus. Burton is scheduled for a day-long media tour of various ESPN programs including Mike and Mike in the Morning, Sportscenter, ESPNews, ESPN.com, Cold Pizza, ESPN Radio and EOE, ESPN’s in-house production company.(RCR PR)(7-12-2006)
    CHAT: fans can chat with Burton at ESPN.com on Thursday, July 13th at 3:50pm/et.(7-13-2006)


    News from July 12, 2006

  • Different Sponsor for the #21 at Loudon: Ken Schrader, driver of the #21 Wood Brothers Ford Fusion will have Sunbelt Cereals as his sponsor at New Hampshire Interntional Speedway. Mckee Foods Corporation manufactures Sunbelt Cereals and also Little Debbie snack cakes, which is one of the primary sponsors on the team.(Wood Brothers Racing)
    AND Little Debbie has begun discussing sponsorship of the famed #21 car with WoodBrothers/JTG Racing for the 2007 NEXTEL Cup series. In February 2006 at the Daytona 500, the Little Debbie brand made history as the stylish, new Little Debbie Ford Fusion #21 car rolled onto the track. Since that first exhilarating race, the response to their NEXTEL Cup sponsorship from both customers and employees has been exceptionally positive. Now, on the eve of the debut of the bright yellow #21 Sunbelt Ford Fusion, McKee Foods has indicated their interest in continuing to sponsor the #21 car for the 2007 season. Discussion is underway with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and a decision is expected by Labor Day.(McKee Foods PR), see an image of the bright yellow car on my #21 Team Schemes page.(7-12-2006)
  • Indy Testing Day 3 – over: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup testing is underway today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a three-hour rain delay this morning. Forty-two drivers plan to turn laps after rain washed out testing Tuesday. Testing is scheduled to continue until 6:00pm/et.
    Day 2 [Tuesday, July 11th] was washed out by rain, testing is scheduled to continue, Wednesday, July 12th at 8:00am/et.
    Day 3 Speeds: #41-Sorenson was fastest 65 cars on Wednesday’s final day of testing at Indy with a speed of 181.892mph, which was also the fastest overall of the 2-day test [Monday and Wed…Tues was rained out], followed by #2a-Busch, #4-Wimmer, #21-Schrader and #38a-Sadler. #04-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #16-Greg Biffle and #5-Kyle Busch each contacted the wall, no word on damage, no injuires reported.
    See speeds from Day 1 and Day 3, plus overall….on my Indy Testing News/Speeds page.(7-12-2006)
  • Montoya could debut at Michigan or Calif in a stock car UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya has suddenly become the hottest property in NASCAR, and folks at Michigan International Speedway would like to make the former Formula One star at home there as soon as possible. MIS management contacted Montoya’s new race team, Chip Ganassi Racing, on Tuesday to invite the Colombian to run both the ARCA Re/Max and Busch Grand National races at the Irish Hills track during the Nextel Cup weekend in August. Bill Janitz, MIS public relations director, confirmed contact with Chip Ganassi Racing. “We would be proud to welcome back an MIS champion in August, perhaps in an ARCA or Busch race, or both,” Janitz said. Montoya is booked to drive the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, which Casey Mears will vacate, in 2007. As a NASCAR rookie, Montoya may need to have gained superspeedway stock car experience before he would likely be allowed to start in the Daytona 500, the first race of the series next season. He could do that at MIS Aug. 18-19, or at California in September or Talladega in October. “Michigan is big, fast and wide,” Janitz said. “It would make a lot of sense for Montoya to race here next month. He knows the track and he’s a winner at MIS.”(Detroit Free Press)
    UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya is no longer competing in Formula One, but when he will start driving in NASCAR for Chip Ganassi Racing is still to be determined. Team owner Chip Ganassi said Wednesday he has not received the details of Montoya’s release from his McLaren-Mercedes ride in F1, and he does not know when the 30-year-old Colombia will be allowed to test and/or race. The owner said he hoped to have Montoya in a car by the middle of August.(SceneDaily.com)(7-12-006)
  • Danica tells Dad..no to NASCAR BUT…..: Danica Patrick’s father clarified his stance today: While he wants the Indy-car driver to switch to NASCAR; she’s not so interested even though her contract with Rahal Letterman Racing is set to expire at the end of the season. “I’d be a fool not to want her there, and if you were her father you would, too,” T.J. Patrick said after his comments last weekend ignited a media frenzy. “But it’s not my decision . . . and I don’t believe she wants to do (NASCAR). She wants to stay here (in the IRL), she wants to run Indy, she wants to win the Indy 500. That’s her goal.” Danica Patrick has been unavailable for comment. T.J. Patrick said he spoke to Danica on Monday so she understood what he told a reporter working for the Tribune Co.[Ed Hinton Orlando Sentinel/Chicago Tribune] “She kind of laughed and said, ‘What did you do?’ ” he said. “It’s gotten blown out of proportion so much. No one said a thing when I went with her to the NASCAR race in Phoenix (in April). She talked with (NASCAR team owner) Jack Roush and stuck her head inside Kurt Busch’s car. No one said a thing.”(Indianapolis StarBUT: A season’s worth of setbacks and upcoming free agent status has IRL IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick thinking about something she never gave that much thought to — NASCAR. “It’s important for me to know what’s out there and who is interested in me and who will give me the best chance to win,” she told USA TODAY in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where she will be presenter at the ESPY Awards being taped tonight. “NASCAR is so big, how can you ignore it?” Patrick, 24, says it’s been a “frustrating” and “confusing” season as Rahal Letterman Racing has struggled mightily. A year after capturing three poles and leading the Indy 500, Patrick has struggled along with her team’s two other drivers who only have two top-five finishes among them. “My priorities haven’t changed,” says Patrick, whose contract is up at the end of the season. “I still want to be a winning IndyCar driver. If I’m given an opportunity to drive for an IndyCar team and win races, I’m going to do it.” But if the right opportunity isn’t there, she has her eye on NASCAR. “I think I’m capable to taking on the challenge, but it would have to be with the right team and with the right deal,” she said. “Then I would consider it. Until then, I’m investigating what the interest level is.”(USA Today)
    and MORE: Danica Patrick might one day drive in NASCAR, but she doesn’t expect it will be next year. “I wouldn’t say it was that big of a chance (of going) next year, but I’d say it’s a fairly larger chance in the future,” she said Tuesday from Los Angeles. Patrick also said her father, T.J., was within his right as her manager to investigate options in NASCAR, which was what he did Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.(Indianapolis Star)(7-12-2006)
  • Sylvania colors for Bowyer at NHIS: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport an orange, white and black Sylvania paint scheme this weekend at NHIS. Headquartered in Danvers, Mass., OSRAM SYLVANIA is the North American lighting operation of OSRAM GmbH. Together they are the second-largest lighting and materials enterprise in the world, serving customers in more than 140 countries. Bowyer’s standard primary sponsor, Jack Daniel’s, is featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panel and on the trunk lid this week.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(7-12-2006)


    News from July 11, 2006

  • Could Montoya be dropped from F-1 ride? UPDATE 3 released from F-1 ride: The Spanish TV station Tele 5, which broadcasts F1 races is reporting that Juan Pablo Montoya may be dropped by McLaren and replaced for the rest of the year by Pedro de la Rosa. There is a certain amount of logic in all of this as Montoya wants to start preparations to go into NASCAR as soon as he can. The key point in all this is that McLaren is partially-owned by DaimlerChrysler and Montoya will be driving next year in a Dodge, an American brand also owned by DaimlerChrysler. Thus it makes sense for let Montoya get on with his new project and not force him to stay on racing in a series where he has no future and little to gain. All that is really needed is some kind of a financial settlement. De la Rosa should be able to score points, as he did when Montoya was out with injury last year, and he is sure to be highly motivated as he wants to convince the team that he is the best man to be Fernando Alonso’s team mate next year.(grandprix.com)(7-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya’s Formula 1 career may be over sooner than anybody thought after McLaren announced on Tuesday morning that the Colombian will play no further part in the 2006 season. The team issued a statement saying that test driver Pedro de la Rosa will take Montoya’s place in the second race seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen with immediate effect, starting from this weekend’s French Grand Prix. McLaren said Montoya’s departure was by mutual agreement to enable him to adjust to his new life in NASCAR.(itv-f1.com)
    UPDATE 2: In an expected move, F1 team McLaren announced Tuesday that driver Pedro de la Rosa would replace Montoya in the seat of the team’s car, effective immediately. “Juan Pablo is an exciting driver and immensely likeable character who will undoubtedly make a successful transition to the NASCAR scene,” said Ron Dennis, McLaren CEO and chairman. “We have agreed that with so many things happening in Juan Pablo’s life right now, he should take some time out of the car and prepare professionally and personally for the future.” The move allows Montoya, who lives in Miami with his family and wife Connie – who is pregnant with the couple’s second child (due in September) – to begin testing immediately with his new NASCAR team. “We believe that Juan Pablo’s decision to move to NASCAR is very important for him professionally and we will give him every support to ensure that it is a successful transition,” said Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president.(Yahoo Sports)
    UPDATE 3: Chip Ganassi, the team owner who signed Montoya to the NASCAR deal, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he does not yet know the details of the driver’s release from McLaren. “But if Juan is available earlier than we expected, our program for him will definitely get an early start,” Ganassi said. In making the announcement Sunday, Ganassi said that Montoya would likely make a few starts in the Busch Series after the F1 season ends in October. Asked Tuesday if the possibility of having Montoya in NASCAR earlier than expected means he also could run a few Nextel Cup events this year, Ganassi said, “It’s certainly possible, but that’s about the third or fourth step in this whole situation. We need to know all the details first before we start making plans.”(ESPN.com/AP)(7-11-2006)
  • New Company Launched for NASCAR Driver Development: Over the last several years, team owners – particularly in the NASCAR arena – have been clamoring to find new talent. They are reaching deep into the grassroots levels and trying to secure the best young prospects. With this in mind, veteran NASCAR notable Mike Calinoff, has formed Driver Development Services, LLC — a full service company dedicated strictly to cultivating new talent. In addition to a menu of services offered, DDS has merged with the successful Team Full Throttle. More info on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(DDS/TFT PR)(7-11-200)
  • Race Car Parts: Competitive Used Parts, Inc. has reopened at 505-C Pitts School Rd. in Concord, NC. Originally incorporated in 1994, C.U.P. was established to provide a consignment warehouse for New and Used Race Car Parts to make racing affordable for everyone.(7-11-2006)
  • Could Montoya be dropped from F-1 ride? UPDATE 3 released from F-1 ride: The Spanish TV station Tele 5, which broadcasts F1 races is reporting that Juan Pablo Montoya may be dropped by McLaren and replaced for the rest of the year by Pedro de la Rosa. There is a certain amount of logic in all of this as Montoya wants to start preparations to go into NASCAR as soon as he can. The key point in all this is that McLaren is partially-owned by DaimlerChrysler and Montoya will be driving next year in a Dodge, an American brand also owned by DaimlerChrysler. Thus it makes sense for let Montoya get on with his new project and not force him to stay on racing in a series where he has no future and little to gain. All that is really needed is some kind of a financial settlement. De la Rosa should be able to score points, as he did when Montoya was out with injury last year, and he is sure to be highly motivated as he wants to convince the team that he is the best man to be Fernando Alonso’s team mate next year.(grandprix.com)(7-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya’s Formula 1 career may be over sooner than anybody thought after McLaren announced on Tuesday morning that the Colombian will play no further part in the 2006 season. The team issued a statement saying that test driver Pedro de la Rosa will take Montoya’s place in the second race seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen with immediate effect, starting from this weekend’s French Grand Prix. McLaren said Montoya’s departure was by mutual agreement to enable him to adjust to his new life in NASCAR.(itv-f1.com)
    UPDATE 2: In an expected move, F1 team McLaren announced Tuesday that driver Pedro de la Rosa would replace Montoya in the seat of the team’s car, effective immediately. “Juan Pablo is an exciting driver and immensely likeable character who will undoubtedly make a successful transition to the NASCAR scene,” said Ron Dennis, McLaren CEO and chairman. “We have agreed that with so many things happening in Juan Pablo’s life right now, he should take some time out of the car and prepare professionally and personally for the future.” The move allows Montoya, who lives in Miami with his family and wife Connie – who is pregnant with the couple’s second child (due in September) – to begin testing immediately with his new NASCAR team. “We believe that Juan Pablo’s decision to move to NASCAR is very important for him professionally and we will give him every support to ensure that it is a successful transition,” said Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president.(Yahoo Sports)
    UPDATE 3: Chip Ganassi, the team owner who signed Montoya to the NASCAR deal, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he does not yet know the details of the driver’s release from McLaren. “But if Juan is available earlier than we expected, our program for him will definitely get an early start,” Ganassi said. In making the announcement Sunday, Ganassi said that Montoya would likely make a few starts in the Busch Series after the F1 season ends in October. Asked Tuesday if the possibility of having Montoya in NASCAR earlier than expected means he also could run a few Nextel Cup events this year, Ganassi said, “It’s certainly possible, but that’s about the third or fourth step in this whole situation. We need to know all the details first before we start making plans.”(ESPN.com/AP)(7-11-2006)
  • Danica Patrick to NASCAR…on 2007? UPDATEs: Danica Patrick could become the next star driver to defect from another major racing series to NASCAR. “I’m trying to get her here [into NASCAR],” said T.J. Patrick, father of the woman who dazzled the motor racing world last year by nearly winning the Indianapolis 500, but has struggled with a mediocre Indy Racing League car ever since. T.J. Patrick, who has managed his daughter’s career since her childhood, was at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, holding exploratory talks with some Nextel Cup teams and sponsors about the possibility of Danica leaving the IRL for NASCAR as early as next year. Her contract expires with the IRL’s Rahal-Letterman Racing team, co-owned by TV comic David Letterman, at the end of this season. In addition to considering NASCAR, the Patricks are negotiating with other IRL teams — and appear unlikely to renew with Rahal-Letterman next year. Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman racing, declined comment through a spokesperson. Danica, 24, wasn’t at Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400 NASCAR race. T.J. and Danica’s mother, Bev, came to the Joliet track because “we’ve had some inquiries” from NASCAR teams, T.J. said. The Patricks were in the Nextel Cup garage area as guests of the powerful Roush Racing team, which fields five Ford teams.(Orlando Sentinel/Ed Hinton)(7-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, said while T.J. Patrick was a guest of the team, no discussions took place in regards to his daughter’s racing future. Representatives from some other NASCAR teams — including Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing and Team Red Bull — also said they have yet to speak to the 24-year-old from Roscoe, Ill. A spokesman for Rahal Letterman Racing said the team had no comment other then to say discussions to extend Patrick’s contract — which expires after the season — are ongoing. Neither Danica nor her father could be reached Monday. “That father is doing all the pushing here,” said Rusty Wallace, a former NASCAR driver and current commentator on ABC/ESPN IRL broadcasts. “What needs to happen is that Danica has to come and make the decision … She’s the best lady driver I have ever seen.”(USA Today)
    AND some quotes: “She’s certainly had an impact on open-wheel racing,” NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said. “I’m not privy to any conversation she’s had with any team, but NASCAR would certainly welcome Danica Patrick.” When asked about Patrick on Monday at Indianapolis while taking a break from testing for next month’s Allstate 400, Martin admitted he was still getting over the shock of Sunday’s announcement that Juan Pablo Montoya will compete in the Cup Series in 2007. “Oh, wow, you know, that would be another huge one for sure,” Martin said during a teleconference. I think it would be great, absolutely fantastic. She is definitely a major, major, major draw. It would be fantastic to see her getting involved at this stage in her career, which is in the early stages. It would give her enough time to really adapt to the cars and everything and make a go of it.”(in part from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-11-2006)
  • Harvick’s Over-the-Wall Crew Quickest in Chicago: Kevin Harvick’s over-the-wall crew collected its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season Sunday by spending the least amount of time on pit road during the USG Sheetrock 400. Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet spent 192.847 seconds on pit road during the 400-mile race. The winning performance by the #29 crew lifted Harvick to a fourth-place finish. Harvick’s over-the-wall team, which also picked up pit crew challenge honors at Richmond International Raceway in May, includes: Nick Terry (jackman), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Matt Krueter (rear-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear-tire changer), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Rick Tulbert (2nd gas can) and John Goodwin (eighth-man). The team is led by crew chief Todd Berrier. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)
    AND Checkers/Rally’s offers fans the chance to win a Fully Loaded Ford F-150, a Winnebago weekend in Talladega, food giveaways and more, more info at www.fullyloadedsummer.com.(7-11-2006)
  • Hermie hopes to get TNA to sponsor him in some 2007 races: Hermie Sadler he hopes Total Nonstop Action (TNA) can serve as his primary sponsor for between 6-8 Cup races in 2007. “I definitely think that’s an area they’re interested in,” Sadler said, “and I’m certainly interested in partnering up with them any chance I can get since I’m already in business with them anyway, so it’s just a natural fit.” Sadler currently runs the United Wrestling Federation (UWF), and through that he is licensed to run TNA “house” (non-televised) shows. TNA enjoyed the benefit of forging a relationship with Sadler this past April, as the promotion received extensive media attention after Sadler teamed with FOX announcer Jeff Hammond and Team 3D to face TNA Champion Jeff Jarrett, “Showtime” Eric Young and America’s Most Wanted in an eight-man lumberjack match. TNA confirmed Sadler’s assertion that no official agreements have been forged between the two for ’07, although it was clearly noted that the relationship is strong. So far in 2006, Sadler has run six Cup races with the MBA Motorsports team he co-owns in the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Ford/Chervy. That sponsorship came via Michael Waltrip Racing, which will field Toyotas in 2007. Although a Japanese automaker is coming into NASCAR and Japan is arguably the world’s biggest hotbed for professional wrestling, Sadler said there have been no conversations with Toyota about him or TNA. Sadler said preferably the 6-8 races would come around the time of pay-per-view events to give TNA the most bang for its buck.(Long Island Press)
    Also: Hermie sadler has agreed to join the Speed Channel broadcast team for Truck Series races at Memphis this weekend, as well as Nashville and Las Vegas. Sadler joined the speed team at Kentucky last weekend after working two Busch series races earlier this year on FX.(7-11-2006)
  • 600th Consecutive Start for Martin: #6-Mark Martin will make his 600th consecutive Cup start this weekend when the green flag drops on Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway. The run is currently the longest running streak in NASCAR and the fifth longest of all-time. Ironically, Martin made his 500th consecutive start in 2003 at New Hampshire in September. Martin’s streak dates back to Feb. 14, 1988 when he first teamed with Jack Roush in the Daytona 500. Martin ran his first Cup race in 1981, running a total of five races, while winning two poles and earning a pair of top-10 finishes. The following year he ran a full season. Martin was unable to find adequate sponsorship and ran only a handful of Cup races from 1983-87, before hooking up with Roush in 1988. During that span Martin and Roush have finished inside the top-10 of the final point standings 15 times, including four runner-up finishes and 12 top-five finishes.(Roush Racing PR)(7-11-2006)
  • The New King of England: Richard Petty, driving his famous 1972 Dodge Charger, wowed the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Held on the grounds of historic Goodwood House in West Sussex and hosted by the Earl of March, the Goodwood Festival of Speed celebration (July 7-9) brought together the greatest competition cars and drivers from all eras of motorsports. Petty drove his restored 1972 Dodge Charger in the Hillclimb competition on the 1.16-mile course, which is the principal attraction of the Festival of Speed.(Clear!Blue PR – images)(7-11-2006)
  • Martin could return to Cup part-time in 2007: #6-Mark Martin, who was expected to retire from racing full-time in Nextel Cup after this year, says that he hasn’t determined his schedule for next season yet and could be interested in running more Nextel Cup races. Martin originally planned to retire from full-time Cup competition in 2005, but after Kurt Busch announced plans to leave Roush Racing at the end of 2006, team owner Jack Roush asked Martin to forego his plans and return for a 19th year with the Ford Cup team. Busch eventually left Roush at the end of the 2005 season. This season Martin has been quiet about his 2007 plans, saying that he’s learned to never rule out anything after announcing and then changing his plans in 2005. Martin, who is currently sixth in the Cup point standings, has plans to race full time in the Craftsman Truck Series next year. Asked about his goals for his final season during a teleconference from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Martin offered a surprising answer Monday. “I haven’t made the final determination on what [the] 2007 race schedule is going to look like for me,” he said. “Roush Racing hasn’t presented me with the truck contract yet, although if they would have I would have signed it and that would be done. I know what they’re doing and so I would consider doing a limited Cup schedule if it was with the right team and if I did so, to answer your question, the Brickyard would be on that, the Daytona 500 would be on that, races like Michigan and Dover and some of those races that might be in conjunction with the truck racing or whatever.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-11-2006)
  • New Company Launched for NASCAR Driver Development: Over the last several years, team owners – particularly in the NASCAR arena – have been clamoring to find new talent. They are reaching deep into the grassroots levels and trying to secure the best young prospects. With this in mind, veteran NASCAR notable Mike Calinoff, has formed Driver Development Services, LLC — a full service company dedicated strictly to cultivating new talent. In addition to a menu of services offered, DDS has merged with the successful Team Full Throttle. More info on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(DDS/TFT PR)(7-11-200)
  • Race Car Parts: Competitive Used Parts, Inc. has reopened at 505-C Pitts School Rd. in Concord, NC. Originally incorporated in 1994, C.U.P. was established to provide a consignment warehouse for New and Used Race Car Parts to make racing affordable for everyone.(7-11-2006)


    News from July 10, 2006

  • Indy Testing Day 1 is over: Fifty eight cars took to the track in the morning session of testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fastest was #8-Earnhardt Jr. with a speed of 177.518mph, followed by #20-Stewart 177.319, #21-Schrader 177.186, #31b-Burton 177.103 and #99b-Edwards 176.599. Slowest were #22-Blaney 133.227 [must had been a problem, one lap only] and #37-Long 167.370. Carl Long is in the #37, not John Andretti as the PR had and Stephen Leicht is a third RYR Ford, the #90.
    Afternoon session: 63 cars took to the track in the afternoon session with #7a-Gordon being the fastest at 177.204mph, followed by #21-Schrader 176.963, #4-Wimmer 176.353, #8-Earnhardt Jr. 175.723 and #90-Leicht 175.398. Slowest were: #22-Blaney 168.748 and #70-Sauter 169.632
    At least five cars have hit the wall at Indianapolis during day one of testing for the Brickyard 400. In the morning session #40-David Stremme, #34-Chad Chaffin, #17-Matt Kenseth and #14-Sterling Marlin tore up sheet metal. Marlin’s hit was the hardest as his car punched a hole in the turn two wall. Marlin was not injured. He said, “This is the car we ran at Pocono. We made a little change and went back out there and the car never gave a warning…nothing. Got to turn two and it snapped sideways so I don’t know if something was on the track, cut a tire or what. No warning, no nothing. During the afternoon session #16-Greg Biffle brushed the wall. Meanwhile Kenseth has crashed four times in the last 24 hours. Twice during Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway, once on the track during the Indy test and once on his way to the Indy test. His rental car was stopped at a stop light when he was slammed from behind by a student driver. Nobody was hurt. Kenseth said the driver and the instructor wanted to stop and talk with Kenseth about fixing the damage however he needed to get to the track. Kenseth said; “They wanted to fix it but I didn’t care if the bumper was laying on the ground or not. It was a rental. I’d rather pay for it then mess with that.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)
    BEST Speeds: #8-Earnhardt Jr., 177.518 was the fastest overall of 39 drivers who tested 63 cars, followed by #20-Stewart, #7a-Gordon [fastest in the afternoon session], #21-Schrader and #31b-Burton. Slowest were #70b-Sauter 169.882 and #60a-Said 171.308.
    See speeds on my Indy Testing News/Speeds page.(7-10-2006)
  • Wood Brothers Racing: One, Two or No Teams? UPDATE 2 will be back: Eddie Wood isn’t being flippant when he says, “We might have one car, two cars or no cars next year. Heck, we might all be gone from here. Who knows? Right now, I don’t.” The co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing expects to have at least one Ford next year, either for his son, Jon, or current driver #21-Ken Schrader. “Jon’s not under contract, so I’ll let him go if he gets a good offer somewhere else,” Wood said minutes before the Pepsi 400. “The deal with us is, our sponsorships are year-to-year. Little Debbie is pleased and the Air Force is pleased, and we think MotorCraft is pleased. We’d really like to have all three of them back. We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those deals in place. Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. We’d like to get the Clorox people to come aboard on a car for Jon. But, honestly—right now—I can’t begin to say what we’re gonna do next year. But, yeah, I think we’ll have something out here.”(Ford Racing)(7-3-2006)
    UPDATE: Eddie Wood’s family has been in the racing business on the NASCAR circuit since 1953. Team owner Eddie Wood said he’s not sure it will last beyond this season. Wood said he doesn’t have sponsorship lined up yet for next season and without it, the family operation might have to close. The team hopes to have two full-time Nextel Cup Series cars next year – one for Ken Schrader and a second for Wood’s son, Jon. “We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those (sponsorship) deals in place,” Wood said. “Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. Honestly, right now I can’t begin to say what we’re going to do next year, but I think we’ll have something out there.”(Augusta Chronicle)(7-6-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Things are alive and well at Wood Brothers/JTG Racing contrary to previous reports. Eddie Wood told MRN Radio’s NASCAR Today weekday news program that the reports of the Wood Brothers possibly closing their doors at season’s end are totally inaccurate. “Some stuff I said was taken out of context, it got in the media and there’s absolutely no truth to it. When we (Wood Brothers Racing and ST Motorsports) set out on this project our goal was to have 2 – 2 – 2 (2 Craftsman Truck, 2 Busch Series, and 2 Nextel Cup teams). We have 2 Truck and 2 Busch teams and the 1 Cup team. We are working to expand the Cup program to 2 teams and we are really close to getting that done. We’re alive and well and looking forward to 2007.”(7-10-2006)
  • Mayfield Frustrated, comments on Evernham UPDATE Evernham speaks: #19-Jeremy Mayfield isn’t happy with the way his team is performing this year. And he doesn’t seem to think team owner Ray Evernham is taking enough of a hands-on approach to fixing what’s wrong. “I haven’t talked to Ray much,” Mayfield said Friday morning. “We don’t see Ray much. I don’t know. He encourages us when he is around but we haven’t seen him much lately.” Mayfield said he is surprised that Evernham hasn’t been at the track. “He used to be on top of stuff like this pretty hot and heavy and he’s letting it take its course, I guess,” Mayfield said. Mayfield added: “He is here today, isn’t he? I don’t think he is here today.” Evernham wasn’t. Reached by cell phone at Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening, where he was overseeing developmental driver Erin Crocker in the ARCA series, Evernham said he and Mayfield already had talked to clear the air. “I don’t think he’s upset with me,” Evernham said. “I’m sure he’s frustrated that we’re not performing.” With high-profile rides available at two new Toyota teams, Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull, for next season, Mayfield sounds as though he would entertain the idea of leaving Evernham if he didn’t have a long-term contract. “I’ve got a contract through next year and I’ve got two years after that, so I can’t talk to nobody,” Mayfield said. “So I’m sitting here like a sitting duck. What I do know is we’ve got to get running better.” Evernham said Mayfield hasn’t said anything about wanting to out of his contract. “Not to my knowledge,” Evernham said. “And again, we’re good enough friends (that) we can sit down and talk about anything like that.”(ESPN.com/AP)
    BUT Mayfield said on Speed Channel’s Trackside that the comments were taken out of context and while hs is frustrated with how his team has performed but there is no problems between himself and team owner Ray Evernham.(7-8-2006)
    UPDATE: Statement by Ray Evernham from Chicagoland on Sunday morning. “My commitment to building a championship caliber motorsports organization for numerous racing series and multiple teams has never wavered. Neither has my commitment to providing the best people and resources for our race teams. What has changed is my job. I’m running a significant business with operations in the US and the UK. I have tremendous responsibilities to our sponsors and business partners away from the race track. That’s been my focus this season. And, that’s why I’ve put smart, talented people such as Sammy Johns, competition director, Mark MArdle, engine program director, and Dr. Eric Warren, engineering director, in charge of day-to-day operations at the track. Jeremy and I talked this weekend, and we’re on the same page. We’re both unsatisfied with the performance of his team. We know the potential is there and that Jeremy is a talented driver. It’s frustrating when you can’t quickly find the solution. That doesn’t mean we aren’t trying. Jeremy and I are going to continue to work on getting this team where it needs to be. There’s a lot of racing left this season and I’m confident that we can get this program on track.”(Clear!Blue PR)(7-10-2006)
  • Elliott still pondering return to full-time: Bill Elliott, who last ran a full NASCAR Cup schedule in 2003, is still considering a return to full-time action in 2007. Elliott, who is running a limited schedule this year, said he’d prefer to run a 12-to-15 race schedule, depending on sponsorship, but he’s keeping all his options open. “Whether I will do a full-time deal next year or not, I don’t know at this time,” Elliott said earlier this week. “I’m still playing my options as far as what is available. I won’t say, ‘Yes’ and I won’t say, ‘No.'” Almost three years later, he says he still has a passion for racing. “I still enjoy the race and racing has been a part of my whole life,” Elliott said. “It’s hard to get it out of your system. If the opportunity doesn’t come along then I’ll be satisfied with running a limited schedule or whatever. We’ll have to see what cards are laid out in the next couple of months and make a decision from that.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-10-2006)
  • Dodge’s Response to the signing of Montoya: Mike Accavitti, Director of Dodge SRT and Motorsports Marketing, comments on Juan Pablo Montoya joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in 2007. “We’re thrilled to have Juan Pablo Montoya join the Dodge Motorsports family and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. We’ve had the honor of having him drive for our McLaren Mercedes program in F1 and to now add him to our roster in NASCAR really demonstrates how we integrate our motorsports programs around the world. He is a tremendously talented driver who has succeeded in every series in which he has competed, and we’re confident that he will quickly adapt to a Dodge Charger and oval track racing. We’re also excited about the loyal following of F1 fans he will bring to NASCAR and Dodge. He is a popular driver around the world, and this brings excellent visibility for the Dodge brand in number of countries. Hats off to Chip Ganassi for a great addition to his team. We look forward to seeing Juan Pablo in victory lane.”(Clear!Blue PR)(7-10-2006)
  • Sad News: Dick Schroder, 66, died Monday, July 3, 2006, at his residence. He was a founder and president of C-Line Engineering, which supplies oil pans and parts to many racing teams.(courier-journal.com)(7-10-2006)

News from July 9, 2006

  • Montoya to NASCAR? #42? UPDATE: Another big F1 name which very recently surfaced in regard to a possible American move is former open wheel champion and Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who likely is losing his F1 ride with the Mercedes-McLaren team at the end of this season. In the past few weeks, Montoya’s name has been linked to his old boss, Chip Ganassi, who last month told Autosport magazine, “I’d love to have Montoya back. I’d take him in a second,” a comment which many had interpreted as having the Colombian take a seat in one of Ganassi’s IRL cars. However, according to sources close to Montoya, what the 31-year-old former CART champion really is interested in is Ganassi’s soon-to-be vacant #42 Nextel Cup car. Despite never having competed in a Cup car, Montoya did spend some time behind the wheel of Jeff Gordon’s Monte Carlo in June 2003. Most observers agree that Montoya did a fine job his first time in a stock car, although he did misjudge the braking power of the much-heavier stock car and overshot the first turn. He went on to run six laps at full speed. Last weekend at the U.S. Grand Prix, Montoya was part of a press conference with DaimlerChrysler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche [Ask Dr Z], his current boss Ron Dennis and NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham, who helped usher Dodge back into NASCAR. DaimlerChrysler is the manufacturer of both the Dodge and Mercedes Benz brands, and Ganassi, of course, runs Dodges in Nextel Cup. Although staged during the F1 race weekend, the press event was designed to reaffirm DaimlerChrysler’s commitment to motorsports and specifically to NASCAR, which it recently has been rumored to be leaving. However, it also provided an excellent opportunity for Montoya to be reintroduced to the American press and linked to NASCAR, as well as to be embraced by DaimlerChrysler’s top execs. They see Montoya as a strong link between their company and the Latino audience, especially in regard to a series like Nextel Cup. Should Montoya take up residence with Ganassi’s NASCAR team, he would replace another former open wheel racer in Casey Mears, who heads to Hendrick Motorsports next season.(in part from Yahoo Sports)
    MORE: been told that Montoya has been signed by Ganassi to take over the #42 Dodge in 2007 and will run a few Busch Series races this year.
    UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya is leaving the elite Formula One series at the end of the season, bringing star power and international appeal to NASCAR. The Colombian driver will reunite with team owner Chip Ganassi, with whom he had considerable success in Indy-style racing before moving up to Formula One in 2001. Montoya joined Ganassi at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday morning, meeting with his new crew members and attending a closed-door meeting with NASCAR president Mike Helton and other series officials. Ganassi said Montoya will drive the #42 car full-time next season, but may enter selected Busch Series this year after he finishes the F1 season with the McLaren-Mercedes team. Montoya, who won a CART series championship in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 with Ganassi, will replace Casey Mears, who will drive for Hendrick Motorsports next season.(Associated Press and Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(7-9-2006)
  • WIth the loss of UPS, what is up with RYR? Leicht? Ward? Tide? UPDATE Tide gone?: [#88 Team Owner Robert] Yates made it clear he has no ill feelings toward the UPS executives who opted to make the move [to Waltrip and leaving RYR]. He placed blame on himself for allowing the team’s performance to decline the past few years. Yates, though, is optimistic things will turn around soon and still envisions a scenario in which Robert Yates Racing fields four Cup teams next year. First, though, he must find a driver and sponsor for Jarrett’s #88 Ford. A leading candidate on the sponsorship front is CitiFinancial, which sponsors RYR’s Busch Series team. Stephen Leicht could move into that seat as well. “We think enough of him and we feel like with enough effort this year and energy put forth, I think he’ll be able to drive this Cup car very easily,” said Yates, adding that Leicht could make a few Nextel Cup starts later this season. Ward Burton’s name has also been linked to RYR and the owner said that’s a possibility. If CitiFinancial were to move up to replace UPS, and Burton brought a sponsor with him, that would give Yates at least a three-car program for next year. “We certainly have room. He’s talking to some really good sponsors and if they want to jump in and do something, I think that’s a good package,” Yates said of Burton. “If somebody believes in Ward, and Ward believes in them and he believes in us, I think that that would fill out 25 percent of our deal.” While there is still speculation #38-Elliott Sadler [the other Yates driver] could opt to move elsewhere for next year, Yates said his goal is to make the team so attractive that Sadler wouldn’t consider leaving.(SceneDaily.com)
    AND Citi Financial, which sponsors Yates’s Busch efforts, may be ready for a major role, Doug Yates said. He also noted that Tide, which has backed Cal Wells’s team since 2000, will be contractually free after this season and may be available.(Speed Channel)(7-8-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing Tide will NOT being going to RYR as a sponsor and will NOT be back as a full primary sponsor in 2007 on any Nextel Cup team, currently Tide sponsors the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy that Travis Kvapil drives.(7-9-2006)
  • Shepherd back at Loudon: Morgan Shepherd said on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain that he will be making an announcement soon that he has taken a new business partner, will continue to race and plans to race in this coming weekend’s Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway.(7-9-2006)
  • New Dodge Car in 2007? Challenger? during the Nextel Cup race at Chicago, TNT’s Bill Weber mentioned that Dodge would be submitting a new Dodge car to NASCAR next week to be run in 2007. Last week the new Dodge Challenger was unveiled at Daytona and Dodge said it could be run in NASCAR in the future.(7-9-2006)
  • Thanks: to Speed Channel’s Tradin’ Paint show for the segment about the Jayski site and seeming to understand how I work and run the site. Tradin’ Paint is air at various times on Saturday’s from the event location that week, hosted by John Roberts and Nextel Cup driver Michael Waltrip at the SPEED Stage along with a media guest where they discuss different NASCAR topics, like the Chase points system, car or tomorrow, new teams, internet sites, etc. Nate Ryan of USA Today was the media personality this week.(7-9-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon wins at Chicago: #24-Jeff Gordon won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, for his 2nd win of the year, 75th of his career [one behind Dale Earnhardt] and his first ever win at Chicago. So Gordon has now won at all the track Cup run at BUT Phoenix, Texas and Homestead. The win is a bit controversial as with two laps to go, Gordon got a run on #17-Kenseth who was leading, Kenseth slowed a bit in the turn and Gordon got into Kenseth, causing Kenseth to spin around. Kenseth finished 21st after running out of fuel anyway and then getting caught up in a wreck at the finish of the race. #31-Jeff Burton, the pole sitter, finished 2nd, followed by #5-Kyle Busch, #29-Kevin Harvick and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. With Kenseth’s wreck and finish, #48-Jimmie Johnson maintains the points, up to 48 points over Kenseth. #20-Tony Stewart was running 3rd when he ran out of gas on the final restart. There were 18 lead changes among 10 drivers and 8 cautions for 34 laps.
    Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
    Race Rundown: see my Chicago Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-9-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Chicago [18 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 2651
    #17-Matt Kenseth 2600 -51
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2394 -257
    #31-Jeff Burton 2327 -324
    #9-Kasey Kahne 2303 -348
    #6-Mark Martin 2291 -360
    #20-Tony Stewart 2274 -377
    #5-Kyle Busch 2265 -386
    #29-Kevin Harvick 2253 -398
    #24-Jeff Gordon 2219 -432
    and fighting for 10th
    #16-Biffle National 2172 -47 out of 10th and the chase
    #11-Hamlin 2169 -50
    #2-Busch 2087 -132
    #99-Edwards 2026 -193
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-9-2006)
  • Robby to add a 2nd team? RYR alliance? Robby Gordon Motorsports will expand in 2007, possibly to a two-car operation in-house or by way of an alliance with an existing team. Among those on the radar: Robert Yates Racing. RGM and RYR executives said Saturday they’re discussing the future with “a lot of people,” and RGM CEO John Story confirmed that Yates is among the teams with which RGM has discussed a future partnership. Whether or not the union comes to fruition, though, is up in the air. “We’ve spoken to [Yates],” Story said. “We’ve talked to them, had some general discussions. But we’re not yet ready. We’ve got to get everything on the table, lay it out and see what’s best for us. RGM has a contract offer from General Motors for 2007, and regardless the chosen direction Gordon would maintain an ownership role. Story said RGM would prefer to add a second Nextel Cup Series team, and has ongoing discussions regarding the second program with several potential sponsors. “We have a lot going on as far as having a second car in our program,” Story said. “That’s the most exciting thing. That was the plan all along.” Story said Gordon was not in consideration to drive the No. 88 vacated by 1999 Cup Series champ Dale Jarrett. “Robby will not drive the 88 car,” Story said. “Robby will drive that 7 car until the end of his career. That much I know — unless something changes that none of us are aware of.” (in part from NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(7-9-2006)
  • NASCAR getting tougher: NASCAR President Mike Helton is telling competitors at this weekend’s NASCAR event at Chicagoland Speedway that he is upping the punishment for those who violate the rules. Case in point: A pair of six-week suspensions handed out this week for violations that occurred at Daytona International Speedway. Helton told the Busch teams during their pre-race meeting, and he is expected to do the same with the Nextel Cup teams prior to Sunday’s race.(Ford Racing)(7-9-2006)
  • Osborne back to the #99? Despite an early season shakeup that saw him lose his crew chief to teammate #26-Jamie McMurray, #99-Carl Edwards heads into Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway just outside the top 10 in the Nextel Cup standings. And now, team owner Jack Roush might reunite Edwards with crew chief Bob Osborne for the stretch run to NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. In an attempt to spark his team’s performance, Roush made another of his trademark crew chief swaps in April, moving Osborne from Edwards’ #99 team to McMurray’s #26. Wally Brown, the lead engineer on Edwards’ team, was promoted to become Edwards’ new crew chief. But those moves might turn out to be temporary. Edwards said Saturday that Roush made the moves on a 90-day provisional basis, and expects to meet with Roush soon to re-evaluate the changes. “The 90 days is up this week, so I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do,” Edwards said. “I’m sure we’ll have a meeting about it. Hopefully I get a say in this one.” And if Edwards does have his say, will he ask to have Osborne back or stick with Brown? “I don’t know yet,” Edwards said. “I just have to sit down and think about it. I’ve been trying to just go along and work and not worry about it too much. I guess we’ll just all sit down and talk as a group – we all know each other really well – and decide what’s best for everybody and go on.” Roush said reuniting Edwards with Osborne is a possibility. “There is a chance,” Roush said. “It’s not been on my mind, but there is a chance.” Roush said he has been pleased with the results of his changes so far. His main goals were to have Osborne work with McMurray, who joined the team in the offseason, to get him used to driving cars that are built and set up more closely to those of his teammates.(Associated Press)(7-9-2006)
  • Rumblings – Chicago Notes: Controvery reigns and Jeff Gordon’s in Victory Lane! Pick your story….Matt Kenseth slowed down, Kenseth got loose, Gordon slammed Kenseth. In any event, Kenseth went for a ride on lap 164 today at Chicagoland Speedway and Jeff Gordon won the USG Sheetrock 405 for his second win of the season, second in three weeks, and the 75th of his NEXTEL Cup career….inching him closer to Dale Earnhardt on the all-time win list. His next victory will bring him into a tie with The Intimidator at 6th on the lifetime list. Win #145 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $327,761 from the over $6M in posted awards. There are gonna be more than a couple upset drivers today….that little three laps of overtime meant a few cars couldn’t make the end on fuel. Kenseth sure went from the penthouse to the junk heap in a couple laps….
    Jeff Burton (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Bristol last August.
    Clint Bowyer (9th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Phoenix in April.
    J. J. Yeley (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at California in February.
    Dave Blaney (17th) had his best finish since he was 17th at Martinsville in April.
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Clint Bowyer (+29), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-24), followed by Kasey Kahne (-20). A very slow day in the Shaft.
    Jeff Gordon rides his win into the Top-10 (that all-important “Chase” position). Jimmie Johnson’s lead over Matt Kenseth is now at 51 markers. Jeff Burton (7th to 4th), Reed Sorenson (24th to 21st), and Dave Blaney (33rd to 30th) all made the best move forward today. Dale Jarrett (21st to 24th) fell three spots.(Stock Car Fans)(7-9-2006)
  • Chicago Race Notes:
    • Jeff Gordon won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, scoring his 75th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 455th career start.
    • Gordon remained seventh on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, but is now just one victory behind sixth-place Dale Earnhardt.
    • This is Gordon’s 51st victory on a superspeedway but first victory on a non-restrictor plate superspeedway since Indianapolis in August 2004. It also is his first victory on a 1.5-mile track since Atlanta in October 2003.
    • Gordon scored his second victory in 2006. He also won at Infineon Raceway.
    • This was Gordon’s first victory and his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland – all top fives.
    • Gordon has posted victories at all but three of the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks (Homestead, Phoenix and Texas).
    • Gordon scored his eighth top-10 finish in 18 races this season, including three of the last four races.
    • Gordon climbed from 12th to 10th in the point standings and is now 47 points ahead of 11th-place Greg Biffle.
    • Gordon led four times for 20 laps including the final seven laps.
    • This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 145th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored five victories in 2006. It is Hendrick’s first victory at Chicagoland Speedway.
    • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Matt Kenseth led the most laps for the second time in 2006. He also led the most laps at Las Vegas.
    • Jeff Burton (second) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his 12th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April. It marked his second top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland Speedway.
    • Kyle Busch (third) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Chicagoland. Busch remained eighth in the point standings and is now 93 points ahead of 11th-place Greg Biffle.
    • Kevin Harvick (fourth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his fourth top-10 in six races at Chicagoland Speedway. Harvick extended a 30-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006 and his third top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland.
    • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 2006, the most of all drivers. He remained first in the point standings and is now 51 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 87 consecutive races. Johnson moved into sole possession of eighth in consecutive races in the top-10 since the point system was established in 1975.
    • Reed Sorenson (seventh), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and J.J. Yeley (10th) all posted top-10 finishes, the first time in 2006 that three rookies finished in the top-10.
    • Kurt Busch (eighth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fifth straight top-10 finish extending a streak that began at Pocono. It marked his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland Speedway.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 18 races this season.
    • Ryan Newman finished 36th at Chicagoland Speedway ending a streak of five straight top-15 finishes.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-9-2006)
  • Ricky Bobby and Crew at Chicago: Promoting the Aug. 4 release of the NASCAR-related film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” several motion-picture stars will be at Chicagoland Speedway today, including funnyman Will Ferrell, the film’s star and the grand marshal of the USG Sheetrock 400. Ferrell’s co-stars — John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan and Leslie Bibb — also are expected to be in attendance. Reilly, a member of Brother Rice High School’s Hall of Fame, and Duncan, a former Peoples Gas employee, are South Side natives.(Daily Southtown)(7-9-2006)


    News from July 8, 2006

  • Ginn buys into MB2 Motorsports: on Speed Channel’s early NASCAR LIVE before coverage of Chicago Happy Hour practice, it was reported by Bob Dilner, that the owner of Ginn Resorts [that would be Edward R. “Bobby” Ginn] has bought into MB2 Motorsports, owned by Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye. Ginn Resorts has also been the primary sponsor on the #14 MB2 Motorsports Chevy that Sterling Marlin drives. #01-Joe Nemechek is the team’s other driver.(7-8-2006)
  • Ward Burton…MWR? “Is it a coup for our team? I guess it’s fair to say it is,” Michael Waltrip said of the new two-year UPS sponsorship, which he said now sets the stage for a three-car, Nextel Cup operation. “We don’t have it done yet, but we think we’ll be able to announce in the next week or two who the driver will be,” Waltrip said of Team Three, which will be jointly sponsored by Burger King and Pizza Hut [actually the sponsor is Domino’s Pizza]. And it could very well be Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 winner, idle this season, Waltrip said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-8-2006)
  • Get Well: Well wishes go out to veteran Atlanta Journal-Constitution NASCAR beat reporter Rick Minter, who was hospitalized earlier this week with what was described as a “minor stroke.”(Ford Racing)(7-8-2006)


    News from July 7, 2006

  • Mike Wallace’s daughter to make Late Model debut: This summer, 18-year-old, recent graduate and daughter of Busch and Nextel Cup driver Mike, Chrissy Wallace will continue her move up in the ranks of racing when she will pilot a late model at the famous Hickory Motor Speedway for multiple races. Driving for Performance Center Racing based out of Statesville, NC, Chrissy is scheduled to drive 5 races at HMS.(more on the Mike Wallace site)(7-8-2006)
  • Latest on UPS UPDATE 2 Official to MWR: looks like after all the runors that have been floating with UPS [#9-Kahne, #19-Mayfield, #16-Biffle, #88-RYR] that UPS will announced this weekend in Chicago that is will stay with Dale Jarrett and move to the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Jarrett will drive in 2007 and leave the #88 RYR Ford.(7-4-2006)
    UPDATE: there is a scheduled UPS Racing Announcement on Friday, July 7, 2006 at Chicagoland Speedway.(PR)(7-6-2006)
    UPDATE 2: UPS announced a two-year agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing to sponsor driver Dale Jarrett in a Toyota Camry for the 2007 and 2008 seasons of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The announcement at the Chicagoland Speedway comes after Jarrett agreed earlier this year to move to the Waltrip organization and race a Camry starting with the 2007 Daytona 500. “Dale Jarrett has been an outstanding ambassador for the UPS brand both on and off the track and we expect more great things to come as we join him at Michael Waltrip Racing as the sponsor of his Toyota Camry,” said Patrick Guilbert, vice president of sponsorships for UPS. “Since our relationship with Dale began in 2001, his contributions have helped UPS build a powerful sponsorship program that resonates with our employees, customers and NASCAR fans alike.” The decision to join Michael Waltrip Racing places UPS among the first sponsors to adorn a Toyota Camry in 2007, which is the manufacturer’s inaugural season in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. “The UPS name also is synonymous with speed and that’s what Michael Waltrip Racing intends to deliver to UPS and Dale with the new UPS Toyota Camry,” said owner Michael Waltrip. “From a business perspective, the addition of UPS expands our resources, which enables us to build the best teams and in turn grow our organization at a pace that will enhance our ability to win races.” UPS will continue its sponsorship of Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing through the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season.(UPS Site)(7-7-2006)
  • Fifty-One Nextel Cup Drivers to Test at Indy July 10-12: Testing for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will take place Monday, July 10, Tuesday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A total of 51 Nextel Cup Series drivers are scheduled to test on those days. Teams can only test a maximum of two out of the three available days. The hours of testing are 9:00am – 6:00pm/et each day. This is the only test session scheduled before the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 6. Fans are welcome to view the testing for free from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.
    Testong Roster (Subject to Change):
    #01-Joe Nemechek, #07-Clint Bowyer, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #2-Kurt Busch, #4-Scott Wimmer, #5-Kyle Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Kasey Kahne, #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #14-Sterling Marlin, #15-Paul Menard, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-J.J. Yeley, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #20-Tony Stewart, #21-Ken Schrader, #22-Dave Blaney, #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #26-Jamie McMurray, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #32-Travis Kvapil, #37-John Andretti, #38-Elliott Sadler, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson, #42-Casey Mears, #43-Bobby Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #49-Kevin Lepage, #55-Michael Waltrip, #61-Chad Chaffin, #66-Jeff Green, #72-Kertus Davis, #88-Dale Jarrett, #96-Tony Raines, #99-Carl Edwards, #00-Bill Elliott, #04-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #47-Jon Wood, #51-Mike Garvey, #60-Boris Said; #70-Johnny Sauter, #78-Kenny Wallace.(IMS PR)(7-7/8-2006)
  • Nadeau preparing for a possible comeback: Jerry Nadeau simply can’t get racing out of his system. More than three years after a crash [May 2003] at Richmond nearly ended his life, he’s looking to test an ARCA car. If that goes well, he’d like to enter a race either late this year or in 2007. Then again, Nadeau, 36, knows that might not be the best idea. The left side of his body will always be numb after suffering a severe head injury in his 2003 crash, and the next hard hit might be his last. He’s trying to find his place in the sport, but left a role coaching David Gilliland to focus on his next step. Nadeau plans to test with MB2 Motorsports.(NASCAR Scene)(7-7-2006)
  • Burton wins pole at Chicago: #31-Jeff Burton won the Budweiser Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with a speed of 181.647mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 4th of his career. #25-Brian Vickers will start 2nd, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #29-Kevin Harvick and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 25th. #06-Todd Kleuver will make his Nextel Cup debut, starting 35th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #40-Stremme, #00-Elliott, #44-Labonte, #4-Wimmer, #06-Kleuver, #55-Waltrip, #78-Wallace and #32-Kvapil. Missing the race were: #15-Menard, #61-Blount, #51-Garvey, #04-Sherman, #34-Long, #49-Lepage and #74-Cope. See the qualifying results, starting linweup, pole progression on my Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(7-7-2006)
  • Ramblings – Chicago – Notes: Jeff Burton takes the Bud Pole this afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway for Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400 and it’s his second top-spot of the season. Burton led us to the green at Daytona for the 500 in February, and this will be the 4th time in his NEXTEL Cup career he’s paced the field to the start.
    Brian Vickers will start alongside. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at New Hampshire last July.
    Dave Blaney (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 14th at Martinsville in April.
    Scott Wimmer (28th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 27th at Homestead last November.
    Welcome to Todd Kluever. The heir apparent to Mark Martin’s ride for the 2007 season starts his first ever Cup event 28th.
    STREAKIN….Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(7-7-2006)
  • Chicago Qualifying Notes:
    • Jeff Burton won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400, lapping Chicagoland Speedway in 29.728 seconds at 181.647 mph. Jimmie Johnson holds the track-qualifying record of 28.701 seconds, 188.147 mph – set July 8, 2005. • This is Burton’s fourth career Bud Pole in 421 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is his second Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 2006. This is the first year that Burton has had more than one Bud Pole in a season in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career
    • This is Burton’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in six race at Chicagoland Speedway.
    • Burton became the fourth repeat Bud Pole winner in 2006. Kasey Kahne (four), Greg Biffle (two) and Kurt Busch (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
    • Burton became the sixth different Bud Pole winner in six races at Chicagoland Speedway, joining Todd Bodine (2001), Ryan Newman (2002), Tony Stewart (2003), Jeff Gordon (2004) and Jimmie Johnson (2005).
    • Brian Vickers posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.782 seconds, 181.318 mph – and will join Burton on the front row for the USG Sheetrock 400. This is his sixth top-10 start of 2006. Vickers has posted three top-10 starts in three races at Chicago. – all top-fives.
    • This is the fifth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has eight Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Kasey Kahne (third) posted his second top-10 start in three races at Chicago – both topfives. This is his 11th top-10 start in 2006.
    • Kevin Harvick (fourth) has started from the top-10 in three of his six races at Chicago. This is Harvick’s fifth top-10 start of the 2006 season.
    • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in five races at Chicago. This is Johnson’s 12th top-10 start of 2006.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-7-2006)
  • Budweiser to Feature Dale Jr on 12-Ounce Cans, Aluminum Bottles and Packaging: Though Dale Jr.’s image has appeared on Budweiser plastic and shrink wrapped bottles, and 16-ounce cans in the past, the move to Budweiser’s primary package and the aluminum bottle will be a first for NASCAR’s most popular driver. The metallic red Budweiser aluminum bottle will feature a white #8 logo, racing and checkered-flag silhouettes, and Dale Jr.’s signature, wrapped in a unique red four-pack carrier or 15-pack loose box featuring the #8 Budweiser car. The Budweiser-Dale Jr. aluminum bottles will roll out nationally on July 24. Dale Jr.’s image, car and red #8 will grace the main panel of Budweiser’s 12-ounce cans and will be distributed only in race markets within 30 days of the final 16 races of the Nextel Cup season. The program begins July 10 in Indianapolis in advance of the Allstate 400 on Aug. 6.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(7-7-2006)
  • Rusty joins Reality Racing: Reality Racing, Inc. has announced that Rusty Wallace has joined its group of racing legends who will be participating in the Reality Racing, The Rookie Challenge television series. Wallace will serve as a consultant to the Reality Racing project. Racing legends Bobby and Donnie Allison, Cale Yarborough, NedJarrett, Buddy Baker, Junior Johnson and Geoff Bodine were recently announced as judges for the Series that will give everyday people who love stock car racing the opportunity to become a stock car driver. Information on Reality Racing: The Rookie Challenge can be obtained by visiting the Reality Racing web site at realityracingtv.com.(PR)(7-7-2006)
  • Changes at Front Row Motorsports: Chad Blount will drive the #61 Oak Gloves Dodge and Carl Long will drive the #34 Chevrolet for Front Row Motorsports this weekend at Chicagoland. Front Row Motorsports driver Chad Chaffin is still in the fold at FRM, but has taken a full time ride in the #59 Harris Trucking Motorsports Truck in the Craftsman Truck Series. Due to scheduling conflicts he will be forced to miss three Nextel Cup starts for FRM. “We were able to reach an agreement with Chad that allows him the freedom to pursue this opportunity in the Craftsman Truck Series while only missing three races for us,” commented FRM owner Bob Jenkins. “This is an excellent opportunity for Chad that we didn’t want to stand in the way off. It also gives us the opportunity to give more seat time to some other drivers and further allow us to evaluate our program.”(Front Row Motorsports PR)(7-7-2006)


    News from July 6, 2006

  • Final Daytona TV ratings off: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that Fox’s broadcast of last Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway earned a 5.1 rating and an 11 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating was 7.3% lower than the 5.5/13 NBC recorded when it aired the race last year.(SceneDaily.com), for Ratings chart and past races, see my TV Ratings page.(7-6-2006)
  • Wood Brothers Racing: One, Two or No Teams? UPDATE: Eddie Wood isn’t being flippant when he says, “We might have one car, two cars or no cars next year. Heck, we might all be gone from here. Who knows? Right now, I don’t.” The co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing expects to have at least one Ford next year, either for his son, Jon, or current driver #21-Ken Schrader. “Jon’s not under contract, so I’ll let him go if he gets a good offer somewhere else,” Wood said minutes before the Pepsi 400. “The deal with us is, our sponsorships are year-to-year. Little Debbie is pleased and the Air Force is pleased, and we think MotorCraft is pleased. We’d really like to have all three of them back. We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those deals in place. Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. We’d like to get the Clorox people to come aboard on a car for Jon. But, honestly—right now—I can’t begin to say what we’re gonna do next year. But, yeah, I think we’ll have something out here.”(Ford Racing)(7-3-2006)
    UPDATE: Eddie Wood’s family has been in the racing business on the NASCAR circuit since 1953. Team owner Eddie Wood said he’s not sure it will last beyond this season. Wood said he doesn’t have sponsorship lined up yet for next season and without it, the family operation might have to close. The team hopes to have two full-time Nextel Cup Series cars next year – one for Ken Schrader and a second for Wood’s son, Jon. “We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those (sponsorship) deals in place,” Wood said. “Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. Honestly, right now I can’t begin to say what we’re going to do next year, but I think we’ll have something out there.”(Augusta Chronicle)(7-6-2006)
  • Will Ferrell joins Wally’s World in Chicago: The second half of the NASCAR season revs up on TNT on Sat., July 8 with Busch Series Racing from Chicago at 4:00pm/et. TNT NASCAR coverage continues on Sun., July 9 with the Bank of America Countdown to Green pre-race show at 3:00pm/et, featuring Talladega Nights star Will Ferrell taking a spin with TNT’s Wally Dallenbach in this season’s first edition of Wally’s World. Following at 3:30pm/et is Nextel Cup Series Racing from Chicago. The TNT NASCAR announcing stable will include Bill Weber (pre-race host and play-by-play), Benny Parsons (analyst), Wally Dallenbach (analyst), Allen Bestwick (pit reporter), Dave Burns (pit reporter), Marty Snider (pit reporter) and Matt Yocum (pit reporter).(TNT PR)(7-6-2006)
  • Chicago Goodyear Tire Notes: Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will be the same tire codes at Chicagoland this weekend . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought this exact combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . however, teams have run this left-side code (D-4060) earlier this season at Dover (both series) and Michigan (Cup only) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams in both series are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Chicagoland . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, pressures and more on my Chicago Race Info/Rundown Page.(7-7-2006)
  • AFN to end radio play-by-play sports: Troops apparently would rather watch their sports than listen to them, so American Forces Network plans to pull the plug on all play-by-play sports radio later this summer. The Sept. 9 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway will be the last AFN radio sports play-by-play broadcast, the Defense Department announced Wednesday. AFN Radio already has stopped broadcasting most sports events, but the network will complete contracts with Motor Racing Network and the Indy Racing League. AFN cited surveys that showed service members prefer to watch sports on television rather than listen to them on radio. “When radio sports coverage comes on, most listeners tune out,” said Robert Matheson, director of broadcasting at the AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, Calif. “Our mission is better served when the largest possible audience tunes in to non-sports programming and spends more time listening.” AFN television used to carry only one or two games a week, he said, but now has 80 events a week over a variety of networks..(Air Force Times)(7-6-2006)
  • Winston Kelley to run NASCAR HOF: A Duke Power vice president and long-time racing broadcaster will be named executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame today. Winston Kelley, whose family has close ties to racing, was part of the team of city boosters that won the hall of fame over Atlanta, Kansas City and NASCAR’s home city of Daytona Beach, among other cities. Kelley’s connections to both the local community and the racing world are invaluable, said people involved with the hall effort. Kelley is a pit reporter for the Motor Racing Network, lending his voice and racing expertise to radio broadcasts. He’s been involved in broadcasting races since the 1980s. Kelley also served as emcee for several events related to wooing the hall of fame in Charlotte, including the announcement by NASCAR Chairman Brian France in March that Charlotte had won the right to build the hall. The project will cost $155 million, the bulk of which will be paid for with a hike in Mecklenburg County’s hotel tax. Kelley and an exhibit designer will be the first employees hired for the hall, which is expected to begin construction next spring.(Charlotte Observer)(7-6-2006)
  • Yates and Rensi Form Alliance: Robert and Doug Yates announced today the formation of a Busch Series strategic alliance with Team Rensi Motorsports, a leading Busch Series racing team [#25, #35]. The strategic alliance will allow these two Ford supported NASCAR organizations to work together to enhance their Busch Series operations as well as partner on sponsorship and marketing for both organizations.(Team Rensi PR)(7-6-2006)
  • Wally wins at Pike’s Peak: In preparation for his “Wally’s World” debut in Chicago this coming week, as well as his NASCAR on NBC duties, Wally Dallenbach wheeled his Vortex Valve/Bass Pro-sponsored open wheel racer to a class win at the 84th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (www.ppihc.com), the second oldest race in the United States. Brother Paul came in second in class, a mere two seconds behind Wally. Japan’s Nubohiro Tajima and Leonard Vahsholtz were deemed overall co-champions of the “Race to the Clouds”. Dallenbach owns the television rights to the Hill Climb, which will air on The Outdoor Channel on Saturday, September 23.(Wally Dallenbach PR)(7-6-2006)
  • Turner and NASCAR.com re-up: Turner Sports New Media has finalized a deal under which it will continue to operate Nascar.com, the official site of Nascar. The deal also includes new opportunities for Turner’s TNT to distribute race telecast highlights across Time Warner’s family of properties.(MediaWeek)(7-6-2006)
  • Chicago Rookie Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 1 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Bowyer finished 10th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the third time this season. He scored his fourth top-10 finish of the 2006 season. Bowyer became the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 in the Pepsi 400 since Brian Vickers finished ninth in 2004. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 17 races this season. Denny Hamlin leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by 28 points (194-166) over Bowyer entering the July 9 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Hamlin is 10th in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings, 40 points behind ninth-place Kyle Busch. He holds a six-point advantage over 11th-place Greg Biffle. Kyle Busch was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 USG Sheetrock 400, grabbing a 14th-place finish. Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in five NEXTEL Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway. He won the 2001 Tropicana 400 by .649 seconds over Robert Pressley. Harvick is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the four races at Chicagoland, holding the top spot five times for 113 laps. Ryan Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in five races at Chicagoland Speedway, taking the top starting spot in the 2002 USG Sheetrock 400.See more notes, standings, history on my Rookie of the Year Page.(Raybestos PR)(7-6-2006)
  • Daytona Overnight TV Ratings Down: Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 10 share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 4.1% lower than the 4.9/12 overnight figures NBC earned when it carried the race under the rotation system used in 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(7-6-2006)
  • Dr. Z back on the #19 Dodge at Chicago: #19-Jeremy Mayfield will run Dodge’s special “Ask Dr. Z” paint scheme that debuted in Daytona again in Chicago.(Clear!Blue PR), see image of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(7-6-2006)
  • Stewart honored at Indy: #20-Tony Stewart received more accolades and one-of-a-kind awards for winning the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard during a public ceremony and media event July 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Stewart accepted his race winner’s ring from IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood. Stewart will try to earn a repeat victory in the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 6. Two-time NASCAR champion Stewart also helped unveil a piece of artwork by noted motorsports artist Sam Bass that Bass has donated to the Hall of Fame Museum. The artwork on display at the museum is a one-of-a-kind color reproduction of an original painting that The Home Depot commissioned Bass to create for Stewart. The art commemorates post-race events from Stewart’s long-sought, emotional victory at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Stewart kissing the famous “Yard of Bricks,” climbing the Speedway’s catch fence, his No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet crossing the finish line and a headshot of Stewart. Stewart also officially opened an exhibit at the Hall of Fame Museum featuring five cars, scheduled to be on display until June 2007, which played a significant role in Stewart’s rise from Indiana short-track racer to motorsports superstar.(IMS Site)(7-6-2006)
  • JumpFly to be featured on the #74 hood at Chicago: The JumpFly Sundance Vacations #74 Dodge will reach out to millions of fans nationwide on July 9th at Chicagoland Speedway’s USG Sheetrock 400. JumpFly’s logo will be featured on the hood of McGlynn Racing’s #74 Dodge, driven by Derrike Cope. This sponsorship will significantly increase JumpFly exposure and awareness. In addition to sponsoring McGlynn Racing, JumpFly also professionally manages the Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter advertising accounts for their official website at www.McGlynnRacing.com. For additional information, please visit www.JumpFly.com.(McGlynn Racing PR) and McGlynn Racing and Cope are planning on going to every race excluding Talladega and Watkins Glen.(Derrike Cope site)(7-6-2006)


    News from July 5, 2006

  • Sad News – Susan Kathleen Irvan Lewis: Mrs. Lewis, 51, of Cornelius, NC died Sunday, July 2, 2006 at her residence. She was born on August 25, 1954 to Vic Irvan and Jo Ann Graves Irvan in Carmel, CA. She loved designing and painting her own works of art. Her pleasures in life were boating on the lake, traveling, auto racing and spending time with children and grandchildren. She was a 1972 graduate of Salinas High School (California) and attended Monterey Penninsula College. She was a beloved and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and sister.
    Survivors include her husband, Jack Lewis; son, Chad Dotseth of Concord; daughter, Staci Graulich of Concord; brother, Ernie Irvan and wife Kim of Mooresville; sisters, Sheryl Bradford and husband Jerry of Monterey, CA Tracy Smith and husband Kevin of Concord; grandchildren, Kenslie Dotseth, Zachary and Ella Kae Hagler and five nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her brother, David Irvan.
    Memorials may be made to Hospice of Lake Norman, 705 Griffith Street, Suite 203, Davidson, NC 28036.(Charlotte Observer)(7-5-2006)
  • Most Popular scheme on #43 at Chicago: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 ChexMostPopularDriver.com Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, located in Joliet, Illinois for Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400. Labonte will be racing the “What’s Your Mix” Dodge this weekend to help promote the Chex Most Popular Driver website. Labonte and General Mills will be making an announcement this Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(7-5-2006)
  • Special CAT scheme at Indy: The gleaming silver and black #22 CAT Financial Dodge driven by Dave Blaney plans to make its mark in the 2006 Brickyard 400 at Indy. See an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(7-5-2006)
  • Wimmer Stuff at the Track: For the first time this year trackside merchandise is being offered featuring Scott Wimmer with Aero Exhaust, driver and sponsor of the #4 Morgan-McClure team, Coyote Ugly Saloon and Chrome Shop Mafia as well as Race Face and Wide Open Performance Energy Drink. Both Coyote Ugly Saloon and Chrome Shop Mafia have reality shows on CMT – The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search and Trick My Truck respectively. Coyote Ugly Saloon and an associate sponsor for the team.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), Wimmer will appear at the trailer at Chicagoland Speedway, more info on my Driver Appearances page.(7-5-2006)


    News from July 4, 2006

  • Checkers could sponsor Lester or another team in 2007: If #23-Bill Lester lands a Nextel Cup ride in the future – he has only two starts, both this year, but drives for Bill Davis Racing, which has two open seats for its Toyota program in 2007 – he may already have met his sponsor: Tampa-based Checkers/Rally’s. Lester, who has a partial sponsorship deal with the official drive-through of NASCAR for his BDR Truck series program, is well-liked within the company. This season he became just the sixth African-American to qualify for a race in NASCAR’s top series. “He helped us secure the deal (to become a NASCAR sponsor in 2005),” said Checkers vice president of marketing Rich Turer. “Bill participated in our final meeting with our franchise advisory council two years ago at Homestead-Miami (Speedway). Bill was our invited guest and NASCAR brought him in specifically to talk about this match. We have 800 restaurants, and some of them are very urban and are more minority-driven in the customer base, and we had some franchisees that were concerned about our investment against that. Bill was able to come in and talk to them and have dinner and spent a lot of time. He’s great. We’re not a huge sponsor of Bill – we sponsor a few races for him a year – but he remains near and dear to my heart because he really helped make secure some of the important franchise votes we needed to get the deal done.” Turer said the company is in discussions with two teams about a full-season Nextel Cup sponsorship for 2007. Turer did not name teams, but noted the company’s right to use race-winners’ images in its advertising reduces the pressure to sign a high-profile driver.(St Petersburg Times)(7-4-2006)
  • More on Carpentier to NASCAR: Two NASCAR teams have contacted Montreal’s Patrick Carpentier about a future in the stock car series. A refugee of the Champ Car and Indy Racing League, Carpentier has had offers to join a NASCAR Busch Series team and a Craftsman Truck series team this season as a prelude to a full season deal in 2007. It is believed Carpentier will race a couple of ARCA events this season to show NASCAR teams his prowess on ovals in the big sedans.(Toronto Sun)(7-4-2006)
  • Kluever to debut at Chicago: Todd Kluever will be making his NEXTEL Cup debut this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. He will be driving the #06 Post-it Ford Fusion for Roush Racing. This is a car previously raced by Mark Martin. Kluever tested this car at Kentucky Speedway a few weeks ago and was pleased with the results. The race at Chicagoland will be the first of seven Nextel Cup races scheduled for Kluever this season in preparation for him to take over Mark Martin’s famed #6 Ford in 2007. Kluever’s other Nextel Cup races will be at Michigan, California, Kansas, Lowe’s, Texas and Phoenix. This weekend the #06 Ford will sport a special Post-it/3M paint scheme for both the Busch and Cup events.(Roush Racing PR)(7-4-2006)
  • USG Colors for Kenseth at Chicago: Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion will carry the USG Sheetrock colors this weekend in the USG Sheetrock 400. It marks the second of three times this season Kenseth will pilot the USG Sheetrock Ford; the first was at Bristol in March (finished third) and the last will be at Phoenix in November.(Roush Racing PR), see image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(7-4-2006)
  • Stewart’s Crew Wins Pit Crew Challenge at Daytona: Tony Stewart’s over-the-wall crew picked up the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, helping lift the team to its second consecutive victory in the summer classic at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. This is the third pit crew challenge win of the season for the No. 20 team, which now owns second place in the season-long standings. They also took the honors at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in March. Jimmie Johnson’s crew is in the lead with four victories. “I’ve never worked with a group of guys that were more dedicated to what they do and why they do it,” said Stewart. “That’s what makes nights like this that much more impressive. This is not a race where a driver can go out and just win it. You have to have a fast car — one that’s prepared well — and you have to have a crew that gets you in and out of the pits consistently fast all night. We had it all working for us tonight. It was a total team effort.” The #20 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. Stewart’s Home Depot Chevrolet spent 205.081 seconds on pit road. The crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize and an additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-4-2006)
  • Cope’s Niece’s hired by McGlynn Racing? hearing that McGlynn Racing has hired the Cope twins, Amber and Angela, who are Derrike Cope’s nieces. Derrile driver the #74 McGlynn Racing in a limited number of Nextel Cup races this season. The twins will supposedly work their way up through the lower divisions up to ACA and Busch Series later this year and 2007. More info on the Twins at twinmotorsportsracing.com.(7-4-2006)


    News from July 3, 2006

  • Dodge partners its F-1, NASCAR teams: DaimlerChrysler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche attended Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Daytona, where his likeness appeared on the hoods of the [#9 and #19 Ask Dr Z] Dodges driven by Evernham Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield. Then Zetsche flew to Indianapolis to be with McLaren-Mercedes for what turned out to be a short day for the team in Sunday’s U.S. Grand Prix. At a news conference Sunday morning at the convention center, where he was joined by McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham, among others, Zetsche said a joint NASCAR/F-1 program isn’t as farfetched as it might seem. “The technology is very different, but the principles are the same,” he said. “There is much to share. NASCAR has something to tell as far as the show is concerned. I saw Daytona and it’s quite something.” Zetsche said DaimlerChrysler is committed long term to both programs. “It’s our history and will be our future as well,” he said. “NASCAR is as American as it can get. We are there to stay.” Dennis and Evernham agreed they are in the initial stages of developing their partnership, but both expect it to be fruitful. “It takes time because they’re two very different types of motor sports,” Dennis said. “It’s a learning curve for both of us. But we are blown away by their marketing machine.” Evernham acknowledged he has thought about one day being part of a U.S. team effort in F-1 but not until his NASCAR program has produced a championship or two. He is counting on the union with McLaren and Mercedes to help him do that. “It’s not just the technology. Take what they’re doing with their strategy and their software,” he said. “It’s great to have a big brother like McLaren. This is what we’ve been waiting for.”(Indianapolis Star)(7-3-2006)
  • Villeneuve eyes NASCAR: Jacques Villeneuve has mentioned that NASCAR might be an option for him if he finds himself out of a ride on the Formula One circuit next season. Speaking to the paddock publication Red Bulletin, which is distributed by Red Bull, Villeneuve says he is determined to stay in F1 but is open to other options. “Going to NASCAR might not be such a bad career move, because it’s the most exciting race series in the US and it’s a very different discipline to F1,” says the former world champion. “I would not consider it a step down. Villeneuve adds he likely wouldn’t make the return trip stateside to join either the Champ Car series or the Indy Racing League in its current form. “As it stands now, CART and the IRL are looking tired. I would not consider a switch from F1 to either series a good career move. You only do that if you have no other choice, unless you do what Nigel Mansell did – win the F1 title, quit, and then take the Indy championship in your rookie year. That was amazing.” Villeneuve says he would also have to take into considering his family when considering a move to NASCAR as that would mean moving back to the United States full time.(tsn.ca)(7-3-2006)
  • GM, Renault and Nissan to team Up? Nissan Motor Co. on Monday approved opening talks with General Motors Corp. over a possible alliance, the Japanese automaker said. Nissan’s board of directors met earlier in the day and decided the company “should proceed with exploratory discussions concerning a potential alliance with General Motors,” Nissan said in a statement. The talks will be conditional on GM endorsing a proposal by its major shareholder, Tracinda Corp., that GM join the alliance between Nissan and its partner, Renault SA, the statement said. The announcement came ahead of a Renault board meeting where executives were expected to discuss the purchase of a significant stake in General Motors with Nissan. Local media reports have said Renault and Nissan could buy up to 20% of outstanding shares in GM. Details of the possible investment plan surfaced after billionaire investor and major GM shareholder Kirk Kerkorian proposed on Friday that the troubled American carmaker join the Nissan-Renault alliance.(Associated Press), no word how or if this would effect Auto Racing/NASCAR, too early to know.(7-3-2006)
  • Wood Brothers Racing: One, Two or No Teams? Eddie Wood isn’t being flippant when he says, “We might have one car, two cars or no cars next year. Heck, we might all be gone from here. Who knows? Right now, I don’t.” The co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing expects to have at least one Ford next year, either for his son, Jon, or current driver #21-Ken Schrader. “Jon’s not under contract, so I’ll let him go if he gets a good offer somewhere else,” Wood said minutes before the Pepsi 400. “The deal with us is, our sponsorships are year-to-year. Little Debbie is pleased and the Air Force is pleased, and we think MotorCraft is pleased. We’d really like to have all three of them back. We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those deals in place. Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. We’d like to get the Clorox people to come aboard on a car for Jon. But, honestly—right now—I can’t begin to say what we’re gonna do next year. But, yeah, I think we’ll have something out here.”(Ford Racing)(7-3-2006)
  • Dodge Not Leaving NASCAR:
    The chairman of DaimlerChrysler denied a widespread rumor that Dodge is pulling out of NASCAR, and pledged his commitment to America’s top racing series. Dr. Dieter Zetsche [the Dr Z. that was featured on the #9 and #19 Dodges at Daytona], attending his first race of the season Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, said NASCAR is a successful platform for DaimlerChrysler and he has no plans to pull Dodge out. “I don’t know who is creating those rumors, we have no reason whatsoever (to leave),” he said before the start of the Pepsi 400. “We are very happy with NASCAR, it is a great platform, and Dodge is the right brand to race NASCAR.” Dodge has been unable to shake a season-long rumor that it was leaving the sport after five years. Many speculated that poor auto sales — DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group said last month that sales were down nearly 11 percent — would drive the manufacturer out. But the German-based Zetsche said he’s still seeing a return on investment. “It’s certainly not, ‘Win race Sunday and sell Monday,’ but it is brand-building,” he said, “and part of the excitement which we have created around Dodge the last five years is certainly due to NASCAR racing.” Earlier Saturday, Chrysler announced that the Dodge Challenger, a prominent member of its stable of high-performance “pony cars” of the early 1970s, is coming back in 2008. The new Challenger will feature the long hood, short deck, wide stance and two-door coupe body style shared by the first generation of Challengers, which were produced from 1970-74. About 188,600 Challengers were sold during that time. Zetsche didn’t rule out using the Challenger in NASCAR. “For the time being it is definitely the Charger,” he said. “When the Challenger comes into production we will reconsider it, but there is no decision to be made right now.”(ESPN.com/AP)(7-3-2006)
  • Yeley to Drive VESIcare Scheme at Chicago: To bring attention to the condition of overactive bladder (OAB), Astellas Pharma US, Inc. (Astellas) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are working together with driver J.J. Yeley, who will be driving #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy at Chicagoland Speedway. The sponsorship is part of an ongoing promotional campaign to help raise awareness about OAB and VESIcare tablets, a treatment for OAB marketed by Astellas and GSK. The campaign goal for VESIcare is to help make sufferers aware that their condition may be treatable and to encourage a dialogue between patients and health care professionals. The logo for VESIcare will be displayed on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by Yeley. For complete prescribing information for VESIcare, go to www.vesicare.com.(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(7-3-2006)
  • Front Row Motorsports and Race El Paso to team up at Indy: Race El Paso, the race team based out of El Paso, Texas owned by Gregg and Ryan Jackson plan to attempt the Brickyard 400 at Indy this August. The Jacksons nearly made it in 2004, when Geoff Bodine drove the team’s car [was #34 then], the Border Bandit, to a qualifying run that put it one slot from earning its way into the Brickyard race. This year, the team is in a partnership with two race teams: Gary Trout Autosports and Front Row Motorsports. Those teams are helping to put together the pit crew and have been storing Race El Paso’s cars. The team also has more than one car and more than one engine, which is being built by Ernie Elliott, the brother of longtime NASCAR driver and semi-retired Bill Elliott. The car also will have a capable driver. The team already has NASCAR Craftsman Trucks series driver Chad Chaffin lined up, but it also still is negotiating with NASCAR veteran Mike Skinner. Still, the Jacksons know it won’t be easy to get a car into a Nextel Cup race. “Our primary goal is to qualify,” Ryan said. “Our second goal is to finish the race.” More info at suncityracing.com.(El Paso Times/kvia.com)(7-3-2006)

News from July 2, 2006

  • Marco Andretti to Ganassi…in Cup? UPDATE Denied: not much to report…but on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, it was just mentioned in their news of the week, IRL driver Marco Andretti could be headed to Ganassi Racing as the driver of one of the three cars?(6-25-2006)
    UPDATE – Denied: Indy Racing League rookie Marco Andretti will be in Kansas City, Kan., this weekend, but he’s not going to NASCAR. As he prepared to head for Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s Kansas Lottery Indy 300, the 19-year-old third-generation racer seemed truly puzzled when queried about driving NASCAR stock cars in his future. Several print media reports and FOX-TV commentators, during the pre-race segment of last Sunday’s telecast from Sonoma, Calif., had Marco being a candidate to join Chip Ganassi’s Nextel Cup team. “Absolutely not. No way. No talk about NASCAR with anyone,” the youngest Andretti said. “I don’t know where that rumor started, but that’s a part of our sport.” Andretti insisted it was news to him when he received a recent call from his cousin, John Andretti, a NASCAR veteran currently racing in the Busch Series. “Man, you’re actually the third person who told me — next to John,” Andretti said Wednesday. “He called me and said, ‘Man, why don’t you tell me these things?’ I told him he just told me for the first time.” Marco is a rookie Indy car driver under contract to his father’s Andretti Green Racing organization. “Man 19 years old I’m just happy to be where I am. I’m definitely loving to be where I am here at AGR for the next three years,” Andretti said.(Express Times)(7-2-2006)
  • DEI to 4 Cars in 2007? UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Vice President of Competition Richie Gilmore said Friday morning that the team is mulling an expansion to four Nextel Cup cars in 2007, up from two cars now. DEI already has committed to a third Cup car in 2007 for its full-time Busch Series regular driver, Paul Menard [#15 Chevy], but Gilmore said a fourth car is an option, possibly in concert with MB2 Motorsports. “We do want to make some determinations by the end of July about how many teams we will have next year,” Gilmore said. “Right now, we know we’re locked in on three Cup teams … next year. Moving that to four is a possibility for us right now. We hope to have that locked in by the end of July. We’re looking at all our options right now. Space is an issue with us right now, and that’s why we’re looking at MB2. That was one of the biggest reasons we were looking at MB2. We could help with resources and they could help with space.”(Speed Channel)(7-1-2006)
    UPDATE: DEI has asked Tony Eury, Sr., to become crew chief of DEI’s fourth Cup team next season, if it happens.(Ford Racing)(7-2-2006)
  • Roush comments on Said’s team/NASCAR rules: Car owner Jack Roush, who is selling #60-Boris Said cars and engines in exchange for tutoring Roush’s drivers on road racing, was thrilled with Said’s fourth-place run at Daytona,. “NASCAR’s got some new words in their rulebook that I don’t understand yet called an affiliation, so we’re affiliated with Boris and the No Fear guys,” Roush said. “I hope it’s OK with NASCAR. We helped them with the engineering. We put an engineer with them. We helped them with the car. Boris helped us with our road race stuff, which was a benefit to us at Sears Point, and I see the prospect of helping one another as we go down the road. There are strengths in our program and strengths in Boris that will make everything we do together stronger.”(Speed Channel)(7-2-2006)
  • Reutimann testing for MWR at Nashville: David Reutimann will be testing the #00 Burger King Cup Car for Michael Waltrip Racing at the Nashville Superspeedway on Monday, July 3.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(7-2-2006)
  • Spurrier attends Pepsi 400: South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier stopped by the Pepsi 400, He became interested in auto racing after ex-South Carolina sports information director Kerry Tharp, took a position with NASCAR. But even Spurrier seemed a little surprised to visit with the media before the race. “Me being up here, it must be a slow time or something,” Spurrier said. “You don’t have much to do.” He doesn’t claim to be a NASCAR expert but has become friends over the years with Dale Earnhardt Jr. over the years. “He pulls for the Gamecocks,” Spurrier said. “So obviously I pull for him.”(Florida Today)(7-2-2006)


    News from July 1, 2006

  • Stewart wins 2nd Pepsi 400 in a row: #20-Tony Stewart won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway for his 2nd win in a row in this event, his 26th win of his career and his 2nd win of 2006. Stewart led 86 of 160 laps and came from 6th to 2nd before passing surprising #60-Boris Said to win the race, #5-Kyle Busch helped push Stewart and finished 2nd, followed by #2-Kurt Busch, #60-Boris Said, #17-Matt Kenseth, #38-Elliott Sadler, #42-Casey Mears, #26-Jamie McMurray, #29-Kevin Harvick and #07-Clint Bowyer. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, even thou leading 8 laps, was never a factor and finished 13th. #24-Jeff Gordon got caught up in a late wreck and finished 40th and out of the race, dropping him out of the top-10 in points. #16-Biffle also was involved in the wreck and fell out of the top 10, with #5-Busch and #11-Hamlin move back up into the top 10 points. There were 29 lead changes among 15 drivers and 6 cautions for 19 laps.
    Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
    Race Rundown: see my Daytona Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-1-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Daytona [17 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 2501
    #17-Matt Kenseth 2493 -8
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2234 -267
    #9-Kasey Kahne 2209 -292
    #20-Tony Stewart 2202 -299
    #6-Mark Martin 2177 -324
    #31-Jeff Burton 2152 -349
    #5-Kyle Busch 2095 -406
    #29-Kevin Harvick 2088 -413
    #11-Denny Hamlin 2048 -453
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-1-2006)
  • Daytona Race Notes:
    • Tony Stewart won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, scoring his 26th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 265th career start.
    • Stewart climbed to 21st on NASCAR’s all-time winners list – tied with Fred Lorenzen.
    • Stewart scored his second victory in 2006. Stewart also won at Martinsville in April.
    • This was Stewart’s second straight Pepsi 400 victory. Stewart has scored nine top-10 finishes in the last nine restrictor-plate races, including six straight top-fives. This is Stewart’s 15th victory on a superspeedway.
    • Stewart won from the second-place starting position. One year ago he won this race from the Bud pole.
    • This is Stewart’s second victory and ninth top-10 finish in 16 races at Daytona. He has scored six top-10 finishes in the last six races at Daytona.
    • Stewart scored his ninth top-10 finish in 17 races this season.
    • Stewart climbed from seventh to fifth in the point standings.
    • Stewart led six times for 86 laps, including the final three in the Pepsi 400, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2006. He has led the most laps in four of the last six restrictor-plate races.
    • This is team owner Joe Gibb’s 50th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and his third at Daytona.
    • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Kyle Busch (second) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 17 races in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in four races at Daytona. He climbed from 12th to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
    • Kurt Busch (third) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth straight top-10 finish – extending a streak that began at Pocono. It is his fifth top-10 finish (all top fives) in 12 races at Daytona.
    • Boris Said (fourth) scored his second top-10 finish in two races in 2006 – both in the last two weeks. It was his first top-10 finish in three races at Daytona. He also led in his first race other than a road-course event.
    • Matt Kenseth fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. This was his fifth top-10 in 14 races at Daytona.
    • Kevin Harvick (ninth) extended a 29-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
    • Ryan Newman finished 11th at Daytona and extended a streak of five straight top-15 finishes.
    • Jimmie Johnson (32nd) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, but is now just eight points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth.
    • Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 86 consecutive races, tying Darrell Waltrip for eighth in consecutive races in the points top-10 since the current point system was established in 1975.
    • At least one of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 17 races this season. Clint Bowyer finished 10th, posting his fourth top-10 finish in 2006 including both races at Daytona.
    • The 15 different leaders in the 2006 Pepsi 400 is a record for this event.
    Streaks that Ended at Daytona
    • Greg Biffle (31st) dropped from ninth to 11th in the point standings and ended a streak of seven straight top-10 finishes, the longest top-10 streak of his career that began at Richmond in May.
    • Denny Hamlin finished 17th at Daytona and ended a streak of seven straight top-15 finishes.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-1-2006)
  • Rumblings – Daytona Race Notes: Tony Stewart took the Pepsi 400 for the second year in a row tonight at Daytona International Speedway in a race that finished under caution. When the yellow flew somewhere on the backstretch of lap 160, Tony was in the midst of trying to hold off the Busch boyz (Kyle & Kurt)….and we’ll never know what could have happened. Tony’s second win of the season (he took Martinsville in April) was the 26th of his NEXTEL Cup career tying him with the “Golden Boy” Fred Lorenzen for 21st on the all-time win list. Victory #50 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $369,586 from the over $6.1M in posted awards.
    Kyle Busch (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Phoenix last November.
    Boris Said (4th, and now he _is_ that noted oval-tracker) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Watkins Glen last August. His previous best finish on an oval was 27th twice…..at Daytona in February of 2005 and at Texas in April of 2005. Said’s Top-5 now gives us 24 drivers at that level this season…..last year we had 30.
    Elliott Sadler (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville in April.
    Ken Schrader (12th) had his best finish since he was 9th when we were here in February.
    David Stremme (16th) tied his career-best finish tonight. He was 16th at Chicagoland last July.
    Mike Wallace (23rd) had his best finish since he was 19th at Talladega last October (only seven races).
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is Casey Mears (+33), followed by Jeff Burton (+24), Kevin Harvick (+23), Dale Earnhardt Jr (+22), and Clint Bowyer (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-36), followed by J. J. Yeley (-26), Jimmie Johnson (-23), and Martin Truex Jr (-21). This was the third Op for Mears as well as the third BD for Gordon this season.
    The points got a lot tighter tonight (at least at the top) as Jimmie Johnson’s lead over Matt Kenseth is down to 8 points. Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon fell out of the Top-10 as Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin took their place. Kyle Busch (12th to 8th) made the best move forward tonight while teammate Jeff Gordon (8th to 12th) went in the opposite direction.(Stock Car Fans)(7-1-2006)
  • Jarrett has fracture in hand: #88-Dale Jarrett traveled to Daytona a little worse for the wear after injuring his hand in the accident that took him out of the race at Infineon Raceway last weekend. Jarrett was diagnosed with a fractured left hand on Thursday evening at Daytona in addition to a stretched ligament. A good qualifying effort [7th] however, did a lot to help ease the ache. “Yeah, a good race car kind of makes you forget about your aches and pains,” Jarrett laughed after his qualifying run.(UPS Racing site)(7-1-2006)
  • Stewart to run DEI car at LMS Busch race: Tony Stewart will drive a DEI entry in the October Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The car will carry sponsorship from Goody’s Headache Powders, which will run a contest in conjunction with the race. As part of the promotion, Goody’s will choose a Mayor of Goody’s Country. That person will then get their picture on the hood of the #8 DEI Chevy. The nomination period ends July 23 at the conclusion of the Goody’s 250 NASCAR Busch Series Race weekend at Martinsville Speedway.(more info at the DEI Site)(7-1-2006)
  • Nice Save by Truck Series team crew member: Marty Brice typically assists setting up the pit stall for ppc Racing’s No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race team at select Truck Series races. However, early Thursday morning, Brice, a sergeant with the City of Coatesville (PA) Police Department, saved a man’s life during the ravaging flood waters that hit the Northeast this week. Yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Brice, who was near the end of his shift, was assisting a neighboring department at an area known for flooding, when he noticed a car floating on the opposite side of the flooded area. Brice went to where the vehicle had stopped after not seeing anyone exit the car but after shining a spot into the car, he quickly saw a man frantically waving his arms to get someone’s attention for help. Brice saw the unidentifiable man, removed his gun belt, jumped out of his patrol car and swam some 40 to 50 feet to the disabled vehicle. The man inside had about 10 inches of air space, which quickly decreased as each minute passed. Brice, having no other equipment on him, tried breaking the passenger window with his badge. Brice finally retrieved a rock from the bottom of the flooded street and began beating it against the glass window several times until it broke. “He had his face up against the ceiling,” said Brice to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The guy was coming through the window as soon as I broke it. It was just like in the movies. I thought: This guy is not going to drown right in front of me. I had to do something because the water was rising fast.” Brice, 43 and a 17-year veteran of the Coatesville Police Department, will not be at this weekend’s NCTS race at Kansas Speedway, due to his police duties. “I wish the team the best,” said Brice. “I’ll be sitting home and watching the race on TV, cheering them on.”(ppcRacing.com)(7-1-2006)
  • EA Taps EllIott Sadler as cover athlete for NASCAR 07: Electronic Arts announced that its EA SPORTS branded NASCAR videogame, NASCAR 07, will feature Nextel Cup Series driver Elliott Sadler on the cover. The longtime gamer has been heavily involved in all aspects of EA’s NASCAR franchise since he joined the Cup ranks in 1999, including taking home the championship trophy from last years’ EA SPORTS Drivers Gaming Competition in Bristol, TN, making him the perfect driver to showcase on the cover. “I’m thrilled that EA has chosen me as their cover athlete for the game this year,” said Sadler, driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford Fusion for Robert Yates Racing. “I’ve been a big fan of this game for a while now and play it as often as I can whether I’m on the road or at home.”(PR)(7-1-2006)