Double Duty: seven drivers are scheduled to run both the Busch Series race at Montreal and Nextel Cup race at Pocono:
David Ragan [#6 Cup, #6 Busch]
Kevin Harvick [#29,#21]
Jeff Burton [#31,#29]
Greg Biffle [#16,#37]
Robby Gordon [#7, #55]
Carl Edwards [#99, #60]
David Reutimann [#00, #99]
Harvicks plan: Harvick will commute 1,676 miles between Greensboro, N.C., Pocono Raceway and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. On Thursday morning, Harvick will fly from the Greensboro Airport to Montreal for open practice and then fly to Pocono for Friday’s practice and qualifying. Harvick will then depart Pocono via helicopter immediately following practice on Saturday morning, and head for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport. If all goes according to plan, Harvick will practice the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy Saturday morning before heading to Montreal in time to qualify and race the #21 AutoZone Chevy that afternoon. Brandon Miller will be standing by in the event that weather delays Harvick’s arrival in Montreal.
Burton’s plan: Burton will commute 804 miles between Pocono Raceway and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Burton will depart Pocono via helicopter immediately following practice on Saturday morning, and head for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport. If all goes according to plan, Burton will practice the #31 AT&T Chevy Saturday morning before heading to Montreal in time to qualify and race the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy that afternoon. Scott Wimmer will be standing by in the event that weather delays Burton’s arrival in Montreal.(PRS)(7-31-2007)
Stewart’s ‘BS’ slip UPDATE 2 fined: yes #20-Tony Stewart said ‘BS’ in his post race interview on ESPN [Cable..not network], NO word when/if Stewart will be fined and/or penalized by NASCAR, in 2004, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized for dropping the ‘S’ bomb on network [NBC] TV after winning and was fined $10k and 25 drivers/owners points. If penalized, it would be announced on Tuesday.(7-29-2007) UPDATE: Tony Stewart, excited over winning at the track he cherishes more than any other, got a little carried away in his postrace interview. The expletive he uttered could cost him a penalty later this week. Stewart was celebrating his second win the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday when he uttered the obscenity on ESPN. While NASCAR officials would later say they thought there was a network delay protecting the driver, ESPN officials said delays are only used on replays of radio conversations, not live victory lane interviews. “It was an unfortunate incident that we did not anticipate,” said ESPN officials in a statement. NASCAR officials said they will address the issue at the beginning of the week. Vice President Jim Hunter said there could be a penalty or a loss of points. He also said that NASCAR would talk to ESPN officials.(SceneDaily.com)(7-30-2007) UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that Tony Stewart has been fined $25,000 and penalized 25 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver championship points, as a result of using inappropriate language during a post-race televised interview following his victory Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Dept Chevrolet, retains his fifth-place standing in the series points, with his total points reduced to 2,599. Stewart violated Section 12-4-A of the series rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) by using the inappropriate language. In addition, Stewart’s car owner, Joe Gibbs, has been penalized 25 car owner championship points because of the infraction.(NASCAR PR)(7-31-2007)
Stremme to DEI? Hearing #40-David Stremme is one of the candidates for the #8 seat at DEI. In the midst of all the buzz about who will take the #8 ride at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., since the merger with Ginn Racing, David Stremme has emerged as one of the frontrunners.(7-31-2007)
Indy TV Ratings down from 2006: ESPN’s coverage of Sunday’s Allstate 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned a 4.1 overnight rating, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The cable station’s rating was 14.6% lower than the overnight figure in 2006, when the race was aired on network television by NBC.(SceneDaily.com), Zap2it.com reports a 4.2 Cable Rating with 4,657,000 households and 6,574,000 viewers, see TV Ratings and TV Chart on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(7-31-2007)
Jon Wood OK after car accident: Wood Brothers/JTG driver Jon Wood was treated and released from a local hospital this morning following a single vehicle accident on his way to work. Wood’s pickup truck has a modified suspension system with pneumatic air bags on the chassis. Eyewitnesses reported that shortly after 8:00am/et this morning they witnessed a failure of his right front air bag, causing the truck to veer off the roadway into the woods. He was treated for a cut on his head and a bruising on his arm, but was released shortly thereafter.(Wood Brothers/JTG PR)(7-31-2007)
Labonte To Celebrate 500th With Fans: Bobby Labonte, driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge is already preparing for his 500th career start. Labonte will reach the “500 Club” when he takes the green flag Saturday night, September 8 during the Rock-n-Roll 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. Labonte is inviting fans to celebrate this milestone by offering a free “500th Career Start” T-shirt exclusively at bobbylabonte.com. Fans who order are automatically entered into Labonte’s exclusive online contest. Prizes include various signed Bobby Labonte merchandise/items including the grand prize, an authentic #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker helmet autographed by the 2000 Nextel Cup Series champion. “We just wanted to give something back to the fans for all their support,” said Labonte. “You probably look at stats more after your career, but this milestone is a chance to say ‘thanks’ for all the fans that have been there for me. This sport is driven by the fans. This is something to show my appreciation.”(Petty Racing/Moore Consulting Group PR)(7-31-2007)
Testing at VIR: #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, #22-Dave Blaney are testing at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on Tuesday, July 31 and Wednesday, August 1st in preparation for the Montreal Busch race and the Cup/Busch races at Watkins Glen next weekend.(RCR/BDR PRs)(7-31-2007)
Green testing at Road Atlanta: Jeff Green and the #66 Haas CNC Racing team are scheduled to spend Wednesday, August 1, testing at the Road Atlanta road course near Braselton, Ga., in preparation from the upcoming road course race at Watkins Glen International.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(7-31-2007)
Steve Wallace OK Following Attempted Mugging in Indy: 19 year-old RWI Racing Busch Series driver, Steve Wallace, is OK following being attacked in an attempted mugging Sunday evening in Indianapolis. Wallace suffered only minor cuts and abrasions in the attack and will compete as scheduled in this weekend’s Busch Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Wallace was attacked by a group of at least three men upon exiting a convenience store in Indianapolis Sunday night, where he stayed to watch the running of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wallace participated in the Busch Series event at O’Reilly Raceway Park the previous evening. Upon entering the convenience store, the men commented on Wallace’s watch, a gift given to him by a sponsor after he earned his second career pole position at Nashville Superspeedway in June. After exiting the convenience store, Wallace was jumped and attacked by the group of men, who were attempting to rob him of his watch. The men later fled the scene after being unsuccessful in robbing Wallace. A suspect was apprehended later that evening and is being held in an Indianapolis jail.(RWI PR)(7-31-2007)
#24 Team wins 2nd Quarter Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: The #24 Hendrick Motorsports DuPont pit crew has enjoyed a celebration on victory lane four times this season. Now they are adding one more victory to their already established list of accomplishments for the 2007 campaign – the Mechanix Wear 2nd quarter Most Valuable Pit Crew Award. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Nextel Cup Season. At the end of each quarter, the winning pit crew is determined by a vote of each team’s crew chief. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award and a check for $100,000 awarded at the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Awards Banquet in New York City. 2007 Quarterly Winners: 1st – #29 Richard Childress Racing; 2nd – #24 Hendrick Motorsports.(Mechanix Wear PR)(7-31-2007)
News from July 30, 2007
Pepsi? National Guard? #81? for Dale Jr.? No final decision has been made regarding #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s future team sponsor at Hendrick Motorsports, but one is expected within the month and possibly within the next two weeks, multiple sources close to the negotiations said Monday. It is widely speculated that PepsiCo. is the leading candidate to sponsor Earnhardt through its Mountain Dew brand, but sources with knowledge of negotiations say National Guard is also a top candidate as part of a split sponsorship package. National Guard currently sponsors Hendrick’s #25 Chevy, driven by Casey Mears. Sources say the combined deal will be the richest team sponsorship in NASCAR history, somewhere between $25 million and $30 million annually. Earnhardt said last week that Navy will continue its sponsorship of JR Motorsports’ #88 Busch Series entry in 2008, but sources said that would not conflict with a potential National Guard association in the Sprint Cup Series. As for the other key piece of the Junior puzzle — his car number — DEI and Hendrick are actively negotiating. Hendrick has submitted a proposal to DEI. This is an intricate proposal that carries obvious emotions. NASCAR owns the car numbers and leases them to the teams each year, and gives the team that ran a respective number the previous season last right of refusal on running it again the following year. Therefore, DEI holds the rights to the #8. NASCAR said it won’t stand in the way of any potential transaction. Earnhardt last week reiterated his want to drive the #8 in 2008, but said if the deal ultimately doesn’t pan out he’d like #81, which he has run at times in the Busch Series.(ESPN.com), so how would this effect the #25 and Mears? Kellogg’s and Carquest are supposedly signed with Hendrick thru 2009, so they could sponsor Mears, who would drive the #25 or #5 if Earnhardt Jr. gets the #8 or #81.(7-30-2007)
Bourdais says no to Cup: The partnership of Robert Yates Racing and Champ Car’s Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing, announced Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, led to speculation that three-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais might be part of the deal. But the Frenchman, who voiced some interest in stock cars after winning an International Race of Champions event in 2005, shot down that notion, at least for now. In San Jose, Calif., for Sunday’s Champ Car World Series event, Bourdais told a media gathering that some people are misinterpreting the partnership as the first step in a full-time move to NASCAR by Champ Car’s top team. “They’re just going to bring some methods and some organization and some knowledge,” he said. “It also is completely unrelated to what I will end up doing in the future. So I just think people are getting everything mixed up a little bit.” Bourdais has tested with Formula One’s Scuderia Toro Rosso team and could be headed there as a replacement for Scott Speed in 2008.(Indianapolis Star)(7-30-2007)
ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Gets Green Flag for New Starting Time: NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news and information program totally dedicated to NASCAR, will move to a new time of 6:00pm/et starting Tuesday, July 31. The 30-minute show on ESPN2 has aired at 6:30pm/et since its debut in February. NASCAR Now will continue with an expanded one-hour program on Mondays that will include extensive highlights of the weekend’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series races. The one-hour show will air at 5:30pm/et. The hour-long weekend edition of the program will continue to air at 10:00am/et on the days of Nextel Cup races, either Saturday or Sunday. NASCAR Now is hosted by Erik Kuselias, Ryan Burr or Allen Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s High Definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Stacy Compton and Boris Said, along with NASCAR insiders Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw, David Newton and Marty Smith, as well as D.J. Copp, a member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR team.(ESPN PR)(7-30-2007)
Journalist Lewis Franck Presented With Lifetime Achievement Award: Lewis Franck was honored Saturday for his lifetime achievement in motorsports by the Driver of the Year Award. Franck, a former attorney from New York City, has covered auto racing for newspapers, magazines and websites from around the world for 30 years, as well as making numerous television and radio appearances. He has been a member of the elite Driver of the Year panel for the past 10 years and has been a major contributor to promoting the prestigious award. Driver of the Year principal Barry Schmoyer presented Franck with a Tissot watch in the media center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, saying, “This award usually goes to someone who has been on the panel for 30 years, but Lewis has done a tremendous amount for the award during his tenure and truly deserves this honor.” Franck said, “It’s a real honor to be thought of in this way by this elite panel and the people who oversee the award.”(NASCAR PR), you can see Franck’s laatest Sports Illustrated column: Smoke rises: Brickyard proves Stewart’s on another summer streak.(7-30-2007)
Sad News: Mr. Eugene Clarence Cooper, 85, of 104 Crestview Drive, Inman, SC passed away Saturday, July 28, 2007 at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Spartanburg, SC. He is survived by one son, [Dodge’s] Ray Cooper of Inman; one grandson, Andrew Cooper of Inman and one granddaughter, Katherine Cooper of Greensboro, NC. Funeral services will be held at Seawright Funeral Chapel, Inman, SC, at 11:00 AM on Monday, July 30, 2007 with Rev. Gordon Raynal officiating. Burial will be in Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Pauline, SC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 154 Mile Stone Way, Greenville, SC 29615.(Seawright Funeral Home)(7-30-2007)
Dodge may be willing to make room for Bud on #9 Dodge: Dodge Motorsports may be willing to give up its logo on the hood of #9-Kasey Kahne’s Nextel Cup car if a deal can be finalized with Budweiser. “The company is always looking for good long-term relationships,” said Darryl Jackson, the vice president of sales for Chrysler. “Budweiser or whoever is a very, very solid brand. It brings with it a very good clientele base of which just so happens to line up with us pretty well from a Dodge perspective.” Kahne is Budweiser’s top choice to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., who recently announced he would not keep the beer company as his primary sponsor at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and that he was ending his personal services deal. One of the obstacles standing in the way was Dodge Motorsports, which would have to put aside its long-term deal to be on the hood of Kahne’s car. Team owner Ray Evernham, who has been negotiating with Budweiser, said the deal would help alleviate some of the financial strain on Dodge. Evernham added he has several other options for Kahne’s sponsor. “I am in favor of bringing any sponsors in that increase the awareness of our brand,” Jackson said. Jackson added that the recent purchase of Chrysler by Cerberus will not impact Dodge’s commitment to motorsports. “We haven’t really talked specifically on the aspect of racing, but Tom LaSorda runs the Chrysler Group,” Jackson said. “Tom LaSorda is committed to racing…. We have long-term contracts and commitments and we will honor those long-term contracts and commitments, and they are long term.”(ESPN.com)(7-30-2007)
Evernham-Gillett deal close: George Gillett, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens and a co-owner of the Liverpool soccer team confirmed Sunday that his company will close a deal to buy part of Evernham Motorsports in the next two weeks. “That’s our hope,” Gillett said in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage. “That’s our expectation. We will close within [two weeks]. Yes.” Gillett would not say what percentage of the team he would own, but Ray Evernham has indicated that Gillett would be a majority owner. The deal will allow Evernham to focus more on the competition side instead of the business side, something the former Jeff Gordon crew chief already has started doing.(SceneDaily.com)(7-30-2007)
Braun to run some Cup races in 2008: on SPEED’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Busch Series driver, #38-Jason Leffler, said he, Braun Racing and sponsor Great Clips plan to run at least six Sprint Cup [now Nextel Cup] races in 2008 and could run more if additional sponsorship is found. Braun runs Toyota and Saturday night at ORP, Leffler won. The first win for Toyota in the Busch Series.(7-30-2007)
JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports combine Busch operations in 2008: JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports will combine the two companies’ NASCAR Busch Series operations at the conclusion of the 2007 racing season with plans to field a joint effort beginning in 2008. The partnership will campaign two full-time race cars under the JR Motorsports banner that utilize Hendrick Motorsports engines, chassis and vehicle engineering support. Rick Hendrick will be listed as car owner of the #5 team and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be car owner of the #88. To support the operation, approximately 30 employees, including crew chief Chad Walter, will move to JR Motorsports’ Mooresville-based facility from Hendrick Motorsports’ Busch Series group in Concord. Walter will serve as crew chief of the #5 team next season. JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports will also collaborate in the areas of partnership development, sponsorship services, marketing and media relations. The two companies are currently working together on JR Motorsports’ 2008 Busch Series driver and sponsorship lineup, which will be announced at a later date.(JR Motorsports/Hendrick Motorsports PR)(7-30-2007)
Harvick summoned to NASCAR Hauler; no penalty expected: #29-Kevin Harvick was summoned to the NASCAR principal’s office following the Allstate 400 to clarify post-race contact on the backstretch with race winner #20-Tony Stewart. Harvick said it was a standard congratulatory love tap, not retaliation for racing contact his team felt might have cost him the race. Thus he won’t be penalized, NASCAR said.(ESPN.com)(7-30-2007)
Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Allstate 400:
Total number of commercials: 138
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 82
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 11
Start time to record race/commercial periods 07/29/07: 2:00pm
End time to record race/commercial periods 07/29/07: 5:46pm
Total minutes: 226
Minutes of race broadcast: 166
Minutes of commercials: 60
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(7-30-2007)
Boris Said to run Rally race: Boris Said is one of the drivers recently named as the “At Large” entries for the second X Games Rally Car Racing competition at X Games 13 begins with practice on Aug. 2 and 3 and concludes with the Super Special final competition on Aug. 5 at 1:30pm/pt. The final will be broadcast live on ABC. Said will drive a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI prepared by Vermont SportsCar, which also fields entries for Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block. Like his NASCAR entry, Said’s rally car will be #60 [same as Nextel Cup].(rally-america.com)(7-30-2007)
News from July 29, 2007
Newman’s status up in the air? to RCR? denied: #12-Ryan Newman’s future continues to be a question mark in the NASCAR garage [Jayski note: Newman is signed with Penske at least thru 2008], and it’s not clear if he will be back with car owner Roger Penske next season. If not, Newman could become a candidate for the fourth Richard Childress team.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2007) UPDATE: ESPN2’s Marty Smith reported on Sunday’s NASCAR Now that there is no merit to any Ryan Newman laving Penske Racing rumors and Newman has a contract thru at least 2008.(7-29-2007)
Childress hopes to announce 4th team soon: Richard Childress Racing officials hope to announce next month who their sponsor and driver will be for their new fourth car for next season.(Roanoke Times), some rumored drivers are Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman and Scott Wimmer.(7-29-2007)
Menard chips in to help DEI/Ginn merger happen? UPDATE denied: The other half of the Ginn-DEI story began to emerge yesterday, and it isn’t as pretty a picture as the one painted at Thursday’s press conference. According to one report, which could not be immediately confirmed, John Menard, the wealthy businessman whose son, Paul, is a first-year tour racer at DEI, apparently stepped in with a check to help make the merger happen. Ginn concedes sponsorship problems forced him to shut down two of his three Nextel Cup teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2007) UPDATE: With rookie driver #15-Paul Menard being a major beneficiary of the Dale Earnhardt Inc.-Ginn Racing merger, and his father, John, being a multi-billionaire, it would be easy to conclude that maybe the Menard family played a role in bankrolling the merger. DEI Vice President John Story said that was not the case in the merger, where Menard got the owner points from the #14 Ginn car and is now in one of the top 35 locked-in positions instead of having to qualify for races on speed. “John Menard got a phone call from us after the transaction was complete to let him know that it was done and Paul was now 30th in [owner] points,” Story said Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It was never contemplated nor [was] the request ever made to John Menard to be a potential player in this transaction. … [Team owner] Teresa Earnhardt has done well for herself over many, many years.” The merger also should slow rumors that Paul Menard could leave and take the car sponsorship from the family company with him. “Paul has really given us his commitment and we’ve given him ours that we’re going to work together and we’re going to build this program over the next couple of years,” Story said.(SceneDaily.com)(7-29-2007)
Kyle Busch to JGR? UPDATE 3: Larry McReynolds is hearing that the Kyle Busch deal at Joe Gibbs Racing is very close. Now, we don’t have an answer on whether they’re looking to put him in the #18 car, replacing J.J. Yeley, or if they are looking at Busch for a fourth team.(FoxSports) AND captainthunderracing.com is hearing that Kyle Busch is very close to finalizing a deal that will make him the fourth driver in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. Sources said Busch has crossed Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. off his list of potential teams for 2008 and beyond. Speculation also had Busch going to DEI to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., but it appears as though the DEI/Ginn Racing merger has taken up most of the executives time at DEI and Busch never felt any warmth from the organization. An announcement is expected sometime over the next week to week and a half, most likely after the big Brickyard 400 weekend. Sources said only the details of the contract remained to be worked out, but that both parties had agreed in principle to a five year deal.(captainthunderracing.com)(7-27-2007) UPDATE: Kyle Busch says he still hasn’t decided which team he wants to sign with for 2008 and says it may be another two weeks before he makes the call. However, it’s looking more and more as if it may be Dale Earnhardt Inc. But according to NASCAR sources Budweiser may not be Busch’s sponsor.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2007) UPDATE 2: It was reported on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now that Busch’s agent, Jeff Dickerson, said the rumors are not true and that Busch has not narrowed down his selection of teams, has offers on the table and something should be known about Busch’s future within two weeks or so.(ESPN’s NASCAR Now)(7-28-2007) UPDATE 3: #5-Kyle Busch answered only one question [Saturday], and that was a one-word response to whether he’d completed a contract with the organization he plans to drive for next season. “No,” said Busch, who will start 18th. Busch, who will be replaced by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, is being pursued by Joe Gibbs Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. He was scheduled to meet with all four DEI drivers and management on Saturday and is scheduled to meet with EMS owner Ray Evernham next week.(ESPN.com)(7-29-2007)
Stewart wins at Indianapolis: #20-Tony Stewart won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 2nd Brickyard 400 win, 2nd win of 2007 and in a row and 31st of his career. Stewart beat #42-Montoya by 3.535 seconds, the rest of the top-10 were #24-Gordon, #5-Busch, #41-Sorenson [the pole sitter], #01-Martin, #29-Harvick, #01-Martin, #22-Blaney and #17-Kenseth. 2nd in pts #11-Hamlin had a late race pitstop miscue and finished 22nd, a lap down and is now 371 pts behind pts leader #24-Gordon. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 34th losing an engine after running in the top ten most of the day. #48-Johnson wrecked when he lost a tire and finished 39th, falling to 9th in drivers pts. #29-Harvick was called to the NASCAR hauler after banging into Stewart after the race. Stewart passed Harvick with a few laps to go and banging his way past Harvick. There were 9 cautions for 43 laps and only 6 drivers lead the race with 14 lead changes. Race Results on my Indianapolis Race Results/Awards Page. Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Indianapolis page Race Rundown: see my Indianapolis Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-29-2007)
Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Indianapolis [20 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3076
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2705 -371
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 2699 -377
4) #31-Jeff Burton 2633 -443
5) #20-Tony Stewart 2624 -452
6) #99-Carl Edwards 2582 -494
7) #29-Kevin Harvick 2488 -588
8) #5-Kyle Busch 2479 -597
9) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2469 -607
10) #07-Clint Bowyer 2405 -671
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2335 -741
12) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2217 -859 some other notables:
#2-Busch is 13th only -13 pts behind 12th
#26-McMurray is 15th
#42-Montoya is 18th
#9-Kahne is 28th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-29-2007)
Rumblings — The Brickyard: Tony Stewart had a spirited battle with Kevin Harvick today at The Brickyard and bested him in turn two with ten laps to go to post his second win at his historic home-state oval. Tony’s win in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard was his second in a row, the 31st of his Nextel Cup career (he’s solo in 20th on the all-time win list), and the 57th for Joe Gibbs Racing. Tony wins a mere $488,111 from the paltry $9.5M+ in posted awards. Lotsa multi-car wrecks today…..
Reed Sorenson (5th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Mark Martin (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Texas in April.
Dave Blaney (9th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Loudon last September. His Top-10 finish moves us one ahead of last year’s number…. he’s the 39th driver to score a Top-10 this season.
Ward Burton (14th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Talladega in October of 2004!
Brian Vickers (21st) had his best finish since he was 5th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Terry Labonte (30th) had his best finish since he was 21st at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October (only three races).
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10’s in a row. Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in a row. Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Ward Burton (+26), followed by Matt Kenseth (+21), Martin Truex Jr (+21), and David Gilliland (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-39), followed by Kasey Kahne (-35), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-30), Tony Raines (-30), Casey Mears (-26), and Jimmie Johnson (-20).
Jeff Gordon pads his lead to 371 markers over Denny Hamlin this week, but watch how that shrinks in about a month and a half. Kurt Busch moves up to 13th, and he’s now just 13 points behind Dale Jr for the last Chase spot. Reed Sorenson (28th to 24th) made the best move forward today, while Kasey Kahne (24th to 28th) went in the oppositie direction.(Stock Car Fans)(7-29-2007)
Bourdais to Cup? Gilliland re-signed by RYR for 2008 UPDATE: [Robert] Yates also said that three-time Champ Car series champ Sebastien Bourdais could end up driving for the team [Yates/Newman/Hass/Lanigan Racing]. He could partner with #38-David Gilliland, who just re-signed with the team for 2008. M&M’s will not sponsor a car next year, but sister candy Snickers will, but not with Robert Yates. Snickers will not sponsor [Elliott] Sadler next year because of contractual restrictions in place from when Sadler left Yates last year, but could be in play on Kasey Kahne’s car. Citifinancial [RYR #90 Busch Series team sponsor] is expected to announce its plans soon and is looking at several drivers, including Sadler.(FoxSports/Tom Jensen) AND St. Petersburg’s Sebastien Bourdais lobbied hard for a shot in NASCAR after winning the second of his three Champ Car titles in 2005. If he still wants it, the chance may be there. Bourdais’ Champ Car team, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, announced a partnership with NASCAR’s Robert Yates Racing on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After a news conference, two of the principals – Carl Haas and Doug Yates – said they’re interested in bringing Bourdais to Nextel Cup. The problem is Bourdais may be on the verge of signing with Formula One’s Scuderia Toro Russo team, for whom he has tested three times. However, Bourdais has said in the past he only wants to go to Formula One if he can sign with a competitive team, and Toro Rosso is one of the worst. Additionally, the 28-year-old Frenchman has been intrigued by NASCAR since beating some of stock car racing’s best in an IROC race at Texas a few years ago. Haas, who begins his third stint as a NASCAR team owner, said there have been discussions with Bourdais about moving to NASCAR.(Tampa Tribune)(7-28-2007) UPDATE: David Gilliland said Friday that he’s signed a contract extension with Robert Yates Racing and will be back behind the wheel of the #38 Ford Fusion next season. “I’m really glad to have this behind me so I can concentrate on the future,” said Gilliland.(Ford Racing)(7-29-2007)
Underdog to Partner with The Jeff Gordon Foundation on 2007 Fantasy Car: “Have No Fear”, the canine hero from the Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming comedy “Underdog” helps “evil get licked” but still finds time to pose on the hood of The Jeff Gordon Foundation #24 car. The 2007 Foundation Fantasy Car was unveiled today at the Foundation’s annual Bowling Tournament with the help from former patients at the Riley Hospital for Children. The limited edition die-cast features Underdog prominently flying across the hood with the words “One Nation Under Dog….” Underdog also appears on the sides of the car — scaling a building — and on the back deck lid where he handsomely sits upon his trademark U beside the words “Have No Fear”. Also showcased is the official Jeff Gordon Foundation logo on each rear quarter panel and on the rear bumper. The Foundation began issuing these special collectibles in 2001, with proceeds benefiting children with chronic and life-threatening diseases. For more information visit www.jeffgordonfoundation.org.(PR)(7-29-2007)
Sad News – John Weese: John Richard Weese, Jr., 49, died July 27, 2007. Weese was a paint and body guy for many years with many NASCAR teams and for some show car companies. Vewing will be at Lady’s Funeral Home of Kannapolis, NC, Sunday, July 29 from 4pm to 6pm and the Funeral will be Monday at 11am also at Lady’s Funeral Home.(7-29-2007)
Sorensen youngest ever pole winner at Indy: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammates #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya swept the front row for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Sorenson became the youngest pole winner for a major race in IMS history. Sorenson earned the pole – the first of his Nextel Cup Series career – at age 21 years, 173 days, eclipsing Rex Mays’ 72-year-old record as the youngest pole winner at IMS. Mays won the 1935 Indianapolis 500 pole at age 22.(IMS PR)(7-29-2007)
NASCAR to throw competition caution to check tires at Indy: NASCAR will have a competition caution early in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to allow teams to check tire wear. What lap will be determined on Sunday. “We’ll sleep on it and figure out when,” series director John Darby said after Saturday’s qualifying. “It’s just to make everybody feel a little better.” Darby said tire wear was better than ever for Indianapolis during practice. The biggest fear is an overnight rain that could wash all the rubber off the track. Rain washed out Friday’s two practices and it took nearly two hours to get enough rubber back on the track to make many drivers feel comfortable. “If there is rain tonight they’re going to have to throw a mandatory caution at lap 5, lap 15 and at lap 30,” four-time Brickyard 400 champion Jeff Gordon said. “That’s the issue we’re being dealt right now. It’s pretty major. I was happy by the end of practice. We put 15 laps on a set of tires and it was getting better.”(ESPN.com)(7-29-2007)
News from July 28, 2007
Sorenson wins pole at Indy: #41-Reed Sorenson won the Budweiser Pole for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 184.207mph for his 1st career pole. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 2nd with the rest of the top-10: #12-Newman, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #9-Kahne, #2-Busch, #31-Burton, #16-Biffle, #25-Mears and #11-Hamlin. Points leader #24-Gordon will start 21st. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #10-Riggs [16th/best], #33-Wimmer, #83-Vickers, #22-Blaney, #00-Reutimann, #49-Schrader , #4-Burton and #55-Labonte [uses a past champions provisional].
See qualifying results and starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-28-2007)
Six do not qualify for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: #08-Nemechek, #84-Allmendinger, #37-Lepage, #44-Jarrett, #36-Mayfield and #78-Wallace.(7-28-2007)
Ramblings – The Brickyard: Everything’s “Chip”er in Indy! Chip Ganassi owned Dodges took the top-spots today at The Brickyard for Sunday’s Allstate 400….and for Reed Sorenson, it’s his first ever Nextel Cup Bud Pole. Reed’s previous best starting spot was 3rd at Loudon earlier this month. Sorenson cruised around this venerable establishment in 48.858 seconds (184.207) to edge his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya and gain entry to next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona….the 11th qualifier for that event.
Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 4th at Las Vegas in March.
Tony Raines (11th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th at Martinsville in April.
David Stremme (12th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 10th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Welcome Back Scott Wimmer (22nd). This is his first start since he qualified 24th and finished 12th at Homestead last November.
And, Welcome Back Ken Schreader (36th). This is his first start since Darlington in May when he started 8th and finished 41st.
STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(7-28-2007)
Indy Qualifying Notes:
.. Reed Sorenson won the Bud Pole for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with a lap of 48.858 seconds, 184.207 mph
.. This is his first Bud Pole in 58 career Nextel Cup races and his third top-10 start in 2007
.. This is Sorenson’s second race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started 41st and finished 30th in 2006.
.. Juan Pablo Montoya posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 49.048 seconds, 183.494 mph. It is his fourth to 10 start this season. Montoya was the fastest qualifying rookie.
.. This is the first ever front-row sweep for car owner Chip Ganassi.
.. Ryan Newman (third) posted his eighth top-10 start of 2007 and his seventh in as many races at Indianapolis.
.. Scott Riggs (16th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
RCR to honor Prosser at Indy, run Wake Forest decals: Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) Nextel Cup Series teams will honor Skip Prosser, the former Wake Forest University men’s basketball coach who died unexpectedly on Thursday, with Wake Forest decals in Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. RCR’s three Chevys driven by Kevin Harvick (#29 Reese’s), Jeff Burton (#31 AT&T) and Clint Bowyer (#07 Jack Daniel’s) will carry a Wake Forest decal on the B-Post of each machine. Scott Wimmer will also attempt to qualify the #33 Holiday Inn Chevy for this weekend’s Nextel Cup race. If the Wimmer makes the race, the #33 machine will also display the decal. “I grew up in Winston-Salem and have spent my entire life living and working in the area,” said RCR president and CEO Richard Childress. “We just want everyone in the Wake Forest Community to know that we’re thinking about them during this difficult time.” Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, N.C., just 14 miles north of RCR’s campus in Welcome, N.C.(RCR PR)(7-28-2007)
Chevy hopes to keep teams: Chevrolet officials remain hopeful that Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports will remain a part of the General Motors program in 2008. GM is in the process of renewing all of its deals, with JGR and HMS being the crown jewels of their program. Toyota has been linked with JGR in several news reports despite comments from team president J.D. Gibbs that re-signing with GM is his top priority. Rick Hendrick, the owner of HMS, also has ties to Toyota through his dealership business. Ed Peper, the general manager of Chevrolet Racing, said during a Thursday press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he is very confident in negotiations to re-sign all teams currently under the Chevrolet banner. Terry Dolan, the marketing director for Chevrolet Racing, would not comment on specific organizations. “I am confident we will have strong teams continuing to represent Chevrolet, not only because we’ve got a pretty good track record of performance but because we’ve been dedicated to this sport for a long time,” he said of the company that has won 15 of 19 Nextel Cup races this season with 12 of the wins coming from JGR and HMS. “We have some of the tools and assets they need to succeed in their business.”(ESPN.com)(7-28-2007)
Cup teams testing at Memphis: Some Nextel Cup teams are lining up to test at Memphis Motorsports Park. This month in Memphis: the #9 car of Evernham Motorsports on Tuesday, July 31. While NASCAR’s current testing policy does not allow Busch and Truck series teams to test in Memphis, there is no limit on Cup team testing at this ¾-mile stand-alone track, which resembles three important “Chase” stops: Richmond – the final race to make the final 12 on Sept. 8 – plus New Hampshire (Sept. 16) and Phoenix (Nov. 11), both pivotal tracks inside the final 10 “Chase” races. Chase Miller, who is currently piloting Evernham’s #9 entry in the Busch Series, will test the team’s Cup Series “Car of Tomorrow” – the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge – for Kasey Kahne in Memphis. Teams with tentative test dates for August in Memphis include #96-Hall of Fame Racing (Aug. 13), #2/#12-Penske Racing (Aug. 21) and #00/#44/#55-Michael Waltrip Racing (Aug. 28).: Fans can watch testing sessions at the NASCAR oval from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public. Schedules are subject to change daily. Test times vary. NASCAR returns to Memphis Motorsports Park on Oct. 26-27. For Sam’s Town 250 tickets and more information, call 866-40-SPEED or visit MemphisMotorsportsPark.com.(Memphis PR)(7-28-2007)
Richard Petty named North Carolinian of the Year: He was already The King. Now, Richard Petty is the North Carolinian of the Year. Petty won a record 200 Cup races and seven Daytona 500 races. He won 27 races in 1967 alone, 18 races in 1970 and 21 in 1971. Since 2000, no driver has won more than eight in a season. Only the late Dale Earnhardt matched Petty’s seven NASCAR championships. Petty was honored at the press association’s annual meeting, held this year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord. The award started in 1993 and is given to North Carolinians who bring honor and recognition to the state. Other winners include evangelist Billy Graham and former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole and banjo-picker Earl Scruggs.(AP/wnct.com)(7-28-2007)
Montoya at Indy historic; going for the double: One way or another, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will make history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, becoming the first driver to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and an IMS Formula 1 race. The energetic and affable Colombian would also like to become the first driver to win both IndyCar and Nextel Cup races at the Brickyard.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-28-2007)
News from July 27, 2007
Evernham Motorsports to 2006 Dodge: Evernham Motorsports will run the remaining non-Car of Tomorrow races with the 2006 Dodge Charger and without technical director Eric Warren. Warren was recently given a leave of absence after team owner Ray Evernham discovered critical changes regarding aerodynamics and simulation software were made to the 2007 car after an early-season test at Las Vegas. He said those changes weren’t reflected in the cars that were built moving forward, leading to less than stellar results on the track. “So we basically have spent half a year trying to build a foundation that didn’t exist,” Evernham said on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The information that we had was nonexistent. We had to go back to doing things the normal way and put cars in the wind tunnel to find out there was a huge difference. In the end, when you have people that are responsible for performance and the performance is way off you have to make changes in those people,” Evernham said. “Ultimately, the [changes] aerodynamically and simulation-wise were the responsibility of the engineering department and that was led by Eric Warren. Right now Eric is on leave until we decide if we’re going to put him in another position or find a happy medium and let him go somewhere else,” he said. Evernham said he and competition director Sammy Johns have taken over Warren’s duties. He added that his move to the competition side has delayed finalizing his partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett and a few sponsorship deals. He expects the deal with Gillett to be complete within the next 14 days, at which point he also hopes to announce new sponsors for 2008. Among the sponsors interested in joining EMS is Budweiser, which would like Kahne to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. as its NASCAR spokesperson.(ESPN.com)(7-27-2007)
Robert Yates Racing and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Join Forces: Robert Yates Racing (RYR) and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) have entered into a letter of intent for a partnership in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series. The team will be named Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing effective immediately. “This is a wonderful partnership,” said Robert Yates, founder of Robert Yates Racing. “This gives us a clear vision how to get to the top. It is our goal to continue to build so this team will be better positioned to contend for the championship.”
“NASCAR Nextel Cup racing is rapidly moving, technology-wise, to engineering areas that Newman/Haas/Lanigan has years of experience with already,” said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. “And Robert Yates Racing brings years of engine development and race craft in the sport that is invaluable to this operation. Put that expertise together, along with joint ownership that is clearly committed to winning, and we have a Ford program that will be a contender for years to come.”(RYR PR), see full PR and quotes on my #88 Team News and Links page.(7-27-2007)
Evernham admits relationship hurt driver’s [Crocker] career: Team owner Ray Evernham says the best thing for developmental driver Erin Crocker is to find a new race team. “I don’t think it’s any secret that because of the personal relationship between Erin and I it hurt her career,” Evernham said on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The proper thing to do and something her and I would like to do is move her to another race team. I think the girl has a lot of talent. But if I sit here and say to somebody, ‘Look, she’s got a lot of talent, you should sponsor her,’ my credibility is not good because of the personal relationship,” he said. Evernham, who turns 50 in August, began dating the 26-year-old Crocker last season.(ESPN.com)(7-27-2007)
DEI wasn’t allowed to sell #13 team’s points: NASCAR wouldn’t allow the new Dale Earnhardt Inc. to “partner” with another team to transfer the #13 team’s points with that of an existing team because that would have given Bobby Ginn ownership of five teams, DEI Vice President John Story said Thursday. Teams are not allowed to just sell points, although most get around the requirement by remaining a minority owner after the “sale.” The problem for DEI after its merger with Ginn Racing was that neither Ginn nor DEI could have the rights to more than the NASCAR limit of four teams. DEI used the #14’s points to go to its #15 car of Paul Menard, which was outside the top 35. With the #13 team not entered this weekend, the 36th-place team of Bill Elliott in the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford will be automatically locked in the field.(SceneDaily.com)(7-27-2007)
Nemecheck to Drive at Indy UPDATE: Joe Nemechek will have a ride this weekend at Indianapolis, but which car he will drive remains in limbo. E&M Motorsports is looking to put Nemechek behind the wheel of its #08 car, but Ginn Racing may have a sponsor for the #13 — the car from which Nemechek was bounced last week. E&M Motorsports had plans to run several races this season, beginning at Indianapolis with John Andretti at the wheel. Andretti has other commitments this weekend, so the team called on Nemechek.(NASCAR.com)(7-24-2007) UPDATE: The #08 Team announces “Front Row Joe” Nemechek will drive the #08 car at Indy in the Allstate 400 for John Carter and EM Motorsports this weekend. Race Week Media is still searching for primary sponsorship for the car, but are confident of success with all of the support Nemechek fans are expressing. It was just over a week ago that it was announced the launch of the #08 Team and the momentum has been remarkable. The cars were loaded into the hauler late Wednesday night in Toccoa, Georgia for the ride to Indianapolis and are ready for Saturday’s qualifying.(#08 Team PR)(7-27-2007)
New Co-Sponsor for Robby Gordon: This weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will mark the first appearance in 2007 for Johns Manville as the co-primary sponsor of the #7 Menards Ford of Robby Gordon. Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products. In business since 1858, the Denver-based company has annual sales of approximately $2.5 billion and holds leadership positions in all of the key markets that it serves. Johns Manville employs approximately 8,500 people and operates 43 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China. Jim Beam, Mapei, and Motorola will serve as associates.(RGM)(7-27-2007)
Testing at Milwaukee: History was made Wednesday at The Milwaukee Mile, the world’s oldest active speedway, as Joey Logano made his first-ever laps in a Joe Gibbs Racing Nextel Cup Series race car. The Connecticut native logged an estimated 80 laps and returned Thursday to help the team that features drivers Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin in gathering critical information for the team’s Car of Tomorrow development. No times were reported. Logano is a year too young to compete in NASCAR’s top three series, which has a minimum limit of 18 years of age. Logano races in the NASCAR Busch East Series, which allows competitors as early as 16 years of age to compete. Logano also won a NASCAR West Series race at Phoenix International Raceway and has won three Busch East events since and is the current point leader in the Busch East Series after eight races. Also testing at The Milwaukee Mile this week were Evernham Motorsports, Ganassi Racing with driver Kevin Hamlin and Roush Fenway Racing on Wednesday with David Ragan, subbing for the recently injured Carl Edwards. All teams were testing their Car of Tomorrow machines.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(7-27-2007)
International Motorsports Hall of Fame Announces Top-20 Finalists: The field has been narrowed and only 20 finalists remain for induction into the Class of 2008 International Motorsports Hall of Fame, IMHOF officials announced today. The final five inductees will be elected when the last round of voting begins July 30th, 2007. This year’s nominees come from a variety of motorsport venues. From NASCAR are drivers: Red Byron, Jerry Cook, Cotton Owens, Marvin Panch and Rex White. Also representing NASCAR is a unique group of non-drivers: owner Carl Kiekhaefer, chief mechanic Maurice Petty and promoter Ralph Seagraves. The Sprint Car Series has three drivers up for nomination: Tommy Hinnershitz, Joe Leonard and Jan Opperman. Also from the open wheel ranks are chief mechanic Clint Brawner, chassis builder Frank Kurtis and IndyCar drivers Pete DePaolo and Tommy Milton. From sports car racing fame are drivers Rene Dreyfus and Brian Redman, as well as, engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. Drag racing brings driver Art Arfons and chief mechanic Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(7-27-2007)
NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award Logs Over Two Million Votes: More than two million votes have been tallied in the race for the NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award. Thanks to fans logging in at www.mostpopulardriver.com to support their favorite driver, the goal of topping last year’s total votes is in sight. The current drivers in the top ten include many repeat visitors, and each has a chance at taking home the coveted prize. Listed in alphabetical order, the top ten list includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip. Fans can vote once a day, every day, but after voting the first time at www.MostPopularDriver.com, fans can register for the monthly online newsletter and complete a sweepstakes entry. Votes will continue to be counted every day through the remainder of the season. Fans should vote once a day, every day before Monday, Nov. 19, at 11:59am/ct.(Elevation Group PR)(7-27-2007)
News from July 26, 2007
No crew chief changes at the new DEI: There will be no immediate crew chief changes as a result of the Dale Earnhardt Inc.-Ginn Racing merger, but not all the crew chiefs will work out of the same shop. Paul Menard’s #15 team will move immediately into the Ginn Racing building, where the former Ginn #01 team also will be housed, DEI Vice President John Story said Thursday. The DEI teams of #1-Martin Truex Jr. and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will remain at the current DEI shop until the end of the season. As far as drivers, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will complete the season co-driving the #01 car. That leaves Regan Smith, who was named last week to drive the now-defunct #14 Ginn car, without a Cup ride. Having started the year as Martin’s co-driver, Smith will compete in the Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night in Indianapolis. The rest of the schedule for Smith is still being evaluated. As far as crew chiefs, Dave Charpentier, who became Menard’s crew chief in June, will remain as his crew chief, and Ryan Pemberton remains with Mark Martin. Former Ginn crew chiefs Richard “Slugger” Labbe and Peter Sospenzo (who worked with the now-defunct #14 and #13 Ginn teams) are in the pool of employees who are waiting to see what happens. Crew chiefs aren’t the only ones in limbo: DEI already had two development drivers – Jeffrey Earnhardt and Trevor Bayne – in its fold. With the merger, it also now has Kraig Kinser, Jesus Hernandez and Ricky Carmichael. Story said Carmichael’s program is fairly solid because it has sponsorship from Monster energy drink, and DEI currently has Earnhardt’s and Bayne’s cars sold for the rest of this season. As far as executives, it still is to be determined what role former Ginn Racing Chief Executive Officer Jay Frye will play in the company. “We’ve only just begun to discuss it,” Story said. “Jay has put his heart and soul and blood and guts into this company over the years, and we really want to know what Jay wants to do. We haven’t gotten to that point where we’ve drawn a new [organizational] chart.”
Workers in the fabrication shop know where they’re headed. As part of the transition, DEI will move all of its fabrication work all to the Ginn shop, which has a seven-post shaker rig, a million-dollar piece of machinery that evaluates how a car handles. The Ginn shop has 180,000 square feet in one large room, which will allow all four Cup teams to be on the same floor and should improve communications among the teams, Story said. The two shops are at most 10 minutes apart. Story said the existing DEI shop will house two Busch Series teams in the future, as well as possibly a Craftsman Truck Series program and a two-car Busch East program.(SceneDaily.com)(7-26-2007)
Sad News – Julie Lusk: Julie Lusk passed away peacefully in her home with her family by her side on Wednesday. Julie, 50 was born in Arlington, WA. She celebrated her 32nd Wedding Anniversary with her husband Doug last week. Julie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October of 2006. Services for her will be held at Lake Forest Community Church, in Huntersville, NC at 11:00am Saturday 7-28-2007. Lusk is survived by her children Damon, Derek, Danielle, and Husband Doug. Your thoughts and prayers were and are greatly appreciated.(7-26-2007)
Indy Goodyear Tires Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . Indianapolis is the only track at which teams will run this combination this season . . . this tire setup was tested at Indianapolis by Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte and Ricky Rudd in April . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one-mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Indianapolis . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated pit window is every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full tire notes, pressures and codes on my Indy Race Info Page.(7-26-2007)
Bobby Labonte to run Totino’s Pizza Rolls at Indy: This weekend, Bobby Labonte travels to the world’s most famous speedway, the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway. Labonte heads to the Brickyard with Totino’s Pizza Rolls on the side of the #43 Dodge. Labonte will race the #43 Totino’s Pizza Rolls Dodge on a weekend that is highlighted by Sunday’s Allstate 400.(Petty Racing PR)(7-26-2007)
Wimmer to run at Indy: Scott Wimmer will attempt to qualify for his first Nextel Cup Series race of the season this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) driving the #33 Holiday Inn Chevy, giving RCR four entries in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Wimmer was behind the wheel of the #33 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, where he started 24th and finished 12th. Dan Deeringhoff, RCR’s #2 Busch Series crew chief, will lead the #33 Holiday Inn Racing team this weekend at IMS. Wimmer’s #29 Holiday Inn Busch Series crew will go over the wall.(RCR PR)(7-26-2007)
Indy Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 15 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Montoya finished 15th and took top rookie honors for the eighth time this season. Montoya leads David Ragan by 14 points (196-182) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 29 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya is 20th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scoring a fourth-place finish. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-10 in each of the past eight consecutive Nextel Cup Series races at Indianapolis. Jamie McMurray’s third-place finish in 2003 is the best ever by a Raybestos Rookie in 13 previous Brickyard 400 races.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos PR), see the full report, standings and history on my 2007 Rookie Page Notes.(7-26-2007)
Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge Opens: Monday, July 23, marked the grand opening of Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge Wine Tasting Room and Racing Museum located at 4187 Highway 421 in North Wilkesboro, N.C. The vineyard and wine tasting room were dreams of Benny Parsons and he was working diligently to bring them to fruition when he passed away in January. Parsons began working with wine maker, Mark Terry on his dream two years ago by leasing grapes from Windy Gap, Carnegie and Copeland vineyards. He enjoyed the task of picking each type of grape that he leased from neighboring North Carolina vineyards to start the production of his 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and his personal favorite BP’s Blush. Parsons also dreamed of moving back home and he began the construction of a new home that rests on Rendezvous Ridge surrounded by the vineyard that he created. “I can’t believe this day is here, “stated Terri Parsons, the wife of Parsons. “We have all worked so hard to make sure that all of Benny’s wishes for his wine and vineyard were carried out. I really wish he was here to enjoy it.” Members of the Wilkesboro City Council visited on Wednesday, July 25 for a special ribbon cutting ceremony. The town of North Wilkesboro will also pay remembrance to Parsons on Thursday, October 11, by naming a five-mile portion of Highway 421, “Benny Parsons Highway”. Fnas can visit the wine tasting room and museum Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. For those who can not make the trip to visit the Wilkesboro, NC, wines can be purchased on line at www.rendezvousridge.com.(7-26-2007)
McMurray the designated driver: On Thursday, July 26, Indianapolis residents and race fans have the chance to take a back seat and witness #26-Jamie McMurray putting his driving skills to the test on the city streets of downtown Indianapolis during the Crown Royal “Safe Rides Home” program. As part of this designated driver initiative, McMurray will team with his primary race sponsor, the Crown Royal brand from Diageo, to deploy a fleet of replica purple and gold #26 Ford Fusion cars that will be offering local bar patrons free, safe rides home for two nights. To show his commitment, McMurray will get behind the wheel of one of the vehicles and provide free rides home to select consumers who sign up at special Crown Royal #26 taxi stands. Inspired by this signature program, Crown Royal recently debuted a national television advertising campaign featuring McMurray and the “Safe Rides Home” initiative. The campaign humorously shows McMurray being mentored by a New York City cab driver who details the finer aspects of driving people home. The message reminds consumers to drink responsibly and to always arrange for a safe ride home. This marks the third consecutive year the program has visited Indianapolis prior to the Brickyard race and, after servicing many Indianapolis residents with safe rides home the last couple years, Crown Royal will continue offering a second night to the program. McMurray’s appearance will kickoff the two-day program that aims to drive hundreds of Indianapolis residents home safely prior to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on July 29. The program is set to take place at the corner of Jackson Place and N. Meridian on Thursday, July 26, and at the corner of Broad Ripple Ave. and Guilford St. on Friday, July 27. Marked kiosks will accept “fares” from 8:00 pm – 1:00 am on both nights. In total, 10 Crown Royal Ford Fusions will be in rotation and residents within a 20-mile radius of downtown Indianapolis that are 21 years of age or older are eligible. For the second consecutive year, Crown Royal is the primary sponsor of the #26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford team driven by McMurray. This includes primary paint scheme of the #26 car at 23 races during the 2007 season, including Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.(Crown Royal PR)(7-26-2007)
SK Telecom Says It Rejected Offer to Join Sprint Bid: SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile-phone operator, said it rejected a proposal for the company to participate in a bid to acquire Sprint Nextel Corp. “We get many offers through many different channels and Sprint was one of them,” SK Telecom Chief Financial Officer Ha Sung Min said in an earnings conference call with investors today in Seoul. “We haven’t pursued the acquisition of Sprint.” The comments follow an Edaily report that revived speculation SK Telecom, whose market value is less than one-third of Sprint’s $63.5 billion, may join a bid to buy the third- largest U.S. telephone carrier. A similar Korea Economic Daily report two weeks ago triggered gains in shares of SK Telecom in Seoul and Sprint in after-hours trading in New York. Edaily reported today that SK Telecom is in talks to buy Sprint after being approached by financial investors, citing Cho Jung Nam, vice chairman at the Seoul-based operator. Kim Hye Jin, a spokeswoman at SK Telecom, denied the company plans to bid for Sprint. She declined to name the overseas investors that approached the Korean carrier or specify when the proposal was made. James Fisher, a spokesman for Sprint in Reston, Virginia, declined to confirm or deny the Edaily report. On July 10, the Korea Economic Daily reported SK Telecom may participate in a bid to acquire Sprint, under a proposal where the bidding group would entrust management of Sprint to SK Telecom. SK Telecom would need a 1 percent stake in Sprint to gain management control, according to the report. SK Telecom denied the report that day. SK Telecom has a venture in the U.S. with Earthlink Inc. called Helio LLC, which offers wireless services using Sprint’s phone network.(Bloomberg.com)(7-26-2007)
SPEED signs Randy Pemberton, expands Sadler’s role: SPEED has added veteran NASCAR reporter Randy Pemberton to its stable of experts supporting multiple SPEED programs for the remainder of the season. Pemberton, who already has appeared on the popular Tradin’ Paint, will take an expanded role beginning in mid-August in Michigan, working on NASCAR Live!, Go or Go Home and occasional SPEED qualifying and practice sessions. In addition to adding Pemberton, SPEED also will elevate the role of NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler, who has driven the SPEED 1 demonstration car for the popular SPEED pre-race show NASCAR RaceDay. Sadler also will report for NASCAR Live! and Go or Go Home.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-26-2007)
NSSN hooks up with CARA: National Speed Sport News has chosen to link with CARA Charities for its 2007 charity initiative program. This benevolent program is new to NSSN as of this year, but NSSN’s relationship with CARA has been longstanding. While most charity programs rely solely on monetary contributions or auctions to raise funds, NSSN will be combining both. NSSN has teamed up with GoMotorBids.com to maintain an exclusive online charity auction starting July 12 and running until Dec. 16. The auction’s central item will be a racing helmet, autographed by multiple motorsports personalities, such as Chris Economaki, Richard Petty, David Gilliland, Jeff Green and many more. In addition to the helmet, National Speed Sport News will furnish several items throughout the year designated for the auction. NSSN will also accept monetary donations at any of its 2007 Grassroots Tour events. With every donation, fans will receive a CARA Charities checkered-flag armband. Fans will also have the chance to observe the helmet at these events. CARA Charities supports many worthy causes, including children’s hospitals, scholarships, research groups, injured drivers, the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund and CARA’s “Buckle Up Baby” children’s car-seat program. The “Buckle Up Baby” program has impacted the safety of thousands of children with monetary donations, as well as infant car seats, to children’s hospitals around the country. National Speed Sport News has not only been providing race coverage that is timely, accurate and colorful but also contributions towards the betterment of the community since 1934. NSSN has become the voice of motorsports, covering every series, every track, every week. For more information on NSSN, CARA Charities or the auction, please visit www.nationalspeedsportnews.com. NSSN also debuted a new website on Wednesday.(7-26-2007)
Sad News – Bill Flemming: Bill Flemming, a longtime ABC sports broadcaster who covered events as varied as the Olympics, college football and cliff diving, has died. He was 80. Flemming died Friday of prostate cancer in Petoskey, a Lake Michigan town near his summer cottage, his daughter, Lindy Flemming of Larkspur, Calif., said Tuesday. In addition to football and golf play-by-play announcing, Flemming reported on more than 600 events for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” program. Survivors include his wife, Barbara Forster Flemming; daughter Lindy Flemming; son William Mason Flemming; son-in-law Phil Andrews and grandchildren Ian and Cody Adelson. A memorial service is scheduled for Aug. 10 at First Presbyterian Church in Harbor Springs.(Chicago Tribune)(7-26-2007)
Some Indianapolis Notes: There have been 13 Nextel Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1994. Opened in 1909, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the second-oldest, active track in the world (after The Milwaukee Mile). Eight drivers have competed in all 13 races at Indianapolis: #21-Bill Elliott, #31-Jeff Burton, #24-Jeff Gordon, #44-Dale Jarrett [could miss the race], #43-Bobby Labonte, Sterling Marlin [no ride, will miss the race], #01-Mark Martin, #08-Joe Nemechek [could miss the race]. Eight of 13 races at Indianapolis have been won from a top-10 starting position. The race winner has started third three times, the only starting position to produce more than one victory.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-26-2007)
News from July 25, 2007
Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing Merge; Official Announcement: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has become even stronger through a merger with Ginn Racing. Effective immediately, the team will feature the Chevys of #15-Paul Menard, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #01-Mark Martin and #01-Aric Almirola. Martin and Almirola will combine to drive the #01 Army Chevy for the remainder of the 2007 season as well as the entire 2008 season. Menard drives the Menards Chevy, Truex drives the Bass Pro Shops Chevy and Earnhardt handles driving duties of the Budweiser Chevy. All four entries are inside the top 35 in Nextel Cup points heading into this weekend’s Brickyard 400. Regan Smith, who was originally slated to drive the Ginn Clubs and Resorts Chevy in the Brickyard 400, will instead compete in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park Friday night in the Ginn Resorts Chevy Silverado. Specific schedules for Martin, Smith and Almirola will be announced later. In addition to Nextel Cup Series competition, the company will continue to field entries in the Busch Series, the Busch East Series and will analyze its future involvement in the Craftsman Truck Series. The numerous teams of Dale Earnhardt Inc. will operate from both the original facility built by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt as well as the nearly 180,000-square-foot facility currently housing Ginn Racing’s teams. The buildings are less than five miles apart in Mooresville, N.C. Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s current management team will be responsible for all day-to- day activities and transition plans have already begun to develop. John Story, vice president of motorsports operations for DEI will oversee the expansion of the company’s racing efforts. In completing this merger, points on Ginn Racing’s #13 car, which was 34th in Nextel Cup owner’s points, have been eliminated.(Dale Earnhardt Inc PR), been told the #78 team will NOT be allowed to buy the points for the #13 car, and have been told that the #21 Ford will move up into the top 35 of owners pts and get the guaranteed spot. Bill Elliott will run the #21 car at Indy with Ken Schrader in the #49, no word yet if Schrader will return to the #21 at Pocono next week.(7-25-2007)
OWNERS POINTS revised after the DEI/Ginn Racing Merger announced on July 25, 2007, the #14 points are transferred to the #15 [Paul Menard] who moves up from 39th to 30th and is guaranteed a starting spot at Indy. The #13 team is closed and was 34th on owners pts, so the #21 Team moves from 36th to 35th and is guaranteed a starting spot, BUT is now only 7 pts ahead of 36th in owners pts, #22 [Blaney]. Plus the #78 and #36 teams get in the race if qualifying is cancelled. There are now 47 full time teams in Nextel Cup instead of 49. See my unofficial owners pts after Chicago page for the revised standings.(7-25-2007)
Chase stats leading up to Indy: #1-Martin Truex’s DNF at Chicagoland dropped him one spot and 79 points closer to being out of The Chase. Truex now has only an 87-point margin on 13th place #12-Ryan Newman and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 19th dropped him 19 points closer to Newman, who posted an eighth. #2-Kurt Busch’s sixth at Chicago brought him 44 points and one spot closer to The Chase. He now sits only 77 points out. #25-Casey Mears stayed in contention with a clutch fifth at Chicago, drawing to within 230 points out. It would be the greatest rally in Race to the Chase history, but you can count Mears out yet. #26-Jamie McMurray’s 38th dropped him two spots and 62 points to 12th. He now stands 111 out of 12th. See more on my Chase Stats page.(7-25-2007)
RYR to merge with Newman-Haas: Robert Yates Racing and Newman-Haas Racing will reveal on Friday its plans to merge, a source close to the situation confirmed to ESPN.com. A formal news conference has been set for that afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Actor Paul Newman, an avid racer and long-time team owner in open-wheel racing, and partner Carl Haas own the team currently leading the Champ Car series with driver Sebastien Bourdais, a three-time champion in the series. Yates last month at New Hampshire International said he had personally abandoned pursuit of a business partner, saying he had no debts and didn’t need to get into a more pressure-packed situation answering to a partner’s business demands. He did, however, say he would allow a head-hunting firm continue to look in that area. Like Robert Yates Racing, Newman-Haas has had deep ties with Ford.(ESPN.com)(7-25-2007)
Two Target cars at Indy: Celebrating an 18-year partnership and rich racing history together that includes a win (2000, Montoya-IRL) and a pole (2004, Mears-NNCS) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be running two Target Dodges in the Brickyard 400. Reed Sorenson and the #41 crew will be sporting their usual paint scheme, while David Stremme and the #40 team will run the exact opposite color scheme.(CGRFS PR), see my #40 Team Schemes page for the Target scheme.(7-25-2007)
Petty to Make 800th Career Start: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team head to the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The annual event at IMS has quickly risen to the ranks of one of the most prestigious events on the Nextel Cup schedule. Petty will join the 800 start club when he takes the green flag for the Allstate 400. Only six drivers have reached this milestone number of starts. Petty’s father, “The King” Richard Petty, sits atop the list with 1,185 starts. This weekend also marks Petty’s return to the #45 Dodge after his brief stint in the TNT Sports booth. Chad McCumbee and John Andretti filled in for Petty in his absence. Petty is one of 12 drivers entered in the 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard that participated in the very first event in 1994. Petty finished 26th in this event in 2006.(Petty Racing PR)(7-25-2007)
ESPN Draft Track Technology Will Allow NASCAR Fans to ‘See the Air’: For years, NASCAR fans have heard about the effects of drafting on high-speed racetracks and how certain drivers were so good in the draft it was said they could “see the air.” Now, as Nextel Cup racing returns to ESPN with Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, a technical innovation developed by ESPN and SportVision will allow fans to see the air when they watch ESPN’s coverage of the Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Beginning with Sunday’s telecast of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, ESPN will enhance its NASCAR coverage with Draft Track, a special effects package that will provide to viewers a never-before-seen effect that shows airflow created by NASCAR race cars. When ESPN’s producers activate Draft Track, viewers will see air flowing over and behind race cars as they speed around the track, whether there is one car or a multi-car pack on the television screen. The Draft Track airflow visualization will change as the cars, in relation each other, change position in real time on the racetrack, including passing, racing side by side or when cars are lined up nose to tail. The new effect will initially be used on replays. (ESPN PR), see a demo of the technology on the ESPN site.(7-25-2007)
Chicago TV Ratings: not much info, but have some TV Ratings from the Nextel Cup at Chicago on July 15, 2007. Zap2it.com reports the race drew a 4.0 rating with 4,478,000 households and 6,365,000 viewers, the third best of all cable programs. All I have from last season, is the rating, which was a 5.2 when the race also aired on TNT.(Zap2it.com), see the TV Ratings Chart and more on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(7-25-2007)
Daytona TV Ratings: not much info but, TNT’s The Closer was the top show of the week [7/2-7/8/2007], earning a 2.5, followed by its coverage of Nextel Cup Racing from Daytona, Fla. (2.2), and USA’s WWE Monday Night Raw (1.8). The Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway TV Ratings was held on July 7, 2007.(digitalmedianet.com). In 2006, the race was aired on network TV, NBC and drew a 5.1 rating. AND: Zap2it.com also reported a higher rating of 3.8 with 4,242,000 households with 6,162,000 viewers for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.(7-25-2007)
Marlin Says Ginn ‘leaving me hanging’: Sterling Marlin says he has had calls from other teams but can’t drive for any team until he gets issues resolved with former employer Ginn Racing. “The deal caught me by surprise,” the 50-year-old Marlin said. “I had a contract with them. … I understand they’ve got a lot of problems over there. A couple of guys called, but I can’t do nothing. Part of your contract, if you drive somebody else’s car, you null and void your contract. So I’ll sit and wait here and see what the lawyers say.” Marlin said the team still owes him money, and while he won’t like to sit around and wait, he will. “I haven’t talked to Bobby [Ginn]. [They] haven’t returned calls to my lawyers,” Marlin said. “They’re kind of just leaving me hanging. … I’d like to get something worked out and at least finish the year out with somebody if I could.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-25-2007)
Drivers Like New Bristol Surface: #17-Matt Kenseth wasn’t all that thrilled when he heard that Bristol Motor Speedway was getting a facelift. He liked the World’s Fastest Half-Mile just as it was and wasn’t too keen on any changes. On Tuesday, Kenseth was one of 33 drivers who took part in a Busch Series test on the half-mile oval. After being on-track for several hours his reaction to the new concrete surface was a positive one. #12-Ryan Newman, who owns the track record at BMS said he liked the feel of the new surface, as well. #29-Kevin Harvick, who swept both races at Bristol in the spring of 2005, also gave the new concrete high marks.(Bristol Motor Speedway PR)(7-25-2007)
DEI, Ginn Merger to Be Announced Wednesday: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will announce on Wednesday that it is merging with Ginn Racing, effective immediately, and will acquire all Ginn assets, including its massive headquarters. Sources said the company will be known as Dale Earnhardt Inc., but that Ginn owner Bobby Ginn will remain a partner in the business. DEI president Max Siegel will oversee the operation, and Ginn CEO Jay Frye will assist DEI executives John Story, Steve Hmiel and Richie Gilmore in sorting out personnel details, sources said. DEI will field four fully-funded racecars in the Allstate 400 this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — the #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr., the #8 driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., the #15 driven by Paul Menard and the #01 driven by Mark Martin. One of Ginn’s other two former cars, the #13 or 14, essentially becomes Menard’s #15 team, and the other team will simply discontinue operation [rumors still say that the #78 team will get the owner points from the other team]. Menard will pick up the owner’s points held by Ginn’s # 13 car that was 34th. DEI plans to move its entire operation to Ginn’s Mooresville, N.C., facility. The organization begun by the late Dale Earnhardt has been looking for land for almost a year because there is no room to expand at the current facility. #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin were given their release last week, with rookie Regan Smith moving into Marlin’s car for the remainder of the year before the merger. Smith likely will finish the season splitting the #01 with Martin. Sources said Martin is committed to running at least 22 races for DEI next season and working long-term with the developmental driver program as he was at Ginn.(ESPN.com), for earlier information and updates, check out my #01 Team Page.(7-25-2007)
Sad News: Dave Fay Loses Battle With Cancer: Washington Times sportswriter/editor Dave Fay was a hockey man first and foremost, but he took to covering NASCAR well in recent years, quickly making friends and building sources – trademarks of the consummate beat reporter. As a result, his coverage of NASCAR was just like his hockey stuff: Crisp, concise and creative – and a gift to readers of the Times. Fay passed away last week at the age of 67 following a long bout with cancer.(NASCAR PR)(7-25-2007)
News from July 24, 2007
ESPN To Debut Dish Tech Center in Nextel Cup Coverage: ESPN, which is presenting the most technologically-advanced coverage of NASCAR in motorsports television history, will take that technology to another level with the debut of the innovative ESPN Dish Tech Center mobile television studio in the network’s Nextel Cup coverage beginning this weekend at Indianapolis. The ESPN Dish Tech Center will travel to all of ESPN’s Nextel Cup race venues and will be utilized by ESPN’s producers and announcers for content segments to air during race telecasts. In addition to ESPN and ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the final 17 Nextel Cup Series races, segments from the Dish Tech Center will also air during coverage of Busch Series races that are held at the same tracks. The enclosed studio will contain the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car that has been used this year in ESPN’s NASCAR coverage as well as a cutaway of a Chevy Car of Tomorrow. The studio also will have room for displays of other race car elements such as engines, transmissions and shock absorbers. ESPN’s Tim Brewer and other ESPN analysts will report from the Tech Center during race telecasts to help viewers better understand the technical and mechanical aspects of NASCAR racing.(ESPN PR)(7-24-2007)
John Andretti to Lend Voice to IMS Radio Network: NASCAR and IRL driver John Andretti will join the IMS Radio Network as a broadcaster this Sunday for the Allstate 400 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway [NOTE: he will NOT run in the new #08 Dodge as the team announced]. The Andretti name is synonymous with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti, born in Pennsylvania, moved to Indianapolis and went to high school only miles from the speedway. In 1994, he made history by becoming the first driver to complete the Memorial Day “double” competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Andretti made his return to the Indianapolis 500 this year. Andretti, who recently completed a four race stretch in the #45 Dodge for Petty Enterprises, competed in this year’s Indianapolis 500 after a 13 year hiatus for Panther Racing and sponsor Camping World. He is, again, looking forward to coming back to Indy this season. IMS Radio coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard begins at 1:00pm/et.(Petty Racing PR)(7-24-2007)
Simpsons Scheme for Reutimann at Indy: David Reutimann will be carrying an up and coming movie star on his #00 Burger King Toyota at the Brickyard this week. On July 27, The Simpsons Movie will be released and Reutimann’s Nextel Cup Series entry for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature a customized Simpsons-themed paint scheme.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR), see my #00 Team Schemes page for an image.(7-24-2007)
New NASCAR-themed TV show: Leverage Sports has created a NASCAR-themed television show that examines life inside the garage and targets the hard-core race fan. “Three Wide Life” will undergo one phase of distribution in September for the fall season with a full launch scheduled for early 2008. Twenty-six episodes are scheduled for next year. [Ryan Kurek, Leverage’s CEO and founder] said he and [Leverage President Steve] Pruett began discussing the concept of a motorsports show nearly three years ago. They polled fans at NASCAR races about what would appeal to them in a TV show. Most said they wanted behind the scenes stories about the race cars and the people who work on them. The show’s setting usually will be a team’s shop, and will feature teams and individuals throughout all of NASCAR’s series.(Sports Business Journal)(7-24-2007)
Changes at the #36: Joe Lax has been tagged to lead the #36 360 OTC Bill Davis Racing team and driver Jeremy Mayfield after David Hyder left the team [to go back to the #49 BAM Racing team] following the event at Chicagoland Speedway. Lax previously served as a shock specialist at Bill Davis Racing. In addition, engineers Garth Finley and Dax Gerringer have swapped teams. Finley now works with the 360 OTC Racing team, and Gerringer has moved to the #22 Caterpillar Racing team. Brad Tunny will take over car chief duties from Mike Cooper, who will now stay back at the High Point, N.C., shop. Gary Grossenbacher will travel with the team this week and will serve as lead engineer for both BDR Cup teams. Lax and his wife Suzanne welcomed son Jacob Julius into their family Tuesday, July 17. Jacob weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Lax also has a 10-year-old daughter named Chelsea.(BDR PR)(7-24-2007)
Rusty Wallace to Sell Part of Busch Team; Move to Cup? Rusty Wallace announced last week he will expand his Busch Series operation to two teams in 2008. But what about Sprint Cup? Wallace said Monday he would like to field Sprint Cup Series teams. However, his contract with ESPN/ABC forbids that, given the conflict of interest involved in commenting races in which teams he owns compete. So he is contemplating the future sale of a majority stake in Rusty Wallace, Inc., he told ESPN.com Monday. Wallace said the move wouldn’t happen until 2009 at the earliest, and added that some current sponsors are among the interested parties in acquiring majority ownership.(ESPN.com)(7-24-2007)
Kennedy’s Plane Had Broken Control Cables: A twin-engine NASCAR plane had broken control cables and its crew reported smoke in the cockpit before crashing into a suburban neighborhood and killing five people. However, it was unknown whether the cables broke in flight or after impact, and the cause of the July 10 crash in Sanford remained unclear, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released Tuesday. Numerous separations in the cables in the right wing and forward fuselage of the Cessna 310 showed signs of tension overload, according to the report.(Associated Press), see earlier information about the crash on my Sad News Page.(7-24-2007)
Edwards Wrecks in Late Model Race: UPDATE 4: An accident during a late model race at I-80 Speedway near Lincoln, Nebraska sent #99-Carl Edwards to an Omaha area hospital Sunday night with what appear to be minor injuries. Edwards was racing as part of a ‘Carl Edwards’ promotion for the Speedway and was scheduled to appear with his brother Kenny and father Carl Sr. The accident happened while racing in the 25 lap Super Late Model ‘A’ main Feature on a restart after the event’s single caution only a few laps in. A car slowed in the front of the field sending another car into the backstretch wall. Edwards crashed into the second car setting off a melee that involved 11 of the 28 cars in the field. Edwards was able to walk from his car to his hauler where paramedics treated him. Shortly after he walked to an ambulance with an ice pack on his left hand. He was eventually taken by ambulance to a hospital in West Omaha for precautionary x-rays. Hospital officials, citing privacy concerns, refused to give details of Edward’s injuries but one person did say that there seemed to be no indications of any broken bones.(Cup Scene Daily)(7-23-2007) UPDATE: [Edwards] was involved in a third-lap collision and left I-80 Speedway in the back of an ambulance. One track official said there had been talk of someone in the collision having a broken bone, and Carl’s father, Carl Sr., said his son’s hand “looked broken.” Edwards started the 25-lap race on the inside of row eight and was making a charge into contention early when he hit the back of a car that had spun out and gotten into the wall along the backstretch. A 10-car pileup ensued and left Edwards’ car mangled. He walked to his trailer, where he received medical attention for nearly 20 minutes before emerging with a bag draped around his right hand. He gave the crowd one last wave before getting into the back of the ambulance. Younger brother Kenny Edwards said Carl had been transferred to Lakeside Hospital in Omaha and was awaiting results. Kenny said he thought it was a broken thumb, probably caused when it was caught in the steering wheel during the collision. Kenny Edwards suffered the same injury in the collision and was shaking hands with his left hand after the race but said it wasn’t as severe as his brothers.(Omaha World-Herald)(7-23-2007) UPDATE 2: Interviewed on Sirius Radio’sThe Morning Drive, Nick Rubek of the Omaha World-Herald said that Edwards has been diagnosed with a dislocated thumb.(7-23-2007) UPDATE 3: [Edwards] is not testing today at the Milwaukee Mile and will not test a Busch Series car Tuesday at Bristol Motor Speedway but likely will race this weekend in the Busch and Nextel Cup events in Indianapolis. The Roush Fenway Racing driver was having his right hand examined today by a specialist in Columbia, Mo., to determine if there were any injuries, according to the team.(SceneDaily.com)(7-23-2007) UPDATE 4: The early diagnosis for Edwards was a dislocated right thumb. Edwards also consulted a physician July 23rd in Columbia, Missouri, which confirmed the same.(Roush-Fenway PR)(7-24-2007)
DEI buying Ginn? UPDATE 3: hearing a deal could be announced in the next week or so, where Dale Earnhardt Inc. would buy into or outright Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing currently fields the #01-Mark Martin/Regan Smith, #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin teams.(7-16-2007) UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. [#s 1, 8, 15] and Ginn Racing [#s 01, 13, 14] are working on a merger agreement that, if finalized, would meld the two organizations into a single company, multiple sources close to negotiations told ESPN.com on Monday. The deal is not done, but a decision will be made soon. Both organizations hope, sources said, to firm up outstanding details and announce a partnership immediately. This deal is an elaborate proposition that entails several obstacles, including how best to reduce from six Nextel Cup teams to the maximum four. The obvious answer, sources said, would be to eliminate Ginn’s financially-strapped #13 and #14 teams.(ESPN.com)(7-16-2007) UPDATE 2: Tim Packman talked with Dave Moody on Sirius Speedway Tuesday afternoon and stated that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has entered into a meger/acquisition of Ginn Racing. Reportedly, the #14 team’s points will go to #15-Paul Menard and he will be locked into the field. #01-Mark Martin will drive at Indianapolis under the DEI banner, and the #13 team points will possibly be sold to Furniture Row Racing and #78-Kenny Wallace to lock him into the field. It is unknown what will happen to Regan Smith, who was scheduled to drive the #14 this weekend.(7-24-2007) UPDATE 3: ESPN’s David Newton reported on NASCAR Now Tuesday that #01-Mark Martin, #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr, and #15-Paul Menard will drive for DEI this weekend at the Brickyard. Menard will be locked into the race using the #14 team’s points. Ginn Racing CEO Jay Frye will stay with DEI. DEI will move it’s motorsports operations to the Ginn facilities in Mooresville, NC. A determination has not been made on Regan Smith’s future with the team. An announcment should come sometime Wednesday.(7-24-2007)
#78 to get #13 owners points? UPDATE: hearing the #78 Furniture Row Racing team will ‘buy’ the owners points of the #13 Ginn Racing team unless a sponsorship deal can be put together for the #13 team to run at Indy. A deal could be announced for the owners pts early this week. Joe Nemechek was driving the #13 Chevy for Ginn Racing and was recently told he was free to look for another ride by Ginn Racing. Kenny Wallace drives the #78 Chevy for Furniture Row Racing. The #78 is 43rd in owners pts and out of a guaranteed starting spot; the #13 is 34th in owners pts and has a guaranteed spot in the starting lineup.(7-24-2007) UPDATE: Ginn Racing hopes to have a decision on the future of the #13 car before Friday’s Nextel Cup qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. The financially strapped organization has been in discussions with Dale Earnhardt Inc. about possibly selling the #13 team for its owner’s points or merging with the company formed by the late Dale Earnhardt. There have also been discussions with selling the points to the #78 car of Kenny Wallace in time for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis. The Barney Visser-owned team is 42nd in points and has made only nine races this season. Ginn could also race the car with Joe Nemechek if a sponsor can be lined up at the last minute for the high-profile race. But sources said it is clear the car, 34th in owner’s points and comfortably inside the top 35 guaranteed a spot in each race with a 244-point lead over 36th, will not be idle this weekend.(ESPN.com)(7-24-2007)
News from July 23, 2007
ESPN Networks To Have 66 hours of NASCAR Programming This Week: As Nextel Cup racing returns to ESPN this weekend with coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ESPN networks will have 66 hours of programming this week to commemorate the first Cup race coverage on ESPN since 2000.
Highlighting NASCAR programming this week will be two live NASCAR races, the Nextel Cup event from IMS on ESPN and the Busch Series race from O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis on ESPN2, as well as practice and qualifying coverage from both on ESPN2. In addition, ESPN’s daily news and information show, NASCAR Now, will expand to an hour for three days this week and will air Monday through Thursday on both ESPN and ESPN2.
ESPN will air a series of new NASCAR historical documentaries in prime time every night this week. The ESPN Ultimate NASCAR series will be repeated on ESPN Classic, along with replays of the award-winning SportsCentury series featuring profiles of Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.(ESPN PR)(7-23-2007)
Changes to Top-35 Rule Analyzed: Amid growing unrest among team owners on the wrong side of NASCAR’s rule guaranteeing the top 35 teams spots in each Nextel Cup field, a Charlotte Observer analysis of several potential alterations leads to the same conclusion. In the first 10 races this season, traditional qualifying was held eight times. The exceptions were the Daytona 500, which has its own procedure, and at Texas, where qualifying was rained out. For the eight races in which traditional qualifying was held, 8.1% of the cars making the fields would have changed if NASCAR had allowed in the fastest 43. Only 7.6% would have differed if the top 12 teams were exempt, and it would’ve been only 6.4% if the top 25 were exempt. If NASCAR were using its old format, with 36 cars qualifying on speed and seven provisionals, there would have been a 3.5% difference. If the rules had been different early this year, #55-Michael Waltrip would have had the most to gain under virtually any scenario. He missed all eight races analyzed would have made five of those with no exemptions, 12 exemptions or 25 exemptions. At the same time, those tweaks would have knocked Kyle Petty and Robby Gordon out of as many as four races they made, depending on which change had been employed.(Charlotte Observer)(7-23-2007)
Marlin may cut back to part-time in 2008 UPDATE 2: #14- Sterling Marlin has had talks with Ginn Racing about cutting back to a part-time schedule next season. Marlin’s contract expires after this season.(Roanoke Times)(6-20-2007) UPDATE: hearing that Marlin will go to Furniture Row Motorsports and run a 2nd team part-time in 2008, Kenny Wallace is the full time driver in the #78 Chevy. Regan Smith would replace Marlin in the #14 Chevy at Ginn Racing.(6-25- 2007) UPDATE 2: [Kenny] Wallace said he has discussed Marlin driving a second car in 2008 for Furniture Row, provided a sponsor can be secured.(Crossville Chronicle)(7-23-2007)
ESPN’s 17 Multimedia Platforms Deliver Unprecedented Nextel Cup Coverage: ESPN will provide extensive multimedia coverage of the final 17 races of the Nextel Cup Series season, beginning with the July 29 running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The telecast, which begins at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, July 29, will be in high definition on ESPN. Dr. Jerry Punch will call the race with analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree and pit reporters Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. Brent Musburger will host the telecast, and Suzy Kolber will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show with analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center.
Of the 17 races, the first six will be televised on ESPN, with the final 11 televised by ESPN on ABC. All races in the Chase for the Nextel Cup will be on ABC, marking the first time since NASCAR instituted the Chase format that all 10 races will be on the same network. Practice and qualifying from 13 of the races will be televised on ESPN2.
Nextel Cup coverage will be available on 17 ESPN platforms, including ABC, ABC HD, ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPNDeportes.com, ESPN International, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile Properties and ESPN The Magazine.(ESPN PR)(7-23-2007)
News from July 22, 2007
Chevy Dominates First Half of Season: Chevy teams have dominated the opening segment of the Nextel Cup Series, winning 15 of the 19 races heading into the final break of the year. With seven races to go before the Chase For The Nextel Cup, 10 of the 12 drivers in the field at this point are driving Chevys. The manufacturer has been as dominant in the car of tomorrow as in the so-called traditional car, winning seven of eight COT races and eight of 11 in the current car. That’s a winning percentage of 79%.(SceneDaily.com)(7-22-2007)
NASCAR Says Competition Better than Ever: Present-day Nextel Cup Series races offer closer competition than anytime in history, NASCAR says. Taking into account such statistics as cars on the lead lap and average leaders per race, racing since 1970 has become more competitive and more unpredictable than ever: Cars on the lead lap: In 1970, 22 of the 48 races had only one car on the lead lap at the end of the race. Not since 1994 has a race ended with one car on the lead lap. In the early 1970s, it was common for a race-winner to have a margin of victory of multiple laps. In 1973 at Darlington, for example, David Pearson finished 13 laps ahead of second-place finisher Benny Parsons. Since 1970, the race winner was the only car on the lead lap 128 times. From the years 1970 to 1979, it happened 110 times. In the ’80s, 16 times. In the ’90s, only twice; and since 1995, it has not happened at all.
The percentage of cars on the lead lap has grown – and in some cases doubled. In the 48 races held in 1970, only 5.5 percent of the cars that started the race finished on the lead lap. That number has steadily grown. In 2006 it was 43.6%. More Race Winners: In 1970, 18 races were won by one driver. In 1971, one driver won 21 races. Since 2000, no driver has won more than eight races in a season. Through 19 races this year, 13 different drivers have visited Victory Lane. In 1970, there were 12 different race-winners the entire season – and that year featured 48 races on the schedule. 2001 – with 19 different race winners – was NASCAR’s most prolific year in terms of parity since 1970. More Leaders: The number of leaders per race has seen steady growth since 1970. In 1970 a race averaged four different leaders. That number has been at least 10 for the past three full seasons and currently the average for the 2007 season is 11.(NASCAR PR)(7-22-2007)
News from July 21, 2007
The Latest on Hornish to NASCAR:Sam Hornish Jr. [is] taking a long, hard look at what he wants to do next and whether it includes a risky jump to NASCAR. “It’s safe to say that the challenge of it intrigues me,” Hornish said in the midst of preparations for this week’s Honda 200. After eight years in IRL, he’s itching for something new. Despite his IRL success, Hornish makes no secret of the fact that he’s restless. His agreement with Penske Racing allows him to try some different things. He’s driving in several Busch Series events and is testing himself in other ways. “That’s one of the great things about this deal I have with Roger right now is that we have an opportunity to go either way,” Hornish said. “The best part is that I don’t have to make a decision today or tomorrow. We started off this year knowing that we were going to do 11 to 14 stock-car events, run the whole IndyCar schedule, run the 24 Hours of Daytona, have a whole bunch of different kind of racing thrown in there. We’re going to continue to work on that plan. We’ll sit down at the end of the year when that’s all over with and make a decision on what we’re going to do.”(Associated Press) AND: Hornish refuted the prevailing rumor that he already has made up his mind and that owner Roger Penske will add a third car to his NASCAR team next year for Hornish. “I’d say where I’m at right now, the scales are 50-50,” said Hornish. “I haven’t made any decision; the team hasn’t made a decision.”(Columbus Dispatch)(7-21-2007)
SPEED to Broadcast Night of NASCAR Stars special: SPEED is set to present the Night of NASCAR Stars special from Macon (Ill.) Speedway on July 22 at 8 p.m., ET, a 25-lap dirt late model race benefiting Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. Steve Byrnes delivers the play-by-play, while Clint Bowyer provides the color. Ken Schrader, Marcus Ambrose, Jason Leffler, Stephen Leicht, Mike Wallace, Steve Wallace, J.J. Yeley, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Dave Reutimann, Ray Evernham and USAC sprint car shoe Aaron Pierce each went back to their roots to engage in this on-track battle.(SPEED TV PR)(7-21-2007)
News from July 20, 2007
Elvis, Reese’s & Harvick at Indy: #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to run a Elvis-themed #29 Chevy that will introduce Reese’s Peanut Butter & Banana Creme Cups featuring Elvis Presley and the Reese’s “Live Like The King” promotion. The Collector Edition Reese’s include a thin layer of banana creme, a flavor combination made famous by Elvis’ love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Look for an announcement at Indy on July 28th.(7-20-2007)
Racing for a Miracle Program with Riggs at the Brickyard: A victory for #10-Scott Riggs in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard would mean a $500,000 donation to Children’s Miracle Network by his sponsor Stanley Tools. The incentive is part of the “Racing for a Miracle” program that has been created by Stanley Tools, together with Ace Hardware, and Children’s Miracle Network. Racing for a Miracle is a multi-dimensional program that benefits sick and injured kids as well as the hospitals that provide their care. After Riggs uses a specially-painted helmet during the Indy race, it will be auctioned and the funds will be added to a $10,000 donation from Stanley Tools to the Ace Hardware Foundation which directly benefits Children’s Miracle Network. The program culminates at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard that Sunday, as Scott Riggs’ # 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge will carry a new look on their car. The logos of Children’s Miracle Network and Ace Hardware will adorn the TV panel.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(7-20-2007)
Race for Books sucessful at Chicago: Thanks to the silver tongues of readers in Naperville, Ill., Chicago-area children in need will receive 10,000 new books from First Book and Cheerios. The readers participated in a First Book Speed Read on Saturday, held at the Jewel-Osco in Naperville, and hosted by Donna Labonte, wife of #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driver Bobby Labonte. The speed readers read a total of 1,423 words during the event. First Book and Cheerios will make an extra donation of new books for local children for a total of 10,000 books. The First Book Speed Read, created by First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides brand new books to children from low-income families, is an interactive and entertaining event that helps raise awareness about the importance of books and reading in children’s lives. Participants “speed read” as many words as possible aloud from a children’s book in just 15 seconds. During Saturday’s event, the winning ‘speed reader’, Jaleesa Parks, from Chicago (Ill.), read an astonishing 83 words from the children’s book Wiggle by Doreen Cronin. While Donna Labonte helped raise books for kids off the track, her husband Bobby helped raise books for kids on the track through the Race for Books. Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories and First Book are donating 43 books to disadvantaged children for every lap completed by Bobby Labonte in the #43 Cheerios Dodge during the 2007 racing season. Labonte completed 266 laps on Sunday, generating an additional donation of more than 11,000 books for children in the region. So far this season, Labonte’s efforts on the track have resulted in more than 228,000 books for children in need nationwide.(Petty Racing/Cheerios PR)(7-20-2007)
Kyle Petty Charity Ride Passes DIS: Amid police escorts and the roar of thousands of horsepower – the Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America rolled past Daytona International Speedway on Friday morning. A handful of race fans lined International Speedway Blvd. as a group of more than 100 motorcycles rode past “The World Center of Racing” and The Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction on the final day of the seven-day, 2,800 mile journey. The ride kicked off on Saturday, July 14 in Bar Harbor, Maine and concludes on Friday night at the Seminole Hard & Rock Casino in Hollywood, Fla.(Daytona Speedway PR), for more info, see my Racing Charities page.(7-20-2007)
Lauletta Joins Chip Ganassi Racing as President: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. announced that Steve “Jake” Lauletta has been named president of the organization. Lauletta will oversee all aspects of the Chip Ganassi Racing’s business and marketing operations including both its Concord and Indianapolis facilities. Lauletta was formerly the president of Radiate Sports, the sports marketing division of Omnicom’s The Radiate Group. Prior to Radiate, Lauletta enjoyed a successful 11-year career at Miller Brewing Company. He served in a variety of marketing leadership positions with Miller, most recently as director of sports and event marketing.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(7-20-2007)
News from July 19, 2007
Marlin to Morgan-McClure? DENIED: Sterling Marlin may not be without a Nextel Cup ride for long. Late Tuesday a team source at Morgan-McClure Racing which currently fields the #4 Chevy with veteran Ward Burton said that officials there are in discussions with Marlin for a possible second team.(Cup Scene Daily)(7-18-2007) UPDATE: Morgan McClure team owner Larry McClure told Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite Radio that the rumor is absolutely not true.
McClure: “I know nothing about it. I have talked to no one. I have not talked to Sterling in a year and I have not talked to any of his people.”
CBL: By no stretch of the imagination would anyone think that Sterling Marlin is going to go work for you.
McClure: “No mam.”(XM Radio)(7-19-2007)
Schrader back to the #49? UPDATE 3: hearing the Ken Schrader could drive the #49 BAM Racing Dodge at Indianapolis and may drive a few more races for the team. Schrader is under contract to the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team, but Bill Elliott is currently driving the car to try to get it in the top-35 of owners points, currently 36th, 225pts out of the top-35. Elliott has a past champions provisional to use so the car is safely in the races with the exception of Watkins Glen, where Terry Labonte is driving the #55 Toyota for MWR and would get the champ provisional if needed.(7-16-2007) UPDATE: BAM Racing has announced that former crew chief David Hyder will return to the fold this week, reuniting with former driver Kenny Schrader. Schrader has been on the Nextel Cup sidelines since being replaced in the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford by Bill Elliott a few weeks ago. He will reunite with Hyder at BAM, beginning at the Brickyard 400 in two weeks.(Motorsports Soapbox)(7-18-2007) UPDATE 2: been told by BAM Racing that Ken Schrader is not confirmed to drive any races for the #49 at this point and the team is currently talking to several different drivers and plans to make an announcement for Indy and beyond next week.(7-19-2007) UPDATE 3: BAM Racing announced the return of Dean Johnson and David Hyder. Johnson assumes the role of crew chief and Hyder will serve as suspension specialist. Driver Mike Bliss will return to the BAM Racing organization on a full-time basis beginning at Pocono Raceway. Ken Schrader, currently a driver for Wood Brothers Racing, will drive the #49 Dodge in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis.(BAM Racing PR)(7-19-2007)
PJ Jones Back in the #00 at Watkins Glen? Hearing that PJ Jones has been again picked to replace David Reutimann behind the wheel of the #00 Toyota in Watkins Glen.(7-19-2007)
Yeley’s Fate for 2008 Still Undetermined: [Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D.] Gibbs said the team wouldn’t add a fourth car “until it made sense”. Though Gibbs said it was his hope the inconsistent J.J. Yeley would perform well enough to return to the #18 program next season, he “wouldn’t say definitely,” that would be the case.(St. Peterburg Times)(7-19-2007)
Gibbs Didn’t Have Sure Deal for Almirola: Joe Gibbs Racing wasn’t certain it could find sponsorship to run Aric Almirola full time in the Busch Series next year and didn’t see him as an immediate candidate for a Nextel Cup ride if one of its cars became available. That’s why the team allowed Almirola to leave for Ginn Racing, JGR president J.D. Gibbs said Wednesday.(Tampa Tribune)(7-19-2007)
Bobby Ginn Talks About Team Changes: Wednesday on “The Driver’s Seat,” on Sirius NASCAR Radio Ginn Racing owner Bobby Ginn talked about the reasons behind the shakeup involving his #13 and #14 race teams. Some quotes:
Because I was running the car with our name on it I think the world thought that we had third party sponsors. And so I had to make a decision…to let the world know by running two black cars that we still had inventory available, we had space available. So that started and it helped. We’ve had a lot more activity and a lot more urgency put into that since we did that than we had up to that point. There’s a lot of activity out there and a lot going on right now so we’re scrambling like we should be to try to fill up that inventory. Why the driver change on the #14? “Regan [Smith] was doing great in the Busch car. He had done pretty well in the Cup and so I talked with Mark [Martin] and Jay [Frye] and Mark was convinced that he was ready to run a full-time schedule so if I’ve got to run a car with no sponsorship on it I may as well be trying to get my young driver seat time.” Status of the #13 car: “First of all, I’m not going to speculate on what’s going to happen. Things are happening so fast right now that we are preserving every option we have. I don’t intend for that car to sit still. It’s got value to me or to someone but we right now -and this is not dodging [the question] – we have not made a decision as to what we’re going to do. As Joe said, both Joe and Sterling are both still under contract. I have sponsors sitting in my office right now and so we are still working on trying to sponsor it. (Sirius Radio) (7-19-2007), more of the interview can be read at Thats Racin.
McGlynn Racing up for auction: been told that McGlynn Racing is scheduled to have their #74 Nextel Cup Team up for auction at Sentman Auctions in Mooresville, NC on Friday July 20th through Monday July 23rd. Information is available at sentmanauctions.com.(7-19-2007)
Kenseth, Labonte Win Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Voting: Fan voting closed this past weekend for 2007 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 6 during Talladega Superspeedway’s upcoming UAW-Ford 500 weekend, two new names will be added to this prestigious list: Matt Kenseth and Terry Labonte. 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.(Talladega Superspeedway)(7-19-2007)
Just Marketing to handle sponsorships for Hall of Fame: Motorsports agency Just Marketing International, Indianapolis, has been selected to handle sponsorship sales for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The hall, which is expected to open in Charlotte, N.C., by the spring 2010, received initial proposals from 17 agencies. Seven were selected as finalists. Just Marketing will sell sponsorships, but other agencies could be involved in other aspects of marketing the hall. [The hall’s executive director, Winston] Kelley has said he hopes to find ways to work with many of the agencies that were finalists, which included the Radiate Group, Sports & Properties Inc., Sullivan Worldwide Marketing, Velocity Sports & Entertainment, Victory Management Group and Wasserman Media Group.(SceneDaily.com)(7-19-2007)
News from July 18, 2007
Joe Nemechek’s View on Changes at Ginn: Joe Nemcheck spoke about the change at Ginn this morning on “The Morning Drive,” on SIRIUS Radio, with hosts Pat Patterson and David Poole:
On his release: “It’s very disappointing but part of the business is it takes a lot of dollars to make these Cup teams go ’round and it seems like it never stops. We’ve been seeking sponsorships for a long period of time and we’ve actually got a lot of things going right now so you never know. If one of these deals hits you never know what’s going to happen.”
“I don’t think that Bobby and Jay ever thought it was going to be that hard to find sponsors. It says a lot for the people who are working at Ginn and we’ve been able to accomplish a lot and to see it all kind of stop and go away, whatever may happen with the points, it’s just disappointing.”
“We’ve got a lot of sponsorship deals in the works. I think we’re getting really close to getting my Busch operation back up and running. Hopefully, heck, I’d like to run a limited schedule. We haven’t been able to do that the last couple of years just because of not being able to find funds. I think we’re getting close to that. There’s a lot of good Cup rides out there. There’s a lot of stuff going on.”(Sirius PR)(7-18-2007)
Terry Labonte in the #55 at Indy? UPDATE 2: hearing that two time Cup Champ, Terry Labonte, will drive the #55 NAPA Toyota in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis instead of owner and regular driver Michael Waltrip. Labonte drove the #55 at Infineon Raceway and is scheduled to run it at Watkins Glen. Labonte brings the past champions provisional to use and since he last won the championship in 1996, he would get the first shot to use it, if needed, over Bill Elliott in the #21 Wood Brothers Ford. Elliott last won the championship in 1988. #44-Dale Jarrett has used his allotment  of champions provisional’s this year and cannot use any more [this doesn’t count when qualifying is cancelled]. The #55 and #21 teams are both out of the Top-35 in owners pts and the guaranteed spot and have to qualify their way in the race.(7-17-2007) UPDATE: confirmed Terry Labonte will drive the #55 at Indy. Also, Terry’s son, Justin, will drive for Waltrip in the Truck Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park.(7-18-2007) UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Terry Labonte will once again, step into the #55 NAPA Toyota for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(MWR PR)(7-18-2007)
Ginn Announces Changes: MORE: Emphasizing an eye on the future along with solidifying the foundation of its Nextel Cup program, Ginn Racing announced the following transactions.
* Aric Almirola has signed with Ginn Racing. He will become Mark Martin’s co-driver in the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet for the remainder of the 2007 season and will also share the ride with Martin in 2008. His first race in the #01 will be Aug. 12 at the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. As part of his contractual obligations, Almirola will compete in five remaining Busch races for JGR this season.
* Regan Smith will assume full-time driving duties in the team’s #14 Chevy, beginning with the Nextel Cup race July 29 in Indianapolis. Smith replaces Sterling Marlin.
* Due to a lack of sponsorship, the #13 Ginn Racing team is currently being evaluated. Joe Nemechek, who drove the #13, has been released and is free to explore other opportunities.(Ginn Racing PR), for earlier information on the changes at Ginn, see my #01 Team Page.(7-17-2007) UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has granted Aric Almirola his release, allowing the development driver to compete for Ginn Racing in select Nextel Cup and Busch Series races this year. Almirola will still compete for JGR in the five remaining Busch Series races that were a part of his original 2007 racing schedule. In 2008, Almirola’s entire racing slate will come via Ginn Racing.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(7-18-2007)
New team to debut at Indy with Andretti: a new team, E&M Motorsports, plans to debut and attempt the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the #08 Dodge is scheduled to run in the Nextel Cup Series for a limited number of races remaining in the 2007 schedule and a full schedule in 2008. E&M Motorsports is owned by NASCAR veteran John Carter [formerly owner of the #37 RJ Racing team] and is based in Toccoa, Georgia. The #08 car — a Dodge — will be take the track at Indy for the Allstate 400 this month with John Andretti driving and are currently seeking primary sponsors for the ’08 car — now and in 2008.(Race Week Media/08team.com PR)(7-18-2007)
Sadler back with M&M’s? UPDATE: As far as Elliott Sadler’s #19 car, the leading candidate is candymaker M&M’s, which currently sponsors David Gilliland and the #38 Robert Yates Racing Ford, a car Sadler used to drive. Sadler was exceptionally popular with M&M’s when he drove for Yates and sources said the company would love to work with the affable Virginia native again.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-16-2007) UPDATE: Ray Evernham told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Tuesday that there was no truth to the rumor that M&Ms will sponsor Elliott Sadler’s #19 Dodge next season. “Absolutely not,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from, but it’s not true.”(7-18-2007)
Sterling Marlin Comments on His Release: Sterling Marlin spoke about his release Tuesday afternoon on “Sirius Speedway” with host Dave Moody:
Marlin: “I was planning on cutting back next year but still would have liked to finish the year out like you’re supposed to and do everything that was in the contract that we’re supposed to do and we just don’t look like we’re gonna do it.”
Moody: “What’s next for you? Do you go out there and beat the bushes for another ride or not?”
Marlin: “No. No. I mean, I’ve had some guys call already and we’ve just got to get this contract worked out. Like I said, I’ve got a contract with them. We’ve just got to come together and see what we’re gonna do. Let the lawyers handle it and if I want to run somebody’s car next year I can run somebody’s car [for] 15-20 races next year. Or, somebody’s Busch car. I still enjoy racing, still enjoy it a lot. The travel part of it is getting old but as far as firing a car up on Sunday, there’s nothing like it. We’ll see what happens. I’ve got a ton of things going on around here but it’s still fun to race, too.” (Sirius Radio)(7-18-2007)
News from July 17, 2007
Busch to RCR? UPDATE 2: hearing Kyle Busch has been in talks with Richard Childress Racing about driving in the Busch Series in 2008 [whatever the series ends up being named], which probably means RCR would be the front runner for Busch in a Cup Series ride.(7-10-2007) UPDATE: hearing Kyle Busch will sign with Dale Earnhardt Inc to run for them in 2008, the deal could be announced at Indianapolis next week.(7-16-2007) UPDATE 2: on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, it was reported that Jeff Dickerson, agent for Kyle Busch, said Busch is not close to signing a deal and nothing will be announced at Indy.(7-17-2007)
Wii scheme on the #16 at two races: For two Nextel Cup races, #16-Greg Biffle will run a special Nintendo Wii paint scheme for the #16 Ford at Watkins Glen in August and Dover in September. See an image of the scheme on my #16 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2007) UPDATE: Greg Biffle will debut a Nintendo Wii-themed Ford at Watkins Glen in August and then provide an encore performance at Dover in September. Nintendo’s partnership with Roush Fenway Racing is the company’s first endeavor with NASCAR.(Roush Fenway PR)(7-17-2007)
Drivers Have Different Plans for Off Week: The last open weekend on the Nextel Cup schedule until Thanksgiving means different things to different drivers as they gear up for a stretch of 17 races without a break starting July 29 in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Jeff Gordon is going to pack up his family car for a short road trip with wife Ingrid and month-old daughter Ella Sofia. Jimmie Johnson and wife Chandra are flying to Europe. Kyle Petty is getting on a motorcycle to join his annual charity ride. Elliott Sadler is heading to the golf course. And several drivers will be driving, either in a Busch Series race in suburban St. Louis or, in Tony Stewart’s case, at a time and place still to be determined.(Indianapolis Star)(7-17-2007) AND: Tony Steweart says he is going to Canada to go fishing for his vacation this weekend. See my Driver Appearances page for more on some drivers running races(7-17-2007)
More on Changes at Ginn; Regan Smith to Drive in Place of Marlin or Nemechek? UPDATE 2: Ginn Racing laid off an unspecified number of employees as part of its re-evaluation process and has “hibernated” its Busch Series team as the company attempts to shore up its direction, Ginn Racing Chief Executive Officer Jay Frye said Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. Frye acknowledged there were recent layoffs at the company and said the Busch team would not enter any events in the near future. He also hinted that part of the evaluation process could include getting rookie Regan Smith some more seat time in a Nextel Cup car this season, which would mean bumping either Sterling Marlin or Joe Nemechek from their current full-time rides. Frye said the team wants to start getting ready for next year and look to the future – which may or may not include a cutback from three to two Cup teams. He said selling off the owner points for one of the teams has not been discussed. Smith will drive a Cup car full-time in either the #13 or #14 next season, meaning either Nemechek or Marlin – both of whom have contracts that expire after this year – will not return. If the organization cuts back to two teams, neither would return. Frye indicated the evaluation process could result in a change sooner than later – possibly as soon as the next Cup race at Indianapolis. If Smith were to take over for either Nemechek or the 50-year-old Marlin, he would have to do so on a part-time basis, given that he still has commitments to split the #01 car with Martin this season. (SceneDaily.com), see earlier information on my #14 team page.(7-16-2007) UPDATE: Marty Snider reported on Sirius’ The Morning Drive that he had talked to #13-Joe Nemechek Tuesday morning and additional information on the situation at Ginn Racing should be announce later today. David Poole reports that his source says #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin will not run at Indy. (7-17-2007) UPDATE 2: Regan Smith will replace Sterling Marlin in the #14 Chevy at Ginn Racing, starting with the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis, sources confirmed Tuesday. And Joe Nemechek could be out of a ride in the #13 Chevy for Bobby Ginn’s team due to a lack of sponsorship. The team doesn’t plan to run the car at Indianapolis unless a sponsor is found. Because the Allstate 400 is one of the biggest Nextel Cup events of the season, it’s possible to get a one-off sponsor deal just for that race. If that happens, Ginn officials would race Nemechek in the #13. Marlin and Nemechek still are under contract at Ginn, but both drivers have been told they are free to look for opportunities elsewhere.(ESPN.com)(7-17-2007)
Almirola to Ginn in 2008? UPDATE 3: Hearing Aric Almirola, who was credited with the Milwaukee Busch Series race win Saturday night, will join Ginn Racing in 2008 as a protege to #01-Mark Martin. Supposedly the plan is for Almirola to run part-time Cup, Busch and Trucks in 2008 and take over the #01 Chevy full-time in 2009.(6-25-2007) UPDATE – denied: Though he still is “not happy” about being pulled for Nextel Cup star Denny Hamlin during Saturday’s Busch Series race at Milwaukee, Tampa’s Aric Almirola said Wednesday he isn’t frustrated at Joe Gibbs Racing and has no plans to leave the team. He said there is no truth to a rumor that appeared on ESPN-owned Web site Jayski.com saying he is headed to Ginn Racing next year and will race the #01 Chevrolet full time in Nextel Cup in 2009. “I’m under contract at JGR,” Almirola, 23, said on a national conference call. “I have a long history with them. I’ve been there since I was 18 years old. I started racing late models with them, and they’ve become like family to me. I see our relationship growing.” Almirola is scheduled to run six more Busch races, including the July 6 event at Daytona, and he said one race may be added. He is competing in the Craftsman Truck Series race this weekend at Memphis and will enter a couple of Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow races this year with JGR’s research and development team. He reiterated Wednesday that he hopes to race full time in at least the Busch Series next year.(Tampa Tribune)(6-28-2007) UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Aric Almirola will join Ginn Racing next season, sharing the #01 US Army Chevy with veteran Mark Martin. Almirola is currently under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, but will reportedly replace Regan Smith in the #01 car in 2008, when Smith moves to full-time Nextel Cup status with Ginn.(Motorsports Soapbox)(7-16-2007) UPDATE 3: The original post at Motorsports Soapbox has been updated to include the following: Aric Almirola has requested a release from Joe Gibbs Racing, and will move within the next few days to a new position with Ginn Racing, sharing the #01 US Army Chevy with veteran Mark Martin.(Motorsports Soapbox)(7-17-2007)
News from July 16, 2007
DEI buying Ginn? UPDATE 2: hearing a deal could be announced in the next week or so, where Dale Earnhardt Inc. would buy into or outright Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing currently fields the #01-Mark Martin/Regan Smith, #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin teams.(7-16-2007) UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. [#s 1, 8, 15] and Ginn Racing [#s 01, 13, 14] are working on a merger agreement that, if finalized, would meld the two organizations into a single company, multiple sources close to negotiations told ESPN.com on Monday. The deal is not done, but a decision will be made soon. Both organizations hope, sources said, to firm up outstanding details and announce a partnership immediately. This deal is an elaborate proposition that entails several obstacles, including how best to reduce from six Nextel Cup teams to the maximum four. The obvious answer, sources said, would be to eliminate Ginn’s financially-strapped #13 and #14 teams.(ESPN.com)(7-16-2007)
Kyle Busch out of the #5? this week? DENIEDAutoRacingSport.com has learned from several sources that Hendrick Motorsports is considering letting Kyle Busch out of his contract with the team as early as Monday. NOTE: hard to believe the sponsors [Kelloggs/Carquest] would agree to let a driver who is 9th in the Chase, to be released and seems doubtful such a thing would happen.(7-16-2007) HOWEVER: Still unhappy After criticizing his teammates for not providing help at Daytona International Speedway last week, #5-Kyle Busch expressed displeasure with Hendrick Motorsports again this weekend. The 22-year-old, who is being replaced by Dale Earnhardt Jr. after this season, said he felt alienated during team meetings and questioned strategy after giving up the lead on a pit stop late in Saturday’s Busch race. Team owner Rick Hendrick said the team intends to keep Busch in the #5 Chevrolet through the end of the season but is perplexed by the driver’s dissatisfaction. “It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Hendrick said. “We’re working as hard as we can.”(USA Today)(7-16-2007) UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports has confirmed that the rumor is false.(HMS)(7-16-2007)
Evernham/Gillett deal could close this week: Team owner [#9,#10,#19] Ray Evernham’s partnership agreement with [NHL Montral Canadian’s owner] George Gillett, Jr., is expected to close next week, said a source familiar with the deal. And a whole host of sponsor possibilities are in play on the Evernham Motorsports Nextel Cup cars of #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Elliott Sadler, according to multiple sources. Evernham would neither confirm nor deny the merger timetable Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway, saying only, “We’re working towards closing the deal.” With the sale of Chrysler Group to investment-banking firm Cerberus Capital Partners pending, it would make sense that Evernham Motorsports would seek additional sponsorship for its Nextel Cup operations. Cerberus, an investor known for sharp cost-cutting of the companies it acquires, may be willing to relinquish sponsorship rights to the two Evernham cars next season, something Dodge was unwilling to do last year when a major sponsor approached Evernham about becoming Kahne’s primary sponsor, a deal that ultimately was rejected by the automaker. Evernham said Sunday he has a contract with Dodge through 2010 and confirmed he is one of a half-dozen teams who have talked with Budweiser about taking over the brewing company’s sponsorship deal in 2008, now that Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are out of the running. There are other options for Kahne beyond Budweiser. Fast-food giant McDonald’s, who already has a minor associate position on the #9 of Kahne, could step up to become primary of Kahne’s car, as the company is looking towards re-establishing its presence in NASCAR, sources said Sunday. Another sponsor said to be looking closely at Kahne’s car is Coca-Cola, which in May agreed to buy Vitamin Water maker Glaceau for $4.1 billion in cash. Kahne is a national pitchman for Vitamin Water and an integral part of its marketing campaign. Kahne said he’s OK with however the sponsorship situation shakes out. “Myself, I’m with Ray Evernham for 2008 and whatever he decides to do that’s a good deal. I’m behind him,” Kahne said Friday.(SPEEDtv.com) AND: Evernham said he’s also talked to other sponsors — sources said Allstate is one — about being on Kahne’s car and reiterated that Budweiser is talking to other teams. Among Budweiser’s options is staying at Dale Earnhart Inc., where it has been since 2000.(ESPN.com)(7-16-2007)
Race and Commercial Breakdown of the USG Sheetrock 400:
Total number of commercials: 130
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 79
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
Start time to record race/commercial periods 07/15/07: 4:00pm
End time to record race/commercial periods 07/15/07: 7:17pm
Total minutes: 197
Minutes of race broadcast: 140
Minutes of commercials: 57
Total race brdcst time: 140 min. Total comm. brdcst time: 57
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(7-16-2007)
News from July 15, 2007
Top-35 in Owners Points and a guaranteed starting spot at Indianapolis are set:
no team dropped out of the 35 or got into it, the spread between 35th and 36th has now expanded to 225 points
the following drivers/teams are in the top-35 in owners points:
32) #66-Green/Haas 1,584, +281
33) #45-Petty/Petty 1,567, +265
34) #13-Nemechek/Ginn 1,547, +244
35) #70-Sauter/Haas 1,528, 225 pts ahead of 36th these teams and drivers must qualify by speed:
36) #21-Elliot/Wood Bros 1,303, -225
37) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 1,296, -232
38) #10-Riggs/Evernham 1,236, -292
See Owners/Drivers Points standings page for full rundown.(7-15-2007)
New York Investor still looking at teams after RYR turns them down: Now that Robert Yates Racing has formally turned down New York investment banking firm Medallion Financial Corp.’s offer to buy into the team, Medallion is looking for one or more other Cup teams to align with, multiple sources in the Nextel Cup garage have confirmed. Medallion is the leading financier of taxicab medallions in New York City, which sell for about $225,000 apiece in today’s market. Three other investment-banking firms, one each in New York, Dallas and Southern California are also looking at NASCAR possibilites.(Ford Racing)(7-15-2007)
Nemechek’s Plans for 2008 Uncertain: With his contract with Ginn Racing set to expire at the end of this season and nothing in place for 2008, #13-Joe Nemechek says he could soon consider himself a free agent. “If I’m not [a free agent], time’s getting pretty close,” he said Saturday. “But I’d love to stay right where I’m at. We’ve got a great group of people over there. We’ve just had a tough year.” Nemechek, who turns 44 in September, said he has no “plan B” in place in case his situation doesn’t work out at Ginn. He wants to remain in Nextel Cup, is searching for sponsors for his dormant NEMCO Motorsports Busch Series team and would like to run more Craftsman Truck Series races.(Tampa Tribune)(7-15-2007)
Kyle Petty Charity Ride Gets Underway: The annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America rolled off Saturday from Bar Harbor, Maine, to begin a 2,800 trek toward Hollywood, Fla. The annual charity event is going north to south for the first time this year after crossing the nation from west to east in its 12 previous editions. The riders will visit the Victory Junction Gang Camp on Wednesday, arriving around 1 p.m. From there, it’s on to Augusta, Ga., and St. Augustine, Fla., before ending Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Fans can keep up with the more than 275 participants’ progress at chick-fil-akylepettycharityride.com. The ride has raised more than $9 million in its history.(That’s Racin)(7-15-2007)
Kyle Busch Still Frustrated with Teammates: A week ago at Daytona, lame-duck Hendrick Motorsports driver #5-Kyle Busch complained his teammates weren’t doing enough to help him win. Friday at Chicagoland Speedway, Busch made it clear he won’t be doing anything for them in the future, either. “I’m not helping anybody but myself and this team for winning races,” Busch said. “And I’m not helping Jeff Gordon. I’m not helping Jimmie Johnson or Casey Mears. They are able to go back and see what I run and that kind of stuff. But for me, it’s just to go out there and to try to win races and keep winning with my name.” Busch said that ever since last month’s announcement that he would be replaced next year by #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., he has felt ostracized from the team. Asked if he was concerned about how this could hurt his reputation with fans, Busch said, “My perception has been horrible since I came into this sport, so it doesn’t really even matter any more.”(SPEEDtv.com)(7-15-2007)
Wally’s World with Bill Engvall: Wally’s World returns with Bill Engvall, star of TBS’ newest comedy The Bill Engvall Show, jumping in Wally Dallenbach’s car for a wild ride around the track at Chicagoland Speedway. Pre-race coverage will also include a visit to #07 Clint Bowyer’s home in Welcome, NC for a tour of the race track right he built right in his backyard. Also during the show, TNT’s Matt Yocum visits the infamous Soldier Field to interview Jim Pohlman, car chief for #40 David Stremme. Yocum talks to Pohlman about his family’s legacy of racing, starting with Pohlman’s grandfather who raced within the confines of Soldier Field when it housed a half-mile oval which was normally used for midget and motorcycle racing.(TNT PR)(7-15-2007)
Stewart Wins at Chicago: #20-Tony Stewart picked up his first win of 2007 with a dominating performance in the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. He led 108 of the 267 laps on the day. #17-Matt Kenseth finished second, followed by #99-Edwards, #29-Harvick, #25-Mears, #2-Busch, #31-Burton, #12-Newman, #24-Gordon, and #07-Bowyer. #48-Johnson led 82 laps on the day before cutting a tire late while running second. He finished 37th. There were 7 cautions for 32 laps and 9 leaders with 20 lead changes. Race Results on my Chicago Race Results/Awards Page. Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Chicago 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.(7-15-2007)
Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Chicago [19 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 2911
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2608 -303
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 2565 -346
4) #31-Jeff Burton 2491 -420
5) #99-Carl Edwards 2473 -438
6) #20-Tony Stewart 2429 -482
7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2423 -488
8) #29-Kevin Harvick 2337 -574
9) #5-Kyle Busch 2314 -597 13
10) #07-Clint Bowyer 2281 -630
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2208 -703
12) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2151 -760 some other notables:
#12-Newman is 13th
#2-Busch is 14th
#26-McMurray is 15th
#42-Montoya is 20th
#9-Kahne is 24th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-14-2007)
Rumblings – Chicago Race Notes: Tony Stewart dominated the second half of today’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway and pulled away from Matt Kenseth on the final restart (with 12 to go) for his first win of the season and the 30th of his Cup career (he’s in 20th on the all-time win list).
Tony becomes the 13th different winner this season (equaling last years number), and captured the 56th win for Joe Gibbs Racing. His second victory at Chicagoland was worth $342,161 from the over $6.1M in posted awards.
Matt Kenseth (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Texas in April.
Reed Sorenson (12th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
John Andretti (18th) had his best finish since he was 16th when we were here in July of 2004!
Chad Chaffin (31st) had his best finish since he was 30th at Talladega in April of 2006.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
The Rookie Report: Juan Pablo Montoya (15th) takes the award this week to move back into a tie at eight with David Ragan. He was followed by Ragan(25th), Paul Menard (42nd) and David Reutimann (43rd). AJ Allmendinger was a dnq this week.
This Week’s Elevator….UP; Operator of the Week is Kurt Busch (+29), followed by David Gilliland (+26), Carl Edwards (+22), Greg Biffle (+22), and Ricky Rudd (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Martin Truex Jr (-37), followed by Jimmie Johnson (-29), Paul Menard (-26), Dave Blaney (-25), and David Reutimann (-22).
Jeff Gordon tacks 26 points onto his lead….it’s now 303. Ryan Newman is the new 13th place driver….just 30 markers out of the “Chase”.
Kasey Kahne (26th to 24th) made the only multiple position positive move this week, while Jimmie Johnson (4th to 7th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(7-15-2007)
Fast Facts USG Sheetrock 400:
.. Tony Stewart won the USG Sheetrock 400, his 30th victory in 303 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. Stewart remains 20th on the all-time wins list.
.. This is his first victory and 12th top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his second victory and fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Chicagoland Speedway.
.. Matt Kenseth (second) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 2007 and his third in seven Chicago races.
.. Carl Edwards (third) posted his first top 10 in three races at Chicago and his seventh of 2007.
.. Jeff Gordon finished ninth and continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 303 points ahead of Denny Hamlin.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-15-2007)
Chicago Penalty Report: Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
Car Penalty Reason Lap 1 #15 MCI Safety – Smoking 0
2 #66 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 59
3 #55 TE Pitting out of order 60
4 #7 PT Commitment Line Violation 113
5 #07 TE Excessive Speed-Entering pits 114
6 #26 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 154
7 #01 TE Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road 155
8 #40 PT Not lined up for restart 160
9 #49 TE Excessive Speed-Entering pits 227
10 #13 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 252
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 Statistics)(7-15-2007)
News from July 14, 2007
Modifications Possible to Top-35 Qualifying Rule: Nextel Cup director John Darby — saying he was speaking for himself, not NASCAR — didn’t mince words Friday when asked about speculated changes to NASCAR’s Top-35 rule. “We ain’t changing it,” Darby said. That doesn’t mean, however, that NASCAR isn’t contemplating some alterations to the current rule. One possibility is grouping “go or go home” cars together during the qualifying session, so all are faced with similar track conditions during their laps. Darby likes that idea. “We’re talking about that a lot,” he said. “It makes it truly a head-to-head competition that way.” Where would they be grouped? One possibility, according to Darby: Let the championship driver or crew chief decide where in the session that respective group would qualify.(ESPN.com)(7-14-2007)
Many Unknowns for Hall of Fame Racing in 2008: Hall of Fame Racing is unsure whether driver #96-Tony Raines will be retained for next year, whether the team will campaign one or two Nextel Cup cars or which manufacturer those cars will come from, Chevrolet or Toyota. Much of what the team ultimatey does in 2008 hinges on what Joe Gibbs Racing, who builds motors for the team, decides to do. “We haven’t made any decisions about anything at this point,” said Bill Saunders, co-owner and general partner of the team. “We’re a satellite Gibbs operation, and I would say if they made a decision … to go with… we go, too. If they stay with GM, we stay, too. That’s all I can really say.” So with HOF dependant on Gibbs, it can’t decide on a manufacturer until Gibbs does. As for the rest of HOF’s plans, the only constant appears to be the return of DLP as a sponsor for a third season in 2008. But whether Raines, who is 32nd in driver points, stays on board or whether the team runs a second car are decisions that are in the future. “We’re still hoping for the second car. We’re still talking to several groups,” Saunders said. “Those conversations are going to have to come to an end pretty quick or you can’t field a second car. As far as Tony goes, we have a contract with Tony for next year. It all depends on how we do for the remainder of this season, how DLP treats us. We’re happy with what Tony’s done for us. We’ve had some unfortunate stuff happen to us, which is no fault of Tony’s and no fault of the team’s.”(SPEEDtv.com)(7-14-2007)
Hendrick Motorsports Confirms Dale Jr. Will Have New Sponsor in 2008: UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports announced that long-term contractual commitments to existing sponsors will preclude Budweiser from continuing as primary sponsor of the car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he joins the organization next season. “We have agreements in place with sponsors for the 2008 Sprint Cup season, which prevent us from having a relationship with Budweiser,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “Honoring our commitments is important to us. The trade-off is missing an opportunity to bring Budweiser, a marquee brand synonymous with NASCAR and its fans, into the fold.” On June 13, Earnhardt Jr. signed on to race for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2008, but primary sponsorship of his team remains undecided. No timetable has been established for an announcement. “Budweiser has sponsored Dale Jr. for nearly a decade, and we wish him the very best,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch Inc. “Budweiser will remain an active sponsor of NASCAR, and we look forward to building upon the legacy of the iconic Budweiser red car in 2008 and beyond.” “To climb into that red Budweiser car each weekend has always been a privilege,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Although Budweiser and I will be unable to continue our partnership beyond this season, I remain committed to driving for Bud the rest of this year, and will continue to make it my beer of choice. I’m a race car driver. All I can do is drive as hard as I can for my fans and sponsorship partners, and give my best effort each weekend.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(7-13-2007) UPDATE: Earnhardt announced at Chicagoland Speedway that beyond ending his association with Budweiser on the hood of his car, he will end his personal services deal that was to run through 2008. Leaving Budweiser is another sign that Earnhardt’s new deal will be with PepsiCo Inc., likely the Mountain Dew brand or a combination of several Pepsi products that include Gatorade, because the soft drink company can’t be associated with a beer company.(ESPN.com)(7-14-2007)
Kyle Busch Could Make Decision on Team Soon: #5-Kyle Busch said he could decide on a new team for next season within two to six weeks. “We’re looking at the pros and cons of everything,” Busch said. “That’s why it takes so long to decide.” Busch said he is in discussions with four to five teams. Among the speculated potential destinations for Busch include Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Joe Gibbs Racing and Evernham Motorsports. “(We’re) just still working with some of the teams and organizations to see what’s out there and see what all we can work on further,” Busch said. “No decisions – not quite to the point where we need to let anything out.”(Associated Press/Fox Sports)(7-14-2007)
Harvick and Burton Say NASCAR Needs More Drug Testing: #29-Kevin Harvick questioned NASCAR’s drug testing policy after Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike was arrested and charged with possession of drugs last weekend. “I believe that every driver and every national series should be drug tested a couple of times a year randomly regardless of who you are, what you are doing,” Harvick said on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway. “We owe it to the sponsors and the fans to 100 percent know this is a clean environment. It would eliminate a lot of those problems of the younger guys that disrespect the sport and the system.”(ESPN.com) AND: Jeff Burton said he would like to see series officials do even more drug testing. “I honestly wish that we would test more than we do,” Burton said. “I wish that we would have a random number of drug tests throughout the year – you know you’re going to do five or six every year, or whatever the number is. There’s too much at stake for this sport, too much at stake for the drivers, the racetrack, the crew members on pit road,” Burton said.(Associated Press/Fox Sports)(7-14-2007)
Sacks back in NASCAR? Greg Sacks, who hasn’t qualified for a Cup race in two years, says he’s close to finalizing a multi-year alliance with an existing multi-car operation that would put at least two cars on the track beginning next year. Chances are, Sacks adds, that he’ll be the driver of one of those cars. He’s got an option on 25 acres in the Charlotte area, and building permits for the shop complex are in place. That’s not all Sacks has on his plate. Plans call for his sons, Paul and Brian, to run an “ABC” schedule in 2008. Some ARCA and Busch Series will start warming them up, if all goes well, for a Cup race or two late in the season. A formal announcement of his plans should be coming in no more than 30 to 60 days.(NASCAR.com), and hearing Sacks could drive for Bobby Jones in the August ARCA race at Pocono.(7-14-2007)
Yeley Wins USAC Race at Chicago: J.J. Yeley scored the win in Friday’s USG Fiberock 100 at Chicagoland Speedway. On Friday the 13th, it was his 13th career pole and 13th career feature win in USAC’s Silver Crown Series. The Nextel Cup Series regular, driving for A.J. Foyt, dominated the Weld Racing Silver Crown Series event. Yeley’s win came in his second start of the season, coming after the being sidelined with trouble while leading at Darlington back in May.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-14-2007)
TNT’s Pride of NASCAR series concludes: During TNT’s pre-race coverage, the Pride of NASCAR series will continue as Wally Dallenbach spends time with legendary NASCAR owner Bud Moore, owner of cars driven by several NASCAR legends in their own right, including David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip among others.(TNT PR)(7-14-2007)
News from July 13, 2007
New Crew Chief at BAM: hearing the crew chief Lee McCall and #49 BAM Racing have parted ways, Dean Johnson is the acting crew chief for Chad Chaffin at Chciago. Been told the team plans to announce crew chief plans soon. No word on who will be driving the #49 at Indy either. No word on McCall’s plans.(7-13-2007)
Robby Gordon’s Team Penalized: UPDATE: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #7 team in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found last week at Daytona. The #7 Ford, driven by Robby Gordon, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-6.7C (8) (unapproved camera shell) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during opening day inspection on July 5. Gordon has been penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points. Crew chief Gene Nead has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR)(7-13-2007) UPDATE: Gordon said Friday afternoon that he will not appeal. “Not different than every race team in this garage does,” Gordon said. “You push it a little far, and sometimes you get caught.(SceneDaily.com)(7-13-2007)
Reutimann Hopes to Stay with MWR: From Reutimann’s diary with the Tampa Tribune, ” My contracts with Michael Waltrip Racing for the Nextel Cup and Busch rides were for one year. Nobody from the organization has talked to me about next year yet. They’re trying to make sure all the sponsorship stuff is line before they talk to me. Michael Waltrip, was quoted last week saying he’s 99 percent sure he’ll be able to bring me back in the #00 Cup car. I’d feel better if he was 100 percent sure, but I’ll take 99%. Everybody knows the kind of money it takes to run one of these teams, and you aren’t going to do it without a sponsor. At this point, I don’t have a plan B if this situation doesn’t work out. Hopefully, things will work out. I feel like I have a ton of unfinished business in the Cup series and in Busch as well. I want to win some races, run better, and do all the things I came here to do.”(Tampa Tribune), see earlier information about Reutimann’s status on my #00 Team Page.(7-13-2007)
Budweiser to Evernham? UPDATE 3: hearing that Budweiser could sponsor one of the Evernham Motorsports teams in 2008, leaving DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr. it could be the sponsor for Kasey Kahne if Dodge lets him out of their sponsor deal of the #9 and if Bud feels Kahne meets their demographics, or even #19-Elliott Sadler team. Supposedly DEI could still be in play for the Bud sponsor, but looks like Bud will not follow Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports and that Pepsi/Mountain Dew will sponsor Dale Jr. in 2008.(7-10-2007) UPDATE: Budweiser officials are shopping around for their best sponsorship option in NASCAR, a clear indication that the beer company will not sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports next season, sources confirmed Tuesday. It’s expected that PepsiCo Inc., possibly with the Mountain Dew brand or a combination of Pepsi products, will sponsor Earnhardt next season in the #5 Chevy [or possibly the #8] for Hendrick. And Anheuser-Busch is negotiating with Evernham Motorsports to possibly move the Bud sponsorship to Kasey Kahne’s #9 Dodge next season. Budweiser officials also have contacted officials at Lowe’s Motor Speedway about the possibility of holding a news conference at the Lowe’s Speedway Club next week if a new team sponsorship agreement is reached. An Evernham Motorsports official said Tuesday that no agreement has been reached with Budweiser and that the Evernham marketing department was talking to several other companies about potential sponsorships for 2008. Team owner Ray Evernham has an agreement with Dodge, through the Dodge Dealers, to sponsor both Kahne’s car and the #19 Dodge of Elliott Sadler through 2010. The Dodge dealers would have to sign off on any deal to allow Budweiser to move to Kahne’s car.
One source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com that it’s still possible Budweiser could stay at Dale Earnhardt Inc., depending on whom DEI signs to replace Earnhardt. Budweiser officials now have targeted four other drivers they would consider sponsoring next season, including Kahne. The other three drivers are not known.(more at ESPN.com) UPDATE: on Wednesday’s NASCAR Now on ESPN, Terry Blount said another driver Bud is interested in is Kyle Busch. Also it was reported that the Bud/Hendrick Motorsports parting before the 2000 season [when they went from the #25 HMS Chevy to the #8 DEI Chevy was not a friendly split and it is doubtful they would team up again. Marty Smith also mentioned Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s possible deal with Pepsi could be in the $25-30million range.(7-11-2007) UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham says reports that he is close to signing a deal with Budweiser for next season are unfounded. Published reports this week have linked Budweiser with Evernham driver #9-Kasey Kahne for the 2008 season, and while Evernham confirmed that conversations have taken place, he said there is no truth to rumors that he will announce the new deal next week. “We have talked to Budweiser, but they have also spoken to five or six other teams in the Nextel Cup garage,” he said.(Motorsports Soapbox).(7-13-2007)
Roush COT Testing in Full Swing: Entering this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicago, Ford and Roush finally look like a match for the Chevys. “The big thing that has helped us with the Car of Tomorrow is we now have a test team,” [Jack] Roush said. “We are doing the things I thought we weren’t going to be allowed to do when NASCAR told us we couldn’t take tires from the racetrack because they didn’t want us to test. I thought they would put teeth in that, but they didn’t. We got behind. But five weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer [for testing]. We’ve been to Iowa, Milwaukee four times in the last month, and Road Atlanta and VIR [Virginia International Raceway].” Roush’s three 2007 victories have come with NASCAR’s current car, and the Chicagoland race also will feature the current car. But if Roush Fenway is going to compete with the Chevy teams for the championship, it will have to have a strong COT program. “We’re not caught up yet,” Roush said. “But we’re certainly on the path, and we’ll be heard from more before the year is over.”(Tampa Tribune)(7-13-2007)
Chicago Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at Chicagoland this weekend . . . this is the same specific combination of left- and right-side tires that Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams ran at Texas earlier this season . . . in addition, teams in these two series have run this left-side code (D-4078) with a different right-side code at several other tracks this season, including California, Dover and Michigan . . . Busch teams have also run this left-side code at Kansas and Kentucky in 2007 . .. as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one-mile in length, teams 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. The estimated pit window for the Nextel Cup cars are every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, codes, pressures on my Chicago Race Info page.(7-13-2007)
Mears wins pole at Chicagoland: #25-Casey Mears won the Budweiser Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with a speed of 182.556mph. It was the third pole of his career and the first since Indianapolis in August 2004. #1-Truex, Jr qualified second with the rest of the top 10 being: #12-Newman, #01-Martin, #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #5-Busch, #07-Bowyer, #48-Johnson, #45-Andretti, and #17-Kenseth. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Chicago Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-13-2007)
Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway: #10-Riggs, #83-Vickers, #44-Jarrett, #84-Allmendinger, #37-Lepage, and #78-KWallace.(7-13-2007)
News from July 12, 2007
Special Helmet for Hamlin at Chicago: Before running in the Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday [July 15th], driver #11-Denny Hamlin will visit Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago on Thursday, July 12, to meet with patients and deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital on behalf of FedEx. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by several Children’s Memorial patients. Hamlin will wear the specially-designed helmet for all Nextel Cup activity the weekend of July 13 – 15 at Chicagoland Speedway. The helmet presented to Hamlin will be the sixth of eleven designed helmets by children’s hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish program throughout the 2007 season. All eleven race-worn helmets will be displayed and auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Weber Shandwick/FedEx Racing PR)(7-12-2007)
Chase Notes/Stats after Daytona: Just when we thought The Race to the Chase might become a snoozer, 12th-place #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets caught up in a wreck in the Pepsi 400, limps home 36th, and loses big points to the field of contenders. #26-Jamie McMurray’s photo-finish win propelled him 135 points closer to the Chase. Ryan Newman’s 14th moved him 66 points closer. Kurt Busch’s strong 3rd-place finish gained him 121 points on 12th. Greg Biffle’s 6th at Daytona perhaps saved him as a contender, pushing him 95 points closer, and within 204 of The Chase. That’s about the margin Matt Kenseth stood outside The Chase at this point in 2005. For more see my Chase Stats after Daytona page.(7-12-2007)
Tums colors for Stremme at Chicago: The #40 TUMS Dodge Charger of David Stremme will feature a stunning blue design that prominently showcases the signature TUMS logo across the hood and both rear quarter panels. The rear of the Dodge features TUMS trusted tablets. The TUMS “Dinermobile” will travel to Chicagoland Speedway where it will deliver fast relief for fans at the Fan Midway area July 13th through 15th.(Clear!Blue/Tumsracing.com), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(7-12-2007)
Jeff Gordon to run Nicorette scheme at Chicago: #24-Jeff Gordon will run a special #24 DuPont Nicorette Chevy paint scheme at this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway . The special paint scheme coincides with one of the most unique sponsorships in motorsports history with Nicorette helping race fans and crew members quit smoking through its QUIT Crew program. Nicorette’s QUIT Crew program is currently helping over 200 NASCAR team members from 11 different race teams quit smoking through counseling, support, and the proper use of the smoking cessation products Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ and Commit. Quit smoking support is also available to NASCAR fans throughout race weekend at Nicorette’s interactive Winner’s Circle Exhibit located in Chicagoland Speedway’s fan area. At the exhibit, Nicorette’s certified smoking cessation coaches will be on hand to provide individuals with free, quit smoking counseling. For more information about Nicorette’s racing program and on how to quit smoking, visit www.quit2winracing.com.(Lighthouse Marketing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(7-12-2007)
Big Red colors for Montoya at Chicago: Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge Charger will look a little different this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. His Dodge will carry the colors and logo of Wrigley’s Big Red gum. It is the first of three races that Montoya will compete in the Big Red car.(CGRFS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(7-12-2007)
Sorenson gets coffee logos at Chicago; Elledge subs for Knaus…on TV: Maxwell House coffee, a brand of Kraft Foods, will have logo placement on the upper rear quarter panels of the #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson will drive this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. #41 crew chief Jimmy Elledge will be substituting for regular host Chad Knaus on NASCAR Performance while Knaus serves a six week suspension. Elledge’s first show was last weekend at Daytona. NASCAR Performance airs on SPEED. Elledge will accompany Nextel Cup Series crew chief Booty Barker and FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds live from the track each week.(CGRFS PR)(7-12-2007)
TNT’s Wide Open Coverage for the Pepsi 400 Propels Network to the Winner’s Circle: TNT’s debut of Wide Open Coverage for the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race at Daytona, a unique television format that featured no national commercial interruptions, took the checkered flag by beating all programming on broadcast and cable for the night, ranking as television’s #1 program in Saturday primetime among adults 18-34, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. TNT’s Wide Open coverage featured only three local commercial breaks per hour and an innovative on-screen video box for sponsor branded content,. The Pepsi 400 also ranked as ad-supported cable’s #1 program for the week among adults 18-49 (3,030,000) and adults 25-54 (3,457,000). It was also #2 for the week behind the TNT original The Closer among viewers (6,162,000) and households (4,242,000). For the week among all of television, TNT’s Saturday night Nextel Cup coverage was a Top 10 program among adults 25-54 and men 18-49 and a Top 5 program among men 25-54. TNT concludes its Nextel Cup coverage from Chicagoland Speedway on July 15 at 2:30pm/et.(TNT PR)(7-12-2007)
Correction to Kyle Busch story: “We (WCNC.com) have a retraction on a story we first reported Wednesday. Wildlife officers cited a boater on Lake Norman on the Fourth of July for boating while impaired and speeding. Ryan Young is facing those charges. During our report, we stated that NASCAR race driver Kyle Busch was the owner of that boat. We have since received documentation that Ryan Young is the boat’s owner. We also reported Kyle Busch was on board the boat, based on Young’s statements to the arresting officer. We learned Thursday from Hendrick Motorsports that Kyle Busch was not on board the boat. We regret this error.”(WCNC.com)(7-12-2007)
Sad News: Longtime Craftsman Truck Series Flagman Dennis James passed away on Wednesday, July 11, 2007. Services are pending.(Truckseries.com)(7-12-2007) More info: Dennis, a Fletcher N.C. resident, had been involved in racing since the mid 1970s when he was a competitor at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C. In the 1980s he moved on to become the starter at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson, N.C. and later became the Chief Steward at Tri-County Speedway. Later in his career he returned to Hickory Motor Speedway to serve as Chief Steward. Prior to being hired by NASCAR in January of 2003 Dennis worked closely with the day-to-day operations of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Series. Dennis is survived by his wife Cathy, father Earl James, two daughters Kristen and Kim, grandson Cody and two sisters Cathy and Eva. Funeral arrangements are pending.(NASCAR PR)(7-12-2007)
Jeff Gordon, ‘Talladega Nights’ Win ESPY Awards Via on-line voting by sports fans, Jeff Gordon won the “Best Driver” Award Wednesday night at the 15th Annual ESPY Awards held in the Kodak Theatre. Gordon bested his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, Daytona 500 champion Kevin Harvick, IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti and NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. “Winning an ESPY is an honor,” Gordon said. “It’s one of the most prestigious awards in sports. It’s a credit to how the No. 24 DuPont team performed over the last year. Hopefully we can continue to have success through the end of this season and be in contention for next year’s award as well.”
In addition, “Talladega Nights,” the popular comedy starring Will Farrell, gave NASCAR its second victory of the night by winning in the “Best Sports Movie” category. Other films in the category were “We Are Marshall,” “Pride,” and “Invincible.” Jimmie Johnson was nominated in the “Best Championship Performance” category. That award went to Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. Kevin Harvick was also part of another nomination for NASCAR, as this year’s Daytona 500 – in which Harvick edged Mark Martin by 0.02-seconds – was nominated in the “Best Finish” category. That award was won by last September’s 11-10 Los Angeles Dodgers victory over the San Diego Padres; the Dodgers had four consecutive home runs in the ninth inning to tie the game 9-9, then had another homer in the 10th inning to win. Wednesday night’s ceremonies were hosted by comedian/talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and NBA star LeBron James. The show will be broadcast on Sunday at 9pm/et, on ESPN more info on the ESPY’s page.(NASCAR PR)(7-12-2007)
NASCAR This Week on ESPN and ABC: ESPN on ABC will feature Busch Series racing live Saturday, July 14, from Chicagoland Speedway as the series makes its only appearance of 2007 at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The telecast of Busch Series at Chicago presented by Old Spice begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2:30pm/et; the race starts at 3pm/et. Rusty Wallace will work in the ESPN booth as analyst for the telecast, joined by Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Pit reporters will be Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. Suzy Kolber will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, joined by Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty, while Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car. ESPN2 will have live coverage of qualifying from Chicago at 11:00am/et Saturday, as well as the series’ final practice session on Friday at 5:45pm/et.
ESPN Ultimate NASCAR, which is building up to the July 29 launch of Nextel Cup racing on ESPN with 11 hours of programming on NASCAR history, continues at 9:00pm/et Thursday, July 12, on ESPN with Hottest Rivalries, a one-hour program counting down the 20 greatest rivalries in NASCAR history, chosen by an exclusive panel of NASCAR experts and historians. The program is the second of three countdown programs, following Greatest Drivers, which premiered last week. The third program in the series, Biggest Races, will air Thursday, July 19. Starting Monday, July 23, the week leading into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will include seven hours of NASCAR documentaries – The Explosion, The Dirt, The Cars, Speed and Danger and The Families. All shows will debut on ESPN. NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily news and information show dedicated to NASCAR will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes in its regular 6:30pm/et time slot Tuesday through Thursday of this week. On Friday, the program will begin at 5:30pm/et and will lead up to and follow Busch Series practice from Chicago. The one-hour weekend edition will air at 10:00am/et Sunday, July 15, with highlights from Saturday’s Busch Series race at Chicago and a look ahead to that day’s Nextel Cup Series race at the same track. The weekend wrap-up edition of the program will air at midnight Sunday.
New episodes of the ESPN2 Garage programs SpeedFreaks, Race Wizard with Ray Evernham and King of the Strip will premiere this week. SpeedFreaks will air at 5:00pm/et Thursday, July 12, while Race Wizard is scheduled for 10:30am/et Saturday, July 14. King of the Strip will air at 11:30am/et Sunday, July 15.(ESPN PR)
Martin to drive at Iowa Speedway Sports Car race: Mark Martin will join Southard Motorsports drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis in the Southard Motorsports #3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley, as they take on the new 1.3-mile, Rusty Wallace-designed road course at Iowa Speedway for Round 9 of the Grand-Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. While Mark Martin is no newcomer to the world of sports cars or road racing, the Iowa event will be his first time driving in a Grand-Am Daytona Prototype car. Martin holds the distinction of being part of four GT victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. A track sponsored test day on Thursday, July 11, will help the teams prepare for Friday’s official practice and the 5 p.m. Friday qualifying session. The 400-K race at the newly built Iowa Speedway starts at 8:00pm/ct on Friday July 13th for 192-laps or 2 1/2 hours on the 1.3-mile road course oval in Newton, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. The race will be broadcast same-day delayed on Friday, July 13th at 10pm/et on SPEED. The No. 3 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype is campaigned by Southard Motorsports of Powell, Ohio. The Riley chassis is powered by Lexus engines with technical expertise by TRD Engineering and carries sponsorship from Preformed Line Products from Mayfield Village, Ohio. Martin will also run the Nextel Cup race in Chicago this weekend, driving the #01 U.S. Army Chevy for Ginn Racing.(Southard Motorsports PR)(7-12-2007)
Chicagoland Rookie Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 7 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Ragan finished 12th and took top rookie honors for the eighth time this season. He was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in both races at Daytona this season (he scored a fifth-place finish in the Daytona 500). #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 12 points (192-180) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 15 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The USG Sheetrock 400 will be race No. 6 in the Raybestos Rookie Magnificent Seven program. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increases to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season. Montoya (Las Vegas, Darlington, Infineon) and Ragan (Daytona, Martinsville) are the only drivers to collect the bonus money. Montoya is 21st in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 USG Sheetrock 400, scoring a seventh-place finish. Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in six Nextel Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway. He won the 2001 Tropicana 400 by .649 seconds over Robert Pressley.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos PR), see the full notes, standings, history and more on my 2007 Rookies Page.(7-12-2007)
Mears Team Captures First Pit Crew Challenge Win: Casey Mears’ over-the-wall crew captured its first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by taking top honors in Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. The #25 National Guard/GMAC team spent 132.049 seconds on pit lane. The crew will be awarded $11,000 by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. Mears’ crew is the 10th different team to win the pit crew competition this season. The #25 Hendrick Motorsports team is made up of: Jason Hunt (jackman), Ben Fischbeck (front-tire carrier), Tony Hamm (front-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Chuck Efaw (rear-tire changer), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Chris Hamilton (catch can) and Jim Jenkins (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin.
At the halfway mark of the 2007 Nextel Cup season, Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. Jeff Gordon’s and Denny Hamlin’s crews are second with three wins each. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $198,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. An $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-12-2007)
Elliott cancels appearance at canadian race UPDATE: Riverside International Speedway regrets to announce the cancellation of Bill Elliott’s appearance at this year’s heavily anticipated IWK 250 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) race, scheduled for Saturday, July 21 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Riverside Speedway received in writing the cancellation notice from Mr. Elliott late Friday. In his statement he said, “There is no way I am going to Nova Scotia to race that weekend…I am too busy.” Mr. Elliott’s last-minute cancellation notice comes after Riverside Speedway management secured the NASCAR Cup champion’s appearance on April 27, 2007 with an extra-cost no-cancellation guarantee. We paid an expensive premium to guarantee his participation in the race,” says Paul McLean, Riverside Speedway manager. “With the agreement in place, and with active cooperation from his management company, we felt comfortable promoting Mr. Elliott’s appearance in print, TV and radio advertisements.” The IWK 250 will proceed despite Mr. Elliott’s decision to not participate. “We’re working feverishly to find a suitable replacement,” says McLean; however at press time we were unable to confirm please check our website for further details in the coming days. Fans of Bill Elliott and ticket holders for the IWK 250 are encouraged to contact Mr. Elliott directly at www.billelliott.com to express their concern and disappointment. Requests for comment on behalf of Bill Elliott can be made directly to Wood Brothers Management Company. See the full speedway statement at: riversidespeedway.ca.(7-10-2007) UPDATE: Bill Elliott wishes to respond to the allegations that he rescinded an agreement to appear in the IWK 250 Pro All Stars Series at Riverside International Speedway, scheduled for Saturday, July 21 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. “I steadfastly deny that there was ever a final contract, spoken or written, in which I agreed to both attend and compete in the event at the Riverside International Speedway. Riverside International Speedway officials contacted my representatives in April 2007 to gauge my interest in competing in this event. Race officials sent a lengthy appearance schedule in conjunction with the event. Although my family and I strongly considered attending the event, on May 15th we communicated to race officials that we were leaning against attending, due in large part to the excessive amount of travel time the commitment would involve. Speedway and event officials were notified in writing on June 5th, 2007 that I had declined their offer to participate in the event. My family and I are disappointed that speedway and event officials continue to portray us in a negative light as a result of this matter.(Motorsports Management International)
AND the speedway has announced Regan Smith and Ricky Craven are scheduled to be the replacement drivers for Ellott but has not addressed Elliott’s statement.(7-12-2007)
News from July 11, 2007
DEI interested in adding existing Nextel Cup team: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is looking to expand its Nextel Cup operation and has inquired about acquiring an existing team [#13 Ginn Racing?]. DEI vice president John Story said Monday the purchase of a team in the top 35 of car owner points would be used to shore up DEI’s #15 team driven by Paul Menard. Menard is 39th in owner points and has failed to qualify for six races.(Fort Worth Star Telegram/AP)(7-11-2007)
Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Kennedy and Michael Klemm: The funeral arrangements for Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm have been scheduled for this Friday [July 13] at Seabreeze United Church in Daytona Beach. The services for Dr. Kennedy are scheduled for 11am/et and the services for Michael Klemm are scheduled for 5:00pm/et. The Klemm family will receive guests at the 500 Club (located in the infield at Daytona International Speedway) immediately after the church service. Both services are open to the public and employees are welcome to attend. Seabreeze United Church is located at 501 N. Wild Olive Ave., on Daytona’s “beachside,” between Seabreeze and Oakridge boulevards.
In lieu of flowers, the Kennedy family requests that donations can be made to the Halifax Medical Center Foundation, C/O Bruce Kennedy Memorial Fund, 303 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach FL 32120.
The Klemm family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the American Heart Association, C/O Michael Klemm, 1101 Northchase Parkway, Marietta, GA 30067 or Camp Boggy Creek, C/O Michael Klemm, 30500 Brantley Branch Road, Eustis, FL 32736.(NASCAR), see the full story of the deaths and crash on my Past News July 9-15 page.(7-11-2007)
More on Hornish to NASCAR: Sam Hornish Jr. is pondering a move from his Penske Racing’s open wheel to its Nextel Cup outfit, where he could join #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman next season. Testing his stock car skills in the ARCA and Busch Series, he is expected to wait until his team’s September deadline to announce a decision, in part to appease his IRL sponsor, Marlboro. Penske officials feel Hornish’s [IRL] points finish this season could have an impact. He’s currently fifth, a hefty 97 out, with just seven races remaining.(St Petersburg Times)(7-11-2007)
Truck Series Driver Aaron Fike Placed on Indefinite Suspension By NASCAR: Aaron Fike, driver of the #1 Toyota in the Craftsman Truck Series, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2007 NASCAR Rule Book. The violation occurred July 7. Cassandra Davidson, a crew member for the #1 team, has also been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR as a result of this same violation.(NASCAR PR), see my Truck Series site for the full sotry on the arrest of Fike.(7-11-2007)
Kyle Busch/BWI/NASCAR connection story looks to be bogus UPDATE: The original post that was linked and posted on the WCNC.com site at approx 1:24pm/et today and removed around 430pm/et without explantion: The pilot of a boat owned by NASCAR driver #5-Kyle Busch was cited for BWI [Boating while intoxicated] on the Fourth of July. Lake patrol officers said the 44-foot cabin cruiser came within inches of hitting the boat of a lake patrol officer who had his blue lights on and was citing another boater. Two other lake patrol officers witnessed the near collision and rushed to the scene, thinking that the cabin cruiser, owned by Kyle Busch, had actually hit the other officer’s boat. Those officers said the person operating Busch’s boat, who officials later identified as a front tire changer for a NASCAR team, realized he was in trouble and got his girlfriend to take the pilot’s seat while he went into the cabin. The two other lake patrol officers saw the switch, caught up to the cabin cruiser and stopped it. The boat’s pilot was cited for boating while intoxicated, operating a boat with insufficient lifejackets, failure to move over for blue lights and careless and reckless boating. Kyle Busch was [NOT] a passenger on the cabin cruiser but he was not piloting the boat. He owns the boat but he is not facing any charges. The boat is actually registered to NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, because Busch had just bought it and he had not changed the registration yet.(WCNC.com – link/story was pulled after 3 hours) UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports reports Busch was NOT on the boat and it was not his boat, WCNC.com informed me the stroy was pulled as they looked for a second source, sounds like something that should had been done in the first place. Been requested by HMS and WCNC.com that I just delete and pull down this story, but I don’t do that, not fair to the readers. NOTE: it is still posted on the Sunherald.com site.(7-11-2007)
USG Colors for Kenseth at Chicago: Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion will carry the USG Sheetrock colors this weekend in the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicago. It marks the second of three times this season Kenseth will pilot the USG Sheetrock Ford; the first was at Martinsville in April where he finished 10th, and the last will be at Texas in November.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #17 Team Schemes page.(7-11-2007)
Layoffs at Morgan-McClure? UPDATE: been told by multiple sources that Morgan-McClure Motorsports, who fields the #4 State Water Heaters Chevy for Ward Burton, has temporarily laid off 14 employees this week, including a long time member of the engine shop.(7-5-2007) UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports in conjunction with primary sponsor State Water Heaters continue to search for additional sponsorship for their #4 Chevrolet currently running in the Nextel Cup Series. State Water Heaters (Ashland City, TN) signed up to be primary sponsor for 12 races in the 2007 season with the hope of bringing along a co-sponsor. When that didn’t happen, Morgan-McClure and State focused even harder on the continuing search for additional funding. “We’ve had to look at every aspect of our team and try to find places where we can cut back until additional sponsor money is secured,” said Morgan-McClure President Larry McClure at the Abingdon, Va. based race shop Tuesday. “We have temporarily released five employees and have every intention of bringing them back as soon as it is possible. Everyone remaining here is making sacrifices to keep this team going in 2007. We probably have the best team we have had in five years. The outlook for 2008 is much better, but first we have to get thru 2007. These guys are like family to me. Telling them they could no longer work here was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I feel responsible for them and taking their jobs away was tough,” McClure continued. I look at the money we have been operating on as compared to some of these other teams who are outside the top 35 in owner points and I can’t help but think if we had even half the budget they have, there’s no telling what we could do. This top 35 rule is hurting a lot of us. I think if you looked at qualifying as just the top 43 fastest cars, we would have only missed a couple races. But the rules are what they are and we are trying to make the best of it with what we have. We continue to search for primary and associate sponsors for the remainder of 2007 and I believe there are good partners out there somewhere for this team,” said McClure as he monitored preparations of the Chicago race cars.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(7-11-2007)
RYR presents check to Charlotte Police: A local race team said thank you Tuesday to the men and women in blue with a check honoring two slain Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. NASCAR team owner Robert Yates remembers the pain of losing a close friend. His son, Doug, grew up with CMPD Officer John Burnette, who was killed in the line of duty on 1993 with fellow Officer Anthony Nobles. At that time, Yates and his team donated $50,000 to the department’s police benevolent fund. “I have a lot of respect for police officers,” Yates said. And that respect motivated him to do it again. This time the team donated $40,000 in honor of Officers Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton, who were shot and killed earlier this year while responding to a call. We’re fortunate we get to do what we love doing – racing,” Doug Yates said. “With M&M and Ford sponsoring us, we want to give back and that’s why we’re here.” Trisha Norket, the mother of John Burnette, knows firsthand how much it hurts to lose a loved one. She says she’s thankful for the donation in her son’s honor 14 years ago and she knows the widows of Clark and Shelton are just as thankful now. “I always try to remember what would they have us to do and I have to believe in my heart that Jeff and Sean would say, ‘make this contribution to the police benevolent fund to help my brothers and sisters that are still here,’” she said. The police benevolent fund helps various departments within department.(News 14 Carolina). The donation is to help build the Shelton-Clark Memorial.(7-11-2007)
News from July 10, 2007
Sad News: Anne McLaughlin, mother of NASCAR internet writer Matt McLaughlin, passed away Friday after a lingering illness. Matt has taken a hiatus from writing until after the funeral. Thoughts go out to Matt, a good friend of mine, and his family.(7-10-2007)
#31 Spotter getting hitched & special guest in #31 pits at Chicago: Following race weekend in Chicago, #31-Jeff Burton spotter Rocky Ryan will marry Kathy Moore in a ceremony at Childress Vineyards on Tuesday, July 17. The newlyweds plan to honeymoon at the end of the 2007 NASCAR season in Maui. Ryan will resume his spotter duty the upcoming [Busch Series] weekend at Gateway International Raceway for driver Scott Wimmer. Chicago Bulls basketball player Chris Duhon will attend Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400 as a guest of Jeff Burton. Duhon, a former Duke Blue Devils hoops player, will spend the day as an honorary pit crew member with the AT&T Racing team. He won the experience from a charity event hosted by Duke Children’s Hospital.(RCR PR)(7-11-2007)
Busch to RCR? hearing Kyle Busch has been in talks with Richard Childress Racing about driving in the Busch Series in 2008 [whatever the series ends up being named], which probably means RCR would be the front runner for Busch in a Cup Series ride.(7-10-2007)
Husband of NASCAR executive dies in plane crash; 5 killed; 4 hurt UPDATE: Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corp. President Lesa France Kennedy, was killed this morning when the plane he was piloting crashed into a Sanford neighborhood, setting two houses on fire, according to informed sources close to Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR. At least four other persons were killed, including two children, Sanford Fire Chief Gerard Ransom confirmed about noon. The identities of the dead were not released and NASCAR did not immediately provide any details but at least four informed sources confirmed the identity of the Daytona Beach plastic surgeon to The News-Journal. A NASCAR spokesman in Charlotte, NC, said the public relations staff in Daytona Beach was “in the information gathering stage” and that he knew no details at this point. Kennedy was piloting the Cessna 310 when it went down about 8:50 a.m. shortly after takeoff from Daytona International Airport. At a briefing shortly before 11am/et, the Seminole County Sheriff’s office said the pilot and co-pilot were both killed in the crash. The plane crashed into one house and the resulting fire ignited another house next door. The crash occurred on Willowbay Ridge Court at a subdivision called The Preserve at Lake Monroe, south of U.S. 17-92 and east of Interstate 4. Located near the Central Florida Zoo and the Orlando Sanford International Airport, the subdivision is comprised of new two-story single family homes. “It was an extremely intense fire,” said Matt Minnetto, a fire investigator with Sanford Fire Department. Minnetto said a boy, believed to be about 10 years old, was among the injured, with about 80% to 90% of his body burned. Joe Brown, spokesman for Orlando Regional Medical Center, confirmed that two adults and child had been taken to that facility. He said he could release no names or conditions of the patients.
The twin-engine plane 310 was registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau Inc. of Daytona Beach, said Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration. Competitor Liaison is based in Daytona Beach and lists William C. France, the late chairman of NASCAR, as its registered agent in online records from the Department of State Division of Corporations. James C. France also is listed as an officer of the company. The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland when the pilot declared smoke in the cockpit. The plane tried to land at the Orlando Sanford International Airport when it crashed about a mile or two north of the airport, Bergen said. At a news briefing, authorities confirmed that two people died in the plane. Three people in the home that sustained the direct hit were injured, including a mother, father and 10-year-old boy who sustained burns over 80 to 90% of his body.
A Lake Mary firefighter who was off duty and without protective equipment was treated for smoke inhalation. The firefighter was the first to arrive on the scene, entered the home and rescued the boy.The crash call came about 8:30am. A witness saw the plane teetering as it was coming across Lake Monroe. It hit the rear of one of two houses on Willowbay Ridge Street. The resulting fire spread quickly because of the aviation fuel aboard. The two homes and the plane were completely destroyed. National Transportation Safety Board Spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said an investigator has been sent to the scene. “You’re looking at the maintenance history of the aircraft, the flight history of the pilot and weather conditions,” Lopatkiewicz said of some the information the investigator will collect. A preliminary report will be available within a couple weeks while a complete investigation could take up to a year, Lopatkiewicz said. Kennedy’s death came just five weeks after the June 4 death of Lesa France Kennedy’s father, Bill France Jr. She serves as president of the family-run International Speedway Corp. The couple was married May 7, 1988 at Seabreeze United Church. They have one son, Ben, now about 15. FAA records confirm he received his commercial pilot certification on May 24.(Daytona Beach News Journal/Associated Press and more info at wftv.com) NASCAR Statement: Regarding Sanford, Fla. Plane Crash – “This morning, at approximately 8:40am/et, a Cessna 310 registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau, Inc. of Daytona Beach, crashed in a Sanford, Florida, area neighborhood. At this time, we can confirm there were two people on-board, including the pilot, Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm, a senior captain with NASCAR Aviation. Both were killed in the crash. “Dr. Kennedy was the husband of NASCAR Board Member and ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. It is clear that numerous families were affected by this terrible tragedy and unfortunately several people were deceased or seriously injured. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with all of those who were involved in this tragic accident and their families. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”(NASCAR PR)(7-10-2007)
Comcast Takes to the Track at Chicago on the #66: Best Buy Co., Inc., announced that Comcast Corporation, a Best Buy retail partner, will be the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and driver Jeff Green during the Nextel Cup Series weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Green’s Chevy Monte Carlo will carry a special black and yellow design representing Comcast, the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. Comcast is an associate sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing team this season, appearing on the #66 Chevy in races where Best Buy is the car’s primary sponsor. The sponsorship is designed to raise awareness of the Best Buy/Comcast partnership, which allows customers to sign up for Comcast’s Triple Play bundle of Digital Cable, high-speed Internet and digital voice services, at Best Buy retail locations, and at www.BestBuy.com. While the Chicagoland event marks the first time the Comcast Chevy will be seen on track, Comcast customers have already gotten a glimpse of the special paint design. For the past month, an advertisement featuring the car with driver Jeff Green has been airing on Comcast cable systems. The spot, which was filmed at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, shows Green winning a race while driving a car with three wheels. The ad is designed to remind Comcast customers that they can subscribe to Comcast’s Triple Play bundle of Comcast’s Digital Cable, high-speed Internet and digital voice services, and “Win with Three.”(GMR Marketing/Best Buy PR), see an image of the car on my #66 Team Schemes page.(7-10-2007)
Fellows to race at Watkins Glen: Toronto’s Ron Fellows finished second Sunday driving the #16 Cadillac CTS-V in the SCCA Speed GT Challenge series at the Grand Prix of Toronto. For the next six weeks Fellows will be on a tour preparing for and racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Busch Series. Fellows will race the #33 Kevin Harvick Incorporated Chevy first at the NBS NAPA Auto Parts 200 Aug. 3-4 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and again at Watkins Glen International a week later. Fellows will do double duty at the Glen where he will drive the #96 DLP Hall of Fame Chevrolet in the Cup race Aug. 12. Before embarking on that journey he will be doing some testing with both Harvick and DLP — probably at Virginia International Raceway — in preparation for his NASCAR venture. “After (yesterday) it’s all NASCAR,” Fellows said. “I am really looking forward to the Montreal race. I think those (NBS) cars are going to be a hoot to drive at that track.” He has won on the Formula One Montreal track before in a Camaro in the old GM Racing Series. Fellows also has three Busch race wins and a pair of Craftsman Truck Series wins on his resume.(Toronto Sun)(7-10-2007)
Pedigree colors for Rudd at Chicago: The #88 team and driver Ricky Rudd will be running the bright yellow Pedigree Brand Food for Dogs Ford Fusion instead of their traditional Snickers Ford paint scheme. The team will also be using the same chassis which they ran at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 earlier in the season where they had a season-best seventh-place finish. Crew Chief Butch Hylton hails from Rockford, Illinois where he grew up in the backyard of Rockford Speedway.(Elevation Group/Pedigree Racing PR) see an image of the car on my #88 Team Schemes page.(7-10-2007)
Race Fans allow Bud to donate to military foundation: Thanks to the generosity of NASCAR fans, Budweiser was able to donate $100,000 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) to help provide college educations to the children of fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel. Dale Earnhardt Jr. presented the check during special ceremonies on Saturday [July 7] between the NASCAR Busch and Cup races at Daytona International Speedway. Budweiser and Earnhardt Jr. raced two military-themed paint schemes in 2007. Budweiser’s brown and beige “Desert Camo” car raced Memorial Day weekend during the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of fallen soldiers, while the red, white and blue “Stars & Stripes” car ran this evening at Daytona to salute all those who currently serve. The proceeds from the sale of collectible diecasts of the two special cars were ear-marked for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides full-ride college scholarships to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions, and immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in the global war on terror. More than 700 children currently benefit from the efforts of the SOWF.(fingerprint inc. PR)(7-10-2007)
Ginn Racing seeking sponsors, Army back in 2008 UPDATE layoffs? Busch team?: Though the #13 and #14 Ginn Racing teams seek sponsorship, CEO Jay Frye anticipates Ginn will remain a three-car team in the future. There has been speculation of late that the #13 team would soon be shut down [as there have been reports of layoffs within the teams]; while Frye discounts that, he doesn’t hide the need for financial backing. “We have no intention to shut it down, but there comes a point that you have to get it funded,” Frye said of the #13 team, driven by Joe Nemechek. “We’re very close.” Back in January, Ginn Racing chose to add the third team on the promise that it had secured lock-tight business associations. Two of those deals [Panasonic?] ultimately fell apart, but having committed to the team, it seemed more viable to secure sponsorship by running the car than by letting it sit idle. “I keep hearing we’re in trouble, but the fact is the business is still better than last year,” Frye said. “It has to get fixed this year, though. No doubt. In reality, I’d rather be a strong two-car team than a three-car team without a sponsor. We can’t do what we did this year — in January we thought we were good.” They’re also close to securing sponsorship for Sterling Marlin’s #14, Frye said. The hope there, he said, is to find a sponsor to pick up the rest of 2007 and then extend the deal into the future. The U.S. Army will return as a full-time team sponsor for Ginn in 2008, Frye said.(ESPN.com)(7-6-2007) UPDATE: been told that there were up to 30 layoff’s Monday at Ginn Racing, including the #14 spotter [the Busch Series spotter moved up], also been told the #4 Ginn Racing Busch Series team has suspended operations. Also hearing that Ginn Racing may sell off one of its teams, likely the #13, which is vaulable with it being in the top-35 in owners pts.(7-9/10-2007)
News from July 9, 2007
Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pepsi 400:
Total number of commercials: 34
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 24
Total number of promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 56
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 14 (companies: Ford, Nextel, Miller Lite, Auto Zone, DirecTV, Subway, Principal Financial, Toyota, Pepsi, PepsiRacing.com, GoodYear, Sprint, 24 Energy Drink, ’24×24 Wide Open with Jeff Gordon’) There were 13 full-length commercials that were run in the lower right-hand portion of the screen during the broadcast. Total amount of time these ads took during broadcast: app. 21 min.
Start time to record race/commercial periods 07/07/07: 7:59 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 07/07/07: 11:17 PM
Total minutes: 198
Minutes of race broadcast: 181
Minutes of commercials: 17
Total race brdcst time: 181 Total comm. brdcst time: 17
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(7-9-2007)
Truck Series Driver Arrested – Drugs Involved UPDATE Green to drive at Memphis: Mason [Ohio] Police said NASCAR driver, Aaron Fike, was arrested at Kings Island this weekend. It happened in the parking lot Saturday afternoon. According to police , Fike struck a Kings Island security officer with the side mirror of his car as he drove away. When Mason police arrived on the scene, they found heroin inside his SUV as well as syringes and spoons with residue. Fike was not alone. He had a woman with him, by the name of Cassandra Davidson. Both were arrested on drug possession charges and taken to the Warren County Jail. Fike, 24, is a driver of the #1 Toyota Tundra Craftsman Truck Series. He’s currently ranked eighth in the series.(WCPO.com) AND Fike, who drives the #1 Red Horse Racing Toyota and is eighth in the series standings, could be suspended from competition, pending a NASCAR investigation. “Once we know all the facts, we will make a decision on his participation in NASCAR going forward,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said July 8. Fike and Davidson were being held with no bond and had an initial court appearance scheduled for July 10. The police sent the substances found inside the vehicle to a lab for testing. “We were made aware of this incident this afternoon,” said Red Horse Racing’s general manager and owner, Tom DeLoach, in a statement July 8. “We are working with NASCAR to obtain further information on the incident and will release more information as the facts become available to us.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-8-2007) UPDATE: Red Horse Racing announced that David Green will be behind the wheel of the #1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota for the Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway. Red Horse Racing’s decision to have Green pilot the #1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota this weekend comes following the arrest of Aaron Fike. “We are still investigating to get first hand information on what happened with Aaron,” said General Manager and Team Owner, Tom DeLoach. “We don’t expect to have any definitive answers on the events leading up to Aaron’s arrest until later this week.” Green has ran in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series four times [1995-1997 with a best finish of 8th at Nazareth in 1997].(Red Horse Racing PR)(7-9-2007)
Jeff Gordon to host “Regis and Kelly”: Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his 10th appearance as co-host on the popular daytime talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” on Monday, July 9. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy will fill in for host Regis Philbin. “Live with Regis and Kelly” is in its 19th year of national syndication and continues to wake up millions of Americans each day. “Live with Regis and Kelly” is executive produced by Michael Gelman and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York, “Live with Regis and Kelly” airs in over 200 markets across the country. Check local listings for time and channel.(Performance PR Plus)(7-6/9-2007)
News from July 8, 2007
DEI News, Dale Jr replacement; Menards to return: Max Siegel, president of global operations for DEI said that he hopes to have a replacement for Dale Earnhardt Jr. hired by the end of the month. He would not discuss possible drivers for that seat. Siegel also said that despite some speculation Paul Menard and sponsor Menards will return for next season. DEI hired Kevin Buskirk to lead its test team. Buskirk, who had been an engineer and crew chief at Robert Yates Racing, replaces Tony Eury Sr., who left to join JR. Motorsports.(Roanoke Times)(7-8-2007)
Bass Pro re-signs with DEI UPDATE: Bass Pro Shops will continue as sponsor of the #1 Chevy and driver Martin Truex in 2008. Terms of the contract extension between Bass Pro and Dale Earnhardt Inc. were not disclosed.(Springfield, MO News Leader)(6-26-2007) UPDATE: Bass Pro Shops, America’s most popular outdoor store, has signed a three-year agreement with Dale Earnhardt Inc. to sponsor the #1 Chevy and driver Martin Truex , Jr. through the 2010 Nextel Cup season. “Bass Pro Shops has been an awesome sponsor for me,” stated Truex. “I have become real close with Johnny Morris and all the people at Bass Pro Shops and I wouldn’t want anyone else to sponsor my race car right now. I feel like we have built a great relationship.”(BassPro PR)(7-8-2007)
Jeff Foxworthy Wins Daytona 500 Celebrity Tickets for Charity Competition: The online battle for ultimate bragging rights has ended, leaving one celebrity with the last laugh. Jeff Foxworthy, star of the hit FOX television show, “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader,” has been voted the winner of the Daytona 500 “Celebrity Tickets for Charity” competition. Foxworthy, the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, was selected from 10 celebrity finalists for the honor of having his artistic vision immortalized on the most coveted ticket in all of motorsports – the ticket to the 50th running of the Daytona 500 (Feb. 17, 2008). To commemorate the historic milestone of NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race, Daytona International Speedway (DIS) launched Celebrity Tickets for Charity, a platform for celebrities from all walks of life to showcase their artistic talents and inspire philanthropic giving. Over 40 celebrity designs were submitted and displayed at www.daytona.com. Foxworthy’s artwork will become the face of the ticket for the 50th Running. For the first time, fans will be able to take home a piece of history long after the checkered flag waves on the “Great American Race.” All original celebrity artwork, including Foxworthy’s winning ticket design, will be auctioned online to benefit The Jeff Gordon Foundation, which seeks to better the lives of children with life-threatening diseases. Starting Saturday, July 7, fans can log on to www.daytona.com and click on the Celebrity Tickets for Charity Auction banner to view and bid for their favorite celebrity artwork. The auction will close Monday, July 16.(DIS PR)(7-8-2007)
News from July 7, 2007
1st win for the car #26 since 1990: with #26-Jamie McMurray’s win at Daytina on July 7th, it is the first time the #26 has visited victory lane in the Nextel Cup Series since Brett Bodine won at North Wilkesboro Speedway on March 22, 1990. It is the 21st time a car with the #26 has won in the series. The first time the #26 won was in 1958 with Curtis Turner. The #43 has the most with 198 [Richard Petty didn’t win all his races in the #43] followed by the #11 with 183 [besides Hamlin other who have won in #11 include Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Mario Andretti, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltip, Bill Elliott among many others]. For more, see my Wins by Car Numbers page. NOTE: Benson won his race in the #10 car NOT the #26.(7-7-2007)
NASCAR’s Premier Series To Be Named NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Beginning Jan. 1, 2008: Sprint Nextel and NASCAR announced NASCAR’s premier series will be known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning Jan. 1, 2008. The logo was unveiled in a press conference at Daytona International Speedway. Sprint and NASCAR took extensive measures to talk with race fans throughout the logo and name review process, which included numerous focus groups and surveys. After receiving fan feedback, the decision was clear to focus on the Sprint brand and use a similar logo and name.(NASCAR PR)(7-7-2007)
See the full PR and facts on my Sprint/Nextel News page.
Top-35 rule could be changed: NASCAR is considering changing the number of teams locked into each Nextel Cup race by virtue of owner points, an official source within the sanctioning body confirmed to SPEEDTV.com Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Currently, the top 35 teams in NASCAR Nextel Cup owner points are guaranteed starting spots at each race, regardless of where they actually qualify in the field. Teams outside the top 35 must attempt to qualify for the remaining eight spots in each Cup event. When NASCAR first adopted the system of locking in the top 35 in owner points, it was when car counts were low at Cup races. The rationale of guaranteeing starting spots was to protect small, independent teams who showed up every week, but usually were not among the fastest in the field. With the advent of a host of new teams in 2007, including five from Toyota’s new Nextel Cup effort, fields have swelled this year, resulting in many fully sponsored teams going home on a weekly basis. That may be about to change, the NASCAR official confirmed in an exclusive interview with SPEEDTV.com. “We’ve had ongoing discussions about changing the number of teams we lock in,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The end result could be that the number of guaranteed starters would be reduced from 35 to perhaps 30 or 25. The NASCAR official stressed that no decision had been made yet, but the matter will continue to be a front-burner topic for the sanctioning body.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-7-2007)
Chase Races to remain the same in 2008: NASCAR President Mike Helton said the 10 races for next year’s Chase should be the same as this year. “It’s still a work in progress, but so far at least we don’t see anything different in the Chase part of the season,” Helton said Friday of next year’s schedule. We’re not quite through yet, but I don’t suspect any changes to come up in that part of the schedule.” The 10 Chase races this season are New Hampshire, Dover, Kansas, Talladega, Charlotte, Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.(Roanoke Times)(7-7-2007)
Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #11-Denny Hamlin has been running at the finish in 48 consecutive races, the longest current streak [he came close to not finishing at Daytona]. In the 2007 season after 17 races, four drivers have finished all the races: Hamlin, #07-Bowyer, #29-Harvick and #19-Sadler. #22-Blaney has the most DNF’s [Did Not Finish] with 6 in 16 races run.(7-7-2007)
Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon leads all drivers after 18 races in 2007 with 16 Top-10 finishes and 12 Top-5 finishes. One driver has ran all 18 races in 2007 and have not scored a Top-10 finish: #14-Marlin. Eight drivers do not have a Top-5 [ran all races]: Marlin, #43-Labonte, #19-Sadler, #40-Stremme, #9-Kahne, #7-Gordon, #66-Green and #88-Rudd.(7-7-2007)
Closest Cup Race Finishes:
Margin Winner Runner-up Track Date
.002 Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch, Darlington, March 16, 2003 .005 Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Daytona, July 7, 2007
.005 Dale Earnhardt, Ernie Irvan, Talladega, July 25, 1993
.006 Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Atlanta, March 11, 2001
.008 Jimmy Spencer, Ernie Irvan, Daytona, July 2, 1994
.010 Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Atlanta, March 12, 2000
.010 Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Rockingham, February 22, 2004
.017 Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Homestead, November 20. 2005
.020 Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Daytona, February 18, 2007
.025 Jimmy Spencer, Bill Elliott, Talladega, July 24, 1994
.027 Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Charlotte, May 29, 2005
.028 Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Atlanta, March 20, 2005
.028 Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Texas, April 4, 2004
.029 John Andretti, Terry Labonte, Daytona, July 5, 1997
(since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993)(7-7-2007)
McMurray squeaks by Kyle Busch at Daytona: #26-Jamie McMurray won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway by leading the last lap and beating #5-Kyle Busch by 0.005 seconds, which ties for 2nd closest finish since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993. #2-Busch finished 3rd, followed by #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #16-Biffle, #07-Bowyer [who led the most laps with 55], #17-Kenseth, #9-Kahne and #48-Johnson. The win is McMurray’s 2nd career win and first since Oct 2002 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, 166 races ago. The race started off a tad crazy with three cautions within the first 25 laps which took out #8-Earnhardt Jr.[finished 36th], #20-Stewart [38th] and #11-Hamlin [43rd]. There were 8 cautions for 30 laps and 11 drivers lead the race with 27 lead changes. Race Results on my Daytona Race Results/Awards Page. Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona 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.(7-7-2007)
Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Daytona [18 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 2773
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2496 -277
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 2390 -383
4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2366 -407
5) #31-Jeff Burton 2345 -428
6) #99-Carl Edwards 2308 -465
7) #20-Tony Stewart 2234 -539
8) #5-Kyle Busch 2190 -583
9) #29-Kevin Harvick 2172 -601
10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2157 -616
11) #07-Clint Bowyer 2142 -631
12) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2040 -733 some other notables:
#26-McMurray is 13th
#2-Busch is 15th
#42-Montoya is 21st
#9-Kahne is 26th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-7-2007)
Rumblings – Daytona Race Notes: Jamie McMurray edged Kyle Busch tonight at Daytona International Speedway and took the Pepsi 400 by all of .005 seconds….and it really was closer than that! With the lead changing hands at least three times from turn 4 to the line, McMurray captured his second career victory (his other win came in his second start subbing for Sterling Marlin at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October of 2002), the 98th for Roush Racing (and third this season), and became the 12th different winner this season (we had 13 of ’em last year). Jamie is now tied for 95th on the all-time win list, and this vistory was worth $302,500 from the over $6.2M in posted awards.
Kyle Busch (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Richmond in May.
Kurt Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Talladega in April.
Kasey Kahne (9th) had his best finish since he was 7th when we were here in February.
David Gilliland (11th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Talladega in April.
David Ragan (12th) had his best finish since he was 5th when we were here in February.
David Stremme (22nd) had his best finish since he was 17th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 13 Top-10’s in the last 14 races.
Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is David Gilliand (+21), followed by Paul Menard (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Denny Hamlin (-41), followed by Tony Stewart (-32), Kevin Harvick (-26), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (-23). When you line up by points, you get a pretty heady group at the bottom of the “Shaft”.
Jeff Gordon lengthens his lead tonight….it’s now a sizeable 277 markers. No driver moves into the “Chase” zone, and no change in the Top-35 in Owner Points. We did lop another six drivers out of “Chase” contention this week, tho.
David Gilliland (32nd to 27th) made the best advance tonight, while Reed Sorenson (27th to 29th) was the only driver to fall multiple positions.(Stock Car Fans)(7-7-2007)
Fast Facts Pepsi 400:
.. Jamie McMurray won the Pepsi 400, his second Nextel Cup victory in 168 races.
.. McMurray’s last win took place at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 13, 2002.
.. The margin of victory – .005 second – ties Talladega in July of 1993 (Dale Earnhardt over Ernie Irvan) as the second closest victory since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993. The closest margin of victory was .002 second at Darlington in March of 2003 (Ricky Craven over Kurt Busch).
.. This is McMurray’s third top five and seventh top 10 this season.
.. McMurray’s previous best finish at Daytona was second at the 2005 Pepsi 400.
.. Kyle Busch, who finished second, notched his fourth top five and 10th top 10 of the season.
.. Kurt Busch, who finished third, posted his third top five and fourth top 10 of the season.
Daytona Penalty Report: Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #9 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 4
2 #8 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 14
3 #43 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 15
4 #9 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 15
5 #20 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 15
6 #10 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 15
7 #10 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 22
8 #43 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 22
9 #10 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 24
10 #26 PT Disobeying a NASCAR request – yellow line violation 30
11 #29 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 57
12 #88 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 115
13 #8 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 132
14 #45 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 132
15 #19 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 132
16 #42 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 132
17 #88 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 133
18 #38 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 144
19 #13 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 151
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 Statistics)(7-7-2007)
To the Back: so far have only heard of one driver going to the rear of the field at Daytona, #88-Rudd as the team had to change an oil pump, but not the engine.(7-7-2007)
Daytona 500 Champions Awarded: Daytona International Speedway announced, as a gesture of recognition of the past Daytona 500 Champions and in celebration of the upcoming 50th running of the Great American Race, it will present the 24 living legends a lifetime membership to the prestigious Daytona 500 Club. Each champion, by way of their accomplishments on the track and in life, will receive lifetime access to the track’s infield hospitality and entertainment experience. Membership benefits include: a seat in Gatorade Victory Lane, access to the Club banquet & lounge, event souvenir packages, a Pre Race / Nextel Fanzone Access pass, infield parking and admission to the Daytona Experience for the Pepsi 400 and Speedweeks event weekends. Also the Daytona 500 Experience at Daytona International Speedway welcomed five past champions of the “Great American Race” to its Walk of Fame. Inductees ranged from this year’s winner, Kevin Harvick (2007), to Junior Johnson (1960). Joining Harvick and Johnson at the induction was Derrike Cope (1990), Buddy Baker (1980) and Pete Hamilton (1970). Plans for a new exhibit inside the Daytona 500 Experience featuring other past champions of the “Great American Race” were also unveiled at the ceremony.(DIS PR)(7-7-2007)
Hutchens Hybrid to join HANS in NASCAR: on July 13th, the Hutchens Hybrid joins the HANS Device as the only head and neck restraint systems allowed by NASCAR for use by drivers in all its touring series. Both restraint systems meet SFI 38.1 certification, the only standard currently recognized by NASCAR to measure head load and rapid egress requirements. Trevor Ashline, designer of the original Hutchens device and president of Safety Solutions, said his new Hybrid easily passed the rigorous SFI 38.1 testing process, with impressive angular impact numbers, and exceeded the stringent NASCAR head and neck restraint criteria.(ESPN Icons)(7-7-2007)
Dale Jr. to announce deal with adidas UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Friday will announce a personal services agreement with clothing manufacturer adidas, sources told ESPN.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sources said adidas will manufacture Earnhardt’s fire retardant driving suits and shoes, and the Nextel Cup star will be involved in promoting specific consumer apparel. Earnhardt has yet to announce the biggest piece of his sponsorship puzzle for 2008 — the primary financial-backer [rumored to be Mountain Dew or Monster Energy Drink] of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. Earnhardt is leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company his late father founded, to drive for Hendrick Motorsports next season.(ESPN.com)(7-5-2007) UPDATE: adidas and Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a multi-year partnership, beginning with his quest to win THE CUP in 2008. The collaboration will include a full line of Dale Jr. footwear, apparel and accessories including his future racing suit and technical footwear as well as off track footwear and fan apparel. In the same way that crews work to enhance race cars, Dale Jr. will work directly with the adidas Innovation Team (aIT) to design and create an innovative, groundbreaking racing suit and technical driving shoes as the critical link between man and machine. Dale Jr. will debut these cutting edge adidas products at the 2008 season opener in Daytona. Together with Dale Jr., adidas is exploring opportunities to add technical features such as ClimaCool to Dale Jr.’s racing products in order to provide him with a competitive advantage. In addition to providing fans access to Jr.’s technical driving range, there will be an extensive collection of off track footwear, technical apparel and fan merchandise. These products will be more accessible than ever via adidas’ extensive network of retail partners. For the first time, Dale Jr. licensed products will be available via adidas’ own retail stores and through sporting goods retailers such as ‘The Sports Authority,’ who have over 400 stores nationwide. The line will roll out beginning in February 2008.(JR Motorsports PR)(7-7-2007)
Wally’s World and More: Wally’s World returns with Tim Meadows, former Saturday Night Live comedian and current co-star on TBS’ newest comedy The Bill Engvall Show, jumping in Wally Dallenbach’s car for a wild ride around the track. Pre-race coverage will also include Florida State graduate Matt Yocum’s tour of the city of Daytona to document its importance in NASCAR’s history. In addition, TNT will air a special interview with Kevin Harvick who is the reigning champion at Daytona International Speedway, after claiming a victory at the Daytona 500 in February, Harvick’s first Nextel Cup Series win in a restrictor plate race.(TNT PR), guess Meadows was a no show as Wally took the lap by himself…and what happened to the intro song?(7-7-2007)
DIS, NASCAR Honor Bill France Jr. During Pepsi 400 Weekend: NASCAR legend Richard Petty will drive a specially designed Daytona International Speedway/NASCAR tribute car in honor of the late Bill France Jr. prior to Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. The on-track tribute highlighted by Petty is just one of several tributes that are taking place during the Pepsi 400 Weekend at Daytona International Speedway. France, who helped build Daytona International Speedway in the late 1950s and served as President between 1982-87, passed away last month at the age of 74.
The tributes for Bill France Jr. include:
* With Petty, the specially designed Daytona International Speedway/NASCAR tribute car will lead the Pepsi 400 field during the pace laps and slow as the field splits with the car falling to the back of the pack.
* A moment of silence held before Friday’s Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo Busch Series race and Saturday night’s 49th annual Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup Series race.
* A special video tribute will be shown on the Nextel Vision screen during Saturday’s pre-race festivities.
* A special feature of Bill France Jr. in the 2007 Pepsi 400 Weekend souvenir program.(DIS PR)(7-7-2007)
Photographer ill: Renowned racing photographer Ace Lane Jr. suffered a heart attack on June 29, 2007. Been told Ace is better and resting at home after a brief hospital stay and surgery. Ace has no insurance to cover his medical expenses. Cards of cheer and any donation may reach Ace at his home. The address and info on Lane can be found at his site acelanephoto.com.(Area Auto Racing News)(7-7-2007)
News from July 6, 2007
Goody’s scheme to run at Martinsville: on SPEED’s NASCAR Live, the King, Richard Petty, was interviewed and showed the #43 Goody’s Headache Powder Dodge that Bobby Labonte will run at Martinsville in October. Goody’s is featured on the petty blue hood. See an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Scheme page.(7-6-2007)
Kahne wants out of Evernham? UPDATE denied: #9-Kasey Kahne’s frustration at Evernham Motorsports has forced him to ask out of his contract, according to Fox Sports. Kahne reportedly wants the freedom to negotiate with Dale Earnhardt Inc. to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008. Dodge got a new front bumper this year, and so far it’s been a big challenge to figure out. Kahne has one top-10 finish this year and is 26th in the standings.(Augusta Chronicle) AND it was reported on Tuesday’s NASCAR Now [ESPN2 6:30pm/et] that DEI has not spoken to Kahne about ride and that Evernham and Dodge have Kahne under contract and do not plan on losing Kahne.(7-6-2007) UPDATE: #9-Kasey Kahne denied on Thursday a report that he would leave Evernham Motorsports after this season and move to Dale Earnhardt Inc. or another Nextel Cup organization. “I’ve had plenty of different teams calling to talk to me because we’re running bad,” said Kahne, who is 26th in points a year after making the championship chase and winning a series-high six races. “I haven’t talked to any other teams. I have never once talked to another team owner. It’s just another reporter putting something out there with no facts. It’s not true,” he said. Kahne has a deal at Evernham Motorsports through the 2010 season. Team owner Ray Evernham said there are no plans to let Kahne out of the contract and that his impending partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. would not provide an out. “There are ways to purchasing,” he said. “Whether it’s stocks or assets makes a huge difference.” Evernham added that Kahne has given no indication he wants out of his deal. “Right now what we’re trying to do is get this thing sorted out,” he said. “Kasey has been one of my biggest supporters. The way he’s jumped in, you’d think he was my partner. I’m really proud of him.”(ESPN.com)(7-6-2007)
Suspended Crew Chiefs banned from the track: NASCAR has changed its policy and will not allow crew chiefs to attend races while they are suspended, NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Previously, the policy was to simply suspend a NASCAR license, meaning crew chiefs and others under suspension could not enter a track’s garage area or pit road.(SceneDaily.com)(7-6-2007)
NHIS TV Ratings: not much info, but have some TV Ratings from the Nextel Cup at New Hampshire on July 1, 2007. Zap2it.com reports the race Sunday drew a 3.4 rating with 3,825,000 households and 5,270,000 viewers, the third best of all cable programs. All I have from last season, is the rating, which was a 3.9 when the race also aired on TNT. The week at Daytona, will be hard to guage as the race is on cable being televised on TNT, last season the race aired on network TV at FOX and in 2005 the race aired on NBC.(Zap2it.com), for past news and ratings, see my 2007 TV Ratings page.(7-6-2007)
Alternative fuel in NASCAR’s future: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said earlier this week the sport is researching a move toward an alternative fuel. It is a high priority for the sport, though no timeline has been set as the research is not far along. However, teams will have to revamp their entire engine program with the introduction of a new fuel. Richie Gilmore, vice president of competition for DEI, estimated the change this year from leaded to unleaded fuel ran his company roughly $500,000 in research and development. France said there is no timeline for any change because there are “eight or nine different versions of what alternative fuels mean to people.” One possibility is ethanol, which the IndyCar Series switched to this season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-6-2007)
Petty Racing looks to move shop in 2009: Petty Enterprises Vice President of Racing Operations Robbie Loomis said the team is making progress on its goal to move from its long-time home but likely won’t leave it’s Randleman, N.C., base until 2009. “We’re definitely making a lot of progress,” Loomis said. “We’ve looked at more land and sites and things. The scope and the size of the project has kind of changed a little bit. We were originally looking for 50-75 acres, and now we’re looking for a lot more land than that.” Loomis said the team would eventually like to expand to four cars, and there needs to be enough land to add shop space to accommodate the increased number of teams. The two-car team is now housed in a sprawling campus in Randleman, about 90 miles from Charlotte, N.C., the home of most NASCAR teams. “We’re still trying to identify exactly where the best place to be for the land for all the employees that we have now and for the ones [who would join later],” Loomis said. That appears to be Salisbury, N.C., about halfway between Randleman and Charlotte. “Our main targeted area has been Salisbury,” Loomis said. “We feel that’s a good location to grow. But right now, there’s a lot of things involved in making that next step and making the commitment to get the land.” Loomis did say the team would “for sure” be in a new facility for the 2009 season but didn’t speculate on exactly when a move would be made.(SceneDaily.com)(7-6-2007)
Kyle Busch new team choice down to five: #5-Kyle Busch has narrowed his list of prospective teams to Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Evernham Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing, sources close to the situation said on Thursday. The 22-year-old driver visited eight teams and then narrowed his search to three Chevrolet teams and two Dodge teams. He is expected to have a new deal by early August.(ESPN.com)(7-6-2007)
Qualifying Rained out at Daytona: For the first time in 97 races, qualifying was cancelled at Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400. Thirty-Nine drivers had gone out to qualify and #60-Boris Said was on the pole when the rains came. Said will not make the race as the field was set per the rules book [Top-35 in OWNER points, 2006/2007 race winner not in yet, past champions not in yet – NOTE: past chammps provisionals have NOTHING to do with these rules, so #44-Jarrett makes the race, then by 2007 race attempts with the tie broken by owners pts position]
So #24-Jeff Gordon will start 1st, followed by #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, #20-Stewart, #99-Edwards, #29-Harvick, #01-Martin and #1-Truex Jr. See starting lineup and what qualifying looked like before the rain on my Daytona Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-6-2007)
Ten do not qualify for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway: #36-Mayfield [was 3rd fast]; #84-Allmendinger; #55-Waltrip; #37-Lepage; #49-Foyt; #4-Burton; #60-Said [fastest in rained out qualifying]; #09-Wallace; #04-McClure and #27-Shelmerdine.(7-6-2007)
Double M&M’s schemes at Daytona: Robert Yates Racing teammates’ #38-David Gilliland and #88-Ricky Rudd will be running special M&M’s paint schemes in Saturday’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. Gilliland and Team 38 welcome the return of a fan-favorite special paint scheme, the M&M’S Red, White and Blue Ford in recognition of the Fourth of July holiday. Rudd will also exchange his Snickers colors to sport the standard M&M’S scheme on his #88 Ford as the two teams unite under one brand for the race.(M&M’s Motorsports PR)(7-6-2007)
Busch Race postponsed until Saturday Tix Info: The Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo has been postponed and been rescheduled for Saturday morning at 9 :00am/et. The following are the ticket procedures for Saturday, July 7 at Daytona International Speedway:
* Both Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo tickets and Pepsi 400 tickets will be honored.
* If a ticket holder has only a Winn-Dixie 250 ticket, they can view the Pepsi 400 from the Superstretch.
* The Pepsi 400 ticket has priority over any Winn-Dixie 250 ticket for Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race.
* Gates will open at 7:30am/et
* The NEXTEL FANZONE will open at 2:00pm/et and only Nextel Fanzone/Pre-Race passes for the Pepsi 400 will be honored
* All Speedway parking/tram service will run as scheduled
For more information, call 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR) TV: ESPN2 will have live coverage Saturday morning of the rescheduled Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The telecast will begin at 9:00pm/et. The race was postponed Friday night due to inclement weather.(ESPN PR)
Reutimann looking? UPDATE 4: hearing the #00-David Reutimann is looking at his options for the 2008 season. Reutimann currently drives the #00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. UPDATE: MWR denies Reutimann had talked to any team about 2008.(6-26-2007) UPDATE 2: David Reutimann would prefer to return to Michael Waltrip Racing’s Nextel Cup program next season. But he’s still awaiting an offer. Reutimann signed a two-year contract to race Busch cars for Waltrip but is under a one-year deal for Cup. At the time, that seemed like a safety valve for Waltrip Racing, but with the team’s mighty struggles in Toyota’s first-year Cup effort and unwanted publicity surrounding Waltrip’s cheating scandal at Daytona, it could give the rookie an escape. Team officials, he said, have yet to broach an extension. “Me personally, I am not really out looking around, ” he said. But others could be looking at him, especially considering his performance for a Waltrip Busch program that has been markedly more competitive because of the quality of the engine Toyota has developed in the series.(St. Petersburg Times)(7-1-2007) UPDATE 3: Been told that Reutimann’s Busch deal is not thru 2008, but thru 2007, same as his Nextel Cup deal. Plus on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now [July 2nd], Marty Smith reported that MWR General Mgr Ty Norris said MWR is committed to Reutiman and that it will be a month or two before the #00 sponsorship status is known for 2008 and until they know the status of those sponsors, they can’t know the status for Reutimann.(7-3-2007) UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip said he is 99% sure David Reutimann will remain his third driver next season. Waltrip said he and Dale Jarrett are committed to the same cars next season with NAPA and UPS likely to return as the primary sponsors. He said the decision on whether to keep Reutimann in the #00 car will be made by mid-July. “We’ll just have to see how sponsorship looks, whether it will be Burger King and Dominoes again or Burger King and somebody else,” he said.(ESPN.com)(7-6-2007)
Red, White and… Green at Daytona:Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corporation and the Daytona International Speedway have joined to encourage and enable recycling during the entire race week. More than 9000 pounds of aluminum cans and aluminum bottles and approximately 3000 pounds of plastic water bottles were collected at the track during February’s Speedweeks at Daytona. Budweiser “Green Team” members and DIS employees will hand out blue recycle bags to campers as they enter the Speedway infield and the West Lot camping grounds for nightly pick up. In addition, 400 recycling containers will be located throughout the concourse, Fan Walk area, suites and hospitality tents. During the races, the Budweiser “Green Team” and speedway employees will service these recycling bins. To encourage guests to recycle their beverage containers, “Green Team” volunteers will walk through the campgrounds and reward adults that are “caught” recycling with Budweiser gear. Budweiser is the official beer of Daytona International Speedway. For more information on the Anheuser-Busch Environmental Outreach, visit ABenvironment.com.(fingerprint inc)(7-6-2007)
News from July 5, 2007
CAT and BDR still discussing future: Discussions between Caterpillar, Inc., and Bill Davis Racing regarding an extension of their sponsorship contract are on-going, Greg Towles, Caterpillar director of racing operations, said Tuesday. “We’re just having discussions. We really haven’t made a decision yet,” said Towles, whose company has sponsored the #22 BDR car since 1999. The current contract with the team is up after this season. “There’s no real set timetable,” he said. “We have had our discussions and we’ll see where it goes.” Towles said it was nice to see the team’s driver, Dave Blaney, win the pole for last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, though the car eventually finished 29th. “I think, certainly, we’d like to be within the top 35 (in owner points, which guarantees a spot in the race),” Towles said. “The competition has been really tough this year and it’s been really hard on all the Toyota teams. So I guess I would say we’re disappointed in not being in the top 35 yet. I’d just say at this point that our conversations with them are pretty private and we just haven’t set a timetable on it, but when we do, we’ll be glad to share it with everybody.”(Peoria Journal Star)(7-5-2007)
Testing changes coming soon? hearing that Goodyear and NASCAR are getting closer to changing the tires/testing policy and will start selling tires to teams to test. Currently teams lease tires from Goodyear at the track for races NASCAR sanctioned tests, but teans must use old Goodyear tires stockpiled or another brand such as Hoosier to test.(7-5-2007)
TNT to debut innovative Wide Open Coverage television format at Daytona: TNT goes under the lights this Saturday, July 7 when the network televises the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup Series race from the Daytona International Speedway with the debut of a new television format, a special on #24-Jeff Gordon, a special feature on Richard Petty and continued TNT post-race coverage exclusively on NASCAR.COM. TNT’s pre-race coverage begins with NASCAR on TNT LIVE! at 6:30pm/et, followed by Allstate Countdown to Green at 7:30pm/et. The Pepsi 400 will begin at 8:00pm/et. Including Gordon, 22 of the 24 living Daytona 500 champions are expected to be at the track for one of NASCAR’s premier racing events, many of whom will be interviewed during pre-race festivities by TNT’s on-air announcers. The network’s pre-race coverage will also include a feature in which Florida State graduate Matt Yocum tours the city of Daytona and documents its importance in NASCAR’s history, as well as a special edition of the Pride of NASCAR in which Kyle Petty interviews his father Richard Petty.
This year’s coverage of the Pepsi 400 will mark the debut of TNT’s Wide Open Coverage, a unique television format that will feature no national commercial interruptions, only three local commercial breaks per hour and an innovative on-screen video box for sponsor branded content. The branded content will include animated sponsor messages and graphics from sponsors. The branded content for sponsors includes a mix of vignettes running 60 seconds to two minutes in length, and feature notable faces from around the world of NASCAR.(TNT PR)(7-5-2007)
Camping World to sponsor Robby Gordon in 3 races: Robby Gordon Motorsports announced a new partnership with Camping World for the 2007 season. Camping World will sponsor Gordon in three Nextel Cup events and the Busch Series race in Canada, later this summer. “I am happy to have Camping World on board as a sponsor,” said Robby Gordon. “Camping World brings a new chapter to RGM. They have been a sponsor in all three NASCAR Series and know what it takes to be successful at this level. It’s always great to welcome a new sponsor and we are really happy about having them.” Gordon said. Gordon’s #7 Ford Fusion will debut the Camping World paint scheme this weekend at the Pepsi 400, again at the famed night race at Bristol and at the first Car Of Tomorrow race at a superspeedway, Talladega in October. Gordon’s #55 Busch Series Fusion will make its Camping World debut at the road course at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 4, 2007.(RGM Site), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Scheme page.(7-5-2007)
Nemechek’s Car to Honor Charleston Fallen Firefighters: The paint scheme on Joe Nemechek’s #13 Ginn Racing Chevy for this weekend’s Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway will honor the nine Charleston, S.C. firefighters who perished in a warehouse blaze on June 18. The names and ages of the nine fallen firefighters are listed on the decklid of Nemechek’s Chevrolet while the logo of the Charleston S.C. Fire Department is showcased on each side of the car. “Being a South Carolina native I wanted to let the families of the fallen victims and the Charleston community know that our race team shares in the mourning of these great American heroes,” said team owner Bobby Ginn.”The tragedy personally moved me.” Ginn is a former resident of Charleston and the Ginn Company has several communities in development in the area along with sponsoring an LPGA tournament. The names and ages of the nine fallen firefighters are as follows:
Capt. William “Billy” Hutchinson, 48
Capt. Mike Benke, 48
Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34
Engineer Mark Kelsey, 40
Engineer Bradford “Brad” Baity, 37
Assistant engineer Michael French, 27
Firefighter James “Earl” Drayton, 56
Firefighter Brandon Thompson, 27
Firefighter Melvin Champaign, 46
Race fans wishing to make a donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation can go the organization’s website — www.firehero.org.(Ginn Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #01 Team Schemes page.(7-5-2007)
Different colors for Martin at Daytona: As previously announced, The Principal Financial Group, the nation’s 401(k) leader1 and premier benefits provider, will serve as primary sponsor of Mark Martin’s #01 Chevy during the Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, July 7, 2007. The Principal will also feature Mark Martin and his Nextel Cup rookie co-driver Regan Smith in a two minute vignette airing as part of TNT’s Wide Open format of the live event broadcast. As a season-long associate sponsor of Ginn Racing’s three full-time Nextel Cup entries, Daytona marks the first of two Nextel Cup races where The Principal will serve as primary sponsor of the #01 Chevy. Regan Smith will pilot the Principal Financial Group Chevrolet Sept.16, in the Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. The U.S. Army, Martin’s and Smith’s primary sponsor for the balance of the 2007 Nextel Cup season, will have associate sponsor status on the #01 car in both Daytona and New Hampshire.(Ginn Racing PR) see an image of the scheme on my #01 Team Schemes page.(7-5-2007)
Movie scheme for Kahne at Daytona UPDATE – image: #9-Kasey Kahne will be running a special paint scheme on his Evernham Motorsports Dodge to promote the new Universal Pictures’ comedy starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Jessica Biel, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.” The film will be released in theaters on July 20. In “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”, Sandler and James team as two straight firefighters who stumble down the aisle with the best of intentions. Through one comic mishap after another, the duo is forced to answer the question, “How far would you go for a friend?” #9 will feature a bright yellow, black and red graphics wrap that showcases flames shooting over the hood and up the sides of the black racecar. The firefighters’ seal will adorn the hood along with the movie title. Additionally, the firefighters’ seal will be located on both sides of the car, along with the title on the quarter panels. This is the third time that Evernham Motorsports has partnered with Happy Madison Productions, Sandler and producer Jack Giarraputo . Previously, Kahne ran special graphics wraps to promote the “The Longest Yard” and “Click”.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-4-2007) IMAGE: see a small image of the scheme on my #9 Team Schemes page.(7-5-2007)
Layoffs at Morgan-McClure? been told by multiple sources that Morgan-McClure Motorsports, who fields the #4 State Water Heaters Chevy for Ward Burton, has temporarily laid off 14 employees this week, including a long time member of the engine shop.(7-5-2007)
Daytona Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at Daytona this weekend . . . teams in these two series also ran this same combination of left- and right-side tires at the season-opening weekend at Daytona in February . . . this left-side code (D-4000) first ran at Daytona in February 2006, while this right-side code debuted at Talladega in April 2006 . .. as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated pit window is every 30-33 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full tire notes, codes, pressures on my Daytona Race Info Page.(7-5-2007)
Furniture Row Racing looking for sponsor, to form 2nd team UPDATE 2 denied: Furniture Row Racing, #78 in the Nextel Cup Series, has announced plans to seek additional sponsorship. Furniture Row Companies, based out of Denver, Colorado, owns and exclusively sponsors Furniture Row Racing. The organization currently operates a full-time, stand-alone Cup team with driver and motor sport personality Kenny Wallace behind the wheel. Furniture Row Racing is actively seeking sponsorship to fund the #78 team with a new sponsor. The Furniture Row Racing sponsorship will be used to form a second team [rumored to be driven by Sterling Marlin in 2008]. Furniture Row Racing is confident that a second team will provide the additional resources required to continue to grow and develop a competitive program. The benefits of running a second team, even in a part-time capacity, are deemed exceptionally valuable by the organization. Due to Wallace’s widespread popularity, a new sponsor could garner valuable brand exposure both on and off the track.(Businesswire.com)(7-4-2007) UPDATE: also hearing that the ream will be ending it’s current in-house engine program and is currently in talks with Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and RCR/DEI about an engine leasing program for 2008.(7-5-2007) UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing’s representatives deny recent rumors that their in house engine program will be outsourced or leased beyond their existing deal with Hendrick Motorsport for superspeedway [resrtictor plate] engines. In fact, the organization is committed to building a long term, competitive program. The continued enhancement and growth of its in house engine department is considered a key element in obtaining that goal. Furniture Row Racing currently does not have a second team, and has not interviewed any drivers at this point.(FRM PR)(7-5-2007)
Colin Braun tests Roush stock car: 18-year-old sports car driver Colin Braun tested a Roush Fenway Racing stock car last week at the Caraway Speedway, NC for just the second time in his motorsport career. Braun last month became the youngest driver to ever stand on the famed Le Mans 24 Hour podium in France following a second place finish in the GT2 class driving Krohn Racing’s Ferrari 430GT alongside team-owner Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson. Braun’s on-track accomplishments have not gone unnoticed and earlier in June he was signed to a driver development deal by no-less a racing organisation than Roush Fenway Racing. “I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to drive a stock car for someone like Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing. The opportunity really came about due to my successes in sports cars and the short time that I’ve been there. I definitely attribute a lot of that success to the foundation that Speed Secrets gave me. I think I’m going to enjoy stock car racing and I’ve got no doubt that I’m going to learn a lot, starting with my participation in the ARCA series. We’re definitely taking things one step at a time but I know I’m doing a full season of ARCA in 2008 with the plan being to follow that up with a full season in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2009.”(Speed Secrets PR)(7-5-2007)
New Motorsports Authentics leader will try creative changes: The new head of NASCAR’s largest merchandising agency will try to help the company become profitable and also try to create items that fans want to buy. That sounds simple, but considering that Motorsports Authentics represents many teams, that isn’t always easy. Fans might flock to the merchandise haulers of a few select drivers but the company also is in the business of marketing merchandise for drivers not as popular. Mark Dyer, former vice president for licensing and consumer products at NASCAR, took over Motorsports Authetics a couple of weeks ago and has the task of making it profitable. The company is a split venture between Speedway Motorpsorts and International Speedway Corp., which each own 50%, and SMI reported $3.2 million in losses (for its half of the company) in 2006, Motorsports Authentics’ first full year in operation. Some of those losses included the cost of merging the two companies that were bought to create Motorsports Authetics – Team Caliber and Action Performance. “We’re dedicated to selling as many drivers as possible,” Dyer said last week. “We have a ton of drivers in our portfolio. One of the questions this industry faces is how to make more drivers successful from a licensing standpoint. “Obviously you have the ones at the top that sell the vast majority of merchandise, but every team, every driver, every sponsor wants to be represented and that’s the challenge in the economic model is how to represent them. We’re committed to having their product available, but I think the question is where can the product be available that is the most cost effective way that it can be done for us as a business.” The company has about 500 employees and has 49 merchandise haulers that go race to race. It deals with more than 200 licensees.(full story at SceneDaily.com)(7-5-2007)
McMurray Promotes Responsible Drinking in New Ad Campaign: A new television campaign being launched by Crown Royal this week puts #26-Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of a taxicab. Inspired by Crown Royal’s “Safe Rides Home” designated driver program, the campaign humorously shows McMurray being mentored by a New York City cab driver who details the finer aspects of driving people home. Each of the five 15-second spots delivers serious messages reminding consumers to drink responsibly and to always arrange for a designated driver after a night out on the town. The “Safe Rides Home” program pairs McMurray with a team of drivers who provide safe rides home to adult consumers in various markets across the country, and will next appear on the streets of Indianapolis prior to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 29. The spots will air on national cable networks beginning in July.(PR)(7-5-2007)
Tire Specialist to take time off…to have baby: As tire specialist for the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy team, Lisa Smokstad is a recognizable face in the Nextel Cup Series garage and one of only a handful of women working on the competition side of the sport. The native of Shakopee, Minn., has worked for Hendrick Motorsports since 1999, but soon she’ll be taking a hiatus from air-pressure gauges and tire-wear trends to take on the role of new mom. Smokstad, who joined the #25 team in 2005, and husband Craig, car chief for the #83 team, are expecting their first child in early September. The Smokstads anticipate that this weekend or next will be their last at the track together until the baby is born.(HMS PR)(7-5-2007)
News from July 4, 2007
Special IRWIN scheme at Daytona for McMurray: Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 IRWIN Marathon with WeldTec Ford Fusion in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. This is a special paint scheme promoting IRWIN’s Marathon Saw Blades. It’s the same IRWIN blue but with yellow flames and a huge Marathon Saw Blade on the side of the car.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Scheme page.(7-4-2007)
Sauter and Kyle Busch Fail Post Race Inspection UPDATE 2 penalties announced: The Chevys of #70-Johnny Sauter and #5-Kyle Busch both did not meet the minimum height requirements during post-race inspection. #83-Brian Vickers failed post-qualifying inspection on Friday and had his time disallowed. NASCAR will take both of the cars back to the R&D Center in Concord, NC to test them further to see if the problem is the result of something that happened on the track or not. If any penalties are assessed, they are likely to be announced on Tuesday.(7-1-2007) UPDATE: there was NO announcement on Tuesday, July 3rd, regarding any penalties for the #70 and/or #5 teams, no word if there will be an announcement or if the team will be penalized.(7-4-2007) UPDATE 2: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #5 and #70 teams that compete in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found this past weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Both cars – the #5 Chevy driven by Kyle Busch and the #70 Chevy driven by Johnny Sauter – were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1B, COT Technical Bulletin #3, dated 4/10/07 (failed to meet the minimum front car heights) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during post-race inspection last Sunday. As a result, Kyle Busch and Sauter have each been penalized 25 driver championship points. Their respective crew chiefs – Alan Gustafson and Robert “Bootie” Barker – have each been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Sept. 19. In addition, Rick Hendrick, owner of the #5, has been penalized 25 car owner championship points as has Joe Custer, the owner of the #70.(NASCAR PR), see updated drivers/owners pts on my Owners/Drivers Points standings page.(7-4-2007)
RCR-DEI Engine Debut at Daytona: Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will debut the new common engine package this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. All six Richard Chiledress Racing [#07,#29,#31] and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) cars [#1,#8,#15] will run the new engine.(RCR PR)(7-4-2007)
Career start #100 for Raines: The Pepsi 400 will mark #96-Tony Raines’ 100th career Nextel Cup Series start and his fourth career Nextel Cup start at Daytona.(HOF Racing PR)(7-4-2007)
Stewart looking to tie Pearson: #20-Tony Stewart will be hunting for a record third consecutive Pepsi 400 victory in this year’s 160-lap, 400-mile event at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart will attempt to tie David Pearson’s record of three straight Pepsi 400 wins (1972-74).(DIS PR)(7-4-2007)
Foyt to drive #49 at Daytona: BAM Racing is pleased to welcome Larry Foyt and associate sponsor Firehouse Subs to the #49 Dodge Charger for the Pepsi 400 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Foyt will attempt to make his first Nextel Cup Series start of the season [and since Texas in April 2004] with BAM Racing this weekend. Although he has not competed this year, Foyt has accumulated many on-track hours testing at superspeedways in support of series manufacturer Dodge Motorsports. Firehouse Subs, founded in Jacksonville, Fla. by former firefighting brothers Robin and Chris Sorensen, will serve as an associate sponsor for the Pepsi 400 on the BAM Racing Dodge as well as on the Mac Hill Motorsports Busch Series car in partnership with Foyt.(BAM Racing PR)(7-4-2007)
McGlynn Racing Closing: Derrikecope.com reports: Unfortunately McGlynn Motorsports will be closing and auctioning off their assets at Sentman Auctions in North Carolina in the middle of July. Derrike Cope commented, “Certainly we showed that we could make races with minimal sponsorship. We just could not find people or companies that had the means to sponsor us.”(DerrikeCope.com)(7-4-2007)
SAFER Barrier designer honored in DC: Dean Sicking, the man responsible for the development of the SAFER Barrier that is used now at all major speedways in America, is headed to the White House. Sicking will receive the National Science and Technology Medal from President Bush on July 27. The medal is the country’s highest award for technological innovation. Sicking is being recognized not only for his work in motorsports, but also his innovative designs and development of roadside safety devices. It’s estimated that over 150 lives are saved each year by technological advances Sicking helped implement on U.S. highways.(ESPN.com)(7-4-2007)
Johnson’s #48 Crew Wins Pit Crew Challenge in New Hampshire: Jimmie Johnson’s over-the-wall crew claimed its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by spending the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday’s Nextel Cup event. The #48 Lowe’s team visited New Hampshire International Speedway’s pit lane for only 175.323 seconds and will be awarded $11,000 by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. The #48 crew, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, consists of: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Matt Clark.
Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. An $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-4-2007)
Daytona Rookie Notes:
#6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 1 LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Ragan scored a 15th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the eighth time this season. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 14 points (190-176) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 7 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Pepsi 400, scoring a 10th-place finish. Greg Biffle is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Pepsi 400. Biffle won the race in 2003, scoring his first career win in the Nextel Cup Series. Since 1975, only three Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the Pepsi 400: 1979: Dale Earnhardt, third 1993: Jeff Gordon, fifth 2003: Greg Biffle, first. Since 1975, Three Raybestos Rookies have won the pole position for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona: Geoffrey Bodine (1982), Davey Allison (1987), and Mike Skinner (1997). Davey Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie since 1975 to lead the most laps in the Pepsi 400. He led the 1987 event twice for 32 laps.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos PR)(7-4-2007)
News from July 3, 2007
Sadler’s Team Director (Crew Chief) Resigns: Evernham Motorsports announced that Josh Browne has elected to resign from his team director duties [of #19-Elliott Sadler] and return to the organization’s engineering department effective immediately. Longtime Evernham Motorsports employee Scott McDougall, former team director of the #98 Evernham Motorsports Truck/ARCA team, will take over as team director of the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge on an interim basis. “As we look to make vital improvements across our entire program, we are reviewing the allocation of personnel and resources within the organization. Josh is better suited to help the organization as a whole from an engineering perspective and our efforts in that area,” said Ray Evernham, team owner and CEO. “I commend Josh for his decision and being a team player.”(Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-3-2007)
Schrader Statement by Wood Brothers/JTG: The Wood Brothers/JTG race team wishes to address the numerous inquiries about Ken Schrader’s continued participation with the #21 Nextel Cup entry. The plan in place now is the plan that has always been in place. Bill Elliott continues to drive the #21 car on a weekly basis with the emphasis on the guaranteed starting spot, while the team works to regain its standing in the top-35 in NASCAR Owner Points. At such time that the team is able to reach this range of points, it is our continued intention that we will be able to return Ken Schrader to his driving duties with the team.(Wood Brothers/JTG site)(7-3-2007)
Wii scheme on the #16 at two races: For two Nextel Cup races, #16-Greg Biffle will run a special Nintendo Wii paint scheme for the #16 Ford at Watkins Glen in August and Dover in September. See an image of the scheme on my #16 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2007)
France vows to maintain the integrity of crew chief penalties; Drivers could be suspended: NASCAR plans to address the issue of suspended crew chiefs continuing to do their jobs from locations at the track but outside of the garage. Crew chief Tony Eury Jr., for example, reportedly worked with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team last weekend from a motorcoach parked on a hill outside New Hampshire International Speedway as he completed a six-week suspension. NASCAR chairman Brian France said that insults the integrity of the penalty. “We just had a meeting about that,” France said during a Tuesday afternoon conference call. “We will be, if that all is accurate, addressing that shortly.” France did not expand on what may be done. A crackdown could have an immediate impact on plans for the Hendrick Motorsports teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson this weekend at Daytona. Crew chiefs Steve Letarte (Gordon) and Chad Knaus (Johnson) are in the second week of a six-week suspension that began after NASCAR ruled their cars failed initial inspection at the road course in Sonoma, Calif. France did say that NASCAR is willing to suspend drivers if it has to. “We’d like not to get to [suspending drivers],” he said. “We’d like to make the deterrent, a portion of the penalty, significant enough that that isn’t necessary for us to do. But are we willing to go there? Of course we would. We have in the past and we will in the future. We’re not hoping to do that. That’s sort of a death penalty.” Overall, France is satisfied that NASCAR is doing everything it can to discourage cheating, particularly when it comes to the Car of Tomorrow. “We feel very strongly that we’re going to be very, very tough on people that test us with the Car of Tomorrow,” France said. “The whole premise is built around not being able to do much fudging with the car.” While France said NASCAR will continue to escalate penalties for COT violations, he said they will not be customized to impact teams differently, based on the number of points they have. Gordon’s and Johnson’s teams could better afford a 100-point hit than some others. “The teams that are winning, despite what we may fine them, they are just good teams,” France said. “They’re going to win when they race with the same rules package everybody else has. They get through any kind of adversity to a point. … We can’t just customize the penalty based on the circumstance. Meaning, the [Gordon] car that has compiled a bunch of points, we can’t just say that is going to be 200 instead of 100 because he has a big lead. But we can find the right penalties.”(ESPN.com)(7-3-2007)
No Petty’s at Daytona 1st time since 1965: The Pepsi 400 will mark the first time a Petty hasn’t competed in a Nextel Cup Series race at DIS since 1965. Kyle Petty will serve as a broadcaster for TNT and has put former Pepsi 400 champion John Andretti in his #45 Dodge. A Petty has always been entered in a Cup race at DIS with exception of 1961 and 1965. In 1965, Chrysler was boycotting NASCAR events. In 1961, both Lee and Richard Petty wrecked in the Daytona 500 qualifying races and Richard skipped the Pepsi 400 to compete in a NASCAR Eastern Series late model race in Pennsylvania.(DIS PR)(7-3-2007)
Dan Wheldon thinking about NASCAR UPDATE denied: Dan Wheldon loves to race, and a visit to NASCAR country with the IndyCar Series only highlights that passion – and makes him think more about moving over to stock cars and getting to do just about all the driving he can handle. ‘In my position, you always want to be making yourself better and you always want to be involved in a series that’s getting bigger and better,” he said. “I think everybody knows that I certainly would consider NASCAR. For me, I want to look at the IndyCar Series this year and really consider .. is it going to get a lot bigger than this? Are we going to continue to go to races where we fill the grandstands?”(TSN/AP)(7-1-2007) UPDATE: team owner Chip Ganassi doesn’t foresee open wheel star Dan Wheldon moving to stock cars anytime soon. “I personally don’t see it on his radar screen [for] next year,” Ganassi told ESPN.com Monday. Ganassi did say he and Wheldon discussed the proposition several months back, but discontinued those talks with the plan to resume them later in the summer. They’ve yet to do so, Ganassi said. “Having said that, we’ve had discussions along the lines of ‘Hey, let’s renew our deal,’ and there’s some other opportunities within the team for him,” Ganassi said. “To be honest, I don’t see [NASCAR] as one of the top-five things I’m conversing with him about. I do not consider [a move] imminent.” Ganassi said Wheldon’s true interest presently is winning a second IndyCar championship. Wheldon won the 2005 crown, then surrendered last season’s title to Sam Hornish Jr. by way of a tiebreaker. The drivers finished with an equal number of championship points, but by rule Hornish was awarded the title due to having scored more victories during the year. Wheldon recently expressed interest in NASCAR. In fact, he was especially intrigued by that which deters many open-wheel drivers from jumping to stock cars — the lengthy schedule.(ESPN.com)(7-3-2007)
Reutimann looking? UPDATE 3: hearing the #00-David Reutimann is looking at his options for the 2008 season. Reutimann currently drives the #00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. UPDATE: MWR denies Reutimann had talked to any team about 2008.(6-26-2007) UPDATE 2: David Reutimann would prefer to return to Michael Waltrip Racing’s Nextel Cup program next season. But he’s still awaiting an offer. Reutimann signed a two-year contract to race Busch cars for Waltrip but is under a one-year deal for Cup. At the time, that seemed like a safety valve for Waltrip Racing, but with the team’s mighty struggles in Toyota’s first-year Cup effort and unwanted publicity surrounding Waltrip’s cheating scandal at Daytona, it could give the rookie an escape. Team officials, he said, have yet to broach an extension. “Me personally, I am not really out looking around, ” he said. But others could be looking at him, especially considering his performance for a Waltrip Busch program that has been markedly more competitive because of the quality of the engine Toyota has developed in the series.(St. Petersburg Times)(7-1-2007) UPDATE 3: Been told that Reutimann’s Busch deal is not thru 2008, but thru 2007, same as his Nextel Cup deal. Plus on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now [July 2nd], Marty Smith reported that MWR General Mgr Ty Norris said MWR is committed to Reutiman and that it will be a month or two before the #00 sponsorship status is known for 2008 and until they know the status of those sponsors, they can’t know the status for Reutimann.(7-3-2007)
Franchitti wins 2nd Qtr DOTY award: On the track and in the voting Dario Franchitti easily outdistanced his rivals to win the 2nd Quarter, Driver of the Year – 2007. A native of Scotland, who now makes Tennessee his home, led the IndyCar standings as of the date of the ballot. In the second quarter he won two events, the Indy 500 and the Iowa Speedway 200. He was a consistent contender including two second place finishes and none worse than fourth place.Upon learning of the award, and the variety of competitors, Franchitti, who drives the Canadian Club Dallara/Honda, said “I’m very honored to have received Driver of the Year award this quarter. I am particularly honored when you see the competition.” NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, a four-time Driver of the Year winner, who took the first quarter ballot, finished second and Carl Edwards was third. In the voting Franchitti took 11 first-place ballots and none lower than third place, totaling 131 points. Gordon, who drives the DuPont Chevrolet, had two Nextel Cup wins and the series’ points lead resulting in five first-place votes and a total of 105 points. Edwards, driving the Office Depot Ford for Roush Racing, had victories in the Cup series and Busch series, finished third with 40 points. Fourth place went to World of Outlaws’ Donnie Schatz. Martin Truex, Jr., in eighth was the only other driver to score a first-place vote. A total of 20 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting. In its’ 41st year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. A panel of 17 leading journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Franchitti will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.(DOTY PR)(7-3-2007)
News from July 2, 2007
Motorsports This Week on ESPN: ESPN2 will feature Busch Series racing live Friday, July 6, from Daytona as the series starts the second half of the 2007 season with a 250-mile race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7:30pm/et Friday; the race starts at 8pm. Rusty Wallace will work in the ESPN booth as analyst for the telecast, joined by Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, joined by analyst Brad Daugherty, while Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car. ESPN2 will have live coverage of qualifying (1:00pm/et, Friday) from Daytona Speedway as well as the series’ final practice session (5:30pm/et Thursday).
As the return of Nextel Cup Series racing to ESPN draws nearer, ESPN Content Development is building up to the July 29 running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with 11 hours of programming on the history of NASCAR. The month of July revs up the countdown to green with three shows highlighting NASCAR’s Greatest Drivers, Hottest Rivalries and Biggest Races. The series begins at 9:00pm/et Thursday, July 5, on ESPN with Greatest Drivers, a one-hour special. The program will count down the 25 greatest drivers in NASCAR history, chosen by an exclusive panel of NASCAR experts and historians.
NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes in its regular 6:30pm/et time slot Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, and at a special time of 4pm Thursday. The Friday edition will expand to one hour to lead into NASCAR Countdown from Daytona before the Busch Series race. The one-hour weekend edition will air at 10:00am/et. Saturday, July 7, with highlights from Friday’s Busch Series race at Daytona and a look ahead to that night’s Nextel Cup Series race at the same track. The weekend wrap-up edition of the program will air at midnight Sunday.(ESPN PR)(7-2-2007)
Hendrick wants to buy the #8 from DEI UPDATE 2: Car owner Rick Hendrick has let it be known to officials at Dale Earnhardt Inc. that he’d like to purchase the #8 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he begins driving for his organization in 2008. “I’m not sure what their position is or what they want for it,” Hendrick said Saturday between practices at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt said last week he would like to stay in the #8 if a deal can be reached with DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, who has the rights to the number [NASCAR owns the number and leases them to a team to use and market] and his long-time sponsor, Budweiser. Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, said he will not act until there is a formal proposal. Hendrick doesn’t expect any sort of announcement for at least a few weeks. “Honestly, we’re leaving everything open,” he said. “It’s just so early. If you say you’re going to do something and you really think you are, six weeks from now we might change our mind again. We’re working through our sponsors and everything.”(ESPN.com)(6-24-2007) UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports wants to buy the #8 so that Dale Earnhardt Jr. can race it next season. But it’s not for sale, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer. The story quoted NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston, who said NASCAR owns and issues the numbers and that teams can’t sell them. He said a team can allow another to use the number for a year as long as NASCAR approves. The report said Dale Earnhardt Inc., which uses the number, was aware of NASCAR’s policy on selling numbers. Hendrick Motorsports officials weren’t available for comment.(Dallas Morning News)(6-26-2007) UPDATE 2:There is nothing keeping Hendrick Motorsports from buying the #8 from Dale Earnhardt Inc. as long as NASCAR approves the transfer of the number. While NASCAR owns all numbers and issues them to organizations on an annual basis, teams sell numbers all the time. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said it is unlikely the governing body would prevent such a transfer, adding the financial terms are not a concern.(ESPN.com)(7-2-2007)
Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Lenox 300:
Total number of commercials: 139
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 77
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 26
Start time to record race/commercial periods 07/01/07: 2:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 07/01/07: 5:42 PM
Total minutes: 192
Minutes of race broadcast: 130
Minutes of commercials: 62
Total race brdcst time: 130 Total comm. brdcst time: 62
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(7-2-2007)
New York Investors Looking for Cup Teams: The buzz in the garage in New Hampshire is that at least two New York-based investment banking firms have been making the rounds among Nextel Cup teams, looking to invest in one or more teams, eventually taking a race team public with a stock offering. So far, there have been no takers among the NASCAR team owners. At least one of the investment firms has talked with multiple teams in the garage, including Robert Yates Racing [#38 & #88], Dale Earnhardt, Inc. [#1, #8, #15] and Roush Fenway Racing [#6, #16, #17, #26, #99], multiple sources said. The idea has been for the companies to make cash investments of upwards of $50 million in a team and then at some point sell their interests, perhaps by public stock offering. “We looked at their business plan and it didn’t make sense to us,” said Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith, who confirmed his team had been contacted by a New York-based investment fund that he did not identify by name. Robert Yates talked extensively with the potential investors and reached the same conclusion. “You sit in a room with about 20 bankers and you spend about 18 hours in there with them and you realize that they didn’t contribute anything to the gross national product except maybe going to the bathroom,” said Yates, who also has entertained merger and/or partnership offers from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Robby Gordon Motorsports and Hall of Fame Racing, among others, before deciding to go it alone. Another team principal who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday morning at New Hampshire, said the team he works with was approached by investors, but chose not to get involved with them, either. “They had a ton of money, but they didn’t know anything at all about racing,” he said, adding the team was not in need of a cash infusion and would only consider an outside investor if that investor could add significant value to the team.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-2-2007)
Kyle Busch to Evernham? Riggs’ Status in Doubt? Ray Evernham acknowledged Kyle Busch visited his shop in Statesville, N.C., on Tuesday. He said the visit went well and that he hopes Evernham Motorsports remains on Busch’s list when the number of suitors is soon reduced to about four. Evernham said negotiations to extend the contract of Scott Riggs, who has missed the last two races and is 36th in points, continue. But he wasn’t quite as adamant that Riggs will be a part of the organization in 2008 as he was three weeks ago. “He’s a good little guy,” Evernham said. “I just feel bad for what’s going on with him.”(ESPN.com)(7-2-2007)
Third Penske team in 2008? Mobil 1 as sponsor? UPDATE 2: hearing that Mobil 1 will be a full sponsor of a third Penske Racing Nextel Cup car in 2008, no word on a driver.(6-8-2007) UPDATE: Roger Penske said Sunday he plans to field two Dodge-backed Nextel Cup Series teams in 2008. Recent reports said Penske Racing may leave Dodge next season in favor of a move to Toyota, a rumor Penske dismissed. “Our Dodge commitment is a long-term contract,” said Penske, one of the world’s largest Toyota dealers. “I read in the paper where we were switching to Toyota. We haven’t even talked to them about it.” As for the speculated third team? “We’ve looked at whether we’d run an additional car,” Penske said. “We haven’t made any commitment on it at this point. There’s lots of speculation. We’ve got a lot of moving parts right now. I’m not committing to a third team at this point, at all.”(ESPN.com)(6-11-2007) UPDATE 2: Penske Racing appears to be expanding to three teams in 2008, and former Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. likely will fill that seat. Hornish is expected to compete in an unspecified number of Nextel Cup races toward the end of this season, team owner Roger Penske said Sunday morning at New Hampshire International Speedway. “We’re looking at it,” Penske said of the third team. “We definitely are very interested in doing that, but we have to look and see where we are with Hornish. That’ll be a deciding factor on exactly what we do.” More than likely Mobil 1, the sponsor on Hornish’s Busch car and an associate sponsor on both Penske Cup cars, would be the primary sponsor on the Cup car. Mobil 1 and Penske have had a long association. With this apparent plan to expand to three teams with Hornish, Penske said he is not in the running for free agent Kyle Busch. Busch’s older brother, Kurt, early last week lobbied on behalf of his brother during a national teleconference saying Penske Racing would be “stupid” not to talk to his brother.(ESPN.com)(7-2-2007)
Gibbs Would like to stay with Chevy: Joe Gibbs Racing’s first choice is to re-sign with General Motors, not jump ship for Toyota. “We want to work this out [with GM],” team president J.D. Gibbs said before Sunday’s race at New Hampshire. “I can’t say a whole lot more than that. We’ve got a great relationship with GM. We’ve been partners with them for 16 years, ever since we became an organization.” Gibbs said he’s had several meetings with GM officials, the most recent last week. He brushed off a report that the organization had a “done deal” with Toyota. Gibbs reminded that none of the Chevy teams have re-upped with GM, but that he hopes the situation will become clearer soon so the organization can start preparing for 2008.(ESPN.com), see earlier information about Gibbs to Toyota on my #20 Team Page.(7-2-2007)
DW featured on Songs of Praise for America program: Join NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip and Christian vocalist Natalie Grant in this special program celebrating America. This inspirational program will feature appearances by recording artists including Michael W. Smith, Nicole C. Mullen and Jaci Velasquez. You’ll also hear the renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle choir and the extraordinary Crystal Cathedral choir and others. This uplifting one-hour stars-and-stripes special is part of the Songs of Praise series, available only on DIRECTV’s Channel 103. Inspirational family entertainment. This show is available free to all DIRECTV customers.(DirecTV.com)(7-2-2007)
Sad News: Wanda Phillips, 58, was killed late Saturday night in an accident at Lonesome Pine Raceway [Coeburn, VA] while making a move for the lead in the Ladies Pure 4 division race. The family learned Sunday that Phillips suffered a fatal heart attack in the accident. It was the first racing fatality at LPR since the track opened in 1972. A Coeburn native, Phillips was the most prolific winner in the women’s divisions at LPR since the Ladies divisions began in the late 1980s. She was a past champion and was attempting to become the first repeat winner of the season in the division when the accident took her life. Wanda Phillips is survived by sons Freddie Phillips, Clynus Phillips, Brett Phillips, as well as a sister, Twyla Barton, and grandson Justin Phillips. Visitation for Phillips will be held this evening at Sturgill Funeral Home in Coeburn from 5 to 9pm. The funeral will be held in victory lane at LPR Tuesday at 11am, followed by burial at her family cemetery. Drivers are encouraged to attend with their cars and help Phillips complete the lap she never finished in the funeral procession out of the track. In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made to the Victory Junction Gang on Phillips’ behalf.(Times News)(7-2-2007)
Happy Birthday to the King: Richard Petty, “The King” of NASCAR will celebrate his 70th birthday in his hometown of Randleman, North Carolina Monday. Petty is looking forward to be at home for the occasion. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve been home to celebrate my birthday,” stated Petty. “I’ve always been in Daytona. That was fine, too. We won a lot of races there, but it will be nice to be around the family. It’s just the way the date landed this year.”
“I don’t know what anyone has planned,” continued Petty. “I leave that up to my wife. She will let me know and we’ll do that. Then it’s back to Daytona because that’s what we know.”(Petty Racing PR)(7-2-2007)
News from July 1, 2007
Roush-Fenway has Sponsor for Biffle in 2008: Roush-Fenway Racing will announce a one-year-only sponsor deal for Greg Biffle and the #16 Ford within the next 30 days, team President Geoff Smith said Sunday morning at New Hampshire. And because the sponsorship deal has been agreed to, the urgency for the team and Biffle to negotiate a contract extension beyond 2008 is over, Smith said. Biffle is expected to have multiple sponsors next year, possibly including Aflac, which sponsored Biffle’s car for the first time this weekend. “We’ve got it worked out,” Smith said. “We’ll be announcing it, I’d say, within 30 days.” As for Biffle, who has been the subject of many “Silly Season” rumors this year, “He’s definitely in the car next year,” Smith said.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-1-2007)
Denny Hamlin wins at New Hampshire: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway for his first win of 2007 and his 3rd career win (he won both Pocono races last year). Hamlin made a 2 tire pit stop late in the race and held off a hard charging #24-Gordon who had taken 4 tires. #1-Truex, Jr. was third, followed by #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #48-Johnson, #66-Green, #31-Burton, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, and #12-Newman. Pole sitter #22-Dave Blaney fell back early in the race and finished 29th, the highest Toyota. There were 6 cautions for 31 laps and 11 leaders with 20 lead changes. Race Results on my NHIS Race Results/Awards Page. Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after NHIS page Race Rundown: see my NHIS Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-1-2007)
Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after New Hampshire [17 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 2613
2) #11-Denny Hamlin -156
3) #17-Matt Kenseth -365
4) #48-Jimmie Johnson -381
5) #31-Jeff Burton -383
6) #20-Tony Stewart -428
7) #99-Carl Edwards -465
8) #29-Kevin Harvick -507
9) #5-Kyle Busch -573
10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. -580
11) #07-Clint Bowyer -627
12) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. -628 some notables:
#42-Montoya is 19th
#9-Kahne is 26th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page. (7-1-2007)
Rumblings – New Hampshire: It was Denny Hamlin by an eyelash….Denny Hamlin won his first race of the season today at New Hampshire International Speedway as he barely held on to take the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 over Jeff Gordon….proving (at least for today) that two tires was the way to go.
With the last yellow flag stops coming with 38 laps left, Mike Ford made the call for two tires and that track position paid off for Hamlin as he got his third career victory (he’s tied for 87th on the all-time win list) and win #55 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin is the 11th different winner this season, and it was worth $235,775 from the over $5.3M in posted awards.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Atlanta last October. Jimmie Johnson (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Darlington in May. Jeff Green (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Phoenix in April. Johnny Sauter (6th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Phoenix in April. Kevin Lepage (35th) had his best finish since he was 30th when we were here last September (only five races).
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 12 Top-10’s in the last 13 races. Denny Hamlin has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races. Martin Truex Jr has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
The Rookie Report: David Ragan (15th) takes this award for the seventh time this season. He was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya (19th), David Reutimann (38th), and Paul Menard (39th). A. J. Allmendinger was a dnq this week. Ragan & Montoya are now tied in ROR awards.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Jamie McMurray (+22), followed by Matt Kenseth (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Dave Blaney (-28), Reed Sorenson (-23), and David Reutimann (-21).
Jeff Green (33rd to 29th) made the best move forward today, while the absent Mark Martin (15th to 19th) fell the most spots. Among those present, Joe Nemechek fell the most spots (30th to 33rd).(Stock Car Fans)(7-1-2007)
COT Pts: the top 12 in drivers pts in the eight [of 16] COT races:
Pos, Car#, Driver, COT Pts, 2007 Standings
1) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1354, 1 (2 wins)
2) #11-Denny Hamlin, 1305 2 (1)
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 1220, 4 (2)
4) #5-Kyle Busch, 1117, 9 (1)
5) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1074, 12
6) #17-Matt Kenseth, 1073, 3
7) #99-Carl Edwards, 1069, 7
8) #31-Jeff Burton, 1050, 5
9) #29-Kevin Harvick, 1022, 8
10) #20-Tony Stewart, 1021, 6
11) #07-Clint Bowyer, 1009, 11
12) #12-Ryan Newman, 953, 13
#1-Truex Jr. is 14th with a win
#42-Montoya is 17th with a win the lowest pts pos for a driver who made all 8 races:
32) #40-David Stremme 530
36) #38-David Gilliland 497
(* points penalties are NOT deducted #2, #8, #24, #48)
See Owners/Drivers Points standings page for full rundown.(7-1-2007)
Ginn Planning for 2008: Jay Frye, CEO of Ginn Racing, said Regan Smith, who is currently splitting the #01 with Martin, would drive either the #13 or #14 on a full-time basis next season. #14-Sterling Marlin is interested in a part-time schedule for next season, but his contract expires at the end of this year, as does #13-Joe Nemechek’s. Frye said it’s possible both drivers could return, though a fourth car would be needed for that to happen. Eventually, those drivers would step aside for someone who took the same path as Smith. “Hopefully – two or three years from now – we have three or four 20-something younger guys in the cars,” Frye said. He added that Ginn will seek another young driver to replace Smith as Martin’s co-pilot next season to help further that plan. Free agent Kyle Busch does not appear to be a likely candidate to drive for Ginn.(SceneDaily.com)(7-1-2007)
DEI Still Talking to Budweiser; Working on Fourth Team: Max Siegel, president of worldwide operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., said Saturday that the team is still talking with Budweiser, still hoping to add a fourth Nextel Cup car in 2008 and is still looking for a replacement for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the #8 next year. “We still have our existing commercial relationship with Bud, talking about what’s best with everybody, still engaged in conversations with potential drivers,” Siegel said Saturday at New Hampshire. “Hopefully in the next four weeks we’ll get something wrapped up here.” Of the team’s car count next year, that’s still up in the air, too. “We have a couple of unique situations that could give us a fourth (car in 2008),” Siegel said. “Realistically, by ’09, definitely we’ll be a four-car team.”(SPEEDtv.com)(7-1-2007)