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July 2008 News Archives


  • News from July 31, 2008

  • Former crew chief involved in Mooresville wreck: A man with two previous drunk driving convictions was responsible for a deadly crash on Brawley School Road [Mooresville NC] on Thursday morning, according to state troopers. And investigators say Tim Kohuth will face a third DWI charge as a result of Thursday’s collision. He was allegedly drunk when he crashed a flatbed truck into an SUV, killing a man in the SUV and injuring the man’s wife. Neighbors say Kohuth was driving the truck because his personal vehicle has a Breathalyzer test connected the ignition, a result of Kohuth’s previous DWI convictions. The crash happened around 11 a.m. Thursday on Brawley School Road and Mallard Way. The victim’s wife was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. Kohuth remains in Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. An N.C. state trooper is standing by at the hospital to take him into custody when he’s released. He’ll be charged with DWI, and investigators expect more charges to follow. According to NASCAR.com, Kohuth is a former crew chief and general manager for the [now defunct] Ultra Motorsports #2 truck.(wcnc.com)
    more at Ray Dunlap’s [covers NASCAR for SPEEDtv] personal blog – raydunlap.net.(7-31-2008)

  • Congrats: Jeff Dickerson, agent with Motorsports Management International and spotter for Kyle Busch, and Crystal Holloway welcomed a baby girl today. Contessa (Tessa) Fay Dickerson is 18.5 inches long, 7 lbs., 10 oz. Mother and Tessa are doing well, and Dickerson plans to be back at work for Busch at Pocono on Sunday.(7-31-2008)
  • Get Well – Herman Sadler: Well Wishes go out to Herman Sadler, Jr., the father of Hermie and #19-Elliott Sadler. Mr. Sadler was airlifted from Emporia, VA to a Richmond hospital yesterday morning after suffering from difficulty breathing. Mr. Sadler returned home Thursday evening and is doing better.(7-31-2008)
  • Childress Champions Pediatric Trauma Research: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the Richard Childress family announced at a press conference today that they have teamed up to form what will become the nation’s most comprehensive Institute for Pediatric Trauma. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma will focus on key areas in treatment, education and training, research and prevention of pediatric trauma. The Institute’s goal is to help pave the way for others in the nation searching for ways to help save the lives of severely injured children and help those who survive on the road to recovery. The Childress family has donated $5 million to the Medical Center to initiate the project, which will get underway later this year. Wake Forest Baptist and the Childress family are currently working with a number of corporations and individuals to raise the additional $20 million to establish the Childress Institute. Because of significant programs and infrastructure in place at Wake Forest Baptist, the Institute will be able to devote most of the monies to research, education, treatment and prevention and to raising the national awareness about childhood injuries. The project will also help expand our state-of-the-art pediatric emergency department for the Triad region. The Institute will also work with national and regional research groups to pool knowledge and data that can be shared with healthcare providers nationwide. For more information about the institute, visit www.childresspediatrictrauma.com or www.wfubmc.edu, or call 866-635-8190.(for the full PR with quotes, see my Racing Charities page or the RCR site)(7-31-2008)

  • Carfax to sponsor Kvapil at MIS: Yates Racing announced that Carfax, the most trusted provider of vehicle history information, will sponsor the #28 entry and driver Travis Kvapil for the Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on August 17th. The race marks the first time that Carfax has been a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. The premiere of the #28 Carfax Ford Fusion will take place on August 17th, 2008 for the 3M Performance 400. “We’re thrilled to expand our presence in NASCAR to the Sprint Cup Series by teaming up with Yates Racing to sponsor the #28 Carfax Ford Fusion,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “Travis is having his best season yet as a Sprint Cup driver and we join the millions of NASCAR fans in cheering him on during the race. Anyone at Michigan International Speedway or watching on TV is in for a fun-filled race weekend, beginning Saturday with the Carfax 250.” Carfax is a wholly-owned subsidiary of R.L. Polk & Co. and uses the unique 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) found on vehicle dashboards and title documents to generate a detailed Vehicle History Report on any used car or light truck. For more information, visit www.carfax.com.(Yates Racing PR), Hitachi is the sponsor this week for the #28, see my #28 Team Schemes page for images of the Hitachi car.(7-31-2008)

  • Manufacturers sticking with Cup: With four manufacturers each spending an estimated $100 million-plus annually in NASCAR’s premier series, the financial benefit of their involvement must be significant. Despite the industry’s gloomy economic outlook, automakers still consider NASCAR a showplace for its showrooms, which makes racing expenditures worthwhile. General Motors will slice some motor sports programs as part of $10 billion in budget cuts, and auto analysts have warned Chrysler might consider bankruptcy protection in the face of declining sales. But industry observers aren’t expecting manufacturers to desert the sport as in the 1970s. Those fans apparently root with their wallets. Ford claims a 400% return on its marketing investment in NASCAR, says Dan Geist, the company’s North American motor sports marketing manager. Geist says Ford tracks the purchasing history of NASCAR fans for six months after visiting promotional events or its racing website. More than 60% of Ford owners are race fans. “Racing is a critical piece of influencing consumers,” Geist said. “The only reason we race is to sell cars, trucks and SUVs. … If it makes sense, we continue; if it doesn’t, we stop.” Chevrolet marketing manager Terry Dolan said NASCAR’s 10-month schedule offers plenty of exposure as does the day-long experience of a race. At Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week, Chevy had an 80,000-square-foot display featuring 40 vehicles, including many hybrids and more-fuel-efficient versions of the larger classes favored by race fans. Toyota entered Cup as a means of pushing its new Tundra. Though sales are slumping, the company recently reorganized and expanded its NASCAR marketing department. David Wilson, senior vice president of Toyota Racing Development, said research shows “people are coming into dealerships that never would have” because of NASCAR.(in part from USA Today)(7-31-2008) Comment here

  • Special show about Indy and the tires: With apologies and promises it will never happen again and investigations still underway looking at just what went wrong at last weekend’s Brickyard 400, SPEED will take NASCAR fans deep inside the real-time crisis management exercise at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Adding a special edition of its popular behind-the-scenes documentary series NASCAR Confidential, SPEED and NASCAR Media Group will use their exclusive access to examine, from multiple perspectives, what went on last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when dangerous and excessive tire wear took center stage. Entitled NASCAR Confidential: What We Learned at Indy, the one-hour special will premiere Friday at 6pm/et and re-air Saturday at 11pm/et.(7-31-2008)

  • Chaffin in the #34 at Pocono, names assoc sponsors: Continental Fire & Safety will be an associate sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry at Pocono Raceway for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. The #34 will be driven by Chad Chaffin. For information Continental Fire & Safety please visit their website at continentalfireandsafety.com.(FRM PR), also Doorstopnation.com will be an associate sponsor for the #34 at Pocono.(7-31-2008)

  • Richert’s contract with DEI includes unique confidentiality, charity clauses: Dale Earnhardt Inc. required crew chief Doug Richert to endorse the Dale Earnhardt Foundation and required him to keep information learned about the Earnhardt family while he was a crew chief confidential as part of his contract with the team. The contract was entered as an exhibit to a lawsuit DEI filed in North Carolina court to rule that it had proper cause to fire Richert earlier this season and no longer owes money to him. DEI filed the complaint July 18 in North Carolina Superior Court. DEI fired Richert after the Richmond race this year, and its complaint states that it has received notification from Richert’s attorney claiming a breach of contract. The DEI complaint states that Richert’s 2008 salary was $475,000 plus $50,000 in guaranteed bonuses. It said it fired Richert for poor performance of the car, his failure to work with the other crew chiefs and for not following procedure in ordering parts. DEI Vice President John Story said he could not comment on the suit. Richert did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Richert had signed a three-year deal with DEI last December to be the crew chief of the #01 team, driven by Regan Smith this year. He has a nine-month non-compete clause following termination of the contract. The contract appears fairly typical for crew chiefs and includes a confidentiality section over technical data as well as a morals clause.
    But there are a few items unique to DEI:
    • In the confidentiality section, confidential information includes “all personal and/or non-public matters relating to Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, or their families, experiences or circumstances” gathered during his employment. Richert also was not allowed to write a book, short story, article or screenplay based on his experiences and cannot participate in any interviews relating to DEI, Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt and their families. He was allowed to do at-track interviews that focus on the car or drivers and their performance as it relates to the race.
    • Richert also agreed to a clause to “endorse the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation shall be the primary, non-religious charity to which Employee principally devotes Employee’s support and the time Employee spends on charitable matters.” He also agreed to do free appearances on behalf of the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.(SceneDaily)(7-31-2008) Comment here

  • Steak-Umm on board with Martin at Pocono: Mark Martin will run a special Steak-Umm’s paint scheme this weekend at Pocono on the #8 DEI Chevy. The scheme is the same as Martin ran earlier this year at the Pocono race in June. Martin has never won at Pocono, but he has posted second-place finishes there six different times and has finished third there on four more occasions.(DEI PR), see images of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(7-31-2008)
  • Pocono Rookies Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 27 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Carpentier logged an 18th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the third consecutive race and for the fourth time this season. #01-Regan Smith and #00-Michael McDowell both led the 2008 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. Smith and McDowell each led once for one lap. Two or more Raybestos Rookies have led a lap just twice in 15 races at Indianapolis (2001 was the other). Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by four points (173-169) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 3 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Denny Hamlin won both races at Pocono Raceway in 2006. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to sweep both races at the 2.5-mile track since the facility began hosting two Sprint Cup Series races in 1982. Hamlin also won both poles at Pocono in 2006 and is the only Raybestos Rookie to accomplish the feat since 1982.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-31-2008)

  • Indy win pushes Johnson’s Racing for Relief over $25,000: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s efforts on the track this weekend raised $12,480, which includes $4,800 for a victory finish, to benefit the American Red Cross as part of Lowe’s Racing for Relief program. After nearly three and a half hours, Johnson completed 160 laps at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Sunday. The $12,480 is in addition to the $12,816 raised earlier this month during the race at Chicagoland, pushing the total Lowe’s will donate to the Red Cross to more than $25,000. Lowe’s had pledged $48 per lap completed for both races and an additional $4,800 for either race if Johnson finished in first place. The funds raised will help the Red Cross to provide food, clean-up supplies, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes.
    In addition to Racing for Relief, Lowe’s stores across the Midwest are serving as official cash donation sites for the United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund to support long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts to areas devastated by the recent floods. The in-store donation program has been extended through August 3, 2008, with Lowe’s matching in-store customer donations up to a total of $100,000. 70% of donations to the fund will help the Red Cross provide immediate needs such as food and shelter and 30% of the funds will support longer term relief efforts through local United Way partner agencies. Donations to the American Red Cross for the Central U.S. Floods and Tornadoes response may be made at participating Lowe’s stores throughout the Midwest, online at www.redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.(Lowe’s Racing PR)(7-31-2008)

  • Kurt Busch testing and Road Atlanta UPDATE 2: In preparation for the Aug. 10 return to road course racing at Watkins Glen, N.Y., Kurt Busch, Pat Tryson, and crew are scheduled to be testing at Road Atlanta Tuesday (7/29/08). “We like Road Atlanta because it offers a layout that pretty much covers it all,” Pat said of the the 2.54-mile road course located in Braselton, Georgia. “It has the ‘esses’ and 12 turns, including one that runs downhill.”(Penske Racing PR)(7-24-2008)
    UPDATE: Kevin Harvick and the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Racing team are testing at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Tuesday and Wednesday [July 29-30] of this week in preparation for the Centurion Boats at the Glen on August 10th.(RCR PR)
    AND been told others are testing, including: #01-Ron Fellows, #1-Truex, #5-Mears, #6-Ragan, #7-Gordon, #8-Almirola, #9-Kahne, #10-Carpentier, #15-Menard, #21-Ambrose, #24-Hendrick, #31-Burton, #42-Montoya, #43-Labonte, #45-Petty, #48-Johsnon, #60-Said, #77-Hornish, #96-Brad Coleman/PJ Jones. Also NNS teams #17 Roush and #40-Franchitti.(7-29-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Testing at Road Atlanta was delayed approximately an hour Tuesday after Elliott Sadler crashed hard into a barrier. Sadler was not injured. The hit was so hard the front suspension was pushed up near the firewall. It was not immediately known if something broke on his car. Nearly two dozen teams turned laps preparing for next week.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-30-2008)
    UPDATE 3: hearing only #7-Robby Gordon tested at Road Atlanta on Wednesday, July 30th.(7-31-2008)


    News from July 30, 2008

  • AT&T Team USA Chevrolet at Pocono Raceway: To drive excitement for Team USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, #31-Jeff Burton will circle Pocono Raceway in a paint scheme featuring the AT&T USA five-ring logo and images of U.S. Olympic team hopefuls gymnast Nastia Liukin and swimmer Michael Phelps. Luikin is currently focused on qualifying for her first Olympic Games and has nine world medals (four gold and five silver), tying the mark held by Shannon Miller, who has earned more world and Olympic medals (16 total) than any other U.S. gymnast. Phelps is the most decorated swimmer in World Championships history and is a 20-time record holder. Most recently, he recorded two world records and has captured eight medals (six gold and two bronze) at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, becoming the first American to win eight medals in one Olympiad. AT&T is an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team and provides significant financial support, products and services to the U.S. Olympic Committee. In addition to sporting new colors this weekend at Pocono, Burton will also wear a special AT&T Team USA firesuit and sport a custom designed American Flag helmet. Both the firesuit and helmet will be auctioned off following the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 with all the proceeds benefiting one of the Olympic charities.(RCR PR), see a few images of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(7-30-2008)
  • Kyle Petty Statement on the Passing of Close Friend ‘Click’ Baldwin: “Words cannot describe what “Click” Baldwin has meant to me, my family and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Back in 1995, he and I, along with a few other close friends, were just a group of guys that wanted to ride our motorcycles across the country. We found out that we could raise some money for charity while doing it and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride was born. While it had my name on it, “Click” was a driving force behind the ride. There has never been a more giving human being. He was more than a friend; he was like a brother to me. Please keep his wife Diane, his daughter Chelsea, his Mom, his brother and his Carolina Harley-Davidson family in your thoughts and prayers. We have lost a great one.”(Petty Racing PR).
    MORE: The Baldwin Family would like to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult period. Diane Baldwin requests the use of restraint from questions and inquiries to the staff until her return. They too are suffering from shock and grief and need time to heal and reflect. Arrangements will be made once the family is able to return home. In lieu of flowers, the dealership is asking for donations towards “Bricks for Click” to be a part of their memorial sidewalk at the dealership. Each brick will have a personal message inscribed on the brick from the donor. Bricks can be purchased at the dealership with one’s personal message in remembrance of this motorcycle icon, “Unlike Any Other”. For further information on the accident, video and reports can be viewed at www.kpax.com. Recent video footage of Click on his latest ride is available at www.kylepettycharityride.com/virtual_ride.(carolinaharley.com)(7-30-2008)

  • DW selected “Nashvillian of the Year”: NASCAR legend and FOX Sports Broadcast analyst Darrell Waltrip has been selected to receive the prestigious “Nashvillian of the Year Award” from the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Nashville on Friday, August 1st at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. Kiwanis International is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. The “Nashvillian of the Year Award” will be presented in the Crown Ballroom on the 10th floor at noon. Waltrip will be the 27th recipient of the award which was first awarded to Martha Rivers Ingram in 1980. Waltrip, a three time Winston Cup Champion, owns Darrell Waltrip Honda/Volvo in Franklin, TN where he currently lives with his wife Stevie. He has two daughters, Jessica and Sarah.(PR), see full post on my Awards page.(7-30-2008) Comment here

  • Johnson to run Bristol truck race UPDATE: ESPN2’s NASCAR Now reported that Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to drive the #81 Chevy for Randy Moss Motorsports in the Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It will be Johnson’s first Truck Series race. Johnson wants to get more seat time at Bristol since he has never won there.(7-29-2008)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson has announced he will make his CraftsmanTruck Series debut in the #81 Kobalt Tools Silverado fielded by Randy Moss Motorsports at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 20. “Watkins Glen and Bristol are two tracks where I really want a win,” said Johnson. “I enjoy racing at Watkins Glen and for some reason always seem to be a little better there than Sonoma. We’ve had some top fives so hopefully this will put us in the win column.” He continued, “As for the trucks, I am really looking forward to that. I have never run a truck race so it should be fun. Heck, my brother Jarit has run more than me, but it’s going to be a good time. I’m excited to run Randy’s truck. Hopefully we can get them a good finish.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(7-30-2008) Comment here

  • “Mirrors” scheme for #96 at Pocono: DLP HDTV is teaming up with 20th Century Fox to support the upcoming action thriller, “Mirrors,” in a promotional partnership for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup Series race Aug. 3 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. “Mirrors,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton and Amy Smart and directed by Alexandre Aja, will be featured on J.J. Yeley’s #96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry during the race, while Sutherland will serve as grand marshal of the event and will give the “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines” command. Since DLP Technology uses millions of microscopic mirrors to produce stunning pictures on the best HDTVs, the connection with this new movie and the DLP HDTV Toyota Camry is particularly well-suited. In “Mirrors,” which opens in theatres everywhere Aug. 15, Sutherland portrays a troubled ex-cop who must save his family from an unspeakable evil that is using mirrors as a gateway into their home. The movie will be shown nationwide in a digital format at select theatres on DLP Cinema projectors. DLP leads the cinema movement from film to digital movie theatres powered by DLP Cinema Technology with over 6,700 screens in more than 40 countries.(True Speed Communication/Hall of Fame Racing PR), see an image of the hood on my #96 Team Schemes page.(7-30-2008)

  • Cheesy scheme for Mears for Pocono: Cheez-It, the world’s best-selling cheese cracker, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevrolet of Casey Mears this weekend at Pocono Raceway. This is the second time this season [Texas in April] that “The Big Cheese” will decorate the hood of the #5 Chevy. Cheez-It also will be a primary sponsor at Michigan [August] and California’s Auto Club Speedway [August] later this season.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(7-30-2008)

  • Avis scheme for Newman: #12-Ryan Newman will run a red and white Avis [rental cars] in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. This is the first and only race this year that Avis has served as the primary sponsor for the No. 12 Dodge in 2008. In honor of this weekend’s #12 Avis Dodge, Avis is inviting motorsports enthusiasts to experience the unique service and benefits of its award-winning technology with a special discount on its car rentals. To receive up to 25% off rentals, racing fans must mention Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number W009404 at the time of reservation by calling 1-800-331-1212 or visit www.avis.com and enter the AWD number when prompted. This week, the #12 Avis Dodge pit crew traveled to Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., to take part in NASCARnival Nights. As part of the event, the #12 pit crew did a pit stop demonstration for the 125 campers. The pit crew also participated in the night’s “Beach Blast”-themed activities – they took turns in the dunking tank, played with water guns and just enjoyed time with the campers.(Penske Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #12 Team Scheme page.(7-30-2008)

  • Ken Howes honored at Indy with True Grit Award: Ken Howes was honored Sunday with the C&R Racing True Grit Award, which exemplifies outstanding achievement in racing and acknowledges dedicated crew chiefs and mechanics in the motor sports industry. Howes, Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of competition, was presented the award by Chris Paulsen, the president and owner of C&R Racing Inc. The honor is bestowed twice annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, prior to the Indianapolis 500 and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Previous winners of the NASCAR True Grit Award include Barry Dodson, Ray Evernham, Jimmy Fennig, Tony Glover, Jimmy Makar, Buddy Parrott, Ryan Pemberton, Robby Reiser, Glen Wood and Leonard Wood.(Hendrick Motorsports site)(7-30-2008)

  • Bowyer tests at Nashville: #07-Clint Bowyer and the RCR Jack Daniel’s team tested at Nashville Superspeedway on Tuesday, July 29 in an effort to fine-tune their mile-and-a-half program.(RCR PR)(7-30-2008)

  • Race #1400 for BDR: When #22-Dave Blaney takes the green flag for the start of the Pocono race Sunday, it will mark Bill Davis Racing’s 1,400th NASCAR start. Since 1988, BDR drivers have made 333 Nationwide Series starts, 328 Craftsman Truck Series starts and 738 Cup Series starts.(BDR PR)(7-30-2008)


    News from July 29, 2008

  • Indy TV Ratings Increase: ESPN had a final household coverage rating of 5.1 for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, a 3% increase from last year’s 4.9. Household impressions were 4,888,964, up 5% from last year’s 4,657,433. Viewership 6,667,729, up 1% from last year’s 6,573,536. This race is ESPN’s most-viewed auto race ever. The NASCAR Nationwide Series ORP event was on ESPN and had a final rating of 1.5, up 6% from last year’s 1.4 on ESPN2. For NNS season on cable (ESPN and ESPN2), they are up 17 percent from last year (not including the California race that was rain-delayed and run on Monday).(ESPN)(7-29-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR apologizes for Indianapolis tire fiasco: NASCAR apologized Tuesday for the tire fiasco that ruined its prestigious race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and vowed to avoid a repeat. A durability issue with the tires Goodyear brought to Indy forced NASCAR to call cautions every 10 to 12 laps on Sunday to slow the action and force teams to change their tires before they failed. The longest run under the green flag was 13 laps, and Jimmie Johnson claimed the victory at the end of a seven-lap sprint to the finish in the second-slowest race in the 15 years NASCAR has competed at the Brickyard. “I can’t say enough how sorry we are and it’s our responsibility being NASCAR that we don’t go through this situation again,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition. “The race didn’t come off like we had hoped, the fans didn’t get what they exactly wanted and we’ll do everything in our power – it won’t happen again, I can tell you that much.” NASCAR must first figure out why Goodyear’s tires struggled so mightily at Indianapolis. The only thing that is certain is that the tire compound Goodyear selected was not strong enough when combined with NASCAR’s current car. Goodyear plans to return to Indianapolis later this year to conduct another tire test. NASCAR is currently working on a new testing policy that would give teams more testing dates and freedom to choose the tracks. NASCAR officials spoke Tuesday morning with both Goodyear officials and Indianapolis president Joie Chitwood, as all parties tried to move forward. Track chairman Tony George was adamant in an interview with The Indianapolis Star that the surface was not a factor in Sunday’s debacle. Pemberton agreed there is nothing wrong with the track, and in admitting NASCAR is deeply affected by the fiasco, vowed the issue will be corrected before next year’s return. “It hurts us whenever we have a weekend like we had,” Pemberton said. “There’s nothing worse than coming away from a race and knowing the result was … it wasn’t even close. It wasn’t even in the 25th percentile of what we’re capable of doing and what we do week in and week out.”(Associated Press)(7-29-2008) Comment here

  • Petty skipping Pocono too, not back in 2009? UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty is expected to skip his second straight race next week at Pocono since his deal with TNT ended, team officials said. “We’re still working through a few things,” said Robbie Loomis, the vice president of racing operations at Petty Enterprises. The most likely candidate is Chad McCumbee, who attempted to qualify the car at Texas earlier this year. Terry Labonte, who replaced Petty on Sunday to guarantee the car got into the field, already has agreed to drive for Gillett Evernham Motorsports next week in place of #10-Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier is racing in the Nationwide Series in Montreal on Saturday and won’t pull double duty. Loomis declined to speculate on whether Petty will drive the #45 car next season.(ESPN.com)(7-28-2008)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises announced its driver lineup for the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge through the August 17th Sprint Cup race at the Michigan International Speedway. Chad McCumbee, Kyle Petty and Terry Labonte will each compete in one event over the next three weeks. “Chad, Kyle and Terry will be competing at places where they have all had success in the past,” said Petty Enterprises Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis. “That should put the #45 team in the best position possible to gain points on the teams in front of us in owner points. Everyone at Petty Enterprises is committed to doing whatever it takes to get this team back inside the top-35. That is one of our highest priorities as an organization.” McCumbee, 23, will attempt to make his first Sprint Cup start of the season this weekend at the Pocono Raceway. He made his first career Sprint Cup start at Pocono in 2007, finishing 25th. McCumbee also picked up an ARCA RE/MAX Series victory at Pocono last year. He currently competes full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series where he is 12th in points.
    Petty will return to the seat of the #45 Dodge for the August 10 event at Watkins Glen International. This will be the first start for Petty since the Coca-Cola 600 in May. His hiatus included at six-race stint in the TNT Sports booth where he covered the Sprint Cup Series. “We’re all excited to see Kyle back in the #45 Marathon Dodge at Watkins Glen,” said Loomis. “He has been a great road course racer throughout his career. I know he is looking forward to it as well so we are going up there with a lot of confidence that we will have a solid run.”
    Labonte, who has competed in seven races in the #45 Dodge this season, will make his eighth start at the Michigan International Speedway on August 17th. He owns seven top-fives, 13 top-tens and two poles in his career at Michigan.(Petty Racing PR)(7-29-2008) Comment here

  • Truex to re-sign with DEI? UPDATE 4: [see past news and runors on this on my #1 Team News and links page] Martin Truex Jr., who has been speculated as a candidate for every driver opening in the Sprint Cup garage, isn’t going anywhere. The 28-year-old New Jersey native has agreed in principal to a two-year deal that will keep him at Dale Earnhardt Inc. through the 2010 season, multiple sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sources said an official announcement is expected any day, and that details with multiple sponsors remain to be finalized. Truex, asked if he has an agreement, said: “We’re getting there, yeah. Things are going well right. I’m pretty happy. I just want to think about racing this weekend.” He has been linked most strongly with the #12 car at Penske Racing,#4 at Stewart-Haas Racing and #33 at Richard Childress Racing. The organization also is negotiating a long-term deal to keep #15-Paul Menard, who has improved from 34th in the point standings last season to 26th. Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, would not comment on negotiations. But Siegel has been emphatic that Truex was a driver he wanted to build the company around.(ESPN.com)(7-26-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Martin Truex Jr. said Saturday after Sprint Cup practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that a published report saying he had reached an agreement in principle to remain at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for two years was not true. Though Truex may well drive for DEI next season, his immediate reaction when asked about the story that appeared on ESPN.com was: “It’s [expletive]. I don’t know what the hell [the reporter] is talking about. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Truex said he has been involved in fruitful negotiations with DEI’s management. “We’ve been talking a lot,” Truex said. “Things have been going well. We’re working on some stuff, and that’s what I told him.” John Story, DEI’s vice president of motorsports operations, indicated he has been involved in every aspect of the negotiations and declined comment on the assertions in the story.(NASCAR.com)(7-27-2008)
    UPDATE 4: Dale Earnhardt Inc.s Martin Truex Jr. reportedly was involved in a raised-voice spat with DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel Saturday night, accusing Siegel of leaking a story to ESPN.com that Truex had agreed to a two-year contract extension. Truex angrily denied the story on Saturday and reported had it out with Siegel that evening.(Ford Racing)(7-29-2008) Comment here

  • Latest on Indy Tires: Goodyear officials will most likely test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before this year ends in an effort to remedy the tire problems that marred Sunday’s Allstate 400 Sprint Cup race at the track. After Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Juan Pablo Montoya each had tire problems early in the race, NASCAR officials opted to continue to use competition cautions to check the tire wear. The sanctioning body had announced prior to the race plans to throw the caution flag on lap 15, then continued the practice throughout the event, with the final competition caution coming on lap 150. Goodyear officials said that the combination of the Indy track surface and NASCAR’s new car caused the tires to wear quickly and that they’ll look into the problem. “Obviously, the tread wear didn’t improve as we thought it would for the first of the afternoon,” Goodyear spokesman Greg Stucker said. “Actually we don’t have the answer as far as why that didn’t happen, so we’ve got to go back and look at that and try to figure out how to make it better.” He noted this was the same compound that teams used in this event a year ago. Sunday’s race marked the debut of NASCAR’s new car at the 2.5-mile track, though it is the 20th series race featuring the model. “This was the same compound we raced last year and the wear improved over the course of the day last year to the point where we could run the full stops,” Stucker said. “That didn’t happen today, so we need to understand why.” He said Goodyear will work to assess the cause of the problems. “We’re going to do our best to try to turn it around, we’re going to talk with the race track, figure out what can we do about the race track, try to understand a little bit more, try to work with NASCAR and try to figure out what to expect from the car and the teams,” he said. “We’re the tire supplier, we take it onto our shoulders, we’ve got to improve it, but … it’s the package, so we need to understand the whole thing together and try to make it better.” He pointed out that nobody was at fault for the problems, but that this is something the group will work diligently to resolve. Goodyear held a tire test at the track in April, but opted not to bring the tire from that session because of concerns about grip. Last year, the Cup drivers had a full-field test at the track, but the lack of that this season was not an issue, Stucker said. “We had full-scale testing as far as we’re concerned, I mean we had a tire test,” he said. “We didn’t have an open test like we did last year, certainly we didn’t have as many cars on the race track as we did last year, so again that’s a difference. But you try to use all that [in] your decisions.”(SceneDaily)(7-29-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart involved in altercation at ORP UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart expects to be fined by the U.S. Auto Club for an “altercation” with an official during Thursday night’s race at O’Reilly Raceway Park. The incident occurred after points leader Tracy Hines, who drives for one of Stewart’s two National Midget teams, got into the wall and there wasn’t a track official or push truck present to help get the car back in the race. Hines’ crew reportedly attempted to change a right rear flat and get him back into the race before another restart. As the crew pushed the car to the front of the straightaway, a USAC official indicated it was too late. Stewart then came down to pit lane to get an explanation for the call. He reportedly knocked the headset from the official’s head and then shoved him. “We had an altercation,” Stewart said Friday at IMS, “It was a situation [where] we didn’t understand a call they made.” In a statement Friday, USAC official Kevin Miller acknowledged that there was an incident but would not say who was involved.(ESPN.com and see video at wthr.com)(7-27-2008)
    UPDATE: Stewart was fined $10,000 and his team was placed on probation Monday following an altercation last week at the USAC’s National Midget race in Indianapolis. Stewart was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct and conduct detrimental to racing. USAC said in a statement that Stewart was involved in an on-track incident Thursday at O’Reilly Raceway Park related to one of his Midgets driven by points leader Tracy Hines. Hines had scraped the wall and pitted for a tire change, but his car was not deemed ready to re-enter the race in time to rejoin the field for the restart. Stewart then came down to pit lane to get an explanation for the call. He reportedly knocked the headset from the official’s head and then shoved him. “USAC immediately assessed the incident and it was determined that unacceptable behavior detrimental to the sport had occurred, and that the professionalism and the integrity of the series and its promoters had been severely compromised,” Jason Smith, USAC’s vice president of racing operations, said in the statement. “While we respect the passion of our teams in the spirit of competition, we regret this incident occurred and are dedicated to averting a recurrence in the future.”
    Stewart, who apologized Monday, also agreed to pay for the costs of new radios and uniforms for USAC officials. “My own misinterpretation of USAC policies in place at the time led to confusion and elevated emotions,” Stewart said. “I’m very passionate about my race team and will stand up for them when I think something isn’t right. Obviously, I handled this particular situation the wrong way, and if I had to do it over again, it never would’ve happened.”(ESPN.com)(7-29-2008) Comment here

  • Finalists For IMHOF Class of 2009 Announced: Twenty-one racing legends have been nominated by a panel of international motorsports journalists for possible induction to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF) at Talladega Superspeedway in 2009, officials announced Monday. The field of nominees was expanded to twenty-one this year over the usual twenty because of a tie in votes. The group will be narrowed to five inductees when the final round of voting begins July 30th.
    Representing IndyCar in the top-21 are: J.C. Agajanian, Clint Brawner, Pete DePaolo, Ted Horn and Troy Ruttman.
    From Sprint Cars are: Tommy Hinnershitz and Jan Opperman.
    Representing NASCAR are: Donnie Allison, Jerry Cook, Carl Kiekhaefer, Bud Moore, Marvin Panch, Raymond Parks, Maurice Petty, Rex White and Lee Roy Yarbrough.
    From sports cars is Brian Redman.
    Representing the NHRA is Ronnie Sox. Several nominees careers’ spanned multiple series, including: from NHRA & NASCAR, Raymond Beadle; from AMA & NASCAR, Paul Goldsmith and from AMA & IndyCar, Sam Hanks.
    The next Induction Ceremony is set for Thursday, April 23, 2009, and consists of a reception, banquet and awards ceremony. Individual tickets are $125 or a table of eight may be reserved for $1,000 by calling 1-256-362-5002.(TSS PR)(7-29-2008)
  • Sad News – “Checker” Carmichael: Ronnie “Checker” Carmichael, 49, died in a work-related accident on Monday, July 28th. Carmichael, the brother-in-law to #34 NSCS and #24 NNS team owner Bob Jenkins, volunteered as a crew member for several teams over the past twenty years. Carmichael is survived by his wife Mary Neal, and daughters Kristin and Amanda.(FRM PR)(7-29-2008)


    News from July 28, 2008

  • Sprint Cup Series Live from Pocono on ESPN: The unique, triangular shape of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway always presents a challenge to NASCAR teams, and ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 500-mile Sprint Cup Series at Pocono, telecast presented by Cheez-It, on Sunday, August 3, at 1pm/et. Coverage from Pocono Raceway includes a live telecast of Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Aug. 1, at 3:30pm/et and coverage of practice sessions from 10am – 12:30pm/et on Saturday, Aug. 2, all on ESPN2. All programming also airs in high definition and is simulcast on ESPN MobileTV. The race replays on Monday, Aug. 4, at 1pm/et on ESPN Classic. Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

  • ARCA Chaplain Bill Krick Hospitalized: ARCA Chaplain Bill Krick remains hospitalized following heart surgery earlier this week but the ARCA community continues to support the long-time champlain of Focus Motorsports Ministries. Saturday afternoon at Berlin Raceway, ARCA members Andy Belmont, Mark Gibson and Mike Allgaier led the charge. Get well messages and prayers may be mailed to Focus Motorsports Ministries, Bill Krick, Chaplain, 2497 Governors Pointe, Concord, NC 28025-2425. More info at ARCA Racing.(7-28-2008)

  • Budweiser Shootout Returns to Daytona in 2009: The Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR’s season-opening event, will return in 2009 as part of Budweiser’s multi-year sponsorship renewal with Daytona International Speedway. “For more than 30 years, race fans have circled the Budweiser Shootout on their calendars in the way baseball fans look toward Opening Day,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president of Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “February is the start of our important spring selling season, and big events such as the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500, plus the Super Bowl, NHL and NBA All-Star weekends, provide a powerful combination to excite consumers and energize our wholesaler family.”
    “We’re pleased and excited to welcome back Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of the season-opening Budweiser Shootout,” said Speedway President Robin Braig. “Together, Anheuser-Busch and Daytona International Speedway look forward to providing our fans with a memorable event to start the 2009 NASCAR season at ‘The World Center of Racing.'”
    The multi-year agreement for the Budweiser Shootout includes exclusive alcohol and non-alcohol malt beverage sponsorship of the race weekend, four new interior track wall signs, and sponsorship of the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party televised by Speed Channel and the popular post-race infield concert. The 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona is scheduled for Feb. 7.
    The “Great American Lager” will continue to sponsor the “Great American Race” as the Official Beer of Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona 500 and the track’s numerous annual events. Budweiser, sponsor of Kasey Kahne and the #9 Budweiser Dodge, retains significant at-track presence through the Budweiser Bistro concession area in the Sprint FANZONE, a major presence on the infield scoring tower, use of the Speedway’s logo and Daytona 500 logo, Sprint FANZONE and on-track visits by the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, and will continue to offer its “Green Team” recycling programs to help keep Daytona International Speedway clean. Anheuser-Busch is also the exclusive beer and malt beverage advertiser of the Daytona 500 national broadcast on FOX.(DIS PR), who is in the race, rules, history and all time poles on my 2009 Shootout page.(7-28-2008) Comment here

  • Newman not going to the #20 car: Strike Joe Gibbs Racing from the list of potential employers for Ryan Newman. Newman’s name has been most prominently mentioned to land with Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Sources close to the situation said he also has had discussions with JGR, Richard Childress Racing and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. An RCR official said on Friday that he expected Newman to go to Stewart, and JGR president J.D. Gibbs said on Sunday it was unlikely the driver of Penske Racing’s #12 could join his Toyota team. “It would be hard,” Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Another time, another day, maybe. He’s a great individual. You would love to have him on your team. It’s just all those ducks aren’t in a row.” Gibbs did say he was getting closer to naming a driver to replace Tony Stewart in the #20 next season. Joey Logano, the 18-year-old sensation in the Nationwide Series, remains the front-runner for that spot. Gibbs also said speculation JGR would expand to four teams in 2009 was unlikely. “Next year would be hard,” Gibbs said.(ESPN.com)(7-28-2008) Comment here

  • Stremme has talked to Penske about #12 gig: David Stremme, currently a test driver at Penske Racing and Nationwide Series driver for Rusty Wallace Racing, said he has talked with Penske officials about driving the #12 Sprint Cup car next season. The team is looking for a replacement for Ryan Newman, who will leave the team at the end of the year. “We’ve talked,” Stremme said Saturday at O’Reilly Raceway Park. “Obviously, I’m doing testing for them. But there are a lot of opportunities open, too. Who wouldn’t want to be racing for Roger Penske? He’s very successful in motorsports. I like how they do their program.”(SceneDaily)(7-28-2008) Comment here

  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
    Total number of commercials: 113
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 56
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:50 PM
    Total minutes: 220
    Minutes of race broadcast: 178
    Minutes of commercials: 51
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    Number of nasty bird deaths 1
    See more on my 2008 Commercials page.(7-28-2008) Comment here

  • Roush Miffed At Goodyear: Team owner Jack Roush got a second-place finish in Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard from Carl Edwards, but he was not in a good mood. Roush said that because his team wasn’t invited to the Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April that involved only three drivers, his engineers and crew chiefs had no idea what to expect this weekend. “We only missed by an inch,” he said. “This is a game of inches, but Goodyear didn’t give us a chance to test here. We were one change behind all the time during practice.” Goodyear tires were wearing out so quickly on the right side of the cars Sunday that NASCAR instituted “competition yellow” flags every 10 to 12 laps. That didn’t help one of Roush’s drivers. Matt Kenseth blew a tire on the 47th of 160 laps. The other Roush Fenway Racing drivers, Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle, finished sixth and eighth. So it was hardly a bad day for the Ford team. Asked what NASCAR and Goodyear can do to prevent such a situation from occurring again, Roush said, “You need to go talk to Chad Knaus winner Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief. He said it wasn’t going to be a problem with this tire. He and Goodyear have something figured out that the rest of us don’t.”(Tampa Tribune)(7-28-2008) Comment here

News from July 27, 2008

  • Johnson wins at Indy: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 2nd win at the track, 2nd of the season and 35th of his career. Johnson took the lead on a two-tire stop with 10 laps to go. The race was filled with tire-related problems on the track and many cautions for the teams to pit. #99-Edwards finished 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #19-Sadler, #24-Gordon, #26-McMurray, #9-Kahne, #31-Burton and #84-Allmendinger [first career top-10]. There were 11 cautions for 52 laps and 26 lead changes among 16 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Indy Race Results Awards Page.(7-27-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Indy race 20 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 3004 [7 wins]
    2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2751 -253 [1 win]
    3) #31-Jeff Burton 2733 -271 [1 win]
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2689 -315 [2 wins]
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 2684 -320 [3 wins][would be 2nd w/out 100pts penalty]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2539 -465
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 2460 -544
    8) #11-Denny Hamlin 2453 -551
    9) #9-Kasey Kahne 2441 -563
    10) #20-Tony Stewart 2399 -605 [+39]
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 2366 -638 [+6]
    12) #07-Clint Bowyer 2362 -642 [1 win][2 pts ahead of 13th]
    CHASE contenders
    13) #29-Kevin Harvick 2360 -644 [2 pts out of 12th]
    14) #6-David Ragan 2306 -698 [-56]
    15) #83-Brian Vickers 2230 -774 [-132]
    16) #12-Ryan Newman 2218 -786 [-144]
    17) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2146 -858 [-216]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Indy page.(7-27-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Pocono:
    #00 is now out and #66 moves back into the top 35, by 14 pts
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1597 +115
    33) #01-Smith/DEI: 1572, +90
    34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1522 +40
    35) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1496 14 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1482 14 points out of 35th
    37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1433 -63
    38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1335 -161
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(7-27-2008)
  • Race Fast Facts – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
    Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, his 35th victory in 239 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races
    This is his second victory and 10th top-10 finish in 2008
    This is his second victory and third top-10 finish in seven races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    Carl Edwards (second) posted his second top-10 finish in four races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is his 14th top-10 finish in 2008.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his second top-10 finish in three races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    Patrick Carpentier (18th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 253 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-27-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs….Who got a lap back on each caution at Indianapolis: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: none, no cars a lap down
    Caution 2: none, no cars a lap down that are on the track
    Caution 3: #77-Hornish Jr.
    Caution 4: #77-Hornish Jr.(2)
    Caution 5: #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    Caution 6: #70-Leffler
    Caution 7: #7-Gordon
    Caution 8: none, #83-Vickers was eligible, but caused the caution
    Caution 9: #29-Harvick (still 14 laps down)
    Caution 10: #29-Harvick (still 13 laps down)
    Caution 11: none awarded with 10 or less laps left in race
    (7-27-2008)
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #15 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 4
    2 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 4
    3 #45 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 5
    4 #29 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 14
    5 #2 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 14
    6 #47 Commitment Line Violation TE 15
    7 #42 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 29
    8 #01 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 29
    9 #7 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 47
    10 #44 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 47
    11 #17 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 47
    12 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 48
    13 #43 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 97
    14 #43 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 97
    15 #44 Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road. TE 99
    16 #42 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 106
    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)(7-27-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson won the race from the Coor’s Light pole starting position. He is only the second driver to win at Indy from the pole. Kevin Harvick won at Indy in 2003 from the pole.
    * Johnson scored his 35th-career NSCS victory in 239 career races. He climbed from fifth to fourth in the points standings. This is his second series victory in 2008. He also won at Phoenix in April, 12 races ago. Johnson scored his second victory in seven races at Indy. He scored his third top-10 finish in seven races at Indy. Johnson led 71 of the 160 laps raced including the final 10 laps.
    * Chevrolet scored its fifth victory in 2008. Toyota has eight wins, Dodge has four while Ford has three.
    * The winner at Indy has gone on to win the Championship six times.
    * This marked the first time since 1998 that the reigning Champion won the Brickyard 400.
    * A Chevrolet has won the last six races at Indy, a streak that began in 2003.
    * Hendrick Motorsports has won six of the 15 races at Indy, the most of all teams.
    * 17 of the 20 races in 2008 have been won from a top-10 starting position. The only three races in 2008 that were not won from a top-10 starting position were at Richmond when Clint Bowyer won from the 31st starting position, at Infineon with Kyle Busch winning from 30th and New Hampshire where Kurt Busch started 26th.
    * Carl Edwards finished second, scoring his 14th top-10 finish in 20 races this season, the most by any driver. He dropped from fourth to fifth in the standings, five points behind fourth-place Johnson.
    * Denny Hamlin finished third, posting his best finish in three races at Indy. Hamlin climbed from 12th to 8th in the standings.
    * Elliott Sadler finished fourth, posting his best finish in 2008. It was his best finish since he finished fourth in the 2006 Daytona 500. It was his second top-five finish in 10 races at Indy.
    * Jeff Gordon finished fifth, posting his 12th top-10 finish in 15 races at Indy.
    * In all 15 series races at Indy, the pole winner has led the first lap.
    * A mere six points separate 11th-place Matt Kenseth, 12th-place Clint Bowyer and 13th-place Kevin Harvick with six races remaining in the Race to the Chase.
    * Tire issues were anticipated and became the issue of the race with competition cautions occurring as determined by NASCAR. The anticipation was noted on Saturday and Goodyear responded bringing in their Pocono tires as backups to be used in emergency. NASCAR scheduled the first three competition cautions at Laps 14, 30 and 48 and NASCAR adjusted with the on-track problems. It became clear that the tires were lasting only nine-12 laps. The first competition caution was displayed on lap 15 during the second caution of the day. The second came with the third caution for debris from the No. 42 of Juan Pablo Montoya when he blew a tire on the backstretch on Lap 28. The third was scheduled for Lap 48. However, Matt Kenseth blew a tire doing severe damage to the right-rear of his car on Lap 46. Kenseth ended a streak of eight top-10 finishes in the last nine races, finishing 38th. The fourth competition caution was scheduled for Lap 64 and everyone made it without incident. The fifth competition caution was scheduled for Lap 83 and all cars completed the 12 laps of green-flag racing without incident as tire supplies were dwindling. The sixth competition caution was displayed on Lap 83 and the seventh on Lap 99. On Lap 107, Brian Vickers blew an engine. The ninth competition caution was displayed on Lap 123 followed by the tenth on Lap 139. The 11th and final competition caution was displayed on Lap 151.
    * The longest green-flag run of just 12 laps came from lap 35 to lap 47. While actually 13, the final lap was not run at “speed.”
    * Kenseth (38th) dropped from eighth to 11th, Kevin Harvick (37th) dropped from ninth to 13th, Brian Vickers (42nd) dropped from 14th to 15th and Kurt Busch (40th) remained 18th.
    * Jeff Burton hit a bird on the restart of Lap 106.
    * The race featured 26 lead changes among 16 drivers. Both are records for Indy.
    * The race had 11 cautions for 52 laps, also a record [laps] at Indy
    * The top 10 consisted of two Toyotas, three Chevrolets, three Fords and two Dodges.
    * The highest finishing rookie of the year contender was Patrick Carpentier, who finished 18th.(ESPN.com)(7-28-2008)
  • Challenging Circumstances At Brickyard Balanced By Increase In Green-Flag Passing: With teams clearly responding to the challenges presented by tire wear during Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, the race produced a solid increase in green-flag passing compared to last year. There may have been a record number of caution laps for the race, 52. But the green-flag passing numbers, gathered by NASCAR’s Loop Data, showed a total of 1,545 green-flag passes during Sunday’s event, up from 1,431 during last year’s Indy race – a difference of 114 passes. “I felt like there was a lot of good racing today … I think there was a lot of passing; I know I had to pass a lot of cars,” race winner Jimmie Johnson said. Johnson drove a brilliant race throughout, racking up dominant statistics across the board. Along with a race-high 71 laps led, Johnson boasted a near-perfect Driver Rating of 147.3 (a perfect rating is 150.0), an Average Running Position of 2.5 and 36 Fastest Laps Run. He was also one of only two drivers to run all 160 laps in the top 15 (second-place finisher Edwards was the other).(NASCAR PR)(7-27-2008) Comment here

  • Rusty says Newman was fired; Newman says ‘no’ UPDATE: Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman never were pals when they competed as teammates at Penske Racing. Now, the two men have a major difference of opinion over the circumstances of Newman’s departure from the No. 12 Dodge at the end of this season. Newman has said repeatedly that he and team owner Roger Penske discussed his situation a few weeks ago when Newman decided he wanted to move on. Wallace insinuated on Friday that Newman was fired. “I’ll clear this leaving thing up,” Wallace said. “He didn’t leave. Roger called Ryan up to his office and said, ‘I don’t need your services next year.’ Ryan didn’t come to him and say he’s leaving. You all need to write that. That’s exactly how it went down. Obviously, there was some bad blood there when that happened. I love Roger, so I’m going to help clear up the story for him.”
    However, in a clarifying statement shortly thereafter, Penske said: “I have read Rusty’s comments and it is important for everyone to understand that I did not fire Ryan. His contract runs though 2008 and we sat down and agreed that we were not going forward beyond this year.” Newman was told about Wallace’s comments about an hour later. “I don’t know what Rusty is trying to prove, but that’s not the case,” Newman said. “Roger and I agreed not to continue our association. If anything, it was me more than him. Our goals didn’t align.” Wallace, now a broadcaster for ESPN, was Newman’s teammate from 2002 through 2005. Their relationship was strained during most of those four seasons.(ESPN.com)
    AND Newman said Friday at Indy that it wasn’t the case, that Roger and he decided mutually not continue.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-26-208)
    UPDATE: A day after Rusty Wallace said Roger Penske essentially fired Ryan Newman from the #12 car after the 2008 season, Penske said Wallace didn’t know what he was talking about. “I have read Rusty’s comments and it is important for everyone to understand that I did not fire Ryan,” Penske said in a statement. “His contract runs through 2008 and we sat down and agreed that we were not going forward beyond this year.” Penske’s statement matches what Newman said after he heard about Wallace’s comments Friday – that it was a mutual decision. On Saturday, after Newman qualified third at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the second consecutive year, he seemed vindicated by Penske’s agreement. “That’s what I said,” Newman said. “I made some jokes about Rusty and all, but the bottom line is what he said wasn’t true and we’ll go on.”(Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)(7-27-2008) Comment here
  • Two Soldiers in the #8 pit at Indy: Two decorated soldiers from the Indianapolis Recruiting Battalion — Sgt. 1st Class John Adams and Sgt. 1st Class Robert Groff – will be guests of Mark Martin and the #8 U.S. Army team for Sunday’s running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Adams earned the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions in Iraq on Oct. 13, 2004, when he captured an Iraqi insurgent as he was completing an improvised explosive device along the roadside of a major supply route. Adams’ actions prevented the device from being detonated, saving countless lives and avoiding a disruption along a road that supplied American troops with fuel and provisions.
    Groff earned the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions in Iraq on April 9, 2004, when his fuel convoy was attacked by insurgents. Groff repeatedly braved the crossfire and exploding IEDs to lead wounded civilian drivers and other soldiers to the safety of his Humvee until 11 people filled the vehicle. He stayed with the vehicle and its occupants and defended it for more than 20 minutes until help arrived to transfer them to safety. As part of the program, each soldier will have an action figure and a page on the America’s Army Web site (www.americasarmy.com), which will feature his biography, photos and a video that recounts his story of heroism. The action figure, which is roughly 4 inches long, also comes with a trading card with an abbreviated version of their story.(IMS Site)(7-27-2008)

  • Tires could be an issue at Indy UPDATE 2: Tire wear could be a serious issue in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday based on the problems some of the Sprint Cup teams were having in the two practice sessions Saturday afternoon. Right-side tires were wearing down to the cords for some teams after only five or six laps on the 2.5-mile quad-oval. All the teams will receive an extra set of tires for the race — 10 instead of nine — as needed. NASCAR officials plan to throw a competition yellow Sunday after about 15 laps. “The track is pretty abrasive and wears down tires pretty fast,” Goodyear director of racing Greg Stucker told ESPN. “We’ve seen this new car is a little tougher on right-side [tires] because it transfers more weight.” Another problem Saturday was the lack of rubber laid down on the track from the cars making laps. The dust and tiny rubber pieces from the tires were accumulating on the bumper of the cars rather than staying on the track. More rubber on the track adds grip and makes it easier for the cars to turn. A few teams went through four sets of tires in practice Saturday. Teams are given eight sets of tires for practice and qualifying.(ESPN.com)(7-26-2008)
    UPDATE: Following are comments from NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton, regarding tires for Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: “We’ve got enough tires for Sunday’s race and there will be up to 10 sets per team. Not everybody is going to use all of their tires in the last practice session. There may be some teams that keep an extra set behind. There’s only one NASCAR series that’s here this weekend, and you don’t get a chance to put enough rubber on the track. If you make a tire that lasts during practices, when you get into the race then they have issues with handling. It’s always a challenge here. It’s a ‘one-off’ tire that Goodyear builds for this place. The track is very abrasive because we don’t run on it very often. Goodyear’s doing the best they can. It’s a situation we do see probably every time that we come here.”(NASCAR)(7-27-2008)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR held a press conference Sunday morning, there will be a competition yellow Sunday after 10 laps [unless a caution comes out sonner], plus they will monitor the tires for other possible competition yellows AND they have Pocono tires on hand if the Indy tires become a problem, but the whole field would have to switch if the Pocono tires are mandated by NASCAR.(SPEED’s Raceday)(7-27-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Goodyear trucked in extra shipment of tires Sunday morning for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard amid complaints about excessive wear during practice Friday and Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the new shipment of tires, which were intended to be used at Pocono Raceway next week, could be used during the 160-lap, 400-mile race. If needed, the Pocono tires would be implemented unilaterally across the 43-car Sprint Cup Series field. Pemberton said there would be at least two NASCAR-mandated caution flags to check wear during the early stages of the race, with the first occurring on Lap 10.(USA Today)(7-27-2008) Comment here

  • Franchitti to run limited schedule the rest of the season: Dario Franchitti is set to remain in NASCAR with Chip Ganassi Racing for the remainder of the year and will compete in a limited number of races, primarily in the Nationwide Series, following the closure of his Sprint Cup series [#40] team last month. Franchitti is set to stay focused on NASCAR for now after pondering the options he was offered by Chip Ganassi, following their meeting two weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway. Franchitti plans to compete in seven Nationwide Series races, alternating with fellow rookie Bryan Clauson at the wheel of the #40 Fastenal Dodge.(Autosport)(7-27-2008) Comment here
  • Run all the Brickyard races: four drivers will have run all 15 Brickyard 400’s since it first ran in 1994:
    #24-Jeff Gordon [4 wins]
    #43-Bobby Labonte [1 win]
    #8-Mark Martin [best 2nd once]
    #31-Jeff Burton [best 5th once]
    #21-Bill Elliott had run in the previous 14, but failed to qualify for the race.(7-27-2008)

  • TIRES: NASCAR held a press conference Sunday morning, there will be a competition yellow Sunday after 10 laps [unless a caution comes out sonner], plus they will monitor the tires for other possible competition yellows AND they have Pocono tires on hand if the Indy tires become a problem, but the whole field would have to switch if the Pocono tires are mandated by NASCAR.(SPEED’s Raceday)(7-27-2008)
    UPDATE: Goodyear trucked in extra shipment of tires Sunday morning for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard amid complaints about excessive wear during practice Friday and Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the new shipment of tires, which were intended to be used at Pocono Raceway next week, could be used during the 160-lap, 400-mile race. If needed, the Pocono tires would be implemented unilaterally across the 43-car Sprint Cup Series field. Pemberton said there would be at least two NASCAR-mandated caution flags to check wear during the early stages of the race, with the first occurring on Lap 10.(USA Today)(7-27-2008) Comment here


    News from July 26, 2008

  • Ganassi-Waltrip merger? Car owner Chip Ganassi pulled the plug on Franchitti’s team a month ago, in a shocker that left 71 people without jobs. That move by Ganassi has led to intense speculation about Ganassi’s NASCAR future. Some of that speculation includes the possibility of some merger between Ganassi and the Michael Waltrip operation, which is also struggling and may be down to one sponsor next season for that three-car operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2008) Comment here

  • McMurray to RCR? UPDATE 3 Denied: hearing that Jamie McMurray, currently the driver of the #26 Crown Royal/Irwin Tools Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, will be the driver of Richard Childress Racing’s 4th team, to be sponsored by General Mills and supposedly will be the #33 Chevy. No word if Roush will run the fifth team in 2009 or drop down to four teams a year early. RFR will need to drop to four teams after the 2009 season.(7-25-2008)
    UPDATE: On Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, owner Jack Roush was quick to defend his driver, Jamie McMurray — right after he said he would not allow any of McMurray’s four Roush Fenway Racing teammates to be pilfered from his team — while pointedly omitting McMurray. “Jamie is important to me,” Roush said. “But today, Jamie is not the driver that’s been productive, to the extent that the other four are. I look forward to, and certainly expect, great things from Jamie, but the productivity has not been there at this point.” McMurray, whose current contract runs through the end of 2009 and who last won in the 2007 Pepsi 400 at Daytona — 37 races ago — is 22nd in the standings, with only three top-10 finishes this season in the #26 Ford.(NASCAR.com)(7-26-2008)
    UPDATE 2: [Tony] Stewart said that Ryan Newman is just one of three drivers on his short list [for the 2nd team, the #4 Chevy]. Presumably, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray are the other two. And Stewart is battling car owners Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress, who are both also looking for drivers. McMurray’s future with car owner Jack Roush has been up for debate the past several weeks, and the speculation has become intense that Roush would be releasing McMurray. But apparently sponsor Crown Royal is pushing Roush to keep McMurray in the fold, and as tough as good sponsors are to find, that could well end that whole debate. McMurray has been mentioned as being on Childress’ short list for his new fourth team. But Childress now appears to be back in the market trying to sign Truex. A Childress-Truex deal was in the works earlier this year, until Teresa Earnhardt, who owns DEI, said she would hold Truex to the option year on his current DEI contract for 2009.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2008)
    UPDTE 3: Jamie McMurray squelched reports on Saturday that he may be on his way out at Roush Fenway Racing. “If you guys want to print the truth, the truth is I’ll be there with Crown Royal [as a sponsor],” McMurray said after his qualifying lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It’s 100 percent.” McMurray’s name had been connected with the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing. Sources close to the situation said RCR made a run at him, but couldn’t get him out of the final year of his contract at Roush. “Richard is looking for a driver and I’m somewhat flattered to have my name on the list that another owner would want you,” McMurray said. “But I will be in this car and not at Richard Childress Racing.”(ESPN.com)(7-26-2008)Comment here

  • Newman’s search narrowed down: #12-Ryan Newman said Friday at Indy that he has his search for a new ride narrowed down, just doesn’t have everything finalized, it is more a matter of paperwork and finalizing everything before he can announced something.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-26-2008) Comment here

  • Carpentier hopes to know 2009 plans by mid-August: Rookie #10-Patrick Carpentier said he should know by mid-August what car owner has planned for him for 2009. “And it all depends on sponsors, you know,” said the popular Carpentier. “I expect to be back next year, yes…. but I’m sure Dario Franchitti expected to run the full season too.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2008) Comment here

  • Earnhardt Banners removed in Kannapolis NC: Kannapolis NC Tourism officials say the removal of Dale Trail banners from around the city does not mark the end of the Dale Trail attraction. The banners were removed Thursday upon the request of Castle & Cooke, developer of the North Carolina Research Campus, owned by billionaire David Murdock. DeSales Wagster, president and CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the Dale Trail remains extremely popular with visitors to the CVB welcome center, and she hopes the attraction could be restructured to include more historical markers and audio tours. “I think people want more content and more information about Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” Wagster said. The Dale Trail leads race fans on a tour of locations important to the life of the late NASCAR legend and Kannapolis native Dale Earnhardt. She said the CVB was recently approached by Castle & Cooke about the removal of the banners, which had become somewhat tattered. “All this was very friendly,” Wagster said. “No, Murdock did not intimidate us to take down the Dale Trail. It was like neighbor doing for neighbor.” Officials have said Castle & Cooke’s request to remove the banners was in preparation for a VIP guest expected [Oprah?] to tour the research campus today with Murdock. Officials said they could not confirm whom the VIP guest would be. Wagster said she hoped to work with Castle & Cooke to find a way to mesh both motor sports marketing and the research campus. “Motorsports is science to a degree, and the research campus is science,” Wagster said. “So we may be able to blend these two things.” On July 18, Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg issued a memo to Kannapolis City Council saying the Dale Trail banners would be permanently removed. Legg said the city planned to spend $25,000 this year on improvements to Dale Earnhardt Plaza in Cannon Village. Wagster said the banners will soon go up for sale on eBay.com, with plans to use the funds to pay Kannapolis back for their removal.(Kannapolis Independent Tribune)(7-26-2008) Comment here
  • Johnson on pole at Indy: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 181.963mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 15th of his career. #8-Martin will start 2nd followed by #12-Newman, #9-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #19-Sadler, #2-Busch, #26-McMurray, #99-Edwards and #17-Kenseth. #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 11th, points leader #18-Busch will start 19th and #31-Burton starts 32nd.
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #10-Carpentier, #70-Leffler, #47-Ambrose, #84-Allmendinger, #66-Riggs, #78-Nemechek, #96-Yeley and #45-Terry Labonte [using a past champions provisional]. Missing the race are #21-Elliott, #08-Sauter, #34-Raines and #50-Barrett.
    For the starting linup, qualifying results, order, pole progression, see my Indy Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-26-2008)

  • Radio coverage at Indy: ESPN and the IMS Radio Network once again will provide extensive live television and radio coverage of on-track action at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Race Day TV coverage on the ESPN networks starts with “NASCAR Now” atam/et Sunday, July 27 on ESPN2. Coverage shifts to ESPN at 1:00pm/et with the pre-race show, “NASCAR Countdown,” and flag-to-flag race coverage starts at 2:00pm/et on ESPN. Qualifying coverage starts at 10am/et Saturday, July 26 on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, which also will feature practice coverage at 2:00pm/et that day.
    Race Day radio coverage will start on the IMS Radio Network at 1pm/et Sunday, July 27 with a one-hour pre-race show. Live race coverage starts at 2pm/et. The IMS Radio Network will cover qualifying at 10am/et Saturday, July 26, with a one-hour qualifying wrap-up show at 5pm/et that day. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard radio broadcast also will be available on Sirius Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel and on the Web at NASCAR.com. A Spanish-language version of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard coverage also will be broadcast in Indianapolis on WEDJ-FM 107.1. In addition to coverage all across America, the IMS Radio Network’s broadcast of the race will be available around the globe. LeSea Broadcasting will provide coverage via short-wave radio.
    The on-air IMS Radio Network team the 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Bob Jenkins and Doug Rice, co-hosts; John Andretti, driver analyst; Donald Davidson, historian; Jerry Baker, Turn 1 reporter; Kevin Lee, Turn 2 reporter; Rob Albright, Turn 3 reporter; Chuck Carland, Turn 4 reporter; and Brett McMillan, Kevin Olson, Jake Query and Brad Gillie, pit reporters.(IMS PR)(7-26-2008)
  • Happy Hour Practice for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 176.298
    #24-Gordon 174.958
    #11-Hamlin 174.408
    #99-Edwards 174.118
    #12-Newman 174.068
    slowest: #00-McDowell 168.483 and #01-Smith 169.754
    no speed listed: #44-Reutimann
    incident: #7-Gordon’s car caught fire, but Gordon says the car is ok and it was from the tire dust on the headers
    See the speeds on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-26-2008)
  • 3rd Practice for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #24-Gordon 174.496
    #16-Biffle 174.243
    #12-Newman 174.236
    #48-Johnson 173.910
    #11-Hamlin 173.789
    slowest: #01-Smith 167.948 and #78-Nemechek 170.142
    See the speeds on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-26-2008)


    News from July 25, 2008

  • Office Depot/Old Spice to be co-primaries for Tony Stewart in the #14: Office Depot and Old Spice will serve as co-primary sponsors of Tony Stewart’s #14 Chevrolet Impala SS Sprint Cup Series entry beginning in 2009. Officials from the two companies, as well as from Stewart-Haas Racing, made the announcement today near Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Office Depot, a leading global provider of office products and services, along with Old Spice, the No. 1 antiperspirant/deodorant stick and body wash choice for guys in the United States, have entered into multi-year agreements with Stewart-Haas Racing to sponsor the new entry driven by Stewart. In addition, both Office Depot and Old Spice are official NASCAR partners, successfully leveraging their relationships with NASCAR and their race team sponsorships as powerful marketing platforms for their brands.

    “To have Office Depot and Old Spice throw their support behind me and this race team makes me extremely proud,” said Stewart, who announced on July 10 that he had acquired a 50% stake in what is now known as Stewart-Haas Racing. “These are two partnerships that make a lot of sense. Office Depot focuses on small business owners, and with my role as a driver and owner next year, I’m both their spokesman and their customer – and I have been for years, because with two USAC teams, two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series teams and three race tracks, you need a smooth-running office if you expect your business to run right. Old Spice has been with me for nine years, but our 10th year together is obviously going to be pretty big. This is a major commitment for the Old Spice brand, and we’re going to make sure the success we’ve enjoyed over the years continues.”

    “Tony is a successful entrepreneur who has an impressive record as a small business owner. This is one of the reasons why he is such a perfect fit for Office Depot,” said Chuck Rubin, President of North American Retail for Office Depot. “We believe that Tony’s passion to win and relentless pursuit of excellence truly embody the essence of the Office Depot brand and represent the commitments we make every single day to help our customers be successful.”

    Old Spice, a brand of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble (P&G), is the official antiperspirant/deodorant of NASCAR, and its longstanding partnership with Stewart has helped Old Spice become the leader in its category, as well as the male body wash category. “We’ve really valued our relationship with Tony and have been growing our partnership for over nine years now,” said Alex Keith, P&G Beauty, General Manager, North America Deodorants. “It’s been a great program for Old Spice, and when he came to us with the opportunity to make it even bigger, we knew it was the right move. We’re absolutely thrilled to be on board.”

    Also supporting Stewart’s Office Depot/Old Spice effort in 2009 will be Chevrolet. The winner of 31 manufacturer’s championships since coming to Sprint Cup in 1955, Chevrolet adds another powerful team to its already potent lineup with the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing.Putting an exclamation point on Stewart’s new ride for 2009 is that his red and black Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet will carry the #14, made famous by the legendary A.J. Foyt. “Tony and I have been friends for a long time,” said Foyt, a winner of four Indianapolis 500s, the 1972 Daytona 500 and the 1967 24 Hours of LeMans. “I think I first met him when he was running Midgets. It was quite a while ago so I don’t actually remember where and when. A few times he drove the Silver Crown car I had with George Snider back in the mid-90s and I gave him his first test in an Indy car in Phoenix (in 1995) and he ran pretty quick as I recall. In addition to being quick, he’s always told it how it is. I don’t think there’s anyone better to carry the #14.”

    Stewart has always admired what Foyt, currently an IRL IndyCar Series owner, accomplished in a driving career that began in 1957 and spanned such racing divisions as Indy car, NASCAR, USAC and sports car racing. “A.J. has always been my hero and will always be No. 1 on my hero list, with the best part being that we are really good friends,” Stewart said. “We obviously have a tremendous amount of respect for one another. I remember him calling me after I won my first Cup championship in 2002 and I remember how much it meant to have him call that night and congratulate me. We really do have similar pasts and carry a lot of characteristics that are the same. He is one of the greatest icons in racing worldwide and to be compared to him in any way is always a huge honor. We came up through the same types of cars, from Sprint Cars to Midgets, and then I went to the IRL and moved into NASCAR. A.J. ran Indy cars for a long time and still came into stock car racing and was successful. There aren’t a lot of guys that can go from car to car and still win races. It was something that A.J. was really good at and something that we have been very fortunate to replicate. He has given a lot back to racing and has been one of its biggest supporters. Without guys like him, guys like me wouldn’t have had a chance to succeed.”(True Speed Communication PR), see all the other past news/rumors on the #66 Team News and Links page AND no word if the #14 will be the #66 or #70 team, Stewart’s 2nd team will run the #4 and not use the #66 or #70 in 2009. See images of the car on my #14 Team Schemes page.(7-25-2008) Comment here


  • New look for the #99 in 2009: Aflac unveiled its sleek new look for Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Aflac Ford driven by Carl Edwards. Beginning next season, Edwards, who has a multi-year primary sponsorship with Aflac, will race in one of the most formidable-looking cars in 2009. With the main color jet black and the secondary colors shades of green and blue, this ride will be hard to miss — even at speeds of 200 mph. Aflac revealed the new color scheme during a circuit stop in Indiana with Edwards present. The new paint scheme will debut in February 2009 at Daytona International Speedway. The current scheme [which can be seen on my #99 Team Schemes page] will run at Indy this weekend [July 27th]. at the Auto Club Speedway [Calif] on August 31st and at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct 11th.(PRN Newswire), see images of the car on my new 2009 #99 Team Schemes page.(7-25-2008) Comment here

  • Ambrose to debut #47 team at Indy: Little Debbie, Marcos Ambrose and JTG/Daugherty Racing hope to get a jump-start on their future during this week’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard when the new team makes its Sprint Cup Series debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team, which plans a full-time schedule next year, will make four selected appearances this year, kicking off with one of the biggest races of the stock car season. JTG Racing currently fields a pair of Nationwide Series cars with Ambrose and Kelly Bires as drivers. The team’s expansion into the Sprint Cup Series this year includes the use of the #47 Ford Fusion. “We’ve planned for this for years,” said team co-owner Tad Geschickter. “It’s every racer’s dream to compete at the highest level. This is our first step and we’re proud to take it with Little Debbie and Marcos. We have done a lot of testing leading up to this first race, and will use this weekend as our first benchmark versus the competition.  We will leave this weekend with a clearer view on the things we need to work on as we prepare to run full time next season.”(JTG Racing PR)(7-25-2008) Comment here

  • DEI names interim crew chief for Truex: Mike Greci will serve as #1-Martin Truex’s interim crew chief beginning this weekend, the team said Thursday. Greci replaces Kevin Manion, who begins serving his six-race suspension after Dale Earnhardt Inc. lost its appeal this week. Grechi first worked with Truex when Truex competed in what is now called the Camping World East series earlier this decade. Manion can return at Richmond in early September.(Virginian-Pilot)(7-25-2008) Comment here

  • Barrett to attempt to make Brickyard 400: This upcoming Sunday, the NOS Energy Drink team will head into Indy to attempt tp make the Allstate 400 race at The Brickyard. Piloting the #50 Chevy, team driver Stanton Barrett will look to erase the heartbreak of the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600, where despite valiant efforts, the car failed to qualify for the main events. The Allstate 400 is the third of four Sprint Cup events that the SKI Motorsports NOS Energy Drink team plans to participate in this season. This will also be the first time since 1999 that Barrett has a chance to drive in a Sprint Cup event at one of the most legendary race tracks on earth, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The sheer number of fans at The Brickyard is always incredible,” said Barrett. “We’ve got a good car, a great engine, and I’m looking forward to qualifying on Saturday.”(SKI Motorsports PR)(7-25-2008) Comment here

  • McDowell trains with local law enforcement at high speeds: #00-Michael McDowell trained with law enforcement on a high-speed course and spoke about NASCAR safety at Metro Community College’s Blue River [Indepndence, MO] campus Thursday [July 24th]. McDowell drove a police car in a simulated high-speed chase behind another law enforcement official. He also drove the car on a skid course covered with water. “The pursuit was the highlight for me. It felt like I was in a race – maybe a little too much. They said I wasn’t allowed to beat and bang on them like I was,” McDowell said. “It’s just like a race in a sense. Your adrenaline gets going and you get kinda pumped so you’re in the zone, and the officers have to deal with that all the time” McDowell spoke about the safety innovations in NASCAR, including the new car and SAFER barrier at Kansas Speedway. He demonstrated the helmet and HANS device that drivers wear for head and neck support by placing them on a fan in the crowd. “Our sport is not only for entertainment, it’s to help manufacturers develop street cars and make them safer everyday. It’s fun to be a part of that development,” McDowell said. “Unfortunately, I was the crash test dummy at Texas this year – I pretty much put everything to the limit.”(Kansas Speedway PR)(7-25-2008) Comment here
  • Indy Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this tire set-up to Indianapolis Motor Speedway . . . this combination of left- and right-side codes was selected after a tire test with Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers at the Speedway on April 22-23 . . . the chief tire issue expected this weekend is expected early in practice as teams put down a layer of rubber on the abrasive racing surface . . . as typically seen on the grooved racing surface at Indianapolis, tire wear is expected to be high during the early practice sessions . . . in anticipation of this extreme tire wear situation, teams will have two extra sets of tires for practice and qualifying this weekend (up to eight sets) . . . IMS is the only track at which Sprint Cup teams will run this particular tire set-up this season . . . as on all NASCAR’s 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. The estimated pit window is every 32-34 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full report and more on my Indy Race Info page of Tire Notes by race page.(7-25-2008)

  • Fans Vote Bobby Labonte, Rex White Into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: The votes are in for the 2008 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees. Bobby Labonte won by the closest margin in history for active driver, while Rex White won the inactive driver category by a landslide. Labonte and White will be enshrined to the Walk of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 4, during the AMP Energy 500 weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. 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. White, 78, of Fayetteville, Georgia, will be inducted as this year’s inactive driver. White won the 1960 NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) championship as a driver/owner, recording six wins and 35 top 10s in 41 starts. He is one of just six driver/owners in history to win a series championship. Fan voting for the 2008 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame began on April 15. In addition to Labonte, active driver nominees this year included: Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader and Carl Edwards. White competed against inactive drivers, Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith and Speedy Thompson. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway. For additional information, visit talladegawalk.com.(TSS PR)(7-25-2008)

  • Ford’s Dan Davis Honored: Dan Davis, who will retire as director of Ford Racing Technology on Aug. 1 after 11 years at the post, was honored with the first Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation’s “Leadership Award” in a surprise announcement at the foundation’s annual luncheon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. Foundation founder Lyn St. James presented Davis with the award, which honors individuals or organizations that have taken extraordinary measures and shown outstanding initiative in promoting diversity within the racing industry. The current Ford Women’s Driver Development Program features Stephanie Mockler and Alison MacLeod, who both run USAC Midgets for famed team owner Bob East. Davis noted during his acceptance speech that Ford had reviewed the resumes of 250 female drivers as part of the process of starting the Development Program. The group was narrowed down to four drivers, who then went through extensive testing before two were selected to start the program. Ford Motor Company has been a long-time supporter of diversity in racing.(Ford PR)(7-25-2008)
  • Qualifying Order for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #16-Biffle, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #38-Gilliland. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #08-Sauter, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #96-Yeley. See the full qualifying order on my Indy Qualifying Page.(7-25-2008)
  • 2nd Friday practice for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 180.047
    #24-Gordon 180.007
    #12-Newman 179.723
    #9-Kahne 179.076
    #29-Harvick 178.934
    slowest: #34-Raines 168.976 and #50-Barrett 172.549
    incidents: #47-Ambrose lost an engine and the team replaced it and Ambrose got out for a few laps
    See the speeds on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-25-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the final Friday session
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 7th fastest
    #70-Jason Leffler, 18th fastest
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 20th
    #66-Scott Riggs, 27th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 33rd
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 37th
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC2], 39th
    #45-Terry Labonte [PC1], 43rd
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #47-Marcos Ambrose, 44th
    #08-Johnny Sauter, 45th
    #50-Stanton Barrett, 46th
    #34-Tony Raines, 47th/last
    See the speeds on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-25-2008)

  • Kahne on Live with Regis and Kelly: #9-Kasey Kahne will be making a pit stop in New York City before he heads to Indianapolis for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Kahne will appear during the Friday, July 25 episode of “Live with Regis and Kelly” and will chat with Kelly Ripa and guest co-host David Duchovny about the Allstate 400 and his involvement with the Allstate Teen Safe Driving Pit Stop program. Check your local affiliates for air times.(PR)(7-24-2008)


    News from July 24, 2008

  • Totino’s scheme at Indy for Labonte: This weekend for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Dodge team will sport the colors of Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Labonte, the 2000 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard champion, will auction off his helmet from this weekend to benefit the Bobby Labonte Foundation. The auction will begin the week leading into the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. Go to www.bobbylabontefoundation.org to learn more about the Totino’s Pizza Rolls helmet and other helmet auctions.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing), see an image of the car on my #43 Team Schemes page.(7-24-2008) Comment here

  • Carpentier out of the #10 for Pocono UPDATE 2 Labonte in: Patrick Carpentier will concentrate on racing in the Nationwide Series race at Montreal on August 2. The Sprint Cup Series will be in Pocono the same weekend and Gillett Evernham Motorsports has asked Carpentier to leave his seat in the # 10 Dodge for the race in order to ensure the best possible finish in Montreal. The replacement for Carpentier has not yet been determined, but Bill Elliott could be considered.(Translated thru Google from Canoe Sports)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham Motorsports has announced that SUBWAY restaurants will sponsor Patrick Carpentier’s #9 Dodge in the Aug. 2 Nationwide race at Montreal. Tom Reddin, CEO of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, said Carpentier will focus solely on the Montreal race during the weekend instead of racing in both Montreal and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono the same weekend. Reddin said the new relationship with SUBWAY restaurants is part of the team’s overall plan to build a solid foundation for the future.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR), NO word on who will drive the #10 at Pocono.(6-24-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Terry Labonte will drive the #10 Charter Dodge in the Aug. 3 Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Labonte, 51, the 1984 and 1996 Sprint Cup series champion, will substitute for Patrick Carpentier who is racing in the Nationwide Series race that weekend in his hometown of Montreal. “I think anyone who follows our sport knows the caliber of driver and person Terry Labonte is,” said Tom Reddin, Gillett Evernham Motorsports CEO. “We appreciate Terry’s willingness to step in and help us out for a weekend.” Labonte owns 857 starts in his career including six in 2008 with Petty Enterprises. He finished 30th at Pocono in June. Carpentier is a veteran open wheel driver who moved to NASCAR late last season and is racing the #10 Dodge fulltime in the Sprint Cup Series. He finished second in the Montreal race last year and will pilot the #9 Subway Dodge in the race on Aug. 2.(GEM PR)(7-24-2008) Comment here

  • Stremme the favorite to replace Newman? Rusty Wallace Inc. to Cup? Sam Hornish Jr. said Tuesday that nobody has spoken to him about moving from Penske Racing’s #77 Dodge to replace the departing #12-Ryan Newman next season, and that he has no idea who will ultimately end up in the ride. Sources close to the situation continue to tell Sirius Speedway that David Stremme is the leading candidate for the ride, but whether or not those sources are correct, it seems likely that Stremme will find his way back to the Sprint Cup ranks next season, one way or another. Stremme has turned down a number of offers to return to the Sprint Cup Series this season — holding out for a ride that he feels is capable of running up front — while serving as a test driver for Penske Racing. I [Dave Moody] believe that Stremme may have already received a commitment from Roger Penske for a full-time Cup ride in 2009.
    AND: Yet another option for career advancement landed on Stremme’s doorstep Tuesday, when an executive for ABC/ESPN confirmed that Rusty Wallace could continue as a network analyst if he moves his race team to the Sprint Cup Series. ESPN Vice President of Motorsports Rich Feinberg said that while the network did not allow Wallace to own a Cup team when he was first hired in 2006, the addition of team owners Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty to the lineup has prompted a change in policy. Feinberg said, “The choice for Rusty to go into Cup racing is Rusty’s, and we have relayed our position to him on that.” Wallace has not yet commented publically on the possibility of RWI jumping to Cup in the near future. But if he does, Stremme will obviously be at the top of his list of potential drivers.(Motorsports Soapbox)(7-24-2008) Comment here

  • 200th start for Mears: #5-Casey Mears will make his 200th career Sprint Cup Series start this Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In his previous 199 starts, Mears has earned one win (Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May 2007), 12 top-five finishes and 40 top-10s.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(7-24-2008) Comment here

  • First Stock Car Start at the Brickyard for Hornish: This will be Hornish’s first Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, however he is no stranger to the 2.5-mile oval – he has a total of seven IndyCar Series starts at Indy. In that series, he has one win and one pole at the famed speedway.(Penske Racing PR)(7-24-2008)

  • McMurray Wheels Taxi as Part of Crown Royal Designated Driver Program: For the fourth consecutive year, Crown Royal will celebrate one of motorsports famed cities by providing Indianapolis residents and bar patrons an alternative ride home. As part of Crown Royal’s signature “Safe Rides Home” designated driver program, #26-Jamie McMurray will hit the streets of Indianapolis to provide free, safe rides home for adult bar patrons. McMurray will get behind the wheel of replica No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusions on Thursday, July 24 from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. to kickoff the program, which will be available both Thursday and Friday evenings. In total, eight Crown Royal Ford Fusions will be in rotation both nights and residents within a 20-mile radius of the signup location that are 21 years of age or older are eligible.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(7-24-2008)

  • Indy Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 12 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Carpentier took top rookie honors for the second consecutive race and for the third time this season. He was credited with a 30th-place finish. #01-Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by six points (171-165) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 27 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Brickyard 400, scoring a second-place finish 2.982 seconds behind Tony Stewart. Montoya’s second-place finish is the best by a Raybestos Rookie in 14 previous NASCAR races at Indianapolis. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-10 in each of the past nine consecutive Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see full rookie notes, history, standings on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-24-2008)


    News from July 23, 2008

  • Tony Stewart donates bulletproof K-9 vests: Tony Stewart is donating bulletproof, stab-proof vests to police dogs in Indiana and four other states. Stewart, a Columbus native, donated the money to provide 30 vests for the Indiana State Police K-9 unit and 10 for police dogs waiting for vests in Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and Minnesota. Susie Jean of Socorro, N.M., requested a grant from the Tony Stewart Foundation for vests for the 14 dogs currently in the Indiana State Police unit. Stewart upped the amount to cover more vests upon learning the state police unit was expanding to 30 dogs. The vests cost $695 each, according to Jean’s Web site, meaning 40 vests would total nearly $28,000. Stewart will present the vests to state police Thursday at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont.(Associated Press/Indianapolis Star)(7-23-2008) Comment here

  • Gillett Evernham interested in free agent drivers: Tuesday Gillett Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham spoke to Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody about the possibility of bringing Ryan Newman or any other free agent drivers to his race team for next year.
    Host, Dave Moody: “Are you now, have you ever, or do you anticipate active negotiations with Ryan Newman for a spot in your stable next year?”
    Ray Evernham: “We have not negotiated with Ryan but we have put out the feeler that we would be very interested, certainly, in talking to Ryan about the future as would probably all the other car owners but we’ve not spoken with Ryan or negotiated with him. But, yes, we are interested in talking to him.”
    Moody: “So if your phone rings and he does [call] you back are we talking about a fourth car?”
    Evernham: “Mr. Gillett and I would love to expand to four cars. So if that’s going to happen it has to happen quickly but there are opportunities to grow Gillett Evernham Motorsports. But, again, that depends on drivers and sponsors and there are sponsors available with the proper drivers.”
    Moody: “Would it be safe to assume then that Ryan Newman might not be the only top notch driver in the final year of his contract that you might have reached out [to] at this point?”
    Evernham: “Yeah, absolutely, but there’s no sense in doing a fourth team unless it can add to what we’re already building and to start a fourth team without the proper sponsorship or a driver that can add to the program just doesn’t make sense. There are a couple of drivers available and there are some sponsors out there that are talking to other teams, too, besides us to put packages together. But if we were to be able to put that package together to strengthen Gillett Evernham we’d certainly do it. The guys that are out there that have been talking to people, certainly that we have spoken to or are interested in speaking [to], are the same guys everybody else has talked to: Ryan Newman, Casey Mears and Martin Truex are the guys that are in the hot rumors right now.”(Sirius NASCAR Radio)(7-23-2008) Comment here

  • Prilosec OTC Scheme for Burton at Indy: Prilosec OTC’s major associate sponsorship of RCR’s #31 kicks into high gear this weekend in Indianpolis as Burton and the #31 team transform their bright orange #31 AT&T Chevy into a purple Prilosec OTC racing machine for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.(RCR PR) See images of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(7-23-2008)

  • Lowe’s and #48 Team “Racing for Relief” in July: Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson will be “Racing for Relief” at the Chicago and Indianapolis races this month to raise funds for the American Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes. As part of Racing for Relief, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the#48 Lowe’s Chevy. Lowe’s will donate $48 for each lap Johnson completes in the Chicagoland 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 12 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition, if Johnson wins either race, Lowe’s will donate $4,800 per victory.(GMR Marketing PR)(7-11-2008)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson’s efforts on the track raised $12,816 to benefit the American Red Cross as part of Lowe’s Racing for Relief program. Johnson completed 267 laps at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Lowe’s had pledged $48 per lap completed. The funds raised will help the Red Cross to provide food, clean-up supplies, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes.(GMR Marketing PR)(7-23-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch wins second quarter driver of the year award: #18-Kyle Busch just keeps winning. The 23-year-old Sprint Cup star has won second-quarter voting for 2008 Driver of the Year, repeating his victory in the first-quarter balloting. Busch won a total of four races in NASCAR’s top two series—three in Cup and one in Nationwide—during the quarter that ran from May 3 to June 29. He continues to lead the Cup point standings. In the second-quarter voting, Busch totaled 103 points as he took seven of 14 first-place votes and was listed on every ballot, with only one vote below second place. He handily beat Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon, whose two IndyCar Series victories earned him five first-place votes and a total of 85 points. World of Outlaws star Donny Schatz, who drives for Tony Stewart Racing, had one first-place vote and was third in the voting with 48 points. The late Scott Kalitta, the Funny Car driver who died in a crash on June 21, got the other first-place vote.(Associated Press)(7-23-2008) Comment here

  • Three drivers participate in day one of Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta: UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch, along with #66-Scott Riggs and #28-Travis Kvapil, hit the pavement Monday to test combinations of tire compounds and set ups for Goodyear. With two full days of testing, Goodyear is working to ensure the ideal tire for October’s race. “I think it will be a lot better direction than what Goodyear had here in the spring. They came here and tried to be cautious with the tire,” said Steve Addington, crew chief for the #18 team, referring to noted tire shortcomings during the Kobalt Tools 500. “Now, they’ve seen what they needed to see and that’s the reason we’re down here, to try to help them get the tire to where fans will see better racing.(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(7-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Kyle Busch, along with Cup Series drivers Travis Kvapil and Scott Riggs, each participated in the second and final day of tire testing by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch, testing in a fully-decaled #18 M&M’s Toyota, posted a best lap of 180.662 mph (30.69 seconds). Riggs was the fastest of the group in his red and gray primer Chevrolet with a Haas CNC logo on the hood as he reached 180.994 mph (30.63 seconds), while Kvapil’s primer white, decal-free Yates Racing Ford hit 175.101 mph (31.66 seconds).(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(7-23-2008) Comment here

  • Sears Auto Center on the #10: Patrick Carpentier and the Sears Auto Center/Valvoline crew have enjoyed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors at both Daytona and Chicagoland. They’re looking to earn top rookie honors again at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-23-2008)

  • Big Red Slim Pack on the #42: The #42 Dodge will sport the Wrigley’s Big Red Slim Pack paint scheme this weekend for the Brickyard 400 at IMS. Indy will be the fifth time this season Montoya’s car will carry the bold red colors of Big Red.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(7-23-2008)

  • Edwards helping Stenhouse at ARCA test: Tuesday at Nashville Superspeedway 18 drivers took part in preparation for the upcoming Nashville ARCA race. On hand for the open test was NASCAR veteran Carl Edwards, who was assisting Roush Fenway Racing development driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. as Stenhouse was turning his first laps at Nashville.(ARCARacing.com)(7-23-2008)

  • Associate sponsor for #34 team at Indy: doorstopnation.com will be an associate sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry driven by Tony Raines at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Doorstop Nation was founded in 2005 by self professed doctor of doorstopology Joe Laracuente and it has gained a loyal and growing following, not a small accomplishment considering Laracuente is a 20 year old St. Louisan. For more information check out doorstopnation.com.(Doorstop Nation PR)(7-23-2008)


    News from July 22, 2008

  • No third team for Stewart Hass in 2009: From Tony Stewart Live Monday night:
    Question: “There are rumors of a third Cup car joining Stewart-Haas Racing for 2009. Is that true?”
    Stewart: “That is not true. One of the guys asked if we were ever going to grow it to a four car team. And that is exactly what the plan will be eventually but right now we’re going to concentrate on getting these two Cup cars exactly where they need to be, contenders to win a championship each year before we expand.”(Sirius NASCAR Radio)(7-22-2008) Comment here

  • Office Depot to Stewart UPDATE 3 Stewart granted release from Gibbs: been told that Office Depot will be the sponsor for Tony Stewart, who likely will run the #14, in 2009 when he drives for Haas CNC Racing which is will buy in to. Hearing the announcement of the buy and deal will be made in Indianapolis the week NASCAR is in Indy for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, July 27th.(7-3-2008)
    UPDATEs Stewart Expected to Name Car Number, Sponsors on Friday: Tony Stewart has finalized his car number and sponsors for next season, his first as co-owner of Stewart HAAS racing. Stewart will drive the #14 car the number once campaigned by his racing hero, A.J. Foyt. Old Spice and Office Depot will sponsor the Chevys. Old Spice is a long-time Stewart sponsor in Nationwide Series. Office Depot will be moving to Stewart from Carl Edwards’ Roush Fenway car. An official announcement will be made Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Cup Scene Daily)(7-22-2008)
    see other UPDATEs and past news on the #66 Team News and Links page.
    UPDATE 2: Haas CNC Racing general manager Joe Custer has applied for his team to trademark the #14, which is expected to be the number next season for Tony Stewart, who will co-own and drive for Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2009. The trademark application covers a variety of products – everything from paper goods to luggage, knives, air fresheners, video featuring racing themes and several other items. The application was filed July 2, according in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database.(SceneDaily.com)(7-22-2008) Comment here

  • Sorenson ‘working on’ contract negotiations with Ganassi: Reed Sorenson is in the final year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing, though he could return to the #41 Sprint Cup team next year. Sorenson raced in the Nationwide Series last weekend at Gateway International Raceway and was asked what the status of his contract negotiations with Ganassi is. “We’re working on it right now,” Sorenson said. “Working on it.” Driver David Reutimann, who joined Sorenson at the news conference, interjected: “How’s it going?” “Working on it,” Sorenson said with a smile. Sorenson didn’t disclose any further details.(SceneDaily.com)(7-22-2008) Comment here

  • Harvick rain delayed at Oxford: UPDATE: he wins The TD Banknorth 250 featuring Kevin Harvick against a field of top local and regional drivers was postponed Sunday because of rain. Race officials said qualifying heats would resume Monday afternoon, weather permitting. Rain remained in the forecast and there was a flash flood watch in effect through Monday evening. Taking advantage of an off week for Sprint Cup drivers, Harvick chose to spend the weekend at Oxford Plains Speedway. He finished second in his qualifying heat to earn a spot in the feature race.(Associated Press)(7-21-2008)
    UPDATE: Monday Kevin Harvick added the winner’s trophy from the Super Bowl of short track racing to his collection. The Bakersfield, Cal. native drove away from the field in the late stages to win the TD Banknorth Oxford 250 Monday at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Me.(Hartford Courant)(7-22-2008) Comment here

  • Testing at Kentucky this week: Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to test this week at Kentucky Speedway. On Monday, 7/21 the Penske R& D team will be at the track. On Tuesday, 7/22 it’s R&D teams for Hendrick Motorsports, Penske, and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. On Wednesday, 7/23, Hendrick Motorsports continues. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(7-21-2008)
    UPDATE: Also testing on Wednesday, 7/23 will be the Michael Waltrip Racing R&D team.(Kentucky Speedway)(7-22-2008)


    News from July 21, 2008

  • ESPN’s Sprint Cup Coverage Launches with Big Week Leading to Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: The Sprint Cup Series returns to ESPN with a full week of NASCAR-related programming July 21-28, culminating with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m. ET. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is the first of 17 Sprint Cup events on the ESPN networks to close out the 2008 NASCAR season. The first six air on ESPN, with the final 11 on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. ESPN’s coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway includes a live telecast of Sprint Cup qualifying on Saturday, July 26, at 10 a.m., and live coverage of two practice sessions for the Sprint Cup cars on the famed 2.5-mile track, all on ESPN2. ESPN360.com, the signature broadband TV network, and ESPN MobileTV, the company’s 24/7 mobile video network, also will simulcast the race, qualifying and the two practice sessions. ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language channel, will simulcast the race. Sprint Cup champions will be an integral part of ESPN’s coverage team at the Brickyard, including analyst Dale Jarrett who will work with Andy Petree and Dr. Jerry Punch in the booth. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Tech Center, while pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will feature analysis by Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham, with host Allen Bestwick and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.(ESPN PR)(7-21-2008) Comment here

  • Truex Penalties Upheld: On July 21, 2008, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Dale Earnhardt Inc. regarding the #1 car. The appeal concerned four penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from opening day inspection on July 3, 2008 at the Sprint Cup Series event at Daytona International Speedway. The Appellants did not contest the rules violations, but argued that the penalties were too severe for the infractions. The Appellants explained that rigorous checks and balances in the fabrication process were in place at DEI and could offer no explanation as to why the roof failed to meet the inspection templates. They argued that the infractions were minor in nature, not deliberate, and that the resulting lowered roof was a disadvantage according to their wind tunnel findings. The Commission found that the infractions were clear-cut. The roof was low across a broad area. Accordingly, the penalties that were issued are warranted. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The periods of the suspensions are to be adjusted from the date of this hearing. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(National Stock Car Racing Commission PR)(7-21-2008) Comment here

  • Labonte in the #45 at Indy: UPDATE: Terry Labonte will be back behind the wheel of the #45 Marathon Oil Dodge this weekend at the Brickyard. Kyle Petty had been secheduled to return to the car. The team is now guaranteed to make the race with Labonte having the most recent past champion’s provisional.(7-21-2008)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty’s break from the Sprint Cup circuit has been extended by one race. Terry Labonte, who has driven the past six races in the #45 car while Petty served as an analyst for TNT, will be in the car again for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Petty Enterprises officials want to take advantage of Labonte’s past champion’s provisional — Labonte won titles in 1984 and 1996 — to guarantee the car will be in the field for one of the biggest races of the year. Officials said this was only temporary and Petty will return to the car.(ESPN.com)(7-21-2008) Comment here

  • Regan Smith wins at Riverside: Regan Smith not only made good on his promise in 2007 to return for the 2008 Carquest Pro Stock Tour IWK 250 – but his promise to win the race. Smith delighted over 10,000 fans at Riverside International Speedway Saturday night with a NASCAR-style celebration after taking the checkered flag. Fellow DEI driver Aric Almirola finished 7th in the race.(CheckerstoWreckers.com)(7-21-2008) Comment here

  • Busch, Kenseth come up short in ASA race at Iowa: All weekend long Tim Schendel was fast around the 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway as he was able to back up those fast times in practice and qualifying by taking the ASA Midwest Tour Rasmussen Group Twin 75’s. Schendel took the checkered flag while Jonathan Eilen would hold off Matt Kenseth and Donny Reuvers for second. Kenseth, who was making his first visit Iowa Speedway, was pleased with his third place finish. Kyle Busch flew through the field after starting 11th and took over the top spot on lap 8. Busch would then dominate by pulling away from the rest of the field to the halfway break. At the start of the second half, Busch would lead the first four laps until he fell off the pace and retired with mechanical problems.(ASA Midwest Tour)(7-21-2008)

News from July 20, 2008

  • Mayfield hoping for another chance: Give him good equipment and Jeremy Mayfield believes he can return to the form that got him into the Championship Chase in 2004 and 2005 at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Unfortunately for Mayfield, his phone is silent. His name is not on the short list of drivers to fill slots at Stewart-Haas Racing, Penske Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing. It’s not there even though his credentials — five wins, 96 top-10s and two trips to the Chase — are better than at least half the drivers in the current 43-car field. “I’m the first one to admit I’ve made mistakes,” he said. “Whether it’s the Ray’s deal and I talked too much or what happened at Penske. … It was little stuff. Nothing big, but it all adds up and that’s why I’m sitting here today.” Mayfield doesn’t know how he’s going to recover from the two worst years of his career, made worse by his father’s death in 2007. He hopes when everything shakes out there’ll be an owner with decent equipment willing to give him a chance. If not, he might start a Craftsman Truck Series team. “I’ve got to make a decision somewhere down the line to do that,” he said. “But once you make that move you know you probably won’t be back in Cup.” And Mayfield wants to be back in Cup so badly that he’s willing to work without a contract and for a percentage of his winnings without a guaranteed salary. He’d love for that to be at Penske. He said leaving that organization was the worst mistake he’s made, slightly ahead of losing his friendship with Evernham.(ESPN.com)(7-20-2008) Comment here

  • Gibbs Focusing on Logano to Replace Stewart UPDATE: Top management of Joe Gibbs Racing wouldn’t come out and say on Saturday that Joey Logano will replace Tony Stewart in the Sprint Cup series next season, but they didn’t say anything to indicate otherwise. Team owner Joe Gibbs and president J.D. Gibbs both agreed Logano will play a huge part in the organization going forward. They oozed with compliments for the 18-year-old phenom, who won his third Nationwide Series start and has three top 10s in four events. They talked about his maturity. They reminded that Stewart, who announced on Thursday he will leave the organization after this season to become the driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, didn’t have a win when he partnered with Home Depot in 1999. “We’re going to look at everything out there before we make a decision,” J.D. Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. “Generally, guys that are really gifted and real good show it right away. We’ve had a lot of drivers at JGR. All the good ones have popped right away. He has that.”(ESPN.com)(7-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Joey Logano says he isn’t campaigning to drive the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup car next season. Even so, the 18-year-old JGR Nationwide Series driver contends that he is interested in the ride, which will be vacated at season’s end by Tony Stewart. “Nothing has really changed,” said Logano at Gateway International Raceway. “It’s pretty much the same deal. If they offer it to me, I’d take it. It’s something that has been talked about but I’m not in a position to say anything. I don’t really know what I’m going to do yet. … I’m focused on the # 20 Nationwide car right now and from there that is [team owner] Joe [Gibbs] and [team president] J.D.’s [Gibbs] deal.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-20-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride Concludes: The 14th Annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride ended Saturday night in Savannah, GA after starting the final leg Saturday morning in Peachtree City, GA. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-20-2008) Comment here


    News from July 19, 2008

  • NASCAR Drivers Headline M&Ms Night of Stars at I-55 Raceway July 23: Traditionally, it has been one of the biggest nights in racing in the St. Louis area and this year’s M&Ms Night of Stars at I-55 Raceway isn’t going to disappoint. In addition to drivers such as I-55 Raceway co-owner Ken Schrader and defending Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, two-time Sprint Cup Series champion and Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart is scheduled to race the high-banked 1/3-mile track on Wednesday, July 23. Stewart and his NASCAR comrades are racing UMP Modifieds that night with proceeds from the event benefitting the Special Olympics. In addition to Stewart, Schrader, and Hornaday, other drivers scheduled to appear are: Ken Schrader Ricky Carmichael and Craftsman Truck Series veterans Brendan Gaughn, Rick Crawford, and Dennis Setzer.
    AND: Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Terry Labonte has been added to the stellar cast of stars scheduled to participate in I-55 Raceway’s M&M NASCAR Night of Stars. Also added to the bill are Justin Labonte, Steve Wallace, and former World of Outlaws champion and Chili Bowl winner, Dave Blaney. Gates open at 4 p.m. on July 23 with practice starting at 6 p.m. and racing kicking off at 7 p.m. For ticket information, call 636-479-3219 or visit them on the Web at I55Raceway.com.(High Side Media PR)(7-19-2008) Comment here

  • Hitachi Sponsoring Kvapil for 6 races: IMAGE Yates Racing announced that Hitachi Power Tools, a world-wide leader in professional grade power tools and accessories, will sponsor the #28 with driver Travis Kvapil for a total of six races in the remaining Sprint Cup Series schedule. The primary sponsorship will debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27th and the race will mark the first time Hitachi Power Tools has been a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. The remaining five races of the primary sponsorship will include the Sprint Cup Series events at: Pocono, Richmond, Dover, Charlotte, and Atlanta..(Yates Racing PR)(7-16-2008) Comment here
    IMAGE: See an image of the car on my #28 Team paint schemes page.(7-19-2008)

  • Bodine Returns to Victory Lane at Music City Motorplex: Friday night´s Old School RacersReunion.com Shootout at the Music City Motorplex was truly a look into the track´s incredible history as Geoff Bodine, the winner of the last NASCAR Sprint Cup race held at the Motorplex in 1984, made his return to victory lane in dramatic fashion. Competing against other NASCAR greats such as Harry Gant, Sterling Marlin, Randy LaJoie, Dave Marcis and Charlie Glotzbach, Bodine proved that he still knows his way around the high banked 5/8th mile track. The results: 1) Geoff Bodine; 2) Sterling Marlin; 3) Randy LaJoie; 4) Harry Gant; 5) Lake Speed; 6) Joe Ruttman; 7) Dave Marcis 8) Charlie Glotzbach; 9) Larry Pollard; 10) D.K. Ulrich; 11) Jack Ingram.(Music City Motorplex PR)(7-19-2008) Comment here

  • Gillett Evernham hosts National Guard Unit: The final off-weekend of the 2008 Sprint Cup season saw many Gillett Evernham Motorsports employees put in a little extra time at the team’s race shop Friday night. But it wasn’t to work on race cars. The employees played host to soldiers from a local North Carolina National Guard unit that plans to deploy overseas in 2009. More than 100 uniformed troops and their families enjoyed food, pit stop demonstrations, entertainment and employee tours of the race shops that are home to Kasey Kahne’s Budweiser Dodge, Elliott Sadler’s Best Buy/Stanley Tools/McDonald’s Dodge and Patrick Carpentier’s Valvoline/LifeLock Dodge. The guard unit detachment is from the Alpha Battery 1-113 Field Artillery Unit of the North Carolina Army National Guard. The battery is headquartered in Lincolnton, N.C. while the detachment calls Statesville home. Friday night’s event marks the first public effort of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports Soldier Outreach committee. The committee plans future fundraisers to aid the unit and its families while the troops are overseas. (Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-19-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 6: The Kyle Petty’s Annual Charity Ride drew closer to its conclusion Friday. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Friday’s route began in Charlotte, NC and ran to Peachtree City, GA. The ride concludes on Saturday. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-19-2008) Comment here


    News from July 18, 2008

  • Shootout to get new name? UPDATE: There’s a chance the annual running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway could play the name game. The non-points race has been the season starter for NASCAR’s premiere series since 1979 when it was known as the Busch Clash. Sources tell News 13 that routine negotiations are underway for naming rights to the 2009 race, and it’s not yet certain that Budweiser will return as title sponsor.(News 13), well….Coor’s Light took over as the official beer of NASCAR and the Bud Pole Award is now sponsored by Coor’s Light and called the Coor’s Light Pole Award. It could end up the Coor’s Light Shootout, but when the sponsorship was announced last season it was mentioned that NASCAR’s agreement with Coors does not include the Bud Shootout race, which is a separate entitlement with Daytona Interntional Speedway.(7-8-2008)
    UPDATE: The sale of Anheuser-Busch Inc. to Belgian brewer InBev will not affect its NASCAR marketing program. And in fact, the Budweiser motorsports program is expanding in 2009, according to the company’s senior marketing team. Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch vice president of sports marketing, told ESPN.com on Thursday that A-B has signed a multi-year extension to continue its longstanding tradition as sponsor of the season-opening Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The length of the new deal was not disclosed. Budweiser will also upgrade its sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s World of Outlaws team from secondary to primary, Ponturo said.(ESPN.com)(7-18-2008)

  • Speed aiming for Sprint Cup debut: Scott Speed is confident that he can make his Sprint Cup debut before the end of this season. The Red Bull-backed American will test a Cup car for the first time later this month, and has been racing in the ARCA and Craftsman Truck series this season after losing his Formula One drive with Toro Rosso 12 months ago. He hopes to continue full time in Craftsman Trucks next season but also wants to include several Sprint Cup outings. “I’m about to start testing, proper testing, in a Cup car with (Red Bull’s lead driver) Brian Vickers,” Speed told this week’s Autosport magazine. “The car is quite a bit different from the Truck, but if it goes well, and I think I should be able to adapt, then we can go racing.”(Autosport.com)(7-18-2008) Comment here

  • Newman gets his own road: Move aside, Abraham Lincoln: Ryan Newman’s taking over a stretch of your road. A stretch of Lincoln Way West in the driver’s hometown of South Bend, Indiana has been rededicated for the winner of this year’s Daytona 500. It will not be renamed for now. During a ceremony Wednesday, Newman noted the half-mile stretch near South Bend Regional Airport has a speed limit of 45 mph. Said Newman: “I’m kind of wondering if maybe we can up the speed limit in that stretch.” (Associated Press/Indianapolis Star)(7-18-2008) Comment here

  • Hendrick tests at Rockingham: The Hendrick Motorsports test team was at Rockingham Speedway on Thursday with Brad Kesolowski driving.(Rockinghmam Speedway PR)(7-18-2008)

  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 5: Thursday was day 5 of Kyle Petty’s Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Thursday’s route was scheduled to begin in White Sulphur Springs, WV and conclude in Charlotte, NC. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-18-2008) Comment here


    News from July 17, 2008

  • Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Returns to ESPN with Final Two Episodes: Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, the sports documentary chronicling NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his unprecedented move from the team founded by his father to Hendrick Motorsports, will return to ESPN for the final two episodes on Tuesday, July 22 and Friday, July 25, at 7 p.m. ET. The new episodes, each one hour in length, are the fourth and fifth installments of a five-part series and air during the week leading up to ESPN’s live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m. from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The July 22 debut of the new episode will feature, among other things, reaction to the emotional conclusion of the Crown Royal 400 in May at Richmond International Raceway. It will segue into the July 25 finale, which highlights the driver’s popular Father’s Day victory at Michigan International Speedway. The original airings will be simulcast on ESPN MobileTV. The first of the two new episodes re-airs Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, and again Sunday, July 27, at 2 a.m. on ESPN2. The final episode re-airs Sunday, July 27, at 3 a.m. on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(7-17-2008) Comment here

  • GM cuts could hit all levels of racing: UPDATE: Nothing at GM is off-limits-including its high-profile NASCAR program – company executives warned as the automaker went public Tuesday in Detroit with its latest round of cost-cutting measures. With the auto industry in North America taking a beating, GM racing director Mark Kent said that every level of motorsports that GM supports-from the giant stock-car racing series NASCAR to the grassroots Sports Car Club of America-is being evaluated. GM also competes in the NHRA, USAC midgets/sprints and the American Le Mans Series. “Racing is not exempt (from cuts),” Kent said last week. “We are looking at ways to be even more efficient … looking to see if they are genuinely positioned for a positive return on investment.” Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, added: Motorsports “have not gone without scrutiny. I’m not going to get into specifics about NASCAR. But there will be modifications-changes in our marketing footprint-in this area.” GM’s NASCAR program, which has enjoyed great success and supports 12 Chevy teams, is under review, as is all of the racing GM supports, Kent said. “NASCAR, SCCA club racing-we are looking at where we need to be.” Funding a championship-winning team such as Chevy’s Hendrick Motorsports and drivers of the caliber of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. costs GM at least $30 million a year.(The Oylmpian)(7-16-2008)
    UPDATE: Troubled General Motors has notified two racetracks that run NASCAR events that their current contracts will not be renewed as part of an overall $10 billion cost-cutting program. That seems to be just the first step in what could be a huge drop in support by GM, Ford and Chrysler for tracks and teams in NASCAR’s top three professional divisions, the NHRA and other racing series in the face of the weakest U.S. auto sales in a decade. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight tracks that hold NASCAR events, already has been told GM will not renew contracts at two tracks – New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. GM has contracts with 12 of the 22 tracks where NASCAR’s top Sprint Cup series races and is the title sponsor for the fall race at Richmond International Raceway. GM also is the official vehicle provider for Daytona International Speedway, owned by International Speedway Corp., and a track spokesman said they have not been notified of any impending change.(Associated Press/CNNMoney.com)
    AND: Richmond International Raceway is not one of the two tracks [having contracts not renewed]. GM is the title sponsor for the fall NASCAR Sprint Cup race at RIR — The Chevy Rock and Roll 400. Aimee Turner, spokeswoman for RIR, said Wednesday that Chevy’s partnership with the track runs through 2010. That deal includes not only naming rights for the September race, but also Chevy’s status as the official vehicle of the track.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-17-2008) Comment here

  • Johnson wins Best Driver ESPY: Jimmie Johnson, the two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion, earned his first ESPY award on Wednesday. The driver of the #48 Chevy was honored with the Best Driver ESPY award during the 16th annual ESPN-hosted sports award show at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The award was determined by fans who voted online, and the competition was stiff. Johnson was competing for the fans’ votes against current points leader Kyle Busch; 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti; 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon; Formula One standout Lewis Hamilton and four-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. The ESPY Awards will be televised at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.(Hendrick Motorsports PR) (7-17-2008) Comment here

  • AT&T Proudly Showcases Team USA athletes on # 31 AT&T Car: The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are fast approaching and Team USA swimmer Michael Phelps, 23, is in rare form. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., Phelps set two world records (200 individual medley, 400 individual medley) and one U.S. Open record (200 freestyle), ultimately qualifying to compete in eight events in Beijing (5 individual and 3 relays). To drive excitement and show support for Team USA, AT&T recently announced a new paint scheme for Richard Childress Racing´s (RCR) #31 AT&T Chevy, driven by Jeff Burton. Featured on the car is an image of Phelps along with Nastia Liukin, a rising star in her own right from Team USA´s gymnastics squad. The custom paint scheme will run during the Pennsylvania 500 on Aug. 3 at Pocono Raceway.(AT&T Racing PR) see images of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(7-17-2008)

  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 4: Wednesday was the fourth day for Kyle Petty’s Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Wednesday’s route was scheduled to begin in Lexington, KY and run to White Sulphur Springs, WV. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-17-2008) Comment here


    News from July 16, 2008

  • Chase Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin’s early race problems doomed him to a 40th place finish at Chicagoland, dropping him five positions and 70 points closer to being out of the Top 12. Clint Bowyer and the #07 team never seemed to get a handle on the race track and his 22nd dropped him out of the Top 12, 27 points out. #9-Kasey Kahne’s 15th lost him three positions back to 11th, but he did pick up five points on 13th. Still, the #9 team’s performance of late predicts a rough road to staying in the Top 12, especially if the challengers stay consistent. Kurt Busch’s 28th at Chicagoland puts his Chase hopes in serious jeopardy and is now 245 points out in 18th place. #83-Brian Vickers continued his strong challenge for the Top 12 with his sixth at Chicagoland, moving up one position and 17 points. The Red Bull driver now lurks 95 points out of 12th. #16-Greg Biffle gave himself slight breathing room in the Top 12 with his fourth at Chicagoland, but he’s only 62 points ahead of Bowyer in 7th place, and his last three Indy finishes are 21-33-15. See the full Chase stats so far and comparisons with each year on my Chase Stats after Chicago page.(7-16-2008)

  • Kenseth Wins Fourth Miller Lite Nationals Title at Slinger Speedway: Matt Kenseth wasn’t completely sure how he won the 29th Miller Lite Slinger Nationals. Runner-up Jeremy Lepak credited Kenseth’s experience at Slinger Speedway. Third-place Dennis Prunty thought a stronger engine played a big role. But why didn’t really matter, so much. As the fireworks exploded over Slinger Speedway on a sticky Tuesday night, Kenseth was crowned the newest four-time champion of the prestigious late-model event.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-16-2008) Comment here

  • JTG Racing…to CUP? UPDATE: YES hearing JTG Racing could move up to Sprint Cup in 2009 with Marcos Ambrose driving and the team could switch from Ford to Chevy, no idea if Daugherty would be part of this deal. Other rumors have Ambrose going to the #21 of the Wood Brothers in 2009, that team would remain a Ford. Ambrose is schedule to run eight races this season in the #21 and four in the #47 Ford fielded by JTG Racing.(6-25-2008)
    UPDATE: JTG Racing owner Tad Geschickter said Friday he hopes to move Marcos Ambrose to the Sprint Cup Series next season, in addition to having Nationwide and truck series teams in 2009. The Australian Ambrose, in his second season in NASCAR’s No. 2 series, made his Cup debut at Infineon Raceway last month for Wood Brothers Racing. Ambrose is slated to drive four Cup races later this year under the JTG banner. JTG currently fields two cars in the Nationwide Series, for Ambrose and Kelly Bires. Geschickter said Bires would stay in the Nationwide Series in 2009, with Coleman Pressley to drive for the team in the truck series. The team currently fields Fords but Geschickter said the manufacturer the team will be affiliated with next year is open.(SceneDaily.com)(7-5-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Nationwide Series racer Marcos Ambrose will become a full-time Sprint Cup driver next season, thanks to a new partnership former NBA player Brad Daugherty has with JTG Racing. Daugherty, now a NASCAR analyst for ESPN, has become a part-owner of JTG Racing. The team will be renamed JTG Daugherty Racing. It will continue to field two Nationwide Series entries, but add a full-time Sprint Cup entry next year with Ambrose at the wheel. “I have a tremendous passion for racing,” Daugherty said Tuesday. “This gives me another avenue to be involved in the sport. It’s a big stake to do this at the Cup level, and I hope it opens doors in the sport for other minorities and women.” Little Debbie snack cakes will sponsor the car, which will use #47.(ESPN.com)(7-16-2008) Comment here

  • SK Telecom in Talks to Acquire Sprint: K Telecom, the largest provider of wireless phone service in South Korea, is in talks to acquire Sprint Nextel, the troubled U.S. wireless carrier, according to people familiar with the talks. SK Telecom, which is smaller than Sprint, would be joined in any deal by private equity firms that would contribute cash towards the purchase, sources told CNBC. A deal is not imminent and while the talks are on-going, participants caution that any agreement would at best be weeks away. The board of Sprint, which has been struggling with significant subscriber losses, is divided about whether to sell the company as some of them hold a belief that a turnaround for the company may not be far off, according to people briefed on its position. Any deal with SK Telecom would have to be friendly. The Koreans have no plans to pursue Sprint should it not wish to be acquired. The talks have not reached a crucial phase, and specific negotiation on price has yet to take place, but they have heated up in recent days.(CNBC.com), , No word on how or if this would effect the Sprint Cup sponsorship.(7-16-2008) Comment here

  • Bartelli named Chief Marketing Officer of Petty Enterprises & Richard Petty Driving Experience: Petty Enterprises announced that Michael Bartelli has been named Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of the legendary race team and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Bartelli will further strengthen the race team marketing group led by Brian Moffitt and the Richard Petty Driving Experience efforts led by President Brian Flynn. Bartelli joins Petty Enterprises from Millsport’s Charlotte-based motorsports division where he spent eight years, and was most recently, its President. Prior to Millsport, Bartelli served as Vice President, Business Development for Action Performance Companies, the world’s largest manufacturer of licensed motorsports merchandise at the time. He began his industry career in Daytona Beach, FL where he served as Director, Marketing Partnerships for International Speedway Corporation.(Petty Enterprises PR)(7-16-2008) Comment here

  • Hamlin named Wypall Crew Chief of the Race in Chicago: Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday night’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The Hamlin-led team gambled on pit strategy all night as Vickers’ battled a lose race car. It paid off as the field cycled through green flag stops and the No. 83 team caught a break when the caution came out for debris on lap 143 to put them back on the same pit cycle as every one else. Short pitting and staying out have been calls that Kevin Hamlin has pretty much mastered over the past few weeks to keep Vickers in the top 20 in the Sprint Cup Series standings. The No. 83 team was consistently one of the top cars on the track all night, leading the pack for two laps and eventually finishing in the 6th position. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(7-16-2008)

  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 3: Tuesday was the third day for Kyle Petty’s Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Tuesday’s route was scheduled to begin in Lombard, IL and end in Lexington, KY. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-16-2008) Comment here


    News from July 15, 2008

  • Sad News – Steve Peterson: NASCAR Technical Director Steve Peterson, 58, was found deceased today at his home from what appears to be natural causes. Steve began his NASCAR career in January, 1995 and led many of NASCAR’s safety initiatives including development and installation of SAFER Barriers, management and approval of head and neck restraints and improved seat belts, and coordination of the safety features in NASCAR’s new car. “Steve’s accomplishments to increase driver safety will continue to be a benefit to every NASCAR driver that gets behind the wheel for generations to come,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Steve’s family and friends; he will certainly be missed throughout the NASCAR community.” Funeral arrangements will be announced later.(NASCAR PR)(7-15-2008)

  • Kobalt to Sponsor Truck Series? Kobalt Tools, a Lowe’s brand, has emerged as the leading candidate to sponsor the truck series, industry sources say. Craftsman has been the title sponsor since the series was launched in 1995, but the Sears brand will not renew after its deal with NASCAR runs out this year. NASCAR is believed to be selling the truck title rights in the mid- to high seven-figure range annually, with an advertising commitment on Speed, the broadcast home of the series, at close to seven figures. Stanley Tools and NAPA also have been involved in discussions with NASCAR. Kobalt Tools’ presence in NASCAR has previously been tied to Sprint Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, whose primary sponsor is Lowe’s. If NASCAR and Kobalt Tools eventually reach an agreement, the deal could have many tentacles. In addition to the title sponsorship, the deal likely would include status for Kobalt as the official tool of NASCAR, replacing Craftsman. Lowe’s, represented by GMR Marketing, also could be moving into the official home improvement store category that currently is occupied by The Home Depot, whose deal with NASCAR runs out this year.(Sporting News), see more information on my Truck Series page.(7-15-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle Busch testing Late Models this week: Kyle Busch will be shaking down his super late model stock car at The Milwaukee Mile on Wednesday, July 16. This short track car is what he’ll be driving at The Mile on Sunday, August 24 in the “Wisconsin All-Star 100 With Matt Kenseth” race, one of four stock car races on The Mile’s Governor’s Cup weekend August 22-24. Grandstands on Wednesday will be open, free to public, enter Grandstand Gate 8. More details about Governor’s Cup weekend at www.milwaukeemile.com.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(7-15-2008)
    AND: Kyle Busch plans to run a test session Thursday at the Iowa Speedway. Busch is running in Sunday’s ASA late model series race in Newton. Fellow NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth also plans to run on Sunday. He is scheduled to test this weekend prior to the race. The Iowa Speedway plans to open the public viewing area for Busch’s practice run.(KCCI.com)(7-15-2008)

  • Newman says he has 4 options for 2009: UPDATE: Ryan Newman was “Mummy” on whether he will leave Penske Racing after this season. Newman, promoting the soon-to-be-released movie “Mummy” on his car in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway, is considered the leading candidate to join Tony Stewart next season at newly-formed Stewart-Haas Racing. Sources have told ESPN.com that deal to join the Indiana natives is close to done and could be announced in two weeks at Indianapolis. Newman said he has three serious options outside of Penske and that ownership is part of at least one of the options. He also said re-signing with Penske is an option. Asked if ownership could be an option at Stewart-Haas, where Stewart was given 50 percent of the company, Newman said, “I won’t answer that.” Newman said last month he would not re-sign with Penske unless the performance of his team improved significantly. He said the team has made some strides to improve, but not enough to convince him it is ready to challenge for a championship. (ESPN.com)(7-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Newman acknowledged on Saturday in Chicagoland that he has three serious options outside of Penske. A source close to the situation said Newman has been in discussions with Stewart Haas, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing. The source added there is a firm offer from Stewart-Haas and that potential sponsors are set, but that the deal is not done. Newman said one of his options included ownership of equity in the company. Stewart-Haas general manager Joe Custer said his company is not looking to give up any more ownership than the 50 percent already given to Stewart. JGR officials have consistently said they are not interested in giving up ownership. Team owner Joe Gibbs and president J.D. Gibbs talked on Saturday as though 18-year-old sensation Joey Logano could replace Stewart in the #20 Home Depot car next season. RCR, looking for a driver for a fourth team sponsored by General Mills, and GEM already are divided into partnerships.(ESPN.com)(7-15-2008) Comment here

  • Truex or Stremme to the #12? Penske has offered no hints as to who might replace Ryan Newman. Martin Truex Jr.’s name has been mentioned, but Truex’s current contract with DEI is still the subject of legal debate, and it is unclear if DEI will indeed force Truex to return for another season or give him his release. Truex has been pushing quietly to become a free agent. David Stremme, who drove for fellow Dodge owner Chip Ganassi until being released at the end of last season, has been a Penske test driver this season, and Stremme could also be under consideration.(Winston-Salem Journal)(7-15-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 2: Monday was the second day for Kyle Petty’s Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Monday’s route was scheduled to begin in Elkhart Lake, WI and conclude in Lombard, IL. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-15-2008) Comment here

  • Testing at Nashville: Beginning a two day practice at the Nashville Superspeedway Tuesday were the test teams of Chip Ganassi Racing with drivers Bryan Clauson and Kevin Hamlin, Gillette Evernham Motorsports with Chase Miller, Petty Enterprises with Chad McCumbee, and Richard Childress Racing.(PRNs Garage Pass)(7-15-2008)

  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kyle Busch won the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch posted his 11th career win in his 133rd start. He posted his seventh win of the 2008 season; his last win came at Daytona last week. Busch scored his first victory at Chicagoland Speedway in his fourth start. He became the sixth different driver to win at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch led five times for 165 laps, setting a new record for the most laps led by a driver in a Chicagoland race.
    * Busch has now led 1,065 laps this season, the most of all drivers.
    * Toyota scored its eighth win of the 2008 season, the most of all manufacturers.
    * Joe Gibbs Racing scored its third victory at Chicagoland Speedway, the most of all teams. JGR has won eight of the 19 races this season, the most of all teams.
    * Busch scored his 14th NASCAR win in 2008: seven Sprint Cup, five Nationwide and two Craftsman Truck.
    * The Busch brothers (Kyle and Kurt) have now won four consecutive races; three by Kyle and one by Kurt. Kyle Busch has won six of the past 11 NSCS races; including three of the past four.
    * Busch swept both the NNS race and the NSCS race at Chicagoland; the last time a driver swept both races at a track was in February 2007, when Matt Kenseth swept both races at Fontana, Calif.
    * Toyota scored its first win at Chicagoland Speedway, ending a four-race streak of Chevrolet victories at the track.
    * Busch and Jimmie Johnson both led in the race. Both drivers have now led in 14 of the 19 races this season, the most of all drivers.
    * Busch became the 17th different driver to win seven of the first 19 races of the season. Ten of the 16 drivers to do it before have gone on to win the championship.
    * Busch won the race from the first starting position, marking the first time a driver has won a race from a top-five starting position at Chicagoland.
    * The race featured 16 lead changes among 10 drivers.
    * The race featured nine cautions for 33 laps.
    * The top 10 consisted of three Toyotas, three Fords, three Chevys and a Dodge.
    * The highest-finishing rookie of the year contender was Patrick Carpentier, who finished 30th.(ESPN.com)(7-15-2008)

  • Rookie class not faring too well in 2008: The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates have had a rough season, accumulating ZERO (0) Top 10 finishes in 2008 (#8-Aric Almirola has a Top 10 from Bristol, but he is not a candidate and not running for the award in 2008 and will have too many races to run for the award in 2009). No rookie class in the modern era (1972-present) has gone this deep into a season without a single Top 10 finish. In fact, you need to go all the way back to 1961 – when the schedule stretched 62 races deep – for the last time all the ROTY candidates were shut out of the Top 10 nineteen races in. So far in 2008, the best finish by any of the five drivers running for the award is a 13th place by Sam Hornish, Jr. at the Coca-Cola 600 in May. And in case you’re wondering, at Chicagoland the best run any of the first year drivers could muster was a 30th by #10-Patrick Carpentier.(Frontstretch Newsletter), see more about the rookies on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-15-2008)


    News from July 14, 2008

  • Newman and Penske to part ways at end of season: UPDATE: Penske Racing and Ryan Newman have mutually agreed to move in new directions at the conclusion of the 2008 season. “We want to thank Ryan for his hard work and contributions to Penske Racing over the past nine years,” said team owner Roger Penske. “We wish Ryan all the best for the future and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on making the Chase with Ryan and the Alltel Dodge team this season.” The driver of the Penske Racing #12 Alltel car for the 2009 NASCAR Cup season will be announced in the near future.(Penske Racing PR)(7-14-2008)
    Statement from Alltel: “From the early days in the ARCA series to our team celebration in Victory Lane at this year’s Daytona 500, Alltel Wireless has enjoyed a memorable, eight-year relationship with Ryan Newman,” said Jeff Fox, chief operating officer, Alltel Wireless. “Ryan has been an outstanding representative on- and off-the track, and we’re very proud of the results the partnership has delivered to our brand. We remain committed to our sponsorship of the #12 Alltel Dodge and look forward to having Ryan behind the wheel for the rest of the 2008 season. We wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”(Alltel PR)(7-14-2008) Comment here
  • Windshear to hold grand opening Thursday [not Tues]: Windshear Inc., located in Concord, N.C., will hold a grand opening event on Thursday, July 17, at 4:00pm/et. Windshear operates the only commercially available full-scale, single-belt, rolling road wind tunnel in the world. The firm’s clients include top-level motorsports organizations and auto manufacturers. Remarks will be given by the following: Bob Murray, Haas Automation General Manager; Jay White, Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair; Gene Byrd, NC Department of Commerce; Scott Padgett, Concord Mayor; and Jeff Bordner, Windshear General Manager. A grand opening celebrating the launch of the only commercial 180-mph hour rolling road wind tunnel in North America will be held at Windshear Inc. located at 1050 Ivey Cline Road, Concord, N.C., 28027. Windshear Inc., an independent subsidiary of California-based Haas Automation, will be opening its wind tunnel to customers officially at the end of July. This celebration and event will allow those connected to the motorsports industry, as well as federal, state and local officials, to tour the facility and learn how it will enhance North Carolina’s robust motorsports sector.(Windshear PR), more info at windshearinc.com.(7-14-2008)

  • Braun to make first Cup start at Watkins Glen: UPDATE: Denied On this week’s SPEED Report, Bob Dillner reported that Colin Braun [#6 Con-way Freight Roush Fenway Ford Truck in the CTS] is scheduled to make his first start in the Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen. Braun will be driving a car from the Yates Racing stable and not Roush Fenway. Dillner didn’t say if it would be a third car or one of the current cars #28-Kvapil or #38- Gilliland, but can’t image either sitting since they are decent in points and Gilliland finished 2nd at Watkins Glen.(7-14- 2008)
    UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing folks denied that Colin Braun running the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen and say Braun will be racing in the Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.(Roush Fenway Racing)(7-14-2008) Comment here

  • Gibbs wants to keep team in the family: Joe Gibbs says he’s not about to join the trend of offering ownership in his race team in order to retain drivers. Tony Stewart received 50% ownership in making the jump from Joe Gibbs Racing to Stewart Haas Racing. Drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards (who re-signed with Roush Fenway Racing) and Ryan Newman (entertaining offers for 2009) say they’ve received offers that include a share of team ownership. But JGR is a family operation, and Gibbs, the family patriarch, says he plans to keep it that way. “We have eight grandchildren,” Gibbs said. “I’m not worried about (sons) J.D. or Coy. But (the business) is going to be for the grandkids if I have anything to say about it.”(USA Today)(7-14-2008) Comment here

  • Testing at Milwaukee: Michael McDowell and Josh Wise are testing Monday at the Milwaukke Mile for Michael Waltrip Racing. Grandstands are open, free to public to watch from the grandstands, enter at Gate 8.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(7-14-2008)

  • Carpentier gets a sponsor for 2 Cup races: Gillett Evernham Motorsports has a new sponsor for #10-Patrick Carpentier. “Tow Truck in a Box” will appear as the sponsor during 2 Sprint Cup races and 1 Nationwidse race. Micahel Mann, CEO of Porter Prescott (manufacturer of Tow Truck in a Box) was at Chicagland Speedway to sign the agreement. Tow Truck in a Box will appear on the car at Michigan and Talladega in the Nextel Cup Series and the Nationwide Watkins Glen race.(translated from Canoe Sports via Google Translate)(7-14-2008) Comment here

  • Budweiser bought: Anheuser-Busch reportedly has agreed to be acquired by Belgian brewer InBev for about $52 billion. The deal being reported by The Wall Street Journal would create the world’s largest brewer and put the iconic American beer maker in the hands of the Belgian-based company behind Stella Artois and Beck’s beers. The newspaper cited anonymous sources who said Anheuser-Busch-InBev would be the new company’s name and Anheuser would have two seats on the company board.(CNN Money), No word on how or if this will effect the sponsorship of Kasey Kahne and the #9 GEM Dodge.(7-14-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Petty Charity Ride Gets Underway: Kyle Petty kicked off his fourteenth Chick-fil-A Charity motorcycle Ride Across America on Sunday. The annual Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Sunday’s route was scheduled to began in Traverse City, MI and end at Elkhart Lake, WI.(7-14-2008)

News from July 13, 2008

  • NASCAR testing proposal gives 24 tests to each organization: NASCAR handed teams a draft of a new testing policy Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. The sanctioning body will take more input from teams before finalizing it. The proposal gives each organization 24 test days at tracks where the Sprint Cup teams compete, with a maximum of two cars per test. All of the team’s drivers can test, but no driver can test for a team for which he does not drive. New teams would get test days depending on how much they race. There is typically a week blackout period before a race and a blackout period from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. The Daytona tests will remain and not be included. There is no rookie provision.(SceneDaily.com)(7-13-2008) Comment here

  • Chicagoland Lifelock 400 Commercial breakdown:
    Total number of commercials: 115
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 53
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 29
    Total number of magic tricks: 1
    Total number of focuses on Kyle Petty’s tie: 1
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:17 PM
    Total minutes: 197
    Minutes of race broadcast: 140
    Minutes of commercials: 57
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    See the full report, featured drivers, past rundowns on my 2008 TV Commercials page.(7-13-2008) Comment here

  • Hall of Fame Racing facing penalty for lead water bottle: UPDATE: No The #96 team with driver J.J. Yeley was penalized before the first lap of Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway was completed. The team faces further penalties from NASCAR next week. Officials found two water bottles filled with lead weighing approximately 15 pounds each in the car as it was rolled onto pit road prior to the race. The move was done to make the car lighter when the bottles were replaced with water and skirt the mandatory weight minimum. The car was then put back through inspection and given a pass-through penalty on the first lap, putting Yeley a lap down.(ESPN.com)(7-12-2008)
    UPDATE: After the race, NASCAR met with Hall of Fame racing co-owner Tom Garfinkel and apparently cleared the team of any wrongdoing. “NASCAR had reason to believe we were doing something we shouldn’t have been doing – and we weren’t doing it,” Garfinkel said. “But they had sufficient reason to believe that because of some mistakes in procedure that we made.” Yeley said that each week, his team uses a drink system that requires crew members to put a cold water bag into the car before the race. If they put it in early, it gets too hot and isn’t drinkable. But NASCAR apparently felt something was amiss, and ran the car through inspection both with and without the water bag to address weight concerns. Officials apparently suspected that the #96 team had gone to the old trick of putting lead in the water bag to make extra weight. After the race, Pemberton said the team had “served our penalties. We’re done with them,” he said. “We’re comfortable with that team and we feel like they weren’t trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-13-2008) Comment here

  • Gibbs Focusing on Logano to Replace Stewart: Top management of Joe Gibbs Racing wouldn’t come out and say on Saturday that Joey Logano will replace Tony Stewart in the Sprint Cup series next season, but they didn’t say anything to indicate otherwise. Team owner Joe Gibbs and president J.D. Gibbs both agreed Logano will play a huge part in the organization going forward. They oozed with compliments for the 18-year-old phenom, who won his third Nationwide Series start and has three top 10s in four events. They talked about his maturity. They reminded that Stewart, who announced on Thursday he will leave the organization after this season to become the driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, didn’t have a win when he partnered with Home Depot in 1999. “We’re going to look at everything out there before we make a decision,” J.D. Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. “Generally, guys that are really gifted and real good show it right away. We’ve had a lot of drivers at JGR. All the good ones have popped right away. He has that.”(ESPN.com)(7-13-2008) Comment here

  • Truex doesn’t rule out driving for Stewart: UPATE: As far as his contract status with DEI, which intends to pick up his option, Truex said those talks took a backseat after the Daytona infraction. “Certainly, last week . . . I said to myself, this isn’t the first thing on my list,” Truex said of his contract. “Through this week, we’ve had great meetings about what happened, how we want to fix it, the direction we’re headed as a race team, and so hopefully this week we’ll get back to talking about the rest of that stuff. It’s been going well. There’s just been a lot of other things on the plate as a race team to figure out.” He did not rule out he could be a candidate for the second team at the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing. “I guess if you look around the garage, anybody who doesn’t have a contract signed for next year you have to look at as a candidate . . . for that deal right now,” Truex said. (ESPN.com)(7-12-2008)
    UPDATE: Sources confirmed to [Captain Thunder] that Newman is a done deal and an announcement is coming soon. What [Captain Thunder] also learned, is that Martin Truex Jr. may be joining Newman and Stewart. Sources said, Stewart is now looking to field a powerhouse three-car team, and sponsors are lining up to be a part of the newly formed venture. According to sources close to the situation, the Office Depot and Old Spice deals are set, but sources also said Burger King and UPS are working diligently with Stewart to sponsor his second and third racecars, if they can convince Truex Jr. to come along for the ride with Stewart HAAS Racing. Although DEI is working very hard to re-sign Truex Jr. and are throwing some huge numbers at the driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy, Stewart is trying to convince Truex Jr. to join him and Newman at the newly formed Stewart HAAS Racing in hope of forming a powerhouse racing team. And, Truex Jr. may be ripe for the picking.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-13-2008) Comment here

  • Obama Campaign to sponsor BAM at Pocono? UPDATE 2: BAM statement SI.com has learned that for the first time in history, a major presidential candidate may sponsor a race car in NASCAR’s premier series. According to sources, Barack Obama’s campaign is in talks to become the primary sponsor of BAM Racing’s #49 Sprint Cup car for the Pocono race on August 3. Details of the agreement are expected to be worked out over the coming days. A BAM spokesperson has revealed the team will hold a press conference July 23 in Miami to reveal the partnership, currently a proposed one-race deal with an option to continue.(Sports Illustrated)(7-11-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR’s BAM Racing team has presented Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with a potential sponsorship deal in the Sprint Cup series later this year, but it doesn’t look like an Obama car will be burning rubber on the track anytime soon. BAM team spokesman Rhett Vandiver told The Associated Press on Friday that the team made a sponsorship proposal to the Democratic presidential hopeful’s campaign, and has made similar proposals to the campaign of Republican John McCain and at least one third-party candidate. Late Friday, the Obama campaign said there would be no sponsorship.(Associated Press)(7-12-2008)
    UPDATE 2: BAM Racing team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau issued the following statement to clear up any confusion from the past few days. “An independent agent, knowing BAM Racing was seeking corporate sponsorship to return to the track, requested permission to connect BAM Racing with all three presidential campaigns. BAM agreed to explore the options. The same independent agent referred to as, ‘a BAM spokesperson’ in the recent Sports Illustrated article, ‘revealed’ what was only tentative, exploratory talks. BAM Racing has decided to heed the advice of the overwhelming response by fans to keep politics out of racing and continue to focus on several other exciting sponsorships soon to be announced.”(BAM Racing PR)(7-13-2008) Comment here

  • Ganassi Racing gets 100th win: Scott Dixon’s win in the IndyCar Series Nashville Superspeedway race Saturday marked the 100th overall win for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with a new sponsor, Target. Today, his teams include two IRL IndyCars, and along with Felix Sabates he has two cars in the Sprint Cup Series, one entry in the Nationwide Series and a Daytona Prototype in the world of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series racing.(Ganassi Racing PR)(7-13-2008)


    News from July 12, 2008

  • Kyle Busch wins at Chicago: #18-Kyle Busch won the Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway for his 7th win of 2008 and the 11th of his career. He took the lead from #48-Jimmie Johnson coming to the white flag after a restart with 2 to go. #48-Johnson got loose coming to the checkerd flag but held on for second place. The rest of the top-10 were #29-Harvick, #16-Biffle, #20-Stewart, #83-Vickers, #17-Kenseth, #6-Ragan, #1-Truex, Jr. and #12-Newman. There were 9 cautions for 34 laps and their were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Chicago Race Results Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Chicago page.(7-12-2008)
  • Chicago Race Fast Facts:
    .. Kyle Busch won the LifeLock.com 400, his 11th victory in 133 Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is his seventh victory and 13th top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in four races at Chicagoland Speedway.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Chicago. It is his ninth top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. Kevin Harvick (third) posted his sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Chicago.
    .. Patrick Carpentier (30th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 262 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    .. This is the first weekend sweep since Busch won the Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races at Atlanta in March of this year. It is the first Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series weekend sweep since Busch won both at Phoenix last November.
    .. The Busch brothers have now won four consecutive races: Kyle (three) and Kurt (one). The last time that four brothers won four straight was by Tim (three) and Fonty (one) Flock between Sept. 11 and Oct. 6, 1955. Twice before that four consecutive races had been won by brothers: all three Flock brothers Tim (two), Bob (one) and Fonty (one) combined for four straight wins between July 20 and Sept. 1, 1952; while Herb (three) and Donald (one) Thomas combined to win the final four races of that season.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-12-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Chicago race 19 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2881 [7 wins]
    2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2622 -259 [1 win]
    3) #31-Jeff Burton 2593 -288 [1 win]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 2509 -372 [3 wins][would be 3rd w/out 100pts penalty]
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2494 -387 [1 win]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2384 -497
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 2318 -563
    8) #17-Matt Kenseth 2317 -564
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 2308 -573
    10) #20-Tony Stewart 2305 -576
    11) #9-Kasey Kahne 2292 -589
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 2283 -598 [27 pts ahead of 13th]
    CHASE contenders
    13) #07-Clint Bowyer 2256 -625 [1 win][27 pts out of 12th]
    14) #83-Brian Vickers 2188-693
    15) #6-David Ragan 2185 -696
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Chicago page.(7-12-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Indy:
    no changes in the top 35, but the spread between 35th and 36th is down to 13 points
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    32) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing: 1545 +142
    33) #01-Smith/DEI: 1497, +94
    34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1422 +19
    35) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1416 13 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1403 13 points out of 35th
    37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1294 -122
    38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1256 -160 (could have a penalty coming)
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(7-12-2008)
  • Chicagoland Speedway Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #96 Disobeying a NASCAR request MCI 1
    2 #00 Running over/under equipment S&G 5
    3 #31 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 37
    4 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 49
    5 #11 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 50
    6 #28 Commitment Line Violation TE 104
    7 #2 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 104
    8 #45 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 111
    9 #1 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 113
    10 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 143
    11 #00 Excessive Speed-Entering pits/Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 144
    12 #45 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 144
    13 #55 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 180
    14 #99 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 226
    15 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 227
    16 #78 Non-compliant refueling (overflow container) TE 238
    17 #43 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 245
    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)(7-12-2008)

  • UPS to #07? UPDATE 5: UPS to Stewart Haas? hearing UPS could move #07-Clint Bowyer of Richard Childress Racing, if so, no word where Jack Daniel’s sposnorship would go, or if they would leave the sport.(7-1-2008)
    UPDATE Among the hot but unconfirmed rumors making the rounds in the Sprint Cup garage this week are that Richard Childress Racing will land UPS as a sponsor for Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevrolet. Multiple sources indicated that Bowyer’s car was the favorite to take the sponsorship over from Michael Waltrip Racing and David Reutimann. One source close to the negotiations said RCR initially offered UPS #31-Jeff Burton, 41, but the delivery company wanted a younger driver with whom it could create a long-term identity and Bowyer is just 29. Burton, instead, will be sponsored next year by Caterpillar.(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that UPS will move from Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 Toyota to the quarterpanels of Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in 2009, leaving Jack Daniels in search of a new driver. That driver will be Ryan Newman, who is set to sign-on with Stewart at Haas CNC.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
    UPDATE 3: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, regarding recent unsubstantiated reports in the media about Jack Daniel’s leaving RCR after the 2008 season.: “Jack Daniel’s and Richard Childress Racing have a contract through the 2009 season. Any reports in the media to the contrary are simply not accurate.”(RCR PR)(7-10-2008)
    UPDATE 4: From Richard Childress’ Press Conference Thursday at Chicago:
    CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JACK DANIELS AND THEIR FUTURE AND WHAT THEY HAVE MEANT FOR YOU AS A SPONSOR?
    “Jack Daniels is a great sponsor, and we have them on the car for next year and that is all about I can say about it right now.”
    WHY DO WE KEEP HEARING ABOUT UPS BEING ADDED TO THAT CAR?
    “I don’t know, I don’t write those things.”
    WILL UPS BE INVOLVED WITH RCR NEXT YEAR IN SOME CAPACITY? 
    “Right now I can’t comment on anything with UPS because I am not involved right now with all of that.”(GM Racing PR)(7-11-2008)
    UPDATE 5: been told that UPS will NOT be going to Richard Childress Racing as a sponsor on any of their cars but will head to Stewart Haas Racing in the 2nd car with Ryan Newman as the driver. Look for Newman to be named as Stewart’s team mate at Indy when SHR announces Office Depot as the sponsor for Stewart, but UPS won’t be announced until a later date.(7-12-2008) Comment here
  • Drivers to appear on American Dream with Jim Cramer Sunday night: CNBC’s Jim Cramer, host of “Mad Money W/ Jim Cramer” and one of the best minds on Wall Street, heads to NASCAR’s Pit Road for his first NBC special “The American Dream with Jim Cramer” premiering on July 13th at 7pm. With high gas prices, plummetting home values and shrinking nest eggs, too many Americans feel like the American Dream is fading. But, in this one-hour special CNBC’s Jim Cramer reminds viewers that it is still alive and well and that he, himself, is living proof. Cramer helps Americans unlock the wealth of money-making opportunities everywhere, even in their favorite pastime.
    Cramer had an unprecedented, all access pass to NASCAR, and the best part about it is you never know who you are going to bump into…. Cramer spent time talking cars, dreams, winning and yes, money with some of NASCAR’s brightest and most magnetic stars including Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Casey Mears.(NBC PR)(7-12-2008)
  • 3rd Annual Blood Drive announced: The NASCAR Foundation announced that series sponsor Nationwide Insurance has joined the efforts encouraging fans to roll up their sleeves to help save a life for The NASCAR Foundation Third Annual Blood & Marrow Drive Presented by Nationwide Insurance on Sept. 11, 2008. The drive is a partnership between The NASCAR Foundation, Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Hendrick Marrow Program and 30 NASCAR Nationwide, NASCAR Sprint Cup and local NASCAR Home Tracks.(NASCAR PR) for more info, links and the PR, see my Racing Charities page.(7-12-2008)


    News from July 11, 2008

  • Earnhardt Jr. not interested in buying DEI: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted at least 51 percent of Dale Earnhardt Inc. last season before he opted for a fresh start at Hendrick Motorsports. If the company were up for sale now? “I don’t mean this in a bad way, but I would not have any interest in purchasing it,” Earnhardt said following Thursday’s first practice at Chicagoland Speedway. “I would not have any interest in purchasing any race team, just to have the ownership.” The subject was broached because of an Internet report earlier in the week that claimed DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned the investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. to locate a buyer or financial partner. DEI president Max Siegel refuted the report, saying the company is not for sale.(ESPN.com), previous rumors about the sale are posted on my #1 Team Page.(7-11-2008) Comment here

  • Reutimann to take over #45 for Petty in 2009? UPDATE 2: Look for David Reutimann to be announced soon as the replacement for Kyle Petty in the #45 car, something the Petty folks would rather we not know about just yet.(Yahoo Sports)(7-10-2008)
    UPDATE: “David is currently under contract at Michael Waltrip Racing and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with him,” Calvin Wells III said. “He made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2005 and has been with the Waltrip family since making his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 2004 with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. He has had success driving for the Waltrips and we look forward to having him back with the team next year.”(MWR PR)(7-9-2008)
    UPDATE 2: David Reutimann disputed a report he was leaving Michael Waltrip Racing after the season to drive the #45 car at Petty Enterprises. Reutimann acknowledged MWR has an option on him for next season. “I feel like I will be back,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep from getting my head kicked in every week.” Petty Enterprise officials said there have been no discussions with Reutimann about replacing Kyle Petty.(ESPN.com)(7-11-2008) Comment here

  • Lowe’s and #48 Team “Racing for Relief” in July: Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson will be “Racing for Relief” at the Chicago and Indianapolis races this month to raise funds for the American Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes. As part of Racing for Relief, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the#48 Lowe’s Chevy. Lowe’s will donate $48 for each lap Johnson completes in the Chicagoland 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 12 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition, if Johnson wins either race, Lowe’s will donate $4,800 per victory.(GMR Marketing PR)(7-11-2008) Comment here
  • Chase notes: #16-Greg Biffle’s last place finish at Daytona dropped him three more spots, now in 11th only 10 points ahead of Kevin Harvick in 13th. Biffle has dropped six spots over the last five races, managing only 495 points in that period. What once looked like a waltz into his second Chase now looks like a struggle. Biff doesn’t have a top 10 in his last four starts at Chicago. Biffle’s teammate, #17-Matt Kenseth, dodged all the carnage at Daytona to finish 3rd and climb all the way from 13th to 9th. The #17 will be hard to dislodge from the Top 12 down the stretch, starting at Chicago where he finished 2nd last year. If you measure it by number of drivers within a one-race margin of either dropping out or getting in The Chase, 2008 ranks second only to 2005. With Truex’s penalty knocking him out, there are still 10 drivers inside that margin, including a record seven inside The Chase at the present time, but within one race of dropping out. The last four races at Chicago, Kasey Kahne has finishes of 36th, 41st, 23rd and 32nd place. See the Chase stats and history on my Chase Stats after Daytona page.(7-11-2008)

  • Labonte in #45 instead of McCumbee: Chad McCumbee was expected to be in the driver’s seat for the #45 car and attempt to qualify for Saturday night’s Nextel Cup LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. But Terry Labonte, who is locked into the field because of a past champion’s provisional, will drive the car as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Richard Petty’s first race. “We wanted to ensure the #45 was in the field,” said David Hovis, spokesman for the #45 team. “Chad was on board with it.”(Myrtle Beach Sun)(7-11-2008) Comment here

  • Franchitti to meet with Ganassi on Friday: Understandably, Dario Franchitti has not been in the best mood. He is a little more than a week removed from being informed by team owner Chip Ganassi that his Sprint Cup team, with no sponsorship, would be shut down. “It was a big shock that it happened,” Franchitti said Thursday. “Myself and 70 people lost their jobs in Concord. A lot of people are upset right now, but I understand if there’s no money, there’s no money. Franchitti is racing again for Ganassi this weekend — in the Nationwide series. The two men are expected to meet Friday to discuss Franchitti’s future with the team. Meanwhile, Franchitti said his phone has been ringing, and he has been hearing about options from a number of “different places.” “Tomorrow is quite a big day with this meeting with Chip,” Franchitti said. “We’re starting to look around, starting to talk, [but] nothing is going to happen until I talk to Chip and see what his plan is for the future and see if it’s something I’m interested in. I certainly owe Chip that much.” Franchitti also believes that if possible, he owes it to himself to remain in the Sprint Cup series.(ESPN.com)(7-11-2008) Comment here


    News from July 10, 2008

  • Qualifying cancelled at Chicago due to rain: Rain washed out qualifying for the Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, so the field was set by the NASCAR Rules books and by owners points [top-35], two past champs and the remaining by race attempts with ties broken by owners points standings. So #18-Busch starts 1st followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #9-Kahne, #17-Kenseth and #07-Boweyer. Two drivers will miss the race: #34-Raines and #08-Sauter.
    See the starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-10-2008)
  • 1st Thursday practice for the Lifelock 400 at Chciagoland Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #16-Biffle 179.748
    #48-Johnson 179.623
    #1-Truex, Jr. 179.301
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr 178.814
    #9-Kahne 178.737
    slowest: #08-Sauter 172.491 & #34-Raines 171.865
    rain: the practice session was delayed briefly about an hour in, due to some lightning in the area and NASCAR ended the session about 12 minutes early due to continued lightning.
    For the speeds and laps run, see my Chicago Practice Speeds page.(7-10-2008)

  • Stewart Joins Haas to form Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009: Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has set his NASCAR future, and it’s as an owner and driver with Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2009. Stewart-Haas Racing is the new partnership between Stewart and Haas CNC Racing, with the revamped entity slated to run two cars full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. Haas CNC Racing operates out of a 140,000-square foot shop in Concord, N.C., and is owned by Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation Inc. The company has been involved with motorsports since 1995 through various technical partnerships with teams in the IRL IndyCar Series and NASCAR, including Hendrick Motorsports, which will continue to provide chassis, engines and technical support to Stewart-Haas Racing. News regarding sponsors of Stewart-Haas Racing, as well as the complete driver lineup and corresponding car numbers for the two-car team, will be announced at a later date.(TrueSpeed Communication PR)
    Transcript: The complete press conference transcript is posted on the Haas CNC Racing site.(7-10-2008)

  • DEI to Appeal #1 Team Penalties: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is appealing at least the suspensions of #1 team crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and car chief Gary Putnam. Manion and Putnam were working in the garage at Chicagoland Speedway today, and suspended personnel are not allowed at the track unless their penalty is being appealed. DEI Vice President John Story confirmed Thursday afternoon that the team will appeal. The appeal will be heard July 21. “We’ve been granted an opportunity for appeal and anything we have to say about the appeal will be done during the hearing we’ve been granted,” said Story, who would not elaborate on the scope and basis for the appeal.(SceneDaily.com), for earlier inforamtion on the penalty, see my #1 Team Page.(7-10-2008) Comment here

  • RCR Unveils #31 Caterpillar Chevy: Richard Childress Racing unveiled at Chicagoland Speedway the #31 Caterpillar Chevy to be driven by Jeff Burton in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2009. Caterpillar Inc. and RCR announced June 18 that they had entered into a multi-year partnership for the #31 Chevy team and Burton. Next season marks Caterpillar’s 17th year of sponsorship involvement in NASCAR. It will also be Richard Childress’ 40th anniversary in the sport.(RCR PR)(7-10-2008), see an image of the car on my #31 team paint schemes page.
  • Daytona TV Ratings: After two weeks out of the top spot, NASCAR on TNT finally returned to is accustomed spot atop the weekly cable ratings. The Coke Zero 400 drew a 3.8 final rating with 6.4 million viewers on TNT Saturday night, flat in ratings and up 4% in total viewers from a 3.8 with 6.2 million last year. The race was easily the most watched program on cable for the week, beating the next best show (WWE Raw on USA Network) by over 1 million viewers. TNT’s NASCAR post-race show finished #4 for the week, drawing a 3.0 with 4.9 million viewers. With only one race left to televise, TNT is averaging a 3.6 rating with 5.8 million viewers for five NASCAR races, up 6% and 3% from a 3.4 with 5.6 million last year.(PR), for ratings on each race and the chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(7-10- 2008)

  • New engine from Dodge close: Dodge is moving closer to running its new engine in a Sprint Cup race. Tommy Wheeler, engineering services director for Gillett Evernham Motorsports, says he hopes to begin extensive track testing next month with the goal of having the engine debut sometime during the Chase in a Dodge car not competing for the title. Wheeler said he’d like to see the new engine used in at least five races this season before all Dodge teams begin using it next year.(Roanoke Times)(7-10-2008) Comment here

  • #01 car soon to be ‘sidelined’? other DEI stuff: ….however Regan Smith, the promising rookie who may not have any sponsorship next season at DEI, will apparently soon be sidelined; Mark Martin is leaving DEI at the end of the season to join Rick Hendrick; Martin Truex Jr. is trying to leave DEI at the end of the year, though that legal issue is still up in the air; and Paul Menard’s wealthy father John is reported talking with Ford’s Jack Roush apparently about moving his financial NASCAR stake there, presumably with Paul Menard driving a Roush-Yates Ford in 2009. That only leaves DEI with newcomer Aric Almirola.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2008) Comment here

  • Hammond Featured on ESPN2’s Driven to Hunt Sunday: Former NASCAR crew chief Jeff Hammond will be featured on an episode of the ESPN2 series Driven to Hunt on Sunday, July 13, at 7am/et. The program repeats at 9:30am/et. Hammond heads to the mountains of New Mexico for a Rocky Mountain Elk hunt. The third day finds him in a stalk of his life for a once-in-a-lifetime bull. Each week, Driven to Hunt will invite a prominent NASCAR personality on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt. From drivers to team owners to the over-the-wall gang, hunting is what they dream about. Guests this season include drivers Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Terry and Bobby Labonte and Kerry Earnhardt, and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.(ESPN PR)(7-10-2008)

  • Breakfast between team owners…mean anything? It was probably just an innocent breakfast. Then again …On the morning of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, there was an eye-catching breakfast gathering at Doc Bales’ restaurant in the Hilton Ocean Walk hotel. The group at a large table, front and center, included Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, owners of the NASCAR organization that bears both their names, along with Michael Waltrip Racing executive vice president Cal Wells and Michael Waltrip’s partner and money man, Rob Kauffman. “Rob Kauffman said he wanted to meet Chip and me,” Sabates said matter-of-factly at the Speedway later that afternoon.
    Perhaps we should consider the backdrop. Ganassi recently shuttered his No. 40 Dodge Cup team, leaving open-wheel star Dario Franchitti to ponder his future in the sport. That left Ganassi with two active Cup teams and roughly 70 fewer employees, with more layoffs reportedly in the offing. There have been layoffs and a realignment of personnel at MWR. To Kauffman, that’s a natural process for a team that raced for the first time in 2007. The issue of sponsorship is fundamental. UPS will leave Waltrip at the end of this season, likely finding a new home with Clint Bowyer at Richard Childress Racing, now that Bowyer has extended his contract with RCR. That leaves Waltrip with NAPA on his #55 car and Aaron’s as part-time sponsor of Michael McDowell’s #00. If additional sponsorship isn’t forthcoming, Waltrip will have funding for two cars, the same number Ganassi now has.
    Would it be too far-fetched to speculate that Waltrip and Ganassi might benefit by joining forces in some way, each bringing two teams to the table? Asked whether he might find a deal with Ganassi intriguing under the right circumstances, Kauffman deflected the question. “That’s a highly speculative, theoretical thing,” he said. “We just wanted to have breakfast with Felix and Chip, more than anything. We have a lot of common friends down in the North Carolina area. … I think getting MWR on the right track and solidifying our position on the grid and improving our performance — that’s job one, two and three.” Kauffman asked rhetorically whether the group would have met openly if they were talking about a deal. Probably not.(in part from the Sporting News)
    NOTES: heard from one source the ‘meeting’ was nothing more then discussion over selling personal items and another source saying there is somethign to this and Ganassi and Waltrip could merge and become a four car team in 2009, no word if they would become a Dodge team [Ganassi] or a Toyota team [Waltrip]. Currently with five teams in the top-35 of ownes points, one could be sold off for points. Other rumored mergers include: Red Bull Racing and Ganassi Racing; Bill Davis Racing and Red Bull Racing.(7-10-2008) Comment here

  • Newman and the Mummy team up at Chicago: UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to race aspecial paint-schemed car during the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12th. Kodak and Universal Pictures have teamed up and will run the special movie scheme: The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.(5-2-2008)
    UPDATE: Eastman Kodak Company and Universal Pictures have partnered to promote the latest epic adventure in the blockbuster global Mummy franchise at the Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12. Through Kodak’s partnership with Penske Racing and NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, the Kodak #12 Dodge will feature a bold paint scheme from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Kodak will also have its branding on the car. Ryan Newman will wear a Kodak-The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor branded firesuit and helmet as will his pit crew.(Kocak PR)(7-10-2008) See the image on my #12 Team Schemes page.

  • Penske Racing Pays Tribute to Employee: This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, all three Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series entries will carry a special decal in memory of employee Bill Passwater. The decal will also be on Penske IndyCar Series entries at Nashville Superspeedway and the American Le Mans Series entries at Lime Rock. Passwater, 33, passed away on Wednesday morning. He is survived by his wife, Heather, and their baby daughter, Lyla Grace. Passwater had been employed at Penske Racing since 2005. He was the transportation coordinator for the NASCAR Cup Series teams.(Penske Racing PR)(7-10-2008)

  • Special scheme for Jeff Gordon at Chicago: Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet Impala SS this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. See images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page. Also this weekend at the Nicorette Winner’s Circle Exhibit at the Chicagoland Speedway, race fans have the opportunity to join the Nicorette QUIT Crew and pledge to quit smoking. For more information, go to www.quit2winracing.com or www.US99.com.(PR)(7-10-2008)
  • Chicago Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this tire set-up to Chicagoland, though teams in these two NASCAR series have raced on it already in 2008 . . . this exact combination of left- and right-side tire codes has been run by Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams earlier this season at Texas . . . in addition, this left-side tire code (D-4134) was also run with a different right-side code at Dover (both series), Michigan (Sprint Cup only) and Kentucky (Nationwide only) . . . these teams are also scheduled to run this specific tire combination at Homestead in November . . . compared to what was run at Chicagoland last season, this tire set-up features a revised construction on both sides and a tougher right-side compound for better wear .. . as on all NASCAR’s 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 is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full tire notes with pressues, codes and more on my Chicago Race Info Page.(7-10-2008)
  • Chicagoland Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 5 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Carpentier scored a 14th-place finish, his best in 18 Sprint Cup Series races, and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season. For the second consecutive race, Two Raybestos Rookies qualified in the top-10. #01-Regan Smith started eighth in the Coke Zero 400 while Carpentier grabbed the 10th-place starting position. Carpentier won the pole for the June 29 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Dario Franchitti claimed the seventh-place starting position. Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by three points (167-164) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 12 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in seven Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland. He won the 2001 LifeLock.com 400 by .649 seconds over Robert Pressley. He is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Chicagoland, leading the 2001 event five times for 113 laps. The record number for Raybestos Rookies to finish inside the top-10 at Chicagoland is three in 2006: Reed Sorenson (seventh), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and J.J. Yeley (10th). A Raybestos Rookie has led at least one lap in five of the seven Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see full rookie notes, history, stnadings on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-10-2008)
  • Dale Earnhardt car on display at IMHOF: UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt scored his first victory at Talladega Superspeedway behind the wheel of the #15 Wrangler Ford Thunderbird on July 31st, 1983. To celebrate the upcoming 25th Anniversary of that historic first win, officials for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum (IMHOF) recently unveiled the famous car that started Earnhardt’s winning ways at Talladega. The car comes to the IMHOF at a fitting time, as the 25th Anniversary of Earnhardt’s win coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum. Along with 10 Sprint Cup Series wins (a series record), Earnhardt also collected one Nationwide Series victory and three IROC wins, making him the most successful driver in Talladega Superspeedway history. Visitors to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum will find the #15 Ford Thunderbird on display in the Union 76 building through December.(TSS PR)(7-10-2008)
    UPDATE: A car unveiled at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Tuesday and touted as the car Dale Earnhardt drove to his first victory at Talladega Superspeedway is not that car, the car’s owner and Hall of Fame officials confirmed Wednesday. The 1982 Ford Thunderbird unveiled Tuesday was driven by Earnhardt but is not the car in which he won the 1983 Talladega 500. (Birmingham News)(7-10-2008)

  • Venturini wins NASCAR Raceday Bus Race at LMS: In the Fourth Annual “NASCAR RaceDay” School Bus Challenge Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Summer Shootout, Jimmy Spencer sputtered; Kenny Wallace wobbled; John Roberts retired; and Rutlege Wood was just happy to be here. But in the end, second-generation racer Wendy Venturini celebrated on the victory podium. The SPEED Channel personalities joined Lug Nut, the world’s fastest mascot, and “Mean Megan” Hazel in a seven-bus slobberknocker on the quarter-mile frontstretch oval. Spencer started at the rear of the field, but quickly made his way to the front and traded the point with Kenny Wallace early in the race. But when Roberts stalled in Turn 4 because of engine problems, Venturini pushed her purple flower-power machine past Wallace and cruised to her second career School Bus victory. Wallace settled for second with Lug Nut coming in third in the eight-lap special event.(LMS PR) Saturday’s NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED (4:30pm/et) will showcase the rain-delayed grudge match.(7-10-2008)


    News from July 9, 2008

  • New crew chief for McDowell Michael Waltrip Racing announced Peter Sospenzo will take over as crew chief of the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the remainder of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Bill Pappas, who previously served as Michael McDowell’s crew chief, will advance to head of engineering.(MWR PR)(7-9-2008) Comment here

  • New crew chief for Allmendinger: Red Bull Racing Team formally announces Jimmy Elledge as crew chief of the #84 Red Bull Toyota piloted by AJ Allmendinger, effective this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Elledge’s most recent Sprint Cup Series crew chief duties were with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, so he’s quite familiar with translating open-wheel lingo. Elledge’s resume includes stints with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hamilton and Dale Jarrett. AJ Allmendinger on the addition of Jimmy Elledge: “Of all the crew chiefs in the Cup garage, Jimmy is one of the only ones I’ve spoken to and had a chance to get to know. When I drove a few Nationwide races at Ganassi last year, Jimmy was always helpful. He’s a guy with a lot of crew chief experience and has a good knowledge of these race cars, so I’m looking forward to turning this season around together.”(Red Bull Racing PR), former #84 crew chief Ricky Viers will stay with the team in an undisclosed position.(7-9-2008) Comment here

  • Mears or Stremme to the #12? UPDATE: It appears to be a two-man race for Ryan Newman’s soon-to-be-vacant [#12] seat at Penske Racing, with Casey Mears and David Stremme in the running. Stremme is making a strong bid for the ride, doing yeoman work as Penske Racing’s test driver this season. In fact, Stremme’s name is being linked with as many as three different Cup openings next year.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
    UPDATE – McDowell to Penske? There’s still the issue of a replacement for Ryan Newman at Penske [in the #12 if Newman goes to Stewart Haas Racing], also rumored to be Casey Mears, but I [Yahoo’s Bob Margolis] hear #00-Michael McDowell could be in play there as he’s somehow lost favor with the Michael Waltrip folks.(Yahoo Sports)(7-9-2008) Comment here
  • Statements about Stewart leaving Joe Gibbs Racing: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Tony Stewart have agreed to part ways upon the conclusion of the 2008 season. Stewart will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup season with JGR behind the wheel of the #20 Home Depot Toyota. Stewart will also compete for JGR in the two Nationwide Series races still remaining on his original, nine-race Nationwide Series schedule – July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway, and Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway. Stewart will pilot the #20 Old Spice Toyota in those two events.
    “We’ve had a lot of success with Tony in our 12 years here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “While this moment is bittersweet, we’re parting on good terms and we know that each of us has benefited greatly from the other. We grew to two teams in the Sprint Cup Series with Tony and The Home Depot in 1999, and two championships and 32 wins followed. While our time together is coming to an end, we know there’s still a lot of racing left this season and we plan to make the most of it. On behalf of everyone at JGR, we’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished together with Tony and we wish him the best in pursuing his dream of NASCAR team ownership.”
    “I cannot thank Joe and J.D. Gibbs enough for the opportunity they gave me and for the support they’ve given me throughout my entire NASCAR career,” Stewart said. “I’ve learned so much from them and have a tremendous amount of respect for what they’ve built. I’ve modeled my USAC and World of Outlaws teams the same way they built their NASCAR team, and I made it a point to find good people to run those programs. If I’ve learned anything from my time at Joe Gibbs Racing, it’s that Joe Gibbs’ saying of, ‘You win with people,’ is incredibly true. They always surrounded me with not just good people, but great people, and the results speak for themselves. My crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, is the best example of that. We’ve accomplished so much in our 10 years together on the track, and off the track, he’s been like a big brother to me. It’s a friendship I cherish and expect to continue, even while he stays at Joe Gibbs Racing and I move on. I also want to thank The Home Depot. We’ve had a fantastic run with them, and it’s not over yet. We can still win races and compete for a championship and go out on top. For 2008, that’s my number one goal.”
    Stewart’s parting from JGR at the conclusion of the 2008 season will end the longest active driver/crew chief relationship in the Sprint Cup garage. “No matter what, Tony and I will remain close friends,” Zipadelli said. “I know when it comes to the No. 20 team, things will obviously be a lot different next year, but I remain as committed as ever this year to winning races with Tony and securing our spot in the Chase to contend for a third championship.”
    “The 20 car has been one of the all-time great partnerships in NASCAR for the last decade with the combination of Tony, Zippy, The Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “While we are losing one piece of the puzzle, we think the No. 20 team will remain strong for many years to come.”
    Statement from Frank Bifulco, Chief Marketing Officer of The Home Depot regarding Tony Stewart’s departure from Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2008 season: “The Home Depot has had a remarkable relationship with Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing since our sponsorship commenced back in 1998. With two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 32 race wins, Tony is a true competitor and an excellent ambassador for our company. Details regarding our future plans will be announced at a later date.”

    Statement from Lee White, President and General Manager, Toyota Racing Development: “We fully support the decision of Joe Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs regarding this arrangement between Joe Gibbs Racing and Tony Stewart. We thank Tony and wish him the best in his future endeavors. He has been synonymous with Joe Gibbs Racing and has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with the team. In our first year together, Tony has been a valuable asset to the Toyota program. We will continue to work diligently to get Tony and his Camry to ‘Victory Lane’ as often as possible in the Sprint Cup Series during the remainder of this season. Our hope is that he will be able to qualify for the ‘Chase’ and contend for another championship.”(in part from Joe Gibbs Racing site)(7-9-2008)

  • Office Depot to Stewart UPDATE 3 Stewart granted release from Gibbs: been told that Office Depot will be the sponsor for Tony Stewart in 2009 when he drives for Haas CNC Racing which is will buy in to. Hearing the announcement of the buy and deal will be made in Indianapolis the week NASCAR is in Indy for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, July 27th.(7-3-2008)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart is expected to announce a 2009 move to Haas-CNC Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in three weeks. Reliable sources tell Sirius Speedway that Stewart will also announce sponsorship from Office Depot and Old Spice as part of a new, multi-year package with Haas CNC, and that Penske Racing’s Ryan Newman will join him as a teammate, with sponsorship from Jack Daniels. That surprise move comes as the result of an enviable situation at Richard Childress Racing, which now has five potential sponsors for next season, and only four teams. Sirius Speedway has learned that UPS will move from Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 Toyota to the quarterpanels of Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in 2009, leaving Jack Daniels in search of a new driver. That driver will be Newman, who is set to sign-on with Stewart at Haas CNC.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
    UPDATE 2: #20-Tony Stewart has been granted a release from the final year of his driving contract with Joe Gibbs Racing after 10 seasons with the team. “We’ve had a lot of success with Tony in our 12 years here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, said in a statement. “While this moment is bittersweet, we’re parting on good terms and we know that each of us has benefited greatly from the other.” On Thursday at Chicagoland Speedway, Stewart will formally announce a move to Haas/CNC Racing as co-owner and driver, sources close to Stewart said. Sources close to both sides told ESPN.com the deal will make Stewart the highest-paid driver in NASCAR. Sources also said the Stewart Haas cars will carry different numbers. The #14, made famous in IndyCar racing by Stewart’s hero, A.J. Foyt, is available, but sources would neither confirm nor deny that as his choice. Sources said Stewart will own a 50% stake in the organization, but his financial investment in attaining it was not disclosed. Per Stewart’s agreement with JGR, he will not attempt to hire away any members of his current team. This was a significant key to making the deal happen because the only way that Gibbs felt comfortable with putting Joey Logano in the Cup Series so quickly was to surround him with Greg Zipadelli’s established, experienced crew. As ESPN.com’s David Newton initially reported, Office Depot will have a role in sponsoring Stewart’s car. Ryan Newman remains the lead candidate to drive Stewart Haas’ second car, sources said, though no deal had yet been finalized Tuesday night. Stewart Haas will continue to receive chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports. Haas/CNC’s current drivers, Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter, are ranked 36th and 44th, respectively, in the owner point standings. If the team’s performance fails to improve its points position during the second half of 2008, Stewart’s champion’s provisional will guarantee him a slot in the field for the first five races next season, presuming NASCAR doesn’t change the rule.(ESPN.com)(7-9-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Joey Logano acknowledged on Wednesday that he is a candidate to replace Tony Stewart in the #20 Sprint Cup car at Joe Gibbs Racing next season. “It has been brought up a few times,” Logano said as he arrived at JGR for a morning workout. Logano wasn’t shocked to hear that Stewart will be released from his final year at JGR next season to pursue other opportunities. Stewart was scheduled to tell his team on Wednesday that this will be his last season, then announce on Thursday in Chicago that he has bought into Haas CNC Racing and will drive for that team with another driver — Ryan Newman, according to sources, is all but a done deal — next year. Stewart will unveil his new car with Office Depot as the primary sponsor at a news conference in Indianapolis in two weeks, sources said. Logano, 18, said he will focus the rest of this season on his Nationwide Series ride and hope to get into a few Cup races before the end of the year to prepare him for next season.(ESPN.com)(7-9-2008) Comment here

  • Special schemes for Petty cars: This weekend the #43 Dodge of Bobby Labonte and the #45 Dodge of Terry Labonte are carrying the Richard Petty’s 50th Anniversary logo to honor the anniversary of ‘The King’s’ first race.(Petty Racing PR) See images of the cars on my #43 Team Schemes page and the #45 Team Schemes page.(7-9-2008)


    News from July 8, 2008

  • Robby adds petition site to Jim Beam hood at Chicago..see image: Robby Gordon will run the #7 ‘SaveOurName.com’ Jim Beam Dodge this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Gordon, a subject of Jim Beam Bourbon’s “The Stuff Inside” campaign, learned Jim Beam unveiled a “Save Our Ballpark’s Name” billboard outside Wrigley Field in an effort to keep the national landmark’s name intact and offered to show his support by adding the website www.saveourname.com to the hood of his car. SaveOurName.com urges fans to sign a petition to save the name, Wrigley Field. The name of Chicago’s legendary Cubs’ stadium is in jeopardy, much to the chagrin of Chicago natives and baseball fans alike. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Representing quality and character, Wrigley Field stands for the same traits that Jim Beam is committed to when it comes to its bourbon. “This is right in line with Beam’s mission to champion people with ‘The Stuff Inside,'” said Gordon. “I know what it is like when Jim Beam gets behind something. They supported me earlier this year with the ‘Rally for Robby’ initiative, giving fans a voice while my team awaited a ruling from NASCAR. They are creating the same buzz with Wrigley Field. Putting SaveOurName.com on the hood of the car is my way of showing support for the Chicago community and I’m excited to help spread the word.” Jim Beam is in its fourth year of partnership with Robby Gordon Motorsports and is the primary sponsor for 16 Sprint Cup Series races in 2008. The remaining Jim Beam primary races are Chicago, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Richmond, New Hampshire, Atlanta, Phoenix and Homestead.(Jim Beam Racing/Robby GordonMotorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(7-8-2008)

  • Shootout to get new name? There’s a chance the annual running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway could play the name game. The non-points race has been the season starter for NASCAR’s premiere series since 1979 when it was known as the Busch Clash. Sources tell News 13 that routine negotiations are underway for naming rights to the 2009 race, and it’s not yet certain that Budweiser will return as title sponsor.(News 13), well….Coor’s Light took over as the official beer of NASCAR and the Bud Pole Award is now sponsored by Coor’s Light and called the Coor’s Light Pole Award. It could end up the Coor’s Light Shootout, but when the sponsorship was announced last season it was mentioned that NASCAR’s agreement with Coors does not include the Bud Shootout race, which is a separate entitlement with Daytona Interntional Speedway. See more about the race and pole award on my 2009 Shootout Page.(7-8-2008) Comment here
  • Statement from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Regarding #1 Team Fine: Following NASCAR’s announcement that it has fined the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #1 car 150 car owner points, 150 driver points and issued a $100,000 fine for crew chief Kevin Manion, as well as a six-race suspension for Manion and car chief Gary Putnam, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports operations John Story issued the following statement: “We are still trying to understand how the car fit our templates multiple times at the shop, but we respect NASCAR’s determination that one of our cars did not exactly conform to their template at the track. We have not decided if we will pursue our options to appeal. Under NASCAR’s rules, we have 10 days to notify the sanctioning body of any appeal.”(DEI PR)(7-8-2008)
  • #1 car doesn’t fit templates, seized by NASCAR UPDATE 3 DEI will appeal: During opening day technical inspection Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR seized the #1 DEI Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR said that during the tech inspection the car did not fit the roof templates. The team was allowed to try again and when they failed again the car was seized and will be taken to NASCAR’s R&D center for further evaluation. The team was told to bring their back up car out for inspection.(Cup Scene Online)(7-3-2008)
    UPDATE: #1-Martin Truex Jr. was furious with his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team Thursday after was car was seized by NASCAR officials because it failed to fit the critical roof templates, which are keys to the aerodynamic performance of the car. The immediate effects were obvious enough: Truex was forced to go to a backup after his primary car was taken prior to Thursday’s opening round of practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. His DEI team could not get the car ready in time to make the first of only two rounds of practice, which put Truex far behind the other drivers. In fact, of the 45 cars entered in Saturday’s race, Truex’s #1 DEI Chevy was the only one that failed to make a single lap in the first practice session. And that had the Mayetta, N.J., native irked. Asked what the team told him was the problem, Truex said, “Something about the roof template. I don’t know. I guess NASCAR wasn’t happy with the way it fit. It’s their ballgame, it’s their call. They took the car. We’re trying to get our backup (car) ready, they had to put an engine in it and get everything ready.” And he made it clear he was not happy with his team. “Somebody made a big mistake,” said Truex, who is expected to leave DEI after his contract expires at the end of 2008 [Haas/Stewart? Penske? RCR?]. “That shouldn’t happen at this level of auto racing, but people make mistakes. We’ll go on. Hopefully we’ll make the second practice.” [Happy Hour was rained out, so Truex got no practice](SPEEDtv), also expect Truec and the team to be penalized by NASCAR, usually announced on Tuesday, looking at at least a 100pt penalty, which could kill their Chase hopes as Truex is now 71 points back going into Daytona.(7-4-2008)
    UPDATE 2 – PENALTIES: NASCAR has issued penalties, fines and suspensions to the car #1 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found last week at Daytona International Speedway. The car driven by Martin Truex Jr., 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 20-3.8A (roof of the car does not conform to the specifications) of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rule book. As a result, Truex Jr. and car owner Teresa Earnhardt have been penalized 150 championship driver and 150 championship owner points, respectively. Both the crew chief, Kevin Manion, and the car chief, Gary Putnam, have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 27 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, Manion has been fined $100,000. The infractions were discovered July 3 during opening day inspection.(NASCAR PR), the penalty moves Truex from 14th in drivers pts, -88 out of the Chase to 18th in drivers points, 238 points out of the Chase. See revised points standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.(7-8-2008) Comment here

  • Teresa Earnhardt Looking to sell DEI? UPDATE 2 Reports Refuted: Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway is reporting today that Teresa Earnhardt has enlisted the services of Bear, Stearns and Company [actally there is no more Bear Stearns as JP Morgan aquired them] to find a buyer — or at least a major financial investor — for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Bear Stearns is an investment bank, securities trading and brokerage firm based in New York City, and has been charged with finding a buyer for the entire operation. Barring that, Earnhardt is said to be interested in selling at least a minority interest in the team. DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel declined to comment on the story when contacted earlier today.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
    UPDATE: Max Siegel, President of Global Operations at DEI is currently in negotiations with major investors to buy Teresa Earnhardt out of DEI, a source close to the negotiations said Monday. It appears now that Teresa is finally willing to sell, and Siegel is working diligently with a number of potential investors to take the company over. Sources said Siegel would not just be buying a portion of DEI or a controlling interest, rather, he would be buying the entire company. Sources said, Teresa has agreed to walk away from the company entirely for the right price. That price is supposedly somewhere between $115-$130 million dollars. With one exception…Teresa would retain the rights to all “Dale Earnhardt’ and ‘Intimidator’ rights and merchandise sales. Siegel would only be buying the DEI race teams, and real estate including all race shops and the DEI headquarters in Mooresville, NC. Sources said Siegel is very serious about the purchase and appears to have investors salivating over the opportunity to own the legendary team. In addition, Teresa has grown more frustrated with NASCAR nation following her fall-out with the sports most popular driver, and wants nothing more than to be out of the public eye for good.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008)
    UPDATE 2 reports refuted: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is not for sale — right now. DEI president Max Siegel on Tuesday refuted an Internet report that company owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. to locate a buyer or financial investment partner. “We have not engaged Bear, Stearns or Goldman Sachs or anyone else,” Siegel said. “We are contacted all the time by outside firms about getting involved in the sport. We are not for sale right now. Nothing is imminent. Are we constantly weighing that as an option? Does that make sense? Quite frankly, we don’t know,” Siegel said. “Every team is looking for a way to bring in appropriate resources. Every single one. We haven’t engaged anybody. People obviously approach us — they’re approaching everybody. We’re looking to be around for a long time in future. We’re feeling pretty damn good about where we’re going, competition-wise.” Siegel was forced to approach his driving corps with assurance that the team is currently not for sale. “I have assured them it’s not true,” Siegel said.(ESPN.com)(7-8-2008) Comment here

  • Special Office Depot scheme for Edwards at Chicago: When Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, competes in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12, he’ll have some special passengers along for the ride. For this race only, Office Depot will showcase a one-of-a-kind ‘Taking Care of Business’ paint scheme featuring the individual signatures of close to 8,000 Office Depot associates from around the world. The signatures collected from all regions of the world are representative of the fact that Office Depot associates serve customers in more than 40 countries across the globe. The Office Depot ‘Taking Care of Business’ paint scheme features the unique signatures of associates from Office Depot sales offices, retail stores, distribution centers, crossdocks, corporate and administrative offices in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. More info at officedepotracing.com.(Office Depot site), see an image of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(7-8-2008)

  • Most Wins after 18 races UPDATE: interesting stat…..In NASCAR Sprint Cup history, 20 drivers have won six or more races through the first 18 events – 14 have gone on to win the series championship. Bill Elliott holds the record for the most after 18 races, with 9 wins, he won 2 more the rest of the season. #18-Kyle Busch has 6 in 2008 after 18 races, the first driver to do so since Jeff Gordon in 1997.(ESPN’s NASCAR Now only listed 3 drivers since 1980, see NASCAR.com for the full list of drivers)(7-8-2008)

  • Truex to re-sign with DEI? Mark Martin’s new deal with Hendrick Motorsports will make it much easier for DEI to re-sign #1-Martin Truex Jr. Early Sunday morning, sources close to Truex Jr. said Martin’s release from the team at the end of the 2008 season would free up more than $8 million dollars. That money now appears to be spearheaded for Truex Jr. DEI has said they have an option on Truex Jr for 2009, an option that Truex Jr has discounted. Mark Martin was being paid more than $8 million dollars to drive part-time according to sources within the DEI organization. Now that Martin has agreed to terms with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 car full-time next season and part-time in 2010, this money has become available for Truex Jr. Sources said DEI and Truex Jr. are closer than ever to announcing a contract extension that would lock in the New Jersey native through 2012 in the #1 car.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008) Comment here

  • FreeCreditReport.com to sponsor the #28 also: FreeCreditReport.com will sponsor both Yates Racing cars at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. #28-Travis Kvapil will sport the FreeCreditReport.com colors at Chicago as he did at #38-David Gilliland has had FreeCreditReport.com as his sponsor most of the season.(Yates Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page and the #38 Team Schemes page.(7-8-2008)

  • Hard Rock to sponsor a DEI car? DEI is also working diligently to lock up sponsors for next season. Rumors have been swirling that they may lose their U.S. Army sponsorship on Martin’s #8 car, a car that will be driven by rookie Aric Almirola next year, to Red Bull and Scott Speed. If that happens, DEI hopes to be ready with another sponsor to step in. That sponsor may be the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s. Sources said early Sunday that Max Siegel, President of Global Operations for DEI, had met throughout the weekend in Daytona Beach, FL with representatives from the Hard Rock about possible sponsorship opportunities with DEI. They could replace the U.S. Army should they bail and head to Red Bull, or they could end up on the #01 of Regan Smith.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008) Comment here

  • Johnson speaking in Washington DC: #48-Jimmie Johnson will be speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 8. The reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion will discuss his life experiences as a leading NASCAR driver and influential philanthropist.(GMR Marketing/Lowe’s Racing PR)(7-8-2008)


    News from July 7, 2008

  • UPS to #07? UPDATE 2: hearing UPS could move #07-Clint Bowyer of Richard Childress Racing, if os, no word where Jack Daniel’s sposnorship would go, or if they would leave the sport.(7-1-2008)
    UPDATE Among the hot but unconfirmed rumors making the rounds in the Sprint Cup garage this week are that Richard Childress Racing will land UPS as a sponsor for Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevrolet. Multiple sources indicated that Bowyer’s car was the favorite to take the sponsorship over from Michael Waltrip Racing and David Reutimann. One source close to the negotiations said RCR initially offered UPS #31-Jeff Burton, 41, but the delivery company wanted a younger driver with whom it could create a long-term identity and Bowyer is just 29. Burton, instead, will be sponsored next year by Caterpillar.(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that UPS will move from Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 Toyota to the quarterpanels of Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in 2009, leaving Jack Daniels in search of a new driver. That driver will be Ryan Newman, who is set to sign-on with Stewart at Haas CNC.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008) Comment here
  • 100 Wins for Joe Gibbs Racing: Denny Hamlin’s win in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway accounted for more than just his eighth career Nationwide Series victory and his third of the season. It marked Joe Gibbs Racing’s (JGR) 100th professional NASCAR victory.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(7-5-2008)
    AND #18-Kyle Busch;s win in the Daytona Cup was win 101, 65 have come in the Sprint Cup Series which is 8th in all-time owner wins.(7-7-2008)
  • Testing this week at Kentucky: Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to test this week at Kentukcy Speedway, the teams scheduled on Monday 7/7: #12-Newman, #77-Hornish Jr. and the R&D Test team of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. On Tuesday 7/8: #18-Kyle Busch; #11-Hamlin, #22-Michael Annett in for Blaney, #5-Mears, R&D Test Hall of Fame Racing, R&D Test of DEI, R&D Test of Michael Waltrip Racing and Brad Keselowski in a R&D Test team for Hendrick Motorsports. On Wednesday 7/9: #22-Michael Annett in for Blaney, J.J. Yeley and Brad Coleman for Hall of Fame Racing; R&D Test team of DEI and the R&D Test team of Michael Waltrip Racing. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site an Team PR’s)(7-7-2008)

  • Villeneuve could run for Robby: #7-Robby Gordon is in talks with Jacques Villeneuve and Barry Green, for Villeneuve to run for Robby Gordon Motorsports in the Nationwide Montreal race on August 2nd and possibly a Sprint Cup ride in 2009. “I will send a car Nationwide Series in Montreal, no matter what happens,” said Gordon. Much of the Nationwide deal and Cup ride deal depends if Villeneuve and Green can bring a sponsor along with the deal.(rough tranlation from Le Journal de Montreal/Canoe Sports)(7-7-2008) Comment here
  • Daytona Coke Zero 400 Commercial breakdown:
    TNT was the broadcaster for this event. This presentation was their ‘Wide Open Coverage’: limited commercials, as well as commercials running concurrently with the race broadcast. Sponsors’ logos were shown in the bottom left-hand corner, and the commercials were shown in a pop-up window in the lower right-hand portion of the screen. During a normal race broadcast, commercials usually take just shy of one hour. Combine that with the crawlers and brief promos usually shown during the race, and you can expect a full hour’s worth of plugging and pitching. During this ‘Wide Open Coverage’ broadcast, you watched just over 50 minutes of plugging and pitching, both during the broadcast, and the ads that ran as breaks from it.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00pm/et
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:16pm/et
    Total minutes: 196
    Minutes of race broadcast: 179
    Minutes of commercials that left broadcast: 17
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    See the full report, featured drivers, past rundowns on my 2008 TV Commercials page.(7-7-2008)

  • GEM names new CFO: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced the promotion of Gregory D. Park to chief financial officer of the NASCAR team. “Greg has been a key contributor to the development of our team as well as a leader in the financial management, analysis and control of our business” said Tom Reddin, chief executive officer of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. I am very proud of the business team that we have assembled here. Having worked with Greg over the past few months, I know that he will be a strong chief financial officer, and that his management skills will be a great asset to the organization.” Park joined GEM in 2005 as the team’s director of systems and financial reporting. Prior to that, Park served as chief financial officer at MB2 and MBV Motorsports. He was also the corporate controller and director of systems and reporting for Action Performance Companies Inc. Park is a certified public accountant holding master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Utah.(GEM PR)(7-7-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kyle Busch won the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. Busch started ninth in the race. He scored his 10th-career series victory in 132 races. He remained first in the standings with an unofficial points lead of 182 points over second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr., the largest points lead of the season. It was his sixth series victory in 2008, the most among all drivers. It was his first victory in eight races at Daytona and was his second career restrictor-plate win. He also won Talladega in April. Busch became the sixth different race winner in the last six races at Daytona. Busch scored his fourth top-5 finish in the last five races at Daytona. He led 31 of the 162 laps raced including the final seven. Busch’s last win was at Infineon two races ago.
    * Toyota scored its seventh victory in 2008. Dodge and Chevrolet each have four while Ford has three.
    * This was Joe Gibbs Racing’s fourth series victory at Daytona. Gibbs Racing has seven wins in 2008, the most of any team.
    * 15 of the 18 races in 2008 have been won from a top-10 starting position. The only three races in 2008 that were not won from a top-10 starting position were at Richmond when Clint Bowyer won from the 31st starting position, at Infineon with Kyle Busch winning from 30th and New Hampshire where Kurt Busch started 26th.
    * Carl Edwards finished second, scoring his eighth top-10 finish in the last nine races. He remained fourth in the standings.
    * Matt Kenseth finished third, posting his seventh top-10 finish in his last eight races.
    * Kenseth climbed from 13th to ninth in the points standings, his highest points position in 2008. He now is 23 points ahead of 13th-place Kevin Harvick. Kenseth ranked 22nd eight races ago after Richmond.
    * A mere 34 points separate eighth-place Kasey Kahne from 13th-place Harvick with eight races remaining in the race to the 12-driver Chase.
    * Harvick is just two points behind 12th-place Tony Stewart.
    * Martin Truex Jr. is 14th, 88 points behind 12th-place Stewart.
    * Kurt Busch finished fourth, posting his second top-5 finish in as many weeks. He only has four top-10 finishes this season.
    * David Ragan finished fifth, posting his second top-five restrictor-plate finish this season. He finished fourth at Talladega in April.
    * Robby Gordon (sixth) posted his best finish of the season. It was his best finish since he finished fifth at Watkins Glen last August.
    * Patrick Carpentier (14th) posted his career-best finish.
    * Pole winner Paul Menard led 19 laps in the s race. He had led just eight laps in his previous 56 career races.
    * Stewart became ill and did a driver change on Lap 73, being replaced by J.J. Yeley. Stewart was running ninth prior to the switch and Yeley restarted 33rd still on the lead lap.
    * Winner Kyle Busch had a “steering problem” on Lap 82 dropping from third to 37th which actually was the result of contact with teammate Denny Hamlin.
    * Jeff Burton spun on Lap 123 while running 11th and dropped to 36th, the last car on the lead lap and somehow never touched anyone as he spun down. He crashed again on Lap 139. Burton dropped from second to third in the points standings. Burton ended a streak of 23 straight top-15 finishes since Lowe’s last October.
    * David Reutimann got the “free pass” — earning his way up a lap — five times tying the all-time record for the most free passes in a race set by Kyle Busch at Watkins Glen in 2006.
    * A last-lap crash ended the race under caution.
    * This was the sixth green-white-checkered finish in 2008.(ESPN.com)(7-7-2008)

News from July 6, 2008

  • More cuts at Ganassi? With 71 employees already in the unemployment line, Chip Ganassi Racing is looking to cut another 30 jobs from its stock-car operations, several current employees said Saturday. The team shut down the #40 Dodge earlier this week after it wasn’t able to find a sponsor for driver Dario Franchitti. With that came layoffs, some of them surprising. Several team sources confirmed that department heads often weren’t included in the decision-making process. Some employees who were laid off had been with SABCO Racing long before Ganassi bought the team from Felix Sabates in 2001. While the #40 Dodge was missing from Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, most of that team still had a job. The cuts last week affected the #41 and #42 teams more than the 40. Most of the mechanics from Reed Sorenson’s and Juan Pablo Montoya’s team received their pink slips, replaced by members of the defunct team. Franchitti, the reigning IndyCar Series champion, has struggled to make the transition to stock cars. Ganassi has offered him a ride in the Nationwide Series for the rest of the season, but the Scot has yet to make a decision. Those left behind now are bracing for more cuts. Many of those who lost their jobs last week apparently didn’t take the news well. In fact, the team had 12 police officers on hand to keep order.(Florida Times Union)(7-6-2008) Comment here

  • Ragan to return to #6 in 2009: Roush Fenway Racing officials confirmed Sunday that David Ragan will be back behind the wheel of the #6 Ford next season. Sponsor negotiations to replace AAA on the #6 are awaiting the completion of Stewart’s deal, though team sources confirmed that Office Depot will not be back at Roush Fenway Racing next season.(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008) Comment here

  • France hopes automakers stick with NASCAR: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said Friday that he is cognizant that Detroit’s Big Three automakers are suffering critical financial problems, but he’s hopeful they will continue to support NASCAR next year and beyond, despite dire circumstances. The news coming out of Detroit in recent weeks has been beyond dismal: General Motors stock has lost nearly 75% of its value in the last nine months and is trading at a 54-year low. Ford Motor Co. stock has fallen nearly 50% in just the last three months, and auto analysts have been predicting that Chrysler LLC will either file bankruptcy or divide the company and sell it piecemeal. According to a report, GM is pulling the plug on its 12 NASCAR track sponsorships, including Daytona International Speedway. That would be the first step of a reduction in Big Three spending in NASCAR. It likely will get worse before it gets better. Some of the more dire predictions among industry websites are that one or more of the Big Three could abandon NASCAR entirely, or perhaps the Nationwide or Craftsman Truck Series. Friday at Daytona, France acknowledged that the automakers are going through tough circumstances. “Well, look, they’re going through a very difficult time and I’m not going to read into all of their issues because they would be better to speak to those,” France said during his annual midseason media press conference. “They have repeatedly told us that their longstanding positions in NASCAR work well. And they’ve got to market their products, whatever their products are going to be. This is a place where they come and get to actually be part of the sport in a way that’s so unique and so different than any other sport.” Still, France acknowledged that NASCAR could well be affected by the chaos in Detroit. “Obviously, with their challenges come reviews and everything else, and we’ll have to see how that goes,” France told reporters. “It would be … we’ll just have to see. Those are the kind of decisions that they’ll need to make. Wish they were more healthy. Think that they will be at some point.”(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008)
    GM Plans to stay: Despite the severe economic problems that General Motors Corp. is experiencing, the automaker’s NASCAR point person said Sunday that GM remains committed to NASCAR. Alba Colon, GM Racing program manager for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, told SPEEDtv.com that she expects that in 2009, GM will fund its NASCAR operations at the same level it is this year. Colon would not discuss specifics about reports that GM would scale back some specific elements of its program, including its track sponsorships.(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008)Comment here

  • Yates close to sponsorship..and a 3rd team?: Doug Yates, who has been worried that he might not make it to year two as a NASCAR team owner, is doing better now, according to Roush, a fellow Ford team owner, who said sponsorship is coming through for Yates — not only enough sponsorship to keep Yates’ two teams going but to allow Yates to expand to a three-car operation [currently #28, #38). No word on who the third driver might be.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2008) Comment here

  • Almirola to run #8 fulltime for DEI in 2009 UPDATE 2: An official announcement that Aric Almirola will drive the #8 car at Dale Earnhardt Inc. full time next season will be made on Tuesday, sources close to the situation said. The decision to put Almirola into the U.S. Army-sponsored car full time had nothing to do with Martin’s decision to return to a full-time Sprint Cup schedule and make one last run at a championship, sources said. It had more to do with advancing Almirola’s talents and taking advantage of the appeal he has shown with sponsors looking for a younger driver. One of those is U.S. Army, whose target audience fits the 24-year-old Almirola much more than the 49-year-old Martin.(ESPN.com)(7-1-2008)
    UPDATE: After spending two seasons sharing a car with veteran Mark Martin, 24-year-old Aric Almirola will take over the #8 Sprint Cup Series Chevy full time in 2009. “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity,” said Almirola. “When you get into racing, you always dream of competing at the highest level and I’ve had the chance to do that on a limited basis for the past two seasons. Now I will have the opportunity to race the car full time and I could not be more excited about driving the #8 car each week for Dale Earnhardt Inc. This is a really great race team to work with. (Crew Chief) Tony Gibson and these guys have put me in really good race cars this season and they’ve never treated me like a rookie. They are committed to being competitive every week and I’m really looking forward to working with them on a weekly basis next season.” Martin, who has driven the #8 in 12 events this season, will compete in 12 more races this year before moving to another team for the 2009 campaign. Almirola will compete in the balance of the season’s seven races. In addition to his time in the Sprint Cup Series, Almirola has made 27 starts in the Nationwide Series, earning four poles and one win at Milwaukee in 2007.(DEI PR), there is no mention of a sponsor of the US Army in the press release.(7-1-2008)
  • UPDATE 2: What DEI didn’t announce was a sponsor for Almirola, but DEI President Max Siegel indicated that the team has solidified those plans. Currently, the U.S. Army sponsors that car but it has not announced whether it would remain with DEI next year as it goes through its annual bidding process. “We’re fine,” Siegel said. “We’ll make the announcements of who it is over time.” Siegel said the team is still looking for sponsorship for the #01 car of Smith to be able to keep that car on the track and he said there was nothing new to report on Truex’s status for next year. Truex faces the prospect of losing 100 or 150 points as penalty for his team presenting a car that didn’t meet NASCAR’s roof templates.(SceneDaily)(7-6-2008) Comment here
  • Carpentier rookie of the race: #10-Patrick Carpentier scored a 14th-place finish in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. This is Carpentier’s best finish in 18 Sprint Cup Series races. His previous best effort was 22nd at Watkins Glen International in 2007. Carpentier’s best finish of the 2008 season was 23rd-place at Infineon Raceway. For the first time this season, all Raybestos Rookies that competed in a Sprint Cup Series races finished on the lead lap.(Raybestos PR)(7-6-2008)

  • Penske back at the track: Legendary team owner Roger Penske,71, missed his second consecutive NASCAR race weekend after having a scheduled medical procedure (related to his kidney) two weeks ago. Team president Tim Cindric handled the day-to-day operations for both the NASCAR and IndyCar teams in his absence. “The Captain,” as Penske is known, is expected back at the track today for the IndyCar Series race in Watkins Glen, N.Y.(Tampa Tribune)(7-6-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News – Irma Combs: Mrs. Irma B. Combs, 89 of Shelby NC, passed away Saturday, July 5, 2008. She was employed for 20 years with NASCAR as a track steward until 1970. Her late husband was Roby Combs, Pioneer NASCAR Flagman. She is survived by two sons, Roby S. Combs and Phil Combs, both of Shelby; two grandchildren, Shane Combs of Charleston and Tara Combs of Shelby; and a great-grandchild, Hannah Banicki-Combs of Charleston. Visitation info can be found at the Clay-Barnette Funeral Home website.(7-6-2008)


    News from July 5, 2008

  • Stewart Ill and replaced in car: #20-Stewart was ill before the race, had an IV in the infield care center at Daytona, and felt better, but as the Coke Zero 400 progressed, Stewart felt worst and was replaced by former teammate, J.J. Yeley on lap 73. Yeley drives the #96 DLP Toyota, but failed to make the race.(7-5-2008)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Daytona: #18-Kyle Busch won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway for his 6th win of 2008 and the 10th of his career. The race ended with a green-white-checkered finish with #24-Gordon getting spun by #99-Edwards on the restart, no caution was thrown as Gordon was out of the way and was able to get going THEN just after the white flag was waved, there was a big wreck behind the leaders and the yellow came out with the video showing #18-Busch ahead of #99-Edwards. The rest of the top-10 were #17-Kenseth, #2-Busch, #6-Ragan, #7-Gordon, #9-Kahne, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #07-Bowyer and #8-Martin. NOTE: the results are under review and could change a bit. There were 11 cautions for 33 laps and their were 21 lead changes among 10 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Daytona Race Results Awards Page.(7-5-2008) Comment here
  • REVISED Drivers Points Standings [after Daytona race 18 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2686 [6 wins]
    2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2504 -182 [1 win]
    3) #31-Jeff Burton 2484 -202 [1 win]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 2437 -249 [3 wins][would be 2nd w/out 100pts penalty]
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2319 -367 [1 win]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2249 -437
    7) #11-Denny Hamlin 2240 -446 [1 win]
    8) #9-Kasey Kahne 2177 -509 [2 wins]
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth 2166 -520
    10) #07-Clint Bowyer 2159 -527 [1 win][16 pts ahead of 13th]
    11) #16-Greg Biffle 2153 -533 [10 pts ahead of 13th]
    12) #20-Tony Stewart 2145 -541 [only 2 pts ahead of 13th
    CHASE contenders
    12) #29-Kevin Harvick 2143 -543 [only 2 pts out of the Chase]
    13) #6-David Ragan 2043 643 [-102]
    14) #83-Brian Vickers 2033 -653 [-112]
    18) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1907 -779 [-238 out of Chase after the penalty]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.(7-5/8-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs…Who got a lap back on each caution at Daytona: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #21-Wood, still 7 laps down, 33rd
    Caution 2: #60-Said, 35th
    Caution 3: #09-Marlin, 41st
    Caution 4: #44-Reutimann, still 4 laps down, 21st
    Caution 5: #44-Reutimann, still 3 laps down, 21st
    Caution 6: #44-Reutimann, still 2 laps down, 21st
    Caution 7: #44-Reutimann, still 1 lap down, 21st
    Caution 8: #44-Reutimann, WOW back on the lead lap, 21st
    Caution 9: #26-McMurray, still 5 laps down, 32nd
    Caution 10: none awarded with 10 or less laps left in race
    Caution 11: none awarded with 10 or less laps left in race
    (7-5-2008)
  • Daytona International Speedway Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #60 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 20
    2 #60 Running the stop & go sign/light OL 22
    3 #60 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 20
    4 #12 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 44
    5 #01 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 71
    6 #15 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 71
    7 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 71
    8 #42 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 71
    9 #16 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 70
    10 #31 Removing equipment from assigned pit area TE 72
    11 #09 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 110
    12 #6 Non-compliant refueling (overflow container) TE 125
    13 #26 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 131 14 #48 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 157 15 #11 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 157
    16 #01 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 157
    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)(7-5-2008)
  • Latest on the Grant lawsuit: NASCAR has nearly completed its investigation of the allegations made by former Nationwide Series inspector Mauricia Grant in a $225 million discrimination lawsuit, CEO Brian France said in his annual midseason question-and-answer session Friday. Grant, who is black, is alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination in a lawsuit filed last month. She discussed her accusations in detail on ESPN this week. France reiterated that NASCAR will vigorously defend itself in court, but he didn’t discuss any specifics of the case. “My own experience with lawsuits over many years is, by the time the facts ultimately catch up to the actual lawsuit, they’re usually a whole lot different than the claims that are made on the front end when you’re after a lot of money,” France said.(Tampa Tribune)(7-5-2008)
  • Congrats to Elliott Sadler: #19-Elliott Sadler has already had a big week. On Tuesday he proposed to his girlfriend, Amanda Prince, who is also from his hometown of Empopria, Va. She said yes, and they’ve already picked a January [17th] date for the wedding.(Thatsracin)(7-5-2008) Comment here
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kyle Busch won the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. Busch started ninth in the race. He scored his 10th-career series victory in 132 races. He remained first in the standings with an unofficial points lead of 182 points over second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr., the largest points lead of the season. It was his sixth series victory in 2008, the most among all drivers. It was his first victory in eight races at Daytona and was his second career restrictor-plate win. He also won Talladega in April. Busch became the sixth different race winner in the last six races at Daytona. Busch scored his fourth top-5 finish in the last five races at Daytona. He led 31 of the 162 laps raced including the final seven. Busch’s last win was at Infineon two races ago.
    * Toyota scored its seventh victory in 2008. Dodge and Chevrolet each have four while Ford has three.
    * This was Joe Gibbs Racing’s fourth series victory at Daytona. Gibbs Racing has seven wins in 2008, the most of any team.
    * 15 of the 18 races in 2008 have been won from a top-10 starting position. The only three races in 2008 that were not won from a top-10 starting position were at Richmond when Clint Bowyer won from the 31st starting position, at Infineon with Kyle Busch winning from 30th and New Hampshire where Kurt Busch started 26th.
    * Carl Edwards finished second, scoring his eighth top-10 finish in the last nine races. He remained fourth in the standings.
    * Matt Kenseth finished third, posting his seventh top-10 finish in his last eight races.
    * Kenseth climbed from 13th to ninth in the points standings, his highest points position in 2008. He now is 23 points ahead of 13th-place Kevin Harvick. Kenseth ranked 22nd eight races ago after Richmond.
    * A mere 34 points separate eighth-place Kasey Kahne from 13th-place Harvick with eight races remaining in the race to the 12-driver Chase.
    * Harvick is just two points behind 12th-place Tony Stewart.
    * Martin Truex Jr. is 14th, 88 points behind 12th-place Stewart.
    * Kurt Busch finished fourth, posting his second top-5 finish in as many weeks. He only has four top-10 finishes this season.
    * David Ragan finished fifth, posting his second top-five restrictor-plate finish this season. He finished fourth at Talladega in April.
    * Robby Gordon (sixth) posted his best finish of the season. It was his best finish since he finished fifth at Watkins Glen last August.
    * Patrick Carpentier (14th) posted his career-best finish.
    * Pole winner Paul Menard led 19 laps in the s race. He had led just eight laps in his previous 56 career races.
    * Stewart became ill and did a driver change on Lap 73, being replaced by J.J. Yeley. Stewart was running ninth prior to the switch and Yeley restarted 33rd still on the lead lap.
    * Winner Kyle Busch had a “steering problem” on Lap 82 dropping from third to 37th which actually was the result of contact with teammate Denny Hamlin.
    * Jeff Burton spun on Lap 123 while running 11th and dropped to 36th, the last car on the lead lap and somehow never touched anyone as he spun down. He crashed again on Lap 139. Burton dropped from second to third in the points standings. Burton ended a streak of 23 straight top-15 finishes since Lowe’s last October.
    * David Reutimann got the “free pass” — earning his way up a lap — five times tying the all-time record for the most free passes in a race set by Kyle Busch at Watkins Glen in 2006.
    * A last-lap crash ended the race under caution.
    * This was the sixth green-white-checkered finish in 2008.(ESPN.com)(7-7-2008)
  • Stewart Ill and replaced in car: #20-Stewart was ill before the race, had an IV in the infield care center at Daytona, and felt better, but as the Coke Zero 400 progressed, Stewart felt worst and was replaced by former teammate, J.J. Yeley on lap 73. Yeley drives the #96 DLP Toyota, but failed to make the race.(7-5-2008)
  • Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #15-Paul Menard’s team chose the first pit stall selection for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Outside pole sitter, #8-Mark Martin chose the next stall with an opening in front of it, stall 21, #60-Boris Said chose the last pit stall. See the full pit stall selections on my Daytona Pit Stall Selection page.(7-5-2008)

  • FREE Coke Zero: For several members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, a victory in the inaugural Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola was so close they could taste it. Although the drivers were unsuccessful in their bid to take the checkered flag, millions of fans in the U.S. still have an opportunity to get a “Taste of Victory” of their own. Through the Coke Zero “Taste of Victory” program, if one of the 13 drivers sponsored by Coca-Cola won the Coke Zero 400, fans would be able to enjoy the Real Coke Taste and Zero Calories of Coke Zero for free. Even without a victory, Kyle Petty – a founding member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family and analyst in the TNT broadcast booth for the race – announced that in celebration of the inaugural Coke Zero 400 at iconic Daytona International Speedway, fans would still be able to receive free Coke Zero. Any U.S. resident 13 years of age or older can simply visit www.CokeZero.com through July 13 and follow the instructions to receive a coupon for a free 20-ounce bottle of Coke Zero. In addition to quenching their thirst, fans can help support a charity close to the hearts of Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers. Coke Zero will donate $1 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp on behalf of the first 10,000 people who visit CokeZero.com to request a free coupon.(Coca-Cola PR)(7-5-2008)

  • Another open wheeler out of the mix, Castroneves to stay in IRL:Helio Castroneves has agreed to a long-term contract with Penske Racing IndyCar Series team, squelching rumors he was considering a jump to NASCAR. Castroneves declined to confirm details except to say it is a multiyear contract. Castroneves was to become a free agent at the end of the season. “We don’t have it signed, but we have everything agreed to,” Castroneves said Friday at Watkins Glen International, site of Sunday’s Indy Racing League event. “It’s good.” Team president Tim Cindric confirmed the oral agreement. Series officials were ecstatic with the news. “That’s excellent, cool, very good, it’s huge,” said Terry Angstadt, the president of the league’s commercial division. “You look at the breakthrough names (in the series) and it’s Helio and Danica at this stage. Those two are very important names. It’s critical to have Helio here not just with his personality but his talent and all the things he brings to the table.” Castroneves is the first piece of the IndyCar Series’ driver puzzle to fall into place for the 2009 season. Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti also have contracts that expire at the end of the season. Wheldon has said he is working through the details to remain with Ganassi Racing, and Andretti figures to return to his family-owned Andretti Green Racing.(Indianapolis Star)(7-5-2008) Comment here

  • First Daytona pole for DEI: #15-Paul Menard’s Pole in the qualifying session for the Coke Zero 400 is the first by any Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, the pole is the first by a DEI driver in the Sprint Cup Series at either of the two NASCAR restrictor plate tracks (Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway). Menard will start alongside Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammate Mark Martin in the race. The second-place qualifying effort is Martin’s best at Daytona since 1990 and his best at a restrictor plate track since qualifying second at Talladega in 1991.(DEI PR) and NO, Dale Jr nor Waltrip never won a pole at Daytona or Talladega with DEI and neither did Steve Park, he won a Daytona pole while with RCR’s #30 team.(7-5-2008) Comment here

  • JTG Racing…to CUP? UPDATE: hearing JTG Racing could move up to Sprint Cup in 2009 with Marcos Ambrose driving and the team could switch from Ford to Chevy, no idea if Daugherty would be part of this deal. Other rumors have Ambrose going to the #21 of the Wood Brothers in 2009, that team would remain a Ford. Ambrose is schedule to run eight races this season in the #21 and four in the #47 Ford fielded by JTG Racing.(6-25-2008)
    UPDATE: JTG Racing owner Tad Geschickter said Friday he hopes to move Marcos Ambrose to the Sprint Cup Series next season, in addition to having Nationwide and truck series teams in 2009. The Australian Ambrose, in his second season in NASCAR’s No. 2 series, made his Cup debut at Infineon Raceway last month for Wood Brothers Racing. Ambrose is slated to drive four Cup races later this year under the JTG banner. JTG currently fields two cars in the Nationwide Series, for Ambrose and Kelly Bires. Geschickter said Bires would stay in the Nationwide Series in 2009, with Coleman Pressley to drive for the team in the truck series. The team currently fields Fords but Geschickter said the manufacturer the team will be affiliated with next year is open.(SceneDaily.com)(7-5-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR could make changes to drug testing policy soon: From Brian France’s press conference Friday at Daytona:
    Q: WHAT’S THE LATEST ON DRUG TESTING?
    FRANCE: “We’re about completed with our look at our policy and we’ve said before that we have a longstanding policy that we think works well. We’ve also acknowledged that there’s different circumstances and different things that are going on today that might not have gone on when we originated the policy and if there are ways to improve it and there probably will be, we will. We’ll have those answers pretty shortly. I would think within a month to six weeks we should be ready to … and I wouldn’t look for some dramatic change in our policy because the basis of our policy, No. 1 we can test any time that we want for cause. The other key ingredient, and I’ve told a lot of people this, you can have any policy you want but if the punishments aren’t tough, that’s the ultimate deterrent and if you look at lifetime suspsensions, which we have several out there today, you look at what happens on a first infraction. In our sport, its’ very severe and it probably means that your career could be over, probably will be over. Certainly in a second infraction, probably will end a career. A third will get you a lifetime suspension and so while our policy ought to be looked at and reviewed, it’s important to point out we’ve got some very strong parts in our policy that we want to make sure that we preserve.”(Roanoke Times)(7-5-2008) Comment here

  • Presidential Candidates to Visit Races? Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama could make campaign stops at NASCAR tracks in the next few months. NASCAR chairman Brian France said Friday that he has extended invitations to both camps and expects the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees to accept. “We would welcome both of them at various times and places,” France said. “And I anticipate seeing both of them. NASCAR has historically been a place that politicians have come to interact and get noticed by our fans and just be part of our sport. My anticipation is we’ll see both of them. We’ll see.”(Associated Press/Fox Sports)(7-5-2008) Comment here

  • Goodyear Announces Victory Lane Medallion Medallion Program:Now, thanks to The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Sprint Cup team members will have a keepsake that honors their hard work and commemorates each race win. Goodyear announced a new tradition for the Sprint Cup Series, its Victory Lane Medallion program. Now, each week in victory lane, the winning team owner, crew chief and driver will be awarded a three-inch medallion to go along with 100 two-inch medallions to reward team members. Each Victory Lane Medallion is die struck on both sides to resemble a mounted Goodyear Eagle tire. On one side there will also include the word “Winner” above the specific track logo, as well as the race date and Goodyear’s winning left-side tire code. The opposite side will be stamped with Goodyear’s right-side tire code and will be sequentially numbered up to 100. A limited number of sets of the complete fan version of the Victory Lane Medallions – called the Goodyear Eagle Race Win Medallion Set — are available for purchase through the Racing Collectibles Club of America (RCCA) by calling 1-800-952-0708. The Goodyear Eagle Collection is only available through the RCCA offering. The sets are in limited edition, sequentially numbered and come with a die-cut leather carrying folio.(Goodyear PR)(7-5-2008) Comment here


    News from July 4, 2008

  • Martin back to fulltime in 2009, to the #5 HMS car: Mark Martin has signed a two-year agreement to drive for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2009. Martin will race the full 2009 Sprint Cup schedule in the #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy, becoming teammates with #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. It will mark his first full season of Cup competition since 2006, when he finished ninth in points. A Batesville, Ark., native, Martin also is slated to run a partial Sprint Cup schedule for Hendrick Motorsports in 2010, sharing the #5 Chevys with a to-be-determined second driver. Martin will enter 26 events, including the non-points Budweiser Shootout and Sprint All-Star Race. “Mark is an incredible racer and one of the classiest guys around,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, whose organization will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009. “He is a driver who makes everyone around him better, and our entire company is going to benefit from his presence.”
    “I feel very fortunate to have this chance to win races and go after a championship with Hendrick Motorsports,” Martin said. “Coming back full time wasn’t something we planned, but driving the #5 car, with all its history, was an impossible opportunity to pass up. Rick and I have enjoyed a great relationship over the years, and we’ve always talked about doing this. Now it’s working out, and we’re both excited about the possibilities.” Martin, 49, will be paired with crew chief Alan Gustafson, who now is in his fourth season at the helm of the #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy team. Gustafson has posted four Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief and has a history with Martin, having worked with him in multiple Nationwide Series events.(HMS PR/Markmartin.com)(7-4-2008) Comment here

  • Menard and Yates? John Menard, the wealthy businessman (Menards, the privately owned home improvements company), may be losing interest in NASCAR racing after so many years, according to sources. Menard, whose son #15-Paul is driving for DEI, is reportedly in negotiations with Ford’s Jack Roush, perhaps to help fellow owner Doug Yates keep afloat in this sport, which would involve a move from Chevrolet to Ford. “I don’t have any idea what might be going on there,” DEI’s Story said. “We just met with John, and everything is good.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2008) Comment here

  • Gibbs to 4 teams in 2009? maybe: Will Joe and J. D. Gibbs have four Cup teams in 2009? It’s looking good. “I wouldn’t rule it out….but we’re in no hurry,” J. D. Gibbs says. “If everything lines up well, great. But if you don’t have all the parts there, don’t do it. “We’ve done this before. We’ve got the key guys already. So we’ll sit down with Mark Cronquist (the team engine man) and Jimmy Makar (the team manager) and the guys and talk it over. And if the time is right, we’ll do it. The driver is key, obviously. The crew, we’d be in good shape. The infrastructure is all there. But we won’t do it until everyone signs off on it. Joey Logano? What I’ve seen is the guys who are really talented, they don’t need much time. He’s been on a track since he was six. And, like we’ve seen with Tony (Stewart) and Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin), those guys ‘pop’ right away. Joey fits that mold. Some guys do get better after a while. But usually if you don’t come out of the box strong, it’s hard to say ‘he’s going to get better down the road.’”
    And how about Juan Pablo Montoya? Is he a candidate for a Gibbs’ ride? “We think the world of Juan…though I wouldn’t ask Kyle that question this week,” Gibbs said, laughing about the Busch-Montoya run-in at Loudon Sunday. “I don’t know Juan’s situation…. “But to the best of my understanding he’s there (at Chip Ganassi’s). So we’re not going to look at that. We’re actually talking more about 2010 (when Stewart’s contract is up).”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR and UTI Foundation Establish Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund: Recognizing there are many women interested in pursuing careers in the automotive industry, NASCAR and the UTI Foundation established the Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund for women seeking an automotive technical education. Davis, a Universal Technical Institute (UTI) graduate and NASCAR Sprint Cup official, died tragically earlier this year at age 28, and is honored by this scholarship created to encourage women to seek a career in the automotive industry. The Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund is intended to provide an opportunity for a qualified female student who wishes to attend the NASCAR Technical Automotive Program at the UTI’s NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. Each year a $10,000 scholarship will be presented to one student to attend NASCAR Tech. Criteria and application information for this scholarship is available on the UTI Foundation website at www.utifoundation.net. The inaugural scholarship was made possible by proceeds raised through an online auction of the NASCAR Performance Show Car during The NASCAR Foundation’s initiatives for NASCAR Day 2008. The NASCAR Foundation started NASCAR Day five years ago to bring together fans, corporations, schools and organizations to raise money for others who need it most. At this year’s event, NASCAR enthusiasts were invited to make monetary contributions and bid on the NASCAR Performance Show Car donated to The NASCAR Foundation by NASCAR’s Automotive Aftermarket Department. Every dollar of the $16,000 winning bid for the car has been designated for the Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund. Future years of the program will rely on funding through charitable contributions made to the UTI Foundation and The NASCAR Foundation. Those interested in contributing to the fund should go the www.utifoundation.net or www.nascar.com/foundation.(NASCAR PR)(7-4-2008)
  • Sad News – Bob Reuther: ““Bullet Bob” Reuther, the first track champion in Music City Motorplex [Nashville] 50 years ago, died this [July 3rd] morning after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. He grew up in Nashville and during a Navy stint was stationed in Seattle where he saw his first race car. When he returned he helped create a local league that raced on a dirt track on Cowan Street called Cumberland Speedway. His local success led him to other tracks in the South and then to Daytona Beach, Fla. In 1947 he set a beach record of 150.250 mph in the Modified Division that still stands. A decade later, the Fairgrounds track was built in Nashville and in 1958 Reuther won the first championship. He also raced in three Grand National (pre-Winston Cup) races, including Nashville in 1959 and 1960. Reuther owned and operated an electronics business to support his family and his racing. He also was a licensed pilot and flew his godson, Bobby Hamilton, to many of his NASCAR races. Visitation is Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at Nashville’s Woodlawn Funeral Home. The service is at 2:30 p.m. Monday at Woodlawn.(Tennessean)(7-4-2008)

  • NASCAR slashing prices on memorabilia: Borrowing a page from late President Gerald Ford, the people who sell authentic NASCAR memorabilia are trying to help cash-strapped fans by lowering prices.Motorsports Authentics said it would cut prices of Sprint Cup team jackets by $30 and standard die-cast car models by $10, among other reductions, starting with this weekend’s race at Daytona International Speedway. The twill jackets normally retail for $120 and the die-casts for about $75. The promotion is called “Whip Inflation Now,” the name given to Ford’s attempt in 1974 to encourage the public’s help in curbing rising prices. “We know times are hard for all Americans right now,” said Mark Dyer, chief executive of Motorsports Authentics, adding that the price cuts apply to sales at tracks and online.(Los Angeles Times)(7-4-2008)Comment here
  • New Hampshire TV Ratings equal 2007s: NASCAR delivered a 3.4/8 (5.5 mill.) this Sunday on TNT for a rain-shortened race from New Hampshire. Sunday’s 3.4/8 matches last year’s TNT rating for the same race.(PR and Zap2it.com)(7-4-2008) Comment here
  • Chase notes going into Daytona: Only 56 points separate 9th place #20-Tony Stewart, 10th place #9-Kasey Kahne, 11th place #07-Clint Bowyer, 12th place #29-Kevin Harvick and 13th place #17-Matt Kenseth. Harvick finished four spots ahead of Kenseth at Loudon and unseated him from the final “bubble spot” in the Top-12. Call it a fluke win on fuel mileage and weather forecasting, but 2004 Chase champ #2-Kurt Busch can use the victory at New Hampshire as a springboard to another comeback to make the 2008 Chase. He catapulted four positions forward to 18th and now sits 222 out of 12th place. This time last season, he was 236 points out, but was in 15th place. So, he’s got six cars to pass instead of three. Don’t count out the #2 car yet. Even though the pit rotation and weather cost #83-Brian Vickers a top five finish, the former Nationwide Series champ is THE turnaround story of the 2008 season so far, at 23 positions better in the standings than this time last year. This team is running good enough to stalk the Top-12 with 113 points to make up over the next nine races. #6-David Ragan had the misfortune of getting caught up in the McMurray/Dale Jr. mishap and it cost him big in The Race to The Chase, dropping 81 points to 12th place. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s extra-curricular move on points leader #18-Kyle Busch cost him a two-lap penalty and precious points he can’t afford to lose if he wants to stay in contention for The Chase. See more at my Chase Stats page and Chase News page.(7-4-2008)
  • Menard on pole at Daytona: #15-Paul Menard won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 185.916mph for his first career pole in 57 Sprint Cup races. Menard’s DEI teammate, #8-Martin will start 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #78-Nemechek, #70-Sauter, #6-Ragan, #60-Said, #01-Smith, #18-Busch, and #10-Carpentier..
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #78-Nemechek, #70-Sauter, #60-Said, #10-Carpentier, #84-Allmendinger, #09-Marlin, and #21-Wood. Missing the race are #66-Riggs and #96-Yeley.
    For the starting linup, qualifying results, order, pole progression, see my Daytona Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-4-2008)
  • Daytona International Speedway Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Paul Menard won the Coors Light Pole for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, turning a lap of 185.916 mph/48.409 seconds.
    .. This is Menard’s first pole in 57 career Sprint Cup Series starts. His previous best career start was 13th at this season’s Dover race.
    .. Menard’s previous best start at Daytona was 21st at this season’s Daytona 500.
    .. Menard is the second first-time pole winner this season (Patrick Carpentier, New Hampshire).
    .. Mark Martin (second) notched his seventh top-10 start of the season, and 19th at Daytona.
    .. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) registered his 11th top-10 start of the season, and 13th at Daytona.
    .. Regan Smith (eighth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    .. Joe Nemechek (fourth) was the fastest of those drivers who were required to make the field on time.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-4-2008)
  • Daytona Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought these tire codes to the race track . . . after bringing different codes to run in the Daytona 500 in February, Goodyear tested here with Bobby Labonte, Mike Skinner and Jamie McMurray in May . . . compared to February, this left-side tire (D-4180) features a new construction and softer compound . . . this right-side tire (D-4182) features a slightly tougher compound with a revised mold shape . . . this is the only track at which these tire codes will be run in 2008 . . . teams in Nationwide Series will run different tire codes than those in the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona this week . . . as on all NASCAR’s 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. The estimated pit window is every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see my Daytona Race Info page.(7-4-2008)

  • Stewart ticked, defends Zippy: #20-Tony Stewart sharply defended crew chief Greg Zipadelli’s decision to pit late in last weekend’s race at New Hampshire, saying “it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.” Stewart dominated the race but wound up 13th when officials stopped it 17 laps early because of rain. Zipadelli called for the late pit stop — most of the leaders followed suit — and Stewart found himself in the middle of the pack when the rain started a few minutes later. Many of Stewart’s fans were critical this week of Zipadelli’s call. “You see all of this criticism from people and it’s people who can’t even control their own lives and they want to sit here and tell us how to run race teams on the weekend,” Stewart said. “I find that highly amusing that people think that they’ve got a better solution all the time than what we do. It’s easy after it’s all over to say, ‘Well you should’ve done this. What was he thinking? If they were that smart, they would be crew chiefs, and obviously they’re not that smart listening to the criticism. It just frustrates you as a driver knowing that you’ve got a crew chief that’s won two championships and 30-plus races with you that people think they are a lot smarter than and they’re not.”(Associated Press/ESPN)(7-4-2008) Comment here


    News from July 3, 2008

  • Office Depot to Stewart: been told that Office Depot will be the sponsor for Tony Stewart in 2009 when he drives for Haas CNC Racing which is will buy in to. Hearing the announcement of the buy and deal will be made in Indianapolis the week NASCAR is in Indy for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, July 27th. See past news nad rumors on this on my #70 Team News and #20 Team News pages.(7-3-2008)

  • Dale Jr. plans to race in Australia UPDATE…maybe: Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to make his Australian racing debut in a V8 Supercar at Sydney’s Oran Park this December [2008]. Earnhardt will race a Holden Commodore in V8’s junior feeder category, the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, at Oran Park’s curtain-closing Grand Finale before it is torn down to make way for redevelopment. Fujitsu V8 series team boss Scott Loadsman confirmed on Monday he will expand his current one-car team to two cars. He has purchased a Commodore from Paul Morris Motorsport, nicknamed ‘Gidget’. With Loadsman’s existing driver, series leader Steve Owen, more likely to use this newer chassis, Earnhardt is set to drive Owen’s current car. Coincidentally, its nickname is ‘Earnhardt’. Earnhardt first visited Australia at the 2007 V8 Grand Finale at Phillip Island during his end-of-season holiday as a guest of former V8 champ Marcos Ambrose. Morris gave Earnhardt a test in a V8 Supercar ride car at his facility on the Gold Coast, and Earnhardt has since remained in contact with the V8 driver. With the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race being held on November 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt will be able to fly to Australia in time for Oran Park on December 4-7.(Wheelsmag.com)(6-29-2008)
    UPDATE Many a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan has written Marty Smith of late to get the lowdown on his reported offseason jaunt to Australia to compete in the V8 Supercar Series. They want to know how and where they can see it and what time it airs stateside and what number he’ll be and what his car will look like and, above all else, just how excited he is about it. Well, there may not be a lowdown. At this point, it’s just in the discussion stage. A recent column posted on wheelsmag.com.au cited Earnhardt’s plans to make his Australian racing debut at Sydney’s Oran Park in early December, racing a Holden Commodore owned by Scott Loadsman in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series. But when Smith casually told Earnhardt how cool the deal sounded, his response was anything but giddy. Junior told Smith and Morris have indeed had candid discussions about Earnhardt racing in Australia, but that’s where the story ends. There are no specific plans at this time for him to run the season finale. He may ultimately race in Australia. He’d like to. But there’s still many variables that must be finalized before that will happen.(ESPN.com)(7-3-2008)Comment here

  • Franchitti undecided on future plans: Dario Franchitti isn’t sure what his future holds, but the former open-wheel star said Wednesday he’d like to remain in NASCAR. Franchitti lost his full-time ride Tuesday when team owner Chip Ganassi closed down the unsponsored No. 40 Dodge 17 races into Franchitti’s first season. The move also resulted in 71 layoffs. “This is not a decision he made lightly, and it shows how bad the economy is,” Franchitti told The Associated Press. “And you certainly never want to see all those people lose their jobs. I know for certain Chip struggled with that — I didn’t even recognize his voice when he called me to tell me what he had to do. But the decision has been made and now I’ll sit with Chip next week and decide what we’re going to do going forward.” Ganassi’s got sponsorship on his Nationwide Series car, and has offered Franchitti that seat going forward. Ganassi also has successful teams in the IRL and Grand Am Series. Franchitti wasn’t sure Wednesday what he’ll do next. “Let’s see what the future holds. I really just need to sit with Chip and see where his head is,” he said. “But NASCAR is where I want to be. I want to be successful here and I certainly don’t want it to end like this. I made a big commitment coming over here and I’d like to get in an opportunity to be successful.” Franchitti said he’ll skip Saturday night’s race in Daytona and, after briefly considering returning to England to watch the British Grand Prix, decided to stay at his Nashville, Tenn., home this weekend clearing his head. He doesn’t regret leaving the IRL for NASCAR. “When I made the decision to come here, I wasn’t going to do the IndyCar thing anymore so this isn’t a case of missing out on what could have been in Indy cars,” Franchitti said. “That just wasn’t a direction I wanted to go in. Never say never, but it’s unlikely I’ll go back.” He’s also not sure about moving to Grand-Am, where Ganassi drivers Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett are leading the standings. For now, he’s waiting to see what Ganassi has available for him and is hopeful something can be worked out in NASCAR. Although the results don’t show it, Franchitti and his team had made slow progress since he returned from his broken ankle four races ago. He started a career-best seventh last week in New Hampshire, but finished 38th.(Associated Press)(7-3-2008) Comment here

  • BAM Racing could return at Indy: #49 BAM Racing is targeting July 27’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard as a possible return date. “Beth Ann [Morgenthau, the team’s owner] loves Indianapolis, and if we can make that race, we’re definitely going to try to do that,” said BAM Racing spokesperson Rhett Vandiver. BAM last competed in a points race at Martinsville on March 30 with Ken Schrader behind the wheel. The team’s planned two-race sabbatical to facilitate a switch from Dodge to Toyota turned into a long-term hiatus when primary sponsorship fell through. While searching for a primary sponsor, the company has still been offering its Diamond Sponsorship Program, which allows companies with smaller marketing budgets to get signage on the car, along with other activation materials. When the program launched last year it was being offered at an introductory rate of just less than $5,000. While Vandiver said he didn’t know how many Diamond Sponsors were now onboard, he added that when the team does return to the track it will have a lot of new decals to make for the car. A large portion of BAM’s workforce has been laid off, but the general feeling around NASCAR circles is that team members are ready to come back at a moment’s notice. That includes the 53-year-old Schrader. “My understanding is he’s ready to go when we are,” Vandiver said.(Long Island Press), looks like a company, Hapmanmay be a sponsor, see images of the car recently at the shop at forum.stockcar-news.de and scroll down or see a couple on my #49 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2008) Comment here

  • Special scheme for #26 at Daytona: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 IRWIN Marathon with WeldTec Ford at Daytona Interntional Speedway this weekend in the Coke Zero 400, the same winning paint scheme from last July. This is a special paint scheme promoting IRWIN’s Marathon saw blades.(Roush Racing), see image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2008)

  • Reese’s on the #29 at Daytona: Reese’s, a major associate sponsor of RCR’s #29 Chevy of Kevin Harvick kicks into high gear this weekend in Daytona as Harvick and the #29 team transform their bright yellow-and-red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a bright orange Reese’s racing machine for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Reese’s has become the No. 1 selling candy bar in the United States and the Reese’s brand is the most successful brand owned by The Hershey Company. On Thursday, July 3, Harvick will officially wave the green flag on the Pennzoil Clean Change Challenge, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the need to properly dispose of used motor oil. Harvick will join Pennzoil and Wal-Mart’s finest team members in an attempt to collect 200 gallons of used motor oil in just two hours. The two-hour event, which will kick off at 10 a.m. at the Wal-Mart located at 1101 Beville Rd, in Daytona Beach, Fla., is designed to help ensure that used motor oil is properly recycled and that Florida’s drinking water stays clean. In honor of Harvick’s commitment, and to help motivate the local residents to participate Pennzoil is proud to donate $29 to the Central Florida Boy Scouts Council for each gallon of used oil collected.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2008)

  • Polaroid on the #41: Polaroid will be returning to the track on Reed Sorenson’s #41 Dodge this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Polaroid is proud to introduce its new POGO printer which prints pictures on the go in 60 seconds. This portable printer and other Polaroid products are available at Target.(Ganassi Racing PR), see images of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2008)

  • Special scheme for Truex at Daytona UPDATE: #1-Martin Truex Jr. will run a special paint scheme at Daytona next week in the Coke Zero 400. It promotes ‘Swing Vote’, in theaters August 1st. In addition, Kevin Costner will be on the pit box as the honorary crew chief. See an image of the scheme on my #1 Team Schemes page.(6-27-2008)
    UPDATE: Martin Truex’s car will carry a special paint scheme this weekend to promote Kevin Costner’s new movie, “Swing Vote”, opening in theaters August 1. The actor will also serve as honorary crew chief for the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevy. “We don’t run that many special paint schemes in a season, so it’s really cool to be doing this with Kevin,” Truex said with a laugh. “I’ll have to make a deal with him, though. I won’t try to act if he doesn’t try to make the calls for us on pit road.”(DEI PR)(7-3-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway was rained out and cancelled.(7-3-2008)
  • 1st Thursday practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is over, the fastest were:
    #2-Busch 189.633
    #9-Kahne 189.143
    #20-Stewart 188.846
    #6-Ragan 188.513
    #31-Burton 188.450
    slowest: #21-Wood 182.741 and #00-McDowell 182.867
    no speed listed: #1-Truex Jr.
    incident: #2-Busch lost a right front tire and slammed the wall and will have to go to a backup car
    For the speeds and laps run, see my Daytona Practice Speeds page.(7-3-2008)
  • Hinton finds a home…at ESPN: Award-winning sports journalist Ed Hinton, entering his fourth decade in the profession, has joined ESPN.com as a senior writer. Hinton will focus on motorsports to serve fans through ESPN’s digital platforms. “We’re thrilled to welcome Ed,” said Rob King, editor-in-chief of ESPN.com. “His talent and experience makes our strong motorsports writing team of Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, Ryan McGee, David Newton and Marty Smith even stronger, and we very much look forward to Ed’s work appearing on our platforms.” Most recently Hinton was senior reporter for auto racing with the Tribune Co. newspaper chain, writing for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Previously he was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, where he covered auto racing, the NFL, college football and Major League Baseball. Before that he worked for The National sports daily and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
    Hinton has won numerous professional journalism awards, some transcending sports, including the Scripps-Howard Foundation First Amendment Award in 2001. Twice, he has led reporting teams nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and he has also won several awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors’ largest-circulation newspaper categories, and recognition from United Press International, Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism society and the National Motorsports Press Association. He is the author of two books. Born in Laurel, Miss., Hinton attended the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.S. degree in journalism.(ESPN PR)(7-3-2008) Comment here
  • Yeley goes for a journey ay Daytona: In Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, J.J. Yeley’s #96 DLP HDTV Toyota will have a special paint scheme featuring the film “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” which is set to be released July 11. The film, based on the Jules Verne novel, is a co-venture between New Line Cinema and Walden Media and is the first live-action feature film to be shot and released entirely in digital 3-D. What does this have to do with DLP? Given that more than 700 theaters throughout the United States offer the digital 3-D experience powered by DLP Cinema technology, several Americans will watch this historic movie thanks to DLP products.(True Comminications/JGR PR)(7-3-2008)
  • Daytona Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 29 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Smith scored a 27th-place finish and claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the sixth time in 2008. #10-Patrick Carpentier won his first Sprint Cup Series pole position at New Hampshire and it came in his 17th career start. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to win a pole since Denny Hamlin grabbed the top starting position at the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Racewa, a span of 62 races. Carpentier was also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at New Hampshire, holding the top spot once for four laps. He also led once for four laps at Darlington Raceway (race No. 11). #77-Sam Hornish Jr. leads Smith by five points (162-157) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 5 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Greg Biffle is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Coke Zero 400. Biffle won the race in 2003, scoring his first career win in the Sprint Cup Series. Biffle crossed the finish line 4.102 second ahead of second place finisher Jeff Burton and led only once, covering the final 21 laps. He was the only Raybestos Rookie to score a win during the 2003 season. Since 1975, only three Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the Coke Zero 400: 1979-Dale Earnhardt, third; 1993-Jeff Gordon, fifth; 2003-Greg Biffle, FIRST. Three Raybestos Rookies have won the pole position for the Coke Zero 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 Coke Zero 400 (twice for 32 laps in 1987).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see Rookies standings, history or more on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-3-2008)

  • Five NASCAR-related nominations for the ESPY Awards: There are five NASCAR-related nominations for this year’s 16th annual ESPY Awards. #18-Kyle Busch is involved in three of the five. At last summer’s Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, #26-Jamie McMurray edged Busch for the victory by a margin of only .005-seconds, the second-closest margin since NASCAR instituted electronic scoring in 1993. That spectacular under-the-lights ending has been nominated in the “Best Finish” category. Busch also is nominated in the “Best Breakthrough Athlete” category and in the “Best Driver” category. Two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Dario Franchitti also are nominated for Best Driver. Franchitti’s nomination was based primarily on his splendid 2007 season in open-wheel racing, when he won the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series championship. The “2008 ESPYs” will be held July 16 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. This marks the first time for the show at the Nokia Theatre, following a six-year run at the Kodak Theatre. The show – hosted annually by ESPN – will be televised on Sunday, July 20 at 9pm/et on ESPN and ESPN HD, hosted by Justin Timberlake. All awards are determined by an online fan vote. Fans can vote on-line for their favorites in all ESPY categories by going to:promo.espn.go.com.(NASCAR PR)(7-3-2008) Comment here

  • Hendrick and Mears to part ways after 2008 season UPDATE:Hendrick Motorsports and driver Casey Mears will part ways following the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. “We’ve put a ton of emphasis on the #5 program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We’ve tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven’t come. None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he’s confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too.” Mears will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup campaign in Hendrick’s #5 Chevrolets. “I know the effort has been there, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it,” Mears said. “I’ve never tested this much or put more energy into racing. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to make it click. It’s certainly not for lack of dedication on anyone’s part. I’ll talk to people about opportunities and get my 2009 plans wrapped up soon, but I’m also focused on the next 20 races and finishing 2008 on a positive note. We ran well the second half last year, and I know we can do it again. I want to close this season the right way.” Hendrick Motorsports will announce its 2009 plans at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), rumor has Mark Martin taking this ride in 2009, either as full-time or part-time.(6-27-2008)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports will hold a news conference at the press conference room in the Daytona International Speedway infield media center in Daytona Beach, FL on Friday, July 4 at 12:30pm/et to announce future plans for its #5 Chevrolet team. Owner Rick Hendrick will be in attendance.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-3-2008) Comment here


    News from July 2, 2008

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr at Daytona: To honor the National Guard and this weekend’s Fourth of July holiday, the #88 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a special, hand-painted camouflage ACU (Army Combat Uniform) scheme. The National Guard Defending Freedom (ACU)/AMP Energy Chevy took two days and 10 coats of DuPont paint to finish. The scheme was unveiled to National Guard soldiers at North Carolina’s Camp Butner on June 18 by Earnhardt and the #88 team.(HMS PR), see the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(7-2-2008)
  • Prelude to the Dream on SPEED UPDATE: SPEED will offer multiple replays of Tony Stewart’s Prelude to the Dream, beginning July 5 at 1:00pm/et and previously only available through HBO Pay-Per-View. The race, run June 4 at famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, benefited Kyle Petty’s new Victory Junction Gang Camp outside Kansas City.(6-30-2008)
    UPDATE: SPEED will offer multiple replays of Tony Stewart’s Prelude to the Dream, beginning Friday at 7:00pm/et and previously only available through HBO Pay-Per-View. The race, run June 4 at famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, benefited Kyle Petty’s new Victory Junction Gang Camp outside Kansas City.
    The replay schedule (subject to change) includes: July 4, 7pm/et; July 5 1pm/et; July 8, 8pm/et; July 8, 12midnight/et and July 9, 8:00am/et.(7-2-2008)

  • Waltrip gives car to victim of scam: After hearing about an Iraq war veteran who was victimized by an Internet scam, former NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip stepped in and gave the man a 2004 Honda Accord on Tuesday. The vehicle has a Kelley Blue Book retail value of about $13,000. “It’s beyond awesome,” said Jay Strobino, 24, of Franklin, who lost $5,500 trying to buy a used Honda Accord on Craigslist earlier this year. He wired the money to a scam artist who claimed to be heading out soon for a military deployment, setting up a fake WorldPay Web site to handle the purchase. Strobino’s story appeared in The Tennessean on Tuesday in an article about the growing sophistication of Internet fraud. Waltrip said the general manager of his Franklin auto dealership, John Gallagher, alerted him to the story and recommended the vehicle giveaway. “I thought that’s a no-brainer — let’s help this kid out,” Waltrip said after handing Strobino the keys at Darrell Waltrip Honda Volvo on Tuesday. “There are so many fake sites,” he said. “You really have to be sure. We’re in the car business, and he got ripped off by someone pretending to be real.” Waltrip said he also was motivated by Strobino’s military service. Strobino, who was injured in a firefight south of Baghdad in 2004, is a Silver Star medal recipient, the third highest-ranking military honor. When hearing the Honda dealership was going to give him a car Tuesday, Strobino, who described himself as being “broke,” said simply: “Are you serious?”(Tennessean)(7-2-2008) Comment here

  • Felix Sabates talks about closure of #40 team: Felix Sabates spoke with Claire B. Lang on “Dialed In” on XMSN (XM Channel 144) Tuesday evening about Dario Franchitti’s future with the team
    CBL: You didn’t have a sponsor – people forget this team was unsponsored:
    Sabates: “What happened to us – we kind of got hung out to dry by Coors. Coors was with me for almost ten years and they had a management change and the new people come over and told us don’t worry about it – ‘Don’t look for a sponsor; we’re going to be back with you in 2008, 2009.’ So, we never looked for any sponsors and come October they come and tell us well Coors is going to do something else. They’re going to sponsor the NASCAR Coors pole and this and that so then it was too late (for the 2008 season)…so we have been running all year long without a sponsor.”
    CBL: Talk about the options for Dario Franchitti:
    Sabates: “Dario had a hard time with it. He made a change from the Indy Racing League to come here. But truth of the matter is that he needs more seat time. We gave him an option to go in the Nationwide car because we do have a sponsor for the #40 Nationwide car. He’s going to decide what he’s going to do in the next few days and maybe he’ll be racing in Chicago (Nationwide race July 11)…..I hope he does get in the Nationwide car. He’s a very talented driver and if he gets a few more months under his belt maybe we can get a sponsor for next year and we can go racing next year.
    Sabates told CBL on the cost of running the team and how much he’s paid to keep it running: – “It cost you $20 to $21, $22 million dollars to run a competitive team and if you run 15 races and you don’t have any money coming in you have already lost $10 or $11 million dollars.”
    Sabates on Dario’s choices: “Chip pretty much told him if he wanted to go to back to Indy that, because it doesn’t cost near as much money there as it does here, and over there Chip is the Rick Hendrick of over here – so he can get a sponsor for an IRL car very easily. So he’s got his choice – if he wants to drive the Nationwide Car – get some more experience, maybe we’ll get a sponsor for next year or go back to the IRL — it’s up to Dario – he has a contract and we intend to honor it.”
    Sabates on what he thinks Dario will do: “At the end of the day – I think he will get in the Nationwide car- he needs more seat time anyway.”(XM Radio PR)(7-2-2008) Comment here

  • Red Bull Racing helping out: After treating all of Red Bull Racing Team to lunch Tuesday, members of the #83 and #84 pit crews caught I-85 north to Randleman, N.C. The destination? The NASCARnival at Victory Junction Gang Camp. They took a tour of the sprawling facility that, through fun activities and experiences, empowers the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Along with #84 driver AJ Allmendinger, the Bull Crews sat down for dinner with campers, then performed pit stops and taught them how to tear through lug nuts. And all were more than happy to offer an autograph or two. The #83 Bull Crew’s victory in the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge is still paying off. The charity portion of the hefty purse earned in May comes out to $23,793.25. On Friday, crew members will present a check, through the NASCAR Foundation, in that amount to the Speediatrics unit of Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Over-the-wallers Jake Brzozowski, Brian Haaland, Danny Kincaid, Shaun Peet and Aaron Schields will take a tour of the unit and hand out Speediatrics teddy bears.(Red Bull Racing PR)(7-2-2008)
  • Testing at Kentucky: a few R&D team are testing at Kentucky Speedway today, July 2nd. Penske Racing with David, Chip Ganassi Racing with Juan Pablo Montoya and Haas CNC Racing. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(7-2-2008)
  • Testing at Carolina Motorsports Park: Ron Fellows with JR Motorsports Park was doing a private test at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC on June 30 & July 1.(7-2-2008)


    News from July 1, 2008

  • Ganassi’s #40 team closes down: hearing that the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing team of Dario Franchitti will skip the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway and has closed the team, supposedly laying off around 70 employees.(7-1-2008)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that due to a lack of sponsorship funding it will cease operation of the team’s #40 Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti beginning this weekend in Daytona. “This is a difficult decision for Felix and I that did not come without its share of anguish,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “In this tough business environment continuing to run the car without proper funding has become increasingly difficult.” CGRFS is committed to Franchitti’s continued stockcar development and are currently in discussions with him on his racing options with the team which could include running the balance of the 2008 Nationwide season in the #40 Fastenal Dodge. Currently the #42 Texaco/Havoline/Juicy Fruit Dodge of Juan Pablo Montoya is 21st in owner points while the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson is sitting 31st in the standings.(CGRFS PR)(7-1-2008) Comment here

  • Almirola to run #8 fulltime for DEI in 2009 UPDATE: An official announcement that Aric Almirola will drive the #8 car at Dale Earnhardt Inc. full time next season will be made on Tuesday, sources close to the situation said. The decision to put Almirola into the U.S. Army-sponsored car full time had nothing to do with Martin’s decision to return to a full-time Sprint Cup schedule and make one last run at a championship, sources said. It had more to do with advancing Almirola’s talents and taking advantage of the appeal he has shown with sponsors looking for a younger driver. One of those is U.S. Army, whose target audience fits the 24-year-old Almirola much more than the 49-year-old Martin.(ESPN.com)(7-1-2008)
    UPDATE: After spending two seasons sharing a car with veteran Mark Martin, 24-year-old Aric Almirola will take over the #8 Sprint Cup Series Chevy full time in 2009. “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity,” said Almirola. “When you get into racing, you always dream of competing at the highest level and I’ve had the chance to do that on a limited basis for the past two seasons. Now I will have the opportunity to race the car full time and I could not be more excited about driving the #8 car each week for Dale Earnhardt Inc. This is a really great race team to work with. (Crew Chief) Tony Gibson and these guys have put me in really good race cars this season and they’ve never treated me like a rookie. They are committed to being competitive every week and I’m really looking forward to working with them on a weekly basis next season.” Martin, who has driven the #8 in 12 events this season, will compete in 12 more races this year before moving to another team for the 2009 campaign. Almirola will compete in the balance of the season’s seven races. In addition to his time in the Sprint Cup Series, Almirola has made 27 starts in the Nationwide Series, earning four poles and one win at Milwaukee in 2007.(DEI PR), there is no mention of a sponsor or the US Army in the press release.(7-1-2008) Comment here

  • Elliott testing #21 at Nashville; Wood to run Daytona: Wood Brothers Racing is set to test Nashville Superspeedway on Wednesday, July 2nd.  Coming off of a strong performance in Sonoma, the team experienced disappointment last weekend when they did not make the race in New Hampshire.  The #21 team and driver Marcos Ambrose found that the Little Debbie #21 Ford did not respond to any changes that were made and the handling issues persisted during the practice sessions and qualifying on Friday afternoon.  Driver Marcos Ambrose stated that after such a fantastic run at Infineon, not making the race was disheartening. He said, “It’s really disappointing.  I just feel bad for the Wood Brothers.  I’ve had limited experience in the COT and we just didn’t roll off the truck that great and I haven’t had enough experience to really give them direction to tune on it.  I tried as hard as I could there, but it just wasn’t to be.”
    Taking a proactive stance, the team and Bill Elliott will be testing a new car at Nashville.  Ford Racing Engineer, Dave Cimba, commented on the team’s goals for the test, “It was time to put that [New Hampshire] chassis away and start from scratch. We believed that we had fixed previous issues, but it wasn’t the case, new issues would develop, so it’s time to cut it down and start over. The goal of this test is to make things better on the cars week in and week out and to try new ideas that will make performance and handling better overall. Bill [Elliott] is the best candidate to drive because he’s been in the #21 for most of the season and can give us good feedback for tracks that we race on similar to Nashville [Superspeedway]. As we test new ideas and find that they work we will incorporate them into the rotation of the fleet of cars that we have built.” The team also plans to step up the testing program for the rest of the season on intermediate tracks where the most improvement is needed. Wood Brothers Racing will head to Daytona International Speedway for July 4th weekend in the patriotic #21 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion with Jon Wood once again behind the wheel for the Coke Zero 400 on July 5th.(Wood Brothers Racing PR)(7-1-2008) Comment here

  • Sauter to run the #08 at Chicago & Indy: EM Motorsports owner John Carter announced Johnny Sauter will pilot the #08 getFUBAR.com Dodge Charger in both the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway and the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sauter has competed at Chicago on seven occasions (two Cup and five Nationwide) and won the 2002 Tropicana Twister 200 Nationwide Series event while driving for Richard Childress Racing. The Necedah, Wisconsin native competed for the first time at Indianapolis in 2007, driving for #70 Haas Racing in the Allstate 400. FUBAR is a proprietary beverage scientifically formulated for superior performance, endurance and outstanding recovery. Each 12oz bottle or 50 gram bar of FUBAR delivers essential nutrients to the body for up to 6 hours, maximizing overall performance, endurance and allowing for faster recovery. Each FUBAR contains all the natural fuels the body needs with healthy carbs, beneficial fats and pure unprocessed sugars. Based in Toccoa, GA, EM Motorsports presently has three race-ready COTs for Sprint Cup Series competition and the team’s shop was completely overhauled during the month of June. EM Motorsports is led by owner John Carter, Crew Chief Charles Swing, Marketing VP Doug Barron and NASCAR Consultant James Hylton.(EM Motorsports PR)(7-1-2008) Comment here

  • Free Coke Zero for fans if a Coke Driver wins at Daytona: For members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, each victory in a Sprint Cup Series race is traditionally followed by a thirst-quenching chug of an ice cold Coke Zero in the winner’s circle. This weekend, 13 of the sport’s top drivers will attempt to give fans around the country their own “taste of victory” by taking the checkered flag in the inaugural Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The Coke Zero “Taste of Victory” program will give fans an added incentive to pull for their favorite Coca-Cola Racing Family members during this weekend’s race. If any one of 13 drivers sponsored by Coca-Cola wins, people across the United States will be able to enjoy the Real Coke Taste and Zero Calories of Coke Zero for free. Participating Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers include #20-Tony Stewart, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #11-Denny Hamlin, #8-Mark Martin, #16-Greg Biffle, #19-Elliott Sadler, #26-Jamie McMurray, #43-Bobby Labonte, #55-Michael Waltrip, #07-Clint Bowyer and #6-David Ragan. #45-Terry Labonte also is eligible as the driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and substitute for Coca-Cola Racing Family member Kyle Petty, who is in the TNT broadcast booth this weekend. If a Coca-Cola Racing Family driver takes the checkered flag Saturday night, fans will be able to visit www.CokeZero.com July 5 through July 13 and follow the instructions to receive a coupon for a free 20-ounce bottle of Coke Zero. The debut of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola is part of a 10-year sponsorship agreement between Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) and International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Coupons for free 20-ounce bottles of Coke Zero will be redeemable until September 1, 2008 at participating retailers across the country where Coca-Cola products are sold. Limit is one coupon per person. All U.S. residents 13 years of age or older are eligible.(PR)(7-1-2008) Comment here

  • Earnhardt brings fearless approach to barrel racing: 19-year-old Taylor Earnhardt, daughter of the late Dale Earnhardt and Teresa Houston Earnhardt — wrapped up her nearly weeklong stay in Marshall yesterday while doing what Earnhardt’s do — race. Miss Earnhardt’s racing talents are centered on fast horses — not speedy race cars — and her visit to the area was spent at Josey Ranch where she, along with her horse, Packin Sixes Cowboy, were in town to improve their respective games in the world of barrel racing. ESPN crews were on hand Saturday filming a segment on Miss Earnhardt and her equestrian skills. “ESPN being here at the ranch is exciting for all the other girls too,” said Stephanie Boyd, Josey Ranch Clinic Coordinator, late Friday afternoon. “It will open Josey Ranch to different people who have never had the opportunity to see what we have and that are not familiar with what we offer, not only on a national level, but a regional level as well.”(see full story at the Marshall News Messenger)(7-1-2008)