June 2005 News Archives
News from June 30, 2005
- Bank of America to sponsor NBC/TNT’s ‘Countdown to Green’ Pre-Race Show: Bank of America announced an agreement with Turner Sports to be the presenting sponsor of the “Countdown to Green” pre-race program which airs on NBC’s and TNT’s national NASCAR broadcasts. Bank of America’s agreement with Turner Sports to be the presenting sponsor of the NBC and TNT pre-race show “Countdown to Green” will commence on July 3, prior to the start of The Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Elements of the sponsorship include a Bank of America Countdown to Green set design, inclusion in TNT’s weekly NASCAR national print advertisement in USA Today, on-air spots in the pre-race show and weekly race, a pre-produced enhancement segment in each pre-race show and event marketing.(LMS PR)(6-30-2005)
- Eury Sr. thinks swap could had been a mistake at DEI: Cup Scene at the track at an interview DEI’s Tony Eury Sr. gave: “We got a lot of bad press at the beginning at the first of the year on why it was running bad. I guess we made a bad move over the winter and our cars down there in the 8 shop weren’t as good as we thought they were. When you get behind like that, it takes time to catch up. We’re getting him a fleet of cars now and getting them better. When you got something good, I guess you should leave it alone. You know we won six races with him last year maybe it should have been left alone. But that’s past and we got to get him in that Chase now, so everything’s behind us and we’re going forward from here and building (Dale Jr.) good cars and trying to get in that chase.” As for the third team: “We’re still debating on a driver. We don’t real know what’s going to happen yet. We had a deadline and we extended it with a couple of sponsors and drivers, right now we’re just kind of in the middle of everything.” BUT “Martin [Truex Jr.] will be in the #1 (Cup)car (next year).(Cup Scene Report from DIS)(6-30-2005)
- Bank of America buys MBNA: Bank of America Corp. will buy MBNA Corp. in a stock and cash deal valued at $35 billion, combining the third- and fifth-largest credit-card companies in the country into what could be the largest.(Charlotte Business Journal), no word how this will effect the MBNA sponsorship of Joe Gibbs Racing or the MBNA Halfway Leader program.(6-30-2005)
- MB2 Motorsports Announces Restructuring of Ownership: MB2 Motorsports announced today that Robert E. Sutton has expanded his ownership involvement with the company by joining current and founding owner, Nelson Bowers, as an equal partner with the multicar race team. Sutton was previously a co-owner of MB2’s #36 Nextel Cup team. Jay Frye, MB2’s general manager and chief executive officer since the formation of the racing organization in 1996, will continue with a minority ownership in the company. Sutton’s expanded position will take effect immediately and MB2 Motorsports will become one entity with ownership of all of the company’s race teams starting with the 2006 season. The company fields three cars in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series — the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek; the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet, driven by Scott Riggs; and the #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet, driven by Boris Said. The racing organization has a developmental program in progress with 20-year-old driver Joe Henderson of Franklin, Tenn. The company also has plans to have Kraig Kinser, the 19-year-old son of legendary sprint car racer Steve Kinser, join the developmental team. MB2 is currently based in Concord, N.C., but will be moving in August to a new shop in Mooresville, N.C. The new 144,000 square-foot complex will be more than three times larger than its current facility.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(6-30-2005)
- Speed Adds Black Wheels to 2006 Lineup: SPEED Channel has reached an agreement with New Millenium Studios to air Black Wheels, a one-hour film exploring the history of African-Americans in motor sports, beginning in February 2006. Writer and producer Byron Hunter took on the project after spending time with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester.(SPEED Channel)(6-30-2005)
- Bad News Bears scheme for Mayfield at Daytona: At this summer’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, Jeremy Mayfield will sport some additional firepower on his #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger – that of Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden, stars of the new Paramount Pictures comedy “The Bad News Bears,” which opens nationally on July 22. Mayfield, a fan of the original “Bad News Bears” will carry the pin-striped signage for the new movie on the hood of his Dodge Charger to promote the comedy, which was first released in 1976. The #19 Dodge will feature a distinctive red and white paint scheme featuring baseballs and classic pin-stripes. “Bad News Bears” is a fresh take on the irreverent 1976 comedy hit, “Bad News Bears” follows a grizzled former minor league baseball player who is recruited to coach the Bears, a woefully inept Little League team, to a championship against their hated rivals, the Yankees. Richard Linklater is the director and Marcus Viscidi is the executive producer.(Clear!Blue PR), see an image of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(6-30-2005)
- #92 team and Hermie get a sponsor for Daytona: Front Row Motorsports announced that they have partnered with Taco Bell for the Pepsi 400 race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 2nd. They will run the Taco Bell logo on their #92 Chevrolet driven by Hermie Sadler. “I am excited about the opportunity to drive the Taco Bell car in Daytona,” said Hermie Sadler. “I think we will have a strong car this weekend. I look forward to working with the crew to provide all the Taco Bell employees and their customers a strong finish on Saturday night.”
“We are taking a brand new car to Daytona,” said crew chief Fred Wanke. “We built this Taco Bell car from the ground up, the guys in the shop have been working overtime to get it ready. We are anxious to see how this car will perform on the track for the first time. We are extremely optimistic about this weekend and the rest of year. We certainly appreciate Taco Bell partnering with us in Daytona.”(Front Row Motorsports PR)(6-30-2005)
- Georgia Pacific or/and Tide to Roush? There have been reports that Roush is wooing both Georgia-Pacific and Tide as sponsors for his teams for 2006.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-30-2005)
- Pardus in the #73 at Daytona: Dan Pardus has been entered in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway by Ed Rabbe, owner of the #73 ARC Dehooker Chevrolet. The #73 teamhas been dorment since driver Eric McClure left the team in March.(Entry List)(6-30-2005)
- Sonoma TV Ratings UPDATE 2 New record for Infineon: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway earned a 4.6 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 10 market share, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 4.2% lower than the 4.8 the race drew overnight in 2004, when it went on to earn a final 4.7/11.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-27-2005)
UPDATE: Fox announced record-setting ratings for Cup events this year. Fox reported a 7% increase in ratings to a 6.0 from last season. Fox averaged 9.6 million viewers per race, about 600,000 more than last year. Seven races had record ratings this season: Daytona, California, Bristol, Talladega, Charlotte, Pocono and Sonoma.(News Record)(6-29-2005)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR concluded its first half of the season on Fox on June 26, with its race from Sonoma, Calif., producing a 5.7 national household rating, up 21% over the same race last year. The figure assures a new record household rating –a 6.0– for this year’s 13 races on Fox and a record average number of viewers, at 9.6 million. In announcing the Nielsen Media Research data results, Fox crowed that its broadcast of NASCAR is the first major professional sports TV package to post a regular season household ratings record since Monday Night Football on ABC in 1981.
During the Fox portion of this season (NBC/Turner begin airing Nascar second-half races this coming weekend), there were seven races that recorded record-high household ratings. Ratings in the Top 10 markets were up 9% over 2004 (3.8 vs. 3.5). Among the markets showing the biggest ratings increases were Dallas (up 27% to a 6.1), San Francisco (up 24% to a 2.6), Boston (up 23% to a 3.7), Atlanta (up 14% to an 11.2), and Chicago (up 13% to a 3.5). Fox also said that its regular-season Nascar races topped the complete NBA postseason telecasts on ABC, besting the NBA Finals in average viewership (9.6 million to 8.3 million) and in household rating (6.0 vs. 5.5). The ratings gains were not perfect, however, with some of the younger demos on the NASCAR telecasts down in the single-digits.(Mediaweek)(6-30-2005)
- Rusty will test but not race at Iowa track: Rusty Wallace says he won’t take part in the first race at the Iowa Speedway when it opens next summer. The legendary NASCAR driver is retiring from the Nextel Cup Series at the end of the season and designed the track which broke ground last week in Newton. Wallace says he will drive some laps at the track with his car to check the smoothness of the track and to “I’ll drive the laps at the new track to make sure the consistency is right the racing’s right on it before I sign off on it,” Wallace says.Wallace says there are enough super speedways out there and the track of 7/8ths mile will fill a need. He says he believes it’ll be “the most awesome speedway in the entire world that I’ve everworked on.”Sanctioning bodies like ARCA and USAC are expected to hold events at the track and Wallace says down the road NASCAR events are a possibility. He says NASCAR “is totally in the loop” for everything they’re doing at the Newton track.(Radio Iowa)(6-30-2005)
- Smirnoff ICE and Busch helped race fans travel safely to Pepsi 400: Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and his sponsor, Smirnoff ICE, helped some of the 200,000 fans traveling to Daytona International Speedway (DIS) arrive safely for this weekend’s Pepsi 400 race. Smirnoff ICE, with Busch and his ‘pit crew,’ partnered with the Repair One Automotive of Daytona Beach to provide free automobile safety tests during the heavily-traveled summer months. Busch and his ‘pit crew’ checked tire pressure, headlights, fluid levels, belts, among other tests performed. The initiative was to further promote Smirnoff ICE’s “Be Smart, Drink Responsibly” campaign. Smirnoff ICE will serve as primary sponsor of Busch’s No. 97 racecar at the Pepsi 400. In his last race at DIS in February, Busch finished second in the season-opening Daytona 500.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-30-2005)
- Dale Earnhardt Foundation Joins with One, U2: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation has become the newest member of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation hopes to mobilize some of NASCAR’s 75 million American fans to support ONE. “NASCAR fans are generous and compassionate people who represent the best in American values,” said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. “By joining with ONE, we hope to mobilize that compassion to do more, for those with less, and support President Bush as he works with other G8 leaders on a historic plan to fight extreme poverty and disease in Africa.” From Hollywood to the heartland, nearly ONE million Americans have joined with ONE, making ONE one of the fastest growing non-partisan issue campaigns in American history. Supporters of ONE have written more than 250,000 letters to the White House calling for a comprehensive plan to address global AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa at the early July G8 Summit in Scotland.
“The NASCAR fans are joining forces with rock-n-rollers, students and priests in their pulpits.” said Bono, lead singer of U2 and spokesperson for ONE. “Teresa Earnhardt, a great lady, is helping give ONE in America the volume that Africa needs.”
On July 2, members of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. motorsports team will wear ONE White Bands in solidarity with the Live 8 concerts happening around the world. Thanks to series sponsor Nextel, NASCAR fans at Daytona will see the ONE.ORG spot featuring Hollywood celebrities and faith leaders. In the meantime, NASCAR fans are encouraged to visit www.TheDaleEarnhardtFoundation.org where they will find additional information and a link to ONE. (DEI PR)(6-30-2005)
News from June 29, 2005
- Congrats: Multi-team [#5, #24, #25, #44, #48] team owner, Rick Hendrick welcomed new granddaughter, Josephine Riddick “Ricki” Hendrick, today [June 29th] at 2:49am/et. Ricki is the daughter of the late Ricky Hendrick, Rick’s son, who passed away in the Hendrick Motorsports airplane crash near Martinsville, VA last Oct. Ricki and mother Emily are doing fine.(6-29-2005)
- #200 for Dale Jr: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled make his 200th career Nextel Cup start in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.(6-29-2005)
- Valvoline to End Partnership with MB2 Motorsports: [as first reported at Speedtv.com] Valvoline announced an agreement in principle to end its NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team partnership with MB2 Motorsports“ effective at the end of the current  season. The racing sponsor/owner will sell its 50% share in the team to MB2 principals Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye and will no longer be primary sponsor of the #10 Chevrolet after the 2005 season. According to Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco, the parting was an amicable one. “We have nothing but respect and admiration for (MB2) owners Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye,” said Rocco. “Nelson and Jay gave us the opportunity to become more than sponsors when we took the historic step to become team owners.” Regarding Valvoline’s NASCAR plans beyond the 2005 season, Rocco said, “We will have something to announce soon.” Valvoline, a division of Ashland Inc., has been serving American motorists longer than any other motor oil company and is a leading innovator and supplier of quality, high-performing automotive and industrial products in more than 100 countries.(MB2 Motorsports), Valvoine is rumored to be going to Evernham Motorsports, possibly as the sponor of the 3rd team, #91 [or #98](6-29-2005)
- Looks like a 3rd full-time team for Evernham in 2006 UPDATE 2: Ray Evernham, chief of Dodge-backed Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91], says chances are “better than 50%” that he will have a third Cup team in 2006. He said he has tentative agreements with significant sponsors, and he pulled up short when asked who would drive the car [Jayski Note: Brendan Gaughan has been rumored]. Evernham says he has constructed a building for the proposed new team and has personnel aboard. “I think you can get the team started and kind of take it from there. The sponsor is going to have to have realistic expectations. For a first-year team, to jump right up there and win races, there’s not too many people who do that. “I’m fortunate enough to say I’m one of the people who have done it, but it’s still very difficult. There are [drivers] out there that can win races, and the sponsor has to go into it realistically. Every sponsor says they want a top 10 car, top 10 driver, well, there’s 15 top-10 cars out there, which one do you want?(Speed Channel)(6-11-2005)
UPDATE: another rumor floating around has Casey Mears, current driver for #41 Ganassi Racing going to Evernham, with Reed Sorenson moving up from Busch into the #41 Target Dodge. And Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 MBV team could end up at Evernham.
AND Valvoline also apparently will become at least partial sponsor of a proposed third team out of Evernham Motorsports, with driver to be determined.(Speed Channel Notebook)(6-12-2005)
UPDATE 2 – Evernham Motorsports to make 2006 announcement on Friday, July 1st at Daytona International Speedway, announcing news for the 2006 season.(6-28/29-2005)….nothing to do with Allstate…see that announcement below. Looks for it to be Valvoline as the sponsor of a third team.
- France talks about the Chase/NASCAR NEXTEL Teleconference:
Q. Just as a follow, I know you think Jeff Gordon is going to rally, but how detrimental will it be to the Chase if he, or Dale Earnhardt, also have a chance of missing it, don’t make it?
BRIAN FRANCE: “Well, this is a performance based sport and you’ve got to perform. Obviously they have big fan bases and there will be some disappointment in that, but I like no matter what happens, I love the mix of drivers that’s shaping up. Rusty Wallace is making his run. He may have a shot at the championship for the first time in a while for him down the stretch. Mark Martin is having another good year on his final year, so he may have a shot, he will have a shot more than likely, who knows. But in the end, you’ve got to perform. You’ve got to get in, you’ve got to earn your way in, and that’s what we always said. The events before the Chase didn’t mean less importance; it means more importance, and I think you’re seeing that now.”
Q. NBA and baseball have to deal with things like big market teams and small market teams. Going back to the Chase, obviously for you guy, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are big market teams. They are the big markets in the fans and they are the drivers that fans in the major markets, the Top 10 markets that you guys covet and like to have ratings from, they are the ones that are most recognizable in those markets. Do you feel if neither of those two drivers are in the Chase that it will have a debt mental effect on television ratings?
BRIAN FRANCE: “Obviously the more star power you have, the better you feel. It’s no different than the Yankees have to earn their way into the playoffs. So do our drivers. We can’t have a system that’s based on popularity at the moment. We have a system based on who can perform the best in that given year, and no matter what happens, the mix of drivers that we’re likely to have will be terrific. You can argue it would be better if this person were in or out, but we’ll have a terrific group of veterans and young drivers, and I hope it comes down to the last lap of the last race just like it did last year.”
Q. Your assessment of the Chase or your belief it’s going to be a bigger field, is there any consideration to adding fan involvement, like a fan vote, especially this year with the possibility of Jeff and Dale not making the Chase, that the fans might vote one of them in to appease the networks and have that star power?
BRIAN FRANCE: Not at all, because we have to be, and we will be, a performance based series, and you have to perform. You know what, the drivers would not want that either. They don’t want to limp in on a fan vote. They want to earn their way in or not earn their way in. I hope we all the drivers that everybody likes, but, you know, sometimes it’s time to see drivers have a moment. Greg Biffle is having his moment right now showing people how talented he has been for a long time. The stars are lining up and he’s got a lot of confidence. That’s a great thing for us. We’d love to see more of Greg Biffles, too. It’s not just one driver or another. It’s about performance and letting people who are earning it keep going.
Q. Is there anything that would even make you consider changing anything with the points Chase the way it is now? I mean, certainly have asked you if there would be the Earnhardt factor or whatever, but, you know, looking at it as a whole, is there anything down the road that you guys might think of altering?
BRIAN FRANCE: “Well, for this year, the answer would be zero, because we’re trying to get, certainly, out of any issues of changing things in midstream. We would never do that. Down the road when we make adjustments, I have always said we would be open to them. But gosh, we had four drivers come down or five, actually, mathematically last year, three with a real, real chance down to the last lap that changed around, I think, seven times. It’s hard to say, you know, it’s not a great system and the best part of it all is what the drivers how they turn it up, how they step up the level of driving and their talents are showcased differently and that’s what I like most.”(NASCAR Statistical Service/NASCAR NEXTEL Teleconference Transcript)(6-29-2005)
- Andretti to run at Kansas…in Trucks: don’t know much about it and haven’t seen an offical press release, but the NASCAR Statistical Services Truck Series entry list has John Andretti running the #15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevy Truck at Kansas this weenend….an there is no #14 ppc Racing Ford on the Pepsi 400 entry list and no comment from the team about future plans, but they are running a third full-time Busch team.(6-27-2005)
MORE on my Truck Series page.(6-29-2005)
- ESPY Nom for Busch: Kurt Busch is one of four nominations in the Best Driver category for the 2005 ESPY Awards. The 2005 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on July 13. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on July 17 at 9:00pm/et..(Alan Taylor Communications), others nominated are: NHRA’s Greg Anderson, F-1’s Michael Schumacher [won the exciting race at Indy], IRL’s Dan Wheldon.(6-29-2005)
- Lucky Dog Update: when asked about the Lucky Dog/Free pass being used at Infineon Raceway this past weekend, Larry McReynolds answers: “NASCAR installed the free pass back this year. It was not something that they did just before this race. They made that decision over the winter with the four road course races, two in Busch and two in Cup. But you’re right. Last year, they did not have the free pass on road courses.”(FoxSports)(6-29-2005)
- Changes For #45 Team In 2006, new sponsors in 2006: Petty Enterprises has announced plans to restructure its primary sponsorship of the #45 Dodge driven by Kyle Petty in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2006. The change is part of a broader initiative that will be announced in more detail in the coming months and will involve multiple corporate partners. “We’re excited with the possibilities of working with new sponsors and structuring our program to allow for our partners to share the assets of the #45 car throughout the season,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “Although they will no longer be our primary sponsor, Georgia-Pacific and its Brawny brand has been a great partner for Petty Enterprises and for me personally. They have been supporting us since the mid ‘90s with our Craftsman Series truck program, and have been a valuable part of not only the racing team but the Charity Ride Across America and the Victory Junction Gang Camp as well.”
In the course of discussing the coming years and evaluating the long-term objectives of the racing team, Petty Enterprises envisions a different kind of sponsorship model. In elaborating on the plans for 2006 and beyond, Petty stated that “… next year our program will provide us with the opportunity to leverage several promotional tie-ins and other marketing elements with a select group of complementary partners working together to do some pretty cool stuff. Because we will have multiple partners, the entry point dollar-wise for this program is significantly below what companies are paying to be full-time primary sponsors. We’ve had great reaction to this program already and we think it is an exciting way to be involved in our racing platform. We look forward to presenting this strategic marketing platform to potential partners/sponsors who are interested in being involved in a unique Nextel Cup marketing program.”(Williams Company)(6-29-2005)
- Biffle got wrong idea says Johnson: Becoming the points leader was special for #16-Greg Biffle on Sunday at Infineon Raceway, but what he said made it better was the perceived slight he got from #48-Jimmie Johnson, who had been leading the points. Biffle noted how Johnson laughed after Biffle got off course Friday in qualifying and started 41st in the 43-car field. “I hate that he misunderstood it,” Johnson said. “I know his team knows where I’m coming from because they were standing right there with me when I watched it on the Jumbotron when he went off the track. I was applauding him. I thought he did a great job saving the car. If you look on the video from qualifying, I’m clapping and commending him on his job of saving the car and you can see my lips say ‘great save.’ ” (Ronokae Times)(6-29-2005)
- Four Cup Drivers in Grand-Am Event: Road racing isn’t over for several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors, even though last week’s event at Infineon is in the books. Four drivers will compete in Thursday night’s Brumos Porsche 250 Rolex Sports Car series at Daytona and all will drive Daytona Prototype cars that can reach 185 mph. Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet), last week’s winner at Infineon, will team with British sports car driver Andy Wallace in the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford. Bobby Labonte (#18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet) and Terry Labonte will share driving duties in the #44 Daytona USA Pontiac Doran Daytona Prototype. And Kyle Petty (#45 Stars and Stripes Georgia-Pacific Dodge) will help drive a new Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype; he’ll share the wheel with team owner and driver Brian Tuttle of West Palm Beach, Fla.(NASCAR PR)(6-29-2005)
- A purple #40 at Daytona: The #40 Dodge driven by Sterling Marlin will be sporting the Prilosec OTC purple and black paint scheme for this weekend’s Pepsi 400.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), see images of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2005)
- Shepherd gets a sponsor for Daytona UPDATE: #89-Morgan Shepherd will be attempting to make the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, which will run Saturday, July 2nd. Shepherd has sponsorship from Cornerstone Bancard of Alpharetta, GA and hopes to debut a new paint scheme at Daytona on the #89 Dodge.(Morgan Shepherd site)(6-28-2005)
UPDATE: been told the new scheme will not debut at Daytona but for Pocono in a few weeks.(6-29-2005)
- Smirnoff Ice scheme for #97 at Daytona: Smirnoff ICE, with Busch and his ‘Smirnoff Ice pit crew,’ will partner with the Repair One Automotive of Daytona Beach to provide free automobile safety checks on Wednesday, June 29 (2:00-7:00 p.m.) in Daytona Beach. As part of Smirnoff ICE’s “Be Smart, Drink Responsibly” program, the “Smirnoff ICE Summer Safety Zone,” will check tire pressure, fluid levels, belts, headlights, turn signals, wiper blades and others. Busch’s ‘Smirnoff Ice pit crew’ team will work in tandem with RepairOne’s ASE certified, trained technicians to perform the safety checks. Busch will sign autographs for participating motorists of legal drinking age and safe driving literature will also be distributed to participating motorists. The Smirnoff ICE Summer Safety Zone will be located eastbound on International Speedway Blvd., just outside of Turn 1 of the Speedway in the Daytona Beach Kennel Club parking lot. The Pepsi 400, held on Saturday, July 2, is the second of three races this year where Smirnoff ICE will serve as the primary sponsor of Busch’s #97 Ford.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-29-2005)
News from June 28, 2005
- Sad News: Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) fabrication shop manager Paul Wise passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was 58. Wise was employed by RCR since January 2003 after spending two-and-a-half years in a similar position with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. All six RCR cars competing this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, will carry “In Memory of Paul Wise” decals. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at Charity Baptist Church, 2420 Brantley Road in Kannapolis, N.C. The Rev. R.J. Hammond and the Rev. Gene Beaver will officiate. The body will be placed in the church one hour prior to the service. Internment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis. The family will receive friends from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, at Charity Baptist Church.
Born Jan. 6, 1947, in Cabarrus (N.C.) County, Wise was the son of C. Winfred Wise and Ethel Howell Wise of Kannapolis. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War and was a recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal. He worked with many NASCAR teams during his career. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Paula Jean Wise, Feb. 14, 1975.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife, Barbara Austin Wise; son, Jason Paul Wise and wife, Brittany Cromer Wise, and granddaughter, Jayleigh Austin Wise of Kannapolis; sister, Anne W. Watts and husband, Charles, of Raleigh; brothers, Phil Wise and wife, Lynda, of Kannapolis and Mark Wise and wife, Derlene, of Raleigh; along with 13 nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be sent to the American Cancer Society, Dancers for Cancer, c/o Carolina Dance, 2353 Concord Lake Road, Suite 110, Concord, N.C. 28025.(RCR)(6-28-2005)
- Special scheme for Busch at Daytona: Kyle Busch’s #5 Chevrolet will sport a special paint scheme under the lights at Daytona. The red and blue car will feature the Cheez-it logo on the hood in Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports), see image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2005)
- New Co-Host for Inside Nextel Cup: Kyle Busch will co-host Inside NEXTEL Cup on July 4, joining SPEED Channel analysts Jimmy Spencer, Johnny Benson and Alan Bestwick. The show will air July 4 at 8:00pm/et.(Hendrick Motorsports), no word if this is full-time, a one week only deal and if Michael Waltrip will be back on the show. It has been rumored that Waltrip and Benson would be leaving the show and younger drivers would host the show. Also hearing that Kevin Harvick may join as a host in the future.(6-28-2005)
- New Assoc. sponsor for Evernham – Allstate: Allstate announced a multi-year deal with Evernham Motorsports. The associate sponsorship will make Allstate the official auto, home, life and supplemental insurance, motor club and retirement products sponsor of the race team. Earlier this year, Allstate signed a multi-year agreement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to become the title sponsor for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. As part of the sponsorship agreement, #9 driver and 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year Kasey Kahne, #19 driver Jeremy Mayfield and legendary driver Bill Elliott, along with Evernham Motorsports crew members, will display the Allstate logo on their race uniforms. Two new television ads currently in production will feature Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne in a race setting, yet with a humorous twist that challenges viewers to consider the unique circumstances in which they would need their insurance. One spot focuses on the new Allstate Your Choice Auto Insurance. In addition to unique race-themed advertising, Allstate will launch a national consumer promotion beginning July 1, offering the chance to win a trip and tickets to this year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and other prizes, including a meet and greet with Kasey Kahne and a ride in the official pace car. Committed to diversity and its growth in motorsports, Allstate will also work with members from Evernham Motorsports’ driver development program, including Tommy Lane and Erin Crocker, on a broader diversity program with NASCAR. Lane, who is African-American, competes in the Late Model Stock Division at Hickory Motor Speedway, while Erin Crocker, the first female to join Evernham Motorsports, competes in the NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through Allstate agencies, or in select states at allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate.(Clear!Blue PR)
AND Third Round of Exclusive eBay Auctions to Begin Thursday, June 30th, to benefit the Charity Chopper Fundraiser, helping to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This month’s featured prize is an American Rodsmith, Evernham Signature Series bass fishing rod. The rod is autographed by Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, as well as Bill Elliott, driver of the #91 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger. For more information about blood cancer, visit www.LLS.org.(6-28-2005)
- Four fined for infractions at Sonoma: NASCAR announced Tuesday that penalties have been issued to four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations during opening day inspection at Infineon Raceway on June 24.
Doug Richert, crew chief of the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle, was fined twice for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-17.2 (unapproved seat belt) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. He was fined $1,000 for an expired manufacturer’s date on the lap belt and another $1,000 for an expired manufacturer’s date on the shoulder harness.
Philippe Lopez, crew chief of the #07 Chevrolet driven by Dave Blaney, was fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) for an unapproved steering wheel.
Rodney Childers, crew chief of the #10 Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs, and Pat Tryson, crew chief of the #6 Ford driven by Mark Martin, were each fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q for unapproved fire suppression agents.(NASCAR PR)(6-28-2005)
- New NASCAR Ads: NASCAR will debut two versions of its “Race to the Chase” television ad campaign this week, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Writer Scott Warfield says the ads, prepared by the Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., will feature Jeremy Mayfield and Mark Martin. One of the ads is scheduled to appear during TNT’s airing of Friday night’s Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway, and the second will appear in Speed Channel’s coverage of Saturday afternoon’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway. Both will also be shown in NBC’s coverage of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race at Daytona. The ads are scheduled to run through the first week in September.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-28-2005)
- New Rookie of the Year Candidate: Despite the NASCAR national touring season being nearly halfway complete, three drivers announced over the weekend their intention of competing for their respective series’ Raybestos Rookie of the Year awards. Former American Speed Association and Hooters Pro Cup standout #66-Mike Garvey in Nextel Cup, Busch Series driver Jerry Robertson and Craftsman Truck Series driver Clay Rogers have been added to the list of eligible Rookie of the Year contenders. (NASCAR.com) Garvey, who is driving the #66 Jani-King Ford, began receiving rookie points at Michigan [in which he finished 36th, but is listed on the ROTY weekly press release of having only one point in the convoluted rookie of the year points system, he should have 9]. I do my best to explain the system and have a ROTY page each year to act as a guide for the fans.(6-28-2005)
- 2006 models to be unvieled: Ford will unveil its new Cup car in Charlotte on the Thursday before the first New Hampshire race. Chevrolet will do the same with its new Monte Carlo right before the Allstate 400 (formerly the Brickyard 400) in Indy.(Yahoo Sports)(6-28-2005)
- Toyota to leave IRL after 2006: Toyota, which has seen its engines overwhelmed on the IRL circuit this year, will withdraw from open-wheel racing after the 2006 season. The announcement was made Monday by the Japanese automaker, which will pull out of competition in both the IRL and Champ Car after next season. It entered the IRL in 2003 and Champ Car — which was called CART at the time and included what is now the IRL — in 1996. “This was simply a decision to move in another direction after having our major U.S. motorsports emphasis on open-wheel racing since 1994,” Toyota senior vice president of U.S. motor sales J. Davis Illingworth said. “Just as our participation in IMSA sports car racing ran its course after 12 years, so has our U.S. open-wheel racing program after 12 years in the IRL and CART,” Illingworth added. Toyota moved into NASCAR last year with a fleet in the Craftsman Truck series. There has been considerable speculation that the company will move up to the Busch series in 2006 or 2007 and eventually move into Nextel Cup, challenging Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge, which currently race in NASCAR’s top stock car series. “We are continuing to explore our options in NASCAR,” said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. “However, at the present time our continued focus is on the Craftsman Truck Series.”(ESPN.com/AP)(6-28-2005)
- Petty and Jones have an altercation after race UPDATE: After the race at Infineon Raceway concluded, an irate Kyle Petty [#45] tried going after P.J. Jones [#4/one race deal] in the garage area, presumably over a collision that took place at turn 11 midway through the race. Legendary driver Richard Petty, Kyle’s father, reportedly had to step between the two to help break it up.(Contra Coast Times)(6-27-2005)
UPDATE: We [Yahoo Sports] were there to witness a postrace “discussion” between P.J. Jones and Kyle Petty outside of the Petty hauler. The two had gotten together early in the race and Jones was attempting to offer an apology to Petty, but Petty would have none of it, instead throwing a towel at Jones and grabbing him by the collar. A heated exchange followed and an extremely angry Petty had to be restrained. Father Richard stepped in and calmed everyone down.(Yahoo Sports)(6-28-2005)
News from June 27, 2005
- Childress would welcome Dale Jr….if….UPDATE 2 denied: Richard Childress does not see Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., after the season, but if that happens, his door is open. “Junior has his own deal working good at DEI, and I hope it all works out for him,” said Childress, who won six Nextel Cup championship with the late Dale Earnhardt. “I think it will (work out), ’cause it’s a really good organization. I also would say if he ever left there, I’d sure hope he’d come this way. I know what Dale Sr.’s vision and dream was with DEI,” Childress said. “It was to build that operation for Dale Jr., (sister) Kelly and his family. Dale Jr. has done a great job of representing DEI and what they want to do, so it’s a good deal.”(The State)(6-24-2005)
MORE……Does “Little E” ever wonder if it might be better if he had moved on out of the DEI team his father founded and went to the Childress team his father drove for? “Yeah!” he says, cheer suddenly rising in his hoarse voice, his eyes brightening. “And I think about that. And that’s still — that’s always an option.” As the only man alive who could carry “3” on his door panels with public approval and indeed celebration, and with his Bud sponsorship willing to follow him wherever he goes, it would seem he could pick up the phone and virtually be there. “Right,” he confirmed. “Yeah. Richard and I haven’t really sat down at a desk to talk about it, but he owns the number ‘3’ and I want to drive the No. 3 race car before I retire. I’ve told Richard I want to finish my career in his race car, or in a No. 3 car if he and Teresa [Earnhardt] can come to some agreement or whatever.” He means a transfer of ownership of the number. His stepmother, Dale’s widow Teresa, owns Dale Earnhardt Inc. and has the ultimate say, although Richie Gilmore runs the company for her. She rarely comes to races or appears in public and doesn’t speak with the media. Earnhardt Jr. is under contract to her through 2007. But could something be worked out? And how long would it take? “Oh, if everybody was for it, less than 24 hours, I would assume,” Earnhardt said. “But I don’t see that happening. I mean, not everybody’s going to be cool about it. I don’t think Teresa would want me to leave, in the first place.”(See very large and interesting column at the Orlando Sentinel)(6-25-2005)
UPDATE 2: DEI, founded by Earnhardt Sr. when he was driving for Richard Childress, is now run by Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa. Earnhardt Jr. and his stepmother have had a rocky relationship. In an interview in Saturday’s Orlando Sentinel, Earnhardt reiterated the notion that he might someday leave DEI. Reached Saturday at the track, Earnhardt said he was simply restating his desire to drive for Childress “years and years” down the road. “Nothing’s going on, I promise you that,” he said.(USA Today)(6-27-2005)
- McSwain Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: Ricky Rudd was flying this weekend at Infineon Raceway. In his #21 Air Force Taurus, Rudd drove all the way from his twentieth place starting spot into the top-five. Rudd’s biggest move of the race came with thirty-nine laps left in the event, when crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain made the gutsy call for his driver not to follow the leaders’ pit strategy and had him remain on the track. Despite being close on fuel, Rudd never sputtered and hung on for a second-place finish. McSwain not only picked up his best finish of the season, but was awarded the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. Rudd was riding in twenty-fourth place when the caution waved on lap sixty-nine. Even though the leaders all came into the pits for four tires and fuel, Rudd stayed out and took over the fourth position. He took advantage of his newfound track position and muscled his way into the lead. With questionable fuel remaining and a set of worn out Goodyears, Rudd held off a hard charging Tony Stewart for several laps, before eventually succumbing to the #20 machine. This was #21 team’s best finish of the 2005 season. The panel of voters; including the San Jose Mercury News, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all cast their vote for McSwain as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Fatback McSwain and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(6-26-2005)
- Ford and Chevy submit 2006 models, Toyota….? Ford and Chevrolet have submitted prototypes to NASCAR for the 2006 season. Ford’s car is expected to be named the Fusion, and Chevrolet will retain the Monte Carlo brand. The big question surrounds Toyota. The NASCAR rulebook says “any new car model to be considered for approval for competition in the 2006 season must be submitted by the manufacturers to NASCAR for initial consideration not later than July 1.” NASCAR officials will not confirm Toyota’s intention to offer a stock car. There has been talk that Toyota will pull out of the Indy Racing League at the end of this season, which frightens the big three American automakers currently competing in NASCAR because of the generous budgets the Japanese company devotes to racing. An announcement regarding Toyota’s intention could come as early as this weekend at Daytona–perfect timing for the July 1 deadline.(Sporting News)(6-27-2005)
- Sorenson to the #41? Mears to the #91? #2? UPDATE Mears to the #2? sources tell me it is a lock that Gannasi Busch Series driver, Reed Sorenson will drive the #41 Dodge in 2005. Where Mears will end up, last rumor had him possible at the third Evernham team #91, also hearing that Mears could end up in the #2 Penske Racing Dodge, as Penske does have a history with the Mears family [Casey’s Uncle Rick won 4 Indy 500’s for Penske and still works for Penske](6-15-2005)
UPDATE – Mears to the #2? There hasn’t been a serious candidate to replace Rusty Wallace in the #2, but team owner Roger Penske pow-wowed with the Mears clan–including Casey Mears, driver of the #41 for Chip Ganassi Racing–at Michigan. Obviously, Rick Mears, a Penske consultant and four-time Indy 500 winner, could put in a good word for his nephew, and in the bigger (sponsorship) picture, Casey is exactly the type of young driver Miller Brewing is looking for to combat legions of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Bud fans. Penske also is developing Billy Wiese, a youngster who is racing midgets in the Midwest.(Sporting News)(6-27-2005)
AND Two of the sport’s top car owners, Roger Penske and Jack Roush, are trying to find new drivers to replace retiring Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. Penske says he probably won’t make a decision until September.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-27-2005)
- Menard and DEI? UPDATE 2 engines? been hearing that John Menard, who’s son Paul, runs for DEI in the Busch Series [#11 Menard Chevy] may be buying into ownership of DEI…not sure if in part or whole….or at all.(5-20-2005)
UPDATE: Richie Gilmore, Director of Motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., strongly disputed rumors that millionaire businessman John Menard is attempting to buy the team. Talk of a potential sale was prevalent in the garage area at Pocono Raceway, where several drivers and owners from other teams confirmed that they had heard the rumor. “There is no truth to it at all,” Gilmore said. “John (Menard) is a great sponsor of ours, but that’s all it is. Over the years, many ‘players’ have tried to buy DEI. We’ve been contacted by owners of NFL and NBA teams about it. Teresa (Earnhardt) has no interest.” Menard’s son Paul drives the #11 DEI Chevy in the Busch Series.(Gaston Gazette)(6-11-2005)
UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been complaining about horsepower much of the season, and now it appears that DEI will be building a new engine shop, perhaps with Menard Engineering help. Owner John Menard’s son Paul drives Busch cars for DEI. Menard Engineering also provides motors for Robby Gordon.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-27-2005)
News from June 26, 2005
- Stewart wins at Infineon Raceway: #20-Tony Stewart won the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his first win of 2005, 4th on a road course, 2nd at Infineon Raceway and 20th of his career. It is Stewart’s first win in 30 races, since Watkins Glen last August. #21-Ricky Rudd coasted to the finish [ran out of gas after the checkered flag]. #97-Kurt Busch, #2-Rusty Wallace and #88-Dale Jarrett round out the top-five. #16-Greg Biffle, who started 41st, led 8 laps and finished 14th, which coupled with #48-Jimmie Johnson’s transmission problems, vaulted Biffle into the points lead by 22 points. This is the first time Biffle has led the Nextel Cup Drivers Points standings. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had trouble from the get-go, having a transmission problem, getting into #0-Mike Bliss and spun out and wrecked. Dale Jr. finished 42nd, 22 laps down and is now 18th in points, 543 points out of the lead and out of The Chase. #24-Jeff Gordon also fell victim to the Hendrick Motorsports transmission woes and after dominating the first 32 laps, finished up 33rd and is out of The Chase, -414 points. Two road course specialists finished in the top-10, #32-Ron Fellows finished 8th and #33-Brian Simo was 10th.
For more about the race, see my Sonoma/Infineon Raceway Race Info/Rundown Page for lap leaders, cautions, narratives, etc.
For race results see Jayski’s Infineon Raceway Race Results/Awards page.(6-26-2005)
- Six Cup drivers qualify for Southwest race at Infineon UPDATE: Six of the seven drivers who attempted to do double duty in Saturday’s Blue Lizard Suncream 200 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series as well as the Dodge/Save Mart 350 successfully achieved it, again led by Boris Said. Said put Ken Schrader’s #99 Chevrolet into the field in eighth — eight-tenths of a second behind pole winner Eric Holmes. Other two-timers included Travis Kvapil in 11th, Kyle Busch in 13th, Dave Blaney in 16th, Michael Waltrip in 25th and Chris Cook in 30th. Bill Davis Racing’s shop foreman Tom Hubert, who made the Cup race in Kirk Shelmerdine’s #27 Ford in 35th, did not post a qualifying speed for the Southwest Series race and failed to qualify.(NASCAR.com)(6-25-2005)
UPDATE – Results: For Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, the pendulum swung wildly during Saturdary’s Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200 at Infineon Raceway. To start with, the Jim Russell Racing School instructor had to pull off the grid to fix a radio problem and started last in the 42-car field. By Lap 16, he was 21st, and by Lap 28, he was 11th. When all the dust had cleared, he had beaten teammate Eric Holmes for the win in the prelude NASCAR AutoZone Southwest Series event to Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series machines. The official margin of victory was .449 of a second over Holmes, who dogged Dyer to the end. Bryan Germone was third, followed by Kenny Shepherd and Chris Cook. Cook was the higest finisher of the six drivers who will race in the Cup race, the others, Kyle Busch 9th, Kvapil 12th, Blaney 32nd [transmission], Said 36th [accident] and Waltrip 41st as he withdrew from the race.(Infineon Raceway).(6-26-2005)
- Third Yates Cup team in the works? UPDATE Denied: Robert Yates Racing [#38-Elliott Sadler, #88-Dale Jarrett] officials say the believe they need to move toward a third team, and efforts are in the works. Team manager Eddie d’Hondt said Saturday that he is to meet Tuesday in Baltimore with official of Citi Financial, current sponsor of RYR’s Busch team, to see about a Cup program. Doug Yates, RYR president and leader of Roush/Yates Engines, said he understands that RYR has fallen behind the two majors, Roush and Hendrick, and that expansion is a competitive necessity. “That’s the thing Robert and I always thought, that getting more teams was getting kind of greedy,” Doug said. “We look back now [and realize] we missed the boat on it a little with all the opportunities we had.” The RYR philosophy, as seen by Robert, has been the old Junior Johnson method: Let lesser teams develop the drivers, then snatch them up for the top seats when they are ready. It’s a new world, Doug says, hinting that he has seen it coming. Yates and d’Hondt agreed that driver development will be a significant part of the team’s future efforts, although Cup drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler have driven RYR’s newly-founded Busch car all year. d’Hondt said RYR needed to get the team up and running, with a veteran baseline, before throwing a newcomer into the seat.(Speed Channel Notebook)(6-12-2005)
UPDATE: Robert Yates Racing owner, Robert Yates [#38 and #88 Fords] said June 17th that hs is almost certain he will not have a third Nextel Cup team next season. Yates plans to continue fielding two Cup teams and a Busch Series team in 2006. “We’re treating our Busch team more like it’s a Cup team”, Yates said. “I gives us a Saturday practice.”(NASCAR Scene Magazine)(6-26-2005)
- Latest on ‘Car of Tomorrow’: Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s vice president of research and development, expects the long-awaited NASCAR “Car of Tomorrow” to address the sport’s next most worrisome safety problem: side impacts. Taller, boxier, and much more representative of their consumer car counterparts, the new evolution of the NASCAR machine is slated to begin on-track testing this fall with a projected 2007 introduction. “We’re releasing specifications to the teams and we will begin testing this fall and continue testing into ’06,” said Nelson. “The testing we’ve done individually has gone well and if the teams continue to have that progress it’s just then a matter of transitioning for the car owners, figuring out how best to transition it into their fleet.” The new car is designed to make the cabin safer by moving the driver slightly toward the center and using a steel roll cage similar to current ones. The object is to create “crushable space” to dissipate crash energy around the driver. Just outside of that structure you try to absorb some energy. That’s the difficult part because you never know what direction an impact may come from. With a strong roll cage and frame and the driver moved maybe a little more toward the center of the car, it provides a little more space for absorbing some energy, I think we’ve accomplished that with the car we’ve got now.”(St Petersburg Times)(6-26-2005)
- Track Safety to focus on the catchfence area in the near future: The elusive nature of safety technology dictates that eliminating one problem will highlight another. With SAFER barriers greatly reducing injury from wall collisions, drivers and scientists alike expect car-to-car crashes to become the focus. “I think (deaths from barrier impacts) are going to drop off the radar screen, if you count after 2001,” said Dr. Dean Sicking, a University of Nebraska professor who developed the SAFER barrier. The next step, Sicking said, is to look above the track’s walls. DeLand’s Tony Renna was killed in October 2003 when the IndyCar he was testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway went airborne in a turn and broke apart on a catchfence post. “Improving those could be a great benefit to the driver and the fan,” Sicking said. “There is the potential – I don’t think it’s really happened yet – for some pieces of a car to go through the fence, which would be a horrible problem for the fan.”(St Petersburg Times)(6-26-2005)
- Special on neurology of NASCAR TV Special in the works: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an Atlanta neurosurgeon and the network’s senior medical correspondent, was in Concord, NC this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway filming an hourlong CNN medical special show scheduled for Sept. 25 about motor sports from a medical perspective. Among the topics: whether great racers are born that way or learn through training; staying hydrated on race day; and the survivability of crashes. “People are fascinated by the physics of a crash,” says Gupta, who interviewed driver Carl Edwards in a Huntersville park for a segment on drivers as athletes. “I feel safer in my race car than on the street,” Edwards told him. Oncoming traffic and variables beyond a driver’s control are potentially deadly hazards, he said. Dedicated to a regimen of exercise and health, Edwards is emblematic of the new breed of drivers, a generation beyond the mythology of beer-swilling, pot-bellied racers, Gupta says. Gupta joined CNN in 2001. He has risen to be one of the network’s most recognizable correspondents, known for knowledgeable reporting on medical trends, his weekend show, “House Call” (8:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays), and occasional specials on topics that have ranged from presidential health to memory.(Charlotte Observer)(6-26-2005)
- Jones in the #4 for Wallace at Infineon: P. J. Jones will be driving the #4 Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Dodge/Save Mart 300 on Sunday, June 26. This one race decision is no reflection whatsoever of Morgan-McClure and Lucas Oil’s commitment to Mike Wallace as the driver of the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy. The team is looking forward to having Wallace back in the car next week in Daytona for the Pepsi 400 and continuing the season long goal of moving up in the points race. The Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil Team is 35th in owner’s points coming in to the Dodge/Save Mart 300.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports/Lucas Oil PR), Jone will have to fall to the rear of the field Sunday before the drop of the green flag, Wallace was scheduled to start 40th.(6-25-2005)
AND GIVE US THE UPDATE ON THE DRIVER SITUATION FOR THIS WEEKEND IN THE #4 LUCAS OIL CHEVY:
[Mike Wallace:] “They made a decision this morning. P.J. is going to race the car. I don’t understand any of it. It caught me pretty much off guard. We race hard to get ourselves inside the top 35 and we’re in the 35th spot. I guess management feels that P.J. can do a better job than me here.”(GM Racing PR)(6-26-2005)
- Wheldon wins 2nd Qtr DOTY Vote: Indy 500 winner, and the Indy Racing League points leader, Dan Wheldon, edged NASCAR’s Greg Biffle to win the vote for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year second quarter, 2005. Wheldon, who drives the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda for Andretti Green Racing, dominated the second quarter which mirrored his performance all year. After winning the Indy Japan 300 in April he topped that by winning the 89th edition of the Indy 500. Wheldon became the first Brit to win the Indy 500 since Graham Hill did it in 1966. He could be the first Briton to win Driver of the Year since Nigel Mansell accomplished the feat in 1993. In the professional vote only two drivers scored first place votes Wheldon and Biffle. Overall Wheldon scored 120 points to Biffle’s 118. Biffle, in the #16 National Guard/Post It Ford, had three wins in the quarter and moved to within 46 points of Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series standings. Third place went to Biffle’s Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, who drove the Office Depot Ford to victory lane at the Pocono 500 and two wins in the NASCAR Busch series.
A total of 14 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting, including fourth place Steve Kinser, of the World of Outlaws series, fifth place went to NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie, Kyle Busch. Danica Patrick, who had 300,000 fans on their feet screaming as she battled Wheldon in the closing laps of the Indy 500, won the fan vote [which counts for 1 vote to go with 18 professional votes] and was sixth overall. In its’ 39th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Wheldon will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV.(DOTY PR)(6-26-2005)
News from June 25, 2005
- Bobby Sr. tells Bobby Jr. to move on: That’s the advice Bobby Hamilton Sr. offered his son, #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., in regards to Hamilton Jr.’s ride with Cal Wells’ #32 team. Ron Fellows, a road racing specialist, will drive for Hamilton Jr. this weekend because the team is outside the top 35 in car owner points and must qualify to make the race. Asked what he’s told his son during this season, Hamilton Sr. said: “To find something else to drive,” he said. “I mean, there’s too many chiefs and not enough Indians there. They’ve got just enough employees to survive, barely get to a race track and survive a Nextel Cup deal. I think the world of the owner [Wells]. I know the crew chief and driver have a ton of talent together. Hopefully, they can land back on their feet someplace else.”(Roanoke Times)(6-25-2005)
- Infineon Raceway Unveils Wall of Fame: Legendary drivers Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin will retire from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series after the 2005 season, but their legacies will live forever at Infineon Raceway. Wallace and Martin, who have combined for three victories and three pole positions at Infineon Raceway over their careers, were honored during a ceremony on Friday in the Winner’s Circle as the raceway announced the construction of a Wall of Fame. Wallace and Martin were honored as the Wall of Fame’s first inductees – the ceremony took place during the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend. The Sonoma Valley facility has featured the best in motor sports over the last 37 years, and raceway officials decided to establish a Wall of Fame, which will honor those who have excelled not only in their form of motor racing, but more importantly, at Infineon Raceway.
Both drivers were presented with granite plaques by Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. The plaques were etched with each driver’s likeness, as well as their form of motor racing, and the date of induction. The plaques will be on display in the Wall of Fame, which is being constructed behind the main grandstand and will be open to the public.
“The Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame provides a wonderful means to celebrate the rich motor racing history of this facility,” Page said. “Both Rusty and Mark have performed so well on this track and have done so much to build this sport in Northern California. I can think of no two names we’d rather feature as our first inductees.”
Both Wallace and Martin have been road-course specialists at Infineon Raceway over the years. Wallace won the event in 1990 and 1996 and has two poles (1989, 2000). He has also led the most races (eight) and is fourth at the raceway in all-time earnings ($882,205). Moreover, Wallace placed outside the top seven just twice from 1989-1996. “I’ve always enjoyed coming to Sonoma and we’ve always run well here, so this is a big honor for me to be one of the first drivers to be inducted into the Wall of Fame,” Wallace said. “The bottom line is that it has always been one of the most fun races of the year.”
Martin, meanwhile, won the event in 1997, and has 13 top-10 efforts in 16 starts at Infineon Raceway. He has placed outside the top 10 just once since 1994, and is second in all-time earnings ($955,737). “This is a great honor for me,” Martin said. “We’ve had some great races here and I will miss the road course, but it’s an honor to know that I will always be a part of the history in Sonoma.”
The Wall of Fame will include competitors from all forms of motor racing at Infineon Raceway, including NASCAR, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), open-wheel cars, sports cars, and more. It will also include those who have made significant contributions to the raceway over the years. A raceway committee will oversee the selection process on an annual basis.(Infineon Raceway)(6-25-2005)
- FOX wants the Daytona 500..exclusive? In NASCAR’s negotiations for a new network package, some expect Fox to push for exclusive rights to the Daytona 500, since it doesn’t have a shot [due to carrying the NFL in the fall] at carrying NASCAR’s new 10-race championship playoffs [Chase for the Nextel Cup].(Winston Salem Journal)(6-25-2005)
- NASCAR Takes Engines to Examine UPDATE: Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner reported on Speed News NASCAR Edition that NASCAR took ten engines from the teams after the race at Michigan. Three Dodge [#12, #9, #41], Four GM [#20, #15, #31, #48], Three Ford [#6, #17, #38]. The engines will be taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC to determine how even the power, parts, etc are.(and from ThatsRacin.com)(6-20-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR’s confiscation of engines from Michigan’s top runners was unexpected, but engine men say they don’t expect to get those engines back soon and that NASCAR has told them it won’t be releasing any horsepower figures from its secret tests in Charlotte.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-25-2005)
- Gibbs FanFest returns: The annual Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Fall FanFest returns in 2005, where from 9:00am to 2:00pm/et on Fri., Oct. 14, JGR’s drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Weekly Racing Series will be available for autographs at the team’s recently renovated race shop in Huntersville, North Carolina.(JGR Site), see more on my Racing Charities page.(6-25-2005)
- Terry Labonte gets the #11 team in the top 35: with his 12th place finish at Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, Terry Labonte helped the #11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy and regular driver get in the top 35 owners points for the first time this year. So Leffler is locked in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona next Saturday, which is an impound race. So who dropped out? #4-P.J. Jones was hired late Saturday to help keep the #4 Morgan McClure team and regular driver, Mike Wallace, in the top-35 owners points, had some problems late and finished 32nd and fell out of the top 35. The teams in the Top-35 bubble area:
34) #22-Scott Wimmer, 1292, +69
35) #11-Jason Leffler, 1228, +5
36) #4-Mike Wallace, 1223, -5
37) #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 1138, -90.(6-26-2005)
- Infineon Raceway Notes:
• Tony Stewart won the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, scoring his 20th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 228th career start.
• This is Stewart’s first victory in 2005. His last victory came at Watkins Glen in 2004, 30 races ago.
• Stewart became the eighth different race winner in 2005.
• Stewart moved to 29th on NASCAR’s All-time win list tied with Speedy Thompson.
• This marked the seventh victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has eight and Dodge has one.
• Stewart climbed from sixth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings and is now 198 behind firstplace Greg Biffle.
• Stewart scored his second victory at Infineon Raceway. He also won here in 2001. It is Stewart’s fourth victory in 13 career road-course races.
• Stewart led three times for 39 laps, including the final 11, and led the most laps for the fourth time this season.
• Stewart has scored eight top-10 finishes in 16 races this season.
• Stewart scored the second victory for car owner Joe Gibbs at Infineon Raceway. Gibbs last won here when Stewart won here in 2002. This was Gibbs’ 43rd victory as a car owner and first this season.
• Ricky Rudd (second) posted his 11th top-10 finish in his 17 races at Infineon. It is his third top-10 finish in 2005.
• Kurt Busch (third) posted his second top-10 finish and his best finish in his five races at Infineon Raceway. He scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2005.
• Rusty Wallace (fourth) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 17 races at Infineon Raceway. He scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2005. Wallace climbed from eighth to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings
• Wallace extended a 29-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August.
. • Dale Jarrett (fifth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 17 races at Infineon Raceway. Jarrett has scored four top-10 finishes in 2005. He remained He climbed from 15th to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Jimmie Johnson (36th) ended a 12-race run as leader of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Greg Biffle moved into the point lead for the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL CUP career. Johnson has lost 145 points in the last two races.
• Seven of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Infineon Raceway.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (42nd) dropped from 17th to 18th in the point standings and is now 543 points behind point leader Greg Biffle.
• Jimmie Johnson (36th) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 49 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004.
• Jeff Gordon (33rd) posted his posted his seventh finish of 30th or worse in 2005, including five of the last six races, and dropped from 12th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He is now 414 points behind point leader Biffle.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-26-2005)
- Rumblings – Infineon Raceway:
Tony Stewart was much the best this afternoon and it was just a matter of time till he got by Ricky Rudd late (lap 100) to prove it. Tony won today’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway after dominating much of the second half (leading 39 of the 110 laps). This was Stewart’s second road course win in a row, fourth r/c win in his career, his 20th win overall (he’s tied for 29th on the all-time win list with Speedy Thompson), and he becomes our 8th different winner this season. Win #43 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $348,761 from the over $5.3M in posted awards.
Ricky Rudd (2nd) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Kansas last October. His Top-5 finish gives us 27 drivers at that mark this season…. last year’s number was 31.
Kurt Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Phoenix in April.
Rusty Wallace (4th) had his best finish since he won at Martinsville in April of 2004.
Dale Jarrett (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Bristol in April.
Elliott Sadler (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Talladega in April.
Ron Fellows (8th) was the best of the road-course ringers today.
Brian Simo (10th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was her in June of 2000 when he finished 36th. Fellows’ and Simo’s Top-10 finishes now bring us up to 36 drivers to score a T-10 this season, last year we had 39 of ’em.
Robby Gordon (16th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Darlington last November.
Boris Said (17th) had his best finish since he was 6th here last year (only six races).
STREAKIN….Rusty Wallace has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Elliott Sadler (+36), followed by Ron Fellows (+35), Greg Biffle (+27), Dale Jarrett (+25), and Jeremy Mayfield (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmie Johnson (34), followed by Jeff Gordon (-32), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-32), Kyle Busch (-27), and Scott Pruett (-22). Sadler is now tied with Michael Waltrip and Kyle Busch with three Ops this season.
Joe Gibbs Racing also accomplished another win of sorts this weekend as Terry Labonte raced them into the Top-35 in Owners Points (by five markers over the #4). Jason Leffler will now have an exemption into the Pepsi 400 on Saturday, and Mike Wallace will have to qualify on time.
We’ve got a change at the top of the standings this week as Greg Biffle now leads Jimmie Johnson by 22 points. It’s the first new leader we’ve had since JJ took the point leaving Las Vegas.
Johnson’s troubles also brought two more drivers under the “Stayin’ Alive” line as we’ve got 13 in the “Chase” at the moment.
We had three drivers (Dale Jarrett, Travis Kvapil, and Ricky Rudd) in the Top-30 advance three spots this week, while Carl Edwards (4th to 9th) fell the most positions.(Much more at Stockcarfans.com)(6-26-2005)
- Harvick finishes 7th in final Mesa Marin appearance: Brian Richardson was the class of the 28 car Late Model ‘McMillin Homes Firecracker 100’ at Mesa Marin Raceway winning over Burney Lamar and Eric Richardson. After getting caught up in a lap 4 accident, Kevin Harvick came back to finish seventh, minus the front body parts and the left front shock of his #29 car. With Mesa Marin sold and closing at the end of its 2005 season, it is the final race Harvick will run at the track. Harvick had two consecutive NASCAR Late Model wins at Mesa Marin.(in part from the Mesa Marin site)(6-25-2005)
- Daytona USA to sponsor Labontes: DAYTONA USA, the Official Attraction of NASCAR, will sponsor the #44 Doran Racing Pontiac Doran driven by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champions Bobby and Terry Labonte in the June 30 Brumos Porsche 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race at Daytona International Speedway. In the Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this year, Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Series champion, and Terry, the 1984 and 1996 NEXTEL Cup champion, co-drove the #44 Daytona Prototype with Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta to a ninth-place overall finish. The Brumos Porsche 250, which features the Daytona Prototypes as well as GT class machines, will kick off the Pepsi 400 Weekend on Thursday, June 30 with a new starting time of 7:15pm/et.(DIS)(6-25-2005)
- ‘Gong Show’ nets 1,700 applications: Roush Racing’s “Gong Show” driver search drew approximately 1,700 applications, which have been whittled down to about 150, team president Geoff Smith said this week. Now, team owner Jack Roush, his drivers and crew chiefs will go through the entries to give their input before the list is reduced again to about 25. The finalists will then be taken to Martinsville Speedway and Darlington Raceway for their on-track auditions, with the winner or winners joining Roush’s NASCAR race team. The whole process will be shown in 13 episodes on the Discovery Channel.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-25-2005)
News from June 24, 2005
- New Racing Simulators “Making Laps”: The latest innovation to bring excitement to the display areas around most all the NASCAR race tracks are the “new” Racing Simulators use by many corporate displays currently touring the Nextel Cup Circuit. The Motorsports Image (www.motorsportsimage.com Racing Simulator line of products has proven to be a winner everywhere race fans are. Many team owners, marketing executives and motorsports sponsors are heralding these racing Simulators as the newest and most effective way to entertain and market to racefans in several decades. The Motorsports Image Simulators consist of several types of products all of which can be custom designed to meet the customer’s requirements. Probably the most creative is the award winning Sim Showcar which is a showcar that has the real driver’s seat inside that actually moves with the video game. A wide screen monitor is placed inside the front windshield and the race fan driver hops inside and uses the actual steering wheel, gas and brake pedals that the real drivers use. The seat has a motion base system installed underneath and that enables the driver to feel all the action out on the track as they drive the racing game. The bumps, the bank of the track, the vibration of racing all can be felt in this innovative new Simulator product. The most amazing thing about this product is several of the Sim Showcars actual run and have made parade laps around race tracks. The MSI (Motorsports Image) Sim Showcar recently achieved award winning status at the last International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (I.A.A.P.A.). The other two creative products now touring the tracks are the MSI racing Seat Sim and the MSI ¾ Scale Sim racecar.
The MSI Seat Sims consist of a roll cage equipped with real racing seats, big bazooka sounds and all the movement of the real race car inside the game. This Sim product simply rolls into place on its on base and is ready to race almost anywhere in a matter of minutes. Many other companies have used the Sims at their trade shows such as Motorola, Coca Cola, and many more companies representing corporate America and their products. All of the MSI Racing Simulators use common 110 Volt current and can be set up and running anywhere. For more information Motorsports Image can be contacted at 704-663-1023 or at www.motorsportsimage.com.(6-24-2005)
- Gordon wins pole at Infineon Raceway: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a new track qualifying record of 94.325mph [the old record was from June 2004 by Gordon at 94.303]. Gordon was the only driver to run faster then the track record. It is Gordon’s 5th pole at Infineon Raceway, 2nd of 2005, 7th road course pole and 54th career pole. #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 2nd, followed by #6-Mark Martin, #36-Boris Said and #7-Robby Gordon. 2nd in drivers points, #16-Greg Biffle, got off-course on his lap and will start 41st. Missing the race were: #02-Brandon Ash; #37-Kevin Lepage; #52-Jose Luis Ramirez, #66-Johnny Bornemann III, #92-Stanton Barrett.
For qualifying results, starting lineup/links, practice results, pole progression…and more on my Jayski’s Starting Lineup/Qualifying/Practice Page.(6-24-2005)
- Final Michigan TV Ratings – Ratings Up, Share Down, close to same as 2004: Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily says the June 19 Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway drew a 4.76 rating and an audience share of 12, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. The numbers for last year’s race were not immediately available.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)
2004: from my 2004 TV Ratings Page [info came from these two sources too] – Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway drew a 4.5 rating and 13 share, down 16.7% from 2003’s 5.4/16.(6-24-2005)
- Hubert takes over for Shelmerdine UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing’s Tom Hubert will attempt to get the #27 Kirk Shelmedine Racing Ford in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. Hubert has ran road course races in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Series for various teams. The #27 team has made 10 attempts but failed to make a race in 2005.(Sonoma Entry List)(6-21-2005)
UPDATE: Kirk Shelmedine Racing (KSR) would like to welcome aboard Tom Hubert to Pilot the #27 KSR Ford at Infineon Raceway. KSR would like to welcome aboard Napa Valley Ford and PumaTools.com as associate sponsors for the Sonoma race.
AND Hubert made the race and the team has picked up associate sponsorship from www.myracingteam.com.(KSR PR)(6-24-2005)
- Sonoma Qualifying Notes:
• Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dodge/SaveMart 350, lapping Infineon Raceway in 75.950 seconds at 94.325 mph. He broke his own trackqualifying record of 75.968 seconds, 94.303 mph, set in 2004.
• This is Jeff Gordon’s 54th career Bud Pole in 417 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. He remains seventh on the all-time Bud Pole list.
• This is Jeff Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole in 13 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway. He broke a tie with Ricky Rudd for the most Bud Poles at Infineon.
• This is Gordon’s seventh career road-course Bud Pole. He has won five of the last eight Bud Poles at Infineon and went on to score victories in four of the races when he won the Bud Pole.
• Jeff Gordon became the third repeat Bud Pole winner this season, joining Ryan Newman (five) and Kasey Kahne (two).
• Jimmie Johnson posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 76.079 seconds, 94.165 mph – and will join Jeff Gordon on the front row for the Dodge/SaveMart 350. Johnson’s previous best road-course qualifying effort was 12th at Watkins Glen in 2002, his rookie season. He started from the Bud Pole at Watkins Glen last year when qualifying was canceled. He has two top-five finishes in his six road-course races with his best being fourth at Watkins Glen in 2003.
• This is the second front-row sweep for Hendrick Motorsports in 2005. Gordon started on the Bud Pole and Brian Vickers started second at California Speedway in February.
• This is the sixth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has seven Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Dover.
• Mark Martin (third) has posted 12 top-10 starts in his 17 Infineon races, including nine top-fives. It is his first top-10 start this season.
• Boris Said (fourth) qualified for his 16th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race – his 10th on a road course. It is his third top-10 start in six races at Infineon.
• Robby Gordon (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in eight races at Infineon Raceway. It is his second top-10 start this season – both in the past two races.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr, (10th) posted his first top-10 start in six races at Infineon and his second top-10 start in 2005.
• There have been nine different Bud Pole winners in the last 13 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Infineon Raceway. Jeff Gordon (1998, 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2005) is the only repeat Bud Pole winner in the 13-race period.(NASCAR Statsistical Services)(6-24-2005)
- Ramblings – Sonoma:
In a season that’s been less than stellar, Jeff Gordon set a new track record today at Infineon Raceway for Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350…breaking his year-old mark. Gordon, the last driver to take a time, ran 94.325 mph (75.950 seconds) to take his second Bud pole of the season (he had the top spot at Phoenix in April) and the 54th of his Cup career. He’ll be joined on the front-row by teammate Jimmie Johnson.
Mark Martin (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond last September.
Boris Said (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole when we were here in June of 2003 (only 8 races).
Robby Gordon (5th) has his best starting spot since he started 5th at Michigan in June of 2004.
Terry Labonte (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Loudon in September of 2003! He’s in for Jason Leffler this week in Joe Gibb’s #11 Chevy.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Daytona in February.
The Road Course Ringers are well represented this weekend. Scott Pruett (9th), Tom Hubert (35th) and Ron Fellows (43rd) all make their first starts of the season. Brian Simo (22nd) makes his first start since he ran Watkins Glen for Junie Donlavey in August of 2001 (he started 42nd and finished 37th that day), and Chris Cook (28th) makes his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start.
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
Always a different story when we go left AND right, and I would suspect this weekend to be the same. Limited passing opportunites, no “lucky dog” rule, long yellow laps, keep the tranny in the car, keep it on the pavement, be lucky and pit before the yellow comes out…..like they don’t have enough to think about already!(Stock Car Fans)(6-24-2005)
- Dallenbach racing this week…in the booth next week: Tomorrow marks ten years since Wally Dallenbach Jr. made his last appearance in the famous race to the clouds. Busy with NASCAR’s Busch series, NBC NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series commentating and his own show, “Track & Trail” on the Outdoor Network, Wally Jr.’s excited to be back for this traditional race. Racing against younger brother Paul, the defending champion in the Open Wheel Division, Wally Jr. faces some tough competition, but the real challenge is the course itself. The Hill Climb, established in 1916, is a unique auto and motorcycle race of 160 drivers and riders, which combines a tricky gravel course, thin air two miles above sea level, cutting-edge technology, and gutsy drivers who reach for their dreams as they charge toward the sky. It is the second oldest motor sports event in the U.S. – Only the Indianapolis 500 is older. The course is a dangerous sprint of 12.4 miles, a test of intelligence and awareness. Racers take the straight-aways at 130 mph plus, challenged by 156 gravel turns, cliffs of 2,000 feet and NO guardrails! “Vortex Valve made it possible for Paul and I to run together this year,” says Wally Jr., “I’m here to make a great run and to show Paul who’s boss”. Paul and Wally Jr.’s appearance together this year at the PPIHC is made possible through their sponsor, Air Synergy Labs, Inc, (ASL) manufacturers of the amazing Vortex Valve. ASL is dedicated to making more horsepower with less fuel. Both # 98 driven by Paul and # 17 driven by Wally Jr. will be sporting Air Synergy Labs colors and equipped with the Vortex Valve. The 83rd running of the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb starts Saturday, June 25th.(Real-Time PR), no word on any TV coverage.(6-24-2005)
- Tracy worrying about 2005…not beyond: Although his contract with Forsythe Championship Racing expires after this season, Paul Tracy isn’t sure where his future lies. “We haven’t gotten down to talk about next year,” the Toronto Champ Car driver said yesterday. “Right now is the beginning of the season for us, it’s only four races in. Once we get to August, September, then we start talking about next year, and see where talks go.” Tracy prefers not to look beyond that. “At the end of the day, if you’re winning races consistently then all of the other things that are going to happen in the future will fall in line,” he said. Tracy has long been rumoured to be leaving the Champ Car circuit. NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series has been a popular suggestion for him. It’s thought his “Thrill from West Hill” persona would mesh well with NASCAR’s star system. Tracy, however, made no mention yesterday of aspirations to drive stock cars. His only stated goal outside of Champ Car is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For the time being Tracy is focusing on the series he is competing in.(Ottawa Sun/CP)(6-24-2005)
News from June 23, 2005
- National Guard Team To Arrive In Style At Infineon: Earlier this week the call came in to the Roush Racing shop in Concord, N.C. that the National Guard had finalized special travel arrangements for the #16 team. After several weeks of planning, it was confirmed that the team would arrive and depart from Infineon Raceway on Sunday in a CH 47 Chinook Helicopter. “We were able to do this last year and wanted to be able to do something for the guys again this year,” said SFC John Metzler of the National Guard. “They work week in and week out to give the men and women of the Army National Guard great a car to root for on the track. The morale boost they’ve given to Guard soldiers everywhere this year with such an incredible season is immeasurable and we just wanted to be able to do something for them.” The CH 47 Chinook is a tandem-rotor transport helicopter. It is 51 feet in length, weighs approximately 33,000 pounds, has a maximum payload of more than seven tons and travels at up to 150 mph. It requires three crew members and can carry 33 troops. The first Chinooks were built in 1961 and were first used in combat during Vietnam War. By 1968, the Chinook had put in 161,000 hours of flying time, carrying 22.4 million passengers and 1.3 million tons of cargo. Chinook helicopters were also used to transport U.S. and allied troops in the Persian Gulf War. The CH 47 used to transport the National Guard crew this weekend will be operated by three members of the National Guard. The Chinook will be brought in to Oakland, Calif. on Saturday for the early morning flight to Infineon Raceway. The team will meet the helicopter at 5:30 am for the 20-minute flight to the track as the garage is schedule to open at 6:00 am. Following the 110-lap event, the CH 47 will be brought back to the Infineon Raceway helipad where it will pick up the National Guard team to take them to Roush Air in Oakland.(Roush Racing)(6-23-2005)
- DEI E Store Online Now Open: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced the opening of the new E Store Online available through their official website – www.DaleEarnhardtInc.com. Items are available in the Exclusive, Legacy, Die Cast, Men, Women, Children, Collectible, Accessory and Featured Sections. You can get everything from a Martin Truex, Jr. or Paul Menard T-shirt, to a Michael Waltrip hat or a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. die cast. An entire line of Dale Earnhardt Legacy items are also available.
DEI joins other teams/drivers with their own online store: DW Store; Jeff Hammond’s Collector¹s World; JR’s Garage – Roush Racing; Mattkensethstore.com; Tony Stewart Store, Rusty Wallace store
- The Sprint Cup? UPDATE: Looks like the NEXTEL Cup Series will be no more in 2007. Get ready for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as the Sprint-NEXTEL merger gets finalized and the company’s new name becomes attached to the NASCAR deal.(RacingOne)(6-13-2005)
UPDATE: Sprint and Nextel Communications announced details surrounding the brand strategy and logo to be used upon completion of the companies’ merger, expected in the third quarter of 2005, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. The new go-to-market brand name of the combined Sprint Nextel will be Sprint, with the Nextel name continuing as a key product brand. Given its broad market awareness and its history of innovation, the Sprint name was chosen as the lead go-to-market brand name for the new company.
Blending elements of Sprint’s signature “pin drop” – representing clarity – and Nextel’s bold yellow and black colors – which command attention – the new logo is a powerful symbol for the new Sprint as a forward-moving, energetic and dynamic brand. Additionally, in advertising, the new Sprint visual treatment will include the line, “Together with Nextel,” as a reminder of the equity of these two strong brands coming together as one.
The new company will be committed to its partnership with NASCAR and its more than 75 million fans. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will maintain its current series branding through 2006, and decisions regarding the series name and branding beyond that season are expected to be made prior to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season opener in 2006. Sprint Nextel Corporation will serve as the corporate name of the combined company once the merger is approved.(Sprint)(6-23-2005)
- Andretti in Readers Digest: His Nextel Cup career might be on hold due to lack of sponsorship, but John Andretti is managing to get some exposure via a feature article in the July, 2005 edition of Reader’s Digest. Reader’s Digest used Andretti, who began this season in ppc Racing’s #14 Ford until the team pulled out of the series, to explain car care and avoidance of passenger car problems in its latest issue. The segment has a photo of Andretti. “It’s kind of neat, especially with a magazine I first saw when I was a kid because my grandmother subscribed to it,” Andretti said. “My first thought was, ‘I’ll be in dentists’ offices all over the country.'”(NASCAR.com)(6-23-2005)
- NASCAR TV Guides: this week, the June 26th issue of TV Guide is featuring four pairs of teammates: #38-Elliott Sadler and #88-Dale Jarrett from Robert Yates Racing; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #15-Michale Waltrip of DEI; #48-Jimmie Johnson and #24-Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports; and #99-Carl Edwards and #6-Mark Martin of Roush Racing.(6-23-2005)
- Korbel Champagne to sponsor the #33 at Infineon: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Korbel California Champagnes have reached an agreement for a one-race sponsorship with 2000 SCCA Trans Am Champion Brian Simo piloting RCR’s #33 Korbel California Champagnes Chevrolet Monte Carlo in this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Established in 1882 in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Korbel Champagne Cellars produces the United States’ most popular méthode champenoise champagne. Owned and managed by the Heck family since 1954, Korbel currently makes 10 champagnes and a limited amount of still wine. In a separate facility, Korbel also produces one of the country’s most respected brandies. Korbel California Champagnes reminds race fans to “Celebrate Responsibly.” (RCR PR)(6-23-2005)
- Simo to run the #33 at Sonoma: some nice background about Brian Simo as folks may not know much about him: Brian Simo will return to NASCAR Nextel Cup racing this week, driving the #33 Chevrolet with Richard Childress Racing. Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., will be up against NASCAR’s rule reserving 36 [including the champ prov for #11-Labonte] of the 43 starting positions for series regulars, but is confident of his chances of qualifying for a fourth career Cup start. “RCR has been great to work with and I’m really looking forward to racing with [crew chief] Bobby Leslie and [engine-builder] Danny Lawrence. I appreciate what Richard Childress and RCR have accomplished, and it’s great to have the opportunity to run with them,” Simo said. “There are only seven spots, so we’ll try to first make it into the field, then worry about the race. We can’t afford any mistakes in qualifying, so we probably need a less-than-fast run, but solid enough to get in the show.” Simo competed in three previous Cup races. In his last time out, with no testing or advance seat time, he qualified 15th of 48 drivers in only his second attempt at single-lap qualifying and raced as high as fifth place in his third race. He has also contested several NASCAR Busch Series races, where he led on two occasions before retiring with mechanical failures. He won the highly competitive Trans-Am Series championship in 2000 and was first or second in the series for five consecutive years. In sports cars, he has achieved success in every race he has entered – a 10-lap GTS win and a GTS1 podium finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, two IMSA GTS victories and two GT podiums in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans.(Speed Channel)(6-23-2005)
- Fox TV Ratings on a record pace: As Fox prepares to air its final Nextel Cup race of the season on Sunday, the network says it is on the verge of setting an all-time high for its regular season broadcasts. Fox says it is averaging a 6.1 rating and a 14 market share for its first 11 events (through the June 12 Pocono race) and 9.833 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating is up 5 percent from the 5.8 last year, and the audience is up 6 percent from the 2004 audience of 9.275 million. Fox Sports research expects that this year’s Nextel Cup coverage on the network will post a final 5.9 household rating, setting a new record for any NASCAR package.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-23-2005)
- Sad News: Belated sympathy note to #2 Miller Lite team’s gasman Doug Ingold and his family for the passing of Doug’s mother, Joyce Ingold, on June 11. Mrs. Ingold, 71, died suddenly while on a church trip in Nashville, Tenn. “She and my sister had been going on these great bus trips with her church for several years now. Mom was just stepping down off the bus at one of the stops on the Nashville trip when she just collapsed. They did everything they could to revive her, but there was nothing that they could do. They said it was coronary failure, but she didn’t have any kind of medical history of heart problems. It may sound strange, but my whole family took a lot of comfort in the fact that mom died a really happy lady and she was doing what she loved doing – out there enjoying life with all her great friends from the church.” Services for Mrs. Ingold were held last Wednesday (June 15) at Stanly Funeral Home. She was interred in the cemetery at Silver Springs Baptist Church in Aquadale, N.C.(Tom Roberts PR)(6-23-2005)
- Petty engineers travel to high-tech wind tunnel in Germany: As the ever-expanding engineering and technical side of NASCAR Nextel Cup racing continues to grow, Petty Enterprises took a huge step to the forefront of wind tunnel testing this week. Accepting an invitation from Dodge Motorsports, Petty Enterprises spent this week in Stuttgart, Germany, at one of the world’s state-of-the-art wind tunnels. The wind tunnel in Stuttgart, Germany is equipped with a rare and unique “Rolling Road” wind tunnel system. Cars travel on a belt and can simulate different pitches and angles. Used by Mercedes, Petty Enterprises hopes the facility will provide them with unmatched information. “The ‘Rolling Road’ wind tunnel can actually give us better, more realistic data comparable to on-track conditions,” stated Petty Enterprises General Manager Jerry Freeze. “We’re hoping to use this data and compare it to the ‘static’ wind tunnels we use here in the States.” Petty Enterprises has two main objectives while in Germany, but is keeping in mind the ultimate goal. “First, we are hoping to learn the tunnel and see how we can take advantage of it,” continued Freeze. “Secondly, we want to try different adjustments to the car and gather the data. We are here to win too. The Dodge Charger is a completely new car this season. We want to continue to learn as much about this car as quickly as possible to get us in victory lane. This is a great opportunity for us.” Petty Enterprises, which fields the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by Jeff Green and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge driven by Kyle Petty, shipped their cars overseas a month ago. The cars were shipped in large containers.(Williams Company)(6-23-2005)
- More testing at Bondurant School: Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and Brian Vickers were at the Bob Bondurant School in Phoenix, AZ, Tuesday and Wednesday working with Mike McGovern. Then this afternoon, spent time on the track with Nick Lachey, AJ Descala, Marty Smith, and some other friends, who completed a one day “Intro to Racing” class. Then they jumped into the Bondurant Superkarts that do zero to 100 in six seconds, one inch from the ground and the fastest vehicle on the property.(6-23-2005)
- Aussie testing Truck: Two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose is testing a NASCAR Craftsman Truck at two tracks in the Carolinas this week as part of his plans to join America’s premier stock car circuit next year. Ford Racing is helping Ambrose, who won road racing’s Supercar championship Down Under in a Ford Falcon in 2003 and ’04 and is leading in this year’s title chase. Ambrose, 28, tested Tuesday at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and was at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday. Ambrose is using a Ford pickup supplied by Roush Racing during the tests. Representatives from Roush’s research and development group, including veteran crew chief Ben Leslie, are on site. Leslie has worked in the past with Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch. “This is the first step in a long process, a very long march,” said Ambrose, who raced against the likes of current Formula One drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button in Europe during the late ’90s. “I’ll show what I can do. It’s a challenge, but the sport’s the same whether you’re in open-wheel, V8 Supercars or NASCAR; it’s man versus machine.” Ambrose was at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last weekend for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck events. He was a guest of Ford Racing. Ambrose said he’s prepared to relocate to North Carolina, home of NASCAR race shops. But he isn’t expecting a free meal ticket. Ambrose is prepared to start in Craftsman Truck, if necessary, and work his way into the Busch Grand National series and then Nextel Cup.(Detroit Free Press)(6-23-3005)
- Earnhardt Squares Off Against 11-Year-Old Karter at Infineon: Not only did 11-year-old Andrew Wolocatiuk get to zip around the 16-turn, three-quarter karting Infineon Raceway track on Wednesday at speeds in excess of 50 mph, he did so against NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. The two drivers staged a five-lap challenge race as a promotion for this weekend’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt posted the victory in the five-lap race against young Wolocatiuk, but the Petaluma resident had a great time. “It was really cool. I didn’t realize what a cool guy he was but he was great,” said Wolocatiuk, a regular competitor in the Jim Russell Karting Series at Infineon Raceway. It was the first time Earnhardt Jr. had seen the twisting kart track at Infineon Raceway and he came away impressed. “I just had a really good time,” he said. “I think if Andrew had a better kart he would have given me a run for my money. Maybe we can come out and do this again some time.” Earnhardt Jr. competed in a corporate kart, featuring 15 horsepower and a top speed of 60 mph. Wolocatiuk drove a cadet kart, featuring 12 horsepower with a top speed of 55 mph. When the weight differential was factored in, the karts were equally prepared. Earnhardt Jr. gave Wolocatiuk his racing gloves as a souvenir following the challenge race. The two drivers staged four warm-up laps before the five-lap challenge race. Earnhardt took the lead on the second lap and won by three seconds.(Infineon Raceway)(6-23-2005)
News from June 22, 2005
- Jayski Bandalero finishes 2nd: Jason Haynes brought the #19 Jayski Bandoleo 2nd after starting 9th [of 18] at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s Hardee’s Summer Shootout on Tuesday. Jason slowly moved up thru the field, masterfully handling the restart by choosing the outside lane to make up some track position and was making a run at the leader, but was held up by a slower lapped car [#38] which delayed Jason’s run at the leader until late, crossing the checkers a car length behind….nice job! Peg, Drew and Jenny joined me for my first ever viewing of the Summer Shootout, which started at 7:30pm/et and ended at 10:30pm/et with a nice run by the Thunder Roadsters [won by Kyle Beattie] and a wild CrashCar race. With a record 226 race cars in the pit area, only three of the eight feature races in the Amoco Ultimate-sponsored program went the scheduled 20-lap distance as numerous spins and minor accidents slowed the action. Fireworks will light up the sky during round three of the 10-week Hardee’s Summer Shootout Tuesday night, June 28. Kicking off the area’s Independence Day celebration, the Amoco Ultimate-sponsored program will include the seven regular divisions of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing along with the radical CRASHCars. Spectator gates opens at 5 p.m. with feature racing at 7:30. The fireworks extravaganza will follow the racing program at approximately 10:15 p.m. Call 1-800-455-FANS.(see full article and results of all the classes at lowesmotorspeedway.com.(6-22-2005)
- #9 Front End Seized, Penalty on the way UPDATE 2: Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner reported on Speed News NASCAR Edition that the #9-Kasey Kahne car had the front end confiscated by NASCAR for supposedly having an illegal spring loaded valance. Expect to hear some news on fines/penalties/points deduction by NASCAR, usually penalties are announced on Tuesdays.(6-20-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR officials have confirmed the confiscation of an adjustable – and thus illegal – front air dam from Kasey Kahne’s #9 Dodge team during the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway race weekend. According to NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter, the illegal part was found during a pre-race inspection on Friday and never made it to the racetrack aboard the team Evernham entry. Still, the team is set to receive some kind of punishment for possession of a device deliberately designed to breach the rules. “A penalty will be forthcoming — I don’t know what,” Hunter told NASCAR’s official website. “The rulebook says it cannot be adjusted, so it did not conform to our rules.”(Speed Channel)(6-21-2005)
UPDATE 2 [well…not much of one] no word yet on any penalties/fines for this infraction, expected the word Tuesday as is usaully the case.(6-22-2005)
FINE ANNOUNCED: Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne, was fined $10,000 for an unapproved front air dam extension, a violation of Section 12-4-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (parts and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rulebook.(NASCAR PR)(6-22-2005)
- Penalties announced: NASCAR announced today that two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs have been fined for infractions during last weekend’s events at Michigan International Speedway. Both violations were found during pre-qualifying inspection. Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne, was fined $10,000 for an unapproved front air dam extension, a violation of Section 12-4-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (parts and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rulebook.
Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for the #41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears, was fined $1,000 for unapproved body modifications after inspection, a violation of Section 12-4-1 and Section 12-4-Q.(NASCAR PR)(6-22-2005)
- Speed Channel to roll out new NASCAR Nation: SPEED Channel will unveil changes made to its nightly program NASCAR Nation on June 27 at 7:00pm/et/pt. Chris Long, SPEED Channel’s new VP of Studio Production, has orchestrated the overhaul, changing the format, the set, the cast — even the logo. “NASCAR Nation was always intended to be a lifestyle show,” Long said. “We didn’t want it to turn into another news show or driver reality show, so I felt some significant changes had to be made. We have done some things that I expect will raise the energy level quite a bit and put more of a focus on NASCAR as entertainment. “SPEED Channel already does a fantastic job with shows like Trackside, Inside NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR This Morning, and our goal is to give all of the studio shows their own individual look and feel,” Long added. “We made some of these changes to give NASCAR Nation a very distinctive flavor. When someone tunes into SPEED, we want them to immediately know what show they are watching.” The new NASCAR Nation will feature Leeann Tweeden, along with newcomers Vicki Johnson and Craig Reynolds, in the studio. Original cast members Courtney George and John Willenborg will be joined by Charlotte’s Shannon Spake in the field. “NASCAR lives at the intersection of sports and entertainment and the new look NASCAR Nation takes fans behind the scenes and puts them center stage,” said Jeffrey Pollack, Managing Director of Broadcasting and New Media for NASCAR Digital Entertainment. The 30-minute show will originate live Monday through Thursday from the SPEED Channel studios in Charlotte, N.C.(SPEED Channel), so now we have NO daily NASCAR NEWS show to check out……..anyhow……past news and rumors on this show and the shorter Inside Nextel Cup on my TV/Media News page.(6-22-2005)
- #38 Pit Crew WIns: For the third time this season the M&M’S Chocolate Thunder Pit Crew won the Checker’s/Rally’s Double Drive Thru Pit Crew Challenge Award. The M&M’S Team spent a total of 191.077 seconds on pit road to beat out their other competitors. This victory positions the Chocolate Thunder Crew in a three-way tie with the #2 and #12 Penske Teams for the season lead.(M&M’s Motorsports)(6-22-2005)
- Tragic News: The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb today announced that race official Henry Bresciani, 67, of Colorado Springs, Colo., succumbed to injuries as a result of an accident during the first practice session for the 83rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Bresciani was giving competitors the finish flag at the summit of Pikes Peak when he was struck and killed by a mini-sprint car driven by Jay Stewart, a driver based in Peyton, Colorado. EMTs assigned to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb responded to the scene and began life saving procedures. They were then assisted by Event Medical Services paramedics and a Memorial Star Transport Team. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Henry’s family and friends as they cope with this tragedy,” said Phil Layton, race director for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. “It is very difficult to lose a member of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb family.” The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the second oldest motorsports event in the United States. An annual event since 1916, 2005 marks the 83rd running of the “Race to the Clouds”. The race is run on a 12-mile course that begins at 9,200 feet and finishes at the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak. It features a variety of automotive, semi truck and motorcycle classes with an average of 150 total competitors.(Pikes Peak International Raceway)(6-22-2005)
News from June 21, 2005
- #200 for Kenseth: #17-Matt Kenseth will start his 200th career Nextel Cup race this weekend at Infineon Raceway.(6-21-2005)
- Q&A: Danica Patrick TSN [The Sporting News]: Do you have aspirations to race in NASCAR?
Patrick: Only if the right situation came about would I think about leaving IndyCar. Honestly, I have to say that I’ve just always wanted to be an IndyCar driver. I race because it’s fun, and I race because I love it, not because I want to make money. I wouldn’t go race for a different team because they paid me a ton more money if I think I couldn’t do as well as where I’m at. I think there’s only so much money you need to be happy, and the rest of it is just problematic and costs you a lot of money when it comes to tax time.(Sporting News/Brandon Mudd)(6-21-2005)
- Marlin considering consultant role: Sterling Marlin yesterday said he will “consider” an offer to remain at Chip Ganassi Racing next year as a consultant — a move that would end his Nextel Cup racing career — but made it clear he hopes to land a new ride with a different team. “Chip and his people have made a really good offer,” Marlin said from his home in Columbia, referring to a six-figure deal that would keep him at Ganassi Racing in a non-driving role. “The offer’s on the table but I haven’t given them my answer yet. I want to wait and see what happens.” What Marlin is waiting on is word from “two or three really good” Nextel Cup team owners about his prospects of driving for them next year. “We’ve talked, but nothing has been decided yet,” Marlin said. “Hopefully I’ll know something soon.” In addition to receiving an offer to remain with the team as a consultant, Marlin’s longtime sponsor Coors also offered him a three-year personal-services contract. Marlin said he could take the Coors offer and continue to drive for another team, as long as it was not sponsored by a rival brewery. “I couldn’t be a spokesman for Coors and race for some other (beer) company,” he said. “But as long as there was no conflict I could do both. Coors and I go way back. They sponsored my car when I was 19 and racing at the Fairgrounds.” Another development over the weekend was an extension of Marlin’s contract with FitzBradshaw Racing to continue to drive their car in a partial Busch Series schedule next year, but with one major addition: Marlin would be joined by his son Steadman. “I’d run about 20-25 races and Steadman would run the rest,” Marlin said. “The details aren’t worked out yet, but this could be a big chance for him.” Marlin said he could run the Busch races even if he accepted the consultant offer from Ganassi. “Working for Ganassi and running Busch wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “But I couldn’t work for Chip and run Cup.”(Tennessean)(6-21-2005)
- KaBoom Scheme at California: #20-Tony Stewart will race a KaBOOM! paint scheme at California in September. As part of the Racing to Play Program Home Depot has teamed up with KaBOOM! to build playgrounds in communities across the U.S. Last week, Stewart and the Home Depot team helped build a playground in Jackson, Michigan.(Racing One)
AND The Home Depot and NASCAR kicked off Racing to Play, a national partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and KaBOOM! in Jackson, Michigan on June 16th. The campaign, which features playground builds in ten cities nationwide, is designed to make a lasting impression in the lives of at- risk children who live in NASCAR race communities. Racing to Play kicked off with a playground build at the Jackson Arts and Technology Academy in Jackson, Michigan prior to the Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Tony Stewart and other members of Joe Gibbs Racing participated. “This program brings together two of my deepest interests — racing and providing assistance to children in need,” said Stewart. “In addition to building playgrounds, I hope that we can inspire these children to fulfill their dreams.”(KaBOOM.org), see images of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes page.(6-21-2005)
- Graf wins at Portland: remember Klaus Graf? drove a few Cup races for BAM Racing in 2004 and was supposed to drive a few in 2005, but have heard nothing and he is not on the current entry list for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway…..Klaus Graf entered Saturday’s Rose City 100 Trans-Am race at Portland International Raceway a rookie and left a veteran as the German graduate of Porsche Michelin Supercup competition won his first Trans-Am race in just his second start. Driving the #7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, Graf became the first German national to win a Trans-Am race since rallying World Champion Walter Rohrl in 1988. He is also the first rookie to win a Trans-Am race since Butch Leitzinger in 2002. Graf won the pole, but started fifth due to Trans-Am’s Fast Five Qualifying inversion. He drove through the field and took the lead for good from team owner Paul Gentilozzi when Gentilozzi’s Jaguar suffered a mechanical failure on lap 16. Graf wasn’t seriously challenged from there. “This feels great,” said Graf. “At Long Beach, we had the pace down, but we couldn’t finish the race. We focused on improving the car each session. I knew it was going to be tough in the race. It took me awhile to get my rhythm and set the brake bias. I ran behind Randy for awhile. Then I passed him in the Festival Curves and then Paul had a problem. I held my pace from there. This is very special, being accompanied by Walter Rohrl because he is a very, very famous driver in Germany,” added Graf. “He’s a World Champion in rallying and one of my heroes. He is one of the best race car drivers ever.” The race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, June 26 at 1:00pm/et on SPEED Channel.(Speed Channel)(6-21-2005)
- Jones in a 2nd RGM car UPDATE: P.J. Jones is listed in a 2nd Robby Gordon Motorsports Harrah’s Chevy for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway.(Sonoma Entry List)(6-21-2005)
UPDATE: RGM had entered P.J. Jones in the #71 Harrah’s Chevrolet as a second entry. However, after careful consideration, the team withdrew the car to concentrate fully on its primary car – Gordon’s #7 – given the importance of the event and the need to secure a solid finish. The #7 car will carry Jim Beam and Menards decals on the left and right quarter panels of the Harrah’s Chevrolet respectively.(RGM)(6-21-2005)
- Did ya Know? No driver has won a NASCAR national touring series championship with a car or truck carrying the number one [#1].(NASCAR Truck Series Pre-Race)(6-21-2005)
- Crown Royal back on the #97: The #97 Ford Taurus of Kurt Busch will be coated in Crown Royal purple and gold for the Sonoma road-course race at Infineon Raceway on June 26. This will be the second of six regular-season races that the #97 racecar will exhibit the Crown Royal colors. Previously, Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a sixth-place finish in the non-points Shootout race at Daytona International Speedway, and a 19th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in April. The Crown Royal Experience is a unique traveling Motorsports Museum spread over 10,000 square feet featuring multiple show cars and racing memorabilia from different racing series. The experience is open to fans 21 years of age and over at all NASCAR races. Crown Royal has unveiled a national television commercial starring the #97 Ford Taurus. Titled “Pace Car,” the execution features the #97 racecar leading a fleet of automobiles in pace car formation through winding rural, suburban and city streets, eventually ending at a racetrack. The ad is punctuated with a voice over declaring, “Pacing is everything, especially when drinking,” and closes with the brand’s social responsibility tagline, “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.” This marked the very first spirits ad since NASCAR announced it was allowing spirits companies to sponsor race teams. The ad can be viewed on the internet at www.crownroyalracing.com. Kurt Busch recently filmed a broadcast television Public Service Announcement (PSA) about responsible drinking. The PSA is part of Crown Royal’s commitment to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR’s adult fans through its “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.” campaign. The PSA is scheduled to air throughout the summer and fall months.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-21-2005)
- Borneman in for Garvey: John Borneman III is listed as the driver for the #66 Peak Fitness Ford for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway, Mike Garvey is the current regular driver.(Sonoma Entry List)(6-21-2005)
- Hubert takes over for Shelmerdine: Bill Davis Racing’s Tom Hubert will attempt to get the #27 Kirk Shelmedine Racing Ford in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. Hubert has ran road course races in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Series for various teams. The #27 team has made 10 attempts but failed to make a race in 2005.(Sonoma Entry List)(6-21-2005)
- Chris Cook at Sonoma with Nemco Motorsports – Road course specialist and instructor Chris Cook will be attempting his first Nextel Cup event with Nemco Motorsports at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA on June 26. Cooks first start this year came at the Mexico City Busch Series race where he started 16th and was running 10th with 22 laps to go before a spinning Denny Hamlin collected Cook, who eventually finished 26th. Originally from Sonoma, Cook is excited about his first attempt in the Nextel Cup Series. “I have a lot of laps on that track and feel real comfortable in what Joe (Nemechek) has put together for us.” The #87 Nemco Motorsports entry is still working on sponsorship for the event, but co-owner Chris Evans feels confident about the program. “Chris Cook is a natural road-course talent and does a fantastic job with all of our clients. Our opportunity offers sponsors the chance to participate at 1/3 the cost. The value and exposure should be tremendous.” For more information, visit www.christinemariemotorsports.com (CMM PR).(6-21-2005)
News from June 20, 2005
- Some drivers practicing at Bondurant School: hearing some Cup drivers are going to school this week at the Bob Bondurant School in Phoenix, AZ getting ready for the race at Infineon Speedway this coming weekend. Been told that #38-Elliott Sadler and #88- Dale Jarrett are spending Monday with Bondurant Chief Instructor, Mike McGovern.(6-20-2005)
- Michigan TV Ratings Match up with 2004: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway earned a 4.0 overnight rating and a 10 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figures match the 4.0/10 overnight figures from Michigan’s June race last year, which were down from 4.5/11 overnight in 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-20-2005)
- RCR and United of Omaha Reach Settlement: A settlement has been reached in the trial brought by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) against United of Omaha insurance company in a case that arose out of the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2001. The jury trial began May 23, 2005, in the Superior Court in Lexington, N.C. The parties reached a confidential settlement over the weekend of June 17. The settlement was reached after both parties had presented all of their evidence and had a full understanding of the intentions of the other party. By settling the case, both parties were able to avoid further prolonged litigation which would have included appeals to the North Carolina appellate courts. Also, the settlement precludes any further disagreements or litigation by both parties over the issues and subject matter of the lawsuit.(RCR PR)(6-20-2005)
- Pruett at Infineon Raceway: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) and Chevron Corporation announced today that defending Grand Am Rolex Series Champion Scott Pruett will pilot a second Texaco/Havoline “Shine On” Dodge in the 110-lap Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 26. Pruett, a native of nearby Sacramento, Calif., will be driving the #39 Dodge, which will be the fourth entry by CGRFS, with a paint scheme complementing teammate Jamie McMurray’s #42 Texaco/Havoline “Shine On” Dodge. Pruett has 35 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts dating back to 2000, four of which have come at the 1.99-mile Infineon Raceway. He recorded his best finish of third at the track one year ago in the #39 Dodge, crossing the finish line directly behind CGRFS teammate McMurray. Pruett is currently tied for first place in the Grand Am Rolex Series standings with co-pilot Luis Diaz driving for the no. 01 CompUSA team based out of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Indianapolis stable. Together, the duo have already amassed two victories and three poles this season, along with four podiums and five top-five finishes in just six starts.
The special paint schemes that McMurray and Pruett will be running are a part of the “Shine On” series of cars. The designs pay tribute to the iconic status of the star, which has led the way on the hood of a Texaco/Havoline car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for over 18 years. The Star logo being showcased on the Infineon cars was introduced in 1936 and was used until 1963. McMurray has already competed with “Shine On” cars at Texas and Charlotte, and he’ll also be running one at Talladega in October.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(6-20-2005)
- Mears back with Ganassi in 2006 more: during an interview on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning, Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, says he has been told that Chip Ganassi ‘has plans for Mears’, but Mears has not been told what those plans are.(NASCAR This Morning)(6-19-2005)
AND Is #41-Casey Mears the next driver headed out of the Ganassi stable? “We were hoping for a little more performance,” Ganassi said of Mears’ season before the race. “That’s not to say that he’s not going to be here next year. I talked to Casey the other day and I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a plan and you’re in it.’ That’s what’s going on right now. Is it nailed, nailed, nailed? No.”(Detroit Free Press)(6-20-2005)
- Richert Wins 5th Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: Greg Biffle put on a heroic display in the Batman Begins 400 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Along with crew chief Doug Richert, Biffle decided not to pit during the last caution period, moving him into the lead for the final green flag run. Even without fresh tires, Biffle pulled away from the competition, winning the race by 1.675 seconds over second place Tony Stewart. For bringing Biffle his fifth win of the season, Doug Richert won the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. Tony Stewart relinquished the lead on lap 170 to pit for fresh tires. Unlike his victories at Darlington and Dover earlier this season, Doug Richert didn’t call his driver in for tires during the late-race caution period. Biffle, who was running second at the time, inherited the lead and never looked back. “Here we had a car that was really good in the long runs,” said Richert. “We thought that if we got good track position we could get a jump on the guys who did take fresh tires, and that’s exactly what happened. Mark (Martin) had fresh tires and was coming up through the pack, but we had a good enough lead to keep him and Tony (Stewart) behind us. Now if the caution came out again, Mark Martin probably would have won this race. As it turned out, our strategy worked best.” The panel of voters; including Mike Pryson of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr.; all cast their vote for Richert as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. With five wins this season, Doug Richert is in first place of the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(6-20-2005)
- Executive Changes at Hendrick: In a tactical realignment of his business entities, Rick Hendrick today announced personnel changes affecting the Hendrick Automotive Group (HAG), Hendrick Motorsports and, now, the Hendrick Companies. As part of the refreshed business model, Hendrick introduced longtime Automotive Group executive Jim Huzl as president and chief executive officer of Charlotte-based HAG. In his new role, effective July 1, Huzl will oversee the direction of one of the nation’s largest privately held auto retailers with 68 franchises, 4,000 employees and more than $3.5 billion in revenue. Sharing Huzl’s former duties as HAG’s chief operating officer will be three new senior vice presidents: Tom Blocker, East Division; Kirk Heppler, West Division; and Gary Davis, who will manage retail operations support. Huzl succeeds Jim Perkins, who will transition to become the first president and COO of the Hendrick Cos., an organization recently formed to manage strategic initiatives relative to Hendrick’s various business enterprises. Perkins will continue to serve as a member of HAG’s partnership committee.
Bobby Rice, a trusted friend and business associate of Hendrick since 1976, was named executive vice president of the Hendrick Cos. and special adviser to the chairman. Rice also will work in a consultative capacity with Hendrick Motorsports, which fields multiple stock-car racing teams in two different divisions of sanctioning body NASCAR..(HMS PR)(6-20-2005)
- New Tire at Pocono: Goodyear officials are reviewing the tire situation at Pocono and likely will decide this week whether to introduce a new tire for the second Pocono race July 24. Problems were not associated with this tire combination during tests or the race at Las Vegas, but there were plenty of problems June 12 during the Pocono 500. Goodyear’s Rick Campbell says there still is time to change the tire combination for the next race at Pocono. Ricky Rudd, who had six cut tires at Pocono, says the tunnel turn at Pocono became rough over the winter. “It was like driving over a brick on the highway,” he says. Rudd says he expects changes to be made in the track’s surface.(Sporting News)(6-20-2005)
- No More Doubles for Rusty: #2-Rusty Wallace, who is retiring after this season, said he will rethink racing twice in one weekend. Wallace flew from MIS to Kentucky Speedway Saturday to compete in the Busch race, in which he finished 24th. He flew back late Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s Cup race. “I’m a little tired after running Kentucky,” Wallace admitted after finishing 10th at Michigan. “I was going to run the Busch race at (Indianapolis Raceway Park) before the Brickyard (in August), but I don’t think I’m going to do that now.”(Detroit News)(6-20-2005)
- Valvoline could be moving to Evernham Motorsports? The company has been associated with MBV and Nelson Bowers since 2001, but it is expected to sell its shares back to the team at the end of the season. Centrix Financial is expected to sponsor the #10 Chevrolet, which is being driven by Scott Riggs.(Sporting News)(6-20-2005)
- NASCAR Takes Engines to Examine: Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner reported on Speed News NASCAR Edition that NASCAR took ten engines from the teams after the race at Michigan. Three Dodge [#12, #9, #41], Four GM [#20, #15, #31, #48], Three Ford [#6, #17, #38]. The engines will be taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC to determine how even the power, parts, etc are.(and from ThatsRacin.com)(6-20-2005)
- Some drivers practicing at Bondurant School: hearing some Cup drivers are going to school this week at the Bob Bondurant School in Phoenix, AZ getting ready for the race at Infineon Speedway this coming weekend. Been told that #38-Elliott Sadler and #88- Dale Jarrett are spending Monday with Bondurant Chief Instructor, Mike McGovern.(6-20-2005)
- Marlin and Ganassi, Sorenson to a 4th team, Mears to stay: As a result, at a press conference later today Chip Ganassi will start reshaping the future of the team by formally announcing long-rumored changes that will yield Marlin’s #40 Dodge to driver David Stremme. “It wasn’t an easy decision, I’ll tell you that,” Ganassi said. “I’m sure if you were to ask Rick Hendrick if Tim Richmond or Geoff Bodine contributed to his team’s overall success, he’d answer ‘yes.’ Sterling’s done that for us, too, and that’s why I’m not just cutting him loose, even though at the end of this contract I didn’t owe him anything.” Engineered by Ganassi, Marlin will get a substantial, six-figure, three-year personal services contract — the money coming in equal parts from Ganassi and Coors. According to Ganassi, the changes won’t stop with the #40 Dodge — though such aren’t scheduled to be formally announced today. Reed Sorenson, also recent grist in the rumor mill, will be moving up to Cup, too — but not at the expense of Casey Mears, as many have predicted. Though all the parts have yet to fall perfectly into place, Ganassi is working toward fielding a four-car Nextel Cup effort in 2006. There’s even a fairly substantial chance of Ganassi’s Rolex Series effort growing from two to three DP cars in 2006.(Daytona Beach News Jourmal)(6-19-2005)
AND So…what is up with Marlin? David Stremme was officially introduced Sunday as driver of Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40 Dodges for 2006, but that news was overshadowed by the announcement of Sterling Marlin’s potential plans. Marlin, who has driven the #40 Coors entry for the past eight seasons, will finish out the 2005 campaign in that machine. But moving forward he has a decision to make. Team owner Felix Sabates said Marlin wants to compete full-time in the Nextel Cup Series next year, but has a lucrative deal on the table from Sabates and Chip Ganassi to “hang around.” The personal services deal, which Chip Ganassi said was “well into the six-figures,” also includes a full-time schedule Armando Fitz’s #40 Busch Series entry, Sabates said. “Both Chip and I wanted to make sure he hung around with us,” Sabates explained. “So I went to Coors and said, ‘Hey, Sterling has been with us now for eight years and deserves for you guys to do something with him.’ So he has a very lucrative deal just to hang around, really. He said he wants to (drive in Nextel Cup). But he told me yesterday he’s not going to drive for somebody that doesn’t have a competitive team. I hope he gets something, but if not he’s got a full-time Busch ride for next year. If I was him, with the money we’re paying him, I’d take the Busch ride. He’s still going to be involved with us. That’s an extension of our race team.”(NASCAR.com)(6-19-2005)
AND MORE Marlin has not announced his plans for next year, though Ganassi said he has offered a personal-services contract to Marlin for more than $100,000 to serve as an ‘ambassador.'”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-20-2005)
- Ganassi Announcement Sunday at MIS UPDATE 3 2006 – Marlin out, Stremme in: Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates [owner’s of tht #39, #40, #41, #42 teams in Cup] will be on hand for a special announcement on Sunday, June 19th at Michigan International Speedway regarding new sponsor activities and plans for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)…..#40 with Stremme???(6-16-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR’s Youth Movement has swept aside veteran Sterling Marlin. Months of speculation about the future of the 47-year-old racer from Columbia will end at a press conference tomorrow at Michigan International Speedway when David Stremme, 27, is introduced as Marlin’s replacement for Chip Ganassi Racing. “They decided they wanted a younger driver,” Marlin said yesterday from the track where he is preparing for tomorrow’s Nextel Cup race. “They’re going with Stremme.” Marlin said he “understands” that he will finish out the season in the #40 Dodge he has driven for the past eight years. “I think they may put Stremme in another car [#39?] for about four races,” he said, “but as far as I know I’ll run them all.”(Tennessean)(6-18-2005)
UPDATE 2: Lone Star Steakhouse announced Sunday at MIS a multi-year partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on the #40 Dodge Charger with driver David Stremme for 17 races in 2006. Coors Light will sponsor the #40 Dodge Charger in the other 17 NASCAR Nextel Cup races next season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates/Clear!Blue PR), no word on the sponsor for the other two races.(6-19-2005)
UPDATE 3: Coors Brewing Company announced today that they have extended their relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates [CGRwFS] in the Nextel Cup Series. The extension will include the primary sponsorship of the #40 Coors Light Dodge with CGRFS development driver and current Busch Series driver David Stremme for 17 races in the NEXTEL Cup Series in 2006. The partnership also includes associate sponsorship of the #40 during the other 19 Nextel Cup races. David Stremme joined the CGRwFS stable of drivers in 2002 when team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates signed him as part of the CGRwFS driver development program. Currently he is driving the #14 Navy Dodge for FitzBradshaw Racing.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(6-19-2005)
AND In 2006, Stremme’s Dodges will split sponsorship between Coors Light and Lone Star Steakhouse. Coors will grace the hood in 19 events, while Lone Star will be the primary sponsor in the other 17 races. Stremme will make his Nextel Cup debut at Chicagoland Speedway next month. He plans to test the speedway Monday. Ganassi said Stremme will run four Nextel Cup races in 2005 before running for rookie of the year next season [#39 team?].(NASCAR.com)(6-19-2005)
AND MORE: Stremme, the 2003 Busch rookie of the year, will run four races this season in the No. 39 Dodge. Included in those is the Sept. 10 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway along with races at Chicago, Charlotte and Miami.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-20-2005)
News from June 19, 2005
- Biffle wins at Michigan: #16-Biffle stayed out during the last caution and leader at the time [lap 168] #20-Tony Stewart stopped for 4 tires, and Biffle was never challenged after that and won the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 5th win of 2005 and 8th career win. Biffle led 63 laps, #20-Stewart led the most with 97 and finished 2nd. Rounding out the top-5 were #6-Mark Martin, #17-Matt Kenseth and #99-Carl Edwards. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 19th and his points lead has dwindled to 49. #24-Jeff Gordon fought an ill-handling car and finished 32nd and is now out of the chase as is #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. who finished 17th. Only 4 caution flags for 23 laps and 19 lead changes by 11 drivers.
For race results, see Jayski’s Michigan Race Results/Awards page.(6-19-2005)
- #4 Crew Chief Carrier misses Michigan race: Crew Chief Chris Carrier for the # 4 Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil Chevrolet Monte Carlo is at home in Bristol, TN this weekend due to emergency surgery on Thursday night. He has been in touch with the team via cell phone and will return for the Infinion Race. Steve Gray is serving as Crew Chief for the Lucas Oil team in today’s Batman Returns 400 at Michigan International Speedway.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(6-19-2005)
- Michigan News and Notes:
• Greg Biffle won the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway, scoring his eighth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 93rd career start.
• This is the eighth victory for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has six and Dodge has one.
• Biffle remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, but moved to 49 behind first-place Jimmie Johnson. Biffle gained 74 points on Johnson in this week’s race.
• Biffle scored his second victory at Michigan International Speedway. Biffle also won here last August.
• This is Biffle’s fifth victory in 2005. He also posted victories at California, Texas, Darlington and Dover. Biffle has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 15 races this season.
• Biffle led five times for 63 laps, including the final 31.
• Biffle scored the eighth victory for car owner Jack Roush at Michigan International Speedway. This was Roush’s 82nd victory as a car owner and eighth in 15 races this season.
• Four Jack Roush Racing drivers finished in the top 10: Greg Biffle (first), Mark Martin (third), Matt Kenseth (fourth) and Carl Edwards (fifth). The last time all five Roush cars finished in the top 10 was at Michigan last August.
• Tony Stewart (second) posted his eighth top-10 finish in his 13 races at Michigan International Speedway. It marked his seventh top-10 finish in 2005. He climbed from 10th to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Stewart led 97 of the 200 laps, the most of any driver. This marked the third time in 2005 that Stewart has led the most laps in a race and did not win. He also led the most laps at Daytona and Martinsville.
• Mark Martin (third) posted his 26th top-10 finish in his 39th race at Michigan International Speedway. He scored his eighth top-10 finish in 15 races in 2005. Martin tied his best finish in 2005 for the third time.
• Martin led 10 of the 200 laps in today’s race. Martin moved into third in all-time laps led at Michigan International Speedway with 872 behind Cale Yarborough (1,308) and Bill Elliott (1,004).
• Matt Kenseth (fourth) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 12 races at Michigan International Speedway. Kenseth scored his third top-10 finish in 2005. Kenseth’s last top five (second) came at New Hampshire last September.
• Carl Edwards (fifth) scored his second top-10 finish in two races at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards has scored seven top-10 finishes in 2005. He remained fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Joe Nemechek (sixth) scored his third top-10 finish in 23 races at Michigan International Speedway. Nemechek finished third one race ago at Pocono. The last time he scored back-to-back top-10 finishes was at Talladega, Kansas and Charlotte last October.
• Rusty Wallace (10th) extended a 28-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August.
• Only four of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Michigan.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (17th) dropped from 16th to 17th in the point standings. Earnhardt Jr. started 41st at Michigan, the worst starting position of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career.
• Jimmie Johnson (19th) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 48 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. • Jeff Gordon (32nd) posted his posted his sixth finish of 30th or worse in 2005. He dropped from ninth to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and is now 406 points behind point leader Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-190-2005)
- Rumblings – Michigan:
• It was Roush Racing again today at Michigan International Speedway. This time it was Greg Biffle who took the Batman Begins 400 by not pitting, leading the final 31 circuits and outlasting Tony Stewart (who took four fresh tires on that last stop), capturing his 5th win of 2005 in the process. This was the 8th career Cup victory for Biffle (he’s tied for 55th on the all-time win list with Kyle Petty), the 8th in ’05 for Roush, and the 82nd win all-time for RR. The victory was worth $171,075 from the over $4.7M in posted awards. BTW, all five Roush Fords were in the Top-12 this week.
• Matt Kenseth (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Loudon last September. His Top-5 gives us 26 drivers at that level this season, last year we had 31 for the year.
• Scott Wimmer (16th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Fontana in February.
STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
• This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a tie between Greg Biffle (+24) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (+24), followed by Michael Waltrip (+23), and Jeff Burton (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-34), followed by Robby Gordon (-31), Bill Elliott (-25), and Jeff Gordon (-23).
• Jamie McMurray led a lap today for the first time since he led twice for 15 circuits at Darlington Raceway last November. He’s the 42nd driver to lead a lap this year….last year we had 50 of ’em.
• Greg Biffle shaved 74 points off Jimmie Johnson’s lead this week….it’s now down to 49 markers. Jeff Gordon also slipped below our “Stayin’ Alive” line as just 11 drivers are currently in the “Chase”. Tony Stewart (10th to 6th) advanced the most spots today, while Jeff Green (26th to 30th) fell the most.(Stock Car Fans)(6-19-2005)
News from June 18, 2005
- Testing at Chicago Tuesday: On Tuesday, June 21, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers #9-Kasey Kahne, #18-Bobby Labonte and #45-Kyle Petty will be testing at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for the July 10th USG Sheetrock 400, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. Several Busch series teams will also test. The test is closed tp the public.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(6-18-2005)
- Sad News: Harold Sprinkle, who worked for many years with Travis Carter, passed away Tuesday at the age of 62. The service will be Monday night at 7:00pm/et at Voglers Funeral Home on Reynolds Road in Winston-Salem. He is survived by his wife Linda. Memorial donations can be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(6-18-2005)
- Local Chicago Area Businesses Given Chance to be Official Small Business of the Race: Thanks to Office Depot, small businesses in the Chicago area are getting the chance to promote their company in a unique and exciting way. Office Depot is offering Chicago area small businesses the opportunity to be named the …Office Depot Official Small Business of the Race… for the USG Sheetrock 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. As the …Office Depot Official Small Business of the Race,… the winning small business will have its company name featured on the #99 Office Depot Ford, driven by Carl Edwards in the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10 The winner will also receive a $1,000 Office Depot Shopping Spree, a VIP NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend experience at the race and a small business makeover featuring apparel and an office facility upgrade courtesy of Cintas. Office Depot…s …Official Small Business of the Race… promotion ends on June 30. Customers can enter now by filling out a form at computer workstations at any of the participating Office Depot stores, or online at www.officedepotracing.com.(6-18-2005)
- Robby tests at Sonoma: #7-Robby Gordon tested at Infineon Raceway this past week and said he ran faster then the track record.(MRN Radio MIS Qualifying coverage)(6-18-2005)
- Roush 2006 lineup complete…..almost: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, said Friday that the Roush lineup for 2006 is all but complete, with sponsors and drivers for four of its five Nextel Cup cars showing no major changes. DeWalt will return to Matt Kenseth’s #17, National Guard/Subway/etc. to Greg Biffle’s #16, Rubbermaid/Smirnoff and others with Kurt Busch’s #97, and all races accounted for with Carl Edwards’s #99. The million-dollar question, of course, has been who will take over for retiring veteran Mark Martin in the flagship #6. Sponsor Pfizer will leave after this season, as has been known for weeks, but Smith said the sponsor issue is more a matter of placing the right company with the right driver. Smith continues to hint that Jon Wood, still under contract with Roush while driving on loan in the Busch Series, could be the front-runner for the job. “We have at least one sponsor who is very interested in Jon,” Smith said. Smith also dismissed reports that Valvoline, one-time primary sponsor of Martin and the #6, could return as sponsor of Martin’s Roush-backed Craftsman Truck effort next season. Smith said Roush Racing has a company-wide supplier agreement with Quaker State [Pennzoil], and that such a nostalgic coupling would not be possible.(Ford Racing)(6-18-2005)
- Riggs hopes to be back in the #10 in 2006…if: Scott Riggs said Friday that he hopes to continue driving the #10 Chevrolet at MB2/MBV Motorsports in 2006, but the decision hinges largely on the team’s sponsorship situation. Riggs’ current sponsor, Valvoline, announced recently its plans to leave MB2/MBV following the 2005 season. “We’ve got a couple different fish on the line, but we’re trying to figure out who’s going to step up and be the primary,” Riggs said. “Luckily, we’re in a good position because it seems like we’ve had a lot of calls from people interested in doing it. I just want to make sure everything’s secure there. [MB2 Motorsports CEO and general manager] Jay Frye assures me it is. I feel like it is.” That’s not to say Riggs, 34, isn’t open to change. “I’m listening to other people talk to me,” Riggs said. “I think there’s definitely opportunities out there, but I haven’t sat down with anybody to talk about the future except the 10 car.”(NASCAR.com)(6-18-2005)
- Evernham hopes to run full 3rd team in 2006: Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91] is close to getting the money needed for a third full-time entry in NASCAR’s top series. The third full-time Nextel Cup entry would take over the #91 team that is now a part-time ride for Bill Elliott, team owner Ray Evernham said Friday. Elliott would not be the driver, but the NASCAR veteran, who cut back to a limited schedule in 2004, can remain affiliated with the program, the owner said. “I would love to run a third team,” Evernham said. “We have the infrastructure in place. We’ve built the new building [in Statesville, N.C]. We have the people ready. We have the plan ready. But I’m not going to pull the trigger until I know the money’s in place.” Evernham said he hopes to have the finances for the third team in place by the end of July or August at the latest. Evernham’s two main drivers are #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Jeremy Mayfield. He also has ARCA driver Erin Crocker on a developmental team, and he’s working on getting her a solid Busch Series program for next year. As for Elliott, who is racing at Michigan International Speedway this week, the former Cup champion has the choice of doing what he wants.(ESPN.com/AP)(6-18-2005)
- Daytona Testing: Testing on Monday, June 20 in preparation for the 47th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and the fourth annual Winn Dixie 250 presented by Pepsico NASCAR Busch Series race. Joe Ruttman will test the #09 Phoenix Racing CHEVY [not Dodge?] along with the Busch Series teams of #81-Kerry Earnhardt [testing for Dale Jr.], #30-Scott Riggs, #2-Clint Bowyer and #76-Chad Blount testing a 2nd Braun Racing Chevrolet. The test sessions are free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.(DIS PR)(6-18-2005)
- Newman smashes old track record to win pole: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a new track qualifying record of 194.232mph [the old record was from June 2001 by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 191.149]. Twenty-six drivers broke the track record. The pole is Newman’s 5th of 2005 and 32nd of his 131 races. Rounding out the top-5 are: #41-Casey Mears, #20-Tony Stewart, #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Jeremy Mayfield. #7-Robby Gordon was the fastest of the non top-35 drivers, qualifying 8th. #91-Bill Elliott will start 10th. The highest starting Ford is #97-Kurt Busch at 13th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., ill with the flu, didn’t fare too well, running the 42nd fastest lap and will start 41st via owners points. #51-Stuart Kirby makes his first 2005 start. Missing the race: #92-McClure, #79-Cope, #34-Jones and #89-Shepherd.
TV: for some reason [again] qualifying was not on live TV, but can be seen via tape at 5:30pm/et on FX, leading up to the Busch race at Kentucky.
See my Jayski’s Starting Grid/Qualifying/Practice Results Page for pole progression, qualifying results, starting lineup and links.(6-18-2005)
- Michigan Qualifying Notes:
• Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Batman Begins 400, lapping Michigan International Speedway in 37.069 seconds at 194.232 mph. He broke Dale Earnhardt Jr’s, track-qualifying record of 37.667 seconds, 191.149 mph, set Aug. 18, 2000.
• This is Newman’s 32nd career Bud Pole in 131 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races and came in his eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan. It is his first Bud Pole at Michigan.
• Newman leads all drivers with five Bud Poles this season. He moved into a tie with Fonty Flock for 21st on the all-time Bud Pole list. Newman now holds the track record for Bristol, Charlotte, Martinsville, Michigan, New Hampshire and Phoenix.
• Michigan is now the second-fastest non-restrictor plate track in NASCAR, based on qualifying records. Atlanta is the fastest non-restrictor-plate track with a lap of 197.478 mph.
• The top-26 qualifiers bettered Earnhardt Jr’s 2000 time.
• Casey Mears posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 37.160 seconds, 193.757 mph – and will join Newman on the front row for the Batman Begins 400. This is his first qualifying effort better than 15th this season. Mears has started from a top-10 starting position in two of his five races at Michigan.
• This is the seventh Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005. Chevrolet has five Bud Poles and Ford has two.
• Tony Stewart (third) posted his fifth top-10 start in 13 races at Michigan. It is his ninth top-10 start this season, including four of the past five races.
• Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his first top-10 start in three races at Michigan and his eighth of 2005.
• Jeremy Mayfield (fifth) posted his 10th top-10 start in his 23rd Michigan race. Mayfield now has eight top-10 starts in 2005.
• Robby Gordon (eighth) posted his fourth top-10 start in 11 races at Michigan and his first top-10 start in 2005. This is his best start and his only top-10 since he started fifth here last June.
• Stuart Kirby (43rd) qualified for his fourth career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race and his first since Kansas in September 2002.
• Four drivers failed to qualify for the Batman Begins 400: Eric McClure, Derrike Cope, P.J. Jones and Morgan Shepherd.
• There were six sets of ties in the qualifying results: Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott; Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch; Jeff Green and Mike Bliss; Matt Kenseth and Scott Wimmer; Greg Biffle and Jason Leffler; Dave Blaney and Travis Kvapil.
• There have been six different Bud Pole winners in the past nine NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Michigan. Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte (two each) are the repeat Bud Pole winners in the eight-race period. Qualifying was canceled in August 2004.
• Forty-two of 71 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Michigan have been won from the first four starting positions (59 percent).
• Only 12 races at Michigan have been won from outside a top-10 starting position – all have occurred in the past 27 races there.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-18-2005)
- Ramblings – Michigan:
We usually call him Mr. Friday, this week he’s Mr. Saturday, but I’m sure he’d like to be known as Mr. Sunday! Ryan Newman captured the Bud Pole yet again today at Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s Batman Begins 400 with a time of 37.069 (194.232 mph). This is pole #5 for ’05 and the 32nd of Newman’s Nextel Cup career.
Casey Mears (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at The Brickyard last August.
Jeremy Mayfield (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in April.
Bobby Labonte (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Phoenix in April.
Robby Gordon (8th) has his best starting spot since he started 5th when we were here last June.
Bill Elliott (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Fontana last September.
Joe Nemechek (11th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 9th at Texas in April.
Welcome Back: Stuart Kirby makes his first Cup start since Kansas in September of 2002! He started 42nd and finished 37th that day.
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 21 Top-10 starts in the last 22 races.
Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
MIS is the type of track where you can hug the line or run high, wide, and handsome….and fuel mileage usually comes into play. Maybe Larry Mac will be able to use that calculator this week for the first time in awhile.(Stock Car Fans)(6-18-2005)
- Dale Jr. has the flu: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 16th in points and winless this season, has declined numerous interview requests this week. Earnhardt has had the flu, and team officials say he would rather let his performance on the track do the talking. He ran a fast lap Friday of 186.047, 35th-best in the first practice at Michigan International Speedway for the Batman Begins 400, then went 185.610, 42nd-best in the final practice in his #8 Budweiser Chevy.(Detroit Free Press)(6-18-2005)
News from June 17, 2005
- DEI Teams Now Sharing: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not pleased with the state of his team, which fell to 16th in the standings after last week’s 33rd-place finish at Pocono. However, he is happy with the communication between his #8 Budweiser team and the #15 NAPA team of Michael Waltrip since Steve Hmiel was named his crew chief last month. “It’s better than I ever remember it being,” he said. “We want both DEI teams to make the (championship) chase.” Waltrip’s team moved up two spots to #15 with a fifth-place finish at Pocono. “We’re struggling, but I know how hard we’re working,” Earnhardt said. “And seeing the 15 team have success gives me confidence that we’ll be able to pull out of this.”(The State)(6-17-2005)
- Not a good week for Goodyear: in light of the numerous tire problems with Goodyear at Pocono, this couldn’t had been good news, at least no one was hurt: A Goodyear blimp crash-landed Thursday night in an industrial park, authorities said. The two people on board were not injured. The “Stars & Stripes” blimp went down shortly after taking off from Pompano Beach Air Park [FL], where it is based. Both people onboard were trapped briefly while electrical crews cleared the site, authorities said. The blimp lost most of its helium and was draped across some orange self-storage units in the industrial park. It’s nose remained pointed into the air. Bad weather may have forced the blimp down. There were thunderstorms in the area at the time, authorities said. The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating. “It went right over our building and was making really loud noises,” said Maryann Clark, general manager of a nearby restaurant. The blimp is one of three Goodyear blimps based in the United States. Goodyear leases about 32 acres at the air park as a blimp base, according to the park’s Web site.(and see pic at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-17-2005)
- #51 CEM Team partners with Marathon Oil: Marathon Ashland Petroleum has begun a multi-year marketing partnership with Competitive Edge Motorsports (CEM), which starts this weekend at the Batman Begins 400. Stuart Kirby will be driving the Marathon #51 Chevy. Joe Auer, owner of CEM, said, “A number of people have been working on this deal for quite some time, and it’s finally finished. This partnership with a major company like Marathon will bring our race team to a new level. We are very grateful that Marathon has agreed to become our primary sponsor. They are truly a great organization to work with.” “We want to build this relationship with Marathon and build our race team one step at a time” Auer said. The partnership consists of a 12-race package throughout the rest of the 2005 season. Starting in 2006, CEM plans on being a regular in the Nextel Cup Series. CEM has been involved in one of NASCAR’s top-tier divisions for the last three years. CEM is also unveiling their new driver, Stuart Kirby, a talented young driver out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. “Stuart is the type of guy we can build a long term marketing plan around,” CEM team owner, Joe Auer, commented. Fox sportscasters, Darrell Waltrip and Mike Joy have both called Kirby one of the most phenomenal young drivers they have seen in years. More information about CEM at www.cemotosports.net.(6-17-2005)
- MIS Medical Teams Ready for races: For two weekends each summer, the third-largest city in the state of Michigan sits amongst rolling pastures and tracts of hardwoods in the Irish Hills. Michigan International Speedway is the downtown area of that vast, temporary metropolis of parking lots, campgrounds and grandstands. Dr. John Maino, the medical director at MIS since 1985, is charged with developing and instituting a plan to meet the first aid and emergency care needs of that population, both on and off the track. “The speedway is really a transient city in a tight, confined area, and we try and anticipate what can happen in a city of close to 200,000 people, and be ready in case it happens here. We cover the whole spectrum of the event,” Dr. Maino said. “We call it show biz medicine, because what goes on here is on television and highly visible.” Dr. Maino, who is employed as the medical director of the emergency department at Foote Hospital in Jackson, also serves as the medical examiner for Jackson County. For the races at MIS, he assembles a team of physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel who work in emergency medicine, or in the critical care wards of area hospitals. Dr. Maino said his staff will deal with everything from injuries due to falls, bee stings, and dehydration outside the track, and a different class of injuries associated with the actual racing. There are ambulances stationed near each of the four turns, two additional ambulances at the infield medical center where there is also a medivac helicopter, and two mini ambulance units in the pit area.
Dr. Maino is credited with saving the life of NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan back in 1994 when a violent crash in a practice session left Irvan near death as he was pulled from the car. Dr. Maino performed an emergency tracheotomy on Irvan on the track before he was transported via helicopter to the hospital. “I consider myself very fortunate that someone of Dr. Maino’s skill and expertise was here at MIS when that happened,” Irvan said on a recent visit to the track. “He made all the right decisions in an emergency situation, and that saved my life. I’m eternally grateful for that.”(Toledo Blade)(6-17-2005)
- Different look for Burton at MIS: This Week’s Race Car at Michigan International Speedway. Jeff Burton will have Beneficial being the primary sponsor on Jeff Burton’s #No. 31 Chevrolet for Batman Begins 400 at MIS. The consumer lending company joined Richard Childress Racing’s family of sponsors this season as an associate sponsor of the #29 GM Goodwrench and #31 Cingular Wireless teams driven in the NASCAR Cup Series by Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, respectively, and is the official consumer lending company of RCR.(RCR), see an image of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-17-2005)
- $384,000 in 2004 Fines Redistributed: NASCAR collected fines of $384,495 from 73 Nextel Cup penalties in 2004 and redistributed the money to the top 25 drivers, The Wall Street Journal reports today. As a result, champion Kurt Busch, whose team was fined $21,000 for various infractions during the season, collected $84,588. The newspaper says the NBA, the NFL and MLB turn over the fine money they collect to philanthropic organizations.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-17-2005)
- Final Pocono TV Ratings up 7.7%: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.6 and a 14 share, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 7.7% higher than the 5.2 Fox drew for the June 2004 race at the track.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-17-2005)
- Speed News expanded this Sat: With a huge weekend of racing on tap, SPEED Channel will air a special one-hour version of its popular SPEED News program this Saturday at 6:30pm/et. The program will include:
* A feature on World Track Cycling champion Marty Nothstein, an Olympic gold medalist at the 2000 games and silver medalist at the 1996 games, who is exploring a career in Funny Car drag racing. SPEED News cameras followed Nothstein for a day while he earned his alcohol funny car license at the Frank Hawley NHRA Drag Racing School in Gainesville, Fla.
* Reports from the 24 Hours of Le Mans from SPEED Channel’s Greg Creamer and Dorsey Schroeder. (SPEED Channel will bring viewers 17.5 hours of LIVE coverage from the famed event beginning Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET.)
* Reports from the U.S. Grand Prix from Indy with Peter Windsor and Derek Daly. (SPEED Channel covers the event LIVE on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)
* NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series highlights from Michigan with Ray Dunlap. (SPEED Channel covers the event LIVE on Saturday 3 p.m. ET)
* NASCAR Nextel Cup Series quailifying report from Michigan with Bob Dillner.
* Champ Car World Series qualifying report from Portland with Robin Miller.
* NHRA qualifying highlights from Englishtown, NJ.
* USAC Sprints & Midgets from Lima, Ohio.
* ARCA Re/Max highlights from Michigan.
News from June 16, 2005
- SpeedTV Driver of the Year 2nd Qtr Vote: Danica Patrick is the first woman nominated for SpeedTV’s DRIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD in the second quarter 2005. Concluding an exciting month of May, Patrick, 23, becomes a breakthrough driver for the fan vote. Driving for Rahal/Letterman Racing her late race battle, with eventual Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, has attracted media attention around the World.
The list of nominated drivers includes Greg Anderson (NHRA) Greg Biffle (NASCAR ) Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), John Force (NHRA) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Patrick and Wheldon of the IRL.
In its 39th year, the Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR’s award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans’ voting at www.speedtv.com.
At the end of the year a special, separate, vote will be held for the SPEED Channel 2005 DRIVER OF THE YEAR. The panelists will have their quarterly vote on June 22nd and the fan vote will close soon thereafter.(DOTY PR)(6-16-2005)
- Skinner in the #23 at Michigan: Mike Skinner will again pilot the #23 History Channel AUTOMANIAC Dodge in this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Skinner most recently raced the #23 AUTOMANIAC car in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. He was scheduled to drive the same car at Dover International Speedway just a couple of weeks ago, but rain forced NASCAR to cancel the Friday afternoon qualifying session, putting the brakes on the #23 Bill Davis Racing team’s plans to race that weekend. Since Skinner and the #23 BDR team do not run a full-time schedule in the Nextel Cup Series, they did not have enough owners’ points to make it into the show at Dover. The make-up date for the missed Dover race has yet to be designated. Skinner’s recent NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entries are part of The History Channel’s recent launch of its inventive new series—“AUTOMANIAC.” Hosted by pro wrestling and feature film star Bill Goldberg, AUTOMANIAC episodes focus on unique vehicles that have made a mark in history in the last century, including gangster cars, muscle cars, extreme bikes and more. The AUTOMANIAC series premiered on The History Channel at the beginning of June and airs every Wednesday at 10:00pm/et. To learn more about AUTOMANIAC, go to www.historychannel.com. Before climbing into the #23 History Channel AUTOMANIAC Dodge this Sunday at MIS, Skinner will race the #5 Toyota Tundra truck Saturday in the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race of the 2005 season.(Bill Davis Racing)(6-16-2005)
- Harvick cuts some grass: Kevin Harvick was in Hastings, MI Wednesday to mow the soccer fields at Tyden Park. Hastings resident Mary Parsons won the “I Can’t Believe Kevin Harvick is Mowing my Lawn” promotion by Yard-Man, sponsor of the #33 Busch Series car owned Kevin Harvick, Inc. but chose to donate the lawn care to the town park. Harvick mowed the fields and then took pictures and signed autographs for many of the more than 300 fans who turned out to see the NASCAR star.(Edelman PR)(6-16-2005)
- Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch in SI of Kids: #5-Kyle Busch and #24-Jeff Gordon are featured in the July edition of Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. Dubbed as a “Rookie to Watch,” Busch answers questions about his racing career in the Teen bonus section.(Hendrick Motorsports)(6-16-2005)
News from June 15, 2005
- Sad News: Reverend Pat Evans of the Racing for Jesus site passed away Sunday, he is survived by his wife Betty, their children, Rob Brannon and his wife Wendy, Cheryl and her husband Brian, and all in Pat’s extended Christian family. Pat was 57 years old. See more at the Racing for Jesus site. This is the ministry that #89-Morgan Shepherd has on his car.(6-15-2005)
- Sorenson to the #41? Mears to the #91? #2? sources tell me it is a lock that Gannasi Busch Series driver, Reed Sorenson will drive the #41 Dodge in 2005. Where Mears will end up, last rumor had him possible at the third Evernham team #91, also hearing that Mears could end up in the #2 Penske Racing Dodge, as Penske does have a history with the Mears family [Casey’s Uncle Rick won 4 Indy 500’s for Penske and still works for Penske](6-15-2005)
- Testing at VIR: #07-Dave Blaney, #31-Jeff Burton, #5-Kyle Busch abd #25-Brian Vickers tested this week at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for the upcoming road-course events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen.(RCR and HMS PR’s)(6-16-2005)
- Menards to sponsor Gordon at Michigan: Robby Gordon Motorsports [RGM] will debut its #7 Menards Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway this weekend in the Batman Begins 400. This will be the first of three races Menards will serve as the team’s primary sponsor, with races at Chicagoland Speedway and the second Michigan race in August. Menards, the country’s third-largest home improvement store chain with more than 200 stores, serves as an associate sponsor on all of the RGM #7 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entries. In addition, Menard Engineering Group, a separate company also owned by Menards’ owner John Menard, builds the engines for the team’s Nextel Cup cars.”It’s been a long time since I have had the opportunity to drive a Menards sponsored car,” Gordon said. “John and I have had a long friendship and close working relationship, and the last time I drove a Menards’ sponsored car we almost won a pretty big race. With the way our team has been improving over the last four weeks or so, particularly with how much stonger the engine program has become, maybe this will be the turning point of our season and we’ll win that big race that we’ve been looking for.” Gordon and Menard were co-owners in the Menards’ sponsored 1999 Indianapolis 500 effort where Gordon led the field by a wide margin coming to the white flag, only to run out of fuel and finish fourth. In addition to Menards, the #7 Chevrolet will also have sponsorship from Fruit of the Loom, Harrah’s and Jim Beam at Michigan. Harrah’s will return to the track as the primary sponsor for the team’s effort at Infineon Raceway next week, while Fruit of the Loom will take the team to Daytona for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 2.(Robby Gordon Motorsports), see an image of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page.(6-15-2005)
- NASCAR Considers Buschwacker Rules: NASCAR officials are considering a plan for 2006 that would either handicap Nextel Cup teams appearing sporadically in Busch Series races or reward the Busch regulars, this week’s NASCAR Scene reports. NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter says the sanctioning body is looking at the possibility of a system that gives more points or money to the Busch-only teams on a weekly basis. NASCAR is trying to find a way to reward the Busch regulars without eliminating the Cup competitors, who are popular with track owners who want to draw as many spectators as possible. “We’re going to try to target more of the prize money to the teams that are running all of the Busch races, which should help them,” Hunter said. “I think we’ll have [some] form of a program like that in place for next year.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-15-2005)
- Goodyear called to the trailer UPDATE: Goodyear officials were called to the NASCAR trailer after 11 drivers blew out a total of 22 left front tires Sunday at Pocono. Goodyear product manager Rick Heinrich said Goodyear engineers noticed several setups that “were very abusive to the left front outside shoulder” of the tires and that low air pressure could have compounded the problem. “It’s never the tires’ fault, is it?” says crew chief Fatback McSwain, whose driver, Ricky Rudd, was the victim of six cut tires.(Sporting News)
AND Goodyear field manager Rick Heinrich blamed most of the problems on a combination of overly-aggressive chassis setups and running over the rough rumble-strip curbing at the inside edge of the tunnel turn.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND II see a large story dealing with the tire problem at Speedtv.com: Tire Failures: More Questions Than Answers.(6-13-2005)
UPDATE: Goodyear officials are scheduled to talk this week with NASCAR officials about the tire problems in Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway. Several teams had flat left front tires during the race. Ricky Rudd said he lost five tires. Kurt Busch blew a left front. Ryan Newman crashed after his left front blew late in the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost two tires. NASCAR officials met with Goodyear officials after the race. “I’ve been at it a long time and never seen anything like that,” Rudd said after the race. Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales and marketing for Goodyear, says a combination of issues created the problems. He cited teams not running recommended air pressure, excessive camber (the amount a tire is tilted), and the rumble strips in turn 2. Stucker said Tuesday morning that Goodyear was examining what went wrong and if it needed to build a new tire for the Pocono race July 24. He said a decision would be made soon. “Our biggest concern is that the second Pocono race is not very far away,” Stucker said. “The last thing we want to do is overreact to something. We certainly had a serious situation, but we don’t want to do something that is going to make the situation worse. So, we’re trying to get as much information as possible.” The tire used at Pocono on Sunday was new to the track. Stucker said the tire had a stiffer sidewall and a different compound. The tire also is scheduled to be run again at Bristol in August.(Roanoke Times)(6-15-2005)
- Black Jack for Blaney: The #07 Chevy with Dave Blaney driving will sport the Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails paint scheme featuring Black Jack Cola for the Batman Begins 400.(RCR), image on my #07 Team Scheme page.(6-15-2005)
- Triple for Martin at Homestead: Mark Martin says he plans to run the season finales in Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series at Homestead in November. Martin plans to move to the Truck series after this season, pending sponsorship.(Roanoke Times)(6-15-2005)
- Justin Labonte fills in for Bliss at DIS test: With Mike Bliss still recovering from recent hernia surgery, NASCAR Busch Series driver Justin Labonte got behind the wheel of the #0 NetZero/BestBuy Chevy fielded by Haas CNC Racing during a one-day test session the Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 47th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday, July 2. Labonte, the son of two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte, was a perfect fit to fill in for Bliss during the test at the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval. He wheels the #44 United States Coast Guard Chevrolet for Haas CNC Racing in the Busch Series. Also testing at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday was C.W. Smith, who was shaking down his Busch Series car in preparation for the Winn Dixie 250 presented by Pepsico on Friday, July 2.
The Pepsi 400 Weekend will kick off with the Brumos Porsche 250 on Thursday, June 30 followed by Circle K Pole Qualifying for the Pepsi 400 and the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo on Friday, July 1. The 47th annual Pepsi 400 will cap off the patriotic weekend on Saturday, July 2. Tickets for the Pepsi 400 weekend and the 2006 DAYTONA 500, including all Speedweeks 2006 events, are on sale now, order your tickets online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(6-15-2005)
- What’s up with Ty Norris? get asked, saw this,so……..If Dale Earnhardt Jr. ever wonders whether there would be life for him after DEI, all he has to do is look to Ty Norris. Norris served as Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s vice president/director of motorsports for nearly eight years. But 16 months after leaving the post, Norris is thriving in a less pressure-packed environment as one of the principals behind the new Official NASCAR Members Club – though he still keeps tabs on his former employer. Launched in February at Daytona, the fan-based club has quickly grown to more than 10,000 members with little publicity or advertising. And Norris hopes the membership will continue to expand. “We’re now going to start to turn on the faucet for acquisition in June and start to bring a lot more people in,” said Norris, who is one of four senior vice presidents of the NMC. “Our desire is to be the largest-based affinity program ever created, and with 75 million fans to pull from, you’d think we could reach it.” The NMC is a club for fans of the sport, with a frequent flyer-style program that awards members with discounts and other special offers that, according to Norris, include deals and access traditionally reserved for those within the garage. Memberships run $40 per year, but the return on investment is immediate: in the initiation kit, members receive roughly $700 in discount coupons and offers. While Norris realizes the NMC is a radical departure from his role at DEI – and from his subsequent 10-month stint as a vice president of Speedway Motorsports Inc. – he’s at peace with himself and having a blast. While he won’t give specifics about why he left DEI, Norris can’t help but still feel some emotional attachment to the team – particularly with the organization’s current struggles, most notably with Earnhardt Jr.’s under-performing #8 team. “It’s really heartbreaking, to be honest with you,” Norris said. “I left eight years of 24 hours a day laying on the concrete at the shop when I left. It’s hard for me not to have an opinion about it. I’m disappointed they’re not doing better. I still have a lot of passion for the place.” Like many observers, Norris is baffled by some of the changes that have occurred since he left, including some of the same changes bandied about while he was still there.(see full article at Yahoo Sports)(6-15-2005)
- will Jerry Nadeau ever race again? What’s he been up to lately? from a Q&A on NASCAR.com, Marty Smith answers: Quite honestly, it doesn’t look as though Nadeau will ever return to the Cup Series ranks. I spoke with him Wednesday and he said the doctors continue to urge him not to return to racing. “Right now they can’t sign me off to go back racing, but I’m not giving up on it,” Nadeau said. “If something comes up that attracts me that I could do something else, I’ll do it. But right now I’m just trying to stay fit. I’d love to find something to do, just don’t know what to do. My whole life has been racing and that was taken away from.” Nadeau asked me [Smith] to send a message to his fans. “I want to tell my fans, it’s an unfortunate accident, and it’s hard to come back from a coma right into racing. It’s a more serious injury than I thought. I figured it’d heal the first year. But it’s more than a year process. It’s a long term injury.”(NASCAR.com, Marty Smith)(6-15-2005)
- Woman winner at Stockton: Allison Duncan, piloting the #20 Miller Lite/NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, won her first NASCAR Havoline Western Late Model race and becomes the first female to ever win the feature main event at Stockton 99 Speedway. “This is the most awesome experience,” said Duncan. “Winning my first Havoline Western Late Model race at Stockton 99 is just the best feeling. We’ve been close earlier in the season but tonight we did it. We did it with the great support from our sponsors Miller Lite, NAPA AUTO PARTS, Domino’s Pizza, Berco Redwood, Inventory Sales, Chevrolet and Snap On. Our success on the track is due to the great driver development program between Bill McAnally Racing and Richard Childress Racing and their joint commitment to the Driver for Diversity Iniative. This is great and we can’t wait to do it again.” For more information on Bill McAnally Racing (BMR), Richard Childress Racing (RCR), and the Driver for Diversity Iniative (D4D) logon to www.billmcanallyracing.com.(BMR PR)(6-15-2005)
- Hermie Sadler in the Booth at Kentucky: Hermie Sadler, 1993 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of theYear, will join Mark Garrow and Phil Parsons in the broadcast booth for FX’s coverage of the Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo Saturday night, live from the Kentucky Speedway. Sadler, who has experience reporting for MRN Radio, is excited about this opportunity to cover the Busch Series for FX. “The people calling the action play a major role in helping the viewers understand what is happening on the track and on pit road, and why. I look forward to using my experience and knowledge of the Busch Series to compliment the excellent job that Phil [Parsons] and Mark [Garrow] already do” stated Sadler. Glenn Jarrett and Hank Parker, Jr. will serve as pit reporters for the race. FX will begin its coverage from Kentucky with the pre-race show at 7:30pm/et. The green flag will fall at 8:12 pm. In addition to the race broadcast on FX, Sadler will also be in the booth to cover qualifying on Speed Channel, which begins at 5:00pm/et.(PSE-3 PR)(6-15-2005)
- New Campaign Features All-American Soap Box Derby Spokesperson Jimmie Johnson: NASCAR and All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD) announced they have teamed up to launch the first-ever national advertising campaign centered around the Derby. The AASBD is one of the most established grass roots youth and family organizations in the United States and a NASCAR official youth initiative. The print and broadcast spots feature one of racing’s most popular drivers Jimmie Johnson, the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader, who was recently named the AASBD national spokesperson. Johnson is the official spokesperson for the Levi Strauss Signature brand, which is currently the title sponsor for the AASBD. A first for the AASBD in its 68-year history, the new campaign titled “Wind Tunnel” is part of NASCAR’s effort to raise awareness for this great youth pastime. The 30-second commercial, created by Jump Co. of St. Louis, will break in June. Mirroring what takes place at NASCAR race shops, the spot shows Johnson assisting a group of children as they go through the steps of building an actual Soap Box Derby car. Johnson supports the kids in a simulated wind tunnel setting and helps fit the car with a cardboard template, illustrating some of the Derby’s core values, such as: basic construction skills, teamwork, friendship and the completion of a project. The spot is set to air in NASCAR race broadcasts on FOX, FX, NBC and TNT as well as other NASCAR-related programming on SPEED Channel. The print campaign also shows Johnson working with a group of kids on a Soap Box Derby car. The advertisements will run exclusively in NASCAR-licensed publications, including NASCAR Scene, NASCAR Illustrated and NASCAR Games and Puzzles and will encourage consumers to get involved by joining local AASBD chapters. In Soap Box Derby, boys and girls ages 8-17 build gravity powered cars from kits with assistance from a parent or other adult and compete in more than 450 races in 170 cities across the country. Held annually since 1934 in Akron, Ohio, local race winners advance to the AASBD Championship, which will be held this year on July 30. To get involved or for more information on the AASBD, call (330-733-8723) or visit www.aasbd.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-15-2005)
- Insurance Company claims RCR policy wasn’t valid: A day after a judge ruled in favor of the late Dale Earnhardt’s car owner in a trial pitting the racing team against an insurance company, the jury heard Tuesday from the insurance agent who sold the $3.7 million policy. Insurance agent Knox Hillman, of Concord, testified he was contacted by Bill Patterson, executive vice president of Richard Childress Racing, about obtaining more coverage on the driver. “He indicated a new contract was coming and he needed some life insurance to secure certain requirements of the contract,” Hillman said. At Patterson’s direction, Hillman said he obtained several proposals before narrowing them down to two, including one from defendant United of Omaha Insurance Co. Hillman said he filled out the application and gave it to another insurance broker, John Gorsline, who was authorized to contract with United of Omaha. He said Patterson paid $5,000 in January 2001 as part of an installment plan. Richard Childress Racing, Earnhardt’s employer, was required to carry $7.2 million in insurance to cover the driver’s base salary, according to a portion of Earnhardt’s racing contract that was introduced as evidence in the trial. The amount included $3.7 million with insurer United of Omaha, which RCR claims cheated widow Teresa Earnhardt out of the payment after Earnhardt’s death in a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. RCR took out the policy and is pursuing the matter on the family’s behalf. Another insurer has already paid a $3.5 million claim. United of Omaha claims the policy was never valid for Earnhardt because he had not taken a required physical.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Kimberly Taylor ruled that Earnhardt’s racing team won the lawsuit because the insurer failed to hand over key documents to RCR lawyers. The only issue now before the jury now is whether United of Omaha should pay the $3.7 million claim. The jury also heard testimony Tuesday from two insurance industry veterans testifying for the defense. Both said the life insurance policy on Earnhardt didn’t exist because of key omissions, especially the lack of a physical. The judge said she already had decided that the insurance company was responsible for the policy..(ESPN.com/AP)(6-15-2005)
News from June 14, 2005
- Sad News: Dan Hamrick, Dodge’s long time Truck Series Engineering Liaison passed away Friday night, services were held Monday. Note that in lieu of flowers, we are requesting that donations be made to: Bethlehem Baptist Church Building Fund, Hospice of Cleveland County, 951 Wendover Heights Drive, Shelby, NC, 28150.(6-14-2005)
more info and a column at Truckseries.com.(6-16-2005)
- Five Cup drivers to attmept Kentucky Busch race: Kentucky Speedway says five Nextel Cup regulars are expected to compete in Saturday’s Meijer 300 Busch Series race. #99-Carl Edwards, who is attempting to drive complete Busch and Cup schedules this season, is expected to be joined by Cup regulars #16-Greg Biffle, #40-Sterling Marlin, #2-Rusty Wallace and #15-Michael Waltrip.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-14-2005)
- Terry Labonte in for Leffler at Sonoma UPDATE: Terry Labonte is expected to substitute for Jason Leffler in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy in the June 26 race at Sonoma if Leffler fails to climb into the top 35 in points by then. Drivers in the top 35 are guaranteed starting spots. Labonte is the safety net for the team because he has a champion’s provisional, which guarantees him a starting spot. Leffler has run just one road course race, a Busch race in 2000 at Watkins Glen. Leffler crashed at Pocono but remained in the same points position, 36th, meaning he has to improve by one spot Sunday at Michigan to lock in for the race at Sonoma. Leffler says he has wrecked so many cars that “we’re bringing cars back to the track that aren’t in the best shape” because the fab shop hasn’t had enough turnaround time.(Sporting News)(6-13-2005)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has hired two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Terry Labonte to pilot the #11 Fed-Ex Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. He replaces Jason Leffler, the #11 team’s regular driver, for this one event. “Jason understands that our support of him continues, as he’ll race this weekend at Michigan and return to the #11 at Daytona,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “A number of factors led to this decision. Where the #11 is in points, the typically high car count at Sonoma, the number of road course specialists other teams tend to enlist, the unique nature of road course racing – none favors a team outside the top-35 in points. With an experienced veteran in Terry, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing and his strong performances at road course venues.” In addition to his championship-caliber talents, Labonte also brings road course success to the #11 team. Of his 22 career wins, two have come at a road course – the defunct Riverside (Calif.) Speedway in 1984 and 1985. And in his 54 career starts at road courses, Labonte has earned eight poles, 17 top-fives and 26 top-10s while leading a total of 411 laps. “I’ve always enjoyed road course racing, and while no road courses were planned for this year, it’s hard to say no when you have the opportunity to drive for an organization that’s just as professional as Hendrick Motorsports,” said Labonte, who is running a limited Nextel Cup schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. “We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team at Sonoma,” said Gibbs. “Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports helped get Joe Gibbs Racing up and running when we formed this team back in 1991, and 14 years later, we’re once again appreciative of their help.”(True Speed Communication/Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-14-2005)
- Cope in the #79: Derrike Cope will be driving the #79 Chevy in Michigan. He said, “I will be going to the Michigan speedway to attempt the Nextel Cup race for Conely Motorsports. The car is a Chevrolet. They are a great group of people and I look forward to working with John and his team.”(Derrike Cope site) and the team had a pretty good day of testing June 7th at MIS. Derrike Cope tested and is scheduled to drive at MIS. Cope helped the team to fine tune the suspension and put in some pretty fair times until shortly after the lunch break when the car suffered valve problems ending with having to pull the engine. With the new engine in place an hour and half later, Cope recorded times that were on par with #20-Tony Stewart the team shared a garage with.(Conely Motorsports)(6-14-2005)
- Judge rules in favor Childress: A judge ruled in favor of the late Dale Earnhardt’s car owner Monday, saying an insurance company failed to share legal documents in the case over whether benefits should have been paid after the NASCAR star’s death. Earnhardt died Feb. 18, 2001, in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500. Superior Court Judge Kimberly S. Taylor issued the order against United of Omaha Life Insurance Co. following 12 days of proceedings. Taylor declined Richard Childress Racing’s request to enter a default judgment of $3.7 million, plus interest, and triple that amount as allowed under state law. Jurors will return Tuesday to hear arguments about whether RCR is entitled to the monetary damages. Last week, attorneys for both sides discovered the legal department of Mutual of Omaha, the parent company of defendant United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., failed to share 18 pages of relevant documents before trial. Omaha Life attorney Stephen Coles asked Taylor to consider lesser sanctions and allow RCR attorneys to re-examine defense witnesses. Childress Racing claims United of Omaha failed to conduct a proper investigation before deciding not to pay the claim. The insurer denied the claim because several policy requirements, including a physical, were never completed. Childress Racing took out the policy on Earnhardt’s behalf and made a $5,000 payment in January 2001. The policy was part of $7.2 million in benefits, according to the driver’s contract, which was described in court. A $3.5 million policy with a second insurer, set up in 1996, was paid to Childress Racing and signed over to Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa.(ESPN.com/AP)(6-14-2005)
News from June 13, 2005
- Gustafson Wins 2nd Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: #5-Kyle Busch may not have won the Pocono 500, but he passed more cars during the 200 lap race than any other driver in the forty-three car field. The rookie sensation suffered two setbacks over the course of the event that would have ruined most team’s weekend, but with leadership from crew chief Alan Gustafson, Busch rebounded from both incidents and finished his day in the fourth position. For his comeback, Gustafson was elected the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Kyle Busch tagged the outside retaining wall during his qualifying lap, forcing his team to make repairs to the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet. His team’s post-impound work moved Busch to the tail-end of the field for the start of the race. Busch moved up to the third position, but that wouldn’t be his only charge through the field. Later in the race, Busch overshot his pit stall. The extra-long stop put Busch in ninth place when he returned to the track. The team made up for their miscue on their final green flag stop. With several teams experiencing tire failures during the race, Gustafson made the gutsy call to change only two tires before sending Busch back out. With the time the team saved by changing only two tires, Busch shot into fourth place.
The panel of voters; including Chuck Givler of the Easton Express Times, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; collectively agreed that Gustafson deserved Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors. With four wins, Doug Richert is in first place of the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(6-13-2005)
- Overnight Pocono TV Ratings up 8.5%: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned 5.1 overnight rating and a 12 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 8.5% higher than the 4.7 Fox drew for the June Pocono race last year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-13-2005)
- The Sprint Cup? Looks like the NEXTEL Cup Series will be no more in 2007. Get ready for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as the Sprint-NEXTEL merger gets finalized and the company’s new name becomes attached to the NASCAR deal.(RacingOne)(6-13-2005)
- Gordon Shifts…loses tranny UPDATE correction:: Despite NASCAR’s new gear rule that supposedly eliminated the ability to shift, word was that #7-Robby Gordon – ever the rebel – did shift, which is what caused the transmission failure that put him out of the race.(Yahoo Sports)(6-13-2005)
UPDATE – correction: been told that #7-Robby Gordon did not lose the transmission, the team had a oil line failure.(6-13-2005)
- Hamilton Jr. could go work for his Dad….if: Bobby Hamilton Jr. has one year left on his contract, but should his status in the #32 Tide ride change, he has a backup plan–race for his father. Bobby Hamilton Racing fields three teams in the Craftsman Truck Series and just opened a new shop. With sponsorship, BHR could start a Cup team. “We haven’t figured out what we’re doing yet,” Hamilton Jr. says. “If Tide leaves–and there’s been pretty strong rumors about them leaving–you have to be prepared for what happens. Dad’s deal is there. It’s always been there, but you hate to throw this deal away based just on rumors.”(Sporting News), see my #32 Team News page for those past rumors.(6-13-2005)
- Martin fave wins Pro Cup race: Joey Logano, a 15-year-old whom Mark Martin has called a future Nextel Cup superstar, won the Hooters ProCup race Saturday night in Mansfield, Ohio. He became the youngest winner in series history; the previous youngest was Vickers at age 16.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-13-2005)
News from June 12, 2005
- Tradegy at New York speedway: Tony White, an Oswego Speedway driver, was competing his Saturday’s 25-lap limited supermodified when his car was involved in a lap 8 incident. The car came to rest on the back straightaway. The race was halted, and an Oswego Fire Department ambulance was called to the speedway which arrived at the track two minutes later, where members of the track safety crew were found performing CPR on White. White was given advanced life support treatment by Oswego Fire Department paramedics, and was transported to Oswego Hospital, where he died. White appeared to suffer a fatal heart attack. More at: pall-times.com and oswegodailynews.com.(6-12-2005)
- Tradegy at Iowa raceway: One man is dead and another seriously injured after one race car struck two others in the pit area of a southeast Iowa race track. The Iowa State Patrol says 28-year-old Brenton Slocum, of Burlington, died after he was pinned underneath a race car he was working on at the 34 Raceway. Investigators say 16-year-old Michael Mott, of Wapello, is undergoing treatment at University Hospitals in Iowa City. The patrol says a sprint car driven by 61-year-old John Batchelor, of Illinois, exited the oval racetrack and was heading into the pit area of the track when is struck two cars in the pits.(kwqc.com) and more info about the people involved and the accident at: 34raceway.com and thehawkeye.com.(6-12-2005)
- Sad News: Robert Ray “Bud” Hutchens, 63, father of Richard Childress Racing’s Bobby Hutchen’s, passed away Saturday, June 11, 2005, at his home. He was retired from Leaseway Motor Cars. Mr. Hutchens was an avid NASCAR fan and had cars that raced at Bowman Gray Stadium for over 40 years. Surviving are his wife of 46 years, Mrs. Carol Long Hutchens; two sons, Bobby Hutchens and wife Sharon, Kenny Hutchens and wife Robin, all of Winston-Salem. NC; a daughter, Lisa Thomas and husband Chris of Greenville, NC; seven grandchildren; and two sisters, Margaret Edwards and Nancy Tulbert, both of Winston-Salem. A graveside service will be conducted at 11:00am/et Monday, June 13, at Waughtown Cemetery with the Rev. Norwood Green officiating. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 this evening, June 12, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Cancer Society, 4A Oak Branch Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407 or to the Bowman Gray Neurosurgery Dept., Medical Center Blvd. Winston-Salem, NC 27157.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-12-2005)
- REVISED: yes…about 45 minutes after the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR revised the finishing order, pretty much from 5th thru 11th. #6-Martin was originally credited with UNOFFICIALLY finishing 5th and #42-McMurray 11th. After NASCAR reviewed the video and the scoring loops, the unofficial finishing order was revised and released, with #15-Waltrip moving up to 5th, #48-Johnson to 6th [and adding 4 points to his lead] and Martin back to 7th [cut down a right rear tire before the final yellow was thrown]. #2-Wallace was originally credited with 10h, but the revised order had him 11th and McMurray up to 10th. Is this normal? sure, NASCAR follows these procedures every week and usually around 12:00noon/et every Monday, the Official Results/Standings are posted, sometimes drivers may switch a position, usually the unofficial results mirror the official results. That is why most of my stats pages are not updated until Monday or Tuesday.(6-13-2005)
- Edwards wins at Pocono: #99-Carl Edwards won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway for his 2nd win of 2005, 2nd career win in his 27th race and gave owner Jack Roush his first ever win as a car owner at Pocono [Roush has now won at all the track Nextel Cup run at but Chicagoland, Kansas and Indy]. The race ended under caution after an wreck by #18-Labonte [no word on what caused it, no replays on the wreck], after the green-white-checker restart on lap 199. Rounding out the top five were #25-Brian Vickers, #01-Joe Nemechek, #5-Kyle Busch and #15-Michael Waltrip. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 6th and increased his points lead to 123 over #16-Greg Biffle, who finished 30th after having some brake trouble. Edwards started 29th, winning a race from worst starting position ever at Pocono, Terry Labonte had held that record, winning from 27th back in 1995. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept cutting down left front tires, the 2nd one did a lot of damage to the front left end of the car [even a fire], Dale Jr. finished 33rd, 6 laps down and is now 500 points behind in the Chase.
For race results, see Jayski’s Pocono Race Results/Awards page.(6-12-2005)
- Busch Streak Gone: #97-Kurt Busch finished 22nd and ended a 48-race streak of ranking among the top 10. He dropped from eighth to 11th in the point standings. The streak began at Rockingham in February 2004.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-12-2005)
- NASCAR Nextel Cup Drivers Points after Pocono – 14 of 36 races [Revised]
the 12 drivers in the chase as things stand:
1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2062
2) #16-Greg Biffle, 1939, -123
3) #38-Elliott Sadler, 1781, -281
4) #99-Carl Edwards, 1759, -303
5) #6-Mark Martin, 1734, -328
6) #12-Ryan Newman, 1733, -329
7) #29-Kevin Harvick, 1715, -347
8) #2-Rusty Wallace, 1714, -348
9) #24-Jeff Gordon. 1700, -362
10) #20-Tony Stewart, 1682, -380
11) #97-Kurt Busch, 1681, -381
12) #42-Jamie McMurray, 1670, -392
The top 12 in drivers points are still under 400 points back and in the Chase.
For points see Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.(6-12-2005)
- Marlin to the #6? Sterling Marlin [#40 Dodge] is having discussions with Jack Roush about the possibility of replacing Mark Martin next year in the #6 Ford.(Gaston Gazette), also have heard that Marlin could go to the #21 Wood Brothers Ford with Ricky Rudd moving over to the #6.(6-12-2005)
- More changes at MB2/MBV? Riggs to leave? UPDATE team hopes to keep Riggs: Following closely on this week’s promotion and transfer of top technical personnel, expect some major announcements from the MB Motorsports organization in the next couple of weeks. The team, which campaigns Nextel Cup cars with drivers #01-Joe Nemechek, #10-Scott Riggs and (part-time) #36-Boris Said, soon will announce the signing of a well-known sprint-car driver to an ARCA/Busch/Cup program [known as the ABC program] for 2006, sources close to the team said. This will be the first step in a full-blown driver-development program. That driver is said to be Kraig Kinser. The team has been a cooperation among the MB2 (Nemechek) and MBV (Riggs) teams, with sponsor Valvoline to now owning part of the MBV team. Valvoline apparently intends to sell its part of the operation to MB2 founding owner Nelson Bowers and associates, with Valvoline remaining as associate sponsor on Riggs’s #10. Centrix, sponsor of Said’s effort, will step up to the top position [primary sponsor of the #10].(Speed Channel Notebook), and hearing Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 MBV team could end up at Evernham, Penske [#2] or the #6 Ford of Roush Racing.(6-12-2005)
UPDATE: Jay Frye, CEO/General Manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports, said on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning that the team plans to do everything it can to re-sign Scott Riggs and keep him in the #10 Chevy.(6-12-2005)
- Third Yates Cup team in the works? Robert Yates Racing [#38-Elliott Sadler, #88-Dale Jarrett] officials say the believe they need to move toward a third team, and efforts are in the works. Team manager Eddie d’Hondt said Saturday that he is to meet Tuesday in Baltimore with official of Citi Financial, current sponsor of RYR’s Busch team, to see about a Cup program. Doug Yates, RYR president and leader of Roush/Yates Engines, said he understands that RYR has fallen behind the two majors, Roush and Hendrick, and that expansion is a competitive necessity. “That’s the thing Robert and I always thought, that getting more teams was getting kind of greedy,” Doug said. “We look back now [and realize] we missed the boat on it a little with all the opportunities we had.” The RYR philosophy, as seen by Robert, has been the old Junior Johnson method: Let lesser teams develop the drivers, then snatch them up for the top seats when they are ready. It’s a new world, Doug says, hinting that he has seen it coming. Yates and d’Hondt agreed that driver development will be a significant part of the team’s future efforts, although Cup drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler have driven RYR’s newly-founded Busch car all year. d’Hondt said RYR needed to get the team up and running, with a veteran baseline, before throwing a newcomer into the seat.(Speed Channel Notebook)(6-12-2005)
- Rondeau sticking with DEI thru 2005, Menard to run some Cup races: Dale Earnhardt Inc. director of racing Richie Gilmore Saturday said #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former crew chief Pete Rondeau has made a commitment to the organization for the rest of 2005. Gilmore said he was not aware if Rondeau was seeking other crew chief opportunities outside DEI. Gilmore confirmed plans to place DEI’s other Busch Series driver, Paul Menard, in several Nextel Cup races later this season and said Rondeau would be involved.(NASCAR.com)(6-12-2005)
- Looks like a 3rd full-time team for Evernham in 2006 UPDATE: Ray Evernham, chief of Dodge-backed Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91], says chances are “better than 50%” that he will have a third Cup team in 2006. He said he has tentative agreements with significant sponsors, and he pulled up short when asked who would drive the car [Jayski Note: Brendan Gaughan has been rumored]. Evernham says he has constructed a building for the proposed new team and has personnel aboard. “I think you can get the team started and kind of take it from there. The sponsor is going to have to have realistic expectations. For a first-year team, to jump right up there and win races, there’s not too many people who do that. “I’m fortunate enough to say I’m one of the people who have done it, but it’s still very difficult. There are [drivers] out there that can win races, and the sponsor has to go into it realistically. Every sponsor says they want a top 10 car, top 10 driver, well, there’s 15 top-10 cars out there, which one do you want?(Speed Channel)(6-11-2005)
UPDATE: another rumor floating around has Casey Mears, current driver for #41 Ganassi Racing going to Evernham, with Reed Sorenson moving up from Busch into the #41 Target Dodge. And Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 MBV team could end up at Evernham.
AND Valvoline also apparently will become at least partial sponsor of a proposed third team out of Evernham Motorsports, with driver to be determined.(Speed Channel Notebook)(6-12-2005)
- New 2006 Sponsor for Ganassi….team? #40? Stremme? UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the signing of Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon to a multi-year sponsorship. The long-term agreement begins with the 2006 NASCAR season. Specific details are to follow at a later date. Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is a restaurant chain that offers full-service casual dining, featuring Texas-style ambiance. There are over 300 locations nationwide.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
AND Though no further details were announced, sources tell the Observer the new sponsor will pair with Coors in sponsoring David Stremme in the #40 Dodges in Nextel Cup next year.(Charlotte Observer/David Poole)(6-9-2005)
UPDATE: Although driver Sterling Marling has all but confirmed that he’s on his way out of the #40 Ganassi Dodge, team manager Tony Glover, a long-time associate of Marlin, said Saturday that he’s staying with the organization, despite rumors of an impending shake-up. “To be quite honest with you, what’s going on with Chip [Ganassi] and Felix [Sabates] and Sterling, I’m not exactly 100 percent sure of the plan” Glover said. “As far as me being back, I plan on being here a long time.” Questions remain, however, about the future of general manager Andy Graves, who has been with Ganassi since his entry into stock cars in 2002. Next week at Michigan, Ganassi is expected to announce that David Stremme will replace Marlin in the #40 in 2006, with sponsorship split between Coors and Lone Star Steakhouse.(Speed Channel Notebook)(6-12-2005)
- and More on Ganassi possible changes: How big a shakeup is in the works in the Ganassi Racing camp? Busch driver David Stremme is considered the heir apparent in the #40 to replace Sterling Marlin. He could do so for the last seven races of the season, and not jeopardize his rookie status for next season. Changes are expected involving the #41 team and driver Casey Mears. Sources say owner Chip Ganassi plans to clean the entire house, making way for Busch Series rookie sensation Reed Sorenson and crew chief Brian Pattie. Mears’ crew chief, Jimmy Elledge, has been mentioned as a potential crew chief for Stremme. (Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-12-2005)
- Race Notes – Pocono:
• Carl Edwards won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 27th career start.
• Edwards is the second driver to win in his first race at Pocono Raceway. Richard Petty won the first race here in 1974.
• Edwards led four times for 46 laps, including the final 15.
• Edwards has scored six top-10 finishes in 14 races this season
• Edwards climbed from ninth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 303 behind first-place Jimmie Johnson
• Edwards scored the first victory at Pocono Raceway for car owner Jack Roush. Roush finished second 11 times with four different drivers before scoring his first Pocono victory. This is Roush’s 81st victory as a car owner and seventh in 14 races this season.
• This is the seventh victory for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has six and Dodge has one.
• Brian Vickers (second) posted his career-best finish in 55 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. It is his first top-10 finish in his third race at Pocono Raceway.
• Joe Nemechek (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in his 22 races at Pocono. He scored his third top-10 finish in 14 races in 2005, and his best since his victory last October at Kansas City.
• Kyle Busch (fourth) posted a top-10 finish in his first race at Pocono Raceway. Busch scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2005. The Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Busch has had a notable run in his last seven races, scoring five top-five finishes. He won the Truck and Busch race at Lowe’s. He finished 25th in the Cup race at Lowe’s. He won the Truck race at Dover, finished 36th in the Busch race, second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Dover and fourth at Pocono today. He has climbed from 26th to 18th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings in the last five races.
• Mark Martin (seventh) scored his 26th top-10 finish in 37 races at Pocono Raceway. Martin has scored seven top-10 finishes in 2005. He climbed from sixth to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Rusty Wallace (11th) extended a 27-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August.
• Six of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Pocono Raceway.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (33rd) dropped from 15th to 16th in the point standings, 504 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.
• Kurt Busch (22nd) ended a 48-race streak of ranking among the top 10. He dropped from eighth to 11th in the point standings. The streak began at Rockingham in February 2004.
• Jeff Gordon (ninth) posted his posted his 18th top-10 finish in his 25th race at Pocono Raceway. He returned to the top 10 climbing from 11th to ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He is now 362 points behind point leader Johnson.
• Brian Vickers led 121 of the 200 laps in today’s race. This is the most laps that he has led in a single race in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career.
• Mike Garvey became the 41st different driver to lead in 2005. This was the first time that Garvey has led in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-12-2005)
- Rumblings – Pocono:
Maybe he was practicing his back flips during that rain delay last night… Carl Edwards led the final 15 laps today at Pocono Raceway and won the Pocono 502.5 under caution. In what was easily one of the worst events we’ve ever seen at a place that is usually pretty racey, Edwards grabbed his second win of the season (he won at Atlanta in March) and the 81st for Roush Racing (but unbelievably their first at Pocono). Roush has seven wins this season, and this one was worth $196,150 from the over $4.7M in posted awards. It’s obvious they’ve gotta fix two thing before we come back here in six weeks…..
First, junk the new gear rule for this joint. We’re running slower than ever and the most spread out in history. There was virtually zero side-by-side racing today…..and we’ve grown used to seeing those five and six wide camera shots back up the frontstretch from turn 1.
Second, Goodyear’s gotta get their tires right. We had no less than seven cars have left front troubles today, and blaming it on the rumble strips seems to be a bit of a stretch. This certainly wasn’t our first race with that “corduroy” (never heard it called that before…must be a New England thang).
As evidence of how these changes have effected this race, today we had only 14 lead changes among 7 drivers. Last year’s June race had 30 lead changes among 16 drivers, and July had 16 changes amongst 10 drivers. A disturbing trend indeed…..
Brian Vickers (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 5th at Phoenix in April.
Joe Nemechek (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Kansas last October.
Terry Labonte (12th) had his best finish since he was 6th when we were here last July. BTW, all five Hendrick Motorsports cars finished in the Top-12.B Sterling Marlin (16th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Texas in April.
Mike Garvey (25th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 41st at Atlanta in March.
STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races. Kyle Busch has 3 Top-5’s in the last 4 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kyle Busch (+34), followed by Carl Edwards (+28 ), Jeff Gordon (+22), and Jeff Green (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Scott Riggs (-32), followed by Mike Bliss (-26), Scott Wimmer (-25), Matt Kenseth (-22), and Kurt Busch (-20).
Mike Garvey led a lap today for the first time in his Nextel Cup career. He’s the 41st different driver to lead this season….last year we had 50 different leaders during the season.
Jimmie Johnson has stretched his margin over Greg Biffle to 123 points after today. The “Stayin’ Alive” line has moved up to 12th.
Carl Edwards (9th to 4th) and Jeff Green (31st to 26th) made the best moves forward today, while three drivers (Tony Stewart, Mike Bliss, and Kyle Petty) all fell five spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-12-2005)
- Streak gone: #12-Ryan Newman will start 17th at Pocono on Sunday, breaking a streak of 20 consecutive top 10 starts.(6-12-2005)
- Double Duty at Pocono-Nashville WHO are the subs at Nashville?: two drivers are planning on running the Nextel Cup race at Pocono and the Busch Series race in Nashville:
#40-Sterling Marlin will be running the Busch Series race at his home track of Nashville Superspeedway. He will be piloting the #40 for FitzBradshaw Racing.(Ganassi PR)
AND This will be #99-Carl Edwards’ first double duty weekend in two separate cities. Edwards will practice and qualify the #99 Stonebridge Insurance Ford in Pocono on Friday and Saturday morning then head to Nashville to race the #60 Charter Ford in the Busch race. Edwards will then return late Saturday night to race the #99 Ford in Sunday’s 500-mile event.(Roush Racing)(6-10-2005)
SUBS: if the race runs on Sunday, Hank Parker Jr. will run the #60 Ford for Carl Edwards and Johnny Benson will drive the #40 Dodge for Sterling Marlin.(6-12-2005)
News from June 11, 2005
- Harvick to the #2? UPDATE Harvick talks, denies and fumes: it was reported during Speed Channel’s Texas Truck Series race that Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy was in negoatiations with Penske Racing to take over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge fielded by Penske Racing. This was reported as a rumor back in Febuary by NASCAR.com and the Winston Salem Journal. The big questions would be, Harvick is supposedly signed thru 2006 with a 2-year option, how does this effect Harvick’s Chevy Busch and Truck programs [not gonna see Stewart in a Dodge Busch car] and if under contract can’t image Richard Childress just letting Harvick go.(6-11-2005)
UPDATE – denied by Harvick: from a GM Racing PR after qualifying at Pocono Raceway for he Pocono 500:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO – Responds to Craftsman Truck TV broadcast comment on 6/10 reporting that Harvick would be making a move to Dodge: “I think that Ray (Dunlap, SpeedTV on-air talent for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) will probably be thoroughly embarrassed in the next couple of months there with everything we’ve been working on (contracts). The bad part about it is that I have another year on my contract with RCR and a couple of years with Chevrolet. I think if the facts would have at least been checked on and not just dreamed up over a couple of beers, we probably would have had a much better telecast on the Speed channel last night watching the Truck race. They need to worry about what the hell they’re doing and things will be reported a little more accurately.”
(ARE YOU A WANTED MAN? ARE YOU GETTING CALLS?) “No, I haven’t gotten calls from anybody because I’m not available. It’s one of those things that’s dreamed up. Richard and I are working on a lot of things to go forward in the future and there isn’t any other home that’s going to be available for me. It’s unfortunate, but stuff happens. Like I say, in the next couple of months it’ll be something that he’ll probably regret. He’ll be embarrassed about saying it.”
(WERE YOU WATCHING THE TELECAST LAST NIGHT?) “Yeah, the disappointing part about it is that I’m laying in my motor home and (Ron) Hornaday is pretty much annihilating them during the race. And they were talking about me driving another car and not even reporting on the race. That’s the unfortunate part for GM Goodwrench and the race fans and everybody. They’re not even worried about their own telecast. It’s unfortunate. So I went to bed with a headache, to say the least. I was watching the race with the guys on my team and with Scott Wimmer, actually, and they all kind of looked at me and I (shrugged shoulders) said, ‘Hey, you guys know how this world works.’ So it was unfortunate. But like I say, it’s pretty easy to put to rest and that’s why I wanted to make sure that it didn’t go any further. If all the facts were known with all the contractual stuff, it wouldn’t even be reported.”
(WHAT ARE YOU AND RICHARD CHILDRESS WORKING ON LONG TERM?) “Oh, it’ll be great. It’ll probably catch you guys (media) off guard a little bit. But once we get it all done, it’ll be awesome.”
(DOES IT INVOLVE OWNERSHIP?) “Oh, you never know.”(GM Pocono Quotes/PR)(6-11-2005)
- Menard and DEI? UPDATE denied: been hearing that John Menard, who’s son Paul, runs for DEI in the Busch Series [#11 Menard Chevy] may be buying into ownership of DEI…not sure if in part or whole….or at all.(5-20-2005)
UPDATE: Richie Gilmore, Director of Motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., strongly disputed rumors that millionaire businessman John Menard is attempting to buy the team. Talk of a potential sale was prevalent in the garage area at Pocono Raceway, where several drivers and owners from other teams confirmed that they had heard the rumor. “There is no truth to it at all,” Gilmore said. “John (Menard) is a great sponsor of ours, but that’s all it is. Over the years, many ‘players’ have tried to buy DEI. We’ve been contacted by owners of NFL and NBA teams about it. Teresa (Earnhardt) has no interest.” Menard’s son Paul drives the #11 DEI Chevy in the Busch Series.(Gaston Gazette)(6-11-2005)
- Kvapil wins ARCA Race at Pocono: In the end, no one had anything for Penske Racing powerhouse #27-Travis Kvapil, who in his first ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt, handily won the Pocono 200 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, Kvapil also won the pole for the event. Kvapil crossed the final stripe just over two seconds ahead of #46-Frank Kimmel in second. Rounding out the top five were #9-Joey Miller, #11-Chad McCumbee [played Dale Jr. in ESPN’s movie ‘3’] and #4-Michael Guerity. See results at ARCARAcing.com.
Also: Ted Olswfski, who was injured in a crash during practice Friday, was released from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. He was taken there as a precaution.(Times Leader)(6-11-2005)
- Schrader not back in the #49 for 2005? UPDATE: Eddie Jones, general manager of BAM Racing’s #49, says the team intends to begin discussions for 2006 shortly with sponsor Schwan’s and that he expects a positive outcome. He is not as positive about current driver Ken Schrader, 50, who likely will take his act elsewhere next year. Jones did not say who might be in line to replace Schrader.(Speed Channel), Schrader has said in the past that Schwans is on the car for 2006 and he would drive the #49, then probably move onto the Truck Series.(6-11-2005)
UPDATE: Few changes are anticipated for BAM Racing and the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge team and driver Ken Schrader for 2006. Team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau said contrary to an erroneous Internet report Friday, plans are moving forward for the future. “While we’re certainly going to make the changes and additions we need to make to improve our race team now and in the future, we are very much planning on Ken Schrader remaining in our car, and every indication Kenny has given us is that he plans on remaining in our car,” Ms. Morgenthau said. “We’ve already begun discussions with Schwan’s in regards to our plans for 2006 and the future, as well as the years following that. We’ve discussed marketing and promotional plans for the future, and those involve Ken Schrader too.” Schrader, 50, has driven the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge since the beginning of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, and has indicated publicly several times this year he plans on remaining in the car the rest of his Cup career.(Williams Company)(6-11-2005)
- Mexican driver looks to make first Cup start at Sonoma: At Infineon Raceway, José Luis Ramírez will attempt to become only the second Mexican-born driver to compete in a NASCAR Nextel Cup race. Sponsored by Bay Area-based mortgage company Pro30.com, he will try to qualify the #52 Dodge for the Dodge/Save Mart 350, to be held at the Sonoma track June 26. Ramírez was among the nine Latino drivers showcased in NASCAR’s Busch race held in Mexico City in March – the sport’s first foray onto foreign soil. In the field of 43, he finished 31st, ahead of such Cup regulars as Jamie McMurray and Robby Gordon. Ramírez, 26, started his career in karting and Trans-Am road racing in his hometown of Mexico City before switching to stock cars. Now a regular in NASCAR’s Grand National West Series, Ramírez has made 17 starts. He finished 10th in the series standings in 2004. In April, he crashed his Cup car during testing at Infineon Raceway, hitting the foam barriers at Turn 4. He suffered minor injuries to his right eye, right foot and back, but drove to an eighth-place finish two days later in a Grand National race at Phoenix International Raceway. Other than that late-day mishap, Ramírez came away statisfied with his performance on Sonoma’s notoriously tricky 10-turn track. The only previous Mexican-born Cup driver retired before Ramírez was born. Mexican racing legend Pedro Rodríguez, who drove in six Cup races between 1959 and 1971, was NASCAR’s Latino pioneer. A regular in sports car events at Daytona International Speedway, Rodríguez finished fifth in NASCAR’s 1965 World 600 at Charlotte – his best Cup result. Sponsor Pro30.com – a major mortgage lender in the Latino community – chose Ramírez as its driver specifically because of his heritag/e, chief executive officer Bill Coleman said.(Sacramento Bee)(6-11-2005)
- Rudd/Wood Brothers, haven’t dicussed 2006…yet: #21-Ricky Rudd says he and the Wood Brothers have not gotten to the point of discussion about 2006. Rudd’s three-year deal with the Woods is due for evaluation this season, and results so far have been disappointing. Rudd sounded sanguine [cheerfully confident; optimistic] about the team’s performance overall. The cars have practiced well at most stops and have qualified well at several stops, “but we need to work on staying out of wrecks,” said Rudd, who will make his 853rd career start, 766th consecutive, in Sunday’s race here.(Speed Channel)(6-11-2005)
- Tony and Jeff play phone tag: #24-Jeff Gordon hasn’t talked with #20-Tony Stewart after the two exchanged barbs in separate interviews last week at Dover, but Gordon isn’t losing sleep over it. “Tony gave me a call this week and left me a message, I called him back and left him a message,” Gordon said. “I’m still not thrilled about what happened there and definitely not thrilled with what was said after the race, but it’s hard racing. “I’ve been through this many times. I’m not going to pay any attention to it. I’m not going to worry about it. We’ve got a championship to win. I want to put it behind me and move on.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-11-2005)
- Mach 1 gets sponsor for Pocono and MIS: Denver NC based MACH 1 Inc. announced today that UltraComp Trailers [ultracomptrailers.com] has signed on for a two race primary sponsorship beginning this weekend in Pocono, going through next weekend in Michigan. PJ Jones will pilot the #34 Chevy this weekend and again next weekend in Michigan. UltraComp Trailers is a subsidiary of Schantz & Sons, Inc. which has been in the trailer manufacturing business since 1952. UltraComp designs and manufactures large race transporters, food concession trailers, and enclosed gooseneck trailers to meet the desires of any customer. Their trailers range in size from 24′ to 55′ giving a variety of choices to their customers. UltraComp Trailers have a unique custom design to give the trailer a sleek and flowing look that separates UltraComp transporters from an ordinary freight trailer. The owners & employees at UltraComp Trailers are focused on the quality of their products and are committed to providing their customers with the best service.(MACH 1 PR)(6-11-2005)
- Tide 2 Go at Pocono: The #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy for Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s paint scheme continues to be Tide to Go. It is promoting Procter and Gamble’s new instant stain remover that helps eliminate fresh food and drink stains. Tide to Go works well on tomato juice, ketchup, BBQ sauce, grape juice and coffee. It is convenient to carry in a briefcase, car, purse and kitchen. It is available in stores now.(PPI Motorsports), the scheme also ran at the Nextel Open and Dover.(6-10-2005)
IMAGE see images of the car on my #32 Team Schemes page.(6-11-2005)
- Waltrip wins the pole at Pocono: #15-Michael Waltrip won the Budweiser Pole for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway with a lap of 169.052mph. It is Waltrip’s first Bud Pole of 2005 and puts him in the 2006 Budweiser Shootout. Can ya believe? It is Waltrip’s first pole in 456 races? since Michigan on June, 21 1991 [he finished 34th] and it is only his 3rd career Bud Pole in 620 races, his other pole also came in 1991..at Dover. #97-Kurt Busch will start 2nd, followed by #25-Brian Vickers, #42-Jamie McMurray and #10-Scott Riggs. Missing the race are #34-P.J. Jones, #27-Kirk Shelmedine, #92-Hermie Sadler and #00-Carl Long. Long was to use a backup car [Dodge instead of Chevy], but the motor wouldn’t fit, so they withdrew. Sadler spun and wacked the turn 3 wall and never took a time. A few drivers smacked the wall on their attempts, which slowed their times: #24-Gordon, #34-Jones, #5-Busch were among those. #48-Jimmie Johnson, the points leader will start 21st and last weeks winner, #16-Greg Biffle, starts 23rd. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the best of the non-top 35 teams to make the race, starting 24th. #4-Mike Wallace was the slowest of the top-35 teams and will start 42nd, via points.
TV: for some reason, qualifying was not shown lon live TV, but will be aired on FX at 5:00pm/et, today [June 11th] at the same time [thanks!] as Busch Series qualifying at Nashville will be shown [live] on Speed Channel. Cup qualifying will also re-air on Speed Channel at 12:00midnight.
For qualifying results, pole progression and starting lineup and links, see my Jayski’s Pocono Grid/Qualifying/Practice speeds Page.(6-11-2005)
- Qualifying Notes – Pocono:
• Michael Waltrip won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pocono 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 53.238 seconds at 169.052 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph, set June 11, 2004.
• This is Waltrip’s third career Bud Pole in 620 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Michigan in June 1991, 457 races ago.
• Waltrip has posted just five top-10 starts in 39 races at Pocono.
• This is Waltrip’s second start better than 18th this season. He started third for the Daytona 500.
• Waltrip became the ninth different Bud Pole winner this season. He is the 17th different Bud Pole winner in the past 18 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002.
• Kurt Busch posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.356 seconds, 168.678 mph – and will join Waltrip on the front row for the Pocono 500. Busch has started from a top-10 starting position in four of his nine races at Pocono. This is his seventh top-10 start this season and his second time to post the second-quickest qualifying lap.
• This is the fifth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005 [five different drivers]. Dodge has six Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Dover.
• Brian Vickers (third) posted his fifth top-10 start this season. He has started sixth or better in all three of his races at Pocono.
• Jamie McMurray (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in his fifth Pocono race. He started seventh in August 2004. It is his second top-10 start this season and his first in timed qualifying. He started ninth last week when qualifying was canceled.
• Scott Riggs (fifth) posted his first start better than 26th in his three Pocono races. It is his fourth top-10 start this season – all top-fives.
• Ryan Newman (17th) failed to post a top-10 start for the first time this season and ended a streak of 20 consecutive top-10 starts. It is just his second start outside the top-15 in his seven races at Pocono.
• Jeff Gordon (31st) posted his worst ever qualifying effort at Pocono and just his fourth start outside the top-20 in his 25 races here.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (34th) has posted just one top-10 start this season: fifth in the Daytona 500. After 14 races in 2004, he had started from the top-10 ten times.
• Four drivers failed to qualify for the Pocono 500: Kirk Shelmerdine, P.J. Jones, Hermie Sadler and Carl Long.
• Only five of the 47 drivers took both laps allocated for their qualifying effort.
• The farthest back that a race winner at Pocono has started was 27th by Terry Labonte in the 1995 Pocono 500 [remeber when Gordon missed the shift].(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-11-2005)
- Ramblings – Pocono:
Michael Waltrip had a really good qualifying month of June in 1991. Just a mere 14 years later, he’s at it again!
Mikey got his 3rd career Bud Pole today at Pocono Raceway, and it came via a speed of 169.052 (53.238 sec). He won two poles waaaaaay back in June of 1991, at Dover and at Michigan in the #30 Bahari Pennzoil Pontiac. He also becomes the 9th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
He’ll lead us to the green for the Pocono 500 will Kurt Busch alongside.
Brian Vickers (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at California in February.
Jamie McMurray (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Martinsville in April of 2004.
Jeremy Mayfield (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in April.
Scott Wimmer (11th) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 14th at Darlington in March of 2004!
Ken Schrader (19th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th at Martinsville in April.
Greg Sacks (41st) makes his first Nextel Cup start of the season on Sunday. We last saw Greg in action at Homestead last November when he started 34th and finished 42nd.
STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 3 Top-10 starts in the last 4 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-11-2005)
- Hermie back at Pocono..then to TV: It didn’t take long for Hermie Sadler long to find a new ride, albeit a temporary one. Four days after resigning from the #66 Ford, Sadler was in the #92 Chevrolet at Pocono filling in for Stanton Barrett, who is running tonight’s Busch race at Nashville Superspeedway. It’s a one-race deal for Sadler. “I had planned on taking a couple weeks off just to regroup and get my thoughts together,” Sadler said. “But they’re in the same boat we’ve been in, working hard every week, trying to make it happen. I was glad to help them out. I came here with the attitude to come have a good time and see what happens.” Sadler won’t be available for fill-in duty next weekend at Michigan, as he will be helping cover the Busch race at Kentucky Speedway for FX.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-11-2005)
News from June 10, 2005
- Sadler to extend contract with RYR/M&M’s UPDATE: there is a scheduled press conference at Pocono Raceway on Friday, June 10th to announce the driver Elliott Sadler will extend his contract with Robert Yates Racing and that M&M’s will also extend it sponsorship contract of the #38 Ford.(PR)
UPDATE: M&M’S Chocolate Candies announced today that it has extended its current contract with Robert Yates Racing (RYR) and driver Elliott Sadler as the primary sponsor on the #38 Ford through the 2008 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. “We are very proud of our involvement with Elliott Sadler and Robert Yates Racing since joining them in 2003,” said William Clements, Director of Sponsorships and Sports Marketing for Masterfoods USA. “It was an easy decision to extend this partnership as a result of our on-track performance and more importantly the relationships we have developed off the track. M&M’S stands for fun and Elliott helps make race day a lot more colorful.”
“We couldn’t be happier with M&M’S decision to stay with our organization through 2008,” said Robert Yates, car owner of the #38 M&M’S Ford Taurus. “The #38 team has been very successful with M&M’S on board and Elliott Sadler behind the wheel. M&M’S has been an excellent partner to Robert Yates Racing. Our companies have many of the same values, both are based on family principles, and it’s exciting that we’re able to continue carrying their colors in the NEXTEL Cup Series.”
The famous candy maker joined the NEXTEL Cup rank in 1997, running its first two seasons under the Skittles colors. The sponsorship transitioned to M&M’S Brand Candies in 1999. The 2005 season marks the ninth season for Masterfoods USA in NASCAR’s premier division and the third with Robert Yates Racing and Sadler.
“I’m very lucky to have one of the best sponsorships in the business. Not because the support they give us on track, but the support they give me and my family and Robert and his family,” said Sadler, who currently sits third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship standings. “It’s unbelievable to have a sponsor that’s not always wondering about things you can do for them but what they can do for you. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be the driver for a company with those practices.”
“As Elliott matures into one of the premiere drivers in NASCAR, the timing of this renewal with M&M’S and the Mars family is perfect,” said Eddie D’Hondt, General Manager for Robert Yates Racing. “I foresee this team continuing to make its mark for many years with the support of one of the best sponsors in the NASCAR garage.”(Elevation Group PR)(6-10-2005)
- Double Duty at Pocono-Nashville: two drivers are planning on running the Nextel Cup race at Pocono and the Busch Series race in Nashville:
#40-Sterling Marlin will be running the Busch Series race at his home track of Nashville Superspeedway. He will be piloting the #40 for FitzBradshaw Racing.(Ganassi PR)
AND This will be #99-Carl Edwards’ first double duty weekend in two separate cities. Edwards will practice and qualify the #99 Stonebridge Insurance Ford in Pocono on Friday and Saturday morning then head to Nashville to race the #60 Charter Ford in the Busch race. Edwards will then return late Saturday night to race the #99 Ford in Sunday’s 500-mile event.(Roush Racing)(6-10-2005)
- Testing at Daytona: Testing in preparation for the 47th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and the fourth annual Winn Dixie 250 presented by Pepsico NASCAR Busch Series race will be held Monday, June 13 and Tuesday, June 14, 9:00am to 5:00pm/et. Drivers scheduled to test: #33-Kerry Earnhardt [both days], #0-Mike Bliss [on Tuesday if recovered from hernia operation] and Busch driver #67-C.W. Smith [Tuesday]. The test sessions are free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.(DIS)
UPDATE: the #33-Earnhardt team canceled.(DIS)(6-10-2005)
- No Toyota car in 2006? The rumors of an earlier than expected entry by Toyota into the Nextel Cup Series appear to be unfounded. There had been speculation that Toyota already had built and tested cars, but no one seems to have seen the car. Most insiders say Toyota, which competes in the Craftsman Truck Series, won’t move up before 2007.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-10-2005)
- TV Ratings from Dover UPDATE: hearing that the TV Ratings for the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway on FX was a 3.9 rating/10 share (6.1 million viewers), up +15% over last year’s 3.4/9.(6-7-2005)
UPDATE: FX says it recorded its highest figure ever for a NASCAR Cup race with a 4.9 Nielsen Media Research rating for Sunday’s MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway. The cable station says the race drew 6.1 million viewers. FX also says its three Nextel Cup events (two points races and the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge) this year averaged a 4.5 rating, up from the 4.0 last year. FX also says its coverage of Busch Series races this year has earned a 1.8 average rating, up 38 percent from the 1.3 last year, and an average of 2 million viewers per race, up from 1.5 million in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-10-2005)
News from June 9, 2005
- Vickers visits camp: On Tuesday, #25-Brian Vickers made the first of four scheduled trips to GMAC’s community outreach program, Team Focus. The weeklong summer camps provide fatherless boys ages 9-18 with leadership skills, guidance, Godly values and a continual relationship with a mentor. Vickers routinely spends time speaking with the youngsters about leadership, answering questions about racing and occasionally catching up with them on the baseball diamond or basketball court. In addition to visiting the Team Focus camp in Mobile, Ala., this week, Vickers will attend sessions in Michigan and Tennessee later this summer.(Brian Vickers site)(6-9-2005)
- Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure may have to close CORRECTION NOT TRUE: Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure Inc. incurred a net loss for the quarter ended March 31 and says its auditors have expressed reservations about the company’s ability to continue operating. The Denver, N.C., company, which operates a stock-car fantasy driving school at several tracks around the country, including one at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, says in its SEC filing it has experienced a significant loss from operations, a result of investments necessary to achieve its operating plan. From the company’s creation in 1998 through March 31, Dale Jarrett Racing has incurred net losses of nearly $4.8 million. The company has a working capital deficit of more than $1 million. The company says failure to secure equity financing, raise additional capital or attain profitable operations may result in the company depleting its available funds and not being able pay its obligations. This month, Dale Jarrett Racing announced it changed from a fiscal year ending June 30 to a calendar year ending Dec. 31 to better coincide with business planning and strategy.(Business Journal – Looks like they took the article off the site)(6-3-2005)
CORRECTION: Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure says “We are not closing, in fact we are expanding our business:” Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure, a company that has provided the thrill of driving a Nextel Cup car around NASCAR tracks nationwide to thousands of customers over the last 5 years, is going strong and growing every year. Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure is a publicly traded company under the symbol DJRT and files financial reports with the SEC every quarter. According to Tim Shannon, President, “Our first quarter, being winter, is traditionally our slowest. This is when the auditor usually is required to add the “going concern” statement which is based on only a few factors and does not accurately reflect the entire dynamic of the company. We have grown by 35% and more every year of the last four and have not had to raise any outside capital in the process and have no plans to do so in the near future. In fact, we are so pleased with our development that we have implemented a strategy to expand our business into other areas where the respected Dale Jarrett brand can bring benefit to companies and shareholders alike.” Readers are encouraged to not only review all Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure filings with the SEC but to visit their website for more information about their unique product which features side by side racing and passing at www.racingadventure.com.(Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure, 888-GO-RACE-1)(6-9-2005)
- New 2006 Sponsor for Ganassi….team? #40? Stremme? Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the signing of Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon to a multi-year sponsorship. The long-term agreement begins with the 2006 NASCAR season. Specific details are to follow at a later date. Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is a restaurant chain that offers full-service casual dining, featuring Texas-style ambiance. There are over 300 locations nationwide.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
AND Though no further details were announced, sources tell the Observer the new sponsor will pair with Coors in sponsoring David Stremme in the #40 Dodges in Nextel Cup next year.(Charlotte Observer/David Poole)(6-9-2005)
- Kenny Wallace wins at Eldora: The $10,000 winner’s paycheck was far from the standard amount that Nextel Cup or the Busch Series award. What’s more, there were no points to be won, either. Yet Kenny Wallace had one of the best times he’s ever had behind the wheel of a race car Wednesday night, winning the inaugural Nextel Prelude to a Dream late model modified stock car race at the Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway. Although the main event was just a 25-lap sprint, the nearly 20,000 fans in attendance saw plenty of action, including a surprise pole-winning performance by 70-something-year-old – he admits to being “somewhere between 75 and 70” – stock car legend Red Farmer, and a surprise appearance and strong fifth-place performance by semi-retired NASCAR great Bill Elliott. Given the success – and the nearly $75,000 raised for Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp (Petty finished 13th out of 14 cars) – Stewart said what started out as an experiment will return for an encore performance next year. The finishing order was Wallace, followed by Stewart and sprint car ace Danny Lasoski. Ken Schrader was fourth, followed by Elliott, Dave Blaney, Bobby Labonte, Farmer, drag racer Ron Capps, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, Petty and Mike Wallace, who was the only driver who failed to finish, suffering a blown motor midway through the race.(Yahoo Sports)(6-9-2005)
- Garvey in the #66? hearing that Mike Garvey, who has made three races in the #75 car, will run in the #66 for a few races.(6-6-2005)
AND II from the Mikegarveyfans.com site: Mike [Garvey] went to the #66 shop to sign the deal for the remainder of the year and get fitted for his seat and uniform after former driver Hermie Sadler resigns. The official announcement coming soon.(6-7-2005)
OFFICAL – Garvey in the #66….six races: Peak Performance Motorsports owner Jeff Stec announced Mike Garvey as the driver of the #66 Ford. Garvey, a winner in the ASA and USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, will take over the driving responsibilities this weekend at Pocono. Jani-King, a long-time sponsor of Garvey, will follow him to the Nextel Cup Series for a six-race sponsorship package. “I don’t think words can explain how I felt when I got the news,” Garvey explained. “I was more shocked than anything. I want to thank Jeff Stec for giving me the opportunity, as well as all of the people I have worked with in the past who have helped me get this far.” Garvey has made three starts in the Nextel Cup Series in 2005. After qualifying for his first race of the season in Atlanta, he took the momentum to the Hooters Pro Cup Series where he notched his first win of the season the following week. Garvey left the ASA in 2004 tied for fifth all-time with Mark Martin with 22 series victories. Last season he posted wins in five of the 14 races in which he competed. Jani-King is the world’s largest commercial cleaning franchisor with over 10,500 franchise owners worldwide.(Mikegarveyfans.com), more info on Jani-King at janiking.com.(6-9-2005)
- Stewart speeds, get ticket, takes lumps: Tony Stewart, 33, first wanted his day in court to answer a May 5 speeding citation in northeast Jackson County [Indiana], but he has since changed his mind about requesting a trial and decided to enter a deferral program. That program will allow the 2001 NASCAR champion to avoid any points on his Indiana driver’s license if he has no further traffic citations in the next year. Stewart’s early morning trip through Jackson County May 5 cost him $141 to pay for his entry into the deferral program. Stewart received a ticket for traveling 80 mph in an area north of Seymour where the speed limit is 55 mph. The ticket was issued by an Indiana State Police Trooper after Stewart was stopped while driving north on U.S. 31 just south of Reddington. Stewart was driving a black 2004 Humvee. On May 17, Stewart pleaded not guilty to the speeding charge and requested a trial date. Jackson Superior Court Judge Frank W. Guthrie had set a trial date of 1:30 p.m. July 26, but that trial won’t happen since Stewart entered the deferral program.(The Tribune-IN)(6-9-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway on June 5, Chastity M. of Fond du Lac, WI was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Chastity picked Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition(NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the sixth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-9-2005)
- Rain Cancels Second Day of Testing at Infineon Raceway: The second day of a two-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test session was canceled on Wednesday at Infineon Raceway because of rain. #36-Boris Said, who has placed sixth the last two years at Infineon Raceway in the Dodge/Save Mart 350, posted the top time on Tuesday over the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course at 1 minute, 16.50 seconds [93.647mph]. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26, for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. #7-Robby Gordon was scheduled for a one-day test on Wednesday, but will return to Infineon Raceway next Tuesday (June 14). Gordon is the only driver scheduled to return to the Sonoma Valley next week. “The rain hurt us today but we’ll come out here next week and get some work in,” said Gordon, winner of the 2003 Dodge/Save Mart 350. “I’ve always performed pretty well here and we can use the work to get ready for the race.” Great tickets are still available for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(6-9-2005)
- What is Andretti doing in Texas? John Andretti will be in the television booth during Friday night’s Chex 400 at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, serving as an analyst for SPEED’s national broadcast of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. “Usually I am sitting behind the steering wheel so I guess this will be a little further away than usual,” said Andretti, “but I am really looking forward to it. I’ve worked some with SPEED on its television programs in the past and I am a regular contributor to WIBC Radio (Indianapolis) but this will be my first shot as a color analyst for a live race broadcast.” He has also worked on FOX Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR show as a regular contributor, and the Brickyard 400 broadcast last year as color analyst for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Andretti, who has two NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race wins, has not driven in the Truck series but follows it closely. “I’d love to try it sometime because it is great racing,” Andretti said. “I love the side-by-side stuff and the close finishes. I can’t think of a racer anywhere who wouldn’t want to try the Truck series.”(Williams Company), no word on Andretti’s plans with ppc Racing and the #14 Cup team.(6-9-2005)
News from June 8, 2005
- Gaughan to relieve Bliss at Pocono: Truck Series driver Brendan Gaughan will share driving duties in the #0 NetZero Best Buy Racing Chevrolet with Mike Bliss, who underwent successful hernia surgery Monday morning, for this weekend’s event at Pocono Raceway. “When it became obvious to us that Mike would need some help this weekend our thoughts immediately went to Brendan,” said Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing. “Brendan, along with Orleans Racing and its sponsor Jasper Engines and Transmissions, have been gracious enough to agree to let us borrow him for the weekend even though he is competing for his fifth win at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night. A big part of what is great about this sport is the willingness of the competitors to jump right in and help each other out in situations like this. Our main focus is to make sure that Mike is healthy for the remainder of the season and whatever we need to do this weekend to make sure that happens is what we will do.” Gaughan will take part in the scheduled practice and qualifying sessions at Texas Motor Speedway before heading to Pocono Raceway Friday. Bliss plans to make several laps during practice for the Pocono 500 Friday afternoon before Gaughan takes over. Bliss is scheduled to qualify the car Saturday and start the race before giving up his seat in the NetZero Best Buy Chevy during the first possible opportunity.(NetZero Best Buy Racing)(6-8-2005)
- New Crew Chief for Riggs? UPDATE: hearing that car chief Rodney Childers will take over the crew chief job at the #10-Scott Riggs Valvoline team, for Doug Randolph.(6-7-2005)
UPDATE: The following personnel promotions at MB2 Motorsports were announced today. Ryan Pemberton has been promoted to team manager and will oversee the #01 Army and #10 Valvoline teams. He will continue as crew chief on the # 01 Chevrolet driven by Joe Nemechek. Doug Randolph, who has been the crew chief on Scott Riggs’ #10 MBV Motorsports entry since 2004, has been promoted to a management position as race coordinator and driver development manager. Rodney Childers, who has been the car chief for the #10 team since the beginning of the 2005 season, has been promoted to crew chief for Riggs’ Valvoline Chevrolet. Frank Stoddard has been promoted to research and development manager and will continue as crew chief on Boris Said’s #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet for MB/Sutton Motorsports. “By making these promotions with our team personnel, we believe the entire organization will be stronger than ever,” said Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of MB2 Motorsports. “We have quality individuals leading the restructured departments and the changes will only enhance our program going forward as a multicar operation with a one team approach.”(MB2 Motorsports PR)(6-8-2005)
- Burton to test at VIR: Following the race in Pocono, Burton and Team Cingular will head to Virginia International Raceway for a test session Monday, June 13th [with Tuesday, June 14 as a rain date] in preparation for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.(RCR)(6-8-2005)
- #675 for Rusty: #2-Rusty Wallace will be making his 675th consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start [684 races total] in Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. In 42 career starts on the triangular-shaped 2.5-mile Pocono track, he has recorded 4 wins, 9 top-5 finishes, 16 top-10 finishes and 3 poles. He ranks third in career laps led on the track with 735.(Tom Roberts PR), unless Rusty comes back in 2006 for the first three races, his consecutive streak will stop at 697.(6-8-2005)
- Kvapil to run ARCA race: Penske Racing South has entered rookie #77-Travis Kvapil in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event on Saturday at Pocono Raceway in an effect to get Kvapil some seat time on the track.(Penske Racing)(6-8-2005)
- Marlin says he is out at Ganassi, expects to finish year: Reports have recently circulated that Sterling Marlin might not drive the final seven races of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing. Marlin, the guest driver on yesterday’s weekly NASCAR Nextel Cup conference call, said he “feels pretty certain they’ll honor the deal,” but added: “Some things are out of your hands.” The veteran driver from Columbia said he is “100 percent sure I won’t be back (with Ganassi) next year,” and said he is currently looking for a new ride. Marlin also announced plans to run Saturday’s Busch race at the Nashville Superspeedway.(Tennessean)
AND When it comes to determining his future in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s a different matter. Marlin actively has several lines in the water trying to land a ride for next season. “I’ve been approached by some teams and I’m talking to some teams,” Marlin said. Marlin said he hasn’t officially received word that he won’t be back for a ninth season with the team that Chip Ganassi bought from Felix Sabates in 2000. But Marlin knows which way the wind is blowing as Ganassi grows dissatisfied with not winning.(High Point Enterprise)(6-8-2005)
- Driver honored: ARCA and part-time NASCAR driver, Bobby Gerhart Jr. was honored yesterday morning by the [Pennsylvania] House of Representatives for his success in the ARCA Series at Daytona International Speedway, where the 46-year-old driver from Lebanon became only the second series driver to win at Daytona three times. Gerhart won there in February. He also won in 1999 and 2002. State Rep. Peter Zug (R-Myerstown) presented Gerhart with a copy of a House resolution. Gerhart was joined by his crew chief and brother, Billy; Drs. Joseph and Rose Mattioli of Pocono Raceway; Don Radebaugh, ARCA media and public relations director; Andy Papathanassiou, director of driver development of Hendrick Motorsports, and several crew members. Also, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll and Rep. John Payne (R-Derry Twp.), motorsports caucus chairman, took part in the ceremony, which could become an annual event on the House floor. He started 28 races in the NASCAR Nextel Cup (formerly Winston Cup) dating back to 1985. His best finish was a 17th at North Wilkesboro Speedway, which is no longer in operation.(Patriot News)(6-8-2005)
- Waltrip and others to run Southwest race at Infineon: #15-Michael Waltrip announced that he will compete in the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200, which will take the green flag on Saturday, June 25th at 4:00pm/et at Infineon Raceway. The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race will span 64 laps around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. The two-time winner of the Daytona 500 (2001, 2003) will be joined by other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars Kyle Busch (MRG Motorsports), Boris Said, Travis Kvapil (Snap-on Tools) and Hermie Sadler. Kvapil will pilot his Snap-on Tools Dodge as the company celebrates its 85th anniversary.(Infineon Raceway)(6-8-2005)
- Mayfield and Kahne to test: #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne are scheduled to test at Carolina Motorsports Park, in Kershaw, S.C., next Thursday, June 16. The teams will use the test to prepare for the June 26 roadcourse race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.(Clear!Blue/Evernham PR)(6-8-2005)
- Said Fastest During First Day of Testing at Infineon Raceway: #36-Boris Said posted the fastest time on Tuesday during the first day of a two-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test session at Infineon Raceway. Said, who has placed sixth the last two years at Infineon Raceway in the Dodge/Save Mart 350, turned the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 16.50 seconds [93.647mph]. Jeff Gordon holds the track qualifying record of 1:15.968 [94.303mph], set in 2004. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26, for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. Said was one of six drivers testing the course on Tuesday. #39-Scott Pruett and #42-Jamie McMurray both posted identical times of 1:16.60 [93.525], while #5-Kyle Busch clocked in at 1:17.25 [92.738]. Pruett, a road-race specialist and native of Sacramento, placed third in last year’s event, while McMurray took second. #33-Brian Simo, a road-race specialist who will compete for Richard Childress Racing in Sonoma, ran a 1:17.49 [92.451]. #87-Chris Cook (NEMCO Motorsports) did not report a time.
Testing resumes on Wednesday with a full day scheduled from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Pacific). #7-Robby Gordon is scheduled to join the group on Wednesday. Gordon, the 2003 Dodge/Save Mart 350 champion, has decided to make this a one-day test.
Great tickets are still available for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(6-8-2005)
- Eight drivers conclude testing at MIS: Eight drivers continued testing Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway, including #17-Matt Kenseth, #8-Dale Earnhardt, #91-Bill Elliott, #07-Dave Blaney, #20-Tony Stewart, #51-Stuart Kirby, Erin Crocker in the #98 Dodge ARCA car and Truck series driver Chad Chaffin in the #30 Germain Toyota with #2-Rusty Wallace making a testing appearance on Monday only. No official speeds were reported on Tuesday.
Tickets are still available for all June 17-19 activities at MIS, with children 12 and under admitted free to Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Hantz Group 200 and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck’s Paramount Health Insurance 200 on Saturday. In addition, tickets are still available for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Batman Begins 400 on Sunday, June 19. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(6-8-2005)
News from June 7, 2005
- Sad News: Larry Carrier, who helped start the race track now known as Bristol Motor Speedway, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 82. A developer, Carrier worked with Carl Moore and R.G. Pope in building the half-mile oval track, which opened in 1961. Carrier bought the track out of bankruptcy in 1985, gave ESPN exclusive rights to broadcast Bristol’s night race for years, and built the seating capacity to 71,000 before selling the track to Bruton Smith in 1996 for $26 million. Bristol now seats 160,000 and hosts two NASCAR Nextel Cup races each year. Carrier and Moore also built the Bristol International Dragway and started their own sanctioning body, the International Hot Rod Association, in 1965. The dragway was part of the sale in 1996. Jeff Byrd, president and general manager of Bristol, called Carrier a leader in the racing industry whose contributions were monumental. “He had the foresight to know that NASCAR was going to be something big and he went out and built one of the greatest facilities of that time in 1961,” Byrd said. “He will certainly be missed by all that were fortunate enough to know him or work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Shirley and the entire Carrier family.” Carrier is a member of both the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Drag Racing Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and four children. Carrier’s funeral was scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Blountville, with burial on Friday.(ESPN.com/AP)(6-7-2005)
- Hermie in the #92: Hermie Sadler, who yesterday, left the #66 Peak Fitness Racing team, is listed on nascar.com’s Pocono 500 entry list as the driver of the #92 Front Row Motorsports Chevy. Stanton Barrett usually drives the #92, but will be in Nashville for the Busch race and is Tony Raines, who also has seen time in that car.(6-7-2005)
- Mike Ford new crew chief at the #11? UPDATE: hearing former #88 RYR and #9 Evernham Motorsports crew chief, Mike Ford, will be hired to take over the crew chief duties of the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy that Jason Leffler drives. Dave Rogers is the current crew chief, not sure if he would stay with Joe Gibbs Racing.(6-6-2005 – 12:00pm/et)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has hired veteran crew chief Mike Ford to oversee the #11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team of driver Jason Leffler effective immediately. Dave Rogers, the #11 team’s former crew chief and a member of Joe Gibbs Racing since 1998, will remain with the organization. “Despite extremely hard work by everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, the performance of the #11 team wasn’t where it needed to be,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “The #11 team is still a new operation, and we believe that adding the experienced leadership of Mike Ford to an already exceptional crew will be invaluable as we shape the #11 into a winning race team. Dave Rogers has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to Joe Gibbs Racing. He was an integral part of our championship seasons with Bobby Labonte in 2000 and Tony Stewart in 2002, and he put together an absolutely first class crew from scratch in his debut as a crew chief. Expanding our organization to three teams has been a massive undertaking, but one that will pay huge dividends in the near future. We believe that adding Mike’s experience to a management structure that includes Jimmy Makar (senior vice president of racing), Greg Zipadelli (crew chief of the #20 team) and Steve Addington (crew chief of the #18 team) will help us to turn the #11 team around.” A member of the motorsports community since the late 1980s, Ford’s first crew chief position came with Bill Elliott in 2000. In four years together the duo logged four wins, including the prestigious Brickyard 400 in 2002. Ford moved to Robert Yates Racing in 2004, where he served as Dale Jarrett’s crew chief through the first 11 races of this season.(JGR PR)(6-7-2005)
- Jones in the #34 at Pocono and MIS: Denver, NC based MACH 1 announced today that PJ Jones will pilot the #34 Chevrolet Monte Carlo beginning this weekend at Pocono. Jeff Fuller, the teams primary driver is also committed to the #7 Busch car, a relationship that was established prior to MACH 1 team owner Chris Edwards tapping Fuller to drive his Cup car earlier this season. The non-companion races were identified as logistical challenges by MACH 1 with Fuller as their driver. The team searched for a driver that could step in and assist on the non-companion weekends. PJ Jones was selected and has agreed to drive for the team this weekend at Pocono and again next weekend in Michigan when the Busch cars will be in Kentucky. PJ competed at both Pocono and Michigan last year finishing 22nd at Pocono and 25th at Michigan.(MACH 1 PR)(6-7-2005)
- Rusty talks a bit about the future: #2-Rusty Wallace is planning on making this year his last as a full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver, however, this might not be the last time we see him in a racecar at Michigan. “I’m retiring full-time from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing,” he commented. “But, I’m not going to say that I’ll never get in a car again. I might run a few races in my Busch car. I have a lot of things I want to do. I want to help my son Steve. He’s going to run in the second ARCA race here at Michigan in August, so I’m excited about that.”(MIS PR)(6-7-2005)
- Special Army theme for Nemechek at Pocono: #01-Joe Nemechek will commemorate the U.S. ARMY’s 230th birthday with a camouflage paint scheme at Pocono in June.(RacingOne), see an image of the car on my #01 Team Schemes page.(6-7-2005)
- Testing at Michigan: Several drivers participated in testing Monday to prepare for the upcoming Father’s Day June 19 Batman Begins 400. Nine drivers took laps on the 2-mile MIS oval Monday, including #2-Rusty Wallace, #17-Matt Kenseth, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #91-Bill Elliott, #07-Dave Blaney, #20-Tony Stewart, Stuart Kirby in the #51 Competitive Edge car and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series driver Chad Chaffin in the #30 Germain Toyota. Erin Crocker also visited MIS to prepare for the Hantz Group 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series event in her #98 Evernham Motorsports Dodge. All nine drivers will be competing in race activities at MIS on June 17-19. No speeds were reported on Monday with most of the teams continuing to test Tuesday during the two-day MIS test session.
Testing continues on Tuesday, June 7 with several drivers returning from Monday’s session. Fans can view testing by visiting the viewing area near the MIS administration building off the main U.S. 12 entrance to the track. The viewing area will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and tickets for all of the June 17-19 events will be available for purchase in the MIS ticket office inside the administration building.
Tickets are still available for all June 17-19 activities at MIS, with children 12 and under admitted free to Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Hantz Group 200 and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck’s Paramount Health Insurance 200 on Saturday. In addition, tickets are still available for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Batman Begins 400 on Sunday, June 19. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(6-7-2005)
- Hermie out? UPDATE 4 Sadler leaves team, Garvey in?: hearing that driver Hermie Sadler and the #66 Peak Fitness Racing team have parted ways effective immediately. No word on who will drive the car at Dover next week. Salder and the #66 team failed to make the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and four other races in 2005 and are out of the top-35 in owners points.
UPDATE: been told by the team that this is untrue and that Hermie Sadler will be driving the #66 Peak Fitness Ford next weekend at Dover and for the balance of the 2005 season. The Peak Fitness Team is dedicated to improving their equipment and performance and feel good about the progress we have made since establishing the team on January 7, 2005.(Peak Fitness Team)(5-27-2005)
UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler denied an Internet report last night that he was exiting the #66 Ford. Car owner Jeff Stec called the Emporia native last night when he learned of the rumor. “There’s no truth to that at all,” said Sadler, who didn’t make tomorrow’s Coca-Cola 600 and is ranked 40th in points. “We’ll be going to Dover next week.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-28-2005)
UPDATE 3: Hermie Sadler, driver of the #66 Peak Fitness Ford in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, and team owner Jeff Stec are committed to making Peak Performance Motorsports a solid venture in NASCAR’s premiere series. Following an erroneous online report regarding his status with the team, Sadler offers the following statement to the public, the media and his fans. “After the rumor of my departure from Peak Performance Motorsports was erroneously reported on several websites last week, I wanted to personally respond to all the media and fans. First of all, I am committed to staying with the Peak Performance Motorsports team for the entire 2005 season and am hopeful that relationship lasts beyond that. While we are disappointed with our performances so far this season, we are working together as a team to improve. Although we have a way to go, we are steadily making progress. It concerns me that a website [Jayski.com] would post a rumor that could be fatal to an up-start team such as ours without consulting with the team owner, public relations representative, or the driver. Not only do we have employees that may be affected, but this can also be detrimental to our hunt for additional sponsorship, which is vital to the growth of our team. Our team has done a great job of working to get better as a team and not pointing fingers at one another. We will continue to do that. Thanks to all the fans that have sent messages of support to the team and me. We look forward to a great run this weekend in Dover.”(PSE-3 PR)(5-31-2005)
UPDATE 4: Hermie Sadler has officially resigned as driver of the #66 Peak Performance Motorsports Ford effective immediately. Sadler has attempted to qualify for all 14 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events this season, successfully making eight races. The #66 currently stands 40th in the owners’ points. Sadler, a veteran racer of 13 years in NASCAR’s top three series, agrees that the split is amicable and is the right decision for all involved parties. “I appreciate the opportunity given to me at Peak Performance Motorsports, but I feel at this time it is best that I step aside and allow the team to search for the combination that will help it improve,” stated Sadler. Team owner Jeff Stec will make announcement of the team’s intentions for the race at Pocono later this week. “We know that Hermie gave us his best effort each week and we appreciate what he has done for the team,” Stec said. “Peak Performance Motorsports has been proud to associate itself with Hermie and we wish him all the best.”(PSE-3 PR)
AND hearing that Mike Garvey, who has made three races in the #75 car, will run in the #66 for a few races.(6-6-2005)
AND II from the Mikegarveyfans.com site: Mike [Garvey] went to the #66 shop to sign the deal for the remainder of the year and get fitted for his seat and uniform after former driver Hermie Sadler resigns. The official announcement coming soon.(6-7-2005)
- Tragic News: A race car driver died of an apparent heart attack during a preliminary heat at a small-town track, the track’s owner said. The car driven by Lyle Sherwood, 43, of Ulysses, Pa., veered off Woodhull Raceway on the backstretch Saturday night and came to rest on the infield. He was rushed to a hospital in nearby Corning, where he was pronounced dead, police said. Track owner Scott Drake said no other cars were caught up in the crash during an annual Firefighter Appreciation Night attended by more than 400 firefighters.(USA Today/AP)(6-7-2005)
News from June 6, 2005
- Richert Wins Fourth Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: Not even Miles the Monster could stop the tag team of Greg Biffle and Doug Richert this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Biffle blistered the intimidating high-banked, concrete oval in his Richert prepared Ford. The #16 Taurus took over the top spot on lap 241 and never looked back. Biffle led 150 of 400 laps before taking the checkered flag. His winning performance earned Richert his fourth Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award in 2005. Most competitors didn’t consider Biffle a threat during the first half of the race, but Richert made several changes over the course of the event to dial in the #16 National Guard Ford. “We made a bunch of changes to loosen up the car,” said Richert. “We did a bunch of wedge, probably six or seven rounds; air pressure; track bar; rubbers in; rubbers out. It was a lot. We changed enough to where it would be good at the end and that’s all that mattered.” On lap 375, Richert had his driver relinquish the lead to make his final green flag pit stop. Despite only 25 laps remaining in the race, and several cars opting for two-tires or fuel only, Richert took the extra time to change all four Goodyears before sending Biffle back on the track. The panel of voters; including Doug Lesmerises of the Wilmington News-Journal, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all gave their vote to Doug Richert. With his fourth Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award, Richert stays in first place of the Crew Chief of the Year standings. Robbie Loomis is in second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(6-6-2005)
- Lewis not happy with Buschwackers: Busch Series regular #25-Ashton Lewis Jr. had some harsh words for the Cup drivers who race semi-regularly in the support series. “Every incident that I’ve had this year, except for one of them, has been with a Cup guy,” said Lewis. “They always say that they’re coming down here to have fun and learn, but it’s not fun and learning for us. It’s us trying to make careers and run for a championship, and I think they take some chances they wouldn’t take in the Cup car and that’s unfortunate.” (Gaston Gazette)(6-6-2005)
- Ganassi Shake-up imminent? Marlin, Mears out? Is a shakeup in the works in the Ganassi Racing camp? Sterling Marlin still hasn’t been officially told what the plans are for the #40 Dodge in 2006, but he says he’s not ready to retire. “I’d like to race another two or three years and then go fishing,” says Marlin, who’ll turn 48 on June 30. Marlin has spoken with several teams and hopes to have a plan solidified in the next two weeks. Busch driver David Stremme is considered the heir apparent in the #40. He could replace Marlin for the last seven races of the season, gaining experience while not jeopardizing his rookie status for next season. Changes are expected involving the #41 team and driver Casey Mears. Sources say owner Chip Ganassi plans to clean the entire house, making way for Busch Series rookie sensation Reed Sorenson and crew chief Brian Pattie. Mears’ crew chief, Jimmy Elledge, has been mentioned as a potential crew chief for Stremme.(Sporting News)(6-6-2005)
- Truex Jr. close to re-signing with DEI UPDATE: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning, DEI’s Richie Gillmore said they are close to signing Martin Truex. Jr. to a 3-year deal [with a 3 year option] and the contracts are in the laywers hands and hope to have something to announce in a few weeks.(6-5-2005)
UPDATE: If Martin Truex Jr. signs a new contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. as a Nextel Cup driver, as DEI officials would like, Bass Pro Shops, a part-time Nextel Cup sponsor for Richard Childress, will become Truex’s primary sponsor next season. DEI has offered Truex Jr. a three-year contract. Childress officials says they expect Bass Pro (privately held, with about $1.6 billion in annual sales) to remain a part-time sponsor for Childress’ operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-6-2005)
- Biffle honors fallen soldier in car; to give trophy to injured: #16-Greg Biffle’s racecar is sponsored by the National Guard, and Biffle had a picture of a young man named Ryan Doltz, a National Guard soldier, who was killed in Iraq exactly one year ago Sunday. It was taped to the roll bar of his racecar. Biffle also said “I’m so excited to win here in Dover (with) all the soldiers I met this weekend. I’m going to give the trophy to a soldier that’s here this weekend. (He) lost his leg in Iraq, and he’s up here from Walter Reed Hospital. He’s around here somewhere. I can’t wait to celebrate with him.”(FoxSports)(6-6-2005)
- NASCAR declines TV option with Fox after 2006 UPDATE: NASCAR declined an option to extend its TV contract with Fox Sports past the 2006 racing season, said Dick Glover, NASCAR’s vice president of broadcasting and new media. Fox, NBC and Turner Sports are in the fifth year of a six-year, $2.4 billion contract to televise NASCAR races. NASCAR had to decide by May 31 whether to pick up its option with Fox through 2008. Glover said the move was made to end all of its television contracts simultaneously. “All it means is we’ve synced up the agreements with our broadcast partners,” Glover said. “We’ve said all along we’d like to renew with all of them. That hasn’t changed.” Glover didn’t disclose the size of the option. “Our contract runs through 2006, and we are continuing discussions with NASCAR about a new deal,” Fox spokesman Dan Bell said. Former ABC Sports Executive Steve Solomon said ABC and ESPN are possible bidders for NASCAR’s rights when the current agreements expire after the 2006 season.(Tennessean)(6-4-2005)
UPDATE: Only half the NASCAR TV renegotiations story with Fox came out last week. NASCAR officials said they had decided not to renew the final two-year option with Fox for 2007 and 2008. But the real story, according to sources, is that Fox has proposed canceling that two-year option in order to sign a new six-year contract with NASCAR, for 2007 through 2112, for a slight bump in money. And Fox executives are reportedly pleased with David Hill’s work last week at Charlotte in his negotiations with NASCAR. Hill is Fox’s sports boss; his duties have also expanded to include running DirecTV, the satellite network. It is unclear what role DirecTV might play, if any, in any new Fox-NASCAR contract. NASCAR officials are very interested in expanding their sport’s international television coverage.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-6-2005)
- More of new 2006 models: Both Chevrolet and Ford have been busy working on their new models for Cup and Busch competition starting next season. Chevrolet will debut the newly-redesigned Monte Carlo at Daytona in February 2006, while Ford will switch from the Taurus (which is no longer being built) to the Ford 500 [other reports have the car being the Fusion] next year.(Yahoo Sports)(6-6-2005)
- No Shifting at Pocono: Changes in NASCAR’s gear rules mean competitors will not be able to shift through the turns this Sunday at Poco#”I disagree with the gear rule,” Jeff Gordon says. “At Pocono, we’ll be way down on RPM, and we won’t be able to shift. It’s like putting a restrictor plate on the cars at New Hampshire. We won’t be able to pass, and that’s not a good thing.” Many competitors feel the lack of horsepower will produce single-file racing.(Sporting News)(6-6-2005)
- What’s Up with Waltrip and the #15? #15-Michael Waltrip’s future with DEI is still up in the air. DEI’s Richie Gilmore said he would like to keep Waltrip and sponsor NAPA, but the ultimate decision is up to team owner Teresa Earnhardt, who could make a move in the next few weeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-6-2005)
- Trouble with Toyota? Honda looking? New Engine plans delayed? UPDATE: There are questions being raised about Toyota’s commitment to a Busch series effort next season, and indications of a possible rift between NASCAR and the Japanese car maker about engine issues related to NASCAR’s proposed engine of the future. NASCAR’s meetings with the sport’s four car makers about specifications for the engine of the future, tentatively designed to roll out in 2007, have been takin place since December. The Toyota engine, according to its rivals, has a technical edge in several respects, and the engine of the future project was in part designed to put all four car makers back on equal technical footing. The NASCAR-Toyota debate comes as word breaks that NASCAR and Honda are reported to be in talks for an engine program of some sort, still undefined, but apparently tied in with NASCAR’s technical institute in Mooresville.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR’s controversial engine of the future suddenly appears all but dead, according to engine builders and car owners, after the latest round of meetings between NASCAR executives and a few Nextel Cup team owners. However, that would lock in the current Toyota and Dodge engine designs as still technically superior to the present Ford and Chevrolet engines. And it would leave Honda – widely expected to make a run into NASCAR racing – with a clean sheet of paper to design its own new NASCAR V-8, which rivals worry would be even better than any engine in the sport right now. NASCAR’s engine of the future was to have debuted at California in February 2007. Now it has been pushed back to 2009 or 2010. Add to that, word that NASCAR is apparently working with Honda on an engine development operation for the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville [NC], and it’s easy to see why the NASCAR garage here has been in such turmoil the past 48 hours. On the engine front, Ford’s Jack Roush says that Toyota has the best engine design in the sport at the moment and Dodge has the second-best. GM officials agree, which is one reason that GM has been promoting NASCAR’s proposed new engine. Ford’s Roush, however, says that such a new engine would be very expensive, though he has reluctantly hired engine designers for the project.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-6-2005)
News from June 5, 2005
- Biffle wins at Dover: #16-Greg Biffle dominated the last half of MBNA Racepoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, leading 150 of the final 160 laps to win his 1st race at Dover, 4th of the 2005 season and 7th in his career. Biffle is the 27th driver to win at Dover. The rest of the top five were #5-Kyle Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #2-Rusty Walllace. Johnson maintains the points lead but Biffle cut it to 46 points going into Pocono next week. #24-Jeff Gordon and #21-Ricky Rudd got wrecked early and ended their day on lap 41. #18-Bobby Labonte lost an engine for his 6th DNF of the season. #20-Tony Stewart finished 15th, a lap down, but had incidents with #24-Gordon [tapped and into the turn 2 wall], #48-Johnson and #10-Scott Riggs [who made a nice save]. There were only 7 caution periods for 33 laps [4 for legit debris, other for accidents] so we only had 11 drivers on the lead lap. Only five drivers led laps with 9 lead changes, Biffle led the most with 150. Biffle smacked the outside frontstretch wall with the rear of the car during a victory donut, no major damage.
For race results, see Jayski’s Dover Race Results/Awards page.(6-5-2005)
- Labbe ill, Francis calling the shots: Slugger Labbe, crew chief for the #19 Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield is at the track, but feeling the effects of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and is resting in his motor home at Dover International Speedway, Team Director [and last years crew chief] Kenny Francis will call the shots today at Dover.(MRN Radio/FX TV Coverage)(6-5-2005)
- DuPont re-ups with the #24 and Gordon: DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports today announced the extension of DuPont’s longstanding sponsorship of the #24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The new pact builds on an association launched 13 years ago with a flashy “rainbow” paint scheme and a 21-year-old rookie driver named Jeff Gordon. Under the new contract, DuPont continues as the primary sponsor for three years, through the 2008 racing season, with the option to extend for an additional two years. Financial terms were not disclosed. The DuPont-Hendrick association began in 1992 with Gordon’s Cup Series debut and his first full season in 1993, when he earned Rookie of the Year honors. The combination has since netted 72 wins and four championships in NASCAR’s premier division.(Yahoo Biz)(6-5-2005)
- Dale Jr. discusses Hmiel: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he won’t turn his back on his friend Shane Hmiel in lieu of NASCAR suspending Hmiel for testing positive for a banned substance. The Bud Chevy driver said “It’s disappointing, but I won’t turn my back on my friend. I’ll help him however he needs to be helped. Just thinking about him this weekend, I know he’s probably down but that’s a tough one…that’s tough you know. It’s a mistake that you hate to see somebody make twice but he could still turn his life around so whatever I can do to help.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(6-5-2005)
- Robby Gordon Wins Baja 500 Overall: Returning to his racing roots, NASCAR Team Owner/Driver Robby Gordon began his double-duty weekend with a stunning overall 4-wheel and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the 37th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race in Ensenada, Mexico. Leaving shortly after finishing the race to return to Dover, Del., to drive in Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race, Gordon charged to the front early in his #83 Red Bull Chevy CK1500 and stayed there, covering the brutally-tough 419-mile course in 9 hours, 10 minutes, 32 seconds, averaging 45.66 miles per hour. Gordon captured the 4-wheel vehicle win with a flawless, flat-free race over a boulder-strewn, silt-grabbing desert course in front of a massive crowd estimated at over 150,000 spread out along the course by Mexican tourism officials. The race featured a near-record 345 starters, from 20 U.S. States, Mexico, Canada and Japan, for round 3 of the six-race 2005 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series. The large field, competing in 24 Pro and 5 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, was the fourth-largest in the storied history of the summer desert classic and the most since the event record was set and then tied in 1976 and 1977. With a 17-hour time limit, the race course will remain open until 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Beating an impressive race-record field of 29 SCORE Trophy-Trucks for his first Tecate SCORE Baja 500 win in the marquee SCORE racing division for 800-horsepower, high-tech, unlimited production trucks, Gordon claimed his third overall 4-Wheel crown in the event and his fourth class win. His previous class wins were in 1988, 1989 and 1990 and his other two overall crowns were the last two years of that string.(Robby Gordon site)(6-5-2005)
- Dover Race News and Notes:
• Greg Biffle won the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, scoring his seventh NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 91st career start.
• This marked the sixth victory for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet also has six and Dodge has one.
• It marked Biffle’s fourth victory in 2005, the most of any driver this season. He also won at California, Texas and Darlington.
• Biffle remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 46 behind of first-place Jimmie Johnson
• Biffle led two times for 150 laps including the final 16
• Biffle scored his first victory in six races at Dover International Speedway. It was second top-10 finish in six races at Dover
• Biffle has scored nine top-10 finishes in 13 races this season, second only to Johnson with 10.
• Biffle scored the fifth victory for car owner Jack Roush at Dover International Speedway. (Mark Martin scored the other four)) This was Roush’s 80th victory as a car owner and sixth in 13 races this season. Notebook Items
• Kyle Busch (second) posted his first top-10 finish in his first race at Dover International Speedway. Busch scored his fourth top-10 finish in 2005. He climbed from 22nd to 19th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Kyle Busch has scored four top-five finishes in his last six races on NASCAR top three series. He won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He finished 25th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Lowe’s. He won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Dover, finished 36th in the NASCAR Busch Series race and finished second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
• Mark Martin (third) posted his 23rd top-10 finish in his 38th race at Dover International Speedway. He scored his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races in 2005. He climbed from 12th to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Jimmie Johnson (fourth) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Dover International Speedway. He scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2005, more than any other driver.
• Rusty Wallace (fifth) scored his 21st top-10 finish in 43 races at Dover International Speedway. Wallace has scored six top-10 finishes in 2005. He climbed from 11th to seventh in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Wallace extended a 26-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August, the longest active streak.
• Six of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Dover.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (22nd) remained 15th in the point standings, 418 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.
• Elliott Sadler led 128 of the 400 laps in today’s race. He had led only 49 laps in the first 12 races this season. This is the most laps that Sadler has led in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race in his career.
• Thirteen drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson.
• Jeff Gordon (39th) posted his fifth DNF in 2005. He now has more DNFs than in all of 2004 when he had four. This is the most DNFs since his 1999 season when he had seven. Gordon dropped from fifth to 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He is now 350 points behind point leader Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-5-2005)
- Rumblings – Dover:
Greg Biffle didn’t take the lead today till lap 241….after that the only trouble he encoutered was when he slapped the wall doing his victory burnout! Greg Biffle dominated the second half of the MBNA RacePoints 400 today at Dover International Speedway and became the first driver to score 4 wins this season. Leading 150 of the final 160 laps (the only time he relinquished the top spot was during the final round of green flag pit stops) he nabbed his 7th career win (he’s tied for 56th on the all-time win list) and the 80th for Roush Racing (their 6th of 2005). The win was worth $282,800 from the over $5.5M in posted awards.
22 cautions last week, today only 7. 21 different leaders last week, today only 5! Funny, the difference is like “night & day”.
Kyle Busch (2nd) tied his career-best finish today. He was also the runner-up at Las Vegas in March.
Mark Martin (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Martinsville in April.
Rusty Wallace (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville in April.
Matt Kenseth (7th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Loudon last September.
Scott Riggs (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Bristol in April.
Travis Kvapil (17th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Bristol in April.
Jason Leffler (20th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Martinsville in April.
Bobby Hamilton Jr (21st) had his best finish since he was 11th at Las Vegas in March.
STREAKIN……Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Brian Vickers (+21), followed by Kyle Busch (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was a lonely Jeff Gordon (-34). It’s all Hendrick Motorsports today in a hollow “Shaft”.
Greg Biffle trimmed 25 markers from Jimmie Johnson’s lead….it’s down to 46 (like that means a whole lot!). With 13 down and 13 to go we’re left with only 13 drivers above the “Stayin’ Alive” line. Something lucky in those numbers?
Mark Martin (12th to 6th) advanced the most spots today, while Jeff Gordon (5th to 11th) fell the most. 3rd to 11th in the point standings are separated by only 119 points.(Stock Car Fans)(6-5-2005)
News from June 4, 2005
- Mayfield signs new contract with Evernham: Jeremy Mayfield will be driving for Evernham Motorsports for the foreseeable future. The 36-year-old driver has signed a multiyear contract with the Dodge team. “Year after year, he has shown that he can be a constant candidate to win races and make the Chase for the Nextel Cup,” Ray Evernham said Saturday at Dover International Speedway. “He has been a great team player for Evernham Motorsports.”(CBS Sportsline/AP)(6-4-2005)
- Dale Jr. and Mikey Talk: from a GM Racing PR – Saturday morning practice quotes at Dover International Speedway, Richie Gilmore, Director of Motorsports if DEI explained the accident between #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #15-Michale Waltrip in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: “(Junior) got into him. That’s how the wreck started. Junior apologized the Michael on Monday. They talked a couple of times during the week and we don’t think we have any problems and it was definitely not intentional.” Did Junior say anything more about why he made the mistake? “Just a mistake. He caught him faster than he thought he was. I think he was excited that.that car hasn’t run in contention to win for while. That was probably the best that car’s been all year.(GM Racing PR)(6-4-2005)
- Some Good Mikey News: The National Motorsports Press Association announced that Michael and Buffy Waltrip had been named first-quarter nominees for the NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award. The Waltrips were honored for Operation Marathon, a fund-raiser that raised more than $1 million for the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman. Michael Waltrip ran in the Las Vegas Marathon in conjunction with the project. Wife Buffy competed in a half marathon on the same weekend.(Gaston Gazette)
AND Victory Junction Gang Camp founders Kyle and Pattie Petty, along with NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and his wife Buffy, dedicated the new Michael Waltrip Operation Marathon Sports Center at the 1 year birthday celebration on May 24th. The $1 million gift was made possible by the Waltrips’ Operation Marathon fundraising initiative, through the Michael and Buffy Waltrip Charitable Fund. The dedication ceremony featured the unveiling of an 18-foot tall caricature statue of Michael Waltrip.(Michael Waltrip site)(6-4-2005)
- Martin says he will run Trucks full-time in 2006, he and Rusty will NOT share a ride: #6-Mark Martin’s final season on the Nextel Cup probably won’t be his last on the NASCAR circuit if Roush Racing obtains a sponsor for him in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I’m excited about 2006 racing a Jack Roush truck in the Truck Series full time,” Martin said Friday at Dover International Speedway. Martin ruled out a return to the Nextel Cup next season, saying he would not be sharing a ride with the retiring Rusty Wallace or any other driver. He prefers to picture himself in somewhat of a development role for Roush, his car owner since 1988. Martin likes the Truck schedule, which would give him an additional 13 weeks off to spend with his family. But he plans to approach the competition with the same desire that has made him one of the great racers of his time.(ESPN.com/AP)(6-4-2005)
- #97 in Smirnoff colors at Dover: #97-Kurt Busch will run the Smirnoff Ice colors this week at Dover, Busch’s #97 Ford Taurus returns to the Sharpie colors for the next three races.(Roush Racing)(6-4-2005)
- Dover cracking down on unlicensed merchandise: As fans gather for this weekend’s MBNA Racepoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, track owner Dover Motorsports Inc. is greeting vendors with a new twist on the old “buyer beware” adage – seller beware. Dover Motorsports officials were granted a Delaware Court of Chancery order allowing them to seize any track-related merchandise, counterfeit or otherwise, sold without their approval during race week, which began Monday. The order allows the seizure of counterfeit and noncounterfeit goods, including hats, tickets and T-shirts, sold without authorization on track property through June 8. It also allows the seizure of counterfeit goods offered for sale within three miles of the track, which covers pretty much the entire town, and on or within one mile of “park and ride” lots or other parking areas associated with the race. Anyone whose property is seized will get a copy of the court order, and the confiscated property will be held and inventoried pending a June 13 hearing for anyone wanting to argue that their merchandise was wrongly seized and should be returned. “We’ve been doing that for years,” said Denis McGlynn, president and chief executive of Dover Motorsports. “You never know what’s going to happen on race weekend.” Last month, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, cooperating with NASCAR officials on “Project Raceday,” seized more than 7,100 counterfeit items valued at $160,000 at Talladega Super Speedway in Alabama. In a related move, NASCAR introduced an official hologram seal in January to verify the authenticity of officially licensed NASCAR merchandise. Filing a similar complaint last week in Delaware Chancery Court against “John Doe and other persons unknown” Dover Motorsports obtained an injunction allowing local and state police, as well track security personnel, to seize goods during race week. The order is designed to protect a host of DMI trademarks, which range from “Monster Mile” and its related “Concrete Monster” design to “Dover Motorsports,” “Dover Downs” and even “Dover” itself.(Delaware State News/AP)(6-4-2005)
- McNabb to visit Dover: Philadelpha Eagles [Jayski’s team] quarterback Donovan McNabb is scheduled to make his first visit to Dover International Speedway today. McNabb will arrive with young drivers from the Urban Youth Racing League, which is based in Philadelphia. McNabb won’t mingle with fans, but he is supposed to be part of a photo shoot featuring the Racing League and Nextel Cup star Jeff Gordon.(Delaware News Journal)(6-4-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 29, Merle M. of Newville, PA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Gary picked Newman as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.comand entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the fifth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-4-2005)
News from June 3, 2005
- 2005 Purses a bit ‘stagnant’? a chart that shows 11 of the 13 race purses for 2005 in the Nextel Cup races so far, didn’t include Phoenix [first spring race there vs. Rockingham] or Darlington [1 500 mile race vs 400 mile spring race]. The Daytona 500 was up quite 10%, otherwise, not much of an increase over 2004…so far. See the full chart I compiled on my MISC Stats page.(6-3-2005)
- #14 Closing down? AND: hearing that ppc Racing is closing down it’s Nextel Cup team and will not run the #14 team again in 2005. John Andretti was slated to run 5-7 more races in 2005.(6-1-2005)
AND John Andretti was in the Nextel Cup garage at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last week, but there was no sign of the #14 Ford he had driven earlier this season. Many wonder if his team will return to the circuit on a limited basis, as had been reported earlier.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-3-2005)
- INC to be cut back to 60 minutes? UPDATE 2: hearing that Speed Channel is considering moving the Inside Nextel Cup show, currently at 90 minutes, back to the one-hour format later this summer.(5-10-2005)
UPDATE : from a Speed Channel interview with new VP of Studio Production Chris Long
SPEED: Let’s talk about some of the other studio shows – any changes coming for Inside NEXTEL Cup?
LONG: I want that show to be all about letting the viewer feel what it was like to have been in that week’s race — like a driver or crew chief is sitting right there with them explaining all of the decisions made during the heat of battle. INC will return to the 60-minute format, we will utilize our access to in-car communication much more and I think it is fair to say you will see some talent adjustments there as well. See full article/interview at Speed Channel site: New Speed Channel VP of Studio Production Wastes No Time Getting to Work.(5-13-2005)
UPDATE 2: hearing the new talent adjustments includes replacing part of the ‘expert panel’: Johnny Benson and Michael Waltrip leaving and two younger drivers taking their places. The show will change back to 60 minutes on June 27th.(6-3-2005)
- Monster Action Figure: Dover International Speedway has created a new movable action figure that will be available all weekend at the track. It is an 8-inch tall action figure nicknamed “Miles the Monster” that can hold a 1:64 scale car in its hand. The $10 toy will be available at www.doverspeedway.com following race weekend.[Actually it is already on the site](Delaware News Journal)(6-3-2005)
- Help for Blind Race Fans: Braille International Inc.[Bll] is a non-profit foundation that relies on donations from caring individuals. Among the many printed items that BII converts into braille, there’s one item that they convert that is of particular interest to blind persons involved with NASCAR Racing. These items are brailled NASCAR Race Schedules for the blind. More info on this at Stock Car Gazette.(6-3-2005)
- Final TV Ratings for the Coca Cola 600: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a 6.1 rating and a 13 share, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 22.0% higher than last year’s 5.0, and the Daily says 10.2 million people watched this year’s race, up 22.9% from the 8.3 million last year. For the first time since 2001, however, the NASCAR race earned a lower rating than ABC’s broadcast of the Indy 500, which drew a 6.5/18.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-3-2005)
- Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Voting At Record Pace: A record 1.75 million votes have been cast for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award so far this season, and the 3.3 million-vote record set last season seems to be in serious jeopardy. By going to www.mostpopulardriver.com, NASCAR fans have cast over 1,750,000 votes, some of those surprising and some exactly what was expected. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the award the past two seasons, leads the voting this year as well, certainly no surprise. #24-Jeff Gordon is second, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #29-Kevin Harvick and #2-Rusty Wallace. Rounding out the top 10 are #20-Tony Stewart, #15-Michael Waltrip, #88-Dale Jarrett, #6-Mark Martin and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, the only fan-based award in motorsports, began Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59am/ct, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site.(Williams Company)(6-3-2005)
- Newman wants set Medical Crew in NASCAR: #12-Ryan Newman yesterday told the American College of Sports Medicine that NASCAR does an “overall excellent” job when it comes to driver safety but took the association to task in one area. Newman said NASCAR is remiss in not appointing a permanent safety and medical crew to travel the circuit, work crashes and provide medical attention for injured drivers. “It’s a no-brainer, and I’m 100 percent in favor of it,” said Newman, who addressed a seminar which was part of the ACSM’s three-day meeting at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center [Nashville, TN]. “It’s simple. If you had to travel across the U.S. every year and had to see different doctors each place you went, would that be as good as having a doctor traveling with you who knows your medical history?” NASCAR currently permits each track to provide its own safety and medical personnel on a race-by-race basis. NASCAR, represented at yesterday’s meeting by Gary Nelson, vice president of research and development, has said it will consider implementing a permanent traveling safety and medical crew.(Tennessean)(6-3-2005)
- Newman signs seat: #12-Ryan Newman became the third driver to sign a seat in the DuPont Monster Bridge Friday morning [Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin did last year]. “I figured when they put the seats up here they did it for money and that’s when they said Jeff (Gordon) signed the deal. I knew he hadn’ won a race here (since bridge was built). I think it’s a cool deal to sign the seat. Everybody doesn’t get an opportunity to do that. To win here last fall was awesome. We led 325 laps of the 400 and had a real fun day. It was definitely a lot more fun than the June race for us. We’ll have to see (if they need to add more No. 12 seats). If they had built the bridge a couple of years ago they would have. We’ll have to see if we can keep doing what we have been doing here.”(Clear!Blue PR)(6-3-2005)
- Burton to run GoPhone again on the #31: #31-Jeff Burton’s Cingular Wireless Chevrolet will again carry the special paint scheme to promote Cingular Wireless’ new GoPhone, a prepaid or pay-as-you-go wireless service providing consumers with the ultimate level of freedom, control and choice of their wireless products and plans. With no annual contract or credit check, GoPhone is the perfect plan for the quick and painless wireless pit stop while still providing consumers with all of the latest products and services that have helped Cingular become the largest wireless carrier in the country.(RCR), see image of the car on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-3-2005)
- Contreras looking at Cup and Busch Opportunities: Carlos Contreras, NASCAR’s first Hispanic driver and only one to complete a full season in one of NASCAR’s major series, is working to schedule additional races this year. In addition to his individual efforts, Contreras has been approached about both the Busch and Cup races at the Glen, as well as the Cup race at Sonoma, but as of yet has not committed. Contreras says, “I need to be in a competitive ride so I can show everyone that I can compete at this level, and not just run for running’s sake. That’s been done.” Contreras ran amongst the leaders all day in Mexico City, steady in the top 5. He also ran 3 full seasons in the Truck series (2000, 2001, 2002), finishing in the top 20 each season and 2nd in Rookie of the year to Kurt Busch (2000).(VMG PR)(6-3-2005)
- Dallenbach Brothers Return to Pike Peak: The Dallenbachs have not only one entry in this year Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb with returning Open Wheel champion, Paul Dallenbach, but adds NASCAR racing’s [NBC/TNT] Wally Dallenbach, Jr. to make it a family affair. This will be the 10th entry of a Dallenbach to the PPIHC with the first being in 1983. That is one of the reasons why Wally Dallenbach, Sr. chose this venue to receive his induction into the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame last year. An annual event since 1916, the June 25th, 2005 date of the PPIHC marks the 83rd running of event. The race is a dangerous sprint of 12.4 miles, a test of intelligence and awareness that begins at 9,200 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak the birthplace of America the Beautiful. The Dallenbachs’ appearance together this year at the PPIHC is made possible through their sponsor, Air Synergy Labs, Inc, (ASL) manufacturers of the Vortex Valve. ASL is dedicated to making more horsepower with less fuel. Both #98 driven by Paul and #17 driven by Wally Jr. will be sporting Air Synergy Labs colors and equipped with the Vortex Valve.(realtime-marketing PR)(6-3-2005)
- WIX to Partner with Evernham Motorsports: WIX Filters has signed on as an associate sponsor of Evernham Motorsports’ #91 NEXTEL Cup Series and #79 Busch Series race teams for four races in 2005. WIX’s associate sponsorship will be in effect during the four races in which the #91 and #79 cars display the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper paint scheme. Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper,units of Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc. (the Alliance), are longtime WIX Filters customers. The Alliance has contracted with Evernham Motorsports to provide primary sponsorship of the #91 car during two NEXTEL Cup Series races and the #79 car for two Busch Series races. The Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper paint scheme will be on the #91 Dodge Charger driven by NASCAR legend Bill Elliott in the NEXTEL Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21 and at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 6. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper also will sponsor the #79 Dodge Charger during two Busch Series races. Kasey Kahne, last year’s NEXTEL Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, will drive the #79 car at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 16. Jeremy Mayfield, a contender in the inaugural Chase for the NEXTEL Cup Championship, will drive the #79 car on Oct. 14 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. As part of the sponsorship agreement with WIX, the #1 Filter in NASCAR, the #91 and #79 Evernham race teams will display the WIX Filters logo decal in a highly visible location just in front of the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper cars’ rear tires. For more information about Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper visit www.800autotalk.com. WIX Filters’ Internet address is www.wixfilters.com.(WIX Filters PR)(6-3-2005)
- RCR Earnhardt Life Insurance News: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt acknowledged on a life insurance application shortly before his death that he once had a dizzy spell during a race – apparently a 1997 event in South Carolina in which he crashed. The disclosure was contained in 41 previously sealed exhibits in a lawsuit against insurer United of Omaha, which refused to pay millions of dollars to Earnhardt’s widow after he died in a crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001. United of Omaha claims the policy was never valid for Earnhardt because he had not taken a required physical. The exhibits were made public Thursday after several news organizations, including The Associated Press and The Charlotte Observer, went to court and asked for them. Testimony in the case continued Thursday. In the insurance application, submitted a month before the fatal crash, Earnhardt admitted in a handwritten note that he experienced “dizziness in race in Darlington” about three years earlier. Earnhardt crashed in the first turn of the 1997 Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., after blacking out twice at the wheel. The note indicated that no cause was found for the dizziness and that Earnhardt returned to racing immediately and experienced no further symptoms. Richard Childress Racing, Earnhardt’s employer, took out the $3.7 million policy with United of Omaha and is pursuing the matter on the family’s behalf. Another insurer has already paid a $3.5 million claim.(ESPN.com/AP)(6-3-2005)
News from June 2, 2005
- Top-10 results of the fan vote for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge: 1) Martin Truex Jr. (competed in the All-Star Race)
2) Jamie McMurray
3) Jason Leffler
4) Ken Schrader
5) Ricky Rudd
6) Kyle Petty
7) Jeff Burton
8) Kenny Wallace
9) Dave Blaney
10) Kyle Busch
No totals and just the top 10.(6-2-2005)
- Robby racing in Mexico on Sat. Truex to practice the #7: #7-Robby Gordon will return to his racing roots to compete in his #83 Red Bull Chevy CK1500 Trophy-Truck in the SCORE Baja 500 on Saturday. The Three-time SCORE class point champion will once again pull double-duty, qualifying for the NEXTEL Cup event in Dover on Friday, flying to Ensenada, Mexico and racing the Baja 500 on Saturday and returning to Dover for the NEXTEL Cup event on Sunday For the first time in several years, the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 will be televised nationally on a delayed basis. With multiple showings, The Outdoor Life Network (OLN) will air the race as a one-hour primetime special. Aura 360, the Maine production and marketing company that has this year’s SCORE television rights, will produce the show. While Gordon is competing in the Baja 500 on Saturday, Martin Truex Jr. will help out Robby Gordon Motorsports by practicing the car in race-setup.(Robby Gordon Motorsports)(6-2-2005)
- Tragic News: Two people were killed Thursday in a crash at California Speedway in Fontana. A private car club was renting the speedway at the time of the crash. A Porsche Carrera GT crashed into a retaining wall and came to rest on the track’s infield. Authorities said two people were in the vehicle at the time of the crash. One person was pronounced dead at the scene. The second person in the car was transported by Mercy Air to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. That person later died. The track is home to the California 500, Nextel Cup 500, the Toyota Indy 400 and other motorsport events. The 2-mile D-shaped oval surrounds an infield portion used for road courses and a 13-turn interior test circuit. Private parties can rent the track to turn laps.(NBC4.tv)(6-2-2005)
- New racing movie records history of diversity in auto racing: “Black Wheels,” a one-hour film exploring African-Americans in racing from as far back as 80 years ago, such as the black crew chief who was forced to pose as a janitor while helping a white driver win the 1934 Indy 500. At Dover International Speedway this weekend, Bill Lester will be the only African-American behind the wheel for any of the three major races, driving in Friday’s MBNA Racepoints 200 in the Craftsman Truck Series. But NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, in its second year, is putting young minority drivers in position to develop in lower racing series. One of them is Joe Henderson III, a 19-year-old racing in NASCAR’s Dodge Weekly Racing Series. His father, Joe, is a first-hand witness to the progress made in a generation, watching his son race throughout the Southeast after his own racing aspirations were dashed decades ago by tracks that didn’t welcome him. Henderson III said his racing sparked interest in his friends, who otherwise “don’t see racing as a sport for black people, just because they don’t see anybody out there like them.” That’s where the history comes in, with the knowledge that even though there aren’t many African-American racers right now, they have been a few in the past. l In 1924, the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes was created as an alternative for black drivers barred from the Indy 500. The race was part of the Colored Speedway Association, the racing version of the Negro Leagues. Charlie Wiggins, dubbed the Negro Speed King, won the Gold and Glory many times before it was disbanded in 1936. In 1934, he operated as the crew chief, in disguise, for the Indy 500 winner. He died in 1979. Joie Ray was the first African-American racer to be licensed by the American Automobile Association and was the first black driver to run in a NASCAR race, in 1952. Wendell Scott became the only African-American to win a NASCAR race, in 1963, and four times finished in the top 10 in the points standings despite running as an independent, without factory sponsorship. Scott’s life was chronicled in the 1977 film “Greased Lightning,” starring Richard Pryor. Recent history centers around the recently retired Willy T. Ribbs, and Lester, who continues the fight for monetary backing. Greg Calhoun, the co-founder of the Drive for Diversity Program, hopes “Black Wheels,” brings African-American corporations and millionaires to NASCAR, not because they want to make money, but because they want to aid black racers. Rapper Nelly pulled a short-lived sponsorship a few years ago [#15 Truck].(See full story and quotes at the Delaware News Journal)(6-2-2005)
- New Chassis on the way for DEI: While some teams use chassis built in-house to incorporate details that make them more suitable to their driver’s styles, DEI is taking a chassis it bought from a manufacturer and modifying it in an attempt to develop a feel that works best for Earnhardt Jr., Waltrip and Martin Truex Jr. The chassis has been tested at Kentucky Speedway, but DEI has yet to try it in a race just yet. Truex almost drove the chassis at Charlotte, but went with a more proven car. Earnhardt thinks it will make a big difference once the refined car becomes part of his arsenal.(ESPN.com)(6-2-2005)
- Foundation pays fitting tribute to John Hendrick’s memory: The Make-A-Wish Foundation presented Cathy Hendrick with a Chris Greicius Lifetime Giving Award in John Hendrick’s name. Hendrick was killed, along with their twin daughers, in the crash of a Hendrick Motorsports team plane on Oct. 24. John Hendrick was nominated for the award late last summer, and in late September Selena Rogers, the president of the foundation’s central and Western North Carolina chapter learned it had been awarded. About a week later, before the family ever knew about the honor, John was one of 10 people who died when a team plane crashed into a mountainside on the way to a race at Martinsville, Va. Rogers said she waited several months before telling Cathy Hendrick about the award, waiting for the right time. A few weeks ago, Rogers sent word to the family about the award and planning for Wednesday’s luncheon began. When the time came for Cathy Hendrick to accept the award, she took her brother-in-law, Rick Hendrick, to the podium and let him do the talking. The Chris Greicius Award is named for the first child who inspired the Make-A-Wish program. Greicuis wanted to be a state trooper, so just before he died in 1985 some people made that happen for him for one day. After he was gone, they decided there must be other children with other wishes that could be granted. Cathy Hendrick said she tried to figure out what John would have done in accepting the award. “He never would have come here to get this without having something to give back,” she said. So after accepting the award, Cathy and Rick handed the Make-A-Wish folks a check for $100,000.(see full column and quotes at ThatsRacin.com)(6-2-2005)
- Busch attempting the triple at Dover: Kyle Busch will enter all three NASCAR events at Dover, Del. Hendrick Motorsports will field his customary #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet in the NEXTEL Cup Series on Sunday, along with a #57 Shop Vac Chevy in Saturday’s Busch Series event. The Las Vegas native will also race Billy Ballew’s #15 Chevy Silverado in Friday’s Craftsman Truck Series 200-lapper.(Hendrick Motorsports)(6-2-2005)
- Rusty to name Dover car “Melvin”: If #2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace has his way, the car now known simply as PRS-054 will carry a special moniker after the running of Sunday’s MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway. “We’ve been thinking about it since Melvin passed away a couple of months back and we think there’s no better tribute we can pay to such a wonderful guy than to win the race and name our car after him,” Wallace said of Melvin Joseph, a board member and Vice President and Director of Auto Racing at Dover International Speedway, who died suddenly on April 6. “I was very fortunate to really get to know Melvin well during the last 10 years and would love to honor him this way.” The 83-year-old Joseph had been active in the NASCAR community for some 50 years, first as a car owner and then in his involvement with the one-mile high-banked Dover, Del., racing facility. He is credited with being a leader in the design and construction of the track that held its first NASCAR race in 1969.(Tom Roberts PR)(6-2-2005)
- Tweeden to join NASCAR Nation: SPEED Channel announced that Fox Sports Net personality Leeann Tweeden will join the cast of NASCAR Nation, serving as one of three new studio hosts beginning June 27 at 7:00pm/et/pt. Leeann is the perfect person to bridge the worlds of NASCAR and entertainment,” said Chris Long, SPEED Channel VP of Studio Production. “NASCAR Nation is designed to explore the sport as a growing segment of pop culture, and Leeann is equally comfortable at the race track and the red carpet.” Tweeden, who also will continue her position as the “Best Damn Insider” on FSN’s Best Damn Sports Show Period, began her career in front of the camera as a model, moving to the small screen with hosting and correspondence duties on such shows as Fox Sports Net’s 54321, Bluetorch and High Octane, FX’s Toughman, ESPN’s Fitness Beach and E!’ Entertainment’s Wild On.(Speed Channel)(6-2-2005)
News from June 1, 2005
- Skinner back in the #23 at Dover: Bill Davis Racing confirmed Sunday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that Skinner and Scott Wimmer will team up at least two more times this year to compete in the upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races at Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway this month. Skinner most recently raced in the Coca-Cola 600 at LMS this past weekend, but fell out of competition early due to engine problems (started 22nd, finished 41st). He also piloted the #23 BDR Dodge last month at Talladega Superspeedway, where he was taken out of contention in the 25-car pileup on lap 132 of the 194-lap event (started 34th, finished 42nd). In February, he had an impressive performance in the #23 during the two weeks of Speedweeks competition, qualifying 13th during the time trials and finishing third—neck-and-neck with the Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars—in the first Gatorade 150 Duel, which lined him up seventh to start the 47th running of the Daytona 500. With barely 13 laps left to run in the 500, Skinner was collected in the ninth and final caution of the race, relegating him from a top-10 run to a 30th-place finish.
Skinner’s upcoming Nextel Cup Series entries are part of The History Channel’s launch of its inventive new series—“AutoManiac.” Hosted by pro wrestling and feature film star Bill Goldberg, AutoManiac episodes will focus on unique vehicles that have made a mark in history in the last century, including gangster cars, muscle cars, extreme bikes and more. The AutoManiac series premieres on The History Channel tonight (June 1) at 10:00pm/et. The #23 History Channel AutoManiac Dodge made its Nextel Cup debut this past weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and will run this weekend in the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, as well as later this month in the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 19. To learn more about AutoManiac, go to www.historychannel.com.(Bill Davis Racing)(6-1-2005)
- New crew chief for the #37: Glenn Darrow has replaced Billy Poindexter as crew chief for R&J Racing’s #37 Dodge driven by Kevin Lepage in the Nextel Cup Series. Poindexter, who joined the team during the 2004 season, was released after Lepage failed to qualify at Richmond last month. Darrow, who previously worked as a mechanic for the team helped lead Lepage to a 12th-place finish in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-1-2005)
- NASCAR HOF Bid are IN – 5 cities going for it: Proposals to fund and construct a new NASCAR Hall of Fame were received Tuesday by NASCAR from five cities – Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., Daytona Beach, Fla., Kansas City, Kans., and Richmond, Va. Over the next 60 days, these proposals will be reviewed by NASCAR, with site visits scheduled for later this summer. NASCAR says it would like to have a final decision by the end of the year on where to build the sport’s first official Hall of Fame.
“NASCAR is honored to receive proposals from these five cities that all play an important role in hosting NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events each year,” said Mark Dyer, NASCAR Vice President of Licensing. “These five cities are all winners and are to be congratulated for their diligence and dedication to the Hall of Fame project. We now will get to work and study each of these proposals carefully and completely. Later this summer, we will schedule site visits to each of the five cities. We are excited about the prospect of partnering with one of these cities to produce a world-class facility that will enshrine the legends of NASCAR and give our millions of loyal fans a touchstone of the sport they love.”\
NASCAR has enlisted the services of OnSport as a consultant during the evaluation process. OnSport previously worked on the development of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame projects. NASCAR announced last January its plan to develop a new Hall of Fame. Request for proposals were then sent to groups in Atlanta, Birmingham/Talladega, Ala., Charlotte. Daytona Beach, Kansas City, Richmond, and the state of Michigan. Since that time, Birmingham/Talladega and the state of Michigan opted not to participate in the proposal process.(NASCAR PR)(6-1-2005)
- Rondeau comments….contract issue? no sharing? MORE: Pete Rondeau said he signed a three-year contract when he agreed to be #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief before the Nextel Cup season that never was signed by owner Teresa Earnhardt. In the contract, according to Rondeau, there was a clause that stated he was to be given six weeks notice if performance was in question. “I just show up on Monday, and I’m out of a job,” he said on Saturday. Richie Gilmore, the director of motorsports for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, declined to comment on the contract or the clause. Rondeau, who was replaced on an interim basis by Steve Hmiel, said that wasn’t the only promise the company failed to keep. He said Earnhardt’s former team, which is now with #15-Michael Waltrip, never shared information. “There was probably a little bit of a sore spot between the old eight team and us,” said Rondeau, who was Waltrip’s crew chief last season. “Tony Eury Sr. (Earnhardt’s former crew chief), was supposed to be working amongst the two teams. I probably saw him once at Daytona and never saw him again after that. When you’re a single-car team in a multi-car organization, that’s not going to work.” Rondeau said he wasn’t aware of the communication problem Gilmore and Earnhardt cited as the reason for his dismissal. He reminded that the team was 11th in points and had five top-10s after a slow start. “What he got during the race was what he asked for,” said Rondeau, who does not plan to bring legal action against DEI. “During the first two races I was giving too much, but he didn’t want to know the changes (to the car). He just wanted to be the driver and let me be the crew chief, so I backed off. The latest thing I heard was he wasn’t getting enough. I’m not sure he knew what he wanted. Maybe he just wanted somebody to argue with on the radio, and I wasn’t interested.” Rondeau said Gilmore offered him a part-time job as the car chief for the #1 car the remainder of the season. Rondeau is supposed to make a decision by Monday, but because the car is scheduled for only four more races, he is leaning toward not accepting. Rondeau said he has talked to several other teams about a crew-chief job.(The State)(5-29-2005)
UPDATE: Former Budweiser Chevrolet crewchief Pete Rondeau told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) host Dave Moody that he is baffled by his release from the team, saying he gave Dale Earnhardt, Jr., exactly what he asked for. “At the beginning, he said he wanted me to be the crewchief, and let him be the driver. I tried giving him information over the radio on race day, but he told me I was talking too much. I stopped giving him that information, and not long after, I was shown the door. Now they say I wasn’t communicating. I’m not sure they even know what they want.” Rondeau confirmed that a clause in his contract required him to be given six weeks notice in the event of any performance-related issues, but that Theresa Earnhardt never signed the contract. “I asked about it a couple of weeks into the season, and was told that `It fell through the cracks.’ I signed the contract, but I never got it back. Looking at the way things turned out, I guess I understand why.”
Rondeau said communication with Earnhardt was frequently a bone of contention, citing an incident at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this season. “We had some issues at Talladega, and some things got said that I wasn’t happy with. I told Junior that I wanted to talk with him about it after the race was over, but it never happened.” He also repeated his assertion that he spoke only once with DEI Director of Competition Tony Eury, Sr., with that conversation coming at Daytona in February. “I voiced my concerns about the lack of information being exchanged between the teams, but I ran into a stone wall. It became pretty clear to me that that’s the way it was going to be, and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I don’t know if those people were all in denial or what, but it’s interesting that last weekend at Charlotte, all three teams were int he trailer talking after every practice. Maybe it took me losing my job for them to figure that out.” Rondeau said he knew he was in for an uphill climb when he took the job, saying, “I wasn’t sure the `team swap’ deal was going to work from the start. There is a lot of competition between the teams, and the personalities of the two groups is completely different. I was afraid it was going to become an issue, and it did.” He said he would like to remain in a crewchief’s position, but does not consider the carchief’s job on the DEI #1 Chevy to be a viable option. “I’m out there talking to anyone who wants to listen,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(6-1-2005)
- Coca-Cola TV Ratings…and Indy 500: The holiday weekend continued to make for less-than-scintillating TV ratings Sunday, as FOX walked away with a win thanks to its NASCAR coverageof the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. FOX averaged a 6.0 rating/12 share for the night (although, since its race telecast aired live, those numbers will change some in the final nationals) to beat second-place CBS’ 5.6/11. ABC was third at 4.2/8, edging out NBC, 4.0/8. The WB barely registered with a 0.9/2. Coverage of the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 put FOX on the pole at 7 p.m. with a 6.0/13. FOX held its lead at 8 p.m., even though its rating dipped slightly to 5.7/11. The NASCAR race closed with a 6.3/12 at 9 p.m.(Zap2It.com)
AND The NASCAR race drew a 4.8 rating and 10 share.(Indianapolis Star)
Indy 500: ABC’s Indianapolis 500 broadcast on Sunday drew a 6.6 overnight rating and a 17 share, up 40% from last year and the highest since 1997. Danica Patrick, who became the first woman to hold the lead at the Indy 500, led several of the final laps before settling for fourth. The ratings during the last 15 minutes of the race spiked to 8.8/21. Last year’s race, won by Patrick’s Rahal-Letterman teammate Buddy Rice, drew a 4.7/11. Arie Luyendyk’s victory in the 1997 race, which finished on a Tuesday because of rain, drew a 7.6/19. Each overnight rating point represents about 735,000 TV homes.(Philadelphia Daily News)
Coca-Cola 600: hearing the race pulled in a 5.1/10 overnight for Fox’s coverage of the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, that’s up +13% over last year’s 4.5/9.(5-31-2005)
AND more: Overnight ratings for Fox’s broadcast of Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway were up more than reported yesterday. The actual Nielsen Media Research overnight rating was a 5.1, with a 10 market share, a 13.3% increase from the 4.5 overnight figure in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-1-2005)
- More on RCR insurance lawsuit: The public will be allowed to review an edited version of Dale Earnhardt’s contract introduced as evidence in a lawsuit against an insurance company that denied a $3.7 million claim in his death, a judge ruled Tuesday. But Superior Court Judge Kimberly Taylor, who has so far denied public access to evidence introduced to the jury in open court, ruled that attorneys for both Richard Childress Racing and insurer United of Omaha can argue that other exhibits admitted into evidence remain sealed. RCR has accused United of Omaha of cheating widow Teresa Earnhardt out of the payment after Earnhardt died in a crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. The racing team took out the policy and is pursuing the matter on the family’s behalf. The company claims the policy was never valid for Earnhardt because he had not taken a required physical.(CNNSI/AP)(6-1-2005)