June 2007 News Archives
News from June 30, 2007
- Monster Energy Dale Jr’s sponsor in 2008? NASCAR Nation is on pins and needles waiting to hear who will sponsor the ride [at Hendrick Motorsports] of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008. The deal could fetch $28 million, vs. roughly $15 million this year, fueling a growing consensus that Budweiser will bow out of its eight-year relationship with Earnhardt at season’s end. Chatter from both NASCAR and Wall Street is making an Anheuser buyout of Hansen Natural, the Corona, Calif., maker of the popular energy drink, Monster Energy, increasingly likely. Officials at the companies were not available for comment. Mentioned as a possible successor in its own right to the King of Beers’ deal with Earnhardt, Hansen’s Monster Energy drink has been distributed by Anheuser-Busch for over a year. In five months this year, sales have increased more than 67% on average vs. 20% for rival Red Bull, which is making its NASCAR debut this season as a primary sponsor. The test drive of Hansen’s high-growth “functional beverage” business makes an Anheuser takeover the next logical step.(Forbes.com), also…Monster Energy has a plant in Mooresville, NC and also a rumored sponsor is Mountain Dew..a Pepsi product.(6-30-2007)
- Evernham tests on….NASA Runway at KSC: A team in NASCAR’s elite Nextel Cup Series wrapped up its second visit to Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility on Friday, using the nearly 3-mile-long runway to gauge aerodynamics of its race cars. Evernham Motorsports took a test version of one of its new Dodge Avengers — the Car of Tomorrow [COT] that debuted this season in Nextel Cup — to the runway for a shakedown this week and also earlier this year, Keith Rodden, a car director for the Statesville, N.C.-based team, said Friday. Rodden said he believes Evernham was the first and only NASCAR team to test at KSC. NASA charges a fee for use of the facility. The amount assessed to Evernham Motorsports was not made available by NASA on Friday.(Florida Today)(6-30-2007)
- Yates Won’t Sell Team: Robert Yates [#38 & #88] has broken off discussions with potential investors into Robert Yates Racing and will remain independent, focusing his efforts on improving the team’s performance. And if he’s not successful at the task, Yates could step away from the sport entirely, the car owner said Saturday morning at New Hampshire. “I pretty much sent a letter to everybody and said right now I’m not interested in selling or anybody investing,” Yates said prior to Happy Hour practice. “I’m just going to try and focus on performance. … I’m pretty much really tired of spending too much time working on something that doesn’t benefit anything. … Right now, the thing I don’t need is money. The thing I need is performance, and I haven’t found a person to bring me performance. That’s what I’m looking for, just trying to focus on doing what I’m doing.” And that means no co-owner, outside partner or investor, at least for now.(SPEEDtv.com)(6-30-2007)
- Ginn Racing looking for sponsors: The jet black Ginn Racing Chevrolets of #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin have no primary sponsors this weekend. Why not? Very simple: The team is trying to illustrate that it needs sponsors for some races in the second half of the season on the two cars, it has “available inventory” in the form of unsold primary sponsorships for the remainder of 2007. Team spokesman David Ferroni said normally the team would simply run Ginn Resorts logos on the car, but by keeping them sponsor-free, it tells all the would-be backers out there that there is room at the inn – or at least on the hood and the fenders at Ginn Racing right now.(SPEEDtv.com), NOTE: the Panasonic sponsorship was supposed to be for 24 races, but has been rarely seen this year, was on the car in like, two races.(6-30-2007)
- Petty comments about slip of cuss word: UPDATE: TNT’s Kyle Petty raced Sunday in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 even as he served an on-air analyst. When he got in an accident on the first lap that also involved Matt Kenseth and Marc Goossens, viewers saw a replay in which the driver/analyst seemed to yell out an expletive — although TNT, during the race, said it wasn’t sure it came from Petty rather than from mikes in other drivers’ cars. But Petty wants it clear it was his profanity: “I’m sorry it got as far as everyone’s living room. But when an incident happens that early in the race and it’s unexpected, what I said pretty much described it.”(USA Today)(6-29-2007)
UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty will not face any sanctions from NASCAR for uttering the “f-word” on television last week during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Petty, who was serving as an in-car commentator for TNT Sports as well as driver last week, uttered the expletive during the opening laps of the race when a crash occurred right in front of him. Inexplicably, TNT aired the comment not live, but on replay, after coming back from commercial. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday that due to a number of mitigating factors, NASCAR won’t fine Petty points and/or money as the sanctioning body did to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 2004 after he uttered an obscenity in victory lane. Poston said the mitigating factors included that Petty wasn’t aware he was on TV at the time, that the clip wasn’t live but shown and replay, and the fact that the FCC recently loosened its own regulations regarding on-air obscenities.(SPEEDtv.com)(6-30-2007)
- NASCAR Could Suspend Additional Crew Members for Future Violations: The garage still is buzzing about the severity of the penalties handed to the Hendrick Motorsports teams of #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson after their cars failed initial inspection last weekend because the front right fenders were bent beyond the wheel well. Gordon particularly was outspoken, saying he was disappointed in NASCAR’s decision to suspend crew chiefs Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus for six races and fine each $100,000, as well as dock him and Johnson 100 championship points. “But I will say we’re crystal clear going forward,” Gordon said. “We’re clear now that there is no gray area.” It is clear now. If it’s not, NASCAR is prepared to expand the suspension to car chiefs and engineers — whatever it takes to get the message across. “It could grow into multiple suspensions,” [Nextel Cup series director John] Darby said as he sat outside the hauler otherwise known as the NASCAR principal’s office. Teams have understood for years that messing with the gray area in engines will not be tolerated. Now they’re discovering that the body is off limits as well.(ESPN.com)(6-30-2007)
- Penske may soon feature a brother act: UPDATE: Roger Penske may be considering adding Kyle Busch to the Penske Racing South NASCAR operation, which includes older brother Kurt Busch. “Penske would be stupid not to look at Kyle, so that talk is under way,” Kurt Busch said during a national teleconference. But, he added, Kyle is “talking with all the other race teams out there such as Ginn Motorsports, Yates. I’m sure he’s talked with Gibbs. “I would say he’s talked with 99 percent of the garages, and that 1 percent (he hasn’t talked to) is probably Roush Racing.” Kyle Busch is to return to The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week and compete in the annual “Night of Fire” racing card Tuesday night.(Las Vegas Sun), been told Kyle Busch has met this week with Evernham Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing.(6-29-2007)
UPDATE: Kyle Busch has visited eight Nextel Cup organizations since he became a free agent and could have his final list arrowed to four by the end of the weekend, a source close to the situation said on Friday. One of those organizations is Evernham Motorsports, where team members say the 22-year-old driver spent part of Tuesday. Other organizations believed to be in the mix are the Chevrolet teams of Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Ginn Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, and the Dodge team of Chip Ganassi Racing. Busch said he has not had sit-down discussions with Penske Racing officials even though his older brother, Kurt Busch, said there have been conversations. But he did say Chevy and Dodge teams were in the mix, and that there has been some contact by Ford. “The teams have their timetables with their sponsors and stuff like that they have to let know. … There are a couple of teams that would like to know within the next three or four [weeks].”(ESPN.com)(6-30-2007)
- Hendrick Motorsports Wants Crew Chiefs back ASAP: Doug Duchardt, Hendrick Motorsports vice president of development, says the team didn’t appeal NASCAR’s penalties this week for two basic reasons: First, the teams of #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson want their crew chiefs back in time to have momentum when the Chase For The Nextel Cup begins, and second, the group now understands what NASCAR views as the lack of a gray area on the car of tomorrow more clearly. Duchardt said the team considered both of these concepts when it decided not to appeal the penalties. “As we went through this, some things came more clear to us as far as what NASCAR’s tolerance on their data was – it wasn’t as clear to us before last Friday as it is now,” Duchardt said Friday at New Hampshire. The primary reason, though, is the teams want to get this over with and get the regular crew chiefs back in place in time to develop some momentum heading into the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(SceneDaily.com)(6-30-2007)
- Kentucky Speedway, NASCAR heading to mediation: UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway is heading to mediation Friday in its antitrust case against NASCAR, but lawyers weren’t saying whether the two sides are any closer to a settlement that could potentially land the Sparta track a Nextel Cup race. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Wehrman has set a “settlement conference” for 10:00am/et Friday in Covington, according to the court clerk’s office. Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley, who is representing the speedway in the $400 million antitrust lawsuit, said it was hard to know how long the mediation proceedings will last or whether it would spark any movement in the negotiations. “The fact we’re going to mediate doesn’t mean it’s going to get settled,” Chesley said. “We’ll either settle it, or try it in March.” NASCAR officials didn’t immediately respond for requests for comment Wednesday.(AP/Kentucky.com)(6-28-2007)
UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway owner Jerry Carroll had a long-anticipated meeting with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation officials Friday. But the lawsuit between them wasn’t resolved, so Kentucky Speedway’s case against NASCAR and ISC remains headed toward a March 2008 court date. The two sides met for a total of five hours of mediation with a federal judge magistrate at the United States District Courthouse in Covington. The meeting ended without a settlement. For the Speedway, which is alleging anti-trust violations on the part of NASCAR and ISC, it was an encouraging sign that key figures, such as NASCAR president Mike Helton, ISC president and NASCAR board member Lesa France Kennedy and ISC chief executive officer and NASCAR board member James France were present. No other mediations are scheduled, but Speedway lawyer Steve Susman said another session could arise between now and the March court date if the judge rules on pending legal matters involved in the case.(Cincinnai Enquirer)(6-30-2007)
- SPEED To Re-Air Tony Stewart’s Nextel Prelude to the Dream: SPEED has secured exclusive basic cable replay rights for Tony Stewart’s “Nextel Prelude to The Dream” dirt late model race, with the first airing scheduled for July 8 at 12noon/et. SPEED also will support the event’s cause, donating advertising time to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(SPEED TV PR)(6-30-2007)
- 2007 Daytona 500 Finish Nominated For ESPY Award: The finish of the 2007 Daytona 500, which Kevin Harvick nipped Mark Martin by .020 seconds, was among the nominations in the “Best Finish” category of the ESPYs, where ESPN celebrates the top moments, most emotional stories and the best performances from the past year in sports. Also nominated in this new ESPY category were: Curlin inching past Street Sense in The Preakness; Barton beating Winona State a steal and buzzer-beater to win the Division II men’s basketball championship 77-75; the Dodgers’ four straight home runs that tied the Sept. 18, 2006 game against the Padres followed by Nomar Garciaparra blast in the bottom of the 10th to complete the come-from the-behind-11-10 win; and Boise State’s 43-42 overtime win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. For the fourth consecutive year, fans will determine the winners in all contested categories by voting online June 25 through July 7 at www.espys.tv. The ESPYs include 19 “Best In Sport” categories pitting athletes from different sports against each other, along with 17 individual sport categories and two sponsored awards. The 15th annual celebration of the best moments of the year is scheduled for Sunday, July 15th at 9pm at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles will air live on ESPN.(DIS PR)(6-30-2007)
- Tony Eury Sr. spoke Thursday [June 28] with Claire B Lang on Dialed In on XM Satellite Radio: About Leaving DEI and moving to JR Motorsports – Eury Sr. said Dale Junior has tried to get him to come work for him for two years and this time he went to Junior and said “was he ready” and Junior said “yes come on.”
“It wasn’t an easy decision for sure. I had a lot of feelings for that place. It was kind of hard to drive out of there cause Teresa and Dale have been really good to me…..whenever I went to work in the mornings I felt like I was going into my own shop. But you know it was a decision I had to make. You know that place is getting bigger and bigger and it’s not the same place that I built many, many years ago and it’s a lot bigger and Dale Junior gave me an opportunity here I was real pleased with and looking forward you know I like building stuff and I like going forward and that’s what we are going to get to do here.”
On DEI Moving Him from Crew Chief to R&D -did he leave because he didn’t like the switch from Crew Chief:
“It didn’t matter to me about the crew chief job but they just wanted me to strictly go run an R&D team and that just really was something I wasn’t ready to do. If I work on something and I make it go fast I like to be rewarded for it. And the reward that I get is spraying champagne in victory lane and patting everyone on the back and telling them they did a good job and an R&D team wouldn’t give that to me and that’s the main reason for turning the R&D team down. I can’t say nothing bad about DEI. I worked their 20 and a half years they told me my options were open I could do whatever I wanted to do but there just wasn’t a lot of options there and Dale Junior gave me the opportunity to come and do this and I felt like that’s what I want to do.
Was it true he sat at home rather than work after they moved him from Crew Chief job at DEI?
Well – After I quit doing the Menards car they actually told me to take two weeks and think about what I wanted to do and nobody was going to bother me and just do what I wanted to do so I just hung out in Myrtle Beach for a little while and me and my wife took off went to Myrtle Beach spent a weekend and came back and stayed home one weekend and let her skin heal up from the sunburns and then we went back again. We haven’t done a whole lot of work in the last three or four weeks but we had a good time.
Tony Senior said he and Tony Junior have discussed what Tony Junior will do.
Q) Will Tony Junior announce his decision soon?
A)..There’s a lot of stuff going on. He’s got a lot of stuff going on and you know I just don’t really know. They are trying to decide who’s going in the 8 car who the crew chief is going to be whether it’s going to be him whether it’s going to be somebody else who the sponsor is going to be and there is just so much stuff going on over there. Their main goal now is to try to win that championship in that Budweiser 8 car and that’s what they are focusing on doing right now and you know he might not even make a decision until Homestead is over …..
On the 24/48 Penalties: “Myself I do not agree with the penalties that they gave Chad and Steve because I don’t think we were really addressed that the body parts of the car was that critical……..as far as I’m concerned if there’s not a template there it’s ours and that’s the way the crew chief’s look at cars.”(XMRadio)(6-30-2007)
News from June 29, 2007
- Sprint’s new ad campaign lacks Nextel: Something is missing in a new advertising campaign being rolled out to U.S. consumers by wireless communications provider Sprint — Nextel. After what observers called a disastrous marketing campaign following its 2005 merger with Nextel, executives are trying to reinvent the Reston, Va., company’s image with the new tagline — “Sprint ahead” — that omits Nextel, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. Sprint also eased Nextel from sponsorship of the main NASCAR racing series. Starting next year, the Nextel Cup becomes the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Television commercials, online ads, billboards and movie theater ads will debut Sunday. Besides trying to improve its network’s reputation, Sprint is trying to hold off competition from AT&T and Verizon Wireless — which benefited from Sprint’s loss of customers, in part because of Nextel’s network problems.(UPI)
AND: Sprint will continue to use the Nextel name this year to sponsor Nascar’s top auto races in the Nextel Cup Series. The company is evaluating its plans for the sponsorship in 2008 and will probably make a decision in the next few weeks, Sprint Chief Marketing Officer Tim Kelly.(Bloomberg.com)(6-29-2007)
- Petty/Victory Junction Gang Camp Featured on TV This Weekend: Kyle and Pattie Petty, founders of the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman (N.C.), will be featured on two separate national broadcasts this weekend. NBC Nightly News recently toured the camp and featured the facility on Friday evening’s national news broadcast. TNT Sports also spent time at the camp this past weekend. Kyle, Pattie and Austin Petty took TNT cameras throughout the camp as they gave viewers an in-depth look at what happens every day at the camp. The piece is scheduled to air this Sunday during TNT’s pre-race show.(Petty Racing PR)(6-29-2007)
- Vickers goes home as car fails post-qualifying tech: Brian Vickers’ #83 Team Red Bull Toyota failed post-qualifying inspection Friday afternoon at New Hampshire International Raceway, knocking the team out of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 field and giving the spot to BAM Racing’s #49-Chad Chaffin. The car for Vickers was ruled to be an eighth of an inch too low on its left front, and Vickers’ qualifying time was disallowed. The team was looking at shocks and springs to see why the car was too low.(SceneDaily.com)(6-29-2007)
- Blaney wins pole at New Hampshire: #22-Dave Blaney won the Budweiser Pole for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a speed of 129.437mph for his 2nd career pole and the first pole for Toyota in Nextel Cup. #2-Kurt Busch qualified 2nd with the rest of the top-10: #41-Sorenson, #70-Sauter, #42-Montoya, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon, #1-Truex, Jr., and #48-Johnson. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #22-Blaney, #00-Reutimann, #4-Burton, #83-Vickers, #36-Mayfield, #15-Menard, #21-Elliott, and #37-Lepage. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my New Hampshire Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-29-2007)
- Six do not qualify for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway: #49-Chaffin, #55-Waltrip, #78-Wallace, #44-Jarrett, #10-Riggs, #84-Allmendinger(6-29-2007)
- Ramblings…New Hampshire: We witnessed a first today….Dave Blaney became the first Toyota driver to capture a Bud Pole today at New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 300. His time of 29.426 (129.437 mph) bested Kurt Busch over half a tenth for his second career top-spot…..his other pole came at Rockingham (where’zat?) in February of 2003.
Blaney also becomes the 9th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
Reed Sorenson (3rd) has his career best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 7th twice….at Las Vegas in March and at Dover last September.
Johnny Sauter (4th) also has his career best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 10th….he did that at Martinsville in April and at Bristol in March of 2004.
Juan Pablo Montoya (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Las Vegas in March.
Kevin Harvick (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 6th at Martinsville in April.
Regan Smith (13th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 12th at Bristol in April (only four races).
Jeff Green (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Richmond in May.
STREAKIN….Martin Truex Jr has 3 Top-10 starts in the last 4 races. Jimmie Johnson has 3 Top-10 starts in the last 4 races.(StockCarFans.com)(6-29-2007)
- Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
Toyota: #22-Blaney, 129.437, starts 1st
Dodge: #2-Busch, 129.182, starts 2nd
Chevy: #70-Sauter, 128.502, starts 4th
Ford: #7-Gordon, 127.988, starts 16th
- New Hampshire Qualifying Notes:
…Dave Blaney won the Bud Pole for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 with a lap of 29.426 seconds, 129.437mph. This is his second Bud Pole in 250 career Nextel Cup races.
…This is his fourth top-10 start in 2007.
…This is Blaney’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in 15 races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
…This is the first time since Daytona last July (Boris Said) that a driver that had to qualify on time won the Bud Pole.
…This is the first Bud Pole for Toyota on the Nextel Cup circuit. Toyota had four previous top-10 starts this season – three by Blaney.
…Kurt Busch (second) posted his seventh top-10 start in 13 New Hampshire races. It is his best starting position here and his sixth top-10 start this season.
…Reed Sorenson (third) posted his career-best starting position and his second top-10 start in 2007.
…Johnny Sauter (fourth) posted his career-best qualifying effort and his first starting position better than 30th in three New Hampshire races.
…Juan Pablo Montoya (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie. This is his third top-10 start in 18 career Nextel Cup races.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-29-2007)
- Truex Jr. to showcase Turkey Federation scheme at Daytona: Martin Truex Jr.will be driving the DEI, Bass Pro Shops #1 Chevy, showcasing the National Wild Turkey Federation’s logo during the Pepsi 400 at the Daytona International Speedway, July 7. The sponsorship is a donation to the NWTF from John L. Morris and Bass Pro Shops and is part of the Conservation Fund’s “Racing for America’s Wildlife” program. The program is designed to engage the NASCAR community in upholding America’s hunting and fishing heritage.(nwtf.org), see images of the scheme on my #1 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2007)
- Evernham to Host New ESPN2 Garage Program: Beginning in July, NASCAR team owner [#9,#10,#19] Ray Evernham will be the featured host of a new and unique racing program on ESPN2. Part of the ESPN2 Garage group of motorsports and automotive shows, Race Wizard with Ray Evernham will premiere at 11:00am/et Saturday, July 7 [after NASCAR Now]. The innovative new show will provide racing fans an entertaining look at the intriguing technical aspects and little-known inner-workings of motorsports and racing. Race Wizard is created for and by NASCAR fans, who will go behind the scenes of the racing world through “person on the street” interviews with one of racing’s brightest minds and most successful team owners. “ESPN has such a legacy in this sport and deserves a great deal of credit for turning NASCAR into one of the most popular sports today,” Evernham said. “Through Race Wizard, I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned in this sport over the years and help viewers understand how technology and innovation are giving teams the edge in competition today.” Sample Race Wizard topics include: Fast Car Basics – A fan’s question on the basics of racing answered, including “How do spoilers on the back of a car increase speed?”; Girl’s Guide – Women have the “need for speed,” too, and this vignette is for them, answering “Why do race cars swerve during caution laps?”; and Race Day – Focusing on improving the fan’s experience in racing by answering, “Where is the best place to sit to watch a race?”(ESPN PR)(6-29-2007)
- New Hampshire Tire Notes: Both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at New Hampshire this weekend . . . this is Goodyear’s intermediate/flat track tire setup, and has been run by Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams at companion weekends at Phoenix and Richmond earlier this season . . . Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams also ran these tire codes at Milwaukee last weekend . . .this is the first time Goodyear has brought this tire setup for teams to run at New Hampshire . . . as on most NASCAR one-mile ovals, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at New Hampshire. The estimated pit window is every 78-82 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes and info on my New Hampshire Race Info/Rundown page.(6-29-2007)
- Career start #200 at NHIS for Johnson: Sunday will mark #48-Jimmie Johnson’s 200th start in Nextel Cup racing. Johnson’s first race was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 7, 2001. He started 15th and finished 39th. Since then he has gone on to win a championship as well as 27 races, giving him sole possession of 22nd place on the all-time victory list since 1949.(Lowes Racing PR)(6-29-2007)
- Sonoma TV Ratings UPDATE: hard to compare the TV Ratings at Sonoma for the Nextel Cup race vs. 2006 as this season, the race was televised on TNT, a cable network and garnered a rating of 4.0 with 4,431,000 households and 6,520,000 viewers [on the Network TV Ratings this would had been around 20-22 best for the week]. Last season the race was televised on FOX with a 5.1 rating [no viewers numbers listed], but the rating is measured a little different from cable to network TV. The ratings at Sonoma were better then the week before at Michigan. The race was the third highest rated cable series by total households in the period 6/18/07-6/24/07, behind TNT’s The Closer and Disney’s Hannah Montana.(Zap2it.com)(6-28-2007)
UPDATE: The Nextel Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway was the highest-rated televised sporting event last weekend nationwide. The event earned a 4.7 rating on TNT, with the next closest sporting event being a Major League Baseball game on FOX (2.8). The pre-race show on TNT netted a 2.7 rating, and NASCAR on TNT Live (prior to pre-race) garnered a 1.8 rating. Moreover, it was the highest-rated Nextel Cup race broadcast on TNT this year, and the 4.7 rating was also better than the average rating for a Nextel Cup race that aired on TNT during the 2006 season (4.5). One rating point equals one-percent of all U.S. households. All data used was obtained from Nielsen Media Research.(Infineon Raceway PR), see more and the chart on my 2007 TV Ratings Page.(6-29-2007)
News from June 28, 2007
- Pride of NASCAR continues: On Sunday, TNT’s Pride of NASCAR series continues with a feature on ‘Gentleman Ned Jarrett,’ a two-time NASCAR Champion with 239 career wins [50 in the Cup series]. TNT’s Bill Weber spent a day walking the links with Jarrett as he reminisced about his illustrious career over a round of golf. Topics discussed included Jarrett’s “early” retirement from racing at age 34 in 1966, his second career as a pioneering NASCAR broadcaster, his family (including 1999 Cup Champion son, Dale Jarrett) and his youth in rural North Carolina. Jarrett also recounted his most memorable moment in racing – calling the 1993 Daytona 500 which was won by his son.(TNT PR)(6-28-2007)
- Atlas Copco joins up with Haas CNC Racing, paint scheme: Atlas Copco Compressors and Haas CNC Racing have joined forces on a new, state-of-the-art, $40 million wind tunnel under construction in Concord, NC. The wind tunnel will be the only one of its kind in the world available for rent by racing teams and manufacturers. In addition to the wind tunnel partnership, Atlas Copco will sponsor the #70 Haas Automation car for the Loudon, NH race scheduled for July 1, 2007 and several other races throughout the 2007 and 2008 Nextel Cup seasons. The wind tunnel features a single belt rolling road system, the first of its kind in North America. A continuous steel belt running under the vehicle simulates the road beneath a racecar traveling on a speedway. It is the most accurate aerodynamic road simulation possible in the industry today, and it offers repeatability that is key to gathering valid, usable data. The wind tunnel is being constructed at a site adjacent to Concord Regional Airport in Cabarrus County, NC. More info on Atlas Copco Compressors or atlascopco.com or classzero.com.(Atlas Copco PR), see an image of the scheme on my #70 Team Schemes page and the full press release and info on my Wind Tunnel News/Links page.(6-28-2007)
- Sponsor announcement for Roush in Boston UPDATE2 Lumber Liquidators & Red Sox: Roush Fenway Racing to make a major announcement around the upcoming NASCAR race at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 1st. Roush Fenway Racing owners Jack Roush and John Henry are joined by #99-Carl Edwards on Thursday, June 28 at 10:00am/et, Fenway Park in Boston, MA.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(6-20-2007)
UPDATE: This weekend the #99 will run a special New England-themed paint scheme. Edwards and his Roush Fenway Racing teammates will participate in the pre-game ceremonies this Friday, June 29 at Fenway Park. All five drivers, along with team co-owners Jack Roush and John Henry will be on hand as the Boston Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers.(Roush Racing PR)
AND on the New Hampshire Entry List, the sponsor is listed as Lumber Liquidators.(6-26-2007)
UPDATE 2: Roush Fenway Racing announced that Boston Red Sox sponsors, Lumber Liquidators and Gillette, have signed on as sponsors of the #99 Ford Fusion driven by Nextel Cup driver Carl Edwards during this weekend’s race at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS). The companies will celebrate their relationship with the Boston Red Sox and NASCAR fans by featuring the Red Sox logo on the #99 Lumber Liquidators/Red Sox Ford Fusion during the race in Loudon, N.H. on July 1. As Red Sox sponsors Lumber Liquidators and Gillette have secured the rights to utilize Boston Red Sox marks for marketing and promotional activation. These rights allow the companies to feature the Red Sox logo on the #99 Ford Fusion and Edwards as a means of further leveraging their association with the Red Sox through regional sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing at Loudon. In addition to being highlighted on the Roush Fenway Racing entry, the sponsors will look to reach a broader audience of NASCAR fans by tapping into Roush Fenway Racing’s public relations and marketing services. With this agreement, Lumber Liquidators, the largest independent retailer of hardwood flooring in the country, is expanding it’s involvement in NASCAR after entering the Craftsman Truck Series as a team sponsor [#30-Todd Bodine] in 2006. To celebrate Roush Fenway Racing competing for the first time at NHIS under their new name this weekend, the Boston Red Sox will host Roush Fenway Racing Day at Fenway Park presented by Gillette on Friday, June 29 as the Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers. Festivities will include Roush Fenway Racing themed displays and exhibits throughout the ballpark as well as a special pre-game ceremony that will formally introduce Red Sox Nation to the drivers of Roush Fenway Racing. On Monday, July 2 fans are invited to visit the #99 Lumber Liquidators/Red Sox Ford Fusion at the Lumber Liquidators Braintree location located at 240 Wood Road. The show car will be on display between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. In addition, Mike Lowell of the Boston Red Sox will make a special appearance between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 pm. You can also see the #99 Lumber Liquidators/Red Sox Ford Fusion paint scheme by logging on to lumberliquidators.com.(Roush Fenway Racing PR) and see some images of the car on my #99 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2007)
- Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal penalties to #24/#48, interim crew chiefs named: Car owner Rick Hendrick confirmed today that the sanctions levied by NASCAR on Tuesday against the #24 and #48 Nextel Cup Series teams will not be appealed by Hendrick Motorsports. “The penalties are excessive,” Hendrick reiterated. “But we’re not going to put time and resources into issuing an appeal. Instead, we will direct that energy into our internal processes to make sure we have full confidence that our cars will meet standards when presented for inspection each week. We’ve said from the beginning that this would be a learning process (with the Car of Tomorrow) and there would be a lot of give and take between NASCAR and the teams to figure it out. That doesn’t seem to be the case now, and I don’t think it’s the right direction to go.”
#24 car chief Jeff Meendering and #48 car chief Ron Malec have been named interim crew chiefs for their respective teams beginning with Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway. “In Jeff and Ron, we have two guys who know their teams inside and out,” Hendrick said. “They both have been here a long time, they both know the pressures involved and they both have the full support of our entire organization. We don’t expect to miss a beat.” Crew chiefs Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus will resume at-track duties for their respective teams at the Aug. 19 Nextel Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-28-2007)
- Almirola to Ginn in 2008? UPDATE denied: Hearing Aric Almirola, who was credited with the Milwaukee Busch Series race win Saturday night, will join Ginn Racing in 2008 as a protege to #01-Mark Martin. Supposedly the plan is for Almirola to run part-time Cup, Busch and Trucks in 2008 and take over the #01 Chevy full-time in 2009.(6-25-2007)
UPDATE – denied: Though he still is “not happy” about being pulled for Nextel Cup star Denny Hamlin during Saturday’s Busch Series race at Milwaukee, Tampa’s Aric Almirola said Wednesday he isn’t frustrated at Joe Gibbs Racing and has no plans to leave the team. He said there is no truth to a rumor that appeared on ESPN-owned Web site Jayski.com saying he is headed to Ginn Racing next year and will race the #01 Chevrolet full time in Nextel Cup in 2009. “I’m under contract at JGR,” Almirola, 23, said on a national conference call. “I have a long history with them. I’ve been there since I was 18 years old. I started racing late models with them, and they’ve become like family to me. I see our relationship growing.” Almirola is scheduled to run six more Busch races, including the July 6 event at Daytona, and he said one race may be added. He is competing in the Craftsman Truck Series race this weekend at Memphis and will enter a couple of Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow races this year with JGR’s research and development team. He reiterated Wednesday that he hopes to race full time in at least the Busch Series next year.(Tampa Tribune)(6-28-2007)
- Tim Steele Retires: three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series national driving champion, Tim Steele, has officially announced his retirement from driving. After a very successful career in the ARCA RE/MAX Series that produced championships in ’93, ’96 and ’97, and more superspeedway victories than any other driver in series history, Steele was on the verge of signing a contract to race fulltime in the Nextel Cup Series [then Winston Cup]. Then a [testing] crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway on November 5th, 1997 left him with a closed head injury and changed his world forever. “I was 10 days away from signing a Winston Cup contract when I crashed; and we were going to run for the 1998 Cup Rookie of the Year. My dad and (Green Bay Packers quarterback) Brett Favre were purchasing the team from Bud Moore, and we had Nike and Sony lined up as sponsors. Looking back in ’98 when I was at the Mayo Clinic, I now know the doctors were right when they told me I should probably find a different career. I just wasn’t willing to accept that. It was like admitting defeat. Racing was my life; it’s how I earned my living, and the only job I ever had since I was 20. I didn’t know anything else, so it was so hard to walk away from my life. I had worked so hard to get where I had gotten. I just couldn’t give up on it now.” Unfortunately, there would be ongoing, residual physical and personal issues that would plague Steele during his comeback phase of his career. Regardless, it’s worth noting that despite the ongoing struggles, Steele still managed 11 more ARCA RE/MAX Series victories after the accident. From 1993 through 2006, Steele, driving his father Harold Steele’s HS Die entries, won 41 ARCA RE/MAX Series races in 146 attempts, which equates to victories in 28% of all the races he entered. He also won 31 career pole awards.(ARCA Racing site), Steele also ran five Cup races [1994 for Bobby Allison] and ten Busch Series races and thirteen Truck Seires Races.(6-28-2007)
- Thursday Testing at Milwaukee: Richard Childress teams, #07-Clint Bowyer, #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, are testing at The Milwaukee Mile today [June 28th] in preparation for the race at New Hamphire. No word if they will test all day or just part of it. Free admission to the grandstands (only) Enter Grandstands at Gate 3, turn one seating.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(6-28-2007)
- Sylvania on the #15 hood at NHIS: #15-Paul Menard’s Menard’s Chevy will feature Sylvania as the hood sponsor. Sylvania, is based in Danvers, Massachusetts and has been a partner sponsor to the Menards Racing program since Menard joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2004.(Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing PR)(6-28-2007)
- Stremme scheme at NHIS: For the second time this season, the Coors Wide Mouth Can paint scheme will run on the #40 Dodge of David Stremme. Earlier this season the paint scheme ran at Pocono where Stremme recorded a personal best finish of 23rd at the track. Stremme will participate in the Coors Light Annual Pub Tour Friday night from 7-9pm in and around the Concord, N.H. area in advance of Sunday’s New England 300. Stremme and guests from Capitol Distributors (the local Coors distributor) will hit four local area pubs so keep your eyes open for the Coors Light crew Friday night.(Ganassi Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2007)
- Dodge gives away new Avenger after first victory: Dodge made a promise to its drivers back in February that the first win in a Dodge Avenger would be rewarded with a new 2008 Dodge Avenger passenger car for the driver to donate to their favorite charity. Juan Pablo Montoya collected on that promise today with the first Dodge Avenger victory at Infineon Raceway. Not only did he drive his Dodge Avenger to victory lane, he gets to drive away with one, too.(Clear!Blue PR), no word on what charity, but with his wife Connie, Juan Pablo Montoya has a charity foundation called “Formula Smiles“. It is an organization dedicated to help children with no resources.(6-28-2007)
- New Hampshire Rookie Notes: Raybestos Rookie Juan Pablo Montoya won the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Montoya’s first Nextel Cup win came in his 17th career start. His best previous finish was fifth at Atlanta earlier this year and he took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the eighth time in 16 races this season. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 15 points (180-165) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 1 LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Montoya led once for seven laps, the first time he has led a Nextel Cup race this season [and career]. He became the second Raybestos Rookie to lead in 19 races at Infineon Raceway (Scott Pruett led twice for 10 laps in 2000). Montoya became the first Raybestos Rookie to win at Infineon Raceway in 19 Nextel Cup Series races. The best previous finish was ninth, shared by Ryan Newman (2002) and Kenny Irwin (1998). A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. Only two Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in 14 previous July races at New Hampshire: Ryan Newman (fifth in 2002) and Kyle Busch (fourth in 2005). The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at New Hampshire is third by Jeff Gordon in 1993.(Raybestos PR), see standings, more notes nad rookie history on my 2007 Rookies Page.(6-28-2007)
News from June 27, 2007
- Eury Sr. leaving DEI…to JR Motorsports? UPDATE: Claire B. Lang reported on XM Radio Tuesday that Tony Eury Sr. [former #8 and #15 crew chief] has resigned from Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s research and development team and will be named Director of Competition at JR Motorsports today.(XM Radio)
AND David Poole reported on Sirius’ Morning Drive that Tony Eury Sr is expected to announce this afternoon that he is leaving DEI to become the team director at #88-JR Motorsports. Early in June, Eury reportedly accepted a Research and Development position with DEI after stepping down as Paul Menard’s Nextel Cup crew chief.(6-27-2007)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has turned to a familiar face and proven winner to help lead the competition efforts of his race team, announcing today that his uncle and longtime NASCAR crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., has been named Director of Competition at JR Motorsports. Commonly referred to as “Pops” around the NASCAR garage, Eury Sr. will oversee competition and technical support for all of JR Motorsports, which includes a full-time Busch Series program, a USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series entry, and three late model teams. His new role at JRM will begin immediately, as he will work closely with crew chief Wes Ward, motorsports director Steve Crisp, and driver Shane Huffman in preparation for Saturday’s Camping World 200 Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. “Tony Sr. brings wins, championships, and an immeasurable amount of knowledge to JR Motorsports,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “He also brings a sense of trust that you only have in family. This company needs his expertise, and I’m glad he sees the potential at JR Motorsports to want to work here. I hope I can provide him the same amount of success here that he has achieved over the years, and I hope he enjoys working here as much as I know he enjoyed working at DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.).”(JR Motorsports PR)(6-27-2007)
- 2nd Annual Driver Development Clinic Set for October 18th: Mike Calinoff will present the 2nd Annual Driver Development Clinic [on Oct 18th in Mooresville, NC] for drivers who are looking to pursue a career in NASCAR and those in the grassroots divisions who seek advice about moving to the next level. Calinoff has been presenting motorsports seminars and clinics for the past eight years, including the popular “Get Into Racing” seminar, which is held each year in May and October. This ground-breaking opportunity will feature an all-star panel of experts including NASCAR drivers David Stremme, Kyle Busch, David Gilliland, Reed Sorenson and JJ Yeley, plus, Development Specialists, Scouts, Management Experts from NASCAR teams and parents of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers to help guide your pursuit of making it to the top by teaching the crucial elements of the process known as “Driver Development.” This clinic will be the most pivotal point of a young driver’s career. This year, the clinic has been expanded to include two additional sessions “Grassroots Sponsorship Tactics” and “Mastering the Media” as well as a sit-down catered lunch. NASCAR notables Ray Dunlap (SPEED), Claire B. Lang (XM Radio) and Mark Garrow (PRN/DirecTV Hot Pass) will be on hand to discuss critical media skills. This “all-day” event is comprised of some general discussion and individual break-out sessions with the panelists and drivers. For more information, please visit www.driverdevelopmentclinic.com or call (877) 722-3562.(6-27-2007)
- Testing at Nashville: #10-Scott Riggs tested the Valvoline & Stanley Tools Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger [not COT] at the Nashville Superspeedway. Evernham Racing rented the 1.33 mile “D” shaped oval track today from 9:00am to 5pm.(6-27-2007)
- Different colors for Bowyer at NHIS: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a blue and gold Camping World paint scheme for this weekend’s LENOX Industrial Tools 300. Camping World will also sponsor Bowyer’s #2 Chevy in Saturday’s Camping World 200 presented by Rvs.com Busch Series race. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s standard primary sponsor, will be featured on the car’s deck lid and lower-rear quarter panels.(RCR PR)(6-27-2007)
- Testing update from Milwaukee MORE: There were no incidents, no speeds reported from Tuesday test at The Milwaukee Mile. Wednesday and Thursday, Richard Childress is scheduled to be at The Milwaukee Mile with all three cars. Ford teams will run part or all of Wednesday to complete their 2-day test. Other teams may join Wednesday and/or Thursday. Nextel Cup Testing This Week: Wed. June 26, Thurs. June 27, 9:00am until 5:00pm. Free admission to the grandstands (only) Enter Grandstands at Gate 3, turn one seating.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)
MORE: Eight teams are testing at the Milwaukee Mile Wednesday, some Ford teams packing up at noon to head to Loudon, NH. RCR intends on testing Thursday (tomorrow), as well.
Wednesday’s (today’s) roster: Drivers/teams excpected to test one of both days: #07-Clint Bowyer, #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, #21-Bill Elliott, #6-David Ragan, #26-Jamie McMurray, #7-Robby Gordon and #38-David Gilliland [with Jay Sauter helping](6-27-2007)
- TV Ratings Down in 2007 but: NASCAR’s television ratings have continued to decline this year despite the promotional push of ESPN and a news-filled four-plus months of racing, but network executives are encouraged by gains in the younger demographics. Fox reported a 7% improvement (3.1 rating from 2.9) in the male 18-34 demo on its Nextel Cup broadcasts, and ESPN2’s coverage of the Busch Series has produced a 2% increase (182,827 viewers from 179,446) for that group on cable. Fox’s average viewership on nine Nextel Cup races was down 9.1% (9.71 million viewers vs. 10.68 million) overall compared with nine comparable races from 2006, and its rating suffered a 10% drop (5.8 vs. 6.4). That’s a slightly steeper decline than last year’s 7% drop for Fox’s entire package of races. Three of Fox’s races were rained out this year. Two were moved from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon and a third was broadcast on a Monday. ESPN2’s ratings for its coverage of the Busch Series have suffered an even steeper decline compared with last year’s cable ratings, which featured one race on TNT and the rest on FX. Through nine comparable Busch broadcasts, ESPN2’s 1.5 rating is down 14% from the 1.8 on cable last year. Viewership is down 7.3% on ESPN2, with an average of nearly 2 million viewers tuning in for Busch races. Despite the overall declines, Fox and ESPN have reported increases in some key demographics. The male 18-34 demo had experienced three straight years of declines on Fox before this year’s 7% increase. The male 18-49 demo on Fox had dipped steadily since 2001, and it enjoyed a 2% gain in 2007 (4.7 vs. 4.6).(in part from the SportsBusiness JournalSceneDaily.com)(6-27-2007)
- Andretti Ready for Avenger Debut: John Andretti, for the first time, will step behind the wheel of a Dodge Avenger in competition. Andretti will race the Lenox Tools 300 this Sunday at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. Andretti will pilot the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge Avenger in his second start for Petty Enterprises this season. Andretti is filling in for Kyle Petty who returns to the TNT television booth this weekend. Andretti has had some time to get familiar with the new cars. The team recently tested at the Milwaukee Mile in preparation for Sunday’s race.(Petty Racing PR)(6-27-2007)
- Harvick’s Team Snares Pit Crew Challenge Win at Infineon: Kevin Harvick’s over-the-wall crew picked up its first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race in Sonoma, Calif. #29 Shell crew, which spent 106.006 seconds on Infineon Raceway’s pit road, became the ninth different team of the season to earn the weekly honor. The team will be awarded $11,000 by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the competition. The #29 crew, which helped boost Harvick to a runner-up finish in Sonoma, consists of: Nick Terry (jackman), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Matt Krueter (rear-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear-tire changer), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Rick Tulbert (2nd gas can) and Gene Pasquale (eighth-man). The team is led by crew chief Todd Berrier.
Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. An $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(6-27-2007)
- Start #250 for Green: #66-JeffGreen is scheduled to make his 250th Nextel Cup Series start at New Hampshire International Speedway. Green made his Cup series debut on September, 10, 1994, at Richmond International Raceway, when he was 31 years old. Driving the Sadler Brothers’ #95 Ford, Green completed just 42 of 400 laps before transmission troubles ended his day. In all, Green has 503 total starts in NASCAR’s three national series heading into this weekend (249 Nextel Cup Series starts, 253 Busch Series starts, and one Craftsman Truck Series start). The #66 entry will again carry the logo for the Fisher House Foundation this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway.(Best Buy/GMR Marketing PR)(6-27-2007)
- Start #250 for Blaney: #22-Dave Blaney hopes to make his 250th career Nextel Cup Series start when the green flag waves Sunday afternoon. He made his first career Cup Series start in October 1992 at [Rockingham] North Carolina Speedway and finished 40th after qualifying 34th for his first Cup Series start in Loudon in 1999. Like this weekend, Blaney was aboard a Bill Davis Racing-owned machine. The Caterpillar Racing team will test two cars at Thompson Speedway Wednesday and will choose between COT 17 and COT 19 as Dave Blaney’s primary car for Loudon once the test is complete.(BDR PR)(6-27-2007)
News from June 26, 2007
- #24, #48 Teams Penalized For Infractions At Infineon Raceway: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams that compete in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found this past weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Both cars – the #24 driven by Jeff Gordon and the #48 driven by Jimmie Johnson – were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); 20-2.1E (parts or components of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that have been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted); and 20-2H (fenders may not be cut or altered except for wheel or tire clearance which must be approved by the Series Director) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during the initial inspection process last Friday. As a result, Gordon and Johnson have each been penalized 100 driver championship points. Their respective crew chiefs – Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus – have each been fined $100,000, suspended for the next six Nextel Cup Series events until Aug. 15, 2007 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007. In addition, Rick Hendrick, owner of the #24, has been penalized 100 car owner championship points as has Gordon, who is the owner of the #48.(NASCAR PR)(6-26-2007)
- Hendrick Motorsports Responds to Penalties: Car owner Rick Hendrick responded to NASCAR sanctions announced today involving the #24 and #48 Nextel Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports. “We are disappointed in NASCAR’s decision and feel the penalties are excessive,” Hendrick said. “Right now, all of our options are being evaluated, including our personnel situation and a possible appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commission. We’ll take some time to decide on a direction and make an announcement regarding our plans for New Hampshire later in the week.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-26-2007)
- Reutimann looking? UPDATE: hearing the #00-David Reutimann is looking at his options for the 2008 season. Reutimann currently drives the #00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.
UPDATE: MWR denies Reutimann had talked to any team about 2008.(6-26-2007)
- LENOX colors on the #31 at NHIS: #31-Jeff Burton wil carry the red, white and blue colors of LENOX Industrial Tools at New Hampshire International Speedway with the running of the LENOX Industrial Tools 300. This is the second year that LENOX has been the title sponsor of New Hampshire’s classic summer race. It’s also the second time in 2007 that the East Longmeadow, Mass., based company will be the primary sponsor of Burton’s Nextel Cup Series car. It’s appropriate that the LENOX Industrial Tools 300 is so close in proximity to Independence Day, a holiday in which we honor individuals who went the extra mile for our country. LENOX is also honoring those who go the “Extra Mile” in construction and industrial trades with their recently announced 2007 national promotional sweepstakes – the “Extra Mile Experience with Richard Childress Racing Driver Jeff Burton.” LENOX is represented throughout the season as an associate sponsor on Burton’s #31 AT&T Chevy as well. The LENOX logo appears on the rear quarter panels of the car just behind the rear wheels. LENOX, a leading manufacturer of premium band saw blades, power tool accessories and torches has an extensive product line including the LENOX Gold bi-metal reciprocating saw blades; LENOX Gold bi-metal utility blades and knives; and LENOX ARMOR Rx+ bi-metal coated band saw blades for cutting structurals and tubing, just to mention a few. More info at lenoxracing.com.(LENOX PR) See images of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2007)
- Chaffin in the #49 for 2 races; Foyt at Daytona; Bliss resigns: BAM Racing announced Chad Chaffin will drive the #49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway and in two weeks at Chicagoland Speedway. BAM Racing and Mike Bliss have amiably decided to part ways. Chaffin will make his first Nextel Cup Series attempt of the season this weekend in the Lenox Industrial Tools 300. He has one Nextel Cup Series start at the 1.058-mile oval where he qualified on time and finished in the 34th position. In the Craftsman Truck Series, he has a total of four starts at the speedway with one top-5 and one top-10 start with two top-10 finishes. “I am excited to return to NEXTEL Cup Series racing this weekend,” said Chaffin. “I am looking forward to working with the entire BAM Racing team as it attempts to turn its Car of Tomorrow program around. I’ve have been active on the track since last season and am prepared for the pressures that come with qualifying on time.” Mike Bliss, who started with BAM Racing towards the end of the 2006 season, resigned from the team after a string of missed races. Larry Foyt is slated to drive the Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge at Daytona International Speedway. To learn more about Paralyzed Veterans, visit its website at www.pva.org.(BAM Racing PR)(6-26-2007)
- Bass Pro re-signs with DEI: Bass Pro Shops will continue as sponsor of the #1 Chevy and driver Martin Truex in 2008. Terms of the contract extension between Bass Pro and Dale Earnhardt Inc. were not disclosed.(Springfield, MO News Leader)(6-26-2007)
- Hendrick wants to buy the #8 from DEI UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick has let it be known to officials at Dale Earnhardt Inc. that he’d like to purchase the #8 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he begins driving for his organization in 2008. “I’m not sure what their position is or what they want for it,” Hendrick said Saturday between practices at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt said last week he would like to stay in the #8 if a deal can be reached with DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, who has the rights to the number [NASCAR owns the number and leases them to a team to use and market] and his long-time sponsor, Budweiser. Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, said he will not act until there is a formal proposal. Hendrick doesn’t expect any sort of announcement for at least a few weeks. “Honestly, we’re leaving everything open,” he said. “It’s just so early. If you say you’re going to do something and you really think you are, six weeks from now we might change our mind again. We’re working through our sponsors and everything.”(ESPN.com)(6-24-2007)
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports wants to buy the #8 so that Dale Earnhardt Jr. can race it next season. But it’s not for sale, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer. The story quoted NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston, who said NASCAR owns and issues the numbers and that teams can’t sell them. He said a team can allow another to use the number for a year as long as NASCAR approves. The report said Dale Earnhardt Inc., which uses the number, was aware of NASCAR’s policy on selling numbers. Hendrick Motorsports officials weren’t available for comment.(Dallas Morning News)(6-26-2007)
- Jeff Gordon documentary to debut on TNT: A documentary-style feature on #24-Jeff Gordon is set to debut on TNT and then be available as a DVD. The program, “24 x 24: Wide Open with Jeff Gordon,” will debut on TNT July 7 [at 5:30pm/et and after the race in Daytona] with an extended version DVD set to be released July 10. The documentary explores the life of Gordon, both on and off the track. It includes interviews with motorsports and entertainment personalities as well as Gordon’s family and friends. Gordon allowed cameras to follow him for 24 hours to film the project. Independent film entertainment studio Lionsgate is distributing the work, which was produced by Wide Open Entertainment in association with Pepsi Entertainment. Pepsi Racing, DuPont Motorsports and Nicorette Racing sponsored the film.(SceneDaily.com)(6-26-2007)
- Nadeau Joins EnduranceKarting.com Team for 24 Hours of Le Mans: Former NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau has announced he will join EnduranceKarting.com for his second European 24 hour karting race in as many months. Nadeau will join one of three teams representing America in the 24 Hours of Le Mans July 7-8, 2007. The four-time karting champion helped EnduranceKarting.coms Team USA to a 12th place finish earlier this month in the 24 Hours of Batahla, Portugal. EnduranceKarting.coms trio of teams will attempt to defend a podium finish in last years 24 Hours of Le Mans.(PR)(6-26-2007)
- Dale Jr. ranked 6th in Poll: For the fourth consecutive year, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series, has been named among “America’s Favorite Sports Stars” in a national poll by Harris Interactive. Earnhardt Jr. is ranked sixth overall this year, and has ranked no worse than eighth place since 2004. He is again the only race car driver among the top-10 athletes.
This year’s top-10, according to the Harris Interactive Poll:
1.) Tiger Woods
2.) Derek Jeter
3.) Michael Jordan
4.) Brett Favre
5.) LeBron James
6.) Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7.) Tim Duncan
8.) Peyton Manning
9.) Kobe Bryant
10.) Tom Brady
For more details and methodology, click to the Harris Interactive site.(fingerprint inc./Bud PR)(6-26-2007)
- Mayfield testing at Thompson to pick a car for NHIS: The #36 360 OTC Racing team will test two cars at Thompson Speedway [CT] Wednesday and will choose between COT 15 and COT 12 as Jeremy Mayfield’s primary car for Loudon [NHIS] once the test is complete. Mayfield’s hopes to make his 409th career Nextel Cup Series start at NHIS.(BDR PR)(6-26-2007)
- Martin goes to Washington DC: #01-Mark Martin spent two days last week in the nation’s capital as a guest of the United States Army, his primary sponsor in the Nextel Cup Series. The Washington D.C. trip included stops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to meet with wounded soldiers, a tour of the Pentagon and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where he, his wife Arlene and son Matt had the honor of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “It was just an awesome experience all around,” said Martin. “I’ve been involved in a lot of sponsorships in my career, but this one with the U.S. Army is very special. It’s an honor to drive the car for the Soldiers and it’s an honor to get to do things like this. Visiting the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed was an experience that I’ll never forget, they are truly an inspiration to me. They have given so much and yet are so positive and upbeat. They have the best attitudes that you can imagine and when you see it you have a new found respect for everyone involved in the fight for freedom. I was there to visit them, but it was those guys who inspired me.” Martin and his family were also inspired following a private tour of the Pentagon. “The Pentagon is really cool,” said Martin. “I had never been there before. My son Matt is a huge military history buff and I know that he had a really good time looking at all of the historical artifacts. There is so much history there, and we had a lot of fun enjoying that together.”(Ginn Racing)(6-26-2007)
- Some Cup teams testing at Milwaukee today: Five Ford teams are testing at the The Milwaukee Mile today in preparation for this weeks race at New Hampshire: #21 Wood Brothers w/Bill Elliott; #6 Roush Fenway w/David Ragan; #26 Roush Fenway w/Jamie McMurray; #7-Robby Gordon and #38 Robert Yates w/David Gilliland. Grandstands open free to spectators until 5pm. No word on which teams will test Wednesday, supposedly RCR will test on Thursday.(6-26-2007)
- Gordon hits 300…top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon scored the 300th [and 301 at Sonoma) top-10 finish of his Nextel Cup career in Michigan on June 17, 2007. With 489 starts in the Cup series, the finish puts him in line with other legends of the sport in collecting 300 top-10’s in fewer than 500 starts. Richard Petty accomplished the task in 1969 in his 439th career start; David Pearson picked up his 300th top-10 in 1976 in his 449th start; Dale Earnhardt’s 300th came in 1994 in his 463rd start; Darrell Waltrip scored #300 in 1989 in his 470th start, while Bobby Allison accomplished the feat in 1980 in his 475th start. With competition as close as it is today, it remains to be seen whether another driver can get to 300 top-10’s in fewer than 500 career starts. The most likely candidates would be Tony Stewart who has 179 top-10’s in 300 races, and Jimmie Johnson who has accumulated 120 top-10 finishes in 199 races.(Gordonline.com)(6-26-2007)
News from June 25, 2007
- Some first wins since stuff, some ironies: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s win at Infineon Raceway is the first win for sponsor Texaco since Ricky Rudd won in the #28 RYR Ford…at Infineon Raceway in 2002 and the first win for the 42 number since Joe Nemechek won for Felix Sabates at New Hampshire in 1999, the 68th win for the #42 [8th on the all time list]. In 2000, Kenny Irwin Jr. took over the #42 ride at Sabates Racing and was killed in a practice wreck in July that year at New Hampshire [the site of the next race], the team then switched to #01, which it ran, even after Ganassi bought the majority of the team from Sabates, thru 2001. Then switched the #01 to the #41 when Target came aboard to sponsor the team with driver Jimmy Spencer for the 2002 season. Montoya’s win is Ganassi Racing’s first Nextel Cup win since Jamie McMurray won at Charlotte in 2002. In 2003, Ganassi started a third team, resurrecting the #42 with Texaco as the sponsor and McMurray as the driver. Texaco had also been Irwin’s sponsor when he drove the #28 for RYR in 1998-1999.(6-25-2007)
- Almirola to Ginn in 2008? Hearing Aric Almirola, who was credited with the Milwaukee Busch Series race win Saturday night, will join Ginn Racing in 2008 as a protege to #01-Mark Martin. Supposedly the plan is for Almirola to run part-time Cup, Busch and Trucks in 2008 and take over the #01 Chevy full-time in 2009.
However: in a press conference at Sonoma, JGR president J.D. Gibbs said of Almirola: “Really, for us, he [Almirola] is a huge part of our future. We have invested a lot in him both time wise and financially but more importantly, just getting to know him. No one wants him to succeed more than us. He is a perfect fit all the way around to race here for JGR and will be in this sport for years to come.” and “He’ll run another race for them [Rockwell, sponsor of JGR Busch team] here down the road this year and they’ll line up and do a full deal with him next year. That’s what I hope.” and “Rockwell has been a great partner for many years. For us, they are kind of evaluating where they go next year.”(GM Racing PR)(6-25-2007)
- Marlin may cut back to part-time in 2008 UPDATE: #14-Sterling Marlin has had talks with Ginn Racing about cutting back to a part-time schedule next season. Marlin’s contract expires after this season.(Roanoke Times)(6-20-2007)
UPDATE: hearing that Marlin will go to Furniture Row Motorsports and run a 2nd team part-time in 2008, Kenny Wallace is the full time driver in the #78 Chevy. Regan Smith would replace Marlin in the #14 Chevy at Ginn Racing.(6-25-2007)
- First foreign born driver to win since 1974: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia, is the first driver born outside the United States to win a race in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series since Canadian Earl Ross triumphed at Martinsville in 1974. The other foreign born driver to win a Cup race is Mario Andretti, born in Italy, won the 1967 Daytona 500.(6-25-2007)
- Wins in Multiple Series: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya becomes the third driver to earn victories in F1, NASCAR and Indy cars, joining Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney.(ESPN.com)(6-25-2007)
- NASCAR determined to police COT: NASCAR is determined to take any guesswork out of its new Car of Tomorrow. With a new system of templates and sensors to measure the parameters of the taller, wider and reputedly safer car, NASCAR chairman Brian France said the sanctioning organization wants to leave no doubt that it will come down hard on infractions. “We have to lay down the law,” France said Sunday at Infineon Raceway, where the Nextel Cup cars raced in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. That doesn’t bode well for the teams of#24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson, who were parked for Friday’s practice and qualifying after NASCAR inspectors found front fenders on their COT Chevrolets had been illegally modified. The two Hendrick Motorsports drivers were allowed to practice Saturday and race Sunday, starting from the rear of the field, but it is expected that NASCAR will follow up in the next few days with more severe penalties, possibly including the loss of drivers and owner points, six-figure fines and suspensions for the crew chiefs. Asked if NASCAR is taking all the creativity away from the teams, France said, “There will always be room for imagination and ingenuity in the sport. But we don’t want this thing to revolve around technology. It’s important to keep it in the hands of the drivers.”(AP/ESPN.com)(6-25-2007)
- More on Gibbs to Toyota…done deal? Extending Stewart to 2011? UPDATE Toyota denied; Stewart possibly: Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota are “a done deal” for 2008, according to several sources, though team executives said otherwise. Apparently one hangup in the talks between the long-time Chevy operation (which features #20-Tony Stewart) and Toyota is a clause in Gibbs’ current GM [Chevy] contract which bars the team from negotiating with any other manufacturer until the contract is up. So sources said Gibbs has had to go through an agent in the talks. Gibbs has a major negotiating session scheduled with General Motors in the next two weeks, which should provide the ‘yea,’ or ‘nay’ on that side of the issue. One of the big reasons for Toyota’s intense interest in Gibbs Racing is Gibbs’ engine program, headed by Mark Cronquist, one of the best in the business. Gibbs is also renegotiating his contract with Stewart to extend it another two years. The contract runs through the end of 2009; the new package would run through the end of 2011.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2007)
UPDATE: J.D. Gibbs would like to sign #20-Tony Stewart to an extension that will keep the two-time Nextel Cup champion at Joe Gibbs Racing at least through 2011. Stewart’s contract at JGR runs through 2009. But with a talented stable of young talent in the developmental pool and Stewart joking about retirement several times this season, the president of JGR would like to find out just what his marquee driver wants. “Hey, we want Tony to be here for a long time,” Gibbs said before Sunday’s race at Infineon Raceway. “If he said at the end of ’09 I’m done, officially done, hey, we understand that. Let’s go get a plan. The reality is, I think he wants to go [on]. How long does he want to go? I want all of those guys on the same page.” Gibbs denied reports that he has a deal to leave General Motors for Toyota. “I’ve got to be honest,” he said. “That’s just not true. That’s speculation. We’re sitting down with the GM guys [in a few weeks]. We’ve had conversations with them. I don’t think any GM team has signed a deal yet. That was kind of frustrating.” JGR has been with GM for 16 seasons between Pontiac and Chevrolet. While Gibbs plans to discuss a new deal, he never ruled out talking to Toyota. Gibbs also didn’t rule out talking to driver Kyle Busch, who became a free agent when it was announced Dale Earnhardt Jr. would replace him at Hendrick Motorsports next season.(ESPN.com)(6-25-2007)
- Sonoma Rookie Post Race Notes:
* #42-Juan Pablo Montoya scored his first Nextel Cup Series victory today [6/24] at Infineon Raceway. His first win came in his 17th career start. Montoya’s best previous finish was fifth at Atlanta earlier this year (race #4).
* UNOFFICIALLY Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 15 points (180-165) in the Raybestos® Rookie standings. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the eighth time in 16 races this season.
* Montoya led once for seven laps, the first time he has led this season. He became the second Raybestos Rookie to lead in 19 races at Infineon Raceway. Scott Pruett led twice for 10 laps in 2000.
* Montoya is the first Raybestos Rookie to win at Infineon Raceway in 19 Nextel Cup Series races. The best previous finish was ninth, shared by Ryan Newman (2002) and Kenny Irwin (1998).
· The Toyota/Save Mart 350 was race #5 in the Raybestos Rookie Magnificent Seven program. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increases to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season. · A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons.(Raybestos Rookie Notes)(6-25-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Toyota/Save Mart 350:
Total number of commercials: 113
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 74
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 15
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 5:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 8:18 PM
Total minutes: 198
Minutes of race broadcast: 144
Minutes of commercials: 54
Total race brdcst time: 144 Total comm. brdcst time: 54
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-25-2007)
- Petty in-car analyst…oops: In what was billed as the first time a driver in a top-tier NASCAR race simultaneously served as a TV analyst on race coverage, TNT’s #45-Kyle Petty took viewers a little too close to the action in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350. After early glitches — TNT’s other announcers initially couldn’t get through to Petty and when they did he said they were breaking up on him — the multitasking seemed promising. Said Petty, at the green flag, “Everybody is a passenger today.” Too true. Driver #17-Matt Kenseth and Petty collided in the second lap in an accident that included driver #91-Marc Goossens. TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach speculated Petty “had no clue” Kenseth was nosing in on him. On a replay of the view out of Petty’s windshield, the driver-analyst seemed to confirm that: As Kenseth came into view, viewers heard a clear exclamation of surprise that seemed to come from Petty — “What the f—-!” TNT’s Bill Weber immediately apologized “for that language,” and Petty, who stayed in the race and finished 39th, came back on-air to say that “was not the kind of excitement I wanted” and later apologized on-air for the accident. All 43 cars in NASCAR races are miked, TNT spokesman Jeff Pomeroy says, and the audio that pops up on-air can’t always be identified: “We can assume that audio came from one of the three cars in the accident. But we can’t be sure it was Kyle.”(USA Today)(6-25-2007)
- Hendrick teams preparing for crew chief suspensions: It looks like Chad Knaus and Steve Letarte are about to become teachers, in a hurry. Sources told me [captainthunderracing.com] late Monday, that the two Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs and their crews will be working franticly to prepare for the possible suspensions stemming from the Infineon race. At last weekends road race in California, both teams race cars failed inspection and their drivers, #24 Jeff Gordon and #48 Jimmie Johnson, where forced to start from the back of the field. Over the next few days, the two crew chiefs will be working overtime with their crews and their new replacements [it doesn’t say who they are] to prepare themselves for the possible passing of the baton this weekend in New Hampshire. Sources said Knaus is prepared to assist Letarte with preparations and the two are reviewing Knaus’s notes from last year to get a strong handle on how to handle their potential impending absences from the race track. They are preparing to work the operation much the way they did last season when Knaus was suspended following a cheating infraction at the season opening Daytona 500. Johnson won the race in Knause’s absence with fill in crew chief Darian Grubb sitting on the pit box in place of Knaus. Grubb parlayed that gig in to a full time gig as crew chief for the #25 of Casey Mears. When Knaus was suspended last year, they communicated via laptop and cell phone by housing Knaus in a hotel close to the track. Sources told me they will prepare much as they did last year and they will be sure to be ready for the worst. And, if they don’t get suspended, they will be even better prepared for this weeks race in New Hampshire. Whoever replaces Knaus and Letarte has some big shoes to fill, and they better be prepared to be there for a while. Sources say the penalty could equal the one NASCAR handed out to Tony Eury Jr. just a few weeks ago.(captainthunderracing.com)(6-25-2007)
News from June 24, 2007
- Montoya wins at Sonoma: #42-Juan Pabloe Montoya won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his 1st ever Nextel Cup Series win in his 17th career start. The win adds Montoya to the 2008 All-Star race. Montoya led 7 of the 110 laps and won from the 32nd starting spot, the worst spot ever a driver has won a road course race on either of the current road course tracks:
Infineon Raceway, it was 13th by Davey Allison in 1991
Watkins Glen, it was 18th by Steve Park in 2000
and even at Riverside which NASCAR ran fron 1959-1988, it was 12th by Geoffrey Bodine in 1984
#7-Robby Gordon led the most laps at 48 and finished 16th. Pole sitter, #26-Jamie McMurray led 30 laps, but ran out of gas with 2 laps to do and finished 37th, one lap down. #29-Harvick finished 2nd, followed by #31-Burton, #07-Bowyer [2-3-4 by RCR], #16-Biffle, #20-Stewart, #24-Gordon [after starting 41st], #5-Busch, #60-Said and #11-Hamlin. It was the first win for Dodge in 2007 and since Charlotte in Oct. 2006. #00-P.J. Jones was the highest finishing Toyota at 12th. There were 7 cautions for 14 laps and 8 drivers lead the race with 11 lead changes.
Race Results on my Sonoma Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Sonoma page
Race Rundown: see my Sonoma Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-24-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Sonoma [16 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 2538
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2267 -271
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2172 -366
4) #17-Matt Kenseth 2105 -433
5) #31-Jeff Burton 2084 -454
6) #20-Tony Stewart 2058 -480
7) #99-Carl Edwards 2019 -519
8) #29-Kevin Harvick 1964 -574
9) #07-Clint Bowyer 1934 -604
10) #5-Kyle Busch 1905 -633
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1863 -675
12) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1815 -723
#42-Montoya is 21st
#9-Kahne is 26th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page. (6-24-2007)
- Sonoma Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #17 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 4
2 #45 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 4
3 #6 TE Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road 16
4 #66 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 69
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-24-2007)
- Rumblings – Sonoma Race Notes: Juan Pablo Montoya had just enough fuel left today at Infineon Raceway to take the Toyota/Save Mart 350 for his first-ever Nextel Cup victory. He becomes the 10th different winner this season, the 175th different winner in Cup history, and he’s tied for 115th on the all-time win list. Win #6 for Chip Ganassi (but the first since 2002) was worth $310,600 for Montoya. Well, that in-race reporter thang sure got off to a rocky start, huh?
Kevin Harvick (2nd) had his best finish since he won the Daytona 500 in February.
Jeff Burton (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Texas in April.
Clint Bowyer (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at California last September. I wonder if Richard Childress had visions of a 1-2-3 finish dancing in his head?
Greg Biffle (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Bristol in March.
Boris Said (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Daytona last July (only five races).
P. J. Jones (12th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Watkins Glen in August of 2002!
Elliott Sadler (14th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Las Vegas in March.
Ron Fellows (15th) had his best finish since he was 8th here in June of 2005 (only four races).
Dale Jarrett (26th) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Daytona in February,
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 11 Top-10’s in the last 12 races. Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Gordon (+34), followed by Juan Pablo Montoya (+31), P. J. Jones (+31), Denny Hamlin (+26), Jimmie Johnson (+25), and Kevin Harvick (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jamie McMurray (-36), followed by Sterling Marlin (-23), Dave Blaney (-22), and Bobby Labonte (-20).
Juan Pablo Montoya led a lap today for the first time in his Nextel Cup career. Ron Fellows led a lap today for the first time since he led twice for 21 circuits when we were here in June of 2003. We’ve now had 46 drivers lead a lap this season….last year we had 48.
No change in the Top-5 this week. Jeff Gordon’s lead over Denny Hamlin (pending the penalty we’re expecting this week) is now 271. The best move forward in the points this week goes to Robby Gordon (29th to 24th), while Tony Raines (27th to 32nd) fell the most spots. Among drivers entered this week, Sterling Marlin (24th to 28th) took the negative award.(Stock Car Fans)(6-24-2007)
- Hamlin relieves Almirola at Milwaukee Busch race and wins..for Almirola: ESPN2 reported that no driver has ever won a Busch Series in relief of another driver, the last time it was done in Nextel Cup was when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison, August 7, 1977 at Talladega. But later NASCAR announced that in April 1985, Harry Gant filled in for Jack Ingram at the Darlington Busch Series race and went on to win and the credit went to Ingram. Denny Hamlin was flying from Sonoma to Milwaukee and the helicopter could not land at the helipad, and had to land at a nearby airport. So Aric Almirola, who won the pole in the #20 Rockwell Chevy at the Milwaukee Mile, started the race and lead 44 laps, and on 57 a caution came out, Almirola was called to pit, where Hamlin got in the car. Almirola refused interviewsd and left the track before the end of the race and didn’t celebrate his first win. See more on my Busch Series site.(6-24-2007)
- Robby looking to add 2nd team: #7-Robby Gordon said Friday that he’s moving closer to adding a second team for 2008. “When we have runs like this, it entices people to come and look at our organization,” said Gordon after qualifying second for the Save Mart 350. “We’re a single-car effort, but we can compete with these guys. We proved that, when for the last three weeks, we’ve been a top-15 car every week. And if we can run in the top 15, the door’s going to open up and we’ll find ourselves in victory lane.” Gordon also said he expects to move into his new headquarters for Robby Gordon Motorsports in late September.(Ford Racing)(6-24-2007)
- Yeley’s fate with JGR? #18-J.J. Yeley’s fate is still up in the air with Joe Gibbs Racing after a star-crossed run at Michigan last week that saw him qualify on the pole but sink like a stone once the green flag fell en route to a 28th-place finish.(Ford Racing)(6-24-2007)
- Eury Jr. to Hendrick? #8 crew chiefTony Eury, Jr. is likely to join Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports next season sources said.(Ford Racing)(6-24-2007)
- #24 and #48 pulled from practice, qualifying after failing inspection MORE: NASCAR officials announced that #24-Jeff Gordon [points leader] and #48- Jimmie Johnson [3rd in points] will not be allowed to practice or qualify Friday after their cars failed the initial morning inspection at Infineon Raceway. The front fenders on both the #24 Chevy of Gordon and the #48 Chevy of Johnson had front fenders that were too wide. The cars did not fit the template for a Car of Tomorrow entry. Both drivers will have to start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 300 event on the 2-mile Infineon road course. Gordon, the season points leader, won at Infineon one year ago. His five victories at Sonoma are the most among active drivers. “Both teams have the opportunity to repair their primary cars and resubmit them for inspection,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “If they pass that inspection, they’ll be allowed to practice on Saturday.” Neither crew chief — Steve Letarte for Gordon and Chad Knaus for Johnson — has been suspended for this race. But additional penalties are likely for both drivers and crew chiefs next week. NASCAR officials have warned all teams that any violations involving the COT would results in severe punishment. The #8 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized 100 points and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. was fined $100,000 when a pre-qualifying inspection at Darlington showed the brackets on the rear wing were modified out of regulation.(ESPN.com)(6-22-2007)
UPDATE: “I don’t necessarily say they bent the rules,” [Team Owner Rick] Hendrick said after a lengthy team meeting inside of Jeff Gordon’s hauler. “They thought they were working inside of an area they thought they could. The fenders on the car are sitting out there in front of God and everybody. If you’re going to try to do something to gain an advantage you wouldn’t do it and roll it through inspection.” NASCAR officials said the front right fenders on both cars were flared out beyond the wheel well to create an advantage. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, called it a blatant attempt to circumvent the rules. Based on what happened to crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. when NASCAR discovered alterations to the rear-wing bracket at Darlington, the ensuing penalty will be substantial. Eury was suspended for six races and fined $100,000, and Earnhardt was docked 100 championship points. Hendrick, anticipating that or worse, already is pleading his case to NASCAR. “We’ll have to see what the penalty is, but I don’t think the penalty fits the crime in this case when you’re talking about the top of a fender or the side of a fender,” he said. “I don’t see it as a situation where you had a certified part and it’s been altered or anything like that.” Hendrick said Gordon and Johnson already have been punished enough — they’re being forced to start at the rear of the field. The only driver to win at Infineon from the back was Ernie Irvan, who started at the rear after jumping the start in 1992. We want to play by the rules. I don’t enjoy this. The guys don’t enjoy this. I’m sure NASCAR doesn’t enjoy this. This is a big penalty not being able to qualify and get a good starting spot and good pit spot,” he said. “We’re just hoping for a good finish. If these two cars finish in the top 10 tomorrow I’ll be happy.”(ESPN.com)(6-24-2007)
- Earnhardt Elledge interview on RaceDay today: Wendy Venturini talks exclusively with Kelley Earnhardt Elledge about her unique role as big sister to #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr and general manager of her brother’s fledgling business, JR Motorsports. The exclusive interview between Venturini and Elledge will air Sunday from Sonoma on the “Real Deal” segment of SPEED’s NASCAR RaceDay.(SPEED PR), the show airs today on SPEED at 2:00pm/et.(6-24-2007)
- Gilliland wins West Series race at Infineon: #38-David Gilliland held off another second-generation Grand National Division West Series competitor, P.J. Jones, to capture his third career series win by 1.246 seconds in the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200 at Infineon Raceway. They were followed by road race specialist Boris Said in third. All three drivers are doing double duty on the twisting 1.99-mile road course this weekend, also competing in the Nextel Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday. Although Gilliland won the Bud Pole, it was 17-year-old Joey Logano who dashed into the early lead at Infineon on Saturday. It did not last long, however, as Gilliland took command on lap 3. Pit stops shuffled the lead positions through the midway point of the race, with Gilliland moving back into the lead on lap 35 and never relinquishing the top spot. Logano had worked his way back up to second later in the race, but his effort ended with engine failure on lap 55 [finished 32nd]. Jones assumed second, but could not get by Gilliland in the closing laps. Said finished third, followed by Eric Holmes and Justin Lofton.(Racingwest.com), Regan Smith, who will also drive in the Nextel Cup race started 16th and finished 31st.(6-24-2007)
News from June 23, 2007
- Trucks to test spec engine at Martinesville: Bill Davis Racing and Roush Fenway Racing each will test a truck at Martinsville Speedway for NASCAR on Monday [June 25th]. Davis said the teams will use a spec engine as NASCAR explores the possibility of making all the engines the same for the Craftsman Truck series at some point. “On the surface, it really looks good because of the cost reduction,” Davis said of a spec engine in the truck series. “The only thing that concerns me, not only my operation but a lot of truck operations are very manufactured-dependent for sponsorship. I’m afraid if the manufacturer doesn’t have his engine in there, it’s a spec motor, is the attraction still going to be there?” Johnny Benson is scheduled to test for Bill Davis Racing. Travis Kvapil is scheduled to test for Roush Fenway Racing.(Roanoke Times)(6-23-2007)
- Extra Weight added to COT’s at Sonoma: NASCAR teams will be adding extra weight to the cars of tomorrow [COT] this weekend at Infineon Raceway. NASCAR has increased the weight of the car by 50 pounds to allow teams to distribute the weight more easily and to improve the integrity of the car since teams will not be trying to lighten up the car in other places, a NASCAR spokesman said. The new weight of 3,450 pounds is in place for all car of tomorrow races going forward.(SceneDaily.com)(6-23-2007)
- BDR hopes to re-sign CAT: Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis Racing [#22,#23,#36], says that Caterpillar’s sponsorship ends [of #22-Dave Blaney] after the season and the team is in talks with the company to continue that partnership.(Roanoke Times)(6-23-2007)
- Menards sponsorship to Penske in 2008? John Menard is reported to be considering moving his sponsorship from Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#15 Paul Menard] to Roger Penske’s Dodge team, with Penske expanding to a three-car operation. Menard, according to sources, has chopped his list to two owners, and it appears that #7-Robby Gordon is no longer in the running. Menard, who is supporting son Paul on the Cup tour at DEI, has been reported interested in purchasing DEI from Teresa Earnhardt [which has been rumored many times but always denied](Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2007)
- “Design Dale’s New Ride” Coloring Contest Winner: Twelve-year-old Vincent Giacalone from Emerson, NJ took the “championship cup” in The UPS Store “Design Dale’s New Ride” coloring contest. Dale Jarrett plans to race the special paint scheme for the 2007 The UPS Store/Toys for Tots #44 Camry on October 28 in Atlanta to kick off The UPS Store/Toys for Tots2007 fund-raising campaign. The “Design Dale’s New Ride” coloring contest offered kids ages 5-to-12 a chance to design this year’s The UPS Store/Toys for Tots #44 Camry. Vincent’s entry was chosen as one of the 10 semi-finalists out of more than 1,500 submissions. Then from April 30 – May 18, the public had the opportunity to vote online for their favorite design and chose Vincent’s design as the winner. As part of his prize package, Vincent will receive a trip for three to watch the October 28 race in Atlanta; a custom-fit, autographed racing suit to match the one Dale will wear; and other prizes. As a national Toys for Tots sponsor since 2005, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. network has raised more than $1 million for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. These monies helped the organization deliver more than 37.6 million toys, books and other gifts to more than 15 million children.(UPS Store), see an image of the winning car on the #44 Team Schemes page.(6-23-2007)
- #36 team to get #23 owners pts: Q) Butch Leitzinger is in the #23 car this weekend for Bill Davis Racing, but why not put him the #36 for owner points?
A): Great question. I [Tom Jensen] just went to the Nextel Cup garage here and spoke with Mike Brown, general manager of Bill Davis Racing. He said that the owner points the #23 gets this weekend will be credited to the #36. It’s the same team, but sponsor Caterpillar wanted both cars with consecutive numbers this weekend, so BDR asked NASCAR if it was OK to change numbers but still have the points go to the #36 and NASCAR approved it.(FoxSports/Tom Jensen)(6-23-2007)
- Wendy Venturini to call race for DirecTV: Sunday, viewers will get something unprecedented: A woman calling a top-flight NASCAR race on TV. At least, that is, if they have DirecTV, a satellite TV service in about 15 million households. While TNT has the national coverage of the Nextel Cup Save Mart 350, DirecTV’s Hotpass coverage will offer five separate channels — each focused on a single driver in the race. On the channel devoted to Robby Gordon, Wendy Venturini will call the race. She’s worked as a Speed Channel reporter and producer and, she says, “grew up at racetracks” because racing was the family business. “My mom had to be escorted through the garage when my dad raced; women weren’t allowed in alone. So, we’ve come a long way. I’m just humbled by this.” Still, Wendy says her father, Bill, had an all-female Cup pit crew as a “publicity stunt” in the 1980s — “my mom and aunt were tire changers, another aunt was a jackwoman.” But DirecTV vice president Chris Long, who got the idea for using Venturini after a viewer e-mail noted it would be a TV first, says this is no stunt: “She’s gone through the wringer — she didn’t just show up.”(USA Today)(6-23-2007)
- Two-time Sonoma winner Rudd inducted onto Wall of Fame: #88-Ricky Rudd won the inaugural NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma, so it’s only fitting that his mug was added to the track’s Wall of Fame on Friday morning. When Rudd won way back in 1989, the current Infineon Raceway was called Sears Point. He finished in the Top 5 over the next four years and has logged 10 Top 5s and 11 Top 10s to lead all drivers at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. He also won in 2002, which was his most recent Cup victory. “I’m really honored and proud to be chosen for the Wall of Fame,” Rudd said. “It’s wonderful to be a part of the history of the Cup racing out at Infineon, and I’m just proud of the fact that we’ve had some accomplishments out there that they see worthy enough to place me on their Wall of Fame. We’ll have a copy of this on our fireplace to look at every day. I think the earlier days of Infineon a lot of the success that drivers had there was thanks to traditional road racing techniques to get around the race track. Back when I began racing at Infineon, there was only a handful of guys that you really had to focus on and deal with up at the front of the pack, because a lot of the others couldn’t adapt to driving cars the way we could.” Save Mart Supermarkets chairman and CEO Bob Piccinini was also added to the Wall of Fame for his involvement with the Cup race since 1992.(Napa Valley Register)(6-23-2007)
News from June 22, 2007
- Sony and Dale Jr. and more on Adidas UPDATE: Sony will announce Thursday [6/21] that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has signed a personal endorsement contract with the high-end consumer electronics company. Adidas is set to announce another deal with Earnhardt next month. Sony was an easy choice for Earnhardt, an avid online racing gamer who likes high-tech gadgets and computers. He primarily will hawk high-definition products (such as TVs, camcorders, cameras and Blu-ray disc players) for Sony, joining Peyton Manning and Michelle Wie as its high-profile endorsers.(USA Today)(6-21-2007)
UPDATE: Sony Electronics announced a personal endorsement deal with #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. of Jr Motorsports to participate in the company’s upcoming marketing efforts. The multi-year deal provides Sony the use of Earnhardt’s name, likeness, image, voice and endorsement for use in advertising, promotions and merchandising for consumer marketing campaigns aimed at driving sales of Sony Electronics products. Among the products Earnhardt will promote are Sony’s high definition BRAVIA televisions in which he will appear in Sony’s new HD ad campaign. In addition, Earnhardt will participate in major electronics industry events and trade shows and will make personal appearances each year on behalf of Sony as part of the agreement. Sony Electronics is an active supporter of NASCAR for the past seven years and is the official high-definition TV partner of NASCAR.(Paine PR)(6-22-2007)
- McMurray wins pole at Infineon Raceway: #26-Jamie McMurray won the Budweiser Pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a speed of 92.414mph for his 3rd career pole, his first since Pocono in July 2005, and the first pole for Ford since the Daytona 500 when #38-Gilliland won the pole. #7-Gordon qualified 2nd with the rest of the top-10 as follows: ##8-Earnhardt Jr., #60-Said [best of the non top-35 teams], #20-Stewart, #31-BUrton, #21-Elliott, #9-Kahne, #12-Newman and #07-Bowyer. Points leader #24-Gordon will start 41st after his car failed inspection on Friday as did #48-Johnson, who will start 42nd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #60-Said, #21-Elliott, #44-Jarrett, #22-Blaney, #91-Goossens [first ever start for the new RDM Toyota team], #55-Labonte, #23-Leitzinger and #00-Jones [starts last as no past champ needed the spot, so it goes to the next fastest driver/team]. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole preogression and more on my Sonoma Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-22-2007)
- Nine do not qualify for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway: #15-Menard, #4-Burton, #37-Simo, #49-Graf, #84-Allmendinger, #10-Riggs, #83-Vickers, #02-Ash and #78-Wallace.(6-22-2007)
- Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
Chevy: #8-Earnhardt Jr., 92.384, starts 3rd
Dodge: #9-Kahne, 92.126, starts 8th
Ford: #26-McMurray, 92.414, starts 1st
Toyota: #44-Jarrett, 91.644, starts 16th
- Ramblings – Infineon Raceway: If the penalty to the #8 car and crew chief was a shot across the bow, today NASCAR hit ’em broadside! Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsport teammates) spent the day as spectators at Infineon Raceway after failing pre-practice inspection this morning and they were not allowed to practice or qualify. Hence, they’ll start at the rear (41st and 42nd) for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350. You gotta wonder why you schedule qualifying opposite the Truck Race. Should have been a no-brainer to start a half-hour earlier, push the CTS event back a half-hour….and everybody gets to see all the action. I’m betting the schedule planner is auditioning for a “gummit” job….. Oh, we had some action on the track too…..
Jamie McMurray captured the Bud Pole today, and he’s the 8th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This is Jamie Mac’s 3rd career top spot….his last one came at Pocono in July of 2005.
He’ll be joined on the front row by Robby Gordon. This is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole when we were here in June of 2003.
Boris Said (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Daytona last July (only five races).
Tony Stewart (5th) has is best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Bristol in March.
Bill Elliott (7th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 3rd at California in September of 2004!
Ron Fellows (11th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd when we were here in June of 2003 (only seven races).
Dale Jarrett (16th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega last October.
Welcome Back Marc Goosens (21st). This will be his second Cup start, the first was at Watkins Glen last August when he started 27th and finished 43rd.
Terry Labonte (25th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 24th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May of 2006.
Hello Butch Leitzinger (30th). He’ll make his first Nextel Cup start on Sunday.
(NOTE: Leotzinger has made 3 other Nextel Cup starts one each in 1994,1995,1996 all at Watkins Glen]
Welcome Back P. J. Jones (43rd). His last Cup race was here last June when he started 15th and finished 36th.
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in a row. Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(6-22-2007)
- Sonoma Qualifying Notes:
.. Jamie McMurray won the Bud Pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 with a lap of 77.521 seconds, 92.414 mph.
.. This is his third career Bud Pole in 166 Nextel Cup races.
.. It is his first Bud Pole on a road course and his second top-10 start in five races at Infineon – both on the front row. He started second and finished 18th in this race last year.
.. McMurray has finished in the top-10 in two of his eight road-course races: second here in 2006 and third at Watkins Glen, also last season.
.. Jeff Gordon holds the track qualifying record with a lap of 75.950 seconds, 94.325 mph – set on June 24, 2005.
.. Robby Gordon qualified second with a lap of 77.533 seconds, 92.399 mph and will join McMurray on the front row. It is his fifth top-10 start in 10 Infineon races.
.. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) tied his career-best road-course starting position set in 2004 at Watkins Glen. It is his second top-10 start at Infineon.
.. Juan Pablo Montoya (32nd) was the highest qualifying rookie.
.. Boris Said (fourth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
.. Three foreign-born drivers made the field for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, tying the Nextel Cup standard for foreign-born participants: Ron Fellows (11th – Canada), Marc Goossens (21st – Belgium) and Montoya (Columbia). Seven previous races have had three, most recently this race in 2003.
.. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson did not take qualifying laps due to issues with technical inspection. Gordon had never started worse than 15th in his previous 14 races at Infineon. Johnson had just one top-10 start in his five Infineon races and recorded his best finish (fifth) from his second-worst start (34th) in 2004.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-22-2007)
- Sonoma Goodyear Tire Notes: Infineon Raceway being a road course, Goodyear will have one tire code to be run at all four tire positions this weekend . . . this tire code (D-4110) was run on the right-side of Nextel Cup cars at Martinsville earlier this season . . . other than at the series’ other road course at Watkins Glen, that is the only other track at which Cup teams are scheduled to run this code in 2007 . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this code for Nextel Cup teams to run at Infineon . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Infineon. Estimated pit window is every 30-34 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see my Sonoma Race Info/Rundown page for more.(6-22-2007)
- The Most Valuable NASCAR Teams:
Forbes has released its annual ranking of Nextel Cup teams based on value, Roush Fenway Racing tops the list. Forbes estimates, the average NASCAR team is worth $120 million, up 67% from last year. Average revenue was $84 million. Top teams now field 41 cars in NASCAR’s elite Nextel Cup Series vs. 34 in 2006. That means more deals from sponsors hoping to capitalize on TV exposure. Another factor this year: Forbes had access to more detailed information about where teams generate additional revenue, and how much. This dramatically increased their estimates of non-race day income. The top 10 teams, with their assigned value and revenue and Most Valuable driver:
1. Roush Fenway Racing (value: $316 million, revenue: $189 million, #17-Kenseth)
2. Hendrick Motorsports ($297, $163, #24-Gordon)
3. Joe Gibbs Racing ($173, $110, #20-Stewart)
4. Evernham Motorsports ($128, $89, #9-Kahne)
5. Richard Childress Racing ($124, $98, #29-Harvick)
6. Dale Earnhardt Inc. ($118, $96, #8-Earnhardt Jr.)
7. Robert Yates Racing ($103, $77, #38-Gilliland)
8. Chip Ganassi Racing ($94, $80, #42-Montoya)
9. Michael Waltrip Racing ($91, $75, #44-Jarrett)
10. Penske Racing ($75, $65, #12-Newman)
see full story at Forbes.com.(6-22-2007)
- Sonoma Rookie News and Notes: #15-Paul Menard was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 17 Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Menard finished 12th, his best effort in 10 starts this season, and he took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the third time in 2007. He also led the race once for one lap. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by four points (159-155) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be race No. 5 in the Raybestos Rookie Magnificent Seven program. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increases to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season: Daytona (Feb), Las Vegas, Martinsville (April), Darlington, Infineon, Chicagoland, and Bristol (August). The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie at Infineon Raceway is ninth, which is shared by Kenny Irwin (1998) and Ryan Newman (2002). Only one Raybestos Rookie has led a lap in 18 Nextel Cup races at Infineon Raceway. Scott Pruett led twice for 10 laps in the 2000 race. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at Infineon Raceway is second, shared by Jerry Nadeau (1998) and Tony Stewart (1999). Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22). Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup since the program was created in 2004. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006).(Camp & Assoc/Raybetos PR), see standings, rookie of each race, history and stats on my 2007 Rookies page.(6-22-2007)
- Kyle Busch to race PASS North All-Star race: PASS North will visit All-Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire for a 200-lap feature race on the Saturday night of Cup weekend – and one of NASCAR brightest stars will be heading over from the Magic Mile at NHIS to race at All-Star. Kyle Busch has signed to compete in the June 30th All-Star 200 PASS North event. Busch is a veteran of several Super Late Model events during the past several years and will drive the #51 car fielded by Steve Perry for the event. The PASS North teams have visited the track formerly known as Star Speedway in the past, but not since Bobby McArthur bought the facility, renovated it and changed the name before the start of the 2007 racing season. The All-Star 200 is scheduled for Saturday, June 30th. Practice and qualifying will take place on Friday night, June 29th.(51sports PR)(6-22-2007)
- Bahrain keen to host NASCAR Championship: an odd article and not much substance, imagine this would be some sort of NASCAR series but not Nextel Cup…..the article states: Motor racing enthusiasts in Bahrain may soon get to see the popular NASCAR Championship at the Bahrain International Circuit, it was revealed yesterday [6/19/07]. “Hosting NASCAR is on the minds of the management at the BIC,” said BIC director of PR and government affairs Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa who has just returned from the US after heading a fact-finding delegation. “We did go and see a NASCAR race and an Indy 500 single-seater race there. We not only looked at things from the racing side, but also from a marketing perspective,” said Shaikh Salman speaking at a BIC Press conference at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Resort and Spa. “The NASCAR race was very good to see, but we are yet to look at how that system would work here because we don’t have an oval. But it is something that we are looking into. It’s not to say that it only works on an oval. I think we will go through our checklist and see if everything makes sense,” he said. However, he appeared to hint that the US promoters were making large financial demands to allocate a race to Bahrain.(full story at Gulf Daily News), there are no comments from anyone associated with NASCAR.(6-22-2007)
- Edwards buddy to lose beard on SPEEDs Trackside Friday: Tom Giacchi, a childhood friend and motorcoach driver for #99-Carl Edwards, will shave for the first time since Nov. 6, 2005 when he takes the stage Friday for Trackside on SPEED this weekend from Sonoma at 6:00pm/et [just before Nextel Qualifying at 7:00pm/et]. Trackside, hosted by Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler. Giacchi, playfully known as “The Yeti,” gained popularity around the motor sports community, including sporting his own Web site (www.tomgiacchi.com) and fan club, when he committed to growing his facial hair until Edwards scored his next victory. Edwards went 52 races between victories, before winning last weekend in Michigan.(SPEED PR)(6-22-2007)
- Wally’s World and Pride of NASCAR This week on TNT: on Sunday, the TNT’s popular Pride of NASCAR series, which has featured veteran drivers David Pearson and Benny Parsons, will continue with a profile of one of the early superstars of NASCAR, Junior Johnson. TNT’s Marty Snider visited Johnson on his ranch in North Carolina where he discussed the origins of his career which were embedded in running moonshine across the South. Johnson tells Snider how he parlayed his success in outrunning the law into a 50-win NASCAR career and earning a place as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
TNT’s Wally’s World segment continues at Infineon Raceway as Wally Dallenbach hosts actor Bailey Chase for a wild ride-along. Chase stars in the new TNT drama Saving Grace, in which he plays Detective Butch Ada alongside Academy Award winner Holly Hunter.(TNT PR)(6-22-2007)
- Irvan to appear at Carlisle All-GM Nationals: The All-GM Nationals will be the place to be in 2007! Held in Carlisle PA from June 22-24, 2007. Last year’s show set high standards for the many fans, and this year will feature NASCAR great Ernie Irvan. Irvan is scheduled to be available throughout the weekend to greet fans, sign autographs and share some interesting insights of his storied racing career. More info at carsatcarlisle.com.(Todd Greene Agency PR)(6-22-2007)
News from June 21, 2007
- Johnson to be Featured on ESPN SportsCenter My Wish Series June 25th: After a successful debut last year, ESPN SportsCenter’s “My Wish” series, which chronicles sports-themed wishes granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions, will be aired Sunday, June 24, through Friday, June 29. The five “My Wish” episodes will feature 2006 Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, all-pro quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, a past NBA Finals most valuable player, a popular World Series slugger and an athlete TBD. Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will again host. “My Wish” is presented by ESPN, in cooperation with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Walt Disney Company. As part of the series, ESPN will help grant sports-related wishes with leading sports stars to five children referred by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each wish will then be the subject of one SportsCenter feature segment. The SportsCenter segment will feature the reason for the wish, interviews with the kids and their families, and a behind-the-scenes look at the wish fulfilled, including the interaction between the youngster and the athlete. Several ESPN multimedia platforms such as ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and ESPN360.com will offer additional and complementary content related to the five wish-granting experiences. Team ESPN encompasses ESPN’s multi-faceted corporate outreach initiatives, including volunteerism, corporate giving and cause marketing, while utilizing its diverse media assets. Through Team ESPN, ESPN, its employees and its fans work together to make a difference more info at www.teamespn.com. The Disney VoluntEARS program provides opportunities for Disney employees to contribute their time and expertise towards making a positive impact in the communities they serve while furthering the traditions and ideals of The Walt Disney Company. For more information on Disney’s outreach efforts, please visit www.disneyhand.com.(ESPN PR)
AND The 2007 edition of ESPN’s critically acclaimed and award-winning SportsCenter “My Wish” series will debut at 10:30am/et Sunday, June 24. Johnson’s segment will air during SportsCenter at 6:00pm/et Monday, June 25 [interestingly the same time as ESPN2’s NASCAR Now starts]. Johnson’s segment will be featuring 16-year-old Jennifer Walters of Colesburg, Iowa.(ESPN PR)(6-21-2007)
- Petty To Navigate and Commentate in Sonoma: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge head to the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Infineon Raceway, located in Sonoma for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350. Petty will give live, in-car analysis during Sunday’s race as part of his role with TNT this summer. Petty’s love for road course racing put him back into the #45 Dodge for this weekend’s event. He will be giving viewers one of the most unique experiences as to what it’s like racing a Nextel Cup car in road course competition. The countdown to 800 career starts picks back up this weekend. The road to Indianapolis, the location of Petty’s 800th career start, will roll through Sonoma for career start 799. Petty has 16 starts at Sonoma with two top-10 and one top-five finish.(Petty Racing PR)(6-21-2007)
- NASCAR’s top series to be renamed Sprint Cup in 2008? UPDATE 2 different then AT&T name change?: Sprint Nextel confirmed Sunday that it is mulling over the possibility of changing the name of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2008. “As we have stated before, Sprint Nextel is actively researching the best action regarding the name of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” said a Sprint Nextel public relations representative Sunday. “The name will remain NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the duration of the 2007. Our hope is to have more information by late summer regarding our plans for changing or not changing the name in 2008.” NASCAR officials had no comment on the possibility of a name change for its top series..(SpeedTV.com)(3-11-2007)
UPDATE: Beginning with the 2008 season, Sprint will replace Nextel as title sponsor of NASCAR’s premiere racing series, multiple high-ranking industry sources told ESPN.com on condition of anonymity. The series will be known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sources said. NASCAR declined comment. Dean Kessel, Sprint’s NASCAR marketing director, denied the claims, and said Sprint/Nextel is still sorting the proposition out with NASCAR. Kessel also said that multiple outstanding details must be finalized internally before a decision can be made either way. This would mark the third name since 2003 for NASCAR’s Cup Series. From 1972-2003, the Cup Series was sponsored by R.J. Reynolds tobacco through its Winston cigarette brand. Then, starting in 2004, Nextel assumed the naming rights to the most popular racing series in the United States. Sprint and Nextel agreed to a $36 billion merger in December 2004.(ESPN.com)(6-20-2007)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR will neither confirm nor deny that its Nextel Cup Series will carry the name Sprint beginning in 2008. “To my knowledge, no final decision has been made,” said Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications, refuting an ESPN.com report that the name change was imminent [reported for the 2008 season, no sooner]. But Poston added, “if that’s the direction they want to go, we (NASCAR) would be supportive of that.” Nextel officials were flying to California Wednesday afternoon, in preparation for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, and not available for comment. However, USA TODAY learned that the topic of changing the NASCAR series name did not come up at Wednesday’s corporate communications meeting. Changing the name would require substantial lead time and expense on the part of Sprint/Nextel, given the amount of signage and participating sponsorships involved. Poston noted that this issue of rebranding differs substantially in NASCAR’s eyes from the ongoing battle between AT&T/Cingular and Sprint/Nextel which prompted the filing of a $100 million countersuit by NASCAR this week. “They are different agreements,” Poston said. “The contract between Nextel and NASCAR had written into it that they could rebrand one time. The agreements between Cingular (and alltel with NASCAR) did not. We went to bat for them to keep them in the sport with a grandfather clause.”(USA Today)(6-21-2007)
- Chevy unveils paint schemes to commemorate 50 Years of the ’57 Chevy IMAGES: One of the most recognizable cars in American motoring history reaches a notable milestone this year, a milestone which NASCAR, Chevy and Motorsports Authentics proudly celebrate. The 1957 Chevrolet, a car which turns 50 years old this year, will be commemorated at August 19’s 3M Performance 400 Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway by at least 11 Team Chevy drivers. Unveiled by Jimmie Johnson at MIS today, a Monte Carlo SS race car featuring decals with cues from the iconic 1957 design is similar to the ones Johnson and other Team Chevy drivers will race during the August event. On August 18, ’57 Chevys along with many other historic vehicles will hit the streets during Metro Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise. That same weekend, Team Chevy Nextel Cup Series drivers #4-Ward Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #14-Sterling Marlin, #01-Mark Martin, #15-Paul Menard, #96-Tony Raines, #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #78-Kenny Wallace and #18-J.J. Yeley will take to the track at MIS with their cars wearing special ’57 Chevy paint schemes. To commemorate this special event, Motorsports Authentics will replicate their cars with die-cast models and offer apparel and novelty items related to the event.(GM Racing PR), added images for all the cars but the #11, see my Paint Scheme Gallery for them.(6-21-2007)
- COT to be tested at Talladega in Sept.: NASCAR’s decision to schedule a car-of-tomorrow test at Talladega Sept. 11, just after the Richmond cutoff for the Chase for the Championship, is probably a wise move, considering the troubles that the Talladega 500 Oct. 7 could present. NASCAR officials had pushed hard for teams to approve a car-of-tomorrow test at either Charlotte or Atlanta, to prepare for next year’s even trickier car-of-tomorrow runs at the tour’s midsize speedways. Brett Bodine, who, as director of cost research, is heading NASCAR’s car-of-tomorrow program, continues to wax enthusiastic about the car, despite a high center of gravity that makes it a bear in the turns. “The original design of the car of tomorrow has many characteristics of the current road-course car,” Bodine said, “particularly in the fact that both are more symmetrical than the current (standard) oval-track cars.”(Winston Salem Journal)(6-21-2007)
- NASCAR fans bolster young theft victim: NASCAR fans around the United States want to help Cody Copas. The Otterbein [Indiana] boy’s collection of Jeff Gordon memorabilia, including pieces given to him by the NASCAR driver during a Make-A-Wish Foundation trip, was stolen last week from his father’s home in West Lafayette. Offers to replace the items have come from NASCAR fans as far away as Maine, New Jersey and North Carolina.(for the full story and more info see the Journal and Courier)(6-21-2007)
- Dale Jr. to host Elvis event at Graceland; scheme at RIR: Lifelong Elvis fan, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., will rev up the 30th Anniversary Elvis Week celebration by hosting the first night of the “Elvis Music & Movies” series on the front lawn of Graceland on Monday, Aug. 13. “Elvis Music & Movies” marks the first ever Elvis Week entertainment event inside the gates of Presley’s famed home in Memphis. The 30th Anniversary Elvis Week, anticipated to be the largest Elvis event ever, runs Aug. 11-19. Earnhardt will be joined on stage by NHRA driver Brandon Bernstein. Earnhardt will discuss racing, his love of Elvis music, introduce his favorite songs, and interact with the evening’s entertainers, Andy Childs and the rockabilly trio, The Dempseys. Following the live performances, Earnhardt will introduce the Elvis movie Viva Las Vegas which has been restored and digitally remastered as part of a new release of Elvis movies from Warner Bros. For additional information on Elvis Week events and to buy tickets visit ElvisWeek.com.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR), plus Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a special Elvis scheme at Richmond in September.(6-21-2007)
- Michigan TV Ratings hard to guage the TV Ratings at Michigan for the Nextel Cup race, this season, the race was televised on TNT, a cable network and garnered a rating of 3.3 with 3,650,000 households and 5,225,000 viewers. Last season the race was televised on FOX with a 4.5 ratings [no viewers numbers listed], but the rating is measured a little different from cable to network TV. The 2006 August race at MIS was on TNT and got a 4.1 cable rating.(Zap2it.com)(6-21-2007)
- Dover TV Ratings: The Autism 400 presented by VISA at Dover International Speedway was postponed from Sunday June 3, 2007 to Monday, June 4th and televised on FOX, the ratings as found on Zap2it.com were a 2.3 rating and a /7 share with 2,602,000 households and 3,375,000 viewers. In 2006, the Dover race was televised on FX cable network and drew a 3.7 with 5,969,000 viewers. More info on TV Ratings and the 2007 chart, see my 2007 TV Ratimgs page.(6-21-2007)
- HOF plans 2nd team in 2008 UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Tony Raines] co-owner, Troy Aikman, said Tuesday on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, that the team plans to have a 2nd car in 2008 and that they need the 2nd team to get to the next level.(6-6-2007)
UPDATE: Bill Saunders, managing partner of Hall of Fame Racing, said he’s pleased with how [driver Tony] Raines has performed, but that he won’t decide whether Raines will return for 2008 until after the season. “As of right now, we’re still committed to Tony, but there’s a lot of this season to go,” Saunders said. “We’ve got to make sure he continues to perform and that the team continues to perform.” Saunders said the team has talked to different people and is hopeful it could have a second team for 2008, but no deal is imminent.(in part from the Dallas Morning News)(6-21-2007)
- Wiley X to sponsor Marlin at Sonoma: #14-Sterling Marlin will have Ginn Racing associate sponsor Wiley X as the primary sponsor on his #14 Chevy at Infineon Raceway this weekend.(Ginn Racing PR)(6-21-2007)
- Kyle Busch’s Team Claims Pit Crew Challenge Win at Michigan: Kyle Busch’s over-the-wall crew captured its first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season in Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Michigan International Speedway. Spending 200.130 seconds on pit road, the Kellogg’s team helped boost its driver to a sixth-place finish in the Citizens Bank 400. The team will be awarded $11,000 by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. Busch’s #5 crew, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, includes: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy “JD” Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Lee Deese (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 crew leads the season long Double Drive-Thru standings with four wins.
An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR), see past winners, standings and more on my Pit Crew News page and for the pit crew listings, see my 2007 Pit Crew Chart.(6-21-2007)
News from June 20, 2007
- Jeff & Ingrid Gordon proudly announce the birth of their daughter: Earlier today [6/20], Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosch welcomed a new daughter into the world. Ella Sofia Gordon was born at 9:09 a.m., weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long. “It’s been an absolutely incredible experience,” Gordon said. “Ingrid came through amazingly and we’re both really happy and overjoyed. We can’t wait to get home and start our lives together as a family.” The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will travel to Northern California later this week and is scheduled to participate in all on-track activities at Infineon Raceway, site of this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series race.(JeffGordon.com)(6-20-2007)
- Monster? Pepsi? Adidas? Dale Jr’s 2008 sponsor? Captain Thunder reports….am hearing that Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick has been in talks with two beverage sponsors for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racecar for 2008. One is Pepsi [or a Pepsi Product] and the other is Monster Energy. Pepsi has had a running relationship with Hendrick for many years as they have shared the sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s #24 car with the DuPont Corporation. Monster Energy has had a recent relationship with Dale Jr. and JR. Motorsports. Monster is all set to sponsor the late model car that Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath will drive for JR. Motorsports this year for a 10-race run. Look for an announcement soon as teams must have sponsorships and car numbers to the merchandise manufacturers for merchandise to be ready for February’s Speed Weeks in Daytona.(Captain Thunder site)
AND a note, Monster Energy drink is marketed by Anheuser-Busch, who also owns Budweiser, Earnhardt Jr.’s current sponsor.(anheuser-busch.com).
MORE Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s marketing team at JR Motorsports has been working on an apparel deal with Adidas that could put his own line of ClimaCool wear in major sporting goods retailers, a place where NASCAR has had no presence. Earnhardt’s own endorsement muscle is again evident in the deal with Adidas, which is believed to be a separate agreement from Earnhardt’s new relationship at Hendrick. It’s uncertain if the Adidas relationship might blossom into a team sponsorship deal. Earnhardt, though, was looking to go in a different direction. Sources say he was more interested in the “lifestyle” approach that Adidas offered through its ClimaCool brand, which could include Dale Jr. jerseys, performance T-shirts or other mainstream sportswear, as well as footwear. No launch date for any lifestyle line could be determined. Meanwhile, team owner Rick Hendrick offered no sponsorship news last week on Earnhardt’s new ride. Although Budweiser has made it clear that it’s interested in continuing its relationship with Earnhardt, other sponsor conflicts must be navigated. Kellogg’s and Carquest have a contract to be co-primary sponsors on Hendrick’s #5 car — the one that will be vacated by Kyle Busch to make room for Earnhardt — through 2009.(Sports Business Journal)(6-20-2007)
- Special Coors scheme for Stremme at Sonoma: Instead of the primary Coors Light paint scheme, the #40 Dodge that David Stremme drivers will feature Coors “The Banquet Beer” livery. Earlier this year, Coors unveiled a new look for its original pilsner. With a nod to the days when people couldn’t get Coors east of the Mississippi, the packaging and advertising evokes the heritage and mystique that people associate with the original “yellow belly” can.(Ganassi Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #40 Team Schemes page.(6-20-2007)
- Monster energy drink to sponsor Robby at Sonoma: #7-Robby Gordon is scheduled to run a Monster Energy scheme at Infineon Raceway this weekend. See an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(6-20-2007)
- Rudd undecided on 2008 plans: #88-Ricky Rudd on if he’ll return next season: “I think until we see some good things happen on the race track because the [Robert Yates Racing] team has gotten stronger, I don’t think … it’s time to talk about next year.”(Roanoke Times)(6-20-2007)
- Kyle Petty to be enshrined: The Boise, Idoho based World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame will hold its 13th annual induction ceremony at 7:30 tonight at Boise State’s Morrison Center. Former Major League Baseball great Edgar Martinez, veteran NBA center Dikembe Mutombo and NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty will be enshrined. Tickets — $15 for adults and $5 for college students and younger — can be purchased at www.sportshumanitarian.com, Select-A-Seat outlets and the Morrison Center box office. With the addition of this year’s inductees, the Humanitarian Hall of Fame, started in 1994 by Myron Finkbeiner, will have 38 members who represent, “All that is good in sport.” Martinez, Mutombo and Petty will be honored for their contributions and work with their communities and charities. Petty, 46, is the first NASCAR inductee. “I just think it means a lot for the sport,” he said. “In the past I don’t think a lot of people would look at NASCAR as a sport. There’s so many people that do good things for our sport. It’s a great honor.”(Idaho Statesman)(6-20-2007)
- Marlin may cut back to part-time in 2008: #14-Sterling Marlin has had talks with Ginn Racing about cutting back to a part-time schedule next season. Marlin’s contract expires after this season.(Roanoke Times)(6-20-2007)
- Ambrose skipping Sonoma, concentrates on Busch Series, to attempt the Glen: Marcos Ambrose will be looking to cement himself in the Busch Series top 10 in the AT&T 250 at the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin this weekend in the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford. Ambrose was originally to pull ‘double duty’ this weekend in both the Busch car at Milwaukee and in an Aussie Vineyards Ford in the Nextel Cup event at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. With Ambrose positioned well inside the Busch Series top 10 and the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title within reach, it has been decided to delay the Australian’s Nextel Cup debut until August 12 at Watkins Glen International. The Watkins Glen event will be better suited for Ambrose to pull ‘double duty’ and race both Busch and Cup races, with both events at the same circuit that weekend. This also allows for pit crew and personnel to assist both entries. Ambrose’s schedule for this weekend, with Race 17 of the Busch Series at the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Cup race in Sonoma, CA some 2150 miles away, would have seen Ambrose miss all of practice and qualifying for the Busch event and only fly in for the race on Saturday night.(BAM Media PR)(6-20-2007)
- Said and Team SoBe No Fear Energy set Sonoma, adds sponsors: With its striking red and black #60 Ford Fusion, Boris Said and the SoBe No Fear Energy NASCAR Nextel Cup team are set to compete in this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, round 16 of the 36-round 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The first of two roadcourse races present on the 2007 Nextel Cup schedule, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will take place on the picturesque 12-turn, 1.99-mile Infineon Raceway circuit. Located just 30 minutes north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the sweeping Infineon circuit is etched out of a 1,600-acre parcel of land situated in the lush Sonoma Valley. Having qualified and competed at both the 2007 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway and the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway – easily, two of the most prestigious races of the year – the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be the third race of the season for the Sobe No Fear Energy team – and a race the organization is very much looking forward to. For not only is driver Boris Said renowned for his deft driving skills on the Infineon roadcourse – Said placed ninth at Infineon in 2006 – he will go there to compete in NASCAR’s new Car of Tomorrow. Already raced upwards of eight times in 2007 – all on ovals – the 110-lap (218.9-mile) Toyota/Save Mart 350 will mark the premiere of the Car of Tomorrow on a roadcourse. Said’s roadcourse skills, in tandem with the new car – a car Crew Chief Frank Stoddard and crew have spent a significant amount of time testing and developing – provides the team with a genuine shot at not only a top 10 finish, but perhaps even a chance at driving down victory lane. Ready to run in its traditional red and black Sobe No Fear Energy Drink colors, the team is also very pleased to announce that the bright yellow and black logos of Dollar General will grace the #60 Ford. Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee and 8,260 stores in size, the nation’s number one dollar store segment leader is back on-board after a very successful experience with the team at the 2006 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The Sobe No Fear Energy team is also delighted to reveal the addition of a new sponsor for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Aussie Vineyards, poised to launch their new wine brand “Au” in cooperation with Raley’s, a Northern California supermarket chain that includes Raley’s, Nob Hill and Bel Air stores, will support the #60 Ford as part of a six-week promotional campaign to introduce the Au brand in Raley’s 135 retail outlets.(No Fear Racing PR)(6-20-2007)
- Jeff Gordon’s timeline this weekend during Baby Watch: #24-Jeff Gordon officially is on a baby watch. Doctors have told the Nextel Cup points leader that his daughter, whose due date is June 29, could come at any time. That has forced the four-time Cup champion to come up with several contingency plans for this weekend’s road course race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.
Should the baby be born on Wednesday, Gordon will take a day and a half off before flying to Sonoma for Friday’s qualifying.
Should she be born on Friday he will return home immediately, let Mark Martin qualify the car and then likely return for the race on Sunday.
Should she be born on Saturday, he’ll likely turn the car over to Martin, who is on standby as he takes a break in his part-time schedule with Ginn Racing, for the rest of the weekend.
And should she be born on Sunday during the race, he’ll fly home immediately afterward. “There’s not a lot I can do about that, but I hope that doesn’t happen,” Gordon said last weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Unlike any other driver chasing a spot in the top 12, Gordon can afford to take a weekend off. He has a 264-point lead over second-place #11-Denny Hamlin in the standings. He also has four wins, which will give him an important 40 bonus points once the championship chase begins. The first pictures of the baby will be released on Gordon’s Web site, www.jeffgordon.com, within a few hours of the birth. Gordon wants to avoid this becoming a big media event, like the births of other celebrity children.(ESPN.com)(6-20-2007)
News from June 19, 2007
- Chase Notes/Stats before Sonoma: #99-Carl Edwards’ win at Michigan gained him 97 points on 13th place, giving him 243-point cushion on making The Chase. Edwards is seven positions ahead of this time last year. Just five races ago, #1-Martin Truex Jr. stood in 20th place. Since, he has gone on a torrid 785-point run and climbed 10 spots to 10th. #25-Casey Mears, just about given up for gone in The Race to the Chase, has climbed 15 spots over the last five races, and now sits just 217 points and seven spots out of the Top 12. #01-Mark Martin stood 205 points and six positions out in 2004 and #17-Matt Kenseth stood 281 points and 11 positions out in 2005. Both made The Chase, and so can Mears. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s promising start to the season has gone sour. A DNF at Michigan dropped him 325 points and 11 spots out of The Chase. A win Sunday at Infineon would help, but he’ll need more to get into contention. For more see my Michigan Chase Stats page.(6-19-2007)
- Tryson Takes Over as Kurt Busch’s Crew Chief: Pat Tryson will become crew chief effective immediately of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch. Tryson replaces Troy Raker who has served as interim crew chief of the team since Texas. Troy will return to his previous role within the Penske engineering department. Tryson, a 10-year veteran Nextel Cup crew chief, led Mark Martin to the Chase for the Nextel Cup in each of the last three seasons while working for Roush Fenway Racing. Most recently, he served as crew chief for Greg Biffle and the #16 team.(Penske Racing PR)(6-19-2007)
- Two CAT cars at Sonoma, no #36, Mayfield sits out: There will be two Cat/Bill Davis Racing entries at the road course this weekend. Dave Blaney will be joined this weekend at Bill Davis Racing by road racer Butch Leitzinger who will drive the #23 Caterpillar Racing entry at Infineon Raceway. Jeremy Mayfield will return to his regular ride in the #36 360 OTC Toyota next week at [Loudon] New Hampshire International Speedway. Leitzinger has made three starts in Nextel Cup Series competition – all at Watkins Glen International – and has finished as high as 12th. Leitzinger takes a break from his American LeMans Series driving duties with Dyson Racing to compete in the event at Infineon Raceway for BDR. The 38-year old from Homestead, Pa., has won the 24 Hours of Daytona three times, the World Sportscar Championship twice and both the CanAm Championship and IMSA GTU Championship. He has also posted three victories in NASCAR’s Busch North Series and a podium finish in the Busch Series event at Watkins Glen International. The #22 Caterpillar Toyota Blaney is scheduled to drive this weekend at Infineon Raceway is COT 11. The team has tested this Toyota Camry at Virginia International Raceway twice during the last several weeks in preparation for this event. The team has prepared COT 9 for Leitzinger to drive this weekend. Though this car wasn’t tested at VIR, Leitzinger spent several days testing with the team at that track. Tom Hubert, a native of Cottonwood, Calif. and rear tire changer for the #22 Caterpillar Racing team, will once again compete in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series event at Infineon Raceway Saturday afternoon. Hubert finished fifth in the race last year after starting in the 11th spot.(BDR PR)(6-19-2007)
- Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports to run road course races UPDATE: on Thursday NASCAR Now on ESPN2, Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports Busch Series driver, David Green was interviews and asked about the Nextel Cup Series plans, Green said the team plans to attempt the tw oroad course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen with Marc Goossens as the driver.(5-25-2007)
UPDATE: Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports (RDM) announced that Commonwealth will sponsor the #91 Toyota Camry driven by Marc Goossens at Infineon Raceway on June 24, 2007. “We are very pleased to be associated with a company so diverse in their market area as Commonwealth,” said Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports co-owner Eddie D’Hondt. “We anticipate bringing the NASCAR fan more in touch with the in-style clothing lines Commonwealth has to offer. Commonwealth and NASCAR will be a great fit for each other.” In their initial partnership, Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports and Commonwealth will attempt their first “Car of Tomorrow” race at a road course. Marc Goossens brings a diversified racing background to the team and is looking forward to being back behind the wheel of a stock car. “I am excited to be driving the #91 Toyota Camry for Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports and representing Commonwealth,” said Goossens. “Combining my driving experience with the leadership and technology of RDM should be a winning combination.” Born in Belgium, Goossens has raced all over the world and is currently the lead driver of the #91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley in the Rolex Grand American Series. Goossens is known for his ability to quickly adapt to any type of car and track. Having started his racing career in go-karts, Goossens quickly established himself at a young age winning the 1991 British Formula Ford Championship before going on to win numerous races and a championship in the FIA F3000 series. For more information or to shop visit www.cmonwealth.com.(Riley D’Hondt Motorsports PR)(6-19-2007)
- Another Beverage Sponsor for Dale Jr.? Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (Sundays, 9pm/et on SPEED) welcomed Darrell Waltrip on Sunday June 17 to talk about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s move to Hendrick Motorsports. One comment was about Dale Jr.’s 2008 sponsor:
Dave Despain: (There’s) a great picture on the Internet. Somebody has already designed the paint job for the car. How quickly these things happen (with) the magic of the computer. There is your #5 Dale Jr. Budweiser car, all laid out for next year. Photoshop indeed. Darrell Waltrip: That can’t be true because I don’t think it’s going to be Budweiser.
Dave Despain: That was one of my questions. You don’t think it will be Budweiser. Do you know who it will be? We’ve heard a shoe deal. We’ve heard a credit card deal from one of your buddies. What’s it going to be?
Darrell Waltrip: Yeah, wrong. It’ll probably still be something you could drink. That would my guess.
Dave Despain: “Something you could drink,” he said, hinting.
Darrell Waltrip: And it won’t be in a red can.(FoxSports)(6-19-2007)
- Zipadelli to help build playground: Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the #20 Home Depot Racing Team, is teaming up with volunteers from The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing, KaBOOM!and members of the Detroit community to build a racing-themed playground on Thursday, June 21 with Communities In Schools of Detroit, Inc. The playground is part of The Home Depot’s Racing to Play program that is aimed at making a lasting, positive impression in the lives of children who live in NASCAR race communities. The playground’s design is based on drawings by children who are served by Communities In Schools, which works to help kids succeed in school and prepare for life. The organization operates in more than 100 schools in the city and serves more than 40,000 children each year. The playground is being built at the Center for Community Collaboration, which is located in an area that is easily accessible by hundreds of the students served by Communities In Schools. The Home Depot’s Racing to Play program will build 10 racing-themed KaBOOM! playgrounds in 2007 and is a partnership between The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing, and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization whose vision is to create a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. In the program’s first two years, more than 4,400 volunteers donated approximately 33,300 hours of service to build 20 Racing to Play playgrounds that have impacted the lives of more than 11,000 children in race markets across the country.(True Speed Communications PR)(6-19-2007)
- NASCAR Licensing Executive Joins Motorsports Authentics as President & CEO: Mark Dyer, a seasoned licensing executive with over 25 years in sports business, has been named president and chief executive officer of Motorsports Authentics, the merchandise retailer owned in a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI). Dyer, 48, who currently serves as vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR, will assume his duties immediately, and will report to the Motorsports Authentics Board of Managers, which is comprised of ISC President Lesa France Kennedy; SMI Executive Vice President, National Sales and Marketing, Marcus Smith; ISC Chief Marketing Officer Roger VanDerSnick; and SMI Board Member Mark Gambill. Former President Ruth Crowley has elected to leave Motorsports Authentics to pursue a new business opportunity. She will assist Dyer in the coming week(s) to ensure a smooth transition. As VP at NASCAR, a position held since 2002, Dyer led the day-to-day management of the sanctioning body’s Charlotte operation. In this position, Dyer oversaw all aspects of a $2.1 billion industry that now has companies putting the NASCAR brand on a broad spectrum of quality products. In addition to traditional licensing, Dyer also oversaw NASCAR’s automotive aftermarket licensing program, retail program development, promotional marketing, publishing and The NASCAR Foundation. Finally, Dyer was NASCAR’s lead negotiator throughout the Hall of Fame site-selection process. Dyer said, “I have been involved in the motorsports industry for over a decade and I welcome this opportunity to work more closely with drivers, teams and distributors to further elevate the popularity of the sport. It has been an honor to work with NASCAR and to be part of growing its brand. I look forward to building upon my prior experiences and working closely with the strong team already in place to enable Motorsports Authentics to flourish as the pre-eminent source for quality licensed merchandise.” More info at www.motorsports-authentics.com, which is based in Concord, NC, is a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc.(PR)(6-19-2007)
- Fellows in the #96 at Infineon: Ron Fellows: Fellows has won at Infineon Raceway a number of times in his familiar Corvette in the American Le Mans Series, but his best NASCAR finish in Sonoma is seventh (2003). Supposedly Fellows will replace Tony Raines in the #96 HOF Racing/DLP Chevy.(6-17-2007)
UPDATE: Veteran road racing driver Ron Fellows will pilot the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy in the upcoming Nextel Cup Series road course events at Infineon Raceway (Sonoma, Calif.) and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Bill Saunders, general and managing partner of Hall of Fame Racing announced June 19. Fellows will take over for Tony Raines, who has driven the #96 car in all Nextel Cup events in 2007. “Tony has done a great job for Hall of Fame Racing and DLP this year,” Saunders said. “We’re very happy with what he’s done so far this season and look forward to getting better throughout the summer and the fall. I’ve known Ron for many, many years and he is a tremendous road racer and we’re thrilled to have him drive the DLP car at Infineon and Watkins Glen. We look forward to great things from him. We’re also really appreciative of Tony being a true team player. As a former driver I know how hard it is to sit out a race, so for Tony to put the team in front of himself speaks volumes about what kind of a class act he is.”
Fellows, 47, from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has a road racing resume second to none. He won 19 races in 95 starts in SCCA Trans-Am competition before becoming the primary development driver for General Motors’ Corvette C5-R program. That association produced victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring, and virtually every road racing circuit in North America. “I’m very excited to get the opportunity to drive the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy for Hall of Fame Racing,” Fellows said. “They’ve done a tremendous job in just a year and a half of being in Nextel Cup and I hope to give them two great results at Infineon and Watkins Glen. I’ve known Bill (Saunders) for many years and I really appreciate him, DLP and Tony giving me this opportunity. I had a chance to test with the DLP team last month at Virginia International Raceway, I got a chance to know Brandon (Thomas, crew chief) and the team. It was my first time in the Car of Tomorrow and it was a pretty good test. Hall of Fame Racing is a solid organization and I’m looking forward to racing with them.”(Hall of Fame Racing/True Speed Communication PR)(6-19-2007)
- Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #11-Denny Hamlin has been running at the finish in 45 consecutive races, the longest current streak. In the 2007 season after 14 races, five drivers have finished all the races: Hamlin, #07-Bowyer, #29-Harvick, #43-Labonte and #19-Sadler. #22-Blaney has the most DNF’s [Did Not Finish] with 6 in 13 races run.(6-19-2007)
- Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon leads all drivers after 15 races in 2007 with 13 Top-10 finishes and 10 Top-5 finishes. Two drivers have ran all 15 races in 2007 and have not scored a Top-10 finish: #96-Raines and #14-Marlin. Eights drivers do not have a Top-5: Raines, Marlin, #07-Bowyer, #43-Labonte, #19-Sadler, #40-Stremme, #9-Kahne, #7-Gordon and #88-Rudd.(6-19-2007)
- Toyota sticking with Waltrip: Toyota’s Lee White said Toyota is committed to its long-term deal with Michael Waltrip Racing.(ESPN.com)(6-19-2007)
- Ford-Yates-Roush wins the weekend: at Michigan, Ford with Roush Fenway Racing won all three races, ARCA, Trucks and Nextel Cup with Eric Darnell, Travis Kvapil and Carl Edwards, plus Ford won with Yates Racing at Kentucky Speedway with Stephen Leicht, all powered by Yates-Roush engines.(6-19-2007)
News from June 18, 2007
- AT&T Signs 3yr Contract Renewal with RCR, Burton extends: AT&T has exercised the option in its current contract with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) by signing a contract extension that will ensure that the #31 AT&T Chevy remains a competitor in the NASCAR Cup Series for years to come. At the same time, Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 AT&T Chevy, has reached agreement with RCR on a contract extension with the 10-time NASCAR championship-winning organization. “As long-time supporters of racing and its fans, we are very pleased to continue our involvement with the sport as a team sponsor in the wireless category,” said Dave Garver, executive director of high growth segments and sponsorships for the wireless division at AT&T. “We’ve enjoyed our relationship with Jeff and RCR, and look forward to continuing to work with them through many more winning seasons. In the past decade, we’ve developed innovative ways to bring fans closer to racing, with interactive content that can be accessed via their wireless handsets, alerts sent directly to their phones and on-the-ground activities promoting wireless services at and around racing events. We’re looking ahead, planning even more engaging ways to bring the latest in wireless technology to fans.”
AT&T, as Cingular, has been the primary sponsor of RCR’s #31 team since 2002. In that time, with Burton and Robby Gordon behind the wheel, the team has earned four wins, four pole positions, 22 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes. “AT&T has been an important part of RCR since 2002 so we’re very excited about renewing our contract with them and continuing that great relationship,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “AT&T has been a tremendous supporter of RCR’s fans and racing fans throughout the sport for more than a decade and I am eager to turn our full attention back to winning a championship. Jeff has been an important piece of the puzzle since he arrived at RCR in 2004. He’s helped our entire organization since that time and will continue in that role. He’s a true professional, whether it’s with his crew or with sponsors, so we’re very pleased to have him signed to a new long-term contract.”
Burton began driving for RCR in August 2004 and was named the driver of its #31 team for the 2005 NASCAR Cup Series season. He has earned two victories, four pole positions, 15 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes in 85 races driving the #31 AT&T Chevy.
“I’m really excited about AT&T extending their involvement with RCR. They’ve been a great company to work with,” said Burton. “They have great people and great products. It’s a real honor to represent AT&T both on and off the track. My enthusiasm about what we are doing at RCR is as high as it’s ever been. I’ve never even considered doing something different. I’m glad we were able to re-sign with AT&T so that Richard and I could get our deal done. It’s a real honor to drive for Richard and I am looking forward to continue working with him over the next few years.” AT&T, formerly Cingular, has sponsored a NASCAR Cup Series team for 10 years, and is in its sixth season with RCR’s #31 Chevy program.(RCR PR)(6-18-2007)
- Yes, there has been a first time winner who won back to back….plus: It was brought up during TNT’s broadcast of the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan [not the Michigan 400 as TNT called it]. it was mentioned that no driver has ever won his second race immediately after winning his first in NASCAR’s top series. That’s not true. Billy Wade won at Old Bridge Stadium in New Jersey on July 10, 1964, for his first career win. Two days later, he won again on a road course at Bridgehampton, N.Y. But Wade didn’t stop there. He also won July 15 at Islip (N.Y.) Speedway and July 19 at Watkins Glen. So he won his first FOUR races in back-to-back-to-back-to-back events. All of those wins came in cars owned by Bud Moore.(David Poole/Thatsracin), so Wade is the last driver to do back-to-back after winning his first, the first driver to do so was Dick Linder in 1950 with back-to-back wins at Dayton and Hamburg.(Racing-reference.info)(6-18-2007)
- Gibbs evaluating manufacturer alignment: Having lost the Dale Earnhardt Jr. sweepstakes, Joe Gibbs Racing [#s 11, 18, 20] President J.D. Gibbs says his team is focused on its current lineup of drivers. Gibbs says it’s too early to talk about any interest in Kyle Busch nor whether his team will switch to Toyota next season. JGR has been with General Motors for 16 years. “We wanted to wait and see what happened with the Junior deal,” Gibbs said Sunday prior to the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan. “And then we’re going to sit down and evaluate. We’ve been a partner with them for 16 years. We’re going to look at it and evaluate and make sure we’re on the same page. “Obviously, is Toyota out there as a possibility? I think they have probably talked to a number of different groups… We just want to make sure, as the sport changes, how do we stay where we need to be at JGR to stay ahead of the curve? And a big part is manufacturer.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2007)
- Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the Citizens Bank 400:
Total number of commercials: 121
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 69
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 15
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 1 min. 25 sec.
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 2:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 5:00 PM
Total minutes: 180
Minutes of race broadcast: 126
Minutes of commercials: 54
Total race brdcst time: 126 Total comm. brdcst time: 54
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-18-2007)
- Gordon Knew Hendrick was Negotiating with Earnhardt: #24-Jeff Gordon was in on the secret all along. Privately he listened to team owner Rick Hendrick agonize over the arduous, closed-door maneuvering to sign #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Rick was going back and forth, back and forth,” Gordon said. “He was like, ‘Man, I would love to do this,’ and at the same time, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do it.’ And, ‘Should we do it?’ ” Gordon didn’t waver. “I was very supportive of it from the beginning,” he said, sitting in the lounge of his team transporter during preparations for the Citizens Bank 400. “Because I’ve been at Hendrick for 15 years and I have equity in the company, I probably got let into it a little bit sooner,” Gordon said. “I actually told Rick, ‘Don’t give me too many details because I know I’m going to get asked.’ But I knew they were in talks.”(Orlando Sentinel)(6-18-2007)
- Pro Motors wins Engine Builder Showdown: The 2007 MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder Showdown [in May] proved to be one of the most competitive and exciting Showdown since its debut in 2000. A record 19 teams from 10 of the best known NASCAR engine shops registered to take part in the competition. The Engine builder Showdown is a tiered four-round competition for professional engine builders who assemble special performance engines for NASCAR teams. Participating teams – two engine builders per team – vie to build and successfully run a Nextel Cup 357-cubic-inch Ford Engine in the shortest time possible. Winners of the 2007 Showdown, the Pro Motor Engines’ team of Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman, were runners up in the 2006 Showdown. In the 2007 final round, they broke the all-time Showdown record with an engine-build time of 16 minutes and 25 seconds with no penalties. Borem and Hoffman went head-to-head with Kevin Webber and Scott Vester, of Hendrick Motorsports, who finished in second place with a build time of 17 minutes and 47 seconds with no penalties. More info at www.engineparts.com.(6-18-2007)
- Road Course Racers at Infineon Raceway, Fellows in #96 UPDATE Pruett a no go: Mastering the twists and turns of Infineon Raceway is no small task, especially for many of the regulars on the Nextel Cup Series, who only compete on two road courses each year. For that reason, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 usually attracts a number of road-course specialists. These drivers typically race on the two road courses each year, in Sonoma and Watkins Glen, and few other races on the NASCAR schedule. A specialist has never won a Nextel Cup race in Sonoma, but they have come awfully close. A few who will run at Sonoma, include:
Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose runs full time in the Busch Series for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, is scheduled to drive the #47 Aussie Vineyards Ford in Sonoma.
Ron Fellows: Fellows has won at Infineon Raceway a number of times in his familiar Corvette in the American Le Mans Series, but his best NASCAR finish in Sonoma is seventh (2003). Supposedly Fellows will replace Tony Raines in the #96 HOF Racing/DLP Chevy.
Klaus Graf: Graf will look to make his second NASCAR start at Infineon Raceway, replacing Mike Bliss in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge. Boris Said: Said is scheduled to run six 2007 Nextel Cup races, in his #60 Sobe No Fear Ford, Said started on the pole in 2003 and finished 6th twice (2003-04). Said has won at Infineon Raceway in other series, including the Craftsman Truck Series in 1998.
Terry Labonte: will sub for Michael Waltrip in the #55 NAPA Toyota, P.J. Jones: will replace David Reutimann in the #00 MWR/Burger King Toyota. Jones has raced at Sonoma four times, including his last Nextel Cup race, last season. His best finish is 25th in 1993, he finished 26th in 2006.
Marc Goossens: is scheduled to debut the #91 Riley-D’hondt Toyota at Sonoma, Goossens qualified the #90 Ford for RYR in 2006
Brian Simo has made a few starts for different car owners at Sonoma, finishing 10th for RCR in the #33 in 2005 and is listed in the #37 Front Row Motorsports Dodge.
Brandon Ash will attempt to make the race in his own #02 car.
NOTES: Other road course drivers who could run at Sonoma: Tom Hubert [Bill Davis Racing, probably in the #36?], Chris Cook ran there in 2005 and is an insturctor at the track. Other drivers who have attempted to make the race there in the past few years include: John Borneman, III, Jose Luis Ramirez, Johnny Miller, Jim Inglebright [all four are scheduled to run the Grand National West Race there on Sat.] and Austin Cameron.(sources: Infineon Raceway PR, Jayski sources and research at Racing-reference.info)(6-17-2007)
UPDATE: Road-racing specialist Scott Pruett won’t run next weekend for car owner Chip Ganassi because of a scheduling conflict. Pruett is scheduled to run for Ganassi at Watkins Glen in August [doesn’t say if a 4th team](Roanoke Times)(6-18-2007)
- 300th career start for Stewart at Sonoma: As the Nextel Cup Series rolls into California’s wine country for this weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350k at Infineon Raceway, it’s time to toast Tony Stewart’s 300th career Nextel Cup start. The driver of the # 20 Home Depot Chevy first came to stock car racing’s pinnacle circuit in 1999 when he teamed with Joe Gibbs Racing and crew chief Greg Zipadelli. They debuted in the Daytona 500, where Stewart qualified on the outside front row next to another up-and-coming driver – Jeff Gordon. Stewart scored his first win in his 25th career start at Richmond, and has gone on to post 28 other wins and two Nextel Cup championships in his 274 starts since.(True Speed Communication PR)(6-18-2007)
News from June 17, 2007
- NASCAR Counter Sues AT&T for $100 Million: Today NASCAR filed a counter claim in U.S. District Court against AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless and AT&T Inc., alleging breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, and conspiracy to aid and abet wrongful interference with Nextel’s exclusive sponsorship agreement. NASCAR is seeking a minimum of $100 million in damages. The NASCAR Rule Book governs participation in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and its contents are agreed to in writing by all NASCAR members and participants. Cingular is a member of NASCAR and agreed to abide by all NASCAR rules and regulations when its representatives signed official documents such as the NASCAR Membership and License Application. NASCAR’s suit further alleges that AT&T, Cingular and its representatives breached its explicit agreements with NASCAR when they re-branded the #31 car; entered into contract with RCR knowing that they would litigate against NASCAR; and when they sought to ambush Nextel’s exclusive sponsorship rights. NASCAR also submitted its response today to a suit filed by AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless by soundly rejecting each of their claims. The response demonstrates the clarity of NASCAR’s rule book and the baseless allegations made by AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless in its attempts to re-brand the #31.(NASCAR PR)(6-17-2007)
- Carl Edwards wins a Michigan: #99-Carl Edwards won the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway in his 100th career starts. It is Edward’s 5th career win and first win since he won at Texas in November 2005, 52 races ago. Tom Giacchi, pit runner for the #99, he can now shave his ZZ Top like beard, Giacchi has not shaved since Edwards last win [has done a little trimming]. Edwards led 63 of the 200 laps. #1-Truex, Jr. was dominant early in the race, but couldn’t catch Edwards late and finished 2nd. #20-Stewart was third, followed by #25- Mears, #8- Earnhardt, Jr, #5- Busch, #29- Harvick, , #26-McMurray, #24-Gordon, and #55-Waltrip. #48-Johnson was running in 3rd when he ran out of gas with 7 laps to go. He finished 19th. There were 4 cautions for 19 laps and 11 leaders with 22 lead changes.
Race Results on my Michigan Race Results / Awards page
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Michigan page
Race Rundown: see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-17-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Michigan [15 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 2392
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2128 -264
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2055 -337
4) #17-Matt Kenseth 2044 -348
5) #31-Jeff Burton 1919 -473
6) #99-Carl Edwards 1905 -487
7) #20-Tony Stewart 1903 -489
8) #29-Kevin Harvick 1794 -598
9) #07-Clint Bowyer 1774 -618
10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1772
11) #5-Kyle Busch 1763 -629
12) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1691 -701
#42-Montoya is 23rd
#9-Kahne is 28th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page. (6-17-2007)
- Ganassi adds name to list of owners interested in Kyle Busch: Add Chip Ganassi Racing [#s 40, 41, 42] to the list of teams that are interested in #5-Kyle Busch. Team owner Chip Ganassi said he is interested in talking to the driver. “Who wouldn’t be?” Ganassi said when asked if he was interested in pursuing Busch. “A good guy comes along like that, yeah I’m interested.” Ganassi said he is not in the position to add a team since the best of his three drivers is #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, who ranks 21st in the points. “Before we can get to a fourth car, we’ve got to move our three cars up the grid a little bit,” Ganassi said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2007)
- Childress interested in Kyle Busch: Car owner Richard Childress was unable to sign Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but his team is hardly hurting as is. The car owner said Saturday that like a lot of car owners in the garage, he’s very interested in talking with newly minted free agent Kyle Busch, possibly for a long-rumored fourth Richard Childress Racing car. “Anybody would look at Kyle right now – any team in here,” said Childress. Childress, one of the most independent minds in the Nextel Cup garage, is not someone even remotely daunted by Busch’s reputation as a hot head. “I can name you eight or 10 guys in here at his age that were a handful. He’s learning.” Of Busch, Childress added, “He’s the hottest property on the market right now.” In fact, some in the garage believe that Busch’s driving talent is equal to or even ahead of that of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.(SPEEDtv.com)(6-17-2007)
- Evernham close to a deal to sell part of team: UPDATE 2: Ray Evernham expects to finalize the sale of an unspecified portion of his Nextel Cup Series operation to Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. within 60 to 90 days, the team owner told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “It’s not done, but we’re working on it pretty hard,” Evernham said. “Honestly, I’m flying to Chicago and we’re hammering through some things. Things are looking really positive, but it’s not done. Quite honestly, it’s not going to be done for another 60 to 90 days. It takes a long, long time, but it looks good. We’ve agreed to go forward, but there’s so much legal stuff that’s got to be done. It takes months. I feel positive it’ll get done. I really do.” Evernham chose not to divulge the exact percentage of his company Gillett would acquire, but did say both gentlemen would have a “substantial stake in the business side of things.” Evernham also said he would still run EMS’ day-to-day operations. Evernham said there are multiple contracts to wade through and further due diligence to complete. Once done, Evernham says the deal would instantly elevate EMS toward the Nextel Cup elite.(ESPN.com)(5-30-2007)
UPDATE: Nextel Cup owner Ray Evernham took another step on Wednesday toward finalizing his partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr., informing his more than 35 sponsors collectively on how the deal will work. Evernham has been negotiating for months an agreement that will give Gillett substantial ownership of his organization. He told sponsors the partnership will allow him to focus more on the competition side of the business and provide him with the resources to keep up with top organizations. The final terms aren’t expected to be completed for another two to three months. “A partnership with the Gillett Group would bring excellent resources to Evernham Motorsports,” Evernham told his sponsors. “Not only does George Gillett offer incredible business experience, his team has deep knowledge of how to successfully manage sports organizations. “This partnership would also benefit our partners at Evernham Motorsports with new business-to-business marketing opportunities.” Evernham told his sponsors he would continue to own a significant part of EMS and remain the CEO. “It is an excellent opportunity that would benefit the entire organization,” he said.(ESPN.com)(6-6-2007)
UPDATE 2: Evernham said a partnership with Gillett is getting closer, perhaps two months away from being completed. Evernham said he’d love to announce a deal in Montreal in early August for NASCAR’s first-ever Busch Series race there.”That’d be awesome,” he said. “That would be good incentive for the attorneys to hurry up and get it done.”(Yahoo! Sports)(6-17-2007)
- Rumblings – Michigan Race Notes: We had a Ford in Victory Lane today, and that’s a sight we haven’t seen since February. Come to think of it, we hadn’t seen one of those back- flips in a while either….
Carl Edwards broke the Chevy twelve race winning streak today at Michigan International Speedway as he took the Citizens Bank 400 by 3.668 seconds…and he was pulling away.
It’s the first victory for Edwards since he won at Texas in November of 2005, his 5th career win (he’s now tied for 63rd on the all-time win list), and the 97th for Roush Racing (or the first for Roush-Fenway). It was worth $177,850 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville in April.
Michael Waltrip (10th) had his best finish since he was 7th here in June of 2005! He’s the 37th different driver to score a Top-10 this season….we’re closing in on last year’s number of 38.
Bill Elliott (11th) had his best finish since he was 11th here in August of 2005.
Paul Menard (12th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Atlanta in March of 2006.
David Reutimann (15th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 22nd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October of 2005.
John Andretti (27th) had his best finish since he was 20th at Homestead in November of 2004 (only six races).
A. J. Allmendinger (31st) tied his career-best finish today. He was 31st at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 10 Top-10’s in the last 11 races. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
The Rookie Report: Paul Menard (12th) grabs this award for the third time this season. He was followed by David Reutimann (15th), David Ragan (21st), A. J. Allmendinger (31st), and Juan Pablo Montoya (43rd). Another week when all five freshmen made the event.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Stewart (+38), followed by Jamie McMurray (+27), Paul Menard (+26), and David Reutimann (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-33), followed by J. J. Yeley (-27), Joe Nemechek (-25), Brian Vickers (-25), and Greg Biffle (-24).
Michael Waltrip led a lap today for the first time since he led a lap at Talladega Superspeedway last October. Paul Menard led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap at Homestead last November. We’ve now had 44 drivers lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 48.
Johnny Sauter padded his margin in the race for 35th in Owner Points today. His lead over Scott Riggs is now out to 41 markers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr moves back into the Chase today, while Mark Martin falls out. Jeff Gordon’s margin over new second place points man Denny Hamlin is 264.
Casey Mears (23rd to 19th) made the best move forward today, while Tony Raines (24th to 27th) fell the most spots. It wasn’t that long ago when Casey Mears was in danger of falling out of an exempt qualifying spot, was it?(Stock Car Fans)(6-17-2007)
- Childress close to signing extension with Burton: Richard Childress said he hopes to have an announcement soon that he has signed #31-Jeff Burton to a contract extension. Childress is also working on an extension with sponsor AT&T. Burton’s deal runs out at the end of this year. “Hopefully we get a few things sorted out here in the next week or so, and we’ll be able to make some type of a release on that,” Childress said Saturday. “It’s definitely the plan for him to stay but we can’t do anything at this point. We’re working on hopefully being able to do something to release it here in the near future.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2007)
- Stewart unhappy with Gilliland after Happy Hour incident: #20-Tony Stewart was none too pleased Saturday with #38-David Gilliland, who caused considerable damage to Stewart’s Chevy during the final Nextel Cup practice prior to Sunday’s Citizen’s Bank 400 at Michigan. The accident occurred when Gilliland was headed to pit road in his #38 Ford at the end of a long run on old tires. Stewart was just coming out of the pits on new tires. “He checks up at the end of the straightaway, and we run into him,” a frustrated Stewart said. “It’s really, really easy to see it. They’ve got two different cameras views of it, and he never stuck his hand out of the window [to signal he was going into the pits]. It really screwed up a really good racecar for [Sunday]. It didn’t need to happen. It shouldn’t happen.” Stewart said he was hoping NASCAR officials would talk to Gilliland about what happened.(NASCAR.com)(6-17-2007)
- Hamlin’s gift honors Chesterfield [VA] officers: Last month, native son #11-Denny Hamlin presented county officials with a piece of the car he drove at Richmond International Raceway during last year’s Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup race. The driver’s-side post on his car that night, May 6, 2006, featured decals honoring Chesterfield police officers Gary J. Buro and Joseph E. Diman. Buro was killed and Diman was shot five times while responding to a domestic-disturbance call at a house in Ettrick during the early-morning hours of May 4, 2006.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-17-2007)
- Roush: Aflac deal could be sign of things to come: Jack Roush says that his team’s new partnership with Aflac could highlight how future sponsorships will work in the sport. The company is sponsoring eight Nextel Cup races as primary sponsor for #16-Greg Biffle this season. It is also sponsoring four Busch Series races with drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray. It’s a business move that gives the company access to four of the organization’s drivers. “The time may be waning when a new sponsor could come into our business and understand how to make their marketing program be configured in order to give them the value for a full schedule,” Roush said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I think that the way that Aflac is coming in with a limited schedule, with some races in the Busch as well as the Cup side with multiple drivers I think is a prudent way to do it.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2007)
News from June 16, 2007
- Yates interested in Kyle Busch…and Kurt too: UPDATE: Add Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] to the list of teams interested in signing Kyle Busch to drive next season. “I’ve sent word through his agent [that I would like to talk to him],” RYR co-owner Robert Yates said on Thursday during a Ford function. “I’m very interested.” Said Yates’ son, Doug, “He would look good in a Ford.” RYR not only wants Kyle, but his brother #2-Kurt. But Kurt Busch has three years remaining on his deal with Penske Racing, and according to his agent has no plans to leave. “That’s flattering,” said Kurt’s agent, John Caponigro. “He’s locked in at Penske. He’s doing fine. He’s looking forward to making the Chase this year and having lot of success at Penske Racing.” Kyle became available on Wednesday when it was announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was signed to replace him at Hendrick Motorsports next season and that the 22-year-old Busch has been given his release from the final year of his deal in 2008. Bruce Kempton, who represents Kyle, said he’s heard from just about every organization in the Nextel Cup garage. He said there had been no contact with RYR, but that his client was willing to listen to anyone. Among the teams other than RYR that have expressed an interest in Kyle are the Chevy teams of Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing. While Busch has driven Chevys since he left Ford’s Roush Racing after the 2001 Truck Series season, he is not married to the manufacturer.(ESPN.com).(6-15-2007)
UPDATE: Robert Yates Racing [#38 & #88] co-owner Doug Yates wants Kyle Busch in his team’s fold, but that might not be the next addition to the team. When asked if the Yates family was close to adding a partner/investor, Doug Yates said: “Yeah. It won’t be long.” The new investor is not expected to have control of the team, which will still be run by Doug and his father, Robert, according to sources familiar with the situation.(SceneDaily.com)(6-16-2007)
- Roush not interested in Busch: His ride gone for next season and then his agent, #5-Kyle Busch faces more changes. He’ll search for a new ride and could be barred from some Hendrick Motorsports team meetings [as Brian Vickers was in 2006] even as he tries to make the title chase. Although Dale Earnhardt Jr. replaces him next year, Busch wouldn’t mope about his situation Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I’m interested in talking to … whoever’s got an open seat,” Busch said before qualifying third for Sunday’s race. “Let’s sit down. Let’s have dinner.” Many owners are expected to answer, but not Jack Roush, for whom Busch drove before moving to Hendrick in 2003. “I am not interested in Kyle Busch,” Roush said. “I’ve been there and I’ve done that.”(Roanoke Times)(6-16-2007)
- Evernham looking to re-sign Riggs: Car owner [#9,#10,#19] Ray Evernham says he’s in talks with Scott Riggs to keep him there. Riggs is in the last year of his contract. … Evernham also says his deal to add George Gillette as a partner is about a month away from completion.(Greensboro News and Record)(6-16-2007)
- Some teams looking to add 4th team: The season is not even half over and several teams say they want to expand for next season. Officials from Dale Earnhardt Inc., Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing have said they’d like to expand to four cars next year. There have been hints other teams might look add a team. How many actually do will depend on what kind of sponsorship they can find.(Greensboro News and Record)(6-16-2007)
- P.J. Jones in for Reutimann at Sonoma: PJ Jones will qualify and race the #00 Toyota for David Reutimann during the Nextel Cup Series event weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. While Jones is in Sonoma, Reutimann will be at the Milwaukee Mile preparing to race the #99 Toyota in the Busch Series event to maintain his top-five (fourth-place) points position.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(6-16-2007)
- DEI Willing to Discuss Transfer of #8: Now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has sealed his future for the next five years with Hendrick Motorsports beginning next season, there are other issues on the table. For instance, will he be able to take the #8 with him from Dale Earnnhardt Inc.? Earnhardt said Friday after qualifying at Michigan that there has not yet been any communication with DEI about obtaining the #8. “Obviously, we’ll see if there’s any interest from [team owner] Teresa [Earnhardt] and [DEI president of global operations] Max [Siegel] to do that, but they’ve probably got to answer a couple more questions of their own to be able to have a good idea how they feel about that,” Earnhardt said. “Whether they feel like they have any interest in talking about it, I’m sure that’s something Rick [Hendrick] and my sister [Kelley Earnhardt Elledge] would be interested in doing.” Siegel said Friday that he would be willing to discuss a transfer of the number. “We’re open to talk about anything,” Siegel said. “But in order to consider it, there has to be some formal proposal. No one has contacted me. Other than knowing his desire to have the number, no one has approached me with a formal proposal. I’m not going to talk about it until I get one.”(ESPN.com)(6-16-2007)
- Gustafson plans to stay at Hendrick Motorsports: #5-Kyle Busch’s crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports says he doesn’t plan on going anywhere – even if it means accepting a new role in the company. Busch may be leaving Hendrick at the end of this season, but crew chief Alan Gustafson said he wants to stay loyal to team owner Rick Hendrick, no matter what that may entail. “I expect to be a crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports, but I will make the statement that I will be at Hendrick Motorsports next year regardless,” Gustafson said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I’d rather sweep floors for Rick Hendrick than be a crew chief for someone else.” Gustafson knows he would be a highly sought-after crew chief if he were to consider leaving the company but said his personal ties to Hendrick will keep him at HMS.(SceneDaily.com)(6-16-06)
- Biffle says team needs to run better before he signs contract extension: Greg Biffle says he’s 90 percent sure he will sign an extension with Roush Fenway Racing beyond the end of his contract next season. But he added that won’t happen until he sees an improvement with the performance of his team, which is 19th in points. “If I am not happy, why should I negotiate?” he said before Friday’s practice at Michigan International Speedway. “I need to run better. We’ve got a couple of weak links. We want to strengthen our team a little better. We need to show up at the race track being competitive off the truck. I didn’t forget how to drive at Pocono. We were 43rd at Pocono before qualifying. Qualified 42nd and ran 30th. And I am not going to sign a 5-year extension running like that.” Team owner Jack Roush is confident things will turn around. “There isn’t an imminent need for a conversation with Greg about a contract,” he said. “We have a contract in place for 2008, and I think he’s very comfortable with that, and I am as well.(ESPN.com)(6-16-2007)
- Chevy unveils paint schemes to commemorate 50 Years of the ’57 Chevy: One of the most recognizable cars in American motoring history reaches a notable milestone this year, a milestone which NASCAR, Chevy and Motorsports Authentics proudly celebrate. The 1957 Chevrolet, a car which turns 50 years old this year, will be commemorated at August 19’s 3M Performance 400 Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway by at least 11 Team Chevy drivers. Unveiled by Jimmie Johnson at MIS today, a Monte Carlo SS race car featuring decals with cues from the iconic 1957 design is similar to the ones Johnson and other Team Chevy drivers will race during the August event. On August 18, ’57 Chevys along with many other historic vehicles will hit the streets during Metro Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise. That same weekend, Team Chevy Nextel Cup Series drivers #4-Ward Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #14-Sterling Marlin, #01-Mark Martin, #15-Paul Menard, #96-Tony Raines, #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #78-Kenny Wallace and #18-J.J. Yeley will take to the track at MIS with their cars wearing special ’57 Chevy paint schemes. To commemorate this special event, Motorsports Authentics will replicate their cars with die-cast models and offer apparel and novelty items related to the event.(GM Racing PR), see an image of the #48 Scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(6-16-2007)
- Jerry Nadeau Races Karts in Portugal: EnduranceKarting.com’s summer Portugal sweep concluded with a podium finish and a spirited effort by a team that contained former NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau. Team USA finished third in class in the 24 Hours of Evora May 24-25, and it finished 12 in the 24 Hours of Batalha June 2-3. More details on my Jerry Nadeau page.(Endurance Karting PR)(6-16-2007)
- Agent kept Kyle Busch in dark during contract extension talks: #5-Kyle Busch says his previous agent hampered negotiations to keep him at Hendrick Motorsports. The 22-year-old driver said on Friday that Alan Miller kept him in the dark about many things during talks to sign an extension beyond next season and that he was surprised initially to learn Dale Earnhardt Jr. had been signed to replace him. Among the things was the number of other organizations expressing an interest in Busch, which team owner Rick Hendrick said had a negative impact on discussions. “My previous representation didn’t inform me that he was getting calls,” Busch said before practice at Michigan International Speedway. “Then I guess that was opened up to Hendrick Motorsports. They sort of got upset. Miller, who was at MIS representing other clients, was disappointed in Busch’s comments. “I’ve been doing this for a long, long time,” said Miller, who has represented HMS drivers Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears, to name a few. “My reputation is as good as anybody’s. I’m not going to dignify what Kyle said with a response. I’m sorry Kyle chose to say something like that,” Miller said. Busch was given a release from the final year of his contract next season at HMS on Monday. He was joined at MIS by his new agent, Bruce Kempton. Kempton said he’s had calls from just about every organization in the Nextel Cup garage. Officials at DEI, Ginn Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Evernham Motorsports have expressed an open interest. EMS owner Ray Evernham told Busch personally after the two competed in a dirt track event on Thursday night that he was prepared to expand his organization to four teams if they could reach an agreement. Busch said he would like to stay in a Chevy but added that he’s not married to the manufacturer.(ESPN.com)(6-16-2007)
- Widow settles lawsuit with Hendrick Motorsports: The widow of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, a passenger on the plane where 10 people died on a Hendrick Motorsports flight in October 2004 while heading to the race at Martinsville, Va., has settled a lawsuit against the race team. Tracy Lathram will get the biggest portion of the settlement proceeds, while her three children are also beneficiaries, according to the settlement motion in U.S. District Court in North Carolina. The settlement, which is confidential, still needs to be approved by the judge. Three widows had filed suits against the team, and this would be the second settlement. Linda Turner, whose husband, Jeff Turner, was the team general manager, also has settled. Dianne Dorton, widow of team engine builder Randy Dorton, still has her suit pending. (SceneDaily.com)(6-16-2007)
- Congrats to Johnny Sauter: #70-Johnny Sauter became engaged Thursday to Cortney Owen. Sauter and Owen first met in 2004 at the Wisconsin Motorsports Charity Banquet where Sauter was an honoree and Owen was communications director for Slinger Super Speedway in Slinger, WI. Their paths crossed again at the beginning of 2005 when Owen went to work on the Yellow Transportation public relations program where Sauter was the driver. They began dating later that year. Sauter is in his third season driving for Yellow Transportation and his first full season in the Nextel Cup Series, while Owen now handles public relations for Menards Racing. Sauter is a native of Necedah, WI and Owen is from Muskego, WI. The couple has not yet set a wedding date.(Yellow Racing PR)(6-16-2007)
- Hornish wins ARCA pole at MIS: UPDATE: Sam Hornish, Jr. earned the AAA Pole Award Thursday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish sits on the pole for Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series Michigan 200, marking his career first stock car pole. Besides an ARCA test at the end of May, this was Hornish’s first real test in a stock car at the two-mile oval. Hornish circled MIS at 186.205mph in his #27 Mobil 1 Dodge. Friday’s ARCA 200 will mark the Penske Racing driver’s career first ARCA RE/MAX Series start. Erin Crocker starts on the outside front row in the #98 Mac Tools-Mac Card Dodge. Erik Darnell, Tim Andrews and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five qualifiers. Darnell, in the fuel conservation mode, stretched his advantage to 20 lengths at the final stripe over Hornish, Jr., who finished second in his career-first series start. It was Darnell’s second RE/MAX Series victory of the season.(MIS PR)(6-15-2007)
UPDATE: Despite a healthy line-up of top-quality teams in his rear view mirror, Roush Racing’s Erik Darnell drove away from Penske Racing’s Sam Hornish, Jr. to win the ARCA RE/MAX 200 Friday afternoon at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Darnell, in the fuel conservation mode, stretched his advantage to 20 lengths at the final stripe over Hornish, Jr., who finished second in his career-first series start. It was Darnell’s second RE/MAX Series victory of the season.(ARCA Racing)(6-16-2007)
- Chase Notes/Stats before Michigan: Combined, #1-Truex Jr. and #12-Newman have made up 18 positions in the last five races and have emerged as bona fide Chase contenders. Newman has amassed a third-best 721 points over the last five and has zoomed 11 positions in the process, now sitting just 18 out of Mark Martin’s 12th position. Truex followed up the Dover win with a third at Pocono, and has climbed 7 spots over the last five and now occupies 11th, 23 points inside The Chase. #25-Casey Mears has shaken off a horrendous start to 2007, ascending 12 spots in the standings over the last five. Although Mears’ remains 277 points out of The Chase in 23rd place, he should take heart in #17-Matt Kenseth’s comparison in 2005. After race #14, Kenseth stood tied for 23rd, 320 points out of 10th! He made The Chase with relative ease. After a good start, #26-Jamie McMurray has slipped 8 spots over the last five, and now sit 99 points out of the Top 12 in 15th place. For more see my Pocono Chase Stats page.(6-16-2007)
News from June 15, 2007
- Aflac to sponsor Biffle? UPDATE 3 Cue the Duck, Alfac signs with Roush: hearing that former #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports crew chief, Greg Erwin will be Biffle’s new crew chief. Also hearing that Aflac will sponsor the #16 Ford as the primary in a few races Ameriquest is supposed to sponsor. Ameriquest if looking to get out of their sponsor contract with Roush Fenway Racing.(5-23-2007)
UPDATE: Aflac is on the verge of securing a multiyear team sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Staff writer Michael Smith also cites sources who say that the company is talking to NASCAR about acquiring official status in the category of supplemental insurance. Aflac’s sponsorship with Roush Fenway is expected to include four Nextel Cup races this year as the primary sponsor on Greg Biffle’s #16 car. The car is sponsored by Ameriquest, a troubled subprime lender that has been looking to sell off races and get out of the final two years of its deal. Aflac also will be featured as a primary sponsor for four Busch Series races this year, the story says, and to settle into a full-time Busch Series sponsorship with Roush Fenway for 2008. An announcement about the sponsorship is expected sometime this month. The story also says that Aflac was involved in discussions with Dale Earnhardt Inc. for a deal that would have involved Dale Earnhardt Jr., but that deal fell through before Earnhardt’s announcement that he’d leave DEI.(SceneDaily.com)(6-4-2007)
UPDATE 2: Roush Fenway Racing will announce the addition of a multi-team sponsor on Friday, June 15, 2007 at 9:30am/et at MIS with #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #26-Jamie McMurray, #00-Carl Edwards and team owner Jack Roush.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(6-15-2007)
UPDATE 3: With a successful acting career in television commercials and even movies, the Aflac Duck has added yet another role to its already impressive repertoire – race-car driving. Aflac Incorporated announced that it is partnering with Roush Fenway Racing to sponsor eight Nextel Cup and Busch Series races in the 2007 season. Greg Biffle will drive the #16 Aflac Ford for its debut at the Nextel Cup race on July 1 at New Hampshire International Speedway for a total of four races. Aflac is also sponsoring four Busch Series races with drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray. “We look forward to working with a world-class team like Roush Fenway Racing to bring the Aflac brand closer to NASCAR fans,” said Paul S. Amos II, president, Aflac; COO, U.S. Operations. “In addition to uniting with another great brand and working with these exciting drivers, this sponsorship will be a useful platform to build additional awareness of how our products can help consumers in their quest to balance everyday living expenses with out-of-pocket health care costs not covered by their existing major medical insurance.” The paint scheme was unveiled today at Michigan International Speedway and can be viewed at aflacracing.com. The Aflac Racing schedule below is also available on the Web site.
Greg Biffle – #16 Aflac Ford, Nextek Cup Series:
* July 1, New Hampshire International Speedway
* July 15, Chicagoland Speedway
* Sept. 2, California Speedway
* Sept. 30, Kansas Speedway
Carl Edwards – #60 Aflac Ford, Busch Series, July 6 at Daytona
Matt Kenseth – #17 Aflac Ford, Busch Series, Aug. 11, Watkins Glen
Jamie McMurray – #26 Aflac Ford, Busch Series, Aug. 24 at Bristol and Sept. 7 at Richmond
To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(6-15-2007)
- Old Nose for Evernham cars at MIS? UPDATE: hearing that the Evernham Motorsports Dodge Chargers will be running 2006 noses this weekend at Michigan.(6-13-2007)
UPDATE: #9-Kahne is running the 2006 Dodge nose, but #19- Sadler and #10-Riggs are using the current nose.(SPEED’s MIS Practice coverage)(6-15-2007)
- Ganassi cars to feature Father’s Day tribute at MIS: As a tribute to the fathers of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) drivers and dads everywhere, the #40 Coors Light Dodge driven by David Stremme, the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson and the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya will each feature their father’s name above the passenger side window in this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-15-2007)
- Yeley Wins Pole at Michigan: #18-J.J. Yeley won the Budweiser Pole for the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 187.505mph for his first career pole. #48-Johnson qualified second, just .001 second behind Yeley. They were followed by #5-Busch, #12-Newman, #13-Nemecheck, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #1-Truex, Jr., #31-Burton, and #2-Busch. See the qualifying results and starting lineup on the Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-15-2007)
- Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway: #44-Jarrett, #4-Burton, #36-Mayfield, #49-Bliss, #37-Lepage and #78-KWallace [broke a belt on the car].(6-15-2007)
- Haas not looking to sell despite legal woes UPDATE new owner listed: Nearly a year has passed since Nextel Cup team owner Gene Haas was arrested on federal tax evasion charges in California, and speculation has arisen recently that resulting financial strain could mean Haas/CNC Racing [#66-Green & #70-Sauter] may soon be sold. Haas/CNC general manager Joe Custer said Saturday that there is no truth to that speculation, and explained that the race team is technically an extension of Haas’ lucrative machine tool operation, Haas Automation, rather than a personal business owned solely by Haas.(ESPN.com)(6-10-2007)
UPDATE: hearing GM Joe Custer is now the owner of the team, no word how much or if there was a sale of the team, but the Entry List for MIS lists the owner of the #66 and #70 as “Joe Custer”.(6-15-2007)
- NASCAR Legend Owens loses garage: Cotton Owens Enterprises burned Thursday morning in a fire the NASCAR legend described as a “big loss.” The fire destroyed Owens’ collection of old car parts and antiques from Owens’ racing years. One man said the fire started when a shop at the rear of the property lit a beehive on fire, and that fire got out of hand.(Upstate.com)(6-15-2007)
- Testing at Milwaukee this week UPDATE 3: Several Nextel Cup Series teams will be testing at The Milwaukee Mile June 12, 13 and 14 testing the COT in preparation for New Hampshire on July 1st. Teams planning on testing: Hendrick Motorsports #25-Mears and #5-Busch on Tues & Wed., Hall of Fame Racing #96-Raines on Tues & Wed.; Evernham Motorsports #10-Riggs and #19-Sadler on Tues & Wed; Joe Gibbs Racing, unknown car#’s/drivers on Tues & Wed; DEI, unknown car#’s/drivers on Wed & Thu.; Ginn Racing #14-Marlin on Thur.; Roush Fenway Racing #16-Biffle and possibly other teams on Thur.; and Ganassi Racing, unknown car#’s/drivers on Wed & Thur..(PR)(6-12-2007)
UPDATE: Drivers team returning to test at Milwaukee on Wed. include: #5-Busch, #25-Mears, #11-Hamlin, #18-Yeley, #20-Stewart, #44-Jarrett, #55-Waltrip and #96-Raines. No speeds reported for Tuesday testing.(6-13-2007)
UPDATE 2: Wednesday at The Mile #5-Busch and #25-Mears tested in the morning, Gibbs Racing didn’t return after Tuesday’s test. Others testing Wed.: #96-Raines, #14-Marlin, #19-w/test driver Chase Miller. Thursday’s scheduled teams/drivers: #14-Marlin, #83-Vickers, #84-Allmendinger, #40-Stremme, #41-Sorenson, #16-Biffle and #45-Andretti along with some DEI’s team, unknown teams/drivers. Free admission to grandstands 9:00-5:00pm/et more info at milwaukeemile.com.(6-14-2007)
UPDATE 3: testing finished up Thursday with Red Bull Racing #83, #84, and Ganassi Racing #40,#41 were both using Hoosier tires on Thursday. DEI [#1,#8,#15] used Hoosiers most of the time on Thursday. Petty Enterprises, Evernham Motorsports, and Roush Racing were on Goodyear Tires every day they were at the track. The fastest unofficial speed was by the #8 with a speed of 117.416mph. The Busch Series track record is 122.474mph.(6-15-2007)
- Green to Walk the Red Carpet at Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope Sixth Annual Gala: Jeff Green, driver of the #66 Best Buy Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series, will join sports and music celebrities on the red carpet in New York City this Monday, June 18. Green will be in Manhattan to attend the Sixth Annual Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope gala dinner, which honors sports legends Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Joe Torre, Wayne Gretzky, Arnold Palmer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, as well as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, for their continuing philanthropic efforts with their respective charities. During the charity fundraiser, Green will accept a check on behalf of the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF). Founded by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, MJF identifies and supports community-based organizations that address the educational, health, and social needs of children, young adults and inner-city communities throughout the nation.(Best Buy Racing PR)(6-15-2007)
News from June 14, 2007
- 100th career start for Edwards: #99-Carl Edwards will make his 100th Nextel Cup Series start this weekend at Michigan. Edwards made his Cup Series debut at Michigan in August 2004 – started that race 23rd and finished 10th.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(6-14-2007)
- Earnhardt Elledge says contract details still to be finalized: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick have agreed for Earnhardt Jr. to drive for Hendrick Motorsports next season. But while they have an agreement, there are many details to work out, from potential sponsorship conflicts to whom the actual sponsor of the car might be. While Hendrick and Earnhardt Jr. have agreed, it’s now time for Hendrick Motorsports Executive Vice President Marshall Carlson and JR Motorsports General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Elledge to get to work. “We haven’t gotten all the details down,” said Earnhardt Elledge, who is the business manager for her brother. “Rick is a man of his word. We’ve had some high-level discussion on our expectations and what the most important thing for us is, the involvement in terms of sponsors and licensing and marketing in terms of Dale’s brand. Dale knows the competition side and what’s important there. … We still have a long ways to go in putting all the details together.” Earnhardt Elledge said that Earnhardt Jr. has basically signed a letter of intent and contract details are still being worked out. But she said it will get done because Earnhardt Jr. is comfortable that Hendrick will watch out for his well-being. Earnhardt Elledge said negotiations with other teams had not progressed to the point where Earnhardt Jr. was close to signing with another team.(SceneDaily.com)(6-14-2007)
- Statement from Kyle Busch Regarding Departure from HMS: UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Chevry in the Nextel Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports and four-time Nextel Cup race winner, will depart Hendrick Motorsports at the conclusion of the 2007 season. The following is a statement from Busch regarding the decision to leave: “We had been working on a contract extension for me to remain at Hendrick Motorsports, but after prolonged negotiations, we mutually agreed that a fresh start was in order. I have been granted a release after the 2007 season. I have tremendous respect for Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s where I grew up, and I have a lot of great memories. I kind of feel like I’m graduating. I’m excited about my future, and I know a lot of opportunities await because of what everyone at Hendrick did for me – on the track and off. I still have a job to do this year, and will give it my all – just as I’ve always done – to make sure we put the #5 car in victory lane a few more times before the year is out.”(True Speed Communication PR)
UPDATE: Hearing that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will end up at Hendrick Motorsports, taking Kyle Busch’s roster spot [which was announced]. As to what happens to Busch, he’ll take Junior’s place at Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated.(6-13-2007)
UPDATE 2: On Thursday, it became obvious that the honeymoon was over in relation to Hendrick Motorsports’ signing of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kyle Busch, the driver Earnhardt Jr. will replace next year, basically called owner Rick Hendrick a liar on a Sirius satellite-radio call-in show. According to Hendrick, he and Busch mutually agreed that leaving the team would be best for both parties. Hendrick also said Busch told him other teams had approached him. A gracious statement was issued in Busch’s name at the same time the press conference announcing Earnhardt’s hiring was taking place. Not so, said Busch. “Well, you know, this is all brand new,” said Busch. “I hadn’t talked or discussed or done anything with any other team. There had been a rumor that flew around that I was unhappy at Hendrick Motorsports, which was untrue. I was just frustrated with the way things were going, that I wasn’ able to get results. We had been running good and been fast everywhere, but we just had some bad luck and were crashing, and whatever. “That rumor started, and then after that rumor, it was that I was getting offers from other teams, which, I had never talked to anybody.” Busch said he hadn’t been given any indication that he wouldn’t be back at Hendrick until Monday.(Gaston Gazette)(6-14-2007)
- Martin to run Iowa road race: On July 13, Mark Martin tackle the Daytona Beach-based Rolex Sports Car Series at Iowa Speedway. “When we cut back to a limited schedule this season, one of the great things about it was that it would give me time to do a lot of other things that I’ve wanted to do,” Martin said. “I love to race all types of stuff and I think we’ll have a blast up there in Iowa in July.” After all, Martin has a history with the series, notably at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. With former boss Jack Roush perched on the 24-hour race’s pit box, Martin scored three Rolex 24 class victories over Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course. In its inaugural season, Rusty Wallace’s Iowa Speedway, near Des Moines, includes a 7/8-mile oval which serves as part of the facility’s 1.3-mile road course and, in addition to the Rolex Series, will host the Indy Racing League and Suntrust MOTO-ST Series among others.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-14-2007)
- Kurt Busch going “blogging” #2-Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will begin a weekly blog on ESPN.com this weekend. The 2004 NASCAR champ’s written “musings and opinings” will be featured on Fridays for the remainder of the racing season. “My own blog; that’s cool,” Kurt said as he was beginning the new project earlier this week. “We’re gonna’ have a lot of fun with it. I’ll guarantee you that I’ll be talking about some subjects in my ESPN blog that’ll be seen only there. Of course we’ll have to talk about the races, but I plan on going outside those lines on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to it and we really appreciate having the opportunity.(TRPR)(6-14-2007)
- Bobby Labonte to run MIS Truck race for BHR: #43-Bobby Labonte climbs behind the wheel of the #4 Open Joist Dodge this weekend at Michigan. It will be his second start for BHR. Labonte drove this particular truck last season at Michigan and finished third. Mike Bliss was scheduled to pilot the Open Joist Dodge, but is unable due to a previous commitment with his Busch Series team [in Kentucky]. Labonte will be making his 10th NCTS start on Saturday. In nine previous races Labonte has scored one win, five top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes.(BHR PR)(6-14-2007)
- Montoya Commerical to air Monday: Sprint Nextel will debut its first TV commercial with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya on June 18 [Monday]. As the premier sponsor of the Nextel Cup Series, Sprint Nextel brings the sport of NASCAR closer to Hispanic consumers and uses the sport’s intensity to demonstrate the speed of Nextel’s products. Titled “Gotera” (A Water Leak), the 30-second, Spanish-language commercial shows the Colombian-born driver making his pit stop during a race. While his pit crew works on refueling and changing worn tires in less than 15 seconds, Montoya is instantly connected to his wife via a Nextel Walkie-Talkie phone, and helps negotiate the cost for a plumber’s work. It’s the energy and adrenaline of the pit stop, coupled with the speed of the Nextel Walkie-Talkie service which demonstrates that Nextel service is immediate and reliable. Promoted in the TV commercial, the “Viva la Copa Nextel de NASCAR” National Sweepstakes invites consumers to sign up for a chance to meet Montoya.(Business Wire)(6-14-2007)
- Fishing logo on the #5 at MIS: The #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy of Kyle Busch will have a special decal on the rear bumper this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Sponsor Kellogg’s has an affiliation with the FLW Outdoors Bass Pro Fishing Series. The bumper will feature the FLW Outdoors logo in anticipation of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Chevy Open event scheduled to take place July 12-15 in Detroit. Busch will also drive the #51 Chevy Silverado for Billy Ballew Motorsports in Saturday’s running of the Michigan 200 Truck Series race.(HMS PR)(6-14-2007)
- Smith Completes Racing School & Test at Infineon Raceway: #01-Regan Smith completed a one-day racing school and partial-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup Series weekend, June 22-24. It was Smith’s first visit to the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, where he will attempt to make his first race start later this month. Smith has run a limited schedule this year in the #01 U.S. Army Chevy, starting three Cup Series events. He is also running full-time in the Busch Series. Smith, who shares his Cup ride with Mark Martin, completed a one-day Advanced Racing Course with the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School where he piloted an open-wheel Formula Russell car. Following the school, Smith spent a few hours behind the wheel of a late-model stock car supplied by ShiftIntoGear, Inc. He was coached by road-course specialist Chris Cook. “It was important that I at least see the road course before coming out here to race,” said Smith, who is currently ranked fifth in Busch Series points standings. “It seems like I get a little better with each lap. I look forward to coming out here next week.” For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-14-2007)
- Michigan Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 10 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Montoya finished 20th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the sixth time this season. Montoya leads David Ragan by six points (152-146) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 17 Citizen’s Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan, claiming a fifth-place finish in a rain shortened event. Since 1975, only five Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the June race at Michigan: 1979: Joe Millikan, fourth 1993: Jeff Gordon, second 2002: Ryan Newman, third 2004: Kasey Kahne, second 2006: Reed Sorenson, fifth. Only twice since 1975 have two or more Raybestos Rookies have led the spring race at Michigan. In 2004, Brendan Gaughan (once for 13 laps) and Scott Riggs (once for one lap) led the race. Prior to 2004, the most recent race where two Raybestos Rookies led a lap was in 1986 with Alan Kulwicki (once for one lap) and Michael Waltrip (once for two laps). The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the Citizens Bank 400 is 25 by Jimmie Johnson in 2002. The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in 38 previous Citizens Bank 400 races at Michigan is Loy Allen. Allen grabbed the top starting position for 1994 race.(Camp & Assoc/Raybetos PR), for standings and histry, see my 2007 Rookies page.(6-14-2007)
News from June 13, 2007
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive for Hendrick in 2008: announced via live on TV, Dale Earnhardt Jr., current driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevy for DEI, will drive for Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2008. Dale Jr. started the press conference with a short speach/explanation, then introduced his new team owner Rick Hendrick and unveiled the Hendrick Motorsports logo. One thing noticed…the biggest smile ever seen on Dale Jr.’s face.
Hendrick was asked about having a full stable of drivers, Hendrick immediately brought up Kyle Busch and working on a contract extension, that Busch was talking to other teams, Hendrick said conversations with Busch led both to realize it would be better for Busch to look at his other opportunities and part ways, but that Busch would run the #5 Chevy for the remainder of the season.
As for a car number and sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick said none of that has been finalized as of yet.
Dale Jr. said concerning Budweiser that sponsorship has not been talked about, before the press conference, SPEED reported that Budweiser is talking to other teams, including Kasey Kahne.
As for the #8, Dale Jr. mentioned he would like to keep the #8 and would talk to Teresa Earnhardt [owner of DEI #8] and that drew a large laugh from the media, but said he is looking for a number and car design that would look ‘cool’.
Asked about crew members and current crew chief Tony Eury Jr., Dale Jr. said it would have to be discussed down the road.
Dale Jr. said all the other rumors to other teams [Gibbs/VISA, RCR] came out of thin air.
Hendrick said Kyle Busch would finish the season in the #5 Chevy and run for the championship
Hendrick said he would be open to swapping the #5 for the #8 if DEI is interested, but no discussions so far. But said the #24 and #48 are locked up and nodded his head when said the number Dale Jr would use was between the #5 and #25.
The deal is a five-year deal 2008-2012
The press conference ended at 12:05pm/et….let the speculation begin
(TV Coverage of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Press Conference, see the transcript on my Dale Jr./Hendrick Press Conference Trascript page)(6-13-2007)
- Anheuser-Busch Statement Regarding Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Tony Ponturo, Vice President, Global Media and Sports Marketing Anheuser-Busch, Inc.: “Anheuser-Busch has enjoyed a remarkable relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr. since our sponsorship commenced back in 1999. Dale Jr. is an excellent ambassador for the sport and our company, and we look forward to exploring options with Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports to continue Budweiser’s relationship with him as he enters this new stage of his racing career.” Per Anheuser-Busch policy, there will not be any additional public comments, nor interview requests granted regarding on-going negotiations or contracts.(fingerprint inc./Budwesier PR)(6-13-2007)
- Graf takes over for Bliss at Sonoma in the #49: BAM Racing to announced the return of German-born racer Klaus Graf as driver of the #49 Paralyzed Veterans Dodge Avenger for the first road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway. Graf successfully qualified a second entry at Infineon Raceway for the team in 2004. Graf, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) driver and 2005 Trans-Am Series Champion, has a wealth of road-course racing experiences to draw upon as he attempts his first Nextel Cup Series start in three years. In his last start at Infineon Raceway, he qualified the #59 BAM Racing Dodge in the 38th position and captured a top-20 finish for the organization with a 17th place finish. “It feels great to come back to the Nextel Cup Series and BAM Racing,” said Graf. “After my experience in 2004, I’m really looking forward to getting back into a Nextel Cup car. This time I feel even more confident and motivated to have a strong showing at Infineon Raceway. Of course, our first priority will be to qualify the car on Friday. With the preparation the team and I did together, we feel strongly about this task. I would like to thank Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau for this opportunity and their trust in my abilities.” Graf has won numerous races and championships in several road racing series. He has nearly 20 years of racing experience and has competed in the ALMS, Trans-Am Series, ARCA Series and Nextel Cup Series to name a few. Graf recently completed a two-day test session at Virginia International Raceway with the BAM Racing team and the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.(BAM Racing PR)(6-13-2007)
- Chevy to unveil paint schemes to commemorate 50 Years of the ’57 Chevy: Chevrolet driver #48-Jimmie Johnson will be on hand when Chevrolet and Motorsports Authentics announce several classic paint schemes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most recognizable cars in American history – the 1957 Chevy. Johnson will help unveil the ’57 Chevy paint scheme his Monte Carlo SS will sport during the 3M Performance 400 on August 18. Many other commemorative paint schemes celebrating the ’57 Chevy will also be announced Saturday at 9:00am/et at victory lane of the Michigan International Speedway.(GM Racing PR)(6-13-2007)
- Andretti returns to PE: This weekend, John Andretti returns to the wheel of a Petty Enterprises Dodge. Andretti will fill-in for Kyle Petty in the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge for this weekend’s Michigan 400. Petty will once again be in the TNT booth for Sunday’s event. Andretti makes his return to Petty Enterprises after making this year’s Indianapolis 500. He will be the only competitor in Sunday’s race that raced in this year’s event. Andretti last raced for Petty Enterprises in 2003. He has 197 career starts with Petty Enterprises. Michigan is a familiar track to Andretti. He has 19 career starts at the track and 11 of them with Petty Enterprises. Andretti has five top-10 and one top-five finish in Nextel Cup competition at the track.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(6-13-2007)
- Cat M-Series scheme for Blaney at MIS in June UPDATE: #22-Dave Blaney is scheduled to run a brand new special paint scheme at Michigan in June, featuring the CAT logo on the hood and the M-Series motor grader on the rear decklid & quarter panels. See an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(4-28-2007)
UPDATE: The #22 Camry of Dave Blaney will have a new look this weekend, as it will carry Cat M-Series Motor Grader graphics on its deck lid and rear quarter panels. As the leader in motor graders since 1931, Caterpillar is introducing the M-Series Motor Grader, the first update since 1996. The new seven-model lineup features a pair of joysticks – the first ever total joystick control motor grader – that replace as many as 15 levers and a steering wheel. This revolutionizes the way this type of equipment is operated, and opens up the visibility in the cab. In terms of engine power, the M-Series feature horsepower ranging from 138 hp to 533 hp, depending upon the model – with three of the models also featuring an All-Wheel Drive option. More than 100 new patents have been applied for in the development of this new generation of motor grader.(BDR PR)(6-13-2007)
- Terry Labonte testing at Montreal UPDATE: Former NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Terry Labonte will be on the 4.361 km Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course today in an NBS stock car to provide feedback to teams who will be taking part on the NAPA 200 race in August on the island. These kinds of tests are normally done by Cup driver Jeff Burton, but with the possibility that Burton may race in the August event, NASCAR decided it give him an unfair advantage over other teams so close to the race date.(Toronto Sun)(6-12-2007)
UPDATE: History was made Tuesday when Terry Labonte tested with members of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) NASCAR Busch Series teams at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in preparation for the inaugural Canadian Busch Series race scheduled for Aug. 4 at the Montreal road course. It was the first time a Busch Series race car has turned a lap on the 13-turn 2.709-mile circuit, which has been home to the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. The 2007 edition of the race was held last weekend. Labonte drove RCR’s #21 AutoZone Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. He made a total of 21 laps (57 miles) with a fast lap of 1:49:86 minutes at an average speed of 105.602 mph. “The test went very well and it was an honor and quite a thrill to drive the first laps here in a NASCAR stock car,” said Labonte. “The biggest thing was figuring out the braking points that will be used for the race. We can’t get into the corners as deep as the Formula 1 cars. I think there will be at least two good places to pass so track position will be very important but it’s the same as Sonoma (Infineon Raceway) or some of the ovals that NASCAR races at.” Labonte, retired from fulltime NASCAR competition, was chosen to be the test driver because he will not compete in the Canadian event. All the information collected from the test, including videotape taken of the course from laps in a street-legal sedan, will be shared with every Busch Series team that will participate in the event. RCR did a similar test in January 2005 with driver Jeff Burton prior to the first Busch Series race at Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. On hand from RCR were NBS team manager Will Lind, all three Busch Series crew chiefs (Dan Deeringhoff/#2 BB&T, Shane Wilson/#21 AutoZone, and Pat Smith/ #29 Holiday Inn), and crew members from all three teams.(RCR PR)(6-13-2007)
- Dale Jr. to make announcement Wed. UPDATE 3 looks like to Hendrick #25? #5?; Kyle Busch to DEI?: could this be the big announcement of where Dale Earnhardt Jr. will go and who he will drive for in 2008 and the future? NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday at 11:00a,/et at his JR Motorsports race shop. [This is NOT open to the public] A full transcript will be released shortly after the news conference.(JR Motorsports PR)
UPDATE NEWS: Officials with Ginn Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing each said their teams were not involved in the news conference while a spokesperson for Richard Childress Racing said the team owner is out of the country [New Zealand] on a hunting trip and that he is not expected to be back in the country tomorrow. A Hendrick Motorsports spokesman had no comment. A call to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s spokesman was not immediately returned.(SceneDaily.com)
UPDATE 2: ESPN.com’s Marty Smith reports: Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Wednesday will announce his intent to drive the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in 2008, multiple sources with intimate knowledge of negotiations told ESPN.com Tuesday on condition of anonymity. Hendrick Motorsports declined comment Tuesday, and e-mails and calls sent to Earnhardt’s representation were not returned. Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who has handled contract negotiations for her brother, declined to comment on the report. There was some speculation that the wheels are already in motion to plant Earnhardt in the #5 now driven by Kyle Busch before season’s end, but Dale Earnhardt, Inc. president Max Siegel, contacted by phone Tuesday, discounted that scenario, saying Earnhardt would remain in the #8 through season’s end. Sources said there are indications that Busch may not finish the year in the #5. Busch is under contract with HMS through the end of next season, and Hendrick had been working to sign the 22-year old driver to an extension. Jeff Dickerson, an attorney for Busch, told ESPN.com that “a lot of things may or may not occur. Out of respect for Hendrick Motorsports, we’re not really sure what’s going on yet. But we’re trying. I don’t think anything’s changed yet. I can not tell you that Kyle is out of the #5 for 2008.” Meanwhile, one potential scenario would be Casey Mears moving to the #5 and Earnhardt moving to the #25 currently being driven by Mears [Budweiser sponsored Hendrick and the #25 for many years]. It is unknown whether sponsor Budweiser will follow Earnhardt to Hendrick. Budweiser officials are expected to release a statement Wednesday saying the company wishes Earnhardt well and that it will begin exploring its relationship with Earnhardt after the announcement. Hendrick Motorsports does have a history with Budweiser as a sponsor in the 1990s with [Ken Schrader] Ricky Craven and Wally Dallenbach Jr.(ESPN.com), the Associated Press is reporting similar news/speculation.(6-12-2007)
UPDATE 3: Hearing that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will end up at Hendrick Motorsports, taking Kyle Busch’s roster spot. As to what happens to Busch, he’ll take Junior’s place at Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated.(6-12-2007)
UPDATE 4: also heaing another scenerio: Jr will be in the #5 in 2008, Kyle Busch to Ginn [#01] and Mark Martin will finish out 2007 in the #5. No word on who would be in the #8 in 2008….if this happens.(6-13-2007)
- TV & RADIO COVERAGE of the Dale Jr. Press Conference: The pre preconference show advertised, is not on at 10:00am/et, so I guess tune in to SPEED, ESPN2, ESPNews at 11:00am/et for LIVE coverage of the press conference. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Channel 128 and XM Radio Chennel 144 will also carry live coverage via Satellite Radio.
Viewer’s can also watch the event via LIVE Streaming Video see SPEEDtv.com Press Conference coverage link at SPEEDtv.com [been told they may remove the link] and also at FoxSports.com.
News from June 12, 2007
- Another Motorcycler to try racing cars? UPDATE: A source close to Canada’s Miguel Duhamel, AMA Super Bikes series driver, told Sun Media at the Canadian Grand Prix that Duhamel will be in a stock car built especially for him by Dave Jacombs. Jacombs is the same chassis builder who put former Champ Car World Series stars Patrick Carpentier and Andrew Ranger in races, with both finishing in the top 10 in their first efforts. Duhamel, 39, who now lives in Las Vegas, has conquered just about all there is to conquer on two wheels, owning the records for most wins and most championships in the Super Bikes Series. He will team up with 20-year-old Ranger in Fords sponsored by Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble and the Children’s Miracle Network. Ranger, who looked to be destined for superstardom in Champ Car before his sponsorship dried up this season, was right at home in his first NCATS race last month at Cayuga Speedway Park where he finished fourth in the season opener. Duhamel, however, may just practice in his Jacombs prepared Ford at Mosport’s Father’s Day Double Header weekend and get behind the wheel for real at the NASCAR Busch Series NAPA 200 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 4 where the NCATS will run as a support race. It is also expected at the NBS race that current Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani will drive a third Jacombs prepared car.(Toronto Sun)(6-12-2007)
UPDATE: Miguel the son of Canadian Motorsport Hall of Famer Yvon Duhamel, who ran one Cup race at North Wilkesboro for Junie Donlavey in 1973 and finished 10th.(6-14-2007)
- Jarrett could leave MWR? UPDATE 2: XM Radio reported on Sunday that #44-Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota were re-evaluating Jarrett’s future with the team and could release him outright or sending him to a different Toyota team, either a current team or one that could switch to Toyota next season.(Ford Racing site)
UPDATE: the Ford Racing site had the above posted, but removed it without explanation or update for a bad rumor, supposedly XMRadio said it was never aired. and now it is back [on 6-12-2007] but reworded as: According to sources Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota were re-evaluating Jarrett’s future with the team and could release him outright or sending him to a different Toyota team, either a current team or one that could switch to Toyota next season.(6-11-2007)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip failed to qualify at Pocono, making it 12 DNQs in 14 races this season, and adding more fuel to the fires of speculation surrounding his team. Unconfirmed reports continue to circulate about Waltrip refunding between $300,000 and $400,000 per missed race to his sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, and about the unhappiness of Dale Jarrett’s sponsor, UPS. Jarrett also failed to make Sunday’s race — his third DNQ in the last five events — and there is talk in the Nextel Cup garage that he could be released by MWR, or moved to another operation. As a team, Waltrip, Jarrett and rookie David Reutimann have qualified just 22 times in 42 attempts this season.(Motorsports Soapbox/Dave Moody)(6-12-2007)
- Hornish to attempt MIS ARCA race: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #27 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will attempt to qualify for his first ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday. Hornish has never raced a stock car at Michigan, but he was the fastest during the one-day ARCA test on May 29. He posted a lap time of 30.09 seconds, 184.190 mph, a mere eight-tenths of a second slower than the qualifying record set in 2004. Hornish will return to MIS for the IndyCar and Busch Series races in August. If he qualifies for the NBS event, Hornish will be the first driver to compete in all three events in a single season at his home track.(Penske Racing)(6-12-2007)
- Mears’ share #25: In 1995, Roger Mears made his first foray into the NASCAR world and entered four Craftsman Truck Series races. In three of those races, his truck ran with a number borrowed from team owner Rick Hendrick. As fate would have it, that number was 25. Same as his son Casey drives now, for Rick Hendrick. Said Roger, “Rick (Hendrick) let us use that number when I was driving the Budweiser truck for a few races, and now it seems like it must have been a hint at the future. It’s just a neat piece of history to have, and hopefully it’s a little bit of good luck.”(HMS PR)(6-12-2007)
- Edwards on Stewart’s Show tonight: On tonight’s edition of “Tony Stewart Live” scheduled guests include Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford. “Tony Stewart Live,” hosted by Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum, airs Tuesdays (8-10pm/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128.(SIRIUS PR)(6-12-2007)
- Jeff Gordon’s plane safe: Rumors that an airplane carrying a NASCAR driver went down in Pennsylvania this morning [Monday] are not true. The air control tower at Fort Indiantown Gap [PA] heard a “Mayday” from an aircraft in trouble at 8:15 this morning. But Federal Aviation Administration officials told the state emergency operations center that there are no airplanes down in Pennsylvania this morning. FAA officials said the search for the downed aircraft has moved to Delaware and Virginia. The Wilmington News Journal reports in an online news item that a search today in Kent County, Del., turned up no downed plane. The rumor, which apparently started in northeastern Pennsylvania, said the aircraft was believed to belong to NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. However, John Edwards, Gordon’s press spokesman, said Gordon’s airplane is sitting safely in its hanger.(Patriot News)(6-12-2007)
- Todd Bodine plans to run Brickyard 400: During an interview on Sirius Radio’s The Driver’s Seat, Truck Series driver Todd Bodine said they [Germain Racing] were still planning on running a couple of races in the Busch & Cup Series this year. As of now, the plan is to run the Busch Series event at Gateway Int’l on July 21st and in Nextel Cup at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29th.(6-12-2007)
- Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon leads all drivers after 14 races in 2007 with 12 Top-10 finishes and 10 Top-5 finishes. Two drivers have ran all 14 races in 2007 and have not scored a Top-10 finish: #96-Raines and #14-Marlin. Eights drivers do not have a Top-5: Raines, Marlin, #07-Bowyer, #43-Labonte, #19-Sadler, #40-Stremme, #9-Kahne, #7-Gordon and #88-Rudd.(6-12-2007)
- Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #17-Matt Kenseth and #11-Denny Hamlin have been running at the finish in 44 consecutive races, the longest current streak. Kenseth has also completed every lap  ran in the 2007 season and has a streak of 19 races where he has finished on the lead lap, the 3rd best streak since 1995 [Gordon had 21 in 1998-99 and Johnson 20 last season]. In the 2007 season after 14 races, seven drivers have finished all the races: Kenseth, Hamlin, #07-Bowyer, #29-Harvick, #43-Labonte, #19-Sadler and #42-Montoya. #22-Blaney has the most DNF’s [Did Not Finish] with 6 in 12 races run.(6-12-2007)
- Rudd to Enter Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame: #88-Ricky Rudd and Save Mart Supermarkets chairman and CEO Bob Piccinini will be honored during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend by being inducted into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame. Rudd, considered one of the best road-course drivers in NASCAR history, is a two-time winner at Infineon Raceway and he has also sat on the pole four times. He won the inaugural race at then-Sears Point Raceway in 1989, edging Rusty Wallace by a scant .05 seconds, which is still a track record. Piccinini and Rudd will be inducted into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame on Friday, June 22, at 10:30am/et. Race fans are invited to attend the ceremony, which will be held in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. Piccinini, whose Modesto-based grocery chain has been associated with Infineon Raceway since 1992, has played a critical role in the growth of the Nextel Cup Series, not only at Infineon Raceway, but throughout all of Northern California.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-12-2007)
News from June 11, 2007
- Terry Labonte to run the #55 at the road courses? UPDATE: hearing that two-time Cup champ, Terry Labonte, will run the #55 NAPA Toyota at the road course races at Infineon Raceway [where he finished 3rd in the #96 last season] and at Watkins Glen in August. Labonte would have the past champions provisional to use and since he won his last championship in 1996, he would vault ahead of #21-Bill Elliott who win his championship in 1988, guaranteeing the #55 will make both races.(6-12-2007)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today that two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion [1984 & 1996], Terry Labonte will step into the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for the road course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International. “It’s not an easy decision for me to remove myself from the car, but I know it is for the betterment of our whole program,” said Waltrip. “I know Terry’s experience and road race savvy will breathe a little bit of fresh air into my young NAPA team.” Labonte has had much success at road course tracks finishing third at Infineon Raceway last year and has six top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen International. “To put Terry in the car is a reflection of the big picture we are trying to establish with this NAPA Racing team and hopefully, it will be the spark this team needs,” Waltrip said. “I look forward to watching the NAPA team compete and learning more about all the MWR cars from a different perspective, exclusively as an owner.” NAPA supports Waltrip’s decision. “NAPA appreciates and respects Michael’s dedication to move our racing program forward and regain our on-track competitive edge,” said NAPA President Bob Susor. “We thank him for his efforts and dedication to NAPA and welcome the addition of NASCAR champion Terry Labonte to the NAPA family for these road-course events.” Waltrip will return to his NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for the Lenox Industrial Tool 300 on July 1st at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NAPA/MWR PR)(6-12-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pocono 500:
Total number of commercials: 103
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 62
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 19
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 4:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 7:35 PM
Total minutes: 185
Minutes of race broadcast: 134 min. 30 sec.
Minutes of commercials: 50 min. 30 sec.
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-11-2007)
- Third Penske team in 2008? Mobil 1 as sponsor? hearing that Mobil 1 will be a full sponsor of a third Penske Racing Nextel Cup car in 2008, no word on a driver.(6-8-2007)
UPDATE: Roger Penske said Sunday he plans to field two Dodge-backed Nextel Cup Series teams in 2008. Recent reports said Penske Racing may leave Dodge next season in favor of a move to Toyota, a rumor Penske dismissed. “Our Dodge commitment is a long-term contract,” said Penske, one of the world’s largest Toyota dealers. “I read in the paper where we were switching to Toyota. We haven’t even talked to them about it.” As for the speculated third team? “We’ve looked at whether we’d run an additional car,” Penske said. “We haven’t made any commitment on it at this point. There’s lots of speculation. We’ve got a lot of moving parts right now. I’m not committing to a third team at this point, at all.”(ESPN.com)(6-11-2007)
- Penske says Busch has his support despite incident: Roger Penske certainly didn’t condone driver #2-Kurt Busch’s temper tantrum last weekend at Dover International Speedway, and he acknowledges Busch let his emotions endanger a competitor. But Penske’s a racer, he understands and respects the emotional overload on-track competition can produce. So all said, he fully supports his driver. “In my situation as a car owner, I looked at what happened last weekend and the biggest disappointment I have is that I wasn’t there to maybe keep that situation [from happening] on the pit lane,” Penske said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Penske said he and Busch met with team executives midweek to discuss the severity of the meltdown, namely what it projected internally and externally. Penske suggested that Busch rally his team, advice the driver heeded.(ESPN.com)(6-11-2007)
News from June 10, 2007
- Jeff Gordon wins at Pocono: #24-Jeff Gordon won the rain-shortened Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway Sunday evening. The race was called on lap 106 after a 35 minute red flag when NASCAR determined that the track could not be dried before it got too dark to race. Rain plagued the area most of the day. Intermittent showers delayed the start of the race about more than 2 ˝ hours. Gordon used pit strategy to take the lead on lap 98 and was in the right place when the rain hit. The win is Gordon’s 4th of 2007 and 79th of his career. Pole sitter, #12-Newman finished 2nd and nearly took the lead from Gordon just before the final caution came out. #1-Truex, Jr. finished 3rd, followed by #25-Mears, #20-Stewart, #11-Hamlin, #01-Martin, #5-Busch, #17-Kenseth, and #07-Bowyer. There were 4 cautions for 10 laps and 8 drivers led the race with 15 lead changes.
Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page
Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-10-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Pocono [16 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 2249
#17-Matt Kenseth 2007 -242
#11-Denny Hamlin 2002 -247
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1944 -305
#31-Jeff Burton 1828-421
#20-Tony Stewart 1733 -516
#99-Carl Edwards 1710 -539
#07-Clint Bowyer 1659 -590
#29-Kevin Harvick 1648 -601
#5-Kyle Busch 1613 -636
#1-Martin Truex Jr. 1597 -652
#01-Mark Martin 1586 -663
#8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is 14th
#42-Juan Montoya is 21st
#9-Kasey Kahne is 28th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(6-10-2007)
- Rumblings – Pocono Race Notes: We had it all today….twilight racing, a race to the rain, a strategy race, and one of the longest days in Nextel Cup racing to boot. When they finally put us out of our misery, Jeff Gordon was declared the winner. Gordon won the Pocono 265 today while the rain fell yet again in turn 1. Somewhere in the gloaming a celebration ensued….This was Gordon’s 4th win of the season, his 4th at Pocono Raceway, and the 79th of his Cup career. Win #159 for Hendrick Motorsports (and their 10th this season) was worth $238,286 from the over $4.9M in posted awards (and Steve Letarte should lobby for a nice bonus from that chunk of change for his call to stay out and pit off-sequence with the rest of the field).
Joe Nemechek (15th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Fontana in February.
Ward Burton (33rd) had his best finish since he was 18th at Bristol in March (only five races).
STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Jeff Gordon has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races. Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
The Rookie Report: Juan Pablo Montoya (20th) captures this award for the 6th time this season, moving him back into a tie with David Ragan at the top of the heap. Montoya was followed by Ragan (26th), Paul Menard (28th), David Reutimann (38th), and A. J. Allmendinger (39th). All five rookies made the race this week.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Mark Martin (+27). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmie Johnson (-35), Dave Blaney (-29), and Brian Vickers (-26). Short race….short “Shaft”.
The race for the exempt qualifying spots got tighter today. Scott Riggs (#10) is now only 20 points behind the 35th team in Owner Points (#70 Johnny Sauter).
Jeff Gordon’s points lead is out to 242 after today as we had no driver move up (or fall out of) the “Chase”.
Casey Mears (27th to 23rd) made the best move forward today, while Jamie McMurray (13th to 16th) and a talkative Kyle Petty (30th to 33rd) fell the most spots.(StockCarFans.com)(6-10-2007)
- Petty Enterprises/McCumbee in Victory Lane at Pocono ARCA Race: Chad McCumbee celebrated in victory lane Saturday afternoon in the ARCA RE/MAX Pocono 200. The car was a Petty Enterprises Dodge with Billy Wilburn and the #45 crew leading McCumbee to the front. For McCumbee, it was his first start for Petty Enterprises. He will race the Goody’s Cool Orange Dodge in Sunday’s Pocono 500 at the same track. Tim Andrews, son of #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge crew chief Paul Andrews finished third in Sunday’s race. The car Andrews raced is a former Petty Enterprises Dodge.(Petty Racing PR)(6-10-2007)
- Haas not looking to sell despite legal woes: Nearly a year has passed since Nextel Cup team owner Gene Haas was arrested on federal tax evasion charges in California, and speculation has arisen recently that resulting financial strain could mean Haas/CNC Racing [#66-Green & #70-Sauter] may soon be sold. Haas/CNC general manager Joe Custer said Saturday that there is no truth to that speculation, and explained that the race team is technically an extension of Haas’ lucrative machine tool operation, Haas Automation, rather than a personal business owned solely by Haas.(ESPN.com)(6-10-2007)
- Martin says he’s still not a full-timer: Thirteen races into the season, #01-Mark Martin remains in position to make the Chase for the Nextel Cup, even though he’s only competed in 10 events. That ranks the veteran driver ahead of 22 drivers who have competed in all 13. Still, Martin said there’s no chance that he will decide to run the remainder of the races, this in spite of the fact that he has never won a championship. “I don’t even want to,” he said, “so if I was leading, like I was when I missed my first race, I still wouldn’t. I don’t want to.” Martin’s position hasn’t wavered. It’s just that people don’t seem to believe him.(Gaston Gazette)(6-10-2007)
- France funeral slows Earnhardt Jr. talks: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that with most people in the industry juggling schedules to attend the funeral of NASCAR executive Bill France Jr. on Thursday, little was done as far as where he will drive in 2008 this past week. Earnhardt Jr. was one of many drivers who attended the funeral in Daytona Beach, Fla. of the man who guided the sport from 1972 to 2003. Earnhardt Jr. said there would not be much done over the Pocono race weekend. “We don’t really get a whole lot going on during the weekend because I like to be around when we’re talking and discussing.” Earnhardt Jr. said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-10-2007)
News from June 9, 2007
- Negotiations between Biffle, Roush break down: UPDATE: Contract negotiations between #16-Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing have stalled, Biffle told ESPN.com Friday at Pocono Raceway. Biffle said the decision to break off talks was his and is based largely on improving the performance of a No. 16 team that has been up-and-down of late and in a state of transition following the firing of crew chief Pat Tryson two weeks ago and subsequent hiring of crew chief Greg Irwin. Biffle expects negotiations to resume in about a month.(ESPN.com)(6-8-2007)
UPDATE: If there is any doubt Greg Biffle will return as driver of the #16 car next season he put those rumors to rest at Pocono. “It´s my full intention right now to race that (#16) car next year. I can´t leave next year. I not only have a contract with them (Roush-Fenway Racing) I´ve got a contract with Ford. The speculation is over. I have two contracts that I´m obligated to do and I´m going to do. If for some reason we don´t come to an agreement I´ll be driving something different in 2009, not 2008. I´m off the bargaining table. They need a driver for the #8 next year…that´s not me…or whatever other cars.” Contract extension talks are on hold for at least the next month as Biffle wants to focus on the competition side with new crew chief Greg Irwin. “Greg is doing an unbelievable job” said Biffle. “Pat (Tryson) was a helluva crew chief. Pat got this team to where it is now. Greg´s taken over and it keeps going up. Let´s just work on getting into the chase instead of working on negotiating money, sponsor appearances, Busch Series stuff and all that. I want to have it done this year. I don´t want it to go into next year, so heck we´ve got five months and that´s a lot of time.”(PRNs Garage Pass)(6-9-2007)
- Burton says RCR ‘likely’ to add fourth team next season: #31-Jeff Burton thinks Richard Childress Racing will add a fourth Nextel Cup Series team in 2008, citing much recent discussion about the subject as partial evidence. “I think it’s likely,” Burton said of adding a fourth full-time team to the RCR stable. “Obviously we can’t divulge what’s on our minds but we have some exciting things that could happen.” Burton wouldn’t divulge details, rather said “there’s a lot up in the air right now that we don’t 100 percent know what’s going to happen.” The addition isn’t a no-brainer, Burton said. He was quick to point out the negatives of adding another program: 25 percent more challenges, 25 percent more problems. The chief benefit of adding a fourth team is the additional knowledge added to the resource pool.(ESPN.com)(6-9-2007)
- Furniture Row tests road course car in Colorado; VIR next: Pueblo Motorsports Park proved to be a valuable resource for Colorado’s lone Nextel Cup Series team Friday. The Denver-based Furniture Row team and its test driver Scott Gaylord spent the afternoon testing the team’s car at PMP’s 2.2-mile road course. “We came here to do a shakedown,” shop manager Dave Hatfield said. “We wanted to use this facility because it is close to home. This is really the only place we can test (in Colorado) and this is a good track.” The No. 78 Furniture Row team, which is owned by Englewood businessman Barney Visser, was planning to run 35 laps at PMP in preparation for a more extensive testing session Wednesday and Thursday at Virginia International Speedway in Danville, Va. Kenny Wallace, the team’s driver, is scheduled to be at the Danville test.(Pueblo Chieftain)(6-9-2007)
- Kurt Busch penalized, not suspended: UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced today that Kurt Busch, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, has been penalized 100 championship driver points, fined $100,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2007 for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing – reckless driving; endangering a crew member on pit road) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. Car owner Roger Penske has also been penalized with the loss of 100 championship owner points due to his driver’s infraction. The violation occurred on pit road during the race at Dover International Speedway on June 4.(NASCAR PR).
Penske Statement: Penske Racing acknowledges the fine, penalty and probation that has been imposed by NASCAR relative to the pit incident involving Kurt Busch at this week’s Dover race and will not appeal. Safety is paramount in motorsports and must not be compromised. “I regret the incident that occurred at Dover and apologize to NASCAR, my sponsors, the fans, my Penske Racing team and Joe Gibbs Racing. I understand that safety is crucial to the sport and I accept the points penalty, fine and probation that NASCAR has imposed on me,” said Kurt Busch. Penske Racing will continue to support Kurt and look forward to racing at Pocono.(Penske Racing PR)(6-8-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton says that NASCAR did consider suspending driver Kurt Busch for a race after a pit-road incident at Dover, but that the sanctioning body thinks the 100-point penalty and $100,000 fine is an appropriate penalty. “We looked at a lot of different options from Monday night on, and we felt like we got everybody’s attention and we felt like the 100-point penalty, 100,000 was substantial,” Pemberton said Friday morning at Pocono Raceway. “One of the things you can’t lose sight of is we parked Kurt during the race also. … That all wrapped into that.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-8-2007)
UPDATE 2: Comments from Kurt Busch: “I regret my actions on Monday during the race. To accept the penalty, that’s what we’re going to do. I’m glad I’m here to race the car this weekend. We’ve got our work cut out for us to gain these 100 points back. The money, hopefully it goes to the NASCAR Foundation or whatever they do with the funds. We’re here to move forward. The real incident was out on the racetrack. What happened on pit road is the real story. I reached out for Jason Lee, the crew member on Joe Gibbs’ team, and left him a message to clear some of the air on things, to let him know that it was not my intention at all to put him in danger. What the beef is is between me and Tony out on the track.”(Clear!Blue PR)(6-9-2007)
- Bobby Kennedy Happy to be Back at Track: Michael Waltrip Racing’s Bobby Kennedy is relieved to be taking a more hands-on approach with his team. Kennedy, the team’s vice president of competition, is back at the track for the second week after serving a NASCAR suspension that began Feb. 12 after the team was found to have used an illegal fuel additive in practice for the Daytona 500. Kennedy has spent the months since then helping move all of MWR into its new shop and getting the teams cars of tomorrow ready to race. As to whether or not he felt his suspension was appropriate, Kennedy says that he doesn’t really have an opinion. He’s just glad that his team was able to compete in the Daytona 500, even if he could not be there. The reason they told me that I was suspended, they would take me rather than doing the whole team there at Daytona, so I was willing to accept that and just move on. I’d much rather the car be there to race rather than worry about whether myself was there.” As to the source of that mysterious fuel additive, Kennedy says the team remains in the dark about that.(SceneDaily.com)(6-9-2007)
- Richard Petty Driving Experience Brings First “Cars of Tomorrow” To Daytona: Beginning Friday, for the first time ever at historic Daytona International Speedway, race fans will have the opportunity to ride in a NASCAR Car of Tomorrow with Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE). RPDE will have three Car of Tomorrow (COT) race cars in the Daytona fleet Friday with six more on the way soon. RPDE plans to roll out a total of 13 COT cars before year end and continue to build 15-20 per year into the current fleet, which now stands at 115 NASCAR style stock cars nationwide.(RPDE PR)(6-9-2007)
- Encore of Nextel Prelude to the Dream Available on HBO Pay-Per-View: For those who want to experience the excitement and camaraderie of the third annual Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice at Eldora Speedway, HBO Pay-Per-View will have encore presentations of the all-star dirt late model race available until June 10. Contact your satellite or cable provider and check your local listings for dates and times. “I think from the time we got into hot laps to the time they dropped the checkered flag, we got as much drama as I have ever seen in a the Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice,” said Tony Stewart, multi-time racing champion and owner of Eldora Speedway. “All of us drivers had a lot of fun, and everyone I talked to who saw the live broadcast said it showed a side of us they hadn’t seen before.” The more than three-hour production features all the racing action, including three heat races, a B-Main race and the 30-lap feature, which features a thrilling duel between Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and winner Carl Edwards. The broadcast went behind the scenes as 26 world-class drivers went back to their racing roots by competing for nothing more than pride, a trophy and raising money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(True Speed Communication PR)(6-9-2007)
- NASCAR gets big lift on TNT: TNT’s new truck-mounted NASCAR set, making its debut Sunday at the Pocono 500, can be raised to the height of a 10-story building. It can rotate during races so analysts can swivel toward action on any part of the racetrack. During TNT’s prerace coverage, it will slowly revolve.(USA Today)(6-9-2007)
News from June 8, 2007
- Stewart/Busch Tangle; Busch almost hits #20 crewman UPDATE 4 Suspension and more?: been asked why no penalty announced for #2-Kurt Busch on Tuesday [when penalties are usually announced], two reasons: 1) the Dover race was postponed from Sunday to Monday, so things got pushed back a day too; 2) the death of Bill France Jr. So we could see some sort of penalty announcement on Wednesday [June 6th]. ESPN2’s NASCAR Now show reported that NASCAR officials met Tuesday afternoon about the situation. What happened? here is what I have posted in my race report: #20-Stewart and #2-Busch got together, Stewart finished 40th after the team made repairs, Busch came to pit road and ran close to the #20 and stopped, the jackman had to hustle to get out of the way, Busch then peeled out when he left, NASCAR parked Busch the rest of the race and will meet with NASCAR at the trailer after the race.(6-5-2007)
UPDATE: #2-Kurt Busch and #20-Tony Stewart dealt with more than damaged cars following their incident on lap 271 of Monday’s rain-delayed Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. They dealt with wounded feelings as well. The incident occurred when Busch tried to move up in front of Stewart and the left front of Stewart’s car tagged the right rear of Busch’s. Stewart then hit Busch again after Busch bounced off the wall. On pit road, Busch pulled up beside Stewart, who was sitting in his pit stall. NASCAR then parked Busch for endangering Stewart’s crew members. A penalty is expected. They both paid for the accident, with Busch finishing 42nd and Stewart 40th.(SceneDaily.com)(6-6-2007)
UPDATE 2: been hearing that Busch will be suspended one race and miss Pocono, nothing confirmed yet, no word who would drive the car.(6-6-2007)
UPDATE 3: ESPN2’s NASCAR Now reported that NASCAR would not make any announcement on a penalty, if any, before Friday.(6-6-2007)
UPDATE 4: hearing Busch will be suspended for one race AND hearing the #2 Dodge, even after the accident, failed post race inspection and could face a fine/penalty for that infraction, being a COT, it could be substantial.(6-8-2007)
- Chase Notes: In two out of three years, only two drivers in the top 10 at the halfway point failed to make The Chase field. Last year, only one: Tony Stewart, fell out and Denny Hamlin raced his way in. Only Matt Kenseth has come from farther than 100 points out at halfway to make the field. In 2005, Matt roared back from 278 points out of 10th at halfway, making up 12 spots and making the field in 9th position with a 125-point cushion over 11th-place Elliott Sadler. Remember, if you’re safely in The Chase, the only thing that matters over the next 13 races is wins. Each one equals 10 precious Chase points. Only three drivers can make it a perfect four-out-of-four in making The Chase field each year since the debut in 2004: 1. #48-Jimmie Johnson; 2. #17-Matt Kenseth; and 3. #01-Mark Martin. For more see my Chase Stats page.(6-8-2007)
- Pocono Rookie Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 4 Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway. Ragan finished 14th and took top rookie honors for the sixth time in 13 races. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads David Ragan by five points (141-136) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 10 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Denny Hamlin won the 2006 Pocono 500, crossing the finish line 1.328 seconds ahead of second-place Kurt Busch. Hamlin became just the third Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the June race at Pocono, joining Jimmie Johnson (third in 2002) and Kyle Busch (fifth in 2005). Hamlin also won the pole for the race. He became just the second Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at Pocono, joining Kasey Kahne who captured the top spot at the 2004 June race. Hamlin led the race six times for 83 laps and became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Pocono. He became just the sixth Raybestos Rookie since 1989 to lead a lap in the spring race at Pocono. Raybestos Rookies Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers made history at Pocono during time trials for the 2004 Pocono 500. Kahne won the pole while Brian Vickers grabbed the second starting position. The 2004 event was the first time in the track’s history that TWO Raybestos Rookies started on the front row at Pocono and only the second time in the sport’s modern-era where there was an all rookie front row.(Camp & Assoc/Raybetos PR)(6-8-2007). see more on my 2007 Rookies page.(6-8-2007)
- Pocono Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . however, major NASCAR teams have run this left-side code (D-4104) at Phoenix and Richmond, and this right-side code at Bristol, earlier this season . . . Pocono is the only track at which Nextel Cup teams are scheduled to run these codes together in 2007 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals one mile or greater in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated pit window, every 29-31 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, codes, pressures on my Pocono Race Info Page.(6-8-2007)
- This weekend, XM will broadcast a one-hour special about the life and legacy of NASCAR pioneer Bill France Jr. “The Stories of a Legend: The Legacy of Bill France, Jr.” will feature stories about France as told by: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Michael Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson and Steve Crisp, Director of Motorsports, JR Motorsports. The special will be hosted by XM sports anchor Claire B Lang and will air on XM Sports Nation (XM Channel 144) at the following times (all times Eastern): -Saturday, June 9: 6 am, 12 noon, 4 pm, 6 pm; -Sunday, June 10: 10 am, 11am.(6-8-2007)
- Newman on Pole at Pocono: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 170.062mph for his 3rd pole in a row, his 4th pole of the year, and the 41st of his career. Newman has only won three races in the 40 races which he won the pole. #11-Hamlin qualified second, followed by #1-Truex Jr., #5-Busch, #07-Bowyer, #20-Stewart, #48-Johnson, #9-Kahne, #83-Vickers, and #31-Burton. All 2007 rookies made the race. It’s the third time this year that all rookies have qualified (the others were Richmond and Darlington). See the complete starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page(6-8-2007)
- Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway: #55-Waltrip, #78-Wallace, #36-Mayfield, #37-Lepage, #44-Jarrett, and #49-Bliss.(6-8-2007)
- Pocono Rumblings: Ryan Newman goes back to back to back today…. Newman made it three in a row at Pocono Raceway as he took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s aptly named Pocono 500 with a speed of 170.062 (52.922 sec). It was his 4th top-spot of the season and 41st of his Nextel Cup career. Denny Hamlin will join Ryan on the front row….and we remember what he did here last year. Martin Truex Jr (3rd) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 5th at California last September. Kyle Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Homestead last November. Brian Vickers (9th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 6th at Homestead last November. Welcome Chad McCumbee (35th). He’ll be filling the 45 seat (and makes his first ever Cup start) while Kyle Petty moves to the TNT booth.
STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races. Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.(StockCarFans.com)(6-8-2007)
Qualifying Order List for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway is up, 49 drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, #15-Menard is due out first on Friday, June 8 at 3:40pm/et on SPEED, last driver scheduled out is #38-Gilliland. For the Qualifying order, see my Pocono Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-8-2007)
News from June 7, 2007
- NASCAR stars say goodbye to France in simple ceremony: NASCAR stars paid respects to former chairman Bill France Jr. on Thursday in a short, simple funeral service that was far more fuss than he would have wanted. About 2,000 people filled the Performing Arts Center at Bethune-Cookman University to say goodbye to France in a send-off for a man who loved hot dogs, fishing and, more than anything else, NASCAR. “He was our mentor,” NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick said. “He was our leader. He was a great friend, and we’re all going to miss him. He was a bear of a man, but he really had a teddy bear of a heart.” Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Ned Jarrett, and Bobby and Donnie Allison were among the retired drivers on hand, while active stars Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip and Kurt Busch joined the gathering. Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Bill Elliott, who all raced late into Wednesday night in a charity event in Ohio, trickled in right before the start. See full AP story ESPN.com.(6-7-2007)
- Race Themed School to open in Las Vegas: A new, auto racing-themed elementary school is opening in Las Vegas in August. The school’s official name will be “Dr. C. Owen Roundy Elementary School,” and the students have chosen “Roundy Racers” as the school’s nickname and also have selected a racing-themed logo to represent them. The décor of the school will be racing themed and the halls will be filled with display cases (that they hope to fill with racing items). They also are planning racing-themed field trips and assemblies. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be in late August (date TBA).(LVMS PR)(6-7-2007)
- Smith’s Ginn Racing Schedule Altered; full time planned in 2008: Regan Smith, who ranks sixth in driver points after the first 14 Busch Series races, will compete in either a Cup, Busch, Truck or ARCA race during the remaining 23 Nextel Cup weekends. “Our main objective is to get Regan prepared for a full-time Nextel Cup ride,” said Jay Frye, Ginn Racing’s CEO and general manager. “Regan has excelled and we are currently reworking a schedule that will continue to benefit him and our racing operation. With the Car of Tomorrow scheduled to compete in all of the 2008 races, we also plan on utilizing the Busch team to assist in our aggressive COT testing program.” Smith, 23, has garnered two top-five, four top-10 and six top-15 finishes in the Busch races this season. His standing position of sixth is the highest among non-Nextel Cup regulars. He has also driven in three Cup races as the co-driver with Mark Martin in the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. “I came to Ginn Racing at the end of last year with an excellent learning opportunity, a flexible racing schedule and having Mark Martin as my mentor,” said Smith, who will compete in this weekend’s Nashville Busch race. “It’s been an incredible experience. I am happy that we’re enjoying success and feel with the program laid out for the rest of the season it will continue to prepare me for my ultimate goal of being a full-time Cup driver.”(Ginn Racing PR)(6-7-2007)
- TNT Fuels Six Weeks of NASCAR Coverage with New Show, New Set and New Innovative TV format: TNT announced its new programming lineup for the network’s upcoming Nextel Cup Series coverage, which includes coverage of six consecutive Cup races beginning on Sunday, June 10th from Pocono Raceway. The NASCAR on TNT Summer Series will feature new race analysts, a new pre-race show that will provide extended trackside coverage prior to the start of each race, and a cutting-edge new television format called Wide Open Coverage which will make its debut Saturday, July 7th from the Daytona International Speedway. TNT’s first race telecast of the season will include a tribute to the late Bill France Jr., who passed away earlier this week. The network’s summer 2007 race programming marks TNT’s 23rd year of televising Cup coverage, making it NASCAR’s longest running broadcast partner.
TNT’s new NASCAR announcing booth will include seven-year veteran TNT announcers Bill Weber (play-by-play) and Wally Dallenbach (analyst), who will be joined by current Cup Series driver, Kyle Petty. Petty, as previously announced, will serve as an analyst for all six of TNT’s Cup races, calling the race in Sonoma, CA on June 24 from behind the wheel of his #45 Dodge. Veteran NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds will also join the TNT broadcast team, serving in a specialty role of analyst and reporter. From interviewing crew chiefs on pit road to conducting demonstrations on the TNT Ford Test Car, McReynolds’ unique role will take him from the infield set position to various locations around the track to help bring viewers closer to the action.
The network’s roster of announcers will be rounded out by veteran pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Ralph Sheheen and Lindsay Czarniak. On June 10th preceding the Pocono 500, TNT will debut “NASCAR on TNT Live!” Hosted by Marc Fein, the show will include all of the TNT announcers and pit reporters who will provide analysis and commentary on the NASCAR season to date. Additionally, the show will include a segment from TNT’s six-part series on the roots of racing, entitled “The Pride of NASCAR.” The weekly features will spotlight six racing legends and their contributions to the sport, including Richard Petty, David Pearson and Junior Johnson, among others. TNT’s 90-minute pre-race coverage will also include the “Allstate Countdown to Green” show, hosted by Bill Weber, which will include the show’s signature “Wally’s World” segment featuring various celebrities taking a ride around the track with Wally Dallenbach. The network will utilize its new state-of-the-art mobile set for all of its pre-race coverage. Located in the track infield during all six TNT Cup telecasts, the fully-functioning rig features a retractable platform stage that can rotate a full 360-degrees and be raised seven feet off the base of the truck into the air. Once fully extended, the height of rig reaches a towering 26 feet tall.
TNT will debut its highly-anticipated new NASCAR broadcast format, Wide Open Coverage, during the primetime Nextel Cup Series race – the Pepsi 400 – on Saturday, July 7 from Daytona International Speedway. A groundbreaking new television format, Wide Open Coverage will provide continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and will feature animated national sponsor messages, including original branded content and distinct on-screen graphic elements. The unique sponsor graphics and vignettes will appear along the lower portion of the screen in place of traditional commercial interruptions, limiting the telecast to only three local commercial breaks per hour. In addition, the landmark production features 22% more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast. Autozone, Direct TV, Ford, Miller Brewing, Pepsi, Principal Financial, Sprint, Subway and Toyota are the initial sponsors for TNT’s coverage of the race.(TNT PR)(6-7-2007)
- Congrats to the Comptons: Congratulations go out to Stacy Compton and his wife, Vickie on the birth of their second child on Sunday, June 3, 2007. A little girl…9lb. 5oz…22in…”Izzabella Reese” mother and daughter are doing great.(Wood Bros/JTG Racing PR)(6-7-2007)
- Allmendinger Completes Test at Infineon Raceway: #84-AJ Allmendinger completed a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Wednesday in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup Series weekend, June 22-24. It was Allmendinger’s first chance to drive a stock car on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, where he hopes to make his first start later this month. Allmendinger’s only previous experience at Infineon Raceway came when he raced a go-kart on the road course many years ago. Allmendinger completed more than 100 laps over the two days behind the wheel of a late-model stock car supplied by ShiftIntoGear, Inc. He was coached by road-course specialist Chris Cook and Tim Fedewa, his full-time spotter on the NASCAR circuit. “Just learning the track will put me much farther ahead of where I would’ve been,” said Allmendinger. “Having only 90 minutes to practice before qualifying on Friday, I never would have made the show. Now, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good chance.” For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(PR)(6-7-2007)
- Kyle Busch to test at Milwaukee: Kyle Busch and his No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST team will test a new Chevrolet Impala SS at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis., on June 12-13 in preparation for the July 1 Nextel Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway. Busch is the defending event winner at New Hampshire.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-7-2007)
- Blaney to test at VIR next week: #22-Dave Blaney is scheduled to test at Virginia International Raceway next Wednesday, June 13 in preparation for the upcoming road course event at Infineon Raceway.(BDR PR)(6-7-2007)
- Eury, Sr. Out as Menard’s Crew Chief; New Position for Gilmore?: UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway’s Dave Moody reports that Tony Eury, Sr. is out as #15-Paul Menard’s crew chief, effective immediately. DEI Vice President and General Manager John Story confirmed that Eury is no longer crew chief for the #15 team. Dave Charpentier will reportedly become the team’s new crew chief. In addition, Moody says that reports state Richie Gilmore is out as Director of Motorosports with DEI and will become Director of Research and Development with the team.(Sirius Speedway)(6-6-2007)
UPDATE: Interviewed on Sirius Speedway, John Story confirmed that Dave Charpentier will serve as interim crew chief for Menard and Tony Eury, Sr. will move to a Research and Development position within DEI. Story added, “Richie Gilmore’s role remains unchanged. He has gotten himself very involved in working with RCR to establish Earnhardt Childress Technologies company, and we needed someone from our side to head it up. Richie will eventually be spending the vast majority of his time on that.”(6-6-2007)
UPDATE 2: Tony Eury Sr., who worked on the first team ever fielded by Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 1985, has been named to lead the company’s newest team. DEI has been building this full-time operation, devoted primarily to testing, since late April. Through the first 13 races of 2007, Eury has been crew chief of the #15 Menard’s Chevy driven by Paul Menard. Dave Charpentier, team engineer, will serve as the team’s interim crew chief.(DEI PR)(6-7-2007)
- Menard, Sauter, McCumbee to do double duty Pocono: While #15-Paul Menard has yet to turn a lap around the Pocono Raceway, hw is looking forward to his double duty weekend at the 2.5-mile Long Pond, Pa., track. Not only will Menard focus his attention on making a solid Nextel Cup Series debut at the track, but the Dale Earnhardt Inc. backed team will race in Saturday’s ARCA event. Menard was heavily involved in the planning of the set up of the ARCA car. Crew Chief Mike Grechi and Menard came up with two solid setups to try in Friday’s practice. Grechi brings the experience from his past achievements at Pocono. No stranger to ARCA Series success himself, Menard went to Victory Lane in the 2003 ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway.(DEI site), other drivers planning on running both races [ARCA/Cup] include Johnny Sauter and Chad McCumbee.(6-7-2007)
- Rudd and Gilliland to visit home of M&M’s: On Thursday, June 7th, #88-Ricky Rudd and #38-David Gilliland will visit the Masterfoods USA headquarters in Hackettstown, NJ where M&M’s® are produced. They will be joined by the crew members of both teams and will tour the facility as well as meet with associates at the plant.(RYR PR) – cool place, Jayski lived in Hacketstown from 89-91, in the apts right accross the street from the plant, smelled like chocolate quite a bit.(6-7-2007)
- Nextel Prelude to the Dream – Edwards wins: Carl Edwards won the NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice dirt late model race June 6 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Edwards won the 30-lap race on the half-mile oval by .305 of a second over Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon finished third. Edwards led all but two laps en route to victory, but had to contend with Gordon and Busch throughout much of the event. Gordon, who made his first appearance at Eldora since 1991, led lap 11 and challenged Edwards throughout most of the event. There were three cautions during the event, although the laps conducted under caution did not count. The only major accident occurred on lap 17 when Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Kasey Kahne crashed in turn two. Labonte and Stewart, who finished 21st and 22nd, respectively, were done for the night. Kahne was able to continue and finished sixth. The race was broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View with the proceeds from the groundbreaking telecast going to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation.
Results of the NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream Presented by Old Spice Dirt Late Model event June 6 at the half-mile Eldora Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (2) Carl Edwards, 30
2. (8) Kyle Busch, 30
3. (4) Jeff Gordon, 30
4. (1) Ken Schrader 30
5. (11) Clint Bowyer, 30
6. (7) Kasey Kahne, 30
7. (16) Matt Kenseth, 30
8. (10) J.J. Yeley, 30
9. (15) David Reutiman, 30
10. (5) Mark Martin, 30
11. (9) Aric Almirola, 30
12. (18) Dave Blaney, 30
13. (13) Kenny Wallace, 30
14. (20) Kevin Harvick, 30
15. (25) Juan Pablo Montoya, 30
16. (17) Denny Hamlin, 30
17. (21) Red Farmer, 30
18. (12) Ryan Newman, 30
19. (24) Cruz Pedregon, 29
20. (22) Mike Wallace, 24
21. (6) Bobby Labonte, 17, Accident T2
22. (3) Tony Stewart, 17, Accident T2
23. (23) Ray Evernham, 5, Spin T2
24. (19) Ron Capps, 2, Mechanical
Elliott Sadler, DNS
Bill Elliott, DNS
Margin of victory: .305 of a second
Cautions: 3 (Lap 2: Capps stalled backstretch; Lap 6: Evernham spin T2; Lap 17 Stewart, Labonte, Kahne accident T1)
Lead changes: 3 among 3 drivers
Lap leaders: Schrader 1, Edwards 2-10, Gordon 11, Edwards 12-30
Attendance: More than 20,000
See results and more info about the Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice at www.eldoraspeedway.com.(True Speed Communication PR) (6-7-2007)
News from June 6, 2007
- Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC: ESPN2 will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live Saturday, June 9, from Nashville Superspeedway as the series makes its second and final appearance of 2007 at the 1.33-mile, concrete-surfaced track. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 6:30pm/et, and the 300-mile race starts at 7pm. ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace, will return to the booth for the Nashville telecast. Wallace took a brief hiatus from ESPN’s NASCAR coverage to work the telecast of the Indianapolis 500 by ESPN on ABC. Dale Jarrett filled in for Wallace. Joining Wallace in the booth at Nashville will be lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown at Nashville, joined in the ESPN Pit Studio by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will be at the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car. In addition to the Busch Series race telecast on ESPN2, ESPN’s signature broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver a live online simulcast of Busch Series events in June, ESPN360.com’s most explosive month of coverage yet, with up to 102 live events. A Spanish-language version of the race will be televised on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language network. Busch Series Practice coverage will air at 6pm/et Friday, with the live qualifying show airing at 3 p.m. Saturday. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage of practice and qualifying, joined in the booth by analysts Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace. Pit reporters Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will contribute to the telecasts.
Fast Cars & Superstars Reality Program to Debut June 7 on ABC at 8:00pm/et. Celebrities including singer Jewel, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, tennis star Serena Williams and actor William Shatner are dreaming of life in the fast lane as they race to the finish in the new reality show Fast Cars & Superstars — Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, a seven-episode series to premiere at 8pm/et Thursday, June 7 on ABC. The series is hosted by ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne and co-hosted by ESPN NASCAR analyst and former Cleveland Cavaliers center Brad Daugherty. In the debut episode, Busch pushes Elway to the limit in the cars.com car, Hamilton confirms that nothing scares him and Williams screams her way to shattering her own personal challenge. Fast Cars & Superstars – Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race was co-created by BBDO and Gillette and is produced by Radical Media in association with Embassy Row Sports.
NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes in its regular 6:30pm/et time slot Tuesday through Thursday of this week and at 7pm. Friday, immediately following Busch Series qualifying at Nashville Superspeedway. The one-hour weekend edition will air at 10am Sunday, with highlights from Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Nashville and a look ahead to Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Pocono. The weekend wrap-up edition of the program will air at 1:30am Monday.
ESPN2 to Feature IndyCar Series at TexasMotor Speedway on Saturday night
NHRA Coverage from Chicago To Air Saturday and Sunday on ESPN2
Champ Car World Series Action Live from Portland on ABC 4pm on Sunday
- VISA Says No Truth To Reports Of Deal With Dale Jr. A Visa spokesperson today refuted reports that the payment card company was close to a deal to become Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new primary sponsor. “We haven’t even had conversations,” said Visa spokesperson J.J. Carter.(SportsBusinessDaily.com – need subscription)(6-6-2007)
- HOF plans 2nd team in 2008: Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Tony Raines] co-owner, Troy Aikman, said Tuesday on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, that the team plans to have a 2nd car in 2008 and that they need the 2nd team to get to the next level. Aikman also said they have been approached by a few sponsors for the 2nd team and that while he would like to talk to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about driving for them, he says that is not realistic and they are not a winning team….yet.(6-6-2007)
- Evernham close to a deal to sale part of team: UPDATE; Ray Evernham expects to finalize the sale of an unspecified portion of his Nextel Cup Series operation to Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. within 60 to 90 days, the team owner told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “It’s not done, but we’re working on it pretty hard,” Evernham said. “Honestly, I’m flying to Chicago and we’re hammering through some things. Things are looking really positive, but it’s not done. Quite honestly, it’s not going to be done for another 60 to 90 days. It takes a long, long time, but it looks good. We’ve agreed to go forward, but there’s so much legal stuff that’s got to be done. It takes months. I feel positive it’ll get done. I really do.” Evernham chose not to divulge the exact percentage of his company Gillett would acquire, but did say both gentlemen would have a “substantial stake in the business side of things.” Evernham also said he would still run EMS’ day-to-day operations. Evernham said there are multiple contracts to wade through and further due diligence to complete. Once done, Evernham says the deal would instantly elevate EMS toward the Nextel Cup elite.(ESPN.com)(5-30-2007)
UPDATE: Nextel Cup owner Ray Evernham took another step on Wednesday toward finalizing his partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr., informing his more than 35 sponsors collectively on how the deal will work. Evernham has been negotiating for months an agreement that will give Gillett substantial ownership of his organization. He told sponsors the partnership will allow him to focus more on the competition side of the business and provide him with the resources to keep up with top organizations. The final terms aren’t expected to be completed for another two to three months. “A partnership with the Gillett Group would bring excellent resources to Evernham Motorsports,” Evernham told his sponsors. “Not only does George Gillett offer incredible business experience, his team has deep knowledge of how to successfully manage sports organizations. “This partnership would also benefit our partners at Evernham Motorsports with new business-to-business marketing opportunities.” Evernham told his sponsors he would continue to own a significant part of EMS and remain the CEO. “It is an excellent opportunity that would benefit the entire organization,” he said.(ESPN.com)(6-6-2007)
- Congrats: #21-Crew Chief Michael McSwain welcomed his second child to his family this week, Michael Wyatt McSwain, was born at 11:00 p.m. Monday night—weighing in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces and 22 inches long. Mother and child are doing well.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing)(6-6-2007)
- Nextel Prelude to the Dream – TODAY: For the third straight year, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, will sell out its NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice dirt late model race. Less than 500 general admission tickets remain. For those unable to grab a seat for the June 6 all-star event featuring 26 world-renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy, HBO Pay-Per-View will present the event live to the entire nation. Proceeds from this ground-breaking telecast will support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation. The live broadcast will begin at 7pm/et (4pm/pt), with an immediate replay and subsequent replays throughout the week and the following weekend. Prospective viewers can order the pay-per-view broadcast beginning today, right up until race time on June 6. All that is necessary to order the broadcast is digital cable or satellite service. A subscription to HBO is not required. The suggested retail price for the event is $24.95. It is available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at www.hbo.com/sports. The event will feature such racing icons as Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte and more. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt late model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.
In a live broadband pre-race show on NASCAR.com, FOXSports.com and Yahoo! Sports, HBO Pay-Per-View will take viewers behind the scenes as the drivers arrive and prepare for the big showdown at the NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice. Pit reporters Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum will talk with the drivers and be with them as they meet their teams for the first time, and along with announcers Darrell Waltrip and Mike Joy, HBO Pay-Per-View will go behind the wheel and provide an insider’s guide to the nuances of dirt late model racing. But the action will stop at 7pm/et if you haven’t ordered the pay-per-view broadcast.
The third annual NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice will take place at Eldora Speedway on June 6. Gates open to the public at 3:30pm/et, with practice scheduled to begin shortly after 6:00pm/et. For more information regarding Eldora Speedway or the Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice, log on to www.eldoraspeedway.com.(True Speed Communication PR)(6-6-2007)
News from June 5, 2007
- McCumbee to Make Nextel Cup Debut in #45 Dodge at Pocono: This weekend, Chad McCumbee and the #45 Goody’s Cool Orange Dodge team will head toPocono Raceway for Sunday’s Pocono 500. This will be McCumbee’s debut in the Nextel Cup Series. The 23-year-old has been competing full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) this season. He is currently 14th in the NCTS points standings. While McCumbee has never before competed at Pocono in a Nextel Cup car, he does have considerable success at the track in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition. He has finishes of fourth, second and third in his last three starts at the track in that series. Nextel Cup rookies [Edwards, not techically a rookie, #11-Hamlin was] have taken the checkered flag in the last two Pocono 500 events and McCumbee will be looking to make that three in a row.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing). See an image of the scheme on my #45 Team Schemes page.(6-5-2007)
- President George W. Bush Comments on the Passing of Bill France: “Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Bill France Jr. Bill was a legend in the world of NASCAR whose passion and vision for stock-car racing led the sport to the national prominence it enjoys today. Bill brought racing’s excitement to millions of new fans through his steadfast and innovative leadership. Bill also helped ensure that the NASCAR community found many ways to support the men and women of the US Armed Forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with the France family.”(NASCAR)(6-5-2007)
- France Funeral Services: The funeral service for Bill France, the visionary leader of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC) for more than three decades, has been scheduled for Thursday, June 7, at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center, at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach. Thursday’s funeral service, set for 1-2pm/et, is open to the public. The graveside service will be for family members only.
The funeral will be preceded by a visitation on Wednesday, June 6, from 5:30-9:00pm/et at the Seabreeze United Church in Daytona Beach. The visitation also will be open to the public.
In lieu of flowers, the France family has asked that donations be made to the NASCAR Foundation; the Halifax Medical Center Foundation Inc./Betty Jane France Pediatric Center (also known as the “Speediatrics” children’s unit); or another NASCAR-related charity of choice. The performing arts center is located at 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., just off International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach, approximately two miles east of Daytona International Speedway.
Seabreeze United Church is located at 501 N. Wild Olive Ave., on Daytona’s “beachside,” between Seabreeze and Oakridge boulevards.
Donations can be made to the NASCAR Foundation online at www.nascar.com/foundation or via mail to the NASCAR Foundation, c/o Bill France Jr. Memorial Fund, 301 S. College St., Suite 3900, Charlotte, NC 28202. For information on donations to the NASCAR Foundation or other NASCAR-related charities call (704) 348-9680. Donations to Speediatrics can be mailed to the Halifax Medical Center Foundation Speediatrics Fund/In Memory of Bill France, P.O. Box 9718, Daytona Beach, FL 32120. For information on Speediatrics donations call (386) 254-4111.(NASCAR)(6-5-2007)
- Stremme OK after getting out of car at Dover: David Stremme had to reluctantly climb out of the #40 Coors Light Dodge a little more than 125 laps short of the finish line Monday after realizing he was too sick to continue racing in the Autism Speaks 400. The 29-year-old driver was immediately taken to the Dover International Speedway infield care center where he was diagnosed with the flu. He received oxygen and intravenous fluids before being released. Ginn Racing driver Regan Smith stepped in to help the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) team finish the day in 36th place. The #40 CGRFS Dodge lined up in 35th place to take the green. Battling flu-like conditions, Stremme did all he could to keep the car on the track in the early running of the 400-lap competition. In addition to feeling sick, the #40 Dodge was keeping him busy as it was severely loose on restarts and seemed to tighten up on long runs. Stremme threw in the towel as the fourth yellow flag of the race waved on lap 271. His crew members helped him out of the Coors Light Dodge. Then, Smith quickly climbed in to help the team finish the race.(CGRFS PR)(6-5-2007)
- Robby Gordon finishes 2nd at Baja: With the final outcome never fully decided in the elapsed-time race until the checkered flag, NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, finished second overall and second in the SCORE International trophy truck class in this year’s Baja 500. Gordon’s Monster Energy / Toyo Tires #71 Chevy CK1500 finished just 3 minutes, 57 seconds behind Ragland/Collins, this year’s overall winners. After qualifying his #7 Menards/Mapei Ford Fusion 33rd for Sunday’s Nextel Cup race in Dover, Robby Gordon traveled to Ensenada, Mexico late Friday afternoon. Shortly after arriving in Mexico, Gordon helped the team with final preparations to the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck Saturday evening. Following final preparations, Gordon called a team meeting to review the race logistics and emphasize the importance of quick pit stops. Shortly after 10 a.m. on Saturday morning Robby Gordon and navigator, Gregg Till took the green flag starting 22nd based on a random draw for starting position. As it turns out , starting position would ultimately dictate the outcome of the race. Employing a clever pit strategy, Gordon passed a handful of competitors while they were in the pits. However, there was a group ahead of Gordon enjoying a relatively dust – free ride. Gordon continued to push the pace and passed most of the remaining trucks ahead of him; however, it wasn’t enough to bring Gordon his fourth Baja 500 victory. Gordon’s Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck crossed the finished line as the third overall vehicle ; however, the corrected time was good enough for a second place overall finish.(Robby Gordon PR)(6-5-2007)
News from June 4, 2007
- Sad News: Bill France Jr.: during the race broadcast on FOX from Dover, it was reported that NASCAR Vice Chairman, Bill France Jr., 74, passed away today, Monday, June 4, 2007.
MORE Bill France Jr., who transformed NASCAR from a small Southern sport into a billion-dollar conglomerate during his 31 years as chairman, died Monday. He was 74. He died at his Daytona Beach, Fla., home, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. France had been in poor health for much of the last decade – he was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. Although he was in remission, the extensive treatments took a toll. He never regained his full strength, often had difficulty breathing and had taken to using a motorized scooter to get around. France was hospitalized at least twice this year but spent his final days resting at home. His last public appearance was Feb. 12 in Daytona Beach, where NASCAR’s top names gathered to “Roast and Toast” him at the Bill France Hot Dog Dinner during the Daytona 500 build-up. Even there, especially there, France Jr., who ruled NASCAR with an iron fist, called the shots. His toasters that evening were gently reminded to avoid any harsh roasting. France did not speak during the dinner but received guests from his seat on the banquet floor.(Associated Press)
Statement from NASCAR: NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France, whose leadership helped turn a family-owned company into a national phenomenon, died today at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the age of 74. France served as NASCAR’s president from 1972-2000, taking over from his father, NASCAR founder William H.G. “Big Bill” France. In 2000, France – known as “Bill Jr.” – became NASCAR’s CEO and the chairman of the newly created NASCAR Board of Directors. In October 2003, the torch was again passed, with France’s son Brian France taking over as Chairman and CEO. France became Vice Chairman at that time, whereupon his influence and input remained considerable – and valuable.
“He had a remarkable career and an even-more remarkable life,” said Brian France. “Words cannot express how much he’ll be missed by myself and the rest of our family and by the NASCAR industry overall.”
Mike Helton became NASCAR’s president in 2000. He was the third president in the sport’s history and the first not named France. “Coming in, I had two big pairs of shoes to fill,” Helton said, talking about Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. “I was more familiar with Bill Jr.’s way of doing business but that didn’t make it any easier. He blazed so many trails for our sport. He was determined to follow the vision of his father while also expanding on that vision. Over nearly four decades, he did a masterful job.”
France is survived by his wife Betty Jane France, NASCAR’s assistant secretary; his son Brian; daughter Lesa France Kennedy, NASCAR’s vice president and assistant treasurer; his brother James C. France, NASCAR’s vice chairman and executive vice president; and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.(NASCAR)(6-4-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Autismspeaks 400:
Total number of commercials: 141
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 64
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 32
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 12:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 3:38 PM
Total minutes: 218
Minutes of race broadcast: 152
Minutes of commercials: 66
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-5-2007)
- Truex Jr. first Cup driver from NJ to win since 1958: #1-Martin Truex Jr. became the first driver from New Jersey [Jayski’s home state, Cape May] in 49 years to win a race in NASCAR’s top series by winning Monday at Dover International Speedway. According to NASCAR, 108 drivers from New Jersey have raced in the top series since 1949. Only two other drivers have won: Neil Cole, of Oakland, NJ who won at Thompson, CT on October 12, 1951 and Frankie Schneider, of Lambertville, who won at Old Dominion Speedway on April 25, 1958.(New York Times and Racing-Reference.info), Mark Donohue also won a Cup race a Riverside in 1972, was born in NJ but listed his hometown and state as Newtowne Square, PA.(6-4-2007)
- New crew chief for Biffle? Aflac to be a sponsor? UPDATE on Aflac: hearing that former #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports crew chief, Greg Erwin will be Biffle’s new crew chief. Also hearing that Aflac will sponsor the #16 Ford as the primary in a few races Ameriquest is supposed to sponsor. Ameriquest if looking to get out of their sponsor contract with Roush Fenway Racing.(5-23-2007)
UPDATE: Aflac is on the verge of securing a multiyear team sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Staff writer Michael Smith also cites sources who say that the company is talking to NASCAR about acquiring official status in the category of supplemental insurance. Aflac’s sponsorship with Roush Fenway is expected to include four Nextel Cup races this year as the primary sponsor on Greg Biffle’s #16 car. The car is sponsored by Ameriquest, a troubled subprime lender that has been looking to sell off races and get out of the final two years of its deal. Aflac also will be featured as a primary sponsor for four Busch Series races this year, the story says, and to settle into a full-time Busch Series sponsorship with Roush Fenway for 2008. An announcement about the sponsorship is expected sometime this month. The story also says that Aflac was involved in discussions with Dale Earnhardt Inc. for a deal that would have involved Dale Earnhardt Jr., but that deal fell through before Earnhardt’s announcement that he’d leave DEI.(NASCAR Scene)(6-4-2007)
- Truex Jr. wins at Dover: #1-Martin Truex Jr. won the rained delayed Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway for his 1st ever Nextel Cup Series win in his 58th career start. #25-Casey Mears was a first time winner last week, this is the first time we have had back-to-back first time winners since Jerry Nadeau won at Atlanta in the final race of 2000 and Michael Waltrip won the 2001 Daytona 500, the first race of 2001 [not Stewart/Nemechek as reported earlier]. Truex led 216 of the 400 laps. Pole sitter, #12-Newman finished 2nd, followed by #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #16-Biffle, #01-Martin, #07-Bowyer, #24-Gordon and #7-Gordon. #20-Stewart and #2-Busch got together, Stewart finished 40th after the team made repairs, Busch came to pit road and ran close to the #20 and stopped, the jackman had to hustle to get out of the way, Busch then peeled out when he left, NASCAR parked Busch the rest of the race and will meet with NASCAR at the trailer after the race. #48-Johnson was running 2nd [but was 6 seconds behind Truex] and cut down a right rear tire with 19 laps to go, finishing 15th, a lap down. There were 7 cautions for 35 laps and 6 drivers lead the race with 18 lead changes.
Race Results on my Dover Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Dover page
Race Rundown: see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-4-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Dover [13 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 2059
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1907 -152
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 1869 -190
4) #11-Denny Hamlin 1842 -217
5) #31-Jeff Burton 1704 -355
6) #99-Carl Edwards 1584 -475
7) #20-Tony Stewart 1573 -486
8) #07-Clint Bowyer 1525 -534
9) #29-Kevin Harvick 11518 -541
10) #5-Kyle Busch 1471 -588
11) #2-Kurt Busch 1439 -620
12) #01-Mark Martin 1435 -624 [has run 10 of 13 races]
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 15th
#42-Juan Montoya is 22nd
#9-Kasey Kahne is 29th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(6-4-2007)
- Dover Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #5 TE Running over/under equipment 70
2 #29 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 137
3 #5 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 137
4 #36 PT Excessive speed – Exiting pits 197
5 #20 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 271
6 #40 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 272
7 #2 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 272
8 #2 PARKED Safety violation 272
9 #55 TE Commitment Line Violation 337
10 #55 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 338
11 #38 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 357
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-4-2007)
- Rumblings – Dover Race Notes: Martin Truex Jr made it back-to-back firsters today at Dover International Speedway as he took the rain-delayed Autism Speaks 400 present by Visa in a romp. Martin pretty much dominated the race (leading 216 circuits) and went on to a convincing 7.355 second victory. He becomes the 8th different winner this season, the 174th different driver to win a NASCAR top-division race, and he’s tied for 115th on the all-time win list. Win #24 for DEI was worth $295,045 from the over $5.7M in posted awards. And, he’s the first non-Hendrick Motorsports driver to win a COT event!
I guess it’s only fitting that we lost Bill France Jr during a race. We are where we are in this sport because of that man, and tho he passed the torch a couple years ago, we can only hope the new generation of leadership remembers what Bill Jr knew to be true….it’s the racing! Both he and his father before him knew it all came down to putting the fans in the seats, and our series today is a testament to that fact. Bill Jr took us up to the big leagues and we feel his loss today. Bill France Jr dead at the age of 74.
Ryan Newman (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Infineon Raceway last June.
Carl Edwards (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up here last September.
Robby Gordon (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Atlanta last October. We’ve now had 36 drivers score a Top-10 this season….last year that number was 38.
Kasey Kahne (11th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Daytona in Febraury.
David Ragan (14th) had his best finish since he was 5th in the 500 in February.
Michael Waltrip (28th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Talladega last October (only seven races).
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races. Denny Hamlin has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races. Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
Gonna be interesting to see if Kurt Busch’s little escapade on Pit Road gets him any additional penalties (besides getting parked today). NASCAR’s been comin’ down on drivers for antics like that, especially in the pit lane. With the spread from 11th to 13th only 12 markers, point deductions at this time could make or break your year.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+28 ), followed by Martin Truex Jr (+25), Denny Hamlin (+25), Robby Gordon (+23), and Sterling Marlin (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kurt Busch (-30), followed by Ward Burton (-28 ), Bill Elliott (-21), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (-20).
Johnny Sauter led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap at Texas Motor Speedway in April of 2004. He’s the 42nd driver to lead a lap this year….last season we had 48 different leaders. No change in the Top-35 in Owner Points after today. The #10 car of Scott Riggs is still in 36th….now 70 points behind the #70 of Johnny Sauter. Four Drivers in the Top-30 (Martin Truex Jr, Sterling Marlin, Kasey Kahne, and Robby Gordon) advanced three spots today, while J. J. Yeley (15th to 19th) and Kyle Petty (26th to 30th) fell four spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-4-2007)
- Fast Facts – Dover International Speedway
.. Truex joined Casey Mears, who won last week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as the first back-to-back first time race winners since Jerry Nadeau and Michael Waltrip in the final race of 2000 and the first race of 2001. The last time there were back-to-back first-time race winners in the same season was Tony Stewart and Joe Nemechek in 1999.
.. This is his fourth top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his second top-10 finish in three races at Dover. He finished fifth in September 2006.
.. Ryan Newman (second) posted his season-best finish with his fifth top-10 of 2007.
.. Carl Edwards (third) also posted his season-best finish. It is his fourth 2007 top-10.
.. Robby Gordon (10th) posted his best finish since he was 10th at Atlanta in October 2006.
.. Jeff Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 152 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-4-2007)
- Wood sits out Busch race: Jon Wood made it through just one Busch Series practice Friday in his #47 Ford before leaving the track. Mark Martin ran the car in the second practice, and Travis Kvapil drove it in the race. Wood’s father, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing co-owner Eddie Wood, released the following statement yester- day on Jon’s condition. “Jon Wood got out of his car on Friday following Busch Series practice by his own choice due to headaches and not feeling well,” Wood said in the statement. “He is presently being evaluated by doctors for these symptoms. It is believed at this time that he has been misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and is experiencing adverse reactions to the prescribed medications.” Wood is expected to return to the car this weekend at Nashville.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-4-2007)
- ESPN Classic Remembers: Bill France Jr. ESPN Classic will honor Bill France Jr. tonight with special programming tonight at 8:00pm/et with ESPN Classic Remembers: Bill France Jr.. France, who transformed NASCAR from a small Southern sport into a billion-dollar conglomerate during his 31 years as chairman, died Monday. NASCAR Now host Eric Kuselias will host the 30 minute live show that will focus on France and his legacy. France will also be the subject of a 60 Minutes on Classic at 8:30pm/et.(ESPN PR)(6-4-2007)
- SPEED to air Bill France Special: With the passing today of NASCAR’s Bill France Jr., Dave Despain will host a special edition of The SPEED Report tonight at 8:00pm/et on SPEED. Despain will be joined in-studio by Larry McReynolds and Steve Byrnes, with Junior Johnson and Humpy Wheeler joining via satellite. In addition, The SPEED Report also will deliver comments from NASCAR President Mike Helton, as well as NASCAR drivers and team members. Statement from SPEED President Hunter Nickell: “Very few leaders in American sports earn the title of visionary, but NASCAR’s Bill France Jr. certainly was one of the elite few who delivered on his vision of the future, leaving a true signature on the sport of NASCAR. He was a true giant in the world of motor sports, and SPEED joins the NASCAR family in mourning his loss.”(6-4-2007)
News from June 3, 2007
- Pt Stall Note: there are only 42 pits stalls at Dover International Speedway, so two teams have to share: #84-Allmendinger [qualified 43rd] and #70=Johnny Sauter [42nd]. Car #70 has the first option to stay or move from the 39th pit when/if one becomes available. See pit stall sections link on my Race Coverage/Narrative Page.(6-2/3-2007)
- Seven cars to run new Chevy engine: Seven cars will run the new Chevy R07 engine in today’s race: #20-Tony Stewart, #11- Denny, #18-J.J. Yeley, #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer and #96-Tony Raines.(GM Racing PR)(6-3-2007)
- Crew Chief change for Blaney and the #22: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that Tommy Baldwin Jr. has assumed the role of crew chief for the #22 Caterpillar Racing team and driver Dave Blaney. Baldwin takes over those duties from Kevin Hamlin, who is no longer with the team. The move will be a reunion of sorts as Baldwin returns to the top of the Caterpillar pit box after leading that team to victory in four events, including the 2001 Southern 500 and ’02 Daytona 500. “Kevin Hamlin was an important part of the organization and we appreciate everything he has done for us for the past year and a half, but we feel like the Caterpillar Racing team is not living up to its full potential,” said team owner Bill Davis. “As competitive as this sport has become, we owe it to our sponsors and everyone involved with Bill Davis Racing to make this team as strong as possible and in this case we felt a change was the best way to do that. We are fortunate to have someone like Tommy Baldwin, who has had so much success as a crew chief to fill that position. Some of our proudest moments at Bill Davis Racing came with Tommy leading the Caterpillar team.” During this time, Baldwin will also continue to serve as Competition Director for all of Bill Davis Racing’s Nextel Cup teams and assuring BDR’s growth as an organization.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(6-3-2007)
- Latest Dale Jr. to ‘news’ UPDATE 2: Depending on who one believes in the Nextel Cup garage, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is headed either to Ginn Racing with sponsorship from Budweiser or Joe Gibbs Racing with backing from credit card giant Visa. Either way, expect an announcement next month. “We’re trying not to comment too much on how things are going or what’s going on until we can really have something to say, but I can tell you that things are positive,” Earnhardt said after qualifying on Friday. “I’ve just been overwhelmed with the personalities that I’ve met, with the owners and the individuals working at each company. There are certainly a lot of great people out there with good morals and good values and with great attitudes about the sport and about what they want to accomplish. It makes me feel good about where the sport’s going to be in the next 5-10 years with some of these individuals I’ve met.”(SPEEDtv.com)
UPDATE: on FoxSports NASCAR pre-race from Dover, Jeff Hammond said sources tell him that Dale Earnhardt Jr, would sign with Joe Gibbs Racing and have sponsorship from VISA, with the announcement coming within the next 10-14 days.(6-3-2007)
UPDATE 2: PRN’s Steve Richard’s talked to Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs, who chose not to address specifically comments made by Fox TV’s Jeff Hammond during the rain delay at Dover that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would sign with JGR. Gibbs chuckled, “Its news to me we’re getting our news from Jeff Hammond. We don’t have anything new to say than we said several weeks ago at Darlington (and that is) we’re going to give them time. Anyone would love to talk with him and see the possibilities but for us we’re just gonna give them their time and sort through how they need to do it, he and Kelley, and if the time is right great, if not we understand that too.” Gibbs went onto say, “No sense really talking about it. It’s just speculation so it just fuels the fire. Right now let’s just focus on our three deals and let the rest lay where it may. Gibbs also confirmed they have no plans to expand their operation to four teams in 2008 but will aim to do so in 2009.
Richard’s also talked to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Media Relations Representative Jade Gurss who said this rumor is no different from the rest. “We hear three or four each weekend so it does us no good to deny every single fact or confirm…we’re just doing what we did before…we’re gonna keep our heads down and when Dale Jr is ready to decide he’ll let us all know together.” As far as a set timetable Gurss doesn’t know of one. “I don’t know that it’s ever been in stone. The last I heard someone theorized because the merchandise people needed to get to working on the diecast they would like it to be done by the end of this month. My gut feeling is he and Kelley are going to make a decision on what’s right for them, not in a timeframe based on getting a diecast car to Daytona. He says he wants this to be the last move he makes so I don’t see them being pressured by that.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-3-2007)
- Chrissy Wallace wins at Hickory: Chrissy Wallace, daughter of NASCAR driver Mike Wallace, won the 50 Lap NASCAR Bojangles Late Model Stock Feature at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night [June 2nd]. See results at hickorymotorspeedway.com. It was also the track’s 57th birthday.(6-3-2007)
- Toyota: Gibbs? Penske merge with Waltrip? UPDATE 2: Toyota, sources said, has approached the Gibbs team with a proposal to leave Chevrolet, which would give it #20-Tony Stewart, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-J.J. Yeley. Gibbs’ management doesn’t appear to be that interested, but the offer hasn’t been rejected, according to team sources. Penske [#2, #12], who has been with just about every manufacturer in racing over the years and who is one of the world’s biggest Toyota dealers, could be making the move to Toyota for next year. According to sources close to the situation, Penske could be looking at a merger with Michael Waltrip’s struggling Toyota operation. And there is speculation that Robert and Doug Yates [#38, #88] may be willing to listen to Toyota offers, even though they have long-standing ties with Ford.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-31-2007)
UPDATE: Several sources tell SI.com that Toyota is going hard after Joe Gibbs Racing and that Gibbs is very interested. Officially, the Gibbs team denies any contact with Toyota: “It’s news to us,” team spokesman Mike Arning said. Toyota, as a matter of policy, does not comment on contract negotiations. The potential deal is a delicate subject for Gibbs and Toyota. Gibbs’ contract with Chevrolet, which runs out at the end of the year, stipulates this is a non-negotiating period with other manufacturers. Is contact to determine interest negotiating? You’d have to read the fine print and then get a clarification from an arbitrator to determine that. But sources say there definitely has been communication between Toyota and Gibbs.(Sports Illustrated)(6-2-2007)
UPDATE: Representatives from Penske Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing on Saturday disallowed rumors of an impending merger between the two organizations, which currently field Dodges and Toyotas, respectively, in a variety of NASCAR series. “I heard about it for the first time [Friday],” said Ty Norris, Michael Waltrip Racing’s general manager. “I wish he would come and talk to us.” Wally McCarty, Penske Racing’s marketing director, was just as succinct. “We’re racing Dodges through the end of next season, and right now we’re most concerned about winning races for Dodge — we have to be,” McCarty said. “We have a beautiful new facility and so does [Waltrip]. There’s no ‘win’ there. I don’t know where people come up with these things. Roger [Penske] sells nearly every car make made in the world, and he has great relationships with all of them. We race Dodges, Hondas and Porsches out of the same shop, and we have great relationships with all of them. Would we race Toyotas at some point? When it’s appropriate, we might talk about it, and if it’s right, we might do that [but] right now [Waltrip] has three teams and we have two — and you can only have four [total] so it doesn’t make sense.” McCarty said Penske was considering a third team “depending on what [Penske IndyCar Series driver] Sam Hornish decides to do,” over the next year or two.(NASCAR.com)(6-3-2007)
- Menard to leave DEI? UPDATE 2 denied: John Menard, the wealthy businessman who is helping bankroll Teresa Earnhardt’s DEI operation for racer-son Paul [Menard, #15], may be ready to pull out, too. Menard could wind up back working with struggling #7-Robby Gordon — the two have long been business partners, and Gordon is trying to get his team righted again.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-1-2007)
UPDATE: Robby Gordon has issued the following statement regarding Paul Menard: “It is the ultimate goal for RGM is to one day field two cars in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Despite speculation, there have been no discussions pertaining to Paul Menard joining RGM. John Menard has been a long time supporter of my racing program and is on board for ten events in the 2007 season – nine co-sponsored by Mapei and one co-sponsored by Johns Mansville.”(RGM)(6-2-2007)
UPDATE 2: #15-Paul Menard denied a published report indicating he’s considering leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., possibly to join Robby Gordon’s team. “That’s not going to happen,” said Menard, whose best finish this season is 15th at Texas. But Menard did say these are anxious times at DEI since Earnhardt announced last month he will leave the team at the end of the season. “We’ll be OK as long as we get good people in key positions,” Menard said. “That’s what every race team wants and needs, and it’s probably what we don’t have at DEI right now. In the long term we’ll have to build that up and if we have to move some people around to make the appropriate changes, then that’s what needs to be done.”(Thatsracin)(6-3-2007)
- RAINOUT at Dover: the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway has been postponed due to rain from the remnants of Tropical Depression Barry. The race is scheduled to run on Monday, June 4th starting at 12:00pm/et and be aired on FOX. NASCAR Raceday will air on SPEED at 11:00am/et.
The forecast from the Weather Channel is:
MONDAY: Morning showers, becoming partly cloudy this afternoon. High 81F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
The National Weather Service has the forecast on MONDAY as: Scattered showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Partly cloudy, with a high near 79. West wind between 13 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Also see more weather at Raceweather.net or a few other sites listed in my weather section on my Dover Race Info/Rundown page.(6-3-2007)
- No Engine change for Newman: after Happy Hour practice for the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway it was reported that #12-Ryan Newman’s team may change engines, it was reported on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now that the #12 team will not change engines and will start from the pole, when the race starts.(6-3-2007)
News from June 2, 2007
- Crown Royal to Donate $250,000 if McMurray Can Tame the ‘Monster Mile’: While a majority of the 43-driver field will be racing for points during Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, #26-Jamie McMurray will be racing for something that is close to his heart – Autism awareness. In an effort to support McMurray and his continued dedication to raise awareness for Autism, Crown Royal has pledged to donate $250,000 to the Jamie McMurray Foundation – which raises funds for autism research, education and families afflicted with the disease – if its driver finds victory lane Sunday during the Autism Speaks 400 race.
This donation comes at the heels of a weekend full of activities to support Autism. McMurray kicked-off the events Thursday as co-host of the Drive for Autism Research Golf Tournament in Wilmington, Del. Crown Royal has also incorporated the well-known autism puzzle piece design into the sides, front and rear of the #26 Crown Royal Ford. Along with the special paint scheme, McMurray will also wear a new firesuit, helmet and gloves – all of which will also don the autism puzzle piece design. Following the race, all of these items will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Jamie McMurray Foundation.(Crown Royal PR), see an image of the car on my #26 Team Schemes page.(6-2-2007)
- Dale Jr plans to stay with Chevy, comments on plans: some comments from a Dale Earnhardt Jr./GM Racing press release: HAS IT BEEN AN EYE-OPENER TO SEE OTHER SHOPS? HAVE YOU GOTTEN ANY MORE CLARITY ABOUT NEXT YEAR?
“I have never had the opportunity to see any shops outside DEI in my driving career. That was a big surprise for me. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary or didn’t see any golden eggs laying around. But there were basically, you know, I was surprised at how on par in some places DEI really is. And there’s . I never really felt like me and Tony, Jr. (crew chief Eury) had any trouble competing and being competitive at DEI. The reasons why I left were truly personal and not competition related. But you look at these other teams that win more races and there’s an obvious difference between the two companies or three or four companies. So you look at that and you say, ‘What are we not doing?’ Well, I got a chance to look around these shops and see some of the areas where teams are sort of branching out and growing.”
“When I can really get down to business and tell you guys what’s going on, we’ll definitely do that. I’ll be as excited as heck to be able to tell everybody what I’m going to do and where I’m going to be. And I’m looking forward to that. And I think that’s going to happen within the time schedule that my sister has expressed over the last several weeks. It’s looking good.”
“As I have said, I want to continue driving Chevrolets. That spells it out pretty good for a lot of people. Chevrolet has been good to me. They have complimented my Busch Series program. They have supported me and complimented me in my career. And just for a couple of extra bucks, I wouldn’t want to go drive for another manufacturer. I don’t have those relationships with those other manufacturers although I am sure there are great people working there.”(GM Racing PR)(6-2-2007)
- More on Dale Jr to Ginn; Martin back full-time in 2008? Marlin part-time? UPDATE Martin denies: Many drivers seem convinced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will accept an offer to drive for Bobby Ginn [Racing #01,#13,#14], even though Ginn, a Florida real- estate developer, is new to the sport, with less than a year on the circuit. Ginn has been spending lavishly to turn the Jay Frye-run Chevy team into a top-flight operation. Driver Mark Martin led the Nextel Cup standings early this season and even after missing three of the year’s 12 races he’s still 15th in the points. Martin may return to the Nextel Cup tour full-time in 2008, according to sources. But Martin’s teammate #14-Sterling Marlin is planning to cut back to a partial schedule, and Ginn said that would open the 14 car and its top-35 exemption for Earnhardt.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-1-2007)
UPDATE: Mark Martin said Friday at Dover International Speedway that he has no intention of increasing his schedule with Ginn Racing next year. If anything, Martin will run fewer races next year, he said. “The schedule laid out here with seven races in a row right through this stretch here has really been a challenge,” Martin said. “It’s been a challenge for everyone, all the guys who work on the cars and everything else, with all the testing that’s been going on. I’m just going to learn from 2007 and look at 2008, and I’ll either do the same number of races or maybe a little bit more like what I had planned originally, which was more like 20 points races instead of 24.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-2-2007)
- COT test at California? Or? NASCAR officials are considering asking all Nextel Cup teams to hang around California Speedway for an extra day or two Labor Day weekend for a car of tomorrow test. But that idea isn’t going over well in the NASCAR garage, because every team would have to bring a second hauler cross country with the new cars.(Winston Salem Journal)
MORE: NASCAR likely will add another Nextel Cup test later in the season to replace the previously cancelled Dover session, which was dropped after consecutive races in Richmond and Darlington were delayed one day each by rain. NASCAR officials said that teams will be polled to see how much interest there will be in another test later in the season, likely at either a 1.5-mile or 2-mile downforce track. One option, a NASCAR official said, is to go to California Speedway a day early for a Car of Tomorrow test. That track will host a Nextel Cup race weekend Sept. 1-2. But several crew chiefs said they’d prefer a test at a 1.5-mile track closer to home, either at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte or Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Ford Racing)(6-2-2007)
News from June 1, 2007
- Papis tests COT for Hendrick: Max Papis spent Tuesday testing for Hendrick Motorsports as they continued to develop their Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow road course program. Papis was joined by Hendrick Motorsports’ regular drivers and other NASCAR stars at VIR (Virginia International Raceway), taking advantage of the track’s test days to prepare for the Sonoma and Watkins Glen races. Papis had a very successful day of testing and enjoyed the opportunity to further prove himself in a NASCAR race car. “It was a fantastic feeling to be on the race track with the four Hendrick Cup drivers,” Papis said. “I am glad that I am able to contribute and help them get the best prepared car as possible for the road course tracks. It’s an honor to be associated with such a prestigious team.” While testing continued at VIR on Wednesday, Papis would have to excuse himself and tend to yet another racing venture as he headed to Mid-Ohio to join his Grand-Am Rolex Series team, Krohn Racing, for a two-day test. While Papis eyes another Grand-Am championship, he is also paying close attention to the business of the NASCAR world and hopes to participate in races yet this season. “Doug (Barnette) has been working on a deal with a successful team for the Montreal race and we are hoping to announce something very soon,” Papis said. “We’ve also had preliminary conversations with other teams regarding other Busch and Cup races, so we are excited at the prospects. I love racing anytime I can get into a race car and NASCAR is just another opportunity for me to showcase my driving ability.”(Max Papis site)(6-1-2007)
- RYR re-signs with Ford for 5 years UPDATE: Robert Yates has signed a five-year extension with the Ford, he told ESPN.com today. There will be a formal announcement on Friday at Dover International Raceway. “What it says to me is that Ford intends to win on Sundays and Mondays, and they’re committed,” Yates said. “We’re happy they’re happy with us. It’s nice we have signed the thing.” This ends any speculation that Robert Yates Racing was looking elsewhere [rumors with DEI/Chevy, and also Toyota]. What the five-year deal offers Yates is some stability and credibility as he continues talks with potential business partners. “The fact is, it’s organizational racing now and not individual racing,” Yates said. “We have been talking to different people and they ask, ‘What manufacturer are you with? How strong is that? How long term is it?’ [This contract] puts a lot to bed. We have a good relationship with Ford, and we continue to.” Clearly, Yates is upbeat about the future. He said his team is financially healthy with “zero debt and quite a lot of money in the bank,” he said. “I’m OK, but what I want to do is race and win,” Yates said. There was a much-publicized flirtation between Robert Yates Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., about a month ago, but there was an obvious conflict — Yates had always been a Ford devotee, and DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt has made it clear she has deep Chevrolet ties she is unlikely to break.(ESPN.com)(5-31-2007)
UPDATE: Ford Racing Technology announced today that it has re-signed Robert Yates Racing to a contract that will keep the family-owned team sporting the blue oval for at least the next five years. “Robert Yates Racing is synonymous with Ford,” said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. “We’ve celebrated the joy of winning races and championships with them, in addition to feeling the frustration that this sport can dish out. The main thing is that we’ve gone through all of those times together as loyal partners. We’re thrilled to have this deal behind us and now we can look forward to continuing getting Robert and his team back among the NASCAR elite.” The agreement continues a 19-year relationship that began when Yates became a car owner in 1988. Since then, his teams have won 57 Nextel Cup Series races, including the Daytona 500 three times, and one series championship in 1999. “We’re talking to sponsors and they want to know what product and what kind of support we get from our manufacturer, so this is huge. This deal is important because it plays a big role in what you’re doing to improve your operation,” said Robert Yates.(Ford Racing)(6-1-2007)
- RYR site returns: after months of fielding questions about what happened to the Robert Yates Racing [#38, #88], have an answer….it’s back…at ryr.com. Been told It should be fully functional in the next few days.(6-1-2007)
- Dale Jr. on DEI dropping the penalty appeal: from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s XM Satellite Radio Show, “Dale Jr. – Unrestricted” (Channel 144/XM Sports Nation/7:30pm ET) regarding Dale Jr.’s thoughts on DEI dropping their penalty appeal.
Dale Jr. – “DEI decided to drop their appeal of that penalty that we got for the wing in Darlington, which was a wise choice.”
Josh Snider – “Why?”
Dale Jr. – “Well sometimes you can go get your appeal and actually get a worse penalty and there was a possibility, there were some discussions about forcing the eight car to have to qualify into every event…Taking away our top 35 exempt deal where we were automatically locked in the field, so we were worried that if we went to appeal and it didn’t go, you know somebody said a cross word and upset somebody or something didn’t go right it could become a worse penalty and decided to drop it and just take our lickings.”(6-1-2007)
- Speedy Trial? not! Kentucky Speedway vs. NASCAR March 2008: The Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR is set to go to trial March 4, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Covington, Ky. The trial will conclude no later than April 4, 2008, according to an order issued Wednesday from U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman.(SceneDaily.com)(6-1-2007)
- Tire test sched at Bristol on July 25-26: As work continues on the new concrete surface at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile, plans are in place for NASCAR tests, as well as a series of Late Model events, to take place this summer. In preparation for NASCAR’s most popular week of racing, which takes place Aug. 21-25 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Craftsman Truck Series drivers will be the first to give the new oval a workout with a test session on Monday, July 23, followed by a Busch Series test on Tuesday, July 24. Both the Truck and Busch Series’ tests will be open to all teams. Goodyear will then host a tire test for four yet to be determined Nextel Cup teams July 25-26.(BMS PR)(6-1-2007)
- Newman wins pole at Dover: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 152.925mph for his 3rd pole of 2007, 4th at Dover and 40th of his career. Newman has only won three races in the 39 races which he won the pole. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 2nd followed by #43-Labonte, #9-Kahne, #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #19-Sadler, #26-McMurray, #31-Burton and #16-Biffle. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: , #10-Riggs, #4-Burton; #21-Elliott, #36-Mayfield, #44-Jarrett, #55-Waltrip, #83-Vickers and #84-Allmendinger. See the qualifying results and starting lineup on the Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-1-2007)
- Six do not qualify for the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway: #22-Blaney, #15-Menard; #78-Wallace, #37-Lepage; #49-Bliss and #00-Reutimann.(6-1-2007)
- Ramblings – Dover Qualifying Notes: It was Ryan Newman today for the second week in a row…. Newman took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway with a time of 23.541 sec (152.925 mph) for his third top-spot of the season and 40th of his NEXTEL Cup career.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Darlington in May of 2004!
Bobby Labonte (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Bristol last August.
Ward Burton (13th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Martinsville in October of 2004!
Bill Elliott (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 9th at Texas in October of 2005.
Dale Jarrett (22nd) has his best starting spot since he qualified 20th at Texas last October.
Welcome Back Michael Waltrip (23rd). After 11 straight dnq’s, he’ll make his first start since the Daytona 500.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 9 Top-10 starts in the last 10 races.
(Stock Car Fans)(6-1-2007)
- Dover Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes this weekend at Dover, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . teams in all three of these series ran this specific combination of left- and right-side tires at a triple-header weekend at California Speedway earlier this season . . . this left-side code (D-4078) is new to the Goodyear tire lineup for 2007 . . . this right-side code (D-4062) was run at Dover, Kansas and Michigan in 2006 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals one mile or greater in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated pit window is every 78-82 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup).(Goodyear PR), see full report in my Goodyear section of my Dover Race Info page.(6-1-2007)
- Busch Series Announcement Friday Morning? UPDATE 2 Dover sponsor: Yahoo Sports is reporting: “NASCAR is expected to make a major announcement Friday morning at Dover that either will reveal the new series sponsor or announce plans on what types of body styles the Busch cars will have next season. been hearing various reports that the COT may become the primary chassis in the Busch circuit next season. That would be contrary to other reports that NASCAR is planning to introduce cars like the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro as the series’ primary vehicles.”(Yahoo! Sports)(6-1-2007)
UPDATE: Being told that the announcement will be to name a sponsor for the Dover Busch race.(6-1-2007)
UDPATE 2: RoadLoans, a leading internet direct-to-consumer auto finance company specializing in new and used vehicles, will sponsor the 200-mile NASCAR Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, September 22, 2007.(PRNewswire)(6-1-2007)
- Bliss going for the triple: #49-Mike Bliss is the only driver attempting to race in all three NASCAR events at Dover this weekend — today’s AAA Insurance 200 Craftsman Truck Series race, Saturday’s Dover 200 Busch Series race and Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 Nextel Cup Series race. He is looking forward to what should be one hectic weekend for him. “It is always a lot more fun for a driver to be behind the wheel during a race than to watch it from pit road,” Bliss said. “So, I like to take advantage of every opportunity I have to gain seat time.”(Delaware News Journal)(6-1-2007)
- Robby to race in Baja Sat., Jones to practice the #7 at Dover: #7-Robby Gordon, widely regarded as one of the best off-road racers of all time, is a threat to win Saturday’s Baja 500 title in the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevrolet CK1500. With over 750 horsepower and almost 40 inches of wheel travel, Gordon will be tearing through the Baja Peninsula at speeds more than 125 mph, while P.J. Jones practices his #7 Ford at the Monster Mile of Dover. Menards and MAPEI team up for the fourth time this season as the primary sponsor of the #7 Ford. Jim Beam and Motorola will serve as associates.(RGM PR)(6-1-2007)
- Petty on ABC News: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge, and co-founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp will be featured on ABC News “thisweek with George Stephanopoulos.” The feature is scheduled to air this Sunday, June 3. Air times can be viewed at: abcnews.go.com(pdf). The feature will give the audience a look into his life and the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Petty Racing PR)(6-1-2007)