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March 2004 News Archives


 

  • (3-31-2004)

  • Be a Star, Extra’s needed for Earnhardt Movie: Want to be in a TV movie and support one of your favorite NASCAR drivers? Extras of all ages are needed for the ESPN original movie, “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story,” which will be filmed in the Charlotte and Concord areas over the next month. Barry Pepper, who also appeared in “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Green Mile,” and “We Were Soldiers,” will star as racing legend Dale Earnhardt in the upcoming ESPN original film. Pepper also starred as New York Yankee slugger Roger Maris in the 2001 HBO film “61”. Extras casting director Tona Dahlquist is looking for many extras, all types, males and females of all ages. However, due to the nature of the periods covered in the story, there is a special need for adult males. Anyone with pit crew experience is also needed – as well as infant and toddler identical twins of both sexes. If interested, you must bring a non-returnable current photo to one of two casting sessions: 4-8 p.m. Eastern Friday, April 2nd; or 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 3rd. Both sessions will be held at the Center Court at the Carolina Mall, 1480 Concord Pkwy, Concord, N.C.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-31-2004)
  • Dale Jr. causes caution UPDATE 3 Penalized, docked points and a statement: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted repeatedly after Sunday’s race he spun out on purpose on Lap 431 of 500 to prevent from having to pit under green and lose one or more laps. “I had a loose wheel and I didn’t have any choice but to spin the car out to get a caution. So I went down in the corner, had some clear room behind me, and I just spun it out,” Earnhardt Jr. said after the race. The caution came out, I put the clutch in and got going. What the hell else was I supposed to do? Go a lap down? Go two laps down?” Earnhardt Jr. also engaged in a profanity-laced exchange with his crew over his radio regarding NASCAR’s decision to extend cautions late in the race to blow debris from the track. That earned Earnhardt Jr. a trip to the NASCAR hauler. His admission of intentionally causing a caution – an act which has been penalized previously by NASCAR – did not seem to raise the ire of series director John Darby. ” ‘I spun a car out’ – that’s a great excuse for spinning a car out, but proving that is another story,” Darby said. “To brag about it is not enough for me to make a move on it.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is reviewing the post-race comments made by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in which he admitted intentionally spinning out to cause a caution, NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said Tuesday. “This issue is still being looked at,” Zizzo said. Following Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. admitted repeatedly he spun out on purpose on Lap 431 of 500 to prevent from having to pit under green and lose one or more laps. In the 2002 Winston all-star race, Kurt Busch admitted after the race he intentionally spun driver Robby Gordon to bring out a caution. Later in the week, NASCAR fined him $10,000 for intentionally wrecking another competitor. Sunday, Nextel Cup series director John Darby said initially he didn’t think Earnhardt Jr. deserved a penalty. However, on Tuesday Zizzo said Darby had heard only Earnhardt Jr.’s comments over his two-way radio after the race, not any comments Earnhardt Jr. made to the media. NASCAR should reach a decision on Earnhardt Jr. by Wednesday.(Kansas City Star)(3-30-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Section 12-4 (N) in the NASCAR Nextel Cup rulebook prohibits such action and lists what type of action is to be taken. It also states Earnhardt could be fined, lose championship points and lose his finishing position in the race.(Roanoke Times)(3-31-2004)
    Dale Jr. penalized #10G’s and docked 25 points: Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized with a loss of 25 championship driver points, a $10,000 fine and probation until June 1 for his actions during Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. The penalty also will extend to the team as Dale Earnhardt Inc. will lose 25 championship owner points for the actions of its driver. Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Busweiser Chevrolet, was penalized for intentionally causing a caution condition during the race and as a result was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-N (Any driver who, in the judgment of NASCAR officials, intentionally causes or attempts to cause a caution condition by stopping or spinning out or any other action) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
    “The driver of the No. 8 car was quite vocal in admitting he intentionally spun out his car to cause a caution condition on the track, which is clearly prohibited in the NASCAR Rule Book,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. ” We have several rules in our Rule Book that have been in place for quite some time to prevent someone from altering the outcome of an event. This was a clear-cut case of that. Actions such as this will not be tolerated. We will always react to protect the integrity of our sport.” Earnhardt Jr.’s championship points total will be adjusted to 832 points as a result of the penalty, but he will still maintain third in the championship standings. DEI also will be adjusted to 832 points with the 25-point penalty and remain third in the owners’ championship standings.(NASCAR PR)
    STATEMENT: TERESA EARNHARDT COMMENTS ON NASCAR PENALTY:
    Teresa Earnhardt, Owner of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR Nextel Cup competition, commented today on the penalty levied against the team by NASCAR following Sunday’s Sharpie 500 in Bristol, TN. The fine, assessed for a late race spin, cost the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated team $10,000 and 25 owners and drivers championship points. “We regret what this has cost us in our pursuit of the Nextel Cup Championship. In the heat of battle, a lot of things can happen and decisions can be made that come at a high cost. It was a mistake we’ve all learned from and we have to move past it. Our goal is regaining the ground we’ve lost and continuing our focus on winning.”(DEI PR)(3-31-2004)
  • Marlin’s Pit Crew Takes Bristol Win: #40-Sterling Marlin’s pit crew won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (March 28) Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Marlin’s crew earned $20,000 for the victory and became the sixth different winner in the first six races of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Kurt Busch’s #97 crew, which finished second to Marlin’s crew in Bristol, remains in first place in the McDonald’s/POWERade standings with 236 points. #38-Elliott Sadler’s crew is second (220) and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew is third (219). The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus. Marlin’s fourth-place finish at Bristol was helped by his Coors Light pit crew. His #40 Dodge spent 250.170 seconds on pit road, six seconds fewer than Busch’s Sharpie Ford. Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Chevrolet was third with a time of 315.650. “I think it is great that McDonald’s and POWERade put on a program that allows the pit crews to compete against other pit crews and show what they do every weekend,” said Lee McCall, crew chief for the No. 40 team. “We had some good stops at Bristol and I am really proud of the guys. The Coors Light pit crew works hard every week and this time we were able to get a top-five finish.” Marlin’s over-the-wall crew consists of Steven Wolfe (front-tire changer), Trent Davis (front-tire carrier), Randy Cox (rear-tire changer), Tim Shore (rear-tire carrier), Mark Jacobs (jackman), Randy Hildreth (gasman) and Mike Motil (catch can). The team’s pit crew coach is Lorin Ranier.(DMF Communications PR), see the top 10 at Bristol and season standings on my Pit Crew Page.(3-31-2004)
  • McCall chosen Crew Chief of the Week: Lee McCall, crew chief for Sterling Marlin’s #40 Coors Light Dodge, has won the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for his efforts in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Fans who logged on to www.WYPALL.com concurred that Lee McCall’s pit strategy earned him this week’s top spot in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge. Although McCall made good calls in the pits from the start, it was the two-tire pit stop during the caution on lap 201 that made the difference. With fresh tires on the right side, Marlin came out front and maintained the lead for the next 67 laps. Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ultimately managed to sneak past Marlin to secure 2nd and 3rd place spots and then the five cautions during the last 120 laps served to keep the track position intact. McCall joins #48-Chad Knaus, #42-Donnie Wingo and #17-Robbie Reiser in a tie for 2nd place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, at one win each. #8-Tony Eury, Sr., with two wins, leads the challenge. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-31-2004)
  • Milestone for Rudd: Ricky Rudd, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Racing Taurus, will reach another milestone this weekend when he makes 810th-career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start to move ahead of Darrell Waltrip into sole possession of third place on the series’ all-time list. Rudd, who made his Cup debut in 1975, trails only Richard Petty (1,185) and Dave Marcis (883).(Ford Racing)(3-31-2004)
  • Matt Martin wins a championship: Mark Martin left Bristol shortly after the final Happy Hour session on Saturday as he was headed to Lakeland, Fla., to see his son, Matt, recognized for winning the American Speed Association FastKids Winter Heat Series on Saturday night. Matt told his Daddy, to be there when the young driver was introduced as that series’ champ during the ASA series season opener. “He told me he was going to do it — get that jacket [the award for winning the Winter Heat], and I’ll be darned if he didn’t go out and do it,” said Martin, who was smiling widely. “He’s a little racer and I’m proud of what he’s done so far.” Mark’s got a special affinity for the ASA Series, as would any four-time champion of any race series. ASA was where Martin got noticed and is clearly the stepping-stone to today.(Ford Racing)(3-31-2004)

    (3-30-2004)

  • Todd Bodine back in the #98: been told that Todd Bodine will be driving for Larry Gunselman again this weekend at Texas in the #98 Ford and will be spotting for Randy LaJoie in the Busch race.(3-30-2004)
  • Lepage out? Spencer In? UPDATE 2: hearing reports that Kevin Lepage and the #4 Morgan-McClure team have parted ways and that Jimmy Spencer will driver the #4 Chevy at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.(3-29-2004 – 10am/et)
    UPDATE: Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR reports that #4 crew chief Tim Brewer told them Spencer will be in the car starting at Texas and for the next several races.(3-29-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Jimmy Spencer says he will replace Kevin Lepage in the Morgan-McClure team’s #4 Nextel Cup car for this weekend’s events at Texas Motor Speedway. “As of right now, that’s what we’re doing,” Spencer said Monday. A team spokesperson said Spencer is expected to be in the car for the next few races, with likely sponsorship from Featherlite; the team began the season with sponsorship from a Web site, yoketv.com, but the deal apparently has fallen through. Spencer, 47, finished 24th in the season-opening Daytona 500 but was left without a ride when the #7 team lost its primary sponsor.(USA Today)
    UPDATE 3 its OFFICIAL: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announces that “Mr. Excitement”, Jimmy Spencer, will pilot the #4 NEXTEL Cup Series car for the upcoming Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Additionally, Featherlite, the “Official Trailer” and “Official Luxury Coach” of NASCAR, will be the primary sponsor of the #4 Chevy at Texas. Featherlite is a North American leader in manufacturing and marketing high quality aluminum trailers, specialized transporters, custom mobile marketing trailers, and luxury motor coaches. A highly diversified product line is offered of standard to custom models of car, recreational, horse, livestock, utility and commercial trailers through a dealer network in the U.S. and Canada. Featherlite, which is well known in the NASCAR community for its high quality and superb service, is a major supplier of leading-edge racecar transporters. A premium line of NEXTEL Cup licensed Featherlite Car Care products is available at automotive stores and www.featherlitecarcare.com.
    The 47-year-old Spencer will take over the wheel of the #4 Featherlite Monte Carlo at Texas while starting in his 441st career NASCAR Cup Series event. The Berwick, Pa.-native has two wins in the elite series since his first Cup Series start in 1989, each taking place in 1994 with victories at Daytona and Talladega. He has garnered 28 top-fives, an amazing 80 top-10s and three pole positions.
    Larry McClure quotes: “We are extremely proud to have Featherlite as a sponsor on the car for Texas. Everyone involved with the company is top-notch. We are changing drivers to evaluate our race team. Jimmy Spencer has a lot of experience which should help us determine a positive direction for the team. “He will bring a lot of excitement to the No. 4 Monte Carlo and the NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend. We are happy to have him in the car with Featherlite sponsoring it.”
    Conrad Clement, Featherlite CEO, quotes: “Featherlite is excited to have the unique opportunity to be on the No. 4 car for the Texas race. Morgan-McClure Motorsports has always been a class act, and with Jimmy in the driver’s seat this combination will keep fans excited throughout the race.”
    Jimmy Spencer quotes: “I am happy to be in the No. 4 Monte Carlo this weekend. They are looking for a sponsor and I am looking for a ride. I know I do not have a lot of years left to drive in this sport. I have never seen any more determined group of people than Larry McClure and his brothers. When I drove for Junior Johnson, Tim Brewer worked for Kranefuss. Although I never worked with him, I knew Tim for years through Junior. I think he is one of the savviest crew chiefs out there, especially calling races and making pit calls. I look forward to working with him. I have been watching the races this year. I am not real sure what to expect with the new tires. I think once I take the race car around the track a few laps, it will give me a better idea of what the car needs. Larry and the guys are very open minded for changes. You have to be somewhere where you want the team to do well. A driver cannot start blaming the crew or the crew chief and they cannot start blaming the driver. A team will soon deteriorate when this begins to happen. I realize a team has to work together. If one guy makes a mistake or the driver makes a mistake, the team has to pull together. If a guy starts pointing fingers, it is sure to fail. You know, I think having a hands on car owner like Larry who prefers aggressive driving styles will benefit us both. We still have a desire to compete and to win.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(3-30-2004)
  • McMurray Fined $$ – no points: #42-Jamie McMurray was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 31 by NASCAR on Tuesday for spinning #17-Matt Kenseth on the “cool down” lap following Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kenseth and McMurray traded bumps in the closing laps and then McMurray spun Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford on pit road after the race was completed. Kenseth and McMurray and their crew chiefs were called to the NASCAR hauler after the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-30-2004)
  • Elliott close to a sponsor? hearing #91-Bill Elliott is close to announcing a four-race Cup deal, with one of the races bring the Brickyard 400, no word on the sponsor. Had heard rumors it could be McDonald’s, but sources tell me it apparently in NOT.(3-30-2004)
  • Benson in the #09 at Texas: Johnny Benson will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing Dodge at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, Joe Ruttman was listed on the early entry list.(3-30-2004)
  • Tennis Anyone? Jeff Gordon will be among the celebrities featured in a $3 million marketing effort to encourage more Americans to play tennis, this week’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The story says the campaign is being funded by the U.S. Tennis Association and the Tennis Industry Association. Gordon is scheduled to be part of a print advertising campaign that will also feature boxer Roy Jones Jr., television newsman Mike Wallace and actress and model Daisy Fuentes.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-30-2004)
  • Jackson Hewitt Declares ‘Army National Guard Appreciation Week’: Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., the nation’s second largest tax preparation company, declared the week of March 29, 2004 “Army National Guard Appreciation Week” at the company’s more than 4,900 locations nationwide. To kick off the week, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will launch its “Support America’s Troops” nationwide banner-signing initiative, with the help of Sharpie markers, where taxpayers can sign their names and send messages of support that will be sent to troops stationed across the world. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and the Army National Guard have partnered on a number of programs aimed at the Army National Guard’s recruitment, outreach and charitable efforts. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is a proud sponsor of the #16 National Guard Ford and Nextel Cup Series Driver Greg Biffle. In addition, Jackson Hewitt offers all National Guard members and their families a tax preparation discount at all Jackson Hewitt Tax Service locations. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service also proudly supports the soon to be announced Army National Guard’s “True Champions” charity that will support military servicemen and women deployed overseas. In honor of “Army National Guard Appreciation Week,” Jackson Hewitt will donate $5,000 to the “True Champions” charity. Earlier this year, Jackson Hewitt made the first donation to the charity with an initial $5,000 donation, which they presented to the Army National Guard in honor of their racecar sponsorship. In addition to that initial donation, Jackson Hewitt will donate an additional $5,000 for every race Greg Biffle wins on the Nextel Cup Series circuit in 2004. Sharpie, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and sponsor of fellow NEXTEL Cup Series driver Kurt Busch, donated markers for the banner signings across the country.(Yahoo Biz)(3-30-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns Shooting Perfect: Through the first six races of 2004, all have been won by members of the Gillette Young Guns. Joining fellow Young Guns and 2004 race winners Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch was victorious for the first time this season and the for the third straight race at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500. Starting the day in the 13th position, Busch ran in the top-10 a majority of the race. While Busch only led once, he did it when it counted the most. Taking the lead for good on lap 382, Busch led the final 119 laps and was able to hold on for a 0.428-second victory over a hard-charging Rusty Wallace. With his victory and thus being the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Kurt Busch. As part of his victory in the Food City 500, Busch also picked up the $4,800 Gillette Mach3Turbo Award for being the highest finishing driver participating in the particular contingency program. Through the sixth race of the season, Kenseth still leads the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings, though the other Gillette Young Guns are closing in with all six of them securely in the top seven – Busch (Second), Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Ryan Newman (Fifth), Jimmie Johnson (Sixth) and Kevin Harvick (Seventh). Only 125-points separate the top-seven drivers. Out of 1,978 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led a very impressive 1073 laps (54%).(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(3-30-2004)
  • Military Jet Crashes: A military jet crashed late Monday morning in Rhea County [TN], but the pilot ejected and escaped serious injury. The pilot of the Naval jet fighter plane was taken by ambulance to Erlanger Medical Center, reportedly with only a broken ankle. The plane was from the Naval Air Station in Atlanta and was reportedly returning with other military jets to Atlanta from a weekend NASCAR event [at Bristol].(chattanoogan.com)(3-30-2004)
  • Sad News: Mary Earles Weatherford, 73, of Martinsville, VA died Friday, March 26, 2004, at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County. She was born Nov. 11, 1930, in Martinsville, to H. Clay and Mildred Warren Earles, both deceased. She was the vice president of Martinsville Speedway and a member of Starling Avenue Baptist Church. She graduated from Martinsville High School, attended Mary Washington College and graduated from Perry Business School in Martinsville. Surviving are her husband, Francis M. “Pete” Weatherford of the home; a sister, Dorothy E. Campbell of Martinsville; one niece and one nephew; two great-nieces and two great-nephews.(Martinville Bulletin)(3-30-2004)

    (3-29-2004)

  • Testing at Martinsville: hearing #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne are testing at Martinsville Speedway today.(3-29-2004)
  • Elliott Dirt Tracking: Bill Elliott raced on dirt Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN. He qualified 33rd-fastest, but failed to qualify for the evening’s feature race after crashing during his heat.(www.volunteerspeedway.com – site down).(3-29-2004)
  • Hawk to NASCAR’s Diversity Program? UPDATE: hearing that NASCAR is going to or has hired Don Hawk to help with its diversity programs. Hawk is President of Hawk Sports Management which provides consultative services in the area of endorsements, product licensing, sport celebrity appearances, marketing concepts, and sponsorship programs to a diverse client base including NASCAR drivers, teams, race tracks, various racing entities, Professional Golfers and Tournaments and Licensing and Marketing Companies. The first two clients added on February 19, 2000 were Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR. Since that time, Hawk Sports Management has added to its list of clientele and grown into a diverse sports management company. Hawk was also General Manager for Alan Kulwicki Racing and President of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., More info at www.hawk-sports.com.(3-24-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to announce that former Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Don Hawk will join its competition segment, working in racing development.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-29-2004)
  • Update on the New Ford Engine Heads UPDATE: Even though the NASCAR Ford Racing teams were granted a new cylinder head at the end of the 2003 season, the piece has not yet made an appearance in a Cup event. Reliability testing is the final hurdle as the engine builders work to ensure that the new piece is as robust as the old one. The old head, with its roots dating back to the very early 1990’s, is certainly a proven piece that shows few failures in the casting. It is this reliability that Doug Yates and the Ford engine group are trying to translate into the new part. Slowing the process, however, is the fact that the teams need to race every week, and that alone creates a considerable amount of work with which the engine builders keep up. “Yes we have been working on the new heads. That’s what we see as our future,” Doug Yates told Team Ford Racing. “To this point we’ve worked extremely hard on our restrictor plate engines and did well and we’ve worked extremely hard at getting enough engines in the system to get to the race track with this current engine. That set us back a little bit on the production of our new engine. We know what we need and it’s coming soon. The problem right now is that we’ve got a pretty good package with that engine, we’ve just got to get the new package tested and race track proven before we jump out there and have problems. The number one goal is to not have any failures.” With event points as difficult as they are to come by Yates’ approach of maintaining reliability is vital. TFR asked Yates about the option of transient dyno cells, which can torture an engine using real data gathered from a test session to manipulate the throttle and load as it would if a driver was manipulating the pedal in the car. “We don’t have a transient dyno,” Yates said of his engine shop facilities. “Some of the teams do and that’s probably a real advantage. Ford Motor Company actually has one that’s at our disposal.” Yates then suggested that some ancillary issues could arise out of the use of a transient dyno, issues that could lead a builder on a wild chase. Giving an estimate as to when the new cylinder head might make its first appearance, Yates speculated, “I think Fontana is a pretty good date for when we need to have something on the race track. That’s four or five weeks out right now.”(in part from Ford Racing)(3-27-2004)
    UPDATE – More on Ford cylinder heads: Robert Yates, whose organization fields cars driven by Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler, is eager to run the new Team Ford Racing cylinder heads, but the current port heights don’t fit NASCAR regulations. Ford hopes the new engine can make its debut at the May 2 race at California Speedway.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-29-2004)
  • Kennseth vs. McMurray: #17-Matt Kenseth and #42-Jamie McMurray traded bumps in the closing laps and then McMurray spun Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford on pit road after the race was completed. Kenseth “hit me two or three times going into Turn 1 when we took the green. He’s not typically like that,” McMurray said. “I got into him a little bit, trying to get him out of the way so I could get by him. It’s just one of those deals. I’m shocked Matt acted that way.” Of the post-race spin, McMurray said: “You can’t really get out and punch somebody in our sport, so I just wanted him to know I was mad.” Kenseth said he simply was retaliating on the track to McMurray’s moves. “He just knocked me out of the groove and I did the same to him,” Kenseth said. “They say nice guys finish last, I guess. “He didn’t wreck. I didn’t wreck, except for when he wrecked me on pit road.” Kenseth and McMurray and their crew chiefs were all called to the hauler. A penalty is likely for McMurray’s spin after the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004)
  • A Short Track Streak: Kurt Busch is fourth driver to win at least three straight Bristol races. Darrell Waltip won seven in a row at one point. Cale Yarborough won four straight and Fred Lorenzen won three in a row. The last driver to win three straight races at one short track was Rusty Wallace, who won both races in 1994 and the first race in 1995 at Martinsville.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004)
  • Sad News: Farris Frazier, father of Busch Series crew chief Bryant Frazier and Susan Grissom, wife of 1993 Busch Series champion Steve Grissom, died March 26,2004 in Gadsden, Alabama.  Funeral services were held March 29. Bryant Frazier is crew chief for Labonte Motorsports and Team Coast Guard driver Justin Labonte.(Labonte Motorsports PR)(3-29-2004)
  • Sad News – Journalist dies: Tom Hodge, editorial director of the Johnson City Press, collapsed and died at the track Saturday while working as a volunteer for the Kiwanis Club. Hodge, 74, began his newspaper career as an 18-year-old sportswriter.(Tennessean)(3-29-2004)
  • Sad News: Thirty-two year old Sonny Sayre of Proctor, AR, passed away late last night after suffering critical injuries in Saturday night’s season-opening American Sprint Car Series National Tour event at Delta Bowl Speedway in Tunica, MS.(ascsracing.com)(3-29-2004)

 


(3-28-2004)

 

  • Get Well The father of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, Joseph “Papa Joe” Hendrick Jr., is at a Charlotte, N.C., hospital with an undisclosed illness. “Papa Joe” Hendrick co-owns Hendrick’s #5 Busch and #25 Nextel Cup series teams along with his grandson, Ricky Hendrick. “I just like to say my thoughts and prayers are with Papa Joe,” said Kyle Busch, who drives the No. 5 Chevrolet and finished third in Saturday’s race at Bristol, Tenn. “He’s a little bit sick right now. I don’t know exactly what it is, but my prayers are with him. “We just want to make sure that Papa Joe and Rick and everybody is OK at home.”
    “Papa Joe” Hendrick began racing modifieds in the early 1960s. While fielding a car with driver Ray Hendrick (no relation), the team won races throughout Virginia at such tracks as South Boston, Martinsville and Richmond.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-28-2004)
  • Busch wins at Bristol: #97-Kurt Busch disobeyed his crew chief and then held off Rusty Wallace, a determined veteran whose mastery of Bristol Motor Speedway is legendary, to win the Food City 500 on Sunday. Wallace has won nine times at this track and tried desperately to make that 10 and snap a 103-race winless streak on Sunday, but the 25-year-old Busch is assembling a pretty good record here, too. Busch’s victory was his third straight at Bristol and his fourth in the past five Nextel Cup events held here [It is Busch’s 9th career win]. To get this one, Busch stayed on the track despite crew chief Jimmy Fennig’s orders to come in on a caution flag with just more than 120 laps to go. Busch had pitted during a cycle of green-flag stops about 20 laps earlier and chose to stay out to gain track position. Eventually, that decision paid off. It got him the lead and he kept it despite a spate of late-race cautions, including one on Lap 493 that brought out a red flag on the last lap possible for NASCAR to use that to get a green-flag finish. The green flew again on Lap 498, leaving Wallace just two laps to try to dislodge Busch from the top spot. #29-Kevin Harvick ended up third with #40-Sterling Marlin and #17-Matt Kenseth fifth.
    It was a typical day at Bristol. #17-Matt Kenseth and #42-Jamie McMurray banged fenders coming to the checkered flag, with Kenseth getting fifth and McMurray sliding to eighth after going up the track in Turn 4. On the aptly-named cool-down lap, McMurray chased down Kenseth’s Ford and hit him twice, finally spinning the #17 out near the entrance to pit road.(see full report at ThatsRacin.com)
    Race results at:
    JAYSKI’s Bristol Results Page
    ThatsRacin.com
    NASCAR.com.(3-28-2004)
  • Andretti may run the Indy 500: John Andretti, temporarily out of a ride on the Nextel Cup circuit, said he’s in negotiations with a team that would field a car for him in the Indianapolis 500, a race he’s run seven times.(Tennessean)(3-28-2004)
  • New Tennessee Licence Tag: A new NASCAR license tag was unveiled Saturday at BMS and is now available through the Tennessee Department of Vehicles. Monies raised will go to Bristol Speedway Children’s Charities and the Tennessee State Museum.(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-28-2004)
  • Busch Admits he was 99% Wrong: The last time Kurt Busch raced at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, he did exactly one thing right – he won the Sharpie 500. On every other front, the weekend was a disaster. Busch came to Bristol on the heels of a post-race incident with Jimmy Spencer the previous weekend at Michigan. In another flare-up of what had long been a tempestuous relationship between Busch and Spencer, the two had bumped in the garage area following the Michigan race and Spencer wound up whapping Busch in the nose. In some ways, it was remarkable to see Busch go from victim to villain in the aftermath of that incident. In other ways, it was painful to watch. NASCAR suspended Spencer for the Bristol weekend, so he wasn’t at the track to address the issue – or to stick a foot in his mouth. So Busch did it. Instead of keeping quiet and starting to allow the matter to blow over, he heaped fuel on the fire with comments that were either inappropriately brash or provably untrue. Remember, it was Busch who got punched in the nose while sitting in his car at Michigan on Sunday. But by the end of the Bristol race the following Saturday night he was the bad guy being booed – lustily – by more than 150,000 fans. “I probably reacted to all of that 99 percent wrongly,” Busch admitted Saturday as he prepared for the Food City 500.(see ThatsRacin.com for the full article)(3-28-2004)
  • Site down HOWEVER: noticed – the site started by driver Andy Belmont www.fieldfillers.com is now show as “The page cannot be found”, so ? See the past news on the #02 Team News and Links page.(3-27-2004)
    UPDATE – and a nice gesture…thanks: They are making some updates and changes to the web site this weekend (since Belmont is not at the track) and it is hoped the site will be back up on Monday. So check out their sponsor: AcademicComputers.com. They are offering $25 to the Jayski Victory Junction Computer Lab for each computer sold until July 1. They have also laid out some numbers for possible car sponsorship later in the year if they can sell enough computers. The first plan starts at 500 computers.(3-28-2004)
  • Shelmerdine on ‘field-fillers’: Quote-unquote [#72] Kirk Shelmerdine on the whole “field-filler” issue: “I think most of them are that. If you haven’t won in three to four years, you’re a field-filler anyway. You’re just wasting a lot more money than we are.” Shelmerdine’s is one of the low-budget operations that have been rounding out the fields each week. He’ll start 41st today with a qualifying speed almost 15 mph slower than Newman’s pole-winning speed. He said he doesn’t feel at risk in a slower car. “There’s not really a direct parallel between speed and safety,” he said. “The fast cars are safe. The slow cars are safe. NASCAR makes sure of that, and we who put the cars together make sure of that.” Shelmerdine has competed in four of five races this season and hasn’t lasted more than 46 laps in any of them. He’s made $249,102.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-28-2004)

    (3-27-2004)

  • Matt Still Confused Over Darlington: A week after being penalized for passing cars under the caution at Darlington, #17-Matt Kenseth remains bewildered by NASCAR’s actions. Kenseth was involved in an accident and pitted before pit road was open. He was penalized and had to go to the rear of the longest line. He did before pit road opened. So, when the pits opened, all the lead-lap cars stopped. Kenseth said that should have put him in the lead, but a few cars exited pit road ahead of him. So Kenseth passed them, incurring a penalty for passing during the caution. A NASCAR official stated Kenseth couldn’t lead after taking the first penalty. “I read the rule book pretty thoroughly, I didn’t read the whole entire thing, so I can’t tell you for sure that there’s not a rule, but they said that a car getting penalized with one to go can’t lead a lap, well I never found that, maybe I missed a page somewhere,” Kenseth said.(News and Record)(3-27-2004)
  • #4 One Race Deal: Food City is on board the #4 Morgan McClure Chevy that Kevin Lepage drives for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(3-27-2004)
  • More Crew Changes on the #2: Rusty Wallace continues to make changes to the pit crew on his #2 Miller Lite Dodge team in hopes of improving performance. He tried former crew chief and tire changer Bill Wilburn, but that didn’t work out. Last week, he used a temporary fill-in from teammate Brendan Gaughan’s team. This week, for Sunday’s Food City 500, the team is using Jay Hackney for the first time as the front-tire changer. D.J. Richardson, who worked with the team earlier in the season, returns as the rear-tire changer.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-27-2004)
  • No Sponsor for the #99 at Bristol: Roush Racing has done a masterful job putting together single race sponsorships for Jeff Burton’s Ford Taurus since the season started, some five events ago. Unfortunately, that run came to a stop here at Bristol Motor Speedway and Burton’s car is painted basic black this weekend. “It’s the get out of my way black Ford Taurus,” Burton said of this week’s austere motif with a #99 plastered on the roof and doors. Asked if driving a car without a sponsor affects him in any way Burton said, “From a competitive standpoint? No. The sponsorship situation is what it is and it’s no different today than it was in January. “There’s some things going on but they’re not done,” Burton added. “It may make people feel better having a name on the side of the car but the fact of the matter is the sponsorship situation is what it is. There was no company that was ready to do business so there’s no sponsor on the car.” Finding a positive in the situation Burton pointed out, “We’ll bring a lot of attention to it this week because we don’t have a sponsor on the car; that may be okay. At the end of the day when people see it’s un-sponsored maybe they’ll see it as an opportunity. Certainly people will take notice of it.”(Ford Racing), see an image of the car on the #99 Team Paint Schemes page.(3-27-2004)
  • #48 Shocks? NASCAR officials will lay out all the shock parts from Jimmie Johnson’s winning Darlington car today, which should end all speculation about that part of the post-race inspection. Crew chief Chad Knaus said the car passed with no problems.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-27-2004)
  • New Practice/Qualifying Times? #18 Crew chief Michael McSwain is adding his voice to those accepting a new Friday testing policy each race week, with teams allowed to use computer-data acquisition on their cars. Then on Saturdays, drivers would get three 45-minute regular practice sessions before qualifying and no practice after qualifying, so they would effectively have to qualify on race setups. That, Mark Martin said, would give drivers much more practice on race setup than they get now.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-27-2004)

    (3-26-2004)

  • Racing Electronics offers new product: Racing Electronics has announced today, a major change in racing communications for the grassroots racer. Forming an exclusive agreement for North American distribution of the Reliant Electronics 2-Way Radio, Racing Electronics is now able to provide a quality, complete 2-Way Radio System for the driver and crew chief at a low starting price of just $799.00. “This is not an amateur system, but a professional-quality system,” said Bruce Silver, President/CEO of Racing Electronics. “It puts us at a price point with which no other radio company can compete for the high quality and features available on the new Reliant TR416 Radio.” The basic radio is available with high power (4 watts) and 16 channel priority scan. Additionally, the radio comes complete with Ni-Cad battery, desk charger, belt clip and antenna. Other models of this radio include a VHF (150-170 MHz) model TR116 that will prove to be very popular for the operation of many of the race tracks across the country and Receive-Only models in both UHF & VHF. The Receive-Only models, (RO116 & RO416) are used by race tracks and sanctioning bodies to provide One-Way Communications to its racers. Racing Electronics and USAC have just signed an exclusive agreement for use of the Reliant Radio for some of its series. Additional information on Reliant Radios and Systems can be found on the website at: www.racingelectronics.com/reliant.html. RE is an advertisor on the Jayski site and sponsors the Scanner Freqs page.(3-26-2004)
  • #42 and #14 Car Seized by NASCAR; #14 Team Goes Home RESPONSE: NASCAR on Friday morning confiscated the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray, when it failed to meet the X-measurement of the rear window. The violation is similar to those made by the teams of Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch last season, which resulted in NASCAR confiscating both cars. NASCAR spokesman Mize Zizzo said NASCAR will tow the No. 42 and No. 14 back to its research and development center in Concord, NC, for evaluation. And additional penalties will be forthcoming after the race weekend, Zizzo said. Following the inspection process, the car was placed alongside the NASCAR hauler and the team brought out a backup car. The backup car has never been run. “You definitely don’t bring your best aero car to Bristol, but the first time NASCAR checked the X-measurement – the same measurement they got Tony Stewart for and Kyle Busch – it showed to be too much,” said team manager Andy Graves. “Right now we’re trying to figure out what happened, if it was a mistake on our part or if a mistake made in measuring the first time. We’re going to have them measure it again.” Graves said the #41 and #40 Dodges, driven by Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Casey Mears and Sterling Marlin, respectively, both measured correctly. The X-measurement is taken diagonally from each the top corner of the rear window to the bottom corner of the opposite side. “It shows three-quarters (of an inch) more than any car we’ve ever had, so we’re kind of baffled by it,” Graves said.
    #14 Seized too: Larry Foyt’s #14 Dodge car failed to pass inspection a first time and his crew worked on the problem areas before returning to the inspection line. When the Dodge failed the final time, the car was seized by officials. The Foyt team had only a speedway car on hand as a backup, so they decided not to make a qualifying attempt for Sunday’s Food City 500.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND The #42 Havoline Dodge was confiscated during the first inspection at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday for being five-eighths of an inch off of the X-measurement. NASCAR uses the X-measurement — that gauges the length of the rear window from corner to corner to determine the off-set of the decklid to the roof. “The car was in line this morning and they just pulled it to the side,” says Ganassi team manager Andy Graves. “I don’t understand. We had to make updates, but the roofline and the decklid is the same as last year.” When driver Jamie McMurray arrived at the track Friday morning, he described the situation as “puzzling”. He added that it did not make sense to bring an illegal car to the track, especially at Bristol where little if any aerodynamic advantage can be gleaned. “We raced this car like seven times last year,” McMurray says. “So it’s a bit confusing.” Crew chief Donnie Wingo agreed that the situation was “confusing” since this was the primary short track car the team used last year. “I’m just frustrated,” Wingo says. “At least we have another good car in the trailer and we’ll have one sent from the shop this afternoon.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-26-2004)
    #42 Team Response: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has issued the following statement regarding NASCAR’s seizure of Jamie McMurray’s No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge during inspection Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    “This is an unfortunate situation that happened today at Bristol with the 42 car,” Chip Ganassi said. “This is a short track car from last season that we put a new body on during the off season. If there was an error made in the body shop on our part, we will get it rectified. We look forward to working closely with NASCAR to make sure this issue is resolved in a timely manner.” As a result, McMurray and the Texaco/Havoline were forced to unload the backup car, chassis #214. McMurray finished 11th last year at Bristol in the spring race and finished third last August.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(3-26-2004)
  • Back to the Future: A special paint scheme will launch a nationwide campaign to “Keep It Genuine”, accentuating the importance of using genuine Ford and Lincoln Mercury Parts and Service to keep a vehicle performing at its best. The #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus will run the colors made famous by David Pearson during the 1970’s at Texas Motor Speedway for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 weekend. According to Eddie Wood and his Uncle Leonard, the Wood Brothers “genuine” look was developed in the mid-1960’s to distinguish one team entry from another. On several occasions the Wood Brothers entered two or three cars in an event and used a combination of red and white paint schemes on the team cars. The crew chose the red top, white bottom and gold numbers as its primary paint scheme. Leonard Wood remembers that Cale Yarborough was the first Wood Brothers Racing driver to compete in those colors full-time, starting in 1967. The red, white and gold paint scheme went to victory lane 72 times with Yarborough, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Pearson, and Neil Bonnett behind the wheel between 1967 and 1982. “Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships are known for the genuine Motorcraft parts and quality service Ford customers have come to depend on,” says Judi Moritz, the Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) Motorsports & Events Marketing Manager. “And what better way to launch the new FCSD “Keep It Genuine” campaign than to introduce it with a genuine Wood Brothers Racing paint scheme.”
    The race at Texas precedes the national dealership introduction of the “Keep It Genuine” program on Monday, April 5. The “Keep It Genuine” initiative reinforces the importance of using genuine Ford and Lincoln Mercury Parts and Service to keep the vehicle performing at its best. Only Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships can provide factory-trained technicians and parts engineered specifically for the vehicle. By depending on the dealership to keep the vehicle genuine, owners can drive away with genuine peace of mind.(Motorcraft Racing PR)(3-26-2004)
  • Geoffrey in the #98: first Larry Gunselman was listed in the #98, then Todd Bodine, then back to Gunselman…and now from the geoffbodinefanclub.com site: Geoffrey has announced that he will be subbing for younger brother Todd Bodine in the #98 Lucas Oil Products Ford this weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Todd [see story below] has a prior commitment and is unable to attend the race.(3-26-2004)
  • 2nd Texas Race for All-Star Race Trade? Bruton Smith is reported to be on the verge of getting NASCAR to agree to grant him a long-awaited second Nextel Cup date at Texas Motor Speedway, through the purchase of North Carolina Speedway, according to sources. But then it gets complicated, according to those sources. In turn NASCAR wants Smith to let Richmond International Raceway take the May all-star race from Smith’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway. For that, Smith wants a second Cup date for his Las Vegas track. If all that happens, Darlington Raceway could lose one of its two Cup races. Smith has considerable support at the moment, from teams and sponsors and TV networks, for his Las Vegas pitch.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-26-2004)
  • Mr. Gordon goes to Washington: #24-Jeff Gordon was on Capitol Hill today to urge Senate passage of a bill to reauthorize a five-year funding cycle for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which maintains the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry and facilitates transplants from unrelated donors for patients with leukemia and other diseases. Gordon, a longtime advocate for NMDP and board member of its partner, The Marrow Foundation, visited key lawmakers to urge passage of the legislation, which was passed unanimously in the House last year but has not been voted on in the Senate. Current authorization for the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry expired in September 2003. “The NMDP offers hope to the more than 30,000 people diagnosed each year with fatal blood diseases like leukemia,” said Gordon. “It’s critical for the Senate to continue its longstanding support of NMDP, which is on track to facilitate its 20,000th transplant later this year.” Gordon’s visit also highlighted NMDP’s special Capitol Hill donor drive held in the Hart Senate Office building, which offered the opportunity for Members of Congress and their staff to sign up and become part of the national Registry. For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit online at www.marrow.org.(U.S. Newswire)(3-26-2004)
  • Andrews is looking UPDATE 3 to BANG?: Paul Andrews, a successful crew chief for many years [championship with Kulwicki, wins at Penske and DEI], lost his job earlier this week with Bob Osborne, an engineer now taking over with Jeff Burton at Roush Racing. Andrews is still on the Roush payroll but reportedly looking elsewhere for a job.(Gaston Gazette)(3-21-2004)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Paul Andrews is looking for a job, since being released by Jeff Burton and Jack Roush, and says “We’re talking to different people now about what we might do next. We’ve got a lot of people talking and that’s good. “I was brought in to win races and we hadn’t won races, so we felt like we needed to make a change and that’s what we did. I think Jeff is a good driver and there are a lot of good things going on over at Roush’s. But that’s just what happened. We couldn’t win races together.”(Winston Salem Journal)(3-22-2004)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that Larry McReynolds and Bang Racing are talking to Andrews about potentially heading up their Nextel Cup effort later this year.(3-22-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Paul Andrews, who was replaced as Jeff Burton’s crew chief before Darlington, said yesterday he still is weighing his options but is optimistic about rejoining a Cup team by midseason. “It’s a little early in the season for most teams to make changes, but there’s still quite a bit of activity,” said Andrews, who is working on putting a limited Busch North Series schedule together for his son Tim. Andrews didn’t win in 50 starts with Jeff Burton but has 12 career victories and a championship. “I’m disappointed I couldn’t make it work at Roush,” said Andrews, who has worked for Team Penske, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Roush since 1999. “It just didn’t click right. I want to make sure we go somewhere and stay for a while. I don’t like moving around at all, and I’ve been moving around a little too much.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-26-2004)
  • Show Me The Money: TMS again increased its purse for the NASCAR races next weekend. The Samsung/RadioShack 500 goes up to more than $6.7 million, an increase of $720,000 over last year. It’s the third-highest payout in Nextel Cup. Only the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at $8 million rank ahead of TMS. Here’s a list of the top 10 purses in the series:
    1. Daytona 500: $16 million.[ISC Track]
    2. Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis: $8.2 million*.
    3. Samsung/RadioShack 500 at TMS: $6.7 million.[SMI Track]
    4. UAW-Daimler/Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas: $6 million.[SMI]
    5. Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte: $5.7 million*.[SMI]
    6. Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 in Atlanta: $5.4 million*.[SMI]
    7. Food City 500 at Bristol: $5.292 million.[SMI]
    8. Sharpie 500 at Bristol: $5.289 million*.[SMI]
    9. Banquet 400 at Kansas City: $5.287 million*.[ISC]
    10. Auto Club 500 at California: $5.230 million*.[ISC]
    *2003 payout (From the Dallas Morning News)(3-26-2004)
  • Norris close to a job UPDATE 3: Ty Norris, who resigned in January as vice president for motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in January, expects to start a new job this week. “I think they’ll announce it Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said Saturday. The position is in racing, but Norris said it’s different than anything he’s done before. He also won’t have to travel as much, which was a requirement he made for himself when he was contemplating what he was going to do. “My family has sacrificed enough over the past 15 years,” he said. In eight years with DEI, Norris took the team into the Nextel Cup Series, where it now has drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. Junior won the Daytona 500 for the first time earlier this season, with Norris watching from home. “I was just so proud for Dale Jr. and the team,” Norris said. “It was great feeling like I had a little part in that.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-13-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing the job will be with SMI [Speedway Motorsports Inc./Bruton Smith] in some capacity.(3-15-2004)
    UPDATE 2:Ty Norris, who helped run Dale Earnhardt Inc., for eight years until leaving suddenly in January, is expected to announce a new job next week with Speedway Motorsports.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Ty Norris, former Dale Earnhardt Inc. executive, has been selected vice president for Speedway Motorsports Inc.(Greenville News)(3-26-2004)
  • PRN to Carry Texas IROC Race: Performance Racing Network (PRN) will broadcast the inaugural Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night, April 2. The flagship station for the broadcast will be 97.1 KEGL-FM in Dallas-Fort Worth. The broadcast begins at 7:45 p.m. (CST) with green flag just after 8 p.m. (CST). The Performance Racing Network will also broadcast their regular schedule of events during the Samsung/RadioShack 500 race week including O’Reilly Auto Parts Qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on Friday, the O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday, April 3, and the Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday, April 4. The PRN broadcast team for the weekend will be Doug Rice and Mark Garrow calling the race from the booth, Pat Patterson and Brett McMillan in the pits, and Chuck Carland and Rob Albright in the turns.(TMS PR)(3-26-2004)

    (3-25-2004)

  • Looking for Fabricators: Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. is announcing that they are taking pre-applications to attend their newly developed professional Cup racecar Body Fabrication Instructional Program. They are inviting you to learn from fabricators who are on the frontline everyday, dealing with rule changes, up to date templates, at track testing and wind tunnel knowledge and who have cars competitively running in today’s CUP fields. You can prepare for your career in professional motorsports at their state of the art 20,000 square foot facility that has currently six service plates, up to date fabrication equipment and a above industry standards down draft paint booth system. For more information visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(3-25-2004)
  • Bobby Labonte, Michael McSwain, J.D. Gibbs To Visit “Racing For Life” Mobile Health Unit: Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, his crew chief, Michael “Fatback” McSwain and J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing will visit the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), “Racing For Life” Mobile Health Unit outside of Bristol Motor Speedway at 10:00am Friday, March 26. Wellbutrin XLT (bupropion HCl extended-release tablets), a medicine indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in patients 18 years and older produced by GSK, will serve as the primary sponsor for Labonte’s #18 Chevrolet at Bristol and seven other races in 2004. In addition to their sponsorship, GSK officials announced in February at Daytona that they would be offering free health screenings to fans across the nation at 23 races in 2004. The unique “Racing for Life” mobile health unit expands into a patient education and health-screening center, and provides screenings and information on such health topics as hypertension, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, men’s health, smoking cessation, migraine, and depression. Labonte, McSwain and Gibbs will each be screened in the unit as part of the “Green-flag Ceremony,” which helps kick off Wellbutrin XLT’s primary sponsorship at Bristol.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(3-25-2004)
  • Todd Bodine…crew chief: Todd Bodine has formed an agreement to be co-owner and crew chief for Rookie candidate Travis Foster during the 2004 ASA National Tour. Bodine will make his debut with the Illinois driver at USA International Speedway on Saturday, March 27.(ASA Site), Bodine was listed in the #98 car for the Bristol Cup race, but Larry Gunselman is now listed in it.(3-25-2004)
  • Sauter’s Penalty Upheld: The National Stock Car Racing Commission announced Thursday that it had rejected NASCAR Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter’s appeal of financial and points penalties levied earlier this month. The Commission, consisting of Chairman George Silbermann, NASCAR’s director of administration; former sports car driver Lyn St. James; and former track owner Mike Staley upheld NASCAR’s $10,000 fine and 25-point penalty. Sauter has the right under Section 15 of the Busch Series rulebook to appeal the decision to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner Charles D. Strang and Thursday his team owner, Clarence Brewer, said the team was seriously considering that move. “As of right now we plan to appeal,” Brewer said. “Because I think we’ve been made an example of. My biggest problem with the whole situation is not the fine for cursing, because I agree with it. Even if it were more I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The problem I have as a team owner is that when you deduct points for an action that the driver did, you’re affecting Clarence Brewer and the team more than the driver.” Sauter is currently 10th in the Busch Series driver standings, 113 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. Without the 25-point penalty, Sauter would be tied with Bobby Hamilton Jr. for sixth position.(NASCAR.com), see past new about this on my Busch Site.(3-25-2004)
  • Bickford back with Gordon: Jeff Gordon, president and owner of Jeff Gordon Inc., announced changes in the senior management of his company on Thursday. John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather, has been named vice president and general manager of JG Inc., and Gordon’s other business interests. “I’m very excited about working with John in this capacity again,” said Gordon. “He helped shape my racing career and was pivotal in the decision-making process as I progressed through different racing series up to NASCAR. I’m confident in his ability to move JG Inc., forward.” Bickford, an Action Performance Co. executive since 1997, is excited to be working with his stepson again. “Jeff is a proven winner on and off the track,” Bickford said. “My goal is to strengthen his current business relationships while branching out to create new and better opportunities. I’ve always wanted the best for Jeff Gordon as a person. That won’t change as I take on this new role of overseeing his business interests.” Jeff Gordon Inc., also announced that Robert B. Brannan, vice president and general manager of the company since May of 1995, has resigned. “Bob has been instrumental in the growth of this company, and I have the utmost respect for him as a person and a businessman,” Gordon said. “With the addition of my stepfather into a senior manager role, Bob’s services were no longer required.” Said Brannan: “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with Jeff Gordon and my associates at JG Inc., over the years. I know that John Bickford will bring a new level of enthusiasm to the organization to move it to a higher level.I’m looking forward to pursuing other business opportunities and spending some time with my family.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-25-2004)
  • Labonte better the he started, only one: Through the first five races of the 2004 schedule, #5-Terry Labonte is the only driver who has finished in a higher position than he started in each event. Labonte is the lone Hendrick Motorsports driver without a DNF (did not finish) through the first five races of the season. By running to the end of the March 28 event at Darlington, Labonte extended his series-high streak of consecutive races without a DNF to 47. The last time he failed to complete a race was in October 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway. The modern-era record is 56 in a row, set by Gordon in 2001-02.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-25-2004)
  • Pit Crew For Greg Biffle Captures McDonald’s/POWERade Win in Darlington: Greg Biffle’s pit crew claimed first prize and the $20,000 weekly check for winning the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (March 21) Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Biffle’s Roush Racing teammate – the crew for Kurt Busch’s No. 97 team finished third in Darlington and jumped into first place in the McDonald’s/POWERade standings with 184 points, 10 more than Tony Stewart’s second-place crew. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew is third with 183 points. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus. Biffle’s crew displayed a superior effort in Darlington with a 35-second margin over last week’s winner – the No. 31 crew for Robby Gordon. Biffle’s Travel Lodge/National Guard Ford spent 378.315 seconds on pit road compared to 413.964 for Gordon’s No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. “This pit crew is awesome,” said Biffle. “They totally deserve this award for all their hard work and dedication to the team. This is the second year for most of these guys working together. And not only are they fast but they are consistently fast, which is what it takes to have the competitive edge on Sunday.” Biffle’s over-the-wall crew consists of Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), Jeff Silver (front-tire carrier), Mike Hillman (rear-tire changer), TJ Hamilton (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Merkel (jackman), Donnie Ratledge (gasman), John Eicher (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Doug Richert.(DMF Communications PR), see top 10 at Darlington and standings on my Pit Crew Page.(3-25-2004)
  • Blaney Assoc at Texas: Earlier in the week it was announced that Mooney Starr and the Batesville Speedway would be primary sponsor for the Dave Blaney’s #23 Dodge, owned by Bill Davis Motorsports Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday April 4. Starr announced today that an associate sponsor has been added to the package. Bad Boy Mowers of Batesville, Arkansas will join the Batesville Speedway, The Alltel 100, and the Comp Cams Topless 100 as sponsors for Blaney. Bad Boy Mowers [and I just bought a John Deere] of Batesville manufactures a zero turn radius commerical mower. The company, started in 1998, has since moved into a 30,000 square foot production facility in Batesville, and is providing a superior product to experts in the commerical turf industry. Bad Boy mowers can be seen at their website, www.badboymowers.com. Bad Boy Mowers looks forward to their participation the upcoming Nextel Cup event at the Texas Motor Speedway, and their one race assocation with Starr, Bill Davis Motorsports, and Dave Blaney.(PR), also check out the Michigan Race Sponsor Fan Pledges via my #23 Team News and Links page.(3-25-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns 5 for 5: This past weekend’s event at Darlington Raceway was yet another banner day for the Gillette Young Guns, who have now claimed the checkered flag at every race this season. Jimmie Johnson, driving the #48 Chevrolet, recorded his first victory of the season, joining fellow Young Guns Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth as the only race winners so far this year. Though only five out of the 36-races have been run so far, the Young Guns — Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman — have factored heavily into the outcome of each race, leading an impressive 830 out of 1,478 (56%) total laps run so far in 2004. In addition to the first five races being won by these drivers, Gillette has made weekly $1,000 donations in the name of each winning Young Gun to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC), which is a season-long program.(Alan Taylor PR)(3-25-2004)
  • Plane Coming From Darlington Missing UPDATE found, no survivors: A private plane bringing six people back from a NASCAR race [Darlington] in South Carolina disappeared on its way to Bloomington, IL Sunday. Emergency crews continued to search for the plane early this morning. The six-seat, single-engine Piper Saratoga II was carrying pilot Curt Piercy [used to drive ARCA] and his wife, Linda Piercy; Don Maurer Jr. and his wife, Amy Maurer; Amy Maurer’s brother, Brad Webb, all of Carlock; and Webb’s girlfriend, whose name wasn’t available, according to family friends. They were returning from NASCAR races, friends said. The Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 race was Sunday in Darlington, SC. Curt Piercy has more than 475 hours as a pilot and 50 to 55 hours flying planes with retractable gear, like that of the missing plane, he said. Curt Piercy owns Piercy Auto and Truck Body in Carlock, and Don Maurer Jr. runs Don Maurer Wrecker Service in Carlock with his father.(The Pantagraph)(3-23-2004)
    UPDATE: Rescuers searched into the evening Tuesday for signs of an aircraft that was carrying six people when it was last heard from on Sunday as it flew from South Carolina to Illinois. Air patrol rescuers had already flown the entire Kentucky flight segment in search of wreckage and were continuing those efforts, said 1st Lt. Michael Brown, public affairs officer for Kentucky Wing Civil Air Patrol. “We are trying to find these people and bring them home alive,” Brown said. Tuesday night, a crew spotted debris near Harlan. It’s not clear if it’s the debris from the plane. The search will resume Wednesday.(wkyt.com)(3-24-2004)
    UPDATE 2 Sad News: Searchers found the wreckage of a single-engine plane Wednesday that crashed while carrying six central Illinois residents home from a NASCAR race in South Carolina, authorities said. FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said there were no survivors. Ground crews had been searching a heavily wooded mountainside in southeastern Kentucky near where the plane was last spotted on radar Sunday night. Cory said investigators from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the scene. Kentucky State Police Trooper Walt Meachum said the airplane crashed into the side of Little Black Mountain. “If they had gone 20 to 30 yards higher, they would have cleared the top,” Meachum said. Harlan County Coroner Philip Bianchi said the impact occurred at about 3,000 feet and that the plane hit trees, rock and earth and was not intact but not scattered over a large area. Debris from the wreckage was in a very small area on the mountainside. It was partially burned, said Meachum, who was at the scene Wednesday night. He said he believes all the victims died on impact, and Bianchi agreed. The pilot, Curt Piercy of Normal, and his wife, Linda, owned an auto body shop in Carlock. Don Maurer lived in Carlock, where he ran a wrecker service. His wife, Amy, who gave her husband the NASCAR tickets as a birthday present, worked in the McLean County state’s attorney’s office. Her brother, Brad Webb, and his girlfriend, Erica Edgington, also lived in Carlock and were aboard the plane. Gavin Pitcher of Carlock, a spokesman for the families, said relatives were upset because news reports that the plane was found were broadcast before the families were officially notified.(wkyt.com)(3-25-2004)


    (3-24-2004)

  • Darlington AND Rockingham to lose races? Alternating ONE racedate? Texas and Vegas get the dates? UPDATE 2 Darlington expects to get two dates in 2005:
    Settlement negotiations in a lawsuit over a second Nextel Cup date for Texas Motor Speedway have potentially major ramifications for two tracks in the Carolinas, The Observer has learned. A source close to talks in a suit against NASCAR by two Speedway Motorsports Inc. [SMI] shareholders said Monday a settlement could result in International Speedway Corp. selling both North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham and Darlington Raceway to SMI. If such a deal were made, two of three remaining Cup dates from Rockingham and Darlington would move – one to Texas Motor Speedway and the other to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, giving those SMI-owned tracks two dates each per season. The other date would alternate between Rockingham and Darlington, with the Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck series racing at Rockingham one year then at Darlington the next [so much for lights and SAFER]. “I am aware of the (settlement) talks,” SMI chairman Bruton Smith said Monday. “I think that they have been going on for about two months, and they’re further down the road than they ever have been. But there will have to be a written agreement among all of the attorneys before there’s any done deal.” Smith said that in his mind any settlement of the suit would have to include a second Cup date for Texas. “That’s certainly the key to it, that’s why it was filed,” he said.(more at ThatsRacin.com), see past news about this on my lawsuit page.(3-23-2004)
    UPDATE: After attracting the largest crowd in the 45-year history of Darlington Raceway’s spring Nextel Cup event, track officials are feeling good about their chances of keeping two races for 2005. How good? “I feel confident we’ll host two races next year. Frankly, I can’t see it any other way,” raceway president Andrew Gurtis said Tuesday. “As the promoter at Darlington Raceway, look at the last two races we’ve had here. We’ve had a sellout for the Mountain Dew Southern 500, and a record crowd for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. We have two strong sponsors on our Cup races, and great racing. Things are just stacking up.” But sources have indicated to The Post and Courier that the millions of dollars ISC has spent to add the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier and a lighting system at Darlington guarantee that the Pee Dee track will have at least one annual event on the Nextel Cup schedule.(Chareslton Post and Courier)
    BUT Could a settlement be imminent in the battle to bring a second Nextel Cup race to Texas Motor Speedway? According to several media outlets, yes. But spokesmen for the opposing camps said they are simply following court orders in a mediation process. According to The Associated Press, Samuel Cherry, the attorney for a TMS shareholder who sued NASCAR over its refusal to award a second event, said Tuesday that progress is being made in settlement talks. Cherry said the plaintiffs and NASCAR have agreed not to discuss specifics of the 2-year-old suit. Spokespersons from both racing entities contend that no settlement is about to materialize. “(The suit) is based on the false presumption that NASCAR promised Texas Motor Speedway a second date, which NASCAR did not,” NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said. “No settlement has been reached, to my knowledge.” Lauri Wilks, Hunter’s counterpart at SMI didn’t know anything more. “Not as far as I know,” Wilks said. “I don’t have an official word of anything.” Apparently, there is no agreement — at least not in written form — on the table. “Obviously, as everyone knows, it’s in the best interest of the sport to put this thing behind us,” Hunter said. “We’re not at liberty to discuss any of the particulars. There is no timeline. In the meantime, we’ve got to get on with the business of running the races.”(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(3-24-2004)
  • SAFER causing remeasuring of tracks? Size does matter — especially when it comes to racetracks. And with the SAFER barriers installed at many NASCAR tracks, the dimensions of the circuits have changed. “We’re going to have to remeasure all the tracks where we’ve put in the SAFER wall,” says Jim Hunter, V.P. of corporate communications. “I don’t have any idea how it will affect it, but I’m sure it will affect it to some degree.” The SAFER walls at Darlington come out 30 inches from the outer wall. NASCAR measures tracks 15 feet in from the outer wall, but it doesn’t expect changes in dimensions to be significant enough to affect records.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-24-2004)
  • Belmont Comments on USA Today article: Andy Belmont [field-filler.com] comments to XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio’s Clarie B. Lang [CBL] on Tuesday concering a USA Today article: ‘Field filler’ Belmont’s online openness an eye-opener by Chris Jenkins.
    What’s about the stuff in your words on your web site about Ephedra:
    “Pretty simple. I want people to read my stuff…it’s that simple”
    are you using ephedra:
    “Heck no..no I can’t take that with my blood pressure medicine, my doctor would shoot me. I just…I’m a seat of the pants kind of guy and I don’t take anything in life seriously and you know ephedra is illegal after April 12th in this country so….to be candid with you I didn’t know it’ was illegal under the NASCAR substance abuse policy but I wouldn’t use it anyway because of my blood pressure medicine so it’s not an issue.”
    And NASCAR hasn’t contact you or anything (after the media regarding your statements on your web site)
    “No, nobody’s said a word.”
    What about the statements regarding the minimum speed(s)
    “Well, that was taken out of context. The minimum speed was 32.50 and we were going 32.40’s so how that was…In other words when I’m saying I was under the speed I was under the 34.50, we were running 32.40’s.”
    Other statements from Belmont to CBL:
    “I’m just a hard working guy like everybody else out there trying to make it. And if showing your checking account balance is going to be a requirement to qualify, you know we got real problems. If you cut out what it is that the average Saturday night guy, which is what I am,I am just Joe average, trying to chase a dream and if you take that away so that the only way a guy can actually ever make it is to be one of the chosen few that a major car owner calls…that’s a disastrous situation about to unfold. I mean that’s what happened to CART.”
    “……As we sit here speaking we all met the criteria and we’re playing by the rules that are given to us. If they want to change the rules that’s NASCAR’s object. I don’t see Rick Hendrick answering my calls when I’m trying to get an engine. I don’t see…you know I got a call into Jimmie Johnson to see if I can work something out on..you know I can’t afford to buy a $70,000 motor being an independent. But if they could help me out and take a cut of my winnings or do something along those lines or give me engines that are experimental stuff that maybe they don’t want to try in cars that they have on the race track. It don’t matter who you go to – me Hillenburg whatever we would all do that to try to be faster to try to be respectable. When I was racing Cup in ’92 Larry McReynolds gave me some weird stuff to put up under the car chassis wise because they didn’t want Davey running it till they figured out what it was going to do. But those opportunities don’t seem to be there any more because all those teams have their very own test teams and all that. So what are you going to do?” Do you feel that now because of your off-handed comments on your web site that NASCAR will have reasonable suspicion to test you?
    “They have the right..those are the rules we play by. If they want to check me have at it. I got nothing to hide and the reality of it is, I’ll probably test positive because of my blood pressure medicine. You know what I mean? I had to fill it out on the physical form. You know. Le’Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s their ball and jacks. If they don’t want us there bad enough they will figure out how to get rid of us and it won’t be anything we’ve done. It’s what they’ve created to get rid of us. I’m trying to make it Claire just like anybody else out there that has a dream.”(XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio 144)(3-24-2004)
  • No Redneckjunk.com on the #50: during an interview on XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio 144 with Chris McLain, #50 driver, Derrike Cope was asked about the sponsorship of Redneckjunk.com [RJunk.com] and said that was in the past and that Redneckjunk.com [RJunk.com] would not be on the car and the team has moved on, looking for a new sponsor. Past News on my #50 Team News and Links page.(3-24-2004)
  • Hawk to NASCAR’s Diversity Program? hearing that NASCAR is going to or has hired Don Hawk to help with its diversity programs. Hawk is President of Hawk Sports Management which provides consultative services in the area of endorsements, product licensing, sport celebrity appearances, marketing concepts, and sponsorship programs to a diverse client base including NASCAR drivers, teams, race tracks, various racing entities, Professional Golfers and Tournaments and Licensing and Marketing Companies. The first two clients added on February 19, 2000 were Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR. Since that time, Hawk Sports Management has added to its list of clientele and grown into a diverse sports management company. Hawk was also General Manager for Alan Kulwicki Racing and President of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., More info at www.hawk-sports.com.(3-24-2004)
  • Donohue to Indy 500 Hall of Fame: Five legendary names from the Indianapolis 500 will assume their place among racing legends May 21 at the 2004 Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The event is taking place at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in conjunction with the annual “500” Oldtimers’ Club Banquet. Indianapolis 500-winning drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Tom Sneva, and team owner John Zink are expected to attend the ceremony, while driver Mark Donohue [click here to see Jayski’s tribute] and team owner Lindsey Hopkins will be inducted posthumously.(IMS Site)(3-24-2004)
  • Foyt at Bristol and Texas UPDATE: #14-Larry Foyt will attempt to make the Nextel Cup races at Bristol and Texas. The team is still looking for a sponosr for both races.(3-23-2004)
    UPDATE: After nearly a month off, Larry Foyt returned to the cockpit of the A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge when he tested March 16th and 17th at Texas Motor Speedway. Foyt plans to compete in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend and the Samsung/RadioShack 500 on April 4th. “Our test at Texas went pretty decent,” Foyt said. “We weren’t the fastest car there but we were only two to three tenths off guys like Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. We didn’t do any qualifying runs, we were in race trim the whole time. On the second day, the wind came up in the afternoon so we quit early. We only had the one car and we were happy with where we were running so I didn’t want to take any chances.” Foyt is running a limited schedule this year because the team is without primary sponsorship. “We’ve been looking but it’s been a challenge in this economy,” said team owner A.J. Foyt. “Right now I’m running Larry out of my pocket basically, so we have to pick and choose our races. I hope we can find a major sponsor soon.” Foyt’s son competed in his first Daytona 500 in February and finished 28th. He started 41st and had quickly moved into the top 25 but then he had to pit with a misfire in the power plant. The team’s engine specialist diagnosed the problem as a loose spark plug wire which was fixed and Foyt returned to the race. He competed in the next race at Rockingham, N.C. and finished 32nd after struggling with the car’s handling. “It was a tough weekend but we brought the car home in one piece.” Foyt is currently 43rd in the driver standings after competing in just two of the five races run to date.(Foyt Racing PR)(3-24-2004)
  • Mr. Kenseth Goes to Washington: [a day old and already happened but….] Matt Kenseth is slated to make a trip to the nation’s capital tomorrow [actually Tuesday], as he will be attending the 2004 March of Dimes Gourmet Gala. At the invitation of NASCAR, Kenseth and invited guests Jack Roush, Richard and Lynda Petty and Mike Joy will all participate in this year’s festivities at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Other honored guests attending the gala will be Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina. Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, the President and CEO of the March of Dimes will be the keynote speaker with Mike Joy filling in as the emcee. The gala is a dinner of sorts, with a cocktail reception and regional specialties of food. Just before the sit down dinner, Kenseth will sign a few autographs near the No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford show car for dignitaries and large donors. The next day, NASCAR representatives will make a breakfast presentation on Capital Hill about stock car racing, its popularity, competitiveness and its national appeal. A question and answer session will follow. Kenseth will only appear at the previous evening’s festivities, as he will be traveling to Texas that same evening to attend a “Winner’s Circle” appearance on behalf of Texas Motor Speedway. Kenseth is slated to visit over a dozen television and radio outlets in Texas to promote the upcoming Samsung-Radio Shack 500 on April 4th.(DeWalt Site)(3-24-2004)
  • Kyle Petty Returns to Rolex Series for Phoenix 250: Kyle Petty announced that he will return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series next month, competing in the Phoenix 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, April 10 [off weekend for Nextel Cup]. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver will rejoin Gunnar Racing, this time at the wheel of the No. 45 Porsche GT3 RS. Petty kicked off his 2004 racing season by competing in his fifth Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this year, teaming with famed-actor Paul Newman, Gunnar Jeannette and Michael Brockman in the Gunnar Racing entry. Jeannette and Petty will team back up in the No. 45 Porsche for the Phoenix 250. Petty is no stranger to the Rolex Sports Car Series, competing in seven races over the last three seasons. He teamed with John Andretti for the GT victory at Watkins Glen International in 2001 and has scored five class podium finishes, including a second-place finish with Jeannette and Newman in the GTS class at Watkins Glen last season. Petty’s No. 45 Porsche is one of 40 race cars on the pre-entry list for the Phoenix 250 announced earlier this week. Tickets to the Phoenix 250, round three of the Rolex Series, are available at www.phoneixraceway.com. The Phoenix 250 will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel, April 10 at 9 p.m. ET. For additional information on the Rolex Sports Car Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.(Phoenix International Raceway PR)(3-24-2004)
  • Some Tix Still Avialable for Race for Hope: Ticket sales for Elliott Sadler’s Race for Hope are off to a great start. According to a spokesperson for the NASCAR SpeedPark, the VIP Dinner packages have sold out. All proceeds from the venue will benefit the Autism Society of America and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Although the effort has recently reached the halfway point of its fundraising goal, a few packages are still available for fans to obtain autographs, and race against NASCAR NEXTEL and NASCAR Busch Series Stars, more info on my Racing Charities Page.(3-23-2004)
    UPDATE: The scheduled lineup of drivers for Elliott Sadler’s Race for Hope has changed. Due to a conflict with a recently scheduled test at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Petty will not be in attendance for the May 25th event. Standing in for Petty will be his seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion father, Richard Petty. The logistics of the change are minor as fans who have already purchased tickets for Kyle Petty will now have the opportunity to meet Richard, NASCAR’s all time wins leader. There are still over 100 tickets available for the Richard Petty autograph session through the NASCAR SpeedPark ticket office at 1-877-626-8725. All proceeds from the event will go to The Autism Society of America and The Victory Junction Gang Camp.(3-24-2004)


    (3-23-2004)

  • Brewer Penalized: NASCAR has fined Tim Brewer, crew chief for the #4 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Lepage, $5,000 for an infraction detected during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series opening-day inspection at Darlington Raceway. Brewer was penalized under Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book: (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules). The No. 4 had an unapproved rear deck lid.(NASCAR PR)(3-23-2004)
  • Ward Burton teams up with Blue Ox [where is Paul Bunyan?] Ward Burton and Blue Ox Towing products of Pender, Nebraska have formed a marketing relationship with Burton endorsing Blue Ox products. Blue Ox is the industry leader in towing equipment for recreational vehicles. The partnership is a natural fit for both parties, with Burton using Blue Ox products on his motor coach to travel the country. Blue Ox offers not only the most reliable towing products in the industry, but the most thorough, responsive service as well. They prove it 24 hours a day through a toll-free, 24-7 hotline, 1-888-425-5382. Recreational vehicle enthusiasts can call this number to talk to a Blue Ox customer care representative who’s trained to answer all types of towing and braking equipment questions. Blue Ox has multiple racing related programs and sponsorships for 2004. Blue Ox has teamed up with Haas CNC Racing and will be associate sponsors for both the #0 NEXTEL Cup car, driven by Burton, and the team’s #00 Busch Series car, driven by Jason Leffler, for both the spring and fall Bristol, Tenn. races. Blue Ox will also be sponsoring a campground for the March 28, 2004 Food City 500 and the August 28, 2004 Sharpie 500 racing weekends at Bristol Motor Speedway. There will also be Blue Ox highway signs, and public address announcements each day. In addition, throughout the racing season Blue Ox will be hosting special events and opportunities to meet Ward Burton. For more information on Blue Ox and its racing involvement please visit www.blueoxracing.com.(PR)(3-23-2004)
  • New Sneaks for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick is endorsing a new line of sneakers from Lugz, a boot and shoe company looking to expand beyond its mostly “urban-based” clientele. The new shoes go on sale in July.(USA Today)(3-23-2004)
  • Too Much Military at the Races? [not in my book] UPDATE Nextel Responds: NASCAR’s pre-race shows are impressively and colorfully patriotic, with flags waving and race crews, including drivers, standing crisply at attention on pit road, and with glorious vocals and spectacular military flyovers. However, according to sources, some Nextel officials are uneasy with the image that might be seen by some as too staunchly militaristic and pro-war and might prefer a more middle-of-the-road approach to that and other sensitive political issues. And it is being suggested, according to these sources, that since Republican George Bush was invited to Daytona, a similar invitation should be extended to John Kerry, a Democratic presidential candidate, at another Nextel Cup race later this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2004)
    UPDATE – from NEXTEL: quite a few readers emailed Nextel and hammered them, they got a nice response back:
    “Thank you for taking the time to write and voice your thoughts regarding NASCAR. I want you to know that Nextel supports our service men and women wherever they are serving this great country, without reservation. We have many Nextel employees in the reserves and a great many veterans. In fact, our Chief Operating Officer, Tom Kelly, is an Army veteran. There is no question that we value their dedication, bravery and commitment.
    The comments and views that the Winston Salem Journal sports writer Mike Mulhern reported in his Sunday NASCAR notebook section are not remotely close to those of Nextel – I have personally discussed this with him. We are very upset with how Nextel has been improperly characterized as not supporting our service men and women through NASCAR pre-race shows. Nextel stands shoulder to shoulder with the millions of patriotic NASCAR fans.
    In partnership with the American Red Cross, Nextel has supported the armed forces through the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) program. This is a program that asks people to donate their old wireless phones so that we can recycle them and generate funds for the Red Cross. Through this program, Nextel has already raised more than $400,000 for AFES and has helped service men and women around the world stay in touch with their families during times of celebration or grief.
    Nextel has proudly taken this program to NASCAR and its fans to garner additional support for our armed services men and women. And we will continue our efforts on this front and wherever we see opportunities.”(3-23-2004)

    POLL

    Are NASCAR’s pre-race shows and activities too militaristic and pro-war?

     NO
     YES
    Results

  • Teen who helps others, joins forces with Kyle: Zach Frye was eight years old when he met Kyle Petty on a South Carolina beach 10 years ago. Petty was vacationing, gathering sand dollars with his daughter Montgomery Lee. Kyle invited Zach to join them. A decade later, that chance meeting paid dividends to needy Bristol-area citizens. Over the next 10 years, Zach followed Kyle’s career, particularly Petty’s charitable work in the Bristol area. Petty’s successful “Race To End Hunger” food drive collected thousands of pounds of food for the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry.
    Zach picked up where Petty left off, and he created a highly-successful food drive of his own. Next week at Bristol, Petty will meet Zach again as the Blountville, Tenn., youth serves as an honorary member Kyle Petty’s #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawney Dodge crew.
    Last year, the Sullivan Central High School (Blountville, Tenn.) running back and basketball player took time away from school and athletics to generate publicity and gather food at his school and at a Food City store located near Bristol Motor Speedway. He collected more than 4,000 pounds of canned goods for Bristol Emergency Food Pantry.
    Though he wants the spotlight on his cause and not himself, his efforts attracted several honors this year, including one from The White House. Frye received the “President’s Award for Student Service,” as well as the 2004 “Civic Responsibility and Outstanding Character Award” and the “National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award.” What he really wants is to tell Kyle Petty about his successful food drive and how meeting him 10 years ago put him on track to achieve his goals of service to others.
    Petty and his Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge crew more than welcome Frye to the team for the Food City 500 at Bristol. “The ripple theory – one pebble in a pond creates ripples that go forever – really came into play here, but you need young people with Zach’s compassion and willingness to help others to make it work,” Petty said. “A lot of cool things happen in a race car driver’s life, but something like this is pretty hard to top. Somebody told me Zach had said it was a real honor to be in our pit at Bristol. Let me tell you, it’s an honor to us to have him there,” Petty added.(Williams Company PR)(3-23-2004)
  • Bill France Jr. to visit Nashville’s Music City Motorplex at Opener: Bill France Jr. is planning on attending the April 3rd Dodge Dealer’s 400 at Nashville’s Music City Motorplex. The April 3rd event will mark the return of NASCAR sanctioned events to this historic 5/8 mile oval after a one-year hiatus. “When I got the word this past Friday it reaffirmed NASCAR’s commitment to Nashville and to grassroots short track racing,” commented Joe Mattioli, President of the Music City Motorplex. In September of 2003, Bill Jr. passed the baton to his son Brian France who now serves as NASCAR’s board chairman and chief executive. Bill Jr. continues to serve as NASCAR’s co-vice chairman and as a member of the board of directors. For the additional information call the Music City Motorplex at 615-726-1818, or visit www.musiccitymotorplex.com.(PR)(3-23-2004)
  • Hillenburg was up to NASCAR’s minimum speed UPDATE more on speed requirements: #80-Andy Hillenburg was traveling above NASCAR’s mandated minimum speed of 135.409 mph (34.5 seconds per lap) [note: not sure how NASCAR calculates minimum speed, this speed is about 80% of the pole speed] in Sunday’s race when #20-Tony Stewart got a run on his car and sent it sideways on Lap 28. Title contender #24-Jeff Gordon, who was running behind those two, had nowhere to go and T-boned Hillenburg’s car. The wreck ended Gordon’s day, and he finished 41st, dropping him from fifth to 13th in the points standings. After the accident, Hillenburg admitted, “We have to go back and make the car faster to keep up with these guys.” That wasn’t good enough for Gordon’s team owner, Rick Hendrick. After the race, Hendrick said, “If those guys can’t get out of the way, then they shouldn’t be there.” Hendrick plans to discuss the issue of slower cars with NASCAR this week.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-22-2004)
    UPDATE: Executive Vice President of Communications Jim Hunter said NASCAR still doesn’t view the issue as a major concern, chalking up the crash as typical for the treacherous 1.366-mile oval with extremely tight corners. “It’s racing,” said Hunter, a former president of Darlington. “There are always going to be slower people. Not everybody is going to be running as fast as the leader.” NASCAR polices the problem at each race by setting a minimum speed within about 15 percent of the fastest lap in the final practice. Failure to keep pace results in a black flag, and only one warning generally is given before teams are parked permanently. Sunday’s minimum at Darlington was 142.539 mph nearly 25 mph slower slower than Mark Martin’s fast lap of 166.298 mph Saturday. Kirk Shelmerdine was banished after 49 laps Sunday for excessive lagging. At least one car has started each of the four races since Daytona with a lap 10 mph slower than the pole. In recent years, Formula One implemented the “107 percent rule,” which prevented cars from starting if they didn’t qualify within a certain range of the pole position speed. Gordon suggested NASCAR might be well-served to follow the international series’ policy, which Hunter said NASCAR would be willing to consider.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-23-2004)


    (3-22-2004)

  • “Field-filler” announcement? hearing that NASCAR is going to make some kind of announcement this week about the whole “field-filler” deal.(3-22-2004)
  • Blaney sponsor for Texas: Batesville Speedway owner and promoter Mooney Starr has entered into a one-race sponsorship deal with Bill Davis Motorsports to back Dave Blaney’s #23 Dodge in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Blaney’s Dodge will carry the Batesville Speedway as a sponsor, but also appearing on the car will be Starr’s two primary events in 2004, the Alltel 100 for Modifieds, and the Comp Cams Topless 100 for Late Models. According to Starr, he wants to feature the primary sponsors of those two events as well as his track.(midsouthracing.com) and fans of Blaney are up to over $50,000 of pledges, for more info on that drive, see my #23 Team News Page(link fixed – DOH!)(3-22-2004)
  • Action Father’s Day Promotion at MIS in June on….Father’s Day: A Father’s Day promotion will run on June 20, 2004 at Michigan Speedway for the NEXTEL Cup Series. This race falls on Father’s Day and as part of a recognition program of the inspiration of family and racing. Action has proposed that drivers pay tribute to their Father and the connection they have built through racing. Each car that carries this special package will have a “Happy Father’s Day” on the hood along with “Thanks Dad” on the TV panel. The Fathers name will appear on the passenger side above the door. Driver’s announced so far include: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #33-Kerry Earnhardt, #15-Michael Waltrip, #41-Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray and #20-Tony Stewart.(3-22-2004)
  • Grandpa Marlin…and congrats Steadman: #40-Sterling Marlin became a grandfather at 6:14pm/et Sunday following the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Marlin’s son, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Steadman Marlin and his wife, Mandy, gave birth to Stirlin Blaise Marlin at at Williamson County Hospital Tennessee. The baby weighed in at 9 lbs 3 oz and is 21 ½ inches long. “Paula and I are very excited,” Sterling said. “The baby is a healthy and beautiful baby boy! I have been looking forward to this and I am glad the day is finally here.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-22-2004)
  • Busch Scheme at Bristols: #97-Kurt Busch will be driving a Sharpie 40th Anniversary paint scheme at both Bristol Races this year.(3-22-2004)
  • Must Have A Pit Crew Rule to be Added? Expect NASCAR officials to add a rule in the off-season requiring teams to start each race with a full pit crew, because of the James Finch controversy at Rockingham. Finch and driver Joe Ruttman started the Rockingham race without a pit crew chief, and NASCAR planned to fine the team, until Finch pointed out that there was no such rule in the book.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-22-2004)
    AND heard from a few folks telling about the effort that #89-Morgan Shepherd’s crew gave, supposedly there were three crew members, a gas man, a tire changer and a jackman and did the stop one tire at a time. The first stop Shepherd made, after leading 2 laps under caution, Shepherd was able to do so without losing a lap, the next time around he got lapped while on pit road. After going a lap down, low on tires and making a few stops, Shepherd parked the #89 Racing for Jesus Dodge.(3-22-2004)
  • More Changes at the #2: Unhappy with his pit crew’s performance in Sunday’s race, driver Rusty Wallace and crew chief Larry Carter elected to make a swap of rear-tire changers with Penske teammate Brendan Gaughan’s team. Rich Macco from Gaughan’s team went to Wallace’s team for the remainder of the race and Cole Chitty from Wallace’s #2 team moved to Gaughan’s #77.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-22-2004)
  • Bodine to make ARCA Debut at Nashville: NASCAR veteran Todd Bodine will make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut next month when the teams roll into the Nashville Superspeedway. Bodine will be driving for Dan Shaver Motorsports. Bodine, who has a solid record at the track will drive the #49 Petro Express with guidance from crew chief Jeff Buice.(Catchfence)(3-22-2004)
  • So What Happened to Kenseth? Series points leader #17-Matt Kenseth was involved in an accident on Lap 161 that collected six cars in Turn 1, but Kenseth’s problems grew worse when he was assessed a one-lap penalty for passing cars under caution. Kenseth had to pit while pit road was closed immediately following his incident, and was sent to the end of the longest line. While the rest of the lead-lap cars went to pit road, it appeared Kenseth would take over the lead if he stayed out. But while he passed the cars that had pitted, NASCAR assessed the penalty. Kenseth’s crew chief, Robbie Reiser, became involved in a heated confrontation with several NASCAR officials after the incident. “It seems these days you need a rule book for every race track we go to, but I don’t know what the rule was and I don’t really know what happened,” Reiser said. “The penalty for pulling up to pit – we didn’t pit. So, whatever you want to tell us, I’m sure I’ll understand it after they get done with me.” NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said since Kenseth was assessed a penalty, he was never the race leader during the caution. “The fact is he passed some cars, and you cannot pass people under caution,” Hunter said. Kenseth’s damage ended up being more extensive and he required several pit stops later in the race and finished 31st.(ThatsRacin.com and more at Speed Channel)(3-22-2004)
  • Tony not Happy with Biffle UPDATE: hearing that following the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway, #20-Tony Stewart from his car to #16-Greg Biffle’s hauler to “confront” him. Supposedly there was some incident on pit road where Stewart could not pit when Biffle supposedly cut off Stewart, causing Stewart to have to drive around anther lap to pit, explains why Stewart went from the top-10 to 17th for the final re-start.(3-22-2004)
    UPDATE: …..another caution came on lap 275 for oil on the track, which should’ve set the stage for the #20 team’s last pit stop. But as the field headed to pit road, Biffle blocked Stewart from entering the pits. Livid, Stewart was forced to make a full lap around the 1.366-mile oval before getting his scheduled service. The silver lining in all of this was the five bonus points Stewart earned for leading a lap, as all the other lead lap drivers were getting four tires and fuel in their respective pit stalls. That was a tough sell to Stewart, however, as he emerged for the lap 283 restart in 17th.(Truespeed PR/Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-22-2004)

 


(3-21-2004)

  • Sad News: The Maritime stock car racing community was shocked this morning with the news that one of their most talented and respected competitors, Scott Fraser was the victim of a fatal snowmobile accident which occurred in the Wentworth Valley region of Nova Scotia. Scott Fraser died as a result of a head on collision with another snowmobile in the early hours of the morning. The driver of the other snowmobile is reported to be in critical condition. A second generation racer, Scott Fraser followed his father (Frank Fraser, a short track legend in eastern Canada) into the oval bullrings and began racing in 1987 at Onslow Speedway at the tender age of 16.(more info at maritimemotorsports.com or Speed51.com)(3-21-2004)
  • Johnson wins at Darlington: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway fior his first win of 2004 and his first win at Darlington. #18-Bobby Labonte finished 2nd. The rest of the top five were #12-Newman, #31-Gordon and #38-Sadler. Pole sitterm #9-Kasey Kahne spun twice but ended up 13th. Points Leader #17-Matt Kenseth had some troubles and aa penalty and ended up 31st, four laps down, but maintains a slim points lead of 21 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished 10th.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on Speed Channel
    Wednesday, March 24th [Fast Forward] at 4:00pm/et;
    Thursday, March 25th [Full race] at 3:00pm/et;
    Friday, March 26th [Fast Forward] at 12:00am/et.
    For race results, see ThatsRacin.comMotorsports One or NASCAR.com.(3-21-2004)
  • Speaking of Military [see news and poll below]: #0-Ward Burton is scheduled to participate in a re-enlistment ceremony before today’s race at Darlington Raceway for Chief Gunners Mate David Allen. The 19-year Navy veteran contacted Burton’s office about the request. Allen’s ship came to port in Norfolk on Friday. “This is a dream come true for me, I love NASCAR and Ward is my favorite driver,” Allen said.(Roanoke Times)(3-21-2004)
  • Three Networks instead of Two? 40 races still being talked about: ….NASCAR might be looking at a new three-network TV package, with ABC joining Fox and NBC, and with ESPN back in the mix, too. That could lead NASCAR to create a “three-season” tour – spring, summer and fall, 13 or so races each, with the tour finale a “Super Bowl” of sorts rotating from network to network each season, perhaps at Las Vegas one season, perhaps at Daytona the next.(Winston Salem Journal for more to this story)(3-21-2004)
  • and more on the TMS/NASCAR lawsuit: Key individuals involved in the lawsuit over a second Nextel Cup race for Texas Motor Speedway say the sides are close to reaching an out-of-court settlement. No one would give details of the possible settlement because of a stipulation to keep the negotiations private, but any agreement is likely to include a second annual Cup race for TMS, starting with the 2005 season.(Dallas Morning News), see past news about the lawsuit and what it is all about on my Lawsuits News Page.(3-21-2004)
  • Testing at Texas: Some Nextel Cup teams plan to test at Texas on Tuesday, March 23rd and Wednesday, March 24th, including: #5-Terry Labonte, #2-Rusty Wallace, #21-Ricky Rudd, #16-Greg Biffle, #99-Jeff Burton, #97-Kurt Busch, #38-Elliott Sadler [only Wed] and #01-Joe Nemechek.(TMS PR)(3-21-2004)
  • Yeley Wins at PIR: JJ Yeley, who is running an ABC [ARCA,Busch,Cup] program for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, won the first national USAC midget race of 2004 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway in the 27th annual Copper World Classic. It was Yeley’s first win at PIR.(Arizona Republic)(3-21-2004)
  • Gordon attends Funsraiser; then has to make emergency landing…not happy: Jeff Gordon was in the Tri-state [OH/KY] Thursday for a very special evening of raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Home Builders Associations of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky combined efforts to bring the four time NASCAR champion to the auction. Gordon signed memoribilia for the auction and then Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken gave Gordon a key to the city, the mayor of Newport declared Thursday “Jeff Gordon day”, but the main reason for the night was to make money for Make-A-Wish. “It wouldn’t happen without Make-A-Wish. I’ve had a lot of boys and girls come to race tracks all over the country who wanted to be at a race or meet a race car driver or meet me, there’s nothing that trouches your’re heart more than something like that,” Gordon said.(wcpo.com)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon was in the Tri-State Thursday night, apparently for a business dinner, but it was a WLWT Eyewitness News 5 photographer who was on the business end of the NASCAR star’s anger. The small plane he was in had some engine trouble as it was trying to land at Lunken Airport at about 6 p.m. Thursday, WLWT Eyewitness News 5’s Jonathan Hawgood reported. Hawgood and photographer Pat Story went to the airport to cover that aspect of the story. But when they got there, the plane already had landed safely and Gordon made it to his dinner. A short time later, he emerged from the airport restaurant. And if you think Gordon is an aggressive racer on the NASCAR circuit, try talking to him a couple hours after a few tense moments in the air, Hawgood reported. “Apparently, they had a light come on that indicated an engine fire,” Cincinnati Fire Department spokesman Mike Fehring said. Fehring was among the crew called to meet the plane after pilots made an emergency landing. He said if there was a fire, it was deep in the engine, and wasn’t throwing out smoke. “(Gordon) is probably a little bit out of his control, but he’ll live to race another day,” Fehring said. When Hawgood tried to talk to Gordon after his dinner, he wasn’t interested. But then he took disinterest to an interesting level:
    Gordon: “What the (expletive) is wrong with you?”
    Story: “I’m just doing my job.”
    Gordon: “Well, your job sucks.”
    Fehring added that Gordon wasn’t only in a foul mood toward local media. “We tried to talk to him, but he seemed a little bit irritated,” he said. “I imagine he had a big day. He was in town for obviously some business, and that’s not a good way to end the day.” Gordon got on a different plane and headed out of town after his dinner, Hawgood reported.(ChannelCincinnati.com)(3-19-2004)
    UPDATE: Clarie B. Lang of XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio 144 asked Gordon about the incident: Gordon said: “Well..it was an unfortunate situation. I hate that it happened. I was very frustrated with not only with as going on in my airplane, and the story’s been very misconstrued. They have all the facts wrong and that’s unfortunate too but ahh there’s nothing I can say except to say that I was frustrated and at the time I certainly said some things I shouldn’t have said and somebody sort of egged me on and it is what it is and I can’t take it back but you know just learn from it like I do every other thing that happens in my life.”
    About the airplane problem: “It was scary. I tell you we took off. We were acctually Leaving Kentucky and we took off and had a light that came on on the dash that showed that there was a problem with the left engine….they shut the engine down pulled the fire extiinguisher cause -they said there was a fire in there. But there really never was a fire that we know of. We turned around and came back and landed and had to wait for a plane to come pick us up.I still don’t know exatly what happened I’m waiting to hear back right now.
    AND been told that NASCAR will not fine Gordon and has dismissed the incident [rightfully so, what did the reporter expect, Gordon just had a very scary moment in the air and asked the reporter to leave him alone].(3-21-2004)
  • Young Guns 4 for 4 [Earnhardt Jr and Kenseth anyway]: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Golden Corral 500, Presented by Gillette Mach3Turbo Champion, Dave S. of Coatesville, IN was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 challenge. Dave picked Earnhardt Jr. to win the race by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. With the victory and once again being the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Earnhardt Jr. The Gillette Young Guns are four for four so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. At the season-opening event in Daytona and again this past weekend in Atlanta it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. visiting victory lane, and at both Rockingham and Las Vegas it was Matt Kenseth. Four of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings are still held by Gillette Young Guns, including the leader – Kenseth (First), Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kurt Busch (Sixth) and Jimmie Johnson (Ninth). Fellow Young Guns Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick are not too far back though as they are 11th and 12th respectively. Every week, fans can register to win $5,000 in the Gillette Young Guns Weekly Challenge by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline at midnight PT the day before the race. If you correctly predict which Gillette Young Guns driver will place highest in the next race, your correct entry will be automatically entered in a random drawing for $5,000.(Alan Taylor PR)(3-21-2004)

    (3-20-2004)

  • Gordon, Pearson, Yarborough to test the Darlington lights – Aug 24th: Darlington Raceway’s new lighting system won’t be used for a race until November. But it will be christened this summer in an exhibition highlighted by Jeff Gordon, who has won six races at the 54-year-old track. Raceway president Andrew Gurtis announced Friday night that Gordon, all-time Darlington winner David Pearson, and area native Cale Yarborough will take laps under the lights Aug. 24 in an event designed to show off the new system. The 72 exterior light poles are already up, and crews will return after Sunday’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 to install infield fixtures and the power system. Construction is expected to be finished by late June. The Aug. 24 exhibition promises to be similar to one held at Daytona International Speedway, when the late Dale Earnhardt took laps under the lights shortly after that track’s system was installed in 1998.(Charleston Post and Courier)(3-20-2004)
  • Some Cup Drivers to race at Nashville on Cup off weekend: Making the decision to host the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Easter Weekend April 9-10 – an off-NEXTEL Cup weekend – is reaping big benefits for Nashville Superspeedway ticket holders. NEXTEL Cup driver Michael Waltrip has announced he will join the growing list of NEXTEL Cup drivers to participate in the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. Waltrip will join Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, and Johnny Sauter competing for Victory Lane and the coveted Gibson Les Paul guitar trophy. Waltrip, an Owensboro, KY native and brother of Middle Tennessee’s Darrell Waltrip, will compete in the #99 Aaron’s Rent Chevy. Race weekend will feature the PFG Lester 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series on Friday night, April 9 and the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series on Saturday, April 10. The Pepsi 300 will feature the Bunny Bread Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. and the Grammy-nominated Newsboys perform in concert on the front stretch at 1 p.m. Pre race activities begin at 2 p.m. – the Pepsi 300 green flag waves at 3:00pm. Tickets are available by calling toll-free 1-866-RACE-TIX or visit www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com.
    AND Nashville Superspeedway 2004 Season Ticket holders will have the first (and rare) opportunity to drive their own vehicles around the 1.33-mile “D” shaped oval concrete track. This “Drive the Track” promotion is to award season ticket holders and promote the upcoming Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series weekend April 9-10. The “Drive the Track” promotion will be this Saturday, March 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.(Nashville Superspeedway Site)(3-20-2004)
  • RCR Adds Design Technology: Blue Ridge Numerics announced that Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in Welcome, NC, has selected CFdesign for virtual prototyping fluid flow and heat transfer performance of automotive components and systems built in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire. On their first project, the RCR engineering team used CFdesign to identify a significantly improved design of the fuel delivery system used to refuel cars during pit stops. Recognized as a one of the heavyweights of NASCAR, RCR has a reputation for finding engineering innovations that help current drivers Kevin Harvick, Johnny Sauter, Robby Gordon, Ron Hornaday, and Clint Bowyer cross the finish line first in Nextel Cup and Busch Series races across the country. RCR saw the benefit of CFdesign with the very first project. Always looking for an edge in a competition where a fraction of a second determines winners and losers, CFdesign helped improve the fuel delivery system used by pit crews to refuel the car. Holden says the improvement achieved with CFdesign is a gain that will show up on the racetrack.(tenlinks.com via Insider Racing News)(3-20-2004)
  • More on Cursing; NASCAR won’t police scanners: Inquiring NASCAR fans yearn to know why Nextel Cup Series rookie Johnny Sauter can be penalized for using the “s” word and most popular driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. can use the word “damn” without repercussion. According to NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter, the two words aren’t comparable. “Our president, Mike Helton, when he first addressed this issue at Rockingham, made it a point to say hell or damn, depending on the context in which it’s used, is sort of acceptable,” Hunter said. “Those two words appear in different forms as a means of expression. Those are subjective. (They’re okay) as long as they don’t use them in a demeaning or scathing fashion. The other word is simply not acceptable.” Both drivers used profanity in post-race interviews. But Sauter’s comment following the Las Vegas Busch Series race that Michael Waltrip was “three-wide, doing stupid (expletive),” was considered demeaning. Conversely, Earnhardt’s comment after winning the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta — “I don’t care if I don’t see my own bed for two damn months” — was not. Hunter also said Friday that NASCAR has no intent of policing profanity on race scanners, a recent burning question stemming from the crackdown on profanity by the Federal Communications Commission. NASCAR’s focus is to assure drivers refrain from cursing on live television and/or radio. “The scanner issue is a separate issue,” Hunter said. “People have a choice on whether to tune in on a scanner or not. We’re cautioning our guys to be mindful, but scanners are a fun part of this sport, and they’re big boys. They know what’s going on.” “We don’t want our network partners to be put in a position of getting a huge fine for something one of our guys say,” Hunter said.(NASCAR.com)(3-20-2004)
  • Texas Lawsuit to be Settled Soon? Officials from Texas Motor Speedway and from NASCAR indicate that a settlement of the so-called Ferko suit could come sooner rather than later. The suit, in U.S. District Court in Sherman, Texas, was brought by a shareholder in Speedway Motorsports and contends that NASCAR promised a race date to the Texas track which was not delivered. NASCAR has denied making such a promise. As is usual in such proceedings, the sides are given time to attempt to reach agreement before the case goes to trial. The trial in the case was due to begin sometime in early summer. Attorneys and officials from both sides have been negotiating a possible agreement in the matter. No timetable was indicated, nor was any idea given of what might be negotiable. “The process is in place,” NASCAR vp/communications Jim Hunter said Friday. “There are some things on the table, and we’d all like to get this behind us. We have other things to do.” There is much speculation as to what might be in play in the settlement talks. Many believe NASCAR could conclude the matter by creating or transferring a date or dates to Texas and/or Las Vegas. Both tracks have proved to be popular and profitable venues for the sanction.(Speed Channel), for past news on this, see my Lawsuit Page.(3-20-2004)
  • #50 Gets Pit Crew: Again this week Team CLR will be going over the wall on Sunday for Arnold Motor Sports #50 car driven by Derrike Cope. Cope will be competing in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series Dodge Dealers 400. Plans are now that Team CLR will continue to pit for the #50 for all of the Nextel Cup races through the remaining of the season unless Team CLR competes in NASCAR’s elite series themselves. Team CLR has the team members, cars, equipment, skills and several interested drivers ready to compete when given the chance. They like many teams are waiting for a sponsorship deal to come their way. Team CLR also hung the body on Derrike Cope’s car that he shocked fellow competitors with by qualifying 5th for The Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 in Darlington. Team CLR keeps busy in their shop during the week by continuing to build new 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo’s, Ford’s and Dodge’s for other Nextel Cup teams as well as themselves. For inquires about sponsorship or putting Team CLR’s skills to work for you please visit OTWracing for further information.(PR)(3-20-2004)
  • Rent-A-Center on the #21 at Bristol: After making its inaugural NASCAR appearance in 2003, Rent-A-Center, Inc. returns as a proud sponsor of Ricky Rudd’s #21 team and Wood Brothers Racing for the second year. Rent-A-Center has long been the leading rent-to-own retailer in the nation, with more than 2,600 stores in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Now NASCAR fans nationwide can watch the Rent-A-Center car in its first 2004 race on March 28, in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to the race in Bristol, Ricky Rudd is scheduled to appear at a Rent-A-Center store in Bristol Thursday, March 25. Racing fans will have the opportunity to get autographed photos and take pictures with Rudd. The store is located at 1326 Volunteer Parkway in Bristol. Fans can also purchase exclusive RAC Racing/Ricky Rudd T-shirts, caps and other souvenir merchandise at any Rent-A-Center location. For more information about Rent-A-Center, see their Web site at www.rentacenter.com.(Campbell Co PR)(3-20-2004)
  • Kahne Sets Another Mark: #9-Kasey Kahne set another mark in winning the Bud Pole for the 2004 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Kahne scored his second Bud pole in just five career starts and became just one of five drivers in NASCAR history to do so. No driver has won more than two. He joins the following drivers:
    Martin, Mark (2) – 7/11/81 Nashville International Raceway; 9/13/81 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway
    Hutcherson, Dick (2) – 3/28/64 Greenville-Pickens Speedway; 4/14/64 Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds
    Burdick, Bob (2) – 5/17/59 Trenton Speedway; 6/18/59 Columbia Speedway
    Kieper, John (2) – 5/27/56 Portland Speedway; 5/30/56 Eureka Speedway
    Kahne, Kasey (2) – 3/5/04 Las Vegas; 3/19/04 Darlington (NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-20-2004)


    (3-19-2004)

  • Mooresville Seminar in May: On May 28th from 7-10 PM at the NASCAR Busch Series shop of ppc racing (#22-Jason Keller), Mike Calinoff’s “Get Into Racing” Seminars will take place – an opportunity for those interested in a career in professional motorsports. The “Get Into Racing” [ www.getintoracing.com] program is not your typical seminar format. Traditionally, participants sit for several hours and try to absorb as much information as possible, while jotting down notes and thinking silently of questions they need answered. There is usually one host who does all of the speaking. The “Get Into Racing” program takes a totally different approach. While Mike Calinoff, serves as the primary speaker, he is complimented with a panel of experts who are in the business. Race team members, owners, public relations, media, marketing and administrative specialists [and maybe a certain internet site dude] have been carefully selected to bring as much information to the seminar as possible. Your are encouraged to bring your resumeas well. The seminar is being sponsored by Jenkins & Jenkins, one of the most unique sponsors in motorsports. During the 20-minute break and at the conclusion of the program, you will have the opportunity to meet the panel members for some one-on-one conversation. The program is upbeat, humorous and informative. It addresses your real-life aspirations for a position in motorsports and brings to you the realistic opportunities that exist. Heavy concentration is placed on career development, interview skills and what race teams are looking for in a candidate. This is a no-holds-barred, in-your-face seminar. All of the time is spent discussing the real issues and opportunities that will help bring you into a whole new world. Visit the website for more information or call 1-877-RACEJOB.(3-19-2004)
  • Interesting many have asked if #9-Kasey Kahne’s three top-five finishes was the best record by a driver in their first four races. The following was revealed upon a query of the database by Charlie Vass. Obviously, being just one of seven drivers in NASCAR history to accomplish this is still quite remarkable!
    Drivers records after four races….
    Adkins, Allen 4 Top 5s
    8/1/54 Oakland Stadium 3
    8/22/54 Bay Meadows Race Course 4
    5/8/55 Arizona State Fairgrounds 5
    5/15/55 Tucson Rodeo Grounds 2
    Minter, Clyde 4 Top 5s
    9/25/49 Martinsville Speedway 4
    10/16/49 North Wilkesboro Speedway 4
    4/2/50 Charlotte Speedway 3
    5/21/50 Martinsville Speedway 5
    Gurney, Dan 3 Top 5s
    2/16/62 Daytona International Speedway 4
    2/18/62 Daytona International Speedway 27
    1/20/63 Riverside International Raceway 1
    2/22/63 Daytona International Speedway 5
    Erickson, Erick 3 Top 5s
    9/18/49 Hamburg Fairgrounds 2
    4/8/51 Carrell Speedway 5
    4/22/51 Arizona State Fairgrounds 2
    5/6/51 Martinsville Speedway 24
    Byron, Red 3 Top 5s
    6/19/49 Charlotte Speedway 3
    7/10/49 Daytona Beach & Road Course 1
    8/7/49 Orange Speedway 22
    9/11/49 Langhorne Speedway 3
    Barker, Curley 3 Top 5s
    5/27/56 Portland Speedway 5
    6/24/56 Portland Speedway 9
    8/26/56 Portland Speedway 3
    9/23/56 Portland Speedway 3
    Kahne, Kasey 3 Top 5s
    2/15/04 Daytona International Speedway 41
    2/22/04 North Carolina Speedway 2
    3/7/04 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 2
    3/14/04 Atlanta Motor Speedway 3
    (NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-19-2004)
  • #72 Sponsor? saw the decals on Kirk Shelmerdines #72 Ford, Tucson, what is that? Tucson Cigarettes made by the Renegade Tobacco Company in Mocksville, NC which is up near Welcome, NC [where Shelmerdine’s shop is]. NOTE: NASCAR’s Jim HUnter was interviewed on XM Satelitte – NASCAR Radio 144 and said while cigarettes are not allowed to be a sponsor on a car, the brand name can as long as the words ‘Cigarette’ or ‘Tobacco’ is not used.(3-19-2004)
  • 40-race schedule? [yikes] more on Vegas Reconfig: Cal Wells’ [owner of the #32 Tide Chevy] proposal for a 40-race schedule has provoked some thought in the NASCAR garage about where those four races would fit on the calendar. Mother’s Day weekend could be one date, or Thanksgiving weekend. Another logical date would be late January. And then there is the question of who might get those four tour dates: if the NASCAR Frances doled two of them out to Bruton Smith, then that might resolve the Texas lawsuit, by adding not only a second tour date at Texas but also a second tour date at Las Vegas. And with a second tour date at Las Vegas, according to sources close to Smith, the Speedway Motorsports boss would almost certainly choose a variable banking design at that 12-degree track, to change the pattern of boring races.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2004)
  • Bodine and the #98 at Darlington, Jayski’s take on helping the ‘small’ teams: Todd Bodine will be driving the #98 only if more than 43 cars show up at the track otherwise Larry Gunselman will be driving the car [as of Thursday, 44 cars are entered]. Bodine will be testing an ARCA car for Dan Shaver and Petro Express # 49 with Jeff Buice as crew chief and plans to race the car Nashville.(Todd Bodine site), have no info on the #98 team, their crew, no one from the team has contacted me, so nothing to tell anyone, I pride myself on helping the small teams, but I can’t help if I can’t find info on them and no one from the team lets me know what is up, the #98, #72 and #80, all I get is what I find in columns and articles. And the #94 with Stanton Barrett? no clue at all.(3-19-2004)
  • Wider Tires? Humpy Wheeler, who runs Speedway Motorsports for Smith, said he’s looking at fatter tires as a possible solution for boring races at flat tracks.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2004)
  • Norris close to a job UPDATE 2: Ty Norris, who resigned in January as vice president for motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in January, expects to start a new job this week. “I think they’ll announce it Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said Saturday. The position is in racing, but Norris said it’s different than anything he’s done before. He also won’t have to travel as much, which was a requirement he made for himself when he was contemplating what he was going to do. “My family has sacrificed enough over the past 15 years,” he said. In eight years with DEI, Norris took the team into the Nextel Cup Series, where it now has drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. Junior won the Daytona 500 for the first time earlier this season, with Norris watching from home. “I was just so proud for Dale Jr. and the team,” Norris said. “It was great feeling like I had a little part in that.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-13-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing the job will be with SMI [Speedway Motorsports Inc./Bruton Smith] in some capacity.(3-15-2004)
    UPDATE 2:Ty Norris, who helped run Dale Earnhardt Inc., for eight years until leaving suddenly in January, is expected to announce a new job next week with Speedway Motorsports.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2004)
  • Hotel Announces Speed Rewards for NASCAR Fans: Best Western customers have a new way to make travel more exciting with Speed Rewards, a customized frequent guest program designed specifically for race fans. Speed Rewards is an extension of Best Western’s already successful Gold Crown Club International (GCCI) loyalty program. Speed Rewards puts customers on the fast-track toward earning valuable points that can be redeemed for NASCAR-themed racing merchandise such as jackets and caps, Best Western Global Free Room Nights, dining, shopping and other exciting rewards. NASCAR race fans that sign up for Best Western Speed Rewards through April 30th will be automatically entered for a chance to win tickets to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series TM race of their choice, roundtrip air transportation and Best Western accommodations. In addition, for each time they stay at a participating Best Western at the qualifying BestRates(r) rate during the promotional period, they will earn an additional entry. For more info and to sign up for the program, customers simply go to bestwestern.com.(Alan Taylor PR)(3-19-2004)
  • “Field Filler”…getting back at the media, new site coming UPDATE site has opened: Andy Belmont’s #02 Pontiac is one of a handful of cars often referred to as field-filler. That’s because it’s in the race in large part because there aren’t enough fast cars to take up all 43 starting spots. Belmont, a lifetime racer from Langhorne, Pa., who finished 39th Sunday, is offended by the “field-filler” designation that has been hung on him, but at least he has a sense of humor about it. So Belmont has purchased the rights to www.fieldfillers.com and plans to have fun with his new Web site, which is under construction. “We’re going to think out of the box a little and not take ourselves too seriously,” Belmont said. Some of the content will be aimed at media members, who criticize the drivers at the back of the pack. “We’re going to try to entertain the writers who throw rocks at us and give them more fodder,” he said. Belmont said he plans to take photos of other cars referred to as field-fillers — with permission from the drivers — and post them on his site. Just for fun, he plans to include Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 8 Chevrolet among the field-fillers for last week’s race at Las Vegas. Earnhardt’s car was so slow at Vegas that he was sent to the garage for repairs. Belmont says he’s proud to be a part of the nation’s premier racing series. “Even though some people refer to me as a back-marker, I’ve got a seat at the head table,” he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-15-2004)
    UPDATE the site is active and open at www.fieldfillers.com, still under some construction.(3-19-2004)
  • Andretti’s fans drive UPDATE: Several days ago, one of John Andretti’s fans got the idea to try and raise enough money to sponsor Andretti in a race. Word spread quickly and people from all over began to pledge money. Andretti and radio broadcaster Dave Wilson discussed it on the air on a Tuesday night interview and Andretti expressed how impressed and humbled he was about it. As a result of this outpouring of support, Andretti’s fan website, jafanpage.com are going to institute a fund drive for a charity. Details will be posted there in the next few days.(3-19-2004)
    UPDATE: John Andretti has issued a letter thanking fans trying to organize a fund-raising campaign to sponsor a Nextel Cup entry for him but urged them to abandon the plan. “I feel blessed and honored to have such outstanding individuals and families that support me even to the level of giving me their hard-earned dollars. This will never be forgotten,” wrote Andretti, who has made only two starts this year in a partial campaign in Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s No. 1 Chevrolet. He urged fans to use their money to support the sponsors who back their favorite teams and added, “For those who would like to donate otherwise, we will again be hosting the Race for Riley Hospital for Children just prior to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-19-2004)


    (3-18-2004)

  • Special Mobil Scheme for Newman: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to run a special Mobil 1 30th Anniversay paint scheme at the California race on May 2. See my #12 Cup Team Paint Schemes page to see the image.(3-18-2004)
  • Did ya know? Brendan Gaughan was on fire during Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Literally. Gaughan lost several laps when he was forced to pit after an electrical fire erupted in the cockpit of his #77 Kodak Penske-Jasper Racing Dodge. “I had a fire for a good five, six laps and kept going ‘maybe it will go out, guys,’ ” Gaughan said, “and finally it wasn’t going to go out so we had to come in and put it out. I believe in Bill Simpson. What can I say; I feel safe in my Impact stuff.” Impact Racing is the new company safety pioneer Bill Simpson formed after he parted ways with Simpson Safety Equipment in 2001.(Las Vegas Sun)(3-18-2004)
  • Robby Gordon’s Pit Crew Pockets Win In Atlanta; Stewart’s crew takes over first in point standings: The #31 pit crew for Robby Gordon squeaked by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew to capture the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (March 14) 500-mile NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While Gordon’s crew grabbed the $20,000 weekly prize, the pit crew for Tony Stewart moved into first place with 154 points. Kurt Busch’s crew stands second, one point behind at 153. Earnhardt’s crew, the reigning McDonald’s/POWERade champion, is third with 148 points. Last week’s point leader – Elliott Sadler’s crew – dropped to fourth with 143 points. Though Earnhardt’s No. 8 Chevrolet found its way to winner’s circle in Atlanta, it was Gordon’s Cingular Wireless Chevy that spent the least amount of time on pit road. Gordon’s pit road time of 281.691 seconds was just over a second quicker than Earnhardt’s time of 282.864. Jeff Burton’s Ford was third at 284.833. “The guys work hard at the shop and at the track,” said Chris Andrews, crew chief of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. “Between working on cars, spending time in the gym and at pit stop practice, they’ve managed to bang out 13 to 14-second, and sometimes even 12-second stops every weekend. “We made seven stops Sunday and gained track position every time we came down pit lane. Our over-the-wall crew is a competitive group of guys. I don’t think this will be the last time I will be asked to comment about their performance this year for the McDonald’s/POWERade championship.” Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Timmy Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Matt Kreuter (rear-tire carrier), Ron Liddell (gasman), Mike Moore (jackman) and Coy Hedrick (catch can).(DMF Communications PR), see my Pit Crew News Page for top 10 at Atlanta and the season standings.(3-18-2004)
  • Runt Retires: Shelton “Runt” Pittman the Head engine builder for #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports retired after the Daytona 500 race. He was one of NASCAR’s premire engine builders for many years. He will be sorely missed at MMM racing and the entire racing community.(3-18-2004)
  • Official NASCAR Windshield: Visteon has signed an agreement to be the exclusive manufacturer of Officially Licensed NASCAR Performance Windshields. Today’s announcement marks the second Visteon Aftermarket product line to be Officially Licensed NASCAR Performance products; the first was radiators.(biz.yahoo.com via Insider Racing News)(3-18-2004)
  • Earnhardt Jr. to Drive Corvette at American Le Mans Series Race at Infineon Raceway: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., winner of the 2004 Daytona 500 and one of the biggest stars in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing, will bring his skills to a different form of the sport when he drives a Corvette in the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma American Le Mans Series event at Infineon Raceway on July 18. Earnhardt will make a rare foray outside of stock car racing when he joins the General Motors Chevrolet Corvette racing team in the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma, presented by the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, July 16-18. He will co-drive with veteran road-racer Boris Said in a third Chevrolet Corvette C5-R fielded by Corvette Racing, the car carrying Earnhardt’s famous #8. Infineon Raceway will offer a special discounted ticket offer related to Earnhardt Jr.’s appearance during the race weekend. Fans can purchase a ticket for Friday’s racing action for $8. Also in honor of Earnhardt Jr., there will be an $8 discount for a full-weekend pass ($42). Ticket information is available online at www.infineonraceway.com or by calling 800-870-RACE. The three-car team for the event will reunite Earnhardt with the Corvette team, a bond that began at the 2001 running of the 24 Hours of Daytona where Earnhardt, Jr., and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, finished fourth overall in their first-ever sports car race. The Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma will get the green flag at 11:30 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday, July 18, and will be televised live in North America by CBS Sports and in Europe on MotorsTV. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com (Infineon Raceway PR)(3-18-2004)
  • #4 Tests at Bristol, looking for a sponsor: #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports was at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday for a test session in preparation for the upcoming Food City 500 on March 28. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team had two cars to test, one with sponsor decals and one without. After the end of the 2003 season, the #4 Monte Carlo ended its long running sponsorship with Kodak. Prior to this year’s Daytona 500, team manager Larry McClure entered into an agreement with YOKETV for primary sponsorship of the car over the course of this year’s 36-race schedule. But last week in Atlanta the Morgan-McClure team showed up for the running of the Golden Corral 500 with the YOKETV sponsor decal missing from their car. “The best thing for me to say is that we have some differences and we are trying to work them out,” said McClure of the current status of the contract. “Then, depending on whether it does come back and we hope it does, we are looking in some other directions and right now we don’t have anything in the other direction. “We’re just talking to some other folks and hoping something will happen.” McClure is optimistic something can be worked out with YOKETV to continue until year’s end but reiterated that the sport is definitely too expensive to continue without sponsor dollars to pay the bills. “There is a possibility (to continue the current sponsorship) but we just need to shore up some things,” added McClure. “If that happens, then we’ll be OK. If it doesn’t then we hope that we get something else and if we do, we’ll be fine throughout the year. We plan on continuing as of now and just see what transpires in the next little bit.” When asked the team’s plans for the immediate future, and whether the sponsor decals will be on the car this weekend at Darlington, McClure said, “we know we are going to run Darlington, Bristol, Talladega and I think Texas is in there. Past that, we’ll need to get something (worked out). At this time, the YOKETV won’t be on the car (at Darlington). Tomorrow, it may be if we get things worked out. If we can work out the details, we’d love to have them on the car.” The team’s driver, Kevin Lepage, said the team is focused on doing its job on the track and not letting other happenings be a distraction. “I don’t think it affects anything,” said Lepage, whose best finish this year was 22nd at Rockingham. “He’s (McClure) committed to the race team to do his best effort to give us the best equipment, both in the motor department and the cars and the people week to week.”(Kingsports Times News/Bristol Herald Courier)(3-18-2004)
  • Childcare Network to Sponsor Bandolero Racing in the Southeast: Childcare Network, a child development company based in Columbus, Ga., has signed an agreement with 600 Racing to serve as a sponsor of all INEX-sanctioned Bandolero racing this year in Georgia and the Carolinas. The Childcare Network Bandolero Series will visit numerous race tracks across the Southeast and includes the Hardee’s Summer Shootout Series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Thursday Night Thunder Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    Childcare Network, Inc. is a leading provider of education and childcare services in the southeastern United States. The company operates 117 schools in seven states providing affordable, high-quality developmental education and care to children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 12 years.
    Designed for drivers 8 years of age and older, Bandoleros are tube-framed spec race cars that feature sleek fiberglass bodies and are powered by 570cc Briggs & Stratton engines. INEX-sanctioned Bandolero racing is divided into three divisions: Bandits for drivers ages 8 to 11; Young Guns for those 12 to 15; and Outlaws for competitors 16 years of age and older.
    600 Racing, which also builds Legends Cars and Thunder Roadsters, is a subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. For information on the Childcare Network Bandolero Series, contact 600 Racing at (704) 455-3896 or visit www.600racing.com.(LMS PR)(3-18-2004)
  • Sad News: Former Winston Racing Series Champion Raymond Hooper Sr. passed away suddenly on Thursday, March 11th in Paducah, KY. Hooper Sr., 66, was the 1970 NASCAR Winston Racing Series Champion at Saugus Speedway in Santa Clarita, CA. Hooper Sr. was the father of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Busch Series, and Nextel Cup series driver Lance Hooper, and West Coast driver Ray Hooper Jr. Funeral services were held this past Saturday in Paducah. Hooper Sr. is survived by his wife Sharon, daughter Donna Tudor, and sons Ray Jr. and Lance. Condolences can be sent to The Hooper Family, C/O Sharon Hooper, P.O. Box 4326, Mooresville, NC 28117.(3-18-2004)
  • Fraud Case, ‘NASCAR’ vehicles seized: Seven people, including three Colorado residents, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver Tuesday for committing fraud in a high-yield investment scheme that defrauded more than 1,000 people of about $56 million. During the investigation authorities had already seized the Redstone Castle in Pitkin County, some NASCAR race vehicles, and more than $17 million in cash from several bank accounts. Total assets seized, including cash, were worth about $24 million.(Denver Business Journal)(3-17-2004)
    the cars are from a NASCAR touring team – Southwest.www.usdoj.gov(3-18-2004)


    (3-17-2004)

  • New #99 Crew Chief: Roush Racing announced that Bob Osborne has been named the crew chief of the #99 Roush Racing team, effective immediately. “I think Bob will make a great addition to the #99 team,” said Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford Taurus. “He’s an engineer by trade but he’s a racer at heart. And, he shows a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and excitement about the opportunity presented to him. He’s been with Roush Racing for several years and has exhibited all the skills necessary to be a leader and I believe he can help the #99 team get back to the top.” Osborne had been serving as director of engineering for the Roush Racing NEXTEL Cup teams. Osborne is a graduate of Penn State University and a native of Chester, Pennsylvania. He graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Osborne joined Roush Racing in 1999 as the head engineer on the #6 team then quickly moved his way up the ranks within the company. “I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Osborne. “Jeff Burton is one of the best drivers in the business, the #99 team is made up of some of the best people in the business and I’m looking forward to working with all of them.”(Roush Racing PR), have heard former #99 Crew Chief Paul Andrews and Roush Racing has parted ways, no word on Andrews’ plans.(3-17-2004)
  • Fans Looking to sponsor Blaney UPDATE: There is a drive to get an extra race for Dave Blaney, who presently is driving the #23 Bill Davis racing Dodge in a limited number of Cup races, by fan driven donations. The total has reached over $11,000 dollars in pledges. See more at quickestlap.com, go to the Dave Blaney forum.(3-16-2004)
    UPDATE: Grassroots effort looks to place #23 Bill Davis Dodge on the track at Michigan. The fans of NASCAR driver Dave Blaney have had enough. Frustrated with the lack of sponsorship for their Hartford, Ohio driver, they decided to take matters into their own hands and personally raise the funds to put Blaney in another race. An offhand idea tossed out on Dave Blaney’s internet message board on Quickestlap.com quickly materialized into a very real possibility when over $11,000 was pledged in less than four hours. Word of the campaign quickly spread through the internet underground, popping up on sites like jayski.com and sending the total to over $20,000 in 24 hours. Blaney is currently running a very limited schedule in the #23 Bill Davis Dodge, with plans to race only four more races this year unless sponsorship is found. Yet Blaney and crew chief Phillipe Lopez certainly don’t look like a part-time team. They nearly won this year’s Bud Shootout before being taken out in a racing accident, and a solid 15th place finish at Daytona followed by an 11th place finish at Atlanta have only served to whet the fans’ appetites to see more of this hard-charging racer. The fans are hoping to put the car on the track at Michigan if they can raise the $100,000 needed for sponsorship. The fans are currently accepting pledges in the Dave Blaney Forum on Quickestlap.com, but will not actually begin collecting the funds until they are nearer to their goal. All race fans are welcome to join the effort to show sponsors, the media, and NASCAR that fans truly can make a difference.(PR)(note, this is money ‘pledged’, no money has been collected yet)(3-17-2004)
  • Foyt seeking sponsor: Despite the lack of a primary sponsor, #14-Larry Foyt plans to return to the Cup tour at TMS next month. The team owned by his father, open-wheel legend A.J. Foyt of Houston, has not entered the #14 Dodge in the past two events. And Foyt does not plan to enter this weekend’s event at Darlington Raceway. “We got to talking and I said if we’re going to try and race a couple of races, I’d really like to run Texas,” said Foyt, a graduate of TCU. “We had a bad run at Rockingham [32nd on Feb. 22]. I said if we can’t test on these new tires and get caught up, I don’t want to go run around last all day. Let’s test somewhere and try to do it right.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-17-2004)
  • Harlem Globetrotters paint scheme on the #10 at Bristol: Scott Riggs and the Valvoline team will pay tribute to the flash and dash of the Harlem Globetrotters with a specially prepared red, white and blue paint scheme on the #10 Chevy for the March 28 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The spirited paint scheme will have a resemblance to the Globetrotters uniform and will also feature a red, white and blue Globetrotters basketball on the hood. It’s only fitting the legendary Harlem Globetrotters, who have dazzled millions of fans throughout the world, will be the first professional basketball team to ever adorn a racecar in NASCAR’s 56-year history. The Globetrotters join the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals as the only professional sports franchises to decorate cars in a NASCAR event. Diecast models of the Harlem Globetrotters car are available at www.valvolineproducts.com. Two members of the Globetrotters team will be at Bristol to promote the event with Riggs and the Valvoline team. The Harlem Globetrotters have played in 117 countries and in front of 120 million fans worldwide. In 2002, the organization was only the fifth team to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame; followed by an induction into the Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame and the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. The Globetrotters have also been recognized as the most popular sports team by the 2002, 2000 and 1999 Q Ratings. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters and to purchase team merchandise, visit the team’s official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.(MBV Motorsports PR), see image on my #10 Cup Schemes page.(3-17-2004)
  • Testing to insure an exciting race? The Nextel Cup tour’s two less-than-thrilling races at Las Vegas and Atlanta have raised suggestions that NASCAR may need to order some extra testing at California Speedway in the next few weeks, to make sure that its new soft-tires/low-downforce rules package will provide a good show in that key market. The tour has added a second stop this season at the Los Angeles area track.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-17-2004)
  • Testing Cancelled: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing scheduled for tomorrow, March 18, at Kentucky Speedway with Joe Gibbs Racing (Bobby Labonte), Penske South Racing (Ryan Newman), PPI Motorsports (Ricky Craven) and Bill Davis Racing (Scott Wimmer) has been cancelled due to weather.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-17-2004)
  • Fan Stabbed: A man is accused of stabbing a fellow NASCAR fan Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Henry County [GA] Magistrate Robert Godwin set a $15,000 bond for Guy Landrum, 42, after hearing police testimony that Landrum stabbed a man after stumbling through his campsite. Deputy Mike Haralson told Godwin that Landrum was drunk Saturday night when he knocked over a trash can, kicked around trash and had an argument with another man at a campsite. Landrum came back Sunday, Haralson said, and renewed the argument, then pulled out a knife and stabbed the man on the left side of his torso. The man was treated and released at a local hospital. Landrum is scheduled to appear again before the court April 7. Henry County Sheriff’s Maj. Keith McBrayer said this was the most serious of about 15 arrests at Sunday’s Golden Corral 500, which drew more than 100,000 fans.(AJC/AP)(3-17-2004)

    (3-16-2004)

  • Sad News: F.C. “Charlie” Roush, father of NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, passed away early Tuesday morning in Manchester, OH following a lengthy illness. Roush was known to many in the NASCAR garage as a regular and loyal supporter of the Roush Racing teams. He is survived by his wife, Georgetta; and sons, Jack and Frank. Private family services will be held Friday in Manchester, OH. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the “Charlie Roush Memorial Fund” to benefit the education of disadvantaged youth. All donations can be sent to the “Charlie Roush Memorial Fund” in care of Roush Racing, 4600 Roush Place, Concord, NC, 28027.(Roush Racing Site)(3-16-2004)
  • Redneckjunk.com changes website address/name: Don Arnold, owner of Arnold Motorsports, says he’s appreciative of NASCAR’s decision to not allow the website address RedneckJunk.com [new Jayski advertisor] on his #50 Dodge driven by Derrick Cope. NASCAR didn’t say anything about the sponsorship at the race in Las Vegas two weeks ago but told Arnold, at this past weekend’s Atlanta race, they can no longer have RedneckJunk.com as a sponsor. “We didn’t think it would be controversial but we defer to them. We would like to have a sponsor but we understand the decision and I don’t have a problem with it,” Arnold said. He understands how the term ‘redneck’ might suggest a racial attitude or undertone, however, he said NASCAR did not offer a reason for their decision. With or without an outside sponsor, Arnold says the #50 will make a qualifying attempt at Darlington this weekend. Tom Connelly, CEO of RedneckJunk.com, says he has changed the website’s domain name. The web address RJunk.com should be active and working within a day or two. “When we chose the name (RedneckJunk) we understood there was some potential controversy associated with it but we liked the name, it was very catchy, we didn’t think NASCAR would disallow it,” Connelly said. On the bright side, Connelly said the shorter name will allow them to almost double the size of the graphic on the car’s hood. Of course, that’s assuming NASCAR will okay the compromise.(nascar.alanjones.us)(3-16-2004)
  • Some Darlington Notes:
    * Darlington is the site of the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (Grand National) race to be held on a paved raceway and the first 500-mile race on September 4, 1950. The track then measured 1.25 miles.
    * The spring race at Darlington became a 400-mile event in 1994.
    * The track configuration was reversed prior to the second race in 1997
    * There have been seven different race winners in the last seven races at Darlington
    * There have been seven different Bud Pole winners in the nine races at Darlington since September 1999. Qualifying was rained out in the spring of 2001 and fall of 2002.
    * 2002 Rookie-of-the-Year contenders Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in their career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington’s the 2002 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Only four other active drivers posted top-10 finishes in their Darlington debut: Bill Elliott (10th – September 1977), Terry Labonte (fourth – September 1978), Tony Stewart (sixth – March 1999) and Mark Martin (seventh – April 1982)
    * Ricky Rudd has 54 starts at Darlington Raceway, leading all other active drivers
    * Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader lead all full-time, active drivers, each with three Bud Poles at Darlington
    * Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers each with six victories at Darlington Raceway
    * Mark Martin has posted 14 top-five finishes at Darlington, more than any other full-time, active driver
    * Ricky Rudd has posted 25 top-10 finishes at Darlington, more than any other full-time, active driver
    * Jeff Gordon has a 6.3 average start in 22 starts at Darlington, the best of all full-time, active drivers with more than 10 starts there
    * Ryan Newman has a 4.50 average start in four starts at Darlington, the best of all active drivers
    * Jeff Burton has an average finish of 11.20 in 20 races at Darlington, the best of all active drivers with more than five starts there
    * Ryan Newman has a 11.0 average finish in four starts at Darlington, the best of all active drivers
    * Jeff Gordon has a led 1,378 laps at Darlington, the most of all active drivers and almost 500 more than his closest active competitor, Jeff Burton (786)
    * Elliott Sadler (10) is the only active driver that has competed in more than five Darlington races without posting a DNF there
    * Only 12 races at Darlington have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. Three of the past seven Darlington races have been won from outside the top 30 starting positions, including the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, which Ricky Craven won from the 31st starting position
    * Matt Kenseth moved into the point lead at Las Vegas. He has been ranked in the top 10 in points for 39 consecutive races – since Rockingham (February 2003), the longest active streak in the top 10
    * In spite of having four to the five fastest qualifying runs for the Daytona 500, a Ford led only two laps in the season-opening Daytona 500 (both by Matt Kenseth)
    * Dodge posted five of the top-10 finishes at Rockingham, yet trailed both Chevrolet and Ford by a point in the manufacturers’ championship race
    * Las Vegas was the first race this season that had all three manufacturers’ finish in the top- three
    * Ford has led 391 laps in 2004 – 384 by Matt Kenseth and all by Jack Roush Racing. Kyle Busch (four), Greg Biffle (two) and Jeff Burton (one) are the other Ford drivers to lead this season
    * Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart have all led a lap in three of the first four races this season.(3-16-2004)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE Wed cancelled: #32-Ricky Craven and #22-Scott Wimmer are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway this week, according to the track’s calendar. Craven is scheduled to be on hand in PPI Motorsports’ #32 Tide Chevrolet on Wednesday and Thursday, and Wimmer, the rookie driving Bill Davis Racing’s #22 Caterpillar Dodge, is scheduled to test both days as well. The track says fans are permitted to watch from the Fan Center in Turn 3.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-15-2004)
    ALSO #12-Ryan Newman and #18-Bobby Labonte are listed at Kentucky Speedway site as testing both days.(3-16-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing scheduled for tomorrow at Kentucky Speedway with Joe Gibbs Racing (Bobby Labonte), Penske South Racing (Ryan Newman), PPI Motorsports (Ricky Craven) and Bill Davis Racing (Scott Wimmer) has been cancelled due to weather. Testing scheduled for Thursday, March 18 with the same teams is pending.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-16-2004)
  • DW and Jeff to be Co-Presenters: Three-time champion Darrell Waltrip, whose racing career virtually paralleled that of Mr. Bill France Jr. as the point man for NASCAR, will team with four-time champion Jeff Gordon to introduce France to the expected crowd of some 1,200 people at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame’s spacious Speed Channel Dome on April 22nd. Waltrip finished his career with 84 Nextel Cup wins, tied for third place on the all-time list, and three Nextel Cup championships. He is now a color commentator on the Fox Network’s race telecasts, and will be eligible to go on the ballot this year for induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame next year. Gordon was the hottest driver in the last decade of France’s tour at the helm of NASCAR, winning all four of his championships from 1995 thru 2001. In all, Gordon has claimed 64 wins and 46 poles thru the end of last season. “We got an immediate ‘yes’ from both men when we invited them to present Mr. France,” said Jim Freeman, the Executive Director of the Hall of Fame. “There is no question that this will be one of the highlights of the evening.” France will be one of five individuals who will be inducted that evening. Joining him will be long-time racing legend Charles “Red” Farmer, drag racing champion Shirley Muldowney, the all-time winner in unlimited hydroplanes Bill Muncey, and CART champion Bobby Rahal. Also in attendance that evening will be the Driver of the Year, Ryan Newman, plus many former inductees. Tickets are still on sale for the gala event, which includes a dinner, the televised induction ceremony, and receptions both before and after. Formal attire is required. For ticket information, please contact the Motorsports Hall of Fame office at (256) 362-5002 or their webiste: motorsportshalloffame.com.(FoxSports)(3-16-2004)
  • East Tennessee Trailers to Sponsor Hermie Sadler at Bristol: #02-Hermie Sadler, who will make his first start of the season in the NEXTEL Cup Series in the Food City 500 in Bristol, will do so with sponsorship from East Tennessee Trailers [ettrailers.com], LLC, a trailer manufacturing company located in Oneida, TN. Sadler, who made ten Cup starts in 2003, is excited about his first race of 2004, especially at Bristol. “Bristol is a great place to race, and we hope that our Nextel Cup program will help gather more information to help our Busch Series team as well,” stated Sadler. Sadler also says he is looking forward to representing East Tennessee Trailers, a company that SCORE Motorsports is a customer of. “We have two East Tennessee Trailers that we use for our show car program and our Late Model “Drive for Diversity” program. The trailers are beautiful and affordable and value driven. It is great to be able to represent sponsors whose products you use and believe in. We are looking forward to giving them a good run,” he added. For more information on East Tennessee Trailers, visit www.ettrailers.com or call them at 423-286-9700. Hermie Sadler also plans to visit the employees of East Tennessee Trailers on March 25 in Oneida prior to the race.(SCORE Motorsports)(3-16-2004)
  • Dale Jr. to test at Texas this week, looking at the tires UPDATE: Working with Goodyear’s softer compound radial tire will be high on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s to-do list when he tests at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to work on. I’ve got a lot to learn,” Junior said after his victory here. “This tire has thrown me a curveball personally.” The Eagle radial scheduled for use in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at TMS on April 4 carries the code D-6818 (left side) and D-6820 (right side). A company spokesperson said it is the same compound Goodyear supplied for the 2003 Cup finale at the reconfigured and repaved Homestead-Miami Speedway, which now features progressive banking in the corners. Homestead-Miami and TMS are the only 1.5-mile tracks sharing that compound.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-15-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bill Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., J.J. Yeley, and Larry Foyt will be testing at Texas Motor Speedway for the upcoming Samsung/RadioShack 500 and the O’Reilly 300 races on Tuesday, March 16th and Wednesday, March 17th.(Texas Motor Speedway PR)(3-16-2004)
  • More on the EM Noses: By covering the noses on its cars, Evernham Motorsports is only distracting Darrell Waltrip. Ray Evernham has been working really hard with his guys to come up with more power, and it’s starting to show at the race track. If the noses on Evernham’s cars were illegal, NASCAR would be on top of it, and they would put a stop to it, especially after DW and everybody said, “Lookie here!” NASCAR is going to look extra long and hard at it. It’s made for interesting conversation, but I don’t believe anything’s happening that warrants NASCAR’s concern.(FoxSports/Jeff Hammond), see the initial story/rumor and pictures of the noses on my #19 Team News and Links page.(3-16-2004)

    (3-15-2004)

  • Norris close to a job UPDATE: Ty Norris, who resigned in January as vice president for motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in January, expects to start a new job this week. “I think they’ll announce it Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said Saturday. The position is in racing, but Norris said it’s different than anything he’s done before. He also won’t have to travel as much, which was a requirement he made for himself when he was contemplating what he was going to do. “My family has sacrificed enough over the past 15 years,” he said. In eight years with DEI, Norris took the team into the Nextel Cup Series, where it now has drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. Junior won the Daytona 500 for the first time earlier this season, with Norris watching from home. “I was just so proud for Dale Jr. and the team,” Norris said. “It was great feeling like I had a little part in that.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-13-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing the job will be with SMI [Speedway Motorsports Inc./Bruton Smith] in some capacity.(3-15-2004)
  • NASCAR looking at the #25: Nextel Cup series director John Darby said officials at NASCAR’s research and development center will look into an incident involving Brian Vickers’ car during a practice session at Atlanta on Saturday. The driveshaft on Vickers’ car broke, apparently punching a hole in the bottom of the car and sending a small chunk of metal through the catchfence and into an unoccupied area of the grandstands. A broken driveshaft is relatively rare in NASCAR, and it certainly got Vickers’ attention. “When it comes apart, it’s pretty big,” Vickers said. “But luckily I wasn’t hurt, nobody else was hurt. I could have sworn it sounded like a bomb went off. I thought we were under attack.”(USA Today)(3-15-2004)
  • Third Earnhardt to win at Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the third member of his family to win a stock-car race at the Atlanta track. Junior’s father, seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, won a record nine races here, and brother Kerry Earnhardt won the 2001 ARCA race in 2001.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-15-2004)
  • “Field Filler”…getting back at the media, new site coming: Andy Belmont’s #02 Pontiac is one of a handful of cars often referred to as field-filler. That’s because it’s in the race in large part because there aren’t enough fast cars to take up all 43 starting spots. Belmont, a lifetime racer from Langhorne, Pa., who finished 39th Sunday, is offended by the “field-filler” designation that has been hung on him, but at least he has a sense of humor about it. So Belmont has purchased the rights to www.fieldfillers.com [not an active site….yet] and plans to have fun with his new Web site, which is under construction. “We’re going to think out of the box a little and not take ourselves too seriously,” Belmont said. Some of the content will be aimed at media members, who criticize the drivers at the back of the pack. “We’re going to try to entertain the writers who throw rocks at us and give them more fodder,” he said. Belmont said he plans to take photos of other cars referred to as field-fillers — with permission from the drivers — and post them on his site. Just for fun, he plans to include Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 8 Chevrolet among the field-fillers for last week’s race at Las Vegas. Earnhardt’s car was so slow at Vegas that he was sent to the garage for repairs. Belmont says he’s proud to be a part of the nation’s premier racing series. “Even though some people refer to me as a back-marker, I’ve got a seat at the head table,” he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-15-2004)
  • Eight Cars to the Dyno: NASCAR tested eight cars after the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta on the chassis dyno, which measures horsepower to the rear wheels. Tested were the cars of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #20-Tony Stewart, #9-Kasey Kahne, #12-Ryan Newman, #88-Dale Jarrett and #48-Jimmie Johnson.(Roanoke Times), have heard no results on the test, if I do it will be posted, if not, it will not be posted.(3-15-2004)
  • Spencer to the #09 car? Jimmy Spencer is out looking for a full-time Nextel Cup ride and #09 car owner James Finch, a man that Spencer has worked for in the past, is looking at a more full-time operation that he’s run lately, and the two could be teaming up. Finch has been a cherry-picker in the past, looking for a few good races. This season he’s made all four so far, with Joe Ruttman [and Johnny Benson].(Winston Salem Journal)(3-15-2004)
  • Some Anonymous Media Notes: All weekend the media in Atlanta was told the winner of the Golden Corral 500 would be brought to the press box following victory lane celebrations. But, to the surprise of few, NASCAR announced at the last moment that “due to a major traffic jam outside the track,” Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would instead conduct his obligatory interview from the speedway’s infield media center. Several members of the print media openly questioned this decision to no avail. One went so far to ask NASCAR why the race winner simply couldn’t be brought to the opening at the flagstand where he could then walk up the grandstand steps (there were about 20 people still milling around in the stands at this point), board an elevator, and come to the press box as promised. While that cry of protest lingered for a few moments, others wondered if Earnhardt Jr.’s language during his postrace interview with PRN would bring a fine this week. Junior told PRN that after his Vegas debacle last week he would “keep testing even if I have to go two months without sleeping in my own D A M N bed.”(3-15-2004)
  • More Pit Road Rule Changes Coming? NASCAR officials are asking for drivers’ advice in devising a caution-period rule to deal with crews making extensive repairs on a car, such as occurred at Daytona when a driver, rushing back to the track to catch up with the rear of the pack after lengthy repairs, hit and killed a track worker. NASCAR has added a new twist to pit-road rules – when the caution comes out, pit road will be closed an extra lap to allow the field to close up. That is to keep the rear of the field from speeding up to hit pit road with the leaders, a potentially dangerous situation.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-15-2004)
  • NASCAR to ‘give’ tires: NASCAR will give teams an extra set of tires for Friday’s practice at Darlington this week, because no one has been able to test there while the new soft walls have been installed.(Winston Salem Journal), rumor had that the teams would be allowed to come Thursday and practice if they wished, guess that will not happen.(3-15-2004)

(3-14-2004)

  • Little E wins at Atlanta: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after a tough race at Las Vegas last week. Evernham Motorsports nosed out great finishes with #19-Jeremy Mayfield 2nd and rookie #9-Kasey Kahne 3rd [two 2nd’s and aa 3rd in the last three races]. It is Dale Jr.’s 11th career win, 2nd of 2004, and 5th non-restrictor plate win. The win moves Earnhardt Jr. up to 3rd in the points. #20-Tony Stewart led the most laps, with 127 and finished 7th. There were 8 leaders and 16 lead changes. Only three cautions in the race for 17 laps, two for debris and one for an engine.
    Race Re-air: The race will re-air on Speed Channel, a three hour re-air on Thurs, March 18th at 3:00pm/et and in part via Speed Channel’s Fast Forward on Wednesday, March 17th at 4:00pm/et and Friday, March 19th at 2:00am/et.
    For more, see my Golden Corral 500 Race Info/Rundown page.
    Race results at JAYSKI’s Atlanta Race Results or ThatsRacin.com or MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com.(3-14-2004)
  • Sponsor for the #50 squashed? NASCAR officials on Saturday told Arnold Motorsports that it would have to remove the logos of its primary sponsor, Redneckjunk.com, from Derrike Cope’s #50 Dodge. NASCAR said through spokesperson Herb Branham: “We just didn’t feel like that projected the proper image of our sport.” Redneckjunk.com sells used sporting goods and auto parts. NASCAR has become increasingly image-conscious as it attempts to broaden its demographic reach beyond the Southeast.(St Petersburg Times), shame it has come to this, teams are hurting for a sponsor and Redneckjunk.com is basically a classified ad site, check them out, at least they tried to support the sport.(3-14-2004)
  • #80 gets a sponsor at AMS…..LMS: Lowe’s Motor Speedway will sponsor the #80 car of Andy Hillenburg for today’s Golden Corral 500. This one-race deal will have Hillenburg’s car featuring the May races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, as well as the LMS ticket office number [(800) 455-FANS]. Lowe’s Motor Speedway hosts the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on May 21, then will have the excitement of the inaugural NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 22. The racing will continue the next weekend with the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on May 29 and the 20th anniversary of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30.(AMS PR)(3-14-2004)
  • No Idea What This Means…but: Federal agents have become an issue on the NASCAR tour, sources say. At Las Vegas, agents tried to provide security for various drivers, but it was unclear why, or who was in charge of the operations.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2004)
  • Kenny Wallace to run for Waltrip, five races UPDATE: Michael Waltrip announced today that his longtime Busch Series sponsor, Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership, has agreed to sponsor the #00 Chevrolet in five NEXTEL Cup races this season with veteran driver Kenny Wallace behind the wheel. The five-race schedule includes the October 31 MBNA Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.[doesn’t say what the other four races are](AMS Pit Notes)(3-13-2004)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace will make a five-race return to the Nextel Cup Series later this season in a car collaboratively run by Michael Waltrip Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Wallace will drive a #00 Aaron’s Chevy in the five events beginning with the Aaron’s 499 on April 25 at Talladega. In addition, Wallace will run the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Sharpie 500 at Bristol and the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta, the home of Aaron’s corporate office. Tony Gibson, the DEI crew chief whose #1 Chevrolet [so I guess the news below about Andretti and the #1 finding a sponsor may be for a limited schedule] is not running a full-time schedule becauseof lack of sponsorship, will supervise Wallace’s effort. Wallace said the first question he asked when Waltrip approached him to do the deal was about testing, and that the team would test at Daytona International Speedway on April 12-13.(NASCAR.com)(3-14-2004)
  • Andretti and #1 team close to a sponsor: John Andretti said talks with team owner Teresa Earnhardt convinced him that Dale Earnhardt Inc. will have sufficient sponsorships to field him in the No. 1 Chevrolet the next few weeks. Andretti started the first two races of the season, finishing 13th at Daytona, but missed Las Vegas and Atlanta.(St Petersburg Times)(3-13-2004)
    UPDATE: John Andretti, Jimmy Spencer and Brett Bodine, all of whom are seeking full-time rides in Cup, were mingling in the garage yesterday. Andretti is optimistic about his prospects of returning to Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, which he drove at Daytona and Rockingham. “There’s a lot of [sponsorship] activity I feel good about it,” Andretti said. “So many people are saying we’re not getting one call. I got 10, several from CEOs or high-level marketing executives, and I’m just a driver.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-14-2004)
  • Yellow Rule Change: NASCAR made another slight adjustment to procedures under caution, announcing during Sunday’s prerace drivers meeting that pit road would remain closed the first time by under each caution. The rule will take effect immediately and for all three of NASCAR’s top series – Nextel Cup, Busch and Trucks.
    “We’re going to leave pit road closed and it’s purely to make the environment safer and at the same time keep it fair competitive-wise,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. Helton said the move would help prevent the drivers from feeling the need to speed and catch up with the car in front of them, so as not to lose a competitive advantage when heading to pit road.
    “If it means we have to leave it closed two laps, like at Darlington and Bristol, then we’ll do that,” he said. “So, if we bust you because we think you’re going to fast (under caution), then you can’t point back at us.”
    NASCAR also gave the drivers another warning regarding inappropriate language, citing a recent radio station’s fine for airing profanity on a talk show. “If those things happen in our sport, we will not pay the fine. We’ll pay it, but then we will come collect it,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-14-2004)
  • Atlanta Race Notes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Golden Corral 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 151st career start. His last victory came at Daytona, three races ago.
    * This is Earnhardt Jr’s., fifth non-restrictor plate victory. Earnhardt Jr. has scored victories at Phoenix, Dover Richmond and Texas. His other six victories came at Talladega (four) and Daytona (two).
    * This is Earnhardt Jr’s., first victory in 10 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    * Earnhardt Jr., scored his sixth straight top-10 finish at Atlanta.
    * Earnhardt Jr., joins Matt Kenseth, each with two victories in 2004.
    * Earnhardt Jr., became the fifth different winner in as many races at Atlanta.
    * Matt Kenseth remained the point leader by 82 over second-place Tony Stewart.
    * This was the second victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford also has two victories this season.
    Notebook Items:
    * Jeremy Mayfield (second) scored his first top-10 finish in 2004. It marked his fifth top-10 finish in 17 races at Atlanta and his best finish since he finished second at Dover last September.
    * Rookie Kasey Kahne (third) scored his third top-five finish in as many races.
    * It is the fourth straight race in 2004 that a rookie has finished in the top three. Scott Wimmer finished third at Daytona. Kahne finished second at Rockingham, second at Las Vegas and third at Atlanta.
    * Jimmy Johnson (fourth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It was his third top-five finish in six races at Atlanta.
    * Ryan Newman (fifth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It was his fourth top-10 finish and best finish in five races at Atlanta
    * Matt Kenseth (sixth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 2004, the only driver to do so. This was his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at Atlanta.
    * Tony Stewart (seventh) scored his third top-10 finish in 2004. This was his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Atlanta – all in the last six races.
    * Dale Jarrett (ninth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. This was Jarrett’s best finish since he finished seventh at Bristol last August.
    * Terry Labonte (24th) has been running at the finish in the last 46 straight races, a streak that began at Charlotte in October 2002.
    * The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus will be worth $20,000 at Darlington Raceway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-14-2004)
  • StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – Atlanta: What a difference a week makes! In a turnaround about as far apart as Las Vegas and Atlanta in distance, Dale Earnhardt Jr and his Budweiser Chevy were a handling machine today. For a guy who couldn’t stay out of the garage last weekend, Little E was the dominant car at the end today (leading 52 of the final 60 circuits) at Atlanta Motor Speedway and captured the Golden Corral 500 by daylight (in NASCAR that’s about 4.584 seconds). Little E’s second victory of the season (and 11th of his Cup career) moves him into sole possession of 45th on the all-time win list. This was win #17 for DEI and was worth $180,078 from the over $4.6M in posted awards.
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Dover last September.
    #9-Kasey Kahne should have kept his mouth shut. See what happens when you say you’re getting tired of finishing second? You slump to 3rd!
    #16-Greg Biffle (8th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Dover last September.
    #88-Dale Jarrett (9th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Bristol last August.
    #23-Dave Blaney (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Pocono last July.
    #31-Robby Gordon (17th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Talladega last October.
    #32-Ricky Craven (22nd) had his best finish since he was 19th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October.
    #10-Scott Riggs (25th) had his career-best finish today. He was 29th at Las Vegas last week.
    STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: Kasey Kahne (3rd) has taken three of the four races so far this season. He was followed by: Brian Vickers (21st), Scott Riggs (25th), Scott Wimmer (27th), Johnny Sauter (30th), and Brendan Gaughan (33rd).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Lonely Matt Kenseth (+24) is Operator of the Week (for the third time already in 4 races!). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-25), followed by Elliott Sadler (-24), Kevin Harvick (-24), and Rusty Wallace (-24).
    Jeremy Mayfield, Casey Mears, and Greg Biffle all led today for the first time this season. We’ve had 22 different leaders thus far….don’t think we’re gonna threaten that 48 number from last year.
    No changes at the top of the point standings this week….first and second remain Kenseth & Stewart, though Tony cut 6 points off Matt’s lead (not that that means anything anymore). Every other spot in the Top-12 changed hands. The best move forward in the standings was made by Ryan Newman (21st to 10th), while teammate Rusty Wallace accomplished the same feat in the opposite direction (12th to 22nd).(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(3-14-2004)
  • Field Filler? [yeah is is long, but it interetsed me]: Kirk Shelmerdine went to the rear windshield of his #72 Ford Taurus with a wrench and took a few wedges out of the rear springs. He returned to the front of the car and began working under the hood. Later he jacked up the left side, rolled tires to the hauler and checked air pressure. When it was time to push the car to the inspection line he was there, too. To know Shelmerdine is not your typical NASCAR Nextel Cup series driver, one only has to look at his hands and uniform. They’re dirty. Shelmerdine, who will start 42nd in today’s Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, is one of the so-called field fillers that have become a hot topic during the first four races. The issue has ranged from NASCAR being accused of lobbying many low-budget teams to show up to fill the 43-car fields to those teams being criticized for not being able to meet the minimum race speed, thus endangering others. The issue peaked a few weeks ago at Rockingham when Joe Ruttman was pulled after one lap because he didn’t have a pit crew. “There’s been a lot more made of it than is actually going on,” Shelmerdine said. “I don’t think there’s people showing up just to fill up the field. That’s all conjecture by the press. NASCAR is not inviting people to come.” Shelmerdine’s only competition today will come from within. His qualifying speed of 178.413 mph is about 15 mph slower than the 193.575 mph posted by pole-sitter Ryan Newman. But Shelmerdine, who turned 46 on Monday, isn’t here to beat Newman. He’s here because he loves what he does. Racing isn’t easy when you don’t have a major sponsor, when you have two sets of good tires while everybody else has a dozen and when your car parts are older than some of the young drivers. Shelmerdine failed to make the field at Daytona, and he completed a combined 27 laps in races at Rockingham and Las Vegas. At Rockingham he was blackflagged after 19 laps for not meeting the minimum speed. His engine blew after eight laps at Las Vegas, leaving him with three. “We’ve got two worn ones and one good one,” Shelmerdine said. “If this one goes, we’ll stick a worn one in there and hope it doesn’t grenade.” Shelmerdine doesn’t live race to race. He’s one of the few drivers you’ll see under the hood getting dirty. While other drivers are making public appearances or testing at other tracks, he is at his small garage in Welcome, N.C., working morning to midnight to make sure he has a chance to qualify for the next race. He has been known to go through dumpsters for parts thrown away by other teams. Most of his parts are — like his hauler — used. “They only run the crankshafts about a 1,000 miles,” Shelmerdine said. “We buy them and run them another 1,000. Money is so tight that there isn’t enough to change the number on the side of the hauler from 27 to 72 [the number he used in 2003]. “Actually, we don’t have a ladder that goes that high.” He doesn’t have to look far to know what life is like on the other side. Richard Childress Racing, one of NASCAR’s empires, is across the street. “It’s a pretty big contrast,” Shelmerdine said of his shop and RCR’s multi-building facility. “We’re pretty much the outhouse.” Shelmerdine worked at RCR for 12 years. He was the crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt for four of his seven Winston Cup (now Nextel Cup) points championships from 1986-92. When he was 25, he became the youngest crew chief to win a race and later the youngest to win a championship. But in 1992, at the age of 34, Shelmerdine left RCR to pursue his dream. He moved into the shop he had built while working for Earnhardt and began building cars. Since 1995, he has driven at practically every level, from ARCA to Busch to Trucks to Nextel Cup. “It’d be pretty neat to work with a really top team for a while,” Shelmerdine said. “I’m sure it would open some eyes from my end and other people’s ends as well.” When Shelmerdine says work he means drive. He has no desire to do what he did before because everything has become so high tech and assembly line. “We built chassis from the ground up when nobody was doing it,” he said. “It’s not nearly the art form it used to be. I’d be miserable doing that job now.” Shelmerdine said the negative publicity over low budget teams has been good. “It’s thrown a little more light on this end of the field, even if it’s not completely positive,” he said. “If I’m a sponsor I’m looking at these cars because they’ve been kind of a running story every week. It ain’t all good, but it’s news.”
    The good news for Shelmerdine is he has made enough money, about $143,000, to keep him coming back. “If I don’t pass out from lack of sleep, we can keep going indefinitely,” he said. “We’ll do as many of them as we can. If we have a bunch of wrecks three or four weeks in a row we’re going to be out for a while. But we’re getting better every week. By summer we might not be so pitiful.”(The State)
    …..why post this? cause Jayski has always been about trying to help out and mention the smaller teams and so called ‘field-fillers’ like Kirk, Hermie, Carl Long, Andy Hillenburg, Andy Belmont and whoever else, if there is a spot open in the field, why shouldn’t these guys gets a shot to get noticed.(3-14-2004)
  • Marlin Wins in Alabama: Sterling Marlin passed Bill Elliott at the beginning of the final lap and took the checkered flag to officially christen the start of the 41st year of racing at the Driven To Rock II exhibition race Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway. Marlin and Elliott were joined by fellow NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Greg Biffle and Kerry Earnhardt for the exhibition. The four drivers spent 45 minutes signing autographs and taking pictures with local sponsors of the event. Then they spent 90 minutes doing the same for local race fans.(Alabama Live)(3-14-2004)
  • StockCarFans.Com – Ramblings – Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman hasn’t got any let up in him…..and I don’t guess we should have expected any, huh? Newman grabbed his second Bud pole of the season for Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 [Friday] at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and (as is often the case) it wasn’t even close. His speed of 193.575 mph (28.640 sec) was 14/100th’s of a second quicker than #25-Brian Vickers…..almost able to be measured by an hourglass in a business where 1/10th of a second is an eternity.
    Newman’s top-spot was his second of the season and 20th of his brief Cup career. It was also his third in a row at AMS. If you’re keeping score at home (and we know you do) his PPP (Phenominal Pole Percentage) is now up to .238. Ryan will be joined on the front-row by Brian Vickers, who equaled his career-best starting spot today. He had the outside pole last year at Rockingham in October and Phoenix in November.
    #88-Dale Jarrett (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Talladega last October.
    Welcome Back….Todd Bodine makes his first start of the season (it wasn’t that long ago we had more Bodine’s than we knew what to do with), and Andy Belmont makes his first Cup start since the Southern 500 in September of 1992! He started 32nd and finished 35th that day (he made 8 starts that year, btw), but he’ll always be remember in this corner as the driver who brought a car to the Lehigh Valley Medical Center when Davey Allison was recovering from that horrible accident at Pocono in July of 1992 so that the doctors could help fit him with a cast on his shattered hand in order to start at Talladega the next race.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10 starts in the last 10 races.
    44 cars on hand…the lone Trouble Train occupant is Morgan Shepherd. Provisionals went to: Johnny Sauter, Joe Ruttman (I trust that team has a pit crew this week), Andy Belmont, Kirk Shelmerdine, and Andy Hillenburg.
    This is a fast place (as though you needed to be reminded of that when the pole speed here is 5 mph faster than Daytona was)….and you’ve gotta worry when the spread from the Pole to the end of the field is over 20 mph. Couple that with a fairly narrow groove and we could be in for a lot of excitement come Sunday.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(3-14-2004)
  • Interesting Articles: NASCAR competitors got more exposure than usual last week in national publications. In an interview with men’s magazine FHM, driver Kevin Harvick referred to Kurt Busch as looking “like an Opie kind of pansy” and the type of person that would get picked on in high school. He conceded Busch is “a great driver.” Harvick has often referred to his fellow “Young Gun” as “Rubberhead,” a mocking reference to Busch’s sponsor, Newell Rubbermaid. … Richard Petty wrote an essay on stock car racing for this week’s Sports Illustrated.(St Petersburg Times)(3-14-2004)
  • Winter Flurry Ends at AMS: The 2004 Winter Flurry at Atlanta Motor Speedway concluded Saturday, as more than 100 Legends, Bandoleros and Roadsters in the final of four races for the winter racing series. Congratulations to the 2004 Winter Flurry Champions: Bandits – Andrew Brunnert Young Guns – Chase Moody Outlaws – Jody Pilkenton Semi-Pro – Flip Davis Masters – Dwight Pilgram Pro – Doug Stevens Roadsters – Dale Akridge Chargers – Ross Mundy These champions will be introduced during today’s pre-race ceremonies for the Golden Corral 500.(AMS PR)(3-14-2004)

    (3-13-2004)

  • More races for Blaney: #23-Dave Blaney, who qualified 14th for Sunday’s Atlanta race in a second entry for Bill Davis Racing, is tentatively scheduled to run four more Nextel Cup races this season for BDR – Texas, Charlotte, July Daytona and Indianapolis, team officials confirmed. The team is still looking for full-time sponsorship to allow Blaney to drive the #23 Dodge on a weekly basis as teammate to rookie Scott Wimmer.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-13-2004)
  • #4 Sheds Sponsor Decals UPDATE: The decals of sponsor YokeTV.com were removed from Morgan-McClure Motorsports’ #4 Chevrolet Friday as a result of a contractual dispute between the team and the sponsor. Team owner Larry McClure said the decals “may or may not” be back after this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(ThatsRacin.com) driver Kevin Lepage qualified the decaless #4 Chevy 35th for the race.(3-12-2004)
    UPDATE: The #4 Chevrolet showed up at Atlanta without YOKETV.com sponsor decals. While negotiating contractual differences between the two entities, the car will remain without those decals. Morgan-McClure Motorsports is moving forward in a proactive manner to secure full-time sponsorship for the #4 Chevrolet. The team will run the 2004 schedule per car owner Larry McClure.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), hope Yoketv.com isn’t looking for any NASCAR fans to buy their product.(3-13-2004)
  • Seven Cup Drivers to run Special Chevy Trucks: The Chevrolet Silverado All-Stars, pairing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers with superstar musical celebrities in the Truck Series. Michael Waltrip will be the first of seven different drivers to pilot the #47 Chevy All-Stars Silverado in individual races during the 2004 NCTS season. His musical partner, Sheryl Crow, will be featured in the special paint scheme for the first All-Stars race – the Charlotte Tailgate 200 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 21. Following the program debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with Michael Waltrip, the following Chevy drivers with their specific musical partners will pilot the #47 Chevy All-Stars Silverado: Robby Gordon, Bristol (August 25); Tony Stewart, Richmond (September 9); Ricky Craven, New Hampshire (September 18); Bobby Labonte, Martinsville (October 23); Driver To Be Announced, Phoenix (November 5); and Ward Burton, Darlington (November 12). Serving as primary sponsor of the #47 Chevy All-Stars Silverado is Acxiom, a worldwide data services company. This Silverado entry will be campaigned by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, with whom Acxiom has been partnered since 1998 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(GM PR)(3-13-2004)
  • Helton Issues Warning: NASCAR President Mike Helton discussed the sanctioning body’s three-week-old policy on obscenity during the Craftsman Truck Series drivers’ meeting. Because the Craftsman Truck Series has been idle for four weeks, it was Helton’s first opportunity to address the issue to the truck competitors. “There is a higher level of scrutiny by NASCAR on its participants than there ever has been,” Helton said. “And that comes from there being a higher level of scrutiny in all of live entertainment, but in particular sports. This is a serious issue for us because it effects our perception to the public. But, more importantly, it has become a significant issue at the federal government level to the point to where, even yesterday, there were a couple of half million dollar fines handed out to some radio networks for a couple of words that were used on a live radio show. And I’ll tell you, if it gets to the point that this happens in our sport, we’re not going to pay those fines. We’ll pass them on to somebody. We’re under a great deal of scrutiny and we’re going to police the sport.”(AMS Pit Notes)(3-13-2004)
  • Dale Jr. Best Man: Vinny Zeuli and Michelle Menendez of Orlando, Fla., have known each other for 10 years. But the two decided earlier this week it was finally time to tie the knot. While celebrating their engagement this past Monday at a popular Orlando nightclub, Zeuli and Menendez happened to bump into Dale Earnhardt Jr. The driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet quickly befriended the couple and suggested they exchange their vows in victory lane today at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he would serve as best man. “I just asked her to marry me Monday night,” Zeuli said. “We saw Dale Jr. that night and he thought this would be a great idea.” With a handful of relatives and a sea of photographers on hand, Atlanta Motor Speedway chaplain Bill Brannon united the two in holy matrimony on a sun-drenched afternoon in the center of victory lane as Earnhardt, decked out in jeans, a Budweiser cap and shirt, and sunglasses, stood beside the groom. “We just met him Monday night,” Menendez said. “So, we haven’t really known him for very long, but he’s so wonderful.” When asked if she was a NASCAR fan, Menendez replied,”Well…I’m a fan of Junior.”(AMS Pit Notes)(3-13-2004)
  • 7 Second Delay; Elliott to join PRN at Atlanta UPDATE Not MRN: After Johnny Sauter’s slip of the tongue in last Saturday’s Busch race, Performance Racing Network GM and VP Doug Rice has decided to run this weekend’s broadcast on a seven-second delay. Sauter not only received a $10,000 fine “for actions detrimental to the sport”, he lost 25 NBS championship driver points and has been placed on probation through Dec. 31. The easy part of Rice’s job will be easing Bill Elliott out of retirement and into the PRN booth. The 48-year-old former champion and part-time racer recently approached Performance Racing Network about opportunities in broadcasting. On Wednesday, the plans materialized, and now Elliott will join Mark Garrow and Rice, who also announces the races, in the radio booth at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend as a color commentator. “As a past NASCAR champion and current competitor, Bill Elliott brings a timely and unmatched perspective to our broadcast team,” says Rice. “We are all excited and honored to have Bill join us for the Golden Corral 500.” AMS is Elliott’s hometown track. The Dawsonville, Ga.-native has five victories at the 1.5-miles high-speed oval and leads all current drivers with five career poles.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-11-2004)
    UPDATE: [MRN] Motor Racing Network, which will do the radio broadcast for Saturday’s Truck race, does not plan to institute any delay, but its affiliate stations are free to do so, officials said. Fox, which will telecast Sunday’s Cup race, also does not plan to use a delay.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-13-2004)
  • Jeff Gordon invited to test F1 car UPDATE declined: NASCAR Champ Jeff Gordon will get another chance to try the Williams Formula One car. The British team has invited the American driver for a four-day test later this year. Gordon tested with the Williams F1 team last year when the four-time world champion did a promotional car-swap with Montoya. Montoya tested Gordon’s NASCAR while Gordon tested Montoya’s Williams.The Williams team was impressed with Gordon’s performance and thus wanted to invite Gordon again for a bigger Formula One test. If Jeff Gordon would enter Formula One it would be a great help promoting Formula One in the States, though according to rumours Gordon can earn more in NASCAR than in Formula One.(F1Racing.net)(3-7-2004)
    UPDATE [Jeff] Gordon quashed a report on F1racing.net that he had been invited to test for the Williams-BMW team. The four-time Cup champion is a longtime fan of Formula One and drove Juan Pablo Montoya’s Williams car in an exhibition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year. “I’ve talked about going to the Barcelona race for fun, but that’s gotten misconstrued,” Gordon said. “I did my test session last year, and that’s all I wanted to do.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND While Jeff Gordon hopes to attend this year’s Formula One race in Barcelona, Spain, the four-time NASCAR champion has no plans to test a Williams-BMW F1 car. An Internet site reported last week that the British team had invited Gordon to take part in a four-day test later this season. “I don’t know how that got started,” Gordon said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 Nextel Cup event. “I’ve been talking about going to the Barcelona race just for fun, and obviously that’s gotten misconstrued into a test session. I did my test session for them last year.” Gordon took part in a one-day ride swap last year with Williams driver Juan Montoya at Indianapolis, and was thrilled by the experience. But Gordon has said repeatedly that his future is in Nextel Cup, and Friday all but ruled out a one-time F1 start on a NASCAR off weekend. “It’s not possible. You can’t do it,” he said. “The way the teams are organized, as much effort that goes into driving those cars and testing those cars, it’s not worth it for the teams to do a one-off race. I love the cars, but it’s so much different from what I’m doing, it’s not like you just jump in and go. It’s a huge, huge, commitment.”(Charleston Post and Courier)
    AND MORE the Albuquerque Tribune is incorrectly reporting that Gordon WILL test an F-1 car, when supposedly he was only invited has said he is not planning on testing the car.(3-13-2004)
  • Last time two drivers ran 1st and 2nd in two consecutive races [as #17-Kenseth and #9-Kahne did at Rockingham and Las Vegas] was in 1998 when Jeff Gordon won at Rockingham and Atlanta and Dale Jarrett finished 2nd.(FX Happy Hour Coverage), last time it was done 3 races in a row? also in 1998, when Jeff Gordon won at Pocono, Indy and Watkins Glen and Mark Martine was the runner-up in all three races.(3-13-2004)
  • Largest Points lead after three races…since: #17-Matt Kenseth has the largest points lead after three races [88 points] since 1977 when Cale Yarborough had a 91 point lead.(FX Happy Hour Coverage) however, as we all know, after 26 races any points lead a driver will have, will be only 5 points.(3-13-2004)
  • Back-up car:: #97-Kurt Busch wrecked in Friday’s practice and had to go to a back up car for qualifying, unless the team changes engines, Busch will start where he qualified.(3-12-2004)
    no engine change, so Busch will start 20th, where he qualified.(3-13-2004)
  • Atlanta Qualifying Notes:
    * Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Golden Corral 500, lapping Atlanta Motor Speedway in 28.640 seconds at 193.575 mph. Geoffrey Bodine holds the track-qualifying record of 28.074 seconds, 197.478 mph, set Nov. 15, 1997. * This is Newman’s 20th career Bud Pole in 84 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Rockingham two races ago. It is his third straight top-five start this season. * It is Newman’s third consecutive Bud Pole at Atlanta. He has started sixth or better in all five of his Atlanta races. This is the first time that a driver has won three straight Bud Poles on a superspeedway since Kyle Petty won four straight at Rockingham (1991-1992). * Brian Vickers had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 28.780 seconds at 192.634 mph and will join Newman on the front row. It is his career-best start. It is his second start and second top-five at Atlanta. * This is third Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Ford has the other Bud Pole this season. * Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third in six races at Atlanta. * Jeff Gordon (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004. It is his 12th top-10 start in 24 races at Atlanta but only his second in the past six races here. * Elliott Sadler (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third in 11 races at Atlanta, all in the past three races here. * Johnny Sauter, Joe Ruttman and Andy Belmont used provisionals while Kirk Shelmerdine and Andy Hillenburg completed the 43-car field based on attempts. One driver failed to qualify for the Golden Corral 500: Morgan Shepherd. * This will be Belmont’s 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, his first since Darlington in September 1992. * No driver has posted a top-10 start in every race this season. * Bodine’s qualifying speed of 197.478 mph remains the fastest qualifying lap on a non-restrictor-plate track in the history of NASCAR. * There have been 10 different Bud Pole winners in the 14 races at Atlanta since the track size changed in the fall of 1997. Only Dale Jarrett (March 2000 and 2001) and Ryan Newman (both races in 2003 and spring 2004) have scored multiple Bud Poles on the new configuration. Qualifying was canceled due to weather in October 2002. * Thirteen races at Atlanta have been won from the Bud Pole. Nine drivers have won from the second-place starting position giving 25 percent of the victories posted there to the front-row starting spots. Fifty-one victories have come from the top five. * The last spring race that was won at Atlanta by the Bud Pole sitter dates back to 1979 (Buddy Baker). The last time a race was won by the Bud pole winner at Atlanta was in November 1996 (Bobby Labonte). The best finish by a Bud Pole winner on the new track size was second by Jerry Nadeau in November 2000.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-13-2004)
  • Bug making the rounds: Two drivers were under the weather on Friday. Gordon said he’d been battling the bug since Sunday night after the race at Las Vegas. Ward Burton also was ailing and has Jason Leffler standing by in case he needs relief. Gordon said he hopes to be at full strength by race time.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), during Speed Channel’s qualifying coverage, it was mentioned that Gordon’s crew chief, Robbie Loomis was also sick, worse off then Gordon, but was at the track.(3-13-2004)

    (3-12-2004)

  • Suspect Noses? Evernham Motorsports Dodges qualified first [#9], sixth [#19] and 10th [#91] at Las Vegas, and other teams were suspicious about what advantage the Evernham crews had found. Rival manufacturers took pictures of the noses to examine the changes. The competitors discovered the noses were designed to offer greater downforce in the front and rear. “It’s totally legit,” one competitor says. “It’s so simple it makes you mad that you didn’t come up with it.” Although the Evernham cars were constructed completely within the rules, chances are NASCAR will develop a new body template that defines that nose area.(FoxSports/Sporting News), while walking along pitroad before the race, the #9 and #19 cars had the noses/grill area coveredd up and didn’t remove the covers until after the two cars fired up and just before the left pitroad.(3-8-2004)



    Suspect Noses? a pic of the #9 nose covered
    then exposed as the car was ready to roll
    and a comparison shot of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge.
    (I don’t see the difference)

    UPDATE Team owner Ray Evernham wears criticism about his cars from other competitors at Las Vegas last week as a badge of honor. Several teams claimed Evernham’s teams had altered the noses on their Dodges to improve their performance, even though the cars still fit NASCAR’s rigid template screening. “I’m happy again. People are looking at my stuff and taking pictures,” Evernham said. “I’m still the same guy. I didn’t go to sleep. I didn’t go away. We’re going to do everything we can do within the rules and within the templates and make our stuff good. The same things win races, good aerodynamics, good horsepower and good drivers.” Evernham’s rookie driver, Kasey Kahne, has finished second in the past two Nextel Cup races and is eighth in points. Teammate Jeremy Mayfield is 14th in points.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-12-2004)

  • Transportor Drivers Challenge: Pilot Travel Centers announced Friday the Pilot Truck Driver Challenge 2004, a new program highlighting the most talented, hard working and dedicated drivers in the Nextel Cup garage, the transport drivers. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, which will promote awareness and emphasize safety among America’s 2.2. million professional truck drivers, was unveiled at Atlanta Motor Speedway. One hundred thousand dollars is on the line! The competition will be a series of challenges that reflect the skills and qualities it takes to be a successful professional truck driver. Throughout the season Pilot will incorporate contests to judge overall safe driving, most miles driven in 2004, log book accuracy, safety equipment maintenance, rig cleanliness and driving ability. Commercial professional truck drivers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite driver and team on the Professional Truck Driving Challenge web site effective April 1, 2004. In conjunction with the transport drivers, Pilot is holding an additional challenge for commercial professional truck drivers. They will be awarded points for the most Pilot driver payback points and a safe/flawless driving record. The driver payback points will be tracked from April 1 – November 1, 2004. The transport driver champion and champion professional truck driver will each receive $50,000 and a trip to New York in December. Pilot will have Truck Driver Challenge information displays set up at select sites this season for driver recruitment and career opportunity information. Pilot has launched a web site to feature the Truck Driver Challenge. www.PilotTruckChallenge.comwill have results and overall competition standings, along with “spotlight” transport driver biographies posted each week.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-12-2004)
  • Tenth Anniversary Charity Ride to Kickoff May 1 in California: The Chick-fil-A family is teaming up with the First Family of Stock Car Racing for the 2004 Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids. This spring’s ride marks the first of a multi-year partnership between the Kyle Petty Charity Ride and Chick-fil-A, the nation’s second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain. “In the past we’ve celebrated the end of the Charity Ride with a big concert, but this year is going to be a little different. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride will conclude at a private event at Victory Junction. It’s an important way for us to honor Adam’s memory. Plus it will give all the riders who have supported the camp over the years a first look at the finished product,” said Petty.
    The 2004 Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride marks the tenth year that Kyle, his wife Pattie and father Richard along with other friends, family and supporters will take to the open road to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. To celebrate the ride’s tenth anniversary and Chick-fil-A’s new partnership, the #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge will sport a special look for the Nextel Cup race at California Speedway during the Charity Ride’s kickoff weekend. The Sam Bass-designed paint scheme will feature the new Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride logo and colors. Joining Chick-fil-A as corporate partners of the Charity Ride are Georgia-Pacific, Victory Motorcycles, Coca-Cola and Daytona Harley-Davidson. The tenth anniversary ride will kick off May 1 in Palm Desert, Calif. From California, the ride will travel east, making overnight stops in Las Vegas, Nev.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Roswell, N.M.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Branson, Mo.; Tupelo, Miss.; and Atlanta, Ga. The Charity Ride will conclude on May 8 at a special event for ride participants at the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC.(PR), more information on my Racing Charities page.(3-12-2004)
  • Sadler to make announcement UPDATE: Elliott Sadler, driver of the #38 M&M’S Ford, Artie Kempner, Director of NASCAR on FOX, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge will be in attendence when Elliott Sadler will announce his charity initiative for 2004 on Friday, March 12th at 10:00am/et at Atlanta Motor Speedway Media Center.(PR)(3-10-1004)
    UPDATE Elliott Sadler Teams Up with Fellow Nascar Drivers for 2004 Charity Initiative “Race for Hope” Competition to Benefit Autism/Victory Junction Gang Camp. Elliott Sadler and twelve fellow NASCAR drivers are teaming up to fight autism with the second annual “Race for Hope” competition. Proceeds from the second annual “consumers versus drivers” event, to be held at the North Carolina NASCAR SpeedPark, will benefit the Autism Society of America as well as the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
    Race for Hope will take place Tuesday, May 25th from 5:00-9:00pm/et at the Concord Mills NASCAR SpeedPark located at 8461-G1 Concord Mills Blvd. Concord, NC [the center backside of the mall] near Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Race for Hope will allow race fans the opportunity to race on the exciting go-kart tracks bumper-to-bumper with NASCAR drivers; obtain autographs; and experience a race fan’s first — to eat a private dinner with their favorite NASCAR driver. In his second annual charity event, Sadler hopes to surpass the $45,000 M&M’S Hoops for Hope raised last year and to add to the Victory Junction Gang Camp list of benefactors. The evening will also include a silent auction on site to with items such as driver uniforms, helmets and sheet metal from NASCAR’s top teams.
    There is a TON of information on my Racing Charities page about the event, packages available, dinner with the drivers, etc, see my Racing Charities page for more info.(3-12-2004)
  • Newman wins pole at Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman was the first driver out to qualify and held on thru the other 43 attempts to win the pole with a speed of 193.575mph at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Golden Corral 500. It is Newman’s 20th pole in his 84th start. It is Newman’s third straight pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he swept both poles in 2003. #25-Brian Vickers starts on the outside pole with a speed of 192.634. One driver failed to make the race, 3-time Atlanta winner, #89-Morgan Shepherd. Both he and #80-Andy Hillenburg have made 3 attempts in 2004, but Hillenburg had more owners points. #98-Todd Bodine made the race, qualified 38th.
    For qualifying results see my JAYSKI’s Atlanta Qualifying Page.(3-12-2004)
  • Gordon may increase IRL involvement: NASCAR driver Robby Gordon said he tried to buy Team Menard but lost out to Panther Racing. Gordon would have operated the IRL team through his shop in Huntersville, N.C., where his startup Indy 500 ride is being prepared. Gordon will consider continuing his new operation past the 500 if he lands more sponsorship.(Indy Star) see news on Gordon’s Indy 500 plans on my #31 Team News and Links page.(3-12-2004)
  • Former Car Owner Working on Diversity at Roush Racing: Sam Belnavis was the first black owner in more than 30 years to run a team full time in NASCAR’s top series last year, owning the #54 cars Todd Bodine drove. Yet, when Belnavis’ sponsor, National Guard, moved to Roush Racing after the season, Belnavis couldn’t find a replacement and closed shop. The legacy Belnavis wanted to bequeath his family and minorities also appeared to fade. As one opportunity disappeared, another emerged. Car owner Jack Roush hired Belnavis to be the organization’s chief diversity officer. “I have far more resources and Jack is committed to the diversity effort,” Belnavis said as crew members – almost exclusively white – worked on cars in the garage area last Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “We’re going to institute some programs that are going to be in the name of diversity. That’s my job.” A few blacks have tried ownership but have not had enough success to sustain a full-time effort. There have been fewer drivers. The late Wendell Scott is the only black driver to win a NASCAR race, and that was in 1963. Bill Lester is the only black driver with a full-time ride in the NASCAR’s top three series. He competes in the Craftsman Truck Series for Bill Davis Racing. Now, there are a number of programs. Joe Gibbs Racing has a diversity driver program that has a black driver and a Hispanic driver competing in Late Model races. A program supported by NASCAR will place five minority drivers with various Late Model teams in the Southeast. There is also the Roush Racing program that Belnavis heads. Belnavis selected Morty Buckles to compete this season in Late Model races in Virginia, primarily at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas and Southampton Motor Speedway in Capron. Belnavis also said that he’s working with a pair of black go-kart drivers, ages 15 and 16, in the Northeast. Belnavis said he knows that whenever a minority driver moves to the Cup level that person will face many challenges. “There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on the teams as well as whomever that individual is in their initial stages of their career,” said Belnavis, who has been involved in auto racing for more than 20 years. “So the teams, we have made this commitment that we’re going to make sure that whoever we identify as our quote-unquote diversity driver is going to be ready.”(Roanoke Times)(3-12-2004)
  • Harvick Gets the Ring: Kevin Harvick, in Indianapolis this week to accept his ring for winning the 2003 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, talked about how tough it was to take over the car driven by the late Dale Earnhardt. “It was like the shadow you’ll never get rid of,” he said. Even though he won in his third start in the car, which was renumbered 29 after Earnhardt’s death, the Intimidator’s memory was never far away. “To be honest with you, it was very hard at the beginning, because I’ve always been somebody who made my own footsteps, got to where we were by performing well and doing the things we were doing,” he said. Even though Harvick has driven the car for three seasons, he still feels like Earnhardt is a part of the team. “He had taken our sport to what it is today [and] he’s responsible for making the Goodwrench car what it is today,” he said. “We respect that.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-12-2004)

    (3-11-2004)

  • Todd Bodine on Animal Planet: Todd Bodine and his family were filmed by a television production company at their Davidson, N.C., home earlier in the week for an upcoming special about NASCAR drivers and their pets on Animal Planet. The Bodines have a stable of six horses. Lynn, his wife, rides and shows some of them in competitions. They are part of a fostering program for horses in need through the North Carolina Equine Rescue League. The NCERL shelters equines that have been seized by law enforcement authorities and those surrendered by neglectful and/or abusive owners. The Bodines have one horse in their care that suffers from a rare skin disease. Another horse in their stables will eventually go to Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Camp for seriously ill children when it opens later this year. The 60-minute special is scheduled to air in November. Bodine, who is still without a ride in NASCAR the season, acted as a track spotter for Randy LaJoie in last weekend’s Busch Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Elmira Star Gazette)(3-11-2004)
  • Wimmer’s Court Date Now Tax Day: April 15th is the day driver Scott Wimmer is scheduled to appear in a Guilford County [NC] courtroom on drunk driving charges. In what the clerk of court called “an administrative day”, Wimmer’s attorney went before a judge Wednesday in a High Point, North Carolina courtroom to hear the charges and receive the court date. Wimmer was not required to appear yesterday. Wimmer has said publiclly he knows what he did was wrong and now wants to help others not to make the same mistake.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-11-2004)
  • Good Answer: Angie Mesimer, a fabricator for #49 BAM Racing and Nextel Cup driver Ken Schrader, turned down an offer from Playboy magazine to pose for a “Women of Racing” photo spread. “I am in racing because I love racing, I love working on race cars and I love the competition,” said Mesimer, a 32-year-old single mother of two. “I have no interest in a magazine like Playboy anyway, unless they want to talk about building and working on race cars.”(Delaware News Journal)(3-11-2004)
  • Atlanta Racing Rally UPDATE: Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Senator Mike Crotts will host an Atlanta racing rally on Thursday at the Georgia State Capitol, and fans are invited and encouraged to attend and show their support for the sport. Gov. Perdue will host a news conference at 11 a.m. on the north side of the State Capitol building downtown. Fans interested in attending should be at the Capitol by 10:30 a.m. NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Terry Cook, Carl Edwards, Tina Gordon, Bill Lester, Chase Montgomery and Kelly Sutton, as well as Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith and Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark are all expected to attend the news conference. A variety of showcars and simulators will line the street next to the Capitol, including the No. 97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie car of Kurt Busch, two Newell Rubbermaid Hummers, the No. 88 UPS car of Dale Jarrett, the No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel truck simulator, the NEXTEL mini-experience, the No. 24 Bang! Racing truck, the AMS pace car and a pair of Richard Petty Driving Experience cars.(AMS PR)(3-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue drove a Richard Petty Experience race car around the Capitol building in Atlanta today as part of the state’s second annual NASCAR Day observance, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The story says Atlanta Motor Speedway’s two Nextel Cup race weekends are estimated to bring in $455 million a year to the Atlanta economy, more than the combined total of all other sporting events in the city. NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Terry Cook, Carl Edwards, Tina Gordon, Bill Lester, Chase Montgomery and Kelly Sutton were scheduled to be on hand, along with Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith and Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark.
    AND Georgia State Sen. Carol Jackson has announced the formation of a motorsports caucus for members of the state General Assembly, Atlanta Motor Speedway reports. The caucus is designed to promote the state’s racing industry. “Motorsports has a multibillion-dollar economic impact in Georgia,” Jackson said.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-11-2004)
  • #50 Sponsor Returns: Redneckjunk.com says it will sponsor Arnold Motorsports’ #50 Dodge and driver Derrike Cope again this weekend in the Golden Corral 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “The launch of redneckjunk.com went off in spectacular fashion, due in large part to our Cup sponsorship with the #50 car in Las Vegas,” said company CEO Tom Connelly. Financial terms were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-11-2004)
  • The King in SI – LINK: Richard Petty was the scheduled “essayist” in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, the national sports weekly. It runs as a full page in the magazine. The magazine has been running stories surrounding each of the 50 states and their sports and sports heritage over the past year. A top sports celebrity from the state was chosen to write a full-page essay. Petty’s appears this week. Petty is NASCAR’s winningest Nextel Cup driver with nearly twice as many race victories as any other, and the winner of a record seven national driving championships.(Williams Company PR)(3-11-2004)
    See the story on the SI site: NASCAR’s King – The racing legend on how stock cars sped to the forefront in his home state by Richard Petty.(3-11-2004)
  • Andretti to testify in DC UPDATE statement link: John Andretti is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday during a hearing regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to allow Congress to prohibit flag burning. Andretti, who is running a partial schedule for Dale Earnhardt Inc. this season, will be joined by four others when his panel meets with the committee. Joining Andretti are Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady of Citizens Flag Alliance; Richard Parker, a Harvard law professor; Gary May, associate professor of social work at the University of Southern Indiana; and Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2004)
    STATEMENT: The following is a link to the Statement by John Andretti, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Driver, to the Committee on the Judiciary, The United States Senate, on Senate Joint Resolution 4, “Letting The People Decide: The Constitutional Amendment Authorizing Congress To Prohibit Physical Desecration of the Flag of the United States.” It was given Tuesday morning, March 10. “Good morning. My name is John Andretti. I want to thank the members of the Judiciary Committee for holding this hearing. And thank you, also, for inviting me to talk on a matter that is of importance to me and the great majority of Americans – protecting their flag from acts of physical desecration.” See full Andretti statement at: Williams Company site – Andretti to US Senate Judiciary Committee.(3-10-2004)
    AND see story at the Indy Star: Racer, veteran take sides on flag amendment.(3-11-2004)
  • Sauter…oops UPDATE 2: In a pre-race drivers meeting several weeks ago, drivers were warned by NASCAR President Mike Helton, to watch their language and to maintain a suitable level of decorum during live television (and radio) interviews in the wake of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl halftime show. Helton said. “We have a policy about profanity, and that is under more of a microscope today than it ever has been.” Following the Sam’s Town 300 Busch Series race at LVMS, Johnny Sauter, driver of the #27 Kleenex Pontiac, had a bone to pick with Michael Waltrip and let loose a string of expletivities during a post-race radio interview. NASCAR may come down hard on him, to make an example of what shouldn’t be done. If penalties are in order, they will probably be announced by next Tuesday.(Insider Racing News)(3-9-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has fined Johnny Sauter $10,000, deducted 25 NASCAR Busch Series championship driver points and placed him on probation through Dec. 31 for using inappropriate language following the NASCAR Busch Series race on March 6 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sauter, driver of the #27 Pontiac in the NASCAR Busch Series, was penalized under Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Use of improper language.) for his comments during a post-race broadcast interview. The loss of 25 driver points dropped him from second to fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings, with an adjusted total of 425 points. The use of inappropriate language and NASCAR’s lack of tolerance for such behavior was brought to the attention of all drivers by NASCAR President Mike Helton during the drivers’ meeting held for the NASCAR Busch Series on Feb. 21 and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on Feb. 22 during the race weekend at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.(NASCAR PR)(3-10-2004)
    UPDATE 2 – Comments: Johnny Sauter, who accidentally cursed during a PRN Radio Busch Series post race interview Saturday at Las Vegas, talked Wednesday with PRN’s Mark Garrow following NASCAR handing down its penalties. Sauter said “Obviously Mike Helton and everybody at NASCAR made a precedence in the drivers meeting at Rockingham that they weren’t gonna allow that stuff anymore, and in the heat of the battle I accidentally said something I shouldn’t have said. For the most part, I’m okay with the fine part of it but as far as the points go I don’t really feel it’s fair to penalize the team, and we’re definitely taking the precautions right now to appeal it.” Sauter added, “Obviously you don’t plan for stuff like that to happen. I mean, it’s not like I sit there and say, oh goodie here comes the radio or the TV and I can’t wait to say what I’ve got on my mind. It’s things that happen in the heat of the battle and obviously I think there are times that a microphone needs to be shoved in your face and there’s times it shouldn’t be. But, for the most part I did all the things I needed to do to apologize. I called Matt (Kenseth) and apologized to him and obviously I apologized to Dave Blaney. Like I said, it’s just one of those things that happened and it’s not going to happen again and for the most part we’re just gonna dig deep and go on.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-11-2004)


    (3-10-2004)

  • Sad News: Mark Rogers, longtime employee of RJ Reynolds and its Sports Marketing Enterprises division, passed away early Tuesday morning following a long and courageous battle with cancer. Information about services: Friday, March 12th, 6:00 – 8:00pm/et, Visitation at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home, 305 Bethania-Rural Hall Road, Rural Hall, NC 27045 (336) 969-5593. On Saturday, March 13th at 7:00pm/et, there will be a celebration of Life for Mark Rogers at Faith United Methodist Church, 1723 Old Griffin Rd. Rural Hall, NC 27045 (336) 969-4600.(3-10-2004)
  • Evernham cars get some spinach for July Daytona Race UPDATE: hearing that the #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne and the #19 Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield will sport Popeye The Sailorman 75th Anniversary schemes in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July.[no images…yet](1-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports, King Features, Action Performance, Dodge and America’s Favorite Sailor will unveil the #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW/Popeye Dodges on Friday, March 12, 2004 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It will celebrate Popeye’s 75th Anniversary.(3-10-2004)
  • NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Atlanta Nuggets: Bill Elliott [not entered] leads all active drivers with five Bud Poles at Atlanta. The last spring race that was won at Atlanta by the Bud Pole sitter dates back to 1979 (Buddy Baker). The last time a race was won by the Bud pole winner at Atlanta was in November 1996 (Bobby Labonte). The best finish by a Bud Pole winner on the new track size was second by Jerry Nadeau in November 2000. Ryan Newman has competed in only four races at Atlanta. He won both Bud poles there in 2003 and has started sixth or better in all four. He is the only driver to post top 10 starts in the last four races at Atlanta.
    A Chevrolet won both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Atlanta in 2003. Owner Joe Gibbs has seven wins in the last 15 races at Atlanta. Gibbs drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte have both dominated at Atlanta in recent years. Labonte has scored six victories and 11 top-five finishes in his last 15 races at Atlanta while Stewart has scored five straight top-10 finishes at Atlanta, a streak that began there in November 2001. Stewart has led at least one lap in every one of those races. Dale Earnhardt Jr., is the only other driver that has led at least one lap in each of the last five races at Atlanta. Stewart has scored one victory (March 2001) and four top-five finishes in his last four races at Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt (nine) and Cale Yarborough (seven) are the only drivers with more Atlanta victories than Bobby Labonte (six). Richard Petty also had six Atlanta victories. Ryan Newman has led at least one lap in all four races that he has competed in at Atlanta. Bill Elliott is the only active driver to sweep both Atlanta races (1985 and 1992). Ward Burton has been running at the finish in the 17 Atlanta races since November 1995. The Earnhardts’ have been tough competitors at Atlanta in years gone by. Dale Earnhardt scored nine victories there and still holds the record for the most victories at the Georgia superspeedway. Dale Jr., has scored five straight finishes of seventh or better at Atlanta – streak currently matched only by Tony Stewart.
    Kevin Harvick finished first and third in his first two races at Atlanta. Harvick has not been able to crack the top 15 in his last four races there. Mark Martin finished 42nd and 39th in both Atlanta races in 2003. Martin has scored two victories and 17 top-10 finishes at the Georgia track in 36 races there.
    The “New Configuration” – 1.54 mile configuration completed November 1997. 16 drivers have raced in all 13 races since November 1997. Bobby Labonte won five of the 13 races. Bobby Labonte scored nine top-five finishes in those 13 races. Bobby Labonte led 766 laps at Atlanta since 1997, the most of all drivers. Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon have each scored nine top 10 finishes in the 13 races on the new track. Of the 16 drivers who have competed in all 13 races at Atlanta, only Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd have failed to lead on this configuration. Six drivers scored top-10 finishes in both races at Atlanta in 2003: Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmy Spencer and Joe Nemechek. Bobby Labonte (five) and Jeff Gordon (three) are the only drivers to score multiple victories on the new configuration. Jeff Gordon (1,905 points) has outscored all drivers in the 13 races on the new configuration. Dale Jarrett scored 1,861 and Bobby Labonte has scored 1,859. They are the top-three point scorers at Atlanta since 1997. Matt Kenseth is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in each of the first three races this season. Kenseth scored a season-high 25 top-10 finishes in 36 races last season.
    Michael Waltrip has finished 37th, 41st, 38th, 33rd and 37th in his last five races dating to Rockingham last fall. Waltrip, who finished 15th in the final 2003 point standings, is currently 38th in the point standings, his lowest points ranking after the first three races of a season in his 19-year career. Waltrip has finished in the final top-20 point standings in 14 of his 19 seasons.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-10-2004)
  • Busch’s Pit Crew Wins Award: Las Vegas Pit Crew Win Goes To Kurt Busch’s Team; Sadler’s Crew Moves Into First Place. Three races, three different winners and three different point leaders. That’s how the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade has fared at the first three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events of the 2004 season. The latest McDonald’s/POWERade winner to claim the $20,000 weekly prize is Kurt Busch’s pit crew, which had the best performance for participating teams in Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The victory by Busch’s crew follows wins by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew in Rockingham and Tony Stewart’s crew in Daytona. The victory lifted Busch’s pit crew into third place in the overall McDonald’s/POWERade standings with 113 points. Elliott Sadler’s No. 38 crew leads the chase for the $200,000 season-ending bonus with 118 points. Stewart’s crew is second with 115 points. Busch’s No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road in Las Vegas — 267.302 seconds. Bobby Labonte’s Chevrolet was a close second with a time of 267.465. Sadler’s Ford was clocked at 269.395 to finish third. “These guys have done a great job in all three races this year,” said Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for the No. 97 team. “On Sunday we were a little too aggressive on our set-up and we were making some pretty significant adjustments to the car every time we came into the pits. So to win the McDonald’s/POWERade championship says a lot about how great these IRWIN guys have been. We came in six times and picked up a couple of spots on three of those stops. We were consistent on our times and that’s our goal for the year.” Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can).See results and standings on my Pit Crew Page.(3-10-2004)
  • Series Champ gets to test Cup car: Championship Auto Racing Series says its 2004 Stock Car and Super Truck points champions plus a “wildcard driver” in each division will get to test Penske-Jasper Racing’s No. 77 Nextel Cup Dodge at season’s end. The sanctioning body says it is running the program in conjunction with Jasper Engines & Transmissions and Indianapolis Raceway Park.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-10-2004)
  • Gordon to host Fan Fest: Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has announced the signing of NASCAR driver Robby Gordon to host a series of Fan Fest events at its casinos and to help raise awareness for its “March For Meals” program with the Meals On Wheels Association of America. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-10-2004)
  • #2 Penske Team changes Pit Crew..again: Penske Racing South has undergone some personnel changes that will be in effect this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Bill Wilburn, who served as driver Rusty Wallace’s crew chief last season and moved into the role of shop foreman this season for the #77 Dodges and driver Brendan Gaughan, will return to his old role changing tires for Wallace’s team, sources confirmed Wednesday. Wilburn will continue working with the #77 during the week, but will take over as front tire changer on Wallace’s team this weekend, sources said. Wallace’s team has tried several different people on its pit crew since the season started and decided to return to an experienced veteran. Wilburn began his career in the NASCAR Dash Series and his Cup career dates back to the Cliff Stewart Racing Team in 1982. Wilburn was part of Stewart’s 1984 effort that helped Wallace win the rookie-of-the-year title. He has worked with Mike Curb Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports and in full- and part-time efforts at Penske since 1992. In addition to Wilburn’s change, Aaron Oakley, an aerodynamics specialist with Ryan Newman’s #12 Dodges, will move into the spotter’s role for the team this weekend, replacing Penske Racing South general manager John Erickson in that position, sources said. Oakley worked with Erickson last weekend at Las Vegas in the spotters’ stand and the team was impressed with his performance, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-10-2004)
  • Biffle and Richert Experience A True Driving Machine: It may not reach speeds of 188.387mph but at a top speed of 45 mph, it can run over pretty much anything that gets in its way. At almost twice the horsepower of a NASCAR Nextel Cup racecar, the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank was a whole new beast to tame for Greg Biffle and Doug Richert, driver and crew chief of the #16 National Guard Ford. They got the opportunity to each try their hand at driving the 60-ton machine last weekend at the National Guard training facility in Las Vegas, Nev. “That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” said Biffle. “It’s amazing how much horsepower those tanks have and how fast such a heavy piece of equipment like that can go. It was a pretty smooth ride but I think I got some air in it coming out of one of those holes out there in the desert.” Biffle and Richert drove the tanks as part of the footage for a National Guard DVD, which will compare the crew of a NASCAR Nextel Cup team with an M1 Abrams Tank crew. The rest of the #16 National Guard team were filmed at the shop in Concord, N.C. as well as at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in order to show the work and preparation that goes into getting the car ready each weekend. Several Guard members also took their turn in front of the camera at the training center in Las Vegas performing the daily tasks required to maintain and operate the M1. “I have a lot of respect for what these Guard members do,” said Richert. “It’s pretty cool to have such a close partnership with them and be able to come out here and experience a little bit of what they do. We always have a few Guard members in our pit every weekend now and they get to see some of what we do on the race team but this is the first time we’ve really gotten to see much of their side of it. These tanks are just amazing and I have a lot of respect for the men and women who both work on them and operate them. The cool thing is that they have the same team concept that we do and it takes everyone involved to make things run smoothly.”(Roush Racing PR)(3-10-2004)
  • MADD Wants Wimmer Suspended if Convicted: A Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD] executive said that NASCAR should suspend Nextel Cup rookie Scott Wimmer if he is convicted of driving while impaired. Scott Wimmer was arrested Jan. 31 on suspicion of driving while impaired. “I realize (racing is) driving on private property. But still, it’s sort of saying, ‘It’s OK to go out there and drink and drive,’ ” said Cheryl Jones, vice president of field operations for MADD national. Wimmer faces a preliminary court hearing Wednesday after being arrested Jan. 31 in High Point, NC. Jones, who lives in Charlotte, said a first-time offender should expect to receive only a “slap on the wrist” from North Carolina courts if convicted. A multirace suspension, she said, is “just something I think NASCAR needs to look into” if Wimmer is convicted. She said she realizes racing is Wimmer’s livelihood. “But he could have taken someone’s life away from them,” Jones said. “It’s a serious crime.” NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said that officials will wait for the courts to rule on Wimmer’s case before deciding what additional punishment, if any, he will face from NASCAR.(USA Today)(3-10-2004)
  • Budweiser Announcement UPDATE 2:
    there will be some sort of Budweiser Racing announcement on Tuesday, March 9th: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Anheuser-Busch executives are scheduled to make a news announcement.(fingerprint inc./Bud Racing PR)(3-7-204)
    UPDATE: on Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch is expected to announce that it will extend Junior’s contract with sponsor Budweiser for at least three years.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-8-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) officials announced today at Anheuser-Busch’s annual national sales convention that NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has renewed his sponsorship agreement with Budweiser through a multi-year extension. “Budweiser’s sponsorship of Dale Jr. gives us a proven winner on and off the track with a celebrity who is easily connected to Budweiser and highly recognizable among adult beer drinkers,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president, Global Media & Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Dale Jr.’s popularity reaches a great number of racing fans, including many of our wholesalers, brewery workers and retailers through his winning record, contemporary appeal and confidence as a driver.” Earnhardt Jr., the winner of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, has driven the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet since 1999. That season, he appeared in a limited schedule of five NASCAR Winston Cup Series events while racing full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series. “It’s really cool to be sponsored by Budweiser because of the great history they have in motorsports,” said Earnhardt Jr. “Anheuser-Busch has supported my career since I drove in the Busch Series where I won a couple of titles, and they’ve been with me every step of the way since then.” Budweiser first sponsored a team in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1983, and seven years ago, Budweiser became the “Official Beer of NASCAR,” cementing the brand’s place among stock car racing’s elite sponsors. Budweiser also sponsors the Bud Pole Award in 11 NASCAR racing divisions, as well as the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona for top NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers. In 1983, Budweiser sponsored NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Terry Labonte. The following year, the brand joined legendary team owner Junior Johnson and drivers Darrell Waltrip and Neil Bonnett. Waltrip won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series title for the “King of Beers” in 1985. In 1992, driver Bill Elliott took the wheel of Johnson’s Budweiser car and won five events, including four in a row. Ultimately, Elliott finished second to the late Alan Kulwicki in the closest season championship finish in series history. Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven and Wally Dallenbach have also worn the Budweiser red and white in recent years. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Budweiser Chevrolet bears number eight, the same number used by his grandfather, NASCAR legend Ralph Earnhardt. The elder Earnhardt is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and was named as one of the top-50 drivers in NASCAR’s first 50 years. The number eight also is significant as it was on Dale Earnhardt’s car when he began his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in 1975. Budweiser also supports NHRA Top Fuel driver Brandon Bernstein and Miss Budweiser unlimited hydroplane driver Dave Villwock.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(3-10-2004)


    (3-9-2004)

  • Start #600 for Schrader: Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge head to the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway this week for Sunday’s Golden Corral 500. Sunday’s race will be the 600th NASCAR Cup start of Schrader’s career. Driver of the Schwan’s Home Service Dodge, 48-year-old Schrader, is a native of Fenton, Mo., and the busiest driver in major league motorsports, Schrader has raced on virtually every type of speedway in virtually every type of race car, and continues a winning career that has seen him win over $20 million. The thoughts of #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Atlanta: “If you were to catch me at a certain time, I might tell you that Atlanta is just another race at another track. But, that wouldn’t be entirely true. Atlanta will always be special to me and I suppose after Sunday it will carry a bit more meaning. Historically the Atlanta Motor Speedway has always been a place where we run well. We’ve won there before so, of course I’ll always remember it for that. But, when they give the command to fire the engines on Sunday that will be start Number 600 for my Cup career. Occasionally you reach a number, which is really all it is, that someone will label a milestone and then they’ll ask you to reflect back. When we started out racing in Cup over 20 years ago, I never thought about start number 600. Shoot ,I was just worried if I would get start number two! Honestly, I just feel fortunate that I have been able to race for this long at this level. Someone told me that I’ll be the 16th driver in Cup history to reach 600 starts… not everyone has had that opportunity, so I guess it’s pretty neat to know I’ll be one of the few who were fortunate enough to get to 600.(Williams Company PR)(3-9-2004)
  • Dale Jr. to test at Kentucky this week: Kentucky Speedway says Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to test Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s No. 8 Chevrolet on Thursday. Earnhardt Jr. had announced Sunday afternoon that the team would test on the 1.5-mile track after a 35th-place finish in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 that saw him fall from first to seventh in the Nextel Cup driver standings. “I know it’s going to be a black Monday at the shop, but I also know we’re going to do an awful lot of laps in testing this week at Kentucky to figure out what was wrong,” said Earnhardt Jr. The track says spectators are permitted to watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-9-2004)
  • Chevy Looking for Help? the GM camp is uietly lobbying NASCAR for a new nose for their one-year old Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The very same nose that led to a near panic in ‘03 when it’s odd shape seemed to give the Monte a lot of bang for the buck.(Ford Racing)(3-9-2004)
  • Dodges in 2005? UPDATE 3 Charger to be RWD in 2005: many readers have asked what Dodge model will run in 2005 as the Intrepid will no longer be made. Have heard the Chargers, the Stratus [Prowler? just kidding…], Friday, Claire B. Lang of NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radiom, talked to a Ddoge Rep. who said they are still racing Intrepids in 2004, and not sure what is up for 2005, said Dodge already knows, but no one else does. I have not heard past the few rumors posted here. I was told my a Dodge PR person, that the Dodge teams were told to refer their cars as a ‘Dodge’ NOT a ‘Dodge Intrepid’ plus the 2004 headlight decals do not match up with an Intrepid.(3-6-2004)
    UPDATE: John Fernandez, director of Dodge motorsports operations, confirmed Saturday the manufacturer will submit a new entry to replace the Intrepid for competition in NASCAR beginning with the 2005 season. Since its return to NASCAR in the 2001 season, Dodge has used the Intrepid, but parent company DaimlerChrysler has elected to stop production of the street version of the vehicle after this year. “NASCAR would very much like us to run models that are current production models. With the Intrepid going away this year, we have been working very closely with NASCAR to try figure out what we’re going to do in the future and specifically next year to make sure we have a product on the race track that will look like and sound like a car that we have on the road,” Fernandez said. “What I can’t tell you is what exactly that car is. But next year you can look for us to have a new product out there on the track.” Fernandez said with NASCAR’s common templates, it is difficult to get any race car to resemble a production vehicle. He said Dodge is more concerned with manufacturer recognition by fans rather than specific type of vehicle. “We will certainly try to distinquish our car as much as we possibly can and NASCAR likes to have model designations out there,” he said. “In truth, what we are trying to do is show the public that we have Dodge-brand products out there. If they see our cars, we would like for them to recognize them as Dodges; if they recognize them as Dodge Intrepids that’s even better.” Any new car model to be considered for competition in the 2005 season, must be submitted for initial consideration no later than July 1, 2004, according to Nextel Cup rules.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-7-2004)
    UPDATE 2: DaimlerChrysler’s current focus is on building distinctive cars, and its submission for the 2005 NASCAR season will have a retro look and name — Magnum and Charger have been mentioned. Dodge’s target date to complete the car is June 1 so it can be submitted to NASCAR by July 1.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-8-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Dodge will add a full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan to its lineup next year, company sources said. The car draws inspiration from the Dodge Charger muscle car of the late 1960s, said a person familiar with the program who spoke on condition that he not be identified. He said the car likely will be called the Charger. Spokesman Jason Vines declined comment, citing the company’s policy not to talk about future products. Sources said the sedan will be developed off the automaker’s rwd LX platform, which is shared by the 2005 Chrysler 300 sedan and the Dodge Magnum wagon. The 340-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is the centerpiece of the LX models. While the Magnum has drawn favorable comments from the automotive press, some Dodge dealers are worried about marketing a wagon without a full-sized family sedan. Intrepid production ended last summer, and dealers have been pressing the automaker for a sedan. The Dodge sedan will be the third derivative based on the LX platform. At least one other LX derivative is planned, said a Chrysler group insider. In Chrysler parlance, LX derivatives are defined as models with extensive sheet metal differences. Meanwhile, the company is studying whether to develop a police package for one of the LX cars. Representatives of the California Highway Patrol and Michigan State Police have driven a car with the package, said Burke Brown, chief engineer for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum.(Autoweek)(3-9-2004)


    The Next Dodge in NASCAR? The Charger?
    This is the supposed Charger, no way this fits NASCAR templates
    On Weds Wind Tunnel, Peter DeLorenzo of Autoextremist.com
    said Dodge will come out with a 4 door sedan, but says
    he doesn’t see how it will retain the lines and fit the templates

  • Mobil 1 Awards Six $5,000 Scholarships to NASCAR Technical Institute: ExxonMobil has awarded six students a Mobil 1 Scholarship to the prestigious NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, NC. Each student is receiving $5,000 towards pursuing his/her automotive technician career goals. The NASCAR Technical Institute, the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR, is the country’s first technical training school to combine a complete automotive technology program and a NASCAR-specific motorsports program. The winners: Bradley DeFord of Kingsport, TN: Jason Newman of Kettering, OH; Nathan Evans of Port St. Lucie, FL; Dongnhi Totrong of Beaver Dam, KY.; Sharon Rursch of Clinton, IA; and John Glenn of Cobbs Creek, VA. The Mobil 1 Scholarships were developed to address the shortage of automotive technicians. The Institute is located in Mooresville, NC., better known as Race City USA, where nearly 75 percent of NASCAR teams are based. The recipients of the Mobil 1 Scholarship were selected based on a 200-word essay describing their automotive experience, automotive career goals and their desire to enter into the automotive aftermarket industry, NTI good standing, completion of at least nine phases of NTI training and cumulative grade point average.(PR)(3-9-2004)

    (3-9-2004)

  • Sauter…oops: In a pre-race drivers meeting several weeks ago, drivers were warned by NASCAR President Mike Helton, to watch their language and to maintain a suitable level of decorum during live television (and radio) interviews in the wake of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl halftime show. Helton said. “We have a policy about profanity, and that is under more of a microscope today than it ever has been.” Following the Sam’s Town 300 Busch Series race at LVMS, Johnny Sauter, driver of the #27 Kleenex Pontiac, had a bone to pick with Michael Waltrip and let loose a string of expletivities during a post-race radio interview. NASCAR may come down hard on him, to make an example of what shouldn’t be done. If penalties are in order, they will probably be announced by next Tuesday.(Insider Racing News)(3-9-2004)
  • Dodges in 2005? UPDATE 3 Charger to be RWD in 2005: many readers have asked what Dodge model will run in 2005 as the Intrepid will no longer be made. Have heard the Chargers, the Stratus [Prowler? just kidding…], Friday, Claire B. Lang of NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radiom, talked to a Ddoge Rep. who said they are still racing Intrepids in 2004, and not sure what is up for 2005, said Dodge already knows, but no one else does. I have not heard past the few rumors posted here. I was told my a Dodge PR person, that the Dodge teams were told to refer their cars as a ‘Dodge’ NOT a ‘Dodge Intrepid’ plus the 2004 headlight decals do not match up with an Intrepid. Past news on my Past Dodge News and links page.(3-6-2004)
    UPDATE: John Fernandez, director of Dodge motorsports operations, confirmed Saturday the manufacturer will submit a new entry to replace the Intrepid for competition in NASCAR beginning with the 2005 season. Since its return to NASCAR in the 2001 season, Dodge has used the Intrepid, but parent company DaimlerChrysler has elected to stop production of the street version of the vehicle after this year. “NASCAR would very much like us to run models that are current production models. With the Intrepid going away this year, we have been working very closely with NASCAR to try figure out what we’re going to do in the future and specifically next year to make sure we have a product on the race track that will look like and sound like a car that we have on the road,” Fernandez said. “What I can’t tell you is what exactly that car is. But next year you can look for us to have a new product out there on the track.” Fernandez said with NASCAR’s common templates, it is difficult to get any race car to resemble a production vehicle. He said Dodge is more concerned with manufacturer recognition by fans rather than specific type of vehicle. “We will certainly try to distinquish our car as much as we possibly can and NASCAR likes to have model designations out there,” he said. “In truth, what we are trying to do is show the public that we have Dodge-brand products out there. If they see our cars, we would like for them to recognize them as Dodges; if they recognize them as Dodge Intrepids that’s even better.” Any new car model to be considered for competition in the 2005 season, must be submitted for initial consideration no later than July 1, 2004, according to Nextel Cup rules.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-7-2004)
    UPDATE 2: DaimlerChrysler’s current focus is on building distinctive cars, and its submission for the 2005 NASCAR season will have a retro look and name — Magnum and Charger have been mentioned. Dodge’s target date to complete the car is June 1 so it can be submitted to NASCAR by July 1.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-8-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Dodge will add a full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan to its lineup next year, company sources said. The car draws inspiration from the Dodge Charger muscle car of the late 1960s, said a person familiar with the program who spoke on condition that he not be identified. He said the car likely will be called the Charger. Spokesman Jason Vines declined comment, citing the company’s policy not to talk about future products. Sources said the sedan will be developed off the automaker’s rwd LX platform, which is shared by the 2005 Chrysler 300 sedan and the Dodge Magnum wagon. The 340-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is the centerpiece of the LX models. While the Magnum has drawn favorable comments from the automotive press, some Dodge dealers are worried about marketing a wagon without a full-sized family sedan. Intrepid production ended last summer, and dealers have been pressing the automaker for a sedan. The Dodge sedan will be the third derivative based on the LX platform. At least one other LX derivative is planned, said a Chrysler group insider. In Chrysler parlance, LX derivatives are defined as models with extensive sheet metal differences. Meanwhile, the company is studying whether to develop a police package for one of the LX cars. Representatives of the California Highway Patrol and Michigan State Police have driven a car with the package, said Burke Brown, chief engineer for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum.(Autoweek)(3-9-2004)
  • NASCAR TV in Japan: NASCAR announced a broadcasting partnership with Nippon Television Network (NTV), Japan’s top-rated commercial TV broadcaster. This three-year deal strengthens NASCAR coverage in Japan and brings viewers the excitement and teamwork of the world’s most competitive motorsports series. Through this exclusive partnership with NTV, NASCAR will develop its presence in Japan and continue to make it one of the sport’s leading international markets. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will be seen on NTV’s broadcast channel G+, while NTV will integrate NASCAR segments throughout their sports programming. Nippon Television Network, Japan’s largest television broadcaster, will customize their NASCAR coverage and take their audience inside NASCAR. All race broadcasts will be customized with Japanese commentary and graphics to provide unique coverage to Japanese viewers. NASCAR begins the 2004 season with an expanded global reach that includes weekly television broadcasts in more than 150 countries and in 23 languages. This year, NASCAR’s international broadcast partners will air more than 4,000 hours of NASCAR-related programming outside the U.S.(NASCAR PR)(3-9-2004)
  • Vegas TV Ratings Down: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 drew the highest overnight rating of weekend sports events, but its 5.5 rating and 12 share were 13 percent lower than last year’s 6.3/13, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The race easily outdrew ABC’s 3.7/8 for Sunday’s National Basketball Association game between the Lakers and the Nets and NBC’s 3.2/7 for Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour’s Ford Championship. Last year’s final rating for the race on Fox was a 6.4/13.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-9-2004)

    (3-8-2004)

  • Suspect Noses? Evernham Motorsports Dodges qualified first [#9], sixth [#19] and 10th [#91] at Las Vegas, and other teams were suspicious about what advantage the Evernham crews had found. Rival manufacturers took pictures of the noses to examine the changes. The competitors discovered the noses were designed to offer greater downforce in the front and rear. “It’s totally legit,” one competitor says. “It’s so simple it makes you mad that you didn’t come up with it.” Although the Evernham cars were constructed completely within the rules, chances are NASCAR will develop a new body template that defines that nose area.(FoxSports/Sporting News), while walking along pitroad before the race, the #9 and #19 cars had the noses/grill area coveredd up and didn’t remove the covers until after the two cars fired up and just before the left pitroad.(3-8-2004)



    Suspect Noses? a pic of the #9 nose covered
    then exposed as the car was ready to roll
    and a comparison shot of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge.
    (I don’t see the difference)

  • ‘Lucky Dog’ rule….explained NASCAR President Mike Helton on Sunday issued a stern warning to drivers not to race back to the caution and clarified the sanctioning body’s position on allowing a lap back to the first car not on the lead lap. “I’m warning you drivers, crew chiefs, owners, spotters and whoever else has a role in this, if we are under the impression that you are racing back or still hauling it when the yellow comes out, then we’re going to put you on pit road,” Helton said at Sunday’s pre-race drivers meeting. “When the yellow comes out, you don’t race back. You don’t have to worry about looking in your mirror and wondering if a guy is going to come around you. If they do, we’re going to get them. If we get them, they’ll end up on pit road and be black-flagged and I don’t know yet how long they’ll stay there.” Last season NASCAR eliminated the practice of allowing cars to race back to the caution flag, enacting a rule freezing the field when a caution is displayed. Helton also announced a clarification for circumstances that unfolded in Saturday’s Busch race, when NASCAR decided to put the car receiving a lap back under caution to the tail end of the lead lap, rather than the tail end of the longest line, which it had done previously. Helton said after a review that officials decided they will place that car at the tail end of the longest line, regardless of the circumstances of the caution. “Yesterday we had a couple of cases of cautions coming out during green-flag stops. A lot of it has to do with circumstances,” Helton said. “There is a car that will get a free pass and move on. That car is determined when the caution comes out. What happens after that doesn’t make any difference. We did that a couple different ways yesterday and I apologize profusely.” Helton admitted there may be times when putting the car receiving its lap back at the tail end of the longest line may appear to allow that driver to gain positions on the track. Those instances, he said, are the result of cars pitting, not from the mere instance of putting the affected car on the tail end of the longest line.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-7-2004)
    Lucky Dog Winners on Sunday ay Las Vegas:
    Caution 1: #09-Benson
    Caution 2: #0-Burton
    Caution 3: #01-Nemechek
    Caution 4: #5-Labonte
    Caution 5: #77-Gaughan
    Caution 6: #40-Marlin.(3-8-2004)
  • New Ford Engines/Heads…not until California in May? It was reported during the PRN’s Pit Reporters radio show [Jayski is rumored to be on a future show] that the new Ford heads would not run until the race at California Speedway on May 2nd.
    UPDATE:…….And Roush thanked fellow engine man Robert Yates for helping pump up his engines, by perhaps as much as 40 horsepower. “We’ve had a chance to put together the best elements of both programs, and we’re about 80 percent of having everything together,” Roush said. “There was more improvement by marrying these two programs than in the new cylinder heads. I think we’ll have the new cylinder heads ready for the California race (May 2), possibly by Texas (April 7).”(Winston Salem Journal)(3-8-2004)
  • #99 Team Still Looking: While Jeff Burton has sponsorship through the Darlington event [Hot Wheels], Roush Racing president, Geoff Smith, is concerned that some might have the mistaken impression that the car no longer has sponsorship issues. “I hope that corporate America is not confused by sponsors that are appearing on Jeff Burton’s car,” Smith told TFR in Vegas. “But it ends at Darlington. The car will be white after that if we don’t have sponsorship.” Smith and his staff have pieced together sponsorships from Pennzoil for Vegas, SFK for Atlanta and the recently announced Hot Wheels deal for Darlington. “We’re actively looking,” Smith adds regarding the sponsorship search. “We’re working as hard as we can with a number of players who are trying to get involved in a very short timeframe.”(Ford Racing)(3-8-2004)
  • Not Sure What this means? [but I am about as sophisticated as a tack] If Kasey Kahne makes it big, as appears likely, DaimlerChrysler executives are considering marketing him with European Prada flair, according to Dodge officials.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-8-2004)
  • Joys Wins: Fox Sports/Speed Channel lead announcer Mike Joy and two-time Super Bowl champion Mike Cofer both scored wins at the Southern Nevada Dodge Dealers Dodge Showdown at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as part of NASCAR weekend. Joy competed against Jeff Hammond, Dick Berggren, Sean Pragano and Jeff Probst in the 20-lap Celebrity Challenge. Piloting Mechanix Wear Speed Trucks, the sports crew had fun and battled hard. At the halfway mark, Berggren was the race leader until the field was inverted for the last 10 laps. In the end it was Joy who held off Berggren and a hard charging Hammond, who spun and tapped the wall on the last lap. Berggren was second followed by Probst, Pragano and Hammond.(Las Vegas Motor Speedway PR)(3-8-2004)
  • Rusty Farewell Tour? #2-Rusty Wallace’s farewell tour could be the 2005 season, according to the team.(Winston Salem Journal), of note, XM Satellitte – NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang, interviewed Wallace over the weekend about the rumors that NASCAR was suggesting older drivers go part time, Wallace said he has no plans to run a part-time schedule and when he leaves, it will be full-bore, meaning no part-time deal. Wallace is also very excited and happy about his new Bsuch Series team, RWI, running Billy ‘Catfish’ Parker in the #66 Duraflame Dodge in a limited 2004 Busch Series schedule.(3-8-2004)
  • Drivers concerned about SAFER at Darlington, could test a day earlier: Drivers have expressed concern that the newly installed SAFER barriers at Darlington, a 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval, will eliminate the existing groove. The barrier juts out 30 inches into the track. Jeff Gordon is in favor of the SAFER barriers, but he says moving the walls before installing the barriers would have been a better option. “But I’d rather have it than not have it, so we’ll just deal with it,” Gordon says. “We do brush the wall there, which I don’t think is a real issue. I wouldn’t mind it being a little bit softer when I rub up against it.” The narrower groove will make racing tighter and passing more difficult. Because the racing conditions are expected to change so dramatically, NASCAR president Mike Helton says the organization is considering allowing teams to come in a day early to test.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-8-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings: [Note: all comments are made in the blurb by SCF, NOT Jayski]
    Nothing’s sweeter than a repeater, and we went back-to-back Jack! Matt Kenseth won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 today [March 7th] at Las Vegas MotorSpeedway….and he was much the best. In what looked like an instant replay from Rockingham two weeks ago, the names of the top two finishers were the same….only the margin of victory was changed to protect the innocent.
    Kenseth led 123 of the final 173 laps (including the last 38) to take his second win in a row (both on the season and at this speedway) and 9th of his Nextel Cup career. He’s now tied for 48th on the all-time win list with Paul Goldsmith, Ryan Newman, Cotton Owens, and Bob Welborn.
    This was career win #68 for Roush Racing….and their 5th victory in the 7 events held at LVMS. Matt’s take of the over $6M in posted awards was $458,828.
    Kasey Kahne was the bridesmaid again….beginning to see why there was such a legal fight over him, huh?
    Rules….Schmoolz!! I for one see almost no difference in the racing. I guess we’re gonna be treated to another week of “This week will really show the effect of the new rules” stories, but how long do they think we’re gonna buy this stuff! When you look at the stats of the two non-plate races thus far, last year’s numbers are still better than ’04. We had 20 lead changes last year at Rockingham among 11 drivers…this year was 15 among 6. Vegas last year was 17 changes among 10 drivers….this year was 18 among 10. Big difference, huh? About the only major number that’s changing is the tire bill!
    Gotta wonder if Fox was having technical problems today….sure took them a long time to get on the Dale Earnhardt Jr story. They didn’t seem to have any problem finding Fox employee Troy Aikman or John Elway tho….
    Mark Martin (5th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono last July.
    Elliott Sadler (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville last April.
    Casey Mears (7th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 15th here in last year’s race.
    Kyle Petty (12th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Talladega last April.
    Scott Riggs (29th) had his career-best finish today. He was 31st at Rockingham two weeks ago for his previous best.
    STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: For the second week in a row Kasey Kahne (2nd) is the top-finishing freshman. He was followed by Brendan Gaughan (22nd), Brian Vickers (23rd), Johnny Sauter (24th), Scott Riggs (29th), and Scott Wimmer (39th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Matt Kenseth (+24) is the Operator of the Week for the second race in a row. He was followed by Mark Martin (+22), Kyle Petty (+20), and Terry Labonte (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-31), followed by Michael Waltrip (-23), Kyle Busch (-23), Ryan Newman (-22), and Brian Vickers (-20).
    Kasey Kahne led today (twice for 43 laps) for the first time in his Cup career. Scott Riggs led one lap today for the first time in his Nextel Cup career.
    Of the 50 drivers in the point standings, only four of them occupy the same position as last week….and the change at the top is indicative of the movement we get early in the season. Matt Kenseth assumes the points lead and Dale Earnhardt Jr falls six spots to 7th. Is it too early to look at the transfer spot? (Sounds like we’re covering the heat races….)
    The big move forward in the standings this week goes to Kasey Kahne (21st to 8th), while Greg Biffle (14th to 27th) fell the comensurate number of spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(3-9-2004)
  • Tidbits/Notes from the race at Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth won the UAW-DAIMLER CHRYSLER 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, scoring his ninth career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 151st career start. His last victory came at one race ago at North Carolina Speedway.
    Kenseth’s second victory in 2004 marks the first time that the defending champion has scored back-to-back victories in his 151-race career.
    Kenseth became the first driver since Jeff Gordon (Martinsville and Atlanta, October 2003) to score back-to-back victories. Kenseth became the second driver to score two victories at Las Vegas, joining teammate Jeff Burton (1999 and 2000). Kenseth won this race one year ago.
    Today’s victory marked the fifth victory for Jack Roush in seven races at Las Vegas.
    Kenseth is the only driver to start the 2004 season with top-10 finishes in each of the first three races of the season. Kenseth finished ninth at Daytona and won at Rockingham.
    This is Kenseth’s second top-10 finish in five races at Las Vegas.
    Kenseth took over the point lead and won the NASACAR NEXTEL Leader bonus worth $30,000. This is the first time that the race winner was also the point leader since Sterling Marlin at Darlington in March 2002. This race was the second victory for Ford in 2004. Chevrolet has one victory this season.
    More Notebook Items:
    Rookie Kasey Kahne (second) scored his second runner-up finish in as many races. It marked the best finish by a rookie in the seven races at Las Vegas.
    This is the third straight race in 2004 that a rookie has finished in the top three. Scott Wimmer finished third at Daytona. Kahne finished second at Rockingham and at Las Vegas.
    Tony Stewart (third) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It is his fourth top-five finish in six races at Las Vegas.
    Jamie McMurray (fourth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Las Vegas.
    Mark Martin (fifth) scored his first top-10 finish in 2004. It was his best finish since he finished second at Pocono in June 2003, 26 races ago. This was his sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Las Vegas, more than any other driver.
    Casey Mears (seventh) scored his career-best NEXTEL Cup finish. This was Mears first top-10 finish in two races at Las Vegas. Mears finished 15th here in 2003 his rookie season.
    Kurt Busch (ninth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. Busch scored his first top-10 finish in four races at Las Vegas.
    Terry Labonte (17th) has been running at the finish in the last 45 races, a streak that began at Charlotte in October 2002.
    The six caution periods in today’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 tied the Las Vegas record (2001, 2002 and 2003) and the 37 caution laps set a new record at Las Vegas.(NASCAR Stats Service)(3-8-2004)

  • (3-7-2004)

  • Kenseth wins at Las Vegas…again; Kahne 2nd this week…again: #17-Matt Kenseth pretty much dominated the 2nd half of the UAW-Daimler-Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading 123 of the 267 laps and winning his 2nd race in a row of the season and his 2nd race in a row at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #9-Kasey Kahne, the pole sittter for the race, finished 2nd, the 2nd race in a row he has done that [Kenseth beat him at Rockingham also]. no photo finish this time [won by over 3 seconds]. Rounding out the top 5 were: #20-Tony Stewart, #42-Jamie McMurray and #6-Mark Martin. Kenseth alsi retauns the points lead and gets the $30,000 bonus for winning the race while being the points leader. Kenseth also lead at half-way, and picks up the halway bonus award for winning the race after leading halfway. #8-Earnhardt Jr. led the points coming into the race, but never had a good car all weekend and dropped out of the race, finishing 35th. #41-Casey Mears finished 7th, his first ever career top 10 in a Nextel Cup race [39th race].(see a story on ThatsRacin.com)
    See Results at ThatsRacin.comMotorSportsOne and NASCAR.com.(3-7-2004)
  • Noticed at the track: #9-Kasey Kahne has a few playing cards decaled on the side of the #9 Dodge, right in front of the rear wheel.
    Tires important? sitting behind the #42 pit, could see 5-6 team members working on 40 tires, checking air pressure, marking codes, putting tape on for the tire changer mark to line up with the stud, and something I never have seen, a silver disc of some sort, placed over the wheel, been told it is to keep the black wheels from the sun and keep them cooler. Also noticed the #32 team using the silver ‘discs’.
    The #89 Morgan Shepherd car was a Dodge, not a Ford as I reported earlier.
    Was walking along pitroad, when it seemed with no warning….the National Anthem was being played, crews towards the front of pit road scrambled to get lined up, Jayski immediatly stopped and took his cap off, putting his bald done in danger of sunburn but for a good reason.(3-7-2004)
  • Been awhile, HOF Racing, announces alliance with Hendrick: Hall of Fame Racing, a NASCAR team owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach that initailly announced plan to field a Cup/Busch team in 2003, today, announced an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports [HMS] to run a full-time team in 2005. HMS will provide HOF Racing equipment, resources and technology. The team headquarters will be based in Dallas, TX but the racing operation will be located in the Charlotte, NC area. HOF Racing’s primary objective is to locate a primary and associate sponsors, once secured the team will then focus on hiring team persoannel and a driver.(HOF Racing/Hendrick Motorsports PR), see past news on HOF Racing on my Hall of Fame Racing Past News and Links page.(3-7-2004)
  • Jeff Gordon invited to test F1 car: NASCAR Champ Jeff Gordon will get another chance to try the Williams Formula One car. The British team has invited the American driver for a four-day test later this year. Gordon tested with the Williams F1 team last year when the four-time world champion did a promotional car-swap with Montoya. Montoya tested Gordon’s NASCAR while Gordon tested Montoya’s Williams.The Williams team was impressed with Gordon’s performance and thus wanted to invite Gordon again for a bigger Formula One test. If Jeff Gordon would enter Formula One it would be a great help promoting Formula One in the States, though according to rumours Gordon can earn more in NASCAR than in Formula One.(F1Racing.net)(3-7-2004)
  • #02 and #50 sponsors, silmilar, not the same: the #02-Carl Long, Score Motorsports/Hermie Sadler owned Pontiac has a few sponsors at Vegas: RacingJunk.com also a water company, Liquid Salvation[Pure Water for an impure world] is supposedly an associate sponsor on the car, but it’s logo, a devil woman, was not allowed to be put on the car, supposedly NASACR squashed that decal. The #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge and driver Derrike Cope have Redneckjunk.com [which is nothing to do with RacingJunk.com].(3-7-2004)
  • Wimmer concerned: #22-Scott Wimmer is concerned about his court appearance next week in North Carolina for an administrative hearing on a drunken-driving charge [see #22 Team News and Links page for past news]. But he said that all his attention today will be on going to the front in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. “When I get back to High Point [NC], that’s when that’s all going to start. I’m really going to concentrate on the race here in Vegas,” Wimmer said Friday. “We’ll get back and deal with that and get it over with as soon as we can.” Wimmer faces charges of driving while impaired and hit and run stemming from an accident at the end of January near his home. The hearing is Wednesday. He flipped a pickup truck owned by Bill Davis Racing, which fields his #22 Caterpillar Dodge on the Nextel Cup circuit. The police report said that Wimmer had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit after Wimmer was found hiding behind a bed at his home. Wimmer, staying with the rest of his team at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, said that Las Vegas could be a challenging place for somebody facing a drunken-driving charge. “I’ve learned so much from it,” he said. “I can control myself and I make good decisions. You can have fun in this city without getting in trouble. I’m hoping that I’m doing the necessary steps to make sure I can race.” Wimmer leads the rookie standings and is fourth in points two races into the season. “It’s enjoyable when you run good and you’re in the paper for something good,” he said. “I’ve got great people behind me and I’ve got a job to do. You just go out there and do your job.”(Winston Salem Journal/AP)(3-7-2004)

    (3-6-2004)

  • Foam Confiscated From #29 Car: Several large chunks of foam were confiscated from the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy on Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR official said that it was removed from the fuel cell because the foam was cut at angles and the rule book clearly states that it needs to be squared off.(Insider Racing News)(3-6-2004)
  • Kid Goes For Joy Ride at Homestead: A teenager stole a luxury sports car, barreled through a security gate at Homestead-Miami Speedway and then sped four laps at 100 mph before he was arrested, police said. Feliphe Ramos, 18, stole the 2004 Infiniti G35 worth more than $30,000 from a hospital construction site Wednesday after the driver left the keys in the ignition, police said. The driver had been lent the G35 by a dealership while his car was being repaired. Police said Ramos then headed to the track, home of both NASCAR and Indy car races. He sped past guards, crashed through a security gate and then began doing laps. No other cars were on the track. After doing four laps, Ramos either lost control or stopped. Track workers held him for police. “He must have wanted to get on the track pretty bad,” speedway president Curtis Gray said. “Nothing like that has ever happened here before.”(Sarasota Herald-Tribune)(3-6-2004)
  • More Suspensions? The timing of the suspension handed down to Busch Series driver Kevin Grubb seems strange. Grubb, 25, apparently tested positive for substance abuse when such a test was demanded by NASCAR officials at Rockingham two weeks ago. Oddly enough, Grubb wasn’t entered in that race and, in fact, wasn’t even planning on competing in a race until April 3. He was merely present at the track when officials demanded that he submit a urine sample. According to several garage-area sources, six drivers were tested at Rockingham, and Grubb may not have been the only one to test positive. NASCAR’s policy does not require uniform or even random testing. Drivers are tested on the basis of “reasonable suspicion.”(Gaston Gazette), see more about Grubb’s suspension and his comments and plans on my Busch Series site.(3-6-2004)
  • More on the Rockingham ‘call’: Fan reaction has been strongly against NASCAR’s scoring calls at Rockingham, and a number of drivers and crews here continue to question NASCAR’s decisions in the final minutes of #17-Matt Kenseth’s victory over #9-Kasey Kahne and #42-Jamie McMurray But NASCAR’s John Darby said yesterday the right calls were made at Rockingham and the only change might have been to penalize McMurray for not slowing immediately after the yellow came out. “Ten days later we’re convinced we did the right thing,” Darby said. “We’ve had the opportunity to go back and extract data from not only the new scoring system but also TV telemetry and different areas. What we understand now is the situation was created more by Jamie not slowing down properly when the caution was displayed than any other ingredient. So Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne were put almost a lap down when they should not have been. We righted that. The question now is if the situation were to happen again, what would we change? If the situation were to happen here Sunday we would still ‘right’ Matt and Kasey and very possibly penalize Jamie for not slowing down.” Now comes the hard part for Darby and the rest of the NASCAR hierarchy – persuading Cup teams and fans, particularly car owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. “We haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with Felix and Chip, but we plan to this weekend,” Darby said.
    There are still a number of questions, which were being raised in several Cup rigs yesterday by confused and irate crewmen. Among the questions:
    NASCAR’s new scoring system, based on eight wires cut into the asphalt around the track to pinpoint the location of cars through transponders. That system is apparently only available to AOL subscribers willing to pay an extra fee; and it is apparently not available to teams or NASCAR officials at the track. Darby said it still has “some bugs to work out.”
    Second, Kenseth ran the stop sign at the end of pit road but wasn’t penalized. Darby said Kenseth “was instructed to do so by us.” Some who were monitoring NASCAR radio at the time disputed that, saying they heard no such command. The general issue of the use of a stop sign during a stop that began as a green-flag stop was in some dispute yesterday.
    Third, there is still the issue of just when does the yellow actually come out.
    Fourth, the basic issue that many in the garage have found it difficult to fathom how a driver can pit under green, be passed as the yellow comes out, and yet wind up with an advantage. At least one crew said it was the second time during the Rockingham race that NASCAR had made such a scoring error.(See full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
  • Andretti to testify in DC: John Andretti is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday during a hearing regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to allow Congress to prohibit flag burning. Andretti, who is running a partial schedule for Dale Earnhardt Inc. this season, will be joined by four others when his panel meets with the committee. Joining Andretti are Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady of Citizens Flag Alliance; Richard Parker, a Harvard law professor; Gary May, associate professor of social work at the University of Southern Indiana; and Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2004)
  • New Cams Installed on cars: Crew chiefs, worried about new aerodynamics issues, are upset with NASCAR’s surprising decision yesterday morning to order all teams to cut holes in the roof of their cars and install 360-degree TV cameras, quickly dubbed submarine cams.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
  • Spoiler Rules Change for the 2002 cars: NASCAR handed out new rear-spoiler rules yesterday, cutting the rear spoiler on 2002 models, effectively killing those cars, beginning with next week’s Atlanta race. The only driver using a 2002 model here is #72-Kirk Shelmerdine [Ford]. NASCAR officials apparently had a difficult time determining just what model car Shelmerdine brought here.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
  • What is up with Blaney? Bill Davis canceled Dave Blaney’s #23 entry at Las Vegas but still plans to run him at Atlanta. “The funding didn’t come together, so rather than do a half-hearted effort, we tested Atlanta and plan to run Dave there,” Mike Brown said. “That’s all we have on the agenda right now.”(Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
  • To the Back [3 drivers]: #50-Derrike Cope’s team changed engines after Friday’s practice and will fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday. Have been told that #24-Jeff Gordon’s car, damaged on the end of his 2nd qualifying lap, when he smacked the wall, will not have to to go to a back-up car and the team will repair it. #41-Casey Mears also smacked the wall in turn 4 on his qualifying lap, but didn’t suffer as much damage.(3-6-2004)
    UPDATE…well add J Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon, who damaged his car by hitting the wall on his qualifying lap Friday, had more trouble Saturday when he blew an engine in the first session. He’ll have to start at the rear of the field Sunday, as will Kevin Lepage after his team also made an engine change (ThatsRacin.com). Gordon was to start 20th, Lepage 35th.(3-6-2004)
  • Just The Stats: Las Vegas by ERaceFans: A statictical look at the drivers entered in Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400.
  • Sad News: Louie Unser, who served as chief mechanic for brothers Jerry and Al during their debuts at the Indianapolis 500, is dead at 71. Unser, who had multiple sclerosis, died Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif., according to a news release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which provided no further details. Louis was the twin brother of Jerry, who in 1958 became the first of the famed racing family to qualify for the Indy 500. Louie served as chief mechanic for Jerry in that race and handled the same duties for the debut of younger brother Al, in 1965. “If it wasn’t for Louie, I wouldn’t have made it at the speedway,” said Al, who won the Indy 500 four times. “He pushed me.” Louie was born 10 minutes after Jerry on Nov. 15, 1932, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The twins formed their own racing team in 1957. Jerry won the stock car championship that year, and Louie was mechanic of the year. Jerry gave his diamond championship ring to Louie, who wore it the rest of his life. Jerry died in an accident at the speedway in 1959. Louie retired after serving as crew chief for Al in 1965 and started an engine-building business in Southern California. He is survived by his wife, Laverne; a daughter, Lynn; brothers Bobby and Al; and three grandsons. Details of a memorial service planned for later this month have yet to be announced.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-5-2004)
  • Former NASCAR car builder fights for life; Leno doantes tickets: Ken Bainbridge says dying is the easy part. Oh, he promises to fight this cancer thing to the end, to his very last breath. But what really worries him is the family and friends he’ll be leaving behind. “There’s so many people I’m going to hurt,” he said. That’s typical of the man. Anyone in the auto racing community could tell you Bainbridge always put other people first. It didn’t matter if you were a top driver or a novice, or if you had two nickels to rub together. To the “Old Man,” everyone was a star. His garage was always open for you, along with his heart and wallet. Over the past three decades, Bainbridge has helped hundreds of auto racers in Western New York. During his heyday in the 1980s, Bainbridge’s transmissions were under the hood of nearly every modified on NASCAR’s Northeast circuit. Bainbridge built a dragster that’s on display at an auto racing museum in Florida. He’s built transmissions for Cale Yarborough, Kenny Schrader, Jimmy Spencer and Richie Evans. Last month, Bainbridge traveled to North Carolina to be with his family. Keith is a fabricator for Braun Racing. Ken Jr., a promising driver in his younger days, works as a gear and transmission specialist for Ultra Motorsports outside Charlotte. They are carrying on their dad’s legacy in racing’s heartland. Julicher says Ken Sr. could have been a wealthy man if he’d moved his business to the South, but Bainbridge said he was content with what he had here. When his four brothers began planning a benefit, his first reaction was “No way.’ He didn’t want to give the impression that he was something special, that he was better than anyone else. He didn’t want any newspaper article, either, because it might come off as boastful. The benefit is Saturday night, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the North Bailey Fire Hall in Amherst. The auto racing community has donated dozens of items for auction. Comedian Jay Leno, a noted car collector who is familiar with Bainbridge’s work, called personally and donated two tickets to “The Tonight Show.”(Buffalo News), more info on the benefit on my Racing Charities page.(3-5-2004)
  • Happy Hour practice is over at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The fastest were #38-Sadler at 169.598mph, #9-Kahne at 169.316 and #12-Newman at 169.279. Slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 158.173 and #89-Shepherd at 162.460. #02-Long didn’t practice. The practice will be televised via tape on FX at 7:00pm/et.
    See full field speeds at ThatsRacin.com or at NASCAR.com.(3-6-2004)
  • Saturday’s first practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over. The fastest were #2-Wallace at 170.369, #48-Johnson at 170.261 and #40-Marlin at 170.132. Slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 158.302 and #02-Long at 159.132. Have heard of no incidents/accidents. Pole Sitter #9-Kasey Kahne was 5th fastest and ran the most laps at 45, with #21-Ricky Rudd running 44 laps. Least number of laps run was #89-Shepherd at 6.
    See full field speeds at Thatsracin.com or NASCAR.com.(3-6-2004)
  • Qualifying Notes: Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400, lapping Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 30.874 seconds at 174.904 mph. He broke Bobby Labonte;s track-qualifying record of 31.211 seconds, 173.016 mph, set Feb. 28, 2003. Fifteen drivers posted speeds quicker than Labonte’s speed.
    This is Kahne’s first career Bud Pole in just three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races tying Mark Martin and Ryan Newman for the quickest that a driver has won a Bud Pole in the modern era [1972-present]
    A Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate has won a Bud Pole in each of the last nine years (1996-2004).
    The most recent driver to win a Bud Pole in his first start was Dick Hutcherson at Greenville- Pickens Speedway in March 1964.
    Kurt Busch had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 30.937 seconds at 174.548 mph and will join Kahne on the front row. It is his fourth top-10 start in his four races at Las Vegas.
    This is the second Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Ford has the other Bud Pole this season.
    Brian Vickers (third) and Brendan Gaughan (eighth) joined Kahne as three Rookie-of-the-Year candidates to post top-10 starts today.
    Jamie McMurray (fourth) and Greg Biffle (ninth) are the only drivers with three top-10 starts in 2004. It is McMurray’s first top-10 start in two races at Las Vegas and the first time Biffle has qualified here.
    Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third top-five start in his four races at Las Vegas.
    Kyle Busch (18th) qualified for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    Scott Wimmer, Derrike Cope and Carl Long used provisionals to make the field. Kirk Shelmerdine made the field based on qualifying attempts this season while Morgan Shepherd reverted to qualifying time to complete the 43-car field. Only one driver failed to qualify for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400: Larry Gunselman.
    There have been five different Bud Pole winners in seven races at Las Vegas. Dale Jarrett (1998 and 2001) and Bobby Labonte (1999 and 2003) are the only repeat Bud Pole winners at Las Vegas.
    Only one of the six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Las Vegas has been won from a top-10 starting position, the inaugural race in 1998 (Mark Martin’s seventh).
    The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Las Vegas was 24th by Jeff Gordon in 2001 and again by Sterling Marlin in 2002.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-6-2004)
  • Stockcarfans.com Ramblings: Three races….three different pole winners. At this rate next year’s Budweiser Shootout will have 38 starters! Think Ryan Newman will have something to say about that? Kasey Kahne backed up his practice time from earlier today by taking his first-ever Bud Pole with a speed of 174.904 (30.874 sec) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400. Nothing like giving the sponsor what they want…. Kahne’s pole comes in only his third Nextel Cup start….certainly way above average. His previous best was a third place start last race at Rockingham.
    Great day for the young guys….three rooks in the Top-8. He’ll be joined on the front-row by homeboy Kurt Busch. This will be his best starting spot since he had the pole at Homestead in November of 2002! Brendan Gaughan (8th) has his career-best starting spot. He started 15th at Rockingham two weeks ago.
    Scott Riggs (15th) has his career-best starting spot as well. He started 19th at Rockingham last race.
    Kyle Busch (18th) will be making his Cup debut….told you it was a good day for the fuzzy-cheeks.
    Welcome Back: Bill Elliott (10th) makes his first points race start of the year in his limited run. Morgan Shepherd (42nd) makes his first start since he started 43rd and finished same at Pocono last July.
    STREAKIN….Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Ryan Newman has 8 Top-10 starts in the last 9 races. Jeremy Mayfield has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    A short trouble train this weekend. Only lonely Larry Gunselman misses the field as we had a car count of 44 today. We’re digging deep into the rule book to qualify starters…..Like last race we’ve got an 11 mile an hour spread from pole to 43rd, and we may see some drivers listed as “parked” early again on Sunday.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(3-6-2004)


    (3-5-2004)

  • Darrell Waltrip’s autobiography “DW: A Lifetime Going Around in Circles” – will move to the number 13 position on the March 14 New York Times Best Seller list for non-fiction hardcover books. It debuted on the Best Seller list at number 15 in its first week of release. Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR champion and current FOX Sports analyst, will make several appearances to autograph copies of the book (released on G.P. Putnam & Sons/Penguin USA) at the following times and locales:
    Atlanta/ Buckhead area, March 11, Thursday at 6:30pm at Borders [3637 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA](fingerprint inc.PR)(3-4-2004)
    AND Darrell Waltrip will give viewers another installment of his “Hot Spot” feature this week, outlining a part of Las Vegas Motor Speedway that could present drivers with some problems. The segment made a solid debut last week, as Waltrip’s explanation of tough spots at Rockingham was proven repeatedly throughout the broadcast.(NASCAR.com)(3-5-2004)
  • Speedway Children’s Charities NASCAR Driver Auction raises $182,900: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities held its sixth annual NASCAR Driver Auction on Thursday, March 4 in Sam’s Town Live! at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas. The charity auction raised a record-setting $182,900 for the children of southern Nevada. For the second time in three years, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Rusty Wallace was the highest-bid driver, going for $9,000. Stacy Compton was the highest-bid NASCAR Busch Series driver at $4,600. NASCAR drivers making personal appearances at the auction included: Rusty Wallace, Sterling Marlin, Kyle Petty, Kyle Busch, Stacy Compton, David Green, Ron Hornaday, Mike Wallace, Jason Keller, Mike Bliss and Paul Wolfe. The evening also included a concert by country music stars The Randy Anderson Band and appearances by the USAF Thunderbirds and TV and motion picture star Mickey Jones. The auction has become a popular part of Las Vegas’ NASCAR weekend and last year raised $145,000 for the children of southern Nevada. Last December, the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities distributed $250,000 to 41 local causes which directly impact the lives of children in the Las Vegas and southern Nevada region.(LVMS PR)(3-5-2004)
  • #50 gets a sponsor for Vegas: Redneckjunk.com will sponsor Derrike Cope and the #50 Arnold Motorsports entry in this weekend’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The promotional activity is timed to coincide with the launch of the redneckjunk.com website, which will feature classified advertising for racing equipment, hunting and fishing gear, boats, and recreational vehicles. “We’re pleased that this opportunity came together, and that we have the privilege to become affiliated with a former Daytona 500 winner,” said Tom Connelly, CEO of the new site. “At redneckjunk.com we’re all about racing, and what better way to connect with race fans than with a sponsorship in the biggest motorsport series in America. We’re planning some really fun things on the site with the ‘redneck’ theme, and we want to keep it all in good humor.” Located in Bolton, Massachusetts, redneckjunk.com has plans to sponsor an entry in the Busch North Series, and also in the New England region of the Dodge Weekly Series.(Fahlgren via Catchfence)(3-5-2004)
  • Special D-Day Scheme for Labonte at Dover: hearing that #18-Bobby Labonte wil run a D-Day scheme as this year marks the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, Labonte and Dover race sponsor MBNA will re-paint the Joe Gibbs NEXTEL Cup #18 with a vintage war plane design. The car will carry the decals and the insignias of this war-time in America. June 6 Dover.(3-5-2004)
  • Gaughan the Punisher: Marvel’s underground super hero, The Punisher, comes to the big screen in April 2004. To celebrate the nationwide theatrical release, Kodak & #77 Penske/Jasper Racing will run a special paint scheme during the NEXTEL Cup event in Bristol on March 28. This paint scheme will feature The Punisher and character and have an edgy design highlighted by black and red paint splatters.(3-5-2004)
  • Remember TRAC? so do these shareholders: Four shareholders have filed a lawsuit against former executives of Team Sports Entertainment Inc., which failed to create a stock-car racing league that would compete with NASCAR. That effort, Huntersville-based Team Racing Auto Circuit [see my TRAC page for the past news about it], was abandoned in August. Its first season was supposed to begin this spring. The suit alleges breach of contract, wrongful conversion of company monies, mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Named in the suit are William Miller, former chief executive of Team Sports, and Jon Pritchett, former president.(more at the Charlotte Business Journal)(3-5-2004)
  • NASCAR Working to Make Cars Safer: Part of Gary Nelson’s job is to wreck cars. As managing director of NASCAR’s research and development team, he works to make auto racing safer and more competitive. Sometimes that means crash tests. “Rather than just react to what happened, maybe we can try to prevent bad things from happening by being a little more proactive,” Nelson said Wednesday. “And it takes resources to do that.” All of the cars used at the Concord facility have been donated by race teams. Researchers study the cars — which usually have significant damage from a previous accident — and look for improvements.(News 14 Carolina)(3-5-2004)

    (3-4-2004)

  • Team CLR in Vegas (In more ways than one): Five of the over the wall crew members of Team CLR Racing will be traveling to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to perform the pit stops for Arnold Motor Sports #50 car driven by Derrike Cope. They will be competing in Nextel Cups’ UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400. Team members include Chris Passantino (rear tire changer) Robbie Johnson (rear tire carrier) Kieth Harrison (Jack man) Chris Greenhill (front tire changer) and Jeff Morgan (front tire carrier). Not making the trip due to logistics are Scott Barmes (gas man) and Mike Barmes (catch can man) who reside in Indianapolis, IN. Team CLR has been busy in their race shop, located in Mooresville NC, since racing to a fourth place finish with Shane Hmiel in the opening ARCA event at Daytona. They are currently repairing the Daytona car crashed at the finish and building two more 2004 Chevy Monte Carlos in preparation for upcoming ARCA and Cup races. In addition to building their own cars they have fabricated cars for Arnold Motorsports #50 driven by Derrike Cope and Morgan McClure Motorsports #4 driven by Kevin Lepage. Both cars will compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Team CLR PR)(3-4-2004)
  • Smith On the List: Bruton Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports purchased Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1998, is ranked 472nd on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people. The magazine estimated Smith’s net worth at $1.2 billion. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates topped the list with an estimated net worth of $46.6 billion.(Las Vegas Sun)(3-4-2004)
  • Not NASCAR but… First, the Winston Cup became the Nextel Cup. Now the world of things powerful and speedy will have to deal with another major corporate name change. Say goodbye to Miss Budweiser. After 41 years, Anheuser-Busch is ending its sponsorship of unlimited hydroplane racing after the 2004 season, the beer company says. With its Miss Budweiser boats and heavy race sponsorship and promotion, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has been the major force in unlimited-class racing for decades. But the company announced Monday that it was cutting its ties to anything related to hydroplanes after this year.(Kansas City Star)(3-4-20040
  • NASCAR Toyota Showdown returns in 2004: For the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, NASCAR’s best regional touring drivers are headed back to California this fall. Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, the site of last year’s inaugural event, will host the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Nov. 11-13, 2004. More than $500,000 in prize money and live national television coverage on SPEED Channel await the 70 drivers who will be invited to compete in this one-of-a-kind NASCAR event. NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, a special invitational event for NASCAR’s top regional touring series competitors from two racing divisions – the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division.(NASCAR PR)(3-4-2004)

    (3-3-2004)

  • Some Different looks at Vegas: a few cars will have different schemes at Vegas: #01-Joe Nemechek will carry the USG Sheetrock blue scheme; #43-Jeff Green has a jayski fave [and a no-no on my diet] Lucky Charms Cereal; #99-Jeff Burton will be hard to miss, he will have the bright yellow of assoc sponsor on the #99 Ford as the primary this week. Images can be seen on my Paint Schemes Gallery. Also #30-Johnny Sauter is scheduled to run an AOL/IMAX schemes, no image….yet.(3-2-2004)
    and #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Great Moments in Miller Racing scheme.(3-3-2004)
  • Some LVMS Notes:
    · 21 drivers have competed in every NASCAR Nextel Cup race at LVMS. Three of those drivers (Skinner, Spencer and Kenny Wallace) are not entered this year.
    · Michael Waltrip and Joe Nemechek have started every Nextel Cup and Busch race ever held at LVMS. They are both entered in both races this year as well.
    · No driver qualifying in the top five has ever won a Nextel Cup race at LVMS. Mark Martin won from seventh in 1998.
    · There will be three Las Vegas-born drivers (Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan) competing in this year’s race.
    · John Andretti, Ricky Craven, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace have competed in every Nextel Cup race at LVMS but have no Top-10 finishes. [Andretti and Wallace will not run the Cup race]
    · Jack Roush has posted wins at LVMS with three different drivers (Martin, J. Burton and Kenseth)
    · Jeff Gordon at 29 is the youngest driver to ever win at LVMS, while Bobby Labonte at 34 was the youngest pole sitter for a Nextel Cup race at LVMS.
    · Tony Stewart and Jason Leffler are the only drivers to compete at LVMS in an Indy Racing League, Busch Series and Nextel Cup event. Leffler also has competed here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
    · Rookies have qualified on the front row in two of the past four races. (Scott Pruett in 2000 and Ryan Newman in 2002)
    · Ford has won the four of the first six Nextel Cup races in Las Vegas.
    · There have been six caution flags in each of the past three NNC races at LVMS.
    · Two of the past three UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 winners have gone on to win the season championship. Jeff Gordon in 2001 and Matt Kenseth in 2003.
    · Two of the last three UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 winners’ starting spots have coincided with their car number. Jeff Gordon started 24th in 2001 and Matt Kenseth started 17th in 2003.(LVMS PR)(3-3-2004)
  • Wednesday Testing at Atlanta: During his second day of testing Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, #10-Scott Riggs found a faster line around the 1.54-mile speedway as he and two other drivers prepared for the March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend. Riggs was caught on the unofficial stopwatches with a lap time of 29.64 seconds (187.044 mph). Also testing Wednesday were his MB2/MBV teammate Joe Nemechek and NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Terry Cook, who was shaking down teammate Jason Keller’s #22 Miller High Life Busch Series car. Nemechek’s fastest lap of the day was 30.15 seconds (183.880 mph), while Cook managed a lap in 31.33 seconds (176.955). Because Cook has never raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway before, his Wednesday test had a dual purpose. Not only was he gathering information for Keller’s Busch effort, he was also learning a little about Atlanta’s high-banked speedway. “Not much of this will transfer for me into the truck, but at least I’ve got some laps here now and I’m kind of learning the line,” Cook said. “Plus, now I know how to get to the track and where the nearest McDonald’s is, so it was a good day for me.”
    Unofficial Speeds
    Car#, Driver, speed
    #10-Scott Riggs, 187.045
    #01-Joe Nemechek, 183.880
    #22[Busch]-Terry Cook, 176.955.(AMS PR)(3-3-2004)
  • #09 to have pit crew at Vegas: Allow Phoenix Racing general manager Marc Reno to coin a new term: This weekend, he says, they’ll be “legitimate-racing” their #09 car. Reno acknowledges that wasn’t the case in the Nextel Cup series’ most recent race at North Carolina Speedway on Feb. 22. Driver Joe Ruttman turned only one lap in the #09 car before NASCAR officials “parked” him because he didn’t have a pit crew. The team took home more than $50,000 for finishing last. “It’s just economics,” Reno admits. “People will race if they can get the money.” Reno says not having anybody in the pits was “a screw-up on our part” but acknowledged the team had no intention of trying to turn more than a few laps. They’ll try to run a competitive race with their Busch Series driver, Johnny Benson, behind the wheel at Las Vegas this weekend. But they’ll pull him off the track if he gets in the way of series regulars. The fact that Ruttman even qualified for the race was emblematic of a rising problem in NASCAR. Even in a slowly recovering economy, most of NASCAR’s high-profile teams have been able to retain primary sponsors and attract associate sponsors. But that hasn’t been the case for a few respectable mid-pack teams that have run out of money and stopped showing up at the racetrack. That has created an opportunity for so-called “field fillers,” part-time teams who see no shame in showing up, staying out of the way and grabbing a small chunk of the race purse in NASCAR’s big-time series. NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter called Ruttman’s run “kind of a sham” and said officials would prevent it from happening in the future. “If we know somebody’s doing that, we’re not going to allow that,” Hunter said. But while NASCAR would prefer fully funded teams to field fillers, the situation has provided a compelling underdog story in driver Carl Long. Long managed to make the race at North Carolina Speedway, only to mangle his car in a crash. In a TV interview as he left the infield hospital, Long mentioned that he might not be able to continue racing. The car was his, and he didn’t have money to fix it. Fans have sent in small donations in to his Web site totaling more than $9,000. That isn’t enough money to fix the car, but Long is getting at least one more chance to race. The Score Motorsports team, owned by veteran driver Hermie Sadler and former NBA player Bryan Stith, are bringing a car and a pit crew to Las Vegas for Long. The car he’ll be driving is a Pontiac the team built last season. Pontiac no longer officially races in NASCAR, but its cars are still legal. “Carl taking that flip at Rockingham has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him,” Sadler said. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to shine while you can, because a month from now, people will be talking about somebody else.” Reno, meanwhile, objects to the term field filler. “We’re ahead of Michael Waltrip and the 99 car (in owner points) right now. What does that make them?”(USA Today)(3-3-2004)
  • Hot Wheels for Burton at Darlington UPDATE: Jeff Burton is scheduled to drive a Hot Wheels schemes on the #99 Ford at Darlington in March, see an image of the scheme on my #99 Team Paint Schemes page or 2004 Paint Scheme Page.(2-28-2004)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that Hot Wheels will be carried as the primary sponsor on the #99 Ford of Jeff Burton at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on March 21, 2004 at Darlington Raceway. “The entire No. 99 team is looking forward to carrying the Hot Wheels logo on the #99 Ford at Darlington,” said Burton. “The Hot Wheels brand is so widely recognized that it’s really cool to be able to carry their marks on our car. I can remember having Hot Wheels cars all through my childhood and to have them be a part of our program in Darlington is really something special.”
    Hot Wheels is the exclusive die cast partner of Roush Racing at mass retail. This additional opportunity to work with Burton, the #99 team and Roush Racing is one that Tony DaDante, Vice President Mattel Toys and General Manager Hot Wheels, is excited to add to program. “It’s exciting when two proven winners team up.” DaDante continued, “Hot Wheels Racing and Mattel Toys think highly of Jeff Burton from a performance standpoint as well as from a personal integrity point of view. Jeff is a great friend of Hot Wheels and we are proud to have him carry our logo in the spring Darlington race. He will surely tame the track that has been characterized as being to tough to tame.”(Roush Racing PR)(3-3-2004)
  • DEI Tuner leaves to start own biz? UPDATE 2: hearing that DEI Engine Tuner and #8 Gasman, Jeff Clark has left DEI to start a Motorcycle Business in the Charlotte, NC area.(1-6-2004)
    UPDATE: Engine tuner John Dennison has left Kevin Harvick’s #29 RCR team to replace crew member Jeff Clark on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 car. Clark submitted his resignation in January, but he stayed on to help the team through Speedweeks. Brian Englehart will temporarily fill in on the #29 crew until a full-time tuner is hired.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(2-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: One of the final touches to the #29 Team GM Goodwrench was made over the off-weekend in Welcome, NC. In search of a permanent engine tuner to fill the position vacated by John Dennison [who went to DEI] in January, Danny Lawrence, Trackside Engine Manager for Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc. (RCR), hired John Goodwin [not Munson, RCR corrected this]. A 36-year old Houston, Texas native, Munson came from Bill Davis Racing’s #22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing team.(RCR #29 Preview)(3-3-2004)
  • Fans help out Long UPDATE Hermie surprised and Charlotte Interview: It has been one of this week’s most amazing sports stories, and a quite emotional one – dozens of NASCAR fans have nearly inundated Carl Long with checks for $25 or $50 to help him rebuild his race car from the remains of Sunday’s crash [at Rockingham] as he tries to continue one of stock-car racing’s most improbable quests. Long, a driver from Roxboro [NC] now living in Troutman, is trying again to put his racing life back together after the off-season sponsorship collapse of the Travis Carter operation. “It’s something I never thought would happen,” Long said in amazement. “The fans have been going to my web site and sending in money, close to $4,000 now. That means more to me…. I’m going to try to send ’em all something, a postcard or something, maybe with a before-and-after shot of the car. The crash appeared to doom Long’s comeback bid. But then Hermie Sadler jumped into the deal and is loaning Long his car for next week’s Las Vegas race and the Atlanta race the week after.(see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(2-28-2004)
    UPDATE: Hermie Sadler had no idea that there would be so much fanfare surrounding the hiring of Carl Long to pilot his team’s NEXTEL Cup entry this weekend at Las Vegas. Since the announcement, the Sadler Fan Club has been deluged with offers of support and many questions. Sadler finally decided to address some of the questions. “When I talked to Carl last Friday at Rockingham, we were simply looking for someone to drive the car that I thought could do the job, and Carl can do that,” stated Sadler. “Neither of us thought that anyone would even care that he was driving our car, much less write about it, but since his accident at Rockingham, it seems to have turned into one of the biggest stories heading into the event.” Sadler says many questions are being asked about the car Carl will be driving as well as sponsorship. “The car we are taking is a brand new car. It is a Pontiac we built last season and never got the chance to race it. We updated the body to meet NASCAR’s new template rules and it looks great. I am looking forward to watching it run as much as Carl is looking forward to driving it. As far as sponsorship, we do not have one at this time for the Cup car, but I told Carl to feel free to make any contacts that he can. We are committed to going and doing everything we can regardless of sponsorship, but if someone wants to help us out, we were certainly appreciate the help.” When asked about future races, Hermie said that he and Carl had agreed on Las Vegas only for now, but felt sure they would team up again in the near future. “Right now, it is Vegas only, but we will evaluate where we are after that and go from there. Maybe we can go to LVMS and have a respectable finish, and we can put together more races.” For more information on sponsorship opportunities for SCORE Motorsports and Carl Long for this event, please call SCORE Motorsports at 434-348-0267 or contact Carl Long at www.carl-long.com.(SCORE Motorsports PR)(3-2-2004)
    INTERVIEW: A guy that made headlines at Rockingham but for all the wrong reasons was in studio Monday night with News 14’s Mike Solarte. Nextel Cup driver Carl Long, who drove the #46 car at the Subway 400, will drive the #02 car in the circuit’s next two races. Long came out unscathed from a spectacular crash at the North Carolina Speedway, where his car flipped over several times. Many fans admire Long’s perseverance. Despite little funding, he has managed to qualify for races and put up a good showing. Long talked to News 14 about how the season is going so far, his “field-filler” status, and how some generous fans have donated money to his cause. See the interview via video at www.news14charlotte.com.(3-3-2004)
  • Long and the #02 Get a Sponsor for LVMS: Raceway Media, LLC has signed with SCORE Motorsports to be the primary sponsor for its #02 NEXTEL Cup Series entry that will be driven by Carl Long this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The company is using the race to promote its on line classified division, www.racingjunk.com. RacingJunk.com is a free online classified service where racers, racing fans, and enthusiasts can find everything race related, from racing parts to engines to complete race cars and anything in between. Approximately $80 million dollars worth of products are currently posted on the site, with up to 600 new ads posted daily. About Raceway Media, LLC: Raceway Media is a multimedia publishing company servicing the racing industry, based in North Adams, MA. They publish a quarterly all glossy, full color racing magazine serving the Northeast and a monthly racing shopper that is distributed nationwide. RacingJunk.com is the online classified Website for the racing industry with over 30,000 registered members and over 500,000 visitors monthly. Raceway Media also owns and operates RVJunk.com and BoatingJunk.com.(PR)(3-3-2004)
  • Special Scheme for Rusty too: Rusty Wallace’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge will sport a special paint scheme this weekend, celebrating “Great Moments in Miller Racing.” (see image on my #2 Team Schemes page). The one-time look for Wallace’s car is in support of Miller’s special six commemorative 24-oz. racing-themed cans currently available in convenience stores across the country. Each can features a different milestone in either Wallace’s or Miller Lite NHRA drag racing teammate Larry Dixon’s illustrious careers. Dixon ‘s Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster is carrying a similar color scheme during this weekend’s NHRA stop in Phoenix.(TRPR)(3-3-2004)
  • Gordon back in the Dirt: While the rest of the NASCAR nation was enjoying its first weekend off of the season, Robby Gordon and his RCR powered Chevrolet trophy truck headed to the Baja peninsula for the San Felipe 250. Gordon was unable to finish the competition due to mechanical problems, but Gordon is confident the truck will be ready to run up front in the Baja 1000 this upcoming November. Gordon competed earlier this year in the Laughlin Desert Challenge, which was the first 2004 SCORE International Off-Road race in Laughlin, Nev. This past weekend of off-road racing was not enough for Gordon, because he is planning to play in the dessert again to spend a “Day in the Dirt” 11a.m. to 3p.m. Thursday, March 4, near Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Las Vegas Dunes Recreation Land.(RCR Preview)(3-3-2004)
  • Georgia-Pacific Brings Safe Teen Driving Program to Las Vegas: Georgia-Pacific Corp. brings its Teen Safety 500 program to two Las Vegas high schools on Thursday, March 4. Cimarron-Memorial High School and Centennial High School have been selected to participate in this innovative program that extends Georgia-Pacific’s involvement with NASCAR to spread the message of safe driving among teen-agers. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be on hand to present the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program to students. The assembly will include Petty, local dignitaries and George Wurtz, executive vice president of pulp & paper at Georgia-Pacific, speaking to students about the importance of safety behind the wheel. After the assembly, students will have the opportunity to view the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge racecar outside the school and receive autographs from Petty. Activities begin at 12:00pm at Cimarron-Memorial High School. The Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program is in its fourth year. To date, students have logged more than 1 million safe miles through the program. Las Vegas is the first stop the Teen Safety 500 will make during the 2004 NASCAR season. In 2003, the program visited five cities and reached more than 10,000 students. Student drivers at the two schools will sign a safe-driving pledge to remain violation-free with no crashes during a three-week period. Once registered at Georgia-Pacific’s Web site, students will have the opportunity to win prizes for themselves and their school. Visit Georgia-Pacific’s racing Web site at www.gp.com/racing for more information about the Teen Safety 500 program.(3-3-2004)
  • Tracy chosen as Driver of the Year: RACER magazine and SpeedTV.com readers selected Champ Car World Series Paul Tracy as Racer of the Year for 2003 by a landslide margin in online balloting. Tracy dethroned F-1 driver, Michael Schumacher, who had taken the top spot in the annual Racer of the Year awards the past three years(Speed Channel)(3-3-2004)
  • IMAX NASCAR Movie Debut’s March 3rd in LA AND: Jeff Gordon will attend the premiere showing of “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” on Wednesday, March 3 in Los Angeles, California. The film takes the viewer into the cockpit of a NASCAR stock car, complete with the sounds of racing. Behind the scenes access and interviews with those in the sport are also included. The film will debut in IMAX theaters on Friday, March 12 to the public.(Gordonline.com), other drivers scheduled to appear include: Rusty Wallace, more info on the movie at IMAX.com. Claire B. Lang from XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio will attend and take a fan [Bob Johnson was the winner].(3-2-2004)
    AND Sunday’s Arena Football League coverage on NBC will feature an exclusive preview from “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience.” Opening nationwide on March 12, the latest IMAX movie delves into the NASCAR phenomenon and showcases the thrill and speed of the sport up-close and personal on eight story-high IMAX screens. NBC will debut a two-minute excerpt from “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” film during the four regional Arena Football League broadcasts which begin at 12noon/et. The AFL will also show the excerpt to their in-arena fans. … NBC’s national preview will follow up on some special premieres set for this week: Wednesday night in Los Angeles, a private showing targeting the entertainment industry at Universal City Walk; and Thursday night at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, with showings set for both media (5:30pm/pt) and the motorsports industry (7:00 and 8:30pm/pt).(NASCAR PR)(3-3-2004)
  • Testing at Atlanta: In a day full of testing for the March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rookie #10-Scott Riggs led the speed chart Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ten drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming race weekend at NASCAR ’s fastest track. Driving the #10-Valvoline Chevorlet, Riggs was caught on the unofficial stopwatches at an average speed of 185.915 mph (29.82 seconds) around the 1.54-mile superspeedway. Just behind Riggs on the speed chart was fellow Raybestos Rookie Of The Year candidate #9-Kasey Kahne at 29.85 (185.728). Rounding out the top five were #99-Jeff Burton and #22-Scott Wimmer, both clocking a lap of 29.91 seconds (185.356 mph), and #30-Johnny Sauter at 30.18 seconds (183.698 mph). Most drivers said they used Tuesday’s test to get comfortable with the new tire and spoiler rules. Testing is expected to continue at AMS Wednesday. Test sessions are open to the media and closed to the public.
    Unofficial Speeds:
    Car#-Driver,Speed
    #10-Scott Riggs, 185.915
    #9-Kasey Kahne, 185.728
    #99-Jeff Burton, 185.356
    #22-Scott Wimmer, 185.356
    #30-Johnny Sauter, 183.698
    #01-Joe Nemechek, 182.368
    #23-Dave Blaney, 182.910
    #77-Brendan Gaughan, 181.473
    #40-Sterling Marlin, 180.351
    #5-Terry Labonte, 179.012.(AMS PR)(3-3-2004)


    (3-2-2004)

  • 2004 Donate A Phone Campaign Begins at The UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400: Nextel is putting the call out to NASCAR fans to donate their old wireless phones to support the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services, beginning at the March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In 2003, Nextel raised nearly $400,000 for the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services through the American Red Cross DONATE A PHONE program, as well as other fundraising efforts. This year, Nextel hopes NASCAR fans across the country will help the company surpass that goal by simply donating their old wireless phones from any manufacturer, in any condition, at NASCAR Nextel Cup SeriesTM races, at any of Nextel’s 500 retail stores, or through www.nextelbuyback.com. Net proceeds of the resale value from the recycling of the phones, which averages $1.70 for each phone collected, are directed to the Armed Forces Emergency Services program and help U.S. service men and women stay connected with their loved ones back home. The 2004 season marks the first of a 10-year title sponsorship for Nextel in one of this country’s proudest traditions – NASCAR. Around the world, America’s military personnel enjoy this distinctly American pastime because, in part, it is a way of staying connected to the life and people that duty has called them away from. The CTIA Wireless Foundation, the philanthropic organization for the nation’s wireless industry and the creator of the DONATE A PHONE program, estimates that approximately 60 million old wireless phones lay idle in American homes and businesses. For more information about the CTIA Wireless Foundation, please visit www.wirelessfoundation.org.(3-2-2004)
  • “Who’s Hot / Who’s Not“ Heading to Las Vegas:
    Hot: Jeff Gordon has scored three straight top-10 finishes, a streak that began at Homestead last November. Dale Earnhardt has scored two top-five finishes in 2004. Matt Kenseth has scored two top-10 finishes in 2004.
    Not: Jeff Burton has finished 42nd and 37th in the first two races in 2004. Robby Gordon has finished 35th and 36th in the first two races in 2004. Michael Waltrip has finished 38th and 33rd in the first two races of 2004.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-2-2004)
  • Gordon on the tube: Jeff Gordon, four-time champion of NASCAR’s top series and driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear on CBS’ “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” this Wednesday, March 3. The “Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” is in its fifth full season and airs on CBS at 12:37am/et, immediately following the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Check local listings for time and channel in your area.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2004)
  • Kyle Busch Debut: This weekend marks the first time Kyle Busch will race in the Busch and Nextel Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will make his Nextel Cup debut in the #84 Carquest Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. Busch has competed in a Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the facility, driving the #99 truck for Roush Racing, Busch qualified third and finished ninth in The Orleans 350 NCTS event on Nov. 14, 2001. Ricky Hendrick, now Busch’s team owner at Hendrick Motorsports, qualified seventh and finished sixth in the same event.(Golin Harris PR)(3-2-2004)
  • Crew Chef Challenge highlights events at Pocono: RACE Motorsports Marketing and Pocono Raceway have announced the first annual Crew Chef Challenge to be held the weekend of July 30 at the speedway. The Crew Chef Challenge is a first-time ever cooking competition for Crew Chefs who, in addition to their team responsibilities, slave over a hot grill, week after week following the NEXTEL Cup circuit. The competition will pit crew chef against crew chef in a match full of grillin’ and chillin’ sure to drive them home to victory. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to Victory Junction Gang Camp. A cookbook titled Tastes of Victory will be available for purchase at the event. The cookbook will contain recipes from the Crew Chef Challenge, NASCAR drivers, racing personalities and fans. Fans are encouraged to contribute their favorite race day meal recipes for inclusion in the book. Check www.racesports.net for full details.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2004)
  • ‘Young Guns’ go for three-peat and now we know why Dale Jr. has no facial hair this year: By picking Matt Kenseth as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Subway 400, Brian F. of Cary, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 challenge. Brian picked Kenseth to win the race by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. With the victory and thus being the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Kenseth. Every week, fans can register to win $5,000 in the Gillette Young Guns Weekly Challenge by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline at midnight PT the day before the race. If you correctly predict which Gillette Young Guns driver [Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick] will place highest in the next race, your correct entry will be automatically entered in a random drawing for $5,000. So far both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events have been won by Gillette Young Guns — Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona and Matt Kenseth at Rockingham. More info and to join at: www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), Tim Sullivan of Alan Taylor Comm was interviewed by Claire B. Lang of NASCAR Radio and was asked if the reason Dale Earnhardt Jr. was clean shaven in 2004 was due to the Young Gun deal, and was told YES. Now we know why Tony Stewart is not in the program.(3-2-2004)
  • 5 Freightliners Hauling Ganassi NASCAR Teams: Five Freightliner Coronado heavy-duty trucks will serve as transporters for racing teams of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Inc. during the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Racing Season. The brightly painted and accessorized Coronado trucks will haul Sterling Marlin’s #40 Coors Lite Dodge, as well as drivers Jamie McMurray’s #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge and Casey Mears’ #41 Target Dodge. Some of the trucks will haul racecars and equipment to the 36 Nextel Cup races, while the other two will transport cars and materials to various test tracks around the country. The Coronado is Freightliner Trucks’ flagship Class 8 truck for owner-operators. “Our sponsorship of the three Ganassi teams is a great way to showcase the Freightliner Coronado,” said Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “With their spectacular appearance, Ganassi Racing’s Coronado trucks are sure to turn heads on the road and at the racetrack.”(TruckingInfo.com)(3-2-2004)
  • NASCAR Pushing Older Drivers out or to Part-time? As long as the sponsors and team owners were satisfied with the driver’s performance, he could race as long as he wanted [in the past]. But that’s about to change. And the pressure to kick the aging cans of veteran drivers isn’t coming so much from the owners or sponsors. It’s coming from NASCAR. “NASCAR has suggested to many, many people that some drivers cut back to partial schedules,” says Rusty Wallace, 47. “That might happen one of these days.” And that came from NASCAR? “Yes,” Wallace says. “One main NASCAR official suggested, ‘Why don’t you run a partial schedule? There’s nothing wrong with a partial schedule.’ ” OK. Although there have been 100 races since he last won, at California in 2001, what right does anyone in Daytona have to tell Wallace, the 1989 champion, when it’s time to hang up his helmet? But while NASCAR is ushering stars toward retirement, it’s putting out desperate help-wanted calls to washed-up veterans to fill fields. Funny, but I must have missed the Joe Ruttman and Kirk Shelmerdine souvenir rigs on the way to the Rock. Perhaps that’s where Ruttman’s pit crew was two Sundays ago, selling T-shirts.(see full Sporting News article at Yahoo Sports)(3-2-2004)
  • N.C. Zoo clears way for ‘Days of Thunder’: A new ride simulation attraction, “Days of Thunder,” is providing N.C. Zoo visitors with extra excitement. And the action ride represents a joint venture between the zoo and another Randolph County undertaking slated to open this summer – the Victory Junction Gang Camp being built by the Petty Family in the Randleman area for terminally ill children. One dollar of the $4 admission price for “Days of Thunder” goes directly to the camp. The zoo’s third simulated ride, previewed Monday for local media, began this week and will continue through Dec. 31. “Days of Thunder” is a 15-minute racing experience which includes a preshow preparing visitors for the simulator adventure and readying them for their fantasy NASCAR ride. The actual 5-minute thrill ride, filmed at Daytona International Speedway, begins with the command of “Start Your Engines” which immediately triggers the sensation of being in a thundering race car as it gets ready for the green flag. One goes through the curves and swerves of high-banked racing and experiences the rub of metal and the taking of the checkered flag. “The sounds of the cars crashing when they hit the wall and the metal grinding is incredibly realistic,” NASCAR driver Kyle Petty told zoo officials. If you were a driver and sat there with your eyes closed during the pit stop sequence, you’d think you were in your car and it was actually happening. The way the seat tilts when they jack the car up and the vibrations you feel when they’re putting the lug nuts on is exactly the way it really feels.” Petty is right – you slant one way and then the other while the car is being jacked up and new tires put on each side. “It’s definitely a fun ride,” NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd said about the ride. “You could certainly compare it to being in a race car.” N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones told members of the N.C. Zoological Park Council about the ride partnership. “Neighbors of ours, the Pettys, are opening a year-round camp for terminally ill children. They’re great supporters of the zoo. … This will appeal to the NASCAR crowd.” Previous simulated rides at the zoo have had wilderness and ocean themes. The new ride is located where the previous one, “The Deep Sea,” was situated – inside the North American entrance at the tram stop. “Days of Thunder,” an Iwerks TurboRide, is located in a mobile theater in two 28-foot-by-8-foot tractor-trailers that fit together. The theater comes equipped with nine two-seat motion bases (totaling 18 seats) that move individually on a computerized three-axis system that allows infinite maneuverability. The system also includes a high-definition video projection system and a six-channel digital surround-sound system to complete the overall experience. Cost of the simulation attraction is $4 per person which is in addition to zoo admission. The zoo will donate $1 of each admission to Victory Junction Gang Camp which was co-founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of her son, Adam. The camp is part of the national Paul Newman Hole-in-the-Wall Camps. The zoo expects proceeds to generate as much as $75,000 to $100,000 for the camp.(Courier-Tribune News)(3-2-2004)
  • Elliott back racing this weekend: The #91 UAW-National Training Center/Evernham Dodge and driver Bill Elliott is running the new Evernham-designed chassis this week at Las Vegas. The team will convert most of its race cars to the Evernham chassis this season. The chassis was designed by the Evernham engineering team along with Dodge Motorsports engineering. It was tested at Las Vegas earlier this year. The UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is the second race of the limited schedule Elliott will run for the 2004 season. In Elliott’s six visits to Las Vegas Motor Speedway he has earned one top-five and three top-10s at the track. Asked how is the sponsorship search going Elliott said, “We have a couple of things in the works, but nothing is concrete yet.”(Clear!Blue PR)(3-2-3004)
  • Dale Jr in People: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, is the subject of a feature story in the March 8 issue of People Magazine. In the story, Dale Jr. discusses maturity, the dating scene, and of course, winning the Daytona 500.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(3-2-2004)

    (3-1-2004)

  • Bahre Recovering: The owner of the New Hampshire International Speedway is continuing to recover from an accident in late January in Maine. A track spokesman says Bob Bahre is in therapy and that the recovery is “going to take some time.” Bahre broke his ankle, injured ribs and a vertebra, and suffered a concussion when he drove off the road in Brownfield. Investigators say he fell asleep and that the airbag and seat belt saved him from greater injury. Bahre, who’s 76, was on is way from the speedway to his home in Maine when the crash occurred.(wmtw.com/AP)(3-1-2004)
  • 43 requirement…a myth: NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne denies that NASCAR recruited drivers to race at Rockingham, where several field fillers completed the advertised 43-car field. Pyne says it’s a myth that the TV contracts require 43 drivers to be in a Cup race. “I asked the question point blank to our group, and they reported that we’re not recruiting people to show up,” Pyne says. “That’s my understanding.” Pyne says decreasing the field in the future is not out of the question.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(3-1-2004)
  • No Testing at Darlington: Teams won’t be able to test at Darlington because the track is installing SAFER barriers in time for the spring race weekend, March 19-21. Indianapolis was the first track to install the barriers. Daytona and Talladega plan to install them before their next races.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News), gonna be a lot of Darlington ‘stripes’ in March.(3-1-2004)