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March 2005 News Archives


  • News from March 31, 2005

  • Dale Jr. Comments: Even though he pulled off the Bristol sweep last fall, Dale Earnhardt Jr. says winning the Busch and Nextel Cup races like Carl Edwards did at Atlanta will be a tough act to follow. He said “I don’t know man, the way Carl did it at Atlanta I thought he topped me there so that was pretty impressive. The passes that he made to win in both races I think he topped all of us. It’ll be a while before anybody can do it like he did it.”(PRN’s Garagepass Radio Show)(3-31-2005)
  • Paul Tracy to NASCAR rumors heat up…again: Champ Car World Series driver, Paul Tracy, 36, told The Toronto Sun yesterday that if NASCAR comes to Canada in 2006, he wants to be part of that series. Tracy’s Champ Car contract with Forsythe Championship Racing ends this season and he said he wants to explore other avenues. “I haven’t got any irons in the fire so to speak,” Tracy said yesterday while in Toronto to help promote this year’s Molson Indy race. “(But) there are a lot of things happening in Canada right now with NASCAR.” Tracy said that for the first time in his Champ Car career he is looking around at possibly changing series next year. Tracy always has worn his Canadian identity on his sleeve and a NASCAR presence in Canada would be a huge draw for him as a driver. At the end of 2003 — the year he won the Champ Car driver’s championship — Tracy was offered a test with Richard Childress Racing, one of NASCAR’s top Nextel Cup organizations. But Tracy chose to stay in Champ Car to defend his title. Last season, Tracy was approached again by RCR to run in the Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in California in a one-time deal, but he turned it down on the advice of his Champ Car team. It’s a decision that those close to Tracy say he now regrets.(Toronto Sun)(3-31-2005)
  • So who to the #6 car in 2006? UPDATE: Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford, is no longer is slated to replace Mark Martin [retires from Cup at end of 2005] in the #6 after this season. “It’s pretty obvious he’s found a home in the 99,” [Roush Racing president Geoff] Smith says. “We’re going to have to fill the 6 with someone else, and we don’t know who that someone else might be.” Smith says they will look at current Roush truck series driver Ricky Craven, a former Cup veteran, for the ride. But he expects other drivers in the garage to be interested: “That’s a fantastic ride that’s going to be available.”(USA Today)(3-22-2005)
    UPDATE: “I’m hoping by the first part of May we’ll have a better handle on who’s going to drive,” Smith explained. So is Ricky Craven is a candidate, as was recently reported? “Ricky is a candidate,” Smith said. “Jack (Roush) feels that Ricky has something in him left to show people, but he’s only one candidate at one point in time. We’ll have to see how the season unfolds a little bit before we end up designating somebody.”
    But Smith said Wednesday that Pfizer, the sponsor of Martin’s Ford since 2001, likely won’t return to the hood of the No. 6 in 2006. “We’re not expecting them to return in a capacity as primary sponsor after this year,” Smith said. “As of this moment in time, there hasn’t been any expression of continuing on in a primary sponsorship, although there have been some discussions about continuing an endorsement arrangement with Mark.” Not to worry. The #6 won’t be tooling around the track stark-white like the #99 did last year. According to Smith, several sponsors are standing in line, the rarest of luxuries for Nextel Cup Series teams these days.(see full column at NASCAR.com)(3-31-2005)
  • Interesting take on the #3: NASCAR’s red-hot collectible industry could be fueling one of the hottest rumors on the sporting landscape. Richard Childress Racing might bring the #3 car back for a couple of races next season. It hasn’t been driven in a cup race since Dale Earnhardt Sr., died on the final lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001. If the car returns, Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be behind the wheel. It is the stuff of which die-cast legends are made. Or is it? Because NASCAR has chosen not to retire numbers, speculation about the 3 has continued in the grandstands.(Knoxville News) NOTE: Childress has said in the past he has NO plans to run the #3 and Dale Jr. is signed with DEI thru 2007.(3-31-2005)
  • Busch to run special scheme at Bristol: Kurt Busch and the #97 Sharpie team aim to make a mark on racing history by earning a fourth spring race victory in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) April 3. Busch is also putting his autograph on education during the Food City 500, driving a special Sharpie Retractable “Autographs for Education” paint scheme featuring the signatures of students from his former middle school in Las Vegas and students from Bristol. At a BMS autograph session April 1, Busch and fifth grade students from Bristol’s Valley Pike Elementary will be putting the finishing touches on the paint scheme, signing the back of the car for a “ride along” during the race. Earlier in March, Busch collected autographs from students at a special assembly for his former middle school in Las Vegas. The signature paint scheme is part of Sharpie’s nationwide effort asking for one million autographs from everyday people in exchange for $1 million in supplies and funds to schools. As the Sharpie Retractable “Autographs for Education” tour stops in Bristol, the Sharpie team is inviting the students, teachers, parents and the community in general to put their autograph on education by visiting its displays at BMS. Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation’s schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com.(Roush Racing)(3-31-2005)
  • Woman killed at JGR Construction site: A woman was killed Wednesday afternoon while helping finish construction on an addition to a race team’s facility. Authorities were called about 2:30pm/et about an injury at Joe Gibbs Racing on Reese Boulevard in the Huntersville Business Park, about 15 miles north of uptown Charlotte. The woman, whose identity was being withheld until authorities notify her family, died on the scene. Although officials with the company and the police released few details, preliminary reports suggested a joist had struck the woman, said Juan Santos, a N.C. Department of Labor spokesman. The woman worked for the general contractor at the site, not the race company, according to a statement released by Joe Gibbs Racing. Officials with Precision Walls Inc. declined to comment as they left the site, while officials from Shelco Inc., the general contractor, could not be reached. Huntersville police and state officials are still investigating the incident.(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2005)
  • NC License Plates Now Available: NASCAR fans across North Carolina now have 33 new ways to express their love of racing as the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) has given the NASCAR license plate series the green flag. The new NASCAR-themed plates are the latest additions to NCDMV’s specialized license plate program, which includes over 90 special license plates that allow citizens to express their common interests and civic affiliations. The NASCAR series features a general NASCAR plate in addition to plates highlighting 32 of the sport’s most popular drivers. Requests for specialized license plates are approved by the General Assembly. Primary sponsors of the bill approving the NASCAR plate series were Senator David W. Hoyle and Representatives Wayne Goodwin, Linda Johnson and Karen Ray. Each plate has a checkered-flag background design, which substitutes for the “First in Flight” design on standard issue plates. The left side of the plate features an image representing a NASCAR driver while the right side has the identification letters and numbers. Motorists also have the opportunity to personalize the letter combinations on the plate.
    In addition to the NASCAR series, NCDMV is introducing two other new plate designs, “Friends of the Appalachian Trail” and Virginia Tech. The “Friends of the Appalachian Trail” plate is currently being manufactured and should be available soon to the public while Virginia Tech plates are already available. Motorists should start seeing the NASCAR series plates on the road in just a few weeks. Applications are currently available by calling NCDMV’s Specialized License Plate Office at (919) 861-3575. Motorists may request the plates online and at license plate agencies throughout the state in about two months. For more information on NCDMV’s specialized license plate program visit www.ncdot.org/dmv and click on specialized license plates.(NCDOT site)(3-30-2005)
    AND why no #3 or #8? That leaves one question for many fans: When can I get my Dale and Dale Jr. tags? The answer: Well, you can’t. So why no plates for Dale Earnhardt, the Kannapolis racing legend who died in a wreck four years ago, or for his son, who is one of the sport’s most popular drivers? Essentially, the plates are too tacky. Okay. They didn’t say that. But Joe Hedrick, vice president for licensing at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said the tags don’t look right. “Those plates don’t reflect the image of the North Carolina plate,” Hedrick said, adding that he would want them to look more like the state’s traditional “First in Flight” plates, but with Earnhardt’s No. 3 or Junior’s No. 8 emblem on one side. If you look at it, it looks like a very commercial plate,” he said. Hedrick said he’s sure DEI and the state could work something out. It’s the company’s obligation, he said, to give the state options for a different-looking tag. Hedrick also said to tell fans “we’re not abandoning them. We just want to go through the process to have a more authentic plate.”(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2005)
  • Testing at Texas: Eight NASCAR teams tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway, preparing for the upcoming Samsung/RadioShack 500 race week. The flurry of testing activity marks the second straight week NASCAR teams trekked to Texas in search of speed. Drivers putting their NEXTEL Cup machinery through the paces were #91-Bill Elliott, #9-Kasey Kahne, #36-Boris Said and #7-Robby Gordon. Busch Series teams included defending champion #8-Martin Truex Jr.; #87-Joe Nemechek; #11-Paul Menard and #21-Brandon Miller.
    Wednesday’s speeds: NEXTEL Cup: Elliott, 188.416 mph; Said, 187.500 mph; Kahne, 186.657 mph. Busch: Nemechek, 185.886 mph; Menard, 182.432 mph, Truex and Miller, no speed reported. Miller was uninjured after late afternoon contact with the turn four wall.
    Tuesday’s speeds: NEXTEL Cup: Gordon, 189.474 mph; Kahne, 186.981 mph; Said, 186.207 mph; Elliott, 185.440 mph. Busch: Truex, 185.249 mph; Nemechek, 184.300 mph; Miller, 183.175 mph; Menard, 182.432 mph. Kahne was not injured after making contact with the second turn wall in the morning.
    Testing continueson Tuesday, April 5 with #2-Rusty Wallace, #38-Elliott Sadler and #21-Ricky Rudd, NASCAR Busch Series testing with #66-Greg Biffle. Tickets are on sale daily at the speedway ticket office, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations.(TMS)(3-31-2005)
  • Morgan-McClure Marketing Alliance: Cory Gierman, MuzikMafia Godfather (www.muzikmafia.com) and Larry McClure, president and team manager of #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports (www.morgan-mcclure.com) announced today a co-marketing alliance. As part of this alliance, Rachel Kice of the MuzikMafia will be attending the Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway to capture in artistic form, the energy and emotion from 500 laps of competition on the world’s fastest half-mile track. This painting will serve as the basis for the MuzikMafia themed paint scheme on the #4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet later in the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Rachel will begin painting at the start of the green flag at Sunday’s race.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports)(3-31-2005)
  • Darrell Waltrip, Junior Johnson To Tell Tales: Darrell Waltrip and Junior Johnson invite you to join them for supper, sit a spell afterward and listen as they tell some tales of their championship racing seasons. Waltrip and Johnson, who teamed for three NASCAR Winston Cup Championships in the 1981, ’82, and ‘85, will spin some yarns of those days on Thursday, March 31, at a Bristol Motor Speedway benefit dinner for the International Storytelling Center. The International Storytelling Center attracts thousands of people to Jonesborough, Tenn., to celebrate the ancient storytelling traditions so popular in the Appalachian region and beyond. The town about 20 miles from Bristol Motor Speedway holds the distinction as the birthplace of a storytelling renaissance, which took place 30 years ago at the first National Storytelling Festival. The event now draws more than 10,000 each October to Jonesborough. More at the Bristol Motor Speedway site.(3-3/31-2005)
  • ‘Roam for a Home’ a Success: Terry Labonte’s fourth annual “Roam for a Home” charity motorcycle ride was a rousing success over the holiday weekend. Hosting more than 100 motorcycles and 150 riders, the 650-mile trek served as a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi, Texas, and concluded with a free concert by country music star Blake Shelton.
    AND For every Kellogg product purchased in April at a Texas-based Albertson’s grocery store, Kellogg’s and Albertson’s will donate 10 cents to the Hendrick Marrow Program (up to $15,000). If a Hendrick Motorsports driver wins a NEXTEL Cup event in the month of April, the contribution will be doubled.(HMS)(3-31-2005)


    News from March 30, 2005

  • Final Atlanta TV Ratings: Final Nielsen Media Research figures show that Fox’s broadcast of the March 20 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway drew a 5.5 rating and a 13 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 12.2 percent higher than the 4.9 overnight rating for the race from the nation’s largest television markets. The rating was down 3.5 percent from Fox’s broadcast of Atlanta’s 2004 spring race, which was run a week earlier and did not compete with CBS’s coverage of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. The final 5.5 rating for Atlanta was down 1.8 percent from the 5.6 rating that Fox drew for the 2004 Darlington race, which was run on the comparable weekend.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-30-2005)
  • Martin to run retro schemes in 2005 UPDATE 2: #6-Mark Martin, running his final Cup season in 2005, will run some retro schemes in 2005, the ‘Folgers red’ at Michigan in June, the ‘Strohs blue’ at Las Vegas and ‘Valvoline colors’ at the 2nd California race, all with Viagra as the sponsor, and also a Kraft scheme at the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, see the schemes on my #6 Team Paint Schemes page.(12-25-2004)
    UPDATE: The retro schemes will run as planned. They are slated to run at Texas, The Nextel All-Star, Indy and Homestead.(3-30-2005)
    UPDATE 2: As a part of the Mark Martin’s ‘Salute to You’ program in 2005, his No. 6 Viagra* (sildenafil citrate) Ford will feature four retro-paint schemes during the course of the celebration season. The program will highlight Martin’s first Cup paint scheme that ran on his car during his first Winston Cup race in 1981. It will also highlight his first paint scheme in a Roush car, the Retro ’89 scheme ran in 1888 and 1989 and was the paint scheme on Martin’s car during his first Winston Cup win at Rockingham in 1989. The retro-90 scheme ran in ’90 and ’91 and saw a fierce battle between Martin and the late Dale Earnhardt for the 1990 Cup Championship. The Retro ’93 car represents one of the strongest eras in Martin’s career, a time when he won 13 races and 11 poles in a four-year span.
    Each of the four cars will still be sponsored by Viagra*, but will feature the four different schemes.
    RETRO ’81 PAINT SCHEME – WILL RUN AT HOMESTEAD (11/20/05)
    Races – 5
    Highlights – Martin’s first ever Winston Cup paint scheme…Won the poles (Martin’s career first) at both Nashville (6/11/81) and Richmond (9/13/81)…Scored Martin’s first career top-10 with a seventh-place finish at Richmond on Sept. 13, 1981 and his first top-five with a third-place run at Martinsville on Sept. 7, 1981.
    RETRO ’89 [old blue Strohs]– WILL RUN AT TEXAS (4/17/05)
    Races – Two seasons
    Highlights – Martin’s first cup paint scheme with Roush Racing…Ran on the car in 1988 and ‘89. ..Registered 17 top-five and 28 top-10’s…Was on the car for Martin’s first career Winston Cup win on Oct. 22, 1989 at Rockingham…Finished third in the points in 1989.
    RETRO ’90 [old Folgers red] – WILL RUN AT THE BRICKYARD 500 (8/7/05)
    Races – Two season
    Highlights – Ran on the car in 1990 and 91…Finished second in the points in ’90…Scored 30 top-top five and 40 top-10 finishes, eight poles and four wins in that two year span…Won at Richmond on 2/25/90…Won at Michigan on 8/19/90…Won at North Wilkesboro on 9/30/90…Won at Atlanta on 11/17/91.
    RETRO ’93 [old Valvoline colors]- WILL RUN AT THE NEXTEL ALL-STAR CHALLENGE (5/21/05)
    Seasons – 1992-95
    Highlights – Ran for four seasons…Finished top-six in the points all four year including three top-five finishes and a second place in 1994…Garnered 50 top-five and 78 top-10 finishes…Had 11 poles and won 13 times…Won at Martinsville (5/26/92), Charlotte (10/11/92), Watkins Glen (8/8/93), Michigan (8/15/93), Bristol (8/28/93), Darlington (11/5/93), Phoenix (10/31/93), Watkins Glen (8/14/94), Atlanta (11/13/94), Talladega (5/30/95), Watkins Glen (8/13/95), North Wilkesboro (10/1/95) and Charlotte (10/8/95).(Roush Racing), images [3 of 4] on my #6 Team Schemes page.(3-30-2005)
  • Two races added to Said’s 2005 Sched: MB/Sutton Motorsports announced that #36-Boris Said’s 2005 Nextel Cup schedule has been expanded from 11 to 13 races with the addition of the Talladega race in May and the Texas race in November. Said, who competed in the Daytona 500, will next race his #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet at the Samsung/RadioShack 500 weekend, April 15-17 at Texas Motor Speedway. Said’s 2005 Nextel Cup Schedule:
    Daytona, Feb. 20; Texas, April 17; Talladega, May 1; Charlotte, May 29; Sonoma, June 26; Daytona, July 2; Indianapolis, Aug. 7; Watkins Glen, Aug. 14; California, Sept. 4; Kansas, Oct. 9; Charlotte, Oct. 15; Atlanta, Oct. 30; Texas, Nov. 6.(MB/Sutton Motorsports)(3-30-2005)
  • Daytona HOF Bid Clears 1st step: Daytona Beach’s bid to attract a NASCAR hall of fame got its first legislative victory Tuesday — but the hard part is still coming. The House Tourism Committee approved a plan that would commit $30 million over 25 years to the city’s effort to lure the hall of fame to a site near Daytona International Speedway. The vote came after weeks of lobbying and tinkering by local officials as they tried to ease concerns about using tax dollars to pay for the project. But the plan still faces major obstacles, including uncertainty about whether House and Senate leaders will go along with funneling tens of millions of dollars to the hall of fame and other sports-related projects. Also, three other House committees are slated to vote on the plan during the coming weeks — including the House Finance and Taxation committee, which is expected to closely scrutinize the project.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-30-2005)
  • National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson announced: Al Jones, Mayor of the Town of Mooresville, NC, roclaimed the week of May 2- May 9, 2005 as the National Pit CrewChampionship Powered by Tyson Week. The proclamation took place at Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, where the National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson will take place on May 9, 2005. This competition is a bracketed event where the 40 top pit crews have been invited to compete to win $100,000, with four teams having the chance at a $500,000 prize in the final bonus round, “The Powered by Tyson Pit Stop.” At today’s press conference, Mooresville town officials and event organizers outlined plans for making sure the event runs smoothly and has easy access for all fans. All proceeds from the event will go to Second Harvest and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. On May 9, 2005 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., there will be an exciting motorsports competition, with a twist. The National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson has invited the top 30 Cup and top 10 Busch pit crews in the country as they go head-to-head in a bracketed competition for the fastest pit stop. It’s win and move on. The competition will be televised on the SPEED Channel.
    Tickets to the event are free, and can be picked up in advance at PIT on 156 Byers Creek Road in Mooresville; the Mooresville Convention & Visitors Bureau on 265 North Main Street in Mooresville; and the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame on 119 Knob Hill Road, Lakeside Road in Mooresville. While tickets are free, attendees are encouraged to make a monetary donation to benefit Second Harvest and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. These can be accepted at all ticket locations. To make access in and out of the event easy, special parking lots will be designated with shuttles running continually on the day of the event. Teams for the competition will be selected after April 15, 2005. For more information please visit www.pitcrewchampionship.com or www.tyson.com.(PR)(3-30-2005)
  • #4 Morgan-McClure gets Food City as assoc. sponsor at Bristol: Food City has formed a partnership with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Mike Wallace for a one-race associate sponsorship. The Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 Lucas Oil/Food City Chevrolet will debut during qualifying for the Food City 500 on Friday, April 1st.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports)(3-30-2005)
  • Fruit of the Loom Debuts at Bristol: The April 3 Food City 500 will mark the debut of Fruit of the Loom as a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sponsor. It’s the first of 10 races this season in which the world-renowned apparel company will be featured on Robby Gordon’s #7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Fruit of the Loom sponsored Gordon’s Busch Series effort in 2004, a pairing that yielded a victory at Richmond and nine other top-10 finishes to lay a strong foundation for their ascent into the NEXTEL Cup arena.(Robby Gordon site)(3-30-3005)
  • Charter to sponsor the #16 at Bristol: #16-Greg Biffle will sport a special Charter paint scheme on the #16 Nextel Cup Ford Taurus.(Roush Racing)(3-30-2005)


    News from March 29, 2005

  • Dale Jr. comments on troubles: A lot of people want to know the reason behind Dale Earnhardt Jr’s. poor start to the 2005 season. Taking time out from testing at Martinsville Junior said he doesn’t blame his new pit crew but claims DEI is playing catch up. Dale Jr said “There’s a lot of other stuff and variables going on in the sport right now to where DEI is a company that’s found itself behind in a lot of areas. We’ve got great race cars but there are guys who have better ones now and we’ve got to work hard and gain on some areas.” So, Dale was asked, how do you do that? He said “Gotta hire some people, steal some people, get rid of the dead weight…that’s the only way you can do it. I heard somebody say that (Junior joked)…that’s a quote…(smiling)…not my own.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-29-2005)
  • Council approves NASCAR incentives: In an effort to keep NASCAR’s all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Charlotte [NC] City Council voted Monday night to set aside thousands of incentive dollars. NASCAR is considering moving the big race, which contributes more than $94 million a year to the regional economy. So last week, the president of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority asked the City Council to approve more than $62,000 in incentives. The state has already put up $250,000 in incentives.(News Carolina 14)(3-29-2005)
  • #9 to Outfit Special ‘Reverse’ Paint Scheme of Kahne’s Signature Dodge Pit Cap: While Kasey Kahne turned out a season for the record books in 2004, NASCAR fans turned out in record numbers donning Kahne’s signature Dodge pit cap at racetracks across the country. As a thank-you for the sea of red Dodge pit caps seen in the grandstands each weekend, Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger will sport a ‘reverse’ paint scheme of the fan-favorite hat style. The special paint scheme, which will debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2005 Brickyard 400, represents a unique twist on the style of Kahne’s well-known red hat. For the first time, Kahne’s #9 Dodge Charger will feature a predominantly white design with two red racing stripes across the entire length of the car top – a ‘reverse’ color design based upon the popular hat and the replica race car scheme that Kahne debuted in the 2004 Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.(Clear!Blue), see an image of the scheme on my #9 Team Schemes page.(3-29-2005)
  • Writer Honored: Larry Woody of The Tennessean is the 2005 recipient of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame‘s Henry T. McLemore Award, which recognizes outstanding motorsports journalism. Woody will be honored during ceremonies April 28 at the hall in Talladega, Ala., along with 2005 inductees Darrell Waltrip, Nigel Mansell, Chip Hanauer, Joe Amato and Bob Glidden. Woody is the 25th person to receive the McLemore Award since it was first awarded in 1969. Previous recipients include Chris Economaki, Ken Squier, Barney Hall, Eli Gold, Bob Jenkins and Ned Jarrett. ”It’s really an honor, particularly with Darrell being inducted, because our careers have kind of paralleled each other,” Woody said. A three-time Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year, Woody has also covered the NFL and Vanderbilt. He has written several books, including Mark Martin: Mark of ExcellencePure Sterling: The Sterling Marlin Storyand A Dixie Farewell: The Life and Death of Chucky Mullins. His most recent book is Along for the Ride, a collection of stories about covering auto racing. The Crossville native joined The Tennessean sports staff in 1967 after serving two years in the Army and receiving two citations for valor in Vietnam.(Tennessean)(3-29-2005)
  • Testing at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway says Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne, and Boris Said are scheduled to test their Nextel Cup entries there on Tuesday, and Rusty Wallace is expected on Wednesday. Busch Series drivers planning tests this week include Joe Nemechk, Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard and Brandon Miller on Tuesday and Greg Biffle on Wednesday. The tests are not open to the public.NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-29-2005)
  • Johnson Gillette Young Gun at Atlanta: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Golden Corral 500, Presented by Gillette Mach3 Turbo Nitro at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20th, Cynthia W. of Conyers, GA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Cynthia picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the third time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications)(3-29-2005)


    News from March 28, 2005

  • McDonald’s to sponsor Elliott UPDATE and Evernham too: hearing that McDonald’s will sponsor the #91 [#98?] Dodge and Bill Elliott at Michigan in June and California in September.(3-17-2005)
    UPDATE: McDonald’s announced the company has entered into a partnership agreement with Evernham Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The agreement calls for McDonald’s to be an associate sponsor on the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by 2004 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger that will be driven by [1988] NASCAR champion Bill Elliott at selected Nextel Cup events. The agreement includes a two-race McDonald’s primary sponsorship on Elliott’s car. The Bill Elliott Racing entry will carry the McDonald’s paint scheme at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 19) and California Speedway in Fontana (Sept. 5). Kahne, 24, said that he welcomes the new partnership and is looking forward to being affiliated with McDonald’s. McDonald’s motorsports programs also include primary sponsorships in the Champ Car World Series with the Newman/Haas team and driver Sebastian Bourdais and in the NASCAR Busch Series with Team Rensi Motorsports and [#35] driver Jason Keller. More info on McDonalds, see www.mcdonalds.com.(McDonald’s Racing)(3-28-2005)
  • 10,000 fans show up at Martin’s dealership, full-time Trucks in 2006: More than 10,000 NASCAR fans descended on star driver Mark Martin’s hometown over the weekend as he hosted defending Nextel Cup champ Kurt Busch and circuit veteran Rusty Wallace at his new Ford dealership. The fans lined up with pieces of Martin’s #6 memorabilia hoping for a signature. When he saw the size of the crowd — some fans came from as far as California, Louisiana and Wisconsin — Martin said he was a bit apprehensive. The event, called Mark Martin Days, was on Friday and Saturday. Next season, Martin said he will join the Craftsman Truck Series for a full schedule and spend more time in Batesville. “I think that’s the most important thing, that people realize just how hard I work for the success,” Martin said. “It hasn’t come easy and I’ve had a lot of competition. I’ve had to work harder than most to be there.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)(3-28-2005)
  • The Dodge ‘Vacuum’ Nose UPDATEs: Dodge officials have been in negotiations with NASCAR officials, apparently over aerodynamic issues. Dodge has a new nose and tail this season, and the nose has been controversial because of its tendency to suck up trash on the track and lead to engine overheating.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2005)
    UPDATE: Jeff Hammond of FoxSports: “Dodge is concerned about it [Nose], and they’ve had some conversations with NASCAR. But Dodge designed the nose and presented it to NASCAR in a certain form. If NASCAR allows a change, the benefits of cooling the engine block can’t also give teams another benefit with downforce or drag. I think NASCAR will be a little reluctant to make any changes as long as Chargers run tape on the nose. If Dodge went to NASCAR and said, “Hey guys, we’re overheating, and we need a little tweak”, NASCAR might be more willing to make a change if there’s no tape covering the opening. But more than likely, I think that NASCAR would say, “You should have thought about that ahead of time.” As long as teams can open up that front end and add more air to the engine, it’s going to be hard for NASCAR to give Dodge much leeway.”(FoxSports)(3-28-2005)
    AND The Dodge Charger nose has been in the news recently because it seems to pick up trash off of the track, blocking the air flow to the radiator. Speculation has it that Dodge has gone to NASCAR and ask for modifications on the nose. At Nashville Superspeedway this past weekend, Ray Evernham said that as far as he knows, Dodge has neither ask for — or have been offered any concessions from NASCAR concerning any modifications of the Dodge Charger nose. “We’ve talked to them about a possible replacement of the trash screen and nothing else,” said Evernham.(Insider Racing News)(3-28-2005)
  • Rudd to 2nd: #21-Ricky Rudd is expected to make his 55th start at Bristol, placing him second in all-time starts there behind Richard Petty, who had 60. Dave Marcis had 54, followed by Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte at 52.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)
  • Bonus Points: #48-Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers after four races wiht 30 Bonus Points scored. How does a driver get bonus points? By leading a lap of a race [one time bonus of 5 points] and leading the most laps in a race [in the event of a tie, both drivers get the bonus points. The drivers with the most bonus points?
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 30 points – lead a lap in all four races and led the most laps in two races, 1st in Drivers Points
    #16-Greg Biffle, 15, 2nd in drivers points
    #12-Ryan Newman, 15 , 6th
    #45-Kyle Petty, 15, 24th
    #01-Joe Nemechek, 15, 29th
    Johnson is the only driver to have led at least one lap in every race in 2005.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)
  • New Book Ranks Drivers: Speed wins races, but in racing it’s not the only determination of ranking drivers. Now, a new book by Unicoi writer Jeff Birchfield uses three statistical categories to rank some of the top names in racing. Titled “The Fast Crowd: 2004-05 Statistical Ranking of Racing’s Top Drivers,” the 64-page book identifies the Top 30 in the Nextel Cup Series. “Unlike baseball where there have frequently been statistical buffs, they’ve been rare in stock-car racing,” Birchfield explained. “However, for those of who enjoy research and statistics, it is a labor of love.” He said he thought about doing such a book for the past three or four years. In fact, he did a Top 10 ranking about 10 years ago for Inside Track magazine. Birchfield based his rankings on three categories — race wins over the past three seasons, a driver’s winning percentage with his current or most recent team and the percentage of times he has finished in the Top 10 over the course of his career. Still, he noted, statististics in racing require a little more work than such sports statistics as passing yards in football or batting percentages in baseball. “It’s just a tougher sport to do statistics work,” he said. He took some of his information from such sources as the 2004 NASCAR Media Guide and the NASCAR Preview and Press Guides available on news stands as well as old racing newspapers, magazines and track programs. Birchfield has been writing sports for 12 years, including stints in the sports sections of the Elizabethton Star and his current employer, the Johnson City Press. In addition, he operated the sports publication Sports Talk and has written freelance sports articles for Richard Petty Stock Car Magazine, Winston Cup Illustrated [Now NASCAR Illustrated] and FasTrack, a racing newspaper. He worked on his most recent endeavor in partnership with photographer Dave Boyd, who provided all the photographs in the book. Birchfield and Boyd worked together at the Elizabethton Star and, most recently, with the Johnson City Press. The majority of the book’s photographs originated at Bristol Motor Speedway. Birchfield said he sat down with Boyd and they sorted through photographs to choose the ones for publication. Birchfield plans to launch a non-traditional book tour to promote the book. An acquaintance suggested to Birchfield that he promote the book at area flea markets. “Flea markets always seem to be located near race tracks,” Birchfield said. In addition, he is working with smaller track promoters to sell the book. Birchfield and his wife, Sheila, are the parents of two children, Adam, a third grade student at Unicoi Elementary School, and 4-year-old daughter, Laura. The book is available for $9, plus shipping and handling, by writing to: Fast Crowd, P.O. Box 1294, Johnson City, TN 37605. Copies are also available for purchase at the office of The Erwin Record.(Erwin Record)(3-28-2005)
  • DNF’s – Martin has the streak: #6-Mark Martin has been running at the finish in 26 consecutive races, the longest current streak. #18-Bobby Labonte and #7-Robby Gorodn have the most DNF’s with 3 in 4 races. There are the only three active drivers with five or more races at Bristol that have not posted a DNF there. #29-Kevin Harvick has been running at the finish in all eight of his races at Bristol. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman have each been running at the finish in all six of their races there.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)
  • National Guard Diversity Team Continues: Drive for Diversity announced that the Army National Guard will once again be the primary advertiser for driver Morty Buckles and Belnavis Racing in the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (NDWS). Buckles will run the #54 Ford Late Model Stock Car at several NDWS tracks this season, including Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.(dBusinessNews)(3-28-2005)
  • Top 10 Stuff: #20-Tony Stewart has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 49 consecutive races (since Dover – September 2003), the longest current streak. #97-Kurt Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #6-Mark Martin, #20-Tony Stewart and #2-Rusty Wallace have each ranked in the top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings after every race in 2005.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)
  • Testing at Martinsville: Advance Auto Parts 500 Schedule UPDATED
    March 28: rained out.
    March 29: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip, #5-Kyle Busch, #25-Brian Vickers, #11-Jason Leffler, #21-Ricky Rudd, #14-John Andretti, #22-Scott Wimmer, #17-Matt Kenseth, #49-Ken Schrader, #32-Bobby Hamilton.
    March 30: #5-Kyle Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd
    The main fan gate is open at no charge for fans to watch.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-21/28-2005)

News from March 27, 2005

  • Robby in the Wind Tunnel..his car: Robby Gordon Motorsports spent Tuesday night at the Aerodyne windtunnel in Mooresville, NC, Robby Gordon Quote: “We have had a great week in the shop. The Easter weekend couldn’t have come at a better time for us since we have been able to take full advantage of the extra time in the engine shop as well as in the wind tunnel,” said Gordon. “We sent our Texas car to the wind tunnel Thursday night and learned a lot about that program, and the engine shop has been able to get some extra time on the dyno as well. We’ll take what we learned in the wind tunnel and what we have learned in the engine shop to a test at Texas on Tuesday where we’ll run a race simulation to validate what we think we already know. The engine problems that we have experienced are definitely heat related, and a lot of time has been spent in the last few days tracing the source of the issue. The test at Texas will let us know whether or not we’ve hit on the right solution. There is no shortage of work taking place on all aspects of our program, and I’ve been saying all along that we’ll be just fine, and from what I’ve seen of the progress made this week I’m optimistic.(Robby Gordon site)(3-27-2005)
  • Not Cup but……Crocker wins ARCA Pole: Erin Crocker, in her career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt, won the Pork Pole Award Friday afternoon at Nashville Superspeedway for Saturday’s PFG Lester 150. Crocker, in the Evernham Motorsports Dodge, qualified with a speed of 164.602 mph. In doing so, Crocker becomes only the third female driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history to qualify for a pole position. Patty Moise won pole awards at Talladega twice in 1988 and again at Daytona in 1989. Shawna Robinson won the pole at Michigan in 2000.(ARCA Racing Site)(3-26-2005)
    AND: Chad Blount won the race, Crocker finished 12th and led a bunch of laps.(3-27-2005)


    News from March 26, 2005

  • Ryan’s Racecar for kids: Byrnes Enterprises announced the release of a 30-minute video and DVD produced for children between the ages of two and eight. Ryan’s Racecar gives kids a close look at a real racing stock car and it’s driver, Ryan Zeck. Ryan’s Racecar was produced, written and hosted by veteran motorsports broadcaster Steve Byrnes. Byrnes is in his fifth year with FOX Sports and the Speed Channel. “I wanted younger kids to have the opportunity to see a racecar up close,” said Byrnes. “We mounted on-board cameras so you can see the driver really working the steering wheel which gives kids the feeling of actually being in a racecar. I see so many young kids at the race tracks and I want them to have something that furthers their understanding. I also want their parents to feel like there is value in what their kids are watching. I have the perfect motivation, and focus group at home,” continued Byrnes. “I watch my two-year-old son, Bryson, viewing videos and television programs. He likes humor, action, colors and music. I incorporated all of those elements into a video that will be entertaining and provide positive messages on safety and education.”
    “My father, Jerry Byrnes, was a career United States Federal Government employee and spent the last 15 years of his service at the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Byrnes. “Seat belt safety was a big issue in my house. That message is prominent in the video. We dedicated an entire segment of the video to safety and compared the Ryan’s racecar to the family car.”
    The video was shot at the Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C. and depicts Ryan preparing for an upcoming race by testing on the tough short track. Ryan Zeck, the first recipient of the prestigious Alan Kulwicki scholarship at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, has been racing since the age of eight. The Alan Kulwicki scholarship is awarded annually in honor of the 1992 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion who died in a plane crash in April of 1993. Ryan Zeck graduated from UNCC with honors in 1999 with a degree in mechanical engineering and continues to pursue his racing career. Zeck also works as an engineer for MB2 Motorsports with drivers Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek and Boris Said. “I thought this video was a great idea,” said Zeck. “The process of making a video was new and challenging to me. Racing is a family sport and this is a great way to bring kids into racing.”
    During the video, Ryan is constantly asked to take the goofy television reporter, Byrnes, for a ride in his racecar. Worse yet, Byrnes asks to drive the number 95 car. “I didn’t think that was a good idea,” said Zeck. “Steve wasn’t properly dressed and my racecar was really against the prospect of being driven by a TV guy.” A talking racecar? Just a part of the fun of Ryan’s Racecar. Ryan’s Racecar is available in DVD and VHS formats and can be ordered via the Internet at www.ryansracecar.com.(FoxSports)(3-26-2005)
  • France and the NFL rumor resurfaces MORE II: Brian France’s on-and-off plans to get into the National Football League as part-owner of a proposed new Los Angeles franchise may be back on again, according to sources who say France is working with Magic Johnson on various NFL-NBA angles. Johnson is on the NASCAR business roster to help this sport’s diversity program. The latest thinking on France-to-the-NFL is that he will complete NASCAR’s current round of TV renegotiations before making any big moves. France has insisted he’s not planning on leaving NASCAR anytime soon, though he has left the door open.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2005)
    MORE: Former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson says he and NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France have held discussions concerning the purchase of an NFL team for Los Angeles. Johnson, a co-chairman of NASCAR’s diversity committee, said he has met three or four times with France in Los Angeles, where France has a home [it was announced last year France had sold his house in LA and moved to Daytona Beach…Philly Inquirer in Feb 2004], and he said the two will meet again in two weeks. “I’m working on trying to bring the NFL back to L.A.,” Johnson said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. “I’ve met with the league three, four, five times, hopefully to be a minority owner.” Los Angeles, the nation’s #2 media market, hasn’t had an NFL team since 1995. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said during his annual state of the game address before the Super Bowl that the league intends to return a team to the Los Angeles area sometime this decade. “It would be wonderful that Brian France would be interested in being a part-owner or owner in the Los Angeles franchise,” Johnson said. “He has the money, he has the marketing tools and he lives in L.A. He loves both the NBA and the NFL. So I would see him being an owner in one or the other league. I’d love to work with Brian.” France — a grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. who has been credited with increasing the sport’s popularity since taking over from his father, Bill France Jr., in 2003 — was not available for comment Thursday. “Brian and Magic have had several conversations,” said Ramsey Poston, managing director of NASCAR corporate communications. “Mainly they’ve talked about diversity in NASCAR, but … they’ve talked about a lot of sports. They both like the NFL, but there has not been any specific conversations between the two about acquisition or ownership of an NFL team. Brian is firmly planted as CEO and chairman of NASCAR and is here for the long haul.”(USA Today)(3-25-2005)
    AND Despite the denials, sources continue to indicate that Brian France’s tenure as leader of NASCAR could be shorter than expected, NFL or not. There is credible word that Jim France, brother of Bill France and vice chairman/exec vp of NASCAR, and Bill France’s daughter, Lesa France Kennedy, are seeking to acquire Brian’s shares in the company. Why this would be done is not clear, and it may have nothing to do with the NFL. Brian France has denied this as well. “I have a huge economic interest in this industry today, and I plan to have for a long time,” he told USA Today in February. Credible sources say any such move by France would not happen soon, calling it “a slow burn.” Indications are that, if all goes as planned, the Frances would wait until after renegotiation of the network television contracts, due for renewal beginning next year. Brian France played an important role in negotiation of the current contracts in 2000.(Speed Channel)(3-26-2005)


    News from March 25, 2005

  • NASCAR Tech Award: NASCAR Technical Institude recently awarded Junior Acheievement of Iredell County [NC] $1,000 to expand its programs in Iredell County and reach a group of high-schooled children with business and economics courses. The institute also volunteered with Junior Achievement in local classrooms. JA reaches about 1,200 students in fourth and fifth grades at Lakeshore, Lake Norman and Mount Mourne elementary schools and Mooresville Intermediate School. JA uses hands-on activities to teach business and economics to students of all ages. Details at: jacarolinas.org.(Charlotte Oberver/Iredell Neighbors section)(3-25-2005)
  • Testing at Bristol: #31-Jeff Burton, in his first full Nextel Cup season with RCR, tested at Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday. Meanwhile, #29-Kevin Harvick was among a large group of Busch and Nextel Cup drivers at BMS Thursday. #14-John Andretti tested Wednesday.Bristol Herald Courier)(3-25-2005)
  • Mayfield, Labonte test at Kentucky: Aerodynamic changes that helped #19-Jeremy Mayfield to a season-best 13th-place NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series finish in Atlanta last week led to a possible season-changing breakthrough during a test at Kentucky Speedway Thursday. After closing out last season 10th in the 10-race Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the #19 team averaged a 23rd -place finish through the first three races of the season while working with the new Dodge Charger body and adjusted spoiler height mandated by NASCAR. When changes made for the Atlanta race led to improved results, Mayfield and his team made a commitment to further explore those changes by testing during the series off week. “We started the season with a lot of new Chargers and, with the new rules, we got a couple of races into it and thought, whoa, we need to rethink this whole thing,” Mayfield said. “We were trying to do something a little bit different.” Joe Gibbs Racing Driver #18-Bobby Labonte also tested in an attempt to rebound from the poor luck that has plagued him in three of the four series races. After losing an engine in the Daytona 500, Labonte rebounded with a 12th-place finish in the second race of the season in California. His resurgence was stopped cold when his involvement in early-race accidents in Las Vegas and Atlanta caused his plummet to 37th in the series standings.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-25-2005)
  • Congrats: Josh Mick, front tire carrier for #29-Kevin Harvick and Kelly Tomassetti, Marketing and Sales Coordinator for Team Caliber, are getting married today, Friday, March 25, 2005.(3-25-2005)


    News from March 24, 2005

  • Dale Jr. Flashlight to promote safety: Duracell and Dale Jr. show race fans the light. Duracell is partnering with NASCAR’s most popular to driver to introduce an important safety tool for race fans during the upcoming busy traveling season. Duracell is introducing a Dale Earnhardt Jr. branded flashlight to coincide with the brand’s launch of a safety campaign to education drivers on the importance of being prepared on the road. The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Focus Grip Max flashlight will have an ergonomic, rubberized grip and adjustable light beam that easily shifts from spot to flood mode. This unique flashlight features a sleek red and black race design emblazoned with Earnhardt Jr.’s car number and signature, and allows race fans to follow driver #8, whether at trackside, traveling in the car or using it around the house. It’s currently available in retail outlets nationwide. The flashlight introduction comes as Duracell launches a safety campaign to educate drivers on the importance of being prepared on the road. The Company will use automotive experts to share advice on automotive preparedness and safe driving throughout the year. Road safety tips, developed in conjunction with the Car Care Council, will also be made available to consumers via www.duracell.com beginning in mid-March. Like Duracell’s other Focus Grip Max flashlights, the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Focus Grip Max will have an ergonomic, rubberized grip and adjustable light beam that easily shifts from spot to flood mode. This unique flashlight features a sleek red and black race design emblazoned with Earnhardt Jr.’s car number and signature. The flashlight will be bundled with Duracell alkaline batteries, and has a suggested retail price of $9.99-10.99 at retail outlets nationwide. Duracell is a status sponsor of NASCAR and the “Official Alkaline Battery” of the sport.(Alan Taylor Communications)(3-24-2005)
  • Pit Crew Championship Announcement on March 29th: Details of “National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson” To Be Unveiled March 29, 2005. Al Jones, Mayor of the Town of Mooresville, NC plans to proclaim the week of May 2- May 9, 2005 as the “National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson Week.” Legendary crew chief Larry McReynolds along with other crew chiefs will join Tyson Foods, Inc. to unveil details of the National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson, one of the most unique and exciting motorsports competitions to come to Race City this year. Mooresville town officials and event organizers will outline plans for making the competition run smoothly, with a great experience and easy access for all fans attending The proclamation will be read at Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) in Mooresville, NC, where the competition will take place on May 9, 2005. The top 30 Cup and top 10 Busch pit crews have been invited to compete against each other in a bracketed event for the fastest pit stop. The best teams will have the chance to win a $500,000 prize in the final bonus round, “The Powered by Tyson Pit Stop.” The event will be televised on SPEED Channel, and all proceeds from the event will go to Second Harvest and Victory Junction Gang. For additional event information please visit www.pitcrewchampionship.com or www.tyson.com.(3-24-2005)
  • Singer of National Anthem at Atlanta Apologizes: John Michael Montgomery has apologized to anyone offended by his performance of the national anthem prior to Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and blamed a medical condition called acoustic neuroma. “Please accept my sincerest apologies for offending anyone; it was certainly not my intention,” said Montgomery in a statement on his Web site. “I will continue to see the doctors as we try to determine the best course of action to remedy the acoustic neuroma condition.” Montgomery said the condition leaves the sufferer with a lack of balance.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-24-2005)
  • Former Cup owner sent to prison: Tim Beverley ignored the camera as he walked into federal court today. What couldn’t be ignored was the fact he’d be sentenced to prison. “He understood. I think he understood that he was going to be punished,” says his attorney Gerry Goldstein. He could have received as much as 10 years, but the judged handed down a six year sentence with three years probation. “He took his punishment in the same vain that he lived his life, in respect for the court and respect for the law that he’s violated,” says Goldstein. Beverley had major success as owner of Tyler Jet. He told the judge today that financial problems began after investing in NASCAR [#17/#35 Darrell Waltrip/Rich Bickle in 1998, #10-Rich Bickle/David Green in 1999, #10-Johnny Benson in 2000]. His company declared bankruptcy and Beverley admitted to the court that his bout with drugs and alcohol and personal problems caused him to make careless business decisions. “Mr. Beverley [is] very sorry for what happened and I’m sure that his family would join him in wishing well all those people who were affected.” Beverly will have to pay back those he defrauded more than 18 million dollars in restitution. He told the judge he’s ready to move on with his life, which will be very different when he begins his prison sentence.(kltv.com) Also Chief Financial Officer, Gregory Hooper was sentences to 3 1/2 years. Both were ordered to pay over $18 million each in restitution.(3-24-2005)
  • Testing at Texas, Labonte fastest: #44-Terry Labonte posted the fastest lap during NASCAR Nextel Cup testing at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday. Labonte, a two-time Cup champion and winner of the 1999 race at TMS, toured the 1.5-mile quadoval at 189.474 mph in the #44 Chevrolet Monte Carlo he is driving in a limited 10-race schedule this season. Also testing in anticipation of the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 weekend April 14-17 were Cup regulars #45-Kyle Petty (189.208 mph), #15-Michael Waltrip (188.811 mph), #40-Sterling Marlin (188.153 mph) and #07-Dave Blaney (187.240 mph). “This place is wicked-fast,” said Petty, driver of the #45 Dodge Charger. “Hopefully, with some of the new aero rules, it will be more of a multigroove racetrack. It was getting that way last year.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-24-2005)
  • Travelodge back to the #16, primary at Darlington: Travelodge Hotels announced the renewal of its associate sponsorship of the #16 National Guard Ford Taurus, driven by Greg Biffle, in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The agreement continues the Travelodge brand’s two-year relationship with Roush Racing of Concord, N.C. As part of the agreement, Travelodge Hotels will appear as the team’s primary sponsor at Darlington Raceway’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 on May 7.(PRN Newswire)(3-24-2005)
  • SKF to Sponsor Blaney, #07 Chevy at Martinsville: SKF, the world’s leading manufacturer of bearings, seals and related products dedicated to improving today’s automobiles, trucks and machinery, will sponsor driver Dave Blaney and Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #07 Chevrolet in the April 10 Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s primary sponsor, will be prominently displayed on the car’s rear quarter-panels and deck lid in the one-race program highlighting RCR and SKF’s technical partnership. “It’s extremely exciting to ride with the No. 07 Team as its primary sponsor at Martinsville Speedway,” said Per Jacobsson, director of marketing communications, SKF. “We are proud to be a team sponsor and a technical partner with the Richard Childress Racing organization, and we look forward to our continued contributions to the No. 07, No. 29 and No. 31 teams throughout 2005 and beyond.” Together, SKF and RCR engineers research and develop products designed to perform under the harsh conditions of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in an effort to improve the quality and reliability of every day vehicles.(RCR)(3-24-2005)
  • Alabama Drops Out of HOF race: An Alabama group has dropped its campaign to be the home of a proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame, reducing Charlotte’s competition for the project to five rival bidders. On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that Neal Wade, director of the Alabama Development Office, called a halt to the campaign to put the hall of fame between Birmingham and Talladega. Bids are due May 31 for the facility, which will likely cost $75 million to $100 million. At the same time, plans for a bid by Daytona, Fla., are also shifting. Early talks centered on the state providing as much as $75 million in funding. Now, according to reports in The Orlando Sentinel, Daytona museum backers are aiming for $30 million to be raised by selling NASCAR license plates. Beyond Charlotte and Daytona, the bidders are Atlanta; Kansas City, Mo.; Richmond, Va.; and the state of Michigan.(Charlotte Business Journal/Daily Home)(3-24-2005)
  • Mobil 1 Awards Six $5,000 Scholarships to NASCAR Tech: ExxonMobil today announced winners of its Mobil 1 Scholarships to the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, N.C. NTI, 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. Each of the six students received $5,000 to pursue their automotive-technician career goals and currently has, or graduated with, an “A+” grade point average (4.0) from NTI. The recipients are:
    * Erik Welker of Charlotte, N.C.
    * Shan Alwran of Alexis, N.C.
    * George Naylor of Marion, N.C.
    * Leo Colwill of Kenosha, Wisc.
    * Aaron Turrel of Washington, Utah
    * Zachary Millard of Simsbury, Conn.
    The Mobil 1 Scholarships were developed to address the shortage of automotive technicians. The Institute is located in Mooresville, N.C., better known as Race City USA [and a great place to live], where nearly 75 percent of NASCAR teams are based.(Webershandwick)(3-24-2005)
  • Scholarship Awarded: One of the highlights of the annual Urban Youth Racing School dinner Tuesday night was the presentation of a $2,500 NASCAR scholarship to Jason Simmons, who plans to major in mechanical engineering at Drexel. Jason’s older brother, Leon, is a freshman engineering student at North Carolina-Charlotte. Among those attending the dinner at the Sheraton Society Hill were Cup driver Brian Vickers and Craftstman Truck Series driver Rick Crawford. Several UYRS students have interned with NASCAR teams. “If someone becomes an engineer, or gets in a driver’s seat or is a crew member, that would be wonderful,” said Tish Sheets, NASCAR’s director of diversity and special projects. “But the fact that children’s lives are changing, that’s what the program is about. They’re using the experience of NASCAR as an award at the end of the year. [It’s] for hard work and being good in school.”(Philadelphia Daily News)(3-24-2005)


    News from March 23, 2005

  • Sad News: Longtime STP public relations representative Harvey Duck passed away Tuesday, March 22nd. He was 80 years old. Duck was the long-time Public Relations Rep for STP.
    Richard Petty’s comments: “Harvey was one of the original PR guys in motorsports, and especially in NASCAR racing. He came to STP from a big Chicago newspaper, and there hadn’t been much of that at all for race teams or sponsors. Harvey knew the sport and he knew the media. A lot of the things people are doing today in PR started with guys like Harvey Duck. Add in the fact he was a pretty nice guy, and he was fun to have around. We’ve missed him since he retired, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
    More info as it is found.
    Arrangements: The viewing will be at Volusia Memorial Funeral Home, 548 N. Nova Road, Ormond Beach, Florida 32174 — telephone 386.673.5373. Hours will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 25th. Funeral will be 10 a.m. in the Chapel at the same location.
    Donations can be made in Harvey’s name to Victory Junction Gang Camp.
    Expressions of sympathy can be sent to Lexy Duck at 262 Amberwood Ct. Ormond Beach, Florida 32174.(3-23-2005)
  • Ward could take a Busch or Truck ride: As for familiar question of his brother Ward, Jeff Burton said to stay tuned. The veteran driver does not have a ride on any of the NASCAR circuits right now. “Ward is doing well,” Burton said. “He wants to be racing, but he’s stuck to his word that he’s only going to drive if gets a really good ride. The more offers Ward gets to run a good truck or Busch car, the more he is interested. I don’t think it will be long before you see Ward in a Busch or truck.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-23-2005)
  • Appeals UPDATE Rulings Announced: The appeals for the penalties of #48 crew chief Chad Knaus and #5 crew chief Alan Gustafson were scheduled to be HEARD today, Tuesday, March 22, 2005. Doesn’t mean we will hear a decision today or even tomorrow, but sometime this week would be expected and before Bristol for sure. On Speed Channel’s NASCAR Nation, it was reported the appeals were heard, no ruling yet. Info on the penalties, fines, suspensions and the appeal process on my Penalties page. Once I hear anything on the appeals it will be posted.(3-22/23-2005)
  • THE RULING ANNOUNCED

    National Stock Car Racing Commission Statements

    #48 Team: On March 22, 2005, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus concerning three penalties assessed by NASCAR relative to the #48 car following the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13, 2005. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: roof height too low in post-race inspection.”

    The penalties assessed were:
    • Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Jeff Gordon.
    • Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for Jimmie Johnson.
    • $35,000.00 fine and suspension from NASCAR until April 6, 2005 and suspension from the next two (2) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races for crew chief Chad Knaus.

    The car was in violation of the rules at the conclusion of the race. This was not contested during the hearing.

    Upon review of the evidence presented, and by a majority vote, it is the decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the penalties assessed against Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and to amend the penalty assessed against Chad Knaus as follows:

    $35,000.00 fine. Probation for 90 days, effective from the date of this Hearing.

    This decision pertains specifically to the evidence presented in this Appeal. The Commission’s rulings do not have a bearing on existing or announced NASCAR enforcement policies. The Appellant has the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. Commission were John Cooper, Jack Housby, George Silbermann, Chairman.(NASCAR)(3-23-2005)

    #5 Team: On March 22, 2005, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of Rick Hendrick, Kyle Busch and Alan Gustafson concerning three penalties assessed by NASCAR relative to the #5 car following the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13, 2005. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: quarter panel heights too high in post-race inspection.”

    The penalties assessed were:
    • Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Rick Hendrick.
    • Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for Kyle Busch.
    • $25,000 fine and suspension from NASCAR until April 6, 2005 and suspension from the next two (2) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races for crew chief Alan Gustafson.

    The car was in violation of the rules at the conclusion of the race. This was not contested during the hearing.

    Upon review of the evidence presented, and by a majority vote, it is the decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the penalties assessed against Rick Hendrick and Kyle Busch and to amend the penalty assessed against Alan Gustafson as follows:

    $25,000.00 fine. Probation for 90 days, effective from the date of this Hearing.

    This decision pertains specifically to the evidence presented in this Appeal. The Commission’s rulings do not have a bearing on existing or announced NASCAR enforcement policies. The Appellant has the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.Commission were John Cooper, Jack Housby, George Silbermann, Chairman.(NASCAR)(3-23-2005)

    What Does this mean? everything stands EXCEPT the suspensions to Knaus and Gustafson have been recinded.

  • Hendrick Statement: Team owner Rick Hendrick today commented on the results of Tuesday’s NASCAR appeal hearing, which today rescinded the suspensions of two Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs. “I appreciate NASCAR giving us the opportunity to present the facts,” Hendrick said. “From our perspective it’s important everyone, especially our fans, know that we absolutely had no intention of breaking any rules. This sport has a rule book for good reason, and it’s vital it be enforced. As an owner, I know it’s equally important to have a just forum for teams and a fair system of checks and balances. We respect NASCAR’s decision and look forward to carrying some momentum into Bristol.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-23-2005)
  • Crocker to make ARCA debut for Evernham: Evernham Motorsports driver and World of Outlaws phenom Erin Crocker will make her first start in the ARCA Re/MAX series this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. She will be driving the #98 Evernham Motorsports Dodge. Crocker, who turned 24 this week [Actually today], has shown great promise in the Evernham Motorsports driver development program. She has tested at both Kentucky Speedway and Nashville Speedway with solid results. This weekend, she will pilot Evernham Motorsports’ ARCA series Dodge on the 1.33-mile tri-oval speedway under the guidance of Ray Evernham and team director Chris Andrews. She will run several additional ARCA races this season, and will make her NASCAR Busch Series debut later this season [IRP]. She also will compete in the USAC Silver Crown Series in a car fielded by Kasey Kahne Racing.(Clearblue PR)(3-23-2005)
  • Hamilton Jr. tests at Martinsville: #32-Bobby Hamilton’s team was the only NEXTEL Cup team testing at Martinsville Tuesday, joining almost a half-dozen NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams. Hamilton won’t be back for a second day of testing on Wednesday, but several NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will be testing, including Ricky Craven, Todd Kluever and Justin Allgaier, all coming back for a second day, and Bill Lester, Shieage Hattori, Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner and Brandon Whitt will join them. Because of the possibility of rain, Darrell Waltrip, David Reutimann and Robert Huffman have moved their Truck Series tests to Thursday, joining David Starr, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Tam Topin, Alex Yontz, Bill Lester, Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine, Steve Park and Brendan Gaughan. Tickets for both the Advance Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 10, and the Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, on Saturday, April 9, may be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for both events also may be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-23-2005)
  • NASCAR Points Visa Card Plan: NASCAR RacePoints, a new rewards program designed for NASCAR fans who use the products and services of official NASCAR sponsors. With its new MBNA NASCAR RacePoints VISA credit card, MBNA America Bank, N.A. has become the first issuing partner of NASCAR RacePoints. For the first time ever, the MBNA NASCAR RacePoints VISA credit card allows consumers to earn one NASCAR RacePoint for each dollar spent in net retail purchases. NASCAR RacePoints is a free consumer loyalty program designed to allow participants to earn points based on purchases made with participating NASCAR sponsors. Accumulated points can be tracked and redeemed online for exciting race-related rewards in the exclusive NASCAR RacePoints catalog. Free enrollment in NASCAR RacePoints can be found at WWW.NASCAR.COM by clicking on NASCAR RacePoints. The NASCAR RacePoints catalog offers racing fans an exciting array of rewards within four categories: Access & Experiences, Collectibles & Memorabilia, Apparel, and Merchandise. All the products and experiences in the catalog are from official NASCAR licensees including: Action Performance, Richard Petty Driving Experience, Team Caliber, VF Corporation and more. The opportunity to redeem NASCAR RacePoints begins May 31, 2005.(Mullen PR)(3-23-2005)


    News from March 22, 2005

  • Testing dates set at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Lowe’s Motor Speedway has scheduled 35 hours of open testing for NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series teams in preparation for the track’s slate of May races, including the May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600.
    The testing schedule:
    April 26, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    May 3-4, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    May 9-10, NASCAR Busch Series, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    Many of the bumps in the track’s racing surface were removed recently during an asphalt grinding process and the testing sessions mark the first, and only, opportunity for teams to experiment with the new surface prior to the May events. Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge during each testing session. Fans should enter through Gate 5A next to the ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower.(LMS)(3-22-2005)
  • #99 Almost Full of Sponsors: The #99 Roush Racing Ford has sponsors listed for all but the two New Hamphsire races. Scotts/Ortho, Office Depot will be the sponsor for most of the races, along with AAA [2 races at MIS and 1 at Indy], World Financial Group [3 races – Las Vegas and Tallagega – Oct and with Aegon at Pocono in June], Pennzoil at Dayotna in July and something called Renessaince at Kansas [possibly something to do with the Kansas City Renaissance Festival in Kansas City]. Some rumors for sponsors at New Hampshire include the Boston Red Sox and Intel.(Roush Racing site)(3-23-2005)
  • So who to the #6 car in 2006? Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford, is no longer is slated to replace Mark Martin [retires from Cup at end of 2005] in the No. 6 after this season. “It’s pretty obvious he’s found a home in the 99,” Smith says. “We’re going to have to fill the 6 with someone else, and we don’t know who that someone else might be.” Smith says they will look at current Roush truck series driver Ricky Craven, a former Cup veteran, for the ride. But he expects other drivers in the garage to be interested: “That’s a fantastic ride that’s going to be available.”(USA Today)(3-22-2005)
  • Osborne Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Carl Edwards didn’t think life could get any better after winning the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday afternoon. Little did he know that he would eclipse his shining moment the very next day. In stunning fashion, Edwards followed up his Busch Series triumph with a victory in the Golden Coral 500. His team, led by crew chief Bob Osborne, kept Edwards in the hunt all race long, setting the stage for a dramatic last lap pass over Jimmie Johnson for the win. Osborne’s performance earned him the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. The panel of voters, Rick Minter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a WYPALL Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser, all agreed Osborne outshined the competition. “He (Osborne) made all of the right adjustments during the race,” said Minter. “He made the car its best when it mattered the most.” Osborne won $1000 for picking up the Crew Chief of the Race award. He is now tied with Alan Gustafson, Pete Rondeau and Doug Richert in the point standings for the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.(WypAll Wipers)(3-22-2005)
  • Sad News: Angela Broome “Angie” Skog, 36, passed away on Saturday, March 19, 2005 at her home. She was born on May 1, 1968 to Thomas Richard and Sarah Jenkins Broome of Concord. Angie was a graduate of West Charlotte High School, Class of ’85, and of UNC-Charlotte, Class of ’90, where she earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She worked with Ricky Rudd Racing team as office manager [and fanclub]. In addition to her parents, she is survived by her husband, David ‘Dave’ Vernon Skog; sister, Lisa B. Daniels and husband Michael of Randleman, NC; and niece, Jennifer Lynn Daniels. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, 2005 in the chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with Rev. Kyle Hite of Rocky River Presbyterian Church officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior and one hour following the service at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; Humane Society of Concord and Greater Cabarrus County, 244 Hwy 29 S, Concord, NC 28027; or Motor Racing Outreach, Smith Tower, Suite 405, 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027.(a guest book can be signed at the Charlotte Observer) and see a sticker Rudd had on his Atlanta car the Wood Brothers site.(3-22-2005)
  • East Tennessee Trailers to sponsor Hermie in four races: East Tennessee Trailers will be the primary sponsor of the #66 Peak Performance Motorsports Ford driven by Hermie Sadler in four NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races in 2005, beginning with the Food City 500 on April 3, at Bristol Motor Speedway. ETT, a season-long associate of the Peak Performance #66, will also be primary sponsor for Darlington in May as well as the fall races at Talladega and Martinsville. In addition to carrying the East Tennessee Trailers colors at Bristol, the car will also carry the Autism Awareness ribbon to signify April as Autism Awareness Month. Jeff Stec, owner of Peak Performance Motorsports, agrees that the ETT association is a good fit. “As we continue to grow our team, it is important that we have quality marketing partners to help us get where we want to go. ETT understands the loyalty of NASCAR fans and we look forward to a good run for them.” Hermie Sadler will visit ETT’s new manufacturing plant in Oneida, Tennessee on Thursday, March 31 to meet with ETT employees and dealers. For more information on East Tennessee Trailer products and dealers, visit www.ettrailers.com.(PSE-3)(3-22-2005)
  • Man Found Dead in RV at AMS: A man was found dead of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning Monday morning inside an RV at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Henry County police said today. Police Lt. Jason Bolton said the RV’s generator leaked, causing the deadly fumes to accumulate and kill B. Christopher Thompson, 37, of Ball Ground, GA. Thompson’s wife, Lori Thompson, 34, was airlifted to Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta. The hospital refused to give information on her condition Monday afternoon. Bolton said the couple spent the weekend in the 1996 Dolphin 535 mobile home while attending the Golden Corral 500 at the racetrack in Hampton. Friends staying in another mobile home found the couple about 10:30am/et Monday. The group had decided to return home Monday rather than fight the traffic Sunday night, Bolton said. Foul play is not suspected and an autopsy will be performed Tuesday.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-22-2005)
  • Pattie Petty on A&E Special Presentation: Pattie Petty, wife of NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge, will be one of four wives featured in A&E’s special presentation: SPORTS WIVES, premiering Wednesday, March 23, 9:00-11:00pm/et. The behind-the-scenes feature will profile Petty at the track and at home giving viewers a look at what it is like to be a wife of a professional athlete. The feature will also highlight Petty’s dedication to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a charitable organization aimed at enriching the lives of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Victory Junction was founded by the Petty’s in honor of their son Adam. The A&E Network spent time filming Petty during the later part of the 2004 season.(Williams Company)(3-22-2005)
  • AAA Salutes Edwards: “On behalf of the six AAA clubs in The Auto Club Group, I want to offer warm congratulations to Carl Edwards on the occasion of his first victory in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race,” Charles Podowski, president/CEO of The Auto Club Group said today. “Carl’s dramatic finish in the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday is a tribute to his driving skill and persistence and the excellent support he receives from his Roush Racing Teammates. The Auto Club Group is proud to be one of Carl’s primary sponsors for this year’s NEXTEL Cup season,” Podowski said. The Auto Club Group has signed on to be the primary sponsor of Edwards’ AAA Car #99 Ford Taurus in three NEXTEL Cup races this year and as an associate sponsor in the 35 other events. This is Edwards’ first full year on the NEXTEL Cup circuit. Edwards will be making his first appearance under The Auto Club Group’s principal sponsorship in the June 19 NEXTEL Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. He will also compete with representatives of Michigan news media in a simulator race on Thursday, June (Yahoo Finance)(3-22-2005)
  • Goodyear Tire Testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway UPDATE: Joe Nemechek and the #01 U.S. Army team will participate in a Goodyear tire test Monday, March 21st at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Nemechek will be the first NEXTEL Cup driver to circle the speedway since engineers used a combination of Global Positioning System technology and three-dimensional laser mapping to smooth the 1.5-mile racing surface.(LMS)(3-19-2005)
    UPDATE: After several laps at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during a Goodyear tire test Monday, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veteran Joe Nemechek believes track officials have achieved their goal of creating more side-by-side racing at the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway. In preparation for the May races including the May 29 Coca-Cola 600 and May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, engineers recently used a combination of Global Positioning System technology and three-dimensional laser mapping to smooth the track’s asphalt surface. “It’s going to make for more side-by-side racing,” Nemechek said after climbing from his #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. “The grinding has added so much more grip, and it’s not just around the bottom. It’s from the bottom to the wall, and that’s a very good thing when you are trying to race around the high groove. I’ve been running right around the bottom, trying to do the same thing every lap to give Goodyear some feedback,” Nemechek continued. “But I’ve slid up a little bit and there is still a lot of grip. It might even be faster up high.” With his Chevrolet in race trim, Nemechek consistently ran lap times close to Ryan Newman’s 188.877-mph track qualifying record.(LMS)(3-22-2005)
  • Dyno Testing at Atlanta: NASCAR got its first good look at chassis dyno numbers of engines under the new RPM-limiting rules. The Jimmie Johnson, Dave Blaney, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray cars were tested.(Winston Salem Journal), no results or who was the best mentioned.(3-22-2005)
  • May be too late to get back in top-10 by race 26 for some: For a number of top drivers, this year’s championship may already be out of reach – if historical precedent means anything. If a team isn’t in the top-20 by this point of the season, it may be all over but the shouting, judging by statistics over the last 30 years. Since 1975 only 28 drivers have worked their way back into the top 10 by the 26-race mark after falling below 20th in the standings in the opening month of the season. That stat has to be worrisome for NASCAR top-dogs who are currently not in the top-20, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. (26th), Michael Waltrip (27th), Kasey Kahne (28th), Matt Kenseth (31st) and Bobby Labonte (37th).(Winston Salem Journal)(3-22-2005)


    News from March 21, 2005

  • Overnight TV Ratings for Atlanta down: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 drew a 4.9 overnight rating and an 11 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 8.2 percent lower than the 5.3 overnight figure the race drew in 2004, when it was contested a week earlier on the calendar and was not broadcast opposite CBS’s coverage of the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament. The Daily reported that CBS averaged a 7.1 overnight rating for its three broadcast windows of games Sunday, a 10.9 percent increase over last year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-21-2005)
  • Edwards Drives Home too: After Carl Edwards drove 500 miles to victory he left Atlanta with his motor coach driver and spent all night behind the wheel 680 miles to his hometown of Columbia, Missouri. His sponsor Scotts had a private jet waiting for him where he then flew to New York City to help ring Monday’s closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. A long drive following a race win is nothing new to Edwards. After his first-ever dirt track victory in Godfrey, Illinois Carl drove home and was so happy that night he didn’t change out of uniform. He also drove back to Missouri from the Kentucky Speedway after his first Craftsman Truck Series win. Edwards said “To get behind the wheel of that motor home and drove home (from Atlanta) just made it feel right.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-21-2005)
  • First time Cup and Busch wins same weekend? haven’t seen this anyplace, but during Speed Channel’s Speed News, it was mentioned that Carl Edward’s first time Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series wins, was the first time a drive had gotten his first career win in both series on the same weekend at the same track.(3-21-2005)
  • NASCAR renews with radio company: NASCAR announced a renewal of its longstanding association with Atlanta-based Diversified Electronics/Racing Radios to provide two-way radio communications for all NASCAR officials and competitors in NASCAR’s three national series – the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The renewal runs through the 2013 season – coinciding with the terminus of the current NASCAR-Nextel Communications deal to sponsor NASCAR’s top series – and continues a 30-year relationship. Building on that tradition, Racing Radios, the first and only two-ray radio provider for NASCAR, is moving ahead boldly by partnering with Nextel Communications to provide state-of-the-art technology. Nextel is in its second year as title sponsor of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.(NASCAR PR)(3-21-2005)
  • Crew Chief Award Stays: Without a doubt, the greatest thing about NASCAR is its fans. It’s their passion and enthusiasm that makes racing the best sport in the world. So we appreciate you sharing thoughts on the Crew Chief Challenge. After all, that’s what this contest is all about – settling the hot debate of who really is the best crew chief in the Nextel Cup garage. Kyle Busch’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, was awarded the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Gustafson’s car met all specifications before the race, and it was an incident during the event that caused it to exceed the height requirement. WYPALL Wipers certainly does not endorse any kind of dishonesty. The voting panel, including Tony Eury Sr., the local media and a WYPALL Wipers representative, took into account several factors when picking the winner, including strategy, pit stop times, improvement throughout the day and overall performance. Given that criteria, the vote for Gustafson still stands.(SMC 500 PR)(3-21-2005)
  • 13,975 new books donated First through Spoonfuls Of Stories: Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team didn’t have the type of finish they had hoped Sunday, but Atlanta children still had a big win. Green ran into handling problems, completed 321 laps of 325] and finished 28th in the race. Cheerios Spoonfuls Of Stories and First Book, a national non-profit organization, had agreed to donate 43 books to Atlanta children through the new Atlanta-area First Book chapter for every lap Green completed in the race. Cheerios and First Book made the maximum donation anyway – 13,975 new books. The books-per-lap donation is part of the ongoing Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, which gets books into the hands of children. More than 60 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. Racing audiences shared in the excitement by cheering on the #43 Dodge, which sported a special Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories paint scheme for the race.(Williams Company), see an image of the car on my #43 Teams Schemes page.(3-21-2005)
  • Edwards Flip? Why? How? Where? For those wondering about the origin of the backflip Edwards did after winning Saturday’s Busch Series race and Sunday’s Cup race he learned it several years ago from Tyler Walker, a World of Outlaws driver now driving Busch. “I almost didn’t make it around on that one,” Edwards said of Sunday’s flip. “I was a little wore out and excited. I was definitely off, but I’ll make it up to them (fans) next time.”(The State)(3-21-2005)
  • So where is the big blue bottle? been getting asked alot where the big blue Powerade Bottle is that caused such a firestorm in 2004 [Johnson fine, Gordon misses Indy’s victory lane, etc]. in 2003 and 2004, the pit crew award was called “McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade”. In 2005, McDonald’s dropped it sponsorship of the award and as the official fast food restaurant of NASCAR. In 2005 Checker’s now sponsors the award, called the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge. Not sure of the rules or standings as I have gotten no PR’s on it, who is eligible and have seen no websites for it, just blurbs about who won the week before.(3-21-2005)
  • Driver Suspensions? Jimmy Spencer, co-host of SPEED Channel’s NASCAR This Morning, reported on Atlanta’s Nextel Cup driver meeting. It was a really important drivers meeting, and (NASCAR president) Mike Helton talked about fitting in the box. In ’01 and ’02, they escalated the fines to just money. Then it was not enough. And then at Dover in June (last year), he warned it would escalate higher in reaction to the points. One month later, they issued money and points. Today, with what happened last week at Vegas, Mike says that’s it. What (NASCAR’s) going to do, he’s heard about all of the car owners and crew chiefs talking this stuff, the car has to fit in the box. Don’t make (NASCAR) react. “What I wanted to do today was to address you, as we have in the past, to give you the heads up that NASCAR will do whatever it feels like it has to do to maintain the confidence of everybody in the garage that everyone is playing on the same playing field,” Helton said. “Whether it’s intentional or whether it’s not intentional, there is a box that you have to fit in, and it’s our responsibility to react when it doesn’t work right. My assumption of what he said is, “Boys, you could be missing a week. Maybe more.”(FoxSports/Speed Channel)(3-21-2005)
  • France and the NFL rumor resurfaces: Brian France’s on-and-off plans to get into the National Football League as part-owner of a proposed new Los Angeles franchise may be back on again, according to sources who say France is working with Magic Johnson on various NFL-NBA angles. Johnson is on the NASCAR business roster to help this sport’s diversity program. The latest thinking on France-to-the-NFL is that he will complete NASCAR’s current round of TV renegotiations before making any big moves. France has insisted he’s not planning on leaving NASCAR anytime soon, though he has left the door open.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2005)
  • Speeding Penalties at Atlanta: More speeding tickets: NASCAR’s pit road crackdown continued at Atlanta. During the drivers meeting, it was announced there will be no more 15-second penalties for speeding on pit road. Instead, drivers will serve drive-through penalties for speeding or driving through three or more pit boxes when pitting. Dale Jarrett (three times), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (twice), Michael Waltrip and Kurt Busch were busted for speeding Sunday.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-21-2005)
  • Engine of the Future: NASCAR’s proposed “engine of the future” for 2007 would be sized down to 325 c.i., about 100 horsepower smaller than the current 358 c.i. design, which has been stock-car racing’s staple since 1975. NASCAR’s goal is an engine that produces 700 horsepower at the flywheel (about 680 horsepower at the rear wheels). NASCAR has had three major meetings with Detroit car makers over specs for the new engine, which is being stalled by Ford Motor Company. In part of the engine discussions, NASCAR officials are looking for ways to create a secondary in-sport market for old engines. Currently there is no such hand-me-down market for slightly used, or last year’s NASCAR equipment.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2005)
  • Latest on Toyota to Cup: One reason for the engine talks is Toyota’s planned step up to Nextel Cup racing and worries the Japanese giant – now the world’s second biggest car maker – may come in with a significant technological edge. Toyota’s NASCAR Cup plans remain a hot button issue in the NASCAR garage, and now there is word that Toyota may have already tested a NASCAR Cup car with one of its NASCAR Truck engines, and that Toyota’s racing division is only awaiting word from upper management to launch the program. However, Toyota has just undertaken a massive Formula One effort that could be draining potential NASCAR resources. The Toyota F-1 project could run from $400 million to $700 million a year. While much speculation has been that Honda would follow Toyota into NASCAR racing, there are reports Nissan, instead, might be the second Japanese car maker to make the move into this brand of racing.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2005)

  • New Racing Magazine: Racing Fan, a flashy magazine with loose ties to Sports Illustrated, will hit newsstands March 28. Published in an oversized format (like ESPN The Magazine and Rolling Stone), the magazine is photo- and graphic-driven and targets “the 75 million fans that have made NASCAR the fastest- growing sort in America.” Two issues will be produced, and if they’re well-received, the magazine will publish monthly, editor Scott Mowbray said. The publisher is Times 4 Media, a subsidiary of Time Inc., parent of Sports Illustrated.(Tampa Tribune)
    AND The first of two issues of RACING FAN, a big, bold, photo-driven magazine, debuts this month. Celebrating NASCAR fans, their heroes, their passion for the sport and the NASCAR lifestyle, RACING FAN gives the people who love everything about NASCAR information they can use, whether they collect memorabilia, are planning a trip to the track, or want to win their next trivia argument. The second issue of RACING FAN will be on newsstands nationwide May 16th. Each includes an up-front section full of driver, sponsor, and track news; feature stories on the events that have shaped NASCAR history; and “Racing Nation,” a back section dedicated to the fans themselves. It’s all delivered in an oversized, easy-to-read format combining the visual staying power of magazines with the unique excitement and spectacle of NASCAR racing. “The fans deserve a magazine as big and loud as the sport we all love. This is it,” says Scott Mowbray, editor of the two issues.(PR)(3-21-2005)
  • Testing at Kentucky: NEXTEL Cup teams from Evernham Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are scheduled to test March 23 and 24 at Kentucky Speedway. Evernham teams will be on the track on March 23. Bobby Labonte will turn laps in his Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet on March 24. Fans can view testing from the designated area near the Fan Center at no charge. Testing begins at approximately 9:00 a.m. and ends at approximately 5:00 p.m.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-21-2005)

News from March 20, 2005

  • #5 Team allowed to work on car: Though NASCAR Nextel Cup cars were impounded [see full rules below] this weekend after qualifying Friday, Kyle Busch’s team on Saturday was allowed to prepare a backup car for today’s race at Atlanta after the 19-year-old Cup rookie wrecked his primary car in qualifying. It’s a good thing crew chief Alan Gustafson is allowed to work while his suspension is being appealed.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-20-2005)
  • Lepage gets a sponsor for Atlanta: The #37 with driver Kevin LePage, which has full sponsorship for only five races this year, will carry the colors today of Newell Recycling of Atlanta.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-20-2005)
  • Last Time a win was stripped for an post-race inspection violation? The last time NASCAR [Cup Series] disqualified a winner for failing a post-race inspection was in 1955, according to an official in NASCAR’s statistical services. Fireball Roberts won the Daytona Beach race, but had the win taken away for an engine modification. NASCAR gave Tim Flock the win. Since then, drivers have kept wins regardless of the infractions. NASCAR stripped Rudd of a victory at the Sears Point (now Infineon) road course in 1991 for rough driving. Rudd made contact with leader Davey Allison before the final lap and caused Allison to spin. Rudd crossed the finish line first but was not given the checkered flag. That waved as Allison passed.(News and Record). No Petty was not stripped in 1983, no Mayfield was not stripped in 2002, Skinner and Jarrett had Busch wins stripped NOT Cup.(3-20-2005)
  • Race Penalties Now Less Severe: Beginning with Sunday’s Golden Corral 500, eight infractions that used to bring a stop-and-go penalty will now be addressed with a pass through the pits. They include a crew member jumping over the wall too soon, too many crewmen in the pit service area, using more than two air wrenches during a stop, and tossing the fuel or catch cans. Other violations now covered by a pass-through penalty are: crew members returning from the equipment side of the wall, illegal use of extension poles, failing to carry the front air wrench to the pit wall side, and noncompliant refueling. A stop-and-go requires a car to return to its pit box for 15 seconds, while the lesser penalty is merely going back through pit road at the required speed limit.(FoxSports/AP)(3-20-2005)
  • A Few Stats to Gnaw On:
    * Six of Bobby Labonte’s 21 Cup victories have occurred at Atlanta.
    * No driver has swept both races in a season Atlanta since Bill Elliott in 1992.
    * In the last 29 races at Atlanta, only once has pole winner gone on to win.
    * Tony Stewart has finished in the top 10 in seven consecutive AMS races.
    * Jimmie Johnson has led at least one lap in every race so far. Here’s a surprise: The only other driver who can make that claim is Kyle Petty.(Gaston Gazette)(3-20-2005)
  • Atlanta Post Race Notes:
    • Carl Edwards won the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 17th career start.
    • Edwards won both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Joe Nemechek was the last driver to win both races in a weekend (Kansas October 2004).
    • Edwards became the first driver ever to post both his career-first NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories in the same weekend.
    • Edwards became the seventh different race winner in the last seven races Atlanta Motor.
    • Edwards begins the 2005 season with two top-five finishes and top-15s in four races.
    • Edwards posted his second top-five finish in two races at Atlanta. He finished third at Atlanta last October.
    • Edwards scored the second victory in four races in 2005 for car owner Jack Roush. It marked Roush’s fourth victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    • Greg Biffle was the most recent first-time winner when he won at Daytona in July 2003.
    Notebook Items
    • Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his fifth top-five finish in eight races at Atlanta. Johnson has scored top- 10 finishes in the 10 races since Charlotte last fall. Johnson is the only driver that has led at least one lap in all four races in 2005.
    • Greg Biffle (third) scored his third top-10 finish in five races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He posted his third straight top-10 finish of the season. This is the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career that he has posted three consecutive top-10s.
    • Mark Martin (fourth) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 39 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin has scored three top-10 finishes in four races this season. Martin has been running at the finish in 26 consecutive races, the longest current streak.
    • Kasey Kahne (fifth) scored his third top-five finish in three races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kahne scored his first top-10 and best finish in 2005.
    • Dave Blaney (eighth) scored his second top-10 finish in 11 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His last top- 10 finish came at Pocono (ninth) in July 2003.
    • Kyle Busch (12th) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the third time in 2005.
    • Mike Garvey started 43rd and finished 41st in his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start.
    • Robby Gordon failed to qualify for the 2005 Daytona 500 and has finished 35th, 39th and 34th in the three races he has competed in this season.
    • All 10 of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings changed at Atlanta.
    • Just one race remains before 2005 owner points set the guaranteed starting positions at Martinsville. Noted car owners/drivers ranked outside the top 35 include: Joe Gibbs/Bobby Labonte (37th), Greg Pollex/John Andretti (38th), Leonard Wood/Ricky Rudd (39th) and James Smith/Robby Gordon (40th).
    • Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup…. 18 drivers are already more than 400 points behind the leader. Included in those 18 are Mike Wallace, Bobby Labonte, John Andretti, Ricky Rudd and Robby Gordon plus 13 others.
    • The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus will be worth $20,000 Bristol Motor Speedway.
    (Information Provided by NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-20-2005)
  • StockCarFans – Rumblings – Atlanta: We had a phenomenal finish to a fantastic weekend as Carl Edwards grabbed his first-ever Nextel Cup victory by a whopping .02 seconds over the ultra-consistent Jimmie Johnson in today’s Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In a 25 lap shootout to the end, Edwards ran down Johnson coming off turn four and we had our classic AMS finish as Edwards squeezed through on the outside to make his weekend complete….he scored his first Busch Series win yesterday.
    Saw some empty seats today….and you gotta wonder why. An entertaining Busch race yesterday and Friday’s CTS race was just as close as today. The weather couldn’t be blamed, either.
    I won’t say that early carnage was due to the new impound rule, but I hope that thought at least passed through NASCAR’s mind. After all, everybody knows no practice makes you better, right? The guys in the booth touched on the fact this new rule could bode poorly for the Busch regulars. With the chance to learn the new tire and the track changes (since the impound at certain tracks means absolutely no action on Saturday for the Cup cars) expect to hear some more complaining about the “Busch” whackers.
    This was win #76 for Roush Racing, and Carl Edwards becomes a member of a very elite club of racers. He’s the 167th different winner in NASCAR’s top division, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another driver as humbled and overcome by the experience. It was worth $165,450 for Edwards (btw, Jimmie Johnson got over $173K for running second).
    Brian Vickers (6th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 7th when we were here last October.
    Michael Waltrip (7th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Loudon last July.
    Dave Blaney (8th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Darlington in March of 2003!
    Jeremy Mayfield (13th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville last October.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 10 Top-10’s in a row.
    Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is a tie between Michael Waltrip (+30) and Kyle Busch (+30), followed by Jeff Burton (+23) and Sterling Marlin (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bobby Hamilton Jr (-36), followed by Joe Nemechek (-28), Shane Hmiel (-22), and Travis Kvapil (-20).
    Jimmie Johnson lost the points lead mid-week but regains it today. He’s now 82 points ahead of new second place driver Greg Biffle. We’ve got 35 drivers still in the hunt for the “Chase”.
    The best move forward today belongs to Kasey Kahne (38th to 28th), while Jeff Gordon (4th to 12th) and Kyle Petty (16th to 24th) fell the most spots.(StockCarFans.com)(3-20-2005)


    News from March 19, 2005

  • Sad News: Paul Jedic from Flag 2 Flag Racing Collectibles in Tuckerton, NJ passed away on Saturday, March 19th after a valiant battle against lung cancer.(3-19-2005)
  • What’s the Record? #12-Ryan Newman won his 5th straight pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday…so what is the record? David Pearson won 11 straight poles, all while driving for the [#21] Wood Brothers from 1973 through 1978, at the track now known as Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Gaston Gazette)(3-19-2005)
  • Rusty goes yellow at Texas: Rusty Wallace will be back with the Kodak colors at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Last year, Wallace had the Kodak sponsorship on his #2 Dodge at Watkins Glen, marking the first time [since 1989 when Koidak was the sponsor during hios Championship season] he raced for another sponsor since being with the Miller Brewing Company.(RacingOne)(3-19-2005)
  • Times have changed: Richard Petty never thought he’d see the day when he promoted Nicorette nicotine gum, a product designed to help people stop smoking. “Not after spending 33 years with Winston,” Petty said of the cigarette company that was NASCAR’s primary sponsor until last season. “Times have changed. Circumstances change.” Petty’s involvement with Nicorette is part of a program in which five NASCAR fans were selected to be a part of the Winner’s Circle quit-smoking campaign. The public can follow their progress over the next 12 weeks by logging onto www.quit.com. Those who are successful will get to spend a day and a half learning to drive a stock car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.(The State)(3-19-2005)
  • Motorcycle Racer Bubba Stewart on NASCAR: “I’ve gotten offers already to do that from a lot of sponsors, like Home Depot, Tony Stewart’s team and stuff like that. A few teams,” he said. “Right now I’m focusing on racing. All the NASCAR guys pretty much start from go-karts, I think. I’ve never heard of a NASCAR guy riding a motorcycle [Jimmie Johnson]. Right now I make a good living (between $3 million and $5 million a year) doing this. I just want to do it and have fun at it, and I’m going to take it seriously and stuff. I think if I went to NASCAR right now, I’d be the guy in the best shape. I wouldn’t need a water bottle. This is a physical thing; you can be a little bit overweight and still be good at NASCAR. You can be 30 years old and still be young in NASCAR.”(in part from the Lakeland Ledger)(3-19-2005)
  • Fatback’s stance on the penalties: The crimes committed in Sin City [Las Vegas] drew stiff punishments and suspensions for [crew chiefs] #48-Chad Knaus, #5-Alan Gustafson and #29-Todd Berrier but not much sympathy from many competitors. The trio is challenging the penalties as excessive, but [#21 Crew Chief] Michael “Fatback” McSwain wasn’t interested in hearing explanations or claims of injustice. “Tough [expletive],” said McSwain, crew chief for Ricky Rudd. “That’s [baloney], man. That’s what’s wrong with America now. Every time somebody screws up, we tell them it’s all right. You don’t pay your bills, you can file bankruptcy. You kill somebody, spend 10 years in jail, and we’ll let you out. That’s what’s wrong with society now, man. If you do the crime do the time. If you had the guts to do it, have the guts to take your punishment.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-19-2005)
      vs.  
    The same?

  • RCR Sues ESPN over the number ‘3’: The stylized No. 3 symbolizing the legacy of Dale Earnhardt has been reproduced on jackets, on stickers with an angel’s halo, on the walls of local restaurants, and on countless other products and memorials to the late racing legend. RCR Enterprises Inc., which owns the trademark rights to the stylized No. 3, says that one of those memorials went too far. RCR, of Welcome, is owned by Richard Childress. RCR filed a federal lawsuit this week against ESPN Inc., the all-sports cable-television network that recently produced a film about Earnhardt’s life. The film and its related products use a stylized No. 3 similar to the trademark owned by RCR, according to the lawsuit. RCR is owned by Richard Childress.
    “(ESPN’s) use of a colorable imitation of the Stylized 3 Mark in connection with a motion picture, DVDs and books is a purposeful attempt to draw a connection between those products and RCR’s Stylized 3 Mark,” the lawsuit argues. “Defendant has used and is using a colorable imitation of the Stylized 3 Mark in commerce to advertise and promote itself and its products and services,” the lawsuit continues. “Defendant has offered and is offering, in commerce, products and services for commercial sale or for commercial profit under a colorable imitation of the Stylized 3 Mark.” Josh Krulewitz, a spokesman for ESPN at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn., said that the company did nothing illegal. “We did not make use of the plaintiff’s trademark, and our use of the No. 3 was entirely legal,” he said. In the lawsuit, RCR charges that ESPN is violating its trademark, is competing unfairly under federal law and is diluting the symbol used by Earnhardt when he was driving for RCR for 20 years. “The Stylized 3 Mark is distinctive and has become famous through extensive advertising, promotional expenditures, careful control and over 20 years of continuous use and commercial exposure,” the lawsuit says. “Defendant’s use of a colorable imitation of the Stylized 3 Mark has resulted in and will continue to result in a lessening of the capacity of the Stylized 3 Mark to identify and distinguish authorized products and services.”
    RCR is asking the court to order ESPN to stop using any stylized No. 3 that could resemble its own trademark, and to recall and destroy any products that include such a symbol. Company officials are also asking for damages, attorneys’ fees and “three times all gains, profits and advantages derived by them from (ESPN’s) infringement, dilution, unfair competition or unfair trade practices.” They also want interest. The two symbols have some similarities and some differences. The No. 3 used by Earnhardt was a block number italicized to the left. The No. 3 used by ESPN in its marketing has rounder edges, and it leans to the right.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2005)
  • Daytona’s HOF Bid May be in Trouble: Political trouble has the city’s drive to bring the NASCAR hall of fame to Daytona Beach sputtering like a car with engine trouble. City Manager Jim Chisholm told city commissioners in an e-mail Thursday he would suspend the city’s campaign. And though he later backed off making that announcement, the city’s caution flags have state lawmakers rethinking their commitment to the project. The trouble started Wednesday when commissioners voted 6-1 to support building the hall of fame but wouldn’t discuss putting up $20,000 to help pay an estimated $200,000 cost to develop a proposal. Local lawmakers were seeking $75 million in state funding to build the hall of fame. They fear Wednesday’s commission action will make it even harder to sell the project to the Legislature.
    With the Florida Marlins and Orlando Magic also looking for help with stadium projects, some lawmakers, including Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, have said they are reluctant to spend tax dollars on sports projects. To make the NASCAR project more palatable, King, Patterson and Daytona Beach lobbyist Sam Bell said Thursday they have revamped — and scaled back — their proposal for state funding. Initially, Daytona officials requested that the state commit $75 million over 25 years to help pay for building the hall of fame. Money would come from state sales taxes generated by the hall of fame. A revamped proposal seeks $30 million over 25 years. Also, it calls for creating a NASCAR-themed license tag, with proceeds from the sale of the tag going to the state to pay back the $30 million. Bell, a former Volusia County lawmaker, said the hall of fame initially was expected to cost about $75 million, but that estimate has been reduced to about $60 million. He said the state money would make up half of that amount, with the rest coming from sources such as sponsorships and land donations by the city and county. NASCAR set a May 31 deadline for proposals from areas including Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Kansas City, Kan., Richmond, Va., Talladega, Ala., and the state of Michigan.(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-19-2005)


    News from March 18, 2005

  • Young Guns Update: By picking #48-Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13th, Sam H. of Paducah, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Sam picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson. This is the last race in which consumers can celebrate the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with the Gillette Young Guns $1 Million Watch & Win Sweepstakes. This exciting new promotion offers race fans the chance to win $100,000 during each of the first four races of the season, starting with this year’s Daytona 500. Info at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Commincations)(3-18-2005)
  • More on McClure’s departure from the #73: Eric McClure, driver of the #73 Arc Dehooker Chevrolet, drove his first and last race for Raabe Racing Enterprises this past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After failing to qualify for the season’s first two events and having continuous problems during this past weekend’s UAW Daimler Chrysler 400, the Abingdon, Virginia native felt it necessary to resign as driver of the #73 Arc Dehooker Monte Carlo. “I just want to thank Mr. Raabe and all of the Arc Dehooker team for giving me the opportunity to drive their race car during this past weekend’s Nextel Cup event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, after much consideration, I feel the need to pursue other driving opportunities that will better my career in the long run.” Although McClure no longer has a ride in the Nextel Cup Series and will no longer be a contender for the Rookie of the Year title, he remains optimistic about his future in NASCAR racing and is excited about some of the opportunities that have come his way in such a short period of time. “We are fortunate enough to have a couple of deals in the works right now and hopefully something will come out of them. I just want to race! Whether it be in Truck, Busch, or Cup, it doesn’t matter to me.” As of now, the 26-year-old Emory and Henry College graduate plans to run the Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway in April for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.(PR)(3-18-2005)
  • Red Barons on the #49 at Atlanta: Ken Schrader and the #49 Red Baron Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway, located in Hampton, Ga., this week for Sunday’s Golden Corral 500; the fourth race of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Driving a car emblazoned with the Red Baron frozen pizza colors this week. Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands that include Tony’s and Freschetta frozen pizzas, Pagoda Asian specialties, and Larry’s potato side-dishes. Schwan’s Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan’s Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season.(Williams Company PR), added an image of the car to my #49 Team Schemes page.(3-18-2005)
  • Final Las Vegas TV Ratings up 10%: Final Nielsen Media Research figures show that Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s UAW/DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earned a 6.4 rating and a 14 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 10.3% higher than 2004’s 5.8, although it was well short of 2003’s 6.9. The race was easily the most-watched sports program of the weekend, well ahead of the 4.9/10 that CBS drew for the selection of the teams for the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-18-2005)
  • Been Asked – UPDATEs:
    1) Does #48-Jimmie Johnson get to keep the $30,000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus he won at Las Vegas for winning the race and having the points lead? I can only assume [gasp] so as last year, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was docked 25 points and fined at Talladega, he had won the award and was allowed to keep it as he did lead the points after the win.
    2) Can any of the suspended crew chief communicate with the team as Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain did with the #21 team when he was out due to back surgery? While I directly do not know if, I doubt NASCAR [who monitors the scanners] would allow direct contact with the driver, they may be able to sneak a cell phone call in.
    UPDATE on #2: None of the suspended crew chiefs will be permitted to communicate with their race teams via cell phone or radio during the time they are suspended, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.(FoxSports/AP).
    3) And no word if Fatback will be back at the track for the Atlanta race to call the shots for #21-Ricky Rudd.
    UPDATE on #3: XM Radio reports that Michael “Fatback” McSwian, crew chief for the #21, is at Atlanta and back working.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(3-18-2005)
  • Bill France in Nashville to give the command: Country Music Star Billy Ray Cyrus will be performing the National Anthem for the Opening Day Celebrations on Saturday, March 19 at Music City Motorplex in Nashville. Billy Ray will be the last voice heard at the fairgrounds track before NASCAR Vice Chairman Bill France commands the drivers to “Start Their Engines,” kicking off the 101st year of racing at the Fairgrounds. Other expected dignitaries on Saturday include Fort Campbell’s Colonel Larry D. Ruggley, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Chad Chaffin, Chase Montgomery, and Timothy Peters, Nashville Vice Mayor Howard Gentry, Councilmen Harold White and Jim Gotto, members of the Nashville Sports Council, and recording artists Debbie Wade and Jason Aldean. The racing program will include NASCAR racing action from the Grand National Sportsman, Super Trucks, Late Models and an MMRA Mini Cup Tour event. More info at musiccitymotorplex.com.(3-18-2005)
  • So…..what is WinFuel? UPDATE: seen the commercials with Dale Jr. and Shane Hmiel? Seen the website? seen them on the #32 Busch Series Chevy? what is WinFuel…..hearing it is a new energy drink/multi-vitamin drink from the folks at TrimSPA.(3-9-2005)
    UPDATE: WinFuel is a new multi-vitamin and sponsor of the #08 Braun Racing Chevy Hmiel will run at Atlanta.(3-18-2005)
  • Stanton Barrett gets a sponsor for Atlanta: Front Row Motorsports has announced a deal that will make USMilitary.com the primary sponsor for its #92 Chevrolet for Stanton Barrett for this weekend’s Golden Coral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Web site, which offers potential enlistees information to help them compare branches of the armed services, will also be the primary sponsor at a second race to be determined. Financial terms were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-18-2005)
  • RYR Loses an engineer to Champ Cars: The Champ Car World Series named veteran race engineer Scot Elkins Director of Technology in the Champ Car Operations Department. Elkins assumes Director of Technology responsibilities after serving most recently as Chief Engineer at Robert Yates Racing where he was responsible for all engineering functions for the NASCAR team. His duties included race simulations, race day fuel mileage calculation and Damper build specifications. Elkins also headed up the team’s wind tunnel and seven post testing programs.(Ford Racing)(3-18-2005)
  • More Changes? Last week at Las Vegas, Larry McReynolds moderated a roundtable discussion with car manufacturers, Goodyear, NASCAR’s tire manufacturer, and NASCAR’s vice president of competition, Robin Pemberton, and talked about the state of the sport. You always get the feeling that these manufacturers know another rule change is lurking. You don’t always know what it might be. It may be another 1/4 or 1/2 inch off of the rear spoiler down the road, and you get the feeling that they can’t and won’t quit thinking about it because the potential for change is always out there.(FoxSports)(3-18-2005)


    News from March 17, 2005

  • RCR Names Interim Crew Chief for the #29: Richard Childress Racing says chief engineer Scott Miller will take over crew chief duties for the team’s #29 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick for this weekend’s Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Miller will fill in for crew chief Todd Berrier after NASCAR suspended Berrier for four races for a fuel cell infraction last weekend at Las Vegas. The team has said it will appeal the terms of the suspension [the appeal is scheduled to be heard on March 28].(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-17-2005)
  • McDonald’s to sponsor Elliott: hearing that McDonald’s will sponsor the #91 [#98?] Dodge and Bill Elliott at Michigan in June and California in September.(3-17-2005)
  • Bowyer to debut at Phoenix: Richard Childress said on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Nation that his Busch Series driver, Clint Bowyer, will make his Nextel Cup debut at Phoenix International Raceway in the #33 Chevy with Sylvania as the sponsor.(3-17-2005)
  • Ward to appear at Martinsville…no ride: Ward Burton said he plans to attend qualifying day [4/8] at Martinsville Speedway on April 8, his first visit to a Nextel Cup event this year. “I want to say hey to everybody,” said the South Boston native, who has been out of Cup since last November. “I have no desire to stay the whole weekend.” Burton, who reportedly has received offers to race in NASCAR’s top three touring series, has kept busy with managing his Halifax County wildlife foundation and doing charity work. The noted outdoorsman also has filmed two segments for the Outdoor Channel; the next appears at 3:00pm/et on March 29.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-17-2005)
  • Appeals Allow Suspended Crew Chief’s to be at Atlanta; Berrier to sit out: NASCAR crew chiefs Chad Knaus [#48] and Alan Gustafson [#5] will be allowed to compete in Atlanta this weekend while they appeal their two-race suspension. Both were suspended on Tuesday for allegedly cheating at Las Vegas last weekend. Team owner Rick Hendrick appealed, and the National Stock Car Racing commission can’t assemble until next week to hear their case, NASCAR officials said Wednesday. Under NASCAR’s rules, the crew chiefs can still compete until their appeal has been heard. Todd Berrier was suspended for four races, and NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said they expected to receive notice of his plans to appeal in time for him to compete in Atlanta this weekend.(AP/ESPN.com). Richard Childress said onSpeed Channel’s NASCAR Nation that Berrier will sit out the Atlanta race and the suspension will be appealed. Knaus and Gustafson’s apeals will be heard Tues, March 22nd, Berriers on Monday, March 28th.(3-17-2005)
  • Elliott to run at Atlanta IMAGE: This will be Bill Elliott’s second regular season start in 2005 and his second career start in the #91 Visteon Dodge Charger.(Clear!Blue PR)(3-16-2005)
    IMAGE see an image of the scheme on my #91 Team Schemes page.(3-17-2005)
  • Kyle Busch in Life: Kyle Busch completed an interview at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a Life magazine cover story. The piece will document the NEXTEL Cup rookie, his family and their path to the present-day success on the race track. World-renowned photojournalist Harry Benson photographed Busch for the cover, which is slated for distribution in late April.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-17-2005)
  • Inventor suing Roush and Wood Brothers UPDATE: An inventor is suing two NASCAR teams claiming he was not paid for a part that improves cornering speeds. Weston Griffith claims in his lawsuit that a chassis piece he designed has helped the teams since last season. Griffith says he developed a chassis piece — which he describes as “Part X” in the lawsuit — and the race teams stole his idea, according to the complaint. “I think they should pay for it,” Griffith said. Griffith is suing Wood Brothers Racing, Roush Racing and Pat Tryson, crew chief for Roush driver Mark Martin, in North Carolina Superior Court, Cabarrus County, for compensation in excess of $10,000. Griffith said he made his technology available on a trial basis to Wood Brothers Racing in 2003. Griffith claims his chassis innovation migrated to Roush Racing when team owner Jack Roush hired then-Wood Brothers crew chief Tryson, according to the lawsuit. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith called Griffith’s charges “bogus.” Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers team, had no comment when reached by phone Tuesday at his shop. Griffith lives in the Chicago area and owns a company called Solid Steel Inc. He has no direct affiliation with any NASCAR race team.
    In his suit, Griffith says he approached Wood Brothers Racing with the part near the end of the 2003 season. Griffith said Wood Brothers Racing experimented with his part on its #21 Ford, driven by Ricky Rudd, at a private test session at Kansas Speedway, and the car showed an increase in speed. “They wanted so bad to take the pieces back with them to North Carolina,” Griffith said. “I would not let them do it. They wanted to leave the stuff right on their car.” After the test session, Griffith said Eddie Wood and he struck a deal to outfit the #21 Ford with “Part X” for the rest of the 2003 season. Griffith said Wood agreed to lease his parts for $20,000. Griffith said he received that payment. Griffith said Roush Racing is using his technology to win races and make large sums of money. “I don’t know even what the particulars are of that arrangement (they had),” said Roush’s Smith. “You don’t lease parts. You buy parts and you break them and guys look at them and they study them and they figure out how to make them better.” Griffith said Wood signed a confidentiality agreement when he agreed to lease the parts in 2003. In his suit, Griffith says, the “Wood Brothers also agreed not to share any information concerning Part X with anyone outside of Wood Brothers, and to refrain from testing, altering or defacing Part X in any way.” Following the 2003 NASCAR Cup season, Griffith said the Wood Brothers returned seven of eight chassis pieces. After demanding the return of his last piece, Griffith said it was obvious the part had been bored, cut and tested. “They were never supposed to test it,” he said.
    Griffith theorizes his chassis part has boosted Roush Racing since the start of the 2004 Nextel Cup season. He points to the team’s vast success in NASCAR’s big-league circuit. Three of Roush’s four Cup cars [actually 4 of 5 did] won races last year. Three Roush drivers made the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup playoff segment. Kurt Busch, who drives the #97 Roush Ford, captured the championship. Griffith said he is upset because he is not being compensated for his speed discovery.(Daytona Bach News Journal)(3-16-2005)
    UPDATE: a similar suit was dismissed in Chicago back in November, the current one is in North Carolina: Stephen J. Siegel and John F. Shonkwiler recently obtained a dismissal of all claims alleged against Roush Corporation, d/b/a Roush Racing, in a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The suit, brought by Weston Griffith, Jr., alleged claims against Roush and co-defendant Glen Wood Company relating to the alleged use of certain racing equipment leased from the Plaintiff’s company. Roush moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over it. By an Order entered October 26, 2004, Federal District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan granted the motion and dismissed the case against Roush in its entirety. Judge Der-Yeghiayan found that notwithstanding Roush’s participation in several auto races in Illinois over the past few years, Roush was not “doing business” in Illinois or otherwise subject to personal jurisdiction there. The Court concluded that Plaintiff failed to show Roush “attempted to conduct sales in Illinois or maintain offices in Illinois or engage in the type of permanent and continuous activity” that would establish jurisdiction over Roush. Plaintiff’s allegations that he was injured in Illinois and signed an equipment lease with Glen Wood here, without more, were held insufficient to confer jurisdiction.(Novack and Macey LLP site)(3-17-2005)


    News from March 16, 2005

  • No Dodge win at AMS since 1977: did you know, the last time a Cup race at Atlanta was won in a Dodge was in 1977 by, who else….Richard Petty. I still had a full head of hair…(3-16-2005)
  • Combo’s for Sadler this week: Elliott Sadler will sport a special paint scheme this weekend as the #38 Ford will be painted with Combos — The Official Cheese Filled Snack of NASCAR. This is the first of three appearances the Combos Brand will make this season on the #38 RYR Ford.(Elevation Group of Companies PR/M&M’s PR)(3-16-2005)
    IMAGE see an image of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2005)
  • Snap-On Tools to be featured on the #07 at Atlanta IMAGE: Snap-on Tools Company will be the primary sponsor of driver Dave Blaney and Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #07 Chevrolet in the March 20 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s fulltime primary sponsor, will assume a secondary role in the one-race program designated to commemorate Snap-on’s 85th year as a worldwide leader dedicated to supplying professional tool users with unmatched quality and innovation. The move also opens up an opportunity for both Snap-On and Jack Daniel’s to explore the potential of a business-to-business relationship. Since 1994, RCR teams have utilized Snap-on tools exclusively in the shop and at the race track. Headquartered in Kenosha, Wis., organization also supplies RCR with custom-built work stations. About Snap-on Tools . For info on the Snap-on Tools Company, see snapon.com.(RCR)(3-15-2005)
    IMAGE see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2005)
  • McClure and #73 part ways? UPDATE: hearing that driver Eric McClure and the #73 Raabe Racing Enterprises have parted ways, the team is not listed on Atlanta entry list. No word on plans for the team or McClure….if true.(3-15-2005)
    UPDATE: Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc. announced today that effective immediately, the organization and driver Eric McClure have parted ways with Raabe Racing Enterprises. “With two consecutive top 25 finishes the #4 car is running well and we are working together as a team. Accordingly, all of our effort is focused on finishing in the top 25 for the season points championship,” said Larry McClure. “Eric will serve as a test driver and we will continue to look for marketing partners to launch our driver development program in the NASCAR Busch Series or the Craftsman Truck Series.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports)(3-16-2005)
  • Charlotte try HOF gets a leader – Hendrick: Regional political and business leaders vowed Tuesday to produce a successful bid for a proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame, unveiling a powerful lineup of motorsports industry executives backing the campaign, including veteran team owner Rick Hendrick. NASCAR racing “was born here, it was built here and it belongs here,” Hendrick said at a press conference held at the team race shop. “We’re going to win this race.” Hendrick will spearhead a group of local and regional leaders working on the project. Charlotte is competing with six other cities and regions for the hall of fame. The competitors are Atlanta; Kansas City, Mo.; Richmond, Va.; Talladega/Birmingham, Ala.; Daytona, Fla.; and an undisclosed location in Michigan. Joining Hendrick as honorary grand marshals are Gov. Mike Easley, U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole, N.C. House Speaker Jim Black, N.C. Senate President Pro-Tem Marc Basnight, Congressman Mel Watt and NASCAR team owner {#40, #41, #42] Felix Sabates. Others involved include Mayor Pat McCrory, Bank of America Corp. executive Cathy Bessant and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority board Chairman Luther Cochrane. Bids are due May 31, with a decision expected by year end. NASCAR has intentionally left request for proposals vague, encouraging each community to be creative with its hall of fame ideas. The sanctioning body is not expected to pay for land and construction costs or ongoing operations costs. McCrory declined comment Tuesday on potential public funding sources. He said a range of scenarios are under consideration, though sources close to the talks anticipate a significant public funding component. General Assembly members have expressed support, though the state faces a $1.3 billion budget deficit this year. Similarly, local government funds could be hard to find. A $147 million cultural arts request from city and county government has been met with extensive questions and concerns, and both local governments also face tough budget decisions this year. Organizers decline comment on potential sites and other details. They anticipate releasing those plans later this spring.(Charlotte Business Journal)(3-16-2005)
  • Taxes on Drivers in TN? Legislation that would impose taxes and license fees on professional athletes in Tennessee hit a wall Tuesday with race drivers and officials at Bristol Motor Speedway. Four bills currently before the state General Assembly seek to impose registration or licensing fees for all professional athletes and coaches, along with taxes ranging from $400 to $2,500 each. Another bill would charge $400 per $100,000 of annual adjusted gross income. The bills, all introduced by legislators from the Memphis area, are aimed at players and coaches for the state’s three professional franchises – the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the NHL’s Nashville Predators. But if approved, the measures would also apply to minor league baseball players and anyone who receives prize money at any auto race track in the state.(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-16-2005)
  • Testing at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway will be the center of testing activity the next three weeks as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams prepare for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 weekend April 14-17. The quest for Victory Lane in the April 16 O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series race and the April 17 Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event will result in six days of testing as teams prepare for race weekend.
    Drivers scheduled to test at Texas Motor Speedway include #44-Terry Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty, #5-Kyle Busch, Mark Martin (Busch car) on March 22; #40-Sterling Marlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #07-Dave Blaney, #44-Labonte, #45-Petty, #5-Busch, Martin (Busch) and Reed Sorenson (Busch) on March 23; #07-Blaney, #40-Marlin, #12-Newman on March 24; #91-Bill Elliott, #36-Boris Said on March 29 and 30; and #2-Rusty Wallace on April 5. All test sessions are closed to the public.(TMS)(3-16-2005)
  • Inside CAT Racing Available: The 2005 edition of “Inside CAT Racing” is ready to roll. The fourth annual edition of the 52-page collectible publication features driver Scott Wimmer, crew chief Derrick Finley, owner Bill Davis and many of their Bill Davis Racing teammates. Don’t miss your chance to go behind the scenes at BDR to learn more about what happens from checkered flag to green flag every week. You can order copies of “Inside Cat Racing – 2005” by going to www.insidecatracing.com. The first three annual editions are also still available. “Inside Cat Racing – 2005” is authorized by Caterpillar Inc. and produced by Shamrock Communications Group, LLC.(Bill Davis Racing)(3-16-2005)
  • Newman Crew Wins at Las Vegas: Penske Racing South’s crew for the #12 Dodge of Ryan Newman has collected the $10,000 prize for the fastest pit work in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway among teams participating in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-16-2005)


    News from March 15, 2005

  • Top Two Finishers May Face Penalties UPDATE Penalties, Fines and Suspensions: Speed Channel is reporting that #48-Jimmie Johnson, the winner at Las Vegas, was found in post race inspection to be too low and the 2nd place finisher #5-Kyle Busch’s Chevy quarter panels were too high. NASCAR decisions will come Monday or Tuesday. The win will probably stand.(3-13-2005)
    UPDATE: NASCAR probably won’t take away #48-Jimmie Johnson’s victory in Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, despite his car’s failing an inspection after the race for being too low at the roof. First, it might be difficult to give the win to teammate #5-Kyle Busch, who finished second, because Busch’s car also failed post-race inspection, for being too high at the rear quarterpanels. But it’s not nice to try to fool John Darby, NASCAR’s competitions director, and his justice may be harsh for both Johnson and Busch. But, a win is a win, no matter the asterisks – and no matter the razzing from rivals. The low roof that led to Johnson’s violation would likely provide both an edge in speed on the straightaways as well as better handling in the corners because more air would reach the crucial rear spoiler. The high rear quarterpanels that led to Busch’s violation would likely provide an edge in handling in the corners, because the rear spoiler would be higher. What NASCAR will likely do is take away enough points, probably 25, to knock Johnson out of the Nextel Cup points lead. That would put Kurt Busch, who finished third, back atop the standings.(Winston Salem Journal)
    Wanna stop the cheating….take the freakin’ win away, make a statement, that starting next week, post-RACE infractions cost 25 points, if it is the winner, they drop to 4th or 5th, and the win goes to the 2nd place car, or the next legal car.(3-15-2005)
    UPDATE – Fines, Penalties and Suspensions: NASCAR has announced that rule infractions this past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have resulted in the suspension of threeNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs.
    The #48 Chevrolet team received three penalties, due to the car’s roof height being too low in post-race inspection — a violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules). A penalty of 25 driver pointsdropped Jimmie Johnson — the race winner at Las Vegas — back to second place (500 points) in the standings, 10 behind reigning series champion Kurt Busch (510). Chad Knaus, Johnson’s crew chief, has been suspended from competition for the next two races and fined $35,000; Jeff Gordon, the #48 car owner, has been penalized 25 owner points.
    #29 Team: Todd Berrier, crew chief for the #29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, has been suspended for the next four races and fined $25,000. Those penalties resulted from the #29 having an unapproved fuel filler and unapproved fuel cell vent. The car was in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q. The violation was found during post-qualifying inspection. In addition to Berrier’s penalties, Harvick has been penalized 25 driver championship points, dropping him from eighth to 10th in the driver standings, while car owner Richard Childress loses 25 car owner championship points.
    #5 Team: Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the #5 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch, has been suspended for two races and fined $25,000, due to the car’s quarter-panel heights being too high in post-race inspection — also violations of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q. Busch has been assessed 25 driver points, dropping him from 18th to 22nd in the standings; car owner Rick Hendrick loses 25 owner points.
    In addition:
    Harold Holly, crew chief for the #32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., was fined $5,000 because of the #32 having an unapproved deck lid, a violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q that was determined during opening-day inspection.
    John Latchford, crew chief for the #89 Dodge driven by Morgan Shepherd, was fined $1,000 because of an unapproved fire suppression agent found during opening-day inspection. That also violated Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.
    Larry Carter, crew chief for the #2 Dodge driven by Rusty Wallace, was fined $1,000. During opening-day inspection, the car’s shoulder harness did not have a date tag displayed, a violation of Sections 17.2-C (and 12-4-A).(Fox Sports/Sporting News)
    POINTS UPDATED on my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Las Vegas page.(3-15-2005)
  • Hendrick Responds to sanctions and to Appeal: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, today responded to sanctions levied by NASCAR on two of his NEXTEL Cup Series entries. “I’m not disputing NASCAR’s right to levy sanctions,” Hendrick said. “As a team owner, I understand why these standards are in place and have always taken pride in the fact that our organization has kept a very clean record. In this particular instance, though, we disagree with the severity of NASCAR’s stance and plan to appeal their decision. I want to make it clear that we in no way intentionally ignored guidelines and I’m certain everyone understands that.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-15-2005)
  • RCR to Appeal NASCAR’s Penalty Against Berrier: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will appeal the fine and suspension NASCAR handed down today to one of its NEXTEL Cup Series teams as a result of a rules infraction last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “I understand NASCAR’s reasons for imposing a penalty,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “However, I think the penalty they have given us is out of line so we have decided to appeal their ruling.”(RCR)(3-15-2005)
  • Centrix as primary sponsor of the #01: CENTRIX Financial will have a total of four primary sponsorships on MB2/MBV’s #01 Chevrolet driven by Joe Nemechek and #10 Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs.(MB2/MBV Motorsports site). Atlanta in March will be one race for the #01.(3-15-2005)
  • Gustafson Leads Busch to Career Best Wins WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: While so many race teams had a day filled with ups and downs, Kyle Busch was a picture of consistency in the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400. Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the # 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet, kept his team in the top-10 for the majority of the race, eventually scoring his driver a second place finish in only his ninth career Nextel Cup start. Gustafson’s banner day earned him the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    A panel of three voters, including a WypAll Wipers representative, Tony Eury Sr. and Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review Journal, all agreed Gustafson was the stand out crew chief of the race. Tony Eury Sr. was equally impressed with Gustafson’s performance. “It’s hard for anyone to finish in the top-five, much less a rookie,” said Eury Sr. “Alan (Gustafson) gave his driver an awesome car, and made the right decisions to make it better during the race. This is the first year that (Kyle) Busch and Alan have worked together. Alan’s really done a good job working with that team. If he keeps this up, it won’t be long before they go to Victory Lane.” Gustafson won $1000 for picking up the Crew Chief of the Race award. He is now tied with Pete Rondeau and Doug Richert in the point standings for the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(WypAll Wipers PR)(3-15-2005)
  • Team Owners Want Sirius Money: NASCAR’s new multimillion-dollar contract with satellite radio provider Sirius has Nextel Cup car owners asking one big question – Where’s the money going? Teams get 25% of the TV revenue, track owners get 65 percent and NASCAR gets 10 percent. There has been a push by some car owners the past three years for NASCAR to provide a more equitable distribution of that $400 million a year, but NASCAR has ignored such entreaties. Now Sirius (partly owned by DaimlerChrysler) has signed a deal to pay NASCAR $27 million a year, according to sources, beginning in 2007. That money will likely go straight into NASCAR’s coffers. Some car owners aren’t amused and would like NASCAR to put some of that radio money in the purse. “These guys are killing us,” one car owner said.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-15-2005)
  • RWB M&M’s at Daytona: #38-Elliott Sadler will run a red, white and blue M&M’s paint scheme in July at Daytona in the Pepsi 400.(3-12-2005)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #38 Team Schemes page.(3-15-2005)


    News from March 14, 2005

  • Overnight Las Vegas TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s UAW/DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway drew a 5.8 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 12 share and was the highest-rated sports show of the weekend, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 5.5% higher than the 5.5 overnight rating Fox drew for the race in 2004, but it was well below the 7.1 overnight rating Fox drew for the Feb. 27 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway and the 6.3 overnight rating the Las Vegas race drew for Fox in 2003. CBS’s broadcast of the selection show for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament finished second this weekend with a 5.7 overnight rating.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-14-2005)
  • NBC, TNT Plan to Continue Joint Venture: NBC and Turner Sports will continue to pursue NASCAR television rights in a joint venture, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Media writer Andy Bernstein says NBC will not bring its new cable partner, USA Network, into its effort but will continue its NASCAR rights discussions with Turner, which broadcasts races on its TNT cable station. The NBC/TNT deal, which is said to be worth about $200 million a year, expires after the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Fox’s deal for the first half of the season, which is said to be worth $220 million a year, could be extended to 2008 if NASCAR exercises a two-year option.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-14-2005)
  • Brain Injury Walk-a-thon: NASCAR racing legend Ernie Irvan and the Brain Injury Association (BIA) of Michigan announced last night that they will partner for an inaugural walk-a-thon event titled the “L.A.P.S. Walk” which stands for “Leadership & Awareness to Promote Safety.” The event will take place at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on August 17, 2005. The announcement was made at the BIA’s 7th Annual Legacy Dinner. Current NASCAR celebrities like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Bobby Labonte are scheduled to participate in the event. For a minimum $100 entry fee, anyone is able to participate and walk side-by-side with these NASCAR drivers to raise money for brain injury education, awareness and prevention. Registration for the event will begin on April 1st. Interested individuals can submit their e-mail address for official registration notification at Ernie Irvan’s web site, race2safety.com or at the BIA’s web site at biami.org . There are only 10,000 walker positions available and it is expected that registration will fill very quickly. This is the first year of the event and in 2006 it will expand to include several locations nationwide.(Yahoo Biz)(3-14-2005)
  • The Dodge ‘Vacuum’ Nose: Dodge officials have been in negotiations with NASCAR officials, apparently over aerodynamic issues. Dodge has a new nose and tail this season, and the nose has been controversial because of its tendency to suck up trash on the track and lead to engine overheating.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2005)
  • #0 Crew Member OK: #0 NetZero/Best Buy Chevy front tire carrier, Mike Morneau has been released from a local Las Vegas area hospital and has a bruised left knee. He is expected to be back in action in Atlanta. Crew member Brad Tunny replaced Morneau during the race.(NetZero Best Buy Racing)(3-14-2005)
  • Car of tomorrow (COT): Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, says the “car of tomorrow” — the next form of stock car — could make its debut as early as 2007. However, the adjustments to the cars will be made gradually so “we’re not tearing up everybody’s fleet of chassis and bodies” at excessive cost to the owners, Pemberton says. He added that NASCAR is brainstorming with manufacturers and teams along the way. One major move in the next few years will be the use of unleaded fuel, a topic that had been dormant since 1998.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-14-2005)
  • Mikey to make donation presentation Saturday UPDATE: Michael & Buffy Waltrip are scheduled to make their OPERATION MARATHON Donation To Victory Junction Gang Camp on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(3-11-2005)
    UPDATE: Michael and Buffy Waltrip presented a check for just under $1 million on Sunday to Kyle and Pattie Petty for their Victory Junction Gang Camp. Waltrip said in July that he would gather $1 million for the camp, a summer home for chronically ill children. Waltrip promoted “Operation Marathon: Going the Distance for Kids” operation through marathons, dinners, concerts and autograph signings across the country, including a marathon here that he and Petty took part in. “Michael was my inspiration to run,” Petty said. “People flew out here to run … with Michael.” Waltrip said the exact amount of the check, $923,626.73, was significant to him. “It reflects the dollar-at-a-time way we raised the money,” he said.(ESPN.com/AP)(3-14-2005)
  • Special Jack Daniels scheme: Dave Blaney will feature Jack Daniels newest Country Cocktails, “Black Jack Cola” on his #07 Chevrolet at Pocono and Michigan in June.(RacingOne)(3-12-2005)
    IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(3-14-2005)
  • Kerry tests for DEI: Kerry Earnhardt tested for Dale Earnhardt Inc. last Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway and will return again this week to gather additional engine and chassis data. DEI’s Michael Waltrip did not finish the first two races this season, once because of component problems, the other time because of an oil system problem. Vice president Richie Gilmore says development continues on DEI’s in-house chassis. Four cars with the new chassis should be in the organization’s rotation soon.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-14-2005)
  • Interesting Mistake…HAY-soos?: What started with the mispronunciation of his “sponsor’s” name ended with a degree of satisfaction for driver-owner Morgan Shepherd in Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Shepherd’s #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge is one of the lowest-financed teams in the series. Still, even hardened racing observers were stunned when guest announcer Robin Leach, proclaiming the starting lineup during drivers’ introductions for Sunday race, mispronounced “Jesus,” instead using the Spanish version (HAY-soos). “I guess it shows how much work we have left to do in evangelism when somebody who can tell you all about the rich and famous has trouble with the Son of God’s name,” Shepherd smiled. “I thought for a moment he had just gotten in from the Mexico City (Busch Series) race week. My thinking is you would be better off messing up ‘Budweiser’ than ‘Jesus,'” he continued. Shepherd did get a measure of revenge – he led two laps early in the 400-mile race. They were under caution, true, but one of the front-row qualifiers, Elliott Sadler never led and pole-sitter Ryan Newman didn’t lead for the first time until Lap 91. “I noticed he did pronounce their sponsors correctly,” Shepherd laughed. Leach apparently tried to make up for his gaffe, mispronouncing a few other drivers’ names and sponsors during the drivers’ introductions. “I’d love to meet him,” Shepherd said, “just so I can say, ‘Nice to meet you, Mr. Leak.'” Shepherd, who does not have a regular corporate sponsor and carries his evangelistic message instead in order to “at least get someone to start asking questions about their salvation and what life is all about,” retired early in the race and finished 40th.(Williams Company)(3-14-2005)

News from March 13, 2005

  • Johnson wins at Las Vegas, Busch’s right behind him: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading the most laps and dominating the last half of the race. Johnson also leaves Las Vegas with the drivers points lead and won the $30,000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus award for winning the race and leading the points. The rest of the top five were rookie #5-Kyle Busch, #97-Kurt Busch, #24-Jeff Gordon and #29-Kevin Harvick
    See my race rundown see my Las Vegas Race Info/Rundown Page
    For race results and links, see my:
    Las Vegas Race Results/Awards page.(3-13-2005)
  • Sad News: Dorothy Ann Fritz, mother of Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz, passed away yesterday morning from respiratory failure at the age of 75. Born in Columbia, PA, she resided in Burke, VA at the time of her passing. A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 18 at 1:00 p.m., at the Burke United Methodist Church, 6200 Burke Center Parkway, Burke, VA 22015. A private burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 8th Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10001.(RIR)(3-13-2005)
  • Not NASCAR, but some ties: Venturini Motorsports, which fields the #25 Central Merchant Services – ReadyHosting.com Chevrolet in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, announced today that Jason Jarrett is set to replace injured driver, Billy Venturini. Venturini, who was injured during the season opener at Daytona, is sidelined indefinitely with a broken neck as a result of his injuries. Jason Jarrett, who brings his own family legacy to the team won the RE/MAX Series Rookie of the year in 2001, earned the prestigious Bill France Triple Crown in 2003 and was runner up in the RE/MAX Series point battle twice in the last four years. Although the team cannot confirm how long Billy Venturini will be out, doctors estimate it could be as long as 6 months. Jarrott said, “I want to thank Dale Jarrett.com and the Dale Jarrett Fan Club for their support in making this opportunity possible.” For more information visit www.venturinimotorsports.com and www.jasonjarrett.com.(3-13-2005)
  • NFL Coach Vermiel and Racing? Dick Vermeil [head coach of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs] remembers one of his first days on the job as an auto-racing pit reporter for a national television network. He remembers what he was ordered to do. It was at an International Race of Champions [IROC] event and …“Cale Yarborough had just flipped his car. I go over, and he’s just crawling out of the car,” said Vermeil. So he sticks a microphone in gruff old Cale’s face, and …“He was fine about it,” Vermeil said. Which is why Vermeil, who grew up around racing (his father is enshrined in the Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa), still holds a special place in his heart for that other group of athletes who wear helmets. “I just recognized what class guys they were,” Vermeil says. “They were never offended, no egos, nothing.” Vermeil, quite obviously, has not been in a Nextel Cup pit for a while.(Kansas City Star)(3-13-2005)
  • Marlin needs to run well: It’s no secret in the garage area that #40-Sterling Marlin needs results to get a contract extension at Chip Ganassi Racing. Marlin said Saturday getting a deal done is one of his top priorities. “I’d like to get something worked out by May or June,” Marlin said at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of his last Nextel Cup victory, in March 2002 [actually Marlin’s last win was at Darlington in March 2002]. “A few people have walked up and asked me when my deal’s up with Chip, but I like where I’m at. If I can stay here, I’ll stay here.”(ESPN.com/AP)(3-13-2005)
  • Ince leaves the #66? UPDATE: hearing that crew chief James Ince has left the #66 Peak Fitness Racing team that Hermie Sadler drives for. The team has failed to qualify for the first two races of the season.(3-1-2005)
    UPDATE: What Have You [#66-Hermie Sadler] Done as Far as Crew Chief Duties Go? “Greg Conner, who worked a couple of years ago with Ricky Craven at Hendrick and has been in the Truck Series a little bit – he’s a Virginia guy – and he’s helping us for the foreseeable future. We definitely needed a leader so he came in and has been at a little bit of a disadvantage. By the time he decided to come help us, the car was already out here so the first time he got to see the car was yesterday morning. So Greg has stepped in to help us a little bit and we’ve replaced, for the most part, everybody who left but it was a devastating time for us. It really put a hurtin’ on us being a small team. When a third of your team decides to leave at one time it makes it tough, but everybody responded. Jeff Stek and everybody at Peak Fitness has been very supportive. We’ve got a long-term vision for this team and we’re not gonna let three people dictate what that future is.”(Ford Racing)(3-13-2005)
  • StockCarFans – Rumblings – Las Vegas: Jimmie Johnson dominated today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and drove off with the win in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. Tho he didn’t lead till lap 147, he led all but 14 of the laps to the finish. That’s five times for 107 circuits (including the final 55) and it led to career win #15 for JJ and #132 for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson moves into a three-way tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Ernie Irvan for 40th on the all-time win list with the victory…..and it was worth $379,625 from the over $6.1M in posted awards. But the big story of the day has gotta be the Vegas home boys, the Busch Brothers. Kyle Busch (the “shrub”) got his career-best finish today with the runner-up spot, and his older brother Kurt was 3rd.
    We set a record (by a mile) for cautions today (10 of ’em), and probably set a record for tire bills as well. Some of those cautions were pretty good melee’s too! Dale Jr and Brian Vickers got together in a four-car job on lap 12, and Matt Kenseth & Elliott Sadler were involved in a six-car tussle on lap 65. We also can report we saw more side-by-side racing than we’ve seen in quite awhile….and we sure hope this becomes a trend.
    Casey Mears (7th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Watkins Glen last August.
    Matt Kenseth (8th) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Loudon last September.
    Bobby Hamilton Jr (11th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Richmond last September.
    Dave Blaney (13th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Texas last April.
    Jason Leffler (22nd) had his best finish since he was 10th at Homestead in October of 2001!
    Mike Wallace (24th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Talladega last October.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 9 Top-10’s in a row.
    Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: The Operator of the week is a lonely Kevin Harvick (+37). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-31), followed by Elliott Sadler (-27), Scott Riggs (-27), and Travis Kvapil (-20). It’s a shame this infamous contingency doesn’t pay enough to cover what the #29 team is gonna get hit with on Tuesday.
    Travis Kvapil led today for the first time in his Nextel Cup career. In just three races we’ve already had 27 different drivers to lead a lap.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(3-13-2005)
  • Get the lead out..so a group asks NASCAR UPDATE 2: NASCAR is under fire from environmentalists for using leaded gasoline more than six years after the Environmental Protection Agency asked the stock car racing industry to switch to unleaded. “By permitting the continued use of lead, your organization may be putting millions of spectators and nearby residents at unnecessary risk of suffering serious health effects,” the environmental group Clean Air Watch said in a recent letter to NASCAR chairman Brian France. “Because of the clear public health threat, lead is being eliminated from gasoline throughout most of the world,” the letter said. “If Kazakhstan can eliminate lead from gasoline, why can’t NASCAR?” The elimination of lead in gasoline in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s and in the rest of the world in recent years is considered one of the great public health victories of the 20th century. Lead levels in the blood of U.S. children have dropped dramatically as a result. In 1990, Congress exempted the aviation and racing industries from EPA regulations on the lead content of gasoline. NASCAR has “looked into and will continue to look into making the switch to unleaded,” but has not been able to find an alternative additive to lead, which lubricates engine valves, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “Without being able to keep the valves lubed, the engines don’t work as well.”(Rocky Mountain News)(3-1-2005)
    AND Environmentalists have blown a gasket over the NASCAR’s continued use of leaded gasoline in its stock car races. Since NASCAR has science and safety on its side, I hope it has the good sense not to cave in to this eco-harassment. The Clean Air Trust “urged” NASCAR in a Jan. 19 letter to consider the supposedly dire consequences of using leaded fuel: “By permitting the continued use of lead, your organization may be putting millions of spectators and nearby residents at unnecessary risk of suffering serious health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Lead was eliminated from most gasoline in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1990, however, Congress exempted the aviation and racing industries from the lead ban. The exemptions made sense since no one wanted airplanes falling from the sky because of stalled engines and auto racing would only add an insignificant amount of lead to the environment. NASCAR engines run on a high performance fuel designed exclusively for competition called 110 Leaded Racing Gasoline. Not only does the “Official Fuel of NASCAR” make stock cars run better, but its components make it resistant to explosion, which naturally makes things safer for drivers in racing accidents.(JunkScience at FoxSports)(3-4-2005)
    UPDATE 2: ‘Do-able’? That’s what Jack Roush said in regard to finally making the NASCAR transition from leaded to unleaded fuels. Environmental groups have renewed longstanding demands for NASCAR to make the change recently. “It’s just a matter of when we bite the bullet and decide it’s time,” said Roush. “There will be some ‘hiccups.’ It will cost some money for the development and change in parts, but it’s a definitely a ‘do-able deal.”(Shelby Star)(3-13-2005)


    News from March 12, 2005

  • Testing at Martinsville: Advance Auto Parts 500/Kroger 200 Test Schedule
    3/22: Cup Series: #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr.; Truck Series: Ricky Craven, Todd Kluever, Brad Keselowski, Justin Allgaier.
    3/23: Truck Series: Todd Kluever, Darrell Waltrip, Robert Huffman, Bill Lester, Brandon Whitt, Justin Allgaier.
    3/24: Truck Series: Darrell Waltrip, Robert Huffman, Bill Lester, Brandon Whitt, Alex Yontz, Steve Park, Dennis Setzer, Todd Bodine, Chad Chaffin.
    3/25: Truck Series: Darrell Waltrip, Robert Huffman, Bill Lester, Brandon Whitt, Alex Yontz , Steve Park.
    3/28: Cup Series: #14-John Andretti, #4-Mike Wallace, #01-Joe Nemechek, #0-Mike Bliss.
    3/29: Cup Series: #25-Brian Vickers, #5-Kyle Busch, #11-Jason Leffler, #21-Ricky Rudd, #14-John Andretti.
    3/30: Cup Series: #25-Brian Vickers, #5-Kyle Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-12-2005)
  • Harvick’s Qualifying Speed Disallowed UPDATES illegal fuel cell: #29-Kevin Harvick’s car failed post-qualifying inspection after Bud Pole Qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his speed/time was disallowed as the car did not have a full tank of fuel, which is required this year for qualifying, so he will start 42nd on Sunday.(Speed Channel’s Nextel Cup Series Qualifying Coverge)
    AND From Speed Channel: The quirk was the #29 car of Kevin Harvick, who ran fourth-fastest. Harvick, however, was found to be in violation of a little-known rule which requires cars to qualify with a full tank of fuel. Harvick’s car was found to carry 18gal instead of the full 22gal.
    UPDATE: Todd Berrier, Kevin Harvick’s crew chief, installed an illegal fuel cell in the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy for Bud Pole Qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — one he said was rigged to appear filled to 22-gallon capacity while actually holding just five gallons. But Berrier said if they’d been a tick slower, NASCAR would never have known they were using an illegal cell. In seasons past, teams could qualify with the fuel load of their choice. But with NASCAR’s new impound procedure, they’re required to qualify with a full fuel load. Berrier doesn’t foresee a points penalty from NASCAR. “I’m sure they’ll fine us, but I don’t think they’ll take points,” he said. “It wasn’t a points event. It was a qualifying event.(NASCAR.com). NOTE: #21-Ricky Rudd’s and team were docked 25 drivers/owners points and #7-Gordon’s team was docked 25 points for infractions found in inspection, days before the Daytona 500. NASCAR tends to fine/penalize heavy for infractions involving the spoilers, fuel system and engines.(3-12-2005)
  • Rules Package probably to stay all season: NASCAR said on Friday that it would probably leave the current rules package in place for the remainder of the 2005 season. This weekend’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is the third race under the new rules, which included sweeping changes to tires (softer), gears (shorter), spoiler size (smaller) and pit road speeds (stricter enforcement). Las Vegas’ 1.5-mile oval is just the second non-restrictor-plate event of the year, but most Nextel Cup teams already have a thousand miles of data concerning the new rules. Put together, the rules have created cars that are much looser than in years past, and drivers who can adapt to that hang-onto-the-car style are the ones that have succeeded in early downforce tests. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said he likes the current package and will try to use it all season. “We have to listen to our competitors. We’re not going to make mid-year rule changes,” Pemberton said. “You always get criticized the first 3-4 races of the year of a rule change and it always takes the competitor 3-4 races. The same guys are going to be happy and the same guys are going to be mad every year, no matter if you have a rules change or not.” NASCAR is pushing to reel in costs for already strapped teams, and keeping a rules package for the entire season can save millions. Pemberton also said that NASCAR is trying to phase in the practice of impounding the cars following qualifying. “We hope we get back to common schedule like we have in the past. It is probably a few years away, we hate it goes this way,” Pemberton said. “We’re pushing towards the impound schedule. It’ll help on expenses. We don’t race in our backyard like we did every week.”(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2005)
  • Jackson-Hewitt scheme for Biffle at Martinsville: #16-Greg Biffle will sport a Jackson-Hewitt paint scheme in the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway in April. See an image of the car on my #16 Team Schemes page.(3-12-2005)
  • BBQ Pole Award: Wayne Wilkins, owner and operator of Huckleberry’s BBQ, based out of Pine Mountain Ga., delivered on his word to cater any NASCAR team winning the Bud Pole Award with his famous BBQ chicken and ribs. Robert Yates Racing employees were treated to an overload of chicken and ribs generously donated by Wilkins. Dale Jarrett and his #88 UPS Ford Taurus won the Bud Pole Award at Daytona. The tradition began for Huckleberry’s when Bruton Smith, Chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., contacted Wilkins on a recommendation from the Georgia State Patrol. Wilkins, unaware of the NASCAR industry and the demand involved, graciously accepted the offer to cater Smith’s SMI facilities. As demands grew from drivers and teams requesting his famous BBQ chicken and ribs, Huckleberry’s became known as the “Official Ribs of Speedway Motorsports Inc., supplying exclusively to drivers and crew. Fans who witness a steady flow of teams making their way over to the Huckleberry trailer, hope Wilkins will change his mind and supply them with the same. Huckleberry’s is working on a way to incorporate sales to the public. “Huckleberry’s BBQ Sauce” will be sold on line by early summer. Trackside sales at any SMI location are in the near future. Huckleberry’s BBQ proudly supports Speedway Children’s Charities, donating portions of their proceeds directly to the charity. While many have shown interest in sponsoring Huckleberry’s and their Pole Award BBQ, the right opportunity has not come along. “I created and protect my investment” states Wilkins “I have not considered adding a sponsor to join us because I just don’t feel right about it yet. If a company is interested, I’ll listen but I won’t be quick to sign anything. I have to feel right about it, that’s all. This is a big opportunity but I want the right people with me and they have to have to share the same passion as I do.” No word if they made it over to Kyle Busch’s shop yet…(3-12-2005)
  • West Driver Injured in Chimp Attack: St James Davis and his wife La Donna were visiting Moe the chimp at an animal sanctuary outside of Bakersfield (Calif.) when a pair of chimps viciously attacked Davis. He is listed in critical condition. For those that don’t know who St. James Davis is, he added a lot of color as a driver/car owner to the NASCAR Winston West Series for a number of years. You may remember his familiar white #22. The Davises do not have medical insurance.
    See more at the Racingwest.com site and more at USA Today/AP.(3-5-2005)
    AND updates at San Gabriel Valley Tribune.(3-9-2005)
    Donations can be sent to: LaDonna Davis, Pacific Western Bank, 200 SO. Vincent Ave, West Covina, California 91790. Checks and money orders to made out to La Donna Davis.(3-12-2005)
  • Down to ONE: With #15-Michael Waltrip, #99 Domino’s Chevy, not qualifying for the Busch race today, it leaves just #01/#87-Joe Nemechek as the only driver who has started every NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch race ever held at LVMS.(LVMS.com Pit Notes PR)(3-12-2005)
  • McClure makes first race of 2005, 2nd career: For rookie Eric McClure of Abingdon, Va., driver of the #73 ARC Dehooker/Recreational Fishing Alliance Chevrolet, it has been a big weekend in Las Vegas. “Making the Cup race was big, obviously. That’s an area where we’ve been right on the verge in the first two races but this new qualifying system hasn’t particularly worked in our favor,” said McClure, who, through unofficial estimates, would have run in the season-opening Daytona 500 and had practice times capable of making the California Speedway field under the previous qualifying system. “The biggest thing? I walked into the sports book at the Stratosphere (hotel and casino) to see how the basketball games were going, and they had my name up on the odds board,” McClure said. For a driver making the second NASCAR Nextel Cup start of his career Sunday, the 26-year-old was thoroughly delighted. Even at being 300-1? “Hey, if my last name was ‘field,’ I would have been on the board before. There are a lot of guys who aren’t up there at all, so I’m pretty pumped,” he said. Will he lay a wager on himself? “Probably not for the win,” he laughed. “Not yet, anyway.”(Williams Company PR)(3-12-2005)
  • Money Honey – The NASCAR Rich List: Forbes’ annual list of billionaires includes a few people in racing. Bill France Jr., NASCAR vice chairman, and his brother, Jim, NASCAR vice chairman, rank 507th on the list. Both have an estimated worth of $1.3 billion. Track owner Bruton Smith ranks 413th. He’s worth $1.6 billion. Car owner Roger Penske ranks 387th. He’s worth $1.7 billion.(News and Record)(3-12-2005)
  • Speedway Children’s Charities’ Driver Auction raises $180,000: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities annual NASCAR Driver Auction raised $180,000 for the children of Las Vegas and southern Nevada last night at Sam’s Town Live!, inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall. NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick, Scott Wimmer, Kyle Petty, David Green, Stacy Compton, Clint Bowyer, Jon Wood, Ashton Lewis, Jason Keller, Randy LaJoie, Shane Hmiel, Paul Menard, Reed Sorenson, Kevin Lepage, Brent Sherman, Kim Crosby, Brendan Gaughan, NFL Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly and Mickey Jones of the Home Improvement television show participated in the fundraiser. NASCAR driver and hometown hero Brendan Gaughan signed autographs during the first hour while the Randy Anderson Band entertained attendees. This year’s event also marked the return of world-famous auto auctioneer Brent Earlywine to the podium and gavel. The event also featured a silent auction with a variety of racing and non-racing items to bid on, including autographed team uniforms, race car sheetmetal (from Ricky Rudd’s Motorcraft Ford, Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s Tide Chevrolet, Bobby Labonte’s Interstate Batteries Chevrolet and Brendan Gaughan’s Orleans Racing Dodge), autographed MLB baseballs, NBA collectibles and tickets to various shows in and around Las Vegas. Last December, The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities granted $275,000 to 51 local children’s causes during its annual grant distribution ceremony.(LVMS PR)(3-12-2005)
  • Herman wins $50,000 for Charity: Kenny ‘Herman’ Wallace, the driver of ppc Racing’s #22 Stacker 2 Ford in the Busch Series, has won the Mobil High-Endurance Poker Challenge at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, which will mean a $50,000 donation to the Autism Society of America. Wallace and Shane Wilson, crew chief for Penske-Jasper Racing’s #77 Dodge of Travis Kvapil, were the final competitors in the charity tournament Thursday night.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-12-2005)
  • Kyle Petty Crowns Sue Bee Winner: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny/Sue Bee Dodge Intrepid awarded contest winner Naomi Locklear, of Carlsbad, N.M. a replica of the #45 race car … street-legal, that is. Also on hand to make the presentation to Locklear was Jim Powell, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Sue Bee Honey. “We’ve experienced double digit growth since starting our relationship with Kyle Petty,” Powell said. ” Representatives of The Championship Group, Inc. created and managed the 2005 “Win Kyle’s Car” promotion, which drew more than 650,000 entries in the first 48 hours. For “Win Kyle’s Car 2,” even bigger and better things are in store. “Everyone’s just going to have to wait a week for the answer to that question,” Petty said.(LVMS.com Pit Notes PR)(3-12-2005)
  • 3 More Diversity Drivers: NASCAR has announced three more drivers for its diversity program. Jesus Hernandez will drive for Belnavis Racing in the weekly racing series. Hernandez is set to run 20 races at Motor Mile Raceway in Radford, Va. Terri Williams will drive for a team owned by Hermie Sadler and former NBA player Bryant Stith. Williams is from Emporia, Va. She was the grand stock champion last year at South Boston Speedway. Also, Michael Gallegos will drive a Late Model for Innovative Motorsports at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro this season.(News and Record)(3-12-2005)


    News from March 11, 2005

  • Hamilton plans to retire after 2006 season; Cup team for Jr. UPDATE no retire: #4-Bobby Hamilton plans to hang up his own helmet at the end of next season. ”I’ll race this year and next year, that’s my plan,” he said. ”I’ve got some bright young drivers racing for me and it’s going to be fun to devote my time to running the team and helping them develop. ”I’ve got hundreds of trophies from the early days stored at home,” Hamilton said. ”Eventually I plan to bring them all here and fill an entire wall with the stuff that Little Bobby and I have collected over the years.”
    :’Little Bobby” is Bobby Hamilton Jr., Hamilton’s 27-year-old son who is in his first full season in Nextel Cup [#32 Tide Chevy]. Sometime in the future Hamilton hopes to expand his team into the Nextel Cup Series, with his son doing the driving.(Tennessean)(3-8-2005)
    UPDATE: Contrary to published reports, Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) is reporting that Bobby Hamilton has no plans to retire following the 2006 season. In fact, Hamilton is currently negotiating a three-year sponsorship deal that would keep him in the truck at least through the end of the 2007 campaign.(3-11-2005)
  • Teresa Earnhardt to be honored: The Greater Charlotte Chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES) is holding its annual Events in Excellence Awards (EVIES) Saturday, March 19, 2005 at The Extravaganza Depot located at 1610 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Teresa Earnhardt, a lifelong resident of North Carolina who serves as the President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., a motorsports company located in Mooresville, NC. Ms. Earnhardt and her seven-time NASCAR champion husband, Dale Earnhardt, began operation of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 1980. Ms. Earnhardt is a leader in the branding and licensing of the now billion dollar industry of sports licensing. In the 1980s, she introduced trade marking to the NASCAR community by positioning Dale’s image and signature with corporations world wide. Her meticulous attention to detail has become the staple by which Dale Earnhardt, Inc. operates today. In 2002, Ms. Earnhardt took on an impassioned endeavor with her creation of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. This initiative continues to perpetuate her late husband’s ideals in wildlife conservation, education and children’s charities. The EVIE Awards evening will begin at 6 p.m. Proceeds from the live auction will benefit the International Special Events Foundation, educational programs offered by the Greater Charlotte Chapter of ISES and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Tickets are $90 per person for ISES members ($125 non ISES members); table sponsorships range from $500 to $5,000. Latin attire is encouraged! For more information about the 2005 EVIE Awards or to purchase tickets to the event, call 704-332-5819 or visit www.ises-charlotte.com.(DEI Site)(3-11-2005)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Kas Vegas: We went back to the qualifying format we’ve used for years, and the face we’ve seen for years pointing to the Bud scoreboard was atop the final rundown today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman took the top-spot for Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 with a time of 31.080 (173.745 mph); the 28th Bud Pole of his Cup career. It wasn’t easy tho….Elliott Salder only missed by a little over half a hundredth.
    Kevin Harvick provided the excitement for the day as his team tried an inventive way to circumvent the new rules requiring all cars to qualify with a full fuel tank. It didn’t work cause they went too fast (NASCAR pays real close attention to the Top-5 qualifiers)……he timed in 4th but will start 42nd.
    Elliott Sadler (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Daytona in February of 2004.
    Scott Riggs (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Lowe’s last October.
    Travis Kvapil (6th) has his best starting spot since he started 5th at Martinsville last October.
    Ken Schrader (14th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Talladega in September of 2003!
    Bobby Hamilton Jr. has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th at Lowe’s last October.
    Jason Leffler (17th) has his best starting spot since he started 6th at Kansas in October of 2003. (only 6 races).
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 10 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    (in part from StockCarFans.com)(3-11-2005)
  • More testing at Atlanta: Ron Hornaday was at Atlanta preparing for next Friday’s World Financial Group 200, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race that will kick off an action-packed weekend of racing. The March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend will be the first time all three of NASCAR’s national touring series – Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup – will compete in Atlanta on the same weekend. With a handful of NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races under his belt at Atlanta, plus one previous Craftsman Truck test many years ago, Hornaday said he thought he had the fast track figured out. Now, he’s glad he spent the day testing. “We’re fast,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “We’ve got the track to ourselves, and there were a lot of trucks testing the last couple days that laid down a lot of rubber. The weather is perfect, and we’re going to test both day and night, so I think we’re going to have a very good feel for what we’ll need next weekend.” Hornaday’s fastest lap of the day session was 31.25 seconds (177.408 mph); he was expected to continue testing until 10 p.m. “With all the banking here and the new rules NASCAR has made, this will be a good show,” Hornaday said. “Fans thought last year’s racing was good, wait until this year.”
    Tickets are still available for the March 18 World Financial Group 200, which will take the green flag at the conclusion of Georgia Power Qualifying Night, and the rest of the Golden Corral 500 weekend. For more information call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.(AMS PR)(3-11-2005)
  • Busch visits old team/sponsor: Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion #97 Kurt Busch hasn’t forgotten his roots. Star Nursery owner Craig Keough of Las Vegas gave Busch his first opportunity to race in a regional series, and he has found another way to return the favor. Already making a number of special appearances around town since Saturday, Busch has added another date to his hectic schedule. The Las Vegas native will be at Keough’s newest nursery from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday. It’s located at 5380 Blue Diamond Road in Las Vegas.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-11-2005)
  • VA Group Meets about HOF: Virginians Racing for the Hall of Fame, the nonprofit group formed to help Henrico County’s Economic Development Authority in its bid for a proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame, held a public relations subcommittee meeting Wednesday at RIR that drew local leaders in tourism, business and marketing. An international consulting firm with hall of fame experience and two renowned construction firms specializing in museum design have been commissioned to help with the project. Richmond is competing against several cities for the hall. The NASCAR deadline for bids is May 31.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-11-2005)
  • Garage Survey says: According to a NASCAR.com survey that featured a question about the “Chase” format and by nearly a nine to one margin, those surveyed were in favor of the system, which essentially calls for drivers in contention to have their points reset after the 26th race of the season.(3-11-2005)..and no, I don’t do survey’s or polls…..
  • Triple Mobil 1 Schemes for Penske Racing: A special color scheme for Rusty Wallace’s Dodge Charger this weekend – Rusty, along with the other two Penske Racing South drivers #12-Ryan Newman and #77-Travis Kvapil, will race cars promoting the new line of Mobil high-endurance motor oils – which guarantee engine protection for longer intervals – during this weekend’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. It is the same car Wallace drove to a 10th-place finish at California Speedway on Feb. 27.(Tom Roberts PR), and see images of each car on my #2 Team Schemes page#12 Team Schemes page and #77 Team Schemes page.(3-11-2005)


    News from March 10, 2005

  • #5 Robot Car: Coinciding with the March 11 launch of the movie “Robots” presented by 20th Century Fox, Kellogg’s will trade in the #5 Chevrolet’s traditional paint scheme, driven by Kyle Busch, for a nuts-and-bolts Robots-themed design for Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-10-2005)
  • New Venture for Marcis and… no more racing: from the Marcis Racing site….”Racing is in our blood and will remain in our hearts but we have had to let it go. In today’s racing you either have to be big or not at all. Dave has defied the odds, silenced the critics, earned the respect of his competitors, and the admiration of many fans. So many years Dave fought the good fight for little guys who were told it could not be done. Now in retirement from racing, a sedentary life will not do. In addition to accepting every hunting and fishing invitation and owning a successful restaurant in the north woods, Dave has decided to turn his attention towards building a new business. Dave spent a lifetime working on chassis setup. This is what makes or breaks a race car. Talk about pressure, the car is right or you go home. Talk about a time crunch, the race will run with or without you. How do you make a car handle at 200+? Dave knows, and that is the foundation of each of Dave’s street rods. In the world of Street Rods, the market is saturated with ill handling and poor performing cars. Our chassis come from five decades of racing experience, using the same Laughlin F1 chassis technology found on our Winston Cup cars. This design is born from a much tougher proving ground than the typical Mustang II street rod chassis. Our end result is a solid, dependable, well engineered, bullet proof chassis. See the full story at the Marcis Racing site.(3-10-2005)
  • Charlotte HOF team to be named: The community and business leaders who will head Charlotte’s efforts to land NASCAR’s planned hall of fame and museum are expected to be named next week, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. In a story on its Web site, the Business Journal also reports that NASCAR has told the seven bidders that it will soon outline additional aspects of its expectations for the project. Others bidding for the hall of fame and museum are Atlanta; Kansas City, Mo.; Richmond, Va.; Talladega/Birmingham, Ala.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and unnamed sites in Michigan.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-10-2005)
  • Vickers to test Bristol next week: #25 GMAC Racing Chevy and Brian Vickers are scheduled to test at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday, March 15. The team already has completed tests at California, Daytona and Las Vegas this season..(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-10-2005)
  • Remember Bob Jenkins? UPDATE: from the old ESPN/ABC NASCAR Broadcasts and the long gone Speedworld show [usually on at midnight on Saturday…ten years ago], he is now co-host of Speed Channel’s Speed News [Saturday and Sunday’s 7pm/et](3-8-2005)
    UPDATE: Speed Channel has signed veteran motor sports broadcaster Bob Jenkins to co-anchor the network’s signature weekend racing news program, Speed News. “Bob is one of the pre-eminent motor sports journalists,” said Speed Channel Sr. Coordinating Producer Frank Wilson. “He has a strong association with NASCAR and all forms of racing. His is one of the distinctive voices in the sport, and it’s great for Speed Channel to have someone of his stature on our team.” Jenkins, who spent nearly 30 years as a motor sports announcer for ESPN and ABC, has received many honors including the Tony Hulman Award, given by the National Association of Auto Racing Fan Clubs for unselfish devotion to motor sports, the Roger McCluskey Award from the United States Auto Club in recognition of his standards of excellence in the sport of auto racing, and the Henry T. McLemore Motorsports Press Award which recognizes outstanding motor sports journalism in the field of writing, broadcasting or photography. A permanent plaque with his likeness is in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.
    “I’ve been a race fan all my life, so it seems only natural that I work for the network that obviously cares about and is devoted to speed and motor sports,” said Jenkins, the only announcer to anchor coverage of the three events held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’S Brickyard 400, and the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Speed family.”(Speed Channel PR)(3-10-2005)
  • Drivers Race Horses in Commercial: Bobby Labonte, Kyle Busch, Joe Nemechek, J.J. Yeley, David Green and Jason Leffler are scheduled to be featured as Churchill Downs jockeys in a television commercial that MBNA plans to debut today. The ad, titled “NASCAR’s Horsepower Takes a Run for the Roses,” asks, “What do NASCAR and the Kentucky Derby have in common?” The answer: “They both usually know their way around the track, and they both have MBNA credit cards,” according to a report in today’s Sports Business Daily.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-10-2005)
  • 2 Drivers attempting to do triple-duty at Atlanta, two drivers will attempt to make Truck Series, Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway [full-time ride bold]:
    Jimmy Spencer, #2 Trucks, #98-Busch, #50-Cup
    Shane Hmiel, #15 Trucks, #32-Busch, #08-Cup.(3-10-2005)
  • Stewart, Zippy and Gibbs in commercial spot: Driver Tony Stewart, crew chief Greg Zipadelli and team owner Joe Gibbs will appear in a new television ad campaign that Home Depot plans to debut this weekend. The spots are scheduled to air during Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s UAW/DaimlerChrysler 400 Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-10-2005)
  • Hmiel fastest in Atlanta testing…in a Cup car, doing the triple: Before last week, Shane Hmiel was just driving in the NASCAR Busch Series. But during Wednesday’s test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hmiel was preparing to run all three races during next weekend’s Golden Corral 500 weekend. Hmiel will start the weekend in the World Financial Group 200 Craftsman Truck race on Friday (March 18), then compete in the Aaron’s 312 Busch race on Saturday (March 19) and finish up with the Golden Corral 500 on Sunday (March 20). Hmiel was testing his #08 NEXTEL Cup car on Wednesday and turning the fastest laps of 2005, as he circled the 1.54-mile fast track in 29.26 seconds (189.424 mph). “We’ve got a really good car right now,” Hmiel said. “If we come back next weekend and it drives like this, then we’ll be looking for a top-10 qualifying spot. We’ve got a good car, and that’s all we can ask for.” Hmiel was expected to test his Busch Series car Wednesday but instead showed up with the #08 Win Fuel NEXTEL Cup car. Hmiel said he felt he needed the extra practice in the Cup car, which he will have to qualify on speed to make the Golden Corral 500. “Atlanta isn’t a place I struggle with, so we don’t want to burn the test in Busch,” Hmiel said. “And we tested the truck last week, so we feel like we’re in a good position for next weekend.” It will be his second time competing in all three NASCAR series in one weekend; he also did triple duty last season at Homestead. Hmiel was joined at Wednesday’s test session by fellow NEXTEL Cup driver Mike Wallace and Craftsman Truck Series drivers Bill Lester, Johnny Benson, Chad Chaffin, Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine, Regan Smith, Jack Sprague, Robert Huffman, Brandon Whitt, and Shigeaki Hattori.
    Tickets are still available for the entire weekend of racing. Tickets start at $30 and three-day packages are $65 and can be purchased at (877) 9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849), or by visiting www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.
    Driver, Series, Time
    #08 Shane Hmiel, NEXTEL Cup, 189.474
    #4 Mike Wallace, NEXTEL Cup, 185.791
    #5 Mike Skinner, Craftsman Truck, 181.414
    #22 Bill Lester, Craftsman Truck, 179
    #38 Brandon Whitt, Craftsman Truck, 178.723
    #12 Robert Huffman, Craftsman Truck, 178.666
    #16 Jack Sprague, Craftsman Truck, 178.321
    #23 Johnny Benson, Craftsman Truck, 177.238
    #9 Shigeaki Hattori, Craftsman Truck, 176.729
    #66 Todd Bodine, Craftsman Truck, 176.673
    #19 Regan Smith, Craftsman Truck, 176.280
    #30 Chad Chaffin, Craftsman Truck, 170.867.(AMS PR)(3-10-2005)
  • Triple Duty for Spencer at Atlanta UPDATE sponsor and Bristol too: Jimmy Spencer will triple his chances of heading to Victory Lane during next weekend’s Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, since he will be competing in all three of the NASCAR series races. Spencer will begin his weekend on Friday, March 18, with the World Financial Group 200. He has returned full-time this season to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he is concentrating on trying to win a championship with his #2 Team ASE Dodge. On Saturday, March 19, Spencer will take over Michael Waltrip’s #98 Busch Series car to compete in the Aaron’s 312. By Sunday, when Spencer plans to run the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge in the Golden Corral 500 NEXTEL Cup race, he’ll have every bump in the fast track memorized. But with no points or provisionals to fall back on for the Aaron’s 312 and the Golden Corral 500, Spencer knows he will have to qualify well in order to complete the triple. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to compete in all three races at Atlanta next weekend,” Spencer said. “It’ll be a full slate, especially on Friday with two truck practices in the morning, two Cup practices in the early afternoon, two Busch practices right after that, truck qualifying and Cup qualifying in the late afternoon, and then the truck race that night. I’ll sleep well that night, I can promise you that.” Spencer said he is especially looking forward to the World Financial Group 200 Craftsman Truck race, which will be held under the lights for the first time at Atlanta. Spencer was a spectator for last year’s truck race, and even he was enthralled by the action. “It’s one of the best races we’ll have all year with the speeds we reach and the intensity on the track, and anybody who watched last year’s race knows that,” Spencer said. “Man, that was an awesome race. I remember watching it. You had two trucks pretty much door-to-door as they took the checkered flag. As a race fan – and I’m one – you can’t ask for much more than that. I assure you we’ll see the same kind of racing this year. There are a lot of competitive trucks and competitive drivers in the truck series right now, and when you get us on a wide-open, fast track like Atlanta, it’s kind of like turning the kids loose on a playround.”(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(3-8-2005)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Spencer will drive the #50 Dodge owned by Arnold Motorsports at the upcoming Atlanta and Bristol events in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Arnold Motorsports has acquired sponsorship from U.S. MICRO CORPORATION, based in Atlanta, Georgia, for these two events. U.S. Micro Corporation sponsored the #50 Arnold Motorsports entry at the fall Atlanta race in 2004 and is excited to rejoin the team this year with “Mr. Excitement” behind the wheel. One of the nation’s leading corporate asset management companies, U.S. Micro will remain the “official computer provider” for Arnold Motorsports. U.S. Micro’s team sponsorship began in 2004 and the company will become the primary sponsor of the #50 Dodge for at least two NASCAR Nextel Cup events this year. Jim Kegley, president of U.S. Micro, is looking forward to these two events for both personal and professional reasons. Atlanta is the headquarters for U.S. Micro and Bristol is Kegley’s “home town” Spencer is already scheduled to run the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series events at Atlanta and will be adding the Nextel Cup race to his 2005 schedule. The Arnold Motorsports #50 Dodge will carry the same U.S. Micro paint scheme introduced at the 2004 fall Atlanta race for both the Golden Corral 500 (Atlanta) and the Food City 500 (Bristol).More information about U.S. Micro Corporation is available online at usmicrocorp.com.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(3-10-2005)
  • Kurt Busch back to School: Kurt Busch is asking students in his hometown of Las Vegas for their autographs. As part of the national 2005 Sharpie Retractable Autographs for Education Program, Busch is making a pre-race pit stop at his former middle school, asking students to autograph an oversized autograph wall and his #97 Sharpie Ford. The signatures will become part of a permanent paint scheme when he races at his “home away from home” in Bristol, Tenn., on April 3, 2005. In exchange for the autographs, Busch will deliver $10,000 in school supplies and funds to Guinn Middle School. The donation to the Las Vegas public school is a part of Sharpie’s 2005 pledge to award $1 million worth of school supplies and funds to schools nationwide.
    At an all-school assembly, Busch will:
    * Have students sign the deck lid of the #97 Sharpie Ford, which will give their autographs a “ride-along” of their own at the upcoming race in Busch’s adopted hometown of Bristol, where the car will debut
    * Host a Q&A session with the students and secure their autographs on an 8′ X 10′ autograph wall
    * Award school supplies and funds in exchange for the student autographs
    * Detail how other schools can vie for school supplies and how students can seek scholarships through the program.
    “Autographs for Education” enlists support from celebrities and professional athletes like Kurt Busch to talk with students, teachers, schools and community-based education organizations. The campaign is helping schools vie for $25,000 worth of school supplies and individuals contend for $150,000 in college scholarships. The program kicked off at professional football’s biggest game in Jacksonville with broadcaster Howie Long and various NFL athletes, and will continue its local-market tour of cities across the country.(WeberShandwick.com)(3-10-2005)


    News from March 9, 2005

  • Evernham Motorsports tests at Kentucky: the Kentucky Speedway site has Evernham Motorsports scheduled to test at track today, no drivers listed. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(3-9-2005)
    UPDATE: hearing it was the #98 Dodge and that Erin Crocker was doing some of the testing.(3-10-2005)
  • No Fatback at Vegas: Michael “Fatback” McSwain, crew chief of the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford Taurus, won’t be at the race track at Las Vegas this weekend, missing his second straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event, as he continues to recover from back surgery. A couple of weeks ago, McSwain called the California race from his home in North Carolina, utilizing communications technology from series sponsors NEXTEL and Racing Radios.
    MICHAEL “FATBACK” McSWAIN, crew chief on the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford: WILL YOU BE AT LAS VEGAS? “I won’t be in Vegas so we’ll be doing the same thing we did at California.”
    DID THE SET UP WORK WELL FOR CALIFORNIA? “It worked okay, probably as good as its gonna work not being there. It went pretty good. We tested there so that made it kind of easy. And, we’ve got a good team so that made it easier too.”
    HOW DID USING TRACK PASS WORK OUT? “I thought that worked good. It probably made it work out the best it possibly could. There is not that much of a delay. It worked good. We’ll use the same communication set-up for Vegas, and Atlanta if I can’t go there. I have to wait and see what the doctor says next week when I see him.”(MotorCraft Racing PR)(3-9-2005)
  • What is up with Irvan? asked of Jeff Hammond at FoxSports.com: “As far as Ernie Irvan is concerned, we do see him at the track from time to time. He tries to help out several drivers in the ARCA Series. He’s tried to put some deals together for them and make things happen. Kevin Conway has been one of the drivers that he’s taken under his wing. Conway shows up from time to time for Busch [#03 Team] and Craftsman Truck races. Ernie’s doing well. He still loves racing and wishes he could be more involved. It’s good to see him still hanging around the sport.(FoxSports), Irvan has also started an organization, Race2Safety, working head protection equipment. Irvan is also appearing at the Motorsports Expo at the New York State Fairgrounds this Friday, more info on my Ernie Irvan site.(3-9-2005)
  • So…..what is WinFuel? seen the commercials with Dale Jr. and Shane Hmiel? Seen the website? seen them on the #32 Busch Series Chevy? what is WinFuel…..hearing it is a new energy drink/multi-vitamin drink from the folks at TrimSPA.(3-9-2005)
  • Marlin tests at Bristol: With snow flurries swirling, Sterling Marlin turned laps in his #40 Dodge Charger at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for April’s NASCAR race. For the first time in his 29-year NASCAR career, Marlin tested the settings on his car in the snow. “It takes a lap or two for the tires to come in,” Marlin said about driving in the freezing temperatures. “When it’s 25 degrees, it takes a little time to get some heat in the tires to get some more grip. After three or four laps, you are back where you normally are.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-9-2005)
  • Just about 50 years ago…a race in Vegas: Nearly 50 years ago, on Oct. 16, 1955, a 200-mile event, the 43rd race on the NASCAR schedule, was held at the Las Vegas Park Speedway. The track was originally built as the Las Vegas Jockey Club horse track. Only three motorsports events were held at the mile-long dirt track before it was razed to make way for the Las Vegas Hilton: An IndyCar championship race in 1954, a USAC stock car race in 1959 and the NASCAR event of 1955. The race featured drivers mainly from the West Coast. It was scheduled for the same day as Martinsville Speedway’s event and although the Las Vegas purse was larger, most of NASCAR’s top drivers chose not to travel west. There was, though, a field of 27 cars, including many notable drivers of the day. Johnny Mantz, winner of the 1950 Southern 500, qualified his 1955 Mercury in the sixth starting position. Mantz was known primarily as an open-wheel driver who found occasional success in stock cars. Bill Amick of Portland, Ore., had a 1955 Oldsmobile coming off the line in 13th spot. Californian Eddie Pagan started 11th in his new Chevrolet. One driver who drew attention was a short-track specialist from Wisconsin named Norm Nelson. Nelson was driving a powerful Chrysler 300 for car owner Carl Kiekhaefer. A fellow Wisconsin native, Keikhaefer had made a fortune with his Mercury outboard motors. Kiekhaefer, who was looking for a new way to advertise his outboard motors, chose to form NASCAR’s first “super team” in 1955. The plan paid off as Kiekhaefer-prepared cars won 21 of the season’s first 42 races leading up to the Las Vegas event. Nelson put his Chrysler on the pole with a speed of 74.518 mph. Bill Hyde from Portland, Ore. started on the outside of the front row in a two year old Oldsmobile. Nelson, who was leading the race, was declared the winner as darkness was closing in and the race was called on Lap 111 for his first and only NASCAR premier series victory with Hyde coming home in second two laps behind. Nelson picked up $1,325 for the win. Nelson left NASCAR and Kiekhaefer in 1956, choosing to compete with his own equipment on the Midwestern circuits of USAC and IMCA. Nelson won several championships in both organizations, often giving praise to his engine builder, Jerry Kulwicki, father of 1992 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Alan Kulwicki.(NASCAR PR), see the full story on my Las Vegas Race Info/Rundown Page.(3-9-2005)
  • Express for Leffler again this week: The #11 FedEx Chevy with Jason Leffler driving will sport the Express paint scheme, which is one of four it will display in 2005 representing four of the FedEx operating companies; FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Kinko’s.(JGR SIte/PR)(3-9-2005)
  • The Bunny Returns IMAGE: Casey Mears #41 Dodge will sport its first special paint scheme of the 2005 season this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The familiar red bullseye on the Target hood will now feature the Energizer Bunny. Energizer, a major associate sponsor of the #41 Dodge, will become the primary sponsor for the Las Vegas race and will carry the black and silver colors of Energizer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR) no images found…yet.(3-8-2005)
    IMAGE see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(3-9-2005)


    News from March 8, 2005

  • Jayski tile mural donated to Victory Junction: TileForFundraising.com, along with the talent and generosity of Images in Tile, LLC, donated a tile mural to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for the Jayski.com Computer Lab. The vividly colored 3′ x 4′ Jayski.com-themed mural consists of 48 6×6 tiles encased in a frame that will hang on the wall of the Jayski.com Computer Lab. “Being able to provide this mural to the Victory Junction Gang Camp is truly an honor because of the immense virtue the camp possesses”, says Dana Horne of TileForFundraising.com. “I’m a big fan of Jayski.com so the opportunity to do a mural with a Jayski.com theme for such an incredible and magical camp doubled the excitement.”
    Jayski and his fans have thus far raised 38% of the $75,000 needed for the Computer Lab which will provide 20 computers, as well as printers and scanning equipment for the campers. The Computer Lab will give campers a place to learn about technology, get involved in writing stories for the camp newsletter, design their own website, log on to Victory Junction intranet, and even write guest columns to be posted on Jayski.com. “The Mural is awesome and so beautiful,” says Jay Adamczyk (Jayski). “I was shocked at the detail and it will make a great addition to the Jayski Computer Lab at Victory Junction. Geez, now I want one for my house.” For more information on the Jayski.com Computer Lab fundraising effort, please visit VictoryJunction.org.
    The TileForFundraising.com program was started in 2004 as an effort to bring uniquely decorated tile in limited editions and limited quantities to fans of sporting, music and various celebrities while raising funds for the celebrity’s favorite charity. The program provides a win-win situation for everyone involved. Fans of the celebrities will have the opportunity to own a gorgeous limited-edition collectible and celebrities’ favorite non-profit organization will benefit greatly from the funds raised.(TileForFundraising.com – see more images)(3-8-2005)
  • Newman still fastest in testing at Atlanta: The garages at Atlanta Motor Speedway were crowded Tuesday as 14 NASCAR teams prepared for the new tires, new impound rules and new spoiler heights that will be in effect for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers #99-Carl Edwards, #43-Jeff Green, #29-Kevin Harvick, #17-Matt Kenseth (testing a Busch car), #77-Travis Kvapil, #18-Bobby Labonte, #11-Jason Leffler, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #12-Ryan Newman, #10-Scott Riggs and #22-Scott Wimmer; Busch drivers #21-Brandon Miller and #20-Denny Hamlin; and Craftsman Truck driver Jack Sprague all tested Tuesday at NASCAR’s fastest track. As expected, four-time Atlanta pole winner #12-Ryan Newman was fastest again on Tuesday, topping the unofficial speed chart with a lap of 29.57 seconds (187.487 mph). The 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, Matt Kenseth, was also on hand for Tuesday’s test, but he wasn’t driving his NEXTEL Cup car. He was actually preparing his #17 Waste Management Ford for the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday, March 19.
    Testing will continue for the remainder of the week as teams prepare for the upcoming March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. Drivers expected for Wednesday’s test are NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver #4-Mike Wallace; Busch driver #32-Shane Hmiel; and Craftsman Truck drivers #23-Johnny Benson, #66-Todd Bodine, #30-Chad Chaffin, #9-Shige Hattori, #12-Robert Huffman, #22-Bill Lester, #5-Mike Skinner, #16/19-Jack Sprague, #38-Brandon Whitt. Tests are closed to the public. Tickets are still available starting at $30 and weekend packages are just $65. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-877-9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com..
    Driver Series Speed #12 Ryan Newman NEXTEL Cup 29.57 sec/ 187.487 mph
    #10 Scott Riggs NEXTEL Cup 29.79 sec/ 186.03 mph
    #22 Scott Wimmer NEXTEL Cup 29.93 sec/ 185.232 mph
    #99 Carl Edwards NEXTEL Cup 30.09 sec/ 184.246 mph
    #77 Travis Kvapil NEXTEL Cup 30.12 sec/ 184.064 mph
    #11 Jason Leffler NEXTEL Cup 30.29 sec/ 183.041 mph
    #18 Bobby Labonte NEXTEL Cup 30.32 sec/ 182.850 mph
    #17 Matt Kenseth Busch 30.32 sec/ 182.850 mph
    #29 Kevin Harvick NEXTEL Cup 30.40 sec/ 182.368 mph
    #43 Jeff Green NEXTEL Cup 30.51 sec/ 181.710 mph
    #21 Brandon Miller Busch 30.62 sec/ 181.058 mph
    #19 Jeremy Mayfield NEXTEL Cup 30.62 sec/ 181.058 mph
    #20 Denny Hamlin Busch 31.52 sec/ 175.888 mph
    #19 Jack Sprague Craftsman Truck 31.95 sec/ 173.521 mph.(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(3-8-2005)
  • NASCAR Hires former Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign Mgr: NASCAR announced the hiring of Marcus Jadotte to manage NASCAR’s national media outreach efforts. Jadotte will be based in NASCAR’s Daytona Beach headquarters and will be responsible for strategic planning and execution of all media outreach efforts nationally. “Marcus’ experience on the national stage along with his leadership ability is going to be a great asset for all of NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. Most recently, Marcus worked for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign as the Deputy Campaign Manager. Prior to the campaign, Marcus was the Chief of Staff for the United States House of Representatives, Office of Congressman Peter Deutsch. Marcus brings with him over ten years of communications/political experience and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Florida State University.(NASCAR PR)(3-8-2005)
  • Hamilton plans to retire after 2006 season; Cup team for Jr.: #4-Bobby Hamilton plans to hang up his own helmet at the end of next season. ”I’ll race this year and next year, that’s my plan,” he said. ”I’ve got some bright young drivers racing for me and it’s going to be fun to devote my time to running the team and helping them develop. ”I’ve got hundreds of trophies from the early days stored at home,” Hamilton said. ”Eventually I plan to bring them all here and fill an entire wall with the stuff that Little Bobby and I have collected over the years.”
    :’Little Bobby” is Bobby Hamilton Jr., Hamilton’s 27-year-old son who is in his first full season in Nextel Cup [#32 Tide Chevy]. Sometime in the future Hamilton hopes to expand his team into the Nextel Cup Series, with his son doing the driving.(Tennessean)(3-8-2005)
  • Fed Up with Jesse Jackson: The man who headed the sports division of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition for more than a decade before being released in January is now organizing former Jackson affiliates into his own minority motor sports division. “A lot of people were fed up with Reverend Jackson so I think this is a clean start,” Farrell said of his newly formed group, One Umbrella Motorsports Association. “We have people coming from as far away as California and Missouri.” He called his new venture the “start of something big.” In what could be another sign of financial woes at Rainbow/PUSH, Jackson’s organization has indicated it is scaling back its national minority sports initiatives, according to Farrell. Jackson’s Rainbow Sports organization has previously conducted minority sports outreach efforts with such groups as NASCAR, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA. Farrell directed the Rainbow/PUSH Sports division for some of the eleven years he spent with Jackson’s organization. In January, Farrell said, he got word from Jackson that his services were no longer needed. Rainbow/PUSH was scaling back the “national scope it has had” in sports and was closing its New York office, Farrell said he was told. “The departure of Farrell is further evidence that Jesse Jackson is only interested in getting money out of the motor sports industry — and in particular NASCAR — and has had very little to do with the advancement of minorities within the sport,” said Peter Flaherty, president of the National and Legal Policy Center. In 2003, Flaherty launched a campaign to end NASCAR’s support of Jackson because of Jackson’s anti-war rhetoric and past financial dealings with corporations.(in part from CNSNews.com)(3-8-2005)
  • Seven Drivers in Tylenol Spots: Johnson & Johnson has signed endorsement deals with seven Nextel Cup drivers to promote the launch of Tylenol’s Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels, Street & Smiths’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler make up Team Tylenol. The campaign will include television ads during race broadcasts and sponsorship at 11 tracks. Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon are scheduled to be featured on packages of the product sold during the third quarter of the year. Exact financial terms of the deal were not reported, but the story by Terry Lefton says the entire campaign is “an eight-figure investment.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-8-2005)
  • Testing at Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman was in Atlanta for the first day of a two-day test for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500. Also testing were #22-Scott Wimmer, #77-Travis Kvapil, #11-Jason Leffler and Busch driver Brandon Miller. Newman topped the unofficial speed charts. He circled his #12 Alltel Dodge around Atlanta’s 1.54-mile quad-oval at 29.48 seconds (186.060 mph). Second fastest was Jason Leffler in the #11 FedEx Chevrolet, turning a lap in 29.84 seconds (185.790 mph). NEXTEL Cup rookie Travis Kvapil was third fastest for the day with a lap time of 29.95 seconds (185.109 mph). Wimmer was the slowest among the Cup drivers for the day, turning in a time of 30.16 seconds (183.820 mph). Busch driver #21 Brandon Miller was also on hand for Monday’s test, turning a top lap time of 30.53 seconds (181.592 mph). Testing will continue throughout the week as drivers prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. All testing is closed to the public. Those expected to test are Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green, Bill Elliott and Carl Edwards.(AMS PR)(3-8-2005)
  • Johnson top young gun at Calif: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on February 27th, John B. of Marshall, TX was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. John picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(3-8-2005)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates #20-Tony Stewart and #11-Jason Leffler are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, March 8. Fans can view testing out side Turn 3 at no charge. Tests begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. and end at approximately 5:00 p.m. The test schedule is subject to change.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-8-2005)



    News from March 7, 2005

  • Mark Martin’s Official ‘Salute to You’ Tour Website now open: Mark Martin’s“Salute to You” Tour, which roared to life on the track with back-to-back top-10 finishes in the first two races of the season, has come to life on the Internet. The official Web site of Mark Martin’s “Salute to You” Tour is now online at www.markmartinsalute.com. Featuring race news, vintage photos, a career timeline, exclusive merchandise and more, the site celebrates the career of one of NASCAR’s most beloved drivers, who retires from full-time Nextel Cup competition this year. Martin himself delivers a special video message to visitors when they arrive at the site. The site will serve as the new home of the official Mark Martin fan club. Current fan club members can use their existing fan club log in name and password to access the “Salute to You” site. Fan club membership is free by registering at www.roushracing.com.(Roush Racing PR)(3-7-2005)
  • VJGC Goes Trackside with Track Scan: Track Scan has agreed to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp both financially with a percentage of their scanner headset rentals going to the camp, as well as promotionally through their marketing efforts both on and off the track. Other programs Track Scan will be doing to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp is to create a racing like atmosphere by donating scanners to the camp so that when the campers and their parents take a tour of the facility they can wear the authentic racing scanners complete with two-way radio for communication. For more information, visit www.track-scan.com.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(3-7-2005)
  • Burton wants better car; engineer joins RCR: Burton wants better cars: The work of Jeff Burton’s pit crew helped his No. 31 gain 18 positions over seven stops at California, but going into Las Vegas, he doesn’t believe his Monte Carlos are up to speed. “Pit crews can’t be winning races,” Burton says. “We’ve got to get better cars.” The cars are sure to improve after Burton is reunited with former Roush senior engineer Nick Ollila, who joined Richard Childress Racing last week. Off the track, despite having a week away from racing, Burton was anything but idle. In a little more than a week, he shot a commercial for Cingular, made appearances for Chevrolet and Coke and had a cameo role on the WB’s One Tree Hill.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-7-2005)
  • Update on Venturini: Billy Venturini was injured in the ARCA RE/MAX Series’ season-opening event, the Advance Auto Discount 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway. With just two laps remaining on the scoring tower a multi-car wreck broke out. The aftermath left Venturini with a broken neck and severe ligament damage that will leave him sidelined for a portion of the 2005 racing season. His injuries, sustained while wearing a safety Hutchens Device, very well could have happened had he been using a HANS. The injuries were all circumstance of the neck snapping sideways rather than forward, the purpose of both head and neck restraints. Venturini, along with the doctors who are treating him, feel that the injuries based on the side impact were unavoidable. In order to set the spinal cord as it heals, Venturini was placed in a halo and will continue to don it for three to four more weeks. Once it is removed, as silly as it sounds, he says the next step is getting back behind the wheel of his #25 racecar. As he recovers he also takes on a duty he doesn’t like so much – putting someone else in his seat. But, it’s business as usual including, working closely with his new crew chief Troy Selberg and his newly signed sponsors, Central Merchant Services and ReadyHosting.com.
    Although the team is holding off on making an official announcement, Billy says, “It has to be someone who will help the team now and in the future. We’ve toyed with the idea of fielding a second car so it has to be someone we see with us in the future.” Moving forward, he plans on attending the Nashville event which, will more than likely be the toughest step in his recovery as he watches someone else race his number. But, at the same time, it could be the best medicine just knowing in a few short months, it’ll be his ride once again.” See full story at the Billy Venturini Site.(3-7-2005)
  • Lepage sponsor: #37-Kevin Lepage says that he has a five-race primary sponsorship deal with Patron Tequila on the table, but that they are still negotiating.(NASCAR Scene)(3-7-2005)

News from March 5, 2005

  • Chevy ticked at Boris: Boris Said is in hot water with General Motors. After finally getting a Chevy deal [#36 Chevy] to run the Cup tour this season, Said, a star road racer, has angered GM execs by jumping in James Finch’s Dodge this week. “I got in a lot of trouble,” Said said. “Jay Frye, my team manager, was mad. I really tried to get a Chevrolet ride, called and called and called. But they didn’t help me. For some reason they’ve never really wanted to help me. I was trying to be politically correct. But I didn’t have a ride. But this is a good car and a good team, and I’ve known Marc Reno (the crew chief).”(Winston Salem Journal)(3-5-2005)
  • Shepherd looking for help: from the Morgan Shepherd site…..”To be able to continue to race our “Victory in Jesus” race car we must have help from you our race fans. You do not have to be able to send big amounts. Every little bit helps. Most fans do not realize one set of tires cost $1700, a new race engine costs $60,000, there are travel expenses, and much more. We have no business to regularly help us at the present.” see more at morganshepherd.com.(3-5-2005)
  • The King, Wheties and Vitamins: General Mills and Leiner Health products announced the launch of Wheaties and Total nutritional supplement products, produced under license from General Mills. Wheaties and Total cereals have long been on consumers’ breakfast tables, and now they can enhance their diets with multivitamins from these trusted brands. These four new vitamin products are part of an extension of the Wheaties and Total brands. The Wheaties Multivitamins provide health-minded individuals with 100% or more of 17 essential vitamins and minerals; in addition Wheaties Daily Performance Vitamin Packs offer consumers a convenient daily nutritional system specifically formulated to enhance energy. Total Multivitamins contain important daily nutrients essential for an active and healthy lifestyle, and Total High Potency Daily Vitamin Packs are ideal for consumers looking for additional support for their bones, joints, eyes and heart health as well as help with overall fitness.
    In conjunction with the new Wheaties and Total branded products, General Mills and Leiner also announced the launch of Vitaminreminders.com. This interactive website is another tool to help Americans get and stay healthy. Vitaminreminders.com offers consumers a daily video image alert from a sports legend reminding them to take their Wheaties and Total vitamins. In turn, consumers can develop and maintain a system for incorporating vitamins into their daily routine.
    The site features legendary sports champions, including “The King” of racing Richard Petty, hall-of-fame baseball player Ozzie Smith, and U.S. soccer star Brandi Chastain. Individuals simply select their favorite sports legend and designate a schedule to receive their video image reminder. Based on that information, a video image message appears on the consumer’s PC prompting them to take their Wheaties and Total vitamins. This convenient and innovative tool infuses excitement into staying healthy.(Business Wire)(3-5-2005)
  • Speed Freaks back, starting tonight: After months of preparation SpeedFreaks lay waste to their 2004 Speed Channel format. NOW, on Saturday nights @ 12midnight/et and 9:00pm/pet, it’s the Freaks Night Out on Speed Channel. They have made a semi-conscious effort to ratchet-up the television version of SpeedFreaks for their new season on Speed Channel. The Freaks’ Lugg Nuttz chimes in, “Our first show’s guest lineup is a Who’s Freakin’ Who with NHRA’s Scotty Kalitta and David Grubnic, NASCAR’s Tony Stewart and Bobby Hamilton Jr., and Supercross’ James ‘Bubba’ Stewart and Kevin Windham. Dinner anyone? We season it with The Great Freaks Thong Experiment, a tasty Statt Mann Scatt, and ladies and gentlemen, the Freak Nation is served!”
    After the Freaks’ Freestyle on Speed Channel, you can get the full two hour Sunday night radio show replay the night after with guests like Speed Channel’s Two Wheel Tuesday host Greg White and Grave Digger Monster Truck legend Dennis Anderson. Just log on to www.SpeedFreaks.TV for more infreakmation.
    SpeedFreaks with Kenny Sargent, Lugg Nuttz, Statt Mann Caruthers and Crash Gladys continues to own the title of the country’s largest motorsports radio show. They can be heard every Sunday Night on the Freak Radio Network at 7:00pm/pt. The FRN houses over 80 radio stations across the United States including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Ft. Lauderdale, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, West Palm, Albuquerque, Charleston, Reno, Bakersfield, Hampton, etc. For an additional SpeedFreaks affiliate listing, log on to speedfreaks.tv. Additional live coverage can be heard on the Internet at SportsByline.com, the Armed Forces Network and on Sirius Satellite Radio’s channel 122, via Sports Byline USA. Plus – SpeedFreaks can also be heard every Saturday live from 4 to 6 PM (EST) on the Freak Radio Network and Sirius Satellite Radio 125.(SpeedFreaks PR)(3-5-2005)


    News from March 4, 2005

  • The lastest on the movie Dust to Glory: Every fall since 1967 a hearty and eclectic band of adventurers have gathered in Ensenada, Mexico in Baja California for one of the roughest, toughest and most exhilarating rides ever concocted. It’s the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the longest non-stop, point-to-point race in the world. Now award-winning filmmaker Dana Brown (“Step into Liquid”), plunges into the world of the Baja 1000 with DUST TO GLORY a feature documentary that captures all the excitement, hard knocks, sights and sounds of this extraordinary event. Using over fifty cameras and a crew of ninety, Brown puts the audience right in the middle of a race often called the most dangerous in the world. But the Baja 1000 is not only about the competition but the camaraderie among some 1200 participants driving 270 vehicles of all sizes and shapes in a carnival atmosphere witnessed by 200,000 spectators. As much as anything, DUST TO GLORY celebrates the unique people and geography of Baja, from sun-baked mountains to dusty deserts to the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. “The place is everything,” says Brown. “If the race were someplace else, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s like a going back in time.” Some of the drivers featured in the movie are NASCAR drivers Robby Gordon and Michele Jourdain, Jr., along with Jimmy Vasser, Ivan Stewart, Roberto Guerrero and Parnelli Jones. The movie is scheduled to open in April 1, 2005, the official site for more info and trailers at: d2gfilm.com.(3-4-2005)
  • Final California TV Ratings up 19.7% Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 7.9 and a 16 audience share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a 19.7% increase over the 6.6/16 that Fox drew for its broadcast of last year’s second Nextel Cup race, the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham [the final race at that track]. The 7.9 rating is also 11.3 percent higher than the 7.1 overnight rating the race drew from the nation’s largest markets, which Fox says was the highest overnight figure it had ever posted for any race other than the Daytona 500.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-4-2005)
  • Get the lead out..so a group asks NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR is under fire from environmentalists for using leaded gasoline more than six years after the Environmental Protection Agency asked the stock car racing industry to switch to unleaded. “By permitting the continued use of lead, your organization may be putting millions of spectators and nearby residents at unnecessary risk of suffering serious health effects,” the environmental group Clean Air Watch said in a recent letter to NASCAR chairman Brian France. “Because of the clear public health threat, lead is being eliminated from gasoline throughout most of the world,” the letter said. “If Kazakhstan can eliminate lead from gasoline, why can’t NASCAR?” The elimination of lead in gasoline in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s and in the rest of the world in recent years is considered one of the great public health victories of the 20th century. Lead levels in the blood of U.S. children have dropped dramatically as a result. In 1990, Congress exempted the aviation and racing industries from EPA regulations on the lead content of gasoline. NASCAR has “looked into and will continue to look into making the switch to unleaded,” but has not been able to find an alternative additive to lead, which lubricates engine valves, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “Without being able to keep the valves lubed, the engines don’t work as well.”(Rocky Mountain News)(3-1-2005)
    AND Environmentalists have blown a gasket over the NASCAR’s continued use of leaded gasoline in its stock car races. Since NASCAR has science and safety on its side, I hope it has the good sense not to cave in to this eco-harassment. The Clean Air Trust “urged” NASCAR in a Jan. 19 letter to consider the supposedly dire consequences of using leaded fuel: “By permitting the continued use of lead, your organization may be putting millions of spectators and nearby residents at unnecessary risk of suffering serious health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Lead was eliminated from most gasoline in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1990, however, Congress exempted the aviation and racing industries from the lead ban. The exemptions made sense since no one wanted airplanes falling from the sky because of stalled engines and auto racing would only add an insignificant amount of lead to the environment. NASCAR engines run on a high performance fuel designed exclusively for competition called 110 Leaded Racing Gasoline. Not only does the “Official Fuel of NASCAR” make stock cars run better, but its components make it resistant to explosion, which naturally makes things safer for drivers in racing accidents.(JunkScience at FoxSports)(3-4-2005)
  • Off Week Notes: Two weeks down, 34 to go. With those numbers looming, an off-week for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series is, in reality, anything but that. The next event – the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 13 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – is fast approaching. For some competitors, there’s only one way to prepare: Keep racing.
    That inclination pairs perfectly this week with a first-ever NASCAR Busch Series event in Mexico City. Seven NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are making a South of the Border sojourn to compete in a historic event – Sunday’s Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 presented by Banamex at the legendary Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course. It will mark the first NASCAR Busch Series points event held outside the United States, and the first road-course event for the NASCAR Busch Series since a 2001 event at Watkins Glen. (FOX will televise the Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 presented by Banamex live on Sunday beginning at 3:00pm/et. Among those tackling the 80-lap, 201-mile challenge on the Autodromo’s 2.5-mile course will be Robby Gordon (#55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet), Rusty Wallace (#64 Bell Helicopter Dodge), Jamie McMurray (#42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge), Kevin Harvick (#21 Pelon Pelo Rico Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford), Boris Said (#1 Yellow Dodge) and Elliott Sadler (#90 Citifinancial Ford). Another participant with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup experience is Ron Fellows, a road-racing specialist who makes frequent appearances in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen. He’ll drive the #87 Chevrolet.
    McMurray will be joined by most of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team, including crew chief Donnie Wingo. His team owners, Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, also plan to be there.
    Always room for surprises … Only two races have been checked off the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule, but fast starters already have emerged, among them Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford), who sits a surprising fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings heading into the off week thanks to a 12th-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 and last Sunday’s fifth-place finish at California Speedway.
    According to Roush Racing owner Jack Roush, Edwards is following in his teammates’ footsteps. But current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch (#97 Irwin Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford) and last Sunday’s Auto Club 500 winner, Greg Biffle, also excelled in youthful sink-or-swim situations. Edwards, who also ran fulltime in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2003 and 2004 (he was the Raybestos Rookie of the Year in 2003), was promoted to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series last season, running the final 13 events in the #99.
    Early contenders handicap themselves, others … Only two races have been completed, but the points battle already is shaping up. The target is race #26, the cutoff point for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. At the end of that Sept. 10 event at Richmond International Raceway, the NASCAR Top 10 and any drivers within 400 points of the leader will compete for the championship over the season’s final 10 races. So there’s much ground to make up – or lose – even in the spring. Certainly, people expected to be in the NASCAR Top 10 are there, heading into the off week; current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch leads the standings followed by Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), the series runner-up for the last two seasons. One of Busch’s Roush Racing teammates, Mark Martin (#6 Viagra Ford), who finished fourth last season and is competing in his final fulltime season, sits third.
    Two other drivers who made last year’s inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Elliott Sadler and Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet), are sixth and seventh, respectively. Gordon, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, is 10th after engine failure relegated him to a 30th-place finish at California. Then there are the surprises: Rusty Wallace (#2 Miller Lite Dodge), who’s retiring following this season, is eighth in the standings following back-to-back 10th-place finishes in the Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500. Sterling Marlin (#40 Coors Light Dodge) is ninth after an eighth-place in the Daytona 500 and a 15th-place finish in the Auto Club 500. Greg Biffle, who’s fifth in the standings after last Sunday’s win at California, also won last year’s season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Neither Wallace, Marlin nor Biffle made last year’s Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
    TV Timeout … The preliminary results reveal that more households tuned in to the 2005 Auto Club 500 than any other non-Daytona 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in history, which also made it the highest-rated, most watched event at California Speedway. The Auto Club 500, which followed the Daytona 500 for the first time, enjoyed a 20% increase in households and an 18% increase in viewers over the second event of the 2004 season at North Carolina Speedway.
    Chevrolet, Ford tied for lead in Manufacturers standings … Greg Biffle’s Auto Club 500 win gave Ford its first victory of 2005 and tied Chevrolet for the early lead in the 2005 Manufacturers Championship. Both Ford and Chevrolet have 15 points and one win. Dodge has eight points.(NASCAR PR)(3-4-2005)
  • NASCAR-themed Kids Workshop at Home Depot Saturday: The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer and proud sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing and the #20 Home Depot Racing Team, will offer a FREE NASCAR-themed Kids Workshop on Saturday, March 5 at the company’s U.S.-based stores. More than 170,000 kids, aged 5 – 12, will get the satisfaction of building their own wood model race car with expert advice from knowledgeable The Home Depot associates. An award-winning program that The Home Depot stores have offered since 1997, the Home Depot will provide the complimentary car kits, tools and expertise to build the models, along with a kid-size The Home Depot orange apron and a pin for the children to take home.(NASCAR PR)(3-4-2005)
  • New Scott Riggs site: Fresh off a fourth place finish in the Daytona 500, Scott Riggs is pleased to announce the launch of his new website at scottriggs.com. This site incorporates the highest web based technology and a creative look that is sure to please Scott’s growing fan base. Not only does the site post biographical information, but it also features daily reports and pictures from the track and a kid friendly message board.(PR)(3-4-2005)


    News from March 3, 2005

  • Darrell Waltrip, Junior Johnson To Tell Tales: Darrell Waltrip and Junior Johnson invite you to join them for supper, sit a spell afterward and listen as they tell some tales of their championship racing seasons. Waltrip and Johnson, who teamed for three NASCAR Winston Cup Championships in the 1981, ’82, and ‘85, will spin some yarns of those days on Thursday, March 31, at a Bristol Motor Speedway benefit dinner for the International Storytelling Center. The International Storytelling Center attracts thousands of people to Jonesborough, Tenn., to celebrate the ancient storytelling traditions so popular in the Appalachian region and beyond. The town about 20 miles from Bristol Motor Speedway holds the distinction as the birthplace of a storytelling renaissance, which took place 30 years ago at the first National Storytelling Festival. The event now draws more than 10,000 each October to Jonesborough. More at the Bristol Motor Speedway site.(3-3-2005)
  • Rent-A-Center returns to the #21 and Rudd: Rent-A-Center is returning as an associate sponsor of the #21 Wood Brothers Team in 2005. Furthermore, the #21 Ford Taurus will carry a Rent-A-Center paint scheme for the April 17th race at Texas Motor Speedway and the June 19th race at Michigan International Speedway. A promotion is currently in the works that could award up to 40,000 Rent-A-Center prizes to customers who rent from Rent-A-Center between April 11th and May 14th. Prizes will be awarded based on Ricky Rudd’s finish in the June 19th race at Michigan International Speedway. Everyone who signs an agreement during this time frame will receive a scratch-off card good for up to $50 off their agreement while supplies last. Rent-A-Center, Inc., headquartered in Plano, Texas, currently operates 2,871 company-owned stores nationwide and in Canada and Puerto Rico. More info on Rent-A-Center at rentacenter.com.(Motorcraft Racing PR)(3-3-2005)


    News from March 2, 2005

  • New Associate sponsor for the #01: Wiley X Eyewear, a major supplier of eyewear to the U.S. Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies, has joined MB2 Motorsports as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. According to the New England Journal of Medicine (Dec. 9, 2004), Wiley X ballistic eyewear is one of the main reasons for the decreasing amount of eye injuries suffered by soldiers. Along with manufacturing high velocity eye armor for the military, Wiley X produces a line of specialty eyewear for the motorcycle, mountain/street bike, boating and fishing markets as well as a line of sophisticated sunglasses for both casual and active wear. Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports, said that Wiley X Eyewear has been a welcome addition in more ways than one for the U.S. Army team. “We are proud of our new affiliation with Wiley X Eyewear for two main reasons,” said Frye. “First, it is a company that has dedicated itself in researching and producing an eyewear product that protects our troops. And secondly, the durability, the fit and ballistic protection of Wiley X Eyewear make it a perfect product for our pit crew members.” For additional information about Wiley X Eyewear and its products, search the company’s web site at: www.wiley-x.com.(MB2 Motorsports PR), see an image of the car with Wiley X on the deck lid on my #01 Team Schemes age.(3-2-2005)
  • Gordon probably gonna skip the Indy 500: Robby Gordon will not enter this year’s Indianapolis 500 unless he’s driving somebody else’s race cars. Gordon, who has competed in the 500 ten times says his commitment is to his Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams and sponsors. Gordon says “I don’t have the room…we’re full..we’ve got 40 guys full time just turning these programs around.” Since he won’t operate an open wheel team Gordon says his final decision could be put off until the first week of Indy 500 time trials.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-2-2005)
  • Racing Greats Lobby NC for Hall of Fame: Racing greats Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, and Benny Parsons lobbied the Legislature to lend support for a resolution to honor the memory of NASCAR aces and promote a racing museum in the state. Lawmakers in both chambers unanimously approved the resolution as part of their effort to protect a $1.5 billion racing industry that employs about 10,000 people in North Carolina. As the sport increases in popularity, so does the competition from other states to lure it away. But lawmakers and others say North Carolina is the best place for a museum. Stock car racing started here and a few hundred race teams — NASCAR and otherwise — are located around Charlotte. Putting a museum in the Charlotte area makes sense for tourists who also could also visit their favorite race teams, Parsons said. “You can see all the past and in 15 minutes see the future,” Parsons said between legislative sessions. The children of Wendell Scott, who in 1963 became the first black NASCAR driver to win a race, also attended. Scott died of cancer in 1990. Sen. Charles Dannelly noted the importance of diversity in the sport. Scott, who raced from 1949-1973, made his name when “the ruler of the South was the KKK,” he said. Gov. Mike Easley announced a 19-member North Carolina Motorsports Advisory Council designed to recommend methods to improve and expand the racing industry in the state. Members include racing great and car owner Richard Petty, Hendrick Motorsports chairman Rick Hendrick and Chad Knaus, Jimmy Johnson’s crew chief. The council’s first meeting will be later this year.(ESPN.com/AP)(3-2-2005)
  • Sad News: Greg Zipadelli’s [#20 Tony Stewart crew chief] grand father. Charles J. Zipadelli, 89, of New Britain, CT, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday (March 1, 2005). In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Zippy’s Crusade for Kids, 114 Whaling La., Mooresville, NC 28117 [gregzipadelli.com], more info on Mr. Zipadelli at the Hartford Courant.(3-2-2005)
  • Chevy Adds Vickers to Endorsement Roster: Chevrolet’s Racing division announced the addition of Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, to their already impressive list of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup endorsers that includes 4-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and HMS teammate Jimmie Johnson. The personal services partnership is the first official manufacturer endorsement for Vickers and compliments an already extensive history between GM’s flagship racing brand and the 21 year-old sophomore Cup Series driver. For more information on Chevrolet and Brian Vickers, please visit www.chevrolet.com or www.brianvickers.com.(Brians Vickers PR)(3-2-2005)
  • Rusty’s Crew Wins at California: Penske Racing South’s crew for the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Rusty Wallace has won the $10,000 prize for the fastest pit work during Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway among teams participating in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition. Joe Gibbs Racing’s crew for the #20 Chevrolet of Tony Stewart was named the winner of the prize for its work in the season-opening Daytona 500.(NASCAR Scene)(3-2-2005)
  • Ford Drivers Give Driving Lessons to PGA Players: As part of the Ford Championship Racing Adventure, PGA’s top stars will participate in three distinct driving events this week with seven professional race drivers. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standouts Dale Jarrett, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, and Elliott Sadler headline the field. They will be joined by Michel Jourdain Jr., NASCAR Busch Series’ first full-time Hispanic driver, NHRA drag racer Ashley Force, and Grand American road-racing expert Scott Maxwell. The golfers will compete on the track at Homestead for fun and pride. Later in the week, they’ll compete on the infamous Blue Monster at Doral for a $900,000 purse and a 2006 Ford GT supercar, the most exclusive prize in professional golf. The NASCAR drivers will provide instruction and drive hot laps with the golfers in specially equipped, two-place race cars. The highlight of the golfer’s day is a 10-lap stint at the wheel of a race-ready NASCAR Ford Taurus on the speedway’s banked 1.5-mile oval. They’ll also get the chance to maneuver the 550-horsepower 2005 Ford GT supercar and the all-new Ford Racing Grand Am Cup Mustang on the speedway’s modified road course and drag race a 300-horsepower 2005 Mustang GT on a 1/8-mile straightaway.(Ford Racing)(3-2-2005)
  • Harvick may not run Mexico Busch race: Kevin Harvick, scheduled to drive in this weekend’s Busch Series race in Mexico City [in the #21 RCR Chevy], is still sore from his crash during the Gatorade Duels at Daytona. Harvick has played in pain the past two weeks, but his bruised ribs could preclude him from driving on the Mexican road course. If so, Brandon Miller will replace him. Harvick’s familiar Reese’s livery will give way to a special paint scheme for this race to promote PELON PELO RICO, one of Mexico’s leading brands of spicy candy. Crew chief Rick Viers emphasized that “The decision (whether or not to drive) is up to Kevin, and he will not make it until after practice on Saturday. There is a chance that Brandon Miller will run the #21 during practice since it’s about five hours long. This will also give Miller some seat time just in case Harvick can’t run the race on Sunday.” Viers indicated Miller shouldn’t be too hopeful though: “I think in the end Harvick will tough it out.”(Speed Channel)(3-2-2005)
  • Bobby Labonte to run Truck at Atlanta: Even though Bobby Labonte has more wins than any other full-time driver at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he’ll be a rookie on Friday, March 18. That’s when Bobby Labonte will compete for the first time at Atlanta in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. It will be his fourth career truck race and third in the #47 Chevy All-Stars Silverado, which he will try to drive to victory in the World Financial Group 200. Labonte will be pulling double duty that weekend, also driving his usual #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the March 20 Golden Corral 500 NEXTEL Cup race. But Labonte was focused entirely on his Chevy truck on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, when he was preparing for his Craftsman Truck Series debut at the fast track. His first few laps didn’t set any speed records, but Labonte said he was just getting warmed up when he turned a lap around the 1.54-mile speedway in 31.19 seconds (177.749 mph). Great seats are still available for all three days of racing action. Weekend ticket packages start at just $65 and are limited in quanity. For more information call Ticketmaster, or the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, or visit www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.(AMS PR)(3-2-2005)


    News from March 1, 2005

  • Ince leaves the #66? hearing that crew chief James Ince has left the #66 Peak Fitness Racing team that Hermie Sadler drives for. The team has failed to qualify for the first two races of the season.(3-1-2005)
  • Busch’s Pole, does he get to run in the Shootout? UPDATE Double YES: #5-Kyle Busch is the youngest pole sitter in Nextel Cup history at 19 years, 9 months, 24 days old. The all-time record was held by Donald Thomas – 20 years, 4 months, 6 days old at Lakewood Speedway in GA on 11-16-1952. The modern-era [1972-present] record was held by Brian Vickers, 20 years, 6 months, 20 days at Richmond on 5-14-2004.(that stats from the NASCAR Statistical Services Updates Book)…
    So the question is….will Busch, who will be 20 in February 2006, be able to run in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona? The sticker on hic car doesn’t say ‘Bud Pole Award’ BUT ‘Anheuser-Busch Pole’. Officially, Busch is the winner of the “Anheuser-Busch Pole Award” and there are seperate plaque and materials for that. Brian Vickers had the same sticker in 2004, but he was 20 and was 21 at the time of the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, so he was allowed to run, but he wasn’t allowed to run the Crown Royal IROC Series in 2004 as he was not 21. Been told no decision on Busch and the 2006 Bud Shootout has not been made as of yet.(2-28-2005)
    UPDATE: Speed Channel’s NASCAR Nation reported on its Monday show that they were told that Kyle Busch WILL be able to run the 2006 Budweiser Shootout.(3-1-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Anheuser-Busch has been a longtime supporter of NASCAR through its sponsorships of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona since 1979 and the NASCAR Busch Series for the past 24 years.  This past weekend, Kyle Busch became the youngest winner of the Budweiser Pole award, which will qualify him to participate in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona next February. Since Kyle is under the legal drinking age, he will not receive any beer branded materials, based on our policy of not providing beer branded materials to those under 21.  However, since the Budweiser Pole award is the name of this achievement, he will be permitted to receive his honor and will compete in the Bud Shootout next year.
    Since 1982, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have spent more than a half-billion dollars on community-based programs and advertising to promote the responsible and legal consumption of its products, which includes fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.  The company has partnered with NASCAR and various tracks over the years to encourage responsible drinking and the use of designated drivers at NASCAR events.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch PR)(3-1-2005)
  • Three Crew Chiefs Fined for California Violations: NASCAR announced today that fines have been issued to three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations this past weekend at California Speedway.
    Tim Weiss, crew chief of the #73 Chevrolet driven by Eric McClure, was fined $10,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-CC (unapproved third gear transmission ratio) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.
    David Hyder, crew chief of the #49 Dodge driven by Ken Schrader, was fined $5,000 in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-CC (unapproved final drive gear ratio).
    Billy Poindexter, crew chief of the #37 Dodge of Kevin Lepage, was fined twice. Poindexter was fined $5,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) for an unapproved deck lid. He also was fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q for an unapproved fire suppression agent. All violations were found during opening-day inspection on Feb. 25.(NASCAR)(3-1-2005)
  • Sad News: Former Richmond International Raceway owner Paul C. Sawyer, whose vision for a unique motorsports facility helped make the track into one of the most popular stops on the NASCAR circuit, passed away late yesterday. He was 88. Mr. Sawyer, who promoted NASCAR races in Richmond since 1955, helped modernize Richmond International Raceway with several visionary projects, beginning with paving the once-dirt facility in 1968. As the sport continued to grow and competition increased, Mr. Sawyer rebuilt the .542-mile track into a modern, ¾-mile facility during the middle of the 1988 season. Three years later, lights were added to the facility and today, Richmond International Raceway holds two key distinctions that set it apart from any other major motorsports facility in the country that hosts all three major NASCAR touring series and the IRL IndyCar Series: it is the only ¾-mile track and it is also the only facility to hold all of its events “under the lights.” Mr. Sawyer was born June 26, 1916 in Norfolk, VA, where he later worked at the Naval Air Station from 1939 until his early retirement in 1965. He also served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Along with racetracks in Wilson, NC and Virginia Beach, VA, Mr. Sawyer invested in Richmond International Raceway-then known as “Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds”- with Virginia native and legendary racer Joe Weatherly in 1955. Mr. Sawyer bought Weatherly out of his interest in the tracks and took control of the facility in Richmond in 1956. After the Wilson, NC facility burned down on Easter Sunday in 1958, Mr. Sawyer turned his attention solely to promoting races in Richmond.
    Mr. Sawyer ran Richmond International Raceway until he sold the track, along with the surrounding property, to International Speedway Corporation in 1999. He remained the track’s Chairman of the Board until his death. Mr. Sawyer received many accolades for his contribution to motorsports. He is a member of the 2003 class of the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame and the 2002 class of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. He was honored with the NASCAR Founder’s Award as part of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary celebration in Hollywood, CA in 1998 and in 1997, he received both the Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence and the Buddy Shuman Award, which has been presented annually since 1957 to the person or persons who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to NASCAR’s top series. He also received the Meyers Brothers Award from the National Motorsports Press Association in 1996. In addition, Mr. Sawyer received an honorary doctorate in commercial science from the University of Richmond in 2001.
    Mr. Sawyer is survived by his two sons, Wayne and Billy, three grandsons, one granddaughter and four great grandchildren. Mr. Sawyer was married in 1939 to the former Virginia Weaver of Norfolk, who passed away in 2003. Funeral arrangements are pending.(RIR PR)
    NASCAR Statement: NASCAR Vice Chairman Bill France issued the following statement regarding the passing of Paul Sawyer, Chairman of the Board at Richmond International Raceway. Sawyer passed away Saturday night (Feb. 26). “As NASCAR continues to grow in popularity and potential, all of us are continually reminded of our sport’s roots, and the many people who were so important to laying the foundation for what we enjoy today. Paul Sawyer was one of those people. He was most certainly an important part of NASCAR’s history. Paul took Richmond’s race track and created one of the most modern facilities in all of NASCAR. Richmond International Raceway today is considered one of our fans’ favorite facilities. Paul made his mark, without a doubt. The racing world, starting with NASCAR, will miss him.”(NASCAR PR)(2-27-2005)
    ARRANGEMENTS FOR PAUL SAWYER
    Arrangements for Paul C. Sawyer, former owner of Richmond International Raceway who passed away yesterday at the age of 88 are as follows:
    Visitation will be Monday, February 28 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and again from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Bennett’s Funeral Home, 8014 Lee Davis Road, Mechanicsville, Virginia, 804-746-8665.
    A service will be held on Tuesday, March 1 at 11:00 a.m. at the Second Baptist Church, 9614 River Road, Richmond, Virginia, 804-740-7101. The family is planning a private burial.(RIR PR)(2-27-2005)
    UPDATE: The family of Paul C. Sawyer announced today that donations in Mr. Sawyer’s memory may be made to one of two organizations:
    Victory Junction Gang Camp
    4500 Adam’s Way
    Randleman, NC 27317
    -and-
    American Cancer Society
    4240 Park Place Ct.
    Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
    (RIR 3-1-2005)
  • Richert Shines in California, Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: California Speedway stumped several crew chiefs in the Nextel Cup garage. The low-banked, two-mile oval had more than a few teams second guessing their setups and pit strategies. And while the race weekend left most crew chiefs with more questions than answers, Doug Richert, crew chief of the #16 National Guard team, undoubtedly had a handle on the track from the very start. Richert led his driver to Victory Lane in the Auto Club 500 and was voted the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    A panel of three voters, including Tony Eury Sr., a representative from WYPALL Wipers and a member of the local media all cast their votes for the Crew Chief of the Race following the event. Richert won by a vote of two to one. Anne Marie Brooks of the Lebanon Democrat voted for Jimmy Fennig as the Crew Chief of the Race. The WYPALL Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr. both gave their nod to Richert. Both Pete Rodeau and Doug Richert have each won the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award in 2005. 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 $20,000. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(WypAll PR)(3-1-2005)
  • Long to make season debut at Las Vegas: Carl Long will be piloting the #00 Buyer’s Choice/Howes/Champion Builders Chevrolet next weekend [3-13-2005] at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. In last year’s event, Carl Long started the fan-supported #02 Pontiac in 41st position and finished 38th due to an oil pump issue that dropped him out of the race after completing 145 of 267 laps.(Carl Long site)(3-1-2005)
  • Ward on the tube: Ward Burton is scheduled to appear on the Bass Pro Shops Outoor World television show that will appear on the Outdoor Channel on the following dates: Tuesday, March 8, 11:30pm/et, Thursday, March 10, 2:30pm/et; and Sunday, March 13, 9:30pm/et. The show will feature Burton’s December hunt with two youths sponsored by United Special Sportsman’s Alliance.(Ward Burton site)(3-1-2005)
  • 2005 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, $50,000 First Prize Riding on the coat tails of the successful 2004 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, Pilot Travel Centers has returned in 2005 for a more comprehensive and tougher Truck Driver Challenge. Transport drivers from all Nextel Cup teams are again invited to test their skills and demonstrate why they are labeled as the best in the business. Pilot Travel Centers have again match their previous lucrative reward by offering the winner of the 2005 Challenge a grand prize of $50,000.
    In a Challenge designed on SAFE and RESPONSIBLE truck driving, categories such as equipment inspections and safety quizzes will ensure that the drivers are kept on their toes. Pilot Travel Centers have also increased the performance expectations by including three Chicane Course Challenges. Drivers are required to display their skill and accuracy in maneuvering their 80 foot haulers through tight turns and pin point stops. A favorite of most drivers, the Chicane Course, will surely bring out the best in these unsung heroes.
    The Challenge has also been extended to the professional truck driver. As each customer refuels at a Pilot Travel Center, they have the opportunity to receive rewards for their loyalty through the Driver Payback program. The customer who has the most safely driven miles at the end of the challenge will receive $50,000. This “safety first” attitude reflects Pilot’s customer driven values. The 2005 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge has again created a buzz around the garage. Details on the Challenge can be seen by logging onto the challenge web site: www.pilottruckchallenge.com.(SMC 500 PR)(3-1-2005)
  • NASCAR Poker on TV: SPEED Channel will begin airing a series of one-hour specials on the Michael Waltrip Celebrity Poker Tournament shot earlier this year at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. The eight-part series rolls out Thursday, April 7 at 9:00pm/et, with the two-hour tournament finale scheduled to air June 2 at 8:00pm/et. Players in the popular Texas Hold’em tournament includ NASCAR’s Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Benny Parsons, Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Elliott and Hermie Sadler. SPEED Channel put up the $100,000 prize money, with half going to Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp through Waltrip’s “Operation Marathon” and the other half going to the charity of the winner’s choice. SPEED broadcast schedule:
    * April 7 (9pm/et, 1 hour)
    * April 14 (9pm/et, 1 hour)
    * April 28 (9pm/et, 1 hour)
    * May 5 (9pm/et, 1 hour)
    * May 12 (9pm/et, 1 hour)
    * May 19 (9pm/et, 1 hour)
    * June 2 (8pm/et, 2 hours)(SPEED Channel PR)(3-1-2005)
  • Life Insurance of NASCAR: Allstate Insurance Co. is preparing to sign a multiyear, multimillion-dollar sponsorship to become the life insurance sponsor of NASCAR, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Unidentified sources told reporter Scott Warfield that Allstate will “likely pay a minimum of $2 million a year, with a contract requirement for an additional investment at the team or track level.”(NASCAR Scene)(3-1-2005)
  • TV Ratings Up 2nd Race of Year AND: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 from California Speedway drew an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 7.1 and a 14 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 12.7 percent higher than the 6.3 overnight rating for last year’s second Nextel Cup race, the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham, and 26.8 percent higher than the 5.6 for 2004’s first race at California, the May 2 Auto Club 500.(NASCAR Scene)(2-28-2005)
    AND FOX Sports’ 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regular season schedule got off to a record-setting start yesterday, firing a 7.1/14 overnight rating-the highest overnight rating ever for a regular season (excluding Daytona) race on FOX. Yesterday’s 7.1/14 topped last year’s regular season opener from Rockingham by +13% (vs. 6.3/14) and easily ranks as the top-rated sporting event of the weekend. Prior to yesterday, the last regular season race to produce such an overnight rating was the Rockingham 400 on Feb. 25, 2001 (7.0/15), the first race that followed the tragic death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. An impressive 39 out of 55 metered markets posted increases over last year’s regular season opener, including eight of the top ten markets. Impressive increases were seen in:
    New York: +94% (3.3 vs. 1.7) Dallas: +15% (6.0 vs. 5.2) Los Angeles: +14% (4.0 vs. 3.5 Miami: +28% (4.1 vs. 3.2)
    Chicago: +43% (5.7 vs. 4.0) Orlando: +44% (12.2 vs. 8.5)
    Boston: +36% (6.1 vs. 4.5) Baltimore: +17% (5.6 vs. 4.8)
    San Francisco: +63% (3.9 vs. 2.4) Hartford: +40% (8.7 vs. 6.2)
    Atlanta: +50% (16.3 vs. 10.9) Milwaukee: +30% (9.2 vs. 7.1)(3-1-2005)
  • #24 reversed? NO IDEA UPDATE: been asked, haven’t heard why [I have seen the pictures] #24-Jeff Gordon’s car number on the each side ‘door’ were reversed or slanted towards the front of the car…….why post this? getting too much email on it and figured this was easier.(2-28-2005)
    AND was told this was nothing more then a mistake and no diescast is planned for the reversed numbers.(3-1-2005)