May 2004 News Archives
- More Races for Kenny in the #00: Michael Waltrip will expand his ownership role with five Nextel Cup races later this year. Waltrip will run Kenny Wallace in the No. 00, with Aaron’s as the sponsor, starting with the Pepsi 400 on July 3. Joe Garone will be the crew chief for the team, which has acquired cars and engines from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Waltrip finished a season-best second Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
- Vickers testing at road courses: Only two of Nextel Cup’s 36 races are on road courses, but the events are important enough that rookie Brian Vickers is doing extensive road-course testing before the tour travels to Infineon Raceway on June 27. Two weeks ago, Vickers tested at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C., with veteran Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte. “Terry is very smart when it comes road racing,” Vickers says. “I really learned a lot from him in Kershaw.” The team also plans on testing at Virginia International Raceway, Infineon and Watkins Glen prior to the two Cup events.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
- Tire Test at Daytona AND: Goodyear conducted a tire test last week at Daytona to determine what tire compound NASCAR will use for next year’s Daytona 500. “We wanted to improve the wear of the tire for Daytona,” says Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager of worldwide racing. “It may be a little softer than what we’re using now, but we’re going to wait and see what the rules are for 2005, and we’ll react after discussing it with NASCAR. A new tire also could be introduced for Darlington and Bristol next year.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
- Biffle to Childress? UPDATE 2: Richard Childress is again considering expanding to a full four-car operation next season, possibly with Greg Biffle, if he can sign him, according to Detroit sources. Bass Pro Shops is willing to provide sponsorship, at about $20 million a year, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-28-2004)
AND Biffle is up for renewal in July with Roush, also hearing that Biffle could end up at DEI too.(5-28-2004)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle’s future with car owner Jack Roush has been up for debate the last year or so, and the run-in with Busch didn’t make things any smoother. This is the last year of Biffle’s contract with Roush and car owner Richard Childress has had his eyes on him, according to sources. Biffle, though, preferred not to talk about 2005: “At this time I can’t really talk about it. I’d rather not discuss what we’ve got going right now. All that contractural stuff and what’s going on, we’re working on it. As soon as we get all of our differences ironed out, I’m sure we’ll be more than happy to talk about it.” According to insiders, the relationship between Biffle and Busch has not been good for quite a while. Biffle last Saturday did not seem pleased that Roush gave Busch a much stronger engine, one of Ford’s new D models. Yesterday Biffle shrugged off the engine situation: “It doesn’t matter to me. I was just making a wisecrack when I didn’t get one for the Winston. It really doesn’t affect me how they distribute the engines.”(Winston Salem Journal)
AND Greg Biffle didn’t offer too much to dispel recent rumors that he may be looking to leave Roush Racing at some point after the 2004 season. After winning the pole Friday for Saturday’s Carquest 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Biffle fielded some questions regarding garage area speculation he may end up with another team. Asked what he could say about his future with Roush Racing, Biffle replied: “At this time I can’t really talk about it. I wish I could, but right now I’d rather not discuss what we’ve got going right now.” Biffle did make clear there was no chance he would leave the Roush organization before the end of the season. “No, there’s not a possibility for that at all,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-29-2004)
UPDATE 2: As far as the rumors and what’s happening in the garage area, guys that are talking about changing around. You have the normal stuff. Who’s going to go over to Richard Childress Racing? It had been Jeff Burton, now the latest is Greg Biffle. Don’t know there, but most of the focus in the garage area has been, over the last number weeks, about the settlement between Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR. It’s well-documented that Rockingham loses its last race, and Darlington loses one of its two races in deference to Texas and Phoenix. The all-star race is going to stay in Charlotte for one more year. So that news kind of had things on hiatus in the garage area, but I would expect through the summer that you’ll start to see that churning and who might move in terms of crew chiefs and drivers over the next few months.(FoxSports – NASCAR This Morning)(5-31-2004)
- RCR Getting Bigger: Richard Childress Racing is growing again. The latest plans include a 40,000-square foot engine shop that is expected to be completed by November.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
- Jayski pays as Robby runs more and more miles!: Once again Jayski will do the “Jayski Robby Gordon Double Charity Challenge”, as I have done in the past when Robby Gordon [and Tony Stewart] do the Indianapolis 500 / Coca Cola 600 doubles, I will donate a $1.00 for every mile [not lap] Robby Gordon completes in each race [a total possible 1100], adding a bonus for a win: $500 for either [$1,500 if he wins both], $250 for second in either [$750 for both], and $100 for a 3rd in either race. Also, new twist this year, and extra $1.00 for each lap led.
(if Gordon fails to complete at least 500 laps, I will donate a minimum of $500)
So where does this money go?Victory Junction Gang Camp Computer Lab
signage will say:
“This area was made possible through the loving generosity of the fans of Jayski.com”
AND: In honor of Jayski’s charity double every year, I [Todd Berger of Teamracin.com] have an idea for my own version of the double, and this is one everyone can do. In honor of Robby Gordon running both (the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600) Sunday, I will donate two cents per mile completed, ten dollars if he wins either race or twenty dollars for both races as well as a ten-dollar double winner’s bonus. The most I will donate based on this format is $52. The minimum donated will be $20. For more, see TeamRacin.com.(5-26-2004)
the Total well….not what I [nor Robby I am sure] was looking for, but the totals were:
Indy: Robby Gordon / Jaques Lazier, 88 laps x 2.5 miles = $220
Coca-Cola 600: Robby Gordon, 397 laps x 1.5 miles = $595.50
Total to be donated to the VJGC Jayski Computer Lab will be $815.50.
- Johnson wins Coca-Cola 600…again: #48-Jimmie Johnson scored his 2nd stright Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in dominatining fashion, leading 334 of 400 laps [Johnson missed tying the record for the most laps led by 1, Jim Paschal holds the record of 335 done on May 28, 1967. It is Johnson’s 2nd win of 2004 and eighth of his 87 race career. Johnson is the first driver in 2004 to win from the pole. It is Johnson’s sixth straight top-10 finish.
The rest of the top five were: #15-Waltrip [$5 off Domino’s Pizza all day Monday], #17-Kenseth, #42-McMurray and #38-Sadler.
Of note: #38-Sadler ran the whole race with the flu…and finished 5th, rookie #25-Brian Vickers suffered Stomach Cramps the 2nd half of the race but soldiered home to a 15th place finish. The race was red flagged for 5:27 for oil on the track, leading to a three lap shootout, which ended a 1/2 lap early when #9-Kahne bottomed out and tapped #18-Labonte who smacked the wall.
And see a column at ThatsRacin.com.
- Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Jimmie Johnson led early, led often, and pretty much blew away the field in tonight’s 600 miler. He led 8 times for 334 laps (that’s 500 miles) and seemed to be able to run away at will. We ran the first 240 miles caution- free, and that (combined with that #48 Chevy) put a lot of cars laps down early. We were actually fortunate to have 13 cars on the lead lap by race’s end. Quite a show for Lowe’s…..don’t know what they’re paying, but they sure got their money’s worth this weekend. Two poles, two wins, and a couple million mentions in every media known to mankind! For a while it looked like we may finish before Indy did (and when you figure they had almost a 6 hour head start that would be something).
For Jimmie Johnson, this was win #8 (he’s now tied with Kyle Petty for 54th on the all-time win list), his second of the season (he won at Darlington in March) and his second Coke 600 in a row. This was win #121 for Hendrick Motorsports, with 10 of those coming at this speedway (7 in this race alone!). Johnson becomes the 8th winner of this race to do it from the pole (the last was teammate Jeff Gordon in 1998), and his take of the over $6.2M in posted awards was a smooth $426,350.
Michael Waltrip (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Talladega last October. His Top-5 marks the 19th different driver to score a Top-5 finish this season….last years number was 30!
Jamie McMurray (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Las Vegas in March.
Casey Mears (7th) tied his career-best finish today. He’s been 7th two other times in his career (both this season)….Vegas in March and Texas in April.
Jeremy Mayfield (8th) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Atlanta in March.
STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Matt Kenseth (+34) is the Operator of the Race for the 5th time this season! He was followed by Kurt Busch (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-33), followed by Jeff Gordon (-27), Brendan Gaughan (-26), and Kevin Lepage (-21). In just 12 races this season, Kenseth has now matched his winning total from last year (5). We’re headed for a record.
We pushed another two drivers below the “Stayin Alive” line tonight…it’s down to twelve now [under 400 points]. Michael Waltrip (30th to 24th) made the best move forward in the Top-30 tonight, while Johnny Sauter (24th to 30th) fell the most spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(5-30-2004)
- To the Back: #77-Brendan Gaughan [back up car/happy hour wreck], #0-Ward Burton [engine change] and #40-Sterling Marlin [confirmed – engine change] will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
AND #31-Robby Gordon [missed drivers meeting], #22-Scott Wimmer [engine change](5-30-2004)
- Robby Gordon UPDATEs: Indy Racing League race winner Jaques Lazier will spot for Robby Gordon in Sunday’s 88th Indianapolis 500 and be available to drive Gordon’s Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet should Gordon need to leave before the end of the 500 to fulfill his commitment to drive the Cingular Wireless Chevy for Richard Childress Racing in Sunday evening’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte.(Team Gordon PR)
AND Clint Boyer is standing by for Gordon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway – even though Boyer has never been in a Cup car, NASCAR officials still approved him for competition in the 600.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-30-2004)
UPDATE from LMS as of 12:50pm/et: 1:30pm/et is the estimated start time for the Indy 500. Gordon is starting the race, but must be on his way to North Carolina by 4:00pm/et to make the start of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. If he is unable to finish the Indy 500 before 4:00pm/et, Jaques Lazier will driver Gordon’s Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallar-Chevy to complete the 88th running running of the Indy 500.(LMS PR)
UPDATE from Team Gordon: Robby Gordon left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday on Tony George’s helicopter at approximately 3:06pm/et to take a Citation X jet to Concord, N.C. for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup event. Gordon passed eight cars on the first lap of Sunday’s Indy 500, advancing from his 18th starting position to 10th in the Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet. Gordon lost one spot on lap two and fell to 16th place after his first pit stop and was in that spot when the red flag waved after 27 laps [of 250]. Gordon’s pit stop was delayed when he was held in the pit stall after refueling and change of Firestone Firehawk tires in order to avoid a potential collision with another car coming down pit road.
Gordon plans to drive the #31-Cingular Wireless Chevy for Richard Childress Racing Sunday night at Charlotte and then return to Indianapolis in anticipation of the race resuming Monday. Jaques Lazier, Gordon’s designated relief driver, started Sunday spotting for Gordon in turn one, and then was in the pits with his Meijer uniform (actually, one of Robby’s extras) on at the time of the red flag. If Lazier gets in the car, he would be the first in-race relief driver since 1977, when Larry Cannon replaced John Mahler.
Robby Gordon quotes: On passing eight cars on the first lap: “That was pretty cool. Actually, I think it was more like 10 cars, but I had to give up a couple of spots because I had to check-up (get out of the throttle) to avoid a couple of other cars. That was our plan, to try to gain spots on the first lap, so I’m pretty pumped about that.” On how his Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevy is running: “I think we’re OK. We were a little tight and made a change (front-wing adjustment) on the pit stop. I know we were faster than several of the cars ahead of us.”
On the rain delay: “I guess I’m the only person in Indianapolis who was hoping for rain, and is glad it did rain. No disrespect to the Indy 500 fans, but with the late (delayed) start today, that’s what we needed. I love the Indy 500 and that’s why I’m racing here in the Meijer car. We said all along that the first priority was racing the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress in the Coca-Cola 600 and so there was never any question this morning that I would have to leave and was ready to get out of the Meijer car, during the race, if that was what had to happen. That’s definitely not what I wanted to do, but it was the situation we faced. Jaques (Lazier) was spotting for me in turn one and then he came down to the pits and had his uniform on and was ready when the race was stopped. I hope all the fans understand my situation and the plan is I’ll be back here in Indianapolis Tuesday morning for the restart.”(PR)
AND: NASCAR.com has updates on Gordon at: Blog: Robby Gordon’s double duty attempt, with updates during the day.(5-30-2004)
- Buddy Rice wins the rain-shortened Indy 500: Buddy Rice kept one eye on the fuel gauge, one on the darkening sky and his foot on the pedal and won a rain-soaked Indianapolis 500 Sunday. With storm clouds closing fast, the 28-year-old Rice grabbed the lead for good in a final flurry of pit stops and took his first career victory under a yellow caution flag as the rain that first delayed the race and then interrupted it for almost two hours finally ended it 50 miles short of the scheduled finish. “This is unbelievable,” said Rice, who got his ride with Rahal Letterman Racing this season only because 1999 Indy winner Kenny Brack was out with injuries. Michael Andretti, scion of Indy’s most famous hard-luck family, suffered the same also-ran fate in his second year as a team owner as he had in 14 years behind the wheel: ever so close, but not first. Three of his drivers – Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta – finished second, third and fourth. “It’s indescribable,” said television talk-show host David Letterman, who co-owns the team with 1986 Indy winner Bobby Rahal. “I don’t think the rain made any difference. We could have gone the full 200 laps. My God! What a job Buddy did. It’s a thrill to be a part of this.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(5-30-2004)
- The ‘Double’ May Be Impossible in the Future: Today could be the last time any driver competes in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day if the Indy 500’s starting time is changed. ABC, Indy Racing League and speedway officials are considering moving the starting time of the Indy 500 back, beginning next year. Tradition dictates that the race start at noon, but that’s 9:00am on the West Coast and makes it hard to attract a larger audience. Pushing the Indianapolis 500’s starting time back an hour most likely would prevent any driver from running both races because they wouldn’t be able to get to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in time for the start of the 600. Since John Andretti first accomplished the feat in 1994, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have done it. Gordon is attempting it today for a third consecutive year. Stewart last ran both races in 2001.(Roanoke Times)(5-30-2004)
- Loomis with his Mom – Get Well UPDATE 2: Robbie Loomis, #24-Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, wasn’t at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Thursday. Instead, he was in Florida to be with his ailing mother, Sally Loomis. Team manager Brian Whitesell is handling the crew chief duties in Loomis’ absence.(Speed Channel’s Qualifying Coverage)(5-28-2004)
UPDATE: Robbie Loomis, crew chief for Gordon, will return to the track today after missing Thursday’s qualifying session to attend to his ailing mother in Florida.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-29-2004)
UPDATE 2: Robbie Loomis, crew chief for Jeff Gordon, was back at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Saturday. He missed qualifying Friday to be in Daytona Beach, Fla., with his 67-year-old mother Sally, who is suffering from complications of a pancreas disorder. “She’s also had several blood clots and experienced some other problems, too,” Loomis said. “She’s doing better, but she’s got a long road to go. It’s going to be tough.”(Charleston Post and Courier) and see a good article at the Daytona Beach News Journal: Chief’s head in race, heart in Daytona(5-30-2004)
- Sad News: The #24 Hendrick Motorsports team learned Saturday morning that the father of crewman Jeff Mandeering died of a heart attack Friday night in China Grove, NC, where he owned a hardware store.(Charleston Post and Courier)(5-30-2004)
- Engine Stuff: Garage sources told TFR [Team Ford Racing] that NASCAR is advising the teams and the manufacturers, to start thinking about next generation motors and that they should get concepts ready for discussion sometime in the future. The message was delivered that NASCAR is looking to go to a “small box” (tight tolerance) motor, but no specifics as to what the sanctioning body might be seeking were advanced during the initial conversations. Apparently everything is in play. Even displacement seems to a “work in progress,” according to one Detroit engine designer. This engine builder went on to suggest that now might be the time to tone down the motor’s capability. But that’s a discussion that will spark debate as some engine men, including as Yates, like a smaller cubic inch displacement configuration as an option/ Meanwhile, others believe a smaller carburetor, maybe fuel injection, is a better way to go. These talks look to be very preliminary in nature, with the timing of any changes being a couple of years off, possibly to coincide with Toyota’s expected appearance in the Cup Series in 2007.(Team Ford Racing)(5-30-2004)
- No. 49 Taking Over Lowe’s Motor Speedway: The number 49 will be pretty important for Ken Schrader, driver of the Schwan’s Home Service Dodge on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit, this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Schrader celebrates his 49th birthday on Saturday, May 29 – the day before the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race in NASCAR Nextel Cup racing. As usual, he will drive the #49 Dodge, sponsored by Schwan’s Home Service and fielded by BAM Racing. “We felt we had to make it a little more special for him,” said Howard Miller, Schwan’s vice president for corporate relations. “A guy doesn’t celebrate his 49th birthday every day . . . even though we realize Kenny might claim it’s his 49th birthday for the next several years.” Schwan’s is bringing its familiar yellow home-delivery trucks to Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Sunday to treat 49,000 fans to complimentary Schwan’s Confetti ice cream cups as they enter the speedway. In addition, 49,000 fans will receive free Schwan’s refrigerator magnets. Race fans will be invited to log onto www.schwans.com/happybirthdayken to get a free dinner with their first order, receive a special commemorative Ken Schrader birthday screensaver or wallpaper, and send Schrader a birthday email greeting. “Pretty nice stuff. Sure beats a card and a necktie,” Schrader laughed. “Actually, Anne (Schrader, wife) and my kids (Dorothy, Sheldon) have always taken pretty good care of me on my birthday,” he said. “I think it’s pretty cool Schwan’s is involving the fans at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with ice cream and a chance for a free dinner too. Of course, I think it is even nicer they are going to bring ice cream, cake and that other stuff down to our transporter Sunday afternoon too.” At 49, Schrader is the oldest active full-time driver in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series but in an era where younger drivers have have been the rage, Schrader continues to be an icon for Schwan’s and a force on the race track. This is the second time he has driven for Schwan brands; in the late 1980s, he piloted the Red Baron Pizza-sponsored cars. Now with Schwan’s Home Service sponsorship, he’s glad to be involved in the company’s second NASCAR outing. Fans who enjoy following Ken Schrader’s exploits online are invited to visit www.SchwansRacing.com.(Williams Company PR)(5-30-2004)
- #18 Wins Pit-Crew Challenge: The #18 Interstate Batteries Racing Team won the POWERade Pit-Crew Challenge in front of Coca-Cola Stage on Speed Street May 28 in Charlotte, N.C. The eight-man crew changed four tires and simulated a refill of Sunoco gasoline in 15.93 seconds to defeat #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team in the final round. The team, which performs pit stops for the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet driven by Bobby Labonte in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, collected a check for $15,000. “It’s a great accomplishment for them,” said crew chief, Michael “Fatback” McSwain. “They’ve had some ups and downs this year, but they’ve worked really hard. I think by winning the competition, they’re seeing that hard work pay off. I’m proud of them. Hopefully, this will give us some great momentum for not only the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, but for the remainder of the year.” Members of the Interstate Batteries Racing team over-the-wall crew are: Mark “Hollywood” Armstrong (front-tire changer), Barry Cook (rear-tire changer), Alan Copley (rear-tire carrier), Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Lampe (gasman), Tom McCrimmon (catch can), Todd Meredith (front tire carrier), Adam von Olhausen (windshield). Paul Alepa is the team’s trainer and pit-stop coordinator.(JGR PR)(5-30-2004)
- Deal for a Sponsor: “This year, there is no way it will be a break-even year, unless of course, we were to sign a sponsor by Daytona (Pepsi 400),” #50 Team Owner Don Arnold said. “I think what we need to do is sign a sponsor for 2005 and 2006 and give ’em the rest of this year free. We’ll be happy if we come close to breaking even this year.”(Naples Daily News)(5-30-2004)
- Jeff Gordon to be on “Live with Regis and Kelly”: Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his fifth appearance as a co-host with Kelly Ripa on the popular daytime talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” on June 2. The show is in its 16th year of national syndication. Check local listings for time and channel.(Charlotte Observer)(5-30-2004)
- Stewart…’bad what’? For those who like a little ridiculous with the sublime, there’s the budding mini-controversy involving Tony Stewart’s one-off sponsor for today’s Busch Series race. The paint job for Stewart’s Chevy, a car actually owned by Kevin Harvick, promotes a new album by Kid Rock, “American Bad Ass” — except, of course, NASCAR temporarily taped over one of the words Friday (yep, that one). Stewart, as is his nature, reportedly removed the tape during the day. Stay tuned on this fun little episode. We’re talking about a sanctioning body that recently gave a thumbs-down to sponsorship by “Redneckjunk.com,” [Las Vegas-#50-Cope] but a thumbs-up to a diaper-rash product called “Boudreaux’s Butt Paste,” [#90-Donlavey Racing] so anything can happen.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-29-2004)
- #3 Could be used again: Car owner Richard Childress says there could be a day when a #3 car returns to NASCAR’s top series, but it’s not likely to happen soon. Childress retains the rights to the number — made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt — but has not used it in a Cup race since Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500. “I don’t think the stylized 3 should ever be brought back to racing unless it was a special, special event for an Earnhardt or a family member or something, but I don’t see it coming back full time,” Childress said. What about somebody using a #3 that is styled differently than what adorned Earnhardt’s cars? “I would hope everyone would respect that and not want to do that,” Childress said.(News and Record)(5-29-2004)
- Trickle back racing: Dick Trickle returns to the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series, Memorial Day Monday, May 31 when the series makes its traditional holiday stop at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Trickle helped bring the Midwest Series, then known as the ARTGO Challenge Series, to national prominence while barnstorming the Midwest for much of the late 1970’s and 80’s. Thanks to twin and triple feature programs, in 1979, Trickle once captured five series feature events within a 24-hour period. Even though he has not competed full-time on the series in over 15 years, Trickle still sits atop the Midwest Series all-time win list with 68 triumphs.(RacingOne)(5-29-2004)
- “and your little dog too……” #24-Jeff Gordon, #77-Brendan Gaughan and #38-Elliott Sadler are three of four cars that are scheduled to run “The Wizard of Oz” 65th Anniversary paint schemes at Kansas in October. Dorothy’s dog Toto will replace the Pedigree dog on the No. 38, while Jeff Gordon will sport a rainbow colored car featuring the Cowardly Lion.(RacingOne)(5-29-2004)
- “we need a bigger boat”:#9-Kasey Kahne and #0-Ward Burton will make a splash this summer as they will promote DreamWorks’ new movie “Shark Tales.” Kahne is scheduled to run the “Shark Tales” scheme at Michigan, Bristol, California and Kansas in the Busch Series, while Burton will have the new animated full-length film on his #0 Chevrolet at Talladega.(RacingOne)(5-29-2004)
- Fed-Ex to Gibbs? UPDATE or DEI? Federal Express, which once was in the running to be the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series before Nextel came on board, has been in talks with both Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Word in the garage: Fed Ex will end up on a third Cup car for the 2005 season at JGR with J.J. Yeley, a Busch rookie this season, behind the wheel. But Gibbs says it’s too early to commit. “Right now, we’re in the process of moving through things, and we can’t announce anything because the deal isn’t done,” Gibbs says. “We’ve been in conversations for a long time but right now it’s just a work in progress.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
UPDATE: On the sponsorship front, Federal Express is being wooed again by both DEI and Joe Gibbs.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-29-2004)
- Heat Races instead of qualifying? LMS’s promoter Humpy Wheeler says he’s considering heat races instead of traditional best-of-two laps qualifying sessions for setting the field for future Cup races in Charlotte. “That’s the way to put 75,000 people in the grandstands,” Wheeler said. “And there’s no reason we can’t do heat races.” And he says that it’s time for Charlotte and other cities to put up financial bids for NASCAR’s annual all-star race. Wheeler is also looking at ways to provide more punch to the all-star weekend. “The NBA has that slam-dunk contest. Well, let’s take these guys over to the dirt track and say ‘OK guys….'”Why not? Some of these guys have never raced dirt, but I’m sure they’d like to try it. Imagine what that would be like.”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-29-2004)
- Unleaded Gas Coming to NASCAR? NASCAR officials are telling engine builders to prepare, again, for a possible changeover to unleaded racing fuel. And NASCAR is polling teams about switching to aluminum engine blocks.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-29-2004)
- Good News: The newborn daughter of NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, who has been in the hospital for nearly two weeks with a bacterial infection, was expected to go home Friday night. “She had a very high fever, and they’ve run all these tests and had her on antibiotics all this time,” Nemechek said of his third child, Kennedy. “She’s going to be tough when she grows up, because they’ve stuck her with so many needles and she just keeps pulling them out. Thank goodness everything now is OK, but they had to make sure because her fever was so high.”(Charleston Post and Courier)(5-29-2004)
- Good Move: Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s Humpy Wheeler said that security will be tight this weekend to prevent any problems such as occurred at Talladega. “We’ve got our security stepped up quite a bit,” Wheeler says. “Anybody who throws anything here is gone.”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-29-2004)
- Fans choose Marlin’s Prilosec scheme: Chip Ganassi Racing has unveiled a special paint scheme that fans picked for the No. 40 Dodge that Sterling Marlin will drive in the Oct. 16 UAW/GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The paint scheme promotes Prilosec OTC medication. Out of three possibilities, fans selected a car that is purple and black with gold numbers and white lettering.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), see an image of the car on my #40 Team Paint Schemes page.(5-28-2004)
- All-Star Race TV Ratings Fall: FX’s airing of last Saturday night’s Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge earned a 3.6 Nielsen cable rating, a 3 percent decrease from last year’s 3.7, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The telecast averaged 4.8 million viewers, down 2 percent from 4.9 million in ’03.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-28-2004)
- Red Baron swoops in on Schrader’s car: Red Baron Pizza – which sponsored Ken Schrader’s NASCAR Winston Cup ride with the #90-Junie Donlavey team during the 1986 and 1987 seasons – will again sponsor the Fenton, Mo., native for two races in 2004: the July 11 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Red Baron is returning to NASCAR competition in celebration of the Red Baron Pizza Squadron’s 25th anniversary. The nation’s leading civilian aerobatic performance team will participate in in approximately 150 events around the country during 2004, and will play a key role in the NASCAR promotion. 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. Red Baron Pizza will give NASCAR fans a chance to fully enjoy itsreunion with Ken Schrader. The brand has teamed with Jewel-Osco stores to offer a special in-store promotion that gives consumers chances to win great prizes that include four tickets to all five Chicago races, pit and garage tours, meet-and-greet opportunities with Ken Schrader and the BAM Racing pit crew, and opportunities to enjoy an exciting flight in a Red Baron Pizza Squadron vintage bi-plane. The promotion began in Jewel-Osco stores this week and continues through June 19.(Williams Company PR)(5-28-2004)
- Biffle and Busch are cool with each other: #16-Greg Biffle said he’s ready to put his incident with Roush Racing teammate #97-Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge behind them, but made no apologies Thursday for being upset by the bump from Busch that ignited a multi-car crash. “I think getting wrecked on the straightaway by your teammate certainly would be something to set a guy off,” Biffle said. “That would be like your neighbor burning down your house by accident – you’re going to be upset.” Biffle said he and Busch talked on Monday. “He felt really bad about what happened,” Biffle said. “He wrecked a lot of cars besides ours … and that wasn’t the outcome he planned. He misjudged by a lot and he’s got to personally pay the price for that himself. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s Kurt’s problem. … We’ve got to race as if last week didn’t happen. Otherwise we’re going to handicap ourselves going forward.” Busch once again took the blame for the incident. “It was just a stupid mistake on my part,” Busch said. “We discussed things on the phone and that helped solidify things. It has been easier to work through this because of how long I’ve known Biffle and with our relationship in the Truck series and then moving it into Cup. We’re two gentlemen and now we’re on to the next week.”(ThatsRacin.com)(5-28-2004)
- Ward Taking Saturday Off: #0-Ward Burton, ran 45 laps in Thursday’s practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, concentrating on race runs as he will miss Happy Hour practice on Saturday to attend the high school graduation of his daughter, Sarah. The team is undecided if it will run at all on Saturday and if it does, Jason Leffler, who runs for the team in the Busch Series would likely practice the #0 NetZero Chevy.(Speed Channel’s Qualifying Coverage)(5-28-2004)
- Special Paint for RCR at LMS in Oct: All three of RCR’s fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars will have special paint schemes in the UAW-GM 500 made famous by RCR over the years. The #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet will have a blue-and-white paint scheme reminiscent of the #3 Wrangler cars, the #30 America Online Chevrolet will carry a white-blue-and-red paint scheme reminiscent of the #3 Piedmont Airlines cars, and the #31 Cingular Wireless scheme will be reminiscent of the #3 Quicksilver car. RCR’s two fulltime NASCAR Busch Series teams, the #2 ACDelco Chevrolet and the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet, will maintain their primary paint schemes and will also carry the RCR 35th Anniversary logo on the hood. All RCR cars currently carry the 35th Anniversary logo.
AND Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will celebrate its 35th Anniversary by giving one lucky fan (and a guest) a fantasy race weekend at the UAW-GM 500 weekend in October at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with team owner Richard Childress. The “Ride with Richard” promotion begins today (May 27) and will run through Sept. 8, when the winner will be chosen. Race fans will enter by signing up in the Fan Central section of RCR’s revamped RCRNetwork web site at www.rcrracing.com, www.rcrnetwork.com, or at AOL Keyword: RCR.(RCR PR)(5-28-2004)
- Boxing on the #8 at Lowe’s: Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins have never been on a ride like this. The June 5 “Collision Course” HBO PPV paint scheme will be on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s red #8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. On Earnhardt’s decklid, the details of Top Rank’s Pay Per View show will be spelled out: “Collision Course,” featuring Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Sturm and Bernard Hopkins vs. Robert Allen at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR) See an image of the car on my #8 Team Paint Schemes page.(5-27-2004)
- Charity to Cheer – 5 Million Reasons, new commercial: Most NASCAR fans pledge allegiance to a single driver, but during this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 there will be 5 million reasons for them to pull for up to six drivers to perform well. Should the Gillette Young Guns – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick – finish the race in the top six spots, and a consumer correctly picks their order of finish at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, they will be entered into a random drawing to collect a grand prize of $5 million dollars. And if there is a consumer winner, Gillette will also donate $5 million to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) as well.
AND NASCAR cars might have multiple nicks and scrapes after a race, but not the drivers themselves. Look for two new 30-second TV spots to debut during the FOX telecast of this Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 starring the Gillette Young Guns – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick – each showing off their clean-shaven mugs to promote the new M3Power razor.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(5-27-2004)
- Gordon’s final practice at Indy: Robby Gordon completed 20 laps in Thursday’s traditional “Carb Day” — the last practice session before Sunday’s 88th Indianapolis 500 — in his Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet before leaving for NASCAR practice and qualifying at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. He’ll drive the Richard Childress Racing Cingular Wireless Chevy in Sunday evening’s Coca-Cola 600 after competing in his 10th Indy 500. Gordon’s best lap Thursday was 214.630mph. “We’re OK,” said Gordon. “Just doing an (oil) leak check and scrubbing in some tires today.” Gordon will be in Charlotte through late Saturday, then returns to Indianapolis that evening. This is the third consecutive year he is attempting the “Double”by racing both in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.(Team Gordon PR)(5-27-2004)
- 3rd place for Rudd: With his start in the 2004 Coca-Cola 600, #21-Ricky Rudd is expected to make his 56th start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and moves into third behind Buddy Baker (57) and Richard Petty (64). Rudd has never won at LMS.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-27-2004)
- Labonte the pick at Lowe’s? Bobby Labonte Sets the Pace in the Last 10 Races at Lowe’s
Most Points (1,630)
Most Top Fives (seven)
Most Top-10s (nine)
Most Laps Led (479)
Best Average Finish (4.7)(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-27-2004)
- Most Popular Voting Crosses 1 Million In Record Time: Voting records continue to fall as more than 1 million votes have been cast this year for the Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. So far this season, fans have cast a total of 1,229,264 votes online at www.mostpopulardriver.com. This number is well ahead of the more than 700,000 votes cast at this point one year ago. More than 3 million votes have been cast in each of the past two years that Grands! Biscuits have sponsored the award, making it one of the most popular online fan-based awards in American sports. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead the nationwide balloting, maintaining his first-place position since the start of the 2003 season. The son of a Most Popular Driver-winning father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Earnhardt Jr. leads second-place Jeff Gordon. Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart round out the top five in current voting. The Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com, is available for Internet voting through 11:59 a.m. CST on Monday, Nov. 22. Additional voting guidelines are accessible on the Web site.(Williams Company PR)(5-27-2004)
- Jeff Gordon to play Poker: Jeff Gordon is scheduled to appear on BRAVO’s Celebrity Poker Showdown on July, 15th at 9:00pm/et on BRAVO. Gordon will be playing for the The Jeff Gordon Foundation. For more info see their site: bravotv.com.(5-27-2004)
- Highway named after Junior Johnson: Former NASCAR driver and car owner Junior Johnson can add something else to his list of his accomplishments. He has a highway named after him. Gov. Mike Easley and the Department of Transportation renamed Highway 421 from the Yadkin-Wilkes County line to the Windy Gap Exit in Wilkes County at “Junior Johnson Highway.”
“It’s one of the top things that’s ever happened to me in my whole life. I can’t talk about it because of the emotions and I’m not an emotional person, so you can tell it means a lot to me,” said Johnson. Darryl Waltrip also spoke at the ceremony. He is one of Johnson’s former drivers.(WXII12.com)(5-27-2004)
Junior Johnson and NC Gov. Mike Easley
image by Kyle McCurry/Juniorjohnson.org
(click on image to see larger)
- WCRWA and BSLA announce the formation of WAM: The Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary and Busch Series Ladies Association are pleased to announce the formation of the Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, Inc. (WAM, Inc.) The newly formed organization is the result of a merger between the WCRWA and BSLA. Founded in 1965 and 1996 respectively, the two organizations decided to join forces, in addition to the ladies of the Craftsman Truck Series to form one united front which serves all three major NASCAR sanctioned racing divisions. The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports’ mission is to enrich the sport of NASCAR with a commitment to its families through fundraising and wellness programs for those requiring medical or financial assistance. In addition, the Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, Inc. helps support organizations with likeminded missions and purposes. For more information on the Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports or how to join please call 704-455-9299 or log onto www.waminc.org.(WAM PR)(5-27-2004)
- Tide Racing Proud New Partner of Victory Junction Gang Camp: Tide, the number-one selling laundry detergent in America and sponsor of the #32 Tide/Downy Chevrolet driven by Ricky Craven in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, announced today it has become a proud new partner of Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp offering weekly sessions for children with life-threatening illnesses beginning this June in Randleman, NC. Tide’s relationship with Victory Junction includes the following elements:
Official sponsorship of Victory Junction’s laundry hut, freshly painted in Tide orange, yellow and blue and officially named “Tide’s Soap Box Racer”
Brand-new Whirlpool appliances in the laundry hut, courtesy of Tide
Annual supplies of Tide laundry detergent and Downy dryer sheets to meet the needs of Victory Junction on a year-round basis Tide NASCAR racing simulator and slot car game for Victory Junction’s recreational facilities.(PPI Motorsports PR)(5-27-2004)
- Testing at Daytona AND Elliott’s plans: on Tuesday, May 25 and Wednesday, May 26 from 9:00am – 5:00pm/et Evernham Motorsports and driver #91-Bill Elliott and Petty Enterprises and driver #45-Kyle Petty are expected to participate in a two-day test session in preparation for the 46th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday night, July 3. The test session is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.(DIS PR)(5-25-2004)
AND: For the first time since 1983, Bill Elliott isn’t running a full NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. Instead he is competing in select races in the #91 Dodge for owner Ray Evernham and helping Evernham with research and development such as participating in a test session along with Petty Enterprises’ Kyle Petty on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 46th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 3. Elliott, who only competed in the Budweiser Shootout during Speedweeks 2004, says sponsorship will determine the rest of his driving schedule, and that includes whether or not he would race in the Pepsi 400. “I want to run some more this year and maybe do some stuff next year,” Elliott said. “I would like to try to come back here and run good again but whether that happens or not I don’t know. Tickets for the Pepsi 400 Weekend are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(5-27-2004)
- Donlavey back in action UPDATE: hearing that legendary car owner, Junie Donlavey will enter the #90 Donlavey Racing Ford in 12 NEXTEL Cup races starting with Dover in June. Kevin Ray will supposedly be the driver. Sponsors will be Boudreauxs Butt Paste and RacingUSA.com. What is this Butt Paste? It is a product for babies, to help with diaper rash, RacingUSA.com sells NASCAR stuff, like diecast.(5-25-2004)
UPDATE: Racing legend Junie Donlavey will make his return to the track as a car owner next weekend for the MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway. Donlavey Racing in conjunction with TRIX Racing [ran ARCA and some Cup races as the #79 a few years ago – from NJ], will once again field its’ #90 Ford with up and coming driver Kevin Ray behind the wheel. The team will enter twelve events this season and hopes to run a full schedule in 2005. “We are very excited to be back in the NEXTEL Cup Series and I feel like we have assembled a great team to run these select races, and a really aggressive driver in Kevin Ray,” said Donlavey. Kevin Ray is the twenty-six year old son of John Ray, who fielded a Grand National car for such racing legends as Dale Earnhardt, Johnny Rutherford, and several others. A native of Eastaboga, AL, Ray has grown up around the sport of stock car racing and has been addicted since his go-cart days at age ten. He has since seen success at many different levels of racing including quarter-midgets, mini-sprints, late models, and legends cars. Kevin has also competed in both the ARCA and Busch series, as well as the NASCAR All-Pro Series. He is excited to be making his NEXTEL Cup debut next week with a legend like Junie Donlavey. “I am extremely excited about making my first NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover next week,” said Ray. “I have never driven at Dover, however my confidence is really ramped up for this event and all of the events on our schedule, and I feel confident about both my ability and the ability of the team members we have selected.”
Co-primary sponsors for the selected races will be Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, and RacingUSA.com. Both are veteran sponsors and both are looking forward to being involved with Ray and Donlavey. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is a company based out of Covington, Louisiana. The product was originally developed over twenty years ago by local pharmacist George Boudreaux in response to his customers’ need for a diaper rash medication. The product worked so well that George Boudreaux began selling it to other fine pharmacies and is now sold throughout the country in Walmart, Target, soon to be Walgreens, as well as in many other grocery and drug chains. It’s not just for diaper rash anymore, however. Over the years, the product has shown to be effective in treating things like, rashes, minor burns, chapped lips, insect bites, and many other skin ailments. It is used by many collegiate as well as professional athletes around the country to prevent chafing. After features on Oprah, ESPN-Game Day, and in magazines like People, buttpaste.com has seen a sharp increase in interest and in sales. George Boudreaux has previously sponsored Kim Crosby in both the ARCA and the Busch Series, and is excited to be making the jump to the NEXTEL Cup Series with Junie Donlavey and Kevin Ray. The Co-Primary sponsor on the #90 Ford will be RacingUSA.com. RacingUSA is based right in the backyard of Kevin Ray in Hoover, Alabama and is the most frequently shopped, independently owned site on the internet for NASCAR merchandise. Since it’s inception in 1999, RacingUSA.com has shipped more than 100,000 internet orders and has also been continually rated “Excellent” by NASCAR fans in both the United States and Canada. RacingUSA.com also has a long history of supporting multiple youth organizations as well as drivers in the NEXTEL Cup, Busch, Craftsman Truck, and ARCA Series’.(Victory Lane Motorsports Management PR)(5-26-2004)
IMAGE: see an image of the car on my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(5-27-2004)
- Bodine News UPDATE on both!: Geoffrey Bodine will be in the #98 Lucas Oil Ford at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, hearing that their former driver will be in the #89 Dodge, not sure what that is all about…yet. Can’t see Morgan Shepherd giving up his ride, unless a sponsor is involved somehow.(5-26-2004)
UPDATE: Todd Bodine was added to the entry list in the #37 Dodge sponsored by Carter’s Royal Dispos-all, same sponsor as #89-Morgan Shepherd who is also listed. So we are up to 53 drivers/cars now.
AND: Geoffrey Bodine will be once again driving the #98 Lucas Oil Ford this weekend in the Coca-Cola 600. This will be his second straight weekend that he will pilot the #98 car. MACH 1 will be returning to Lowes Motor Speedway with the same car that qualified 22nd and finished 16th in the previous weeks Nextel All-Star Challenge. “By virtue of having Geoffrey behind the wheel during last week’s All-Star race, we consider that a good “test session” for the 600” said team owner, Chris Edwards. Edwards went on to say “We are very pleased to have LUCAS OIL, and www.extrememotorcycles.com as well as Geoffrey back with us for the 600. Geoffrey did a great job for us last weekend and without our sponsors we would not be here for the 600, we look forward to working with them again this weekend.” America’s Most Wanted Motorsports is offering an opportunity to a sponsor to become a presenting sponsor of their NEXTEL CUP/NBS motorsports program(s). By becoming a presenting sponsor of the America’s Most wanted Motorsports program a sponsor could invest in the opportunity to garner Tremendous amounts of NATIONAL exposure on and off the track and assist in saving the lives of innocent children and tie their team marketing and promotional efforts in with John Walsh as well as a guaranteed ROI! This opportunity carries the possibilities of upwards of 3.5 Million dollars in prime time and non motorsports media coverage as well as the coverage that will come with the actual competition of the racing team. For more information visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(5-27-2004)
Todd and the #37: from what I understand, the #37 is an offshoot of the #89 as John Carter has split with Morgan Shepherd (who will continue to run #89). Todd will try to run every lap of every race using cars purchased from Ganassi Racing and engines from Ernie Elliott. Carter has ordered more cars and the team is currently using the Cicci-Kelly Racing shops.(5-27-2004)
- Ganassi Employees get watches: Chip Ganassi Racing is using their new partnership with TAG Heuer to recognize their employees. As part of their partnership, every employee with at least one year of service to the company will receive a free TAG Heuer luxury watch. It was recently announced that TAG Heuer is the Official Timekeeper, Official Watch, and Chronograph and Official Partner for Chip Ganassi Racing for their entries in the Indy Racing League, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, and the Grand-Am Series. TAG Heuer, the benchmark in prestigious sports watches and chronographs since 1860, is the fourth-largest luxury brand in the world watch market.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-27-2004)
- Toyota to Cup in 2006 UPDATE: The word on the street in the NASCAR garage over the weekend was that Toyota is now expected to debut its Cup cars at the 2006 Daytona 500 and that NASCAR will let Ford, Dodge and GM have new Cup engine designs for that season. That, however, could give Toyota a significant head start, since Toyota this year is running its Cup engine on the Truck tour.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-24-2004)
UPDATE: been told that Toyota would not come to Cup [if they do] before 2007 as they have three year contracts with the seven current Truck Series drivers and folks on those teams tell me, there are no plans to break those contracts.(5-26-2004)
- Marlin and the Marines: The #40 Coors Light Dodge will be sporting a Marines paint scheme this weekend at the Coca-Cola 600 with driver Sterling Marlin. This is the first of four races that the Coors Light Dodge will be featuring the Marines paint scheme.
AND Marlin will be presenting at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast on CBS at 8:00pm/et.
AND II There will be a special announcement at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday regarding the Prilosec OTC paint scheme to be run on the #40 Dodge later this season. There was a contest of three schemes and the winner will be announced.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(5-26-2004)
- Brewco to Cup? hearing Brewco Motorsports [#27 and #37 in the Busch Series] have recently purchased a coiple pf DEI cars and plans to run the Richmond race [with Timberwolf] and possible the Brickyard 400 at Indy [may with the USPS]. David Green will supposedly drive the cars, since the #27 and #37 are not being used, I would assume one of the ohter could be ran.(5-26-2004)
- Blaney at Lowe’s, Whelen’s, Bo-Dyn Bobsled: Accession Consulting Inc. joins Bill Davis Racing as an associate sponsor for Dave Blaney in the #23 Dodge. Accession Consulting Inc. is a healthcare information system consulting company that was founded in 2003 by a small team of industry experts that were hand selected from some of the country’s largest and most successful organizations. Accession Consulting Inc. provides its clients, not only with the system expertise, but also with the project management’s capabilities to ensure a successful project. With a focus on patient care and medical records, Accession Consulting Inc. brings high-tech expertise and a clear vision of the future to their clients, ensuring their short and long-term success. Accession Consulting Inc. is an established leader in PACS and RIS implementations with several highly successful projects recently completed.
Blaney will carry the names of nearly 200 individuals on the #23 Whelen Dodge’s decklid. The names inscribed were part of a promotion to support the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, whose mission is to construct superior equipment for the U.S. men’s and women’s bobsled teams. For every $50 worth of Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project apparel purchased, a single name was added to the car’s decklid.
AND In an effort to support the United States bobsledding program, Whelen Engineering and Bill Davis Racing have a promotional opportunity in place that will allow fans to have their names inscribed on the trunklid of the team’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car that will be driven by Dave Blaney during the Coca-Cola 600, May 30 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. For every $50 worth of Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. apparel purchased (excluding taxes and shipping), a single name will be added to the trunklid of Blaney’s #23 Dodge; 100 percent of the profits from the sale of the apparel will go to the bobsled project. The apparel can be purchased by going to Whelen’s web site (www.whelen.com) and clicking on MOTORSPORTS. Each contributor will receive a photo of the trunklid. The offer ends May 7. The Bill Davis Racing entry for the Charlotte race will have primary sponsorship from Whelen Engineering, a maker of emergency lighting and early warning sirens, based in Chester, Conn.(BDR PR)(5-26-2004)
- Rookie Stuff: A Raybestos Rookie has won four of the 11 Bud Pole positions this season entering the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. #30-Johnny Sauter is the only Raybestos Rookie that has been running at the finish of all 11 races this season. Matt Kenseth is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Coca-Cola 600. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the last FIVE seasons dating back to Tony Stewart’s win at Richmond International Raceway in September, 1999. See more Rookie Notes on my ROTY page.(5-26-2004)
- Did ya know? #24-Jeff Gordon won the Auto Club 500 at California by 12.871 seconds, posting the largest margin of victory since Bobby Labonte beat Gordon to the line by 22.071 seconds at Dover on June 6, 1999.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-26-2004)
- Garvey to make Cup debut at MIS UPDATE Lepage at Lowe’s: the NASCAR Scene is reporting that full time ASA and part time Busch Series driver, Mike Garvey will make a Next Cup race attempt at Michigan International Speeway in June, driving the Joe Auer / Competitive Edge Motorsports owned #51 Chevy. Plans were to run at Richmond on May 15th, but the car was not ready.(NASCAR Scene)(5-24-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR.com’s entry list has Kevin Lepage in the #51 Negotiations Seminar.com Chevy owned Joe Auer / Competitive Edge Motorsports. See images of the car on my 2004 Cup Paint Scheme page.(5-26-2004)
- Justice Cars: Artisit Matthew Willis is the the designer of some of the Justice League cars [see images on my Paint Scheme Gallery], he designed the #6 Batman, #9 Batman (Busch), #16 Flash, #21 Wonder Woman, the #99 Green Lantern. Also check out some of his 3d animated renderings at www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(5-26-2004)
- Robby and Tony almost team up for Indy: Robbie Gordon says he’d love to have Tony Stewart as a teammate for the 2005 Indianapolis 500. “It’s something that we should consider next year. I don’t know what his plans are but I will run a car next year and if he wants to drive one of them we’ll put him in one.” Gordon says Stewart asked him over a week ago about a back-up car. “I got pretty excited because hey, yeah, we’ll run him in a back-up car…it’s a Chevrolet…heck (Gordon joked) we could race cars, race helicopters, race airplanes and race helicopters again and see who wins.” As for Stewart’s appearance at the Brickyard over the weekend Gordon said “To do what he did and not drive the car was pretty disappointing because I was anxious to see him get out there and bust off a couple laps. It just would have been neat to see how quick he got up to speed. He’s proven he can drive Indy cars…he could do it with his eyes closed…it was just disappointed he didn’t drive it at all.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-25-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky: #15-Michael Waltrip will test the DEI Napa Chevy and #44-Justin Labonte will test the Coast Gaurd Dodge on Wednesday, May 26th at Kentucky Speedway(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-25-2004)
- Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Victory Junction: On Tuesday, June 1 at 10:00am/et, Legendary NASCAR driver Richard Petty, and seven-year-old Haleigh Epperson of Browns Summit will cut the ribbon for the two cabins built through donations from North and South Carolina credit unions. Thousands of credit union members and employees across the Carolinas helped raise $500,000 to build the cabins. The three-year fundraising project kicked off late in 2002, and is very close to reaching the original goal – more than a year ahead of schedule! “The credit union folks really took this project on,” said Petty, “and we have been amazed at their commitment to Victory Junction Gang Camp. It’ll be a pleasure to be there and say ‘thanks’ personally,” Petty added. Epperson will join Petty in cutting the ribbon on the cabins. Victory Junction designated her “Camper Number One,” and she looking forward to attending the camp in its inaugural season. Haleigh (pronounced Hay-lee) is a cancer survivor.
Victory Junction Gang Camp enriches the lives of children with serious or life threatening illnesses by providing camping experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. The $24-million camp, set to a NASCAR theme, includes activities such as arts and crafts, horseback riding, a pool/water park and a theatre, among others. The camp is supported through donations from the public and is free-of-charge to the campers. Victory Junction opens June 20 and is NOW accepting applications.(Victory Junction Camp)(5-25-2004)
- Idiot Alert III: In the continuation of an ugly trend from earlier this year, Matt Kenseth said that fans were throwing debris at his car after he won Saturday’s race. “I had a full beer can hit the car,” Kenseth said. “I don’t like stuff hitting the car, but there’s nothing you can do about five or six individuals, I guess.” Flying debris was a problem after races at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and California Speedway earlier this year. Like many racetracks, LMS has signs warning fans that they will be ejected for throwing things on the track.(USA Today)(5-25-2004)
- Round-Up on the #99 at the Coca-Cola 600: The #99 Ford of Jeff Burton will carry the Roundup logo once again for the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This will be Roundup’s fifth race with Burton and the # 99 Roush Racing team. Burton, a two-time Coca-Cola 600 winner, is ecstatic to continue the partnership with Roundup. “We’re excited to have Roundup on the No. 99 Ford this coming weekend.” Burton continued, “Roundup has been a great sponsor and we’ve had a lot of fun working with them over the last several weeks. We’re hoping to go out and give them a good run this Sunday at the Coke 600.”(Roush Racing PR)(5-25-2004)
- Sunoco on the way out? Shell in? DENIED: Is NASCAR ready to bail out of its sponsorship deal with Sunoco as the official fuel in order to make a more lucrative deal with Shell? That’s the word on the street. A Shell deal would give NASCAR a much bigger presence out on the highway, because Shell has more than 20,000 service stations in the United States, and that’s four times as many as Sunoco.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-23-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR has categorically denied that Sunoco will be replaced by Shell as official fuel of the sport. A NASCAR spokesman dismissed the story that started this rumor as “rank nonsense.” In addition, NASCAR president Mike Helton said the association between the two has never been stronger. “Any suggestion that it isn’t, is absolutely false,” Helton said. “Sunoco and NASCAR are in the first year of a ten-year commitment for Sunoco to provide the world’s best racing gasoline to NASCAR. Sunoco has exceeded our expectations in the quality of the fuel they delivering flawlessly to the race track. In addition, the company is marketing and promoting our sport in new ways, which will help NASCAR to attract new fans and to continue to grow. By all measures, this partnership between NASCAR and Sunoco has been a huge success. NASCAR is looking forward to the next decade together, and hopefully beyond.”(NASCAR.com)(5-25-2004)
- Indy 500 / Cup connections: four drivers will run the Indy 500 on May 30th with Nextel Cup connections, two drivers ran in Cup races in the past, one is a part-timer and one is a full timer:
#20-Al Unser Jr. starts 17th, ran the Daytona 500 in the past, plus has Stacker 2 as a sponsor.
#70-Robby Gordon, starts 18th, runs full time currently, in the #31 Cingular Chevy and will run both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day..again..see chart.
#41-Larry Foyt starts 22nd, his first IRL start, he runs part-time in Cup this season. Foyt has a sponsor for the race: Jacob and Co.
#98-P.J. Jones starts 31st, has run Busch and Cup.(5-24-2004)
- Stewart Eyes Indy 500: Tony Stewart says he plans discussions with team owner Joe Gibbs and Home Depot, the primary sponsor of his Nextel Cup car, about gaining permission to race in the Indianapolis 500 again in the future. “I’m going to talk to Joe and Home Depot and see if I can start working on something,” Stewart said yesterday, according to IndyRacing.com. “I pretty much made the commitment to those guys that I wasn’t going to do anything until I decided I was done with the Cup series, but you know, they’ve always been supportive. They’ve always said if I wanted to come back and run Indy, that they’re behind me 100 percent.” Stewart, a former Indy Racing League champion and 1996 Indy 500 pole-sitter, was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, although he never took to the track on the final day of qualifying for this year’s Indy 500. He said contractual obligations prohibited him from competing this year in the race, which is run the same day as the Nextel Cup’s Coca-Cola 600.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-24-2004)
- Ganssi to run Sorenson in ARCA race: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates development driver and defending ASA Rookie of the Year, Reed Sorenson, is entered in the Quaker Steak & Lube 100 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next Thursday. Sorenson will pilot the #77 Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Dodge in the ARCA race for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Sorenson is currently running for the ASA National Championship in the #29 Target/Texaco/Havoline Dodge. Sorenson is also expected to run two more ARCA races for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates during the 2004 season. Last season in ASA Reed recorded seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 17 races. He finished fourth in the final ASA National standings and won Rookie of the Year. The ARCA race is scheduled for Thursday, May 27th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-24-2004)
- #01 to salute the American Soldier: Joe Nemechek’s #01 U.S. Army Chevy will pay a fitting tribute to the American men and women in uniform for the Memorial Day weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The hood on Nemechek’s Army car will carry a replica of the Dec. 29, 2003 TIME magazine cover that honored the American Soldier as the Person of the Year. Traditionally, TIME selects a single notable person for its annual Person of the Year feature. However, for their valor and fearless defense of freedom during a tumultuous time, the American G.I. was selected for the honor. Action Performance will produce die-cast replicas of the #01 Army/American Soldier car in a variety of collector scales. Both TIME and the U.S. Army have agreed to donate their royalty proceeds to the Army Emergency Relief fund. The Army Emergency Relief is a private nonprofit organization with the sole mission of helping soldiers and their dependents in times of valid need. Since 1942, Army Emergency Relief has helped nearly three million Army personnel and their families with more than $837 million in financial assistance.(US Army PR), see an image of the car on my #01 Team Paint Scheme page.(5-24-2004)
- NASCAR Launches Licensed Library Collection: NASCAR is set to wave the green flag on a new program as part of its publishing program, bringing NASCAR licensed books together into one branded group – the NASCAR Library Collection. The program launched on May 21st, and be immediately viewable via the NASCAR.com Superstore, which will give access to the NASCAR Library Collection specialty store on its homepage.
This year the NASCAR Library Collection will welcome 18 new titles to be part of the collection, which will include books for both kids and adults. The first branded release, under a new licensing agreement with DK Publishing, will be NASCAR Best Shots. This hardcover, coffee table book will be on shelf in time for Father’s Day and contains exciting NASCAR photography, as well as a foreword by “The King”, Richard Petty. The NASCAR Library Collection specialty store on nascar.com will give consumers the option to view excerpts from its officially licensed books, including the book cover and internal pages. Also featured will be detailed editorial descriptions and a place for fans to add their own book reviews. The next issue of the NASCAR.com Catalog, set to come out in June 2004, will also feature a section dedicated to the licensed books, offering volumes in the NASCAR Library Collection for sale. Several other consumer and retail programs are in the works for this year, making the NASCAR Library Collection and its books readily available to NASCAR’s fan base of 75 million nationwide looking for other publications officially licensed by NASCAR.(NASCAR PR)(5-24-2004)
- #99 Sponsor? NASCAR marketing chiefs were entertaining potential sponsors last weekend and reportedly took tours of the No. 99 Roush Racing team facility. Jeff Burton has continued a full-time campaign without a title sponsor.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
- Fed-Ex to Gibbs? Federal Express, which once was in the running to be the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series before Nextel came on board, has been in talks with both Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Word in the garage: Fed Ex will end up on a third Cup car for the 2005 season at JGR with J.J. Yeley, a Busch rookie this season, behind the wheel. But Gibbs says it’s too early to commit. “Right now, we’re in the process of moving through things, and we can’t announce anything because the deal isn’t done,” Gibbs says. “We’ve been in conversations for a long time but right now it’s just a work in progress.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
- Andretti to attempt the 600 with Snap-On: DEI continues to search for a full-time sponsor for the #1 car but plans on running John Andretti this week with a Snap-on paint scheme for the Coca-Cola 600.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
- COF to to Wind Tunnel: NASCAR’s “car of the future” prototype is close to completion and expected to be taken to the wind tunnel for analysis in the next few weeks.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
- Check Speeds With Modern Technology? After Friday’s numerous pit-road speeding penalties during qualifying for the Nextel All-Star Challenge race, several crew chiefs and car owners are once again insisting that NASCAR get up to speed with modern technology and throw out those handheld stopwatches in favor of more high-tech speed-monitoring systems.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-24-2004)
- Stewart in the Indy 500? UPDATEs NO didn’t happen: Tony Stewart is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was mentioned that Stewart passed a physical to run the Indy 500 on May 30th. At first when the camera’s spied Stewart in the garage area, they were shown the door, but later Stewart was interviewed and was evasive and had a huge grin on his face. Stewart took a AJ Foyt #14 IRL car and said he felt comfortable, the reporter tried to lock down a yes / or no from Stewart, who said “I’m here aren’t I?” with a big grin. Even mentioned his people were talking to Foyt about a contract, hard to read how serious this may be, PLUS, it is raining at the Speedway and it doesn’t look good for any other attempts before the end of Bump Day today. Of course the IRL broadcast team was speculating on what kind of message it sends to drivers warring with Stewart and the Fox broadcast team.
AND NASCAR star Tony Stewart, a former IRL champion, made an unexpected appearance at the track Sunday, passing a physical and chatting with team owner A.J. Foyt in his garage. That fueled speculation that Stewart might try to qualify one of Foyt’s backup cars if the track dried in time. Foyt already has son Larry and grandson A.J. IV safely in the lineup. If he was successful in bumping his way into the lineup, Stewart would join fellow NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Robby Gordon in doing a difficult double next Sunday, racing in both the 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C. Gordon qualified 18th on the opening day of time trials.(CNNSI/AP)
UPDATE: it was mentioned and shown on ABC’s Indy 500 time trials TV coverage that if the track dries, and it looks good now, Stewart will take the #14T car out to practice, his name is already on the car. HOWEVER, it was mentioned that Foyt Racing has not submiited the paperwork to make the driver change in the car….yet [as of 5:20pm/et]
NO RUN: Stewart passed a physical and was getting ready to jump into one of team owner A.J. Foyt’s backup cars to practice and perhaps attempt to bump his way into the lineup when everything came to a sudden halt. Stewart and Foyt were informed on the pit lane by Cary Agajanian, Stewart’s agent, that there was an unspecified contract issue that would prevent him from driving the car. All Stewart could do at that point was grin and shrug off the disappointment. “I’m going to try to put something together for next year. I’ve got the fever now,” Stewart said. The 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, who drives Chevrolets for Joe Gibbs Racing, said the hang-up Sunday had something to do with his stock car contracts. He did give specifics.(CBS Sportsline and ThatsRacin.com(5-23-2004)
- Fellows in a DEI car at Watkins Glen: Ron Fellows will be behind the wheel of a Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR Nextel Cup Chevrolet at the Watkins Glen road course in August, The Toronto Sun has learned. The Toronto driver, who led the DEI team to its best ever finish at California’s Infineon Raceway in 2003, will race just once in the Nextel Cup car this season because of a scheduling conflict with his American Le Mans Series Corvette C5-R program. “I would have loved to race both at Infineon and Watkins Glen but (ALMS) is racing in Mid-Ohio that weekend (June 25-27), and that’s my first priority,” Fellows said. The deal is doubled-edged in that Dale Earnhardt Jr. — NASCAR’s top driver at the moment — will team up with Fellows to race a third factory Corvette at the ALMS event in California in July. Fellows and Earnhardt tested the Corvettes this week at Michigan’s GingerMan Raceway. For Earnhardt it was his first time behind the wheel of the car in its current configuration. Also joining Earnhardt on the Corvette team will be veteran road racer Boris Said.(Toronto Sun)(5-23-2004)
- Petty Honor: Richard Petty is one of five who will be honored as a national father of the year by the National Father’s Day Committee in June, with former basketball star Isiah Thomas; former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda; Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Ellis Marsalis Jr., patriarch of a noted musical family.(Charlotte Observer)(5-23-2004)
- Lots of Lobster: #32-Ricky Craven, the only NASCAR driver from Maine, is celebrating a Sunday off today with a grand picnic for his team. In fact, it’s a rather upscale picnic. Craven is having 500 lobsters flown in from Maine, and the team members are already making informal wagers and the like over which one of them will be able to consume the most.(Gaston Gazette)(5-23-2004)
- Kerry may attempt the 600 also: #33-Kerry Earnhardt hopes to enter next week’s Coca-Cola 600 as well. “We’re going to see how the all-star race goes and make sure we have a good enough car to make the race and get in the Coca-Cola 600,” he said. “If everything goes well, we’ll make that decision Saturday night.”(ThatsRacin.com)(5-22-2004)
- Hendrick to build new shop: Hendrick Motorsports plans to build a new shop for its #5 and #25 teams, a team source confirmed to NASCAR.COM on Friday. The shop will be built next to the two-year-old shop that houses the No. 24 and 48 teams in Harrisburg, N.C., near Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hendrick’s pairing of Jeff Gordon’s #24 and Jimmie Johnson’s #48 teams in one location has proven successful, as Johnson has won seven times and Gordon eight times in the two-plus seasons they have been together. Hendrick hopes the 25/5 shop – which will be headquarters for drivers Brian Vickers and Terry Labonte, respectively – will be done by the end of 2004. Vickers’ and Labonte’s teams are currently in separate buildings, but Hendrick wants all four Nextel Cup teams as close to each other as possible. The #25 team is housed next to the current museum, which could expand slightly into the old shop. Or Hendrick’s chassis engineering department, which needs more room, could take over the old #25 shop. Labonte’s #5 team moved into Gordon’s old shop. Plans for that building are unclear.(NASCAR.com)(5-22-2004)
- Interesting Fact: #5-Terry Labonte’s two all-star race wins came 11 years apart to the day – May 22, today’s date.(Roanoke Times)(5-22-2004)
- Attendance: Here’s the total attendance for NASCAR’s all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway:
- Richmond TV Ratings Fall: Last Saturday’s Chevy American Revolution 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway drew a 3.8 Nielsen cable rating for FX, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The figure is down 7.3 percent from the 4.1 it drew on the same station in 2003. The Daily says the race reached 3.160 million households and 5.053 million viewers, making it the sixth most-viewed program in the station’s history. FX drew a 1.4 rating for last Friday’s Funai 250 Busch Series race, reaching 1.189 million households and 1.698 million viewers.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-22-2004)
- Kenseth wins Nextel All-Star Challenge and over $1 million: #17-Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kenseth slipped his #17 DeWalt Ford right to the rear bumper of #12-Ryan Newman’s Dodge in Turn 4 on the 18th lap of the 20-lap final segment. The air of Kenseth’s nose caused the rear end of Newman’s to wiggle slightly, and Kenseth sped by on the inside. It was a classic move, done without contact, and it was worth $1 million for Kenseth and his team. Newman ran across the grass to Kenseth’s car to congratulate the winner as he stopped for the victory celebration at the start-finish line. The three-segment, 90-lap event came down to a duel between those two. Kenseth made his first challenge of the fourth lap of the final segment, cutting to the low side off Turn 4 as #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried to go high. Newman, who had last pitted for tires on a mandatory stop during the first 40-lap segment, fought back with a strong run off Turn 2 and brought the lead back to the line. Kenseth tried again on Lap 13, but again Newman held on. Finally, with just more than two laps to go, Kenseth made the move work. “He made me work,” Kenseth said of Newman. “I think that’s as hard as either one of us has drove in a long time. I was shaking there at the end. I don’t think I’ve ever been nervous in a race car since we got our first win here in the 600 (in 2000).” Newman, who won the all-star race in 2002, said his gamble to stay on old tires just didn’t quite work out. It was Kenseth’s first victory in four starts in the all-star race. His best previous finish was third two years ago. #2-Rusty Wallace was on the pole and got the jump on teammate Newman at the green. After #32-Ricky Craven slid up into the outside wall in turns 1-2 on Lap 4 to bring out the first yellow, but it would not be the last.
On Lap 11, the second lap after the restart, #97-Kurt Busch got into the rear of teammate #16-Greg Biffle’s Ford going into Turn 1. Busch bounced off and sideswiped #48-Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet, and from that point the crash was on. Before it was over, 12 cars had been damaged – some far more seriously than others. The race was red-flagged while the track was cleaned up, the crews worked on their cars and tempers boiled.
“Kurt Busch has his head up his…whatever,” Biffle said of his fellow Roush Racing driver. “I just don’t understand. He wrecked us on the straightaway. …Kurt Busch took out the whole field. If I was (car owner) Jack Roush I don’t know what I would do.” Busch said he was trying to push Biffle’s car down the straightaway, hoping to help him get past Matt Kenseth. “My car just lifted him instead of pushing him,” Busch said. “I apologize for all of the wrecked race cars on pit road. I have to get myself in check, I guess.”
Newman and #20-Tony Stewart had passed Wallace just before the sheet-metal storm hit the track, so they steered clear of that bout of trouble and lined up side-by-side for the double-file restart on Lap 16 after a delay of 15 minutes. Stewart shot to the lead in Turn 1 on the restart while Gordon, Johnson and Brian Vickers chose that lap to make their green-flag pit stops required in the first segment. Stewart gave up the lead to make his stop on Lap 20, giving the lead back to Newman. He pitted on Lap 25, moving Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the point. He and Terry Labonte came in on Lap 28, completing the cycle. Stewart shot past Earnhardt Jr. as the No. 8 Chevrolet exited pit road, reclaiming the lead with Kenseth, Mark Martin and Wallace behind him. Kenseth began closing in as the end of the 40-lap segment neared, but Stewart held on to win it.
The number eight was drawn to determine the number of cars to be inverted for the start of the second segment. That moved #15-Michael Waltrip and #5-Terry Labonte to the front row for the start of that 30-lap run, with Stewart lining up eighth as the green flew again. Labonte led the first lap of that segment, but in Turn 4 on the second Dale Jarrett got sideways and skidded toward the entrance to pit road. He didn’t hit anything, and everyone else avoided him, but the yellow did come out. Newman and Earnhardt Jr. shot around Labonte on the outside in Turn 4 on Lap 48 once the race restarted, grabbing the top two spots. Stewart, meanwhile, had already clawed his way back up to fourth.(more at ThatsRacin.com)
See results at:
- Marlin wins Nextel Open; Schrader gets voted in: As the field came to the green flag to begin the Nextel Open, the transmission broke on the Dodge in which #41-Casey Mears was starting on the outside of the front row. #19-Jeremy Mayfield, lined up right behind him, rammed Mears’ car and picked its rear wheels completely off the ground. Mears turned immediately into the outside wall and the pack behind his car begin piling up on the frontstretch. Eleven cars were involved in that chain reaction, which also led to a red flag in that heat [car #’s 41,19,21,89,4,99,10,77,33,30,72]. #40-Sterling Marling came back to win to the Open, passing #42-Jamie McMurray and Mayfield as they raced off Turn 4 coming to the white flag, moving Marlin into the main event for the 13th time in his career. Since #33-Kerry Earnhardt’s car had eventually succumbed to the damage he suffered in the early crash, the free pass based on fans vote into what used to be a winner’s only race passed down to #49-Ken Schrader, who’d finished ninth in the Open. That put him in the all-star race for the first time since 1995.(ThatsRacin.com)
See results at:
Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – NEXTEL All-Star Challenge: It was our All-Star event….it was at night….it was wild. What else is new? We’ll start at the beginning. Half the field for the Nextel Open hadn’t made it to the green flag yet when we started wrecking. Casey Mears (starting on the outside pole) blew up a tranny going through the gears and took out about 11 cars with him….after going no further than about 50 feet! Don’t ya love when the driver tells you how good of a car they had, and they hadn’t even turned left once yet to know?
Anyway, the final three laps of the Open were as good as it gets (or so we thought at the time) as Jeremy Mayfield and Jamie McMurray staged a ding- dong battle at the front (Jamie’s save was world-class!). Out of nowhere Sterling Marlin pulled off the pass with a couple laps to go and took the Open for the 4th time in his career…..this one worth $56K.
Ken Schrader won the fan balloting so he joined Sterling in the feature, the Nextel All-Star Challenge.
With Lowe’s Motor Speedway all aglow, Segment One of the Challenge looked a little like the open….we had another 11 car pileup just past the start- finish line. Kurt Busch got into his teammate Greg Biffle triggering the accident….and we started to wonder if we’d have enough cars to invert!
Tony Stewart took the first 40 lap segment and pocketed $75K. This years gimmick said we invert 8.
Ryan Newman took the second 30 lapper (pocketing $75K also). Then came the crucial move of the night…..they stayed out as all the other teams pitted.
Ryan was valiant with old tires (haven’t we seen that before?), but Matt Kenseth was finally able to get him loose enough to grab the lead with three laps left in the final 20 lap segment to bring home the big money. Kenseth’s first ever All-Star win was worth a cool $1.044M, and seeing as how Roush Racing lost three cars (Jeff Burton was in that pile-up in the Open) made for a bittersweet night for Cactus Jack.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(5-22-2004)
- New Sam Bass Art: Winning the Daytona 500 is arguably the most prestigious feat in all of motorsports. It is also perhaps the most difficult. It took icons Darrell Waltrip, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Bobby Allison – and even Dale Earnhardt himself – the better part of two decades to prevail in The Great American Race. Legends like Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd, and Mark Martin are still waiting. Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t. In the most popular victory in recent memory, Earnhardt Jr. captured this year’s Daytona 500 in only his fifth attempt. Motorsports artist Sam Bass has immortalized that landmark triumph in his latest masterpiece, “Won & Done!”
“The expression on Dale Jr.’s face when he crawled out of the car is indicative of just what a monumental win this was for him,” Sam said. “It is an honor to be able to chronicle such a historic moment. It’s a victory that everyone had been anticipating from the moment Junior moved up to the Cup Series.” The artist spent countless hours composing this elaborate montage of images that capture the electricity of Earnhardt Jr.’s greatest victory. “That race was a major epic in NASCAR history,” said Bass, “so it is a pretty complex work of art. A lot of time and detail went into ‘Won & Done!’ ” The focal point of the painting is an image of Earnhardt Jr. with arms triumphantly raised above his head in a stance reminiscent of the famous pose struck by his father after winning the 1998 Daytona 500. Serving as the backdrop for “Won & Done!” is a collage of moments that include the #8 Budweiser Monte Carlo flashing across the finish line, as well as two different views of the jubilant celebration that began immediately following the checkered flag. Images of the official Daytona 500 logo, the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series logo put the finishing touches on this classic example of Sam Bass art. “Won & Done!” is now available as a limited edition print, signed and numbered by the artist. Visit the Sam Bass Gallery, conveniently located within sight of Lowe’s Motor Speedway at 6104 Performance Drive, SW in Concord, NC. The gallery is open to the public, and normal hours are 10 a. m. – 5 p. m., Monday – Saturday. Visit www.sambass.com or call 704/455-6915 for more information about Sam Bass’ motorsports art.(5-21-2004)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tests American Le Mans Series Corvette at Infineon: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was introduced to the American Le Mans Series version of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R race car in a test session on Wednesday and the NASCAR superstar was more than impressed. Taking advantage of a rare off weekend on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Earnhardt will join Corvette Racing and compete in the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma for the American Le Mans Series July 16-18 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Veteran road racer Boris Said will co-drive with Earnhardt as the Corvette team fields a special third entry for the event. Earnhardt and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, drove for the factory Corvette team in 2001 in the 24 Hours of Daytona, both making their first-ever appearance in a sports car race. But Earnhardt, Jr. had never driven the car in its high-tech configuration for the American Le Mans Series until Wednesday. Said, a former GT class winner in ALMS competition, was also getting his first drive in the car. Earnhardt and Said were joined by two-time ALMS GTS class champion Ron Fellows for the test session at Michigan’s GingerMan Raceway road racing circuit. Fellows, who has driven for the factory Corvette team since its inception in 1998, helped Earnhardt and Said adjust to driving the Compuware Corvette. Fellows and co-driver Johnny O’Connell will be gunning to win the GTS class in the ALMS event at Sonoma for the fourth consecutive year. The Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma will get the green flag at 11:30 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday, July 18, and will be televised live in North America by CBS Sports and in Europe on MotorsTV. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com. Ticket information is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling (800) 870-RACE.(Infineon Raceway PR)(5-21-2004)
- Claire B. being honored: Claire B. Lang, the voice of NASCAR racing on XM Satellite Radio, will be one of six alumni and friends honored by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association on Friday in conjunction with the school’s spring commencement. Lang, a 1976 UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, will receive the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. Lang is a full-time anchor with NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio, based in Washington, D.C. Her daily show airs from XM’s satellite studios in Charlotte, N.C. On weekends, her work takes her on the road with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, hosting live shows for XM from the tracks. Lang also is editor of Winners Magazine, the publication of The Speedway Club at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte; does free-lance feature reporting for RACELINE, a syndicated television show about NASCAR racing, broadcast nationally and internationally; and operates Claire B. Lang & Co. Media, specializing in broadcasting, writing, reporting, consulting and public relations.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-21-2004)
- False Rumor: Rumors of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc., outsource race car fabrication facilities in Denver, NC closing is false. They are fully operational and will continue to be. Body Dynamics Racing, Inc. will be sharing space at their location with Chris Edwards of MACH 1, Inc. and his #98 NEXTEL Cup efforts [Todd and Geoffrey Bodine]. They will be working separately out of the same location at 3536 Denver Drive, Denver, NC 28037 on their own goals. For more information please visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(5-21-2004)
- Rusty Wallace wins pole for the Nextel All-Star Challenge: #2-Rusty Wallace went fast enough on the race track and slow enough as he came to pit road for his mandatory four-tire stop to win the pole for Saturday night’s Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It took Wallace 2 minutes, 3.998 seconds to complete three laps and his pit stop, allowing him to edge teammate #12-Ryan Newman for the top spot in the 20th annual running in stock-car racing’s all-star event. #97-Kurt Busch would have been faster than either of the Penske South Dodges, with a time of 2:23.480 had it not been for a 20-second penalty he incurred for exceeding a 45 mph speed limit as he entered pit road.
Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Jarrett, #01-Joe Nemechek, #32-Ricky Craven and #31-Robby Gordon all found out, picking up the 20-second penalties. They’ll start 14th through 21st, ahead of only #98-Geoffrey Bodine who had the evening’s slowest time because of a disastrous. 31.3 second stop. #5-Terry Labonte also got a five-second penalty for driving through more than three pit stalls as he went to make his stop. He’ll start 13th. It all sets the stage for Saturday’s all-star race, with defending champion Jimmie Johnson starting 11th in an event with a history of wild finishes and grudge-building controversies that pays at least $1,003,500 to the winner.(ThatsRacin.com)
For the lineups and lineup links, see Jayski’s Nextel All-Star Challenge / Nextel Open Qualifying Results and Starting Lineups Page.(5-21-2004)
- Dave Blaney wins pole for Nextel Open: #23-Dave Blaney, a part-time driver in the Nextel Cup Series this season for Bill Davis Racing, powered the #23 Finish Line Dodge to the pole for Saturday night’s Nextel Open with a lap at 185.058mph. Dodges swept the top four spots, six of the top seven and eight of the top 10 for the Open. #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray will line up right behind Blaney. Mears ran 184.527 mph and McMurray 184.181 mph. #99-Jeremy Mayfield, in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge, was fourth, followed by #0-Ward Burton in a Chevrolet. The winner of the Open will earn a spot in the Challenge that will immediately follow it. Another driver will advance through a vote by fans – the top vote-getter that does not win the Open and does finish on the lead lap of that 30-lap event.(ThatsRacin.com)
For the lineups and lineup links, see Jayski’s Nextel All-Star Challenge / Nextel Open Qualifying Results and Starting Lineups Page.(5-21-2004)
- New Book about Hendrick: UMI Publications, in conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports, is pleased to announce a new book celebrating 20 years of NASCAR competition by one of the most outstanding organizations in motorsports history. What began as a chance meeting between a semi-retired crew chief and a successful businessman with a passion for racing ultimately grew into a motorsports empire that garnered well over 100 victories and nine NASCAR championships in just its first 20 years of competition. “Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports” documents the history of Rick Hendrick’s racing organization from its inception, in 1983, and recounts each racing season leading up to and including Hendrick Motorsports’ historic milestone, its 20th season, in 2003.
Perhaps no other racing organization has accumulated such a record of success in such a short period of time, and “Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports” tells the whole story of how these achievements were accomplished. Quite simply, this is a story that needed to be told, and UMI Publications is honored to bring it to the public eye with award-winning writing and outstanding photos, many of which have never before been published.
“Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports” is available directly from the publisher for $34.95 plus shipping & handling, and may by ordered by contacting UMI Publications, Inc., at 1-800-747-9287 or by visiting their website at www.umipub.com. Book excerpts may be viewed at .(5-20-2004)
- Bodine to run All-Star Challenge in the #98: This weekend in Charlotte, NC the MACH 1 team with driver Geoffrey Bodine with sponsorship from Lucas Oil will enter in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a brand new Ford, their second in their stable, and a Roush engine under the hood. The Mach 1 team started the year out with one car, and one engine. They have traveled to every race since Las Vegas this year, qualifying for every race except Las Vegas and Talladega where they went home with DNQ’s. The Mach 1 team has qualified on speed for five races started 43rd at Martinsville and was forced to take a provisional at California due to engine problems. Mach 1 will be adding two additional cars within the next month bringing the total cars to four. The next acquisition is expected to be a super speedway car that will be prepared for the July Daytona race. Two new associate sponsors, Winston Tires & www.ExtremeMotorcycles.com have joined the #98 team to compliment the Lucas Oil primary sponsorship. “We are excited to have Geoff[rey] behind the wheel for this event,” stated Chris Edwards, President of MACH 1, “We have been working with Geoff’s brother Todd and we have experienced some great results, so this time out should not be any different. We are PUMPED!” The team has shown steady improvement in owner points, qualifying position and finishing position since they began the year in Las Vegas this year. Currently they are 43rd in Owner Points. The battle for positions 39th – 43rd is very tight right now with just 61 pts separating the four spots.(PR)(5-20-2004)
- NASCAR and Magic UPDATE: NASCAR and basketball have been competing for the sports audience this spring, but this week, they will be working together as officials plan to give an overall update Thursday on NASCAR diversity programs. The update will include a new intiative involving NBA great Earvin “Magic Johnson” and the official unveiling of the Drive for Diversity program. The unveiling will take place at NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord NC.(FoxSports)(5-18-2004)
UPDATE: Earvin “Magic” Johnson to Play Leading Role in NASCAR Diversity Efforts:
NASCAR announced that Earvin “Magic” Johnson will serve as co-chairman to the newly-created Executive Steering Committee for Diversity. Johnson, the NBA legend and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, will be active in a number of areas related to diversifying NASCAR’s fan base, participants and work force. Johnson is known universally for his illustrious 13-year professional NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he has re-defined himself as a successful businessman. The Magic Johnson brand has become one of the most expansive and successful business networks in the country. The brand stimulates economic growth and development through education, community enrichment and franchise development. Magic Johnson Enterprises is responsible for the direction and expansion of the Magic Johnson brand. The team oversees marketing and other business opportunities for the brand including endorsements, licensing and speaking engagements. Johnson also heads Johnson Development Corporation and Magic Johnson Entertainment.
Specifically, Johnson will:
* Help complete selection of the Executive Steering Committee for Diversity
* Assist NASCAR with creating grassroots programs such as Drive for Diversity that identify and develop African American, Hispanic and women drivers and crew members
* Help NASCAR develop marketing programs that will increase the sport’s visibility in urban communities and raise awareness of career and competitive opportunities in motorsports
* Serve as an advisor to NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne who has day-to-day operational responsibilities for all aspects of diversity in NASCAR
NASCAR also announced the successful launch and funding for the 2004 Drive for Diversity program managed by Access Communications. The Drive for Diversity program seeks to identify and select minority and women drivers and crew members to compete in NASCAR sanctioned races. Already, Drive for Diversity has five drivers and six crew members competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series respectively. The drivers and crew members were selected as a result of their outstanding performance during a competition “combine” held last January in Hickory, N.C.
The driver program includes: Morty Buckles drives for the Belnavis Racing sponsored by the National Guard and Domino’s; Allison Duncan drives for BH Motorsports sponsored by Sunoco/Miller Brewing and Domino’s; Joe Henderson drives for Bobby Hamilton Racing sponsored by Kodak and Domino’s; Reggie Primus drives for Innovative Motorsports sponsored by Lowe’s and Domino’s; and, Bruce Driver drives for SCORE Motorsports sponsored by MBNA/Centrix and Domino’s.(NASCAR PR) See the fill PR and quotes on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.
WIND TUNNEL: NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson will be SPEED Channel’s guest on tonight’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 10:00pm/et. NASCAR today announced that Johnson will serve as co-chairman to the newly-created Executive Steering Committee for Diversity. Johnson, the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, will be active in a number of areas related to diversifying NASCAR’s fan base, participants and work force. In 2004, SPEED Channel is the exclusive U.S. cable home for many of the top motor sports series in the world. In addition, SPEED’s weekly programming schedule brings car enthusiast television to Prime Time Monday through Thursday. Now available in more the 65 million homes in North America, SPEED Channel is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country and the home to NASCAR TV.(Speed Channel)(5-20-2004)
- Busch tests at Dover: Kurt Busch spent Wednesday [May 19] testing his #97 Sharpie Ford at Dover in preparation for the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes Nextel Cup race on June 6. “I really like the race track here,” said Busch, who made his first career Cup start at Dover in the fall of 2000. “It’s fun to race on. It’s great to challenge yourself to come up with new setups, because you can drive almost anything on this race track. It’s just that it bites you pretty quick if you have one little circumstance go wrong.”(Delaware News Journal)(5-20-2004)
- DW Honored: Darrell Waltrip was presented the Community Leadership Award at Williamson Christian College’s annual fund-raiser this week. Waltrip has supported the college, located in Cool Springs, TN, by donating racing memorabilia for a silent auction.(Tennessean)(5-20-2004)
- Texas Deer Hunters not happy: The one constituency apparently overlooked by NASCAR when it awarded Texas Motor Speedway its new fall Nextel Cup race date is the state’s deer hunters. TMS president Eddie Gossage said that shortly after NASCAR announced that TMS would host its inaugural fall Cup Series race on Nov. 6, 2005, the complaints started rolling in. “We’ve gotten about a dozen e-mails from fans who can’t believe we had a date put on the opening [weekend] of deer season,” Gossage said. “They’re extremely passionate about the opening of deer season. But as we’ve proven over the last eight years, we don’t have much to say about dates. You don’t have a choice when you deal with NASCAR because it’s like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. It’s not like we said, ‘We want to be on the schedule at the start of deer season.’ It was, ‘Do you want this date? Yes, we do.’ And we’re glad to have Nov. 6.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram), ya think Rockingham would take the date back?(5-20-2004)
- Gordon OK with Tony: Jeff Gordon says he’s cool with Tony Stewart after Stewart apologized for their run-in at Richmond. “Tony’s not a guy who walks up in my truck very often after a race so I’m gonna take his word for it. It doesn’t do any good to go out there and have paybacks and that kind of stuff on your mind so I want to block it out and race him as hard and as clean as I always would and hope to get that same respect back.” Gordon met with the media after being picked to win this weekend’s Nextel All-Star Challenge by Lowes Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler. With a smile on his face Gordon said he accepted Stewart’s apology and appreciated Tony coming into the hauler and that it meant something. Gordon then laughed and said he told Stewart “you’ll have to accept mine for what I said to the media out there before I came up here. He (Stewart) said no problem.(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(5-20-2004)
- Junior Johnson Honored: Fifty years ago, Junior Johnson regularly hurtled along U.S. 421, hauling illegal moonshine whiskey from stills in Wilkes County to bootleggers in Charlotte and elsewhere across the Carolinas. Monday [May 24th], a section of the route, rebuilt to interstate standards, will be dedicated as “Junior Johnson Highway.” The stretch runs about 10 miles from the Wilkes-Yadkin county line, near Johnson’s home, to the Windy Gap Road exit.(see the full Tom Higgin’s article at ThatsRacin.com)(5-19-2004)
AND Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond will be there to honor Junior at the dedication.(5-20-2004)
- Lepage to run at Lowe’s UPDATE not in #79, helping Hermie: confirmed the Kevin Lepage will run in the Nextel Open for Conley Motorsports #79 Chevy, depending on how Lepage runs at the Open, will determine if the team and Lepage attempts the Coca-Cola 600.(5-17-2004)
UPDATE: Change of plans – Kevin Lepage will NOT be running in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, driving for #79 Conely Motorsports. Time limitations prevented the team from “being properly prepared” and they have decided not to come to Charlotte for the race. Instead, Lepage will be helping #02-Hermie Sadler in an unknown capacity.(5-19-2004)
UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler announced today that Kevin Lepage will assist #02- Score Motorsports with its preparations for the Nextel Open this weekend at Lowes Motor Speedway. Sadler will practice and qualify the car, but will travel to Nazareth for practice and qualifying for the Busch Series race on Saturday, handing the driving duties to Lepage in the event Sadler does not make it back from Nazareth in time. “The Busch Series car is my main focus this weekend, “stated Sadler, ” so we wanted someone to help out the Cup team to help us in the Open and to help us prepare for the 600 next week. Kevin’s record at Lowes speaks for itself, and we feel he will be a big asset for us.”
AND Hermie Sadler will be signing autographs at Toys R Us, 8050 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC on Friday May 28 from 7-8 pm. In addition to signing autographs and pictures, there will be a drawing at 8 pm for 2 people to join Hermie in the pits for the Carquest 300 at Lowes Motor Speedway.(5-20-2004)
- Blaney Sponsor at the Nextel Open: Dave Blaney will drive the #23 Finish Line Dodge in this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge for Bill Davis Racing. Finish Line Dodge is located at exit 49B off Interstate 77 in Statesville, NC. Finish Line Dodge is one dealership in the Bertolami Automotive Group, which also owns Finish Line Ford and Toyota West.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our automotive group,” said Gary Reece, President of the Bertolami Automotive Group and General Manager of all dealerships. “Bill and Gail Davis have been personal friends of mine for quite some time and it was an incredible opportunity to do a one race deal with them. We saw it is a great opportunity to do a business deal together where we could cross promote the dealership with this unique sponsorship opportunity.
“We’re located in Statesville, where many of the NASCAR teams are within minutes of our dealership,” added Reece. “Our employees are really charged up about having Dave Blaney in the #23 Finish Line Dodge for such a fun and exciting race. They are all looking forward to seeing the Finish Line Dodge car finish up front in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge this weekend. We’ll definitely have some fan support in the stands.”
Blaney will have to race his way in by winning the NASCAR NEXTEL Open or by fan voting at www.nascar.com in order to advance into the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The winner of the event will transfer and the driver with the most fan votes will also transfer. Blaney is slated for a spectacular run after a successful test session last week with the #23 Bill Davis Racing team. Blaney was among the quickest teams at the test session.(BDR PR), the Fan Pledge drive is still going on with a total pledges at $65,661 [$100,000 = the goal, the pledges have seemed to stagnate a bit in the past weeks] see more on my #23 Team News and Links page.(5-20-2004)
- Different Look for Shelmerdine in the Open: The #72 team of Kirk Shelmerdine will be sporting a different look this weekend at the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge Open. The car is the same one he ran at Richmond last week, with the black paint scheme. The different look will be decals saying “VOTE FOR KIRK” as an invitation for fans and viewers to vote for Kirk as the one entry other than the Open winner to advance to the Nextel All-Star Challenge [see story and links below to vote]. Shelmerdine said, “It would be a great honor to race with the guys in the Challenge, but I’d have to be voted in to be able to do that, so I’m relying on all my fans to help me. Let’s go, Underdog fans, VOTE FOR KIRK!” Shelmerdine continues to seek primary sponsorship for the Coca-Cola 600 and beyond. Interested parties may contact Rick Russell at (704) 662-5458.(Racing Underdog)(5-20-2004)
- Sad News: a little late, however…Doris Roberts, passed away peacefully at her home in Kannapolis, NC on May 5th, 2004. In 1950, Doris McConnell married the late Glenn “Fireball” Roberts and moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., where she lived for more than 20 years. She moved back to Kannapolis and opened Cousin’s Cross Stitch on South Main Street. She retired in 1996 after selling her shop. She spent more time doing the things she loved, which included attending NASCAR events and functions, fund-raisers and children’s charities. The family requests that memorials be made to Hospice of Cabarrus County, P.O. Box 1235, Concord, NC 28026-1235 or to Old Timers Racing Club, 119 Northeast Drive, Archdale, NC 27263.(Independent Tribune)(5-20-2004)
- Sad News: Bill Taylor, 84, Auburndale, Fla., a retired race driver and racing executive, died May 16. Taylor’s racing career began after World War II, when he borrowed $375 to buy a midget race car. He wrecked that car after four races, but he proved his speed, and car owners began hiring him to drive for them. He came to Indianapolis in 1949, having won the 1948 West Coast Stock Car Racing Association title, and finishing second to Troy Ruttman, 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner, in the midgets. That year Taylor passed his rookie test. He drove an experimental rear-engine car called the Rounds Rocket. Although Taylor reached speeds of 124 mph in the Rocket, the car weighed too much to qualify. Taylor tried to qualify for the 1952 Indy 500 in the Blue Crown Special but a stuck throttle caused a crash during practice. Taylor then became racing director for Mobil Oil. He handled Mobil’s economy runs, logistics for cross-country runs and world speed record runs at the Bonneville Salt Flats and Daytona Beach. In 1968, Taylor became director of the United States Auto Club’s stock car program. In that position, he helped A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, and Parnelli Jones race stock cars. Taylor then became a representative of Simpson Racing Equipment at all NASCAR races. He was a licensed chief steward and was a member of the NASCAR National Racing Commission and the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club. Taylor was a recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award. He was also a Navy veteran of World War II. He is survived by his wife, Nicki Griffin Taylor.(Indianapolis Star)(5-20-2004)
- Humpy Picks Jeff Gordon: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, today predicted Jeff Gordon will win Saturday night’s 20th running of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Wheeler, known for his promotional flair and Karnac-type ability, has correctly picked the winner of NASCAR’s all-star race nine times in the past 15 races, including last year when Jimmie Johnson took home the $1 million prize. If Wheeler’s prediction holds true, Gordon would be the first driver to win the event four times. “If ever there was a race that was made for a specific driver, it is the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and Jeff Gordon. He can drive a car smoothly with total reckless abandon,” Wheeler said. “He can drive as deep or deeper into a corner than anybody out there.” Wheeler also indicated several recent changes in Gordon’s life away from the race track played into his decision to pick the four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion. “I don’t think the fire ever went out in Jeff Gordon, but he’s made some changes in his life and I see the old Jeff Gordon again,” Wheeler said. “Since his stepfather, John Bickford, has gone back to work for him as his manager, Jeff’s won half the races he’s entered. Even though he may not fit the true definition, Wheeler tabbed defending race winner Johnson as his dark horse selection. “My dark, dark horse is Elliott Sadler. He did a great job winning at Texas and that’s a very similar track,” Wheeler concluded. NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge activities kick off Friday night with qualifying for both races. In addition to qualifying, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will compete in the Infineon 200. Tickets start at $20. Good seats, in various price ranges, are still available for Saturday’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Tickets start at $21 and may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
“Humpy” Wheeler’s Pick the Winner Results
Year Selection (Finish) Dark Horse Winner 1989 Rusty Wallace (1) Rusty Wallace 1990 Dale Earnhardt (1) Dale Earnhardt 1991 Davey Allison (1) Davey Allison 1992 Davey Allison (1) Alan Kulwicki Davey Allison 1993 Dale Earnhardt (1) Dale Earnhardt 1994 Ernie Irvan (15) Geoffrey Bodine Geoffrey Bodine 1995 Jeff Gordon (1) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon 1996 Rusty Wallace (2) Jeff Gordon Michael Waltrip 1997 Dale Earnhardt (4) Dale Jarrett Jeff Gordon 1998 Rusty Wallace (5) Jeff Gordon Mark Martin 1999 Jeff Gordon (3) Jeremy Mayfield Terry Labonte 2000 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) Terry Labonte Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2001 Dale Jarrett (2) Steve Park Jeff Gordon 2002 Jeff Gordon (11) Jimmie Johnson Ryan Newman 2003 Jimmie Johnson (1) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jimmie Johnson 2004 Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson ?
- Belmont to run the Open UPDATE: Been told that ‘field filler’ Andy Belmont is planning to run in the Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with his own #59. Belmont has been an outspoken “field filler / independent” and even has a website: fieldfillers.com, Belmont ran a few races in Hermie Sadler’s #02 Pontiac.(5-18-2004)
UPDATE: on Tuesday night’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [Speed Channel 10:00pm/et], Belmont wrote in and said he will drive the “Dave Despain 4 President” #59 Pontiac in Saturday’s NEXTEL Open. Despain suggested that fans vote for Belmont in the Fan Vote [see below for the story and to vote]. Belmont also said that if he got voted into the All-Star Challenge, he would donate the winnings to the Penndel Fire Company’s New Truck Fund. The fire company is in need of a new truck and has been conducting fund raisers for a long time to make this needed purchase. Also hearing that Belmont will run at Dover and Pocono, not sure if he will drive thge #59 or #02 car.(5-19-2004)
- Redneckjunk.com News: Redneckjunk.com, the online marketing portal that sponsored Derrick Cope in the #50 Arnold Motorsports entry [at Las Vegas before NASCAR disallowed it], has entered into a co-marketing agreement as the exclusive web storefront for BSR Products. BSR was established in 1982 in a move to be the first company to service all the major NASCAR races. It offers 34,000 square feet of retail and warehouse space in Concord, NC and a 5,000 square foot retail location at Lakeside Park in Mooresville, NC. BSR operates four trucks that service on-site customers at NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Grand National, ARCA and Grand American sports car events. Now, BSR will ramp up its online presence through an affiliation with redneckjunk.com, through the launch of a new site exclusively for oval track racing parts – rjgoods.com. “We’re real excited to be working with Butch Stevens, and the entire crew at BSR Products,” said Tom Connelly, founder of redneckjunk.com and the new rjgoods.com. “Butch runs a top notch business, and provides efficient service for top NASCAR teams like DEI, Hendrick and Roush, to name a few. We’re formulating a plan that will bring BSR’s excellent products to local tracks more effectively through the Internet and rjgoods.com.” The Internet storefront www.rjgoods.com is scheduled to launch in late July.(PR)(5-19-2004)
- Pit Crew Win Gives Earnhardt Jr.’s Team Double Victory in Richmond: It was a double victory Saturday night for the No. 8 DEI team at Richmond International Raceway. Not only did Dale Earnhardt Jr. capture the Chevy American Revolution 400, but his pit crew also claimed victory in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the second victory of the season for Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew, which leads in the McDonald’s/POWERade standings with 425 points. Elliott Sadler’s crew took over second with 396 points and Tony Stewart’s crew moved into third with 390 points. The prize money for the pit crew championship includes $20,000 to the weekly winner and $200,000 to the season champion. The #8 crew edged its DEI teammate – Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 pit crew — for top honors in Richmond. The No. 8 and the No. 15 crews finished first and second respectively in last year’s McDonald’s/POWERade season championship point standings. Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevrolet spent 125.128 seconds on pit road in Richmond while Waltrip’s Napa Chevy was second with a time of 163.435. Tony Stewart’s No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet was third at 165.927. “It wasn’t too bad of a night in the pits,” said Tony Eury Jr., car chief for the No. 8 team. “We didn’t have our front tire changer (Phil Drye), so I had to do some tire changing. It was kind of like an old-school type deal (Tony Jr. was formerly the full-time front tire changer before relinquishing his over-the-wall duties prior to last year). It’s just like wearing an old shoe — if you can do it, you can do it; if you can’t, you can’t.”
“This pit crew did another great job,” said Dale Jr. “And I got to hand it to ol’ Tony Jr. He hasn’t had to change tires for quite some time, so it was kind of neat seeing him chugging around the car. I had to make sure I hit the brakes early to give him plenty of room! Our pit stops have been real good all year long, and that’s a big reason we’re leading the (driver) points right now.” The No. 8 over-the-wall crew consists of: Bill Snyder (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Shannon Myers (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Craig Lund (catch can). Tony Eury Sr. is the crew chief and the car chief is Eury Jr. The pit crew coach at DEI is Walt Smith.(DMF Communciations PR). See standings, top 10 at RIR and past info on my Pit Crew Page.(5-19-2004)
- New Ford Engine Heads to debut at All-Star Race UPDATE 2: Ford Racing’s new engine will make its debut this week in the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “The old model is worn out,” engine builder/team owner Robert Yates says. “Hopefully, we’ll have equal power against the competition in (the Challenge). We can only get 90 percent with the cars, we need the extra 10 percent that the engine can deliver. This is a move to take Ford, Ford engineering and Ford design back where they need to be.” Ford was expecting four engines would be available for competition, but which drivers would receive the new power plants had not been determined.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-17-2004)
UPDATE: been told that Robert Yates Racing [RYR – I supplement the ‘guys’ income?] ran the new cylinder heads at Richmomnd this past week.(5-18-2004)
UPDATE 2: The new Ford cylinder head is slated to be in five Ford Tauruses this weekend for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Engine builder Doug Yates said that #38-Elliott Sadler ran the new configuration at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, a race in which he finished 12th and remained in 10th-place in the point standings. While the new engine now appears ready for action, Yates said a full fleet won’t be available until July at either Chicago, Loudon or Pocono. He explained how the system would work in the meantime during a phone interview on Tuesday morning. Doug Yates, Head Engine Builder – Roush-Yates Engines: “We raced it last week in the 38 car and the plan for this weekend is to have it in five cars based on our first five guys in points. So the 17, 97, 38, 88 and the 6 [cars] will have it this weekend and then from there we’ll evaluate it and start getting it ready to go full-time in the second half of the year.”(Team Ford Racing)(5-19-2004)
- Steele Back Racing: Tim Steele always thought it was the race driver who needed to tame the track. Today, in a fight to reclaim his life, Steele, the three-time ARCA/REMAX Series champion from Coopersville, is hoping the track can tame him and his addiction. “I had the world by the tail and cocaine took it all away,” Steele, 36, said before taking the track Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, a track where he was Rookie of the Year in 1988. “When I finally hit bottom I realized all I had given up. It took racing away from me. It took my family away from me.” Saturday’s 100-lap double late model feature at Berlin was Steele’s first competition since last June in the ARCA Flagstar 200 at Michigan International Speedway and his first race at the local track since 1990. It came less than two months after the end of his self-imposed stay at the Hazelden Clinic in Minnesota for a cocaine addiction that had spiraled out of control and thrown a red flag at his promising track career. Steele, with the financial backing of his father and the HS Die and Engineering Motorsports Team, parlayed his two years at Berlin Raceway in 1988-89 into an ARCA ride, which soon produced three championships. Continued success took him to a run on the NASCAR Busch Series, to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1999 and to five starts atop NASCAR’s peak, the Winston (now Nextel) Cup. In 1993, Steele racked up nearly $135,000 in winnings on the ARCA circuit. In all, he’s won 41 ARCA races and 31 poles and secured three MIS victories in 11 starts at the two-mile superspeedway. He and Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre were discussing the possibility of forming a Winston Cup team. Then Steele’s career crashed. He got hurt at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November of 1997. Part of his recovery included the use of pain killers. “When I got off (the pain killers), I substutited one drug for another,” he said. “Toward the end, I was using drugs every day. Every minute of every day. I hit bottom when I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Last week, Steele traded his ARCA machine to former Berlin racer Chad Blount in exchange for Blount’s late model Berlin ride and the chance to run again every week for a Berlin Raceway points championship.(see full article at Michigan Live)(5-19-2004)
- IROC Testing at RIR: IROC testing continues on Tuesday, May 18th at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the first RIR and short track race in IROC Series history. IROC test drivers Jay Sauter, Jim Sauter, Dave Marcis and winner of the second IROC race of the 2004 season, Danny “The Dude” Lasoski will do the testing. The grandstands are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days. Admission is FREE.(Richmond International Raceway)(5-18-2004)
UPDATE: IROC made a stop at Richmond International Raceway for two days of testing in preparation for its Richmond and short track debut this September. Danny “The Dude” Lasoski, winner of the second of four races, fired up an IROC car for these practice days along with regular IROC testers Jim and Jay Sauter and long-time NASCAR veteran Dave Marcis. The drivers were impressed with the newly paved surface at Richmond International Raceway. “Richmond is phenomenal,” said Lasoski. “As everyone knows, Tony Stewart heads up my car in the Sprint Car Division. He was telling me what to expect when I came here, and it’s everything of that and more.” All four agreed the third out of the four IROC races on the 2004 schedule will be a treat for the fans on Thursday, September 9 at Richmond International Raceway. The dozen superstars will experience “Racing Perfection” in September while battling it out “under the lights.” Fans have the opportunity to see two great races-IROC and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series-for the price of one on Thursday, September 9. All tickets are general admission and are just $30, which is the same price as previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events. Additionally, children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. For ticket information, fans can log onto www.rir.com or call the track’s toll free number, 1-866-455-RACE.(RIR PR)(5-19-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky this week UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway will host NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Truck Series testing May 19-20. NEXTEL Cup Series drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray, #25-Brian Vickers, #77-Brendan Gaughan, #0-Ward Burton and NASCAR Truck Series driver Chris Horn are scheduled May 19. Fans can view testing from an area outside the speedway’s Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-18-2004)
UPDATE: testing on Wednesday, May 19th: #40-Chip Ganassi, #42-Jamie McMurray, #15-Michael Waltrip, #1-John Andretti, #0-Ward Burton, #25-Brian Vickers, #77-Brendan Gaughan. Busch team #8-Martin Truex, Jr. and Trucks #58-Chris Horn.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-18-2004)
- Evernham Helping Out: Ray Evernham, CEO of Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91], has been named National Chairperson of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk. Evernham will put serious horsepower behind the Society’s efforts to raise funds for lifesaving cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The Light The Night Walk is the Society’s annual fall event held in communities throughout the U.S. to raise money for blood cancer research and patient services. Last year, the walk raised more than $18 million in 260 communities. Evernham, a longtime supporter of the Society, has a personal connection to blood cancer. In 1992, his son, Ray J, was diagnosed with leukemia at just under a year old. Today, Ray J. is a healthy teenager. In cities across the country, teams of co-workers, families and friends walk together along a two- or three- mile route in twilight holding illuminated balloons — white for survivors and red for supporters. The walks commemorate lives touched by blood cancer. Individuals and teams of walkers are invited to participate.
Call 800-LTN-WALK or visit www.lightthenight.org.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(5-19-2004)
- DuPont and Pepsi to Switch on the #24? UPDATE: hearing that Jeff Gordon’s sponsorships will switch around in the future, and that Pepsi will be on the hood of the #24 Chevy and that DuPont will move to the TV Panel [rear-end between the light decals](Speedway Scene Magazine – print April 30th issue)(5-17-2004)
UPDATE: been told there is no truth to the rumor that DuPont and Pepsi will be switching positions on the #24 car.(5-18-2004)
- #8 Car Chief to change tires: Tony Eury Jr., car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team, will again serve as front-tire changer in place of the injured Phil Drye this weekend in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Walt Smith, pit crew coordinator at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said it is unclear whether Drye will be back for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30. Eury, who relinquished his full-time over-the-wall duties prior to last season, stepped in Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and helped the Budweiser team to its third win of the year. Joked Eury, “(Changing tires) is like wearing an old pair of shoes. If you can do it, you can do it; if you can’t, you can’t. But I made sure Dale Jr. knew how to use that brake pedal when he came into the pits.” The Budweiser team is the reigning McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Champions and currently leads the 2004 standings with 382 points.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(5-18-2004)
- Quarterly Spirit Award Winner: Ken Patterson, who served as director of public relations at Talladega Superspeedway before his death April 2 from myelo dysplasia syndrome, has been named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2004. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Others receiving first-quarter votes included Nextel Cup drivers Ricky Craven and Jamie McMurray.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-18-2004)
- Robby Gordon skipping Nazareth: BGNRacing.com has confirmed that Robby Gordon has tentatively decided not to run the Busch race this weekend at Nazareth. Plans could change, but the team currently plans on skipping the race and forgoing the chase for a Busch Series championship.(5-18-2004)
- DW Comments on the Stewart Flap: Darrell Waltrip responded yesterday to a series of personal sideswipes by Tony Stewart by saying, ”I don’t like it when it turns ugly. ‘At first I thought he was just messing around with me, doing a little pre-race sparring, which is OK,” Waltrip, a Fox Sports announcer, said from his home in Franklin. ”But then he just kept on and on, and I began to realize he wasn’t joking around. ‘I find it odd that he singled me out as his biggest critic. It’s unfortunate.” Stewart directed sharp remarks toward Waltrip before and after Saturday’s race in Richmond. Stewart was upset by Waltrip’s comments the week before that perhaps NASCAR should suspend him for one race for rough driving. Several drivers have complained about Stewart’s over-aggressiveness in recent weeks. After the race Stewart, who had made slight contact with Jeff Gordon, said in a live, nationally televised interview: ”Darrell and those guys are up there in the booth now, lobbying to get me suspended for life.” He continued to make pointed comments toward Waltrip. In reference to contact that was made among several drivers Stewart said, ”If Darrell had his way, we’d have only about 18 cars racing next week.”
Yesterday Waltrip was asked if he was peeved, hurt or amused by Stewart’s personal attacks. ”I don’t really have a reaction,” said Waltrip, a three-time champion whose 84 wins tie for third all-time. ”He drives his car and we talk about it. That’s our jobs.” Waltrip said he has always liked Stewart and has repeatedly praised his driving talent. ”I don’t have anything against Tony,” Waltrip said. ”What I said was not meant to be personal. Part of my job is to comment about situations on the track, and you can’t ignore Tony’s situation. This is reality TV. We don’t make it up.” Waltrip said he has had no contact with Stewart since last Saturday night’s outburst. ”I kept thinking maybe he’ll call me up and tell me he was only kidding around,” he said. ”But so far I haven’t heard from him.”(see full article at the Tennessean)
The columns at FoxSports would be:
Not the first to be singled out, Stewart doesn’t deserve to be parked and
Parking Stewart would teach him self-control.(5-18-2004)
- Carl Long to run the Nextel Open with Jaret’s Angels: Carl Long will once again let Jaret’s Angels come along for the ride on his #46 Dodge NASCAR NEXTEL Open entry, in hopes of raising awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Jaret’s Angels is a family support team founded by Charlotte residents Erik and Sandy Arneson, whose son Jaret was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Since forming Jaret’s Angels, the group has raised more than $40,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in hopes of finding a cure for the life-threatening disease. “We just hope it does something for Jaret and some of the other families dealing with diabetes,” Long said. “And we hope to be able to build on this relationship and this effort as the team continues to grow.” Long also carried Jaret’s Angels and JDRF logos on his Cup and Busch Series entries in 2002. “When Carl was nice enough to do this a few years ago, we were stunned by the response we got from across the country from others working to raise money for a cure,” said Arneson, the director of public relations for SPEED Channel and a JDRF Charlotte board member . “This was never meant to be a fundraising effort, simply an awareness opportunity, but it has turned into both. We are extremely grateful to Carl and his team. It feels wonderful to look my son in the eye and tell him how many people are trying to help him get better.” JDRF, the world’s leading nonprofit, nongovernmental funder of diabetes research, was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with diabetes — a disease which strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $680 million to diabetes research worldwide. For more information, www.jdrf.org or call 800/533-CURE.(5-18-2004)
- Charlotte looking to keep All-Star race: In a bid to keep the NASCAR all-star race in Charlotte for years to come, Queen City business and political leaders offered a display of appreciation during a luncheon Monday. Wachovia Corp. Chief Executive Ken Thompson hosted the meeting, held at the bank’s headquarters. Attendees included speedway executives Bruton Smith and Humpy Wheeler, retailer John Belk, NASCAR President Mike Helton, Mayor Pat McCrory and stock-car team owner Ray Evernham. On Friday, NASCAR announced that the all-star race would be held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 2005. No decisions have been made regarding future years, again fueling concerns the all-star event might move to another city.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-18-2004)
- One of the Young Guns wins again: For the seventh time [in eleven races] this season, a member of the Gillette Young Guns found their way to victory lane. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led five times for 115 laps at Richmond Raceway Saturday night en route to his third victory of the season and the 12th of his young career. After leading 91 laps, fellow Young Gun Jimmie Johnson finished second 1.481 seconds behind Earnhardt Jr. Joining Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson in the top-10 were Matt Kenseth (Fifth) and Ryan Newman (Ninth). Despite Earnhardt Jr.’s victory in Richmond, the point’s race continues to be tight as he still leads fellow Young Gun Johnson by 40-points. All six members of the Young Guns are still solidly in the top-10 of the point standings, with 252-points separating the top-nine drivers. With his victory and thus being the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun for the sixth time this season, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. As the race winner and highest finishing eligible driver in the contingency program, Earnhardt Jr. also picked up the $4,800 Gillette Mach3 Turbo Award. Finishing results for the remaining Gillette Young Guns were as follows: Johnson (Second), Matt Kenseth (Fifth), Ryan Newman (Ninth), Kevin Harvick (25th) and Kurt Busch (31st).
If the Gillette Young Guns sweep the top six positions at the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 on May 30, 2004 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and you correctly predict the order in which they finish at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for $5 million. Plus, if a fan wins $5 million, Gillette will make a matching $5 million charitable contribution to the NPCC.
This past week the Gillette Young Guns were together in Charlotte to film two brand new commercials for Gillette’s newest razor, the M3Power. While Hollywood has no reason to worry, the six drivers had a great time filming the commercials and poking a little fun at themselves. The commercials will debut during the telecast of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30 on FOX.(Alan Taylor PR)(5-18-2004)
- Kyle Busch to skip Open but to run at Kansas: Kyle Busch will attempt to qualify for the Oct. 10 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway, adding a sixth points-paying race to his 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule in the #84 CARQUEST Chevrolets. In another change to Busch’s calendar, Hendrick Motorsports has elected to not field the No. 84 entry in the May 22 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Instead, the 19-year-old Busch will remain in Nazareth, Pa., to concentrate on the May 23 NASCAR Busch Series event at Nazareth Speedway. The Las Vegas native is currently first in the Busch Series championship standings after 11 of 34 races. Busch started 18th and finished 41st at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start on March 7. He will next enter a Cup-level event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 30.
REMAINING 2004 SCHEDULE – NO. 84 CARQUEST CHEVROLETS:
May 30, Lowe’s Motor Speedway
July 25, New Hampshire International Speedway
Aug. 15, Michigan International Speedway
Sept. 5, California Speedway
Oct. 10, Kansas Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-18-2004)
- Kerry Earnhardt to run the Nextel Open: #33-Kerry Earnhardt will pilot chassis #112 from the Richard Childress Racing stable at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Nextel Open. This is the same car Kevin Harvick drove to a 13th-place finish in February at Rockingham. Harvick also raced this car last season at Texas (3/30/03), California (4/27/03) and Michigan (6/15/03). The NASCAR NEXTEL Open will be Earnhardt’s second Cup Series start of 2004 for RCR. His most recent appearance came last month at Talladega where he qualified 36th and finished 35th. While the end result was a less than desirable outcome, Earnhardt was running inside the top-15 when he was tapped by another car and spun into the inside retaining wall, ending his day 63 circuits short of the scheduled 188 lap distance. Earnhardt will sport a special paint scheme this weekend highlighting Bass Pro Shops support of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Earnhardt tested chassis No. 93 May 10-11 at LMS in preparation for the NASCAR NEXTEL Open. Earnhardt also tested at Michigan International Speedway last week in preparation for the Sirius 400, June 20. The NEXTEL Open will be Earnhardt’s second NASCAR Cup attempt at LMS. He attempted to make the UAW-GM 500 in October 2002 with FitzBradshaw Racing, but missed the field due to lack of owner championship points after rain washed out qualifying. Earnhardt won the 2001 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 ARCA Series race at LMS. Additionally, he made two other ARCA starts at the suburban Charlotte track, recording second and 20th-place finishes.
Crew Gary Cogswell says: “Kerry and I have tested together twice at two different tracks and I think I have a pretty good direction as to what I need to give him so he can drive the car hard. I’m eager to go this weekend. Kerry is really motivated. He knows he has a chance to drive a quality car with a lot of support behind him to help him run well. As far as expectations go, we just want to be able to race. We want to win, but we’re not going to put the cart in front of the horse. To me, if we can run the whole race competitively – if we can pass cars, if we get passed that’s ok, as long as we can pass too. If we can stay out of trouble and run all the laps we’ll call it a good day.”(RCR PR)(5-18-2004)
- Newman commercial to debut: ExxonMobil will air its first national television commercial featuring Penske Racing driver Ryan Newman during Fox’s May 30 broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, this week’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The story says the ad is designed to promote use of the company’s Speedpass credit card system.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-18-2004)
- Evernham Motorsports Hosts Third Annual Fan Appreciation Day: Evernham Motorsports [#’s 9.19.91] will hold its third annual Evernham Motorsports Fan Appreciation Day featuring Jeremy Mayfield, Kasey Kahne, Ray Evernham and Bill Elliott to thank fans for their support of the team and provide them an opportunity to meet the stars of Evernham Motorsports in person. Evernham Motorsports Fan Appreciation Day will be held Friday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Evernham Motorsports facilities in Statesville, N.C. Throughout the event, fans will have the opportunity to tour the race facility and meet members of the Dew Crew. The day will conclude with an autograph signing with Elliott and a second with Mayfield, Kahne and Evernham. Charlotte’s WFMX-FM will be doing a live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from the event. In addition, a silent auction will be held featuring several items including race memorabilia. Funds from the auction will be distributed to Racing for a Reason, a foundation established by Ray Evernham that benefits several worthy causes. For more information and directions, visit www.evernhammotorsports.com.(5-18-2004)
- Spotters “Other” driver to make ARCA debut: 19-year-old Kelly Bires will make his first start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in the “Quaker Steak and Lube 100” at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 27th [where Jayski will be the grand marshal]. Bires will drive for Mike Calinoff [#17 Cup Spotter/comedian] and FitzBradshaw Racing, who have established a joint-venture for this event. Bires, who competed successfully at Late Model tracks in Wisconsin for the past two years, will drive the Atlantic Pin Striping Company/Meadow Valley Log Homes Chevrolet. A recent test at the Nashville Speedway prompted ARCA to approve Bires for the 1 ½ mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He had never competed on anything greater than a half-mile, and ran laps that would have been quick enough to place him in the top-five for the ARCA race at Nashville. Bires recently tested at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to further prove that he can adapt quickly to an even quicker track. He posted the sixth fastest time of 23 cars in the final rundown. Last season, Bires won four feature events, including the prestigious Wisconsin Challenge Series 100. He scored 8 top fives and 12 top ten finishes. In addition to Atlantic Pin Striping and mvloghomes.com, the team will sport associate sponsorship from Wisconsin-based companies who have supported Kelly through his career. Lange Plumbing, WTL Builders, Leo’s Uppers Dells Bar have joined Kelly in his ARCA debut.(MJ Sports Properties PR)(5-17-2004)
- Lepage to run at Lowe’s: confirmed the Kevin Lepage will run in the Nextel Open for Conley Motorsports #79 Chevy, depending on how Lepage runs at the Open, will determine if the team and Lepage attempts the Coca-Cola 600.(5-17-2004)
- Racing to the finish line: Victory Junction near goal: Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp in Randleman for seriously ill children that has been created by racing legend Richard Petty’s family and will be part of a network of camps inspired by actor Paul Newman, hopes to reach its $24.4 million capital goal before it opens June 20. The camp has raised $22.9 million and needs to raise only $500,000 more to secure a $1 million challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich., that will complete the drive, says Brian Collier, executive director. With the capital drive nearly wrapped up, Collier says, the camp already is raising money for its annual fund and gearing up for a $5 million endowment drive to begin early in 2005. The camp also is raising money to cover its annual budget, which this year will get a $500,000 boost from funds raised in the capital drive but still requires another $1.1 million to be raised privately. While this year’s $1.6 million budget will cover just over six months of operations, next year’s budget will grow to $2.5 million to cover the first full year of operations. Opening events include a June 17 open house and a June 15 invitation-only celebrity gala that will include Newman, donors who made large gifts, and NASCAR drivers, sponsors and team owners [Jayski will be there].(Business Journal Serving the Greater Triad Area)(5-17-2004)
- Schrader wins Toledo ARCA race: A winner’s trophy for Ken Schrader, more trying times for Frank Kimmel and a black flag for Billy Venturini; and that was only part of the fascinating story Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway where the ARCA RE/MAX Series played before a packed house. In the end, Schrader held off Jason Jarrett in a spirited door-to-door, two-lap shootout to win the thrilling Hickory Farms 200 presented by Federated Car Care. Rookie Boston Reid, in his first series attempt, looked very sharp, led laps and finished third. For Schrader, the victory represented his 11th ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his 31st attempt.(ARCA Racing Site)(5-17-2004)
- No Busch RCR engines for Gordon at Nazareth: Robby Gordon will run triple duty, racing in the Indy Racing League, Nextel Cup and the Busch Series. Gordon had initially planned to run a partial Busch schedule, and his Cup owner, Richard Childress Racing, had agreed to supply the engines. But when Gordon decided to stretch his Busch schedule beyond 25 races, Childress told Gordon he needed to find another power source. Enter his former IRL owner/sponsor John Menard, who will build Gordon’s engines for this weekend’s race at Nazareth Speedway.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-17-2004)
- Ronald McDonald House and Victory Junction: Ronald McDonald House Charities announced its sponsorship of $50,000 to be applied toward the construction of the Victory Junction Gang Camp Kitchen. Food fuels the spirits at Victory Junction, and by serving 3 hot meals a day to over 250 campers and counselors, the Kitchen will serve as the nerve-center for home-cooked goodness. The Kitchen, part of the Rick and Linda Hendrick/Hendrick Motorsports Dining Hall, is more than 3000 square feet and will be configured similar to a large restaurant. The Kitchen will utilize state-of-the-art food service appliances, including storage, preparation, cooking, sanitation and refrigeration systems. One of the most unique features of the Kitchen is the use of the existing terrain during its design and construction. The elevation change allowed for a two-story kitchen with cold and dry storage on both levels. The enormous dry storage, refrigeration and freezer capacity will allow the camp to accommodate the daily food needs, as well as provide excess capacity for storage of donated food products as they become available. The Victory Junction Gang Camp is located in Randleman, North Carolina, on land donated by NASCAR legend Richard Petty and his wife, Lynda. The camp will be free of charge to children and their families and will be the only year-round multi-disease facility of its kind in the Carolinas and Virginia. It is solely supported by contributions and donations from corporations, individuals and foundations. For more information or to make a donation to Victory Junction, visit its site at www.victoryjunction.org or call (336) 498-9055.(5-16-2004)
- Green testing at Nashville: Jeff Green, #43 Petty Enterprises NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Car, will test at the Nashville Superspeedway on Monday, May 17.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(5-16-2004)
- Gordon unhappy with Stewart: #20-Tony Stewart found himself defending his on-track actions again Saturday night. This time, his target – #24-Jeff Gordon – is willing to forgive and forget, at least for now. With 40 laps remaining in Saturday night’s Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Stewart and Gordon were racing for position when Stewart nudged Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet up and out of the main racing groove. Gordon wobbled and lost a position. He was running in the top five and eventually finished sixth. Stewart finished fourth. After the race, Stewart made an unexpected visit to Gordon’s hauler and spoke privately with Gordon for several minutes. “From where I was at, it seemed like he just body-slammed me for no reason but he came up to me in the trailer and said he was sorry he got loose,” Gordon said. “I questioned it. He was like, “Hey, I’m telling you the truth, I got loose.’ I’ll have to look. They say he got loose the time before that. Maybe he did. If he did, then I’ll accept his apology. If he didn’t, then he certainly needs to get his act together.” Asked immediately after the race about the incident, Stewart said he knew Gordon was “mad at him.” “I just got down into (Turn) 3 and I got loose and we made a change (on the last pit stop) and that’s probably what made it loose,” Stewart said.
Earlier Saturday, during a visit to the Richmond’s infield media center, Joe Gibbs, Stewart’s car owner and coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, said he did not believe Stewart’s actions were a pattern of bad behavior. “Generally over the years, Tony may have had some stuff happen on the race track, but rarely with another driver. I think he has a great reputation with the other drivers,” Gibbs said. “Rusty (Wallace) said the other night he and Tony had talked. I know Tony talked to Terry (Labonte) after that situation. I just kind of feel like it’s just one of those things that happen. It has been a series of things that have happened here that haven’t been good to him.”(see full story at ThatsRacin.com)(5-16-2004)
- Testing at Chicago? UPDATE: hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon and #5-Terry Labonte tested at Chicagoland Speedway sometime this week.(5-13-2004)
UPDATE: been told this is untrue and neither team tested at Chicago.(5-16-2004)
- Dale Jr. wins at Richmond: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Speedway, leading the most laps, winning his 3rd race of 2004 and 12th of his career. Earnhardt Jr. also maintains the points lead, and since he won the race and leads the points he adds $80,000 winning the Nextel Cup Leader Bonus. #48-Jimmie Johnson was 2nd, the rest of the top five were #18-Labonte, #20-Stewart [so..think Tony is unhappy with DW and the Fox crew?], and #17-Kenseth. #15-Waltrip was 10thm his first ever top 10 at Richmond in 37th races he has run at the track, 12th was his previous best. #25-Brian Vickers, the pole sitter, scored his first ever top 10 by finishing 8th and was the Raybestos Rookie of the race.
For my race rundown/narrative, see the Richmond Race Rundown/Info page.
For race results see:
Jayski’s Richmond Race Results/Awards
- Gordon qualifies for the Indy 500: Robby Gordon accepted a four-lap, 10-mile qualifying speed average of 216.522mph in Saturday rain-delayed qualifying for the 88th Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Driving his self-owned #70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet, Gordon turned laps of 217.101 mph, 216.969 mph, 216.600 mph and 215.426 mph. “I’m very disappointed,” said Gordon, who left immediately after his qualifying run for an approximately 60 minutes flight on a Citation 10 private jet for Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond, Va., where he qualified sixth Friday afternoon in the Cingular Wireless Chevy. “I thought we’d run better than that. We didn’t. The car got really tight. I just couldn’t hold it (throttle) open in turn one. This will probably be our worst Indianapolis 500 starting spot and that’s disappointing. The track (conditions) obviously isn’t as fast as we thought. If we didn’t have to leave (for Richmond), we would have waved it (qualifying attempt) off, for sure. We couldn’t do that because of the circumstances. I don’t think we lost anything to our competitors by me not being here the last two days (in Richmond), because of the rain here (Indy), the other teams didn’t get that much track time. I’m already thinking about what we need to do for race setup. I think we’ll have a good car for the race and that’s what’s important.”(Team Gordon PR), as of 7:00pm/et on May 15th, Gordon is 18th on the Indy 500 grid.(5-15-2004)
- National Guard Supports Drive for Diversity with Team and Driver: The National Guard will be the primary advertiser for Belnavis Racing’s #54 Ford for the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series races. Morty Buckles from Stone Mountain, Ga., was chosen from Access Marketing & Communications’ Drive for Diversity program to drive the National Guard #54 Ford. Belnavis Racing is one of five teams to support the inaugural Drive for Diversity program. Based in Richmond, Va., the team is owned by long-time motorsports executive Sam Belnavis, chief diversity officer of Roush Racing and the former owner of the National Guard’s #54 NASCAR Winston Cup car. Belnavis created Belnavis Racing to support the development of drivers from diverse ethnic backgrounds. A driving instructor with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, Morty Buckles drove late models in 2001 at various tracks including Concord Motorsport Park in Concord, N. C. and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. He earned one win, five top five finishes and six top-ten finishes in 17 major events. He also tested ARCA cars during both the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Buckles earned a mechanical engineering technology degree from Southern Polytechnic University. Drive for Diversity is a minority driver and crew member development program created and managed by Access Marketing & Communications, a Charlotte-based multicultural marketing firm founded in fall 2003 by The Radiate Group and Calhoun Enterprises. Driver and crew member recruiting for the 2005 Drive for Diversity program will begin this summer. A testing and evaluation combine event for invited participants is slated for this fall.(PR)(5-15-2004)
- New Jersey driver picked for diversity spot: Bruce Driver, an African American competitor from Pennington, N.J., will drive a car sponsored by MBNA in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series at South Boston Speedway in Virginia this year as part of the Drive for Diversity program. Driver’s team, Score Motorsports, is co-owned by veteran NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and Bryant Stith, a former basketball player at Virginia and in the NBA. The Drive for Diversity program is matching five minority drivers with teams to compete at weekly tracks this year in hopes of helping them work their way up the NASCAR ladder toward the Busch and Nextel Cup series. Charlotte-based Access Marketing & Communication is directing the program. Driver has competed in the NASCAR modified series and in American Speed Association events. Also, four students from the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia will be in the Charlotte area to complete one-week internships with NASCAR Truck Series teams leading up to the Infineon 200 race Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Leon Simmons Jr., Ari Summers, Paris Young and Anthony Martin Jr. are all high school seniors. They will work with Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, Innovative Motorsports, Circle Bar Racing and Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. NASCAR has also appointed Tish Sheets to the new position of director of diversity and special projects and Debbie Cox to manager of diversity to oversee programs in those areas.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-15-2004)
- Arnold Motorsports to run some ARCA races: #50 Team Owner, Don Arnold, said his operation is preparing to debut in the ARCA series at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., with young driver Justin Hobgood at the wheel of a car that will be sponsored by the Germain Automotive Family. The Quaker State and Lube 100 will take place May 27. “We plan to do four ARCA races for sure and maybe a fifth one, too,” Arnold said. “It will be good for testing and it’s also a good way to bring along a young driver.” The 24-year-old Hobgood last year was one of the stars of the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series, finishing second in the points. The series is now called the IPOWERracing Dash Series.(Naples Daily News)(5-15-2004)
- Roush to buy out Yates? DENIED: Garage sources have told Sporting News insider Lee Spencer that Roush Racing has offered to purchase Robert Yates Racing, expanding their engine partnership to team ownership in an effort to pool Ford’s Nextel Cup resources. The Yates camp says the rumors are rubbish.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-11-2004)
UPDATE: Robert Yates denied a report that Jack Roush is buying part or all of Robert Yates Racing. The two NASCAR Nextel Cup car owners are partnering with Ford on an engine-building company, but Yates said that’s as far as it will go.(NASCAR.com), Yates also thinks Jayski supplements his “guy’s” income, sure doesn’t know what he is talking about…..(5-15-2004)
- Dyno Numbers from Talladega: NASCAR tested six cars on the chassis dyno after the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway: #12-Dodge, #42-Dodge, #24-Chevy, #8-Chevy, #21-Ford and #6-Ford. Reports are that the #21 Ford was at 419 measured bhp and the #8-Chevy at 415 bhp at the rear wheels. No word on the rest of the results.(Speedway Scene Magazine – print May 7th issue)(5-15-2004)
- New Ford Cylinder Head at Lowe’s? NASCAR approved a new cylinder head for Ford this season, but it hasn’t been used yet. Team Owner Robert Yates said testing has been fruitful and the new engine package should run in next weekend’s Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “The engine ran good at Kentucky,” Yates said. “We’d like to have 2,000 miles on it. We’ve had two or three of the engines that first tested at Vegas that weren’t something we wanted to have. There’s still some issues. We’ve finally got it to where, ‘I like this.’ This is going to give us less of a handicap than what we are to do. It’s going to be a must-have in the next two weeks. Our 12-year-old engine is about worn out. Hopefully, we’ll see it in The Winston next week with a new, modern take.”(NASCAR.com)(5-15-2004)
- StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – Richmond: Track position is rapidly becoming “the” catch phrase when it comes to Nextel Cup racing….and tonight’s Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway re-inforced that theory to the fullest. Dale Earnhardt Jr stayed out on lap 346 as most of the leaders pitted for fresh tires and pulled away from Jimmie Johnson for the victory. It was the third win of 2003 for Earnhardt, the second for him at Richmond (he won this event in 2000), and the 12th of his Cup career (he’s 45th all-time). While he may not yet be a “gazillionaire”, this victory was worth $285,053 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
And now, about the pre-race show…..Hooray for Tony’s tirade against the booth. I [note: thought of Von form Stock Car Fans ….NOT Jayski] praised Rusty Wallace a couple weeks ago for speaking his mind, and the same goes for Stewart tonight. While it’s nearly impossible to fight battles against people who buy ink by the barrel, the only person Tony has to please is the one looking back at him in the mirror in the morning. And, he is entitled to a self- defense. Tony’s talked to Rusty….and it’s over. NASCAR looked at the situation and found nothing wrong. Both of those drivers are emotional and driven to win, and I don’t think either one took umbrage at the other speaking their mind. But, for you new fans, fans with short memories, and TV commentators, here’s what Tony was referring to in his “discussion” with Darrel Waltrip.
Tony Stewart (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Las Vegas in March.
Brian Vickers (8th) had his career-best finish tonight, his previous best was 12th at Texas last month. We’ve now had 29 drivers score a Top-10 finish this season….last year’s number was 42.
Ricky Rudd (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Kansas last October.
Todd Bodine (33rd) had his best finish since he was 11th at Homestead last November.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Bobby Labonte has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: The Operator of the Week is a three-way tie (a first in the long and storied history of “The Shaft”) between Bobby Labonte (+24), Tony Stewart (+24), and Matt Kenseth (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper (for the second race in a row) was Jeff Green (-34), followed by Joe Nemechek (-28), and Casey Mears (-23).
Ricky Rudd led tonight for the first time since he led once for 26 laps when we were here last September. We’ve had 39 different drivers to lead a lap this season vs last years number of 48.
Only 11 races into the Chase prelims and we’re already down to only 14 drivers within 400 points of the leader. Any time the points leader wins the race, it’s gonna make it tougher for those drivers down around the “Stayin’ Alive” line to stay in the hunt.
No change in the Top-4 after tonight’s race. Brian Vickers (27th to 23rd) made the best move forward and Joe Nemechek (20th to 25th) fell the most spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(5-15-2004)
- Richmond Race Facts/Notes: Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the Chevy American Revolution 400, scoring his 12th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 158th career start. His last victory came at Atlanta seven races ago.
This is Earnhardt Jr.’s second victory on a short-track. He also won here at Richmond in May 2000 during his rookie season.
Earnhardt Jr. remained 45th on NASCAR’s all-time win list.
This is his seventh top-10 finish in 10 races at Richmond International Raceway
This is Earnhardt Jr’s third victory and eighth top-10 finish in 11 races in 2004.
Earnhardt Jr., led five times for 115 laps; the second time in 2004 he led the most laps. He also led the most laps at Talladega.
This is the sixth victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has four and Dodge has one.
Fourteen drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship.
The 12 different leaders in the Chevy American Revolution 400 ties the record on the 3/4-mile configuration set in September 2003.
Earnhardt Jr., has scored seven top-five finishes in 2004 and is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most of the season.
Jimmie Johnson (second) scored his seventh top-five finish in 11 races in 2004. Johnson has scored five straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began Texas. Johnson scored his first top-10 finish in five races at Richmond International Raceway.
Bobby Labonte (third) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2004. Labonte has scored top-10 finishes in his last four races in 2004. He has scored three straight top-10s at Richmond International Raceway.
Tony Stewart (fourth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 11 races in 2004. He climbed from eighth to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It was his seventh top-10 finish in 11 races at Richmond International Raceway.
Matt Kenseth (fifth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2004. It was his fifth straight top-10 finish at Richmond. Kenseth has scored six top-10 finishes in nine races at Richmond International Raceway.
Kenseth has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 for 46 straight races.
Brian Vickers (8th) scored his first top-10 finish in 2004. This is his career-best finish in 16 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. It was his first race at Richmond in NASCAR’s premier division.
Vickers was the highest finishing rookie for the second time in 2004. He was also the highest finishing rookie three races ago at Martinsville.
Michael Waltrip (10th) scored his first top-10 finish in 37 races at Richmond International Raceway. Waltrip has scored just two top-10 finishes in 2004.
Ricky Rudd (11th) led for the first time since New Hampshire in September 2003.
Jeremy Mayfield (22nd) led for the first time in his 21 races at Richmond.
Kevin Harvick (25th) extended his streak of running at the finish to 50 straight races (since Rockingham in November 2002).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-15-2004)
- #0 Crew Members OK: Two members of Ward Burton’s crew, Scott Swift and Derick Jennings, avoided injury Thursday night when a team van they were driving collided with a deer. The van sustained considerable damage, but both crew members were at work yesterday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-15-2004)
- Cope’s sponsor: the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge is sporting a yellow scheme this week and is being sponsored by Chesapeake Mobile Homes.(5-14-2004)
- Kahne to be featured in Mag: American Thunder, a new men’s magazine aimed at NASCAR fans, has a sort of reverse Sports Illustrated-cover jinx going. The magazine’s first issue, which was distributed at the Daytona 500 in February, had Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the cover. Junior won his first Daytona 500 that day. Issue No. 2, published in March, had Rusty Wallace on the cover. Wallace proceeded to break his 105-race winless streak to win at Martinsville. Who’s next? The editors say the third issue, available toward the end of May, will have rookie Kasey Kahne on the cover, just in time for the Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina and the MBNA America 400 in Dover.(Philadelphia Inquirer)(5-14-2004)
- Interstate Batteries to Re-up with Gibbs and the #18: Interstate Batteries will announce today a three-year extension with Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 18 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet.(The State)(5-14-2004)
- #19 Jackman out for year UPDATE: Ed Watkins, Jack Man for the #19 Dew Crew, will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering injuries to both knees in April. He is replaced by Rick Pennington for this weekend’s race at Richmond. Pennington also subbed as Jack Man for the team at Talladega and California.(ClearBlue/Evernham Motorsports PR)
UPDATE: a correction – Rick Pennington will NOT be subbing as the #19 Dew Crew Jack Man this weekend at Richmond. Mark Schmuck, Jack Man with the #38 Dodge Busch Series team will sub this weekend.(5-13-2004)
- NASCAR Announced Diveristy Appointments: In an effort to more effectively coordinate its diversity initiatives, NASCAR Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Brian France has appointed Tish Sheets as Director of Diversity and Special Projects and Debbie Cox as Manager of Diversity.(NASCAR PR)(5-13-2004)
- Interesting facts about NASCAR [meaning the current Nextel Cup Series] from an article at the Dallas Morning News [no registion required for this article]…….NASCAR’s roots are in the Southeast, but some would be surprised to learn that the sport has a long history of racing across the nation and even in Canada. And NASCAR also had many seasons of more than one event per week and more than 40 races a year.
WHERE THEY RACED
• NASCAR raced in Canada in 1952 and 1958.
• NASCAR started and ended the Winston Cup season in California from 1974 to ’81.
• NASCAR held five races in New York state in 1955, along with races in Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Mateo, Calif.
• NASCAR had five races in California in 1956 and ’57, along with three races in Portland, Ore.
• In 1958, NASCAR had four races in New York state, three in New Jersey, one in California and one in Toronto.
• In 1970, NASCAR had races in Connecticut, New York, Maryland and New Jersey.
• The NASCAR season finale was held at Texas World Speedway in College Station in 1969, 1971 and 1972.
• From July 1-6, 1952, NASCAR had races in Niagara Falls, Ontario; Oswego, N.Y.; and Monroe. Mich.
WHEN THEY RACED
• NASCAR had more than 50 races in eight seasons between 1956 and ’69, and more than 40 events a year nine other times.
•NASCAR had 62 races in 1964.
• NASCAR held three races on the same day in California, Pennsylvania and Virginia on Oct. 14, 1951.
• NASCAR had three races in different locations in New York state over three consecutive days in 1955.
• NASCAR held four races in nine days in July 1954.
• From 1960 to 1971, NASCAR had three Daytona races in one week of February that all counted toward the championship.
• Until the start of the Winston Cup era in 1972, NASCAR often had two or three events in the same week.
• From 1955 to 1969, with the exception of one year, the season started in November and continued until late October or early November of the following year.
• Two of NASCAR’s races at Texas World Speedway were held in December.
(see full story and more facts at the Dallas Morning News)(5-13-2004)
- Labonte going for a rare pole feat at RIR: #5-Terry Labonte is bidding to become the first driver to win consecutive poles for Richmond’s spring race since Jeff Gordon went back-to-back in 1998-99. In fact, only three other drivers have accomplished that feat in 50 years of racing at the .75-mile oval: Bobby Allison (1972-74), Neil Bonnett (1977-78) and Darrell Waltrip (1984-85). Labonte will run the same #5 Chevrolet that he put on the pole at Richmond a year ago.(Hendrick Motorsports Site)(5-13-2004)
- $ two drivers in the top 50 $: NASCAR drivers #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13th on the list) and #24-Jeff Gordon (21st) are the only motorsports figures represented in Sports Illustrated’s inaugural list of the top 50 American athletes by current annual income. As listed in the current issue, Junior’s total income is $22,081,807 and Gordon earns $18,622,002.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(5-13-2004)
- Last day of Indy practice for Robby: Wednesday was Robby Gordon’s last day of practice before Indianapolis 500 pole qualifying this Saturday, since he will be in Richmond, Va., all-day Thursday and Friday for NASCAR Busch Series and Cup practice and qualifying. Driving his backup Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet, Gordon went 219.034 mph in the concluding 15 minutes of practice, 13th best on the day. Tony Kanaan was fastest at 222.668 mph.”We’re back in the game,” said Gordon. “I’d say we’re back to where we were before the crash (Monday). It feels a lot better to go away (to Richmond) knowing we have a good car.” Gordon said his speed was done on a “clean” lap and without a “tow” (draft) from another car. Gordon, currently fifth in Busch Series points in his #55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet, races in that event Friday night at Richmond. He then will return to Indianapolis to qualify the Meijer car Saturday, then takes a Citation-10 private jet back to Richmond for Saturday night’s Chevy American Revolution 400, to drive the Cingular Wireless Chevy for Richard Childress Racing.(Team Gordon PR)(5-13-2004)
- Newman and Gaughan to run a carbon monoxide removing device: #77-Brendan Gaughan tested a Carbon monoxide removal device unit May 5 at Richmond International Raceway during his team’s test there. Gaughan and teammate #12-Ryan Newman plan to use the unit in Saturday night’s Chevy 400 at the .75-mile Richmond track. Paul Rochotte and a group from Penske Racing and NASA – yes, the rocket science people – have been working on the device for more than a year now. The device weighs less than 3 pounds and looks like a large Thermos bottle. The black carbon-fiber housing contains two filters. The first that uses carbon to take out nasty things like sulfur dioxide from race car emissions. Carbon monoxide goes right through that, however, so the second filter contains a catalyst with a platinum base that was developed by NASA. That catalyst converts carbon monoxide, which is poisonous, into carbon dioxide, which is the natural by-product of breathing. Carbon monoxide poisoning became a major issue last year when driver Rick Mast announced that its effects had forced him to end his driving career. Other competitors have complained about having severe headaches and other symptoms after races. Some drivers still take oxygen immediately after races to help clean the dangerous gas out of their system. NASCAR has worked to develop a filtering system that would improve the quality of air being breathed by competitors. What the folks at Penske Racing have been doing is working on their own system in hopes of making something even better.(paraphrased from a full story at ThatsRacin.com)(5-13-2004)
- McMurray to run in all three series in 2005: On Wednesday’s Totally NASCAR on Fox Sports Net, Jamie McMurray said he’s going to try and run not only all of the companion Busch Series races next year, but also all of the companion Craftsman Truck Series events.(5-13-2004)
- Ford Evaluates Four Women Drivers: Last week in Indianapolis, four young women race-car drivers were evaluated over two days as part of Ford Racing’s new initiative to identify a young female driver with the potential to develop into a race-winning NASCAR driver. Although a number of qualified candidates were considered, Erin Crocker (Age 23; Buffalo, N.Y.), Alison MacLeod (Age 14; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), Michelle Theriault (Age 18; Atlanta, Ga.) and Lynsey Tilton (Age 17; San Diego, Calif.), were selected based on their racing accomplishments, background and recommendations from renowned USAC Midget team owner Bob East and female racing legend Lyn St. James, and subjected to a comprehensive program that evaluated their skills both on and off the track. The first part of the evaluation included an on-track session at Anderson Speedway (Anderson, Ind.) in a Ford-powered midget car owned by East, who has discovered and developed several current NASCAR stars. East’s son, Bobby, who currently leads the USAC National Midget Car standings, shook the car down before each session to establish a baseline around the quarter-mile circuit, and all four drivers spent time in the car being observed and receiving instructions and advice from East. The second part of the evaluation took place at the National Institute of Fitness and Sport, located on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where the drivers were put through a physical and mental readiness assessment administered by Human Performance International designed to evaluate their physical and mental fitness. After undergoing a battery of physical tests that measured muscular strength and endurance, each candidate underwent a number of mental tests designed to evaluate their concentration, information processing and visual tracking skills. As a third part of the test, the drivers also underwent a media training and evaluation session where they were introduced to some basic concepts and recommendations on how to best interact with the media.(Ford Racing)(5-13-2004)
- Rudd Visits Pope Air Force Base: Ricky Rudd, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Racing/U.S. Air Force Ford Taurus observed a cargo drop over the Ft. Bragg North Carolina Army base on his way to participating in a 600 NEXTEL All-Star Race ticket give-away at Pope Air Force Base on Tuesday. “It was a real unusual day for me,” said Ricky. “We got to see how they drop cargo out of the back of one of these big airplanes. You see it on television, but you never experience it. It is a pretty neat deal with a lot of precision how they do it. It was a lot of fun.” Following the C-130 flight from Concord the plane, carrying Rudd and the U.S. Air Force crew, landed at Pope Air Force Base just outside Fayetteville, North Carolina. Pope is surrounded on three sides by Fort Bragg allowing a unique relationship between the two branches of the United States Armed Services. Following a tour of the base, Ricky went to the Pope Club where he was greeted by over 200 Airmen based at Pope. Ricky signed autographs and posed for photos while NEXTEL’s John Dunlap hand out 600 tickets to the NEXTEL All-Star event scheduled for May 22 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Giving away the NEXTEL All-Star race tickets – that was a neat deal. It was really nice on NEXTEL’s part to donate all those tickets to the Air Force Base. There was a really good response. All of the Airmen really appreciated it. And, it gave me an opportunity to meet a lot of the guys and gals stationed at Pope. The Air Force has been such a great part of our race team, and I always enjoy having a chance to meet these men and women who are working so hard to protect our freedom. Ricky added, “It’ll be nice to have 600 of our associates at the NEXTEL All-Star race at Lowe’s in two weeks.”(Wood Brothers Racing Site)(5-13-2004)
- Testing at Chicago? hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon and #5-Terry Labonte tested at Chicagoland Speedway sometime this week.(5-13-2004)
- DEI Tests at Kentucky: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and #15-Michael Waltrip turned test laps at Kentucky Speedway to fine tune their intermediate track programs for upcoming races that will play a pivotal role in determining eligibility for the season-ending “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.” Earnhardt, Jr., owns superspeedway wins at Daytona and Atlanta and a total of six top-five and seven top-10 finishes, but his team has misfired at lower-banked tracks similar to Kentucky Speedway. His #8 Budweiser Chevrolet finished 35th at Las Vegas and 19th at California Speedway. “We missed something on the one-and-a-half-mile low-banked tracks for a year-and-a- half now,” Earnhardt’s Crew Chief Tony Eury said. “Our fab shop came up here a couple of weeks ago and said the track was real smooth. We decided to come and try some things we didn’t get to try last time we were here to see if we can improve this part of our program. We have Michigan, Chicago and Kansas City coming up and those are places we struggled last year. We’re struggling again. We went to Vegas and California and struggled. We thought we had the problem fixed after Vegas and we got to California and found out we didn’t. Something in this new tire is throwing us a curve on these flat racetracks and we just have to keep working at it until we can figure it out.”
Waltrip, who enters the week 30th in the series standings and 190 points away from eligibility for the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup,” predicted both DEI teams will benefit from today’s test. “We’ve had a good day,” he said. “We’ve been down some roads that didn’t go so well today with our set up and we’ve discovered some things that have been beneficial. I’ve enjoyed today and I think this test will pay off as we go forward.” Other drivers testing at Kentucky Speedway today included Kentucky Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series driver Stuart Kirby and Paul Menard, who drove with Evernham Motorsports. NEXTEL Cup driver #10-Scott Riggs will join Kirby and #50 Holigan Racing tomorrow and testing continues next Wednesday, April. 19, with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers #77-Brendan Gaughan, #32-Ricky Craven, #25-Brian Vickers, #42-Jamie McMurray and #40-Sterling Marlin.
Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis, on hand for today’s test, said consistently strong test activity may help in his track’s pursuit of a future NASCAR NEXTEL Cup date. “There has been a lot of discussion lately concerning facilities, market place and commitment to gain a NEXTEL Cup Series event,” he said. “Simply put, Kentucky Speedway is the largest non-Cup facility in the United States, is located in one of the top-five television marketing areas in the country and hosts, without question, more NEXTEL Cup testing than any other facility. We have proven ourselves through performance with three straight 70,000 plus crowds for stand-alone NASCAR Busch Series events. I feel stronger than ever we should go to the next level, and deservedly so. If it doesn’t happen in 2005, our team will keep digging for 2006.”
Racing continues at Kentucky Speedway June 18-19 with the NASCAR Busch Series “Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” featuring Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne and other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stars. Tickets for all 2004 Kentucky Speedway events are on sale now and can be purchased in four easy ways: ·By phone at 888-652-RACE, ·On the World Wide Web at www.kentuckyspeedway.com, In person at either the speedway’s Ft. Mitchell ticket office or at the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center off Ky. Hwy. 35 in Sparta, Ky.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-12-2004)
- Lawmakers rally around protecting NASCAR’s favorable tax treatment: Stuffed in a package of proposed corporate tax breaks the Senate passed Tuesday is an order to the Internal Revenue Service: Don’t start treating NASCAR as if it’s something other than a carnival ride. For three decades, the owners of NASCAR tracks have built new grandstands and added restrooms or concessions using a seven-year depreciation schedule, an arrangement also enjoyed by amusement park owners. But given the actual life of such grandstands, the IRS has begun challenging whether race tracks and amusement parks should be treated the same. Recently, the agency has been telling track owners they should use depreciation periods of 15 years or more, which would reduce their tax deductions by half on an annual basis. They still could recoup their investment, but it would take twice as long. NASCAR leaders are saying they aren’t seeking anything special; they than just want the tax treatment they’ve enjoyed in the past put into law. “We’ve had this. It’s worked, and why mess it up?” said Humpy Wheeler, president of Speedway Motorsports, which operates six race tracks. “Everybody’s trying to get an economic advantage today, whether it’s taxation or whatever it is. There just simply won’t be as much construction if we don’t have the favorable depreciation.”
There are 60 co-sponsors in the House – some from virtually every Southern state. The local political motivation can be found in nearly every statement lawmakers have released to tout it. “All the request says is treat us like you’ve always treated us,” Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., estimates NASCAR’s annual impact on North Carolina at $1.5 billion each year. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., also cites the numerous motorsports facilities in his state. “In the last decade alone more than a billion dollars has been invested around the country to improve the quality and safety of these facilities, large and small, in reliance on this understanding of the tax law,” Santorum said. “It is only fair to provide certainty for the future to allow for continued growth.” Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense says he isn’t surprised the NASCAR provision is encountering little resistance in Congress, though he contends it should. “It’s definitely something at face value you really don’t want to oppose,” Ashdown said. “‘They voted against NASCAR’ doesn’t sound good for anybody running in middle America. It’s kind of like opposing subsidies to the Indy speedway and living in Indianapolis. You would be seen as a vile outcast.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(5-12-2004)
- All-Star Panel Says One Hot Night is No. 1 Moment: As the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge prepares for the celebration of its 20th anniversary, the previous 19 editions have evoked everlasting memories of many of the sport’s greatest stars providing the fans with brilliant racing, stunning finishes and occasionally a touch of controversy. It is these types of memories that have built the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, formerly known as The Winston, into the most thrilling and unpredictable all-star event found in any sport. And what better time than the eve of the event’s 20th anniversary than to have members of an expert panel vote for their favorite moments in the history of the race.
The panel consisted of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte, who have participated in 18 of the 19 all-star races; drivers Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd, who have competed in 17 of the events; Lowe’s Motor Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, who has hosted and promoted 18 of the races; NASCAR President Mike Helton, who hosted and promoted the only all-star race not held at Charlotte (Atlanta, 1986); and former Charlotte Observer motorsports writer Tom Higgins, who has witnessed every one either in person or on television. By virtue of the panel’s order of preference of the top moments on their respective choices, the following earned the highest voting totals. The top-three moments in descending order are:
No. 3 – “The Tide Slide” (1989): Darrell Waltrip, driving his Tide-sponsored Chevrolet, was leading the race as he was approaching the white-flag lap when hard-charging Rusty Wallace nudged Waltrip, sent him spinning and created the “Tide Slide.” Wallace went on to capture the victory while a displeased Waltrip wound up seventh.
No. 2 – “Pass In The Grass” (1987): Many dubbed this all-star moment the catchy “Pass in the Grass,” but Helton called this “the defining moment for Earnhardt.” Whatever you want to call it, it was classic Earnhardt. As the final 10-lap sprint got underway, Earnhardt exhibited his aggressive nature that earned him the nickname “The Intimidator” as he made contact with his fellow leaders at that time, Geoffrey Bodine and Bill Elliott. Elliott retaliated by making contact with Earnhardt and sent him through the grass on the frontstretch. However, Earnhardt continued to mash the gas, regained control of the car and somehow miraculously maintained the lead and captured the dramatic win. Both Bodine and Elliott bumped Earnhardt’s car following the checkered flag and tempers flared.
No. 1 – “One Hot Night” (1992): Little did Wheeler know at the time of conceiving a promotional tagline for the 1992 event – “One Hot Night” – that it would deliver more than anyone could imagine on its billing. Before the cars even turned a wheel, this event already had a special place in not only all-star annals but motorsports history overall as Lowe’s Motor Speedway became the first superspeedway to run at night under the lights. “We shocked the world by lighting a superspeedway,” Wheeler said. Three of the sport’s stars – Dale Earnhardt, Davey Allison and Kyle Petty – were involved in the frenzied last-lap finish that crystallized this moment. On the final lap, Petty tangled with race leader Earnhardt, spun him out of the way and appeared on his way to a victory. However, Allison charged up to Petty for a checkered-finish duel that was decided by mere inches at the line. To add to the dramatic finish, Allison and Petty made contact and Allison crashed after the checkered fell and did not get an opportunity to celebrate the win in Victory Lane as he was transported to the hospital with a concussion. See the full release/story with quotes on my LMS Track News page or with pictures at the LMS site.(5-12-2004)
- Congrats: Steve and Abbey Boyer added a new daughter to their family Tuesday. Kylie Ann was 8 lbs 13 oz and 21-inches long. Steve is the team engineer for the #40 car. Everybody’s doing well.(5-12-2004)
- FOX NASCAR Revenues Up: Mediaweek’s latest issue reports that Fox is “running ahead of its ad revenue projections” on NASCAR races this season, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. Fox President of Sales Jon Nesvig did not offer specifics but told the magazine, “We are well ahead of our business plan.” Nesvig said ad revenue is up by “low double digits.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-12-2004)
- Sponsors for Shelmerdine at Richmond: Rick Russell, owner of 2nd Chance Race Parts, the primary sponsor for Kirk Shelmerdine’s #72 Nextel Cup Ford Taurus, announced today that the team will also be carrying the logo for RacingUnderdog.com on the its entry in the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. RacingUnderdog.com, a small-media Internet site that devotes its coverage to Nextel Cup’s underdog and independent drivers, recently chronicled Shelmerdine’s race efforts in California and the team’s week-long trip there. “We’re honored to be included on a car at a Nextel Cup event,” said Dave Laurence, owner of RacingUnderdog.com, adding that “this is simply a joint effort between two Underdogs trying to help each other out.” Kirk Shelmerdine was among the drivers who tested on Thursday, May 6 at Richmond International Raceway. “The track had a tremendous amount of grip, and had the feel of a track with several races on it instead of a new surface,” Shelmerdine said. His car handled well off the trailer, responded well to adjustments, and was only a second slower than the Childress cars that were testing there that day. Shelmerdine and his 2nd Chance Race Parts Team are looking forward to an improved performance this weekend at Richmond.(PR)(5-12-2004)
- Green fastest in testing Tues at Lowe’s: Jeff Green led the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series speed parade while NASCAR Busch Series drivers Paul Menard and Tim Sauter tested Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s new SAFER Barriers Tuesday as testing continued at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. It’s been 38 years since a Petty Enterprises #43 has started from the pole for the Coca-Cola 600, but Green showed the team will once again be a contender during CTC Pole Night qualifying on Thursday, May 27. Shortly after sunset, the unofficial stopwatches caught Green with a lap of 29.602 seconds, 182.420 mph, to top the 16 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers making final preparations for the May 30 Coca-Cola 600.
Dave Blaney, who has two Busch Series poles at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, was fast for the second straight day, posting an unofficial lap of 182.174 mph in Bill Davis’ unsponsored #23 Dodge. Blaney’s night nearly turned sour late in the session when he brushed the outside wall in turn four, but the damage was only cosmetic. Ward Burton, who opted to skip the Monday session, was third fastest at 181.616mph in the #0 NetZero Chevrolet with Jimmy Spencer fourth on the speed chart at 180.463 mph in the #4 Morgan-McClure Chevrolet. John Andretti rounded out the “fast five” at 180.120 mph in the #1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet. Interestingly, three of the five fastest NEXTEL Cup Series cars do not have full-time sponsors. 1996 Coca-Cola 600 winner Dale Jarrett slapped the SAFER Barriers in turn four just before the session ended at 10 p.m. and Jeff Fultz backed into the same spot just before 8 p.m. Both men were able to drive their cars back to the garage area.
Testing continues Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and fans can watch the action from the main grandstand free of charge. IPOWER DASH Series drivers will be on the track from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with ARCA RE/MAX Series teams testing for the May 27 Quaker Steak & Lube 100 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Tickets for all May events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are still available and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.
Unofficial NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds:
Jeff Green, 182.420mph
#23-Dave Blaney, 182.174
#0-Ward Burton, 181.616
#4-Jimmy Spencer, 180.463
#1-John Andretti, 180.120
#20-Tony Stewart, 179.982
#16-Greg Biffle, 179,146
#96-Johnny Benson, 178.897
#29-Kevin Harvick, 178.083
#84-Kyle Busch, 178.042
#88-Dale Jarrett, 177.264
#31-Robby Gordon, 176.442
#33-Kerry Earnhardt, 175.999
#44-Mark Green, 175.012
#30-Johnny Sauter, 174.814
#78-Jeff Fultz, 172.789.(LMS PR)(5-11-2004)
Benson tests the #96 PPI Motorsports Chevy at LMS
Thanks to David Griffin for the image
- Tony Stewart Comments: #20-Tony Stewart has had several on-track incidents lately leading some to speculate the Home Depot Chevy driver is driving frustrated…however, Stewart told PRN’s Garagepass that’s not the case. “No, I’m not frustrated at all, we’re all working hard. We’re not having a typical season for us by any means you know…yeah there’s an element of frustration there but it’s not making us a road warrior on the racetrack. We’re racing hard just like we do every week but we’re just struggling this year and we’ve been in a couple of altercations that we didn’t want to be in but we’ve been in. It’s not a situation where we’ve been looking to go out and get into wrecks with people and try to cause problems by any means. It just happens that we’ve been in a couple of incidents.” When asked if he feels any more aggressive behind the wheel this season Stewart said, “I feel like I’m racing just as hard as I normally do, I’m just not as fast as I normally am so normally when I’m that aggressive I get by people and I drive away from people where this year I’m around a little bit more of a crowd than normal.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-11-2004)
- Special Scheme for Martin at RIR: Roush Racing says its #6 Ford for Mark Martin will have a special paint scheme promoting sponsor Viagra’s “value card” for Saturday night’s Chevy American Revolution 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. It also says the car will have a “reverse” paint scheme with more white on the car for all eight night races this season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-11-2004)
- Roush to buy out Yates? Garage sources have told Sporting News insider Lee Spencer that Roush Racing has offered to purchase Robert Yates Racing, expanding their engine partnership to team ownership in an effort to pool Ford’s Nextel Cup resources. The Yates camp says the rumors are rubbish.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-11-2004)
- New engine builder at DEI…from Yates? hearing former Yates engine man, Dennis Schoenfeld has left Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] and took the head engine builder job at Dale Earnhardt Inc.[DEI](5-11-2004)
- Don’t forget Foyt at Indy: Larry Foyt, part time in the Cup Series also practiced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500, #41-Larry Foyt ran at 207.982mph, 40th out of the 41 cars who practiced on Monday.(Indianapolis Star)(5-11-2004)
- New Penske Shop? hearing that Penske Racing South [#2, #12, #77] has purchased the Matsushita building in Mooresville, NC. Hoping to move in the 415,000 sq ft /105 acre property in Dec 2004. The building is located at Mazeppa Road and NC, 801.(5-11-2004)
- Nadeau to be at Richmond: Though Jerry Nadeau [driver of the #01 Chevy who was injured a year ago at RIR] continues to recover from head injuries sustained in a practice accident at RIR, he doesn’t shelter any bad feelings about the Richmond facility. In fact, he is planning to attend the weekend race, his first visit to a Nextel Cup event in 2004. “I only have good things to say about the Richmond track and the community,” said Nadeau. “After all, the track emergency workers and the hospital staff at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center saved my life. I’m really looking forward to being with the team. Hopefully I can bring Joe [Nemechek] and the guys some luck. Joe is doing a great job in the Army car despite all of the bad breaks he’s had recently.(MB2 Motorsports PR in part)(5-11-2004)
- Rookie History: The way to the NASCAR NEXTEL championship is to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Since 1979, six Raybestos Rookie of the Year drivers have won the title: Dale Earnhardt (1979), Rusty Wallace (1984), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Jeff Gordon (1993), Tony Stewart (1999), and Matt Kenseth (2000).(Camp and Assoc PR – see the latest Notes on my ROTY Page) That accounts for 15 of 24 titles in that time frame [plus 1959 ROTY, Richard Petty won the 1979 title].(5-11-2004)
- No Top Fives/Tens: eight drivers who have ran all 10 Cup races in 2004 have not yet scored a top 10: #30-Sauter, #25-Vickers, #21-Rudd, #45-Petty, #32-Craven, #43-Green, #10-Riggs and #50-Cope. Eighteen drivers have not scored a top five: the eight listed who have not scored a top 5 and: #41-Mears, #88-Jarrett, #01-Nemechek, #5-Labonte, #77-Gaughan, #16-Biffle, #0-Burton, #99-Burton, #15-Waltrip and #49-Schrader.(5-11-2004)
- Benson to test the #96 PPI Chevy: Johnny Benson is testing the #96 Chevy for PPI on Monday, May 10th and Tuesday, May 11th. PPI is looking to secure sponsorship towards the last third of the season, and if they receive the sponsorship, then Benson would be the driver. They are using this test to acclimate Benson to PPI and working with the team. The hopes are to run the race in the fall at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(5-11-2004)
- Hamilton Jr. listed in the #09 at RIR: NASCAR.com’s Chevy American Revolution 400 ar RIR Entry List has Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the #09 Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts Dodge.(5-11-2004)
- Blaney in the #7? NASCAR.com’s Chevy American Revolution 400 ar RIR Entry List has Dave Blaney listed in the #7 Dodge Ultra Motorsports Dodge.(5-11-2004)
- LaJoie in the #80? NASCAR.com’s Chevy American Revolution 400 ar RIR Entry List has Randy LaJoie listed in the #80 Hover Motorsports Ford.(5-11-2004)
- Robby Gordon OK after Indy 500 practice crash: Robby Gordon was uninjured in a single-car accident with approximately 10 minutes remaining in Monday’s Indianapolis 500 practice session. Gordon lost control of the #70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet in turn one and hit the wall. Gordon was checked and immediately released from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield medical center. The car received left-side suspension, underwing, rear wing and bodywork damage and Gordon plans to drive his team’s backup Meijer Chevy in Tuesday practice. “I went down into turn one and the car compressed in the corner and the rear got a little bit sideways,” Gordon recalled. “I tried to save it and it hooked back the other way and spun around. It is what it is. When you can walk away from one here, it doesn’t matter how fast you were going. We were going to run four straight hot laps on new tires and our warmup lap was over 218 mph. I think we were going to be pretty good. We’ll be fine.” Gordon finished the session, delayed by rain, 10th fastest at 218.446mph. Helio Castroneves was quick on the day at 220.300mph.(PR)(5-11-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky: the Kentucky Speedway website lists #10-Scott Riggs and #15-Michael Waltrip testing there on Wednesday, May 12th. Fans can watch from the front of the Turn 3 Fan Center.(5-11-2004)
- Open Testing at Lowe’s UPDATE: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, ARCA RE/MAX Series and IPOWER DASH Series teams will be testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday, May 10, through Wednesday, May 12, in preparation for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 22, the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 and the other stock car events scheduled this month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Monday, May 10th, Busch Series, 9:00am to 3:00pm, NEXTEL Cup Series, 4:00 10:00pm Tuesday, May 11th, Busch Series 9:00am to 3:00pm, NEXTEL Cup Series, 4:00 10:00pm Wednesday, May 12th, IPOWER DASH Series, 9:00am to 4:00pm, ARCA 5:00 to 10:00pm NEXTEL CUP drivers scheduled to test: #96-Johnny Benson, #16-Greg Biffle, #23-Dave Blaney, #84-Kyle Busch, #32-Ricky Craven, #33-Kerry Earnhardt, #31-Robby Gordon, #43-Jeff Green, #29-Kevin Harvick, #88-Dale Jarrett, #6-Mark Martin, #41-Casey Mears, #30-Johnny Sauter, #4-Jimmy Spencer and #20-Tony Stewart.(LMS PR)(5-6-2004)
UPDATE: #6-Mark Martin showed the “young guns” he will be a contender during the May 22 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 as open testing began Monday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Martin, the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 winner, ran numerous laps at just over 180 mph. According to the unofficial stopwatches, the 45-year-old Martin led the search for speed with a best lap of 181.733 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Dave Blaney, driving Bill Davis’ unsponsored #23 Dodge, was second fastest, just a tick of the watch behind Martin at 181.147 mph, while Casey Mears was third on the speed chart at 179.087 in the #41 Target Dodge. With 11 teams on hand, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing session started at 4pm and ended under the lights at 10pm. The caution flag was never unfurled as both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series testing sessions were run without incident. Testing continues Tuesday and Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and fans can watch the action from the main grandstand free of charge.
Tickets for all May events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are still available and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.
Unofficial NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds:
#6-Mark Martin, 181.733mph
#23-Dave Blaney, 181.147
#41-Casey Mears, 179.087
#88-Dale Jarrett, 177.445
#1-John Andretti, 177.282
#43-Jeff Green, 177.270
#96-Johnny Benson, 177.264
#84-Kyle Busch, 177.218
#30-Johnny Sauter, 176.678
#44-Mark Green, 175.063
#33-Kerry Earnhardt, 174.848.(LMS PR)(5-11-2004)
- Interesting Stat: Sunday’s Mother’s Day break was one of only four such weekends from Feb. 12 to Nov. 21 this season. #99-Jeff Burton seems to make the most of the time off. In the 24 races held following weekends off since 1999, he has four victories. #17-Matt Kenseth and #2-Rusty Wallace have three wins each.(Delaware News Journal)(5-10-2004)
- Benson leaves the #09 team UPDATE tests for PPI: been told that Johnny Benson and Phoenix Racing have parted ways. Benson drove the #1 Yellow Frieght Dodge in the Busch Series and #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming for the team.
AND it is also posted on the Johnny Benson website.
AND II BGNRacing.com has confirmed that Johnny Benson has been released by Phoenix Racing and Jamie McMurray will drive the #1 Dodge this weekend at Richmond in the Busch Series race. A news release will be sent out Tuesday. Benson was scheduled to driver the #09 Dodge in the Cup race at Richmond, no idea if Joe Ruttman, who also drives the #09 car will drive or if someone else will.(5-10-2004)
- Driver to be voted into the All-Star Race: Race fans will take an active role in adding another entry to the May 22 Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Following the Nextel Open – a 30-lap, two segment race held prior to the all-star event for drivers not already eligible – fans will be allowed to vote on the Internet and by phone to add another driver to the all-star field in addition to the winner of The Open, sources said. An official annoucement of the change is expected by the end of the week, sources said. Barring a new race winner this weekend at Richmond, Va., that will give the three segment, 90-lap all-star race that pays $1 million to the winner at least 25 entries. The bulk of the entries (23) come from race winners from the previous and current Cup seasons, as well as former winners of the all-star event, if they are not otherwise eligible. Now, two drivers will advance through The Nextel Open, the winner and the highest vote getter. Nextel officials, reached Monday, said it was premature to comment on any further changes to the all-star race. Officials with NASCAR and Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which has hosted the all-star race every year but one since its inception in 1985, all declined to comment on the change. Lowe’s is hosting a news conference Tuesday to promote the race and unveil the all-star race’s “most memorable moments.”(ThatsRacin.com)(5-10-2004)
- Ganassi Racing to have a Busch team in 2005: been told that Ganassi Racing will run a full time Busch program next year in house and possibly a second team for 15 – 20 Busch races also. Supposedly the drivers will be some combination of their current three Cup drivers (Marlin, McMurray and Mears) and possibly David Stremme and/or Reed Sorenson. Ganassi Racing also plans to move into their new building by the Concord [NC] Airport in July.(5-10-2004)
- Cope Wrecks in practice UPDATES: Derrike Cope was involved in an accident in turn three bringing out the red flag. He was cut out of the car, but is reportedly awake and alert. He was taken to a local hosiptal, via helicopter, for further evaluation. The accident stopped practice for about 30 minutes.
UPDATE: Reports from the hospital are positive, but nothing official has been released yet. A replacement driver for tonight has not been named.
UPDATE 2: Josh Richeson will be in the #49 tonight. Cope is alert.(BGNRacing.com)
See more details at the St Louis Post Dispatch.(5-8-2004)
UPDATE – Sunday: Derrick Cope [#50 Cup, #49 Busch] was injured in a crash Saturday morning at Gateway International Raceway [while practing for the Busch race held Saturday night]. Cope, 45, of Spanaway, Wash., who pilots the #49 Jay Robinson Racing Ford Taurus, slammed into the wall in Turn 3 on the driver’s side in the first of two practice sessions on the 1 1/4-mile oval in Madison. Safety workers had to cut the roof off Cope’s car to remove the injured driver, who was momentarily knocked unconscious by the accident. Cope was wearing a head and neck restraint (which is required). Busch Series spokesman Rick Houston said Cope “was awake and aware” when he was airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital. When he arrived at the hospital, Cope was “awake and alert and responding appropriately,” Houston said. Cope was in stable condition after reportedly suffering a concussion and was kept overnight for observation. NASCAR officials immediately impounded the vehicle, covered it with a trap and were carefully inspecting the engine compartment as well as the cockpit looking for obvious mechanical problems. Cope was practicing for the Charter 250 when his brakes locked up entering Turn 3, causing the car to spin 180 degrees. It went up the track and hit the wall smashing the driver’s side of the car from front to back. “It would be speculation to say why, or how or what caused the crash,” Houston said. “But we are looking into the accident.” Robinson Racing used Josh Richeson, 22, of Davidson, N.C., to drive the team’s backup car. Richeson finished 27th.(St Louis Post Dispatch.(5-9-2004)
UPDATE – Monday: Derrike Cope shook off a rough weekend and is ready to go in the #49 Advil Ford in Friday night’s Funal 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at the .750-mile Richmond International Raceway. Cope was taken to a St. Louis, Mo., hospital following a crash in practice Saturday at Gateway International Raceway. Though his injuries were diagnosed as minor, he was held a few hours for observation and released Saturday evening, about the time of the start of the race. Josh Richeson substituted for Cope, driving the Jay Robinson-owned car. “It was ‘Praise the Lord and pass the Advil,'” Cope said. “The brakes didn’t burn in the way I thought they had. They locked and spun me around, and I hit the wall there pretty hard. I’m grateful everything turned out okay, but I’m ready to get back in the car. You never know how easy you have things. I wanted a good run at Gateway, and didn’t get to drive at all. I thought it was going to be bad enough watching the race on television Saturday night but the hospital didn’t have cable. I was on a flight anyway, so missed hearing any of it. Believe me, I’d much rather have been driving,” he said.(Williams Company PR)(5-10-2004)
- Hermie to dedicate RIR races to uncle: After picking up sponsorship from the Bank of Southside Virginia and the law firm of Jenkins and Jenkins, Hermie Sadler will attempt to qualify for the Busch and Nextel Cup events at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. Sadler is dedicating both races to his uncle, Bud Elliott, who died Saturday after a battle with cancer. Elliott, a former NASCAR Sporstman driver, was instrumental in jump-starting the racing careers of Hermie and Elliott Sadler.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-10-2004)
- Petty Testing engines at Lowe’s: Petty Enterprises broke two engines at California, and they weren’t the first engines to blow this year. The #45 and #44 Petty Enterprises cars will test this week at Charlotte. The #44, a developmental car driven by Christian Fittipaldi [not so far in 2004], will be used strictly for engine work and will be driven by Mark Green, who normally works as the spotter for Kyle Petty and the #45.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-10-2004)
- Gordon practices at Indy: Robby Gordon used Sunday’s opening day of practice for the May 30 Indianapolis 500 for minimal set-up laps on both his primary and backup Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolets. In just six laps, late in the afternoon, Gordon went 215.317mph in his primary car. Earlier, he did a 209.733 mph speed in 11 laps in the backup Meijer entry. Scott Dixon was fastest for the day at 219.760 mph in more than 20 laps. “Today’s goal was to run both cars and not have any problems,” said Gordon. “It was a good function-check day and that was Thomas’ (Knapp, team manager/engineer) plan all along. We tried one new setup on the backup car and then went back to what we learned in the test here a week ago.”(PR)(5-10-2004)
- New Safety Camera for the IRL, NASCAR maybe?: The view out back of the IRL’s Chevrolet four-door trucks is obscured by an 80-gallon water tank and a locker crammed with rescue tools. That view will improve during this year’s Indy 500-Mile Race, thanks to technology developed by Delphi’s Kokomo-based electronics division. Three of the IRL’s safety trucks now sport Delphi camera systems that show the view out back on a liquid crystal display monitor, bolted to the dashboard console. It’s technology Delphi someday might convert to the consumer market, particularly in trucks and recreational vehicles for which backing up is a hazard because of poor visibility. On the safety trucks, a camera is perched mid-vehicle in a clear dome atop the water tank. One benefit is that the safety truck driver can see whether he has dumped enough oil-dry material onto the track after a crash. More importantly, safety truck drivers can watch for hazards behind them and can move the truck and crew if they see a car careening toward them. The display also lets the truck driver make sure that the two firefighters who ride in jump seats in the truck bed are seated properly before pulling away. Each truck also has a forward-facing camera. This portends an even bigger safety benefit: letting crews more effectively respond to a crash and better conveying the type and severity of a driver’s injuries to awaiting medical teams. The trucks can transmit the camera images in real time to the track’s medical center. The IRL/Delphi video system may have implications for NASCAR. Herb Branham, communications manager for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, noted that NASCAR and the IRL have worked together previously to improve safety — such as in developing flexible track walls that minimize driver injury in a crash. “This is the first time that we’ve really heard about this type of thing. . . . They (IRL) have a lot of good ideas. Rest assured, we’ll give it a look.”(in part from the Indianapolis Star)(5-9-2004)
- Kenseth to FX: No thanks to reality show: Cable TV channel FX debuts its weekly unscripted program “NASCAR Drivers: 360” on Friday. The show will feature drivers and their families during their day-to-day lives. The drivers will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray, Ward Burton, Casey Mears, Scott Wimmer, Brian Vickers, Kenny Wallace and Rusty Wallace. Matt Kenseth said he was approached by the network about being one of the subjects, but declined because of the amount of time needed for filming.(Rockford Register Star)(5-9-2004)
- Stewart wins Sprint Car Race: Tony Stewart was good enough Friday, but unlike his WOW victory in Sedalia [at Missouri’s State Fair Speedway, a half-mile dirt track] on April 16, he had to battle to triumph this time. Columbia’s Eric Shrock led through the midpoint of the 360-sprints feature, but at the completion of lap 10, his #86 car struck the wall under the flag stand. Shrock regained control but lost precious speed with Stewart closing in, in the #20 winged car maintained for him by friends Danny Lasoski and George Lasoski. Stewart seized the lead, overcame his own scrape with the wall at the flag stand in lap 11, and held off Shrock to take the checkered flag after 20 laps. Stewart had a layoff from the NASCAR schedule this weekend, for Mother’s Day, so he called Lasoski, looking for a sprint race. The two decided Stewart would compete Friday at Sedalia, where he has driven a 360 four times — easily the racer’s most extensive experience in winged cars. “I’ve probably driven more types of race cars than anybody who races (NASCAR) right now,” said Stewart, who turns 33 on May 20. “I just like the challenge of something I haven’t done before, and (winged sprint) is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn to drive right.(see full story at the Sedalia Democrat)(5-9-2004)
- Kenseth wins ASA Late Model Race: Matt Kenseth made a one race visit to the American Speed Association Late Model Series, but he made the most of it. By winning both the pole and race for the first-ever ASA Late Model Series event, the Blaine’s Farm & Fleet/DeWalt/Carhartt 100, Kenseth etched his name in the history books. The event was held at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis., before a near-capacity crowd. “I always wanted to go in ASA’s history books somewhere,” Kenseth claimed. “I’ve never been able to win an ASA touring series race before, so that’s pretty cool. I’ve ran in a few of them, but never been able to pull one off so it’s cool to win one of these Late Model races.” A former ASA National Tour competitor, Kenseth has made 16 career starts in ASA competition between 1994 and 1997. The win didn’t come easily as Kenseth and second place finisher Ron Breese battled side-by-side for nearly a dozen laps prior to the race being called prematurely due to rain. Breese led for 49 consecutive laps with Kenseth stalking him, patiently waiting for an opening. As the pair circled together, Kenseth could get through the turns better to close the gap, and then Breese would get a slight edge down the straightaways. The action kept the crowd on their feet, and Kenseth finally made the pass stick on lap 67. “You don’t get racing like that very often,” Breese said after the race. “We came in second, but I tell you what, this was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We took second to the Winston Cup champion, but I would have liked to have won.” Kenseth echoed the feelings about what it was like in the cockpit. “It was fun. We might have had a little different gear because I could get him off the corner then on the straightaway he pulled me back. It was a great race and we were both getting through the corners good and putting on a good show.” Kenseth won the pole earlier in the afternoon with a lap of 18.116-seconds around the 0.50-mile oval. Ultimately, he started the event in seventh position due to the inverted start. Unfortunately, the scheduled 100-lap event was red flagged for weather on lap 75. The sky lit up nearly all evening with lightening, and once the rain started to fall the track quickly went away. In ASA Late Model Series competition, caution flag laps don’t count towards the total, fortunately for the fans as the yellow flag flew a total of 16 times. There were four lead changes among three drivers. Of the 32 cars starting the race, 17 finished on the lead lap. The top 10 finishers in the event were Kenseth, Breese, Kluever, Bobby Wildberg, Bobby Stremme, Dave Lawrence, Adam Shackelford, Brad Osborn, Jeff Watters and Doug Mahlik. Travis Kvapil, the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion, retired early with ignition problems. The ASA Late Model Series is next in action at Baer Field Speedway in Ft. Wayne, Ind., on Sunday, May 16. The American Speed Association is based in Pendleton, Ind., and has offered stock car racing programs since 1968, including the ASA National Tour, ASA Late Model Series, several regional touring series and the ASA Member Track programs.(ASA PR)(5-9-2004)
- Robby looking for sponsor to run full Bucsh season: At the start of the 2004 NASCAR season, Robby Gordon and Fruit of the Loom were content to compete together in 24 NASCAR Busch Series races. As a result of a better-than-expected start, the objectives have changed. In its first effort on the track, the Gordon-owned #55 entry qualified fifth and finished third at the season-opening Hershey’s Kisses 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Since then, the team has performed consistently, recording three top-fives and five top-10 finishes in only nine races. Through the Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway, Gordon sits just 90 points out of the NASCAR Busch Series championship lead. Being close enough to reach out and touch a championship has changed the full-time NASCAR Cup driver’s outlook. “We didn’t even consider making a run at the full 34-race schedule when the season began,” Gordon admitted. “My focus was, and continues to be, on winning a NASCAR Cup Series championship with my Cingular Wireless team, and on winning as many Busch Series races as possible for Fruit of the Loom. To be honest with you, we didn’t necessarily expect to be this close to the points lead after nine races with a brand new team. Now that we are, and given that we’re getting better as a team every time out, we’ve added winning a Busch Series championship to the objectives for the year.” In order to make those goals a reality, however, Gordon, and his Robby Gordon Motorsports team, is seeking primary sponsorship for the nine races Fruit of the Loom did not plan for at the start of the season. The first open date on the team’s NASCAR Busch Series schedule is the Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200 at Nazareth Speedway on May 23, followed the next week by the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 29. Both races fall within the time frame Gordon will undoubtedly garner tremendous media attention as he tackles the high-profile Double Duty effort for the third-consecutive year, which will see him compete in both the IRL’s Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day (May 30). A sponsor participating in all nine available NASCAR Busch Series races will also receive a position on the Gordon-owned Indianapolis 500 car. “This season is coming together nicely for us,” Gordon said. “We’re climbing back into the championship hunt in the Cingular Wireless Cup car, we’re right there for the championship in the Busch car, we’ve got a legitimate shot at winning both the pole and the race in the Meijer Stores Chevrolet Dallara in the Indy 500 and we’re going to finish the season by trying to win the Baja 1000 again in the Red Bull Chevy Trophy Truck. If a few things go our way, we can have a great year for ourselves as well as our corporate partners that help make our goals possible.”(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(5-9-2004)
- New #98 Crew Chief: hearing that Mike Steurer has been hired as crew chief for the #98 Ford that Todd Bodine drives in the Cup Series.(5-8-2004)
- Gordon to F-1……to WATCH: Jeff Gordon is heading off to Barcelona, Spain, planning to catch Sunday’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix [Speed Channel 5/9 at 7:30am/et]. Don’t think this is an indication Gordon has plans or intentions to climb behind the wheel of the world’s greatest open-wheel car. “I’m too old to go Formula One and start all over again,” said Gordon. “After driving that car for one day, I realized what kind of dedication it would take to start from scratch to learn all new tracks, all new cars, all new people and take my whole life in the U.S. and move to Europe.” Gordon swapped cars with F1 racer Juan Pablo Montoya last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon drove Montoya’s Williams-BMW car; Montoya drove Gordon’s Dupont #24. “After that test, we started talking about going to the Barcelona race,” Gordon said. “Who better to call to get credentials and hospitality passes than Williams and BMW?”(Patriot News)(5-7-2004)
- Pit Crew for Robby Gordon Pockets Third Win of Season: For the second straight week and third time of the season, the pit crew for Robby Gordon claimed top honors in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. Gordon’s crew became the season’s first three-time winner of the competition by scoring the best pit road time at last week’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. The other wins for the No. 31 crew were the week before in Talladega and March 14 in Atlanta. The three victories have earned Gordon’s crew $60,000. The McDonald’s/POWERade weekly competition pays $20,000 for an event victory and a bonus of $200,000 to the season pit crew champion. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew continues to lead in the standings with 382 points. Kurt Busch’s crew is second with 360. Gordon’s crew is 10th with 321. Gordon’s Cingular Wireless Chevrolet spent 213.700 seconds on pit road in the California race, edging Joe Nemechek’s U.S. Army Chevrolet by less than a second (214.423). Ken Schrader’s No. 49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge was third with a time of 215.555. “I knew the Cingular Wireless pit crew had to be in strong contention after having another phenomenal performance in California,” said Chris Andrews, crew chief of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team. “We made two pit stops within the first 60 laps of the race. After that second stop, we had gained 15 positions from where we had started and I know at least eight of the 15 were obtained on pit road.” Gordon was equally complimentary of the No. 31 crew. “There are so many factors that affect how a team is going to finish a race and pit performance is one factor that definitely plays a huge role,” said Gordon. “Our finishes are finally starting to show what Team Cingular is capable of and I do attribute a lot of that to my guys on pit road.” Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Timmy Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Matt Kreuter (rear-tire carrier), Ron Liddell (gas man), Mike Moore (jackman) and Coy Hedrick (catch can).(DMD Communications PR), for the top 10 at California and the season standings, see my Pit Crew News page.(5-7-2004)
- Ford sees improvement in Nextel Cup cars: By the numbers, Ford’s fortunes through the first 10 races of the 2004 Nextel Cup season aren’t much different from the start of its frustrating 2003 season. That’s a bad place to look, said Greg Specht, Ford Racing of North America’s operations manager. In this case, Specht said the numbers are fibbing a bit. He said they are not indicative of the way the Tauruses are performing. “Overall,” Specht said, “I’m pleased and I’m optimistic.” A year ago at this time, three Ford drivers were in the top 10 in points — leader Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler. Between them, they had three victories and four DNFs — races they failed to finish. This year, there are again three Ford drivers in the top 10 — the same three drivers. They have a total of four victories and just two DNFs. Improvement in the Fords is most evident, they say, on bigger tracks such as Daytona International Speedway in Florida and Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Those are the tracks where the aerodynamic shortcomings of the past appear to have been reduced. The 2004 Fords have subtly changed their noses and tails. The most noticeable change is on the grille opening, which has gone from oval to a more rectangular shape. It’s a subtle change, but an apparently effective one. Ford picked up a victory at a superspeedway when Elliott Sadler won at Talladega. And there have been Fords on the poles at both superspeedways— Greg Biffle at Daytona and Ricky Rudd at Talladega. In addition, Sadler started alongside Biffle on the front row at Daytona. There is major optimism in the Ford camp when it comes to engine power. Though there have been some mechanical problems, the collaboration of Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing in building engines has been a success, Specht said. Engines built in the new Yates-Roush engine shop have won four of the first 10 races. More good news is in the pipeline — though that pipeline appears to be longer than had been hoped. NASCAR granted Ford teams use of a new piston [cylinder] head late last year. It was hoped that the head would be attached to the engines a couple of weeks ago, but it is still in the testing stage. Specht says the philosophy has been to not rush the new piston heads into use.(Kansas City Star)(5-7-2004)
- Robby Gordon gets a sponsor for Indy 500 and Busch: Char-Broil, the world’s leader in gas, charcoal and electric grills, has joined race driver Robby Gordon as a sponsor of his Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Busch Series teams. Char-Broil’s portable grill brand Thermos Grill2Go has prominent identification on the #70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet that Gordon will race in the May 30th Indy 500. In addition, Thermos Grill2Go has placement on the #55 Fruit of the Loom Chevy that Gordon drives in the NASCAR Busch Series. Char-Broil’s Grilling Team Tour will be trackside at the Indianapolis 500 over Memorial Day weekend, the NASCAR GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 22nd and the NASCAR UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 16th in Charlotte. The tour consists of a 40-foot mobile marketing trailer that will travel to races, events and retail locations along the east coast and throughout the midwest for 27 weeks this summer. Fans that visit the trailer on race day may have a chance to meet Gordon, and can enter to win a Thermos Grill2Go Fire & Ice; the portable grill and cooler combination perfect for tailgating. At the trailer fans will participate in interactive games like the washer toss, sample different cuts of pork from tour sponsor Smithfield, and learn about the latest grills, smokers, fireplaces and accessories from Char-Broil.(PR)(5-7-2004)
- Truex Jr. debut could come at NHIS: Martin Truex Jr. will likely make his debut appearance in the Nextel Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in September, said his crew chief Kevin Manion. “Possibly (New Hampshire) might be our first Cup race,” said Manion, a native of Boylston who has been working at Dale Earnhardt Inc. since 1997 and has been the Chance 2 Motorsports, a team originally started at DEI by the late seven-time champion in 1997, crew chief since 2002. Even though Truex Jr. won’t test at NHIS for the Busch Series event in July, Manion noted if DEI decides to field an additional car for the September race, testing will be mandatory. “We’ll test up there for sure in a Cup car because it’s a total different series,” said Manion.(Boston Herald)(5-7-2004)
- Final California TV Ratings up 15% AND: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway earned a 6.1 rating and a 14 share in final Nielsen Media Research figures, a 15.1 percent increase over last year’s 5.3. Fox says that through nine races this season it is averaging a 5.9 rating, up 2 percent from last year’s 5.8. Friday’s Sports Business Daily also will report that final figures for the May 1 Stater Brothers 300 Busch Series race on Fox earned a 1.9/5, down 5.0 percent from a 2.0/5 in 2003 and down 20.8 percent from a 2.4/6 in 2002.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-6-2004)
AND The Auto Club 500, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race held last Sunday at California Speedway, was the second most-watched sporting event of the weekend. The Auto Club 500 also finished as the highest-rated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in the speedway’s history. An average of 9,817,000 viewers tuned in the Auto Club 500, a 19% increase over the viewers that tuned in to the 2003 event. An average of 6,577,000 households tuned in to the Auto Club 500, a 17% increase over the households that tuned in to the 2003 event. The Auto Club 500, won by four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, ranked second only to the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby. It out-rated the Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs NBA playoff game, which it aired directly against. The Auto Club 500 also aired directly against the PGA, AFL, NHL Playoffs, MLB and LPGA. Several key markets have shown year-to-date household viewing increases in 2004. They are Orlando (39%), Miami (31%), Dallas (28%), Los Angeles (19%), New York (10%), Atlanta (15%) and Seattle (19%). The largest growing demographic viewer groups for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series are females ages18-24 (a 27% increase over 2003), females ages18 to 34 (20%) and males ages 18-24 (11%).(Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(5-7-2004)
- Stewart to run Atlanta Busch race with an all-star pit crew: The “McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE” competition is growing more intense this year [see last weeks standings on my Pit Crew Page]. McDonald’s and Powerade have decided to take the competition to the next level by creating tow “All-Star Pit Crews” comprised of the best over-the-wall guys across the NEXTEL Cup Series. For the Atlanta Busch Series race in October. To win this event, the team whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the racetrack will be named the winner and awarded a monetary prize. To commemorate these unsung heroes, Tony Stewart will pilot the #92 Powerade car for the Powerade All Star crew. Both cars will feature the “McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE” theme [I assume they will use the standings up to that point as the competition runs thru the end of the series].(5-6-2004)
- Spencer to Rumble at Bristol: Michael Buffer, world famous boxing announcer, will serve as the host and emcee of the ever thrilling Bristol night race this Aug. Buffer’s famous trademarked phrase “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!” is one of the most widely known and recognized in the world of sports and entertainment, and will serve as the promotional tagline and theme in Bristol’s advertising leading up to the race weekend. #4 Morgan-McClure driver, Jimmy Spencer will be commemoration this infamous phrase in a “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” logo and graphics.(5-6-2004)
- 2004 Pocono Raceway Award Recipient: The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility [ mwrsf.unl.edu], headed by Dr. Dean L. Sicking has been named the 2004 recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR.
The 2004 recipient is unique in that it is not a driver, a team owner or a sponsor. This year’s recipient is a university roadside safety research team headed by a Ph.D. in civil engineering. The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, headed by Dr. Sicking, is responsible for the development of the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier system. The SAFER barrier system is designed to absorb some of the energy that is transferred during a crash. NASCAR recently announced that the SAFER barriers system will be installed at all recommended oval tracks by the 2005 racing season. Dr. Sicking is one of the world’s leading independent researchers on barrier and crash safety. His research has led to 21 U.S. patents on roadside safety structures. Under his guidance the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility has developed into one of the premier roadside safety research laboratories in the world.
Dr. Sicking and the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility have come to be recognized as a global leader in the development of crashworthy safety structures. Their research has developed numerous safety features that have been adopted nationwide and several that have been adopted internationally. These safety features have saved the lives of countless motorists across the nation over the last decade.
The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Dr. Sicking and the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility team at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 12, 2004. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 13, 2004 POCONO 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. Dr. Sicking and his research team join the prestigious list of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence winners listed below:
Pocono Racewat’s Bill france Award of Excellence Winners:
1977 Bill France
1980 Union Oil
1981 The Petty Family
1982 G.H. Long
1985 GNRWA ( Now WOW Wives Auxiliary)
1986 MRN (Motor Racing Network)
1987 Grand National Scene (Now NASCAR Scene)
1988 Charlotte Motor Speedway
1989 Ned Jarrett
1990 T. Wayne Robertson
1992 MRO (Motor Racing Outreach)
1993 The Allison Family
1994 Rev. Hal Marchman
1995 The Wood Bros.
1996 Clay Earles/Paul Sawyer
1997 Junie Dunlavey/Bud Moore
1999 Rick Hendrick
2000 Robert Yates
2001 Joe Gibbs
2002 Richard Childress
2003 Jack Roush
Tickets for the June 13th POCONO 500 are available by calling the Pocono Raceway ticket office at 1-800-RACEWAY or visiting www.poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway PR)(5-6-2004)
- Foyt looking to do the Indy/Coca-Cola 600 double too, needs a sponsor: Larry Foyt will be heading to Indianapolis on Sunday, May 9th to spend the month of May preparing the car for his first attempt to run in the Indy 500. Foyt Racing is still in search of a sponsor for the event, and would also be interested in running the “Memorial Day Double” when a sponsor is found. There will be three Foyt’s at Indy for the first time ever, AJ (as owner), Anthony (14 Conseco) and Larry. “It’s incredible,” Larry said. “I have always said that Indy was the reason I wanted to drive race cars. Every time I go there I am reminded of that–the place just gives me chills. By far it will be the biggest thing I’ve done in my life. I am thrilled beyond words.” Any one interested in sponsoring Foyt Racing in the Indy 500 or the Memorial Day Double should contact Foyt Racing in Mooresville, NC [704-799-1414](PR)(5-6-2004)
- Andretti looking at Indy 500 options and a possible double: John Andretti said during his segment when ask what his plans are to run the Indy 500 and possible the Coca-Cola 600 in May: “I hate not being out there every weekend, and hopefully the plan is to get back on track as soon as possible. The Coca-Cola 600 is such a great race as is the Indy 500. We were the first one to do them both, and I would love to do them again. Who knows what’s going to happen? But we’re working toward both of them actually at this point, and we’ll see. Obviously the Coca-Cola 600 is toward the end (of the month), and right up to the end, we’re looking at all of the options, but then we have the Indy 500 and there are so many activities that go on. Even though the track opens, it doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity. There are three days of qualifying, and, of course, the last day of qualifying being after the Nextel All-Star Challenge.”(FoxSports)(5-6-2004)
- 2nd Drive for Diversity: A second driver — a woman with both short-track stock car racing and road racing in her background — has been chosen for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Allison Duncan, a native of California who moved to North Carolina to pursue a NASCAR career, has been named to drive a Late Model Stock car in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. She will have sponsorship from Miller Brewing Co. Duncan joins Tennessee driver Joe Henderson, who recently was named as the first driver in the NASCAR diversity program, whose goal is to train more minority individuals for participation at the top levels of stock car racing. Duncan will drive a Chevrolet owned by Tinsley Hughes. Duncan raced at Hickory last season and finished seventh in the Late Model point standings on the way to becoming the track’s first female rookie of the year in her division. She also has raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona and in other sports car events. She is a driving instructor for the BMW Performance Center in Greer.(Greenville News)(5-6-2004)
- Richmond Testing Continues: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are threatening to break the poll record of 21.194 seconds (approximately 127 mph) at Richmond International Raceway. After two full days of testing the new asphalt among more than 20 drivers, all agreed that the record would fall during Wawa pole qualifying for the Chevy American Revolution 400 Friday, May 14. “It’s going to be history, I can tell you that right now,” said Emporia, Virginia native Elliott Sadler. “I’m running faster than that in race trim.”
“The poll record will fall for sure-for sure,” echoed Jeff Gordon. “I ran that time on 30-lap tires.”
“The thing I have noticed about the racetrack is it’s super smooth, but the characteristic of the track is exactly the same,” added six-time Richmond winner Rusty Wallace. “I was supposed to test Martinsville, but I said ‘you know what that track really hasn’t changed, and boy it’s really hard to test there because it’s so rough.’ I’d rather pass that one up and go to Richmond where it’s a completely new pavement.”
“No doubt there will be a track record set when we come back to qualify Busch and Cup,” added Kurt Busch. “It’s very fast. It’s like a small Texas.” NASCAR Busch Series title contender Bobby Hamilton, Jr. was among those testing who said the pavement is new, but the same great racing will remain the same. NASCAR veteran Mark Martin is excited about the changes made to the short track. “We’re running a lot faster because of the new asphalt,” added Martin. “It’s exactly what you’d expect to see. The cars are a lot faster than they were in 1989. (The track was last repaved in late 1988.) Now we have fresh pavement and we’re going to be able to go a lot faster than we did back then.” Sadler gave the track rave reviews as well. “They did a great job. The track is very, very smooth. It has a lot of grip in it. It’s going to be fast, which will make it fun. I hope that the Busch cars will slicken it up a little bit on Friday night so we’ll be able to move around a lot on it Saturday night. I can’t believe how smooth it is, so whoever did it did a great job so I have to commend everybody here at Richmond for that.”
Gordon added, “The grip is there. The surface is fantastic. This track just offers that and I hope we see that our first time here with the new pavement.”
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch, Johnny Benson, Elliott Sadler, Ward Burton, Jimmy Spencer, Rusty Wallace, Brendan Gaughan and Jamie McMurray tested today. Busch Series drivers Kasey Kahne, Justin Labonte, Mike Bliss, J.J. Yeley, Jay Sauter, Eric McClure, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Dave Blaney also tested at Richmond Wednesday. Testing continues Thursday, May 6 when Ricky Rudd, Johnny Sauter and Ward Burton are scheduled to test the new blacktop. Grandstand gates open at 9:00 a.m. for this free event, which is open to the public.
The NEXTEL Cup drivers will have their first official run Friday, May 14 during Wawa Pole Qualifying for Saturday’s sold-out Chevy American Revolution 400. Tickets are still available for Friday’s NASCAR Busch Series FUNAI 250. Reserved seats are just $40, while general admission seats are $35. Thursday’s NBC12 Pole Qualifying Day for the FUNAI 250 are just $5 for general admission seats. Children 12 and under are admitted free to general admission sections with a paying adult on both days. For ticket information, please call 1-866-455-RACE, or visit www.rir.com.(RIR PR)(5-6-2004)
- New NASCAR TV Series on Spike: Spike TV hits the ignition Sunday, May 9 (10:00-10:30pm) with the greatest thrills and spills from the history of NASCAR with Stock Car Nation. This original, half-hour series, will delve into the network’s rich collection of NASCAR highlights and will feature thrilling moments from the sport’s most memorable races. Stock Car Nation will run the gamut of NASCAR history with different themed episodes including a countdown of racing’s royal families, a look at the “Bad Boys of Racing,” a compilation of Stock Car’s most fantastic finishes, and a decade of bumper to bumper battles between Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.
“This isn’t your dad’s highlight show – it’s a wild, action-packed trip through the hottest moments in NASCAR history,” said Kevin Kay, Executive Vice-President, Programming & Production, Spike TV. “This must-see series for the NASCAR fan serves as a major component of our “Motor Mayhem” month.
The series also includes exclusive interviews with NASCAR’s top drivers as they take a look back at many of the sport’s most historic and unforgettable moments. Those interviewed include Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle, Buddy Baker, Donnie Allison, and Ned Jarrett.
Legendary artist, Sam Bass, who was NASCAR’s first officially licensed artist and who creates the car paint schemes for many of the sport’s top drivers, will have his original art displayed on the series. “I’m thrilled to be a part of Spike TV’s new program,” said Bass. “Having grown up watching the sport and always wanting to be involved through my artwork, this platform for showcasing my artwork and integrating it with the sport’s history is a tremendous opportunity.”(Spike TV PR)(5-6-2004)
- Foundation Questioned: In the weeks after Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500, mourning fans sought to honor him by sending money to a charitable fund in his name. More than three years later, the bulk of that money – around $3 million – is still sitting in a bank account. A charity watchdog group recently questioned why, and it criticized the way the fund is being administered. But officials with the fund countered that it has taken time to plan where the donations should go. “You don’t just sit down and say, ‘Let’s give away some money today,”‘ said Doug Swanson, chief operating officer for Dale Earnhardt Inc., headquarters for Earnhardt’s race teams. “You have to investigate and explore very thoroughly to make sure it gets in the right hands. It takes time to do it right.” Swanson estimated $3 million was raised, with about $1 million coming from 7,000 individuals and the rest donated by companies. The bulk of that money came in 2001, right after the death of the NASCAR star. Swanson said only about $110,000 – all of it this year – has been donated from the fund. Those gifts included $41,000 to Ducks Unlimited – a wetlands conservation group – in March, and gifts of about $20,000 each to the Salvation Army and Feed the Children. There has also been a gift of about $25,000 to American Forests, a reforestation group. “We wanted to take our time and make the very best use of the money we could and do it in an organized way,” Swanson said. “We’re now well on our way.” The fund’s relative inactivity drew criticism from the Chicago-based American Institute of Philanthropy in its April newsletter. “People that send money expect that the money be spent within a year or two, not that it be sat on for three years,” AIP president Daniel Borochoff said. “There’s a lot of people that could’ve been helped by that money. It’s unfortunate that it was just sitting in a bank account.” The Earnhardt Family Fund was created by the driver in 1997. When the seven-time Winston Cup champion was killed, the family asked grieving fans to contribute to the fund instead of sending flowers. The fund was set up through the Foundation for the Carolinas, which manages more than 1,500 charitable funds. The foundation does not release financial information on individual funds, only on its funds overall. The Earnhardt family has since started the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, another charity. That foundation, which works in conjunction with the family fund, is focused on Earnhardt’s primary charitable concerns of wildlife, children and education, said Bryan Clontz, an Atlanta consultant to the new foundation.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(5-6-2004)
- Helton to be roasted: Six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers and one team owner will roast NASCAR President Mike Helton at the 2004 Multiple Sclerosis Dinner of Champions on Wednesday, June 2 in Greensboro, N.C. Barney Hall, the voice of NASCAR on the Motor Racing Network, will emcee the program as panel members tell amusing stories roasting Helton. The Central NC Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will host the Triad MS Dinner of Champions. Panelists include Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon, Jimmy Spencer and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team owner Richard Childress. Currently in its 21st year, the Dinner of Champions is held annually to raise funds and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a potentially devastating neurological disease. In its 21-year history, the event has raised more than $1.2 million to fight Multiple Sclerosis. The purpose of the Dinner of Champions is to raise funds for local programs for people with MS and their families and to support research into the cause and cure for MS. Sponsored by Nextel Communications, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and 104.1 WTQR, the 2004 Triad MS Dinner of Champions honoring Helton will be held at Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, June 2 at 6:00pm. More info on the dinner and tickets, go to my Racing Charities page or go the the MS site: www.ncc.nmss.org.(5-6-2004)
- Sad News: Don DeCecco, a race-day member of the #01 U.S. Army/MB2 Motorsports pit crew, passed away Tuesday (May 4) from esophageal cancer at his home in Spartanburg, S.C. He is survived by his wife Linda. A memorial service will be held Friday (May 7), 11 a.m. at Eggers Funeral Home in Spartanburg. For directions, call: 864-578-3838. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials be sent to:
Spartanburg Humane Society
150 Dexter Road
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303
Spartanburg Children’s Shelter
P.O. Box 2663
Spartanburg, S.C. 29304
DeCecco, 57, was the Gas Man on the Army/MB2 pit crew. He had been associated with MB2 since the team’s first season in 1997. Prior to his MB2 involvement, DeCecco was a crew member for Hendrick Motorsports and David Pearson Racing, including Larry Pearson’s 1986 and 1987 Busch Series championship teams. “We lost an outstanding member of our MB2 family,” said Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports. “Don was a true professional who had a deep passion for motorsports. He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues at MB2. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” DeCecco was employed at BICO South, a steel manufacturing company in Spartanburg.(5-5-2004)
- North Carolina Test Facility Planned: The Charlotte Regional Partnership is spearheading plans to seek state money to help build a $50 million motorsports test-track complex near Charlotte, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. The group hopes the facility will cement the area’s status as the home of most of NASCAR’s top-tier teams in the wake of new and expanded programs in Virginia and South Carolina. Reporter Ken Elkins writes that organizers are looking for up to 150 acres within 30 miles of Lowe’s Motor Speedway for a facility that would include super speedway, mid-length oval and road-course tracks. No grandstands would be built. Teams could save money, the story says, by not having to travel to facilities such as Kentucky Speedway to conduct non-sanctioned tests.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-30-2004)
AND An effort is gearing up to build a state-funded motorsports test-track complex near Charlotte, with organizers saying the $50 million facility would help attract more Nextel Cup teams to the area. The Charlotte Regional Partnership is spearheading the idea, seeking up to 150 acres within 30 miles of Lowe’s Motor Speedway for a facility that would include super speedway, mid-length oval and road-course tracks. “It could be configured to represent 75% of the types of tracks on the NASCAR circuit,” says Michael Almond, chief executive of the regional partnership, a 16-county, public-private economic development agency. The complex, tentatively dubbed the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex, would include garages, administrative space and about $5 million in testing equipment but no grandstands. No site has been selected. The proposal faces two key challenges: Organizers are seeking state funds to pay for construction, and they want the land to be donated. “We are assuming that the land would be contributed as a way of having skin in the game,” Almond says. Such property may already be available. Sources familiar with the test-track proposal say officials in Cabarrus, Iredell and Stanly counties have expressed interest in the project, suggesting sites that would be available at little or no cost. Also, Humpy Wheeler, president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., has offered 100 acres at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the complex. Presumably, that Cabarrus site would have to be supplemented by 50 acres. Some have suggested using North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham for the testing complex, especially if that track loses its last NASCAR-sanctioned race.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-5-2004)
- #94 Picks Up a sponsor for the month of May: Husqvarna Forest and Garden Co. has agreed to a three-race sponsorship with WW Motorsports [#94 Chevy with driver Stanton Barrett], which is competing in this year’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The WW Motorsports car will feature Husqvarna logos, and the pit crew will wear branded shirts for the Chevy American Revolution 400, held in Richmond, Va., May 15; the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, held in Charlotte May 22; and the Coca-Cola 600, held in Charlotte May 30. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Charlotte-based Husqvarna, a member of the Electrolux Group, makes forest, lawn and garden equipment.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-5-2004)
- Crew Chiefs Fined: NASCAR today announced fines for three Nextel Cup crew chiefs for rules violations at Talladega. Ted Brown, crew chief of Shepherd Racing’s #89 Dodge for Morgan Shepherd, was fined $2,000 because crew member Scott Cianci entered the car servicing area without a helmet during the Aaron’s 499. Mike Ford, crew chief of Robert Yates Racing’s #88 Ford for Dale Jarrett, and Terry Wooten, crew chief of Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Chevrolet for Kenny Wallace, were fined $1,000 each for unapproved underpans found on their cars during pre-qualifying inspection.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-5-2004)
- NASCAR OK with Stewart: after the incidents this past race at the California Speedway Cup race between Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace, few have asked what would happen to Stewart, saw this……..But NASCAR on Monday said, no harm, no foul. Well, at least no foul. “We addressed Tony Stewart’s driving before [Friday’s] practice started at California and there was nothing that happened on the race track [Sunday] that we would term anything other than a racing incident,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications. I don’t know if Rusty’s had a chance to review film or video of the race, but it was just a racing accident. [Stewart] got loose. That happens. It just happened to be Tony Stewart.” Stewart, who underwent anger-management counseling at the direction of his Home Depot sponsor two years ago, has been remarkably proficient at finding controversy on the track recently. He also banged doors with eventual winner Jeff Gordon, and drove behind Ricky Rudd and briefly lifted Rudd’s Ford off the pavement with the nose of his Chevrolet. “Tony has a way of picking up the bull’s-eye,” Hunter said. “When stuff happens with Tony, he becomes an obvious target. He’s a hard charger, there’s no doubt about that. But so is Rusty and a lot of other drivers, and that’s one of the things that makes our sport so great.” Hunter also said NASCAR was not going to reprimand Wallace for his on-air comments.(Los Angeles Times)(5-5-2004)
- American Thunder: a column in today’s New York Times about the new magazine, American Thunder [which Jayski does a column for], a monthly magazine for “the NASCAR lifestyle,” check it out at: Where the Reader and the Rubber Meet the Road by David Carr [Note; need to register to read] and see the magazine’s website: www.getthunder.com.(5-5-2004)
- Special D-Day Scheme for Labonte at Dover UPDATE: hearing that #18-Bobby Labonte wil run a D-Day scheme as this year marks the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, Labonte and Dover race sponsor MBNA will re-paint the Joe Gibbs NEXTEL Cup #18 with a vintage war plane design. The car will carry the decals and the insignias of this war-time in America. June 6 Dover.(3-5-2004)
UPDATE: Bobby Labonte came to town to talk a little NASCAR yesterday, but it was his race car that got the most attention. Draped in camouflage netting, the #18 Chevrolet was parked on a pier next to Dave & Buster’s. A crowd of on-lookers gathered around, apparently oblivious to the traffic whizzing past on Columbus Boulevard or the dozens of yachts gently bobbing nearby in the Delaware River. Polite applause gave way to cheers when the cover was removed, revealing a special paint-job commemorating the World War II invasion of Normandy. Sporting an olive-green body with red and yellow accents on the nose and gray “rivets” painted on, the Monte Carlo carried a poignant message on its hood: “We will accept nothing less than full victory.” Labonte will pilot the car at Dover International Speedway on June 6, the 60th anniversary of D-Day, in a Nextel Cup race that has been renamed the MBNA 400: A Tribute to Heroes. MBNA, which is also sponsoring Labonte’s racer, will donate a portion of the sales of die-cast replicas of the car to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation and to the Armed Forces Family Scholarship and Assistance Fund, which is administered by the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. “It’s a great honor to be a part of this, and I really like the fact that we’re doing it at one of my favorite tracks,” Labonte said. “We would really like to stick this car in Victory Lane, not just to help us in the points standings, but also because it would make the die-cast a hotter item to sell.” With an open date in the Nextel Cup schedule this weekend, Labonte was accompanied yesterday by his wife Donna and their two children, son Tyler, 10, and daughter Madison, 6. Soon after the event ended, the family headed to the Phillies game, where Labonte threw out the first pitch and his car was put on display.[boo…the Phils lost 6-5]
AND Ron Hornaday Jr., [South NJ’s] Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer have been tabbed to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s NASCAR Night at the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia [home of Jaysli’s beloved Phillies]. After spending the morning and early afternoon testing at Nazareth Speedway, the trio of Busch Series competitors will head to the sports complex for the Phillies game against the St. Louis Cardinals, which is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm/et. Each driver will take part in events throughout the evening, including an autograph session inside the first-base gate. “I’ve been a Phillies fan all of my life,” said Truex, who was born and raised in Mayetta, N.J. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” For ticket information on the race, visit the track Web site at www.nazarethspeedway.com or call 888-629-7223.(Philadelphia Inquirer), see an image of the #18 D-Day scheme on my #18 Team Paint Schemes page (5-5-2004)
- Golf Tips Exchanged at LMS: Professional golfers and NASCAR racers traded driving tips Tuesday morning at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. About 20 PGA Tour players arrived by helicopter at the speedway for a crash course in NASCAR. Each player suited up and drove the 600-horsepower stock cars for 18 laps around the track to get a feel for racing. And some golfers said that driving stock cars is not such a stretch for golf professionals who also have to deal with a lot of stress. “This is really a stressful environment being in a car — heat, stress, a lot of quick decision making,” said professional golfer Stuart Appleby. “Golf is much slower. I guess it’s more a self-induced stress. Very different, very different, but at the same time they share some similar qualities.” In return for driving lessons, the racing pros [one was Jeff Burton] teed up on the speedway’s grass infield for some pointers from the PGA players.(News 14 Carolina)(5-5-2004)
- Fans Succumb to heat at California: …Nearly 1,000 people were treated by on-site medical facilities, almost all for heat-related issues. The speedway has eight permanent first-aid buildings and the infield care center. There were 92,000 fans in the grandstands, and about 20,000 in the infield. The reported temperature at the speedway Sunday was 98.6 degrees with a track temperature of 139.7. Speedway spokesman Dennis Bickmeier said the speedway used 18 misting machines, six behind the terrace suites in the garage area, and 12 spread behind the grandstands and midway. The public address system advised fans to hydrate themselves. Bottled water sold for $3, but the track has more than 25 drinking fountains. Concessionaires were still doing inventory on Monday, but Bickmeier said more than 70,000 bottles of soda and lemonade were consumed, and at least 80,000 bottles of water.(Los Angeles Times)(5-5-2004)
- SMI Offers Mixed Report: Speedway Motorsports Inc. today reported lower first-quarter revenues and earnings because this year’s Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR races fell in the second quarter but said its figures were up for comparable events. The Charlotte-based track operator reported first-quarter revenues of $122.2 million, down 16 percent or $23.9 million; net income of $24.7 million, down 29 percent or $10.1 million; and diluted earnings per share of 57 cents, down 30 percent or 25 cents. But when comparing similar race schedules in 2003 and 2004, which exclude the Texas NASCAR events, using other than generally accepted accounting principles, the company said results reflect increases in revenues of $17.2 million or 16 percent, net income of $5.6 million or 29 percent and diluted earnings per share of 12 cents or 27 percent, over last year. The company said it had record attendance for its spring Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and for its Busch Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, along with sellouts for Cup.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-5-2004)
- Update on the car of the future: NASCAR may be stepping up plans for its “car of the future.”
“The first iteration of the car is going together right now,” said John Darby, NASCAR’s competition director. “Once it’s completed it will take quite some time to smash it and crash it (testing for crash-worthiness) to see what works and what doesn’t. So we’re a ways out with it. There is another debate, too, about where to introduce the car. At Daytona and Talladega, for example, aerodynamics is so critical that if we’re a little off it shows up a whole bunch. So let’s maybe roll it out at Martinsville, so if the aero isn’t exactly right, we’ll at least be able to get through the weekend.” There is talk, however, that the project may be doomed. Darby dismisses such talk: “It’s far from dead. Typically what happens is the ideas keep getting better as we go through the process. You get something engineered and apply it to the car, and then 30 days down the road somebody comes up with a better idea. So there’s a lot of leap-frogging. The teams have helped a lot; their engineers have given us a ton of input. It is an intricate process. “It could probably be run in late ’05 somewhere. But ’06 is probably a better date.”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-5-2004)
- News about Jerry Nadeau: Jerry Nadeau has dedicated himself to racing since he was a toddler, so sitting out a year with a head injury is “probably the worst thing in the world” to him. Still, common sense and recent history tell Nadeau that he shouldn’t rush himself back into the car. Nadeau sustained a serious head injury in an accident at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on May 2 of last year. People close to Nadeau notice improvement in his speech and demeanor every week. But he still can’t feel the left side of his body and his vision isn’t as clear as it was before the crash. “I figure I’m about 75% there,” Nadeau says. “I obviously rattled my cage quite a bit, and I’m just waiting for all the marbles to shake out.” For the moment, Nadeau is getting his racing fix through a sophisticated computer simulator; he’s pretty sure he has raced online against Dale Earnhardt Jr., a noted computer racing fiend who races under an alias. Nadeau also worked as an instructor at a go-kart racing school last weekend. And he’s working out with a trainer three days a week. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s coming back,” says Jay Frye, general manager of MBV Motorsports, the team Nadeau was racing for at the time of the wreck. “The question is when.” MBV put Nadeau in a car for a test session in December, with mixed results, and probably will have him test again in the next few months. If that goes well, the next step for Nadeau likely will come not in Cup, but in ARCA or another lower-tier racing series. Fortunately for Nadeau, he doesn’t feel financial pressure to return right away. “I guess I was smart,” he says. “I had a good insurance plan before I even got into Winston (now Nextel) Cup. When I got hurt, my insurance plan took over, and it allowed me to sit back and heal.” Still, Nadeau isn’t quite sure what he’ll do if racing doesn’t work out. “It’s not like I have a business or could start a job and know what the hell I was doing,” he says. “It’s frustrating not to have a (college) degree in something — I’ve been doing this since age 4, and the only thing I have a degree in is racing.”(USA Today), past news on my Jerry Nadeau page.(5-4-2004)
- Morgan Shepherd turning heads: All the Nextel Cup “young guns” had better start looking behind them because they’re being chased by a wily veteran – 62-year-old #89-Morgan Shepherd. Sunday at California Speedway, Shepherd stayed on the lead lap for almost 60 laps but left the race because of electrical problems after completing 163 laps in the California heat. He finished 36th, and the $65,025 probably didn’t cover his expenses. On April 18 at Martinsville, Shepherd, who has recorded five Cup wins and 15 Busch Series victories, completed 492 laps and was running at the end of the grueling short- track race. Despite having only a one-car, one-engine team, he has competed in five Nextel Cup races this season and is 42nd in the standings. “I am a racer,” Shepherd said. “I’m here to race.”(Rocky Mountain News)(5-4-2004)
- Kerry gets shunned by Mikey UPDATE: Kerry Earnhardt was so angry at Michael Waltrip for their run-in at Talladega that he grabbed a radio from the DEI rig during the race and tried to talk to Waltrip, but Waltrip wouldn’t reply. Then Earnhardt, according to sources, showed up at DEI’s Monday meeting, to talk with Waltrip, but Waltrip skipped the meeting.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2004)
UPDATE: Kerry Earnhardt is Montana with Richard Childress fishing (they are shooting a segment for an upcoming show called NASCAR Outdoors – not sure where or when it will air). Earnhardt is not blaming Waltrip for the incident and knows it was not intentional. He told Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite Radio [before Earnhardt left for Montana]: “I’m sure Michael didn’t intend on taking me out, he just come down, I think [Jeff] Gordon was there [Gordon tapped Waltrip, who had no place to go]. He got turned sideways and, fortunate for him that I was on the bottom to keep him from going through the infield there. So, it was an unfortunate situation for myself to get taken out in that manner – but it was part of racing – it was speedway racing. I’m sure all those other (Talladega) wrecks didn’t happen intentionally either.”(XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio 144)(5-4-2004)
- Dale Earnhardt Foundation Partners with American Forests: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and American Forests announced a partnership under which the Foundation will provide American Forests with an initial planning grant in support of its plans to plant 77,000 trees to restore local forests damaged by storm, disease, neglect and development. The joint announcement was made during the celebration of the third annual Dale Earnhardt Day, which coincides with Arbor Day and the late racing legend’s birthday. The ceremony featured the planting of seven trees — symbolizing Earnhardt’s seven Winston Cup victories — in honor of his longstanding commitment to the conservation of natural resources and the start of the American Forests initiative.(PNN Online)(5-4-2004)
- Jeff Gordon named 1st Qtr NASCAR USG Person of the year: Through his personal foundation, Jeff Gordon has been able to donate nearly $500,000 to local and national charities this year. In addition to his charitable contributions to Riley Hospital for Children, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, the American Lung Association of North Carolina and The Victory Junction Gang Camp.(NASCAR PR)(5-4-2004)
- DR. Boogity? NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip will deliver the commencement address to the 137th graduating class of Kentucky Wesleyan College in his hometown of Owensboro, Ky. on Saturday, May 8 at 10am/ct in KWC’s Hocker-Hall Grove. The three-time NASCAR Champion will be presented KWC’s highest honor, the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, (LL.D.) following his address to the graduating class. “Not only has Darrell Waltrip reached the pinnacle of the motorsports world, but he had also conceived and founded a ministry to racing families,” said KWC President Dr. Wesley H. Poling. His commitment to his sport and to the personal faith of his fellow sportsmen is exemplary, and we are proud to recognize his achievements.” Waltrip currently serves as the Lead Analyst for the NASCAR on FOX TV race broadcasts. He retired from NASCAR Cup racing in 2000, and he now competes occasionally in the Craftsman Truck Series. Waltrip is tied for third on NASCAR’s all-time victory list with 84. In 2000, Waltrip garnered the ultimate award in his career when he received the Bill France Award of Excellence from NASCAR. He also twice received NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award in 1989 and 1990 and was a three-time American Driver of the Year award recipient in 1977, 1981 and 1982. He was selected as NASCAR’s Driver of the Decade 1980s. The state of Tennessee also honored Waltrip with their Professional Athlete of the Year award in 1979. In 1988, he founded Motor Racing Outreach, a ministry for NASCAR families across America who have no worship opportunities at racetracks on Sunday mornings. Waltrip’s driving career began at the age of 12 when he raced go-karts and entered his first stock car race four years later. After one dirt track race Waltrip soon found his niche on the pavement. After success as one of the nation’s top short-track drivers, Waltrip decided in 1975 to become a full-time NASCAR competitor. And the rest is history. Kentucky Wesleyan College is a four-year, United Methodist Church affiliated, co-educational institution offering a wide range of majors in the liberal arts, as well as specialized programs in communication arts and criminal justice.(PR)(5-4-2004)
- Fox Sports / NASCAR This Morning / First Response K9 Recovery Auction: Fox Sports / NASCAR This Morning / First Response K9 Recovery has teamed up to offer a fan and a guest a morning visit at the “NASCAR This Morning” studios and a meet and greet with John Roberts, Bill Ingle, Kenny Wallace and Chad Little, the hosts of the show. After the show begins its broadcast the two visitors make their way as guests to the control room were they get to watch the inner workings of the live broadcast while being escorted by Scott Davis of First Response K9 Recovery. In addition to the morning at the studio, the two participants receive a one nights stay at the Hampton Inns and Suites, and chauffeured ground transportation to and from the airport if applicable. See the full PR and links to the eBay Auctions on my Racing Charities page.
AND First Response K9 Recovery and their Lunch with Larry McReynolds auction was mentioned on Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR, more info at the auction go to the eBay Auction.(5-4-2004)
- Sad News: A stock car driver who finished third in a race died of an apparent heart attack. Butch Renninger, 62, collapsed while sitting in his car on the front straightaway at the Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway on Saturday night. He had just finished a 30-lap Enduro stock car race and was talking to friends and crew. Rescue workers tried to revive him. He was transported to Lewistown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Renninger raced for decades at several central Pennsylvania tracks, winning 41 races at the Port Royal track and championships at the Port Royal and Bedford speedways. He is survived by his wife, Carol, children and grandchildren.(nbc10.com)(5-4-2004)
- After 10 races what drivers are doing better then in 2003 and which are doing worse? See my chart, only includes drivers who attempted all 10 races in the first 10 races of each season, points position for each season, points after 10 races, and final points position of 2003:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 1453 2 1429 1 3 Jimmie Johnson 2 1428 5 1266 3 2 Jeff Gordon 3 1426 3 1321 0 4 Matt Kenseth 4 1357 1 1473 -3 1 Kurt Busch 5 1316 4 1305 -1 11 Kevin Harvick 6 1316 9 1173 3 5 Ryan Newman 7 1299 25 980 18 6 Tony Stewart 8 1284 11 1142 3 7 Bobby Labonte 9 1265 8 1201 -1 8 Elliott Sadler 10 1250 10 1149 0 22 Jamie McMurray 12 1200 24 996 12 13 Mark Martin 13 1135 14 1082 1 17 Rusty Wallace 14 1132 12 1140 -2 14 Sterling Marlin 15 1112 13 1135 -2 18 Jeremy Mayfield 16 1106 33 849 17 19 Casey Mears 17 1093 37 741 20 35 Dale Jarrett 18 1066 17 1039 -1 26 Robby Gordon 19 1033 16 1053 -3 16 Joe Nemechek 20 1014 20 1026 0 25 Terry Labonte 21 1011 19 1038 -2 10 Greg Biffle 23 995 23* 997 0 20* Ward Burton 24 988 27 961 3 21 Ricky Rudd 28 904 18 1038 -10 23 Jeff Burton 29 901 15 1064 -14 12 Michael Waltrip 30 876 6 1234 -24 15 Ken Schrader 31 875 35 782 4 36* Kyle Petty 32 857 38* 734 6 37* Ricky Craven 33 831 7 1205 -26 27 Jeff Green 34 784 31 892 -3 34* * failed to qualify for races, but made the attempt
- Irvan Gives Talk: Ernie Irvan, owner of Irvan Enterprises in Mooresville, NC, was guest speaker at the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class Graduation on April 22. The former NASCAR driver addressed the 2003-04 adult and junior leadership graduates on the importance of leadership and having a good role model, family support and strong faith in Christ and self. He also told how the late Dale Earnhardt helped him get started in racing and Earnhardt’s leadership qualities. Irvan earned 15 NASCAR Winston Cup championships, numerous awards and 22 pole positions. He survived a near-fatal crash at Michigan International Speedway when a right tire deflated, sending his car into the turn two wall at more than 170 mph. He officially retired from driving in 1999 but continues to work and support racing.(Charlotte Observer)(5-3-2004)
- Sad News: Doris Roberts, who was married to the late Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, is ill from terminal cancer and is in the final stages of her life, according to her daughter Pam. She was unable to attend the induction ceremonies last week at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega.(IHOF via Insider Racing News)(5-3-2004)
- Overnight California TV Ratings up 14%: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway drew a 5.6 overnight rating and an 11 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 14.3 percent higher than the 4.9 overnight figure the race drew in 2003, when it wound up with a final figure of 5.3/13. For the weekend, the race trailed the 8.3/18 that NBC drew for its Kentucky Derby coverage and the 6.0/12 that ABC drew for Sunday’s NBA playoff game between the Lakers and the Spurs.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-3-2004)
- Bobby Labonte to run Busch race at MIS; Bliss to run 2 Cup races: Bobby Labonte and his long-time sponsor ConAgra Foods, Inc. announced that Labonte will return to the Busch Series for the Cabela’s 250 Race on August 21, 2004 at Michigan International Speedway. He will be driving the bright red #19 Banquet Chevrolet featuring the Banquet brand and logo. This car was unveiled at the 2004 Food Market Institute Show (FMI) at McCormick Place in Chicago. This extended partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) highlights ConAgra Foods’ growing involvement in the sport of NASCAR. Having recognized the power of NASCAR to reach families nationwide almost a decade ago, the company was an early supporter of Labonte’s racing team. Under this new agreement, Labonte will appear in advertising and promotions as well as provide personal appearances and publicity for Banquet and ConAgra Foods. The Cabela’s 250 Race marks Bobby’s return to the Busch Series [JAYSKI NOTE: Actually Labonte ran the Texas Busch race in the #29 ESGR/Army Nat’l Guard-Reserve RCR Chevy and finished 11th]. “I’m excited to run the #19 Banquet Chevrolet in the Busch series later this summer,” said Labonte. “My goal is to take Banquet and ConAgra Foods to the winner’s circle at the Cabela’s 250.” ConAgra Foods will continue to maximize its association with NASCAR in 2004 with a series of sponsorships and promotions. Banquet’s title sponsorship of the Banquet 400 Nextel Cup Series race at Kansas Motor Speedway in October continues for the second year, and the partnership with JGR will offer several ConAgra Foods brands in the snack and grocery categories the opportunity to appear on the #80 car driven by Mike Bliss during two Nextel Cup Series races. Bliss will race the #80 Slim Jim Chevrolet at the Tropicana 400 in Chicago this July and he will run the #80 Hunts Chevrolet at the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway in September [NOTE: Gibbs would get to use the car #80 over the #80 Hover Motorsports team and driver Andy Hillenburg as that team is listed as #280 in Owners Points]. This summer Banquet will be rolling out a retail promotion called “0 to Dinner with Banquet,” which gives fans the opportunity to collect five proofs of purchase from frozen and grocery products and receive a die cast #19 Banquet Chevrolet. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.(Ketchum PR)(5-3-2004)
- Idiot Fan Alert: #24-Jeff Gordon said his car was hit by a bottle after the race, a week after fans littered the track at Talladega Superspeedway with cans and containers at the end of that race. “Hopefully the tracks can start taking some action, maybe putting some signs up that saying that maybe legal action will be taken if anything is thrown over that fence,” Gordon said. “I think it’s a good idea to take some action and be proactive instead of reactive after it happens.”(Roanoke Times)(5-3-2004)
- Barrett Released from Hospital: #94-Stanton Barrett was examined and released from Loma Linda Hospital following his crash on the 22nd lap of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the two-mile California Speedway. Barrett’s #94 AmericInn Chevrolet hit the fourth-turn wall, where SAFER barriers had been added earlier this year. “It felt like a tire was going down and that’s how things got started,” Barrett said. “I didn’t have any control after that. I definitely commend NASCAR and California Speedway for the SAFER barriers. I started shooting up the track and, for some reason as I headed toward the wall, I remembered they were there. I thought, ‘Hey, maybe this won’t hurt as bad,'” he said. “It still hurt . . . but not as bad as concrete. I’m really glad those were in place, and I think every driver in NASCAR should be happy too.”(Williams Company PR)(5-3-2004)
- NASCAR takes engine: Bill Davis Racing experienced engine woes last weekend. Rookie #22-Scott Wimmer broke engines on Friday and Saturday because of two different problems. The team was forced to go to a third engine for the race. Wimmer started 39th and finished 30th. The second engine was confiscated by NASCAR for further examination.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-3-2004)
- NASCAR Still looking at Spoiler Options UPDATE: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said Friday NASCAR is weighing options on whether to make an additional cut to cars’ spoilers this season. “What we’re doing is working through the process and trying to decide, is it better to do a half (inch) in July and another half (inch) at the end of the year, or to leave everything alone and do a full inch at the end of the year,” he said. Darby said the main concern over making an adjustment during the season is its possible effects on the 10-race “Chase for the Championship. We’ll be watching these next couple races and finishing the process of watching how the teams have adapted to the first cut (in the spoiler),” Darby said. “The championship chase will enter into it, I’m sure, that being so new.” Darby said teams were probably split about whether to cut the spoiler before the end of the season, but in any case, an additional inch will be cut from the spoilers by the start of the 2005 season.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-1-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR officials are telling crew chiefs they’ve decided to drop plans for any more aerodynamic rear-spoiler changes this season. Another half-inch cut in the rear spoiler had been planned for July at Chicago; that cut has been postponed until next year.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2004)
- California Cup Illegal Parts: #25-Brian Vickers, NASCAR confiscated a 1×2 inch piece of cardboard used to change the height of the fuel cell rack. #45-Kyle Petty, NASCAR confiscated four foot long thin strips used to change the height of the fuel cell rack.(Insider Racing News)(5-3-2004)
- 4 in top 10 all year: Four teams have remained in the top 10 in points since the season started: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #17-Matt Kenseth, #38-Elliott Sadler and #20-Tony Stewart. Eighteen teams remain within 400 points of the leader (Earnhardt), the cutoff point to make the Chase for the Championship.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-3-2004)
- Newman wants fuel pumps changed: Ryan Newman says NASCAR’s next safety move should be to eliminate mechanical fuel pumps on engine blocks and allow teams to install safer electrical fuel pumps, which could be installed inside the fuel cell. “You can get them for $20 at any NAPA store,” Newman says. Newman is also pushing NASCAR to eliminate mechanical dashboard gauges in a safety-related move. But he says when he raised the issue with NASCAR, he got no response.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2004)
- Fuel Line Problems: With the change in fuel providers to Sunoco this year, some teams have had to change fuel line manufacturers. One engine man said that “a couple of brands have been more sensitive to the Sunoco fuel,” so several teams changed lines as a precaution. Some teams have noticed the lines are wearing out faster.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-3-2004)
- NASCAR Changes? NASCAR’s R&D operation could be in for some changes in the coming months, according to NASCAR sources, and Brian DeHart, running the Busch tour, could be moving over to that operation. (Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2004)
- RE buys Race Safe Systems: Racing Electronics has announced the acquisition of Race Safe Systems, Inc., and its main product, the Race Safe Warning Light System. Former owner Rick Martell said, “We are excited that Racing Electronics is taking over and further developing our product. With Racing Electronics’ input over the last 18 months, changes have been made making Race Safe a better and more reliable product than ever imagined.” Experienced professional drivers recognize that a great number of accidents occur under yellow caution conditions. Track position, sun, dust, and other distractions restrict drivers from seeing the yellow caution flag at the same time. The Race Safe Warning Light System uses a radio transmitter and receiver that alerts all drivers of a caution situation simultaneously [using yellow lights]. This system is already in use by dozens of race tracks and sanctioning bodies, with more signing on every month. “Any time you can make a contribution to the safety of the drivers and the driving conditions, it can only be a positive thing. The Race Safe Warning Light System is a great concept, as well as a great product. We look forward to taking Race Safe to new levels, and hope that it will become an industry standard,” says Bruce Silver, president of Racing Electronics.(RE PR)(4-30-2004)
AND DW and Jeff Hammond showed and explained the system on Friday’s Trackside from California.(5-3-2004)
- Jeff Gordon wins at California: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, in a fuel mileage race. #48-Jimmie Johnson ended up 2nd. #18-Bobby Labonte was running 2nd and ran out of gas with a 1/2 lap to go. #24-Jeff Gordon made it back-to-back Nextel Cup victories Sunday, parlaying fast pit stops and a strong car into a win in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. #18-Bobby Labonte had moved up to second in the late stages of the race and had closed to within a second of Gordon with two laps to go. On the final lap, however, Labonte ran out of fuel and sputtered home in fifth. Gordon, meanwhile, had just enough gas to complete a victory lap and a celebratory pass through the infield grass. His crew pushed the #24 to victory lane. #48-Jimmie Johnson made it to the end and grabbed second on the final lap. That, combined with a lackluster 19th-place run by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., moved Johnson to within 25 points of the lead in the Nextel Cup standings. Gordon remains third in the standings. #12-Ryan Newman and #17-Matt Kenseth also passed Labonte on the final lap. #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #0-Ward Burton were among the others that ran out in the waning moments of the 500-mile event.(full story at ThatsRacin.com)
For more on some detail of the race, see my Jayski’s Race Rundown page.
For Results see
Jayski’s California Race Results/Awards Standings Page
- Top Five Drivers Points after California:
#8-Earnhardt Jr., 1453
#48-Johnson, 1428, -25
#24-Gordon, 1426, -27
#17-Kenseth, 1357, -96
#97-Busch, 1316, -137
#29-Harvick, 1316, -137
For drivers points see:
Jayski’s Driver/Owners Points after California page
- Cool down lap ‘NOT’ optional: NASCAR announced a clarification to post-race procedures Sunday, reminding drivers that once the take the checkered flag they must complete the “cool down” lap. Event director David Hoots told the drivers assembled in Sunday’s pre-race meeting they were not allowed to turn into the exit of pit road and travel up the wrong direction toward pit road. Last week at Talladega, Ala., after taking the checkered flag, Tony Stewart made a sharp left turn into the exit of pit road, electing not to take the “cool down” lap. Instead, he turned into an approaching Terry Labonte and damaged both cars. He then traveled up pit road the wrong way at a high rate of speed to the entrance of the garage area.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-2-2004)
- Best Western to Partner with Victory Junction Gang Camp: Best Western, the Official Hotel of NASCAR, is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a year-round camp for children with chronic and life threatening illnesses located in Randleman, NC. As part of the relationship, Best Western will donate more than $150,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp over the next three years to name the staff lodging facility. Best Western will also provide staff and campers with Best Western amenities and recruit volunteers to work onsite with campers. “We’re looking forward to working hand in hand with the Victory Junction Gang Camp, one of NASCAR’s favorite charities,” said Tom Higgins, Best Western president and CEO. “We know this is a great way for us to make an impact in the lives of these children.” Best Western will provide additional funding for camperships for children to attend the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The World’s Largest Hotel Chain will also invite a number of children from all over the nation to attend various NASCAR races as Best Western guests. “We’re very grateful for all of the support we have received from Best Western,” said Richard Petty, founding family member of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “This is going to be a wonderful partnership. And the Victory Junction staff is looking forward to the inaugural summer in the Best Western Staff Lodge at camp.” Best Western is in the first year of a three-year agreement as NASCAR’s Official Hotel, and is also serving as an associate sponsor of Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned #15 NAPA Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The company will serve as primary sponsor for Michael Waltrip’s #99 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series race on November 6. More information on all Best Western / NASCAR activities, including Speed Rewards, a customized frequent guest program designed specifically for race fans, is available at www.bestwestern.com/racing. For more information about the camp, visit their website at www.victoryjunction.org.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(5-2-2004)
- StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – California: #24-Jeff Gordon went back-to-back today….and did it with all of about a gallon of gas to spare. In what turned into a “fuelish” event (don’t they so often do both here and at Michigan), Jeff Gordon won today’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway by 12.871 seconds….but it was actually much closer than that. #18-Bobby Labonte got to within a couple seconds late, but ran out of gas on the final lap. For Gordon, this was his 3rd win at Fontana (he won the inaugural event in 1997 and again in 1999) and his second win of 2004. This was win #66 for his career, and the 120th for Hendrick Motorsports (made even sweeter since they ran 1/2). The victory was worth $318,628 for Gordon from the over $5.7M in posted awards. Ah, Rusty!!! In a sport rapidly becoming colorless, it’s like a breath of fresh air to hear a driver say what _he_ thinks instead of what he’s been told to say. Hot? You think today was hot? How quickly we forget those July races in Talladega….
#77-Brendan Gaughan (6th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was last week at Talladega when he was 13th.
#5-Terry Labonte (7th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville last October.
Labonte & Gaughan’s Top-10 finishes give us 28 drivers to score a Top-10 this season…..last year’s number was 42.
#0-Ward Burton (10th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Rockingham in February.
#98-Todd Bodine (34th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Homestead last November (only 5 races).
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
The Rookie Report: For the second week in a row Brendan Gaughan (6th) is the top-finishing first year driver. He was followed by: Kasey Kahne (13th), Johnny Sauter (21st), Scott Riggs (25th), Brian Vickers (29th) and Scott Wimmer (30th).
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is a tie….and it stays in the family! Bobby Labonte (+22) and brother Terry Labonte (+22) grab the title, followed by Matt Kenseth (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Green (-34), followed by Joe Nemechek (-26), Rusty Wallace (-26), Brian Vickers (-23), and Scott Riggs (-21).
Brendan Gaughan led once today for one lap….the first time he’s led in his Nextel Cup career. Ken Schrader led one lap today….it’s the first time he’s led since he led twice for 46 laps at the Daytona 500 of 2002! We’ve had 38 different leaders this season….last year’s number was 48.
Dale Earnhardt Jr maintains the points lead, but his margin is down to 25 over Jimmie Johnson with Jeff Gordon just another two points back. Brendan Gaughan (27th to 22nd) made the best move forward today, while Scott Wimmer (21st to 25th) fell the most positions.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(5-2-2004)
- NOTES and FACTS: Jeff Gordon won the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, scoring his 66th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 375th career start. His last victory came at Talladega just one race ago. Gordon, who won last week at Talladega, posted back-to-back victories for the 19th time in his career. This includes one streak of three races and one of four. The most recent driver to post back-to-back victories was Matt Kenseth who did so earlier this season when he won at Rockingham and Las Vegas. This is Gordon’s sixth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in the state of California.Gordon also has three victories at Infineon Raceway
Eighteen drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. as we continue to monitor the countdown to the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship. The 15 leaders in the 2004 Auto Club 500 ties the record at California Speedway set in 2000. Kevin Harvick (ninth) extended his streak of running at the finish in 49 straight races, a streak that began at Rockingham in November 2002.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-2-2004)
- Busy Weekend Coming up for Robby: After driving in Friday [May 14th] night’s Busch race at Richmond, Va., Robby Gordon will fly to Indianapolis to qualify on Saturday [and go for the pole], then return to Richmond to drive that night in the American Revolution 500 Nextel Cup race.(Los Angeles Times)(5-2-2004)
- Nice Gesture by a sponsor: #38-Elliott Sadler’s sponsor, M&M’s, flew Sadler’s parents to California this weekend to help celebrate Sadler’s birthday. He turned 29 Friday. “It was the first time I got to spend my birthday with my parents in probably six or seven years,” said Sadler, who starts 14th. “That was a great surprise.”(Roanoke Times)(5-2-2004)
- Harsh [but correct] words by Kyle: Kyle Petty says NASCAR should boycott Talladega Superspeedway after fans littered the track last weekend with trash and debris because that race finished under caution. “They should not allow a race back at Talladega for throwing beer cans on the race track,” Petty said. “When we’ve got guys riding around [under caution] at 70, 80 mph, throwing beer cans on the race track, it’s dangerous. We should not go back to that race track. That’s pitiful that those people call themselves fans. That’s Kyle Petty’s opinion and I’ll stand by that forever. I don’t care how disgruntled you are, that’s crap. I’ve been to football games and didn’t like the endings. Did I pick up crap and throw it down on the field and hit the guys in the back of the head or throw stuff at the coaches. No.”(Roanoke Times)(5-2-2004)
- Next Time They’ll Stop the race: NASCAR president Mike Helton said that if they’re unable to finish a race under green and fans litter the track again, series officials will end the race immediately without completing the full distance.(Roanoke Times)
AND …..Yet, the deluge of debris symbolizes NASCAR’s dilemma: The balance between entertaining fans and creating a safe and competitive race. The line has blurred in recent years as NASCAR changed rules and its way of thinking to appease fans. Series officials altered the points system this season. They’ve stopped races late to get a green-flag finish for more than five years. They asked Goodyear to construct a tire that wears more to create more passing and reduce the number of ho-hum, fuel-mileage finishes that occurred last year. “There’s a lot of influence in our decision-making process by fans and their reaction to things, but there are limitations,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said Saturday at California Speedway, site of today’s Auto Club 500. “We can’t please them completely, but we strive to. The sport doesn’t work without them. Period.”(in part from the Roanoke Times)(5-2-2004)
- Spike 52: Greatest Drivers Ranks The Top 52 Drivers Of All Time: Spike TV will rank the 52 greatest stock-car drivers of all-time over five one-hour episodes premiering Sunday, May 2 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT). This original series, Spike 52: Greatest Drivers, will profile the legends of stock-car racing – from the sports’ earliest pioneers to today’s mega-superstars. The series includes new and archived interviews with stock car’s biggest names including Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Matt Kenseth. See full PR and info on each episode on my TV Listings Page.(Spike TV PR), the shoow re-airs Tuesday at 11:00pm/et.(5-2-2004)
- No New Ford Engine Heads…yet: According to Robert Yates [#38 and #88 Team Owner] the new generation Ford cylinder head will not be used here at the California Speedway. This fact overrides engine designer Doug Yates’ hopes. The new cylinder head is still several weeks awary from being run in competition; and then only in a limited number of cars. But it has been tested several times at Kentucky Speedway for durability; and returned good results.(Ford Racing)(5-1-2004)
- Schrader wins West race: Nextel Cup veteran Ken Schrader held off Busch Series rookie Clint Bowyer to win Saturday’s King Taco 200 at California Speedway. Schrader, who won by 0.259 seconds following a five-lap shootout, now has three NASCAR Grand National Division, West series, wins and three second-place finishes in seven races at California. Bowyer, who is sharing driving duties with Kevin Harvick in Richard Childress Racing’s #21 Chevrolet this season, started from the pole and was making his first series start. Scott Lynch was third, Scott Gaylord and Kevin Conway completed the top five.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-1-2004)
- Stewart meets with NASCAR: Nextel Cup director John Darby wouldn’t go into specifics regarding his discussion with Tony Stewart on Friday morning, but did say he was confident it was a productive session. “It went real good,” Darby said. “As normal, when we’re up in the front of the trailer with the door shut, that’s where it stays. But we had a real good conversation. We’ll be alright.” The meeting was spurred by what some folks deemed over-aggressive driving by Stewart last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, including a run-in with Kurt Busch that resulted in the “Big One,” and a post-race collision with veteran Terry Labonte. Stewart, following his Busch Series qualifying run in the #29 Chevrolet on Friday, walked to the #5 hauler and apologized to some of the crewmen, then entered the hauler, presumably to speak with Labonte. Darby doesn’t see it as any issue any longer.(NASCAR.com)(5-1-2004)
- Boris Said gets sponsor for Sonoma race: Centrix Financial, LLC, the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR, today announced an agreement to serve as an associate sponsor for the MB2/MBV Motorsports #01 and #10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars, driven by Joe Nemechek and Scott Riggs, respectively. The association will begin at this weekend’s Auto Club 500 race at California Speedway in Fontana. Centrix Financial also announced that it will serve as primary sponsor of a third MB2/MBV Chevrolet, to be driven by road-racing specialist Boris Said, June 27 in the Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and at an additional Cup race to be determined. The sponsorship arrangement comes three weeks after CENTRIX Financial announced its official NASCAR sponsorship status.(MB2/MBV Motorsports PR), Said will run the #36, which is still owned by MB2/MBV Motorsports.(5-1-2004)
- Five lead Half: Five drivers have led more than half of the 1,750 laps raced at California: Jeff Gordon (329), Mark Martin (194), Rusty Wallace (164), Kurt Busch (129) and Matt Kenseth (124).(NASCAR PR)(5-1-2004)
- Tire concerns? Goodyear’s decision to use its Las Vegas-Bristol-Nashville tire for the upcoming Richmond race is being criticized as too conservative a choice by some NASCAR crews who want softer, more aggressive tires for the just-repaved track. Others say that Goodyear’s original choice turned out to be too soft. Teams say that this season’s tires in general aren’t nearly as soft as they had originally expected, and they point to this week’s Sears Point test as one example: “The last laps were faster than the first laps,” one crew chief said. “How can that be a softer tire?”(Winston Salem Journal)
HOWEVER: Nextel Cup Director John Darby said the reviews were positive from Goodyear’s test of Richmond International Raceway’s repaved surface. “It’s got a tremendous amount of grip, a lot like we saw at Homestead last year,” Darby said. “Typically, it takes a couple of years for the asphalt to get to where we [get what] we want out of it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-1-2004)
- New Shock and Sway Bar Rules: NASCAR’s latest tech bulletin, which goes into effect here, covers some left-front spring tricks discovered during post-Texas inspections last month, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND NASCAR issued a technical bulletin in the Cup series this week prohibiting the pre-loading of sway bars beyond the limits of the driver’s weight in the driver’s seat or on the left door top. Basically, the move will prevent teams from using as heavy a spring on the left-front and left-front will travel closer to the track.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-1-2004)
- NASCAR Tech to begin checking students’ driving records: NASCAR Technical Institute officials will begin checking the driving records of its students and will implement mandatory training and presentations on safe driving skills. In a written statement issued Thursday afternoon, Director Mike Fritz of the Mooresville automotive school said, “Although we will not use driving records as an admissions standard, we will use these records as a basis for educating our students on the importance of safe driving. Moreover,” he added, “in cooperation with appropriate local authorities and other relevant organizations, we will provide mandatory training and safe driving skills presentations to our students.” Fritz’s announcement came the day after the Tribune detailed the Florida driving record of former NTI student David Scott Shimp, who is awaiting trial on one count of driving while impaired and two counts of murder in the April 4 deaths of two Huntersville teens. Shimp, 21 of Jacksonville, Fla., is charged with killing two 19-year-old Lincoln County cousins when his Chevy Blazer, topping 85 mph, plowed into their car near Huntersville’s Birkdale Village the early morning hours of April 4. Shimp graduated from NTI the night before. His driving record, obtained by the Tribune this week from Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, contains six major traffic charges, including three for speeding, two for reckless and careless driving and another for racing.(Mooresville Tribune)(5-1-2004)