May 2006 News Archives
News from May 31, 2006
- Kyle Busch Fined, Placed on Probation by NASCAR; Mayfield Penalized: NASCAR announced that Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Kellogg’s Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, has been fined, penalized points and placed on probation because of a rule infraction this past Sunday during the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Busch was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR Rule Book. He disobeyed a directive from a NASCAR official, entered the racing surface without authorization and threw an object at another competitor’s car during the event. He has been fined $50,000, penalized 25 Driver Championship points and placed on probation until Dec. 31. The infraction also resulted in car owner Rick Hendrick being penalized 25 Owner Championship points.
In addition, the #19 Dodge team was found to be in violation of Section 12-4-A, 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and Section 20-12.8.1A (roof height too low in post-race inspection). That infraction resulted in crew chief Chris Andrews being fined $35,000, driver Jeremy Mayfield losing 25 driver points and car owner Ray Evernham losing 25 owner points.
Also, Don Richardson, crew member on the #5 Chevrolet team, has been fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. He violated 12-4-A, because of improper use of a NASCAR credential.(NASCAR PR), the lost 25 points drops Busch to 10th in the Drivers points and moved #29-Harvick up to 9th.(5-31-2006)
- Dale Jr to run special scheme on Father’s Day: Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Budweiser will honor three generations of racing success with a commemorative Father’s Day paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race at Michigan International Raceway on Father’s Day, June 18. The paint scheme is based upon the #8 cars driven by Ralph Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt during their NASCAR careers. The predominantly cream-colored car will feature vintage Budweiser bow-tie logos which were introduced in 1956 – the same year Ralph Earnhardt won the NASCAR National Sportsman title, a series that eventually became the modern-day NASCAR Busch Series. The car is the second DEI paint scheme this season to honor the legacy of a member of the Earnhardt family. Previously, Dale Jr. raced a black and silver #8 Budweiser car at Talladega on April 30 to celebrate his father’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. While Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR champ, is most famous for driving the black No. 3 car with Richard Childress Racing, he raced much of his early career with the #8 on his cars. Earnhardt raced the #8 during his 1974 debut season in a NASCAR series, the same year Dale Jr. was born. Driving a cream-colored #8 car, Ralph Earnhardt finished in the top 10 of the NASCAR National Sportsman point standings six times, won more than 350 NASCAR races, and was selected as one NASCAR’s Top-50 all-time best drivers in 1999. He passed away in 1973.(fingerprint inc/Bud/DEI PR), image of the scheme added to my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-31-2006)
- Long in the #34 at Dover: Carl Long will be driving the #34 Oak Gloves/PEO Pros.com Chevy for Front Row Motorsports this weekend at Dover International Speedway for the running of the Neighborhood Excellence 400 Nextel Cup Series race.(Carl Long site)(5-31-2006)
- COT testing Wednesday: On Wednesday the second and final day of “Car of Tomorrow” testing at Lowes Motor Speedway showers delayed seven drivers from taking to the track. When they were able to test around lunchtime Dale Earnhardt Jr. pan caked his Chevy against the wall between turns three and four.” It got tight turning the wheel and it didn’t turn”; said Junior. “We were out there goofing around and the thing doesn’t handle that great so we hit the fence…it’ll be alright. I like the car. I don’t mind it too much. That’ll be normal to us one of these days.” The Car of Tomorrow does get mostly good reviews from Earnhardt Jr. “One of the things I like about it is in the cockpit, how they made the greenhouse bigger you can actually see out of the car better. I think they’re going in a good direction with the down force. I think the wing is a good thing as long as we don’t flip upside down when we spin out.” As far as the look of the car, it doesn’t bother Dale. “I don’t care what it looks like as long as it drives good.” Meanwhile, Dale Jr. was spotted taking laps in the #31 Richard Childress Racing Car of Tomorrow getting in some extra seat time. Jeff Burton tested for RCR. Other drivers turning laps included Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs, Denny Hamlin, Casey Mears, and Brian Vickers.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-31-2006)
- Coke 600 Overnight TV Ratings Down: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 10 share, down 7.8% from 5.1/10 last year, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The NASCAR race ratings trailed the 5.2/13 ABC earned for its coverage of the Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500. Those ratings were down 18.8% from a 6.4/17 last year, the Daily reports.(SceneDaily.com)(5-31-2006)
- Pruett to run #40 Dodge at Infineon, Stremme to sit: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that the team’s road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will make the switch from Daytona Prototypes to stock cars to compete in the first Nextel Cup Series road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway on June 25th. Pruett, the California native who currently leads the Rolex Sports Car Series championship for CGRFS, will pilot the #40 Coors Light Dodge entry for the Cup race around the 1.99-mile track in Sonoma, CA. CGRFS regular David Stremme will resume driving duties of the #40 Dodge July 1st at Daytona International Speedway. “I have been very pleased with the strides that David and the 40 car have made over the last several weeks and David is an important part of the future of Chip Ganassi Racing,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “But in Scott Pruett we have one of the best road course drivers in all of racing and once again have the luxury of being able to utilize that expertise.” Pruett is no stranger to Nextel Cup racing with 37 career starts under his belt. He has had six starts over the past five seasons for CGRFS, producing three top-five and four top-10 finishes. Two of those starts came at Infineon Raceway, with a best showing of third in 2004. With the commitment to the Infineon NASCAR weekend, Pruett will pull double-duty, commuting back and forth from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where he’ll look to defend his Rolex Series points lead Saturday afternoon in Grand American’s EMCO Gears Classic.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-31-2006)
- Horish: No plans to run NASCAR..for now: Sam Hornish Jr. has always had a stock answer when asked about moving from open-wheel cars to the more popular and lucrative NASCAR series. He wanted to win the Indianapolis 500 first. So what about now? “I’m never going to tell you that I won’t do that,” Hornish said Tuesday, two days after winning the second-closest Indianapolis 500 ever. “But there’s still a lot that I want to do as far as Indy cars go. I’d love to win another championship.” Hornish won two season titles in three years in the yellow Pennzoil car for Panther Racing. At age 22 in 2001, he was the youngest driver to win a major open-wheel championship in America, and switched to Penske after the 2003 season. Penske also has NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch teams, but there are no current plans for Hornish to race stock cars. “Obviously being with Roger, it gives me a lot of opportunity to be able to do that,” Hornish said. “Roger hired me to drive an Indy car. If we ever come to a mutual discussion where we feel that’s something we may want to do, we’ll weigh our pros and cons.”(Associated Press)(5-31-2006)
- Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol: #40-David Stremme is scheduled to attend the first-ever ‘Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol,’ according to Pennsylvania State Representative John Payne (R-Dauphin), Chairman of the State House’s Motorsports Caucus and organizer of the June 7 event. Stremme joins Bobby Labonte and Elliott Sadler on the roster of NASCAR stars scheduled to appear at the legislative salute to NASCAR, which will be held at the State Capitol on the Wednesday prior to the Nextel Cup circuit’s first stop of the season at Pocono Raceway. More than a dozen show cars representing various Nextel Cup racing teams also will be on display at the event, which is free and open to the public. Payne and his staff continue to work with team sponsors and Pocono Raceway officials to get attendance commitments from other top NASCAR drivers. Featured guests will be formally honored in the chambers of the House and Senate, beginning at 10:00a,/et, and will have the opportunity to meet Gov. Ed Rendell. From 11am to 1pm on Commonwealth Avenue outside the East Wing of the Capitol, drivers will sign autographs for fans and cars will be on display to the public. Everyone in attendance will receive one free ticket to the Saturday, June 10 ARCA race at Poco#Also, a raffle will be held for two luxury skybox tickets to the June 11 Pocono 500 race. Joseph Mattioli, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Pocono Raceway, will be one of the featured guests and honorees at Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol. Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol is being sponsored by Sunoco, Goodyear, Pepsi, and Hershey’s Ice Cream. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Offical NASCAR Members Club will be assisting and distributing applications to those who are interested. The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) will provide live coverage of the event.(PR)(5-31-2006)
- Mayfield’s car failed post-race inspection at LMS: Jeremy Mayfield’s #19 Dodge failed post-race inspection following the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The roof was one-eighth of an inch too low. There is a quarter-inch tolerance given for settling during the race, but the Evernham Motorsports car was an eighth of an inch below that tolerance, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Tuesday. Penalties likely will be announced Wednesday. Being too low typically is a 25-point penalty accompanied by a $25,000-$35,000 fine. “The way we run these cars now, these [front] springs settle and you never know how much,” team owner Ray Evernham said. “They were low, no doubt about it.” Evernham said there would be no appeal of a penalty. His team members told him that the car was in the “red” – the color on the height sticks that signifies the car is too low – in post-race inspection. “The bottom line: It was low,” Evernham said. “We know why it was low. The front springs gave up. The thing settled too much. There’s no appeal – you’re either right or you’re wrong, and there was red showing.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-31-2006)
- Microsoft to sponsor #66 IMAGEs: on Sunday, there will be a Best Buy Racing / Microsoft Sponsorship Announcement at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to detail Microsoft car sponsorship, in association with Best Buy Racing and the unveiling of the #66 Windows Live OneCare Chevy.(Best Buy Racing PR)(5-26-2006)
UPDATE/IMAGE: UPDATE: For the first time, computer giant Microsoft will be the primary sponsor of a NASCAR Nextel Cup car. At next Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover, Del., Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare will be the primary sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing #66 driven by Jeff Green. The deal is for one-race only, but does mark a significant first for Microsoft.(Speed Channel), see a couple of images of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(5-29/31-2006)
- COT tests at LMS: For the first time in its developmental stages, NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow ran in groups of 6-8 cars with the aerodynamic wing attached to the rear, as the first of a two-day test session got underway Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The feedback NASCAR received from the drivers was positive and all indications are that the aero push in the group runs should make for some compelling racing. Teams from Hendrick Motorsports (Brian Vickers), Richard Childress Racing (Jeff Burton), DEI (Martin Truex, Jr.), Penske Racing South (Ryan Newman), Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs), Joe Gibbs Racing (Denny Hamlin), Chip Ganassi (Casey Mears), and MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek) participated in Tuesday’s test.
“We received some excellent feedback from the teams and drivers today,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President for Competition. “They were able to run in a pack today for the first time with the wing and for the most part, everyone liked what they saw out there. We’ll take this information, discuss it as a group, and come back Wednesday and test again. We’re optimistic about running this car with the wing and the type of aero push it is able to give us.”
Following a series of single car runs in the morning, the teams met following a lunch break and then went through a pair of 20-lap group runs. The purpose of the morning session was to allow each driver to get comfortable driving the car, while the afternoon segment was designed to determine how the cars would run side-by-side and in groups. Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge, said that while this was his first time driving the Penske Racing South’s Car of Tomorrow model, he was encouraged with the performance. “This was our first Car of Tomorrow test and we have something to work from now, that’s for sure,” said Newman. “Our car was a little tight, but it really felt like it was easier to pass than in the regular (NASCAR NEXTEL) Cup cars. The aero push was pretty good. I think we took some pretty big steps out there today.”
Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Chevrolet, has participated in three of the four Car of Tomorrow tests this year, and continues to be impressed by the way the car handles on the track. “I really like how our car drove out there today,” said Burton. “Simply put, it drives like a race car. I think you will continue to see some subtle changes in the body of the car, but for the most part, we’re locked in with the center part of the chasis. I think this is the fourth Car of Tomorrow we’ve built and we’ve been able to accumulate a great deal of track time and gather a lot of information. To NASCAR’s credit, they’ve really moved this project along.” The teams are scheduled to test again Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, beginning at 9:00am/et [hearing it is open to the public](NASCAR PR), for past news see my COT page and for images from LMS and past tests, see my COT Image page.(5-31-2006)
- Busch/Mayfield Penalties to be announced Wed? NASCAR typically issues penalties on Tuesday, but today they delayed action on possible sanctions for both Kyle Busch and the Evernham Motorsports #19 Dodge driven by Jeremy Mayfield. #5-Busch, who drew NASCAR’s ire earlier this year at Phoenix for ramming #42-Casey Mears’ car during a red flag, threw his HANS device at Mears after the two collided Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600. Mayfield’s car failed the postrace inspection in the same race when it came up one-eighth of an inch too low in the roof height measurement test.(Speed Channel)(5-31-2006)
News from May 30, 2006
- Stewart Sustains Fracture of Right Scapula UPDATE Stewart will start race, then Ricky Rudd to take over: #20-Tony Stewart sustained a fracture of his right scapula in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup Series race when a flat right front tire sent his #20 Home Depot Chevy into the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall of turn one. Stewart was running in the 25th position when the accident happened on lap 33 of the 400-lap race. According to doctors at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, a CT scan revealed a minimally displaced fracture at the tip of the right scapula. Stewart is scheduled to meet with Joe Gibbs Racing’s team physicians on Tuesday for further evaluation. An update on Stewart’s condition will be provided following that evaluation.(True Speed Communication PR)(5-28-2006)
UPDATE: Tony Stewart will start Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Tuesday afternoon. Gibbs said during a break of the test of the “car of tomorrow” that the team would release an official statement later in the day updating the condition of Stewart, who broke his shoulder blade in a crash during the Coca-Cola 600 last Sunday. “He’s definitely sore, no doubt about it,” Gibbs said. “We’ll know more here in a little bit.” JGR Senior Vice President Jimmy Makar said the team is looking at its options and has a short list of drivers available if needed to spell Stewart this weekend. Mike Bliss, a former JGR driver, is on that list. Bliss was at the track Sunday in case Stewart had to get out of the car from beings sore as a result of a Busch Series accident. “Usually an injury like that comes from the seat, and the design of the area of the seat, we’re looking at that to see if there is anything we can do or something that needs to be given some attention,” Makar said. “Bobby [Labonte] sustained an injury at Darlington years ago, a lot worse than Tony’s. We think we know what it is, and we’re going to address that area to see if we can get some more support under the shoulder.” The accident, coming on the heels of a hard accident the day before in the Busch Series event, was the result of a bead melting in the tire. The outside of the tire was fine as far as temperature, Makar said. “That’s something we see on occasion at short tracks – we use a lot of brakes and get a lot of brake heat,” Makar said. “For a speedway like this, that’s a really odd thing to see. Tony said he wasn’t using an excessive amount of brake compared to what he has done here in the past. We’re kind of shaking our heads a little bit about why that happened, where that heat came from.”(SceneDaily.com) and hearing reports that Ricky Rudd is being considered as an option to drive the #20 Powerade Chevy at Dover.
UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart will not require surgery for the fractured right scapula he sustained in an accident during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Stewart’s #20 Chevy suffered a right front tire failure on lap 33 of the 400-lap race, sending the #20 machine into the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall of turn one. Stewart was running in the 25th position when the accident happened. “Tony sustained a non-displaced fracture at the tip of his right scapula,” said Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who has consulted with many NASCAR drivers. “It is a non-surgical injury that only time and rest can heal.” While Stewart’s fractured right scapula won’t require surgery, it will limit his participation in this weekend’s Nextel Cup event at Dover.
Veteran NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd has been secured by Joe Gibbs Racing to serve as the relief driver for the #20 team this weekend at Dover. Rudd, a winner of 23 Nextel Cup races – four of which came at Dover – will practice and qualify the #20 Chevrolet while Stewart will start the 400-lap race. Rudd will be on standby in the pit area to relieve Stewart at any point during the event. By starting at Dover, Stewart will receive all points toward the Nextel Cup driver’s championship. “Tony’s injury is unfortunate, and we are going to do everything we can to get him healed up quickly,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Tony is as tough as they come, but we aren’t going to take any chances on making his situation worse. We’re very appreciative of Ricky Rudd for being able to drive the #20 car at Dover. He’s a proven winner who will allow us to stay in contention for the championship.” Stewart is currently fourth in the championship point standings, 231 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson.
“Tony’s our driver and we’d love to have him in the car, but we want him to be 100%, not just for one race but for the rest of the season,” said Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for the #20 team. “We’ll do what we have to do until he heals up. This is a strong race team that’s no stranger to adversity, so I know we’ll make the best of this situation at Dover and in the weeks to come.” Al Shuford, a certified athletic trainer formerly with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, will work with Stewart to get him ready for his limited participation at Dover and what is expected to be his full participation during the Nextel Cup race weekend at Pocono June 9-11. Shuford joined Joe Gibbs Racing in October 2000. “Basically, we’re just going to work with Tony to make him comfortable,” said Shuford. “As Dr. Petty said, Tony’s injury is something that only time and rest can heal. But we can help speed up that timetable with a rehabilitation program specific to his injury and his profession.”(JGR/True Speed Communication)(5-30-2006)
- Laps/Miles Stats: 39 drivers have lead at least one lap in a race in 12 Nextel Cup races so far this season.
• #20-Tony Stewart has led the most laps with 801, with #16-Greg Biffle right behind at 799, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth at 441.
• Biffle has led the most miles, just over 1099, with Stewart at 729 and Kensth at 607.
• #48-Jimmie Johnson has run 4037 of 4050 laps run so far in 2006, followed by #22-Dave Blaney with 4022 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 4011. Johnson has also ran the most miles, running 5151.9 of 5158.902 miles races so far this season.
• #16-Biffle has led at least one lap in 10 of the 12 races run, #20-Stewart and #17-Kenseth have done so in 9 races. • #16-Biffle has led 37 times in the 12 races, followed by Stewart with 31 and Kenseth with 29.
• Bonus Points: Biffle 70; Stewart 60; Kenseth 50
• In three races, the driver leading the most laps has won the race: #20-Stewart at Martinsville, #16-Biffle at Darlington and #9-Kahne at Charlotte.
• Biffle has lead the most laps in 4 of 12 races, the most of any driver.
• Three drivers have run all 12 races and not lead a lap #21-Schrader, #41-Sorenson and #40-Stremme.(5-30-2006)
- Win #44 for the #9: with Kasey Kahne win in he Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, it was the 44th [not 43rd] time a car with the #9 won a race, 15th best overall [this is unofficial of course], the #43 has the most with 198 [Petty didn’t win all his races in the famed #43] followed by #11 with 180 then #3, #21 and #6.
Some #9 history: Bill Elliott won 38 races in the #9 and 6 in the #11; Herb Thomas won 1 race in the #9, Donald Thomas 1 race in the #9 and a car with the #9 didn’t win again until Elliott in 1983. And Kahne has 4 wins in the #9. See the full list of number wins, who won first and last in each car number, what car number Richard Petty won in, on my Wins by Car Number page.(5-30-2006)
- Who’s Hot – Dover:
• Three races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. After his seventh-place finish at Lowe’s he is now 86 points behind 10th, a gain of 146 points on 10th in three races. Biffle has scored top-10 finishes in his last three races.
• Greg Biffle has posted 11 straight top-10 starts, a streak that began at California Speedway.
• Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson have each won three races in 2006, the most of all drivers. • Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are the only drivers to score seven top-five finishes in the 12 races this season.
• Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to score nine top-10 finishes in the first 12 races of 2006.
• Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have each scored top-15 finishes in 11 of the 12 races of 2006.
• Greg Biffle is the only driver to lead at least one lap in 10 of the 12 races this season.
• Matt Kenseth ranks second in the point standings after Lowe’s. After 12 races one year ago, he ranked 23rd.
• Jeff Burton has climbed from 21st to 8th in the point standings since Martinsville. In those six races he scored five top-10 finishes and all six were top-15s. One year ago he ranked 17th.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-30-2006)
- Roush COT’s not testing at LMS: Car owner Jack Roush said that his teams won’t take part in NASCAR’s test of the car of tomorrow this week [Tues May 30th and Wed May 31st] at Lowe’s Motor Speedway because the car has changed. Roush said he wasn’t at a meeting last week that discussed the car, which will be used in select races next season, but said his understanding is that NASCAR will shorten the car as much as six inches because of an aerodynamic imbalance between the car’s front and rear. “My point was that the car that we’ve got doesn’t have the front end exactly right and it doesn’t have the back end exactly right … and for us to go out and try to do front splitter development and rear wing development would be a waste of time,’’ Roush said. “So, it’s morphing into something that I hope will do what we need for it to do, but it’s definitely a work in progress.’’ NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said series officials are considering shortening the car but have not decided to make the change. “We’re taking a look at the body of the car,’’ Tharp said. “The [rear] wing gives us some aerodynamic things we didn’t know. There is a possibility that we could shorten the car on the [rear] bumper. The chassis of it is set. With the wings we found some things in the wind tunnel. We’re going to take a look at it out here.’’ Tharp said that the next test for the car is scheduled for August at Michigan International Speedway. The car is scheduled to return to the wind tunnel June 22. Five Chevrolet and three Dodge teams are expected to test this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Ford and Toyota are not expected to have a car at the test. The Chevrolet teams will be Dale Earnhardt Inc., Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, MB2 Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. The Dodge teams scheduled to test are Evernham Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing South. Among the drivers expected to participate in at least part of the test are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Jeff Burton and Brian Vickers.(Roanoke Times)
NOTE: been told the test is OPEN to the public.(5-30-2006)
- Haas to Locate Wind Tunnel Project in Concord: Gene Haas, owner of Haas CNC Racing, formally announced that he will locate a new $40 million wind tunnel project in Concord, N.C. Speaking at a press conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord on Sunday, Haas confirmed the tunnel will be constructed on a five-acre parcel of land off of Ivy Cline Road, adjacent to the Concord Regional Airport in Cabarrus County. Cabarrus County recently provided a three-year economic incentive grant for the project, and the city of Concord intends to provide a significant investment in the form of electrical infrastructure at the site. The city already had plans in place to build an electrical substation at Ivy Cline Road, but the timeline for that project will be moved up to accommodate the wind tunnel’s construction schedule. Haas CNC Racing General Manager, Joe Custer, shared details of the wind tunnel and its unique rolling road system. “What makes this project so special is that there will be no other wind tunnel like this in the United States,” Custer said. “It features a Single Belt FlatTrac Rolling Road system, manufactured by a company called MTS. The system uses a continuous steel belt running under the vehicle to simulate the road beneath a race car traveling on a speedway. It’s the most accurate aerodynamic road simulation possible in the industry today. The system also offers repeatability, which is key to gathering valid, usable data. This will be the only wind tunnel in the world to feature this single belt rolling road system that will be available for teams and manufacturers to rent.” Custer said the company constructing the wind tunnel, Jacobs Sverdrup, plans to break ground at the Ivy Cline Road site in January, 2007. Construction of the project is scheduled to be completed in late 2007.(GMR Live PR)(5-30-2006)
- MWR Names New VP: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Robert B. Brannan III (Bob) will be the Vice President of Licensing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series multi-team operation, which will field Toyota Camrys in 2007. Brannan brings a wealth of financial and licensing expertise to Michael Waltrip Racing. He has a long list of credits and most recently was the President of Cabarrus Bank & Trust in Concord, N.C.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(5-30-2006)
News from May 29, 2006
- Kellogg’s, Carquest Extend with Hendrick as Co-Primary sponsors MORE: Kellogg Co. and CARQUEST Auto Parts today announced a unique three-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that secures the two companies as co-primary sponsors of the #5 Chevys driven by Kyle Busch in the Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kicking off in 2007, the co-primary platform is a unique approach to NASCAR team branding. Aside from rotating Kellogg and CARQUEST logo placements on the vehicle’s hood and quarter-panels, the base blue, yellow and red paint scheme of the #5 Chevys will remain unchanged throughout the racing season, allowing sponsor-partners to build broader equity in the team itself. Different from a “paint-out,” where teams circulate various brand-specific car designs on a limited-event basis, the co-primary strategy allots premium logo locations to a pair of brands while providing the NASCAR audience a consistent visual identity. “This ‘co-primary’ approach delivers extra value to each sponsor because both are represented in a significant way at each race,” said Patrick Perkins, Hendrick Motorsports’ director of marketing. “By maintaining a standard design throughout the entire season, fans can more easily follow and connect with the team.” For more information, visit Kellogg’s web site at kelloggcompany.com and for CARQUEST Auto Parts, visit www.CARQUEST.com.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-26-2006)
UPDATE/IMAGE: In announcing sponsorship for the #5 Nextel Cup car by Carquest and Kellogg’s through 2009, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said he also is hoping to lock up driver Kyle Busch for even longer. Busch is under contract through 2008 after the team acted on a two-year option.(SceneDaily.com), and see an image of the schemes on my #5 Team Schemes page.(5-29-2006)
News from May 28, 2006
- Kahne wins Coca-Cola 600: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, leading 158 of 400 laps, for his third win of 2006 and 4th of his career. It is the first Dodge to wins the race since Richard Petty in 1977. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd, breaking his streak at three straight wins of the event, followed by #99-Carl Edwards [spun once, was a lap down], #6-Mark Martin and #17-Kenseth. Rounding out the top-10 were #31-Burton, # 16-Biffle, #26-McMurray, #11-Hamlin and #41-Sorenson. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th. #20-Tony Stewart crashed early in the race when he cut a tire, Stewart was taken to a local hospital, checked out, treated and released. Stewart was still sore after a hard wreck in the Busch race Saturday, and held his right arm as he was led to the ambulance. #24-Gordon wrecked late in the race and finished 36th. #10-Scott Riggs, the pole sitter and led many laps, had a late poor pitstop when he stalled twice and finished 13th. There were 37 lead changes among 16 drivers and 15 cautions for 65 laps [last year there were 22 for 102 laps].
Race Results on my Charlotte Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Charlotte page.
Race Rundown: see my Charlotte Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-28-2006)
- Charllote Race News and Notes:
• Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, scoring his fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 84th career start.
• This is Kahne’s third victory in 2006, tying Jimmie Johnson for the most this season. Kahne’s last victory came at Texas in April 2006, five races earlier.
• Kahne won from a ninth-place starting position. All three of his other victories came from the Bud Pole.
• Kahne’s first victory came at Richmond in May 2005. His other three wins have all come on SMI-owned 1.5-mile superspeedways.
• Kahne scored his seventh top-10 finish in 12 races this season.
• Kahne led the most laps for the fourth time in his career (only two produced victories- Richmond and Lowe’s). This marked the first time in 2006 that Kahne led the most laps in a race.
• Kahne led seven times for 158 laps including the final 30 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Kahne has won a race each season 2005-2006, two consecutive years.
• This marked team owner Ray Evernham’s 10th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and first at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Evernham Motorsports has won at least one race each season 2001– 2006, six consecutive years.
• Jimmie Johnson (second) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his ninth straight top-10 finish in 10 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, all seventh or better. Johnson remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 109 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth.
• Carl Edwards (third) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. He tied his best finish in 2006 set at California. It is his third straight top-10 finish in three races at Lowe’s. Edwards climbed from 17th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Mark Martin (fourth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It was his in 21st top-10 finish in 43 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He climbed from fourth to third in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 12th in the standings after 12 races.
• Matt Kenseth (fifth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his seventh top-10 finish in 14 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He climbed from third to second in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 23rd after 12 races.
• Jeff Burton (sixth) has climbed from 21st to eighth in the point standings since Martinsville.
• Three races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his seventh-place finish, Biffle is now 86 points behind 10th. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to 13th in points in the last three races. After 12 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings.
• Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Denny Hamlin (ninth) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his second top-10 finish in two races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Two Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contenders finished in the top-10: Denny Hamlin (ninth) and Reed Sorensen (10th). At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 12 races this season.
• Dave Blaney (32nd) extended a 30-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June, which is the longest current streak.
• Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have each scored top-15 finishes in 11 of the 12 races in 2006.
• Tony Stewart has finished 43rd (California) and 42nd (Lowe’s) in 2006. Stewart never finished worse than 33rd (first Phoenix) in his 2005 Championship season. However, in 2002 Stewart began his first Championship season with a 43rd-place finish in the 2002 Daytona 500. Stewart dropped from second to fourth in the point standings.
• Dale Jarrett (43rd) scored the worst finish of his 615-race career. Jarrett finished last for just the second time. The first time that he finished last was at Sears Point on June 11, 1989. (42nd in a 42-car field).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-28-2006)
- Rumblings – Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Kasey Kahne led early and often tonight at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and took the Coca-Cola Pit Stop 600 by a comfortable margin over Jimmie Johnson. In a race where we saw more action in the pits and less racing than we’ve ever had in Charlotte (thanks to a miniscule fuel cell), it was Kahne getting his third win of the season and the fourth of his career (the first one not from the pole, btw). Kahne is now tied for 68th on the all-time win list. Kasey’s victory was worth a healthy $428,114 from the over $6.4M in posted awards….and this was win #10 for Ray Evernham.
Carl Edwards (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at California in February.
Reed Sorenson (10th) equaled his career-best finish tonight. He was also 10th at Atlanta in March.
Jeff Green (12th) had his best finish since he was 11th here last May.
STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is a tie between Jamie McMurray (+25) and Robby Gordon (+25), followed by Jeff Green (+23) and Paul Menard (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-23), followed by Kevin Harvick (-22) and Brian Vickers (-20).
Scott Riggs led today (8 times for 90 laps) for the first time since he led once for 19 laps at Michigan last August. He’s the 39th driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 51.
Jimmie Johnson lengthens his points lead tonight to 109 over new second-place driver Matt Kenseth. It’s looking more and more like the “Chase” will once again be a ten-man event as the spread from 1st to 10th is now beyond that all-important 400 point level. Carl Edwards (17th to 14th) and Reed Sorenson (23rd to 20th) made the best moves forward tonight while Brian Vickers (21st to 27th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(5-28-2006)
- COT to test at LMS on Tues/Wed UPDATE: Eight teams fielding Chevrolets and Dodges tentatively plan to attend the “car-of-tomorrow” (COT) test Tuesday and Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The two-day test will be the first for many of the teams with cars built under revised specifications after NASCAR recently took cars to the wind tunnel to examine the proposed noses and tails developed by each manufacturer. Neither Ford nor Toyota will be represented by cars on the track. Those teams planning to test are Richard Childress Racing (#31-Jeff Burton), Hendrick Motorsports (#25-Brian Vickers), Evernham Motorsports (#10-Scott Riggs), Chip Ganassi Racing (#42-Casey Mears), Joe Gibbs Racing (#11-Denny Hamlin with #18-J.J. Yeley and #20-Tony Stewart also possibly getting in the car), MB2 Motorsports (#01-Joe Nemechek), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (one car with #1-Martin Truex Jr. and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Penske Racing South (#12-Ryan Newman). NASCAR plans to phase in the car of tomorrow over three years, beginning in 2007 at mostly short tracks and road courses. The 1.5-mile tracks, such as the one near Charlotte, are not scheduled to have the cars race there until 2009. NASCAR has left the door open for 2008 if teams adjust quicker to the new cars than anticipated.(SceneDaily.com)(5-26-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR is considering a substantial aerodynamic overhaul to the rear end of its “Car of Tomorrow,” two months after it gave teams what were supposed to be final specifications for the car, which will be phased in over three seasons, starting in 2007. The end result, according to several team officials who spoke under condition of anonymity, is that months of work and millions of dollars of expenditures could essentially be wasted because the data gathered so far will be worthless if the aerodynamic configuration of the car changes significantly. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp told SPEEDTV.com Saturday that NASCAR is looking at cutting up to six inches of the rear end of the COT design, which Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton confirmed. “We’re talking about it,” said Pemberton. “The manufacturers are looking at some different things and we are, too. With running the wing, it’s given us a lot more options of what we can do with the body from some of the things that we’d worked on early on when it was just a spoiler. We’re looking at all that.”(Speed Channel)(5-28-2006)
- Busch allegedly taps attendant before ‘Cars’ MORE..accidentally: A vehicle being driven by #2-Kurt Busch allegedly made contact with a part-time employee of Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Friday night at a movie premiere. Busch was arriving for the premiere of the Disney movie “Cars” in the infield of Lowe’s. He allegedly made contact with a parking attendant. “Kurt’s vehicle allegedly made contact with this person around the knee area,” said Jerry Gappens, the senior vice president of events for Lowe’s. “He continued working, then later had it checked out and everything was fine.” The unnamed employee also was working at the speedway yesterday. No police report had been filed with the Concord police department as of yesterday afternoon. According to Gappens, Busch met with Lowe’s President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler to let him know what had happened. Busch had no comment yesterday. Both NASCAR and Lowe’s Motor Speedway have looked into the incident, and both have said they are out of the situation. “All we’re aware of is there was an incident at the premiere, and we’re not involved in it,” NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. “It’s not a NASCAR incident. It’s not in our jurisdiction. The parties involved in it, we’ll leave it to them to resolve it.” Gappens said it was the track’s opinion it was a non-event, and no further action would be taken by the speedway.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
MORE: Kurt Busch accidentally struck a Lowe’s Motor Speedway security guard with his car on his way to Friday night’s premiere of the Disney movie Cars, according LMS senior vice president Jerry Gappens. Gappens said the 2004 Nextel Cup champion was in a police escort to the track when the guard tried to cut off the line. He said a track official inside of Busch’s car told him to keep going, at which time Busch made contact with the knee of the guard. He said the guard completed the final 15 minutes of his shift before going to the track hospital, where he was checked out and cleared. Gappens said the guard returned to work on Saturday.(more at NASCAR.com)(5-28-2006)
- Robby Gordon to pull Triple Duty in NASCAR and Baja: Robby Gordon plans to drive three different race cars in two countries on the same weekend next weekend [June 2-4]. Gordon will defend his title in the Baja 500 in Ensenada, Mexico, where he will drive two different vehicles, and will also drive his #7 Nextel Cup Series car in Dover. Having pulled the famed Indy-Charlotte double three times, Gordon is accustomed to the difficult travel logistics necessary to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, but the challenge of racing in the Baja 500 and Dover NASCAR races presents an even greater test. The 37-year-old driver will travel approximately 11,200 miles by air during the odyssey (nearly half the distance around the world) and more than 1,100 miles on the ground. Less than eight hours after the completion of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, his journey will begin with his first cross-country flight to Ensenada where he will spend three days practicing (or pre-running) both a Red Bull/Toyo Tires-sponsored Chevrolet CK1500 Trophy Truck and a Jim Beam/Toyo Tires-sponsored Hummer H3. Gordon will make the 2,800-mile flight to Dover on Thursday evening before practicing and qualifying his Mapei and Menards-sponsored #7 Chevy Friday. Following Friday’s NASCAR sessions, he will again return to Ensenada where he will take the green flag in the Baja 500 at approximately 9am/pt Saturday. He will start the Baja 500 in the Trophy Truck and drive approximately half of the race before turning the wheel over to his teammate Andy McMillin who will take the truck to the finish line (McMillin campaigns the Team Gordon truck full-time in the SCORE International Off-Road Series). Shortly after Gordon starts the 500, his father, Bob, will start in the Hummer H3 where he will also drive half way and then turn the truck over to the younger Gordon who will in all likelihood complete the 424-mile course in the H3. Immediately following the completion of the estimated seven-hour race, which begins and ends in Ensenada, Gordon will re-board his plane and take an overnight flight to Dover where he will start the Neighborhood Excellence 400 Sunday at 2:10pm/et.(RGM PR)(5-27-2006)
- Arnold Motorsports Closes Team/Shop: The two-and-a-half year experiment for Florida businessman Don Arnold in Nextel Cup has come to a close. According to a former employee, the #50 Nextel Cup shop shut down last month, and the building at 160 Performance Road in Mooresville the team had occupied is on the market. Employing journeyman drivers Todd Bodine, Derrike Cope, and Jimmy Spencer among others during its short tenure in the Nextel Cup Series, the team last attempted the Daytona 500 with Larry Foyt behind the wheel.(Frontstretch)(5-28-2006)
- Stewart OK after Busch wreck at LMS: #20-Tony Stewart has been cleared to drive in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., after crashing in Saturday night’s Carquest 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe’s. Stewart, driving for Kevin Harvick Inc., in the Carquest 300, spun in turn four and impacted the SAFER barrier on lap 10 of the 200-lap race. After being transported to the speedway’s infield care center, he complained of discomfort in his right shoulder. As a result, NASCAR medical personnel dispatched Stewart to Carolinas Medical Center University for precautionary X-rays. Those X-rays proved negative.(True Speed Communication)(5-28-2006)
- Nemechek’s Car Damaged in practice: Joe Nemechek’s #01 US Army Chevy was damaged when the blown-out side window from Reed Sorenson’s #41 Target Dodge slammed into Nemechek’s car during Saturday’s practice. The impact shifted the radiator in Nemechek’s car and caused the right front tire to blow.(Roanoke Times)(5-28-2006)
News from May 27, 2006
- Yates gets a Roush Chassis, to run Roush cars; ‘big-name’ driver ready to sign? The team [Robert Yates Racing] has been heavily involved with youngsters Matt McCall and Stephen Leicht, who have been running a combination of Busch and ARCA races in trying to get them ready for the Cup level. But with neither driver ready to step in to replace Jarrett, who will depart next year for Toyota, they both could end up elsewhere sooner rather than later. “Some of it was really the decision of mine is to try and get the two Cup teams right and have maybe one Busch team and get rid of the other stuff,” Robert Yates said. “Our great plans were to do all this stuff, but it wasn’t working, so we took all the energy and took it and relocated it. It’s all an effort to perform better. We are not going to run ARCA. We are going to focus on our two Cup deals and the #90 car (Busch). That will be shared between Elliott and both of our drivers. I’m working very hard to get full-time Busch work for both of the development drivers (Leicht and McCall) because they need to be running every week.” One immediate mechanical change is that the team has purchased its first Roush Racing chassis and will begin using Roush cars. They are also searching for a driver to replace Jarrett and, perhaps, a new sponsor if UPS moves on. Robert Yates hinted that he had a big-name driver ready to sign on the bottom line — if the team can improve its results.(Speed Channel)(5-27-2006)
- Gordon hopes to run ‘double’ again soon: Robby Gordon told Sirius Speedway (MRN Radio/Sirius Satellite Radio) that the door is not closed on a driver running both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, and that he is considering attempting the Indy/Charlotte double next season. “They changed the starting time for the Indy 500, but Indianapolis also changed time zones,” he said. “It’s still possible for someone to do both, and I may try it again next year. I’ve come close to winning the Indy 500 before, and it’s still a goal of mine at some point in my career. But I’m not interested in `doing the double’ just for the sake of doing it. I want to be competitive in both races, with a chance to win. I’m not interested in riding around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the middle of the pack. If I can’t be compeitive and have a chance to win, I won’t do it.”(MRN Radio/Sirius Satellite Radio)(5-27-2006)
- Sad News: Ron Perry: Ronald Douglas Perry, 58, of Troutman, NC, passed away on Wednesday, May 24, 2006. Perry was Parts Manager for Ganassi Racing. He was a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the US Marine Corps. Mr. Perry was a recipient of the Purple Heart. He is survived by his fiance, Marsha Feltz, of Mooresville; children, Chase Perry and wife, Megan, of Dunn, and Nicole Wolcott and husband, Stephen, of Concord; brothers, Fred Perry, of Montague, NY, Ed Perry, of Mt. Dora, FL, and Dennis Perry, of Fulton, NY; and sister, Brenda Arnold, of Fulton, NY. Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm/et Sunday, May 28, 2006, at the Cavin-Cook Funeral Home Chapel, Mooresville, NC. A memorial service will be held at a later date in New York. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00pm/et Saturday, May 27, 2006, at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, and from 1:00 – 2:00pm/et, Sunday, prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 222 S. Church St., Suite 303, Charlotte, NC 28202. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family of Mr. Perry.(Charlotte Observer – Guestbook)(5-27-2006)
- Man Loses Both Legs in Non-Racing Accident at LMS Dirt Track: A foundation has been set up for Chris James following an accident on Wednesday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Injuries stemming from the incident required the amputation of both of James’ legs. James is a regular driver with the Redneck Racing Series and CRASHCar division at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He pilots the #38 “Rimer Rocket.” The 40-year-old James is married to his wife Lori and has two children, Lynn (19) and Mandi (17). James was injured while volunteering to drive a “packer” car at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Wednesday night prior to the World of Outlaws event at the track. James has driven “packer” cars for several years and was helping to get the track in shape for the night’s racing. James got out of his car to allegedly remove a piece of debris from the track and was subsequently hit by another “packer” car, pinning him against his car and the wall. James was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has undergone several operations, including one that resulted in both of his legs being amputated below the knee. James will remain in the hospital for an unknown period of time. More info on how to donate and the wreck at 51sportsracing.com.(5-27-2006)
- Labonte to unveil cereal packages UPDATE: On Friday, May 26 at Speed Street, #43-Bobby Labonte will unveil two limited-edition cereal packages, a Cheerios package featuring Labonte and his family and a Honey Nut Cheerios package featuring Labonte and “The King” Richard Petty. The new packages welcome Labonte and his family to the Cheerios Racing / Petty Enterprises family.(Axiom PR)(5-26-20006)
UPDATE: Bobby Labonte, driver of Petty Enterprises’ #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, will soon be racing into Supermarkets throughout the country on limited-edition boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, Labonte unveiled the new packages today at an event at Speed Street, the annual racing festival in Charlotte. Specially marked 15-ounce Cheerios packages welcome Labonte and his family to the Cheerios Racing Family. Specially marked 20-ounce Honey Nut Cheerios packages feature Labonte and “The King” Richard Petty, who drove the #43 to [most of his] 200 wins during his career.(General Mills PR)(5-27-2006)
- Hawk leaves NASCAR? According to an industry source, Don Hawk and NASCAR have parted ways. Hawk has served as the NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development — which oversees the touring divisions, including the Busch East and Whelen Modified Series — for the past three seasons. Hawk could not be reached for comment.(The Day)(5-27-2006)
- K&M’s Logo To Be Run on #99 at LMS: Office Depot announced that K&M Storage of Dodge City, KS, will become the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, courtesy of Office Depot” for the remainder of the 2006 Nextel Cup race season. The winning company is being celebrated at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where K&M Storage owner Duane Nietling will join with driver Carl Edwards, Roush Racing owner Jack Roush and Tony Ueber, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Office Depot, to unveil the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion. The car features the new K&M Storage logo that will make its debut on track during the Coca-Cola 600. The new K&M logo is being featured on the TV panel (rear panel on a NASCAR racecar) of the #99 Office Depot Ford Fusion during this weekend’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Throughout the rest of the season, the logo will be on the car’s b-post (located between the front and rear windows). As part of the prize package, Office Depot is also printing a year’s supply of new business cards, letterhead and envelopes for K&M to use. Plus, K&M receives a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot, as well as the advice of a small business expert to K&M take full advantage of their new business and marketing assets. To kick off K&M Storage’s role as the “Official Small Business of NASCAR,” Nietling and three guests are spending a VIP weekend in Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600, including a tour of the Roush Racing shop, and the opportunity to meet Edwards and the Office Depot #99 team. More info on Office Depot Racing at officedepotracing.com.(PR)(5-27-2006)
- LMS Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . this is the only track at which NASCAR teams will run this tire set-up in 2006 . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window for the Coca-Cola 600 is every 36-40 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), se full tire notes, pressures, codes on my Charlotte Race Info/Rundown Page.(5-27-2006)
- Panch to be honored: Marvin Panch, the oldest living winner of the race now known as the Coca-Cola 600, will be recognized during the prerace ceremonies for Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Panch, 79, will be honored as part of the race’s festivities as he celebrates the 40th anniversary of his win in the race.(SceneDaily.com)(5-27-2006)
- Sadler injured but is OK…..more: at the end of Speed Channel’s Trackside show Friday, Jeff Hammond dove off the stage into the crowd, which caught Hammond [unlike the Penske crewman at the Nextel Challenge], Elliott Sadler, driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford for RYR, was also on the show, and before Hammond did his dive, he dared Sadler to join him, after Hammond’s successful dive, Sadler attempted his dive and slipped, supposedly sustaining some sort of head injury. The camera’s moved away for the scene, Steve Byrne’s the host of the show, mention Sadler may had injured his head, closed up the show and they signed off. As of 8:55pm/et, have not heard any updates on if Sadler is injured and if he is, how serious. Anything I find out off official nature will be posted.
UPDATE: John Roberts mentioned as Speed Channel’s Tradin’ Paint show that Sadler is fine after his mishap and will race on Sunday.
MORE-PR: Elliott Sadler, driver of the #38 Ford in the Nextel Cup Series, sustained only minor injuries on Friday evening after a fall from a stage in Uptown Charlotte during the taping of the television program “Trackside Live” broadcast on The Speed Channel. After rain showers earlier in the evening, Sadler slipped from the outdoor stage due to the wet surface bruising his left thigh. He sustained no other injuries as previously reported. Sadler was seen by an onsite medical team and left under his own power. He will compete in the scheduled NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Elevation Group PR)(5-26-2006)
AND: Today before the start of Cup practice at Lowes Motor Speedway Elliott Sadler told Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio that he feels fine after falling from the SPEED Trackside LIVE Stage last night. “I’m fine. I got a little bruise on my left leg from where I landed on the side of the stage last night. But everything else is great. I didn’t even hit my head on anything. Everybody was kind of jumping to conclusions [the initial reports from Speed said he hit his head] but as far as me I’m fine. Everything’s cool. I’m going to race tonight and tomorrow night. I got a sore left leg so I might limp a little bit but other than that I’m in good shape.” Sadler did not even appear to be limping as he got in his #38 M&M’s Fordo for practice this afternoon at LMS.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(5-27-2006)
News from May 26, 2006
- Another Toyota Team? hearing that Wyler Racing [#60 Jack Sprague in Truck Series] will be another Toyota team that makes the move up into the Nextel Cup Series in 2007 running in the COT [Car of Tomorrow events) . The team is currently in discussions with sponsors and potential drivers. There is also the possiblity of the team fielding a Toyota entry in the Busch Series in 2007. Wyler Racing will continue to field at least one truck in the Craftsman Truck Series as well.(5-26-2006)
- Stewart to sport POWERade scheme at Dover: #20-Tony Stewart will take on the infamous Monster Mile at Dover International Speedway on June 4, 2006 with a little extra power behind his ride and a little extra support for his charity. While Stewart’s orange Chevrolet is recognized by NASCAR fans everywhere, the #20 will sport a different kind of orange in Dover after it’s decked out in custom POWERade Orange graphics to support the launch of the new, commemorative clutch bottle of the popular sports drink and to raise money for the Tony Stewart Foundation. Stewart will officially unveil the new racecar following the personal delivery of multiple cases of POWERade 32oz Orange to a Home Depot location in Atlanta on May 31st. As part of the initiative, POWERade is donating $100,000 to the Tony Stewart Foundation.(Coca-Cola/POWERade PR), see an image of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2006)
- “Design Dale’s Ride” Coloring Contest – VOTE: Ten finalists have been selected in The UPS Store “Design Dale’s Ride” coloring contest. The contest, which was open to submissions from April 1 to April 29, offered kids ages 5 to 12 a chance to design this year’s The UPS Store/Toys for Tots #88 Ford, which NASCAR legend Dale Jarrett will race in November. From May 20th to May 29th, the public is invited to vote online for their favorite design by visiting The UPS Store web site, www.theupsstore.com.
The ten finalists, chosen out of more than 2,500 contest entries, are:
Annabelle H., California, age 12
Colin G., New York, age 10
Gracie V., Washington, age 9
Hannah W., Pennsylvania, age 10
Jaret J., Indiana, age 8
Kyle K., Michigan, age 10
Lindsay M., Virginia, age 8
Mohnish R., New Jersey, age 9
Quinlan S., Washington, age 11
Victoria S., Texas, age 10
A panel of judges including representatives from The UPS Store and UPS Racing selected the finalists. The contest winner will be determined by online voting (25%), and a panel representing The UPS Store (25%), UPS Racing (25%) and Dale Jarrett, Inc. (25%).
The winner will receive a trip to the Pepsi 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla., on July 1 for the unveiling of the car; a hometown viewing party to watch the car race on Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway; a custom-fit, autographed racing suit to match the one Dale will wear, and a Crayola prize pack including Crayola Color Explosion, Crayola Twistables and Crayola Erasable Markers. Additionally, the winner’s school will receive 10,000 free copies from The UPS Store along with an art supplies package for the art department, courtesy of Crayola.(PR)(5-26-2006)
- Kenseth running R&L Carriers colors at LMS: This Sunday, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Matt Kenseth will pilot the yellow and green #17 R+L Carriers/DEWALT Ford Fusion. R+L Carriers joined Roush Racing in January as an associate sponsor on the #17 DEWALT team, but this weekend becomes the primary on the car driven by Kenseth. For the first time since 1997 R+L Carriers, the family owned trucking company out of Wilmington, Ohio, will be the primary sponsor on a car in NASCAR’s top division. The Coca-Cola 600 marks the first of three races during the 2006 season in which R+L Carriers will serve as the primary sponsor for Kenseth and Roush Racing’s #17 NEXTEL Cup team. The other two races are the July race at Daytona and the October race at Martinsville. Based out of Wilmington, Ohio, R+L Carriers is a family owned and operated company that with over 40 years of committed service to their customers, has grown to be one of today’s leaders in the Less than Truckload (LTL) industry. With nearly 10,000 employees, R+L Carriers Inc. currently services 49 states, as well as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and all of Canada.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2006)
- Dale Earnhardt Legend Leadership Award Winners Named: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation has named the individuals and organizations to receive its annual Legend Leadership Award. The Dale Earnhardt Legend Leadership Award was established to recognize deserving individuals and/or charitable organizations that offer outstanding solutions to problematic issues we all face, either in our local communities or daily lives. The Legend Leadership Award highlights the importance of leadership in improving people’s lives and to showcase resourceful leaders that are bringing about positive change. By recognizing and sharing the stories of these leaders, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation hopes to inspire others to become leaders in their own communities.
In honor of Dale Earnhardt’s record seven NASCAR Cup Championships; The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will annually award up to seven grants of up to $7,000 each. The winners were honored during a special ceremony at the corporate headquarters of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on Dale Earnhardt Day, April 29, 2006. Each winner will also receive a signature trophy and have their names prominently displayed at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for the following year. The cash award will be in the form of a grant to a winning charitable organization. In the case of an individual winner, the cash award is restricted for the educational support and/or tuition assistance of the winner, or a member of the winner’s immediate family, in pursuing a secondary education at an accredited institution. For more information and to obtain an entry form, visit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation website at www.TheDaleEarnhardtFoundation.org. Founded in 2002 by Teresa Earnhardt, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation was established to carry on Dale’s name and good works through charitable causes he supported during his lifetime.
2005 Legend Leadership Award Winners
Suitcases for Kids (Aubyn Burnside) – Hickory, NC
Cribs for Kids Program – Maternity Care Coalition – Philadelphia, PA
Operation Caring Through Sharing (Brenda George) – Ormond Beach, FL
Animals for Alex (Welland Burnside) – Murrells Inlet, SC
The Child Connection – Louisville, KY.(see full explanation of each and more at the DEI site)(5-26-2006)
- Tragic News: Spencer Clark: Nineteen year-old NASCAR Busch Series driver Spencer Clark died late Sunday night in a single-car accident on Interstate 40 about forty miles east of Albuquerque, NM. Clark, who was a passenger in the truck, was returning to his native Las Vegas after spending the last couple of weeks preparing a car in the Charlotte area for this weekend’s West Series race at the Irwindale Speedway. As his truck and trailer were navigating the tricky crosswinds over the Sandia Mountain range, an unexpected gust of wind began a short sequence of events that ultimately led to the vehicle overturning. Clark was pronounced dead on the scene. Clark made his Busch Series debut at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past March with the help of local Las Vegas sponsor, Allegiant Air. Clark qualified the car 33rd and finished 35th after a day of learning and adapting to the high-level competition. The day was even more special to Spencer as he had grown up winning multiple main-events on the bullring located just outside turn two of the superspeedway and had been able to race in front of some of the same people that had supported him from the very beginning of his career. In eight career NASCAR West Series races, Clark had recorded three top-5 finishes and a pole at Phoenix in January. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.(Motorsports Management PR)(5-22-2006)
SERVICES: Funeral services for Spencer Clark will take place on Thursday, May 25. Visitation will take place from 2-4 p.m. at Canyon Ridge Christian Church located at 6200 Lone Mountain Rd. Services will begin at 4 p.m. followed by a procession to Palm Mortuary on N. Jones Rd. for his burial. A reception will be held at the church at 7 p.m. Friends and fans are invited to attend.(5-24-2006)
AND Spencer was ejected along with driver Andy Phillips, a former University of Hawaii football player from Phoenix who was part of Spencer’s race team. A spokesman for the New Mexico state police said its highly unlikely either would have died had seat belts been worn. We’ll never know why they weren’t used or what caused Phillips to lose control of the truck. On Thursday, Spencer was eulogized, buried and celebrated. A special tribute will be held Saturday night at the start of the NASCAR Weekly Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring. Spencer’s #23 Legends Car will be driven around the track one last time in a memorial lap as other drivers stand nearby.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(5-26-2006)
News from May 25, 2006
- Riggs wins pole for Coke 600: #10-Scott Riggs won the Bud Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 187.865 for his 1st pole of 2006 and 2nd of his career [40 races ago at Martinsville in April 2005]. Teammate #19-Jeremy Mayfield will start 2nd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #18-J.J. Yeley and #43-Bobby Labonte. #44-Terry Labonte qualified 34th for his final Coke 600. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #70-Sauter, #44-Labonte, #40-Stremme, #32-Kvapil, #78-Wallace, #15-Menard, #4-Wimmer and #74-Cope. Missing the race were: #55-Waltrip [his first miss since 10/1998 at Phoenix, 261 races], #61-Chaffin, #51-Garvey, #34-Blount, #49-Lepage, #00-Sauter, #95-Barrett, #27-Shelmerdine, #37-Long and #72-Davis. Qualifying will re-air on Speed Channel on 5/26 at 2:00am/et and 3:00pm/et and 5/27 at 12:00am/et.
See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, non Top-35 drivers on my Charlotte Qualifying/Lineup/Grid Page.(5-25-2006)
- Charlotte News and Notes:
• Scott Riggs won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Coca-Cola 600, lapping Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 28.744 seconds at 187.865 mph. Elliott Sadler holds the track-qualifying record of 27.948 seconds, 193.216 mph – set Oct. 13, 2005.
• This is Riggs’s second career Bud Pole in 82 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. This is his first Bud Pole and first top-10 start in 2006. His other Bud Pole came at Martinsville last spring.
• This is Riggs’s second top-10 qualifying effort in five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. His other top-10 here was in October 2004.
• Riggs became the eighth different Bud Pole winner this season.
• Jeremy Mayfield posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.832 seconds, 187.292 mph – and will join Riggs on the all-Evernham Motorsports front row for the Coca-Cola 600. This is Mayfield’s sixth top-10 start in 25 races at Charlotte, but his first since October 2000. It is just his second top-10 start in 2006.
• This is the fifth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet and Ford each have three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his eighth top-10 start this season. It is also his eighth top-10 start in 10 races at Charlotte.
• J.J. Yeley (fourth) posted his fourth top-10 start of the 2006 season. Yeley is making his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start at Charlotte.
• Bobby Labonte (fifth) Labonte posted his fourth top-10 start in 2006. It is his 14th top-10 start in 27 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Johnny Sauter (14th) qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Phoenix in November 2005.
• Ten drivers failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600: Kevin Lepage, Hermie Sadler, Chad Chaffin, Michael Waltrip, Stanton Barrett, Mike Garvey, Chad Blount, Carl Long, Kirk Shelmerdine, and Kertus Davis. The last time Waltrip failed to qualify for a race was at Phoenix in October 1998. The last time there was a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race without a Waltrip participating was the final race of 1975.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-25-2006)
- Ramblings – LMS:
Ray Evernham Dodge’s swept the front-row tonight at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as Scott Riggs took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with a time of 28.744 sec (187.865), barely edging out teammate Jeremy Mayfield by less than 1/10th of a second. This is Riggs’ second career top-spot (his other one came at Martinsville in April of 2005) and will qualify him for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona…..he’s entrant #8 thus far.
Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at The Brickyard last August.
Welcome Back Johnny Sauter (14th). This is his best starting spot since he lined up 13th at Richmond last May (only 6 races).
Terry Labonte (24th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 20th at Michigan last August (only 12 races).
STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 11 Top-10 starts in a row.
Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
The Trouble Train is a long (and surprising) one tonight as 10 cars failed to make the field. Kevin Lepage, Hermie Sadler, Chad Chaffin, Michael Waltrip, Stanton Barrett, Mike Garvey, Chad Blount, Carl Long, Kirk Shelmerdine, and Kertus Davis all miss the race…..but don’t be surprised if we some some financial wheelin’ and dealin’ by race time. At the very least I would suspect we’ll see those NAPA decals on some car Sunday Night.(Stock Car Fans)(5-25-2006)
- Sadler good at Yates thru 2008 UPDATE: Though #38-Elliott Sadler’s name continues to be bandied about in the pool of Silly Season rumors, a Robert Yates Racing representative confirmed that Sadler is under contract with the team, through the end of the 2008 season.(Speed Channel)(5-22-2006)
UPDATE: While saying there is an out in his contract if he wished to exercise it, Elliott Sadler said Thursday he has no intention of leaving Robert Yates Racing. With Dale Jarrett already leaving at season’s end to go to Michael Waltrip’s Toyota team, speculation has now transferred to teammate Sadler. “I’m not unhappy; I’m just frustrated with the way we’ve been running,” Sadler said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “That is two different scenarios. There’s a difference in being unhappy and being frustrated. I’m frustrated just because I want to run good.” As far as his contract goes, Sadler says he’s staying put. “I’ve been reading stuff about, ‘Contract this and contract that,’ and I haven’t even looked at my contract,” the driver of the #38 Ford said. “I don’t think that’s important. Yes, I do have an out if I want an out, but who cares? I want to get this team running. My responsibility is to put that 38 car up front each and every week.” Sadler said he hasn’t received any offers from other teams. He also said he’s not in a rush to look into the “out” clause. And he said his plan is to return to the team owned by Robert and Doug Yates next year. “I plan to come back. I think it’s my duty,” Sadler said. “I love my sponsor. They take care of me very well. I’ve loved working with Robert and Doug, and they have pretty much taken the company back in their arms and in their control, and they want to make things happen.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-25-2006)
- New BAM crew chief; Lepage hopes to sign thru 2007: Greg Conner has replaced Ron Otto as crew chief for BAM Racing’s #49 Dodge. Conner came to BAM with driver Kevin Lepage earlier this month after both started the year with the No. 61 Peak Performance team, which was sold to Front Row Motorsports. Lepage replaced driver Brent Sherman. “When I came to this deal, that was part of the deal to bring him along just to have the transition of what the driver feels and if he says this, what it means and how to adjust the car,” Lepage said. “Now that he has taken over the full-time deal, I think it’s going to make this program stronger, quicker.” Lepage, who joined the team for the Richmond race, said he expects to sign a contract soon that will keep him at BAM through the 2007 season. “We’re still talking. This looks like where I’m going to be through this year and next year,” he said. “Do I have contract signed, sealed and delivered? No. But we’ve been talking and everything is leaning toward it is going to happen. Right now, all I want to do is run good and get this race team back up where it needs to be.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-25-2006)
- Hendrick plans to keep Knaus: #48 crew chief, Chad Knaus isn’t going anywhere says team owner Rick Hendrick. When the contract for Jimmie Johnson and his sponsor Lowes was extended until 2010 last week, one loose end had yet to be tied. Chad Knaus, crew chief for Johnson is currently under contract to the team until 2007 and when his name wasn’t among those who were re-signed last week, speculation began that perhaps Knaus would soon be headed for the door. Knaus has been under the microscope after he was caught cheating and forced to sit out for four races at the start of the year and the rumors began to fly that perhaps Knaus would be forced out or would leave to start his own team as his mentor Ray Evernham did several years ago. There’s no problem with the Knaus contract according to team owner Rick Hendrick. “I don’t know how that all got out on the street that we weren’t re-upping Chad,” Hendrick said Thursday at Lowes, as teams get ready for the Coca-Cola 600. “Usually with crew chiefs a year in advance is enough, so we’re happy with Chad and I think Chad is happy. He plays a big part not just in the 48 team, but in our whole organization. We look for Chad to be with us for a long time. We’ve already talked about this week trying to going ahead and finish up the contract and go ahead and put that to bed.”(Cup Scene Daily)(5-25-2006)
- Air Force Airman to be honored at Coke 600: Air Force Senior Airman Dan Acosta, will be attending the Coca-Cola 600 NEXTEL Cup race on 28 May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. SRA Acosta was wounded in Western Baghdad on Dec. 7, 2005. He was part of an EOD team assigned to locate and disarm an explosive device, which his team did, and they located a second device, but missed the third, which was tripped and as a result of the explosion lost his left arm and severely injured both of his legs. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and wants to eventually return to his EOD unit. SRA Acosta will be the Air Force recipient of the Stonewall Jackson Award for Patriotism that will be given out during the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race activities. Also attending the race will be Lt. Gen Dennis Larsen. Lt Gen Larsen is the Vice Commander, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. AETC recruits, trains and educates more than 370,000 men and women for the Air and Space force and the nation. In addition, the #21 Wood Brothers Ford Fusion, which the Air Force is an Associate Sponsor, will be running a special Air Force primary paint scheme.(Air Force PR)(5-25-2006)
- Backhoe scheme on #22 CAT car at LMS: Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar #22 car will sport a special paint scheme for the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend. It will feature the new Caterpillar E-Series Backhoe Loaders. Three models from the Backhoe Loader Line have been updated, including the 416E, 420E and 430E. The newly styled Cat 416E Backhoe Loader has been worked into the design of Bill Davis’s #22 car for the Sunday night race. To learn more about all the features of the new Caterpillar E-Series Backhoe Loaders, visit www.CAT.com.(BDR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(5-25-2006)
- Another Wallace in Cup? Stephen Wallace told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) that he is working to schedule a handful of Nextel Cup starts with his father’s Rusty Wallace, Inc., team. “I’ve been beating it into my father’s head 365 days a year to do something,” said Wallace. “I’ve got him about 90-percent there, and I think we’ll have some kind of announcement soon. We’ve got the groundwork in place for a lot of ARCA and Busch racing in the next year or so, but I want to run a couple of Cup races, too. I know we’re in this for the long haul, and there’s plenty of time. But I want to do it.” Wallace was at Michigan International Speedway Tuesday watching David Stremme test an RWI ARCA car, in preparation for running the Hantz Group 200 there on June 16th.(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(5-25-2006)
- Special #07 Scheme at LMS: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails paint scheme during this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 festivities at LMS. Bowyer will travel to the Pocono Mountains on Tuesday to participate in the Stock Car Experience at Pocono Raceway to help familiarize himself with the tricky, triangular-shaped track. Bowyer has yet to race or see the 2.5-mile racetrack.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes age.(5-25-2006)
- Burton could test in Canada UPDATE NO: Jeff Burton probably will be the driver chosen to test a 750-horsepower Chevy on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve June 19 or 20 . By then, Canadian Formula One Grand Prix race promoter Normand Legault hopes to have confirmed a summer 2007 race in the Busch Series, a circuit populated by many Nextel Cup stars and by drivers being groomed for the top league. Legault expects to renew an Ile Notre Dame race-site lease soon with the city of Montreal, his landlord. The ink might not even be dry on that document when he announces a NASCAR race. The timing of a mid-June stock-car test would be ideal – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a temporary road course, will be in full race trim for the June 23-25 Grand Prix weekend, and Burton will be a short flight away, having run a Nextel Cup race in Brooklyn, Mich., on June 18.(Montreal Gazette)(5-23-2006)
UPDATE: Jeff Burton is not scheduled to test a Busch Series car in Montreal as speculated by the Montreal Gazette.(RCR)(5-25-2006)
- Jellen up to the Challenge: Peter Jellen, Transport Driver for the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Team [J.J. Yeley], was all smiles Monday, after his driving skills earned him the victory in the second Chicane Course of the 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge. The Chicane took place at the Charlotte Knight’s Baseball Stadium. Each competitor was judged on his ability to avoid obstacles and navigate the course safely. The course consisted of six stations each requiring an array of skills. Bill “Stump” Lewis, of the #2 Penske Racing team, was leading the challenge until the final station, when a bumped cone deduction gave Jellen the victory. Throughout the 2006 race season Pilot Travel Centers will host a series of challenges to reward the Nextel Cup transport driver who demonstrates safe and responsible truck driving, all year long. At the end of the season the winner will walk away with $50,000 and the coveted title “The 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge Champion.” For more information on the challenge visit pilottruckchallenge.com.(5-25-2006)
- Preparing a Texaco celebration: The 2007 season will mark Texaco/Havoline’s 20th year as a sponsor in NASCAR. From Davey Allison to Mears, Texaco/Havoline has a rich history in the sport. To commemorate its history, Texaco/Havoline is printing a one-of-a-kind book filled with photos and stories submitted by fans, drivers, crew members and media. Fans can submit their favorite story, interesting tale or special moment in their life involving the Texaco/Havoline race team beginning May 24 at www.texacohavoline42.com or by calling 800-518-0028.(PR)(5-25-2006)
- Forbes: Roush Most Valuable: Forbes magazine says Roush Racing is currently the most valuable organization in NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch series competition, with a net worth the publication estimates at $218 million. In its June 5 edition, Forbes says Roush’s five Cup and six Busch entries have lined up sponsorship estimated at $108 million this year and have earned $8.3 million on the track this season. Hendrick Motorsports ranks second with a value of $146 million for four Cup and two Busch entries. Forbes calculates the team’s sponsorships are producing $77 million revenue this year. Joe Gibbs Racing ranks third ($103 million), followed by Richard Childress Racing ($100 million) and Chip Ganassi Racing ($79 million).(SceneDaily.com)(5-25-2006)
- Darlington TV Ratings: the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway on Fox scored a 4.8 rating with a 10 share and total viewer 7,861,000. The rating was down from 2005 [5.6/11] but was the highest rated sproting even of the weekend, beating out the NBA playoffs [3.5/9, 4,795,000],(Zap2It.com)(5-25-2006)
News from May 24, 2006
- Rudd tests sports car at Mid-Ohio..could race: On the heels of this morning’s announcement that Al Unser Jr. will co-drive the #8 GlycoMax Porsche Doran with brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle in next weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, NASCAR star Ricky Rudd turned laps in the Synergy Racing Daytona Prototype at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today with an eye toward competing in future Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve events. On Wednesday, Rudd turned laps in the #8 GlycoMax Porsche Doran at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, which will host the Rolex Series next month, for the EMCO Gears Classic presented by Key Bank, on the weekend of June 23-25. No deal has been announced for Rudd to drive in any 2006 Rolex Series events. Rudd was joined at Mid-Ohio by 2005 EMCO Gears Classic winner Elliott Forbes-Robinson, who is an instructor at the course. “I love the track,” said Rudd. “I’ve always enjoyed road courses and I really like the new surface at Mid Ohio, even though this is my first time here. I’ve always been fascinated with Grand-Am. Right now, I’m just trying to get rid of all of the habits I learned in NASCAR, because these cars are so different from stock cars. I am lucky that Elliott took me around the track today because there’s really nobody better to learn this place from than him.” The Virginia native is also no stranger to other Rolex Series circuits, as Rudd posted a season-best runner-up NEXTEL Cup finish at Infineon Raceway last year. The Infineon circuit was also the site of Rudd’s last NASCAR victory, which came in 2002. The Sonoma, Calif. venue will host to the Rolex Series in 2006 for the season’s penultimate race on the weekend of August 24-26.( grandamerican.com)(5-24-2006)
- Mayfield to Davis? Waltrip? UPDATE no way: #19-Jeremy Mayfield is also in middle of a lot of Toyota talk, perhaps leaving Ray Evernham to take a Toyota ride next season with [#22/23] Bill Davis, perhaps even taking a third Toyota ride with Waltrip, who indicated last week that he had a third major sponsor in the works.(Winston Salem Journal), but Mayfield re-upped with Evernham last year and is supposedly signed thru 2008.(5-21-2006)
UPDATE: #19-Jeremy Mayfield says he working hard to help his team turn around their 2006 season and denies garage area gossip he’s looking for another ride. Mayfield told PRN’s Garagepass; “As far as me out looking that’s defiantly not true, I haven’t been out looking nowhere for nothing. I have a contract with Ray (Evernham) I’m driving for Ray and Dodge. My head has been down working on our own stuff trying to get our own stuff better. Our deal is hard enough as it is let alone start throwing the rumors and all that stuff around.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-24-2006)
- Hamilton Honored: Bobby Hamilton, the owner/driver of the Bobby Hamilton Racing #18 Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series [along with the #04 and #4 trucks as owner], has been named the first-quarter winner of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award for 2006. Hamilton, a former Nextel Cup driver who scored four career wins in the Cup series before turning to trucks, announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with a form of head and neck cancer. He turned the driving duties of his popular No. 4 Dodge over to his son, Bobby Hamilton Jr., in order to concentrate on treating the disease. In conjunction with series sponsor Craftsman, Hamilton helped organize Tuesday night’s “Craftsman for a Cure” charity event, a program that allowed fans to meet and race go-karts with some of their favorite drivers. Proceeds from the event – as well as from an ongoing online auction of racing memorabilia – will benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life as well as the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Speed Channel)(5-24-2006)
- Martin/Labonte Milestones: #6-Mark Martin is scheduled to make his 650th series start on Sunday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, while Bobby Labonte is scheduled to make his 450th series start. Next wekk at Dover, #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his 450th series start [consecutive also].(5-24-2006)
- Johnson looking for 4th straight Coke 600: Nine [actually 10] times in NASCAR history, drivers have won a particular event at least four consecutive times. Jimmie Johnson can join this elite group on Sunday by winning the Coca-Cola 600 for a fourth consecutive time. Following is a rundown of the previous nine instances.
Driver Race Track Years Dan Gurney Motor Trend 500 Riverside 1963-66 Richard Petty Nashville 400 Nashville 1964-67 Richard Petty Old Dominion 500 Martinsville 1967-70 Richard Petty Gwyn Staley 400 North Wilkesboro 1970-75 Richard Petty Capitol City 500 Richmond 1970-74 Darrell Waltrip Holly Farms 400 North Wilkesboro 1981-84 Darrell Waltrip Valleydale 500 Bristol 1981-84 Rusty Wallace Hanes 500 Martinsville 1993-96 Jeff Gordon Food City 500/Spring Race Bristol 1995-98 Jeff Gordon Mountain Dew Southern 500 Darlington 1995-98
(NASCAR PR and made additions myself)(5-24-2006)
- Goodyear Supports Tire Choice for Coke 600 weekend: Comments from Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of race tire sales and marketing:
Q: Describe the tire to be used this weekend for the Busch and Nextel Cup races. How has it changed?
A: We have a completely redesigned right side tire. It utilizes a new mold shape to address the tremendous loads that we measured in our tire test last fall. When this is combined with our harder tread compound, we get the more conservative setup.
Q: How did these tires perform, from your perspective, in last weekend’s All-Star events?
A: We continue to see what we expected from our Goodyear Eagle tires in terms of tire wear, temperatures and appearance following last weekend’s NASCAR racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Because of the new track surface and the changing conditions that you expect to experience between day and night racing, our tire selection was designed to err on the side of safety.
Q: Some drivers and teams have said your tires are too hard and cause handling problems due to less grip. What is your reaction to this?
A: Things went well in our recent tire tests, as well as throughout all of the racing activities last weekend. We’re seeing that the conservative nature of these tires may require some teams to make changes in car setups and some drivers might have to adjust their driving styles.
Q: What challenges do the new track surface present?
A: The fact is that during the day, the sun brings out some of the oil in the fresh asphalt, causing it to get slick. We recognize that. But, overall, new pavement generates a lot of grip and a lot of heat. We must design a tire that works for all 43 different cars and drivers racing in both the daytime and in cooler evening conditions.
Q: How does the racing change as the sun goes down and it gets cooler at a night race?
A: We know the cars will be faster at night than during the heat of the day. We saw this last weekend. While teams are able to change setups from afternoon to evening, the tire has to work in all conditions, so that may necessitate the need for car setup and driving style adjustments.
Q: What do you anticipate as we head into NASCAR’s longest race on Sunday?
A: We’re comfortable with what we’ve seen with our tire recommendation and feel very good going into next weekend’s Busch Series race and Nextel Cup Coca-Cola 600.(Goodyear PR)(5-24-2006)
- Shepherd sells? UPDATES: haven’t heard official, but the rumored sale of Morgan Shepherd’s #89 team looks like it has been completed to Bryan Mullet, with Kertus Davis scheduled to drive in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the #72 Dodge [changed from #89, supposedly Shepherd may attempt a race late in the season using it], the sponsor Dutch Quality Stone and Shepherd’s crew chief, Doug George.(5-22-2006)
UPDATE: A new NASCAR race team plans to run 16 Nextel Cup races this year, beginning with this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the team announced. CJM Racing, based in Hickory, NC, will field Busch Series regular Kertus Davis in the their #72 Dodge Charger. The car will be sponsored by Dutch Quality Stone, team manager Keith Smith said during festivities to announce the new operation. The team has plans to run the full 2007 season. Busch Series competitor David Gilliland will drive the car at Infineon Raceway. The team will use more than one driver during the remainder of the 2006 season as it builds in preparation for a full schedule next year. Doug George will be the crew chief of the new team. George most recently served as crew chief for Morgan Shepherd’s #89 entry, and has many years of prior racing experience. In addition to carrying primary sponsorship from Dutch Quality Stone, Smith said CJM also has several associate sponsors committed for the remainder of the season, including Dodge, ECO-FIRST, and others.(CJM Racing PR)(5-24-2006)
- And Morgan Shepherd’s plans? A deal for Morgan Shepherd and Christian business men Bryan and Tony Mullet of Dutch Quality Stone reached. Bryan and Tony Mullet, by their work with Morgan Shepherd and the “Victory In Jesus Racing Ministries”, have seen the benefits and many lives touched by Morgan through that ministry. The Mullets have made it possible for the “Victory In Jesus Ministry” with Morgan Shepherd to operate for a number of years by the purchase of his race team. With this deal the ministry and racing will be separate. Morgan will retain the NEXTEL Cup #89 and the “Victory In Jesus Racing” name. The Mullets will introduce their new team, CJM Racing LLC #72 team, at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend. Kertus Davis will drive the #72 for that race. With the help of race fans, Morgan can continue to work toward his goal of putting a young deserving driver in the “Victory In Jesus Racing” #89 to bring heighten awareness to the “Victory In Jesus Ministry”. Morgan Shepherd will be in the #0 car of Johnny Davis this weekend for the Busch Series CarQuest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Anyone interested in funding the “Victory In Jesus Racing” logo on the Davis car at Lowe’ please contact Morgan by e-mail at morganshepherd.com.(PR)(5-24-2006)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers Visit Roush: Before their performance during Saturday nights NEXTEL All Star event, the famed Red Hot Chili Peppers made a trip to the Roush Racing NEXTEL Cup shops in Concord, N.C. The four band members, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante, and Chad Smith, took a quick tour through the Roush shops with hosts Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards then it was outside to perform their first ever pit stop with the assistance of the #16 Ameriquest Busch team. The Red Hot Chili Peppers also spent some time with Roush Racing’s up and coming stars, Erik Darnell and David Ragan.(Roush Racing PR)(5-24-2006)
- New Head-Neck Restriant Certified: Safety Solutions has just announced the New Hutchens Hybrid head and neck restraint. The Hybrid is already SFI 38.1 Certified. The testing was witnessed by NASCAR Head and Neck Restraint Committee member John Melvin who commented that he liked the device. The Hybrid was officially submitted to NASCAR for evaluation last week. The device has already been in use in NHRA Funny Cars and borrows a number of attributes from Safety Solutions and LFT Technologies R3 and Hutchens II. The device features a low back to help get into and out of the race car and a short back section with a wide chest strap and two front buckle attachments to make it the most secure head and neck restraint on the market. For more information on the device see www.hutchensdevice.com.(Safety Solutions PR)(5-24-2006)
- DLP to be used in premire of CARS at LMS: Texas Instruments DLP Cinema technology has been exclusively chosen as the digital cinema projection technology for the worldwide premiere of Disney/Pixar’s thrilling new computer-animated feature, CARS at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Friday May 26th [sold out]. Manufacturers Barco, Christie, and NEC are supplying a total of twelve DLP Cinema projectors to pull off an amazing feat of lighting up four custom built 115-foot screens for first ever multi-screen outdoor projection event. The world premiere will take place on Friday May 26th in the heart of NASCAR country at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC before a crowd of 30,000 movie and sports fans. The twelve DLP Cinema projectors will deliver an incredible 240,000 combined lumens and 35 trillion colors to light up the four 115′ screens that will be positioned around turn two of the Speedway. This represents the largest square footage delivery of a movie ever. To top off the weekend, the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy [see image on the #96 Team Schemes page] rolet will be wrapped as the movie’s main character, Lightning McQueen, for the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Nextel Cup race on Sunday, May 28th.(HOF Racing PR)(5-24-2006)
News from May 23, 2006
- “Dale: The True Story” to debut in 2007: NASCAR Images and CMT films will release an authorized Dale Earnhardt documentary titled “Dale: The True Story” before next year’s Daytona 500, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Plans call for airing the 90-minute film narrated by Paul Newman in markets where NASCAR races are scheduled. National Cinema Vice President/Digital Programming Dan Diamond, whose company is promoting the film, says the company also expects limited runs in major non-race markets such as New York, Denver and Seattle. Paramount Home Video will handle the film’s DVD release late next year, while CMT will air it after it runs in theaters. The story says Richard Childress Racing, the team the seven-time NASCAR Cup champion drove for, and Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team he founded and which is now run by his widow, Teresa, are cooperating in the production. Tickets to the screenings in each market are expected to be $12.50 each and will include a souvenir magazine produced by Street & Smith’s, the parent company of NASCAR Scene and SceneDaily.(SceneDaily.com)(5-23-2006)
- RYR GM relesased? UPDATE: hearing that Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88 teams] and team general manager Eddie D’Hondt have parted ways.
UPDATE: Robert Yates, NASCAR car owner, announced today that he is re-evaluating the structure of the organization and has made a change in personnel at the management level of Robert Yates Racing (RYR). As part of the process, Eddie D’Hondt has been released from his position as general manager for RYR, effective immediately. “We are re-evaluating the way we are doing business from the top down,” Yates said. “This is a performance-based business and we have to evaluate the performance of where our cars are now. That begins with understanding our cars.” Doug Yates, head engine builder for RYR and son of Robert Yates, said the decision to make a change at the management level is a result of the Yates family reasserting themselves as the managers of their family-owned business. One of the first actions the team is taking is moving Raymond Fox, III back to the Nextel Cup shop where he will work with the #38 M&M’S Team and serve as a liaison between the Busch and Nextel Cup Series teams. “Raymond is very key to our organization,” Yates said. “The Busch program is important to us but we need his help elsewhere in the company and right now that is at the Cup shop where he’s worked since we started this organization.”
“Eddie (D’Hondt) did a good job for us,” he said. “But this is our company and Robert and I have decided we need to get our arms around our company. We’re not happy with where we’re at as a race team. We need to reassert key people including ourselves.”(RYR PR)(5-23-2006)
- New Wind Tunnel planned in Concord: A second incentive grant is in the works for the $40 million Haas CNC Racing wind tunnel proposed for a site near the Concord Regional Airport. Coming on the heels of a three-year, $626,668 incentive grant given the green light last week by Cabarrus County, Concord City Council on Monday set a public hearing for a second incentive grant for the project. The public hearing is slated for June 8. Concord City Manager Brian Hiatt said the incentive would come in the form of the city’s committal to provide electrical service and a $4 million investment towards electrical infrastructure at the Ivy Cline Road site. Hiatt said the city had plans to build an electrical substation at the site in the future, but the city will expedite its construction for the wind tunnel. He said because of the project’s size, the substation would be needed for the site. A fire station is also planned for a portion of the property where the wind tunnel would sit. The wind tunnel would be for commercial use, allowing motor sports and car manufacturers to perform aerodynamic testing and research on cars. Haas officials said that only 10 of its kind exist worldwide. Last year, Haas received up to $400,000 in incentives from Cabarrus County and Kannapolis when Haas moved its race car shop from Harrisburg to Kannapolis Gateway Business Park.(Kannaspolis Independent Tribune)(5-23-2006)
- Kyle Busch fined for traffic infraction: #5-Kyle Busch was fined $150 plus court costs after being found guilty of improper driving this morning in Henrico General District Traffic Court. Busch was originally ticketed for reckless driving after an incident near the corner of South Laburnum Avenue and Williamsburg Road on April 12. He appeared in court this morning with attorney Toby Vick and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-23-2006)
- Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 13 Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway. Hamlin finished 10th, scoring his fourth top-10 of the 2006 season. He grabbed top rookie honors for the fifth time in 11 races. Hamlin has racked up two top-five finishes this season, more than any other freshman driver. At least one of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 11 races this season. Two Raybestos Rookies rank among the top-20 in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings: Hamlin (13th) and Bowyer (16th). Matt Kenseth is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth captured the 2000 600-mile race by .573-seconds over Bobby Labonte. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the pole in 46 previous Coca-Cola 600 races at Charlotte [NOTE: Dale Earnhardt Jr.also won the pole as a rookie in 2000]. Johnson took the top starting spot for the 2002 race. Only TWO Raybestos Rookies have led the most laps in the Coca-Cola 600: Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 175 laps in 2000 while Jimmie Johnson led 263 laps in 2002.(Raybestos PR), see points and more notes on my Rookies Page.(5-23-2006)
- Ned Jarrett Amazed at NASCAR exhibit: An art exhibit brought back fond memories for NASCAR champion and local legend Ned Jarrett. “NASCAR Inspired,” a collection of more than 200 pieces of racing-themed artwork, opened last month at the Hickory Museum of Art. Jarrett saw the exhibit for the first time recently. He was impressed. “This is amazing,” he said, looking around at paintings, sculptures and more.(more at the Hickory Daily Record and hickorymuseumofart.org)(5-23-2006)
News from May 22, 2006
- NASCAR sticking with smaller fuel cells for Coke 600: While the cars in the Nextel All-Star Challenge had the smaller fuel cells in them Saturday night, the true test of the change will come in the May 28 running of the Coca-Cola 600. Although drivers have lobbied against the 13-14 gallon fuel cell being used instead of the 22-gallon one, NASCAR will go with the smaller fuel cell. The sanctioning body made that decision before testing earlier this month so that drivers could get the weight in their cars adjusted during their test sessions. “That deal is going to happen,” Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said after the all-star race. “Even now that we’ve raced it, we had short runs and everything. We still don’t have enough true live race data to pull it off.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-22-2006)
- Sadler good at Yates thru 2008: Though #38-Elliott Sadler’s name continues to be bandied about in the pool of Silly Season rumors, a Robert Yates Racing representative confirmed that Sadler is under contract with the team, through the end of the 2008 season.(Speed Channel)(5-22-2006)
- JumpFly.com to Join McGlynn Racing: #74 McGlynn Racing and driver Derrike Cope announced JumpFly.com as the newest sponsor to the #74 NEXTEL Cup Series team. JumpFly.com professionally develops, implements and manages Google, Yahoo and MSN pay-per-click accounts, enabling clients to maximize Internet advertising results while saving time and money. JumpFly.com will make their debut appearance at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 28 for the Coco-Cola 600 and will remain an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2006 season. In addition, JumpFly.com will create and manage the team’s online advertising campaign to aide in the search for additional sponsors to help further the growth and development of the McGlynn Racing team.(McGlynn Motorsports PR)(5-22-2006)
- RYR Hopes to hear from UPS on decision soon; 4 Cup teams? UPDATE 2 Mears? Vickers?: Robert Yates Racing hopes to hear in the next two to three weeks whether UPS will return as a sponsor [on the #88 team], team general manager Eddie D’Hondt said Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. UPS is trying to decide whether to stay with RYR, move with current RYR driver Dale Jarrett over to Michael Waltirp Racing, where Jarrett will run a Toyota starting in 2007. or go to another team. “We’re still talking with them,” said D’Hondt, who added that there is no timeline for UPS to decide. “In three weeks time, I think we’ll all know what we’re all doing.” The team is still in the early stages of looking for a replacement. It has two development drivers – Stephen Leicht and Matt McCall – currently running part-time Busch schedules. “There is a chance you may see them in a Cup car to get a race under their belt as the year goes on,” D’Hondt said. “That’s not written in stone, but it has been talked about. We’re not going to rush them beyond what they are capable of. … A year from now, I think Matt and Stephen will be ready.” D’Hondt said eventually RYR would like to have four Nextel Cup teams and two Busch Series teams. “We’re setting ourselves for a good future; we just have to live with what we’re going through now,” D’Hondt said.(SceneDaily.com)(5-20-2006)
UPDATE: RYR is also waiting to hear if #88 team sponsor UPS will remain with RYR next year, move to the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota team with Dale Jarrett or go to another team entirely. If UPS moves to Waltrip’s organization, that may bump the team from two to three cars. Waltrip’s own Toyota will be sponsored by NAPA and a second team car will fly the Burger King colors in 2007, leaving UPS as a possible sponsor for a third MWR car. On the driver front, the Yates crew is said to be hot after Casey Mears, the biggest remaining name free agent.(Speed Channel)
AND Who’s the lead candidate for the #88 (possibly UPS) Ford in 2007? One name mentioned more than once is Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC Chevy owned by Rick Hendrick.(CircleTrackPlus.com)
UPDATE 2: In response to the CircleTrackPlus.com posting up on the site today. The “Unsubstantiated Rumors’ as they’re classified as on the Web-Site are in fact just that. Vickers and Hendrick Motorsports remain committed to each other.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-22-2006)
- More Tire Testing at Indy: Goodyear will bring #20-Tony Stewart, #9-Kasey Kahne and #38-Elliott Sadler back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 30 for one more day of testing a new tire compound to be used in the Nextel Cup Allstate 400 in August. Those three drivers tested tires for Goodyear at the track earlier this month. “We’re just going to do a confirmation test and make sure what we selected there for that race is going to be good, and we’ll be ready to go,” Goodyear marketing and tire sales director Greg Stucker said Saturday night.(SceneDaiy.com)(5-22-2006)
- “Sucking Air”? engines at the Daytona 500? It’s taken a while for word to leak out, but the big Daytona 500 trick this season – which NASCAR discovered but made no announcement about – concerned engines “sucking air” to gain horsepower. That’s the word from a top NASCAR crew chief, who asked not to be named, and it was confirmed by a top car owner, who likewise asked not to be named. “When they did the chassis-dyno tests on the Daytona engines, they found that a number of teams had made huge gains in horsepower, from 18 to 25 more horsepower over the last chassis dyno tests of restrictor-plate engines,” the crew chief said. “You couldn’t pick up that much horsepower with a restrictor-plate engine if you worked for seven years on it. And those teams picked up that much in just one year? It’s because they were sucking air. You wouldn’t believe how many teams at Daytona were sucking air.”
NASCAR rules are strict about sucking air – getting extra air into the engine cylinders by bypassing the restrictor plates that are designed to limit horsepower by choking down the air – and the penalties can be stiff. However no penalties were levied at Daytona. One key trick apparently was semi-legal – using a steel gasket instead of an aluminum gasket, and taking advantage of the gap of 10-thousandths-of-an-inch created when engine heat distorts the steel gasket. NASCAR officials realized they had a problem when they discovered that some of Daytona’s fastest qualifiers were using engines that couldn’t pass NASCAR’s post-qualifying manifold leak tests. NASCAR officials were unable to confirm the legality of front-row qualifiers Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon until six hours after qualifying had ended. In response, NASCAR quietly changed some of its rules for Talladega, and some teams that had qualified very fast at Daytona were noticeably slower.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-22-2006)
- Petty wins VOTE more: Kyle Petty and the #45 MyCokeRewards Dodge finished 22nd in the Nextel Open. At the conclusion of the race Petty was announced as the winner of the Nextel Fan Vote. Petty was then awarded the opportunity to race in the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Comments from Petty after he learned of the fan vote: “I think this is big, but I think it’s big for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. We just appreciate all the fans that voted. I really hope they know how much they have helped touch the lives of the children that will be affected by this. Coca-Cola and our other partners, Wells Fargo, Schwan’s and Tire Kingdom have really supported this program. I think this really shows how much people really care about the camp and the kids. I really believe the fans were voting for the camp and not for Kyle Petty. That really means a lot. We just really, really, appreciate all the fans that voted.”(Moore Consulting Group)
NOTE: have not seen any voting totals as of yet.(5-20-2006)
UPDATE: As the result of the successful “Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction” campaign, Kyle Petty captured the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge fan vote and drove the MyCokeRewards #45 Dodge car to an eighth place finish in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway today. Through tremendous support from family, friends, sponsors, NASCAR fans and members of the NASCAR community, Petty earned the wildcard spot in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. As a result, Coca-Cola, Schwan’s, Wells Fargo and Tire Kingdom are donating $275,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp — a camp for chronically and critically-ill children. Kyle and Petty Enterprises also donated the purse money won in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge from Petty’s eighth place finish, bringing the total donation to Victory Junction to $398.967. “This campaign was all about the kids,” said Petty. “Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Schwan’s and Tire Kingdom developed a great program to honor me and reward Victory Junction at the same time. The money being donated will go towards sending more kids to the camp and continuing our overall mission of serving chronically and critically-ill children.” In addition to driving the #45 Dodge’s special MyCokeRewards primary sponsorship paint scheme in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, Petty will carry the scheme in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 28. Petty had a strong run in the All-Star Challenge. Petty started 20 th , but the team only had one way to go. Petty’s MyCokeRewards Dodge was handling well and the car was to the liking of Petty. Petty moved up as he stayed patient and cars crashed. Petty’s Dodge was also faster on longer runs. He made passed on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and moved in on Dale Jarrett in the final 20 lap segment. Petty finished a strong 8th.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)
RESULTS: the top vote getters from nascar.com:
1. #45-Kyle Petty 101,966
2. #1-Martin Truex Jr. 50,018
3. #38-Elliott Sadler 38,797
4. #11-Denny Hamlin 18,863
5. #31-Jeff Burton 18,376
6. #7-Robby Gordon 15,401
7. #49-Ken Schrader 10,021
8. #25-Brian Vickers 18,616
9. #07-Clint Bowyer 7,374
10. #42-Casey Mears 7,310
News from May 21, 2006
- Martin to return for 2007 All-Star Race: Though he plans to retire from Nextel cup competition after this season, 2005 Challenge champion Mark Martin said he plans to participate in next year’s Challenge.(USA Today)(5-21-2006)
- Baldwin Rumor [not here] false: Both Robert Yates Racing teams – Fords driven by #88-Dale Jarrett and #38-Elliott Sadler – struggled at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the Nextel All-Star Challenge, and it only got worse when it was reported that Sadler’s crew chief, Tommy Baldwin, was fired Friday night. However, Baldwin wasn’t fired. In fact, he was working Sadler’s pit stall during the Nextel Open qualifying race.(Augusta Chronicle)(5-21-2006)
- Germain and Bodine could move up to Cup…with Toyota..UPDATE: The hottest Toyota driver in NASCAR is Todd Bodine, who has won five of the past eight Truck races and who leads the tour standings, ahead of teammate Ted Musgrave. The two ran 1-2 the last time out, at St. Louis’ Gateway track three weeks ago. So, with Toyota’s Cup teams and executives apparently running out of time to line up all the six or seven Nextel Cup drivers they’ll need next year, Bodine, 42 and a 14-year NASCAR veteran, would seem a logical option. But Bodine said he has had no calls, and said he’s having so much fun running for the Germain brothers (who own a number of luxury-car dealerships with $1 billion a year in sales) that it would take “a boatload of money to leave.” Bodine said he and the Germains have studied stepping up to Cup racing with Toyota. But they haven’t found sponsorship for what he estimates would be a $20 million to $30 million step.(Winston Salem Journal), the team did test an #03 Chevy at Las Vegas this past Jan.(5-20-2006)
UPDATE: The Germain Motor Co. is on the fast track in NASCAR, and not all of it deals with drivers Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave ranking first and second in the Truck Series point standings. Steve Germain, who owns the Columbus teams with brothers Rick and Bob, yesterday [Friday] said plans are under way to attempt to qualify for as many as five or six Nextel Cup races this season. The family’s first race probably would be the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 6 at Indianapolis. There also are tentative plans to enter races at Michigan, Atlanta, California and Texas in an attempt to gauge whether a team with Bodine as driver would be ready to run as many as 15 or 16 races in 2007. “We’re interested in the Cup series, and it looks like we might do a limited schedule,” Steve Germain said. “At this point, we’ll be at Indianapolis. We’d like to be in five or six races to help us understand the scope of Nextel Cup. We have a pretty good understanding of Cup, but we want firsthand experience so we can be confident before committing the resources for next year. We’re taking this one step at a time.” The Germains own Toyota and Lexus dealerships in Columbus and Florida and got into NASCAR to promote their dealerships and help Toyota get a foothold in truck and stock car racing. Both truck teams are based in Concord, N.C., which is considered the heart of NASCAR country.(Columbus Dispatch)(5-21-2006)
- Red Bull Shop…and rumors: Mears? Sadler? Knaus?: Toyota’s Marty Gaunt has turned the lights on over at Roger Penske’s old shop [in Mooresville, Lakeside Park], hired about 40 people for NASCAR’s newest team, and is now looking for a couple of good men to run Dietrich Mateschitz’s Red Bull [Toyota] Camrys on the Cup tour next season. #42-Casey Mears may be signing with Red Bull for 2007, leaving Chip Ganassi. Mears, in the final year of his Ganassi contract, was courted by car owner Richard Childress, either to fill Kevin Harvick’s ride if Harvick had decided to leave, or to run a fourth Childress car. #38-Elliott Sadler [but is signed with RYR thru 2008] may also be signing with Red Bull, leaving Robert Yates, who is already dealing with the defection of Dale Jarrett to Toyota’s Michael Waltrip for 2007. #48-Crew chief Chad Knaus, who has put Jimmie Johnson in the thick of the Nextel Cup championship race for four years now, may also be getting a major offer from the Red Bull team, though his current contract with car owner Rick Hendrick runs through 2007. Hendrick just extended Johnson’s contract through 2010, but Knaus said that no one has talked with him about a contract extension. And mum’s the word with Gaunt. When will he name drivers? “We haven’t put a timetable on it, though obviously we’d rather do it sooner than later. When the time is right, we’ll do it,” Gaunt said. “We’re going to run three races near the end of the year; hopefully we can clarify which three soon. And we’ll be doing some testing throughout the year.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-21-2006)
- Mayfield to Davis? Waltrip? #19-Jeremy Mayfield is also in middle of a lot of Toyota talk, perhaps leaving Ray Evernham to take a Toyota ride next season with [#22/23] Bill Davis, perhaps even taking a third Toyota ride with Waltrip, who indicated last week that he had a third major sponsor in the works.(Winston Salem Journal), but Mayfield re-upped with Evernham last year and is supposedly signed thru 2008.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-21-2006)
- 2005 All-Star Print Available: Mark Martin autographed All-Star art prints are now available from NASCAR Licensed Artist Garry Hill. Each print is personally hand signed by race winner Mark Martin and also signed and numbered by Hill. A limited number of prints and artist’s proof prints are available to the public. This is the 19th year that Garry Hill has had the honor and privilege of officially commemorating the annual all-star classic for the series’ sponsor (First with R.J. Reynolds and now with Nextel). For additional information see www.garryhill.com.(5-17/21-2006)
News from May 20, 2006
- Johnson wins the Nextel All-Star Challenge: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after getting caught speeding entering pit road early and just missing the invert [they inverted 10 cars after the the 1st segment, he was 11th] to win his 2nd career All-Star race and 7th overall Cup race at LMS [five pts races and two all-star races]. #29-Harvick was 2nd, followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, There were two red flags, one for a rain delay, then one to clear up a seven car wreck on lap 50. Johnson won $1,055,077. There were 8 lead changes among 6 leaders.
See my All-Star Challenge Page for the Nextel Open/Challenge/Segments results, winnings[$$], starting lineups for each segment, practice speeds, formats, history and more.(5-21-2006)
- Riggs wins Nextel Open: #10-Scott Riggs, the pole sitter, won the Nextel Open, leading all but the 1st lap and dominating the race to advance to the Nextel Challenge All-Star race and will start that race 19th. #45-Kyle Petty won the Nextel/NASCAR.com fan vote and will start the Challenge 20th, he finished the Nextel Open 22nd. Finishing 2nd in the Open was #66-Jeff Green, #25-Brian Vickers, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-J.J. Yeley. #42-Casey Mears and #4-Scott Wimmer were the only cars that wrecked in the race.(5-20-2006)
- Knaus/Hendrick: No Negotiations: Chad Knaus was left out of the recent round of contract extensions at Hendrick Motorsports, and the crew chief said Friday he’s not received indication that he’ll get one. “I love my job. I love my team. I love it at Hendrick Motorsports,” Knaus said during preparations for the Nextel All-Star Challenge. “But no one has talked to me about staying beyond 2007.” Driver #48-Jimmie Johnson and sponsor Lowe’s both signed three-year extensions this week that keep them with Hendrick through the 2010 season. But Knaus is still working under his old deal, which expires at the end of next year. Knaus was included in the last round of extensions, which came in May, 2003. Not getting one this week created speculation through the garage that something was amiss.(Associated Press)(5-20-2006)
- 4th Childress Team? Jarrett considered: Before Dale Jarrett accepted Michael Waltrip’s offer to run Toyotas on the Nextel Cup tour next season, Jarrett considered a ride with Chevrolet’s Richard Childress, in a fourth Childress car, as part of a six-year package, according to sources close to the situation. Under the proposed Jarrett-Childress deal, Jarrett would have signed on for three more seasons as a driver, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and UPS would not only have followed Jarrett to Childress’ but would have agreed to another three years of sponsorship beyond 2009, according to sources. However the deal never came down, in part because Childress was leery of expanding to a fourth team, given the problems he had when expanding to a third Nextel Cup team.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-20-2006)
- Stewart-Yocum Radio Show: Sirius Satellite Radio, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR starting in 2007, announced that two-time and reigning Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will host a live weekly talk show exclusively on Sirius. Debuting in January, Tony Stewart Live will air exclusively on Sirius’ upcoming 24/7 NASCAR channel, providing Sirius listeners with the ultimate insider’s perspective on auto racing. The weekly, two-hour show will feature Stewart – who has never been shy about expressing his opinions in 27 years of racing – taking calls from listeners, talking with prominent guests and covering the spectrum of motorsports – from NASCAR to open-wheel racing and beyond. Matt Yocum, who is a pit reporter for the NASCAR broadcasts on FOX/FX and NBC/TNT, will be Stewart’s co-host on Tony Stewart Live. Preview editions of Tony Stewart Live, hosted by Stewart, will begin airing exclusively on Sirius in October 2006. Stewart will also be featured in Sirius’ NASCAR related marketing and advertising. Beginning next year, Sirius will be the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, broadcasting all Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Truck Series races live on a specially created, 24/7 NASCAR channel. “It’s an honor to be a part of Sirius and its commitment to NASCAR,” said Stewart. “Our show will allow us to speak with the fans on our terms, where we’re free to talk about anything and everything, from racing and rock-and-roll to our travels across America. It’s a unique opportunity, and we plan to make the most of it.” Click on www.sirius.com to listen to Sirius live, or to purchase a Sirius radio and subscription.(True Speed Communications PR)(5-20-2006)
- Garvey will return to Nextel Cup, new crew chief: Mike Garvey, absent from the Cup circuit for the past three weeks, said his #51 team [owned by Joe Auer/Competitive Edge Motorsports] is entering this weekend’s Nextel Open and next week’s Coca-Cola 600 more prepared than it has been for other races this year. He said the team skipped three races to work on its cars, and it appears to have paid off based on the results of a recent test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We decided that showing up at the track not ready to race is worse that not showing up at all,” Garvey said. “We needed to step back and reorganize a bit.” His team plans to run 15 more races this year and is trying to secure the services of veteran crew chief Butch Hylton, who will be with the team at Lowe’s this weekend.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-20-2006)
- More help for Waltrip: Joe Shear, crew chief for the #43 Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Busch Series team, is in the Nextel Cup garage this weekend helping with the #55 Waltrip-Jasper Racing car and driver Michael Waltrip. Shear said he was working as crew chief for the team for the Nextel Open, but beyond that nothing has been solidified.(SceneDaily.com)(5-20-2006)
- New Chevy Engines: One of four proposed new Chevrolet NASCAR Cup engines – which have been under top-secret development by the Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Childress and DEI camps – has already finished its first dyno run, according to sources, and two more versions are expected to be on the dyno in the next week or so. Chevy execs have been tight-lipped about the project, which is designed in part to meet the Toyota challenge next season. Mark Kent, GM’s racing boss, and Pat Suhy, GM’s NASCAR field director, would only say the new engine – whichever version is selected to be officially submitted to NASCAR by the Sept. 1 deadline – is on the fast-track. “We hope it’s a Toyota-killer…. or that it’s at least as good as the Toyota,” Kent said. Toyota’s Truck V-8 is considered the best-designed engine in NASCAR today, but NASCAR has said it will try to rein in some of the Toyota design aspects in its new Nextel Cup engine. NASCAR officials have spent more than a year articulating some 70 engine parameters in order to create a tighter box for all four manufacturers to meet in their various engine designs. However Toyota engineers have, according to their rivals, been able to. Chevrolet’s engine design is the oldest on the Nextel Cup tour, OKed in 1996. A 1999 proposed redesign and a 2003 proposed redesign were both rejected by NASCAR.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-20-2006)
- Ware Racing Plans more races: Ware Racing has entered [and will start 26th] a #30 Dodge with driver Mike Wallace in Saturday’s Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The number coincides with sponsor pro30.com, a loan service. “We’re hoping to make [Wallace] happy here and convince him to drive some more for us,” team owner Rick Ware said. “We’ll see how it plays out.” Wallace said he anticipates continuing to race for Phoenix Racing in the Busch Series at least through the Daytona race in July and will see what happens with Ware Racing. The Ware Racing team will not compete next weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 but has plans to run both Cup races at Dover with driver Donnie Neuenberger and both Cup races at New Hampshire with Ted Christopher. Christopher, a well-known Busch North and Modified driver, will bring sponsorship from QualityMetric. Neuenberger will bring sponsorship from Plan B Technologies.(SceneDaily.com), the team also used the #52 in two race attempts.(5-20-2006)
- Talladega TV Ratings: the rain delayed Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway ran on Monday, May 1st,scored a 2.5 with a 8.2 share with 3,455,000 viewers. No word on the FX coverage ratings.(Zap2It.com), see more on the ratings for the season on my TV Ratings Page.(5-20-2006)
- NASCAR Members Club to hold Inaugural National Convention UPDATE: The Official NASCAR Members Club (ONMC) will hold its inaugural national convention this week in Charlotte, with members from 34 different states coming together for the two-day event. Highlighting the ONMC’s first national convention is a kickoff awards celebration on Thursday night for hundreds of the club’s most avid members and their guests. The ONMC, a membership organization created early last year by the sport to recognize its most loyal fans, is kicking off the 2006 national convention on Thursday, May 18, with an awards celebration at the Charlotte Convention Center. NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace will host the event, with partners, tracks, champion drivers, teams and members being presented with various awards. On Friday, May 19, the ONMC will present workshops for local chapter presidents at Joe Gibbs Racing’s Huntersville, N.C. campus. Five workshops will hit on topics ranging from how to work with local businesses to how to organize charity events and manage NASCAR programs in their communities.
In addition to Thursday’s awards banquet and Friday’s workshops, ONMC members that attend the convention will also be given preferred seating and discounted ticket deals to Wednesday’s Pit Crew Challenge, Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Quaker Steak & Lube 200 and Saturday’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The ONMC, which includes as charter members 15 legendary NASCAR Champions including Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Benny Parsons, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and ONMC National Membership Chairman Richard Petty, currently has more than 1,100 local chapters across all 50 states. More info at nascar.com/members_club.(5-18-2006)
UPDATE: see a story on the convention at NASCAR.com: ONMC kicks off first national convention .(5-20-2006)
- Edwards pledges $100k if he wins All-Star Race: #99-Carl Edwards has pledged to donate $100,000 of his winnings should he be fortunate enough to claim the million-dollar first prize up for grabs in the 90-lap Nextel All-Star Challenge Saturday, May shootout. “Officials of organizations such as ours would probably do back-flips to get that kind of help from a single source,” said Major General Thomas A. Sadler, USAF (Ret.), SCC executive director. “We’ll let Carl do the back-flips, but I can tell you that we would certainly be grateful and appreciative of his generosity should he be fortunate enough to win the All-Star race.” Sadler was referring to Edwards’ trademark post-race celebration of doing a back-flip off the side of his racecar after each win. The 26-year-old Roush driver isn’t the only one pledging financial support to SCC programs should he win Saturday’s race. Bruton Smith, chairman of the board of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), has said he will match the $100,000 donation with an Edwards victory. More info about Speedway Children’s Charities at speedwaycharities.org.(SCC PR)(5-20-2006)
News from May 19, 2006
- Kurt Busch donates $1 million to Victory Junction: The Kurt Busch Foundation donated $1 million to Victory Junction Camp in a ceremony Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The donation will fund an indoor 28,000-square foot facility for sports and will be called the Kurt Busch Superdome. “I can’t believe I was able to come together with the Pettys and put this program together. It’s a good launch for the Kurt Busch Foundation and how serious I am about it and the initiative to try to get kids into sports and put a smile on their face at the end of the day. We’ll have some fun with it. I’ve been to the camp quite a bit and this will make it to where I really want to be there and put my hands in the mix and make a difference with the children. When you go to camp and see what Victory Junction Gang Camp is all about, it looks like a candyland to children. It’s very special to me, and to have fun with it is the No. 1 thing. Your heart pours out to them (kids at Victory Junction Camp). They can’t live ordinary lives or sign up for Little League baseball in their community. You feel like you can make a small impact in their lives if they’ve got a place where they can fit in together and all feel welcome.” ESPN covered the announcement, as did SPEED. Two Charlotte TV stations and a Greensboro station were on hand, along with XM Satellite Radio and several local radio stations.(Tom Roberts PR)(5-19-2006)
- What is up with Bill Elliott? Bill Elliott, now running a partial Cup schedule [#00 Burger King Chevy], said Thursday that he’s weighing several offers for next season. He has been mentioned as a possible part-time replacement for Dale Jarrett in Robert Yates’ #88 Ford, with younger drivers running the balance of the schedule. Elliott also is among the candidates to drive a Toyota Camry in Cup next year. “There are several good options out there,” Elliott said. “Within a month I should have an idea what I’m going to do.” He said he’d like to work out a deal that would serve as a steppingstone for his son Chase, 10, should he desire to pursue a career in NASCAR. “That’s one of the things I’ll look at,” he said, adding that the reason he chooses to run a maximum of 12-15 races a year is so he can spend more time with his family. For so many years it’s been about what I was doing,” he said. “I want life to be more about what we are doing.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-19-2006)
- Ford looking to add teams: A Ford official said Thursday that the manufacturer would like to add “a couple more cars” to its Nextel Cup roster, although he wouldn’t give a timetable. A couple more teams could help Ford keep its young drivers, something Ford and its teams haven’t been able to always do. Dale Jarrett’s departure to Toyota after this season opens one ride, but several Ford drivers are signed through at least 2008. That could create limited opportunities for the nearly 10 drivers being groomed by Ford’s Cup teams. Ford, whose drivers have won two of the past three titles, has the fewest Cup teams competing with eight — five with Roush Racing, two with Robert Yates Racing and one with the Wood Brothers. Toyota is scheduled to have six teams next year when it enters the Cup series. Greg Specht, manager of racing operations for Ford, says the manufacturer has a goal of more teams. “Ideally, we’d like to have 10-12,” he said. “We’re really looking at our current teams to see how can we expand and grow at a rate that is going to maintain quality.” Specht wouldn’t say if Ford would have additional teams for next season. NASCAR’s limit of four Cup teams eventually will force Roush Racing to drop a team or transfer it to a partner. The Wood Brothers could add a second team in the near future. Robert Yates Racing could add a third car next season, depending on sponsorship. Ford has at least 10 developmental drivers between its program and those of its Cup teams. Only two are expected to move to Cup for 2007. Roush Racing announced months ago that Todd Kluever would replace Mark Martin in Cup next season with Martin moving to the truck series. Also expected to move to Cup full time next season is 24-year-old Jon Wood, a third-generation member of the Wood Brothers.(Roanoke Times)(5-19-2006)
- Kahne wins pole for Nextel Challenge: #9-Kasey Kahne went out 16th of 18 drivers and won the pole with a time of 122.296 seconds on the 3 laps run with a 4 tire pit stop, starting 2nd is #48-Jimmie Johnson then #2-Kurt Busch, #24-Jeff Gordon and #12-Ryan Newman. Two drivers were penalized for speeding entering pit road [20 second penalty]. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [will start 17th] and #19-Jeremy Mayfield [will start 18th] and last years winner, #6-Mark Martin will start 16th after a lug nut missing penalty [5 seconds] Qualifying results and strating lineup on the 2006 Nextel Challenge Qualifying Order, Results, Starting Lineup page. Qualifying will reair tonight at 12midnight on Speed Channel.(5-19-2006)
- Riggs wins pole for Nextel Open: #10-Scott Riggs won the pole for the Nextel Open with a speed of 186.509mph, followed by #11-Denny Hamlin, #66-Jeff Green, #18-J.J. Yeley and #31-Jeff Burton. Had quite a few incidents during the qualifying with #27-Shelmerdine, #51-Garvey, #38-Sadler and #45-Petty all spun with all but the #27 getting damage, #45-Petty will go to a backup car and #38-Sadler may have to. #01-Nemechek spun on his first lap and stopped, turned around and drove back to pit road and started his 2nd lap over. #37-Skinner withdrew. Qualifying results and strating lineup on the 2006 Nextel Challenge Qualifying Order, Results, Starting Lineup page.(5-19-2006)
- Ramblings – Nextel Challenge:
First, Scott Riggs took the pole for the NEXTEL Open with a time of 28.953 seconds (186.509 mph) over Denny Hamlin. He’ll lead ’em to the green for the 30 lapper tomorrow night….and you better hurry cause it’ll be over before you know it! Tough night for a bunch of drivers. Elliott Sadler (who’s not used to starting his night this early) didn’t make it past turn two of his first lap, and Kyle Petty shortened his car up a few feet in the rear on his second lap (also in turn two). Sadler’ll start shotgun tomorrow night while Kyle’s first lap time was good enough for 20th position. Mike Skinner and the #37 car withdrew so we’ll start 29 in the Open. The winner will advance to the Challenge as well as one driver voted in by the fans.
Things stayed the same for Ray Everham later, tho….as Kasey Kahne took the pole for the biggie, the NEXTEL Challenge, over Jimmie Johnson. We used the same format we’ve used the last couple years (with a pit stop in amongst three laps) so the crew can share the glory this week! Our defending “Challenge” winner, Mark Martin, will start 16th. Hard tires…..new paving…..and a cool $1M to the winner.(Stock Car Fans)(5-19-2006)
- #37 gets sponsor for All-Star race: Atomic-X, makers of the leading non-carbonated Energy Drink, announced their sponsorship of the #37 R & J Racing Nextel Cup Team for the All-Star Weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 19th and 20th. The Atomic-X machine will be driven by accomplished NASCAR veteran driver Mike Skinner and will don the brands bright orange color and logos during NASCAR’s marquee event for race fans. Atomic-X CEO Sam Perricone II views NASCAR racing as an effective way to build brand awareness around the world and is excited about the impact it will have on product sales. Atomic-X is now available in 25 States and has recently begun expansion into other countries around the world. The increased popularity of non-carbonated beverages has helped the brand increase sales over 300% during the past 12 months and is continuing to make it a top-seller at many major grocery and convenience store chains. More info about Atomic-X at drinkatomicx.com.(Atomic X PR), the team withdrew and never made a practice lap.(5-19-2006)
- Red #41 Scheme: The #41 Target team with driver Reed Sorenson is running the reverse colors of its primary paint scheme for the third consecutive race. What is red is white and visa versa. The scheme will also run in next weekend’s race at Lowe’s in addition to the October event at the track, and it will run in July at Daytona.(Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Felix Sabates PR), see an image on my #41 Team Schemes page.(5-17/19-2006)
News from May 18, 2006
- #1 Pit Crew win Pit Crew Challenge: Martin Truex Jr’s #1 Bass Pro Shops Team put on an outstanding show on Wednesday night at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena en route to capturing the second annual NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge and the $70,100 prize. The #1 Team won over the #9 Team with 25.44 seconds vs. 31.71 [with penalties].(See more at RacingOne.com), see my TV LIstings page for airings.(5-18-2006)
- Shelmerdine gets sponsor for Nextel Open: Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine has signed a three-race agreement to sponsor Kirk Shelmerdine’s #27 Chevy in the Nextel Open on Saturday in hopes of transferring into the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In addition to the Nextel Open, Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine will sponsor Shelmerdine in the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 and the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500, both at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Additional races could be added later this season. Shelmerdine has made two starts this season with $335,333 in winnings. He finished 20th in the Daytona 500 and started 22nd in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. His driving career began in 1981 with one start; he made 18 of his 25 career starts in 2004. Shelmerdine is best known for his achievements while working as Crew Chief for Richard Childress Racing. Between 1986 and ’92, he led Dale Earnhardt to four of his seven NASCAR Cup Championships. His crew-chief statistics include 46 wins among 246 top tens, 142 top fives and 14 pole positions. The Philadelphia native started Kirk Shelmerdine Racing in 2002. Catdaddy is a flavored Moonshine with a hint of both sweet and spice; its secret recipe uses flavors that are not found in any other spirit. Distilled in the heart of the North Carolina by Piedmont Distillers, Catdaddy celebrates the rich mythology and mystique of America’s moonshine history. For more information on Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, please visit catdaddymoonshine.com.(3-G Sports PR)(5-18-2006)
- NASCAR and Ethanol fuel? The Indy Racing League is leading the way on alternative fuels, beginning a two-year transition to ethanol. NASCAR? Those dinosaurs are still burning dinosaurs. Last year, General Motors officials privately asked NASCAR to consider switching to ethanol. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, made a similar public plea to NASCAR CEO Brian France. Their appeals didn’t gain much traction. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. “It fits the racing mode, and we would definitely be in favor of any move that moves us away from dependence on foreign oil,” said Brent Dewar, vice president of sales, service and parts for GM. Dewar, who became an ethanol evangelist after overseeing GM’s successful sale of ethanol-ready cars in Brazil, said the automaker plans another round of lobbying NASCAR to switch.(see full story at the Associated Press), NASCAR will use Sunono unleaded fuel in 2007 after years of using leaded gasoline.(5-18-2006)
- Newman visits fan: As part of Alltel’s “Go Racing with Ryan” promotion, NASCAR Driver Ryan Newman made a visit to the North Raleigh Alltel retail store and surprised Louisburg resident, Sherwood Wood. Wood will receive a trip to the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 9 and have the opportunity to get his name on the #12 Alltel Dodge for that race. Newman will surprise other random Alltel customers throughout the season at various Alltel retail stores when the Alltel Dodge show car is in town. More info on my #12 Team News and Links page.(5-18-2006)
- RCR to Sponsor Local Soap Box Derby: Richard Childress will lend support to his racing roots June 3 at Hobby Park in Winston-Salem for the Winston-Salem Area Soap Box Derby presented by Richard Childress Racing. The winner of this All-American Soap Box Derby “local race” will advance to the 69th annual All-American Soap Box Derby presented by Levi Strauss Signature, July 22 in Akron, Ohio. Childress was a teenager in the late 1950s when he and his brother, Larry Childress, went door to door in downtown Winston-Salem soliciting shop owners for funding to purchase a soap box derby kit. Nearly 50 years later, the wheels and axles from that soap box derby racer are on display in the RCR Racing Museum on the RCR campus. For further information, visit the web site of the Winston-Salem Area Soap Box Derby at wsasbd.com.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(5-18-2006)
- Special National Wild Turkey Federation on the #1 in All-Star Race: The National Wild Turkey Federation’s flying turkey logo will appear on the DEI, Bass Pro Shops sponsored #1 race car, driven by 2-time Busch Series Champion Martin Truex Jr., at the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 20 th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Bass Pro Shops salute to the NWTF is a part of the Conservation Fund’s “Racing for America’s Wildlife” program. The program is designed to engage the NASCAR community in conserving America’s hunting and fishing heritage through habitat protection, restoration, education, and outreach.(Bass Pro Shops PR), see images on my #1 Team Schemes page.(5-18-2006)
- Lepage in #49 BAM Dodge with State Water Heaters: BAM Racing is pleased to welcome driver Kevin Lepage and primary sponsor State Water Heaters to the #49 team for the upcoming race weekends at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Lepage will pilot the #49 State Water Heaters Dodge Charger in the upcoming Nextel Open/Nextel All-Star Challenge event as well as in the Coca-Cola 600 over the Memorial Day weekend. Lepage has one prior start with BAM Racing this season which came at Darlington Raceway. BAM Racing expects to have an announcement regarding its plans for the remainder of the 2006 season in the near future, possibly as early as the upcoming race weekend at Dover.(BAM Racing PR)(5-18-2006)
News from May 17, 2006
- Dates, Sites Set for 2006 NASCAR National Series Awards Ceremonies: While the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion and the rest of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors will celebrate on familiar ground at the world-famous Waldorf=Astoria hotel in New York at season’s end, the top teams in NASCAR’s other two national series will be “going to Disney World.”
On Dec. 1, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Ceremony will again take place at the venerable Waldorf in Midtown Manhattan, which first hosted the ceremony in 1981. The following week, on Dec. 8 and Dec. 10, the champions of the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be feted at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, Fla. The 867-room Victorian-themed Grand Floridian resort is just outside the gates of Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park on the grounds of Walt Disney World.(NASCAR PR)(5-17-2006)
- #88 RYR Team Penalty Upheld: On May 17, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Robert Yates Racing. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following pre-race inspection on May 6, 2006 for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20.12.2D “Unapproved rear sway bar mounting for use other than anti-roll.”
The penalties assessed were:
• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Robert Yates.
• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Dale Jarrett.
• $25,000.00 fine and suspension until June 7, 2006 for crew chief Richard Labbe.
The Commission had deferred the fine and suspension against the crew chief until the appeal hearing could be convened. The Appellants did not contest the legality of the sway bar configuration, but appealed the severity of the penalties. The Commission found that the penalties assessed are consistent with recent penalties for infractions of such a blatant nature. In reaching its decision, the Commission also notes that a warning for a lesser violation in the same area of the car had been issued at an earlier event.
Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. The Commission further instructs NASCAR to adjust the ending date of the crew chief suspension to June 14, 2006 [thru Pococo] to remain consistent with the original 4-week suspension period. The Commission: Russell Hackett, Lyn St. James, George Silbermann, Chairman.(NASCAR PR)(5-17-2006)
- RYR Response to NASCAR Appeal Denial: The #88 UPS Team will race the next four weeks without the services of crew chief Slugger Labbe after the NASCAR Appeals Committee denied the appeal submitted by Robert Yates Racing on Labbe’s behalf. As a result, Jason Burdett, car chief for the #88 UPS Team, will assume the crew chief role at the track in preparation for Saturday night’s All-Star Challenge and during the course of Labbe’s suspension. “We’re disappointed but respect the decision of the appeals committee and accept the results,” Labbe said. “Jason Burdett is a long time employee of RYR and deserves this opportunity. Jason has been involved with the #88 team for years as car chief and certainly understands the handling of the race car and the different things that I would communicate to Dale Jarrett. He’s the best person to do this for our #88 team because the communication has already been started with the driver and crew members.”
“We’re just going to go do the same things we’ve been doing all year,” Burdett said of his added responsibilities. “We have a pretty good support group and we all work so close together that it should be pretty seamless.” Jerry Pitts, RYR’s ARCA crew chief, and Travis Geisler, engineer on the #90 RYR Ford that competes in the NASCAR Busch Series, will assist Burdett as needed.(RYR PR)(5-17-2006)
- Go-GURT scheme for Labonte at LMS: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Go-GURT Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Nextel All-Star Challenge. Labonte’s drive will mark the return of the famed #43 Dodge to the All-Star Challenge. The #43 Dodge last ran the All-Star race in 2000 with John Andretti behind the wheel. Labonte will be supporting the colors of Go-GURT Portable Yogurt. It is the first-ever yogurt in a tube, the perfect snack for on-the-go kids. Labonte will debut the #43 Go-GURT Portable Yogurt Dodge this weekend. The car will also race during the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend.(Petty Enterprises/Moore Consulting Group PR)(5-17-2006)
- Special Irwin Scheme for the #26 at the All-Star race: #26Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 Irwin Marathon Saw Blade Ford Fusion for this weekend’s NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Roush Racing PR)(5-17-2006)
- UPS Undecided on future, either RYR or MWR; Bill Elliott to Yates?: With sponsor UPS suddenly NASCAR’s top free agent, at least two teams’ immediate futures appear to hang in the balance. Robert Yates Racing, which loses Jarrett’s services at season’s end, can’t pick a replacement until it learns if UPS will remain. And if UPS opts to follow Jarrett to Michael Waltrip Racing, that operation would field three Toyotas instead of two next season. The one certainty is that Jarrett’s move, formally announced May 13, leaves owner Robert Yates facing a scenario he thought was two years off. Expecting Jarrett to finish his career with the team in 2008, RYR began grooming Stephen Leicht and Matt McCall as possible replacements this season.
While the sponsor, be it UPS, Busch Series sponsor CitiFinancial or another entity, will play a role in selecting Jarrett’s replacement, Yates says a veteran could figure in the mix. The question is whether the veteran would drive the full year or split time with one or two younger drivers as Yates works toward a permanent replacement. Team Manager Eddie D’Hondt said Bill Elliott could be the veteran if that plan is followed. Waltrip said he has sponsorship secured for two cars and has talked with UPS. If the company comes aboard, he’d gladly field three teams next year. In a statement, Peggy Gardner, UPS Spokesperson, said the company “is excited about its continuing role in NASCAR,” but that its policy is not to comment about “our future plans or sponsorships.”(SceneDaily,com)(5-17-2006)
- Third Waltrip car? UPDATE 2 well…maybe: hearing that Michael Waltrip Racing [MWR] may field a third Nextel Cup team in 2007, could be part-time, with Burger King and Domino’s Pizza as the sponsor. That is if UPS or another sponsor team up with Waltrip’s Toyota that Dale Jarrett will run in 2007.(5-15-2006)
UPDATE: According to MWR spokeswoman Brooke Hondros, the team does not presently plan to field three Nextel Cup Series teams in 2007. Hondros said MWR is preparing two Nextel Cup teams and two Busch Series teams, all of which will run Toyota Camrys.(NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(5-16-2006)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip says he could expand his Toyota Cup operation to three teams next season. Waltrip is set for at least two teams. He and Dale Jarrett will be the drivers. “We’d like to have three teams,” Waltrip said at Darlington. “We think that’ll give us the best chance to compete against the guys who are winning races now. There’s a timetable that will come into play. … We could start a third team if we could get another sponsor.”(Roanoke Times)(5-17-2006)
- Fellows in the #32 at Infineon Raceway, and Watkins Glen: A brand new NASCAR Nextel Cup chassis built by world famous racing engineering firm Pratt and Miller should provide Ron Fellows with renewed hope to earn his first victory in stock car’s top series next month in California. Fellows tested the much heralded chassis — one he will use in his attempt to win the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway June 25 in the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy — at Virginia International Raceway yesterday. Fellows has a long and hugely successful history with Pratt and Miller who have prepared his winning #3 Corvettes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours at Daytona and for his three American Le Mans Series GT1 championships. Even though it was his first time in the new car yesterday, Fellows already was confident it will fare much better than the car he had in 2005 at Infineon when he earned a top-10 finish. A big part of Fellows’ hopes for the #32 Chevrolet this time around is that Pratt and Miller purpose built the car with him in mind. But it was on the track where Fellows saw a huge improvement over many of his previous Cup cars. Nextel Cup points leader #48-Jimmy Johnson — who Pratt and Miller also built a road course chassis for — was at VIR yesterday with Fellows. “We compared very favourably with Jimmy’s speeds,” Fellows said. “That’s really good to have that kind of benchmark.” Fellows said the car still has some handling issues but he is confident the team will work them out before the Infineon race. “At Infineon you need a car that is really good in the turns,” he said. “We are sure we will be able to get this car to unload near perfect next month.” He said he was sharing information with the #48 team and in return was able to gauge his progress off of another Hendrick Motorsports team — the #25 Chevrolet of Brian Vickers — who was running an in-house chassis. Fellows hopes to get on another round of tests for team owner Cal Wells after the Infineon race to prepare for Nextel Cup’s second road course event in August at Watkins Glen.(Toronto Sun), Travis Kavpil is the regular driver of the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy. but the team is mired outside the top-35 in owners points.(5-17-2006)
- Petty’s and Toyota? DENIED: Kyle Petty told Benny Parsons on his nationally syndicated “Fast Talk” radio program [PRN] Monday night that Petty Enterprises would certainly consider switching to Toyota if it made the team more competitive. While Petty said nothing is currently on the horizon with the Japanese manufacturer, PE would be open to doing anything to help the team win.(RacingOne)(5-16-2006)
UPDATE: Kyle Petty told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) Tuesday that comments attributed to him concerning interest in Toyota were taken out of context. “Benny Parsons asked me if I would be interested in talking to Toyota, if it would benefit the team,” said Petty. “I told him that I would never say never, but that we are extremely happy with what we have (with Dodge) and have no plans to change. We haven’t talked to anyone at Toyota, and we don’t plan to.”(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(5-17-2006)
- Bowyer featured on CMT: #07-Clint Bowyer will be featured on this week’s installment of “Hot Shots of NASCAR” on CMT Insider. In addition to Bowyer’s segment, this week’s CMT Insider hits the road with Brad Paisley, explores the music of Johnny Cash’s son John Carter Cash along with profiling singer Jewel. The episode will air Saturday, May 20 at 1:30pm/et on CMT.(RCR PR)(5-17-2006)
- #5 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Darlington: Kyle Busch’s over-the-wall crew won its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Saturday’s Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway. Busch’s crew, which spent 350.021 seconds on pit road during the NEXTEL Cup event, is now in a four-way tie for first place in the season-long competition. The crews of Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler and Jimmie Johnson also have two wins each. Busch’s #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet team consists of: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy “JD” Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Whit Satterwhite (eighth-man). The team’s crew chief is Alan Gustafson and the pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. Busch’s over-the-wall crew, part of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented by Checkers/Rally’s to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-17-2006)
- Kyle and Pattie Petty Honored: Action for Children North Carolina, North Carolina’s premier statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the well-being of children and youth, will honor NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and wife Pattie Petty with the inaugural North Carolina Children’s Lifetime Legacy Award this Thursday [May 18th] in Charlotte. The award will be given to the Pettys in recognition for their founding of and continued commitment to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, located on 75 acres in Randleman, N.C., in the Piedmont Triad area. The Children’s Lifetime Legacy Award event will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2006, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Founders Hall, located in the Bank of America Corporate Center in downtown Charlotte. Tickets to the benefit are $200/individual and $350/couple. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp and Action for Children. For more information, visit www.ncchild.org.(VJGC PR)(5-17-2006)
- Bo-Dyn officials announce 2nd Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge: Representatives of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project and the New York Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid announced Monday that the second Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge will return to the two-time Winter Olympic village January 5-7, 2007 at the Verizon Sports Complex. The event will feature race car drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds down Lake Placid’s icy chute in fun races geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The 2006 edition was televised on ESPN2 and SPEED. Whelen Engineering has officially entered the first sled in the 2007 competition. “It is with equal pleasure that Whelen Engineering Company is once again the first corporation to make a financial commitment to the sponsorship of a Bo-Dyn Bobsled to compete in the second annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge,” said Phil Kurze, Director of Motorsports for Whelen Engineering and President of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. “In addition, Whelen Engineering has provided a significant financial contribution for the research and development of a revised design of the Bo-Dyn bobsled. We support the Made-in-America philosophy and want to make certain that the USA Bobsled Teams are competitive in Vancouver. We are hopeful that other corporations in the USA will join us in our support of these efforts.” Race winners in 2006 were Boris Said, son of Olympic bobsledder Bob Said, and Kevin Lepage of nearby Shelburne, Vt. Fan packages, interactive offerings and event merchandise will be announced at a later date. The television shows of the 2006 Bodine event are now available for purchase on DVD at www.bodinebobsled.com.(PR)(5-17-2006)
News from May 16, 2006
- Grand Opening of Racing Electronics: Racing Electronics [long time sponor of Jayski and title sponsor of my Frequencies Page] announces the Grand Opening of their new World Headquarters in Concord, NC. The event will take place from May 17th thru the 28th. The new facility is conveniently located at 840 Derita road, half way between the Chip Ganassi Racing & Roush Racing complex’s and the NASCAR R & D Center. In celebration of the event, Racing Electronics will be offering a 10% Grand Opening discount on all purchases made at their beautiful new facility during this promotion. Free tours are available daily for visitors to see the equipment being manufactured. Racing Electronics providee communications equipment , worldwide offering a full line of 2-way radio communication equipment, scanners & accessories, as well as a new assortment of gift items.(RE PR)(5-16-2006)
- Stewart to field cars for Mopar All Star Showdown: Tony Stewart has entered six cars in Sunday’s Mopar All Star Showdown at Concord Motorsport Park. He will field three cars in each of the divisions competing in 50-lap features USAC Sprints and USAC Midgets. Stewart’s trio of drivers — Josh Wise, Levi Jones and Kyle Nicholas will pull double-duty driving in both divisions. The midget feature on Sunday, May 21st will be the second race of the 2006 season. While the USAC sprints will make their North Carolina asphalt debut, the midgets actually raced on the quarter-mile paved oval on the frontstretch at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1998. The winner of that race was Stewart. For more info and tickets, see MetrolinaBrand.com. Concord Motorsport Park is located on highway 601 north of Midland and south of Concord, NC.(PR)(5-16-2006)
- Nextel Pit Crew Challenge: May 17th: As the kick-off event to NASCAR’s all-star week in Charlotte, NC, the Nextel Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman focuses attention on drivers’ seven-member pit crews. Good, timely work in the pits can win or lose races, and Wednesday night’s second annual competition at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, N.C., is a time for those crew members to shine. A total of 24 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pit crews will compete for an overall grand prize of $70,100. Each of the seven over-the-wall pit-crew positions will compete for a $10,000 prize.#9- Kasey Kahne’s pit crew is the defending overall champion. The event begins at 7:00pm/et. All tickets are $10; all seats are general admission. Pit crews eligible for this year’s competition include all those from teams qualified for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge – all 2005 event winners and any additional winners through May 15. Also eligible are the winner of the 2005 NEXTEL Open, #25-Brian Vickers, and the fan vote winner from the 2005 NEXTEL Open, #1-Martin Truex Jr. If there are no new event winners, the remaining positions go to the highest-ranked teams in the car owner standings who aren’t otherwise eligible for Saturday’s all-star event. This year, those are the pit crews for #31-Jeff Burton, #42-Casey Mears, #38-Elliott Sadler and Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate #11-Denny Hamlin. Prize Money: $70,100 to the winning team; $10,000 to each pit-crew position champion.(NASCAR PR)(5-16-2006)
- Leffler/Braun Racing get sponsor for Phoenix Cup race: Jason Leffler and Braun Racing are going NEXTEL Cup racing later this year at Phoenix International Raceway. Fort McDowell Resort Destination will step-up their motorsport’s program by becoming a primary sponsor in the NEXTEL Cup division for one race later this year. “It’s undisputed the coverage Fort McDowell will receive by stepping up to the next level at Phoenix later this year. Fort McDowell was very impressed by Jason’s performance in the Busch series race last month (at Phoenix) and this is a perfect opportunity to test the waters at a higher level,” explained Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation President Raphael Bear. In addition to their new commitment to Braun Racing at the Cup level, the Fort McDowell Resort Destination logo will be displayed as a major associate sponsor on Leffler’s #38 Great Clips Chevy at the California and Phoenix Busch races later this year. The nation’s newest enterprise, the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Convention Center, opened in December 2005. For more information please visit www.ftmcdowell.org.(Braun Racing site), the team used the #08 in 2005 with Shane Hmiel, no word if they will continue to use the number or another.(5-16-2006)
- Menard to move up in 2007: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was addressing fans at a sponsorship gala and revealed a pair of intriguing tidbits to the gallery: Earnhardt said it is his understanding that Paul Menard will run a full Nextel Cup schedule in the #15 Chevrolet in 2007.(NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(5-16-2006)
- Petty looking for a sponsor for select races: The #45 Dodge driven by Kyle Petty has announced sponsorship opportunities for selected races remaining in 2006. The up-coming months offer one-of-a-kind opportunities to be a part of the resurging Petty Enterprises organization. “We have some races that are open throughout the rest of the season”, said Petty. “We were left to fill a void a few weeks ago when a sponsorship deal for us didn’t pan out. It was supposed to be about a nine-race deal. That left us to fill some holes, but fortunately those holes are great opportunities for companies to capitalize on.” Races include the Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, the Sharpie 500 at Bristol and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami. Other races include events in major markets such as Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Richmond. “We are now looking for another new partner to join the Petty family. We are working hard to do that for this season. We feel that we offer something different at Petty Enterprises. We are looking for a partner that wants to be a part of the excitement that we’re building,” said Petty. The team will next participate in this weekend’s All-Star activities at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway [with Coca-Cola as the sponsor]. In fact, Petty’s sponsors have put up $250,000 to be donated to Victory Junction Gang Camp if Petty is voted into the All-Star race by the fans. Go to votekylepetty.com for details.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing)(5-16-2006)
- NC Historic Marker to commemorating 1st race: North Carolina Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue and other dignitaries will be part of a very special ceremony to dedicate a new State of North Carolina Historic Marker commemorating the first NASCAR Strictly Stock race, forerunner of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on Wednesday May 17, 2006 at 10:00am/et at the site of the old Charlotte Speedway on Little Rock Road, between I-85 and Wilkinson Blvd. off Exit 32 on I-85
Directions: From I-85 south, take the Little Rock Rd. exit (exit 32). Turn left off the exit and pass the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on the right. The ceremony site will be on the right just past the Courtyard.
From I-85 north, take the Little Rock Rd. exit (exit 32). Turn right off the exit and pass the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on the right. The ceremony site will be on the right just past the Courtyard.(PR)(5-16-2006)
- Kluever to be released from Roush Racing? DENIED RacingOne is hearing Todd Kluever could be released from Roush Racing due in part to both his lackluster performance in the Busch Series [#06 Ford] this season and the proposed cap for NEXTEL Cup teams, which would force Jack Roush to eliminate one of his cars. Kluever had been named to take over the #6 NEXTEL Cup ride [AAA Ford] from the retiring Mark Martin next year, but if Roush is forced to eliminate one of his teams to fit under the cap of four, that team may be the one to go. The AAA sponsorship could then be shifted to Greg Biffle’s #16, which will reportedly lose the National Guard sponsorship after this season. Kluever, who is scheduled to make his Cup Series debut [in the #06 3M Ford] at Chicagoland, has only one top-10 finish in the Busch Series this season. He also sits 23rd in the points.(RacingOne), hard to imagine Roush just letting the #6 number go bye-bye.
UPDATE: been told by Roush Racing representatives that there is no truth to the rumor regarding Todd Kluever being released from Roush Racing. There has been no change in plans regarding his future at Roush and that Kluever will still be in the #6 AAA Ford in 2007.(5-16-2006)
- Humpy Picks Edwards to win All-Star Race: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, thinks #99-Carl Edwards, just four years removed from those rough-and-tumble short-track wars, will collect the $1 million prize Saturday night for winning the 22nd running of NASCAR’s NEXTEL All-Star Challenge annual all-star spectacular. Wheeler named Edwards as his selection Monday during his annual pick-the-winner press conference in downtown Charlotte. Known for his promotional flair and Karnac-type ability, Wheeler has correctly picked the winner of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge 10 times in the past 17 races. Its three-segment format-40 laps, 30 laps and 20 laps-and the $1 million first-place prize combine to make the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge NASCAR’s most unique race. Staying with his short-track theme, Wheeler selected former USAC open-wheel star #9-Kasey Kahne as his dark horse pick. Even though he finished second to Mark Martin in last year’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, #38-Elliott Sadler has not visited victory lane since 2004 and thus is not qualified for this year’s all-star race. Wheeler says the Emporia, Va., native will remedy that by winning the NEXTEL Open. Veteran #21-Ken Schrader is Wheeler’s dark horse selection for the Open. On-track activities for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge kick off Friday night with qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the NEXTEL Open. In addition to qualifying, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will compete in the Quaker Steak & Lube 200. Tickets start at $20. Tickets start at $21 and may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-16-2006)
- Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Voting Continues: Online fan voting began April 3 for this year’s Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 7, two new names will be added to this prestigious list. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines. Fans may vote for their driver of choice through July 15 by visiting talladegawalk.com. Voting is limited to one vote per day. Active driver nominees for 2006 include: Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart. Inactive driver nominees for 2006 include: Rusty Wallace, Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith, Rex White and Speedy Thompson. On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005, Kevin Harvick and Herb Thomas became the most recent drivers to be enshrined. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway. For additional information, visit www.talladegawalk.com.(TSS PR)(5-16-2006)
- Seaberg wins latest Truck Driver Challenge: On Thursday May 11th [doesn’t say where..Darlington?] the Nextel Cup transport drivers showed their skills behind the wheel as part of competition for the 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge. Each driver was judged on his ability to navigate a chicane course safely. At the conclusion of the day’s event Jeff Seaberg, transport driver of the #10 Evernham Racing team, and Brent Davis of Peak Fitness Racing, showed that they are one of the best in the garage. Jeff and Brent tied for first place edging out Penske’s Bill Lewis of the #2 team. “The course was pretty tight, it was very challenging,” said Seaberg, “it was a great time we all had a lot of fun.” “When I was in the cab on the course the competition was definitely on my mind,” remarked Brent Davis, “I want to be a contender to win it all.” With Davis and Seaberg off to a hot start, you can expect the action to pick up in the next event. Throughout the 2006 race season Pilot Travel Centers will host a series of challenges to reward the Nextel Cup transport driver who demonstrates safe and responsible truck driving, all year long. At the end of the season the winner will walk away with $50,000 and the coveted title “The 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge Champion.” The next Pilot Truck Driver Challenge event will be held Monday May 22nd at the Charlotte Knights Baseball Stadium from 5-9pm.(Marketing 500)(5-16-2006)
News from May 15, 2006
- Lowe’s extends with #48 team and Johnson: Lowe’s announced a multi-year extension of its primary sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports and the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Under the new agreement, Lowe’s will continue its primary sponsorship of the #48 Chevrolet through the 2010 racing season. Johnson, 30, also signed a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports that keeps him behind the wheel through 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed. The pacts build upon a partnership launched in 2001 when Hendrick Motorsports selected Johnson, who at the time had never started a Nextel Cup race, to pilot the new Lowe’s-sponsored #48 Chevrolet. Now in the midst of its fifth full season, the team has posted 21 victories and four top-five points finishes. For more information on Team Lowe’s Racing, visit Lowesracing.com.(GMR Marketing/Hendrick Motorsports PR), hearing cew chief Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports are working on extending Knaus’ deal to be the #48 crew chief.(5-15-2006)
- ESPN Sports Poll Tabs NASCAR as Top Racing Series: NASCAR tops the list as the favorite type of motorsports according to fans polled from January-December 2005 on ESPN.com. It received 59.5% of the votes compared to the next-highest total of 13.4% for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Following in third place were motorcycle events at 9.7, Formula 1 with 6.3, the Indy Racing League (IRL) with 6.1, Champ Car World Series with 1.4 and other racing series at 0.4. NASCAR also led the 2004 version of the ESPN Sports Poll, with fans sampling conducted from January through February of that year. In the 2004 poll, NASCAR led with 57.6% of fans’ response, followed by the NHRA with 13.9, motorcycle events with 9.8, the IRL with 6.8, Formula 1 with 6.0, Champ Car World Series with 1.8 and other racing series at 0.5.(NASCAR PR)(5-15-2006)
- Another Wheeler – Velocity expands into NASCAR: Velocity Sports & Entertainment, the leading sports and entertainment marketing agency, announced today an aggressive expansion of its NASCAR business. Effective May 22, 2006, Velocity will commence operations in Charlotte with one of the industry’s most respected executives, Trip Wheeler leading the charge. Velocity has a long history in NASCAR, dating back to the 1980’s for sponsors such as Amoco, Nestle and Quaker State. For eight years, Velocity served as Promotional Activation agency for NASCAR’s New York office helping league sponsors effectively activate their rights. More recently, the agency has been actively engaged with NASCAR team sponsors such as FedEx, Vitamin Water and ConAgra Foods. Velocity’s efforts will be spearheaded by Wheeler, an industry veteran of 16 years. In his role as Vice President and General Manager of the Charlotte office, Wheeler will be responsible for blending his account management responsibilities with business development. He’ll be asked to support the growth of Velocity’s motorsports business. Wheeler’s roots in motorsports reach far deeper than his post college career. He grew up in the sport watching his father, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler (President and COO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.) help fuel NASCAR’s rise.(PR)(5-15-2006)
- Larry Mac…owner? hearing Fox broadcaster Larry McReynolds is looking into becoming a NASCAR team owner again, supposedly with John Dangler. Supposedly a Busch Series deal in 2007 that would move up to Nextel Cup in 2008, McReynolds was part owner of the ill-fated BANG Racing team in 2004.(5-15-2006)
- New Team plans to debut later this year: H&K Motorsports says they have signed Socko Energy Drink as the primary sponsor of their #58 Dodge and continue thru 2008. The team plans to race later this season and have Truck Series team. H&K Motorsports is based in Denton, TX with a secondary shop in Statesville, NC. No driver has been named, but fomer Cup driver, Trevor Boys [1983-1993] had been mentioned in a Fort Worth Star Telegram article back in March to run at Texas, but the team was not ready for the race. Larry Pryor will be the crew chief. Socko Energy is the flagship product of Bliss Beverage from Scottsdale, AZ.(H&K Motorsports PR)(5-15-2006)
- Ford furious with Jarrett’s defection UPDATE:: Ford officials are none too pleased with the apparent loss of Dale Jarrett, who will announce his decision to join Michael Waltrip Racing later this weekend (live on SPEED, Saturday at 12:00pm/et). All but two of Jarrett’s 32 career Cup wins have come behind the wheel of a blue-ovaled automobile, as did his 1999 Winston Cup title. In addition, Jarrett’s father, Ned, won both of his Cup titles as a Ford factory driver, and Dale Jarrett Ford is one of the largest Ford dealerships in the country, located in Monroe, NC about one hour north of Darlington. Priority number one for the suits in Dearborn? Making sure the rest of their camp stay put, in particular Jarrett’s current teammate Elliott Sadler.(FoxSports), actually Ned Jarrett drove a Chevy for most of the 1961 season when he won his first championship.(5-13-2006)
UPDATE: Ford officials responded quickly to [Saturday’s] announcement that 1999 NASCAR Cup champion Dale Jarrett is leaving the manufacturer for a Toyota team in 2007. Shortly after Jarrett and his future team owner Michael Waltrip held a joint news conference to make the announcement, Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology, issued a statement concerning the loss of Jarrett from Ford and team owner Robert Yates. We’re obviously not happy Dale is leaving Robert Yates Racing because he’s been a champion and a great ambassador for Ford fans,” the statement read. “We understand his decision, but we are disappointed. Toyota is going to have its work cut out for them competing in Nextel Cup, no matter how much they plan on spending. Our plan is to keep winning races and championships.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-15-2006)
News from May 14, 2006
- UPS? What is up with their plans: UPS was not involved as Michael Waltrip announced to the racing world the signing of Dale Jarrett to drive an as yet un-numbered Toyota Camry in 2007 and 2008. Adding mystery to revelation, Waltrip had to correct himself after first answering questions concerning UPS. “Our teams have sponsorship for our cars in’07 and ’08, beyond that anyone in the garage area would be proud to UPS as a sponsor of their car. This isn’t about UPS. This is about Michael Waltrip signing Dale Jarrett to drive our cars. We have a sponsor for my car. We have a sponsor for Dale’s car.” That is where Waltrip stumbled. A misstep he corrected at the first opportunity. “We have sponsorship for my car. We have sponsorship for a second car. I said Dale’s car and I didn’t mean that,” Waltrip explained. Is there a third car in the works or has Waltrip been lucky enough to sign a sponsor who would love to have Jarrett as their driver but is willing to accept another driver should UPS make the decision to sign with Michael Waltrip Racing? Waltrip has entered into a five-race agreement with Burger King and driver Bill Elliott for 2006, which might be a precursor to a full deal with either Jarrett or another drive in ’07. Jarrett just might be the next Burger King on the racetrack, or maybe Waltrip is trying to lure Joe Nemechek, the first driver to campaign full time on the NEXTEL circuit for the chain into the Toyota fold. While Toyota has talked of not going beyond the three organizations they’ve already announced, Bill Davis, Red Bull and Michael Waltrip Racing there has been nothing said that limits the number of cars each organization might run on the track. The only limit is the four-car limit imposed by NASCAR. “NASCAR’s pretty much said you need four,” interjected Jarrett, when the possibility of a third car was raised. “That’s the business model they’ve created. Obviously, we’re smart enough to see that if we had four teams we could operate more efficiently. We’ve e two teams sponsored. We have two drivers. We might have another. We might not. I don’t know. That’s the truth and that’s as fair as I can say it.”(CircleTrackPlus.com)(5-14-2006)
- Andretti to tun Indy 500? John Andretti, who drives fulltime in the Busch Series for [#10 Ford] ppc Racing was the first NASCAR driver to “do the double” when he raced in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1994. While preparing for Friday night’s Diamond Hill Plywood 200 -Busch race in Darlington] Andretti was asked what circumstances would get him back in a car at Indianapolis. “Right now I keep mulling over some opportunities that are there even for this year,” Andretti said with a smile. “I’ve got to make a decision pretty quick but I got to get through Darlington first.” Two Andrettis are already at The Brickyard preparing for the 90th Indy 500 on May 28. Michael Andretti came out of retirement to join his son, Marco, as two of four Andretti Green Racing drivers attempting to qualify. “It’s a lot of history going on,” John Andretti said Friday. “I think Mario [Andretti, Michael’s father and John’s uncle] is probably going around looking for a ride, which he could get easily, I’m sure.”(NASCAR.com)(5-14-2006)
- Rusty’s son wins Kentucky ARCA race: Steve Wallace placed a punctuation mark on a dominating weekend at Kentucky Speedway by racing to victory in the ARCA RE/MAX Series “Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati” 150 tonight. The 18-year-old son of former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace led 63 of 103 race laps in the #61 Nu South Lemonade Dodge en route to taking his first victory of the 2006 season and the second of his series career. Wallace led the race four times for a total of 63 laps before winning a green-white-checkered flag finish 0.229 of second ahead of second-place driver Brad Coleman in the #62 Federated Car Care Ford. Matt McCall finished third in the #55 Citifinancial Ford, Justin Allgaier was fourth in the #16 Hoosier Tire Midwest-Trashman-USAF Chevrolet and Ryan Foster placed fifth in the #47 Frank Kimmel Racing Ford. Brewco Racing development driver Coleman led 21 laps and posted his second top-five finish of the season. McCall, a Robert Yates Racing development driver who brought home his second top-five ARCA Series finish of the season through two starts. Four-time Kentucky Speedway winner and seven-time series champion Frank Kimmel made his second early exit through 12 series starts at the track. He closed out the race in 28th place, his personal worst at the track, after his #46 Pork The Other White Meat Ford spun and hit the Turn 3 wall following a battle for track position with Wallace.Eleven-thousand-six-hundred-and-nineteen fans witnessed the event that saw six caution periods that devoured 46 laps. The race was delayed one hour and 40 minutes due to rain.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-14-2006)
News from May 13, 2006
- Biffle wins at Darlington: #16-Greg Biffle won the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway, leading 170 of 367 laps, for his first win of 2006 and 10th of his career. Biffle also moved from 20th in drivers points to 14th and is 500 points out of the lead [100 ouf of the chase]. #24-Jeff Gordon came on late and almost caught Biffle, but settled for 2nd, followed by #17-Matt Kesneth, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson increased his points lead over #20-Tony Stewart to 93 points. There were 25 lead changed among 10 drivers and 6 cautions for 24 laps.
Race Results on my Darlington Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Darlington page.
Race Rundown: see my Darlington Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-13-2006)
- Darlington Race Notes/Facts:
• Greg Biffle won the 2006 Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway, scoring his 10th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 125th career start. Biffle’s last victory came at Homestead in November 2005, 11 races ago.
• All 10 of Biffle’s victories have come on a superspeedway, including two at Darlington.
• Biffle’s first superspeedway victory came at Daytona in July 2003.
• Biffle became the eighth different race winner in 2006.
• Two races ago Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his victory, Biffle climbed from 20th to 14th in points gaining six positions and is just 106 behind 10th-place Jeff Burton. After 11 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings.
• Biffle won this race one year ago. This was the 17th time by 13 different drivers that back-to-back victories have been scored at Darlington.
• Biffle scored his fourth top-10 finish in 11 races this season.
• Biffle moved to 50th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
• Biffle led seven times for 170 laps including the final 49 laps.
• This is the fourth time in 2006 and the 10th time in his career that Biffle led the most laps in a race. He won the first five races in which he led the most laps. Biffle led the most laps at California, Atlanta and Phoenix this year and finished 15th or worse in all three races.
• Biffle has won a race each season 2003-2006, four consecutive years.
• This was team owner Jack Roush’s 91st NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Roush has scored five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Darlington Raceway.
• Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
• Jeff Gordon (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 17th top-10 finish in 26 races at Darlington Raceway. Gordon climbed from ninth to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Matt Kenseth (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It was his best finish and fourth top-10 finish in 12 races at Darlington. Kenseth remained third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, just one point behind second-place Tony Stewart.
• Jimmie Johnson (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his in seventh top-10 finish in eight races at Darlington Raceway. He remained first in the point standings. One year ago he ranked first after 11 races.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fifth top-10 in 12 races at Darlington Raceway. He climbed from sixth to fifth in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 11th after 11 races.
• Three 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders finished in the top-10 (Hamlin-10th, Sorensen-11th and Truex-14th). This marked the third time this season that three rookies have finished in the top 10.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 11 races this season.
• Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Denny Hamlin (10th) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 2006.
• Dave Blaney (27th) extended a 29-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June, which is the longest current streak.
• Tony Stewart (12th) ended a streak of top-10 finishes in the last five races.
• Carl Edwards (39th) ended a streak of three straight top-10 finishes.
• Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have each scored top-15 finishes in 10 of the 11 races in 2006.
• Kevin Harvick (37th) dropped from fifth to ninth in the point standings.
• Jeff Burton has climbed from 21st to 10th in the point standings since Martinsville.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-13-2006)
- Rumblings [Notes] – Darlington: Greg Biffle finally broke through tonight at Darlington Raceway as he held off a charging Jeff Gordon to take the Dodge Charger 500. Biffle led the most laps (7 times for 170 circuits) and takes his second straight victory at this hallowed oval…..his first win of the season and the 10th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s now tied for 50th on the all-time win list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin. This was win #91 for Roush Racing, and was worth $290,175 from the over $5.4M in posted awards.
Ryan Newman (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Daytona in February.
Ken Schrader (15th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Daytona in February.
STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Matt Kenseth (+28 ), followed by Martin Truex Jr (+25), Kyle Busch (+22), Kyle Petty (+22), Tony Raines (+22), Jimmie Johnson (+21), and Joe Nemechek (+20). The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-33), followed by Carl Edwards (-32), Jamie McMurray (-27), Elliott Sadler (-23), Kevin Harvick (-23), David Stremme (-21), Kasey Kahne (-20), and Clint Bowyer (-20). That’s two in a row for Vickers in one of the most active “Shafts” we’ve seen in awhile (almost 35% of the field in play).
Jimmie Johnson stretches his points lead out to 93 tonight. We’ve now got our “Stayin’ Alive” line up to the Top-10 only…..last year at this time we had 15 drivers still eligible for the “Chase”. We’ve got something we don’t see often…..a 3-way tie for 23rd. Greg Biffle’s victory moved him up six spots in the standings (20th to 14th), while Kevin Harvick (5th to 9th) and Carl Edwards (13th to 17th) fell the most spots.(more at Stock Car Fans.com)(5-13-2006)
- DeHart splits with Harvick: Gene DeHart, former Fabrication Manager/Director with Kevin Harvick Inc., has parted ways. He is currently in the final stages of re-establishing DeHart, Inc., which formerly was DeHart Racing Inc., where his expertise was hanging bodies and building Chassis for various Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Teams.(5-13-2006)
- Jarrett announcement this weekend? OFFICAL Jarrett to Waltrip/Toyota: hearing that #88-Dale Jarrett could make his announcement going to Toyota/Michael Waltrip Racing as soon as this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Waltrip is scheduled to make a live announcement on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live, Saturday, May 13th at 12:30pm/et…maybe….(5-12-2006)
OFFICIAL: it was announced on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live at 12:32pm/et that Dale Jarrett, current driver of the #88 UPS Ford for Robert Yates Racing will drive a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2007, no word on sponsor, car number, etc. AND see a transcript of the announcement at FoxSports.com: SPEED Q&A: Waltrip’s Toyota team signs Jarrett to two-year deal
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip, owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, Incorporated, announced today that former NASCAR champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner, Dale Jarrett, is joining the organization to drive the team’s second Toyota entry in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series beginning in 2007. “When we began building Michael Waltrip Racing, I knew the key to success was bringing in quality people,” Waltrip explained. “Ty Norris has been instrumental on the business side, just as Larry Carter and Bobby Kennedy have been on the competition side. By hiring Dale, we have yet another example of the importance we are placing on securing first-rate individuals for our program.”
“Dale’s resume speaks for itself,” continued Waltrip. “To have a NASCAR champion on our team is another significant piece of the puzzle that pulls together our vision. I know his knowledge and experience will be invaluable for a start-up team with a new manufacturer and will allow our organization to grow and succeed at a faster pace.” Jarrett is a well-known veteran of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. He established himself as a perennial championship contender in the mid-90s, finishing in the top-10 in championship points for seven consecutive seasons and winning the series title in 1999. Jarrett has 32 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories, including the aforementioned three Daytona 500 wins and two in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His resume also includes being named to NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers list.
“My tenure at Robert Yates Racing has been extremely important to me, my family and my career,” Jarrett said. “We accomplished a lot together during the past 12 years and I am thankful to Robert and everyone at RYR and Ford Motor Company for the opportunities they afforded me and the success we have all shared. This was a very difficult decision. I feel this is a great opportunity for me to take on a new challenge and what they are building at Michael Waltrip Racing fits my plans for the future.”
“My decision to join Michael Waltrip Racing is based solely on a competitor’s perspective,” Jarrett continued. “What Michael has pulled together is impressive and I want to be a part of it. The Daytona 500 might seem far away, but for a race team it is right around the corner. Michael’s team is building cars now, their core management team is in place, the competition department is established and sponsors are locked up. From that perspective, it doesn’t feel like I am going to a brand new team.”
“Toyota’s strategic entry into NASCAR has been equally impressive,” said Jarrett. “The mark they have made in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the last three years is reason enough to want to be part of their entrance into the Cup Series.” Waltrip is the first of the three Toyota team owners to solidify their 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers.(MWR PR)(5-13-2006)
- Labbe offered to resign from RYR: #88-Dale Jarrett’s crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe this week offered to resign over penalties handed down by NASCAR following last weekend’s race at Richmond. However, car owner Robert Yates rejected the offer. Yates is appealing a $25,000 fine, the loss of 25 driver and owner points as well as a four races suspension of Labbe for the way the rear sway bar was mounted. Labbe said; “It wasn’t that we tried to hide anything…it was out in the open and it’s not something we did after inspection. We went through inspection with it…qualified with it and all of a sudden they didn’t like it. It was on there all day long the day prior and nothing was said so it’s tough. I don’t think we were singled out, I think it just caught his (NASCAR inspector) eye and he didn’t like the way it was.” Back in February, in response to the suspension of Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief Chad Kanaus after an illegal part was discovered on the #48 car [Jimmie Johnson] after qualifying, Yates said he would fire any of his crew caught cheating. Labbe told reporters at Darlington; “The first thing I told Robert is I can make it easy for you…I can resign if you want me to…and he’s like…I fully support you 100% and what you did was a grey area of the rulebook.” Labbe went on to say; “I felt bad for Robert because he’s been around this garage for a while and to label someone on his team a cheater really bothers me and I know it bothers him too. So, I feel strongly in saying I’m not a cheater…we pushed the rules like any other team in the garage area and it just got singled out.” Many of his crew members knew what Labbe was doing with that particular part according to Labbe. “I had them (His team) read the rule book and understand my thoughts. Trust me; I just didn’t put it on the car hoping they (NASCAR officials) don’t see it. We talked about it. We worked hard on it and felt comfortable putting it on the car because it was not clearly defined in the rulebook. If they (NASCAR) don’t like it… it’s their game you know…we breathe their air.” The appeal will be heard Wednesday by the National Stock Car Racing Commission.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-13-2006)
- Sad News – Brasington: Harold Brasington Jr., the son of Darlington Raceway’s founder, has died. The 63-year-old Brasington passed away Saturday, one week before the facility’s Nextel Cup event. His survivors include four children, among them daughter Annie Brasington of Charleston. Brasington’s father built the track in 1950, the same year it hosted NASCAR’s first 500-mile event and first race on a paved track. Brasington Jr. spoke with the media in early April, when the facility’s new grandstand was named in honor of his father, and said he would like to see the elder Brasington inducted into NASCAR’s upcoming Hall of Fame. “I would, if they see fit,” he said. “Because what he did here, he put his whole livelihood and effort into this thing. And he never really profited from it. I think he deserves that. Yes. The answer is yes.”(Charleston Post and Courier)(5-13-2006)
News from May 12, 2006
- Ward to Yates? UPDATE denied…but… from LastCowboys.com: … couple of little birdies have told me in the last couple of weeks that Ward Burton is off the market in terms of driver availability. And while it is claimed that this information comes from people we would all consider ‘official’ type people, these ‘official’ type people are being coy in regards to whom or what has taken him off the market. One rumor that has gained momentum has Ward taking over the #88 UPS Ford owned by Robert Yates Racing when Dale Jarrett bolts for Toyota. Again, Jarrett hasn’t officially said that he is going to Toyota, but he hasn’t exactly denied it either. Another little nugget of information floating around out there states that if Jarrett bolts, UPS will stay with Yates, but they don’t want the next ‘potential’ Cup star. They want a proven competitor, not just some cat with little or no experience.(LastCowboys.com)(5-11-2006)
UPDATE: While there is no truth to the rumor driver Ward Burton and car owner Robert Yates have struck a deal to drive the #88 UPS Ford if Dale Jarrett leaves for Toyota, Burton says he would like to talk with Yates and other teams looking for an experienced pilot. “I’ve definitely been ready” said the former Daytona 500 and Southern 500 champion. “I have a strong desire to be competitive on the race track and I don’t think I’ve lost anything that I’ve always had. I’m looking for a good opportunity so I can get back out there.” Burton added that it wouldn’t take him much to get back up to speed.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-12-2006)
- Interview with Toyota’s Jim Aust: Jim Aust — Vice President of Motorsports for Toyota U.S.A./President and CEO of Toyota Racing Development — spoke on Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) Thursday, fielding a number of questions from host Dave Moody about Toyota’s move to NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series racing in 2007. Some include: COT, test track in Charlotte, more then the 3 named teams? Gibbs? See the full interview on my Toyota News and Links page.(5-12-2006)
- Sherman’s Plans; ARCA and Cup: Brent Sherman’s first lap around the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit has been a bumpy ride. Sherman said that he has left BAM Racing’s Nextel Cup team to form his own team, Sherman Racing. Sherman’s team will spend the rest of the 2006 season on the ARCA RE/MAX Series circuit, with plans to try to qualify for Nextel Cup races July 9 in suburban Chicago and Nov. 12 near Phoenix. He hopes his new team can run a full Nextel Cup season in 2007. “We’re going to do whatever we have the money to do,” Sherman said. Sherman said he was told by a BAM Racing official last Tuesday that he would not be the driver for the team in Richmond and Darlington. “I told them that was unacceptable,” Sherman said. His response was a letter to BAM Racing informing the team that he no longer would be its driver. “We still haven’t heard anything from them,” Sherman said. “They haven’t called.” BAM Racing officials did not return phone messages seeking comment Wednesday. Sherman took the team’s biggest sponsor, Serta, with him. Bob Sherman, Brent’s father, is president of Serta. Brent Sherman said Serta will be the primary sponsor for his team. Sherman said he will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the team, but “I’ll run everything past my dad.” Sherman plans to start running on ARCA at the May 21 race in Toledo, Ohio.(St. Paul Pioneer Press)(5-12-2006)
- Childress to Receive Honorary Degree: NASCAR Team Owner Richard Childress will be awarded an honorary degree from the board of trustees of Davidson County Community College (DCCC) during tonight’s commencement ceremony on the school’s campus in Lexington, NC. Childress’ wife, Judy, will accept the award as he will be busy directing his NASCAR Busch Series teams’ efforts in tonight’s Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway. “I’m honored to receive this recognition from Davidson County Community College and I’m sorry I won’t be there to accept it in person,” said Childress, President and CEO of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). “Davidson County Community College provides its students with a great opportunity to continue their education and prepare for better jobs in the future. It’s also an honor to be rewarded at the same time as my friend Bob Timberlake.” Childress and Timberlake, a world renowned artist, are only the fourth and fifth community leaders to receive such recognition from DCCC.(Richard Childress Racing)(5-12-2006)
- Tracy re-signs with Champ Car team, still plans limited NASCAR sched: Champ Car star Paul Tracy made some news off the track in the opening day of practice for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Houston street race, by announcing that he had signed a new contract with Forsythe Racing that will keep him in Champ Cars for another five years.(Speed Channel)
AND Champ Car driver Paul Tracy plans to continue to compete in NASCAR events despite announcing a five-year extension of his contract with Forsythe Racing today to continue in the open-wheel series. Tracy is expected to compete in 10 NASCAR races, most likely Busch Series events, in 2007, said Doug Barnette of Player Management International.(SceneDaily.com)(5-12-2006)
- Herme Sadler to have Ace & TJ Show Scheme at LMS: MBA Motorsports and #00-Hermie Sadler Team with The Ace & TJ Show and Kiss 95.1 for The Nextel All Star Challenge and Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway. The Ace & TJ Show, the #1 rated morning show in Charlotte has teamed with MBA Motorsports and Hermie Sadler for the NASCAR Nextel Open and Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway. Sadler’s Ford Fusion will carry the colors of the Ace & TJ Show as well as Kiss 95.1 for this promotion and the show will be giving away tickets and unprecedented access for lucky listeners over the next two weeks. Ace and TJ will also be involved in the promoting of the TNA Wrestling event that will be held Friday May 26 at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, NC. The Ace & TJ Show is now heard in Charlotte NC, Birmingham AL, Chattanooga TN, Myrtle Beach SC, State College PA, Union City TN and Paris TN. They have been with their flagship station, WNKS in Charlotte, for just over 8 years. WNKS is a CBS Radio station. For more information on how to listen and win tickets to the Coca Cola 600 and TNA Wrestling, visit www.AceTJ.com or www.Kiss951.com. For information on TNA Wrestling events in Mooresville and Greensboro, visit www.uwfusa.com.(PR)(5-12-2006)
- Kahne wins pole at Darlington: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway with a speed of 169.013mph for his 3rd pole of 2006 and 9th of his career, Kahne won the races he won the poles for this year [Atlanta, Texas]. #12-Ryan Newman will start 2nd, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer [career best], #40-David Stremme [best career] and #11-Denny Hamlin. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were #40-Stremme, #32-Kvapil, #74-Cope, #95-Barrett, #55-Waltrip, #4-Wimmer and #49-Lepage. #44-Labonte used a past champions provisional to make the race. Missing the race were: #78-Wallace, #61-Chaffin, #34-Blount and #37-Long. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progession, qualifying order on my Darlington Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(5-12-2006)
- Darlington Qualifying Notes:
• Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dodge Charger 500, lapping Darlington Raceway in 29.096 seconds at 169.013 mph. Ward Burton holds the track-qualifying record of 28.295 seconds, 173.797 mph – set March 22, 1996.
• Kahne is now three-for-three in qualifying at Darlington, winning the Bud Pole in all three of his qualifying session here. He started 13th in 2004 when qualifying was canceled.
• This is Kahne’s ninth career Bud Pole in 83 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
• This is his third Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in 2006.
• Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.238 seconds, 168.192 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Dodge Charger 500. This is Newman’s fourth top-10 start in 2006 and ties Atlanta for his season-best. This is his seventh top-10 start in eight Darlington races. It is his third second-place start here. He also has one Bud Pole and one third-place start in those eight races.
• This is the fourth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet and Ford each have three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• The last all-Dodge front-row was Atlanta this past March, was also Kahne (first) and Newman (second).
• Clint Bowyer (third) posted his career-best start and is competing in his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington. This is his second top-10 start this season – both in the past four races.
• David Stremme (fourth) also posted his career-first top-10 start. It is his first start better than 17th in his 15 career races.
• Denny Hamlin (fifth) became the third rookie candidate to post a top-10 start. It is his sixth top-10 start this season and comes in his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington.
• This is the second time this season that three rookies qualified in the top-10. Texas had J.J. Yeley (second), Hamlin (eighth) and Martin Truex Jr. (ninth).
• Terry Labonte (43rd) used a past champion’s provisional to make the race for the third time this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-12-2006)
- Ramblings – Darlington: Kasey Kahne took the Bud Pole today at Darlington Raceway and by doing so stamped himself as the instant favorite for Saturday Night’s Dodge Charger 500. Seeing as how all three of Kasey’s career wins have come after starting from the pole…..it’s a natural. Kasey’s 3rd pole of the season (and 9th of his career) came with a speed of 29.096 (169.013 mph) around this venerable egg-shaped oval. Ryan Newman will start alongside tomorrow night.
Clint Bowyer (3rd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 8th at Phoenix last month.
David Stremme (4th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend as well. His previous best was 17th at Talladega last month.
Travis Kvapil (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Martinsville last October.
Derrike Cope (33rd) has his best starting spot since he qualified 31st at Texas in April of 2004 (only 15 races).
STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 10 Top-10 starts in a row.
Kurt Busch has 9 Top-10 starts in the last 10 races.
Carl Edwards has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(5-12-2006)
- Darlington Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Darlington . . . both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . this is the only track at which Nextel Cup teams will run this tire set-up in 2006 . . . Busch teams have run this tire once before — at Nashville last month . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Darlington . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 55-60 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) For full tire notes, codes and more, see my Darlington Race Info/Rundown Page.(5-12-2006)
News from May 11, 2006
- #49 gets sponsor for Darlington, Lepage in for LMS races also: Kevin Lepage will drive the #49 Bam Racing Dodge with sponsorship from Freightliner for Saturday’s Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway, according to a team spokesman. Lepage will be the fourth driver this season for the team, which has struggled this year with Brent Sherman behind the wheel for most races. Lepage will also drive for BAM in the Nextel Open and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte later this month.(SceneDaily.com)(5-11-2006)
- Mears still talking to Ganassi about extension: #42-Casey Mears says he has yet to sign a new contract extension with car owner Chip Ganassi; however talks have stepped up in recent weeks and have been positive. “We’ve been talking a lot in trying to work things out” said Mears during a break in Busch Series testing at Lowes Motor Speedway. If his phone has been ringing more often concerning possible rides Mears isn’t biting. “Anybody’s that’s had an open ride has had interest but I haven’t really pursued any of it, said Mears. I’m just focused on what I’m doing right now and talking to Chip. We’ve got our best run going that I’ve ever had in cup so far and we’re really focused on trying to make that chase. Chip and I haven’t finalized anything yet but neither one of us are really panicked about it.”(PRN’s Garagepass Radio Show)(5-11-2006)
- Craven back to the Truck Series? former Cup drivers/winner Ricky Craven said he may return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this month. He is currently mulling an attractive offer and expects to make a decision soon. Craven, who has 278 Nextel Cup races under his belt, including two wins, raced full time in the truck series for the first time a year ago for Roush Racing. His victory at Martinsville Speedway made him just the 15th [now up to 16] driver in history to win in all three major NASCAR series. He passed up his second and final year on his contract with Roush so he would be available to return to Nextel Cup racing if the right full-time offer came his way with a competitive multi-car team. It hasn’t. “I have an opportunity in the truck series that has my interest. We’ve had preliminary discussions and now it’s a matter of seeing how serious it is in the next couple of weeks,” said Craven. “”The bottom line is I need to either get in the game or out of it. I’m the type of person who has to be all in or all out. I’m pushing myself to make a decision. At this point, the truck series makes the most sense for me,” added Craven, who wouldn’t divulge the team but indicated it is a quality team that would supply him an opportunity to compete for wins. “The trucks are fun to drive and the series has its own identity. I miss racing.” Over the past year, Craven indicated he has had several truck offers and some Cup offers with single-car teams. “I can’t keep saying ‘No.’ People will stop calling,” said Craven who finished 14th in points last season.(Bangor News)(5-11-2006)
- Sad News: Alson Lemuel “Al” Basnight, 61, passed away at his home April 27, 2006, unexpectedly. Basnight was formerly employed by Petty Enterprises as general manager; NASCAR official of the Winston Cup Series and director of development of NASCAR Australia. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Gideon’s Memorial Bible, c/o Dobson Camp, P.O. Box 791, Dobson, NC 27017. Condolences to family and friends.(more at the Virginian Pilot)(5-11-2006)
- Ginn Clubs back on the #14 for Darlington: Ginn Clubs & Resorts returns to the #14 MB2 Motorsports Chevy that Sterling Marlin drives at Darlington Raceway. Ginn was the sponsor on the car at Martinsville and is scheduled to be on the car as the primary sponsor for Daytona in July and Lowe’s in October.(MB2Motorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #14 Team Schemes page.(5-11-2006)
News from May 10, 2006
- #88 Team facing penalty? UPDATE penalties/suspension..Appeal: The situation surrounding #88-Dale Jarrett Saturday night was murky [supposedly the rear away bar was taken], but NASCAR said it might issue penalties this week. Jarrett’s crew apparently made some pre-race chassis adjustments that NASCAR didn’t like, so NASCAR forced Jarrett to start from the rear of the field.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-8-2006)
UPDATE – Penalties/Suspension: NASCAR issued penalties Tuesday to the #88 Nextel Cup Series team for a rule violation committed last weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief for the #88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett, was fined $25,000 and suspended from NASCAR until June 7, 2006 [thru race at Dover], for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.2D (unapproved rear sway bar mounting for use other than anti-roll) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. The violation was discovered during pre-race inspection on May 6. Also, Jarrett has been penalized 25 driver championship points, while team owner Robert Yates has been penalized 25 owner championship points as a result of the violation.(NASCAR PR), the penalty drops Jarrett from 11th in Drivers Points to 12th, #31-Burton moves up to 11th, Jarrett had been just 2 points out of 10th.(5-9-2006)
APPEAL: “Obviously, in this case, we interpreted the rules differently from NASCAR,” Robert Yates, who vowed to appeal the punishments, stated. “But because of the lack of a clear-cut understanding on our part, we believe we have grounds for appeal and have started that process.” Since the appeal won’t be heard before next week, Labbe will be present at the upcoming Darlington race this weekend. “If our interpretation is wrong, we did wrong,” Yates added. “Like most, we’re pressing the envelope to the highest degree to get the best performance. We pushed reading the rules to the edge.” In the wake of the Chad Knaus’ ejection from the Daytona 500 in February, Yates was quoted as saying he would have fired a crew chief that cheated deliberately like in the case of the illegal rear window found Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Hendrick Chevy. The veteran team owner declined to comment on Labbe’s future with RYR in case the #88’s appeal is denied.(Speed Channel)
UPDATE 2: the appeal is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, May 17th, if held up, Labbe would miss Pocono instead of this weeks race in Darlington.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-10-2006)
- Richmond TV Ratings: FX’s official debut of regularly scheduled NASCAR NEXTEL CUP RACING earned a 3.5/7 (5.633 million viewers) for the Richmond 400 this past Saturday. That is up +3% over last year’s 3.4/7 and ranks as FX’s highest rating for the Richmond race ever. These are national figures that will not change.(FOX/FX), see past TV Ratings and a 2006 Chart on my TV Ratings page.(5-10-2006)
- #29 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Richmond: Kevin Harvick’s race team scored its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. The GM Goodwrench crew, which spent 164.225 seconds on pit road during the Crown Royal 400, helped propel its driver to a third-place finish in the event. Harvick also led the most laps, 272 of 400. “It was a great race for our entire GM Goodwrench crew,” said Todd Berrier, crew chief for the No. 29 Chevrolet. “Our guys did an excellent job on pit road. We had good, clean, fast pit stops all night that helped keep Kevin up front.” Harvick’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Nick Terry (jackman), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Matt Krueter (rear-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear-tire changer), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Rick Tulbert (2nd gas can) and John Goodwin (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Corrine Mauldin. The #29 Richard Childress Racing crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented by Checkers/Rally’s to the team with the most pit crew challenge wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. After 10 Nextel Cup races, the pit crews for Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler are tied for first place in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with two wins each. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-10-2006)
- Labonte’s final Darlington start: Terry Labonte, driver of the #44 Kellogg’s Chevy, will make his 54th and final Darlington Raceway start Saturday evening. Racing a limited schedule in his last NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Labonte will enter eight more events for Hendrick Motorsports in 2006, including the last of his career in November at Texas Motor Speedway. Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning will present Labonte with a one-of-a-kind memento during pre-race driver introductions Saturday evening. The piece includes souvenir program covers from significant Darlington races throughout Labonte’s career, including his first start, first win, most recent win and final start. Although Labonte has 53 career starts at Darlington, Saturday night’s race will mark his first under the lights at the South Carolina track. Labonte, whose career now spans 29 seasons, did not compete there in 2005 while running a part-time schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. Following Darlington, Labonte will next race for Hendrick Motorsports at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 28.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-10-2006)
- Menards & Moen on the #7 this week: #7-Robby Gordon will again be sponsored by Menards this weekend during the 103rd race at Darlington Raceway while Moen takes center stage on the #7 Chevrolet hood. Moen Incorporated is the No. 1 brand of faucet in North America. In addition to stylish and affordable faucets, Moen also offers residential and commercial sinks and a full range of tub and showering packages. Jim Beam, Harrah’s and CarLoan.com will serve as associate.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(5-10-2006)
News from May 9, 2006
- Driver Changes UPDATE: Chad Chaffin goes from #34 to #61 [both Front Row Motorsports cars]; Kevin Lepage moved from #61 [Front Row Motorsports/Peak Performance] to #49 BAM Racing Dodge; Chad Blount replaces Chaffin in #34 Front Row Motorsports car, Blount had been on the team’s #92 entry, which ceased operations. See the updated entry list at Jayski’s Darlington Entry List Page.(5-9-2006)
UPDATE: Kevin Lepage and crew cheif Greg Conner have left Front Row Motorsports #61 team and are now with #49 BAM Racing. Chad Chaffin will now be in the #61 Ford with Craig Osbourne as crew chief and Chad Blount will take over the #34 Chevy’s. Mike Steurer and Teddy Kennedy are now working on the #34 team.(PR-FRMF)(5-9-2006)
- Sad News – Scott Geoffrion: Scott Geoffrion, a two-time former Pro Stock world championship runner-up and nine-time national event winner, died May 8 of an apparent heart attack in Southern California. He was 40. According to his family, wakes will be held Thursday in California and Monday, May 15, at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Ave., Wyckoff, N.J. His funeral will be Tuesday, May 16, at Immaculate Conception Church, 900 Darlington Ave., Mahwah, N.J., at 10 a.m. The services are open to the public. Geoffrion is survived by his children, Kyle and Alexa; brother, Rick; sister, Michele; and parents, Richard and Jeanne. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Drag Racing Association of Women, www.drawfasthelp.org.(Speed Channel)(5-9-2006)
- Special AAA scheme: AAA, 2006 sponsor of Roush Racing’s #6 Ford driven by Nextel Cup veteran Mark Martin, announced it will introduce a special paint scheme highlighting AAA’s insurance products the weekend of the “Neighborhood Excellence 400” at the Dover International Speedway in June. Weekend events also include the “AAA Insurance 200” NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. The special AAA design also may be used selectively at other NEXTEL Cup events throughout the 2006 season. It features a dominant, dark blue background and chrome lettering while maintaining key elements of the traditional AAA #6 paint scheme.(AAA), see an image of the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page, supposedly it will run at Indy also.(5-9-2006)
- Nadeau talks to Speed: Former NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Jerry Nadeau, whose career came to an abrupt end when he crashed during a practice session for a race in Richmond in [May] 2003, suffering head, lung, shoulder and rib injuries, talked with Wendy Venturini for [last] Saturday’s edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED about his long recovery and his future: See questions, answers and quotes on my Jerry Nadeau News page.(5-9-2006)
- Yeley to Drive Boniva Scheme at Darlington: Mother’s Day is a time for everyone to salute their mom with gifts and good wishes. But perhaps the best gift a mother can receive is to ensure she has helpful information on how to achieve and maintain good health, including bone health. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Roche are presenting this message to moms all across America this weekend with a special delivery from NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley and the Joe Gibbs Racing team. A unique paint scheme will be displayed on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy, which will be driven by Yeley during the Dodge Charger 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 13th. The sponsorship aims to help raise awareness about postmenopausal osteoporosis and once-monthly BonivaR (ibandronate sodium) tablets. It encourages women to take steps to protect themselves against fractures. Information about postmenopausal osteoporosis and Boniva can be found at www.boniva.com.(Camp & Associates/Joe Gibbs Racing)(5-9-2006)
- Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 6 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Hamlin finished second, his best effort in 17 career NEXTEL Cup Series races. He took top rookie honors for the fourth time this season, more than any other driver. Hamlin has racked up two top-five finishes this season, more than any other freshman driver. For the second time this season, Hamlin grabbed the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings. He holds a five-point edge over #07-Clint Bowyer (107-102) entering the May 13 Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Two Raybestos Rookies rank among the top-20 in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings: Bowyer (15th) and Hamlin (16th). Since 2001, Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions at Darlington Raceway: Kurt Busch (2001) and Kasey Kahne (2004). 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 gone on to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title: Dale Earnhardt (1979), Rusty Wallace (1984), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Jeff Gordon (1993), Tony Stewart (1999, 2005) and Kenseth (2000).(Raybestos PR) For standings, rookie of each race, current and past notes, rookie stripes info and rookie history, see my 2006 Rookies Page.(5-9-2006)
- Vote for Kyle Campaign: Behind the wheel of a special MyCokeRewards racecar, Kyle Petty will continue his hard-driving campaign for the health and well-being of chronically ill youth. Launched today in downtown Charlotte, the “Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction” campaign is a grassroots effort fueled by Coca-Cola and other Petty Enterprises sponsors to reward the man who has given so much of his time and effort to charity with a spot in the Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 20, 2006 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. For the upcoming Coca-Cola 600, the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge will feature a special MyCokeRewards primary sponsorship paint scheme. Petty also will carry the scheme in the Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 20 if voted into the race or if he wins the Nextel Open qualifying race. With the support of Petty’s friends, family, sponsors, NASCAR fans and members of the NASCAR community, the “Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction” campaign is geared towards creating a unique opportunity to continue Kyle’s tireless efforts to give back to kids. Should Petty make the race through the fan vote, Coca-Cola — along with Petty Enterprises sponsors Wells Fargo, Schwan’s and Tire Kingdom – are donating a minimum of $250,000 to support the ongoing efforts of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Additionally, Kyle and Petty Enterprises also will donate any purse money won in the Nextel All-Star Challenge to Victory Junction. If Kyle wins the race that’s an additional $1,000,000 to Victory Junction. Michael Waltrip was announced as Kyle’s campaign manager at today’s rally launching the “Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction” initiative. Speakers at the event included 7-time Nextel Cup champion Richard Petty, business executives and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. Also present at the rally, where race fans got a sneak peek at the MyCokeRewards racecar Petty will drive in the Coca-Cola 600 and the Nextel Open, were families and campers from Victory Junction. Voting for the Nextel All-Star Challenge is currently open and fans are invited to cast a vote to help get their favorite driver into the event by voting online at NASCAR.com. Voting will run through May 20 with the winner announced the day of the race. Race fans interested in more information about the “Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction” campaign have been asked to go to a special Web site, votekylepetty.com.(Petty Racing PR), more info about the Nextel All-Star Challenge and Open on my 2006 All-Star Race page.(5-9-2006)
News from May 8, 2006
- Sad News – Brewster: Army Sgt. Bryan Allen Brewster, 24-year-old son of Inland Valley Daily Bulletin sports editor Louis Brewster, was killed Friday along with nine others of the 10th Aviation Brigade Mountain Division in helicopter crash in a remote area of the Afghan mountains on Friday. They were not hit by enemy fire, military officials said. The aircraft went down along the Pakistan border as troops scoured a remote area of the Afghan mountains in search of al-Qaida and Taliban militants, a U.S. military official told the Associated Press. Rescuers located the wreckage in an inaccessible ravine, officials said. It is being called one of the deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a year. A military investigation into the incident is planned. All 10 soldiers onboard, including Brewster, were based at Fort Drum in New York. Of the roughly 18,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, about half are from the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, according to the Associated Press. Brewster is survived by wife Kati, parents Louis and Linda, brother Scott, grandparents Louis and Sara Brewster.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(5-8-2006)
- Why didn’t Harvick pit at Richmond late in race? Kevin Harvick’s #29 Chevy was so good out front during the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway that crew chief Todd Berrier didn’t want him to pit on lap 289 with Harvick leading the Nextel Cup race. While Harvick stayed out, the rest of the field pitted. Running on older tires, Harvick eventually lost the lead and was sixth when everyone pitted again under caution with about 50 laps remaining. Harvick, who led 272 laps of the race, wound up third. Berrier figured if Harvick pitted on lap 289, other drivers would stay out. “When you’re leading the race, they’re going to do the opposite of what you’re going to do,” Berrier said after the race. “That’s kind of the way it works. … I didn’t want to come back and be 10th on the race track.” If there were no cautions after the pit stops on lap 289, only Harvick would have had to pit. But Berrier was confident that everyone would pit again. “I knew everybody would [pit again],” Harvick said. “Not that they had to. I knew they would. And they did.” Harvick’s car got tighter over the final 100 laps. “We weren’t aggressive enough [with changes],” Berrier said. “It’s awful easy to play it a little bit different when you’re chasing somebody instead of getting chased. It’s just a bad position to be in.” The crew chief obviously was disappointed. “We had a good car, but at the end of the day we didn’t win the race,” Berrier said. “It hurts.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-8-2006)
- Penske Not Happy with Busch article, Busch encounters troubles at RIR:: An angry Roger Penske met with USA Today reporters before Saturday night’s race to express his displeasure with that newspaper’s Thursday article on driver Kurt Busch [actually it was about light sentences athletes get..not just Busch, but he was pictured and featured: Athletes lightly punished after their day in court]. Busch and Penske have been trying to wipe the slate clean on all the controversies that have dogged Busch the last few years. But each time they think they’re getting over the hump, something new crops up. Saturday night’s race offered no respite. Busch was looking good early, running as high as third, but he was called for pitting outside his pit box and issued a pass-through penalty. When he returned to pit road, he was hit by NASCAR with a second penalty for speeding. By the time the three-hour race was over, Busch was a frustrated 29th.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-8-2006)
- Orange County Choppers helping Petty camp: Sunoco has teamed with Orange County Choppers to create and donate a custom motorcycle to be raffled in a Victory Junction Gang Camp fundraiser. Sunoco representatives unveiled the bike prior to the Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in a news conference involving the Petty family, founders of the camp for chronically ill children. The bike, which resembles a vintage board-track racer, is a first for OCC. The motorcycle reflects Sunoco’s checkered royal blue and yellow colors, as well as other key references to its motorsports history. The motorcycle can be seen by fans along the route of the Petty Charity ride when it crosses the country July 22-30. The episode showing the building of the bike air on the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” June 19 and 26 at 10pm/et. To learn more about winning the motorcycle, visit www.victoryjunction.org and click on the bike logo.(SceneDaily.com)(5-8-2006)
- Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 10 races, five drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers, #31-Burton, #41-Sorenson, #43-Labonte. #96/44-Terry Labonte and #14-Sterling Markin have used the most at five [Labonte has only run 6 races] with #11-Hamlin and #88-Jarrett each using four. In 2006, one driver has benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta] and #16-Greg Bifle [4th at Richmond] are the only other drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, five drivers have won six races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(5-8-2006)
- NASCAR Fatheads: Made for HUGE sports fans, Fathead makes high definition, larger-than-life vinyl wall graphics of officially licensed pro athletes, and will be launching NASCAR cars and drivers this week– joining NFL and NBA Fathead lines. The kiss-cut player graphic sticks to the wall so you can hang out with “your team” everyday, and the thick, high-grade vinyl resists rips, tears and fading. The low tack backing allows sports fans to peel, place and move their Fathead without losing adhesion or damaging walls. More at fathead.com.(5-8-2006)
News from May 7, 2006
- National Guard off #16 end of 2006? UPDATE: it was reported towards the end of Richmond Nextel Cup qualifying by Speed Channel’s Bob Dilner, that National Guard, the sponsor of the #16 Ford that Greg Biffle drives [and is on the Richmond pole with], could be off the car after the 2006 season. Something to do with NASCAR’s rule that a team can only have four cars. No word on what would happen with the #16 car. team, Biffle or if National Guard would stay in the sport on a different team.(5-5-2006)
UPDATE: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, says he last talked to NASCAR officials about a month ago on complying with NASCAR’s four-team limit. NASCAR announced last year that they would limit organizations to four teams. Roush fields five teams. Roush officials say contracts with sponsors and drivers go through the 2009 season. Smith says he’s hopeful the organization can fulfill those contracts before downsizing. “They’ve made it pretty clear that they don’t want an indefinite window,” Smith said about NASCAR. “Philosophically, it seems like we’re on the same page. I expect … we’re going to do this on a year-to-year basis with the view that if we can get it done before then we will.” Smith also said that the team is in talks with the National Guard about returning as a sponsor. The National Guard is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 22 races for Greg Biffle this season.(Roanoke Times)(5-7-2006)
News from May 6, 2006
- Earnhardt Jr. wins at Richmond: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead with 43 laps to go and held on to win the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway, for his first win of 2006, 1st in 28 races [last year at Chicago in July] and 17th of his career. #11-Denny Hamlin finished 2nd for his career best finish, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick [who led the most laps], #16-Greg Biffle and #5-Kyle Busch. The rest of top-10 were #20-Tony Stewart, #99-Carl Edwards, #12-Ryan Newman, #14-Sterling Marlin and #07-Clint Bowyer. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson fell a lap down, got the lucky dog pass and finished 12th to maintain the points lead by 55 over Stewart. #17-Matt Kenseth, who came into the race 2nd in points, had a brake rotor break and ruptured the oil tank, Kenseth finished 38th. #24-Jeff Gordon had an engine problem, made up some laps and finished out of the race in 40th. There were 11 cautions for 61 laps and 6 leaders with 12 lead changes.
Race Results on my Richmond Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page.
Race Rundown: see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-6-2006)
- Richmond News and Notes:
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2006 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway, scoring his 17th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 229th career start. Earnhardt’s last victory came at Chicagoland Speedway in July 2005, 28 races ago.
• Four of Earnhardt’s 17 victories have come on a short track, including three at Richmond. Earnhardt’s first shorttrack victory came at Richmond in his rookie season (2000).
• Earnhardt became the seventh different race winner in 2006.
• Earnhardt became the first repeat race winner in the 10 races at Richmond since September 2001.
• Earnhardt scored his fourth top-10 finish in 10 races this season.
• He climbed from eighth to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. After 10 races in 2005, he ranked ninth in the point standings.
• Earnhardt moved to 38th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with Jeff Burton, Marvin Panch, and Curtis Turner.
• Earnhardt led three times for 47 laps, including the final 45 laps, in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond.
• Earnhardt has won a race each season 2000-2006, seven consecutive years.
• This was team owner Teresa Earnhardt’s (DEI) 23rd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. DEI has scored three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Richmond.
• DEI has won at least one race each season 2000-06, seven consecutive years.
• Kevin Harvick led the most laps for the only the sixth time in his career. Harvick led 272 laps, the most laps that he has led in a race in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career.
• The last time Harvick led the most laps in a race was at Dover in September 2003, when he led 133 of the 400-lap race. Harvick has won only one of the six races in which he led the most laps: Chicagoland (July 2001).
• Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Denny Hamlin (second) posted his career-best finish. It is his third top-10 finish in 2006. This was his first race at Richmond International Raceway.
• Kevin Harvick (third) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006, all in the last six races. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 11 races at Richmond. Harvick climbed from seventh to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Richmond International Raceway, all in his last four races here. He climbed from 23rd to 20th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked third after 10 races.
• Kyle Busch (fifth) scored his third top-five finish in three races at Richmond. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. He climbed from ninth to eighth in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 27th after 10 races.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
• Dave Blaney (20th) extended a 28-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June and is the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-6-2006)
- Rumblings – Richmond:
Some questionable pit strategy by the dominant car (Kevin Harvick) led to a four car battle in the closing laps and Dale Earnhardt Jr emerged victorious tonight at Richmond International Raceway. He captured the Crown Royal 400 by a little over half a second over Denny Hamlin as Harvick’s team tried to stretch his tires just a little too far and passed up the opportunity to pit with the rest of the field with about 90 laps to go. It burned him just about 30 laps later and he was never able to recover that lost track position. For Little E, this was his first win since he captured Chicagoland last July, his 3rd at RIR, and the 17th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s now tied for 38th on the all-time win list with Jeff Burton, Marvin Panch, and Curtis Turner. Win #23 for Dale Earnhardt Inc was worth $239,166 from the over $4.9M in posted awards.
Denny Hamlin (2nd) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 4th at Texas last month….and he was doin’ it hurt tonight, too!
Greg Biffle (4th) had his best finish since he won at Homestead last November.
Sterling Marlin (9th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Talladega last October. His Top-10 finish gives us 31 drivers at that mark this season…..last year we had 43 of ’em.
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Elliott Sadler (+24), followed by Sterling Marlin (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-33), followed by Kasey Kahne (-28 ), Matt Kenseth (-27), and Jeff Gordon (-24). Both Elliott and Brian are first-timers in the “Shaft” this season.
No change at the top of the Point Standings this week, but Jimmie Johnson’s lead over new #2 driver (Tony Stewart) is now 55 points. The “Stayin’ Alive” line is unchanged this week. Sterling Marlin (34th to 30th) advanced the most spots in the Top-35 this week, while Brian Vickers (14th to 19th) and Martin Truex Jr (20th to 25th) were the biggest movers on the down side.(Stock Car Fans)(5-6-206)
- Fuel Cell Update; 17 gallons in 2007: Drivers say that they don’t need the smaller, 14-gallon fuel cell for the races later this month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NASCAR mandated the smaller fuel cell instead of the regular 22-gallon cell because of concerns about tires on the new surface. A smaller fuel cell will lead to more pit stops and more chances to change tires. This week’s test showed the tires are durable enough that they should last what would be a regular fuel run with the larger fuel cell. John Darby, Nextel Cup series director, said more information is needed before deciding to change back to the larger fuel cell. “Until you go through that 600 miles, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Darby said. Darby said that next year, the fuel cells will be 17 gallons.(Roanoke Times)(5-6-2006)
- Elliott tests Toyota engine at Lowe’s: Bill Elliott tested one of Waltrip’s #00 Chevy Cup cars with a Toyota engine earlier this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and there are plans for more tests as the foreign manufacturer seeks approval from NASCAR.(NASCAR.com)(5-6-2006)
- Mears looking? 88? Garage insiders say that Casey Mears is the frontrunner for the #88 Ford ride and that UPS would stay on as a sponsor at Yates if the company hires a young gun that could compete with the marketing image of Denny Hamlin and Fed Ex. It is speculated, however, that Mears may have a letter of intent to run a fourth car at another organization already [RCR was rumored last week].(Motorsports.com)
BUT: Casey Mears’ contract ends after this season, but he says he’s talked to car owner Chip Ganassi about an extension.(Virgina Pilot)(5-6-2006)
- #92 Team Done? #92 Crew Chief Teddy Brown informed us [Front Row Motorsports Fanz] that they will stop running the #92 car, just to focus on two cars. The #92 team only made one of nine races [attempted 8 of 9]. The engine costs for that team so far are around $300k. With Jeff Stec’s #61 team now with Front Row Motorsports, they will concentrate on getting both #61-Kevin Lepage and #34-Chad Chaffin’s cars ready for Richmond.(Front Row Motorsports Fanz)(5-6-2006)
- Nemechek Joins Checkers to Supports the Troops: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants that it has teamed with U.S. Army driver #01-Joe Nemechek in its continuing support of Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that prepares and sends care packages to U.S. Troops deployed overseas. To help kick off the Patriotic Drive, an initiative for which Checkers/Rally’s joined forces with Operation Gratitude and America Supports You to send care packages to the troops, the double drive-thru chain will donate $100,000 to Operation Gratitude if Nemechek wins Saturday night’s NEXTEL Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Nemechek, who will serve as a spokesperson for the Patriotic Drive, won the Richmond Cup race in May, 2003. If Nemechek takes first place at Richmond, he will personally award Operation Gratitude with a $100,000 check from Checkers/Rally’s during the post-race ceremonies. A Patriotic Drive will take place from May 8 to June 14, 2006. Gifts for military care packages can be donated at participating Checkers/Rally’s locations nationwide. All items collected will be used by Operation Gratitude to prepare and send individual care packages to military men and women deployed overseas. The items most requested by the troops include: mini battery-operated fans; bandana cool ties; CDs and DVDs; high-tech gear such as computer flash drives, hand-held video games and disposable cameras; small snack foods; and personal letters of support. For more information about Operation Gratitude see opgratitude.com.(DMF Comminciations/MB2 Motorsports)(5-6-2006)
- Barrett goes to school: #95-Stanton Barrett will visit Infineon Raceway on Monday, May 8, for a day of on-track instruction with the Jim Russell Racing Schools, which is based at the raceway. Barrett has not competed in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup feature race at Infineon Raceway and is hopeful the day of instruction will help his qualifying effort during the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend (June 23-25). Barrett, a stuntman by trade from Hollywood, has earned a best finish of 33rd in four starts this year.(Infineon Raceway PR)(5-6-2006)
News from May 5, 2006
- Harvick/Childress close to a deal UPDATE 3 official Harvick signs: Richard Childress and #29-Kevin Harvick are close to a deal that would keep the driver with Richard Childress Racing well beyond the 2006 season. “I think (a deal) is real likely,” Childress said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. “We hope to get it done in the next couple of weeks.” Harvick, in the final year of his contract with RCR, was considered a major target for Toyota, which is entering NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series in 2007, especially after he voiced concerns late last season that his current team was not capable of winning a championship. Childress said he met with Harvick earlier this week and got most of the deal worked out.(Associated Press)(4-29-2006)
UPDATE: look for an announcement soon that Harvick has signed to stay with RCR thru 2009.(4-30-2006)
UPDATE 2: announcement could come as soon as Friday as RCR has a press conference scheduled at Richmond.
AND As Kevin Harvick and car owner Richard Childress continue their contract talks, teammate Jeff Burton hopes Harvick will stay at RCR. “I want Kevin to stay. Kevin is valuable to our effort. Obviously his talent speaks for itself. Kevin to me has proven to be a good teammate and I don’t want Kevin to go anywhere.” Burton says he hasn’t been the middle of the discussions because “It’s about what they want to do, it has nothing to do with what I want to do. I think Kevin’s only hang up is…can we do as a company what we need to do to be successful and to compete for championships. It’s nothing personal, it’s all just about performance. Kevin is talented enough and good enough he deserves to have a chance at the very best equipment he can get his hands on because if he has it he can be highly successful. I can speak from experience…he won’t go somewhere else and see a whole lot more than what he can see right here.”(PRN’s Garage Pas Radio Show)(5-3-2006)
UPDATE 3 RCR, Harvick Agree to Contract Extension: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will see Harvick as an RCR driver through the 2009 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Harvick drives RCR’s #29 GM Goodwrench/Reese’s Chevy in the NEXTEL Cup Series and RCR’s #21 Coast Guard Chevy in the Busch Series. Harvick’s career statistics include six victories and 70 top-10 finishes in the NEXTEL Cup Series and 19 victories and 98 top-10 finishes in the Busch Series. “Kevin is an important part of the RCR organization and we’re happy that will continue,” said Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. “He has done a great job in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series and we look for that to continue over the next several seasons.” Harvick is currently seventh in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with one win and four top-10 finishes. He leads the Busch Series standings by 274 points, ahead of RCR teammate Clint Bowyer in second place, with two wins and nine top-10 finishes. “I’m looking forward to the next three years at RCR,” said Kevin Harvick. “We’ve made a lot of changes over the past year that have really helped point the organization in the right direction. The chemistry feels right between the drivers, the crew chiefs and the teams. Above all else, there is a long relationship at RCR that Richard and I have. I feel like it would take time to recreate what we’ve built over the last seven years.”(RCR PR)(5-5-2006)
- Changes at the #49 team? UPDATE Wallace at RIR UPDATE 2 Sherman gone?: rookie driver Brent Sherman, who drives the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, tested the car Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but Kevin Lepage, who usually driver the #61 Ford [which was not on the speed charts Tuesday], tested the #49 in the evening session. Supposedly there could be another driver in the #49 as soon as Richmond, may be a part-time thing.
UPDATE: Mike Wallace is now listed as the driver of the #49 Dodge at Richmond per nascar.com’s entry list.(5-3-2006)
UPDATE 2: supposedly Sherman has left the team after testing the first session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Tuesday. No word on his plans, if Serta will stay as a sponsor, but this week the #49 Dodge has Fire Dex as the sponsor of the car Mike Wallace will race at Richmond.(5-5-2006)
- Toyota…no plans to expand past three teams in 2007: Toyota has no plans to expand its team lineup beyond the three — Michael Waltrip Racing #00, #55), Red Bull Racing (#83, #80) and Bill Davis Racing (#22, #23) — it announced in January. Robby Gordon’s [#7] team, whose contract with Chevrolet ends following this season, is not under consideration.(CNNSI)(5-5-2006)
- Custom Motorcycles for Edwards and Kahne: 357 Customs is building new custom choppers for Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards, the first two Cup drivers that 357 is building custom bikes for. Both drivers are doing multiple bikes. Each of these first two bikes are very simple in paint schemes. In addition, bewley released diecast collectibles are available of Kahne and Edwards first choppers. 357 Customs does a lot with different celebrity personalities, and are very proud to have begun to work with NASCAR drivers! More at www.357customs.com.(5-5-2006)
- NASCAR to name race after fan: NASCAR races have been sponsored by companies that make popcorn, sandwiches and soft drinks, but never before have they been sponsored by fans. That will change next year as one lucky fan will have his or her name on the Nextel Cup Series race at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond. Sources have told ESPN.com that Diageo, producers of the Crown Royal whiskey brand, will announce Friday that one lucky consumer will win that right by entering the company’s sweepstakes. The race will tentatively called the “The Your Name Here 400 presented by Crown Royal” until the Daytona 500, when a grand prize winner will be chosen from a pool of 10 finalists. The fan’s name will be recognized by NASCAR and on television as the race’s official name. The sweepstakes winner is also expected to present a trophy to the race winner in Victory Lane. The last time anything like this happened was in Boston when FleetCenter owner Delaware North auctioned off single-day naming rights to the venue where the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins play. The company sold naming rights to the highest bidder 30 different times last winter. As part of the NASCAR promotion, Crown Royal will make a donation for every submission received — up to $50,000 — to RADD (Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving). The brand is the primary sponsor of Jamie McMurray’s #26 car. This year’s Crown Royal 400 will take place Saturday night.(ESPN.com)(5-5-2006)
- Goodyear Cites Strong Performance at Lowe’s Test: Comments by Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of race tire sales and marketing: “We saw exactly what we expected from our Goodyear Eagle tires on the first day of NASCAR’s open test for Nextel Cup cars at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and we are very pleased with the results. Our choice of tire for this NASCAR-sanctioned open test is the tire picked during our recent tire tests at Lowe’s and, based on data and driver input, it also will be used during the two weekends of racing later in May at the newly paved track. Comments by some people at the open test indicate concern that our tire recommendation is conservative. They’re right! We were very conservative in our choice and that was intentional. Lowe’s is a very fast track with new pavement that will generate a lot of grip and a lot of heat. We felt we had to select a very conservative tire to accommodate that. Lap times, however, are on par with those of last year. On the first day of testing, Jeff Burton, for example, made a 35-lap run and his fastest lap was the 34th. We are very pleased with tire appearance and treadwear. All indications are that going a full gas stop with either the traditional full-size fuel tank, like the Busch cars will use, or the smaller mandated tank for the Coca-Cola 600 would be no problem. Yes, the tire is different and may require adjustment by teams and drivers from what they’ve run at Lowe’s in the most recent past. We came with a completely redesigned right side tire. It utilizes a new mold shape to address the tremendous loads that we measured at our test last fall. This, combined with the harder tread compound, gives the conservative setup. It reduces grip, but it resists heat and treadwear. It is absolutely the right choice.”(Goodyear PR), see speeds of the test on my LMS Testing Page.(5-5-2006)
- Johnson helps with Soap Box Derby Workshop: #48-Jimmie Johnson introduced an American tradition to boys and girls of the Greater Washington, D.C. area as the Levi Strauss Signature brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop in the nation’s capital. Youths ages 10 to 17 constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of the Daytona 500 champion and adult volunteers from the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (GWSBD) chapter. Johnson, the national spokesperson for the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), assisted in the assembly and construction of the cars and offered his racing knowledge to the children who will now have an opportunity to race in the 65th GWSBD championship race on June 17. Local winners across the nation will advance to the 69th AASBD World Championship scheduled to take place on July 22, 2006, with Levi Strauss Signature awarding college scholarships to the winners. For more information on how to become involved with the All-American Soap Box Derby, an official youth initiative of NASCAR, visit www.aasbd.com.(5-5-2006)
- Rookie News and Notes: #11-J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 1 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Yeley finished 11th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season. He was also the top freshman driver in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The Aaron’s 499 is the third consecutive race where TWO or more Raybestos Rookie drivers have led a lap.
Clint Bowyer holds a four-point lead (91-87) over Denny Hamlin in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 6 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Bowyer has led the standings in eight of the nine races this season. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the spring race at Richmond: Earharhardt Jr. in 2000. He led the race just once covering the final 31 laps and officially scored his second career win by .159 second over Terry Labonte. Only once since 1975 have TWO or more Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the Crown Royal 400. In 1979, Joe Millikan finished sixth followed by Terry Labonte, who claimed an eighth place finish.(Raybestos PR), more on my Rookie Page.(5-5-2006)
- Goodyear Tire Notes – Richmond: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Richmond, though Cup and Busch teams did run this set-up two weeks ago at Phoenix . . . in addition to those two tracks, teams will run this same combination at New Hampshire in 2006 . . . as on most ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. Estimated Pit Window: Every 110-120 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, codes, tire pressues on my Richmond Race Info / Rundown Page.(5-5-2006)
- Biffle wins pole at Richmond: #16-Greg Biffle went out late and beat teammate #6-Mark Martin for the Bud Pole for the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 127.395mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 3rd of his career. #6-Martin held on for 2nd, the #42-Casey Mears, #25-Brian Vickers and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 10th. Four drivers missed the race: #00-Sadler, #34-Chaffin, #89-Kertus Davis and #95-Barrett. For qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, see my Richmond Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(5-5-2006)
- Richmond Qulaifying Notes:
• Greg Biffle won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Crown Royal 400, lapping Richmond International Raceway in 21.194 seconds at 127.395 mph. Brian Vickers holds the track-qualifying record of 20.772 seconds, 129.983 mph, set May 14, 2004.
• This is Biffle’s third career Bud Pole in 124 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
• Biffle posted his second Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start of the season, more than any other driver.
• This is Biffle’s first Bud Pole at Richmond, It is his sixth consecutive top-10 start at Richmond, after qualifying 37th and 15th in his first two attempts here.
• Biffle becomes the 13th different Bud Pole winner in the past 13 races at Richmond.
• Mark Martin posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 21.255 seconds, 127.029 mph – and will join Biffle on the front row for the Crown Royal 400.
• Martin posted his sixth top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his 22nd top-10 start in 41 Richmond races. This is his first top-10 start in the spring race here since he won the Bud Pole in May 2001.
• This is the third Bud Pole for Ford in 2006. Chevrolet and Dodge also have three each. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• This is the first 1-2 sweep of qualifying for Ford since Kansas City last fall.
• Casey Mears (third) posted his second top-10 start in seven races at Richmond. This is his second top-10 start in 2006 and his season-best.
• Brian Vickers (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in five Richmond races. This is his first start better than 22nd since he won the Bud Pole in his first race here in May 2004. This is his second top-10 start of 2006. • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his fifth top-10 start in nine races at Richmond.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-5-2006)
- Ramblings – Richmond: No more than 10 minutes after qualifying tonight at Richmond International Raceway, the sprinkles started. But not till Greg Biffle had won the Bud Pole (his second of the season and third of his NEXTEL Cup career) for tomorrow night’s Crown Royal 400 with a time of 21.194 sec (127.395 mph). Mark Martin (2nd) will join his teammate on the front row….this is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at California last September.
Casey Mears (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Chicagoland last July.
Brian Vickers (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at New Hampshire last July.
Kevin Harvick stayin’ put…..Dale Jarrett probably movin’ on. Remember when “Silly Season” didn’t start till after Labor Day?
STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 9 Top-10 starts in a row.
(see more at Stock Car Fans)(5-5-2006)
News from May 4, 2006
- Petty to run MyCokeRewards scheme at Coke 600 – IMAGE: Not only will Kyle Petty run a special MyCokeRewards-themed car in the Coca-Cola 600, but some lucky fans will have a chance earn pieces of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge, and a piece of Coca-Cola 600 history, as part of the $50 million MyCokeRewards prize package. By collecting MyCokeRewards points, fans of the Coca-Cola 600 will have the chance to obtain hundreds of unique NASCAR-themed prizes, including the hood, deck lid and side panels from Petty’s #45 MyCokeRewards Dodge. Other rewards include Petty’s helmet, driver’s uniform, shoes, and gloves, as well race-worn crew uniforms and other NASCAR-themed collectibles. Go to www.mycokerewards.comfor more info.(Petty Racing PR), see an image on my #45 Team Scheme page.(5-4-2006)
- Hamlin Tripped Up After Lowe’s Testing UPDATE 2 is OK: Frontstretch.com is reporting: Through two days of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, there were several wrecks but no major injuries…on the track. Off the track, it was a different story as teams packed up to head home Wednesday night. The #11 FedEx team with driver Denny Hamlin found themselves goofing around and doing a little personal testing of their own after on-track activities were completed at 9:00pm/et. Members of the crew found themselves being timed as they ran laps around the team’s hauler. Unfortunately, the horseplay led to a minor mishap, as driver Denny Hamlin tripped and was injured during all the fun. Hamlin was loaded into an ambulance and taken from the track as a precaution. The nature of his injuries are unclear at this time.(Frontstretch.com)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin injured his left hand in an off-track accident last night following the conclusion of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy in the Busch Series and the #11 FedEx Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series cut his left hand between his pinkie and his wrist. He was taken from the track via ambulance and was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches. Hamlin is expected to participate in all of this weekend’s racing activities at Richmond based upon the evaluations of Joe Gibbs Racing’s team physicians. The following is a statement from Hamlin regarding the accident: The guys were having races around the hauler after the test. I thought I’d try for the best lap of the night, and as I was running around the front of the truck, I caught my hand on a sharp piece of chrome. I got all stitched up and I’ll be fine to race this weekend. By the way, I did finish first. Hopefully Coach Gibbs will be impressed that I can play ‘hurt’.”(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed Cummunications PR)(5-4-2006)
UPDATE 2: Before heading for Richmond Denny Hamlin’s injured left hand was given a final check by a doctor Thursday morning in Charlotte. It took 19 stitches to close the gash caused when he caught the hand on a piece of chrome on the front of the Fedex hauler following testing Wednesday night at Lowes Motor Speedway. Despite the injury Hamlin plans on running both the Busch and Cup races this weekend.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)
- Sadler to run Pirate scheme: This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series comes ashore at the Richmond International Raceway with Virginia native Elliott Sadler at the helm of the #38 White Chocolate M&M’S® Ford. Looking for his first win at his home track, Sadler and his trusty hands hope that “M” marks the spot and the treasure awaiting will be a trip to victory lane. The special paint scheme on the #38 Ford Fusion is part of a promotion in conjunction with the July 7th release of the new Walt Disney Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Film’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” as well as the introduction of the M&M’S® White Chocolate Pirates Pearls. This marks the first time M&M’S has released a white chocolate candy in the United States, which will be available nationwide for a limited time. Joining Sadler on his #38 Ford Fusion are three of his biggest supporters in the M&M’S Characters – Red, Yellow and Green. Each character will be featured in their favorite pirate costume against a tropical background with the new White Chocolate M&M’S Pirate Pearls featured on the hood. In addition, Pirate Red will be at the track for the racing action on Saturday.(M&M Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(5-4-2006)
- Waltrip discusses Jarrett: Michael Waltrip says he and several other teams have talked with Dale Jarrett about his future plans; however Waltrip downplays a report Jarrett was offered a two year, $10-million contract [see below] to join his Toyota team. “I haven’t made him any offer monetarily and I think I’m pretty sure I can tell you no one has offered him that (10-million) but it makes for pretty good print.” Waltrip said he’s more interested in Jarrett’s services than sponsor UPS. “We have our second car pretty much agreed upon with the sponsor and we’ve got a list of drivers that would be approved by the sponsor and he’s on that list. Anybody would hire Dale Jarrett, former cup champion and his sponsor UPS. We just want to hire Dale because we think he can win races and because that being our focus and the reason our drive for hiring him then I think he appreciates that.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)
- Sadler hopes Jarrett stays at RYR: Elliott Sadler hopes Dale Jarrett will stay at Robert Yates Racing however he told Jarrett not to reveal to him too many of his future plans. Sadler joked, “I just told him to keep me out of it. I don’t want to know about it. I want to find out when everybody else does that way I won’t get into trouble.” Sadler added, “If he stays that great, I would love to keep him as a teammate and love to keep him at Robert Yates Racing. If he goes I’d hate to lose him as a teammate but still I’m going to keep him as one of my best friends. I want to be there as a friend first, but if he decides to stay I definitely want to be his teammate again.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)
- No COT for RYR yet: The next Car of Tomorrow [COT] test is scheduled for May 30 and 31 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NASCAR said it hopes to have at least eight cars on the track and as many as 12. One team that won’t be there is Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88 Fords]. Yates has yet to start working on the Car of Tomorrow and doesn’t plan to until NASCAR sets its rules. Car owner Jack Roush said he’s built and rebuilt the Car of Tomorrow a couple of times. Every time he gets one done, NASCAR makes changes. He said he spent more than $300,000 on the car before it ever hit the track.(Augusta Chronicle)(5-4-2006)
- COT to the Wind Tunnel UPDATE: NASCAR plans to take its car of tomorrow [COT] to a wind tunnel this week and test different nose pieces.(Roanoke Times)(5-1-2006)
UPDATE: Representatives of Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota joined NASCAR officials for a wind-tunnel session Tuesday in Marietta, Ga., in which each manufacturer’s proposed nose for the “car of tomorrow” was tested. One person present for the test said the results left the manufacturers encouraged they could get more room to give each nose more features that distinguish between models without creating competitive disparity.(ThatsRacin)(5-4-2006)
- #38 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Talladega: Elliott Sadler’s #38 team took top honors in the Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition at Talladega Superspeedway. The M&M’s pit crew, which spent 276.495 seconds on pit road in Monday’s rain-delayed Aaron’s 499, also won the competition at Martinsville Speedway on April 2. The victory moved Sadler’s pit crew into a three-way tie for first place in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings. The pit crews for Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart have also scored two wins with a quarter of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season completed (nine races). Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Rodney Fetters (jackman), Ryan McCray (front-tire carrier), Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer), Brian Dunaway (gasman), Frankie Good (catch can) and Toby Mellott (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Tommy Baldwin, Jr. The #38 crew, part of the Robert Yates Racing stable, will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. The Nextel Cup pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-4-2006)
- Speed Channel Driver of the Year – 1st Qtr: Melanie Troxel became the first woman, in the 40-year history of the Driver of the Year award, to win the quarterly title in voting by a panel of leading journalists and broadcasters. The 33-year-old driver of the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster impressed the voters as well as her rivals as she made all-five final-round appearances in the quarter and took victories in Pomona and Las Vegas in her first full season. Troxel took six first-place votes and tallied 82 points. Second in the voting was the effervescent “Spiderman”, Helio Castroneves, who notched two victories in the IndyCar Series. Castroneves got one first-place tally and totaled 68 points. Jimmie Johnson, who won both the prestigious Daytona 500 and Las Vegas races in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, was third in the vote with a total of 51 points and one first-place vote. NASCAR’s, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, Driver of the Year 2005, also garnered first-place ballots. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. In its’ 40th year Driver of the Year is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. A separate one-driver vote will determine the 2006 Driver of the Year. Troxel will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch. The trophy presentation is set for Sunday May 7th at the Summit Nationals in Atlanta, GA.(DOTY PR)(5-4-2006)
- 30 Years for Marlin in Cup: When #14-Sterling Marlin takes the green flag for Saturday night’s Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway it will be two days shy of the 30-year anniversary of his first NASCAR Cup start. Marlin made his NASCAR Cup debut on May 8, 1976 at Nashville Speedway, substituting for his father, Clifton “Coo Coo” Marlin, who sustained a shoulder injury during an ARCA qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway the week before. When it became evident that the elder Marlin wouldn’t enter the Nashville race, he made a deal with his son, “If you can fix it, you can race it.” Sterling took his father up on the offer and climbed behind the wheel of the #14 Cunningham-Kelley Chevy soon after. Though the 18-year-old Marlin posted an uneventful, but respectable finish of 29th in his maiden ride, it was the beginning of a high-profiled journey for the Columbia, TN native. Saturday’s race in the #14 Waste Management Chevy will mark Marlin’s 685th start in the Cup series. To date, his career statistics include 10 wins, 83 top fives, 215 top 10s, 11 pole positions and earnings of more than $37 million.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(5-4-2006)
- Kurt Busch attends Race Fever: #2-Kurt Busch took time out during his schedule last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway to attend the “Race Night Fever” fundraiser for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and it was a huge hit all the way around. “We grossed over $200,000 and it was the most successful event in our 21 years of doing this,” AIDB’s Cary Nolen said on Tuesday. “Having a top-level driver like Kurt Busch attend our function was the highlight of the evening and we’re so thankful for his time and generosity. You could tell that he was the favorite driver there with all the kids. He made many new fans at Talladega last Friday night.”
“They asked me if I’d attend and I said, ‘Heck, yes.especially if it’ll help those kids out.’ We donated a hood off one of our Miller Lite Dodge Chargers for them to auction off and we went over there and had a great time meeting all the kids and signing autographs. I’m glad that it was such a huge success.”(Tom Roberts PR)(5-4-2006)
- NASCAR Autocare by Ecolab Features DW in TV Commercial: NASCAR Autocare by Ecolab has launched a new television commercial introducing its full line of auto appearance products. Featuring NASCAR personality and Fox Sports Broadcast Analyst Darrell Waltrip, the commercial which has appeared on ESPN, ESPN-2, OLN and SPEED, early April. Using the theme “The quickest way to a great finish!” the commercial highlights NASCAR Autocare by Ecolab’s full line of car care products. As a Chevrolet Corvette speeds to a stop on pit road, a pit crew of seven specialist wash and wax the car, shine the tires and clean the windows, all to “crew chief” Darrell Waltrip’s approval – “14 (seconds) flat – not bad!” See more at ecolabathome.com.(5-4-2006)
News from May 3, 2006
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway testing – over: so far today, #41-Reed Sorenson wrecked, backing into the wall hard and #12-Ryan Newman spun, but didn’t hit anything. #9-Kasey Kahne received medical clearance Wednesday morning and is testing his #9 Dodge Dealers UAW-Dodge at Lowes Motor Speedway. “I feel great” said Kahne. “Obviously my hips and my shoulders are a little sore from getting hit in the side but they wanted to do some scans and just check me out and make sure everything was good and all the results were clear so we’re good to go.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)
Afternoon Speeds: 71 cars took to the track in the afternoon session, with #38-Sadler the fastest at 181.622mph, followed by #20-Stewart 181.385, #18-Yeley 181.202, #42-Mears 181.087 and #31-Burton 180.832. Some notes: Johnny Sauter is testing a #70 Dodge for Haas CNC [not sure why not a Chevy like teammate #66-Green], Bill Elliott is testing a #00 Dodge, Terry Labonte is testing the #44 Chevy, Kevin Lepage is back testing the #49 Dodge…looks like the #61 team skipped testing, Carl Long is testing the #37 R.J. Racing Dodge [was the slowest of the session].
Evening Speeds: 65 cars took to the track Wednesday evening, speeds jumped up quite a bit with #40x-David Stremme leading the way at 186.929mph, almost 2mph over the next driver, #70-Johnny Sauter [now listed in a Chevy] at 185.179, then #21b-Ken Schrader 185.058, #32a-Travis Kvapil 183.874 and #11-Denny Hamlin 183.237. Michael Waltrip drove the #00 Dodge Bill Elliott had tested earlier; Carl Long and Kerry Earnhardt shared duties in the #37b Dodge. #37-Carl Long and #34-Chad Chaffin wrecked in the evening session.
See all the speeds from day 1 and 2 as well as and cumulative [best speed by driver overall with session listed] on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-3-2006)
- Changes at the #49 team? UPDATE Wallace at RIR: rookie driver Brent Sherman, who drives the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, tested the car Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but Kevin Lepage, who usually driver the #61 Ford [which was not on the speed charts Tuesday], tested the #49 in the evening session. Supposedly there could be another driver in the #49 as soon as Richmond, may be a part-time thing.
UPDATE: Mike Wallace is now listed as the driver of the #49 Dodge at Richmond per nascar.com’s entry list.(5-3-2006)
- #74 Penalty Upheld: On May 2, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Terry Eames, Humpy Wheeler, George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the Appeal of McGlynn Motorsports. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following inspection on April 7, 2006 for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules; and Section 20-5.9G(1) “External modifications to the intake manifold will not be permitted unless approved by the Series Director.” The penalties assessed were:
• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for owner Raynard McGlynn.
• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Derrike Cope.
• $50,000.00 fine for crew chief Domenick Turse.
The Appellants acknowledged that the intake modifications violated the rules, but appealed the severity of the penalties. The Commission found that the penalties assessed are consistent with penalties for similar infractions of an overt nature in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR)(5-3-2006)
- Jarrett/Toyota offer..$20 million? UPDATE done deal? Toyota – The Japanese automaker has pumped in tens of millions of dollars into its teams to launch a Nextel Cup program in 2007. Car owner Michael Waltrip is rumored to be dangling a two-year, $20 million contract in front of Dale Jarrett to get him into a Toyota.(Speed Channel)
UPDATE: #99-Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Cup champion, is expected to help head up the company’s [Toyota] 2007 entry into the series, agreeing to join Michael Waltrip Racing next season. Several sources have confirmed that Jarrett, 49, informed Robert Yates Racing officials of his decision April 26. UPS, the primary sponsor of the No. 88 Ford, is also in the final year of its contract with the team. And sources have indicated that the overnight delivery service provider would like to remain with RYR, provided the team can sign a competitive driver rather than someone just embarking on a Cup career. If the latter is the case, it’s likely that UPS will make the move with Jarrett to Waltrip’s organization. RYR typically attempts to sign sponsors for the length of its drivers’ contracts. Because of that, those sponsors have some leverage in driver selection. Possible driver candidates that have been mentioned in the Toyota mix have included Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick and owner/driver Robby Gordon. However, car owner Richard Childress said April 29 that he is close to signing Harvick to an extension. Gordon, who has fielded his own team since 2005, has an existing relationship with Red Bull through his off-road racing efforts.(in part from SceneDaily.com)(5-3-2006)
- Davis to run #89 for Shepherd: #0 Busch Series driver, Kertus Davis announced that he will attempt to make his first Nextel Cup start this weekend in Richmond for the Crown Royal 400. Davis recieved the call to drive the #89 Dodge, normally driven by Morgan Shepherd. “We’re really excited about this opportunity, and hope that we can put on a good show for everyone,” Kertus said. Davis is also entered to run the NASCAR Busch Series race in the #0 RaceGirl Chevy that he normally pilots.(kertusdavis.com)(5-3-2006)
- Inside Nextel Cup…with an audience? hearing Speed Channel is looking into testing their Inside Nextel Cupshow [Monday’s at 7:00pm/et] in front of a live studio audience at some point this summer.(5-3-2006)
- New colors for Bowyer at Richmond: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will feature a new look this weekend to highlight Prilosec OTC’s sponsorship of RCR. Bowyer’s mainstay sponsor Jack Daniel’s will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panel and on the deck lid.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(5-3-2006)
- Harvick/Childress close to a deal UPDATE: Richard Childress and #29-Kevin Harvick are close to a deal that would keep the driver with Richard Childress Racing well beyond the 2006 season. “I think (a deal) is real likely,” Childress said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. “We hope to get it done in the next couple of weeks.” Harvick, in the final year of his contract with RCR, was considered a major target for Toyota, which is entering NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series in 2007, especially after he voiced concerns late last season that his current team was not capable of winning a championship. Childress said he met with Harvick earlier this week and got most of the deal worked out.(Associated Press)(4-29-2006)
UPDATE: look for an announcement soon that Harvick has signed to stay with RCR thru 2009.(also see more at NASCAR.com(4-30-2006)
UPDATE 2: announcement could come as soon as Friday as RCR has a press conference scheduled at Richmond.
AND As Kevin Harvick and car owner Richard Childress continue their contract talks, teammate Jeff Burton hopes Harvick will stay at RCR. “I want Kevin to stay. Kevin is valuable to our effort. Obviously his talent speaks for itself. Kevin to me has proven to be a good teammate and I don’t want Kevin to go anywhere.” Burton says he hasn’t been the middle of the discussions because “It’s about what they want to do, it has nothing to do with what I want to do. I think Kevin’s only hang up is…can we do as a company what we need to do to be successful and to compete for championships. It’s nothing personal, it’s all just about performance. Kevin is talented enough and good enough he deserves to have a chance at the very best equipment he can get his hands on because if he has it he can be highly successful. I can speak from experience…he won’t go somewhere else and see a whole lot more than what he can see right here.”(PRN’s Garage Pas Radio Show)(5-3-2006)
- #09 to skip Richmond; Wallace tests #52 at LMS: James Finch’s #09 Phoenix Racing Team has decided to not compete in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series race at Richmond [they tested there] so they can pool all their efforts towards their #1 Miccosukee Gaming Dodge entry in the Busch Series race the day before at the same track. Mike Wallace will continue as the driver of the #1 car this weekend. Also, today Wallace tested the #52 car for Rick Ware at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Wallace will drive the #52 in the Nextel Open race later this month [May 20].(motorsportslounge.com)(5-3-2006)
- DNF’s – Blaney at 27: #22-Dave Blaney has been running at the finish in 27 consecutive races, the longest current streak. Next is #29-Kevin Harvick at 21 races.(5-3-2006)
- NASCAR on Fox wins 3 Emmys: Fox Sports officials announced that the network has won three Emmy awards for its NASCAR coverage. “NASCAR on Fox” won Emmys for Outstanding Technical Team Remote, Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound and Outstanding Live Sports Series. This is the second time NASCAR on Fox has been recognized for an outstanding live sports series and raises the series’ Emmy total to nine in five years of coverage.(SceneDaily.com)(5-3-2006)
- Childress Vineyards Set to Release Racing Collection: Childress Vineyards is set to release its first collection of race-related wine sets celebrating the championship style of RCR Racing, one of NASCAR’s most winning franchises owned by Richard Childress. The Collector’s Edition sets will feature “Champion’s Blend” Meritage Red Wine individually boxed with two etched crystal Childress Vineyards logo wine glasses. Each of RCR’s car numbers, #29, #31, #21, and #2, will have its own label while a special bottling, called “Legendary,” is planned for the #3. The “Legendary” Limited Collector’s Edition will come in a boxed set along with two etched crystal wine glasses, featuring the number 3. Members of Childress Vineyards Fast Track Wine Club will have the first opportunity to order the Collector’s Edition boxed sets until April 30. Remaining supplies will go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 15 with a limit of 3 per person. The sets will be sold exclusively at the winery in Lexington, N.C. Each will retail for $99.99. Wine club members will receive a discount of 15%.(RCR)(5-3-2006)
- Testing at LMS – Day 1, spins. wrecks, some speeds SPEED page: Nextel Cup Series teams are turning laps today at Lowes Motor Speedway testing the newly repaved surface. Several drivers have already had problems including Paul Menard who spun in turn four and flattened the right side of the #15 Menards Chevy. “Something broke in the front end, probably a tie rod is what we’re thinking. Something broke and then she went straight.” Joe Nemechek also spun in turn four and backed the #01 US Army Chevy into the wall. Neither driver was injured. Brian Vickers spun his #25 GMAC Chevy in turn two but didn’t hit anything. #99-Carl Edwards was very impressed with the surface saying “The most noticeable thing is it’s glass smooth. There’s a couple little-bitty bumps but overall it’s very smooth, and they don’t have any lines painted on it. It’s wild, it’s so dark, you know black and there’s no lines, no nothing, it’s hard to get perspective a little bit but it’s gonna be fun.”
More crashes and spinners prior to the dinner break. #2-Kurt Busch hit in the inside of the turn two wall and crunched the right front of the Miller Lite Dodge. #49-Brent Sherman spun between turns three and four and flattened the side of his car. #11-Denny Hamlin spun in turn two but didn’t hit anything. #22-Dave Blaney got too close to the turn four wall and lightly damaged his machine. In the evening session, #1-Martin Truex Jr. wrecked and #25-Vickers spun, no one was injured.(PRN’s Garage Pas Radio Show)
AND Among the drivers testing at the track outside Charlotte are Bill Elliott in the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Dodge in preparation of his five-race schedule, which will begin July 9 at Chicagoland. Johnny Sauter is testing a #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet for possible future races, including the Coca-Cola 600 at LMS.(SceneDaily.com), no speeds reported yet.
AND II Kyle Petty and the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge team were the sixth fastest at the end of the afternoon session. Petty ran a lap of 30.015 seconds at a speed of 179.910mph. Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team were the 41st fastest after the afternoon session. Labonte had a fast lap of 30.408 seconds/179.585mph.(Petty Racing/Moore Consulting Group PR)(5-2-2006)
SPEEDS: Sixty-Five cars took to the track in the afternoon session of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Fastest was #29a-Harvick with a speed of 180.620mph, followed by #20b-Stewart 180.481, #48-Johnson 180.439, #31b-Burton 180.391 and #6b-Martin 180.066. Slowest were #15b-Menard 173.617 and #49-Sherman 174.205
In the Evening session: fastest of 66 cars were #07a-Bowyer at 183.892mph, followed by #11-Hamlin 183.799, #20b-Stewart 183.717, #99b-Edwards 183.705 and #21b-Schrader 183.667. Slowest were #32b-Kvapil 178.147 and #40a-Stremme 178.424. Looks like Kevin Lepage took over the #49 Dodge for the evening session.
See all the speeds from day 1 on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-3-2006)
News from May 2, 2006
- Changes at the #55 team: #55-Michael Waltrip heads into Richmond International Raceway this weekend looking for a little magic to get the #55 NAPA Dodge back into the top-35 in NASCAR owner’s points. This obviously isn’t where we had hoped to be coming into the 10th race of 2006,” said Waltrip. “In an effort to address the situation, we decided to make some changes.” Waltrip has brought in NASCAR veterans Bobby Kennedy, Larry Carter and Jason Oversteet to work on the car and call the race. Derrick Finley will reassume his role as Bill Davis Racing team engineer. “It is extremely important that we use all of the resources we have at both Bill Davis Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing to get our program where it needs to be,” said Waltrip. “Bobby, Larry and Jason have been working on getting our Burger King cars built that we will run with Bill Elliott this year. Getting those guys to the track and working with our NAPA car will not only help us now, but it will also allow them to gather ‘at-track’ data for that effort as well.”(Michael Waltrip Racing)(5-2-2006)
- Boris and Stoddard to Roush? UPDATE 2 No Fear Racing: hearing #36 MB2 Motorsports crew chief, Frank Stoddard has left MC2 Motorsports and gone back to Roush Racing [where is was the crew chief of the #99 and Jeff Burton for years] and that driver Boris Said also signed with Roush Racing. Not sure of the details or specifics yet but hearing the races planned are Infineon Raceway, Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Brickyard 400 and Watkins Glen. Could be in the #06 the Todd Kleuver is supposed to run 6 races in later this year as these four races are not on Kleuver’s Cup schedule. Stoddard mentioned this on the radio show, The Morning Buzz, which Stoddard calls in to give NASCAR reports on Tuesday mornings.(4-4-2006)
UPDATE: Boris Said and veteran crew chief Frank Stoddard have formed their own Nextel Cup team, Yahoo! Sports has learned. They are partnering with long-time Said associate and former driver and team owner Mark Simo. The team, which is slated to run four or five races this season, will work with Roush Racing, which has offered to supply the team with cars, engines and technical expertise. Stoddard recently left MB2 Motorsports and speculation was that he was set to rejoin Roush. But Stoddard, who used to be crew chief for Roush’s #99 car when Jeff Burton was behind the wheel, instead has been working with Roush officials on forming the new team. Said has been frustrated with his inability to find a regular Cup ride this season after running nine races with MB2 in 2005 with Stoddard as his crew chief. After Simo’s No Fear clothing company purchased a building adjacent to Roush Racing headquarters in Concord, N.C., for a planned East Coast distribution center, Said, who has been working as a consultant for Roush’s teams, began talking with Roush about possibly starting a team. The current plan is for the new team to run the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway road course in June, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July, the Brickyard in August and the Watkins Glen road course, also in August. The team has secured sponsorship for at least four races, with an announcement regarding sponsorship details to come.(Yahoo Sports)(4-5-2006)
UPDATE 2: Action sports lifestyle brand No Fear, based in Carlsbad, California, has announced its plans to contest four races in the 2006 Nextel Cup schedule. Dubbed “No Fear Racing”, the new effort will run as a satellite operation of Roush Racing, and will be headquartered at the brand’s new east coast corporate headquarters in Concord, NC. Road racing ace and NASCAR veteran Boris Said will drive NFR’s #60 Ford Fusion, with primary sponsorship coming from the SoBe No Fear energy drink. Said will also co-own the team, alongside No Fear CEO Mark Simo and crew chief Frank Stoddard. NFR will debut at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway the weekend of June 24-25. It will then compete in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on August 6 and at Watkins Glen a week later.(Speed Channel)(5-2-2006)
- Rowdy Signs with Cingular: Rowdy, the daily racing radio show you get on your cell phone, announced today that they have signed a deal with Cingular, the nation’s largest wireless company. The deal will allow Cingular customers exclusive access the Rowdy program on their phone for $4.99/month. Every day listeners get the unique Rowdy news feed, featuring Mark Garrow’s report from the garage, along with driver interviews and exclusive expert commentary from regulars like former Cup driver Rick Mast, championship-winning crew chief Barry Dodson, Jayski of jayski.com, and top veteran journalists, David Poole of the Charlotte Observer, Steve Waid of NASCAR Scene, and of course Garrow. Additional regular features include daily racing trivia, a points review with Dr. Marlon Fescue, stories from the old days with Sonny Callahan, and exclusive race previews and wrap-ups. Most important, Rowdy lets fans talk back and make their voices part of the show too. To sign up for Rowdy, Cingular customers can dial #500 or dial *8 on their phone and say “Rowdy.” For more info visit www.rowdy.com.(5-2-2006)
- #21 Crew Chief penalized: NASCAR announced that David Hyder, crew chief for the #21 Nextel Cup Series team, has been fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006 for a rule violation at Phoenix International Raceway. Hyder violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20-10.8.4I (unapproved tire warming by using a portable heater) of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. The rule violation was discovered during the running of the Subway Fresh 500 on April 22.(NASCAR)(5-1-2006)
- Donnie & Bobby Allison join TV Project: NASCAR driving legend Donnie Allison has joined his brother Bobby as a commentator on the new Reality Racing – The Rookie Challenge network television series. The Reality Racing – The Rookie Challenge combines two of the most prevalent on-air entertainment concepts – stock car racing and reality television – to create a unique, action-packed, 13-week series scheduled to air on a major network later this year. The Series will pit contestants with absolutely no racing backgrounds and from all walks of life against each other in a stock car racing competition format. Helping to judge the competitors will be a panel of select, former stock car racing stars headed by the Allisons. Additional information on Reality Racing, Inc. and the new series can be obtained at www.realityracingtv.com.(PR)(5-2-2006)
- Kahne needs clearance to test at Lowe’s UPDATE: NASCAR officials say Evernham Motorsports driver #9-Kasey Kahne will have to get medical clearance before he’s allowed to test Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kahne talked with Dr. Jerry Petty, a Charlotte, N.C., neurosurgeon, on Monday and has a Tuesday morning appointment with Petty to get clearance. Kahne crashed early in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway Monday afternoon, and NASCAR officials did not allow him to return to the Nextel Cup race. “The medical people didn’t think it would be good for him to get back in the car again,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said, adding that the driver of the #9 Dodge was too “shaken up” to return. Kahne went to the infield care center after the accident and walked to his hauler in the Nextel Cup garage. “I just got checked out, and everything is fine,” Kahne said. Hermie Sadler, also involved in the lap 9 crash, got behind the wheel of Kahne’s No. 9 when it returned on lap 85. By NASCAR rules, Kahne will get the driver points for the team’s finish in the race.(SceneDaily.com)(5-1-2006)
UPDATE: #9-Kasey Kahne will not test Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after a hard crash Monday during the race at Talladega Superspeedway. Kahne said he plans to get approval Wednesday to test on the second day of the two-day test in Charlotte. He said he will not go to see Dr. Jerry Petty, a Charlotte, N.C., neurosurgeon, until Wednesday morning. No one filled in for Kahne in Evernham Motorsports’s #9 Dodge as the test on the repaved Lowe’s Motor Speedway track got under way Tuesday morning. The #9 hauler did arrive at the track to get the cars set up.(SceneDaily.com)(5-2-2006)
- Knaus Wins WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Talladega: In typical Talladega fashion, the Aaron’s 499 played out like a 200 mph game of chess. In the end, it was Chad Knaus’ decision to bring the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in for service on the last round of pit stops which proved to be the game winning strategy. Jimmie Johnson’s fresh tires were exactly what he needed to climb through the pack and capture the win. Knaus’ triumphant tactics earned him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. With 22 laps to go, Knaus was left with the difficult choice of whether to have his driver pit or stay on the track. Knaus elected to have Johnson reload with fresh tires for the final run. The decision put Johnson in 15th place for the restart, but Johnson had little difficulty storming to the front. A panel of voters; including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Sr. and a Wypall Wipers representative; agreed that Knaus’ strategy earned him Crew Chief of the Race honors. For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, Wypall Wipers presented Knaus $1,000. At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. This was Knaus’ first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier and Roy McCauley for second-place in the standings. Robbie Reiser and Kenny Francis are tied for the lead, each with two wins.(Wypall PR)(5-2-2006)
- Foyt to run Indy 500: former Cup driver, Larry Foyt will enter his third straight Indianapolis 500 driving for his famous father A.J. Foyt. The 29-year-old Houstonian will drive the #41 Honda-powered Panoz. Since Foyt has not driven an Indy car since last year’s 500, he’ll take a refresher test this Monday, May 8 during the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). Once he’s completed the test, which is the final two phases of the ROP speed test, he will continue practicing for the remainder of the day. Last year Foyt was involved in an accident on lap 15. He sustained a lower back injury which sidelined him for six weeks. He has completely recovered.(A.J. Foyt Racing)(5-2-2006)
News from May 1, 2006
- Graphics Company Sells: Motorsports Designs Holding, Inc. of High Point, North Carolina, which supplies more than 60% of NASCAR teams with their racing graphics, has been acquired by an affiliate of Vomela Specialty Company of St. Paul, Minnesota.(PR)(5-1-2006)
- COT to the Wind Tunnel: NASCAR plans to take its car of tomorrow [COT] to a wind tunnel this week and test different nose pieces.(Roanoke Times)(5-1-2006)
- Time chooses Brian France as influential: Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR — has a new title to his name today courtesy of TIME Magazine. France, 43, is one of the world’s 100 most influential people, according to an edition of the magazine that hits newsstands today. He was selected in the “Builders and Titans” category, one of five that also include heroes and pioneers; leaders and revolutionaries; scientists and thinkers and artists and entertainers. This is the third year TIME has published such a list, with other famous people invited to write profiles of those who are selected as the most influential people in the world. Darrell Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR driving champion and race analyst for Fox Sports, wrote about France.(Daytona Beach News Journal and see the story at TIME.com)(5-1-2006)
- Johnson wins at Talladega: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the rain-delayed Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, leading the final lap, drafting by #25-Brian Vickers on the last lap, bring #20-Tony Stewart with him. The win is Johnson’s 3rd of 2006 and 21st of his career plus his 2nd straight restrictor plate race win. Stewart finished 2nd, followed by Vickers, #31-Jeff Burton and #26-Jamie McMurray. #24-Gordon was leading with 2 laps to go and got shuffled back and finished 15th. Pole sitter, #38-Elliott Sadler finished 16th. Johnson retakes the points lead and wins the $60,000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus for leading the points and winning the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost an engine on lap 151 and finished 31st. There were 8 cautions for 34 laps and 22 leaders with 56 lead changes. The stands at Talladega were pretty full even after the race was postponed a day due to rain on Sunday.
Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page.
Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-1-2006)
- Talladega Race Notes:
• Jimmie Johnson won the 2006 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring his 21st NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 156th career start. Johnson’s last victory came at Las Vegas in March, six races ago.
• Johnson also won the $60,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points. This is the second time this season that Johnson has won the bonus claiming all $90,000 in the first nine races.
• Twenty of Johnson’s 21 victories have come on a superspeedway.
• This is Johnson’s second victory in a restrictor plate race. His first came in this year’s Daytona 500.
• Johnson has scored three victories in nine races in 2006, the most of all drivers.
• Johnson became the 34th different race winner in 74 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Talladega.
• Johnson scored his seventh top-10 finish in nine races this season, the most among all drivers.
• Johnson climbed from second to first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. After nine races in 2005, he also ranked first in the point standings.
• Johnson led only two times for three laps including the final lap in the Aaron’s 499.
• This is team owner Rick Hendrick’s 143rd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored seven NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Talladega, second only to Richard Childress who has nine.
• Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
• Jeff Gordon led the most laps for the first time in 2006. Gordon led 62 laps in today’s race. The last time Gordon led the most laps in a race occurred one year ago in this race when he led 139 of the 194 lap race.
• Tony Stewart (second) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 15 races at Talladega Superspeedway. Stewart has finished second in six races at Talladega including the last three, but has yet to score a Talladega NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. He scored his sixth top-10 finish of the season, all top-fives and climbed from fifth to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. One year ago Stewart ranked sixth after nine races.
• Brian Vickers (third) scored his second top-10 finish in five races at Talladega Superspeedway and climbed from 19th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It is his third top 10 finish this season.
• Jeff Burton (fourth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 25 races at Talladega and his second-best best finish here. He finished third here in October 2001. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. He climbed from 13th to 12th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 18th after nine races.
• Jamie McMurray (fifth) scored his third top-10 finish in eight races at Talladega. It was his third top-10 finish in 2006. He climbed from 20th to 17th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 10th after nine races
• J.J. Yeley finished 11th Talladega and was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender.
• At least one Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
• Raybestos Rookie contenders Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex who were ranked in the top-15 in points coming into this race both were involved in the lap-9 accident and dropped to 18th and 20th respectively.
• Mark Martin (35th) ended a streak of 12 straight top-15 finishes since Atlanta last October.
• Joe Nemechek (27th) ended a 40-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last April, which was the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-1-2006)
- Rumblings – Talladega: We had an early melee (a 13 car job on Lap 10), green flag pit stop mishaps (missing lugs…..catch can making laps), 56 lead changes and 22 different leaders. That can only mean one thing…..we’re at Talladega Superspeedway. Jimmie Johnson survived a wild 9-lap shootout to the finish today (one day late) to take the Aaron’s 499 over Tony Stewart. The lead only changed hands 5 times in that last green flag run….but don’t think it calmed down any. It was your typical wild plate race with four and five wide most of the day (and these guys just haven’t figured out that don’t work too often).
JJ’s win was his third of the season (he’s taken both plate events) and the 21st of his NEXTEL Cup career (he’s now tied for 27th on the all-time win list with Benny Parsons, Jack Smith, and Bobby Labonte). Win #143 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $326,061 from the over $5.9M in posted awards.
Brian Vickers (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at California last September.
Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Bristol last August.
Jamie McMurray (5th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona last July.
Robby Gordon (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Phoenix last November. Robby’s Top-10 gives us 30 drivers at that mark this season…. last year we had 43 of ’em.
Jeremy Mayfield (13th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Homestead last November.
Jeff Green (14th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Lowe’s last May.
Travis Kvapil (19th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Phoenix last November.
Chad Chaffin (30th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 36th at Martinsville last month.
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races.
Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week (for the second time this season) was Jeff Burton (+36), followed by Brian Vickers (+30), Jeff Green (+25), Scott Riggs (+23), Jeremy Mayfield (+23), and Scott Wimmer (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper (for the third time this season….and that tells you how his year has gone) was Greg Biffle (-31), followed by Sterling Marlin (-28 ), Mark Martin (-25), Clint Bowyer (-25), and Joe Nemechek (-21). It was a typical Talladega day in the “Shaft” as well.
We had five drivers lead a lap today for the first time this season (with 22 different leaders today that was real unexpected, huh?). Robby Gordon led for the first time since he led one lap at New Hampshire last September, Jeremy Mayfield led for the first time since he led one lap at Lowe’s last October, Casey Mears led for the first time since he led twice for 75 laps at Homestead last November, Scott Wimmer led for the first time since he led once for 15 circuits at Phoenix last November, and Joe Nemechek led for the first time since he led once for two laps at Homestead last November. That gives us 38 different leaders this season….last year we had 51 different drivers to lead a lap.
Jimmie Johnson regains the points lead as the “Stayin’ Alive” line moves all the way up to 12th! They can talk all they want about the close points race, but last year at this time we had 18 drivers still above the mark of insignificance…. Three drivers moved forward four spots today (Brian Vickers, J. J. Yeley, and Scott Riggs) while Clint Bowyer & Kenny Schrader both fell six spots.(Stock Car Fans)(5-1-2006)