May 2007 News Archives
News from May 31, 2007
- NASCAR Might Relax Testing Policy: NASCAR is considering opening up its restrictive testing policy, which several teams already have skirted this season. Currently, rules limit teams to seven tests on Nextel Cup-sanctioned tracks, and crew chiefs help NASCAR decide the venues and dates. NASCAR adopted that policy two years ago to help underfunded teams keep up with big-budget organizations, who could afford to test anytime. But as the Car of Tomorrow was rolled into competition, the top teams found ways to test it outside of the rules. “It appears that we’ve got teams that want to test more and teams that want to test less, and teams that test on tires that are not made by our tire supplier,” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “So we’re going to start looking at a lot of different things, from eventually lifting the test ban completely, or get as restrictive as we cannot let teams test anywhere at any time, or land somewhere in between.” NASCAR most likely will relax the restrictions, because it’s having a hard time policing teams. More than 20 teams tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Virginia International Raceway, a road course where they could simulate the June 24 race in Sonoma, Calif. Because VIR is not a sanctioned track, any team can go there and still be within NASCAR’s guidelines. But teams can’t use current Goodyear tires because of a leasing agreement intended to prevent extracurricular testing. To circumvent the lack of available tires, teams have started using other manufacturers for test sessions. They also snapped up much of Goodyear’s inventory from 2005 and earlier.(Associated Press)(5-31-2007)
- After 12 races in 2004-2006 worst spot a future chaser was? with #9-Kasey Kahne, 32nd in drivers championship points after 12 races, I have been asked…what is the worst spot a driver has come from after 12 races in the three previous Chase’s.
2006: after the 12th race, #11-Hamlin was 12th in drivers points [and made it in the chase at 5th]
2005: it was #17-Matt Kenseth who was 23rd [and made it in at 9th].
In the first year of the Chase, 2004: Mark Martin [then in the #6, now in the #01] was 15th [and went into the chase at 9th].
The three drivers who won the last three Nextel Cup Championships were no deeper then 8th, that being #97-Kurt Busch in 2004. In 2006 #48-Jimmie Johnson was 1st and in 2005, #20-Tony Stewart was 6th
What drivers were highest in the points after 12 races and did NOT make the Chase?
2006: #20-Stewart was 4th
2005: #38[now #19]-Sadler was 3rd
2004: #18-now #43]-Labonte was 6th
See some Chase stats on my Chase Stats after Charlotte page.(5-31-2007)
- Only the second time ever in the Cup series: Casey Mears becomes another first time winner for Rick Hendrick (the 8th from the Hendrick stable). Brian Vickers was the last first time winner, also from the Hendrick stable. In fact, they both won their first career race while driving the same car, Hendrick’s #25 Chevy. Did you know that the only other time that consecutive ‘first-time’ winners drove the same car was way back in 1950, 57 years ago. Harold Kite scored his first career win while driving his own #21 Lincoln. Then the next first time winner in the top series was Tim Flock, driving the same #21 Lincoln. These are the only two instances in which the same car produced two consecutive ‘first-time’ winners. Did you know part 2 – Only 4 times in Cup history has an owner produced 2 consecutive first time winners. The two mentioned above plus: in 1957, Bob Welborn was the car owner when he won his first race. Then Bob Welborn was the car owner of the next first-time winner, Max Welborn. And in recent times, Jack Roush was the owner of consecutive first-timers, Greg Biffle in 2003 and then Carl Edwards broke a 1 1/2 year drought of first-timers, in 2005.(LTPicks.com)(5-31-2007)
- Charlotte TV Ratings down, but beat the Indy 500: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.5 and a 10 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 11.8% lower than the 5.1/11 the race earned last year. The NASCAR race, however, again outdrew ABC’s coverage of Sunday’s Indianpolis 500, which earned a 4.3. ABC’s ratings for the IndyCar event were down 15.7% from a 5.1 last year, the Daily reported. The open-wheel Indy race had earned a 4.6 overnight rating, edging the 4.5 the Cup race drew overnight in the nation’s largest markets.(SceneDaily.com). see more on ratings and the 2007 chart on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(5-31-2007)
- Sad News – Jimmy Crawford: In the nearly 60 years that NASCAR has been holding races, there have been lots of upset wins. Few have been as stunning as the one Jimmy Crawford and his brother pulled off at Talladega on Aug. 12, 1973. The Crawford brothers — Jimmy and Peter of Toccoa were pilots for Eastern Airlines at the time — took a car prepared in their parents’ basement in College Park, hired a journeyman driver named Dick Brooks and astounded the racing world by winning the Talladega 500. James Harrison Crawford Jr., 62, of Fayetteville died of a heart ailment Saturday at his house on Lake Jackson. The body was cremated. The memorial service was Thursday [May 31st] at Carl J. Mowell and Son Funeral Home, Fayetteville, GA. Eddie Wood, co-owner of the #21 Ford now driven by Bill Elliott and a friend of Mr. Crawford, said the Crawfords’ Talladega win was a major accomplishment. “They came into NASCAR and basically did it on their own, mostly just the two of them,” Mr. Wood said of the Crawfords’ brief but successful venture into major-league racing. “And that day at Talladega, they did a really good job and beat the best in the sport.” Mr. Crawford started his NASCAR career as a driver, concentrating on the superspeedways. From 1970 to 1974, he made 15 starts in the series now known as the Nextel Cup. His best days as a driver came in February 1974, when he qualified for NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, and finished 19th. “Just making the 500 was as tough then as it is now,” Mr. Wood said. But it was the Talladega win that earned Mr. Crawford and his brother a special place in NASCAR history.”
“It was our day in the sun,” Mr. Crawford said in a 2000 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We were all just stunned. I didn’t really believe it happened until I read it in the paper on Monday morning.” The Crawfords rarely raced after their Talladega victory. NASCAR’s rules on engines and cars were changing, rendering most of their equipment obsolete. And the sport was growing, getting more expensive and too time-consuming for people who had other careers. “We would have liked to have gone on and been more successful,” Mr. Crawford said. “But the handwriting was on the wall.” The Crawfords disappeared from the racing scene but were never forgotten. Just two weeks ago, Mr. Wood called Mr. Crawford to reminisce about the old days. “I hadn’t talked to him in 30 years,” Mr. Wood said. “But after we talked for a few minutes, it all came right back, just like we’d been talking on and off all along. We had some good times back then.” Survivors other than his brother include his wife, Rebecca B. Crawford; three daughters, Natasha Crawford of Fayetteville, Renee Crawford of Los Angeles and Charisse Meitin of Gaithersburg, Md.; a son, James Crawford IV of Newnan; his mother, June Crawford of College Park; and six grandchildren.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-31-2007)
- Dover Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Montoya placed 28th and took top rookie honors for the fifth time this season. Montoya leads David Ragan by six points (131-125) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 3 Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa at Dover International Speedway. Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa, scoring an 11th-place finish. Only two Raybestos Rookies have won the spring race at Dover: Jimmie Johnson and Davey Allison, who both scored their second career wins at Dover. Johnson won the 2002 race while Allison captured the 1987 event. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in the spring race at Dover is second by Morgan Shepherd in 1981.(Raybestos PR), see full report on my 2007 Rookie Page.(5-31-2007)
- Hamlin’s Team Captures Pit Crew Challenge Win in Charlotte: Denny Hamlin’s #11 over-the-wall crew claimed the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s Memorial Day weekend classic at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This is the team’s third win and moves them in to second-place in the season-long standings. The FedEx team, which spent 423.882 seconds on pit road, helped its driver to a ninth-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600. Checkers/Rally’s will award an $11,000 prize to Hamlin’s over-the-wall team for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most Double Drive-Thru Challenge wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew includes: Scott Wood (jackman), Scott Merritt (front-tire carrier), Dennis Terry (front-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Jonathan Sherman (rear-tire changer), Brad Rothlin (gasman), John Eicher (catch can) and Bobby Christensen (eighth-man). The pit crew coordinator is Paul Alepa. Twelve races into the Nextel Cup season, Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 pit crew leads the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-31-2007)
News from May 30, 2007
- Evernham close to a deal to sale part of team: Ray Evernham expects to finalize the sale of an unspecified portion of his Nextel Cup Series operation to Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. within 60 to 90 days, the team owner told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “It’s not done, but we’re working on it pretty hard,” Evernham said. “Honestly, I’m flying to Chicago and we’re hammering through some things. Things are looking really positive, but it’s not done. Quite honestly, it’s not going to be done for another 60 to 90 days. It takes a long, long time, but it looks good. We’ve agreed to go forward, but there’s so much legal stuff that’s got to be done. It takes months. I feel positive it’ll get done. I really do.” Evernham chose not to divulge the exact percentage of his company Gillett would acquire, but did say both gentlemen would have a “substantial stake in the business side of things.” Evernham also said he would still run EMS’ day-to-day operations. Evernham said there are multiple contracts to wade through and further due diligence to complete. Once done, Evernham says the deal would instantly elevate EMS toward the Nextel Cup elite.(ESPN.com)(5-30-2007)
- Cup teams test COT on VIR road course: Nearly 25 NASCAR stars testing the Car of Tomorrow for its road course debut flocked to VIRginia International Raceway Tuesday, taking advantage of the track’s test days to prepare for the Sonoma and Watkins Glen races. The day went almost without incident as #20-Tony Stewart had an engine problem almost as soon as he hit the track in the morning. Then #11-Denny Hamlin had a differential failure late in the day, causing the car to be towed in behind a team truck. The best lap times of the day, on VIR’s 2.25-mile North Course, hovered just under one minute, twenty-nine seconds, but differences in tires and sometimes in time of day, make absolute comparisons meaningless. Several teams had laps around 1:28.8, including #43-Bobby Labonte, #47-Marcos Ambrose, and the Hendrick team’s development driver. With the wide variety of tires used, Labonte joked that at Sonoma, at least everyone would be on the same tires. He also expressed hope that they would be “better” than the tires used last weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s Coca Cola 600, where some teams elected not to change tires for one or two fuel stops. Testing continues on Wednesday, with several teams leaving after Tuesday’s testing ended, but several more expected. Teams expected to test on Wednesday include Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, DEI, RCR, Petty, Hall of Fame Racing, Ray Evernham and several others.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located just on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Virginia. Reopened in 2000, VIR today hosts nearly every kind of motorsport event possible. VIR’s next major event is the June 8-10 Heacock Classic Gold Cup Historic Races, where fans can see classic racing cars celebrating the track’s fiftieth anniversary. Legendary driver and creator of the Cobra Carroll Shelby has agreed to be Grand Marshal and will be reunited with the Maserati 450S model he drove to a victory in the track’s first feature race. Tickets are available online at the track’s web site, www.virclub.com, by logging onto www.etix.com or by calling the track at 434.822.7700.(VIR PR)(5-30-2007)
- McMurray to run special Autism scheme at Dover: #26-Jamie McMurray, who has been one of the most vocal spokesmen for autism awareness in the sport of NASCAR, hopes to bring a lot more attention to the cause this weekend with a new autism-themed paint scheme, firesuit, helmet and gloves. “I went to Crown Royal a few weeks ago and asked them how I can do more in support of the Autism Speaks 400,” said McMurray. “I had the idea of wearing a different firesuit and helmet in the race and then auctioning them off after and have all of the funds go towards the Jamie McMurray Foundation, which supports autism research, education and families afflicted with autism. Needless to say, Crown Royal was very supportive and backed us completely.” Crown Royal even went further and changed the look of the #26 Ford Fusion for this weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway. The sides, front and rear of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will be outfitted with the well-known autism puzzle piece design. Along with the special paint scheme on the #26 Ford Fusion, McMurray will also don a new firesuit, helmet and gloves – all of which will be outfitted with the Autism puzzle piece design. Following the race, all of these special items will be auctioned off on Speed Channel’s website (www.speedtv.com) with the proceeds going to benefit the Jamie McMurray Foundation. Heading into this weekend, McMurray, along with a handful of NASCAR drivers, will participate in the Drive for Autism Research Golf Tournament in Wilmington, Del. The golf tournament is organized by Artie Kempner of FOX Sports, with the proceeds of the tournament being split between the foundations of McMurray and Elliott Sadler. This Sunday morning at the Dover International Speedway media center, McMurray will be presenting Autism Speaks with a charitable donation. The presentation is set to begin at 9:30am/et.(Roush Racing)(5-29-2007)
- Hornish tests stock car in MIS ARCA test: IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. can’t get enough racing these days. Fresh off a fourth-place finish in last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, the three-time IndyCar Series champion turned a few laps Tuesday in a stock car at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish was preparing for a possible run in the June 15 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at the track. “I’d love to run the ARCA race in June,” Hornish said. “I think that getting here for this test is a fairly good indication that we will be able to run the ARCA RE/MAX Series race.” The test with 14 other ARCA drivers marked a new experience for the 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner. Though this was his first time in a stock car at MIS, Hornish has five IndyCar Series starts at the track. He’s no stranger to stock cars on a two-mile oval. Hornish has some seat time in the Busch Series race at California Speedway, the sister track to MIS. Both tracks are similarly configured, but each is unique and some uncertainty, he said, always looms. A Midwest native, Michigan International Speedway is a favorite stop for Hornish. And with three event weekends at MIS that could potentially include Hornish, that’s a good thing. Besides next month’s ARCA RE/MAX Series race and the Aug. 5 IndyCar Series race at MIS, race fans could also see Hornish competing in the Busch Series CARFAX 250 on Aug. 18. Hornish has a limited stock car schedule for 2007 under his legendary open-wheel team owner Roger Penske that includes a few Busch Series events. He has five Busch Series starts so far this season, and competing in an ARCA race may give Hornish some extra practice and a competitive edge in that series. Tickets for all MIS races, including the Nextel Cup Series Citizens Bank 400 on June 17 and the 3M Performance 400 on August 19, are on sale by calling the MIS Ticket Hotline at (800) 354-1010 or by visiting www.MISpeedway.com.(MIS PR)(5-30-2007)
- AT&T suit could have Alltel rethinking its plans: The court ruling that allowed AT&T to rebrand the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy has Alltel thinking about challenging the restrictions placed on its NASCAR team sponsorship. Until now, Alltel has abided by a set of rules that aren’t specifically written into its deal with Penske Racing, and many of those rules restrict Alltel from activating its deal the way other sponsors do. Because it is a wireless company that competes directly against Sprint Nextel, which spends close to $100 million a year to be NASCAR’s top series sponsor, Alltel can’t set up interactive displays, it can’t title sponsor a race, it can’t do any more than put its mark on driver Ryan Newman, the car, the pit crew and a single merchandise trailer. And like Cingular, Alltel has always been told that it can’t change its name if ever acquired by another company. But these prohibitions could be subject to debate after a judge’s ruling on May 18 that allowed Cingular’s #31 car to carry AT&T sponsorship. Sprint Nextel has said that the ruling diminishes its exclusivity in the sport. U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob granted AT&T a temporary injunction to put its blue globe on the #31 car because, in part, NASCAR’s restrictions weren’t specifically outlined in Cingular’s team contract with Richard Childress Racing. Alltel’s restrictions are likewise vaguely referenced in its contract with Penske, said Samira Zebian, Alltel’s director of sponsorship marketing. “Could this allow us to leverage the race track and other platforms that have been off-limits to us?” Zebian asked. “What has been conjecture in the past now must be formalized. We’ve always been very respectful of Nextel’s rights, but we need a better understanding of how far-reaching those rights are. What the suit brings to light is that a league deal shouldn’t impact our category so negatively that we can’t put our product in front of the fans the way every other team sponsor can.” Alltel has no plans to challenge NASCAR legally, Zebian said, but “it does force a conversation” about Alltel’s activation rights.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the case could prompt NASCAR to review the way its team contracts are written. The governing body has purposely kept the wording in the contracts as neutral as possible to maintain flexibility with the teams and sponsors, he said, but that flexibility could be lost in future contracts. NASCAR likely will be much more specific in its wording on any sponsor restrictions.
Once the AT&T trial concludes, though, the issue still might not be settled. Alltel was recently acquired by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners and while the name is expected to remain the same, some analysts believe Alltel remains a target for one of the larger wireless companies.(SportsBusiness Journal/SceneDaily.com)(5-30-2007)
News from May 29, 2007
- Hendrick Motorsports joins elite group: With #25-Casey Mears winning the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has now won five straight races [#25-Mears: Charlotte; #24-Gordon: Phoenix, Talladega, Darlington; and #48-Johnson: Richmond], the first team to do so since Petty Enterprises did so in 1971. Carl Kiekhafer’s team holds the record with 16 in 1956 with four drivers [the team won 40 of 56 races that season]PE also hold the record with 10 straight in 1967 [with Richard Petty winning all 10], the list:
2007 – Hendrick Motorsports – 5 wins in a row 4/22 to current
1971 – Petty Enterprises – 5 wins in a row from 7/14 to 8/1
1967 – Petty Enterprises – 10 in a row from 8/12 to 10/1
1963 – Petty Enterprises – 6 in a row from 4/14 to 5/5
1962 – Petty Enterprises – 6 in a row from 8/5 to 8/21
1956 – Carl Kiekhafer – 16 in a row from 3/25 to 6/3
- First Time Winners in Coke 600:
Five drivers have now won the spring race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway [World/Coca-Cola 600], #25-Casey Mears joined that group Sunday night [May 27th], the other four all went on to win at least one Cup chanpionship:
2000: Matt Kenseth [champ in 2003]
1995: Bobby Labonte [champ in 2000]
1994: Jeff Gordon [champ in 1995,1997,1998,2001]
1961: David Pearson: [champ in 1966,1968,1969]
- Hyder gets new gig, crew chief for Mayfield UPDATE: Crew chief David Hyder, fired from Michael Waltrip Racing last month, will return to the pit box next weekend at Dover International Speedway to guide the #36 Toyota driven by Jeremy Mayfield, Bill Davis Racing competition director Tommy Baldwin told ESPN.com Saturday. Hyder is already working in the BDR shop, preparing a car to test Tuesday at North Carolina Speedway in preparation for Dover, Baldwin said. Hyder was fined $100,000 and suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in the first week of the season after an illegal substance was found in the carburetor on the #55 Toyota prior to qualifying. NASCAR will lift the suspension on May 30, opening the door for Hyder to join BDR. Baldwin is relieved to bring Hyder on board. He’d been pulling double duty since March, serving both as crew chief for Mayfield’s team and as the organization’s competition director. “Thank god,” Baldwin said with a grin. “It’s time for me to focus on the future of this organization.” Hyder was unavailable for comment.(ESPN.com)(5-26-2007)
UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that David Hyder has joined the organization and will serve as crew chief for the #36 OTC 360 Racing team and driver Jeremy Mayfield beginning this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Hyder will take over for Interim Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin who will be left to concentrate on his position of Director of Competition for the BDR Nextel Cup Series program. “David is a competitor,” stated team owner Bill Davis. “He sees what needs to be done and he does it, and the 360 OTC Racing team and both the Bill Davis Racing Cup programs will benefit from that. I anticipate David and Jeremy working really well together and this team getting stronger and stronger each week. I think David will be a great addition to our organization.” Hyder joins Bill Davis Racing after spending several years as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premiere Series. Hyder spent two years in that capacity at BAM Racing before moving to the Wood Brothers Organization in 2006, working with Ken Schrader in the Cup Series and with Jon Wood in the team’s Busch Series program before heading back to BAM Racing to finish out the 2006 season. Hyder began the 2007 campaign at Michael Waltrip Racing. “It’s good to be back and it’s great to have an opportunity like this one,” said the 39-year-old Hyder. “I have a great deal of respect for Bill Davis. He’s been in this sport for a long time and has shown he knows what it takes to win. I’m looking forward to working with Jeremy, who has proven himself as a winner, Toyota, 360 OTC and everyone involved with the organization. I think there is a bright future at BDR and I’m glad to be a part of it. From what I can see, we have everything we need to build this #36 team into something we can all be proud of and I’m ready to get started.”
Hyder, a native of High Point, N.C., started his racing career behind the wheel and spent 17 years competing in late model cars in both the Hooters Pro Cup and Slim Jim All-Pro Series’ before jumping on top the pit box and calling the shots as a crew chief in the Hooters Pro Cup ranks. He began his tenure in NASCAR at Petty Enterprises and spent over four years with that organization serving as the car chief for the #43 and #45 Cup teams. Hyder, who resides in Trinity, N.C. has two children, ages 13 and 17.(BDR PR)(5-29-2007)
- Roush to test COT more: Ford team-owner Jack Roush [#6,16,17,26,99] will use B.F. Goodrich and/or Hoosier tires to test his Car of Tomorrow fleet on non-Nextel Cup tracks in coming months. The team owner believes Roush Fenway Racing is slightly behind rivals that are skirting the spirit of NASCAR’s testing policies. By rule, Cup teams are limited to a handful of closely-monitored official tests. Teams must test together at the same Cup venue, and on Goodyear Eagles. But several organizations have gotten around that limit by using Goodrich and/or Hoosiers for unofficial testing at outside tracks. “NASCAR wanted to start everybody in the Car of Tomorrow on an even basis, with [the same] four or five tests,” Roush said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Well, the teams that have been successful—the Hendrick organization, the Gibbs organization and the Childress organization—have tested their cars multiple times a week. They’ve gone to tracks outside NASCAR’s control with tires that were not from Goodyear. Right now, Goodyear is sitting on millions of dollars worth of tires that are growing obsolete and hard in their warehouses. Teams have gotten around NASCAR’s policy by buying other people’s tires and testing at tracks that aren’t on the Nextel Cup schedule. I got behind on that; I didn’t do that. But two weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer, and I’ve gone public. ‘OK, I’m getting in the testing game, too.’ If you don’t want us to test, have us sign something in the application. Something that says, ‘We agree we won’t test with Goodyears or anybody else’s tires, except for the tracks that NASCAR approves.’ But they didn’t do that; they left the door open and we got behind… but we’re going to catch up.” Strictly speaking, there’s nothing illegal about what the Hendrick, Gibbs and Childress teams are doing. Jeff Gordon, who’s won two CoT races—teammate Jimmie Johnson has won two and Kyle Busch the other—said Hendrick Motorsports shouldn’t apologize for its CoT success. “If the Roush teams aren’t doing that, then that’s their mistake,” the series points-leader said. “We’re doing everything we can to be competitive and we’re not doing anything wrong. It’s definitely playing a role in helping us get to where we are.”(Ford Racing)(5-29-2007)
- Award presented to military family..who get surprised: Inaugural American Eagle Award and Pre-Race Reunion Information: The inaugural American Eagle Award was presented to America’s military families as part of the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race festivities. Richard, Kyle and Samuel Bauerlein, of Ventura, Calif., were present to receive the award for the actions of family member Staff Sergeant Rashe Ryan Hall. Hall, a member of the 27th Engineer Battalion with the United States Army, is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., after serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been honored with the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and multiple medals and ribbons. On August 21, 2006, despite suffering burns from a rocket-propelled grenade during an ambush in Afghanistan, SSG Hall refused medical treatment, assisted a medic in treating others and charged up a hill to break up the ambush. SSG Hall was awarded both the Silver Star for gallantry and a Purple Heart for his actions. After receiving the award, Staff Sergeant Hall’s family remained on the frontstretch for the remainder of the pre-race show. Immediately following the national anthem, the Bauerleins were taken to the start/finish line; to their surprise, the pre-race stage pulled away to reveal SSG Hall waiting in the middle of the Coca-Cola 600 infield logo – reuniting them for the first time since he was released from Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. City of Concord Mayor Scott Padgett introduced Concord City Council member Dr. Hector Henry, a colonel in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps, who spoke of his 25 years as an elected official in the community and 33 years of military service.(LMS Pit Notes)(5-29-2007)
News from May 28, 2007
- Fast Cars & Superstars Reality Program to Debut June 7 on ABC: Twelve stars of entertainment, music and sports are dreaming of life in the fast lane as they race to the finish line in Fast Cars & Superstars, a new seven-episode reality series debuting on the ABC Television Network at 8:00pm/et Thursday, June 7. In each episode, viewers will watch celebrities train with a Gillette Young Guns professional driver. The show will culminate in a one-hour finale — a no holds barred, winner-take-all competition to be the first to lift the Fast Cars & Superstars trophy. The celebrity drivers include pop singer Jewel, actor William Shatner, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, actress Krista Allen, seven-time World All-Around Rodeo Champion Ty Murray, former NBA champion John Salley, former NFL Super Bowl champion John Elway, World Wrestling Entertainment champion John Cena, tennis star Serena Williams, volleyball great and model Gabrielle Reece, legendary surfer Laird Hamilton and former NFL Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Cowher. The series is hosted by ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne and co-hosted by former Cleveland Cavaliers center and current ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty. Fast Cars & Superstars – Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race was co-created by BBDO and Gillette and is produced by Radical Media in association with Embassy Row Sports.(ESPN PR)(5-28-2007)
- Goodyear officials say tires performed as expected: While several drivers complained about the hard tire that Goodyear brought to Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the manufacturer said that the performance of the tire in the race was in line with expectations. Sunday night’s race showcased an unusual number of cut tires, an official said, as well as a heat problem causing #16-Greg Biffle’s tire to fail. Several drivers complained about various aspects of the tire, raising concerns varying from inconsistency from set to set with the tires to complaining about the hard compound that made it tough to get any grip on the track. Goodyear brought a harder left-side tire than drivers saw at the track in the fall to make sure that the tires held up on the track that was repaved prior to the 2006 season. While drivers understood the safety concession, that didn’t stop the comments. Goodyear officials, though, maintained that the race played out as expected. “Tire performance was exactly what we expected from a wear and temperature perspective,” Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales said. “In fact, Kurt Busch ran the first 140 laps of the race on a single set of tires. There were an unusually high number of cut tires during the Cup race — we counted seven. In addition, several tires were damaged by contact and we had one melted bead as a result of excessive brake heat on the #16 [of Biffle].”(SceneDaily.com)(5-28-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Coca-Cola 600:
Total number of commercials: 170
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 95
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 42
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 5:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 10:28PM
Total minutes: 298
Minutes of race broadcast: 226
Minutes of commercials: 72
Total race brdcst time: 226 Total comm. brdcst time: 72
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(5-28-2007)
- Roush, Red Sox Plan New England Bash: The first major collaboration to come from the partnership between Fenway Sports Group and the former Roush Racing will take place next month in Boston and New Hampshire with an event called Roush Fenway Days. Roush Fenway Racing will have two days of activities at Fenway Park June 28-29, culminating with a baseball game between The Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers on June 29th. “We’re having our midyear sponsor summit there, followed by the game,” said Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith. “We’re having our big racing displays and event displays, like you would here at a racetrack, surround the park and be somewhat in the park. People get to participate in batting practice and there will be a big P.R. rollout inside the park with the drivers and players and so forth.” From there, Smith said, the action will move to New Hampshire International Speedway, site of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup race July 1. “I think you’ll see one of our cars with a special paint scheme and some special guests,” said Smith. “It’ll integrate NASCAR and the whole Fenway Red Sox experience kind of all in one big weekend.” Smith also said the team is close to announcing a title sponsor to the event.(SPEEDtv.com)(5-28-2007)
- Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC: ESPN2 will feature Busch Series racing live Saturday, June 2, from the Monster Mile, Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2:30pm/et, and the 200-mile race starts at 3:00pm/et. ESPN’s Suzy Kolber will make her debut as host of NASCAR Countdown at Dover, joined in the ESPN Pit Studio by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will be at the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for the race telecast, with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the ESPN booth for analysis. Jarrett is filling in for ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace, who will rejoin NASCAR coverage next week at Nashville. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will serve as pit reporters. In addition to the telecast on ESPN2, ESPN’s signature broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver a live online simulcast of the event, and a Spanish-language version of the race will be televised on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language network. ESPN2, the home of the Busch Series in 2007, will have live coverage of qualifying from Dover International Speedway as well as the series’ final practice session as it prepares for Saturday’s 200-mile race. Practice coverage will air at 2:00pm/et Friday, with the live qualifying show airing at 11:ooam/et. Saturday. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage of practice and qualifying, joined in the booth by analyst Andy Petree. Pit reporters Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will contribute to the telecasts. Analyst Dale Jarrett will be in the booth with Punch and Petree for the qualifying coverage. Suzy Kolber will host the qualifying show, joined in the ESPN Pit Studio by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will be at the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.(ESPN PR)(5-28-2007)
News from May 27, 2007
- Tryson close to a deal with DEI: Pat Tryson, who was fired by Roush Fenway Racing last week, is close to a deal with Dale Earnhardt Inc. Richie Gilmore, the director of motorsports at DEI, hopes to have Tryson signed within the next two weeks. “He’s looking at a couple of other options, but right now we’re at the top of his list,” Gilmore said before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. DEI officials also are narrowing their search for a driver to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is leaving the company his father built after this season. They have a list of five candidates and could have that narrowed even further by the end of this week. They are looking not only at drivers currently inside the Nextel Cup garage but drivers who have been champions of other series. “The testament to this organization and what the company stands for is reflected by the high level of interest from people across this entire sport,” said Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI.(ESPN.com)(5-27-2007)
- Geoff Bodine visits troops in Bahrain: Touring the Middle East: Former NASCAR Cup driver Geoffrey Bodine, oldest of three driving brothers, has just returned from a 10-day trip which took him to Bahrain, right off Saudi Arabi. Bodine made the trip at the request of the U.S. Navy. “I was there to let our troops know somebody cares and to entertain them some, too,” said Bodine. Bodine said our troops are “very upbeat and believe everything they’re doing over there is the right thing and right way to do it. They are doing a lot of humanitarian things which never get reported and that’s what I figured I had to do: come back here and tell people the truth about what’s going on over there.” Bahrain is close to Iran and four to five hours from Iraq. This was Bodine’s third trip to the Middle East, having been to Iraq and Afghanistan on former trips. Bodine said he spent all his time onboard ships – 13 total – including aircraft carriers, battleships and destroyers. “I even got to drive one of the aircraft carriers,” said Bodine, who made a stop at the Time Warner Media Center at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this afternoon, after returning from the trip on May 25. While in Bahrain, Bodine was treated to a trip to the newly built Formula 1 track in Bahrain. “They had what they called Australian V-8s, powered by Corvette engines,” said Bodine, who finished third in the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 in a race many people thought he should have won, had it not been for a late-race tire change. “They were fast and, within three laps, I was beating my instructor. I still like racing and I’d still like to be racing, but I’m out of a job and I was able to go over and, hopefully, do some good. They baked me a cake and served me ice cream on my last night there, and ice cream is a big thing over there. So, if you have any extra ice cream, send it to our troops. And remember our troops on Memorial Day (Monday, May 28).”(LMS Pit Notes)(5-27-2007)
- Mears wins the Coca Cola 600: #25-Casey Mears won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for his 1st ever Nextel Cup Series win in his 156th career start. The race came down to fuel mileage and a few drivers/teams took the chance to finish well and hope for no cautions in the last 60 laps and there were none. Finishing 2nd was #18-J.J. Yeley for his first ever top-5 finish, 3rd was #45-Kyle Petty for his first top-5 since Sept 21, 1997 at Dover. 4th was #41-Redd Sorenson and 5th was #83-Brian Vickers which is Toyota’s first ever top-5 finish. The rest of the top 10 were #20-Stewart, #88-Rudd, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #11-Hamlin and #48-Johnson. #24-Jeff Gordon crashed out early and finished 41st, so his points lead decreases to 132 over Johnson. Hendrick Motorsports now has 9 wins in the 12 races this season. There were 13 cautions for 61 laps and 15 drivers lead the race with 29 lead changes.
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.(5-27-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Charlotte [12 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1921
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1789 -132
#17-Matt Kenseth 1714 -207
#11-Denny Hamlin 1682 -239
#31-Jeff Burton 1577 -344
#20-Tony Stewart 1530 -391
#29-Kevin Harvick 1415 -506
#99-Carl Edwards 1414 -507
#2-Kurt Busch 1402 -519
#07-Clint Bowyer 1378 -543
#5-Kyle Busch 1359 -562
#26-Jamie McMurray 1320 -601
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 13th
#01-Mark Martin is 14th, only ran 9 races
#42-Juan Montoya is 22nd
#9-Kasey Kahne is 32nd
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(5-27-2007)
- Rumblings – Coca Cola 600: If they told ya’ a Hendrick Motorsports driver was gonna win tonight, it may have taken you four guesses…. Casey Mears won the Coca-Cola 600 tonight at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and he did it on fumes. Running out of gas on the cool-down lap, he captured his first-ever Nextel Cup victory (becoming the 173rd different driver to do so….he’s tied for 115th on the all-time win list), giving Hendrick Motorsports it’s 9th win of the season and their 158th in NASCAR’s top level. The win puts the #25 car on the Winners Circle Plan for ’07 (they take the last wild card slot) and means all four of the HMS Chevies are on that top-level contingency plan. The win was worth $367,425 from the over $6.5M in posted awards as Mears becomes the 7th different winner this season.
J. J. Yeley (2nd) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 8th twice…..at California in February of 2006 and at Loudon in September of last year.
Kyle Petty (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Dover in September of 1997
Reed Sorenson (4th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 5th at Michigan last June.
Brian Vickers (5th) had his best finish since he won at Talladega last October. The trio of Yeley, Petty, and Vickers give us 24 drivers to score a Top-5 this season….last year we had 29.
Ricky Rudd (7th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August of 2005. The trio of Yeley, Petty, and Rudd gives us 35 drivers to score a Top-10 this season….last year that number was 38.
Robby Gordon (22nd) had his best finish since he was 20th at Atlanta in March.
A. J. Allmendinger (31st) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 32nd at Richmond last month.
STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kyle Petty (+33), followed by Reed Sorenson (+31), Carl Edwards (+24), Tony Raines (+23), and Brian Vickers (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-38 ), followed by Elliott Sadler (-33), Kurt Busch (-30), and David Ragan (-24).
Ricky Rudd led a lap today for the first time since he led once for two laps at Martinsville in October of 2005. Bill Elliott led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap in the Daytona 500 in February of 2006. We’ve now had 41 drivers lead a lap this season…..last year we had 48 of ’em.
No team moved into the Top-35 in Owner Points after this event, but we’ve had a shuffle in the bubble positions. The 45/25/88 all move up and the 38/70 now occupy spots #34 & #35. The #22 of Dave Blaney is now 92 markers out in 36th.
No change in the Top-6 in Driver Points this week (Jeff Gordon’s lead shrunk to to 132 tho), but that 100 point penalty to Jr a couple weeks ago leaves him 13 points out of the “Chase”. Casey Mears (35th to 29th) made the best move forward tonight, while David Gilliland (27th to 34th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(5-27-2007)
- Coca-Cola 600 – Fast Facts:
.. Casey Mears won the Coca-Cola 600, his first career victory in 156 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. This is his second top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his third top-10 finish in nine races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
.. This is the fifth consecutive victory for Hendrick Motorsports. It is just the eighth time in NASCAR history that a car owner has posted five or more victories. The last time was by Petty Enterprises in 1971.
.. J.J. Yeley (second) posted his career- best Nextel Cup finish.
.. Kyle Petty (third) posted his best finish since he won at Dover in June 1995 and his first top-five since he finished fifth at Dover in June 1997.
.. Jeff Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 132 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-27-2007)
- Newman to Gibbs? doubtful; Yeley controls his future: #12-Ryan Newman’s name has surfaced prominently in early Silly Season rumors, most notably in connection with a possible move to Joe Gibbs Racing. But Penske Racing officials have said Newman is under contract through the end of the 2008 season, and the driver said Saturday that neither he nor the team are distracted by the Silly Season rumors. “A lot of names are in the hat right now,” said Newman, who will make his 200th NASCAR Nextel Cup start on Sunday. “I guess it’s a good thing being in the hat, being considered. At least someone thinks you have talent, but I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy doing what I’m doing. We’ll just play it like that. It doesn’t distract me. I don’t think it distracts the team. It’s all about confidence whether it’s confidence qualifying the race car and putting it on the edge or having confidence in me. That doesn’t change.” At Joe Gibbs Racing, #18-J.J. Yeley was told last week by J.D. Gibbs that he controls his own destiny, team officials said. Yeley, who is in the final year of his contract as driver of the #18 JGR Chevrolet, needs to improve his results if he wants to keep that ride next season, according to a JGR spokesman. But if he does that, he’ll be back.(SPEEDtv.com)(5-27-2007)
- Junior Can’t Bring Budweiser to Gibbs Team: If Dale Earnhardt Jr. ends up at Joe Gibbs Racing, team officials are adamant it won’t be with sponsor Budweiser. Bobby Ginn, however, has no problem with a beer sponsorship and is still hotly pursuing NASCAR’s most coveted free agent. And Richard Childress? He had nothing to say on the subject Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. With Hendrick Motorsports apparently out of the Earnhardt sweepstakes – Hendrick has four drivers under contract and claims he isn’t looking to drop any of them – three other Chevrolet teams have emerged as the front-runners to sign NASCAR’s most popular driver. JGR could be the leading candidate, but owner Joe Gibbs insisted Saturday night he won’t accept a beer sponsorship at his family business. Earnhardt is closely associated with Budweiser, his longtime sponsor, and the company can leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. with him at the end of the season. “For me personally, and my background and everything that has happened to me, it wouldn’t fit me,” Gibbs said. “It doesn’t mean it’s not fine for everybody else.” Gibbs officials also said they won’t be expanding to four teams in 2008. That means they’d have to dump a driver to sign Earnhardt, and #18-J.J. Yeley could be on the hot seat. Ginn, meanwhile, has room for Earnhardt and has planned to expand to four teams since taking over majority ownership of the team known as MB2 Motorsports last season. Ginn said Saturday he’s had “exploratory conversations” with Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, but has yet to speak to Earnhardt himself. He said he never would have taken it this far if he didn’t think his organization was a perfect fit. Childress, who said Friday he had yet to speak to the Earnhardts, wouldn’t give an update Saturday on any discussions. With three cars under the RCR roof, he said he’ll be at four in 2008 with or without Earnhardt behind the wheel.(Associated Press)(5-27-2007)
- NASCAR makes case against AT&T in appeal brief: NASCAR says a federal judge erred in his interpretation of NASCAR’s annual contract with teams and drivers – and in doing so is harming the sanctioning body and primary sponsor Nextel in the process. In its appeal brief challenging Judge Marvin H. Shoob’s injunction allowing the switch from Cingular to AT&T logos on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car, NASCAR says “Nextel faces a potentially unlimited amount of NASCAR promotion from its major competitor.” Shoob issued the injunction May 18, and NASCAR and Sprint Nextel have appealed the decision. The appeal hearing is set for Aug. 2, but NASCAR is asking for that to be held earlier partly because of the impact on exclusivity in the sport. NASCAR also argues that AT&T is spending $10 million on brand transition messaging on race telecasts and doesn’t need an injunction for logos on the car to get its transition message heard by NASCAR fans.(more at SceneDaily.com)(5-27-2007)
- Petty surprises fans with ride-along offer at Lowe’s: Like many unsuspecting NASCAR fans camped out at the track Saturday, David Urie was napping in a lawn chair just working on his farmer’s tan. Unbeknownst to him, something was stirring in the campground; a visitor terrorizing campers in an all black Dodge Charger covered in decals. And just as Urie hit REM mode, the 57-year-old was ripped from his slumber by … wait for it … Kyle Petty? “I’m still tripping and it ain’t because of the acid from the 60s,” laughed Urie, who on Saturday afternoon was randomly selected to take a few fast laps with the driver of the No. 45 Coca-Cola Zero Dodge as part of a Coke Rewards promotion. He and a handful of others were escorted by Lowe Motor Speedway officials from their campsites and taken trackside to ride shotgun with Petty inside his Richard Petty Driving Experience racecar.(NASCAR.com)(5-27-2007)
- Special scheme for Mears in Coke 600:: Casey Mears’#25 National Guard/GMAC “American Heroes” Chevy also will feature a special paint scheme this weekend as part of the American Heroes Memorial Day salute to the Armed Forces. The tribute, which includes the cars of eight Nextel Cup and two Busch Series drivers, is part of a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families in need. The #25 Chevy features an ACU pattern (camouflage) paint scheme with the names of National Guard soldiers who have lost their lives in the Global War on Terror displayed on the car’s deck lid. One of those names holds special significance for Jimmy “Biscuit” Parrott, who provides pit support and serves as the backup truck driver for the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Cup Series team. Parrott’s older brother, Michael C. Parrott, was killed in action on Sept. 15, 2005, while serving with the National Guard in Iraq. The late Parrott, who made his home in Cheyenne, Wyo., will be recognized on Mears’ car during Sunday’s race.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-27-2007)
- LMS Prez suggests putting more than one car on track during qualifying: Lowe’s Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler is calling for NASCAR to add greater entertainment value to its qualifying format by placing more than one car on the racetrack at once. Wheeler told ESPN.com Saturday that attendance for LMS pole day has steadily declined since 2001, and anticipates NASCAR will make some sort of alteration for 2008. “It needs more drama,” Wheeler said. “I understand why they do it, but the fact that you’ve already got 35 people [guaranteed] qualified takes a lot of that [drama] out. I think [NASCAR realizes] something needs to be done. It remains to be seen what, but I think something will be done next year.” Wheeler is alluding to NASCAR’s Top-35 rule, which guarantees a starting position in each race to every car ranked among the top-35 in car owner points. Therefore, even if they’re slower than some other cars attempting to qualify they still make the show. NASCAR officials are aware of this concern, and said they will evaluate qualifying procedures following the season. But he thinks the best option is placing multiple cars on the track at once. He said he’s thrown out ideas to NASCAR “for a couple years.” One of which, he said, is to host four, 15-minute sessions, each including 25 percent of the cars in the field. Whoever is fastest overall wins the pole.(ESPN.com)(5-27-2007)
- American Heroes Program Ready to Raise Awareness, Funds for U.S. Military Members and Their Families: This weekend at the Coca-Cola 600, eight Nextel Cup drivers and two Busch drivers will lead all NASCAR fans in the American Heroes Memorial Day salute to the armed forces to kick off a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families in need. It is the largest military tribute effort in history by NASCAR drivers.
Participating drivers include #16-Greg Biffle [Busch Series], #4-Ward Burton -failed to qualify], #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #11-Denny Hamlin, #88-Shane Huffman [Busch Series], #48-Jimmie Johnson, #01-Mark Martin, #25-Casey Mears and #21-Bill Elliott [originally was Jon Wood]. Each will drive a specially designed car supporting a branch of the American military or one of the military support organizations.
The pre-race festivities at the Coca-Cola 600 will feature General Peter Pace, USMC, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and serves as the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council. He is the first Marine to serve as the Chairman.
The American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute is being supported by Sprint Nextel, which will conduct a national fundraising campaign to encourage Sprint Nextel customers to support the troops with their donations to the USO. By texting 67783 on their Sprint Nextel phones, customers can sign up to contribute to the campaign and receive the donation forms via email.
Diecast models and officially licensed merchandise of the participating drivers will be available for sale at Motorsports Authentics trailers at Lowe’s Motor Speedway beginning this weekend and online at www.goracing.com right now. Wal-Mart stores will feature the licensed merchandise in July.
Four major organizations will work together to promote the American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute and support the event fundraising efforts – the USO, America Supports You, Speedway Children’s Charities, and the Special Operations Hero Fund.(Clear!Blue PR)(5-27-2007)
News from May 26, 2007
- Hyder gets new gig, crew chief for Mayfield: Crew chief David Hyder, fired from Michael Waltrip Racing last month, will return to the pit box next weekend at Dover International Speedway to guide the #36 Toyota driven by Jeremy Mayfield, Bill Davis Racing competition director Tommy Baldwin told ESPN.com Saturday. Hyder is already working in the BDR shop, preparing a car to test Tuesday at North Carolina Speedway in preparation for Dover, Baldwin said. Hyder was fined $100,000 and suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in the first week of the season after an illegal substance was found in the carburetor on the #55 Toyota prior to qualifying. NASCAR will lift the suspension on May 30, opening the door for Hyder to join BDR. Baldwin is relieved to bring Hyder on board. He’d been pulling double duty since March, serving both as crew chief for Mayfield’s team and as the organization’s competition director. “Thank god,” Baldwin said with a grin. “It’s time for me to focus on the future of this organization.” Hyder was unavailable for comment.(ESPN.com)(5-26-2007)
- Earnhardt hopes to solidify new team, sponsorship details soon: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to solidify his future in very short order. Earnhardt’s sister and chief negotiator, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, told ESPN.com Friday that they hope to finalize Earnhardt’s future professional address within the next 30 days and then solidify sponsorship details before announcing his decision to the public sometime in late July. Elledge said Earnhardt has “visited a few race shops and had a few meetings alongside myself, with team owners” in the weeks since he announced he would leave the company his father founded, Dale Earnhardt Inc., at season’s end. Elledge said she has personally spoken with “about seven” existing Nextel Cup teams and “about 10 investment groups who are on the verge of starting teams or buying a team.” But the top three candidates all have slight issues that could slow the process.(ESPN.com)(5-26-2007)
- AT&T, NASCAR hearing over injunction set for Aug. 2: The U.S. Court of Appeals hearing over the injunction allowing the use of the AT&T logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing car is scheduled for Aug. 2 in Atlanta, but NASCAR would like the schedule moved up, a spokesman says. NASCAR has filed its appeal briefs and has asked the court for a hearing as soon as possible, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday. “We filed our briefs well in advance of the deadlines,” Poston said. “This is an important case and certainly would like the court’s consideration to further expedite the hearing.” U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob ruled May 18 that NASCAR couldn’t prohibit RCR from switching the Cingular logos to the AT&T logos on the car driven by Jeff Burton. NASCAR wants to prohibit the logos as part of its exclusivity agreement with series sponsor Sprint Nextel. In issuing the injunction, the judge ruled that the licensing agreement and grandfather clause that RCR signed with NASCAR does not prohibit the change in logos.SceneDaily.com)(5-26-2007)
- Black #3 wins at LMS Dirt Track Friday night: Defending World of Outlaws Sprint Series champion Donny Schatz had to take a backseat to 16-year-old Austin Dillon Friday night as a sell-out crowd of more than 14,000 people filled the grandstands at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Eckerd Outlaw Showdown. Schatz passed Paul McMahan for the lead with just three laps remaining and went on to win the 30-lap sprint car finale, while Dillon, grandson of Nextel Cup Series team owner Richard Childress, put a familiar black #3 back in victory lane by winning the Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late model feature. “I don’t think I’ve been more nervous trying to win the Daytona 500,” Childress said with pride. “Seeing the black #3 back up there and my family running it, it’s just great. He did a great job tonight and I’m proud of Austin.” Schatz, who started fifth in the 26-car World of Outlaws feature, passed McMahan for the lead on lap 27 and went on to claim his first victory at the four-tenths-mile clay oval since Oct. 5, 2000. Dillon started seventh in the 24-car Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late model finale and took the lead on lap 20 of the 25-lap race following a side-by-side battle with veteran Jack Pennington and Timbo Mangnum. Clint Bowyer, who drives for Childress in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series, started 16th and passed Pennington for second on lap 23. He chased Dillon under the checkered flag to claim the runner-up money while Pennington settled for third.(LMS PR)(5-26-2007)
- Sad News: Neil Bonnet’s Dad: Larence Bonnett, age 88, of Bessemer, AL, passed away on May 23, 2007. He was a long time member of Ensley Baptist Church, veteran of WWII, served under General Patton. He was a loving husband, father & grandfather. Funeral Services will be held at Patterson-Forest Grove Chapel on Friday, May 25, 2007 at 11:00 A.M. with burial in Forest Grove Memorial Gardens. Rev. Roy Morgan & Rev. Mark Clifton officiating. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 25, 2007 from 10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. at the Funeral Home. He was preceded in death by his son, Neil Bonnett. Survivors: wife, Josephine N. Bonnett; grandchildren, Kristen Bonnett Ray, David Bonnett; great-grandchildren, Jessica Bonnett, Justin Bonnett.(Birmingham News)(5-26-2007)
- NASCAR’s Canadian Tire Series debut’s tonight: The much anticipated inaugural race of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is scheduled for Saturday, May 26 at Cayuga Speedway Park with upwards of 30 cars expected to be on hand for a chance to win this historic race. The 5/8-mile oval of Cayuga Speedway Park near Hagersville, Ontario has the honor of hosting the first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event. While the Dodge Dealers 200 is the first race for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, it is not the first NASCAR-sanctioned event in Canada. In fact, NASCAR’s premier series, known today as the Nextel Cup Series, has held two events in Canada. The first was July 1, 1952 in Stamford Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario which was won by Buddy Shuman in a Hudson Hornet. The second was held at Canadian National Exposition Speedway in Toronto. Lee Petty won the event. Also in this race, a young man by the name of Richard Petty made his debut in NASCAR’s premier series.(nascarlocalracing.com)(5-26-2007)
- Monster Month of May keeps JHE group busy: May is always a busy month for anybody involved in motorsports. From Indianapolis to Charlotte and many other points across the United States, May often proves to be the month that challenges race teams, sponsors, media and the variety of motorsports related businesses that assist the sport. Perhaps no other company knows the demands better than the JHE Production Group, Inc. With significant involvement with four high profile events — the NASCAR Nextel Pit Crew Challenge, The NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, Food Lion Speed Street and the Coca-Cola 600 — the JHE Production Group makes the most of its busiest and hectic month.
The Nextel Pit Crew Challenge was held on Wednesday, May 16th at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. The event drew a record crowd of more than 6,000 fans. 2007 marked the third year the event was held. Ryan Newman’s seven-member crew changed four tires, filled the car with gas and pushed it 40 yards in 24.66 seconds to collect the $70,300 first prize.
Food Lion Speed Street has brought top-quality entertainment to uptown Charlotte for more than a decade. In addition to celebrating NASCAR’s strong heritage in the region it assists in promoting Charlotte and surrounding communities, leading to a major economic impact on the entire region. Coordination and execution of NASCAR and IRL pre race activities continues to be at the core of the JHE Production Group’s focus. With two high profile Nextel Cup events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway grouped over a two weekend period the demand on JHE and its employees is undeniable. More info on JHE at gojhe.com.(JHE PR)(5-26-2007)
News from May 25, 2007
- Ragan to test at Infineon Wed: #6-David Ragan will come to Infineon Raceway for a one-day test session on May 30. As a rookie, Ragan has never competed at Infineon Raceway, but he did visit the track in February for a one-day test in an American Speed Association (ASA) stock car. He ran 40 laps on the road course. “Any road course is going to be pretty tough for me,” Ragan said. “I’m just trying to learn the layout of the track.” Ragan is expected to test throughout the day on the road course in an ASA stock car. He will be assisted by instructors from the Jim Russell Racing Schools, which is based at Infineon Raceway. Ragan will return to Infineon Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24.(Infineon Raceway PR)(5-25-2007)
- Biffle/Tryson could reunite at DEI? UPDATE: Pat Tryson doesn’t know where he’ll work next, but he hasn’t ruled out a reunion with driver #16-Greg Biffle. Fired as Biffle’s crew chief at Roush Fenway Racing this week, Tryson said on Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that he’s been contacted about a job from officials at Dale Earnhardt Inc. He also acknowledged that Biffle has had ongoing conversations with DEI even before Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving the organization that his father built. “I know if they want to keep Greg Biffle, [Roush] better get some stuff together,” Tryson said during practice for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. “I don’t think Greg’s shopping himself. I also don’t believe he’s going to rush to sign.” Biffle’s contract with Roush Fenway runs through 2008 and he’s in the middle of negotiations on an extension. While he’s said that an extension is his first choice, he wouldn’t be the first person to get out of a Roush contract a year early. Kurt Busch left a year after the 2005 season to join Penske Racing.(ESPN.com)(5-24-2007)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle’s contract negotiation with Roush Fenway Racing is currently “in limbo,” the driver said Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Right now we’ve made a counter offer,” Biffle said. “A lot of it regarded appearances and the way the contract was written — and obviously money was one of the factors. So we’re waiting to see where they sit with everything.” Biffle explained the addition of Fenway Sports Group to the equation has diluted negotiations a bit.(ESPN.com)(5-25-2007)
- Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports to run road course races: on Thursday NASCAR Now on ESPN2, Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports Busch Series driver, David Green was interviews and asked about the Nextel Cup Series plans, Green said the team plans to attempt the tw oroad course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen with Marc Goossens as the driver.(5-25-2007)
- Tire Companies looking to step up testing tires for NASCAR: Michelin-subsidiary B.F. Goodrich is stepping up its NASCAR testing plans, according to Cup teams, with a new program to test NASCAR-type tires at non-NASCAR big tracks in order to develop better NASCAR-type tires. And Hoosier tire is trying to sign a top Cup team or two to help it develop better NASCAR-type tires too, according to crews.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-25-2007)
- Senators Ask NASCAR to Race on Ethanol, Win for America: On the eve of the biggest weekend in auto racing, two United States Senators have asked NASCAR to consider joining the IndyCar Racing League by converting to the “fuel of the future,” American-made ethanol. With the eyes of the world on auto racing, U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) today sent a letter to NASCAR President Brian France, asking that NASCAR begin considering the conversion of its fleet to high-powered U.S. ethanol and the long-term promotion of American-made ethanol.(United States Senator – John Thune site, also see a letter to Brian France here)(5-25-2007)
- Penske Poles: Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves won the pole for Sunday’s Indy 500 and Penske’s two Nextel Cup drivers, #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch, sit on the front row for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 2nd time Penske Racing has had that happen, the first happening in 2003 when both Newman and Castroneves won the poles for their respected races. Newman finished 5th and Castroneves 2nd in 2003. Penske driver have sat on the Indy 500 pole 14 times and 3 times [all Newman] for the Coca-Cola 600, Penske has won the Indy 500 14 times, but never won at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(5-25-2007)
- 2007 Official Small Business of NASCAR Announced: Office Depot announced that Kentuckiana Engineering Company, Inc. (KEC) of Louisville, KY, will be the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, courtesy of Office Depot” for the remainder of the 2007 Nextel Cup race season. KEC owner Bryan Handy was introduced by Office Depot Senior Vice President Tony Ueber today during a press event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Ueber and Handy were joined by driver Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush, ESPN Vice President of Sports Management Rob Temple and NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Marketing Jim O’Connell. Handy helped Edwards unveil the special edition Office Depot #99 car featuring the logo of KEC. The logo will make its on-track debut during the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. As the “Official Small Business of NASCAR,” KEC, an environmental consulting company specializing in air quality issues, is receiving invaluable exposure on television. Handy worked with Logoworks, part of the Office Depot Design, Print & Ship Depot, to create KEC’s first-ever company logo, which will be 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 given to KEC, Office Depot is printing a year’s supply of new business cards, letterhead and envelopes. The Office Depot Design, Print & Ship service is also designing a new website for KEC that will showcase its newly-created logo. Plus, KEC receives a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot, a tour of the ESPN at-track production operation, and a special marketing consultation with representatives from NASCAR to help guide KEC on how take advantage of their new business assets. One of the new and exciting elements of this year’s promotion is the additional television exposure for KEC. ESPN is showcasing KEC as the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” during a segment on the ESPN2 show “NASCAR Now.” (Office Depot site)(5-25-2007)
- No Charlotte for Cope or the #74: the team was not listed and did not attempt the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May as prrviously announced.(5-24-2007)
AND: McGlynn Racing and the #74 team will skip the upcoming Coka-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in order to finalize on-going business negotiations. The team is now planning to debut at Pocono Raceway June 10th. A sponsorship announcement is expected prior to the Pocono race as well..(McGlynnRacing.com)(5-25-2007)
News from May 24, 2007
- Earnhardt’s will left 100 percent of DEI to Teresa: When #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. demanded 51 percent ownership of Dale Earnhardt Inc., it might have seemed logical that the son of the team founder would already own part of the company. So why doesn’t he? Because the will of his father, the seven-time Cup champion killed on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, didn’t give him an ownership stake in the team. Earnhardt’s will, signed in December 1992, awards 100 percent of DEI to his widow, Teresa, Dale Jr.’s stepmother. The estate filings, which were probated in Iredell County, N.C., show that Teresa Earnhardt owns the race team.(SceneDaily.com)(5-24-2007)
- Borland to Haas CNC Racing: Matt Borland announced on NASCAR Performance Live Wednesday evening that he will be the new Director of Competition for Haas CNC Racing. Not only will he be working with the two-car Haas team [#66 & #70], but also will be working very closely with Hendrick Motorsports continuing the relationship the teams have with each other.(5-24-2007)
- No deals done, no teams out, Elledge says: People already trying to rule things in or out about where Dale Earnhardt Jr. might drive in the 2008 Nextel Cup season are getting ahead of themselves, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge said Wednesday. “I think a lot of people are drawing conclusions,” said Elledge, the driver’s sister who is also helping to negotiate his next deal in the sport. Most of the speculation, it seems, has been in trying to figure out which teams – for various reasons – might not be in a position to add Earnhardt Jr. But Elledge said Wednesday that no bets are off. “The process has not reached a point where we have eliminated options,” she said. “All of our options remain viable until we have 100% decided on one.” Elledge, who also is vice president and general manager of JR Motorsports, which fields Earnhardt Jr.-owned cars in the Busch Series and other developmental racing series, said that since that announcement she has fielded even more calls than she expected to get. “We have gotten tons of support from the industry and more importantly our fans since we have made the announcement to leave DEI as a driver,” she said. “I have received more calls that expected, but the more options the better.” Elledge said she and Earnhardt Jr. have put together what they’re looking for in the next deal for him as a driver, and that conversations with various owners have started. “We communicated that by mid to late summer we would definitely have our position solidified,” Elledge said. “Obviously, if we want to make the most out of this change, a date no later than August 1 would be best, due to sponsor point of sale, advertising, licensed products and other things that need time to be developed and produced.”(Thatsracin)(5-24-2007)
- Tragic News: Corey Tucker, car chief for #2-Kurt Busch, lost his father, Eddie Tucker, in a tragic accident earlier this week. Thoughts and prayers to Corey and his family. Calling hours are 5 to 8 p.m. today at the Copeland Funeral Home, 162 South Putt Corners Road in New Paltz, NY. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Reformed Church of Shawangunk, 1166 Hoagerburgh Road, Wallkill, NY. Donations may be made to the church or to the Shawangunk Valley Fire and Ambulance District. Details of the accident can be found here: recordonline.com.(5-24-2007)
- Richard Petty at the Indy 500: The King will do the double. Richard Petty will watch the Indianapolis 500 in person for the first time, attending Sunday’s race as a guest of former Petty Enterprises driver John Andretti, who qualified for the event. Petty officials Robbie Loomis and Dale Inman will also make the trip. The group plans to fly out Sunday morning and return to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in time for the start of the Coca-Cola 600.(NASCAR.com)(5-24-2007)
- Goodyear will seek tire-testing changes: NASCAR limits tires for Nextel Cup testing, barring teams from using Goodyears except at the seven major authorized tests. So, teams have made side deals with Hoosier and Michelin subsidiary B. F. Goodrich for test tires. Stu Grant, Goodyear’s racing boss, said he plans to talk with NASCAR about changing the tire-testing rules “to try to find a solution to this thing, because what we’ve got now is not a good situation. “The whole testing thing has to be addressed, because the teams are not happy. They’re asking me for tires, and I cannot supply tires.”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-24-2007)
- Career start #200 for Newman: The last time #12-Ryan Newman posted four consecutive top-10 finishes it was early in the 2005 season. The streak began in Darlington and continued through Richmond, Charlotte and Dover. In those four races, Newman, driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge Charger, earned a fifth, a third, a fifth and an eighth-place finish, respectively. This weekend at the Coca-Cola 600, Newman will be seeking his fourth-consecutive top-10 finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Newman also will be celebrating a milestone in his eight-year career in NASCAR’s top series — his 200th start.(Penske Racing PR)(5-24-2007)
- BAM Racing owner designates Paralyzed Veterans of America as foundation partner: The Elizabeth Ann Coulter Morgenthau Foundation, formed in 1997 by #49 BAM Racing owner Beth Ann Morgenthau, is pleased to announce the addition of Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) as a designated beneficiary of the foundation. The Elizabeth Ann Coulter Morgenthau Foundation was created to establish, foster and encourage research in the fields of medicine, science, literature, and art and music by making gifts to colleges, hospitals, schools and foundations. In addition, the foundation has awarded scholarships and fellowships to deserving students at various institutions of learning over the past ten years. Foundation beneficiaries have included the American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins University, The University of Miami/Jackson Hospital and the Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Founded in 1946, Paralyzed Veterans is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of individuals with spinal cord injury or disease. Paralyzed Veterans is a dynamic, broad-based organization with more than 19,000 members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The addition of Paralyzed Veterans as a partner of The Elizabeth Ann Coulter Morgenthau Foundation is representative of Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau’s dedication to the empowerment of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. Recently, the couple welcomed Paralyzed Veterans as primary sponsor of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge for 2007 and beyond. To support Paralyzed Veterans through the excitement of Nextel Cup Series racing, visit pvastartribute.org. To learn more about Paralyzed Veterans, visit its website at www.pva.org.(BAM Racing PR)(5-24-2007)
- Radioactive Energy Drinks Sponsoring Sauter at Lowe’s: Haas CNC Racing announced that the #70 Nextel Cup entry, driven by Johnny Sauter, will have sponsorship from Radioactive Energy Drinks for the May 27 600-mile race at Lowes Motor Speedway. This is the first of a five-race deal Radioactive Energy inked with Haas CNC Racing for the 2007 season.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(5-24-2007)
- Newman wins pole at Charlotte: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.312mph for his 2nd pole of 2007, 6th at LMS and 39th of his career. Newman has only won three races in the 38 races which he won the pole. #2-Kurt Busch qualified 2nd after being the slowest in practice, picking up over 8mph over practice. The rest of the top-10 are #19-Sadler, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #17-Kenseth, #11-Hamlin, #88-Rudd, #22-Blaney [best of the non top-35 teams], #43-Labonte and #40-Stremme. Points leader #24-Gordon will start 32nd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #22-Blaney, #10-Riggs, #21-Elliott, #44-Jarrett, #36-Mayfield, #84-Allmendinger and #78-Wallace. See the qualifying results on my Qualifying Results/Order Starting Lineup Page.(5-24-2007)
- Six do not qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: #15-Menard; #55-Waltrip; #4-Burton; #37-Lepage; #49-Bliss and #00-Reutimann.(5-24-2007)
- Ramblings – Charlotte Qualifying Notes: It’s an all-Penske front row! Ryan Newman toured the Lowe’s Motor Speedway tonight in 29.140 seconds (185.312 mph) to take the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, his second top-spot of the season (his other pole came at Atlanta in March)…his 6th at Lowe’s…and the 39th of his Nextel Cup career. He’ll be joined on the front row by his teammate Kurt Busch. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Martinsville last October.
Elliott Sadler (3rd) has his best starting spot since lined up 3rd at Bristol in March.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (4th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 4th at Phoenix last November.
Dave Blaney (8th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Bristol in March.
Bobby Labonte (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Atlanta in March.
David Stremme (10th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 7th at Atlanta in March.
Welcome Back Bill Elliott (22nd). This is his first start since last November at Homestead when he started 43rd and finished 25th.
STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
(Stock Car Fans)(5-24-2007)
- Coca-Cola 600 – Qualifying Fast Facts:
.. Ryan Newman won the Bud Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 29.140 seconds, 185.312 mph.
.. This is his 39th Bud Pole in 200 career Nextel Cup races.
.. This is just his second top-10 start in 2007 – both Bud Poles. He also won the Bud Pole at Atlanta.
.. This is Newman’s sixth Bud Pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He has 11 top-10 starts in 13 races at Lowe’s – all forth or better.
.. Kurt Busch posted a lap of 29.179 seconds, 185.065 mph to join Newman in an all-Penske Racing South front row. It is just his second top-10 start in 14 races at Lowe’s.
.. Elliott Sadler (third) completed a sweep of the top three positions for Dodge.
.. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2007.
.. Dave Blaney (eighth) was the fastest of the drivers required to qualify on time as all four manufacturers posted top-10 starting positions.
.. Bill Elliott (22nd) qualified for his first Nextel Cup race since Homestead – Nov. 19, 2006.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-24-2007)
- DISH Network to debut at Coke 600: This weekend #16-Greg Biffle will run a red and black Dish Network paint scheme on the #16 Ford. He is scheduled to run the Dish Network paint scheme 12 more times this season.(Roush Racing PR)(5-24-2007)
- Higher education fills need for speed: Colleges and universities are feeling NASCAR’s need for speed. Institutions are expanding motorsports-related degree programs to meet the demand for high-skilled workers on racing teams and throughout the industry. The trend is especially apparent in the Charlotte region, considered the cradle of the sport and host to Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Consider:
• UNC Charlotte will offer industry-related electives in a master’s program in sports marketing and management that starts this fall.
• Legislators are considering spending $500,000 to support motorsports training at community colleges.
• Belmont Abbey College in Gaston County launched a four-year business program in racing management last fall.
Graduates are winning, too: At Hendrick Motorsports, the hottest team in NASCAR, one-fourth of its engineers were trained at UNCC, school officials say. Other schools have alumni at companies such as Dale Earnhardt Inc. and NASCAR Images. The growth of motorsports programs coincides with the general increase in demand for skilled auto technicians. On Tuesday, Central Piedmont Community College dedicated its Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology, which certifies current and prospective technicians to work for companies such as BMW and Toyota. On the motorsports side, CPCC already offers a machining certificate and has proposed opening a motorsports institute. The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College motorsports management technology program hosted an open house Wednesday night at the RCCC South Campus, 1531 Trinity Church Road in Concord.(Charlotte Observer)(5-24-2007)
- Penalty Issued for Unauthorized Duplication of a NASCAR Annual Credential: NASCAR announced today that Douglas Mercier [#00 Hauler Driver] has been fined $5,000 and suspended indefinitely from the sport for his unauthorized duplication of a NASCAR annual credential. The rule infraction occurred May 18 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Mercier violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; unauthorized duplication of a NASCAR annual credential) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR PR)(5-24-2007)
- DEI signs driver to Driver Development deal: Trevor Bayne, already an 11-year racing veteran at 16, is the newest addition to the Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) Driver Development Program. He joins 17-year-old Jeffrey Earnhardt who became the program’s first driver in January. “Especially for his age, Trevor has both broad experience and a remarkable record of success,” said Max Siegel, president of global operations for DEI. “He’s proven that he has great potential. With our people and resources behind him, we know he can fulfill it.” Bayne is moving from Knoxville, Tenn., to the Mooresville area to be close to both DEI and his family’s shop where his race cars are currently prepared. Bayne will run the complete USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division this season in addition to three NASCAR Grand National Busch East Series events. Bayne began racing go karts at five. Over the next eight years, he won more than 300 events and earned 22 titles including World Karting Association (WKA) World Champion three times. Last season, Bayne stepped up to the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division and won rookie of the year. At 15, he again was the youngest in series’ history to earn top rookie honors. In 2008, DEI’s driver development plan includes having Bayne and Earnhardt competing as teammates in Chevrolets on the NASCAR Busch East Series.(DEI PR)(5-24-2007)
News from May 23, 2007
- Bowyer Enters Late Model Portion of May 25 Eckerd Outlaw Showdown: #07-Clint Bowyer plans to compete in the Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late model portion of the Eckerd Outlaw Showdown Friday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The winged World of Outlaws sprint cars headline the program with the Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late models serving as the support division. Bowyer, of Emporia, Kan., is entered in the #07 Jack Daniels late model and will be among those chasing a $2,000 first prize in the 25-lap late model finale. Before joining Richard Childress Racing, Bowyer honed his racing skills at several Midwestern dirt tracks including Lakeside Speedway where he won the 2002 track championship. Also on the late model entry list for Friday’s Eckerd Outlaw Showdown is Austin Dillon, the grandson of Bowyer’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series car owner Richard Childress. The Goodyear Fastrak Challenge series features late model stock cars powered by General Motors crate engines. Twenty-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser, defending series champion Donny Schatz and 2001 titlist Danny Lasoski are among those scheduled to compete in the sprint car portion of the Eckerd Outlaw Showdown. Reserved seats for Friday night’s Eckerd Outlaw Showdown are just $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-23-2007)
- Tryson leaves the #16? UPDATE 2 and Aflac to sponsor?: hearing that #16 Roush Racing crew chief, Pat Tryson, has parted ways with the team and driver Greg Biffle, no word where Tryson may go or who Biffle’s crew chief will be for the Coca Cola 600 at LMS.(5-23-2007)
UPDATE: hearing that former #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports crew chief, Greg Erwin will be Biffle’s new crew chief. Also hearing that Aflac will sponsor the #16 Ford as the primary in a few races Ameriquest is supposed to sponsor. Ameriquest if looking to get out of their sponsor contract with Roush Fenway Racing.
UPDATE 2: It was announced today at Roush Fenway Racing that Greg Erwin will take over as crew chief of the team’s #16 Nextel Cup entry with driver Greg Biffle. “We obviously weren’t performing at a level at which Jack expected and a change was made,” said Biffle. Erwin was most recently the crew chief at Robby Gordon Motorsports for the #7 Nextel Cup entry. Prior to the two years at Robby Gordon Motorsports, Erwin accumulated seven years of experience as an engineer at Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. “I feel that this is one of the top crew chief opportunities in the Nextel Cup garage,” said Erwin. “If you could paint a picture of where you would like to go as a crew chief to give it a shot to win and compete for a championship, this is it. I am also excited about the backing of the engineering department at Roush and the resources they offer. The fact that Greg Biffle is the driver was a factor that weighed heavily on my decision. He is a straight forward kind of guy and I look forward to working with him.” Chris Andrews, current Engineering Manager at Roush Fenway Racing, will serve as interim crew chief for Greg Biffle and the #16 Dish Network Nextel Cup entry this weekend. Erwin will serve as an advisor on the pit box during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 before officially taking over crew chief duties on Tuesday, May 29th.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(5-23-2007)
- Martin to sub for Jeff Gordon when baby arrives? If #24-Jeff Gordon is forced to miss a race to attend the birth of his daughter, series veteran Mark Martin will man the #24 DuPont Chevy, multiple sources within the Hendrick Motorsports organization told ESPN.com Wednesday. Martin on Wednesday afternoon will be fitted for a racing seat in preparation for the substitute role, sources said, and plans to begin stand-by duty for Gordon at Infineon Raceway next month. Hendrick Motorsports officials chose not to comment, saying rather that Gordon would address the matter Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, site of this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. Sources said Gordon personally sought out Martin to stand in for him, and after clearing the idea with Ginn Racing officials, Martin gladly accepted. Gordon’s wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, is due the week of the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma. Martin will fly to Sonoma, during a weekend when he is slated to be idle from racing. If Gordon doesn’t require his services, Martin will remain on hand to coach Regan Smith in the #01 US Army Chevy [Ginn Racing]. According to NASCAR officials, Martin could get in the #24 without practicing in the car, so long as Nextel Cup director John Darby gives his blessing. Given Martin’s veteran experience, that would seem to be all but a foregone conclusion. If baby Gordon arrives a week early, sources said Martin will turn the #01 Chevrolet over to Smith at Michigan Speedway and drive the #24 for Gordon. Likewise, in the event the baby is a week late, Martin would sub for Gordon at New Hampshire. Gordon hasn’t missed a race in his Cup Series career, a span of 484 consecutive races. The last race run without Gordon in the field was the 28th race of the 1992 season, at Phoenix International Raceway.(ESPN.com)(5-23-2007)
- Ned Jarrett Returns to ESPN TV Booth: Ned Jarrett, one of the most popular motorsports announcers in history and a mainstay of ESPN’s NASCAR coverage for 15 years, will make a guest appearance alongside his son, Dale Jarrett, in the ESPN booth Saturday night during ESPN2’s live, prime-time coverage of the Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The telecast will begin at 7:30pm/et. Father and son will work together as television analysts for the first time. The elder Jarrett was an auto racing analyst for ESPN from 1986 until the network ended its previous period of NASCAR coverage in 2000, at which point the two-time NASCAR Cup champion retired from television. Dale, still an active Nextel Cup driver, is working as an analyst on 10 Busch Series race telecasts this season. He made his ESPN debut in April. “Ned Jarrett has a tremendous role in the history of ESPN and NASCAR,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and remote production. “A legendary father joining his legendary son in the ESPN booth, having Ned back just for one race, is certainly special to all of us. This is Father’s Day arriving early for Ned and Dale, and our viewers will be the lucky ones.” The Jarretts will work the ESPN booth with lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch and analyst Andy Petree. All four are from tiny Newton, N.C., and Punch and Petree were part of Dale Jarrett’s first racing team in the late 1970s. Punch shared ownership with Ned. Dale was one of the founding drivers of the Busch Series in 1982. “I’m looking forward to Saturday night and working with my dad,” said Dale, who is filling in for ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst Rusty Wallace. “It should be a blast having him there in the booth with Jerry, Andy and me. He was a big part of my success and getting started in racing.” Ned Jarrett’s last race as a driver was in 1966, and he became a radio broadcaster shortly after. He added TV work in the 1970s. “I didn’t get to race against Dale because he was only 9 years old when I retired, but now to have the chance to work with him in the broadcast booth, my second career, is pretty neat,” he said. One of the most memorable moments in NASCAR television history occurred in 1993, when Dale won the Daytona 500 with his excited father calling the final lap from the television booth. Ned also lists as personal career highlights: working the ESPN telecast of Dale’s first NASCAR Cup win in 1991 at Michigan International Speedway and interviewing Dale on pit road for ESPN when he clinched the 1999 championship. Ned helped along his son’s driving career at the beginning and has helped with advice on Dale’s foray into television. “He asked my opinion before he agreed to do this,” Ned said. “I thought he was capable of doing it, and I felt he would be good for it and it would be good for ESPN. I feel that the best advice I can give anyone in TV is to listen to what’s being said and pay attention so that you’re not repeating what someone else has said. It helps to get into the rhythm and make a better contribution to the broadcast.” Dale has worked five telecasts so far and Ned said he has watched them all. “I’ve honestly been impressed,” he said. “I’m prejudiced but I also feel I’m realistic. He’s done a good job for the role he’s been in. I’ve had a lot of people tell me he puts it in ways they can understand it, and they appreciate that. I told him that broadcasting would be as big a challenge as driving,” Ned said. “I’m just as proud of what he’s done in the broadcast booth as I am of what he’s done in the race car.”(ESPN PR)(5-23-2007)
- Goody’s Cool Orange to Sponsor McCumbee & #45 at Pocono: Goody’s Cool Orange, the revolutionary new flavor from Goody’s Headache Powders, will be the primary sponsor for driver Chad McCumbee and the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge at the Pocono 500 Nextel Cup race on June 10 at Pocono Raceway. McCumbee, making his Nextel Cup debut, will fill in for Kyle Petty as he goes to the booth for TNT for the first of five races. Goody’s Cool Orange, the market’s first flavored headache powder, provides the same fast pain relief as the original Goody’s with a new, fresh orange flavor. As part of a national launch, the special Cool Orange paint scheme at Pocono will mark the first major racing activity for Goody’s outside its traditional, Southeastern U.S. market. McCumbee, 22, is in his second season in the Craftsman Truck Series after racing in the ARCA-RE/MAX Series where he finished third in a race at Pocono in 2004. He has recently been involved in various testing duties with Petty Enterprises including test sessions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Off the track, McCumbee starred as Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the ESPN motion picture “3” displaying a natural talent for acting along with his driving skills. The Pocono 500 will mark the first of five races that Petty will be in the television booth broadcasting the races on TNT while McCumbee pilots the #45 Goody’s Cool Orange Dodge. Petty, along with the entire Petty organization, have been loyal supporters of Goody’s since the brand entered the sport in 1977. Goody’s Cool Orange is now available in stores nationally. For more information on Goody’s Headache Powders and the new Goody’s Cool Orange, visit www.goodyspowder.com.(Lighthouse Marketing PR)(5-23-2007)
- Coca-Cola 600 Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 13 Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. Montoya placed 23rd and took top rookie honors for the fourth time this season. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by four points (120-116) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Coca-Cola 600, capturing a ninth-place finish. Fellow rookie Reed Sorenson joined Hamlin in the top-10, scoring a 10th-place finish. 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 47 previous Coca-Cola 600 races at Charlotte. Johnson took the top starting spot for the 2002 race. Two Raybestos Rookies have led the most laps in the Coca-Cola 600: 2000: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 175 laps 2002: Jimmie Johnson, 263 lap. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006).(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR)(5-23-2007)
- Roush Racing test COT at Milwaukee: on Tuesday, Roush Fenway Racing teams of #17-Matt Kenseth and #99-Carl Edwards put in a full day of Car of Tomorrow testing under sunny skies at The Milwaukee Mile.(PR)(5-23-2007)
- Testing at Nashville: A closed-test session Tuesday [no word if it was with the COT or old car] at the Nashville Superspeedway featured #00-David Reutimann, #84-A.J. Allmendinger, #20-Tony Stewart, #14-Sterling Marlin, #38-David Gilliland, Mark Green, #66-Jeff Green, and #88-Ricky Rudd. Hass CNC Racing rented the superspeedway Tuesday, however, Hass allowed other teams to share in the track time (unannounced to the track). Joe Gibbs Racing has rented the facility Wednesday (May 23rd), no word on drivers who will test, the test is closed to the public.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(5-23-2007)
- Kenny Wallace Book Released: Motorsports publisher Coastal 181 announced the release of Inside Herman’s World, the autobiography of popular NASCAR driver and SPEED TV personality Kenny Wallace. The book was written with Joyce Standridge and includes forewords by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, and Ken Schrader. More info on my Bookstore Page.(5-23-2007)
- Gibbs “re-evaluating” Almirola’s Cup program: Joe Gibbs Racing will “re-evaluate” its part-time Nextel Cup program for #80-Aric Almirola before allowing the 23-year-old to attempt to qualify for a second race, JGR vice president and development head Steve De Souza said. Almirola’s #80 Chevrolet was removed on Monday from the entry list for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, De Souza said, because the team was not able to adequately prepare a replacement for the car he wrecked attempting to qualify for the Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last weekend. “We’re not sure what happened, ” De Souza said. “He’s had a loose car all day and they thought they’d made some adjustments, but it didn’t fix it. You could see from what happened it was nothing that would be a driver’s fault.” De Souza said the team will do “due diligence” on Almirola’s program, which currently includes part-time Busch and truck series racing, then huddle to reassess his schedule. He had been tentatively set to qualify for up to five Cup events.(St Petersburg Times)(5-23-2007)
- Shrek back on the #38 at LMS: On this Memorial Day weekend, as the nation pays tribute to our heroes in the Armed Forces, RYR co-owner Doug Yates is asking his team to remember two local Charlotte heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty, Officers Jeff Shelton and Sean Clark of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department. A native of Charlotte, Yates is donating a portion of Sunday’s race winnings from the #38 Team to assist with the re-building of two Charlotte-area parks, which will be dedicated as memorials to the officers. Driver David Gilliland is hoping to score a solid finish in Sunday’s race in support of Yates’ charitable contribution. Joining Gilliland again this weekend are the stars of this week’s top rated box office flick, Shrek the Third, who return to the quarter panels of the M&M’S Ford after an abbreviated ride in last Saturday’s Nextel Open. Leading the efforts in the Charlotte area in raising funds, goods and services to contribute to the building of the memorials is the crew from the Ace & TJ Show, which can be heard locally in Charlotte on its flagship station, KISS 95.1FM. Logo on to www.acetj.com for more information on where to send donations, how to volunteer and further details regarding the plans and locations of the parks scheduled to be rebuilt.(RYR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(5-23-2007)
- Labonte to run #43 Chocolate Chex Dodge at LMS: #43-Bobby Labonte, driver for Petty Enterprises, will trade his Cheerios yellow and Petty blue paint job to showcase a chocolate-themed paint scheme at the Coca Cola 600 on May 27th. Throughout the weekend Labonte will help launch new Chocolate Chex cereal for General Mills. With hopes of a winning weekend for Labonte in the #43 Chocolate Chex Dodge, Chex cereal wants to give race fans a chance to win. Thursday, May 24th through Saturday, May 26th at Food Lion Speed Street in uptown Charlotte, race fans can enter to win their very own 1937 Chocolate Chex Dodge Sedan LegendsT Car designed by artist Sam Bass. Race fans can just stop by the Chocolate Chex tent, vote for the NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award and receive an entry form. The winner will be notified the week of June 4 through a congratulatory phone call from Nextel Cup driver Bobby Labonte. Fans must be 18 or older to enter or win. Chocolate Chex is an oven toasted rice & corn cereal with a great chocolatey taste! Chocolate Chex has only 8 grams of sugar per serving, has natural antioxidants from whole grain and cocoa, and is a good source of Whole Grain. Chocolate Chex is a good source of calcium and Vitamin D; it is an excellent source of iron; it provides 9 other essential vitamins and minerals and is naturally cholesterol free.(Petty Racing PR)(5-23-2007)
- Hylton Named 1st-Qtr Winner of NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award: #58-James Hylton, the 72-year-old stock car competitor who attempted to qualify for this year’s Daytona 500, has been selected as the first-quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award. Hylton found himself in the national spotlight during 2007 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway when he attempted to become the oldest driver to qualify for the Nextel Cup Series’ season-opening Daytona 500. The two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series winner nearly pulled off the feat, finishing 23rd in one of the two Gatorade 150-mile qualifying races. While disappointed that he was unable to make his first Nextel Cup Series start since 1993, Hylton, who has 601 career starts in the series, vowed he would be back. “If I’d have turned this deal down,” Hylton said of his Daytona effort, “when I got to be an old man, I’d look back and say, ‘I should have taken that chance.’” Hylton received 44 votes cast by the membership. Jimmie Johnson, the defending Nextel Cup champion and driver of the Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevrolet, received 15 votes. Former Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton received one vote as did Patti Petty, who along with husband Kyle, founded Victory Junction Gang Camp. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award, which has been presented annually since 1992, recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Four quarterly winners are selected, with one overall Spirit award winner chosen by a vote of the NMPA membership at year’s end. The award will be presented during the group’s annual dinner and awards ceremony in January, 2008.(NASCAR PR)(5-23-2007)
News from May 22, 2007
- NASCAR to Run COT Full Time in 2008: NASCAR announced that the Car of Tomorrow will be fully implemented for the 2008 Nextel Cup Series season. The move accelerates the integration of the new car into the series by one full year. In January 2006, NASCAR had announced a three-year roll-out schedule that would conclude with the new car running in every race by 2009. As the new car began its initial phase-in program over the past several months, team owners expressed support of the new car and its full implementation by the 2008 season. Therefore, starting next year the new car will run the entire Nextel Cup Series schedule. The average margin of victory through the first five Car of Tomorrow races has been a mere .505 seconds (compared to 1.286 seconds at these same races a year ago) and there have been six fewer DNFs through this same race sequence from 2006. Additionally, 13 teams have used the same chassis for three of the five races; four teams have run the same chassis in four of the five races; and one team – the #29 Chevy – has run the same chassis in all five Car of Tomorrow races.(NASCAR PR)(5-22-2007)
- DEI Drops Appeal of Penalties: UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. dropped its appeal of penalties levied against #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief for illegal modifications made to the Car of Tomorrow. The appeal was scheduled to be heard Wednesday, but the team informed NASCAR on Tuesday it will not fight the penalties. Earnhardt was docked 100 points and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. was fined $100,000 and suspended six races after NASCAR discovered illegal brackets on the rear wing of the #8 Chevy at Darlington.(Associated Press), see more information about the penalty on my #8 Team Page.(5-22-2007)
UPDATE: DEI issued the following statement: “The rules are black and white,” said Richie Gilmore, DEI’s Vice President of Motorsports. “We were clearly in violation of those rules and accept the penalties handed down by NASCAR. Going forward, we’ve reviewed our internal processes and procedures to insure something like this doesn’t happen again.”(DEI PR)(5-22-2007)
- Dates, Sites Announced For Top Three NASCAR Awards Ceremonies: For 2007, the accents are on both tradition and innovation, regarding NASCAR’s postseason national series awards ceremony swing. First, the traditional: For the 27th consecutive year, the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion will be feted amid the bright lights of New York City, with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony set for the world-famous Waldorf=Astoria hotel on the evening of Friday, Nov. 30. “Honoring our NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion at the Waldorf has created many memories through the years,” said NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France. “It’s a perfect fit – the nation’s No. 2 sport recognizing its champion in the nation’s No. 1 market. It’s also a perfect footnote to what promises to be another great season.” Complementing the Waldorf show will be the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Cipriani, in Manhattan. This will be the second year of a new format for this long-standing event, which is highlighted by several prominent presentations, including NASCAR’s year-end contingency awards.
The NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet will take place on Friday, Dec. 7, at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla. Portofino Bay is located near the new NASCAR Sports Grille at City Walk, within the Universal Orlando complex.
And finally, regarding innovation, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Awards Banquet is set for Monday, Nov. 19 at a new site where excitement is inherent: The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla.
All three national series end their seasons at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the weekend of Nov. 16-18.(NASCAR PR), no announcement or word on TV coverage.(5-22-2007)
- SPEED sets ratings with inaugural All-Star Challenge TV Coverage: SPEED scored its highest rating in network history, earning a Nielsen Media Research mark of 3.53 (2,480,000 Households) for its inaugural coverage of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday. The event, in its first of eight seasons on SPEED, peaked at 4.37 (3,064,000 Households) and held a 4-plus rating for final 90 minutes of the telecast. The Nielsen rating marks a 7% increase over last year’s All-Star broadcast on FX, which earned a 3.30 Nielsen rating. With the effort, SPEED was the No. 1 basic cable network on television from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET Saturday night among total households and the Men 18-49 audience. Behind the strength of the popular NASCAR RaceDay and a record-setting post-race performance by NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED delivered its highest-rated total day in network history. Prior to the 2007 Nextel All-Star Challenge, the highest-rated program ever on SPEED was the 2005 season-opening Craftsman Truck Series race from Daytona with a 2.1.(SPEED PR)(5-22-2007)
- Budweiser Desert Camo Car To Honor Troops This Weekend: You may need to look a little closer to find the #8 Budweiser machine during the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this Sunday. The iconic red paint scheme is being replaced this Memorial Day weekend with a special desert camouflage look, honoring our troops around the globe. Budweiser will donate proceeds from the sale of the collectible diecast camo cars to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), which provides full-ride college scholarships to surviving dependents of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions, and immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in the global war on terror. More than 700 dependents currently benefit from the efforts of the SOWF. For more information, visit www.specialops.org. The Budweiser team will also carry a special red, white and blue paint scheme during the July 4 weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Budweiser will also donate proceeds from the sales of collectible merchandise of that car to SOWF.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR), see images on the #8 Team Schemes page.(5-22-2007)
- #66 to sport special scheme at LMS to promote Fisher House: Best Buy Racing is assisting the families of military personnel receiving medical care at US military and VA medical centers by promoting Fisher House during the Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup Series race weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. To raise awareness for these “homes away from home,” Jeff Green’s #66 Best Buy Haas CNC Racing Chevy will carry a special paint design to raise awareness for Fisher House. In addition, Best Buy is helping raise funds for the Fisher House Foundation by allowing customers to donate monies at any Best Buy retail location and online from Memorial weekend through Independence Day. Members of the military and their families often must travel great distances for specialized medical care. Fisher House Foundation establishes “comfort homes,” facilities built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, to provide lodging for families of hospitalized military members. In addition to the fundraising efforts, Best Buy is supporting Fisher House through hands-on volunteer opportunities for Best Buy employees at Fisher House locations, and other activities. Several Best Buy vendor partners are making in-kind donations of products needed by current and future Fisher House locations, including laptop computers, television and other electronics. Best Buy employees will volunteer their time to install these products. Donations to Fisher House can be made at any cash register at all Best Buy retail locations, or any time from the Best Buy website, www.bestbuy.com, beginning on Memorial Day Weekend and continuing through the week of July 4th. For more information on the work of Fisher House Foundation, go to www.fisherhouse.org.(GMR PR)(5-22-2007)
News from May 21, 2007
- DEI looking for #8 replacement, sponsor, may keep Bud: Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) is working on finding a replacement to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the #8 Nextel Cup car. “It’s hard to say how far along we are,” DEI executive board member John Story said Saturday prior to the Nextel All-Star Challenge. “We’ve had a lot of interest. We’ve obviously made a few phone calls ourselves. We’ve had a lot of unsolicited phone calls from some top athletes that are interested in it, but clearly I can’t discuss any names. We don’t have a template in mind for a driver other than we need a winner, we need another driver to complement our group, somebody that is capable of winning championships, winning races. Whether he’s young or old is less important than making sure he’s a top athlete that is a winner.” DEI would likely need to either extend its current deal with Budweiser (which said it is reviewing its options in light of Earnhardt Jr.’s departure) or find a new sponsor to lock in a top-tier driver. “There will be a sponsor of that car, that’s no doubt,” Story said. “We won’t be able to get a top-name, championship-caliber driver without a solid commitment from a sponsor.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-21-2007)
- Sad News: Shepherd’s Mother: Bettie Allen Poovey, mother of NASCAR veteran racer Morgan Shepherd, passed away Sunday at her home in Conover, NC. She was 82. Ms. Poovey was with a family friend at her Conover home when she became ill and collapsed Sunday morning. She was rushed to a local hospital and was pronounced dead. Ms. Poovey was born on August 30, 1924 in Benton County, Washington, and had a special love for flowers and antiques. She was a longtime member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hickory. In addition to her son, Morgan, and his wife, Cindy, Ms. Poovey is also survived by three daughters, Barbara Earnhardt of Hickory, NC; Joan Moore and her husband, Bill, of Stow, Ohio; and Edna Winston, and her husband, Winslow, of Shelby, NC. Ms. Poovey had 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Her visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Drum Funeral Home in Conover. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hickory, NC. She will be buried in Catawba Memorial Park in Hickory.(Faith Motorsports PR)(5-21-2007)
- Ganassi Racing testing COT at Gateway: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and driver Reed Sorenson is scheduled for a two day test at Gateway International Raceway Monday May 21 and Tuesday May 22nd. This will be the first NASCAR COT test done at the 1.25-mile oval. Sorenson is no stranger to Gateway as he picked up his second career win in the Busch Series back in 2005. The Busch Series will return to Gateway International Raceway July 21st for tickets go to gatewayraceway.com or you can call 866-35-SPEED.(GIR PR)(5-21-2007)
- Alltel to Be Acquired by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners: Alltel Corp. announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners (“GSCP”), in a transaction valued at approximately $27.5 billion. Alltel’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the merger agreement after a comprehensive review of the company’s strategic options, and has recommended the approval of the transaction by Alltel’s shareholders. Completion of the transaction, which is currently expected to occur by the fourth quarter of 2007 or by the first quarter of 2008, is contingent upon customary closing conditions, including approval by Alltel’s shareholders and certain regulatory approvals. Shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposed transaction at a special meeting that will be held on a date to be announced. Scott Ford, Alltel’s chief executive officer, will remain in his current role.(Business Wire), no idea how this could effect the sponsorship of the #12 Penske Racing team Ryan Newman drives for.(5-21-2007)
- Logano beats Harvick in Iowa: The largest crowd in Iowa Speedway history – 24,741 estimated paid attendance – watched Sunday afternoon as 16-year-old Joey Logano out-dueled Nextel Cup veteran Kevin Harvick to win the NASCAR Grand National Featherlite Coaches 200. Logano, from Middletown, Conn., drove the Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet to a 10-car-length victory over Harvick, who was slowed with engine problems early in the race. Logano and Harvick dueled virtually side-by-side the first 20 laps and, although Harvick led later in the race as well as being out front early, his effort was hampered by engine woes. The race – first-ever NASCAR event at Iowa Speedway – was an entertaining one for the fans. Harvick and Logano changed the lead 15 times during the race. Logano raced in the USAR Hooters Cup a year ago and competed at Iowa Speedway in that division, but this is the first season he’s been eligible to race in the NASCAR Grand National Division. That eligibility came because NASCAR lowered the age from 18 to 16 prior to this season. Third place went to Jesus Hernandez of Fresno, Calif., in a Chevrolet, while Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif., (Chevrolet) and Mike Duncan of Bakersfield, Calif. (Ford) rounded out the top five. The event drew more than 50 entries with 42 cars taking the green flag.(Iowa Speedway site)(5-21-2007)
- #29 Pit Crew wins 1st Qtr MVP Crew Award: Start the year with a Daytona 500 victory, two top-5 and five top-10 finishes in the first 10 races of the Nextel Cup Series season and your competitors will pay attention. Nextel Cup Series crew chiefs have noted the handy work of the #29 RCR Shell-Pennzoil Pit Crew by naming them the First Quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Nextel Cup Season. At the end of each quarter, the winning pit crew is determined by a vote of each team’s crew chief. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award and a check for $100,000 awarded at the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Awards Banquet at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.(Mechanix Wear PR)(5-21-2007)
- Kyle Busch on Regis and Kelly Tuesday: #5-Kyle Busch is scheduled to make an appearance on “Live with Regis and Kelly” when the popular morning talk show broadcasts from the French Quarter in New Orleans on Tuesday, May 22. It will mark Busch’s second appearance on the program, as he was one of the drivers who appeared last September to celebrate the kickoff of the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup.(HMS PR)(5-21-2007)
- Kyle Busch forms charitable foundation: #5-Kyle Busch, president of Kyle Busch Motorsports, announced his newly formed charitable effort called the Kyle Busch Foundation. “I have been very blessed in my life,” Busch said. “I’m fortunate enough to be able to race and do what I love. Not everyone is as fortunate. So I wanted to give something back and I decided I wanted to help kids.” The Kyle Busch Foundation is dedicated to providing essential tools and supplies for institutionalized children across the country. The foundation will provide support to organizations that create and foster a safe, protective environment for children. “There are a lot of children in need out there,” Busch continued. “Times are tough enough for young people these days, and if there is anything I can do, I’m more than willing.” KBF is in the process of collecting items crucial to these respective homes. For designated drop off points and wish lists please visit please visit www.kylebuschfoundation.org.(Kyle Busch Motorsports PR)(5-21-2007)
News from May 20, 2007
- No Dale Jr. to Hendrick: Cross Hendrick Motorsports off the list of teams interested in signing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Although he’s spoken to Earnhardt, car owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday “there’s no room at the inn” for NASCAR’s most popular driver. Earnhardt is leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) at the end of the season. He wants to stay with one of the top Chevrolet teams so he can contend for championships, and Hendrick is the best in NASCAR right now with eight wins in the past nine Nextel Cup races. Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing are the next best Chevy teams, and both owners have indicated they are interested in speaking with Earnhardt. Only Hendrick had been silent on the issue, but as he walked toward pit road before Saturday night’s Nextel All-Star Challenge, he said he was maxed out with four drivers right now and couldn’t fit Earnhardt in his stable. “We’re good friends and I’ve talked to him, because I really want him to make the best decision and do the best thing for himself,” Hendrick told The Associated Press. “But right now, I’m full.” Hendrick fields Cup cars for four-time series champion #24-Jeff Gordon, defending Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Kyle Busch and #25-Casey Mears. All are under contract through at least 2008, and Hendrick is currently trying to extend Busch’s deal. Hendrick said he’s offered to help Earnhardt if he elects to field his own Cup team.(Associated Press)(5-20-2007)
- Nextel joins NASCAR in AT&T lawsuit: NASCAR Nextel Cup series sponsor Sprint Nextel has joined the legal battle on NASCAR’s side, as it hopes to have the AT&T decision overturned on appeal. “In response to the ruling by the court, we have formally filed to join this proceeding,” said the company’s director of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series marketing, Dean Kessel, in a statement issued Saturday. “We intend to vigorously protect our sponsorship from these unfounded claims of AT&T. This weekend is for celebrating NASCAR’s best and the best fans in the sport.”(SPEEDtv.com)(5-20-2007)
- Andretti qualifies for the Indy 500: John Andretti, with little practice time in the third Panther Racing entry, breezed into the field Saturday for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti posted a four-lap, 10-mile qualification run of 221.756mph, second fastest among 10 qualifiers that brought the field to 32 with Sunday as the final day to make the 33-car starting field. “I think my experience played a big part in it since I’ve been here a few times,” Andretti said. “The line is a little different so I had to relearn some things. We certainly didn’t have it on the ragged edge to do the time. It was good, it was solid and I couldn’t be happier with the car and Panther Racing.” Roger Yasukawa was the fastest of the day at 222.654. Currently, Andretti will start in 24th spot, the outside of Row 8.(MCG Sports PR), Time Trials/Bump Day are scheduled to be aired on TV today from 1:00-3:00pm/et on ABC and 5:00-6:30pm/et on ESPN2.(5-20-2007)
- Sad News: Ellwood “Reds” Stofflet, John Andretti’s grandfather, passed away early Saturday morning [May 19th], he was 88. He was the husband of the late Mary (Bensing) Stofflet, who passed October 29, 2002. Prior to his retirement in 1981, he was employed as a shift foreman at Lone Star Industries in Nazareth [PA] for 35 years, prior to that he worked as a heat treater at Bethlehem Steel for 5 years and he also worked several years at Price Battery in Hamburg, PA. He is survived by his daughters, Harriet S. wife of Kenneth B. Horton of Edgewater, Florida, Carolyn H. “Corky” wife of Aldo Andretti of Brownsburg, Indiana, and Jeanne M. wife of Julius Kuchar of Bethlehem; he is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, his brother Gordon U.S. Stofflet of Lake Ariel, PA, and sister Shirley D. wife of Wilbur Leh of Nazareth,Pa. Memorial funeral services to celebrate Ellwood’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Salem United Church of Christ, 2218 Community Drive, Bath, PA 18014.(5-20-2007)
#48 Crew Members donate uniforms to Benefit Benny’s Museum: Lowe’s, Hendrick Motorsports and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced today a special on-line auction of the #48 team’s actual pit crew uniforms. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Benny Parsons Museum. Crew Chief Chad Knaus along with the team’s seven over-the-wall pit crew members said they agreed to donate the uniforms worn in NASCAR Nextel Cup races as a mark of respect for the late Parsons. Each uniform will be signed by the donating crew member as well as Johnson and Knaus. The over-the-wall crew members, include: jackman Chris Anderson, front tire carrier Art Simmons, front tire changer Mike Trower, rear tire carrier Ron Malec, rear tire changer Tim Ladyga, gas man Rich Gutierrez and catch can man Mike Knauer. The first chance to bid begins Fri. May 18. Each uniform will be posted separately in a series of 10-day auctions. The final uniform will be posted on Friday, July 6. For more information or to place your bid, visit www.ebay.com/jimmiejohnsonfoundation. Parsons died Jan. 16 from complications resulting from treatments for lung cancer. His wife Terri is currently raising funds for a museum in his honor at Rendezvous Ridge near North Wilkesboro, N.C. For more information on Benny Parsons visit BennyParsons.com.(GMR PR)(5-20-2007)
- NASCAR and Home Depot Team Up For New Award: officials from NASCAR and Home Depot announced the first annual NASCAR/Home Depot Humanitarian Award. The award will be presented at the National Motorsports Press Association luncheon during Champions Week at the end of the season in New York City. The award will be given to any active member of the NASCAR community including driver, car owner, crew member, media member, track employee or sponsor that contributes to helping others, giving of their time, and to his or her community. The winner will receive a crystal award and a $100,000 donation made by The Home Depot to the recipients’ charity of choice. The two runners-up will each receive a $25,000 donation to their charity of choice. To nominate an individual for the award log onto www.nascar.com/humanitarian to download an application through September 8.(LMS Pit Notes)(5-20-2007)
- RYR gets engineer back, forming test team: Long-time team engineer Kevin Buskirk returned to the Robert Yates Racing [#38, #88] fold last week after a stint at Richard Childress Racing and will play a key role in getting the team back up to speed. Also in the works is a dedicated RYR test team, which should be especially beneficial in helping the team catch up in Car of Tomorrow races.(SPEEDtv.com)(5-20-2007)
- Fatback back as a crew chief UPDATE: Bill Elliott will make his return to Nextel Cup racing with a proven winner atop his pit box.The Wood Brothers/JTG race has assigned veteran crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain to lead the crew that will prepare the #21 Ford for Elliott’s debut with the Wood team in next week’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. McSwain had been working in a supervisory position at the Wood Brosthers team.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), been told that Ernie Cope, the former crew chief, has taken over McSwains supervisory position.(5-19-2007)
UPDATE: Michael “Fatback” McSwain is moving back to a familiar role for the Wood Brothers/JTG race team—that of Crew Chief. McSwain handled the crew chief duties on Jon Wood’s #21 Motorcraft Ford in the Nextel Open. Next week, McSwain will begin working with former champion Bill Elliott, in preparation for their first event together, the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Elliott will be driving the #21 Air Force Ford Fusion.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(5-20-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Nextel Open and Nextel Challenge:
Total number of commercials: 117
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 63
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 7:24 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 11:01 PM
Total minutes: 217
Minutes of race broadcast: 165
Minutes of commercials: 52
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(5-20-2007)
- Harvick and Childress off to Iowa Speedway on Sunday: #29-Kevin Harvick [who won the Nextel Challenge Saturday night] and owner Richard Childress will head to Iowa Speedwaywhere Harvick will compete in the NASCAR Grand National Division combination race between the Busch East Series and the West Series. The Featherlite 200 will be the first NASCAR-sanctioned race at the track located in Newton, Iowa. Harvick will compete in the race while Childress serves as the Grand Marshal. Richard Childress Racing also has two development drivers in NASCAR’s Grand National Division, with Ryan Foster and Tim McCreadie in the West Series. Other Grand National Division drivers with development ties to the Nextel Cup Series are Joey Logano and Marc Davis (Joe Gibbs Racing), Jeffrey Earnhardt (DEI), Chase Austin (Rusty Wallace Inc.), Jamie Hayes (Ken Schrader Racing), Ruben Pardo and Pierre Bourque (Fitz Racing), and Jesus Hernandez (Ginn Racing). Rusty Wallace played a key role in designing the Iowa Speedway.(LMS Pit Notes). The race be aired live on HDNet at 4:00pm/et.(5-20-2007)
News from May 19, 2007
- Judge: Let AT&T into NASCAR logo race UPDATE 2 NASCAR denied, AT&T at All-Star race: A federal judge on Friday ruled that AT&T can replace a Cingular logo with its own on a NASCAR race car, following its absorption of the Atlanta-based wireless company. The decision marks an important victory for AT&T. The company sued NASCAR in March, alleging that the racing organization improperly prevented AT&T from putting its brand on the #31 car driven by Jeff Burton.The vehicle currently is branded for the former Cingular Wireless. AT&T took control of Atlanta-based Cingular in late December and is in the process of shedding the Cingular name. NASCAR objected to AT&T’s proposal for adding its logo to Burton’s stock car. The racing organization cited a deal with Sprint Nextel, which holds the title sponsorship for NASCAR’s top racing series. NASCAR said its agreements with Sprint Nextel prohibit the addition of other telecommunications companies as sponsors. Judge Marvin Shoob, of the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, ruled that AT&T would be likely to win the case. He agreed with AT&T’s argument that a change in brands is allowed under a grandfather clause that was put in place to protect Cingular, despite Sprint Nextel’s deal with NASCAR.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
UPDATE: been told the AT&T-branded car is scheduled to make its debut tomorrow at the All-Star Challenge race in Charlotte, NC., see an image of the new scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.
NASCAR Statement Regarding Today’s Court Decision: NASCAR is disappointed with today’s ruling but will continue to provide a sponsor friendly environment for the industry and its partners. NASCAR is currently weighing any and all options for appeal of today’s decision. Meanwhile, NASCAR will continue to protect the industry from actions designed to interrupt a business model which has been beneficial to all. It is important to understand that Sprint Nextel is a cornerstone sponsor that benefits the entire industry by way of its contribution to the championship point’s fund, technology bringing fans closer to the sport, and its massive marketing and advertising campaigns.(NASCAR PR)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR has requested and has been granted a hearing by Judge Marvin H. Shoob to stay today’s decision. The hearing will be held at 11:30am/et tomorrow morning, May 19, 2007. If the judge grants the stay, then the #31 car will remain with its current branding. If NASCAR’s request is denied, then NASCAR will seek an emergency stay from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday morning. Today’s ruling is limited to the facts of this particular case and does not have broad implications. NASCAR will continue to provide a sponsor friendly environment for the industry and its partners and will protect the industry from actions designed to interrupt a business model which has been beneficial to all. It is important to understand that Sprint Nextel is a cornerstone sponsor that benefits the entire industry by way of its contribution to the championship point’s fund, technology bringing fans closer to the sport, and its massive marketing and advertising campaigns.(NASCAR PR)(5-18-2007)
UPDATE 3 – NASCAR denied: A federal judge again refused to grant NASCAR’s request for a stay to prevent Jeff Burton’s No. 31 car from racing Saturday with the AT&T logo. The ruling, made Saturday just hours before the Nextel All-Star Challenge in Concord, N.C., was the second in two days from U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob. On Friday, Shoob issued a preliminary injunction barring NASCAR from stopping AT&T Inc. from placing its brand on Burton’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Following the second denial for a stay, NASCAR filed an emergency appeal with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. “We don’t know when that will heard,” said Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications. “Our expectation going in is that it probably wouldn’t be heard until next week.” Shoob’s decision to deny NASCAR’s request followed a private hearing.(AP/ESPN.com), see more images of the new scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page(5-19-2007)
- Dale Jr. talking to owners/teams: The car owners are calling and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is ready to listen. In fact, NASCAR’s most popular driver is enjoying the courtship part of free agency. Earnhardt said Friday he’s had preliminary talks with potential employers, and his sister has been prioritizing all of his options. He announced last week that he was leaving DEI, his late father’s company, at the end of the season. “It’s really neat to get down to the core of some of these guys and understand ’em more,” Earnhardt said. “It’s a big new world out there. I’m really excited about my opportunities and the possibilities and what’s going to be on the table and I’m excited about how the response has been from some of the owners. Their excitement really makes you feel appreciated and makes you feel necessary and like you’d be an asset – which is a great feeling.” Earnhardt wouldn’t reveal who he has spoken to so far, and said early discussions had yet to produce a clear favorite. But he’s been surprised at how nice the owners have been. His sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, also has spoken to several teams and has scheduled meetings with others as she negotiates her brother through the biggest free agency period in NASCAR history.(Associated Press)(5-19-2007)
- New crew chief for Robby? UPDATE 2 yes: hearing #7-Robby Gordon, driver/owner of the #7 Jim Beam Ford, has a new crew chief, Gene Nead. Heard crew chief Greg Erwin left the team recenty.(5-16-2007)
UPDATE: been told that Erwin is still with the team, no word in what capacity. Also, during Busch Series testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday and Tuesday, Gordon shared testing duties with Ryan Hunter-Reay.(5-17-2007)
UPDATE 2: #7-Robby Gordon hired a new crew chief, Gene Nead (lately with Bill Davis) to take the place of veteran Greg Erwin, after three straight weeks of troubles. “We have spiraled to 31st in points, and Greg told me he needed some help, and he would take an engineering role again if we could find a crew chief, so that’s what we did,” Gordon said. Erwin said he’s assessing his situation. Ford’s Jack Roush and Dodge’s Roger Penske have been reported to have expressed an interest in hiring Erwin, but Gordon wants him to stay.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-19-2007)
- Childress and Burton hope to sign long term deal soon: Team owner Richard Childress hinted strongly that he will soon announce a new long-term contract with driver #31-Jeff Burton. “Jeff and I have a plan that we are going to announce pretty soon,” Childress said Friday. “I am sure we will start talking to AT&T pretty soon. Jeff is very happy where he is at and I am very happy with Jeff. We will be making some announcements pretty soon.”(SPEEDtv.com)(5-19-2007)
- Harvick wins Nextel Challenge: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Nextel Challenge All-Star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for his first ever win in the All-Star race and winning the $1 million+. #48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #01-Martin, #31-Burton [with AT&T logos], #20-Stewart, #70-Sauter [was 2nd in the Nextel Open], #17-Kenseth [won segment 1 & 3], #12-Newman, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #1-Truex Jr. [won the Nextel Open]. #5-Kyle Busch won the 2nd segment and took out his brother #2-Kurt Busch on lap 62 of the final segment. #78-Wallace finished 16th after winning the fan vote to get in the race. Harvick is the 4th driver to win both the Daytona 500 and All-Star race in the same year, joining #48-Jimmie Johnson , #24-Jeff Gordon  and the late Davey Allison . Johnson and Gordon also won the Cup championship in the same year. For the race rundown, see my 2007 All-Star Page.
See the results on the 2007 Nextel Challenge/Open Race Results page.(5-19-2007)
- Truex Jr. wins the Nextel Open: #1-Martin Truex Jr. made a pass of #99-Carl Edwards with 3 laps to go in the Nextel Open to win the race and advance to the Nextel Challenge All-Star race. #70-Johnny Sauter made a bid for the win and held on to 2nd to also advance to the All-Star race. Edwards faded and finished 3rd and missed the race after leading 37 of 40 laps. #22-Blaney finished 4th, followed by #88-Rudd, #07-Bowyer, #14-Marlin, #36-Mayfield, #96-Raines and #26-McMurray. #78-Kenny Wallace finished 18th but was voted into the Nextel Challenge by the fans. For the race rundown, see my 2007 All-Star Page. See the results on the 2007 Nextel Challenge/Open Race Results page.(5-19-2007)
- Rumblings – Nextel All-Star Challenge Race Notes: It was All-Star night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway…. We started off the night with the Nextel Open…and we didn’t make it to turn two before a multi-car pileup occured. The ensuing restart wasn’t much better….we made it about a lap & half before we saw the yellow wave again. All in all, we got about 8 green laps in the books out of the initial 20 lap segment (20 was the operative number of the evening…..all five segments were of that length). Carl Edwards led all 20 circuits of the opener. In segment two, we were all green after one little glitch on the initial lap, and Carl Edwards got sandwiched late by Martin Truex Jr & Johnny Sauter as those two drivers advanced to the feature. Kenny Wallace’s campaign paid dividends as he was the driver voted in by the fans to the Nextel Challenge.
In the main event we went like this….
Segment #1: Matt Kenseth led every lap and wins $75K.
Segment #2: Kyle Busch led every lap and wins $75K.
Segment #3: Even more boring….Matt Kenseth wins [but no payoff for seg 3]
Segment #4: Finally some action. Kenseth gets caught speeding on pit road and has to go to the back….giving hope to all others. The Busch boys take each other out early and wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting? Might want Mom and Dad around for that one!
Casey Mears and Denny Hamlin put each other out of their misery a little later on and we finally get some good racing for about 10 of the final 15 circuits as Kevin Harvick holds off Jimmie Johnson in the final segment to win the Nextel All-Star Challenge for the first time (but this was RCR’s 4th victory in this event). Harvick’s win was worth a cool $1,031,539, and add that to the $106,535 that Jeff Burton got for fourth and RC is throwing the party (and probably a welcome for his new sponsor as well).(Stock Car Fans)(5-19-2007)
- Crew Chief Race for Charity before All-Star race: The top crew chiefs in Nextel Cup racing will trade their wrenches for driving suits during the inaugural Kobalt Tools Crew Chief Race Saturday night, May 19, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The event will be the featured pre-race entertainment for the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Utilizing Thunder Roadsters manufactured by 600 Racing and decaled to replicate the paint schemes of the Nextel Cup cars they oversee, the crew chiefs will compete in a 30-minute racing program that will include two qualifying heats and a feature race. The racing action will take place on the speedway’s quarter-mile oval, located on the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, and will be televised by SPEED Channel. “NASCAR RaceDay All-Star Edition,” which includes live coverage of the Kobalt Tools Crew Chief Race, will begin at 4:00pm/et and will be on the air for three hours leading up to coverage of the Nextel All-Star Challenge.
Car# Crew Chief, Sponsor/Team, Charity
1 Kevin “Bono” Manion, Bass Pro Shops/Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Dale Earnhardt Foundation
3 Kirk Shelmerdine, SPEED Channel, Victory Junction Gang Camp
5 Alan Gustafson, Kellogg’s/Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick Marrow Program
8 Brandon Blake, Budweiser/Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Dale Earnhardt Foundation
11 Jeff Hammond, SPEED Channel, Speedway Children’s Charities
19 Ray Evernham, Dodge Dealers-UAW/Evernham Motorsports, Racing for a Reason
24 Steve Letarte, Dupont/Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon Foundation
25 Darian Grubb, National Guard/Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick Marrow Program
29 Scott “Flash” Naset, Shell-Pennzoil/Richard Childress Racing, Victory Junction Gang Camp
31 Scott Miller, Cingular/Richard Childress Racing, Humane Society of Iredell County
33 Andy Petree, ESPN, Motor Racing Outreach/Mud Creek Baptist Church
40 Steve Lane, Coor’s Light/Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, St. Judes Research Hospital
41 Jimmy Elledge, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Target House
43 Paul Andrews, Cheerio’s/Petty Racing, Victory Junction Gang Camp
45 Billy Wilburn, Coca-Cola/Petty Racing, Victory Junction Gang Camp
48 Chad Knaus, Lowe’s/Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson Foundation
66 Harold Holly, Best Buy/Haas CNC, TBA
07 Gil Martin, Jack Daniel’s/Richard Childress Racing, St. Judes Research Hospital
The race was won by #33-Andy Petree, with #48-Chad Knaus finishing 2nd. Petree also won the 1st heat race and #29-Scott Naset won the 2nd heat.(LMS PR)(5-19-2007)
- Junior Johnson in the legit Moonshine biz: Piedmont Distillers and NASCAR legend Junior Johnson have joined forces and introduced the company’s second moonshine product, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon. The company will continue to produce its popular original brand, Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine. Johnson is now a part owner of Piedmont Distillers, the only legal Distiller in North Carolina. Johnson’s new brand, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, joins Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, which is now available in eight states. Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon joins Catdaddy on North Carolina store shelves this week and will follow in several other states immediately. Distribution in additional states will be announced in the very near future. “I am really proud to own part of this company,” Johnson said. “I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and my history in the moonshine business is no secret. Back in the old days, we learned to drive cars fast because we’d go to jail if we didn’t. Now, you can buy part of a moonshine business, tell everybody where they can buy your product, and it’s all legal. It’s a different deal than it was back then. I’m looking forward to being a part of this company.” Like many of the other early stock car racers, Johnson grew-up tending to the family’s whiskey business. He helped his father work the copper stills during the day and developed his incredible driving skills by running shine at night. Junior combined his understanding of how to make a car run flat-out with his legendary driving skill to become one of the most successful drivers and owners in racing history. As a NASCAR driver, Johnson won 50 races and 49 poles. He is tied with Ned Jarrett for 10th place on the all-time victory list. For more information on either brand, please visit www.catdaddymoonshine.com.(3-G Sports PR)(5-19-2007)
- Valvoline Back with Roush: oush Fenway Racing has signed a multi-year deal that reunites the team and Valvoline as its official motor oil and engine lubricant provider, effective immediately. The deal applies to all of the 13 Roush Fenway entries in the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. Valvoline will remain the primary sponsor of the Evernham Motorsports #10 Dodge driven by Scott Riggs and that program will not be affected by the Roush deal.(SPEEDtv.com)(5-19-2007)
- Darlington TV ratings down 12.5%: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s rain-delayed Dodge Avenger 500 Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating 4.2 and a 12 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 12.5% lower than the 4.8/10 Fox earned for the race in 2006, when it aired on Saturday night.(SceneDaily.com), for more on the 2007 ratings, see my 2007 TV Ratings page/chart.(5-19-2007)
- Hyder & Kennedy suspensions to be lifted: NASCAR will lift the indefinite suspensions of crew chief David Hyder and competition director Bobby Kennedy on May 30, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said on Friday. Hyder and Kennedy were suspended when NASCAR discovered an unidentified substance in the engine of #55-Michael Waltrip’s car before qualifying for the Daytona 500 in February. Both were escorted from the facility and have not been to a track since. Hyder was fired last month before the race at Talladega Superspeedway. “Bobby got booted by association,” Waltrip said Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “He was supposed to oversee all of the cars and the 55 was the one found to be outside of the rules. It took us a little while to understand what to do. It’s such a devastating blow, and we just decided to end the association [with Hyder]. Bobby has been with me for seven or eight years, and we’ve never gotten into any trouble for anything. I don’t know Hyder and I know Bobby. Bobby has never had that type of personality, and ultimately the crew chief is responsible for the car as NASCAR so eloquently pointed out last week.” Waltrip said Kennedy’s role has been redefined and he’s not sure what the new role will be. Waltrip, who met with NASCAR officials again last week, hopes this brings closure to ordeal. “They told us what was found in the intake was obviously a substance that was put there on purpose to enhance performance, and it had to be done by someone inside our company or inside our circle,” Waltrip said. “I don’t want to single out Hyder. I do want to say that a couple of the guys who came with him are no longer employed by us.”(ESPN.com)(5-19-2007)
News from May 18, 2007
- DEI and RCR team up to build engines: One of NASCAR’s greatest partnerships – Childress and Earnhardt – has been expanded with the creation of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies. Richard Childress and Teresa Earnhardt announced today that the joint venture partnership will combine the Chevrolet engine departments of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), with engine development work to begin immediately. Construction of a permanent stand-alone facility located between RCR and DEI will begin later this summer with completion expected by mid 2008. A specific site has not been announced, although a location has been identified pending zoning approval. Until that facility is complete, all work will be divided between the RCR’s engine shop in Welcome, N.C. and DEI’s shop in Mooresville, N.C. It is anticipated that all six RCR and DEI cars will run the first common engine at Daytona in July. Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will develop and build engines for the Chevrolet Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series teams campaigned by the two companies. A long-term goal of the joint venture will include an engine leasing program for teams in NASCAR’s top three divisions. The partnership also has long-term plans to diversify and expand beyond NASCAR by providing race engines to teams competing in series such as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, various off-road and stock car series, sports car series, etc. This is not the first time RCR and DEI have worked together in a technology partnership. RAD, an acronym for the three teams owned by Richard Childress, Andy Petree and Dale Earnhardt, was formed in the late 90’s as an aerodynamic consortium between the programs. The partnership was considered wildly successful with the three teams dominating the aerodynamically sensitive restrictor plate tracks Daytona and Talladega for the next few years.(RCR-DEI PR)(5-18-2007)
- Pep Boys..Manny, Moe & Jack…to sponsor Marlin at LMS: The Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack, the nation’s leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, announced that it will be the primary sponsor on Sterling Marlin’s #14 Chevrolet at the upcoming Nextel Cup races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte. Pep Boys, an 86-year-old Philadelphia institution with 593 stores and more than 6,000 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico, will have its colors showcased on Marlin’s Ginn Racing entry in this weekend’s All-Star event and the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 point race. Customers can find the nearest location by calling 1-800-PEP-BOYS or by visiting pepboys.com.(Ginn Racing PR), see an image of the new scheme on my #14 Team Schemes page(5-18-2007)
- Kurt Busch back in Gold at the All-Star Race: #2-Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is racing a special “gold color scheme” car in Saturday night’s NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We’re bringing back the gold color scheme that we did so well with at Daytona in February and we’re in a position where we can lay it all on the line for the All Star race on Saturday night,” said Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, who climbed to seventh in the series point standings with his 12th-place finish at Darlington on Sunday. “It’s a great game plan and we’re super excited.(Tom Roberts PR), see an image on my #2 Team Schemes page.(5-18-2007)
- All-Star Race Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 13 Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. Montoya placed 23rd and took top rookie honors for the fourth time this season. Montoya leads David Ragan by four points (120-116) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. No Raybestos Rookie points will be awarded in either the Nextel Open or Nextel All-Star Challenge races. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) and Ryan Newman (2002) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Tony Stewart was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the Nextel All-Star Challenge. He placed second behind race winner Terry Labonte in 1999. Three Rookies have won the pole for the Nextel Open: Brett Bodine (1987), Jeff Gordon (1993) and Joe Nemechek (1994). No Raybestos Rookie is currently eligible for the 2007 Nextel All-Star Challenge. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in the Nextel All-Star Challenge is second, by Denny Hamlin in 2006.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR), see more notes, standings, history on my 2007 Rookies Page.(5-18-2007)
- Robby to run a few more CORR races: #7-Robby Gordon will return this weekend as the driver of the #71 Monster Energy Drink Toyo Tires Pro Comp Baldwin prepared Pro 2 in the Championship Off Road Racing [CORR] race at the LA Fairplex this Sunday [May 20th]. Gordon is racing in round four of the Pro 2 CORR Lucas Oil series, as well as the NBC broadcast Jason Baldwin Memorial Cup Series Qualifier. On April 22, 2007, in his first CORR race ever, Baja 1000 winner Gordon took the lead at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. Gordon’s enthusiasm for CORR has led him to commit to several more CORR races in 2007, including Sept. 29th and 30th in Chula Vista; Oct. 19th and 20th in Texas; Nov. 3rd in Nevada. “I like what CORR is doing for off road racing, Jim Baldwin has shown a definite vision for the series and I am excited to come back and run up front and win in the Pro 2 class,” said Robby Gordon.(Robbygordon.com)(5-18-2007)
- Telethon set for NASCAR charitable day TODAY: NASCAR’s first telethon is being planned for May 18 as part of NASCAR Day, the sport’s annual charitable day. Since NASCAR initiated the day in 2004, it has sold keepsake pins and taken donations for its own NASCAR Foundation. More than $1.3 million was raised in 2006 in connection with NASCAR Day. All along, though, Mark Dyer, vice president of licensing, has sought an anchor event around which to build NASCAR Day, and the telethon could be it, he said. “My hope is that it will grow every year and also give our drivers a platform to promote the causes they believe in,” Dyer said. Telethon headquarters will be at the Sam Bass Gallery across from Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where the Nextel All-Star Challenge will be held the following day. Speed and Sirius Satellite Radio have committed to cover the telethon and periodically announce donation totals, Dyer said. NASCAR also is recruiting drivers to answer phones and conduct interviews at the telethon site.(SportsBusiness Journal/Sporting News)(5-9-2007)
MORE: The NASCAR Foundation announced that they have joined forces with several NASCAR drivers and media partners for a historic telethon in support of NASCAR Day on May 18. Thanks to the NASCAR Foundation and a slew of NASCAR’s media partners including SIRIUS Satellite Radio, SPEED, NASCAR.com and MRN, fans will have a chance on May 18 to speak with their favorite drivers, celebrate NASCAR Day and make a donation to a charitable cause of their choice, as the Foundation has brought together an impressive list of Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series drivers to help answer phones as part of the first ever NASCAR Day telethon, live from the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, N.C. By calling 1-888-May18th (1-888-629-1884) on NASCAR Day and making a donation, fans will be helping the 30-plus driver, team and track charities that the Foundation supports year round. Any fan who mentions his or her favorite driver or NASCAR charity will have 100% of that donation go directly to their designated charity. The drivers who are scheduled to participate include Greg Biffle, Ward Burton, Brendan Gaughan, Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman and Elliott and Hermie Sadler. NASCAR media partners are showing strong support to the NASCAR Day telethon. SIRIUS Satellite Radio will go live from the telethon all day long starting at 7:00am/et with Marty Snider and David Poole signing on the air with The Morning Drive live at the site of the telethon. SPEED, which will carry the Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 19 (7:00pm/et), will do live cut-ins throughout the day and NASCAR.com will stream SIRIUS’ broadcasts as well as provide original video content on their homepage all day long. Each person who pledges at least $25 will automatically become a Friend of the Foundation and will receive a 2007 NASCAR Day lapel pin. The first 100 people to pledge $100 to their favorite driver charity will receive an incentive item. For the driver who has the most callers and raises the most funds in their name, the NASCAR Foundation will match, up to $10,000, the funds raised during the NASCAR Day telethon.(NASCAR PR)(5-14/18-2007)
- Join Ernie Irvan on NASCAR Sirius Satellite Radio The Morning Drive with David Poole and Marty Snyder at 6am on May 18th. The Race2Safety Foundation is joining forces with The NASCAR Foundation to support NASCAR Day.! On Friday, May 18th, The NASCAR Foundation hosting an inaugural NASCAR Day Telethon from the Sam Bass Gallery in Charlotte, NC. Speed and Sirius NASCAR Radio will be broadcasting throughout the day and Irvan and many drivers will be there to help raise funds for NASCAR Day and their foundations.(5-18-2007)
News from May 17, 2007
- Elliott to the #21? UPDATE 2 confirmed/details: hearing 1988 Nextel Cup Champ, Bill Elliott, will drive the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Ford for six races, not sure if that will start after the Nextel Open, which Jon Wood is scheduled to run or for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 27th. Why Elliott? Bill Elliott, being a past champ, has 6 past champions provisional’s to use. #44-Dale Jarrett is out of past champ provisional’s and needs to qualify for the race as his team is out of the top-35 in owners points and a guaranteed starting spot. So is the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Ford team, driven by Ken Schrader [27 races] and rookie Jon Wood [11 races].(5-16-2007)
UPDATE: Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers racing team are giving long-time Ford fans something to celebrate next week in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Elliott has agreed to come out of his semi-retirement to drive the Wood’s famous #21 Ford. Elliott, who had his greatest racing success driving a #9 Ford, will be back behind the blue oval logo for the first time since he drove his own #94 in 2000. The #21, which has been driven this season by Ken Schrader and Jon Wood, is outside the top 35 in owner points, but Elliott has a past-champion’s provisional at his disposal if he fails to qualify on speed. “That will allow is to spend time getting the car ready for the race instead of worrying about qualifying,” Elliott said. “And it means a lot to me to drive that car.” Elliott has also filed an entry for the following week at Dover.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-17-2007)
UPDATE 2: Bill Elliott has agreed to a race-to-race deal to drive the #21 Little Debbie/Motorcraft/Air Force/Ore-Ida Ford Fusion, starting with the Coca-Cola 600 event weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Bill Elliott has over 30 years of Cup racing experience, with 756 starts and 44 wins, 175 top-fives, 320 top-tens at the series’ top level. He also has 55 pole positions to his credit. Jon Wood is slated to drive the #21 Motorcraft Ford this weekend in the Nextel Open event. Elliott said, “I was pretty honored to get a call from the Wood Brothers to drive the 21 car. I’ve seen them struggle the last few weeks, being outside the top-35, and it breaks my heart to see them miss races. I hope I can get in the car, get us qualified well every week and see what we can make up in the points battle along the way. Eddie and Len and, in fact, Glen and Leonard, have always been very close and dear friends of mine and I’m very glad to be able to help them out.” Regular driver, Ken Schrader: “I see the need for it at this time. I want to see this team move forward as quickly as possible and I think the plan we have in place will allow that to happen. Down the road, we can reevaluate where we stand. I’ll look forward to being back in the seat soon.”(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(5-17-2007)
- Waltrip’s Raceworld opens: Michael Waltrip Racing’s ‘Raceworld USA’ opened to the public on Wed., May 16, in time for race weeks at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 140,000 square-foot facility encompasses more than 11 acres and houses the world’s first interactive fan destination race shop accessible to the public. The facility is located off I-77 at exit 28 in Cornelius.(Toyota PR)(5-17-2007)
- Andrews tests for DEI been told and confirmed that Tim Andrews, son of #43 crew chief Paul Andrews, tested a DEI Chevy at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, May 15th. Andrews is running a part-time ARCA and Busch East schedule in 2007.(5-17-2007)
- Toyota’s teams improve engines: The Toyota teams competing in all-star weekend activities at Lowe’s Motor Speedway won’t have different engines than they’ve had so far this year, but they will have a new combination in their engines aimed at helping them compete better. Lee White, senior vice president for Toyota Racing Development, said Wednesday that the changes are part of Toyota’s efforts at “continual development and improvement of the product we have.” White said results of chassis dynamometer tests following the Cup race at Atlanta earlier this year showed that Toyota has as much top-end horsepower as any other manufacturer’s engine. But at lower RPMs – when cars are trying to get off the turns and back up to full speed for straightaways – the Toyotas were not making as much power as other cars. “We’ve been working a lot of hours, seven days a week, trying to make the power curve look more like that of the people who’re beating us,” White said. The improvements include changes to existing parts and did not require NASCAR approval. “There was no going to NASCAR and saying, ‘Can you give us this or help us out,’” White said.(Thatsracin)(5-17-2007)
- #12 Alltell Dodge Takes Nextel Pit Crew Championship: The #12 Alltel Dodge team led by crew chief Mike Nelson won the third annual Nextel Pit-Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman in a thrilling all-Dodge final. The team edged the #43 Cheerios Dodge team led by Paul Andrews by .33 seconds to grab the championship and the $70,300 prize. It looked like the #12 team would falter in the finals when jack man Britt Goodrich had trouble lifting the second side of the car and was late getting to the car for the final push. The #43 crew had their Dodge rolling first, but was unable to hold off the hard-charging #12 team. The Alltell Dodge team finished the competition in impressive fashion. The team was assessed a five second penalty in the first round for excessive fuel spillage but was flawless afterwards. In each of the final four rounds, the #12 team posted the top time. The team had been successful in the previous two events as well, making the quarterfinal round in 2006 and the semifinal round in 2005. The crew of the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, the defending champions, were knocked out of the competition in the first round. The team beat the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet team to the finish line, but was penalized three seconds for having a loose lug nut. The #9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge team was also eliminated in the first round. The team won the inaugural competition in 2005 and finished second last year. Jeff Patterson and Brian Larson – the gasman and catch can man for the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – won the individual competition for the second consecutive season to win $10,000 each. They were the only individuals to repeat as champions.
Team champion: #12 Alltell Dodge
Crew chief – Mike Nelson
Front Tire Changer – Ben Brown
Front Tire Carrier – Scott Reiniger
Rear Tire Changer – Joe Piette Jr.
Rear Tire Carrier – Trent Cherry
Gas man – George Whitley
Catch can – Brian White
Jack man – Britt Goodrich
Jack man – Mitch Lash (#44 UPS Toyota) – 5.94 seconds **
Gas man/Catch Can – Jeff Patterson/Brian Larson (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet) – 10.92 seconds
Front Tire Changer/Carrier – Nick O’Dell/Jason Gay (#9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge) – 15.18 seconds
Rear Tire Changer/Carrier – Daniel Rankin/Bryan Rockwell (#43 Cheerios Dodge) – 13.85 **
** New individual record.
The Nextel Pit Crew Championship is scheduled to be aired on SPEED, Saturday, May 19th at 12:30pm/et.(NASCAR PR)(5-17-2007)
- Special scheme for Truex Jr. at LMS: #1-Martin Truex Jr. will run a special paint scheme for the Nextel Challenge All-Star/Nextel Open race as well as the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The paint scheme will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Bass Pro Shops. “It’s one of the coolest paint schemes I’ve ever seen,” Truex said. “The black and silver are going to look really cool under the lights. I know there will be a lot of Bass Pro people at the races the next two weeks. It would be great to win both the all-star race and the 600 in that car. Bass Pro is a great sponsor and I’d love to put the new car in victory lane for them.”(DEI site)(5-17-2007)
- Shrek scheme for Gilliland in Nextel Open: Usually M&M’S driver David Gilliland has a strong supporting cast on his #38 Ford with the iconic M&M’S Characters, Red and Yellow. This weekend the list grows as Gilliland welcomes Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots from the upcoming DreamWorks release “Shrek the Third” which opens in theaters on May 18. In support of the highly anticipated movie release, Masterfoods USA has introduced “Ogre-Sized” Peanut Butter M&M’S. For a limited time only, fans can get swamped with peanut butter in a colorful mix of candies inspired by the green guy himself. Gilliland hopes instead to get swamped in a battle for the win in the Nextel Open in hopes of transferring to Saturday night’s main event, the Nextel All-Star Challenge.(RYR/Elevation Group PR), see an image on the #18 Team Schemes page(5-17-2007)
- Reutimann’s car to have both sponsors at Nextel Open: This weekend the #00 Domino’s Pizza Toyota will be carrying a different look, as Michael Waltrip Racing makes the transition from primary sponsor Domino’s Pizza to Burger King Corporation, with a special paint scheme honoring both companies. The #00 Toyota, driven by David Reutimann, will carry both sponsors on a black and white background, with Domino’s Pizza comprising the driver’s side of the race car. For the past 11 races Domino’s Pizza has been the primary sponsor of the #00 Domino’s Pizza Toyota in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, which is driven by Raybestos Rookie Candidate David Reutimann. Domino’s Pizza will be back on the #00 at Michigan in August and five more races in the Chase.(MWR PR)(5-17-2007)
- Dark scheme for Rudd at LMS: The #88 team which normally runs the Snickers Ford will be racing a Snickers Dark paint scheme for Saturday night’s race and in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Snickers Dark Racing PR), see an image on the #88 Team Schemes page.(5-17-2007)
- Black scheme for Yeley at Nextel Open: #18-J.J. Yeley will participate in only his second Nextel Open. He is hoping to make his first All-Star Challenge by virtue of either finishing in the top two positions in the Open or by winning the Nextel Fan Vote. Yeley will be sporting a black paint scheme for All-Star weekend while still keeping the lightning bolt scheme introduced at the beginning of the 2007 season. The #18 will return to its familiar green theme for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 and beyond.(JGR/True Speed PR), see an image on the #18 Team Schemes page(5-17-2007)
- #78 to display purple ribbon at Nextel Open: In and effort to heighten the public’s awareness of pancreatic cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, Furniture Row will feature a purple awareness ribbon on the #78 Chevy that Kenny Wallace drives this weekend at the Nextel Open at Lowes Motor Speedway.(Furniture Row Racing site)(5-17-2007)
- Special scheme for Jeff Gordon at All-Star race: During the Nextel All-Star Challenge, the #24 car will carry the familiar the “fire and flames” design but with the primary colors reversed. DuPont Performance Alliance will also be showcased on the Chevy Monte Carlo SS. “This is an exciting race for the fans but an exciting race for the teams and drivers, as well,” said Gordon. “It’s run under the lights with a lot of different paint schemes. There’s just a different feel about this race. “You have to take chances to win this race, but you also have to be smart about when and where you take those chances.”(Performance Plus/Dupont Racing PR)(5-17-2007)
- Harvick goes Platinum for All-Star Challenge: #29-Kevin Harvick will transform his bright yellow-and-red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a shining platinum colored paint scheme for the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in recognition of his sponsorship from Pennzoil Platinum Full synthetic motor oil. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil has adaptive molecules to manage the constant mechanical stresses inside an engine.(RCR PR), see an image on the #29 Team Schemes page(5-17-2007)
- New crew chief for Robby? UPDATE: hearing #7-Robby Gordon, driver/owner of the #7 Jim Beam Ford, has a new crew chief, Gene Nead. Heard crew chief Greg Erwin left the team recenty.(5-16-2007)
UPDATE: been told that Erwin is still with the team, no word in what capacity. Also, during Busch Series testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday and Tuesday, Gordon shared testing duties with Ryan Hunter-Reay.(5-17-2007)
- 1,000 N.C. Soldiers & Military Family receive free tix to CTC Pole night at LMS: When the Star-Spangled Banner is played at the start of CTC Pole Night on Thursday, May 24, it will have special meaning for nearly 1,000 North Carolina National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve soldiers and their families attending as guests of CT Communications (CTC; Nasdaq: CTCI). CTC has donated these tickets to members of the U.S. armed forces in honor of their loyalty and service to the country. This year’s race weekend will prove particularly memorable for service members. During the 10th annual CTC Pole Night qualifying event and the Coca-Cola 600 race, many teams will display logos from each branch of the military on the hoods of their cars. Similarly, Lowe’s Motor Speedway will continue its 30-year tradition of honoring military men and women. Additional details are available online at www.ctc.net/polenight. Tickets for CTC Pole Night are $12 in advance and can be purchased lowesmotorspeedway.com.(CTC PR)(5-17-2007)
- Ganassi Busch Team Changes? hearing that Ganassi Racing Busch Series crew chiefs Brad Parrott [#42] and Brian Pattie [#41] are switching teams. Parrott will handle the crew chief duties for Reed Sorenson/David Stremme/Clauson (#41) and Pattie will move to the (#42) team with Juan Pablo Montoya and Kevin Hamlin.(5-17-2007)
- Dale Jr. Merchandise Still Selling Well: Sales of Dale Earnhardt Jr. merchandise has skyrocketed 107 percent in the week since NASCAR’s most popular driver said he was leaving his late father’s company at the end of the season. The surge surprised industry experts, who believed sales of Earnhardt’s red No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet merchandise would dip while he searches for a new team, number and maybe even a new sponsor.(Associated Press)(5-17-2007)
- Newman looking for a new ride? It might be difficult to see a ride better than with Roger Penske, one of the most famous names in racing. But #12-Ryan Newman’s name is suddenly out in the rumor mill. It’s been a while since Newman, a Purdue grad, was making headlines.(Winston Salem Journal), of NOTE: Newman is supposedly signed thru 2009, and supposedly has talked to a few teams about a ride in 2008, including Joe Gibbs Racing.(5-17-2007)
News from May 16, 2007
- Wood to run the Nextel Open: Jon Wood is slated to drive the #21 Motorcraft Ford this weekend in the Nextel Open, and hopes to earn the transfer spot into the prestigious All-Star Challenge. Wood debuted at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he started 41st and finished 29th in the #21 Air Force Ford Fusion.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)
ALSO For the next week and a half, the Wood Brothers/JTG race team is offering fans an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look into their race shops-and it’s all for a good cause. Fans visiting the shop at 7201 Caldwell Road in Harrisburg, NC can get a guided tour of the entire facility for a $5 donation to the local Animal Adoption League. The race shop’s regular observation room will still remain open daily for visitors at no charge. More info at www.woodbrothersjtg.com.(5-16-2007)
- Coke Zero to sponsor Petty in Nextel Open/Coke 600: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 team head to the track with Coke Zero on board. Petty, a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, will debut the Coke Zero Dodge this weekend in the Nextel Open and will also compete in it next weekend at the Coca-Cola 600.(Petty Racing PR)(5-16-2007)
- Said to run Nextel Open: Boris Said will be drivign the #37 Huddle House Dodge for Front Row Motorsports in the Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Since John Andretti [the planned driver] is expected to be at Indy 500 qualifying Saturday, a larger seat is being installed for Said. If Andretti makes the Indy 500 field as expected, Kevin LePage is scheduled to drive the #37 Huddle House Dodge in the Coca Cola 600 at LMS.(5-16-2007)
- JGR meets and may change personnel on Hamlin’s team UPDATE 2 new crew named: Joe Gibbs Racing officials met Monday to discuss personnel changes after a pit road mishap cost #11-Denny Hamlin a victory at Darlington Raceway. Hamlin was critical of his crew after a pair of dropped lug nuts during a late pit stop cost him the race. Hamlin, who led a race-high 179 laps, was in second when he went into the pits but plummeted to 16th after the error. Although he rallied to finish second, he was furious after Sunday’s race. “If we lose by 20-30 points when it comes down to the championship, we know exactly where we lost it, and that’s on pit road,” said Hamlin, who could have won three or four races this season if not for mechanical problems or mistakes on pit road. I gave away Phoenix, that’s my fault. But there’s two to three other races that we had the best car most all day, and even at the end, and just gave it away on pit road. Today was a prime example of that.” The team met Monday to see if any changes should be made to a crew that helped Hamlin to two victories and a third-place finish in the Chase for the championship during last year’s rookie season.(Associated Press)(5-15-2007)
UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin’s over-the-wall gang will have a new look at Wednesday night’s Nextel Cup Pit Crew Challenge at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. Denny Hamlin said there were “two to three other races” this season where a bad pit stop cost him a chance to win a Nextel Cup race. Crew chief Mike Ford made several changes to the crew after Sunday’s pit road mistake at Darlington Raceway, the latest in a series of blunders dating to last season that have kept Hamlin out of Victory Lane. Ford agreed, so he moved the rear changer to the front and brought on a new front tire carrier. He replaced the rear tire changer with an employee at Joe Gibbs Racing that has been training for the position and moved the gas man to jack man. He made a temporary change to the gas man and will continue to look for a long-term fix.(ESPN.com)(5-16-2007)
UPDATE 2: was informed that the new crew has been assembled for Hamlin: Dennis Terry moves from back tire changer to front tire changer with Jonathan Sherman (New from JGR #20 Busch team and #96 HOF Cup team) takes over as the rear tire changer. Scott Wood moves from Gas Man to Jack Man and Brad Rothlin (New from JGR #18 Busch team) takes over as Gas Man. Scott Merritt (new from #18 Busch team) comes in as the front tire carrier. Heath Cherry remains the rear tire carrier and John Eicher remains the catch can man. Fixes have been made to the 2007 Pit Crew Chart.(5-16-2007)
- Illegal wing brackets on #8 car could mean penalty UPDATE 3 Penalized, 100pts, more: During pre-race inspection Saturday at Darlington Raceway, the #8 Budweiser Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. was found to have illegal brackets used to mount the rear wing on the Nextel Cup Series’ new Car of Tomorrow, an infraction series director John Darby said could result in the first COT penalty. Officials forced the team to remove the brackets, then reattach the wing with a proper set. “We have specific blueprints for all the parts on the car,” Darby said. “[Series officials] are a little sensitive to those parameters.” Asked if doctoring the rear wing on the COT is a substantial no-no, Darby responded, “Yes.” The infraction will not affect Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s starting position for the rain-delayed Dodge Avenger 500, Darby said. Darby said he plans to speak with #8 crew chief Tony Eury Jr. further next week.(ESPN.com)(5-13-2007)
UPDATE: Tony Eury Jr. fully expects a penalty from NASCAR this week and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is prepared to help his crew chief pay it. NASCAR confiscated the rear wing mounts from Earnhardt Jr.’s car on Saturday before the Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway was postponed until Sunday due to rain. Eury called it an “interpretation.” “It was a bad deal,” he said. “It was a part that got put on there that shouldn’t have. We’ve done a lot of offseason testing for NASCAR. There’s been three different styles of brackets on there and it just happened to be one of those old-style brackets.” Eury said the brackets were the same ones that weren’t discovered during pre- or post-qualifying inspections. “It fit all of their templates,” he said. “It just had a problem when you put [the angle] to where you should have.” Eury said he tried to explain how to fix the problem to series director John Darby. “I was definitely not trying to get away with nothing, so you can take it for what it is,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. Whatever they hand down, it certainly wasn’t on purpose.”(ESPN.com)(5-14-2007)
UPDATE 2: Hearing from sources that the Tony Eury Jr. will be fined $100,000 and be suspended for 6 weeks. In addition, the team will lose 100 owner and driver points. Eury is expected to appeal only the severity of the monetary fine. Tony Gibson will take Eury Jr’s place as crew chief during the suspesion.(5-15-2007)
UDPATE 3: NASCAR announced that the #8 Chevy team has been penalized and fined for rule violations committed last week at Darlington. The #8 team was found to have violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules), and 20-3.1.3B (the NASCAR-approved upper and lower rear wing mounting brackets must not be modified to obtain a rear-wing angle of less than zero degrees or more than 16 degrees) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. Crew chief Tony Eury Jr., has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until July 4, 2007 which includes this weekend’s Nextel All-Star Challenge and the next six Nextel Cup Series events. He has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007. Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., has been penalized with the loss of 100 Championship Driver points. Car owner Teresa Earnhardt has been penalized with the loss of 100 Championship Owner points. The violations were found during pre-race inspection on May 12.(NASCAR PR)
DEI Statement: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. issued the following statement:“The car in question was a brand new car for the #8 team and the brackets that were found to be nonconforming were built as test pieces before the final design was established by NASCAR. They should not have been on the car and with Tony Eury Jr. away from the track Thursday during inspection, the error was not caught. We do not question the infraction which is clearly spelled out in the NASCAR rule book. However, we have appealed the severity of the penalty.”(DEI PR)(5-15-2007)
MORE: Eury, who also was fined $100,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, can participate in Saturday night’s Nextel All-Star Challenge exhibition race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., while waiting on the team’s appeal to be heard.(USA Today)(5-16-2007)
Comments from Eury: Tony Eury, Jr. spoke with PRN’s Garage Pass concerning the punishment NASCAR hit him and the DEI #8 team with.
What is your reaction to the penalties?
“It was not a performance deal, we documented wind tunnel reports to show that, but the fact of the matter is it was not a NASCAR approved part. It was an honest mistake, but it was a big mistake. From my standpoint, I think it’s pretty crazy if you compare it to some of the other things that have happened over the year.
Will you appeal?
“Yeah I’m going to appeal it, just for the severity of the penalty. I know the part was wrong, but six weeks and a hundred grand that’s kind of ridiculous. Three years ago it would have a two thousand dollar fine.”
What about the team?
I’m perfectly happy with my team. I left them with 10 races to go and they did fine. I’m a 100-percent behind them. Tony Gibson will be the crew chief and I’m just one piece of the team. I’ve got a great group of guys and they’ll do just fine.”
Did you expect the penalty to be so harsh?
“They’ve been headed that way but where do they draw the line, where do they stop? But, like I told John Darby it was an honest mistake, but it’s a big one, so whatever he wanted to throw out, throw it. They’re going to set an example out of somebody. People think we get away with more than anybody so I kind of expected it. I expected the worse.”(PRNs Garage Pass)(5-15-2007)
POINTS:: the 100 pts penalty drops #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the Chase and to 14th in Drivers Points, now 721 behind the leader and 54 pts out of the Chase and vaults #26-Jamie McMurray into 12th and the final Chase spot. See the updated standing on my Drivers/Owners Pts standings after Darlington [and the penalty](5-15-2007)
- John Andretti to run Indy ? UPDATE confirmed: Word in the [Indy] garage is that John Andretti has struck a deal with Panther Racing for a ride in the Indy 500.(Yahoo Sports)(5-14-2007)
UPDATE: Two-time IndyCar Series Champion Panther Racing announced it will enter a car in the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500 for John Andretti, who will be making his return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after 12-year hiatus from IndyCar racing. Andretti, who last competed in the ‘500’ in 1994, will have his #33 entry sponsored by Camping World and RVs.com. He will join new teammates Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura on the historic 2.5-mile oval for practice Wednesday. Andretti’s yellow Camping World Panther Dallara Honda will attempt to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing this coming Saturday, when spots 22-33 are available. Andretti is looking to make his eighth career start in the Indianapolis 500, a track where he finished fifth in 1991 – his best career effort at the Speedway. Panther’s #33 entry will feature the color scheme of Camping World, which is a familiar site on the NASCAR circuit, where the company – and associate partner RVs.com – will sponsor over 60 events in 2007 Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series(Panther Racing site)(5-16-2007)
- Suzy Kolber To Join NASCAR On ESPN: ESPN Monday Night Football sideline reporter Suzy Kolber will join the network’s NASCAR coverage team as host of the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program. Kolber, also an anchor on SportsCenter, will host NASCAR Countdown for ESPN and ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the final 17 Nextel Cup races of 2007, beginning with the July 29 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. She also will host NASCAR Countdown for Busch Series telecasts on ESPN2 and will host selected practice and qualifying coverage for both series. Kolber’s NASCAR schedule will include hosting ESPN2’s coverage of the Busch Series event June 2 at Dover, Del., and ESPN on ABC’s telecast of the Busch Series on July 14 at Chicagoland Speedway. Brent Musburger will continue as race coverage host for telecasts on ESPN on ABC, including all 10 races in the “Chase for the Nextel Cup” and other selected race telecasts. In 2006, Kolber became the first female recipient of the Maxwell Club’s Sports Broadcaster of the Year award and in 2004 was named to Sports Business Daily’s 10 favorite sports TV personalities of the past 10 years. “NASCAR has always interested me,” said Kolber. “Not only for the cars and speed, but for the accessibility, and how fans can get into it. I’m going to be surrounded by experts, and my job is to be the curious one, ask questions and let the experts share their knowledge with the viewers. The most important thing to me in covering any sport is respecting the sport and the athletes.”(ESPN PR)(5-16-2007)
- Waltrip’s hearing postponed until late June: #55-Michael Waltrip’s hearing on charges of reckless driving and failure to report an accident after a crash has been postponed until June 25. The district attorney’s office of Catawba County requested the continuance on Monday. Neither Waltrip nor his attorney appeared at the courthouse.(ESPN.com), past news on the accident on my #55 Team News and links page.(5-16-2007)
- Jim Beam 1100 Winner: Liz Steedman, a devoted NASCAR fan from Ocean City , MD, is the winner of the 2007 Jim Beam 1100 Sweepstakes. Steedman and three guests will attend both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, run on the same day – May 27. She and her guests will attend the Indy 500 as a VIP guest of Jim Beam and driver / team owner Michael Andretti, then board a private jet from Indianapolis to Charlotte, NC for the 600 mile NASCAR race later that evening. When the checkered flag waves on the field at Lowe’s Motor Speedway upon completion of the 600 mile race, the VIP experience for Steedman continues. She and her guests will be shuttled to the track’s infield, where they will meet Robby Gordon, driver of the #7 Jim Beam Ford Fusion.(Ketchum Sports PR)(5-16-2007)
- Wind Tunnel Special Wed: Wonderboy or the Intiminator UPDATE: As part of its weeklong All-Star programming lineup leading up to the Nextel All-Star Challenge, SPEED will deliver a special episode of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. The 90-minute special, entitled “Wonderboy or The Intimidator … Who’s Better?” will air live at 7:00pm/et on Wed., May 16, as Despain brings in experts to compare the careers of the sport’s ultimate all stars — Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Despain will lead an all-star panel discussion, with early confirmations from team owner Rick Hendrick and former drivers Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace. Wallace, the 1989 Nextel Cup Series champion and current ESPN broadcaster, and Waltrip, a three-time Nextel Cup Series champion and current FOX/SPEED broadcaster, will each make the case for the driver of their choice.(SPEED PR)(5-4-2007)
UPDATE: Jeff Gordon and former Dale Earnhardt crew member Danny “Chocolate” Myers have confirmed their participation in Wednesday night’s Wind Tunnel All-Star special which aims to answer:” Wonderboy or The Intimidator … Who’s Better?” Gordon and Myers will join host Dave Despain, team owner Rick Hendrick and former racers Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip for the 90-minute program scheduled to begin at 7:00pm/et. One of the most recognized crew members on Earnhardt’s famous #3 race team, Myers spent 17 years as Earnhardt’s gasman, winning six Cup championships for Richard Childress Racing. At the end of the 2002 season, Myers retired from the road and currently is in charge of RCR’s Museum in Welcome, N.C.(SPEEDtv PR)(5-16-2007)
News from May 15, 2007
- Humpy Picks Johnson to Win All Star Race; Montoya to Win Open: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler revealed Jimmie Johnson as his selection to win Saturday night’s Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Known for his promotional flair and Karnac-type ability, Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, has correctly picked the winner of the All-Star Challenge 10 times in the past 18 races. He correctly selected Johnson to win the race in 2003. Also, in an extremely unusual move, Wheeler believes a rookie will win the Nextel Open. “This will surprise a lot of people, but I’m going with Juan Pablo Montoya to win the Nextel Open,” Wheeler said.(LMS PR)(5-15-2007)
- Nextel All-Star Challenge 2006″ Autographed by Winner Jimmie Johnson: For the twentieth year, artist Garry Hill has commemorated the Nextel All-Star Challenge race with an original painting and fine art limited edition prints. The 2006 Nextel All-Star Challenge prints are autographed (Hand signed) by race winner Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie Johnson, team owner Rick Hendrick, crew chief Chad Knaus and the Lowe’s Race Team will receive lithograph prints from the original painting to document their achievement for winning the 2006 Nextel All-Star Challenge. The artwork features Jimmie Johnson in the Lowe’s Chevrolet making a daring pass on Kevin Harvick for the lead and eventual victory. 500 fine art prints and 50 artist’s proof prints have been published to document the 2006 Nextel All-Star Challenge. A limited number of prints and artist’s proof prints are available to the public.
For Availability And Information Call 800-847-0043 or online at www.garryhill.com.(5-15-2007)
- Martin to add more Cup races? UPDATE confirmed: #01-Mark Martin is expanding his Cup schedule for Ginn Racing once again. Sources close to the driver said he will add the August 5 race at Pocono, the Sept. 8 race at Richmond and the Sept. 9 race at Dover to his schedule, bringing his part-time schedule total to 24 Cup [points] events.(ESPN.com)(5-15-2007)
UPDATE: Three races have been added to Mark Martin’s limited 2007 schedule with Ginn Racing. The additional races include Pocono (Aug. 5), Richmond (Sept. 8) and Dover (Sept. 23).(Ginn Racing PR)(5-15-2007)
- DEI’s Max Siegel talks on Wind tunnel: Max Siegel, President of Global Operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) was a featured guest on the Sunday night SPEED show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Siegel discussed the recent announcement by Dale Earnhardt Jr. that he would not return next year to the team his father formed, as well as the future of DEI without NASCAR’s most popular driver. See the interview at SPEEDtv.com.(5-15-2007)
- ESPN has introduces its new “racing ICONS”: ESPN has introduced its new “racing ICONS” content categories that provide a distinct way for fans of NASCAR to find and consume the content they want most on ESPN’s media assets. Covering all aspects of the racing experience, the five icons represent fields of relevant content related to a single category, and will be “tagged” on content across ESPN’s television, online and print media. The five ICON categories are Auto Tech, Communications, Safety, Tech Center and Know How. Each ICON category organizes the broad array of in-depth ESPN content and enables fans to increasingly pursue more in-depth information and entertainment. Additionally, the innovative new fan navigation device delivers “surround” engagement across ESPN’s media platforms and allows advertisers to have a complete brand-aligned content topic within ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of NASCAR
Auto Tech – Sponsored by Chevy – The Auto Tech category of content addresses content that helps fans engage with the pure passion of the heart of the sport – the legendary vehicles and what makes them run, race, perform and evolve from ‘street/stock’ cars to The Car of Tomorrow.
Communications – sponsored by NEXTEL – Content categorized under the Communication ICON is dedicated to exploring the pivotal role that communication plays — between driver, owner, pit crew and an entire team.
Safety – sponsored by ALLSTATE – Fans looking for information about the central focus that safety equipment and measures in NASCAR will find it categorized under the Safety ICON.
Tech Center – sponsored by DISH Network – Technology is at the heart of ESPN’s NASCAR telecasts, and content tagged with the Tech Center ICON will help fans learn more about how.
Know How – sponsored by The Home Depot – Content that covers news and information about the rules and strategies of racing are tagged with the Know How ICON.
ESPN’S NASCAR ICONS can be found on ESPN.com through search also, keyword ICONS or goto sports.espn.go.com.(ESPN PR)(5-15-2007)
- Stewart to work as pit reporter for SPEED during Nextel Open: #20-Tony Stewart will work as a SPEED pit reporter during the Nextel Open, a qualifying event that moves the top two finishers forward into the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Nextel Cup Series drivers #99-Carl Edwards, #18-J.J. Yeley and #84-A.J. Allmendinger have all agreed to make themselves available as SPEED pit reporters for the Nextel All-Star Challenge if they do not advance to the main event.(SPEEDtv PR)(5-15-2007)
- Twenty-four Nextel Cup Series pit crews to compete Wednesday: Far more than mere prelude, the third annual Nextel Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman shines a worthy spotlight on some of the Nextel Cup Series’ most important participants – team crew members. On Wednesday, May 16, 24 pit crews will battle for team and individual position titles at Charlotte Bobcats Arena. It’s the third consecutive pit crew competition, which spotlights often-unsung personnel. This year, crews’ work will play a role in Saturday night’s 23rd annual Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Teams will pick their pits for the event based on the finishing order of Wednesday’s Challenge. A quick reminder: Seven team members are allowed “over the wall” to service a car on pit road. On Wednesday, this year’s 24 eligible pit crews will compete for a grand prize of $70,300. Each individual position champion will receive a $10,000 prize. Martin Truex Jr.’s #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet pit crew is the defending champion. This year’s Nextel Pit Crew Challenge features two significant format changes – the addition of a seeding round and a “call-out” round. For more info on my 2007 Pit Crew News page.(5-15-2007)
- Kahne/Johnson to drive in Speed GT race at LMS: Woodhouse Performance announced that #9-Kasey Kahne will pilot the #13 Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper Competition Coupe in the SPEED World Challenge series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kahne joins #48-Jimmie Johnson in the SCCA Pro-Racing GT Series race, which will take place following CTC’s presentation of NEXTEL Cup qualifying Thursday night May 24. Woodhouse Performance has been competing in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series for the past four years with team owner Bob Woodhouse, 61, behind the wheel of the #13 Viper. Teammate to Kahne at Charlotte will be Woodhouse Performance driver Jeff Courtney, who pilots the #99 Kenda Tires/ProMPI Dodge Viper Competition Coupe.(Clear!Blue PR)(5-16-2007)
- 80% of Chrysler Sold UPDATE Dodge plans to stay in NASCAR: DaimlerChrysler AG announced this morning that it had picked private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management to take a majority ownership in the Auburn Hills [Michigan]-based Chrysler Group. Cerberus, a New York City fund with several ties to the auto industry, will pay $7.4 billion for an 80% stake in the maker of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brand vehicles. DaimlerChrysler AG plans to change its name to Daimler AG, focus on its Mercedes luxury brand, and retain about 20% of Chrysler, the company announced. DaimlerChrysler’s announcement, made at 4:31 a.m., comes nine years after Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. united at the cost of around $36 billion in what, at the time, was called a “marriage made in heaven.”(Detroit Free Press), no word on how or if this will affect Dodge’s NASCAR program.(5-14-2007)
UPDATE: DaimlerChrysler’s decision to sell majority ownership in Chrysler to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is not expected to affect Dodge Motorsports’ participation in the Nextel Cup series. In anticipation of the sell, Mike Accavitti, the director of Dodge Motorsports and Tom LaSorda, the chairman of DaimlerChrysler, visited with Dodge owners Ray Evernham, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske at Bristol to reassure them of the company’s commitment. All the Dodge teams are locked up contractually through at least 2009. “We talked to everybody today,” Accavitti said. “The message is pretty consistent. We don’t intend on going anywhere.”(ESPN.com)(5-15-2007)
News from May 14, 2007
- Racing Job Seminar: On Friday, May 25, 2007 from 7:00-10:00pm/et at Fitz Racing (#22 David Stremme) in Mooresville, NC — during Coca-Cola 600 Race Week — Mike Calinoff [Spotter for Stremme] will present his 8th Annual “Get Into Racing” Seminar. More info on my Racing Schools/Job Info page.(5-14-2007)
- Darlington overnight TV ratings off 7%: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s rain-delayed Dodge Avenger 500 Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.0 and an 11 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 7% lower than the 4.3 Fox earned overnight last year, when the race was broadcast on Saturday night.(SceneDaily.com), for more on the 2007 ratings, see my 2007 TV Ratings page/chart.(5-14-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington:
Began recording the times at the Invocation at 1:01 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 5:20 PM (all times are EST). Did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage.
Total number of commercials: 153
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 42
Total race brdcst time: 196 Total comm. brdcst time: 63
See full report and what drivers were focus when and how long at CawsnJaws.com.(5-14-2007)
- ONMC to honor 50,000th member: The Official NASCAR Members Club (ONMC) announced that it will celebrate a special milestone this weekend when it honors its 50,000th member with the All-Star VIP experience of a lifetime that will include honors at the ONMC’s second annual National Convention as well as VIP treatment at the Nextel All-Star race events such as a pre-race pace car ride, a place on stage for driver introductions and a meet-and-greet with NASCAR President Mike Helton. Melissa Digue of Howell, Mich., and her husband David, will be treated to three full days of special activities, all of which kick off Wednesday with ONMC National Convention activities at Childress Vineyards and the Victory Junction Gang Camp, followed that night by the Nextel All-Star Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman at Bobcats Arena. Thursday night the Digues will be guests of honor at the ONMC’s National Convention Awards Ceremony in Charlotte where they will be rubbing elbows with various NASCAR celebrities. On Saturday, the Digues will be treated to a full day of special ONMC VIP experiences in advance of the Nextel All-Star Challenge (SPEED, 7pm/et). In addition to suite access, guided garage and pit tours and attendance at the pre-race drivers’ meeting, Sprint Nextel is helping the ONMC celebration by inviting the Digues to be on the driver introduction stage to present a check, as well as accompany one of the drivers around the track during pre-race parade laps. All along the way, Melissa and her husband will be able to meet their favorite drivers, sit with other members in the special ONMC seating section for the race and take advantage of all the VIP events that the ONMC puts on nearly every weekend at the track. Launched in February 2005, the ONMC provides fans the chance to become “official” members of NASCAR. ONMC members enjoy VIP access to the entire sport including drivers, teams, tracks and sponsors. The ONMC has quickly expanded with local chapters spreading across the country in every state of the Union and the local headquarters program, providing sanctioned gathering places for members to celebrate their passion for the sport. More info at .onmc.com.(NASCAR PR)(5-14-2007)
- Haas CNC Racing Owner denied motions in tax case: A U.S. District Court judge has denied the motions of NASCAR team owner Gene Haas to suppress evidence and dismiss the indictment on tax fraud against him. Judge Christina A. Snyder heard Haas’ arguments May 7 in Los Angeles and delivered her decision Thursday. Haas had alleged government misconduct in the way it has obtained search warrants and information should result in the dismissal of the case or further hearings. He also petitioned for dismissal of specific counts on various grounds. Snyder denied all of Haas’ requests. The government alleges that Haas, through his company Haas Automation, created $50 million in bogus expenses to avoid paying $20 million in taxes. Haas has pleaded not guilty, and his company has blamed a disgruntled employee for the allegations. Haas Automation, a machine builder, had revenues of $600 million in 2005, and its estimated revenues will reach $1 billion by 2010, according to court documents. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 18.(SceneDaily,com)(5-14-2007)
- Gordon’s start of season best ever? been asked, is #24-Jeff Gordon’s 2007 start of the season after 11 races the best ever? I looked back thru 1975 when the current points system started [but wins are worth 10 pts more now, the only change since]. In terms of points, Gordon’s start after 11 races is the 2nd best. Gordon has 1881 points, 3 wins, 9 top-fives and 10 top-tens after 11 races [using 1987 format, Gordon would have 1851 pts, -30pts for the 3 wins].
The best was in 1977 when Cale Yarborough had 1905 points, 5 wins, 9 top-fives and 10 top-tens. Using the current format, Yarborough would have 1955 points [5 wins x 10 pts]. Others close would be Darrell Waltrip in 1979 with 1767 pts [1787 for 2 wins], Dale Earnhardt in 1987 with 1823 pts [1873 for 5 wins] and Ernie Irvan in 1994 with 1799 pts [1829 for 3 wins].(5-14-2007)
- After 11 races in 2004-2006 worst spot a future chaser was? with #9-Kasey Kahne, 30th in drivers championship points after 11 races, folks wonder…after 11 races in the three previous Chase’s, what was the worst spot a future Chaser [in that season] was in after the 11th race? In 2006 after the 11th race, #11-Hamlin was 13th in drivers points [and made it in the chase at 5th], in 2005 it was #17-Matt Kenseth who was 21st [and made it in at 9th] after 11 races. In the first year of the Chase, 2004, Jeremy Mayfield [then in the #19, now in the #36] was 16th [and went into the chase at 9th]. The three drivers who won the last three Nextel Cup Championships were no deeper then 9th, that being #97-Kurt Busch. In 2006 #48-Jimmie Johnson was 1st.(5-14-2007)
- Dover test cut back to one day UPDATE 3 postponed: [Due to the postponement of the race at Darlington to Sunday] A NASCAR spokesman said a scheduled two-day test session scheduled for Dover International Speedway has been cut back to Tuesday [May 15th] only instead of Monday and Tuesday.(Gaston Gazette)(5-13-2007)
UPDATE: on SPEED’s NASCAR Raceday, it was mentioned a few times that the COT test at Dover has been postponed and will not occur Monday or Tuesday [May 14-15th], no word on when the rescheduled test will be run.
UPDATE 2: Due to the schedule change at Darlington Raceway this weekend (with inclement weather postponing the race until Sunday afternoon), there will not be a Nextel Cup Series test this week at Dover International Speedway. The test was scheduled to be Monday and Tuesday. NASCAR will visit with the teams regarding the possibility of rescheduling this test.(NASCAR PR)(5-13-2007)
UPDATE 3: The Monday and Tuesday tests at Dover International Speedway were canceled, due to the postponement of the Darlington race, and will not be made up. NASCAR officials might consider adding a Car of Tomorrow test at a 1.5-mile track late in the season with the governing body leaning toward going to a full COT schedule in 2008.(ESPN.com)(5-14-2007)
- COT test at VIR: VIRginia International Raceway is hosting a two-day open test for stock cars on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29 and 30. With several top teams slated to attend the road course test sessions, the public is invited to watch many of their favorite teams on the scenic 2.25-mile North Course. Teams planning to participate in the test include Joe Gibbs Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Hendrick Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Bobby Ginn Racing, Hall of Fame Racing, Ray Evernham Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Petty Enterprises. Specific drivers have not yet been confirmed, and these teams may be joined by others as the test dates approach. Public admission to the spectator areas is available for $10, either online at www.etix.com, or by calling the track at 434.822.7700. Testing is scheduled to run between 9:00 both mornings until 5:30 in the afternoon with viewing areas open around the track. More info at www.virclub.com.(VIR PR)(5-14-2007)
News from May 13, 2007
- Top-35 in Owners Points and a guaranteed starting spot at Lowe’s Motor Speedweay [May 27th] are set:
no team dropped out of the 35 or got into it, but the gap from 35th to 36th is closer
the following drivers/teams are in the top-35 in owners points:
31) #45-Petty/Petty Enterprises 900, +145
32) #7-Gordon/RGM 895, +140
33) #70-Sauter/Haas CNC Racing 874, +119
34) #88-Rudd/Yates 848 +93
35) #25-Mears/Hendrick 830, +75pts ahead of 36th
these teams and drivers must qualify by speed:
36) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing 755, -75pts out of 35th
37) #10-Riggs/Evernham 745, -85
38) #15-Menard/DEI 734, -96
39) #21-Schrader-Wood/Wood Brothers 667, -163
40) #44-Jarrett/Michael Waltrip Racing 629, -201 [out of champ provs]
See Owners/Drivers Points standings page for full rundown.(5-13-2007)
- Gibbs: Dale Jr. yes; Budweiser…probably not: J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing [#11,#18,#20], answered questions from members of the media at Darlington Raceway on Saturday afternoon:
ON HIS REACTION TO DALE EARNHARDT, JR.’S ANNOUNCEMENT: “Really from our standpoint we’re kind of watching stuff unfold as you guys were. I thought they did a great job on their press conference. I know that was hard for him. I think for us really we’re just really focused on what we’re doing now, our three cars. Would everyone want a chance to talk to Dale Jr.? Sure. Who wouldn’t want a chance to talk to Dale Jr.? Right now it sounds like he and Kelley, whatever decision they come up with will be a good one. They just want a little time to think about it. When the time is right we’d love to sit down and talk to him and see what their plans are but right now we’re just focusing on what we’re doing.”
WOULD YOU HAVE BUDWEISER AS A SPONSOR? “For us it would be hard. It’d be hard. They’ve been a great partner of the sport and do a lot for us but personally that would be a hard deal for us to do.”
WOULD IT BE DEAL BREAKER HARD? “I’ll just leave it at that right now. I’m not sure if that would fit for us. Even though we really appreciate what they’re doing and they’re a great group, it’d be hard for us to do.”
WILL TONY STEWART AND DENNY HAMLIN’S CLOSE FRIENDSHIP WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR. PLAY INTO THAT AT ALL?
“You know I really don’t know. Just from what I heard him say that might but for the most part he just wants to go and run well. I think he’ll have a ton of opportunities and when the time is right, hey if the opportunity is there we’d love to sit down and talk to him but right now I think he’s just focused on his deal and just we’re focused on our deal.”
SO YOU DON’T PLAN ON PROACTIVELY SEEKING HIM OUT AND TALKING ABOUT IT?
“I feel like right now he’s got enough stuff going on and we’ll just let stuff roll where it is. The best thing we can do in any situation is if we run the best we can week in and week out, no matter what happens down the road, I think that’s our best plan. There’s nothing really interesting. all I have to say is that I’m kind of watching it unfold like you guys are. Sounds like if he and Kelley, they’re on the same page they’ll make a good decision. I think they’ll have a ton of opportunities. If the time is right, we could talk to them about that but right now, I think we’re just going to focus on what we’re focusing on and let that fall where it may.”(in part from a GM Racing PR)(5-13-2007)
- DEI’s Siegel on Wind Tunnel Sunday: Max Siegel, DEI ‘s President of Global Operations, will be a featured interview this Sunday, May 13 on SPEED’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [9:00pm/et]. Brought into the company this past January, his main responsibility was to ensure Dale Earnhardt Jr. stay with DEI for 2008 and beyond. That didn’t happen. Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. made the official announcement that at the end of the 2007 racing season, he will part ways with the team his father created. Arguably the biggest story to hit the presses this year, we ‘ll talk to Siegel about his negotiation with Earnhardt Jr. … finding out what went wrong and we ‘ll ask the question, ” What happens to DEI? “(SPEED)(5-13-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins at Darlington: #24-Jeff Gordon won the rain delayed Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway for his 3rd win of 2007, 7th wins at Darlington and 78th of his career. The race was scheduled to run Saturday night, but was rained out and run Sunday, May 13th, the 2nd race in a row that was delay a day by rain [last week it was Richmond]. Gordon’s engine was steaming and overheating for many laps. #11-Hamlin finished 2nd and was coming fast, but a poor pitstop late in the race cost Hamlin a shot to win, Hamlin led the most laps with 179 of 367. #48-Johnson finished 3rd, the rest of the top-10 were: #12-Newman, #99-Edwards, #20-Stewart, #17-Kenseth, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #07-Bowyer and #31-Burton. #22-Blaney was the highest finishing Toyota at 32nd. Jeff Gordon’s points lead increases to 231 over Johnson. Hendrick Motorsports now has 8 wins in the 11 races this season and has won all five COT races. There were 10 cautions for 44 laps and 10 drivers lead the race with 21 lead changes.
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.(5-13-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Darlington [11 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1881
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1650 -231
#17-Matt Kenseth 1582 -299
#11-Denny Hamlin 1539 -342
#31-Jeff Burton 1486 -395
#20-Tony Stewart 1375 -506
#2-Kurt Busch 1325 -556
#29-Kevin Harvick 1315 -566
#07-Clint Bowyer 1302 -579
#99-Carl Edwards 1291 -590
#5-Kyle Busch 1281 -600
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1260 -621
#01-Mark Martin is 15th, only ran 8 races
#42-Juan Montoya is 21st
#9-Kasey Kahne is 30th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(5-13-2007)
- Rumblings – Race Notes: #24-Jeff Gordon (steamin’ all the way) had enough water to make it to Victory Lane today at Darlington Raceway and took the Dodge Avenger 500 for his third win of the season. Career victory #78 (and 7th at Darlington) was #157 for Hendrick Motorsports (their 8th of the season) and keeps them a perfect 5 for 5 in C-O-T races. NASCAR’s certainly got a problem if Hendrick continues to take all these COT races.
Denny Hamlin (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Martinsville last October.
Ryan Newman (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Infineon last June.
Carl Edwards (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Phoenix last November.
Sterling Marlin (13th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Lowe’s last October.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-5’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races. Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator…..UP: Operator of the Week is Ryan Newman (+25), followed by Matt Kenseth (+24), Jeff Burton (+24), Mark Martin (+23), and Tony Stewart (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ken Schrader (-33), followed by Brian Vickers (-28 ), Casey Mears (-24), and Reed Sorenson (-24).
No move-ups into the Top-35 in Owner Points this week, but the #22 of Dave Blaney moves up to 36th….he’s 75 markers behind the new 35th place team of Casey Mears. Jeff Gordon tacks another 20 points onto his lead….it’s now 231. The top five remain unchanged this week. Ryan Newman (19th to 14th) made the best move forward today while David Stremme (17th to 22nd) fell the same number of spots.(Stock Car Fans)(5-13-2007)
- Darlington Raceway Fast Facts
.. Jeff Gordon won the Dodge Avenger 500, his 78th victory in 484 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. This is his third victory and 10th top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his seventh victory and 18th top-10 finish in 27 races at Darlington Raceway.
.. Denny Hamlin finished second, .978 second behind the DuPont Chevrolet. It is his sixth top-10 of 2007 and his second in as many races at Darlington.
.. Jimmie Johnson finished third, posting his eight 2007 top-10 and his seventh in eight races at Darlington.
.. Hendrick Motorsports has won four consecutive races (Phoenix-Darlington). Gordon accounted for three of those victories with Johnson posting the other. This is the second time this season and the fourth time since 1998 that HMS has posted four straight wins.
.. Gordon retained the point lead for the seventh race and is now 231 points ahead of Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-13-2007)
News from May 12, 2007
- Ginn to pursue Dale Jr. New NASCAR owner Bobby Ginn [Bobby Ginn Racing #01,#13,#14,#39] plans to pursue Dale Earnhardt Jr. – with every intent of landing him – as soon as Junior is ready to hear offers. “We would stretch as hard as we could stretch to do it,” Ginn said by telephone Friday night. “You want the best, the absolute best, and I love the idea that Dale wants to win championships. He could accomplish that here with us. We’re in play.” Earnhardt said Friday that he wants to take a few weeks before opening the negotiating process, and NASCAR’s most popular driver should have his pick of teams. Three owners – Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress – were quickly identified as the front-runners, and Childress indicated Friday he’ll be in the race. Ginn bought a midlevel team [MB2 Motorsports] last July and markedly improved it in just a few short months. Following an aggressive long-range plan, Ginn snagged Mark Martin and expanded the operation to three cars. “We have a five-year plan in mind and the conclusion is winning a championship,” Ginn said. “We took a risk on Mark Martin, and that’s paid off in spades for us. We aren’t afraid to be aggressive.” The team leases its motors from Hendrick and is perceived to be a satellite of that powerful operation. It’s gotten Ginn mentioned as an outside equation in the Earnhardt race, but the team clearly wants to be a viable option.(Associated Press)(5-12-2007)
- DEI/RYR possible merger ‘different’ now: Doug Yates, co-owner of Robert Yates Racing, said talks about a merger or partnership with Dale Earnhardt Inc. are part of just once scenario his team is considering. “We’re trying to do whatever we can do to get our team as strong as we can get it, so we’ve looked at a lot of situations, DEI being one of them,” Yates said. “They’ve talked to us and we’ve talked to them, plus there is other stuff. We haven’t gotten anywhere with that in particular. Actually, we’re getting really close to some things that we think are going to help our team take that next step and make it strong for a long time to come. Hopefully, we can put some of that stuff together.” Yates said this week’s announcement that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will leave DEI at season’s end changes that potential equation. “I think looking at DEI without Dale Jr. is a different situation,” Yates said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s any better or any worse, it’s just different. …I think it’s going to take a little while for everybody to realize how big a move that was for the sport and what that means to the sport and what that means to DEI and Dale Jr. going forward.” Yates said that his team is committed to running Fords and he does not see that changing. If DEI would not shift from Chevrolets, he said that “is a deal breaker, I would guess.”(Thatsracin)(5-12-2007)
- Penske would like to talk to Dale Jr. Roger Penske said Friday that he has an interest in adding Dale Earnhardt Jr. to his Nextel Cup team, but he realizes it isn’t likely to happen. “Certainly we’d like to talk to him,” Penske said. “Obviously, he’s one of the top drivers in the sport. But from everything I’ve heard, he wants to say in a Chevrolet. We have a contract with Dodge and we’re loyal to that.” Even at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the day before Indy 500 pole day, Earnhardt Jr. is a big topic. Penske is hoping to win his 15th Indianapolis 500 as a team owner. He has a two-car IndyCar Series team with Sam Hornish Jr., last year’s winner, and Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indy 500 winner. But Penske also has a two-car Cup team with #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman. Cup team owners are allowed to have four cars, so Penske has the space to add Earnhardt. Penske also is a team owner with the money to make a serious bid for Earnhardt’s services. Forbes magazine recently listed Penske’s net worth at $2.2 billion.(ESPN.com)(5-12-2007)
- Earnhardt Jr. Will Wait to Sign Deal: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. went back to work Friday, climbing into his race car at Darlington Raceway to escape the frenzy surrounding his free-agent status. As his late father’s boss threw his name into the race to sign NASCAR’s most popular driver, Junior made it clear he needs a little time to figure out his future. He said Thursday he’ll leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season. “I would like to take a week or two to clear my mind a little bit, drink some beers and have some fun,” he said after practice. “I have felt about as un-normal as I possibly could the past few days. Lost a lot of sleep. So I want to relax and just clear my head and get in a good football stance to go after this new deal that we’re seeking.” Richard Childress, who fielded cars for six of Dale Earnhardt’s seven championships, indicated he’ll make a run at adding Junior to his three-car team as soon as the time is right.(Associated Press)(5-12-2007)
- Truex plans to stay with DEI: #1-Martin Truex Jr. said he was prepared for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to either stay with or leave Dale Earnhardt Inc., but he was not privy to nor was he involved in any of the negotiations concerning his teammate. Truex was widely reported to be joining Earnhardt Jr. in leaving DEI in the past few days, but he says he plans to stay with the team that gave him his Nextel Cup start and finish his contract, which runs through next season. In just his second season of full-time competition, Truex doesn’t seem too worried about DEI’s state of affairs at this point. “I’ve got to give it a fair shake,” he said. “They gave me my opportunity, and I’ve decided I’m going to finish out the year and honor my contract because of all the things they’ve done for me.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-12-2007)
- NASCAR Hall of Fame to unveil logo: The NASCAR Hall of Fame will unveil its logo next week at Charlotte Bobcats Arena before the annual race team pit-crew competition. To date, little more than renderings for the publicly funded, $154.5 million project have been available. Last summer, Winston Kelley signed on to lead the hall of fame. And, in recent weeks, site work has accelerated in preparation for construction.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-12-2007)
- Kahne-Stremme feud simmers: #9-Kasey Kahne said things haven’t cooled down between himself and #40-David Stremme. The two were involved in a wreck last Sunday at Richmond, knocking both drivers out of the race. Stremme finished 38th and Kahne 40th. The drivers, along with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #41-Reed Sorenson appeared together Thursday during a photo shoot, but Kahne said he didn’t speak to Stremme. “We’re trying to get some sponsors and some big deals, and I don’t want to screw it up by getting in a fistfight or anything like that with David Stremme,” Kahne said. Kahne said he hopes to talk to Stremme this weekend and iron things out. “I have my opinion and he has his, but it is not that big of deal,” Kahne said. “… Just racing with David hasn’t ever worked for me.”(Florence Morning News)(5-12-2007)
- Lepage to Make 200th Start: Kevin Lepage will start his 200th NASCAR Nextel Cup race on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway in the #37 Long John Silver´s Dodge. Lepage has been racing in the Nextel Cup series since 1997, where he has 199 career starts, 2-top 5 finishes and 9-top 10 finishes. His first Busch start came in 1994. Since then he has racked up 2 wins, 19-top 5 finishes and 51 top 10´s.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(5-12-2007)
- Jeff Gordon to trade paint Saturday: #24-Jeff Gordon will join hosts John Roberts and Kyle Petty on this week’s edition of Tradin’ Paint, set to air Saturday at 4:00pm/et from Darlington Raceway, to discuss hot topics in the NASCAR garage. This week’s special media guest will be motor sports writer Jenna Fryer from The Associated Press.(SpeedTV)(5-12-2007)
News from May 11, 2007
- Final Richmond TV Ratings lowest of season: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s rain-delayed Crown Royal/Jim Stewart 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.3 and 11 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. It was the lowest rating for a Cup points event this season, .1 point lower than the 4.4 the April 21 Phoenix race contested on a Saturday night, when ratings are usually lower. But the race was the second biggest sports event of the weekend, trailing only the 7.5/18 NBC earned for horse racing’s Kentucky Derby in the final ratings. Last year’s Richmond race was carried on Fox’s FX cable station, earning a 3.5/7 national rating for the Saturday night event.(SceneDaily.com)(5-11-2007)
- Morgan-McClure sues 360 OTC: #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports has sued 360 OTC parent company Rockford-Montgomery Labs in federal court in Atlanta. The team claims that it signed a $10.1 million deal for the company to sponsor Morgan- McClure’s #4 car in 2007. Because of the sponsorship, McClure planned on running two cars next season and had outlined a tentative agreement with driver Johnny Sauter, according to the lawsuit and the accompanying documents. The sponsorship deal was signed June 14, 2006, but 360 OTC announced on Aug. 25, 2006 that it would sponsor Bill Davis Racing’s #36 team and driver Jeremy Mayfield. In its complaint, Morgan-McClure claims the team was assured that Rockford-Montgomery Labs would still continue with its Morgan-McClure obligations in addition to the BDR commitments. With that knowledge, according to the suit, Morgan-McClure pursued a deal with Sauter, who was driving in the Busch Series for Haas CNC Racing last year. The deal was worth $450,000 in base salary plus 35% of all winnings and 33% of merchandise sales. Rockford-Montgomery Labs then told Morgan- McClure it would terminate the sponsorship agreement Nov. 1 citing poor 2006 performance, the lack of a driver and the lack of time to prepare promotional materials. The company has not paid Morgan-McClure any money, according to the complaint. Because the sponsorship did not come through, Morgan-McClure could not commit to Sauter, who wound up staying at Haas CNC Racing and driving a second Nextel Cup car for the team this year. In its response, Rockford-Montgomery Labs denies most of the allegations. It also states that McClure sent an e-mail to the company in late October saying it had not been able to finalize a deal for Sauter. The sponsorship deal was for one year with three one-year options at the same $10.1 million per year. Team owner Larry McClure and Sauter declined comment. Representatives of Rockford-Montgomery Labs could not be reached for comment.(SceneDaily.com)(5-11-2007)
- GM Statement on Dale Jr./DEI: Statement from Brent Dewar; General Motors North America Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing Regarding the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announcement to leave Dale Earnhardt, Inc. at the end of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season: “Chevrolet and General Motors are proud of our long-standing relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. For more than 20 years, the Earnhardt family has relied on Chevrolet products to achieve their legendary on-track success. As the winningest nameplate in NASCAR, Chevrolet shares the individual goals of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win races and championships. We look forward to discussing future opportunities with DEI and Dale, Jr.”(GM Racing PR)(5-11-2007)
- #78 to run special Kenny hood at Darlington: Furniture Row Companies, owner and sponsor of Furniture Row Racing, #78 Chevyin the Nextel Cup Series, will be utilizing a unique marketing strategy with a hood wrap that will debut at Darlington Raceway. The hood will showcase their driver, Kenny Wallace in front of an American flag. In addition, the #78 hood will also feature the campaign slogan “Vote for Kenny,” and a website address www.voteinkenny.com.(Kenny Wallace/Furniture Row Racing PR), see the hood on my #78 Team Schemes page.(5-11-2007)
- Dale Jr. to RCR? done deal? #33? UPDATE 3 RCR denies: FOX25(Boston’s FOX affiliate) is reporting…….Dale Earnhardt Jr. will soon be racing under the same legendary #3 Chevy that his dad used to race in. A source with direct knowledge of negotiations tells FOX25 that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finalized a deal with Richard Childress Racing Thursday night and an official announcement will be coming soon. At a press conference today to announce that he was leaving the company his late dad built, Dale Jr. said he would have mixed emotions about driving his dad’s #3 Chevy, but again, FOX25 has learned that this is a done deal.(FOX25)(5-10-2007)
UPDATE: FOX8 News has confirmed Junior is negotiating late Thursday night with Richard Childress to join Richard Childress Racing. An announcement could come as early as Friday. Childress has scheduled a news conference Friday at Darlington Raceway, the site of Saturday’s Nextel Nextel Cup race. Sports Director Rich Brenner has also confirmed the talks between Junior and Childress include plans for Earnhardt driving the #33 Chevrolet for RCR. Budweiser, the primary sponsor for Junior’s #8 car with DEI, will follow him to his new race team. (FOX8 News)(5-11-2007)
UPDATE 2: been told by sources at the track that Richard Childress addressed the media at Darlington this morning and denies signing Earnhardt, details as I find any.(5-11-2007)
UPDATE 3: Richard Childress said Friday morning at Darlington Raceway that he has not signed Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to drive for Richard Childress Racing and is giving the driver time and space to weigh his options. Along with Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, RCR is considered one of three front-runners to sign Earnhardt, Jr. for 2008 and beyond, but the car owner emphatically denied that a deal already had been struck, has reported by at least three television stations Thursday. “Dale, Jr. just made a major decision in his career and in his life yesterday,” Childress said Friday morning at Darlington. “And out of respect for Teresa (Dale Earnhardt, Inc. team owner Earnhardt), Dale, Jr. and this situation, let´s all give him some time to make the decisions that he needs to make and be fair. He´s got a lot of tough decisions to make coming up with the direction he´s going, and I just think it´s fair if we all let him have some space and some time to kind of think about what he wants to do in the future.” Childress said that while he would welcome Earnhardt on his team, the two sides have not yet begun negotiations. “We will sit and talk, I´m sure,” Childress said. “I´m hoping he´s considering us, but I think right now, we just give him some time and space to do is own due diligence on the race teams he´s looking at. I´ve been friends with the family for many years and I´m sure we´ll talk.” As for television reports that a deal was already struck, Childress was categorical in his denials. “There´s nothing to it … it´s way too soon to even talk about it,” Childress said.(SPEEDtv.com)(5-11-2007)
- Friday’s Happy Hour Practice: for the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway is over. The fastest:
slowest: #37-Lepage 155.404 & #96-Raines 155.921
incidents: #00-Reutimann got his first Darlington stripe of the day about 10 minutes into the session, just cosmetic damage. The session was red flagged early in for a garbage bag that had blown onto the track. Mike Joy mentioned during TV coverage that 21 drivers have gotten a Darlington stripe today. #42-Montoya popped the wall midway through as well. #84-Allmendiner got into the wall for at least the second time midway through the session. #48-Johnson spun out with aobut 8 minutes remaining in the session. He stayed off the wall and did not hit anything.
most laps run: #38-Gilliland 57, #11-Hamlin 55.
Best average speed [all laps averaged]
(from NASCAR.com’s leaderboard
#16-Biffle 158.028, 26 laps run (8th fastest)
#48-Johnson 156.967, 35 laps
#24-Gordon 156.835, 23 laps (16th fastest)
See speeds on my Darlington Practice Speeds Page.(5-11-2007)
- Clint Bowyer wins pole at Darlington: #07-Clint Bowyer won the Budweiser Pole for the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway with a speed of 164.987mph. It is his first career Bud pole. Bowyer is the 44th driver to win a pole at Datlington. The rest of the top-10 are #16-Biffle, #26-McMurray, #99-McMurray, #9-Kahne, #78-Wallace [best of the non top-35s], #11-Hamlin, #21-Schrader, #29-Harvick, and #24-Gordon. The non-top 35 drivers that made the race were #78-Wallace, #21-Schrader, #00-Reutimann, #83-Vickers, #84-Allmendiner, #15-Menard, #22-Blaney, and #37-Lepage.
For qualifying results/starting lineup see my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-11-2007)
- Six who did not qualify for the Dodge Avenger 500: at Darlington Raceway: #36-Mayfield, #4-W. Burton, #37-Bliss, #55-Waltrip, #44-Jarrett, and #10-Riggs.(5-11-2007)
- Ramblings – Darlington Qualifying Notes: Clint Bowyer captured his first-ever Bud Pole today at Darlington Raceway for tomorrow night’s Dodge Avenger 500 with a time of 29.806 sec (184.987 mph), and he becomes the 6th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout. Clint’s previous best starting spot was the outside pole at The Brickyard last August. He’ll be joined on the front row by Greg Biffle (2nd)….his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond last May. David Reutimann (14th) is in a rut…..this is the third race in a row where he’s starting in that spot. Welcome Back Kevin Lepage (43rd). He makes his first race of the season and first since Atlanta last October when he started 42nd and finished 43rd.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10 starts in a row. Denny Hamlin has 7 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(5-11-2007)
- Darlington Qualifying Notes: Clint Bowyer won the Bud Pole for the Dodge Avenger 500, his first career Bud Pole 48 NASCAR Nextel Cup races.
.. Bowyer posted a lap of 29.806 seconds at 164.987 mph.
.. This is his third top-10 start in 2007.
.. This is Bowyer’s second top-10 start in two races at Darlington. He started third here last season.
.. Greg Biffle (second) posted a lap of 29.826 seconds at 164.876 mph. This is his fifth top-10 start in six races at Darlington. He has started third twice and ninth twice in his previous top-10 starts. Biffle has won the past two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Darlington.
.. Jamie McMurray (third) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2007. All of his top-10 have also been topfives and have come in Car-of-Tomorrow races.
.. David Reutimann (14th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
.. Ken Schrader (eighth) was the fastest of the cars that had to make the field on time. This is his second top-10 start in 2007.(NASCAR)(5-11-2007)
- Eury Jr. comments about Dale Jr./DEI: Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr at DEI was on “Dialed In with Claire B. Lang”, XM Satellite Radio Thursday, some comments: “I´m not one way or another on the deal. I know how our situation stands as far as the company right now, but also I´ve got a big piece of my heart because I felt like I helped Pops and Dale Sr. build a big part of it.”
Q) So will you have a decision to make and how will you make that decision?
A) “Is it like deciding between two children? It´s kinda like that. Dale Jr., when he started the deal, I told him, “Do what´s best for Dale Jr. Look down your road and whatever´s best for you, that´s what you need to do. You know, my biggest concern is with my team, honestly. I mean, I want to do whatever´s best for them. I´ve expressed interest, you know, if he went somewhere and I could take my guys with me, or take a few of them, then that would be a possibility. When Dale Jr. left in 2004 we all bonded together and stayed together, and when he come back we done the same thing. So there´s a lot of camaraderie between all of us that work there. We´re racers, we work as hard as we can with what we have and just try to make the best of it week in and week out, and I think we do a real good job. The biggest thing is, I think my whole group, that we´re happy to work with one another, you know, we´ll do whatever it takes.”
“I haven´t really sat down and talked to Max or Dale Jr about it. You know, I told Dale Jr I really want to be his crew chief. That´s one of the reasons I stayed at DEI, and you know, if I can do it somewhere else, I´m all for it. But my biggest thing is, I want to make sure my guys is took care of, or maybe I can take `em with me, maybe I can´t, but the biggest thing is where those guys stand. They mean the world to me, and they´ve done a lot for me in general. They stuck by my side when we took on Michael´s deal, they right beside me and said “We´re wiling to take on a challenge”, and those guys mean the world to me. I´ve worked at DEI 14 years, so I know every one of them. We´ve been together for 8 years, so….You know, I´ve got a decision to make, too. But I also want to do the right thing. I want to make sure Dale Jr´s kosher with it. I want to make sure Teresa´s kosher with it.
Q) Are you under a contract? Are you bound to do something for a certain amount of time?
A) “Well, I mean…my contract, when I signed up with DEI, I made it real clear that if Dale Jr wasn´t my driver, I wanted to have an open contract to whether, you know…not saying that if Dale Jr. leaves, I´m outta here, you know? I just wanted to have it open where I could weigh my options, you know? The worst thing you can do is be standing there with a driver like Dale Earnhardt Jr…everybody knows he´s one of the best…then they come and they stick somebody in that´s just gonna be a ride-around. You know, you don´t want to be stuck in one of those situations. So I tried to make it real clear that that´s what I didn´t want to do. And you know, my heart….I want to be with Dale Jr, but I also want to take care of the guys that have took care of me so long.”(5-11-2007)
- Stock Car Evolution Exhibit at Darlington Illustrating Car of Tomorrow’s ‘Back To The Future’ Appeal: NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow” project is unabashedly forward-thinking but it also gives a nod to the past, a dichotomy on display for fans this weekend at Darlington Raceway, site of Saturday night’s Dodge Avenger 500. A special exhibit entitled “NASCAR: Back to the Future” will be open Friday from 2–7 p.m. and Saturday from 1-7 p.m., behind the raceway’s Tyler Tower. The exhibit will illustrate the evolution of NASCAR-style stock cars, culminating with the current Car of Tomorrow models that honor traditional NASCAR principles of safety, competition and cost management while offering a closer-to-stock appearance that is a “throwback” to the past.
Three cars from that past will be featured:
* A 1972 Dodge Charger driven by Richard Petty – he won the series championship that year – on loan from Petty Enterprises.
* A 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Darrell Waltrip. The car is on loan from the International Motorsports Hall of Fame located in Talladega, Ala.
* A 1987 Chevrolet driven by Terry Labonte and owned by Junior Johnson, on loan from the NMPA Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame and Museum located at Darlington Raceway.
Other cars planned for the exhibit include both the Car of Tomorrow and street versions of the four 2007 models competing in the Nextel Cup Series: Chevrolet Impala SS, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry. In addition, an informative video detailing the evolution of a stock car will be shown continuously. Saturday night’s event at Darlington will be the fifth Nextel Cup race this season using the Car of Tomorrow models. The previous “COT” races were at Bristol Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway.(NASCAR PR)(5-11-2007)
- Darlington Rookie News and Notes: Paul Menard was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 6 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Menard placed 16th and took top rookie honors for the second time this season. Five Raybestos Rookies competed in the Crown Royal 400, the most first-year drivers to start a Nextel Cup Series race this season. Juan Pablo Montoya leads David Ragan by three points (109-106) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 12 Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. The Dodge Avenger 500 will be race No. 4 in the Raybestos Rookie Magnificent Seven program. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increases to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season. Ragan captured the extra cash at Daytona and Martinsville while Montoya claimed the award at Las Vegas. Other races where the bonus is available: Infineon (June 24), Chicagoland (July 15), and Bristol (August 25). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Darlington: Kasey Kahne, who led three times for 24 laps in the 2004 spring race.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR), see full report, standings, history and more on the 2007 Rookies page.(5-11-2007)
- Darlington Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires at Darlington this weekend . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought out this tire setup, and Darlington is the only track at which these tire codes are scheduled to be run in 2007 . . . this setup was tested at Darlington by Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney, Jeff Gordon and Reed Sorenson in mid-March . . . as on all NASCAR 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 is every 45-50 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full report and codes on the Darlington Race Info / Rundown Page.(5-11-2007)
- Sabates to be recognized at college commencement: Felix Sabates Jr., co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), will be awarded with an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service by The University of North Carolina at Charlotte during its commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12 at 10:00am/et. Sabates is being recognized for his generous philanthropic contributions, unwavering dedication to the Charlotte community and continual support for UNC Charlotte. He served on the board of directors of The Foundation of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Inc. from 1994-2005. “I have seen this institution grow from Charlotte College to The University of North Carolina at Charlotte,” said Sabates. “I am grateful to receive such an honor from such a great university, and it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.” Over the years Sabates has made many philanthropic contributions and has received numerous honors and awards for his charitable efforts. Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.) has a dining hall named for him and Elon College (Elon, N.C.) awarded him an Honorary Doctorate. He also received a “Special Blessing” in writing from Pope John Paul II.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-11-2007)
News from May 10, 2007
- ESPN.com: Vote: Where will Dale Jr. land in ’08?
- TRANSCRIPT view the full transcript from Thursday’s news conference, in which Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his plans to drive for a new team in 2008 on the Dale Jr. Transcript page.(5-10-2007)
- Earnhardt Jr. To Drive for New Team in 2008 Four-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., announced today at a news conference at JR Motorsports that negotiations to extend his driving contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. have come to an amicable end. Earnhardt Jr. will continue driving the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet through the remainder of the season, while his sister, Vice President and General Manager of JR Motorsports, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, will begin exploring new opportunities for 2008. Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday he would look at his options in the coming months and hopefully announce a decision mid to late summer. “What team I drive for next season, I don’t know,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “But what I do want to say is that it’s been a privilege to drive for DEI. After a year of intense negotiations and concerted efforts to extend my contract there, it became evident that while we want to get to the same place, we simply have different visions on how to get there.” Earnhardt Jr. made the announcement with his sister, Earnhardt Elledge, by his side, and many of the Earnhardt family in attendance. “DEI will always be a special place for me and my family,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “(Owner) Teresa (Earnhardt) and (Vice President of Global Operations) Max Seigel are taking the necessary steps to bring DEI back to one of the front-running NASCAR teams. However I am 32 years old – the same age as my father when he made his final and most important career decision – and the time for me to compete on a consistent basis and contend for championships is now. Since that is what I plan to do, I feel strongly that I would have my father’s blessing.” Earnhardt Jr. said JR Motorsports will continue to work with DEI on many projects that will benefit both companies and protect the legacy of his father. A full transcript of today’s news conference will be released later this afternoon.(JR Motorsports PR)(5-10-2007)
- Budweiser Statement: Statement from Tony Ponturo, Vice President, Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Regarding Dale Earnhardt Jr’s decision to leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the 2007 Nextel Cup season: “Budweiser, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have enjoyed a great relationship since 1999. Dale Jr., and his father before him, have been excellent and loyal ambassadors for our company and the sport of NASCAR. Budweiser and JR Motorsports have an agreement in place to ensure Dale Jr. will continue to personally represent Budweiser through 2008, and we look forward to discussing our future with Dale Jr. and DEI in the weeks ahead.”(fingerprint inc./Bud Racing PR)(5-10-2007)
- Dale Jr. to leave DEI after 2007 season UPDATE: Statement from Teresa Earnhardt/DEI: In response to today’s announcement by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., that he will be leaving DEI, Teresa Earnhardt, CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. issued the following statement. “While we are very disappointed that Dale Jr. has chosen to leave the family business, we remain excited about our company’s future. Our aggressive expansion and diversification plans have not changed. This company has continued to thrive since Dale left us in 2001, and it will thrive following today’s announcement. Dale and I built this company to be a championship-contender, and those principles still apply. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will win, and we have other extremely talented drivers and hundreds of employees that are dedicated to the programs we founded. This company has a great legacy and a bright future, built on loyalty, integrity, and commitment.”(DEI)
UPDATE: some highlights from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. press conference:
Dale Jr. will leave DEI at the end of the season
Sponsor/Budweiser? will be discussed in a timely manner
Car #8: No decision, but Dale Jr. expects DEI to keep the car number 8. Note: NASCAR owns and assigns car numbers to an owner(s). NASCAR reserves the right to revoke or transfer car numbers to another owner/team at any time. Car numbers are non-assignable and non-transferable, except by NASCAR. NASCAR works with teams and sponsors when a specific number is requested. Team have been known to ‘sell’ car numbers, like when DEI got the number from the Stovala Brothers in 2000, #15 from Bud Moore, etc.
Crew Chief Tony Eury Jr.: no decision on if crew chief Eury Jr. will go with DaleJr, Dale Jr. said he can’t speak for Eury Jr.
DEI Teammate Truex Jr.: is not part of this situation or discussion
1) sign with a top tier Nextel Cup team [one that wins and runs for the championship
2) sign with a second tier team
3) and the last choice, would be to run Nextel Cup with Dale Jr’s own team, JR Motorsports, but no plans for that to happen at this points, Dale Jr. does hope he can drive a few Busch Series [or whatever it will be called in 2008] out of the JR Motorsports shop.
Why leave DEI? Dale Jr. said he negotiations were never close, and he knows fans are disappointed, but so is he.(5-10-2007)
- Martin to run first Busch race for Hendrick: Mark Martin, the winningest driver in NASCAR Busch Series history, will team with car owner Rick Hendrick this week for the first time. Martin will drive the #5 Hendrick Autoguard/hendrickcars.com Chevy in Friday’s Busch Series race at Darlington Raceway, marking his first time in more than 25 years of NASCAR competition behind the wheel of a Hendrick Motorsports-prepared car.(HMS PR)(5-10-2007)
- Dale Jr. & Truex to JR Motorsports? press conference at 11am/et UPDATE 3: Dave Moody reported on Wednesday afternoon’s Sirius Speedway that rumor has it that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will announce tomorrow [Thurs, May 10th] at JR Motorsports, that both he and #1-Martin Truex, Jr. will drive in the Nextel Cup Series for JR Motorsports in 2008. Hendrick Motorsports will provide engines for the team. A press conference is planned for 11:00am/et at JR Motorsports headquarters per a PR from the team and SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming to go LIVE from the JR Motorsports race shop at 11:00am/et for a news conference with NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.(5-9-2007)
UPDATE: Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s biggest star, has been in contract negotiations with his current employer, Dale Earnhardt Inc., and is asking for 51% ownership of the team. But the location of the press conference, at JR Motorsports, which Earnhardt Jr. owns separately from DEI, indicates his future plans might not include DEI. Earnhardt Jr., who was at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Wednesday evening for a sponsor appearance, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he planned to talk about “some ideas I’ve got for the future” but would not elaborate. Officials from DEI did not return phone calls seeking comment. But Earnhardt Jr., answering questions from fans at an event held by his sponsor Budweiser, indicated that his plans for JR Motorsports might not include adding two Nextel Cup cars. He said his main goal in being a team owner is to be able to help young drivers and mechanics advance their careers. “I don’t want the company to get too big,” he said. “I’ve got about 70 employees now, and I don’t want to get too many more.” He also seemed to squelch another persistent rumor — that he was headed to Richard Childress Racing to drive the #3 Chevrolet made famous by his late father. “‘I’d like to do it for a year or two at the end of my career, when I’m 50 or 55,” he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-9-2007)
UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. officially will say goodbye to Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Thursday morning. A highly placed source within DEI as well as additional sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday afternoon that both Junior and teammate Martin Truex Jr. will announce Thursday morning that they are leaving the DEI camp at the end of this season and will drive for Earnhardt’s heretofore Busch Series operation, JR Motorsports. Sources at Hendrick Motorsports reportedly disavowed knowledge of a pending partnership. Also, various reports have indicated that Earnhardt Jr. will announce his plans to leave DEI, but that he won’t necessarily be driving for a JR Motorsports team in association with Hendrick. Sources tell Yahoo! Sports that Earnhardt Jr.’s primary sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Junior to JR Motorsports or wherever he lands. Budweiser’s contract with DEI is due to expire at the end of 2008, but Yahoo! Sports sources believe there are provisions within the contract for an early exit if Earnhardt Jr. does not drive the #8 Chevrolet for DEI. There has been no comment thus far from either DEI president Teresa Earnhardt (Dale Jr.’s stepmother) or company director of global operations Max Siegel. Truex’s contract with DEI reportedly runs through 2008, though ’08 might be only an option year on his deal with the team. It also is possible Truex has an out tied to primary sponsor Bass Pro Shops’ future with the DEI. Sources have told Yahoo! Sports that the sponsor has explored moving to a different team after this season.(Yahoo!Sports)
UPDATE 3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected to put himself on the open market as a free agent today, opening the way for a break with his stepmother and Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR’s most popular driver has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. today at his own race shop, JR Motorsports, and not at DEI — an indication he may be going his own way. Indications were strong Wednesday night that Earnhardt would not announce he’s moving anywhere specifically, or even that he will definitely break with DEI. A report that Earnhardt will field his own Cup team under the JR roof, with engines and chassis supplied by powerful Hendrick Motorsports, was flatly denied by sources close to both organizations. Another report that Earnhardt is leaning toward signing with Hendrick outright was denied from within the Hendrick organization.(Orlando Sentinel)
AND Contrary to published reports, hearing that Hendrick Motorsports is not involved in the Thursday press conference at JR Motorsports.(5-10-2007)
News from May 9, 2007
- New sponsor for Nemechek at Darlington IMAGE: Three weeks after chairman Brian France led a NASCAR delegation to China to explore business and racing initiatives in the country, the Nextel Cup Series will have a Chinese-owned sponsor in Saturday’s race. Haier America, a division of home-appliance maker Haier Group, will be on the hood of Ginn Racing’s #13 Chevrolet driven by Joe Nemechek.(USA Today)
AND Haier America (pronounced Hi-er), a division of the Chinese-owned Haier Group, has joined the Ginn Racing team of sponsors. A leading manufacturer of home appliances and consumer electronics, Haier will sponsor Joe Nemechek’s Ginn Racing entry in Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race in Darlington S.C. The Haier Group, ranked by Forbes magazine as the most reputable company in China and 25th overall in the world, was founded in 1984 in Qingdao, China. The company’s products are manufactured in 16 countries, including the United States. Haier’s U.S. manufacturing plant is located in Camden, S.C., approximately 30 miles from Darlington Raceway. For more info on Haier America go to haieramerica.com.(Ginn Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #13 Team Schemes page.(5-9-2007)
- Fatback and Wood Bros part ways? UPDATE 2 denied: hearing that Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain, Race Director for the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, has parted ways with the team.(5-3-2007)
UPDATE: The rumor of Michael McSwain’s departure from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is untrue at this time.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing)(5-3-2007)
UPDATE 2: Jon Wood, who is splitting seat time with Ken Schrader this season in the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Fusion, said Tuesday that there is no truth whatsoever to the rumors that the team’s race director, Michael “Fatback” McSwain is on his way out after two consecutive DNQs for the team. “That’s obviously something I love to address anytime I get the opportunity,” Wood said prior to the start of the second day of Nextel Cup testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Anytime you’re able to put a rumor to rest, it’s a good chance to do that. There’s nothing to the rumor that Fatback’s leaving or that Fatback’s getting fired. The only truth to anything related to that is that there was an upper-level management meeting after the #21 car missed Talladega, and it was just to decide what they needed to work on to be more competitive and to move forward. But it wasn’t a finger-pointing meeting, it wasn’t anything. Somehow, it just snowballed from that.”(SPEEDtv.com)(5-9-2007)
- Lake Norman High School Hosts the UWF on Friday: NASCAR’s own Hermie Sadler is extending an invitation to everyone within the NASCAR community to join him at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, North Carolina this Friday night for the United Wrestling Federation’s UWF Live! presented by Peak Fitness. All proceeds from the event go to support the Lake Norman High School Boosters. Sadler, who is President of the UWF, is providing free general admission tickets to any NASCAR licensed crew member who shows their NASCAR license at the door. NASCAR members may also upgrade to the “Ultimate Experience” or ringside seating and receive $5 off each ticket. More info on my Racing Charities page.(5-9-2007)
- Dale Jr. leans toward Hendrick? UPDATE denied: The efforts to sign #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a NASCAR driving contract for 2008 and beyond has reached a critical point, and the top two teams on Earnhardt’s list are the Chevrolet teams owned by Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick, according to men familiar with the negotiations. Earnhardt today is leaning toward a deal with Hendrick [NOTE: where would Earnhardt go? HMS has four Cup teams and all three drivers signed for a couple more years, unless some sort of deal with Haas CNC Racing or Ginn Racing would be worked out], largely because of Hendrick’s very strong engine program, sources here said yesterday. Earnhardt and veteran crew chief Tony Eury Jr., his cousin and close confidante as well as the man who has led him to many of his 17 Cup victories, have talked with both the Hendrick and Childress camps in recent weeks about the positives and negatives each team owner would have to offer, sources said yesterday. And Eury will have a major voice in the decision, because Earnhardt’s primary goal now, at age 32, is to win a championship.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-9-2007)
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Marshall Carlson told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Tuesday that his team is fully stocked with drivers for 2008 and beyond, and that he has not spoken with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., about the possibility of joining the Hendrick stable.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(5-9-2007)
- Triple Duty for Yeley at Darlington: J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy Impala SS, accomplished his most notable trifecta the year prior to signing with the powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing organization. In 2003, Yeley set a USAC single-season record with 24 wins to break A.J. Foyt’s mark of 19 wins set in 1961. That same year, Yeley handily won the USAC Triple Crown by earning titles in all three USAC divisions – Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown. Only one other driver has accomplished that feat in a single season – Yeley’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Tony Stewart, who did so in 1995 before earning his ride with Gibbs. Not only will Yeley participate in this weekend’s Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series races at Darlington Raceway, he’ll also compete in Thursday night’s USAC Silver Crown event in the #14 car owned by legendary racer Foyt.(True Speed Communications PR)(5-9-2007)
- Crocker to be pit reporter for PRN: During an interview on Sirius Radio driver, Erin Crocker announced that she has reached an agreement with the Performance Racing Network (PRN) to become part of the broadcast team for the radio network. Crocker will also continue her current driving responsibilities in the ARCA Series [14 races] along with a handful of scheduled Busch Series events. Crocker will work as a pit reporter during qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 with a possibility of other dates to be added later.(5-9-2007)
- AT&T suit hinges on unwritten agreements: AT&T Mobility’s case against NASCAR regarding the branding of the #31 car owned by Richard Childress and driven by Jeff Burton hinges on a meeting with representatives of the sport’s governing body in June 2003, during which “promises” were made by NASCAR. NASCAR, however, dismissed the “alleged” promises and introduced compelling testimony by a former Cingular employee designated as the “point person” for the sponsoring of the car, in a 94-page filing in U.S. District Court. The document filing was made Monday in Atlanta. AT&T and NASCAR have been in court since April 26 for an injunction that would allow AT&T, which merged with Cingular last December and is phasing out the Cingular brand, to put its logos on the car. A decision is expected from Judge Marvin H. Shoob by the end of this week or early next week. The sponsorship contract with Richard Childress Racing runs out at the end of the season, and based on court documents, RCR and AT&T are not currently negotiating a renewal. According to AT&T Mobility’s 40-page filing, the two sides met on June 26, 2003 — a meeting in response to a letter sent by NASCAR to all team owners indicating that beginning in 2004 when Nextel became the exclusive series sponsor for an approximate $700 million investment, all Nextel competitors would be prohibited as sponsors. During that meeting, Cingular was informed it would be grandfathered in as a sponsor but the company could not increase its brand position on the car and it could not move sponsorship to another team. Cingular representatives were not given anything in writing from NASCAR, according to court documents. NASCAR officials simply told them, “Trust us.” NASCAR’s position, however, is that no promises were made and that it made clear the limitations on Cingular to feature other telecommunication brands.(more at ESPN.com)(5-9-2007)
- Battle Heats Up for the Most Popular Driver Award: The 2007 season is well under way and the battle is heating up for the 2007 NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award. Race fans have really begun to show their enthusiasm for their favorite driver and continue to make their votes count at www.MostPopularDriver.com. One million votes have been cast to date, and surpassing last year’s total of 2.8 million votes is in sight. So far this year the competition is among many of the favorites from last year. The top-10 drivers include in alphabetical order: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, and Michael Waltrip. Fans are encouraged to continue voting once a day, every day for their favorite driver. Every time fans vote they increase their chances of winning big themselves with the Chex Vote to Win Sweepstakes. Votes will continue to be counted every day through the remainder of the season. Fans should vote once a day, every day before Monday, November 19, 2007, at 11:59 a.m. CST to advance their favorite driver to the top of the standings.(PR)(5-9-2007)
- Ten Drivers Unite for American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute at LMS UPDATE: The stars of NASCAR will, on Tuesday, May 8th, announce the American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute and unveil the participants and paint schemes on in the spectacular salute set for Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The program will raise funds for four major military support organizations and the soldiers and their families of America’s Armed Forces. Sprint Nextel and Motorsports Authentics will support the program with a fundraising effort designed to raise more than $1 million for U.S. troops and their families.(ClearBlue PR), have images of some of the schemes, including: #48-Johnson/USO/Power of Pride; #11-Hamlin/U.S. Marine Corp; #21-Wood/Air Force; #4-Burton/Air Force 60th Anniversary; #01-Martin/US Army American Heroes; #24-Gordon/America Supports You; #25-Mears/National Guard/“American Heroes” [no image]; plus #16 Coast Guard and #88 Navy in the Busch Series race.(Clear!Blue PR)(4-5-2007)
UPDATE: Eight Nextel Cup drivers and two Busch drivers will lead all NASCAR fans in the American Heroes Memorial Day salute to the armed forces on Sunday, May 27th, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to kick off a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families in need. Participating drivers include #16-Greg Biffle [Busch Series], #4-Ward Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #11-Denny Hamlin, #88-Shane Huffman [Busch Series], #48-Jimmie Johnson, #01-Mark Martin, #25-Casey Mears and #47-Jon Wood. The cars were unveiled Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. Distinguished members of the military kicked off the American Heroes tribute in grand style with a military color guard presentation and the presentation of the cars that will run in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend to show their support for America’s armed forces. The NASCAR team owners, sponsors, drivers and employees donated the space on their cars to collectively thank the armed forces at the Coca-Cola 600. The American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute is being supported by Sprint Nextel, which will conduct a national fundraising campaign to encourage Sprint Nextel customers to support the troops with their donations to the USO. Diecast models and officially licensed merchandise of the participating drivers will be available for sale through Motorsports Authentics. The American Heroes program hopes to raise significant funds for American military families in need through the effort.(Clear!Blue PR)(5-9-2007)
- COT Statistics: As the Nextel Cup Series prepares for its fifth Car of Tomorrow event – this week at Darlington Raceway – numbers truly tell the tale of its impact. All four events to date have featured margins of victory less than one second; the first two, at Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, literally went down to the wire. But other statistics, specifically those pertaining to qualifying for series events, also illustrate the car’s positive effects. In examining the first four events at Bristol, Martinsville, Phoenix International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway, respectively, the average speed difference from the Bud Pole winner to the 40th overall qualifier has decreased by an average of almost two-10ths of a second. Comparative first-to-40th qualifying differences from 2006 to 2007 are listed below:
• Bristol – 2006 (0.566 of a second); 2007 (0.358). Note: the August 2006 qualifying results were used in this comparison, as qualifying for the 2006 spring event was rained out.
• Martinsville – 2006 (0.551); 2007 (0.410)
• Phoenix – 2006 (1.024); 2007 (0.768)
• Richmond – 2006 (0/534); 2007 (0.437)
- Time changed for Dover testing next week: The Nextel Cup Series will be on track for testing at the Monster Mile, Monday, May 14, now beginning at 12:00pm/et. The session will end at 6:00pm/et and will resume on Tuesday, May 15 from 9:00am to 5:00pm/et. Over 50 Nextel Cup teams will look to setup their versions of the Car of Tomorrow [COT] in preparations for the June 1-3, 2007 race weekend at Dover. Fans are encouraged to attend the May 14 and 15, 2007 test sessions, and admission is free. Gates will open at 12:00pm/et on May 14 and at 9:00am/et on May 15. Parking is free and will be located behind Turn 2. Fans can enter the Speedway grandstands through Gate 14. The Dover ticket office, concession, and souvenir stands near the open grandstands will be available. The Nextel Cup Series will return just two short weeks following the test for the June 1- 3, 2007 tripleheader race weekend, joined by the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. Tickets for all NASCAR events at the Monster Mile are still available by calling 800-441-RACE or online at www.DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway PR)(5-9-2007)
- RIR Prez responds to Dale Jr. commnets about track surface: Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz was surprised as anyone to hear the comments from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. yesterday regarding his concerns about the track surface. “This is completely out of left field,” said Fritz. “All of the comments I have heard about our track surface from the drivers have been overwhelmingly positive since we repaved it before the 2004 season. Between our two-day test session in early April and our races this past weekend, I did not hear one comment or concern regarding our track surface from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or any other driver,” said Fritz. “I’m always available and accessible to the drivers and I have received feedback from many of them over the years on a number of issues. I was in the garage frequently this past weekend and talked to many of the drivers, and there was no mention of any issues with the track surface. In fact, we’ve made numerous changes and enhancements at the drivers’ request over the years, including concreting our pit stalls, taking out a kink in the backstretch wall, relocating the spotters’ stand to a better location and many other improvements related to the competition side,” continued Fritz. “Certainly, if there is a consensus among the drivers and NASCAR that we need to do something with this issue or any other, we will certainly take a look at it. Obviously, the drivers are busy today testing, but we have reached out to a number of them, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to talk about this.” During testing Monday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Earnhardt told reporters, “The thing about Richmond, now honestly-they need to start sealing that track again. You ain’t gonna have a second and third groove at Richmond if the sealer ain’t up there to use. I don’t know why that ain’t registered in anybody’s brain. I mean, when that track was good is when they were sealing it ever year…You know-hello?” Track officials have not applied any sealer to the asphalt after it was resurfaced prior to the 2004 season. Since it was repaved, the track has received rave reviews from the drivers-including Earnhardt-on the quality of the repaving job and the quality of the racing. “Considering his positive comments about our track and the repaving job during our test session last month and after his victory in last May’s Crown Royal 400, I’m even more surprised at his statement,” said Fritz. NASCAR has also not heard any complaints from any of the drivers. “Neither (Vice President, Competition) Robin Pemberton or (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director) John Darby has heard anything from any of the drivers on this,” said Kerry Tharp, Director of Communications, Competition, for NASCAR. This past weekend’s Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 featured more of the great side-by-side action Richmond International Raceway is known for. The race tied the track record for the most lead drivers (12) and fell one short of the record for the most lead changes (25), which has happened twice, most recently in March 1996.(RIR PR)(5-9-2007)
News from May 8, 2007
- Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC: NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 at 10am/et Saturday with a wrap-up of Friday’s NASCAR Busch Series race from Darlington Raceway and a look ahead to that evening’s Nextel Cup race. Sunday’s edition of the program will air at 1:00am/et.
Indianapolis 500 Time Trials on ABC and ESPN2 This Weekend: Drivers will run for the pole position for the 91st Indianapolis 500 this Saturday, and ABC and ESPN2 will have five hours of live coverage of time trials beginning at 12noon/et. ESPN2 will have more than three additional hours of live coverage of the second day of Indianapolis 500 time trials on Sunday. Saturday’s coverage of Pole Day begins on ESPN2 at noon for two hours. After an hour off, coverage will resume on ABC at 3pm/et and continue until 6pm/et returning to ESPN2 from 6-7pm/et. On Sunday, ESPN2’s coverage begins at 12noon/et and runs for two hours, then resumes from 5-6:30pm/et. The 2007 running of Indy 500 from famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway marks the 43rd year of coverage of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” by ABC, the second longest-running relationship between a TV network and a major sports property. Only CBS and The Masters have been together longer. ABC and ESPN2’s coverage of Indianapolis 500 time trials will also be on the air the weekend of May 19-20, including coverage of Bump Day on Sunday, May 20.(ESPN PR)(5-8-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 2 evening; Final testing for the car of yesterday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway ended Tuesday night. The fastest was #2A-Kurt Busch [Dodge] with a speed of 185.644mph [the second fastest lap after #40-Stremme’s 187mph on Monday night] followed by #88B-Ricky Rudd [Ford], #36A-Jeremy Mayfield [Toyota], #84B-A.J. Allmendinger [Toyota] and #12B-Ryan Newman [Dodge]. The fastest Chevy was #15A-Paul Menard at 6th. The only incident during the session came when #38-David Gilliland spun but did not hit the wall. See speeds from all sessions on the 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-8-2007)
- Engine Builder showdown at NTI on May 23rd: Preparations are in full swing for the Seventh Annual Clevite Engine Builder Showdown. The finals for this year are scheduled for May 23rd at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The Showdown pits NASCAR’s top engine builders in a race to build and successfully run a Nextel Cup 357-cubic inch Ford engine in the shortest time possible. Through a process of three rounds of preliminary and semi-final eliminations, the competition culminates in a final showdown between the two fastest teams. The winning team receives the prestigious Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy in addition to a cash prize of $26,000. The runners-up receive $9,000. Overall, the competition awards a total prize package of over $50,000. More info at www.engineparts.com.(5-8-2007)
- Borland released by MWR #44 team UPDATE 3 Evernham?: Michael Waltrip Racing and #44-Dale Jarrett’s crew chief Matt Borland have parted ways. “Dale Jarrett wasn’t happy, UPS wasn’t happy, and we had to do something immediately,” Waltrip said. “Originally, we had hoped that Matt Borland would take the role as the technical director, but he wasn’t ready to come off the road. We need a technical director down the road, but it wasn’t going to help us this weekend.” Jason Burdett, formerly the co-crew chief of the #88 car at Robert Yates Racing, left Yates on Wednesday and will eventually be the #44 crew chief. Waltrip wanted to give Burdett time to get acclimated to the system at Michael Waltrip Racing before he jumped into that role. Burdett worked with Jarrett last year. This weekend at Richmond, Derrick Finley will be the #44 crew chief. Finley started the season at Bill Davis Racing as the crew chief on Jeremy Mayfield’s #36 car. After leaving BDR, he became the crew chief and then lead engineer on Waltrip’s #55 car and is already familiar with the operations at MWR.(FoxSports)(5-3-2007)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip announced today the addition of Jason Burdett to Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). Effective immediately, Burdett joins MWR to serve as crew chief for the #44 UPS Team. Matt Borland, who had been serving as the crew chief for the #44 UPS Team, was offered the position of technical director – a move scheduled to take place during the course of the next two seasons. However, Borland declined the move. Burdett’s tenure with MWR started on Wednesday and he will be serving as crew chief for the No. 44 UPS Team beginning this weekend at Richmond International Raceway.(MWR site)
AND, hearing Borland could end up at Evernham Motorsports in some capacity.(5-4-2007)
UPDATE 2: SPEED’s Bob Dilner reported that Evernham Motorsports officials said they have not talked to Borland at all.(SPEED’s practice coverage)(5-4-2007)
UPDATE 3: Evernham Motorsports has an interest in hiring Matt Borland, who was released as the crew chief for Michael Waltrip Racing. Team owner Ray Evernham said on Monday that members of his organization have talked to Borland, who helped Ryan Newman win a series-best eight races in 2003, about a role with the company. Evernham said he needed to find out if Borland wants to remain a crew chief or work strictly as an engineer. Borland turned down an offer to remain the technical director at MWR. Evernham doesn’t have a crew chief opening, but he is concerned with the recent performance of the #19 team of driver Elliott Sadler and crew chief Josh Browne. “We’ve got to change something,” Evernham said. “As for Matt, I don’t know where he would fit in here. Others are interested in him and I don’t want to get into a bidding war for him. Matt’s a sharp guy and he would add depth to our organization, which we really need right now. But he’s got to want to work here.”(ESPN.com)(5-8-2007)
- Checkers/Rally’s to Sponsor Skill Element in the Pit Crew Challenge: Checkers/Rally’s will sponsor the rear-tire changer and rear-tire carrier pit box as part of the individual skill element that will take place in the Nextel Pit Crew Challenge, May 16 in Charlotte at the Bobcats Arena. In the Checkers/Rally’s pit box, tire changers and tire carriers will work together to simulate race-day conditions by replacing the rear tires. Competitors will use their own air guns, and a five-second penalty will be assessed for any lug nuts not passing a 20-pound torque test. Checkers/Rally’s is currently in its third season of sponsoring the Double Drive-Thru Challenge, a weekly pit crew competition in NASCAR’s three professional series — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck. The Nextel Pit Crew Challenge, which will be broadcast on SPEED, will consist of 24 Nextel Cup teams. The competition is a prelude to the May 19th Nextel All-Star Challenge race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.(Checkers/Rally’s/DMF Communications PR)(5-8-2007)
- Rusty/Dale Jr. rank among top-20 in Athlete Biz Index: Although former NASCAR champion, ABC / ESPN Lead Auto Racing Analyst and Busch Series [#66-Steve Wallace] team owner Rusty Wallace has retired from driving, his well-known commitment to corporate partners and sponsors undoubtedly remains as solid as ever. This was proven recently, as New York-based TSE Sports and Entertainment released the April 2007 edition of the Athlete Business Index. The index, highlighted in Sports Business Daily, ranked Wallace 16th among all athletes. Other athletes appearing in the top-20 of the index included Michael Jordan , Tiger Woods  and Lance Armstrong  – (Magic Johnson was 1st). Danica Patrick [15th] and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. [11th] were the only other auto racing-related personalities to appear in the top-20. The rankings were based upon the results of surveys completed by 213 Fortune 500 marketing executives who make use of athletes for corporate purposes. In explaining the rankings, TSE notes that the executives surveyed were asked to score athletes’ ability to succeed in ten specific corporate categories or functions. These categories included trade show appearance, keynote speech, sales promotion, clinic / demonstration, meet and greet and others. Athletes are graded on a point system in each category and are given a score for both local market presence and national marketability.(RWI PR)(5-8-2007)
- Jeff Gordon’s Team Takes Pit Crew Challenge Honors in Richmond: Jeff Gordon’s over-the-wall crew earned its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by spending the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday’s rain-delayed Nextel Cup event. The #24 crew spent 201.593 seconds on Richmond International Raceway’s pit lane, and lifted its team to a fourth-place finish in the Jim Stewart 400 presented by Crown Royal. Checkers/Rally’s will award an $11,000 prize to Gordon’s crew for winning the weekly competition. The #24 crew, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, includes: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike “Tiny” Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth-man). The crew chief is Steve Letarte. After ten Nextel Cup races, Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 pit crew leads in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. Denny Hamlin’s #11 crew is second with two victories. An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-8-2007)
- Biffle working on contract with Roush: from a transcript:
Q) There’s been a Lot of Talk about Your Contract. How Would You Like To See This Play Out?
A-Biffle) “…we’re negotiating with Roush on getting the extension done. We’ve got a couple of sponsors on the table that want to come over and be on our race car, and there are other teams that have shown interest in me coming and driving their car. So, I’m pretty sure I’m staying at Roush. The negotiations are going well. I don’t see a reason why I’d be out talking to anybody else at this point, or at least entertaining those ideas until I feel like I’ve gone as far as I can with Roush, we can’t come to terms.”
Q) Do you feel like you’ll get this Done This Year? Geoff Smith Said It Could Be This Year or Next Year?
A-Biffle) “If we don’t get it done this year, I’ll be announcing where I’m going to be driving in the future.”
Q)How Close Are You to Getting A Deal Done? There’s An Understanding That Geoff Smith Sent You Some Specifics in the Last 10 Or 12 Days on What He Has To Offer, And He Was Waiting For You To Get Back With Him.
A-Biffle) “You’re right; we just got some information last week, and I think that we’re going to discuss the terms with them this week. In fact, I was just talking to somebody today before I came in here, ironically enough. That was their first, preliminary offer – this many appearances, this whatever, all the necessary stuff in there. So, we’re just in the beginning stages of negotiating a deal through 2012, or something. So, we’re not close at all about having a deal done. At least 60 days, I would say, have to guess, by the time we back and forth a couple of times. I let somebody kind of handle that for me because I don’t want it to distract me from what my job is and my job is to go over there and drive that car in a half hour and try and be the best I can. That’s what I focus on, and I don’t worry about the rest of it. I don’t have any reason to believe that we’re not going to be able to do the deal with them.”(Ford Racing)(5-8-2007)
- Career Start #450 for Jeff Burton this weekend: #31-Jeff Burton is set to reach another career milestone when he takes the green flag at Saturday’s Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway for his 450th start in NASCAR’s premier series. “It’s fitting that my 450th career start will take place at Darlington. It’s one of my favorite race tracks on the circuit,” said Burton. “What makes Darlington so special is the history that surrounds the track and how entrenched it is in our sport. It’s always an honor to race at Darlington and I’m looking forward to my 450th start at the track.” (RCR PR)(5-8-2007)
- Darby: No COT changes planned: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he expects to be frustrated with the car of tomorrow at Darlington this weekend. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby says that’s how it’s supposed to be. He has heard drivers talk about the cars being more difficult to turn since the start of testing with the new car. But drivers will learn. “There should be a level of frustration – obviously different levels,” Darby said Monday during a break in testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I would imagine anybody yesterday other than [Richmond winner] Jimmie Johnson had a concern or a frustration at some point because that’s the way our sport works. Frustration to the point where we’re going to change anything going forward, probably not.” In addressing car of tomorrow competition issues, Darby said he is not concerned about the dominance of Hendrick Motorsports (four wins) and Chevrolet (which has led all but 63 of the 1,716 laps in COT events).(SceneDaily.com)(5-8-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 2 evening; Final testing for the car of yesterday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway ended Tuesday night. The fastest was #2A-Kurt Busch [Dodge] with a speed of 185.644mph [the second fastest lap after #40-Stremme’s 187mph on Monday night] followed by #88B-Ricky Rudd [Ford], #36A-Jeremy Mayfield [Toyota], #84B-A.J. Allmendinger [Toyota] and #12B-Ryan Newman [Dodge]. The fastest Chevy was #15A-Paul Menard at 6th. The only incident during the session came when #38-David Gilliland spun but did not hit the wall. See speeds from all sessions on the 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-8-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 2 afternoon: The second day [of two] of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway had 84 cars with 49 drivers/teams. #36A-Jeremy Mayfield [Toyota] was the fastest at 183.667mph, followed by #40B-David Stremme [Dodge], #15A-Paul Menard [Chevy], #07A-Clint Bowyer and #1B-Martin Truex Jr. The fastest Ford was #16B-Greg Biffle who was 16th on the speed chart. No incidents or accidents reported. See speeds from all three sessions so far on the 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-8-2007)
- McCumbee tests 3rd Petty car at LMS: Chad McCumbee, 22, has been assigned by Petty Enterprises to drive the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge this June at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway. McCumbee made his first Nextel Cup laps Monday afternoon at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway located in Concord, NC in the #47 Petty Enterprises Test Dodge. McCumbee, along with the rest of the Nextel Cup regulars, were testing for the upcoming May events highlighted by the Coca-Cola 600. McCumbee made nine laps Monday afternoon posting a fast lap of 175.137mph. McCumbee will continue to test Tuesday.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(5-8-2007)
- Testing at the Rock: hearing the #21 Wood Brothers team is testing at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Tuesday, May 8th.(5-8-2007)
News from May 7, 2007
- Earnhardt Jr.: ‘We’ll be driving Chevys’ UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. nearly started laughing Friday and said, ‘Nah,’ when asked if it was really possible he could drive a Ford next season. Dale Earnarhdt Inc., which is in negotiations with Earnhardt Jr. for a contract extension and also must sign a new dale with Chevrolet, has had preliminary talks with other manufacturers and also has talked about a possible merger with Robert Yates Racing. But Earnhardt Jr. couldn’t see himself driving anything but a Chevy. As part of his negotiations with DEI, he wants majority ownership of the team. “We’ll be driving Chevys, I’ll promise you that,” Earnhardt Jr. said following qualifying Friday for the Crown Royal/Jim Stewart 400.(SceneDaily.com)(5-5-2007)
UPDATE: The latest on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. saga: The “Robert Yates” NASCAR brand will remain a Ford brand, even in any merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc., according to sources familiar with the Yates-DEI negotiations. However Earnhardt, who has been the heart of DEI, insisted he will be in Chevrolets again next season, no matter what. Those two facts make the DEI-Yates negotiations peculiar, particularly since Earnhardt has been negotiating a new contract with DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. demanding controlling interest in DEI. If DEI officials are negotiating a possible switch to Ford, then Earnhardt would clearly appear to be not involved with those talks. Which would mean if Yates and DEI do come to terms, it would almost certainly be a Yates-DEI merger without Earnhardt in the mix. There has been rampant speculation the past few days that Earnhardt may be moving to either Richard Childress’ Chevy team or Rick Hendrick’s Chevy team.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-7-2007)
UPDATE 2: Before he hit the track for the official test at the Lowes Motor Speedway, #Dale Earnhardt, Jr. told PRN’s Garage Pass there was no news on his contract talks with Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated. As for DEI talking with Robert Yates about a possible merger with him and Ford, Junior had this to say, “I haven’t been asked about it. I haven’t been asked if I would or wouldn’t. I haven’t been part of those discussions with Yates and I don’t even know what those entail or when those happened or what they’re about or what the mechanical parts and pieces are that they’re discussing. But I like Chevys and I’ve got a great relationship and rapport with all the guys over there. Obviously that’s where I’m staying.”,BR> Q: What would it take for your to drive a Ford?
A: “Take a big ‘ol, big ‘ol pile of money! But I don’t think that’s out there.”
Q: So, are you saying everyone has his price?
A: “There’s a price on everything but I don’t think that pile of money…I don’t think that kind of money is out there,” he joked.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-7-2007)
- Evernham close to a partner? Montreal Canadiens owner George N. Gillett is close to a partnership arrangement with Evernham Motorsports [#9, #10, #19]. Gillett, who also is the owner of the Liverpool soccer team in the English Premier League, would be the second major sports team owner to join NASCAR this season, following Red Sox owner John Henry’s buy-in to what is now Roush Fenway Racing.(Sporting News)(5-7-2007)
- Commercial breakdown for the Jim Stewart 400:
Total number of commercials: 159
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 69
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 46
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 7:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 8:46 PM
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/06/07: 1:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/06/07: 4:33 PM
Total minutes: 289
Minutes of race broadcast: 221
Minutes of commercials: 68
See full reports at CawsnJaws.com.(5-7-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 1 evening: #40A-David Stremme [Dodge] paced all competitors in Monday evening’s test session with a top speed of 187.000mph. He was followed by #36A-Mayfield [Toyota], #15B-Menard [Chevy], #4A-W. Burton [Chevy], and #41A-Sorenson [Dodge]. #7B-R. Gordon was the fastest Ford in 8th.
Slowest driver was #80A-Almirola at 82nd. About 40 minutes into the session #42-Montoya’s Texaco Havoline Dodge began smoking. An oil line had ruptured and it took the safety crew about ten minutes to get the track race ready again. The only accident of the day came just before the session ended when Denny Hamlin lost control of the #11 FedEx Chevy and backed hard into the outside SAFER barrier. The Chesterfield, Va., driver was evaluated and released from the Carolinas HealthCare Infield Care Center. See complete speeds on my 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-7-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 1 afternoon: The first day [of two] of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway had 82 cars with 49 drivers/teams. #1A-Martin Truex, Jr [Chevy] was fastest in the afternoon session with a speed of 180.596mph followed by #40A-Stremme [Dodge], #12A-Newman [Dodge], #01A-Martin [Chevy], and #36A-Mayfield [Toyota]. #99B-Edward was the fastest Ford in 16th.
Slowest driver was #66A-Green at 82nd. No incidents were reported during the session. See complete speeds on my 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-7-2007)
News from May 6, 2007
- COT Pts: the top 10 in drivers pts in the four [of 16] COT races:
#24-Jeff Gordon, 705 (1 win)
#5-Kyle Busch, 676 (1)
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 655 (2)
#11-Denny Hamlin, 636
#17-Matt Kenseth, 563
#20-Tony Stewart, 546
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 541
#07-Clint Bowyer, 507
#99-Carl Edwards, 496
#29-Kevin Harvick, 495
- Some COT stats: In the four Car of Tomorrow races Chevrolet has led 1655 laps out of a possible 1716 laps. That’s 96.6% of all the laps run at Brsistol, Martinsville, Phoenix, and Richmond. Dodge has led 53 or 3% with Ford and Toyota tied at four laps led, which is .2%. #24-Jeff Gordon, #20-Tony Stewart and #11-Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to lead all four Car of Tomorrow races. Stewart has led the most laps at 401 followed by Hamlin’s 374 and Gordon at 265. Jimmie Johnson has led 218 laps in the four events. Other Chevy drivers that have led a big chunk of laps include Kevin Harvick (165), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (137) and Kyle Busch (66).(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-6-2007)
- DNF’s – Kenseth/Hamlin 40: #17-Matt Kenseth and #11-Denny Hamlin have been running at the finish in 40 consecutive races, the longest current streak.(5-6-2007)
- NASCAR donates $160,000 to Virginia Tech memorial fund: For the last three weeks, NASCAR’s Nextel Cup cars have all displayed a Virginia Tech logo with a black background in a show of support for the victims and families of the massacre that left 33 dead in Blacksburg on April 16. On Saturday night the decals were just a symbol, and the support was something more tangible: money. In prerace introductions, Virginia drivers Jeff and Ward Burton, Elliott Sadler and Denny Hamlin presented Hokies football coach Frank Beamer with a check for $120,000 for the Hokies Spirit Memorial Fund. And Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz presented him with a check for $40,000, also for the memorial fund, that he said was given by RIR and some sister tracks also owned by International Speedway Corp.(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-6-2007)
- Johnson wins at Richmond: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his 4th win of 2007 and 27th of his career. The race was scheduled to run Saturday night, but was rained out and run today, May 6th. Johnson beat teammate #5-Kyle Busch. The rest of the top-10 were: #11-Hamlin, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch [highest finishing Dodge], #12-Newman, #29-Harvick, #20-Stewart, #07-Bowyer and #17-Kenseth [highest finishing Ford]. #22-Blaney was the highest finishing Toyota at 11th. Another tought day for #9-Kahne, who wrecked late and finished 40th. Jeff Gordon’s points lead increases to 211 over Johnson. #31-Jeff Burton, who started the race 2nd in points, finished last/43rd and dropped to 5th in the points standings. Hendrick Motorsports now has 7 wins in the 10 races this season and has won all four COT races. There were 14 cautions for 80 laps and 12 drivers lead the race with 24 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.(5-6-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Richmond [10 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1691
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1480 -211
#17-Matt Kenseth 1431 -260
#11-Denny Hamlin 1359 -332
#31-Jeff Burton 1352 -339
#5-Kyle Busch 1229 -462
#20-Tony Stewart 1225 -466
#29-Kevin Harvick 1203 -488
#2-Kurt Busch 1198 -493
#07-Clint Bowyer 1159 -532
#99-Carl Edwards 1131 -560
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1118 -573
#01-Mark Martin is 14th, only ran 7 races
#42-Juan Montoya is 21st
#9-Kasey Kahne is 32nd
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(5-6-2007)
- Richmond Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #7 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 17
2 #7 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 43
3 #26 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 56
4 #19 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 104
5 #70 TE Running the stop & go sign/light 123
6 #29 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 253
7 #29 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 254
8 #9 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 254
9 #78 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 287
10 #4 TE Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon 319
11 #13 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 350
12 #16 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 357
13 #42 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 372
14 #42 TE Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon 372
15 #84 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 373
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-6-2007)
- Rumblings – Richmond Race Notes: Jimmie Johnson outsprinted teammate Kyle Busch in a 20 lap dash to the checkers today and took the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Run one day late due to rain last night, it didn’t seem to matter to the Hendrick boyz cause they continue to own these C-O-T events. This was the 4th win of the season for Johnson, and the 27th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now solo in 22nd all-time). Win #156 for Hendrick Motorsports (and 6th in the last 7 races) was worth $244,386 from the $5M in posted awards.
Ryan Newman (6th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Infineon last June.
Dave Blaney (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Loudon last September.
J. J. Yeley (14th) had his best finish since he was 13th at California in February.
Dave Reutimann (29th) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Lowe’s in October of 2005.
A. J. Allmendinger (32nd) has his career-best finish today. His previous best was 38th at Martinsville last month.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-5’s in a row. Jimmy Johnson has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races. Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races. Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kyle Busch (+32), followed by brother Kurt Busch (+28 ), Paul Menard (+27), Ryan Newman (+24), and Kevin Harvick (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-35), followed by Scott Riggs (-27), Ricky Rudd (-26), and Martin Truex Jr (-20). This is BD #3 for Kahne….he’s tied with Riggs for the lead in that negative stat.
Tony Raines led today for the first time since he led three times for 28 circuits at Lowe’s last October. He’s the 38th different driver to lead a lap this season…..last year we had 48 different leaders.
No move-ups in the Top-35 in Owner Points this week, but Ricky Rudd falls to 35th…..just 34 points ahead of Scott Riggs.
Wholesale changes in the driver point standings this week….except at the top. Jeff Gordon’s lead over new second place driver Jimmie Johnson is now 211. Every position but two changed in the Top-35! Ryan Newman (23rd to 19th) made the best move forward, while Jamie McMurray (7th to 13th) fell the most spots….and below the “Chase” line as well. Dale Earnhardt Jr is now in the hunt for the Cup replacing McMurray.(Stock Car Fans)(5-6-2007)
- Richmond Race Notes/Facts:
.. Jimmie Johnson won the Crown Royal presents The Jim Stewart 400, his 27th victory in 193 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. This is his fourth victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2007 – all top-fives. He has accumulated a potential 40 bonus points should he qualify for the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup.
.. This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 11 races at Richmond.
.. Kyle Busch (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in as many races at Richmond.
.. This is the fourth 1-2 finish for Hendrick Motorsports this season. The previous three involved Johnson and Jeff Gordon. It is the third consecutive victory for Hendrick.
.. Denny Hamlin (third) posted his second top-10 finish in three races at his hometown track. He finished second in this race in 2006.
.. This was just the second daytime race at Richmond since 1999. In May 2002, the race was also postponed until Sunday afternoon.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-6-2007)
- Wyler Racing Plans 3-5 More Cup Races: The Wylers [brothers Jeff and David] last year thought, in their long-range plan in racing, that the Car of Tomorrow was something that could usher them toward, if not into the Nextel Cup Series. “We wanted to get our feet wet,” Furr said. “But the Wylers want to grow into a Cup team and keep the [#60] Truck team, too, so we have talked about it and probably will run anywhere from three to five more of these [Cup] races.” Moving forward, Benson just hopes he’s part of the equation. “I know I’m a part of this deal and it would be great to be a part of some other stuff,” [Johnny] Benson said. “They’ve got Jack [Sprague] and the Truck team so I hope we both get to drive it. I’d like to run them all, but these are the guys that work with Jack all the time, so I hope he gets the same opportunity. I’m just helping out.(NASCAR.com)(5-6-2007)
- Hornish says competing in Allstate 400 unlikely: Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. said a start in this year’s Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unlikely. Hornish, at Richmond for the Busch Series race Friday night, will begin practice Tuesday in defense of his Indy 500 victory. A start in the July 29 Allstate 400 Nextel Cup race at the Indianapolis track isn’t out of the question yet, but Hornish isn’t optimistic it would happen in 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(5-6-2007)
- NASCAR to throw caution at lap 40: NASCAR will throw a competition caution at lap 40 of the Crown Royal/Jim Stewart 400 today at Richmond International Raceway. The caution will allow teams to adjust their cars and check their tires as they race on a green track following heavy rains Saturday night, which postponed the 400-lap event until today. Teams will not be allowed to re-fuel until that caution, according to the NASCAR rulebook on competition caution procedure. There is no rain in the forecast for the Richmond area, with the high predicted of 65 degrees.(SceneDaily.com)(5-6-2007)
News from May 5, 2007
- Chevy Wants NASCAR to Use Ethanol: One of NASCAR’s top sponsors plans to file a formal petition asking that it join other racing leagues and start using ethanol to power its racecars. The recommendation by General Motors Corp., planned for later this year, comes as NASCAR adjusts to using unleaded gasoline, decades behind the commercial marketplace. GM sponsors 22 NASCAR vehicles under its Chevy nameplate, about half the vehicles that start any given race. It’s been promoting more environmentally friendly fuel for months, and now it plans to proceed with an official presentation to NASCAR ownership.(McClatchy News)(5-5-2007)
- Mears’ HANS device also cracked after Talladega wreck: #25-Casey Mears says that his HANS Device suffered a minor crack in a crash last week at Talladega. Mears said he didn’t see exactly how it was cracked, but he said that it was in the center area as if the left strap had been tugged hard. Mears wasn’t too concerned with the cracks. “I mean in a hit like that it probably should have. It was hard,” he said. He says that the device might still have been safe, but that he and his team opted to go with a new one this week. (SceneDaily.com)(5-5-2007)
- Rain postpones race until Sunday: Steady rain at Richmond International Raceway has postponed the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will now be run at 1:00pm/et on Sunday and be broadcast live on Fox. The grandstand gates at the track, along with suites and the TORQUE Club, will open at 10:00 a.m. Sunday. The parking lots will open at 6:30 a.m. Rain stopped long enough during the afternoon for the track to be dried. The race started under a green/yellow and ran 12 laps under caution before being red flagged. Because the race had not run any laps under green, they will restart at lap 1 on Sunday.(5-5-2007)
- Stewart in NASCAR Control Tower for Busch Race: NASCAR officials invited #20-Tony Stewart to the join them in the control tower Friday night during the Busch race at Richmond. He was not required to attend, but was asked to join NASCAR officials so he could better understand the calling of the races, especially caution calls.(5-5-2007)
News from May 4, 2007
- Final Talladega TV Ratings down: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.4 and a 14 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. While the race was the most-watched sports event of the weekend, the figures were 28.9% lower than the 7.6/18 the race earned in 2005, the last time it aired on Sunday. Last year’s race was rained out on Sunday and carried on Fox’s FX cable station on a Monday. The Daily also reported that ABC’s broadcast of last Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race earned a 2.1/6.(SpeedDaily.com), for more on TV Ratings, see my 2007 TV Ratings page.(5-4-2007)
- Nadeau to Drive in Portuguese 24-Hour Event: Former NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau will make a triumphant return behind the wheel of a racing machine as part of EnduranceKarting.coms Team USA in the 24 Hour race at Leira, Portugal June 1-3. “I am so looking forward to racing again, Nadeau says. I feel great, and I am ready to go out there and be competitive and driving against some of the top European teams”. Nadeau, Schwartz and teammates Dan Burke, Peter Peters, Kevin Bligan and a sixth driver yet to be announced will pilot full-bodied karts powered by Honda 390 cc, 15-horsepower engines. The karts are the same as those used in Brazils famous Granja Viana 500 Mil.(EnduranceKarting.com)(5-4-2007)
- Kyle Busch buys into Truck team? UPDATE denied: hearing that #5-Kyle Busch has bought 49% of the Billy Ballew Motorsports #15 Craftsman Truck Series team.(5-4-2007)
UPDATE: folks from Kyle Busch Motorsports have informed me that neither Kyle Busch nor KBM has purchased any part of Ballew’s team, shop, trucks or equipment. However, he will be driving a handful of truck races for Ballew this season.(5-4-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins 1st qtr Driver of the Year award: While Jeff Gordon was making NASCAR history the four-time Driver of the Year was also was voted 1st quarter Driver of the Year 2007. Only Gordon, who currently leads the Nextel Cup points standings after two straight victories putting him fifth on the all-time winner’s list and ahead of the late Dale Earnhardt (also a Driver of the Year), had his mind on a fifth championship and a fifth Driver of the Year title. Although he overtook Earnhardt (with 77 wins) this past weekend in Talladega, voting only considered results through the previous event at Phoenix where he won his 76th Cup race from the pole. Gordon led the points after the first eight events in the series with only two finishes lower than fourth. Driving the #24 DuPont Chevrolet he had four poles, and three second-place finishes in the voting period. The only multiple winner in the series, and runner-up in the voting, was Jimmie Johnson with three victories but, it was an up and down quarter for the 2006 Driver of the Year. In the voting Gordon took nine first-place ballots, and none lower than a third place totaling 111 points. Jimmie Johnson’s three wins earned him six first-place votes and a total of 84 points. France’s Sebastien Bourdais, the reigning Champ Car World Series Champion, had no first-place votes, but was the only driver to appear all voting panelists ballots and counted a total of 54 points. Bourdais, drives for Newman/Haas Racing. Fourth place went to NASCAR’s Jeff Burton who won at Texas, and was second in the Nextel Cup Points standings at the end of the first quarter. A total of 21 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Joey Saldana, in the World of Outlaws, he was the only other driver to earn a first place vote.(DOTY PR)(5-4-2007)
- Despain Special: Wonderboy or the Intiminator: As part of its weeklong All-Star programming lineup leading up to the Nextel All-Star Challenge, SPEED will deliver a special episode of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. The 90-minute special, entitled “Wonderboy or The Intimidator … Who’s Better?” will air live at 7:00pm/et on Wed., May 16, as Despain brings in experts to compare the careers of the sport’s ultimate all stars — Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Despain will lead an all-star panel discussion, with early confirmations from team owner Rick Hendrick and former drivers Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace. Wallace, the 1989 Nextel Cup Series champion and current ESPN broadcaster, and Waltrip, a three-time Nextel Cup Series champion and current FOX/SPEED broadcaster, will each make the case for the driver of their choice.(SPEED PR)(5-4-2007)
- Jim Beam partners with NADCP: Beam Global Spirits & Wine, a global leader in premium spirits and wine, announced a ground-breaking partnership with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) to help eliminate hard core and repeat drunk driving. A founding partner of the National Center for DWI Courts, Beam Global donated $50,000 to underscore its commitment to eliminating drunk driving. Members of Congress, traffic safety experts, DWI Court judges and prosecutors and law enforcement officials assembled today to support the launch of the National Center for DWI Courts. Professional race car drivers and long time supporters of the fight against drunk driving -Michael Andretti and Robby Gordon – participated to bring awareness to the life-saving efforts of DWI Courts. Michael Andretti and Robby Gordon are long-standing supporters of Beam Global’s efforts to fight drunk driving. They have appeared together in public service announcements that urge the public to consume adult beverages responsibly.(Ketchum Sports PR)(5-4-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins pole at Richmond: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 126.251mph. for his 5th pole of 2007, his third pole in a row, and the 61st of his career. The rest of the top 10 are #99-Edwards, #10-Riggs, #48-Johnson, #9-Kahne, #11-Hamlin, #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #1-Truex, Jr., #01-Martin, and #22-Blaney. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were #10-Riggs, #22-Blaney, #84-Allmendinger, #00-Reutimann, #4-W. Burton, #78-K. Wallace, #46-Johnny Benson (driving for Wyler Racing), and #15-Menard. #44-Jarrett was 47th fastest and was out of past champion provisionals. He missed his first race in 424 races. See the qualifying results/starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-4-2007)
- Seven do not qualify for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway: #83-Vickers, #21-Schrader, #55-Waltrip, #36-Mayfield, #3-Jarrett, #37-Lepage, and #49-Bliss.(5-4-2007)
- Qualifying Notes: Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the Crown Royal presents The Jim Stewart 400, lapping Richmond International Raceway in 21.386 seconds at 126.251 mph.
.. This is Gordon’s 61st Bud Pole 483 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He remains fourth on the all-time Bud Pole winners list – nine behind third place Cale Yarborough (70).
.. This is Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole and eighth top-10 start in 2007. He also started first at Texas Motor Speedway when qualifying was canceled.
.. This is Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole at Richmond. He has started from the top 10 in 23 of his 29 races here.
.. The most recent driver to win three consecutive Bud Poles was Ryan Newman, who posted four in a row from Oct. 16, through Nov. 7, 2004.
.. Carl Edwards (second) posted just his third top-10 start of the 2007 season and his best since he won the Bud Pole for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2005.
.. Scott Riggs (third) has started from the top 10 in seven races this season, including each of the past three. This is his best start since he started second at Homestead in 2006.
.. Dale Jarrett failed to qualify, ending a streak of 424 consecutive races that dated to North Wilkesboro on Oct. 2, 1994.(NASCAR PR)(5-4-2007)
- Ramblings – Richmond Qualifying Notes: Jeff Gordon took the Bud Pole tonight for tomorrow night’s Crown Royal presents the Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway…and he made it a three-peat. His time of 21.386 (126.251 mph) was good enough for his 5th top-spot of the season and 61st of his Nextel Cup career.
Carl Edwards (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Homestead in November of 2005.
Scott Riggs (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Homestead in November of 2006.
A. J. Allmendinger (13th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 40th at Martinsville last month.
David Reutimann (14th) ties his career-best starting position. He also started 14th last week at Talladega.
Welcome Back Johnny Benson (31st). This is his first start since Atlanta in October of 2005 when he lined up 19th and finished 28th.
Got a first this week. All five Rookie of the Year Candidates have made the field….first time this season we’ve seen that.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-5 starts in a row.
Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
Well, Dale Jarrett lost his best friend this weekend (the Champions Provisional) and he’s on the Trouble Train out of town early. The DNQ’s this week were: Brian Vickers, Ken Schrader, Michael Waltrip, Jeremy Mayfield, Jarrett, Kevin Lepage, and Mike Bliss.
(Stock Car Fans)(5-4-2007)
- Richmond Goodyear Tire Notes:: Both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at Richmond this weekend . . . teams in these two series ran this tire setup with great results just two weeks ago at Phoenix . . . this exact combination is also scheduled to be run at New Hampshire June 29-July 1 . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. Estimated Pit Window for the Cup cars are every 85-95 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes/report on my Richmond Race Info page.(5-4-2007)
- King [Petty] to meet the Queen [of England]: Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II won’t be the only royalty at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Richard Petty, otherwise known as “King Richard” in NASCAR circles, will fly to the Derby to meet with Queen Elizabeth after a special invitation from Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Petty then will return to Richmond International Raceway in time for Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race in which he has two cars, the #43 of Bobby Labonte and #45 of Kyle Petty. The Queen was in Richmond on Thursday to address the Virginia General Assembly. She and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, then went to Jamestown to help commemorate the 400th anniversary of America’s first permanent colony.(ESPN.com)(5-4-2007)
- Gordon to carry special banner at RIR: Jeff Gordon will proudly carry a special banner with cops.KEVLAR.com on the rear TV panel of the #24 DuPont car during this week’s Crown Royal 400 race at the Richmond International Raceway. DuPont has created the cops.KEVLAR.com Web site and a companion toll-free number, 1.877.COP.9606, to help raise awareness for the future National Law Enforcement Museum and encourage contributions to the Museum’s fundraising campaign. Jeff will also show his support for the law enforcement community and the Museum through a public service announcement that will be highlighted throughout the race weekend. During the pre-race activities on Saturday, DuPont will present a check for $250,000 to the National Law Enforcement Museum fund.(Ogilvy PR)(5-4-2007)
- Reese’s 2007 debut on the #29 at RIR: Reese’s, a major associate sponsor RCR’s #29 Chevy, kicks into high gear this weekend in Richmond as Kevin Harvick and the #29 team transform their bright yellow-and-red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a bright orange Reese’s racing machine for the Crown Royal 400.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(5-4-2007)
- Richmond Rookie of the Year notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 29 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Ragan posted a 17th-place finish and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the race, holding the top spot once for one lap. He took top rookie honors for the fifth time in nine races this season. Juan Pablo Montoya leads David Ragan by four points (100-96) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 5 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Montoya is 19th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. Since 1975, Brian Vickers (2004) and Morgan Shepherd (1981) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win a pole for the spring race at Richmond. Since 1980, just seven Raybestos Rookies have led a lap in the spring race at Richmond. See the full rookie report on my Rookies page.(5-4-2007)
News from May 3, 2007
- DIRECTV on the #07 at RIR: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital television service provider and is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team’s customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel’s, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid. This is the third time in 2007 Bowyer has run a DIRECTV scheme.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #07-Team Schemes page.(5-3-2007)
- Fatback and Wood Bros part ways? UPDATE denied: hearing that Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain, Race Director for the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, has parted ways with the team.(5-3-2007)
UPDATE: The rumor of Michael McSwain’s departure from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is untrue at this time.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing)(5-3-2007)
- Special scheme for Sadler at the Coca-Cola 600: Elliott Sadler will turn into a super hero for the Coca-Cola 600, running a special Fantastic Four paint scheme on the #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Charger. In honor of the debut of the “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” movie, produced by Fox Studios and scheduled for release in theaters on June 15th, the #9 Dodge Charger will be transformed into the Dodge Fantasticar. The movie, directed by Tim Story, stars Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis, the same foursome that made the original Fantastic Four such a success. The #19 will feature a stunning paint scheme that showcases the ghost-like Silver Surfer shooting across the hood, while flames explode over the nose and up the fenders of the Fantasticar. The familiar Fantastic Four logo will also adorn both rear quarter panels. “This is by far one of the coolest paint schemes I’ve ever seen, let alone be able to drive,” Sadler said. “This is something every little kid dreams about. Now, not only do I get to drive a race car, but I get to drive a race car with super heroes on it!”(Sadler Fanclub site)(5-3-2007)
- Wimmer suing Davis: Scott Wimmer filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Bill Davis Racing, claiming he is owed $1.2 million in salary for the 2006 season because the team did not follow the procedure in the contract to fire him. In the suit filed Monday in North Carolina Superior Court in Greensboro, N.C., Wimmer alleges BDR did not tell him until Oct. 24, 2005, that he would not be the driver in 2006. He claims that violated a clause in the contract which states that if the driver is not in the top 25 in the standings by Sept, 1, “team shall have the right to issue a written notice that driver is being placed on a 30-day notice stating that performance level must be improved to the satisfaction of sponsor and team by September 30th of current year or team may issued [sic] a written notice of termination of driver agreement at the end of current Nextel Cup season.” Wimmer claims he received no written notice, that the team told the media around Oct. 8 that he would return in 2006 but then sent him a termination letter Oct. 24. According to the lawsuit, Wimmer was being paid $600,000 for the 2004 season, $900,000 for 2005 and $1.2 million for 2006. He also received 45% of prize money as well as 33.3 percent of royalties from team merchandise. Wimmer drove in Nextel Cup for Morgan-McClure Motorsports for much of the 2006 season. He is driving for Richard Childress Racing in select Busch and Nextel Cup Series events this year.(SceneDaily.com)(5-3-2007)
- Edwards to appear on MadTV: #99-Carl Edwards is scheduled to appear on the FOX television show MADtv this Saturday [NOT Friday], May 5. Edwards’ appearance on show off his comedic skills as well as the lighter side of his intensely focused race car driver persona. The show air’s 11:35pm/et, check local listings.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(5-3-2007)
- Subway and KFC Showing Most Interest in Series Sponsorship: MORE: NASCAR is talking to at least five companies about replacing Anheuser-Busch as title sponsor of its No.2 series, with Subway and KFC showing the most interest. A-B has spent 25 years as title sponsor of the Busch Series, but is refocusing its overall NASCAR marketing. Its Budweiser brand is “the official beer of NASCAR,” and is the primary sponsor of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Samsung was originally thought to be in the running to replace A-B, but company officials said last week in Texas they weren’t interested. Wal-Mart also is believed to be in discussions with NASCAR. (AlabamaLive.com)(4-30-2007)
MORE: Sources also told [Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal] that Dish Network could emerge as a candidate, though NASCAR’s partnership with DirecTV seems to make that difficult. DirecTV broadcasts “HotPass” during the race and is the sanctioning body’s official TV partner.(SceneDaily.com)(4-30-2007)
UPDATE: Louisville-based KFC Corp. was recently in talks with NASCAR about becoming the title sponsor of what is now the Busch Series, but spokeswoman Laurie Schalow said the company dropped out of the race yesterday. Schalow called NASCAR a “great fit” for the fast-food chain, but she said the title sponsorship didn’t line up with the brand’s spending priorities for the next couple of years.(Courier-Journal)(5-3-2007)
- Kurt Busch’s Team Collects Pit Crew Win in Talladega: #2 crew earns first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge victory of season. Kurt Busch’s over-the-wall crew became the fifth team of the season to win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by collecting the win in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The #2 crew spent 171.490 seconds on pit road, helping Busch to a solid third-place finish at the 2.66-mile oval. “The guys were certainly awesome on pit road,” said Busch. “The race called for a mixture of all kinds of stops and they performed flawlessly. It was a good day all around for our Miller Lite Dodge Team. Winning the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge puts the icing on the cake for the best finish we’ve had this season.” Checkers/Rally’s will award Busch’s crew a prize of $11,000 for winning the weekly competition. Penske Racing’s #2 crew includes: Ray Gallaghan (jackman), David Littau (front-tire carrier), Jay Hackney (front-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Hebert (rear-tire changer), Chris Williams (gasman), Steve Williams (catch can) and Daniel Keaton (eighth man). After nine Nextel Cup races, Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 pit crew leads in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. Denny Hamlin’s #11 crew is second with two victories. An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-3-2007)
- #17 show car snatched: Between 5:00am and 5:45am/et on the morning of Wednesday, May 2, a #17 USG Sheetrock Ford Fusion show car along with the transporter, both tractor and trailer, were stolen from the Hampton Inn parking lot, off of Druid Hills Road in Atlanta, Ga. The Ford F-350 and the display trailer was recovered later that morning, however, the #17 USG Sheetrock Ford show car is still missing. The truck and trailer were found abandoned and vandalize on the side of a road in the Atlanta area. So, still missing: #17 USG Sheetrock Ford Fusion show car – blue and red with numerous logos. USG Sheetrock on the hood and the number 17 on the sides and roof of the car. A replica model of Roush Fenway Racing’s #17 USG Sheetrock Ford that competes in the Nextel Cup Series. Anyone having any information as to the whereabouts of stolen vehicle, please contact the Auto Theft Unit of Dekalb County Sheriff Office 770-724-7650.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(5-3-2007)
- Petree partners with ADI: Accelerating Developments International, LLC (ADI) announced the acquisition of the diagnostic testing division of Andy Petree Racing, Inc. (APR). APR has been at the forefront of designing, developing and servicing diagnostic equipment for the automotive and motorsports industry for the past seven years. Effective immediately, ADI will be responsible for all design upgrades, construction, sales and servicing of the APR rigs. “We’re very excited about this new joint venture” said Andy Petree. “As the motorsports industry continues to evolve, it’s important to be part of a team that can provide solutions with winning technology. I really enjoy being involved with the development of new technology and with this new partnership; I can stay involved to an even greater degree utilizing all the resources available at ADI”. ADI is pleased to announce that Andy Petree has joined ADI as a member of the Board of Directors and will continue to be instrumental in the future development of all ADI products. Jeff Swan, a long-time technician working with Andy also joins ADI as a key member of the team. For more info visit www.acceleratingdevelopments.com.(ADI PR – hufcopromotion.com)(PR)(5-3-2007)
- Kyle Busch’s HANs Device cracks in Busch crash: UPDATE 2: NASCAR on Monday tried to figure out why Kyle Busch’s HANS device cracked during a spectacular crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch wrecked in Saturday’s Busch Series event, when he was hit from behind and his car ended up on its roof before rolling several times through the grass. His HANS device, a NASCAR-mandated head-and-neck restraint system, cracked in the accident. “It performed the way it was supposed to, but it had a slight stress crack in it after the accident,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. NASCAR sent the device back to manufacturer Hubbard Downing in Georgia for examination.(Associated Press)(5-1-2007)
UPDATE: Officials from HANS Performance Products downplayed the crack found in Kyle Busch’s HANS Device after a spectacular crash in the Busch race last weekend at Talladega. After the crash, a crack was found in the head-and-neck restraint that is worn on a driver’s shoulders and has a carbon fiber piece that sits behind the helmet. “We were pleased to see Kyle shrug off such a dramatic wreck,” HANS Performance Products CEO Mark Stiles said in a statement. “It takes a lot to even produce a slight stress crack in a HANS Device. It worked as designed, and was ready for more action – like its driver.” The device is made primarily of carbon fiber, a high-strength, lightweight material. It was not revealed how large the crack was. General Motors Director of Safety Tom Gideon said he did not know where the HANS Device cracked, but with Busch walking away, he wasn’t alarmed.(SceneDaily.com)(5-1-2007)
UPDATE 2: Kyle Bush tried, but failed, to break his HANS Device in a “big-one” at this past weekend’s Busch Series race at Talladega. Kyle gets to walk away and race another day, thanks to the safety systems in his car, and the HANS Device he wears in every race. Three years of use and abuse, then one huge front-end wall hit, 8-barrel rolls, 2 spins on his roof, and a body slam have failed to break the HANS Device. The only injury was to his HANS Device – As James Bond might have said, “cracked, not broken.” HANS Performance Products CEO Mark Stiles commented, “We were pleased to see Kyle shrug off such a dramatic wreck. It takes a lot to even produce a slight stress crack in a HANS Device. It worked as designed, and was ready for more action – like its driver!” He continued, “HANS Devices are the only head and neck restraints built to the strength standards demanded in all major international race series. While other manufacturers are content with simply meeting the requirements of the SFI 38.1 performance specification, we go the extra mile. It just makes sense.” Inventor of the HANS Device, Professor Bob Hubbard added, “Since we introduced the first HANS Device more than 20 years ago, we have focused our research and development on providing racers with robust and reliable products. Wrecks like Kyle’s confirm the value of this investment. Having over 35,000 HANS Devices in use worldwide means we get a lot of feedback on how they work, time and time again, to help save lives and livelihoods.” Details and information about HANS Performance Products at hansdevice.com.(HANS Performance Products PR)(5-3-2007)
- Drivers hit Washington DC: David Stremme, Casey Mears, Jeff Burton and NASCAR officials traveled Tuesday afternoon from Concord, N.C. to Washington D.C. to support The Motorsports Coalition’s event to educate members of Congress on all the moving parts of the motorsports industry and on the different pieces of legislation that can impact the sport as a whole. The Motorsports Coalition is comprised of motorsports sanctioning bodies and was further represented by a majority of the track presidents of NASCAR sanctioned venues, and a NNCS All-Star showcar.(Ganassi PR)(5-2-2007)
News from May 2, 2007
- Congrats: Andrea Pemberton, wife of Ginn Racing #01 crew chief Ryan Pemberton, gave birth Tuesday (May 1) to daughter Britton Ladera at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, N.C. Britton weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. Britton joins 3-year-old sister Payton Lucia in the Pemberton household.(Ginn Racing PR)(5-2-2007)
- McCumbee, Andretti named to Drive #45 Dodge: Petty Enterprises announced that Chad McCumbee and John Andretti will drive the #45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge this summer. The duo will be filling the seat of full time driver Kyle Petty. Petty, with permission from primary and associate sponsors will step out of the car in a five race hiatus to join TNT during their six-race broadcast schedule. Petty will return to the car during the road course event at the Infineon Raceway and provide in-car race analysis. Petty will complete the season after the July 15 event at the Chicagoland Speedway in the #45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge. McCumbee, 22, will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut at Pocono Raceway on June 10 during the Pocono 500. Veteran driver John Andretti will race the remaining four open races for Petty. McCumbee, currently in his second year in the Craftsman Truck Series, will have plenty of seat time before heading into Pocono. McCumbee will be assigned to various testing duties for Petty Enterprises including testing next week at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. McCumbee continues his duties for Green Light Racing.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing)(5-2-2007)
- Harvick, McMurray fined for on track altercation after Talladega race: NASCAR announced today that Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Chevrolet and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Ford, have been fined $25,000 each and placed on probation until Oct. 3, 2007 for being involved in an altercation with each other’s cars during this past Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The altercation occurred during the final caution period that came on the white-flag lap. Both drivers were found to be in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing – involved in an altercation with another competitor’s car during a caution period) of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(5-2-2007)
- Pedigree on te #88 at RIR; Buddy Parrott to spot: This weekend the #88 team and driver Ricky Rudd will be running the bright yellow Pedigree Brand Food for Dogs Ford Fusion instead of their normal Snickers Ford. Legendary Crew Chief Buddy Parrott will be spotting for the #88 team this weekend in Richmond. Parrott replaces Jon Wolfe who is now serving as Car Chief for the #88 Pedigree Ford. Also on Thursday, May 3rd, Rudd and his family will attend Virginia’s Royal Welcome event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The event will take place at the Capitol Square in downtown Richmond and her majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be the guest of honor. Rudd was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame last weekend and was named Virginian of the Year in 2006. (Snickers Racing PR)(5-2-2007)
- Long John Silver’s/A&W to sponsor Lepage and the #37 team: Long John Silver’s/A&W will be the primary sponsor of the #37 Front Row Motorsports entry driven by Kevin Lepage at Richmond International Raceway, for the Crown Royal presents the Jim Stewart 400. “I look forward to driving the Long John Silver’s/A&W car at Richmond,” commented driver Kevin Lepage. “We had a real good test in Richmond about a month ago and I’m excited about the opportunity for my 200th career Nextel Cup start.” Long John Silver’s is the world’s most popular quick-service seafood chain with more than 1,200 restaurants worldwide. In May, 2002, Long John Silver’s was acquired by Yum! Brands, Inc., joining a family of restaurants that number more than 33,000 units in more than 100 countries and territories. Long John Silver’s along with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and A&W Restaurants make Yum! Brands, Inc., the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system units. For more information about Long John Silver’s/A&W please visit www.ljsilvers.com or www.awrestaurants.com.(FRM PR)(5-2-2007)
- Teams testing at New Smyrna: two Nextel Cup teams testing ay New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. Joe Gibbs Racing arrived at the half-mile track Tuesday with two haulers, three [COT] Nextel Cup Chevy, three drivers (including Tony Stewart) and more than a dozen mechanics. Bill Davis Racing was represented by its #36 Toyota, with Jeremy Mayfield at the wheel, and the #5 Tundra truck raced by Mike Skinner. All the stock cars were of the Car of Tomorrow variety. It’s the first time in recent memory that NASCAR Cup teams have tested at New Smyrna, which is sanctioned by FASCAR. The two sanctioning bodies have no connection. Skinner’s team had booked the track and the others piggy-backed their way into the facility. Today’s session is closed to the public. Aric Almirola was behind the wheel of the #18, normally driven by J.J. Yeley. Mike McLaughlin was assisting Stewart with a pair of #20 Chevys. Gibbs Racing was going to test at a short track in Georgia, but decided to try New Smyrna at the last minute. Joining in the test session was Jamie Skinner, Mike’s son, who was driving a FASCAR Late Model. At one point during the afternoon a truck, Cup car and Late Model were on the course at the same time. Mayfield has struggled this season in his new Toyota ride. Without owner’s points from last season, he has failed to make six grids through nine Cup events. He hopes this test session helps him conquer the next Cup race, scheduled Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. “This is the first time I’ve been around here in a racecar,” Mayfield said. “It’s a neat little track. I think we’ve picked up some information.” Gibbs Racing plans to return here for more testing in the fall.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-2-2007)
- Teams after Biffle for 2008 UPDATE: By disclosing that Roush Fenway Racing is re-negotiating its contract with #16-Greg Biffle, team president Geoff Smith may have indirectly increased the driver’s value. Biffle told ESPN.com Friday that Smith’s comment has produced intrigue in the Nextel Cup garage regarding the driver’s contract status. He is an elite driving talent. Teams are calling. “The biggest thing that’s been a bit of a deterrent for me is that Geoff Smith put in the paper that we’re negotiating — Roush and Greg Biffle — an extension,” Biffle said. “And in my eyes there was no reason for that. I’m under contract.” Biffle is under contract with Roush Fenway through the end of the 2008 season. But when the sponsor of the #16 Ford, AmeriQuest, told Roush it would like to terminate its contract at the end of the year, and that Roush should seek alternative sponsorship, it created a bit of an issue for the team. Biffle described the difficulty in getting a three-year sponsor commitment based on a driver that has just one year left on his deal as all but impossible. Roush Fenway Racing wants to lock Biffle up to a longer-term contract, to ensure potential sponsors he’ll be there for the duration of the relationship. Biffle said that lead executives from some other teams to believe his contract was up at the end of the current season, rather than next year’s. “So now I’ve got all these teams that are looking to add a team or a driver calling me,” Biffle said. “Not every team, but there’s been a few because of that quote.” Biffle said he wants to remain at Roush Fenway, and echoed Smith’s sentiment that the team has its pick of potential sponsors.(ESPN.com)(4-29-2007)
UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith said Sunday that rumors that #16-Greg Biffle’s name would come up with Silly Season couldn’t be avoided, given that the team is simultaneously trying to sign a new sponsor to replace Ameriquest and at the same time sign Biffle beyond the end of 2008, when his current deal expires. The situation is a classic catch-22: Potential sponsors want drivers signed to long-term deals before they’ll commit, and drivers want to know a sponsor is in place to pay the bills before they sign on for another tour of duty. “When you go out in public to request a sponsor, you have to tell the sponsor how long the term is,” Smith said. “And so it was inevitable, always inevitable, that the moment the word got out in any fashion that we were looking for a three-year deal for a sponsor, that it would trigger the questions back to the driver. The fact that it made it a little bit awkward for Greg … it just puts him back into the marketplace again. There wasn’t anything I could do about that. It was inevitable. You just have to go say what is and move through it as fast as you can.” Smith said he was optimistic about keeping Biffle in the Roush fold, though he was unsure if the deal would get done this year or next. “Whether or not the contract is extended is Greg’s decision, and he’ll let us know,” Smith said. “If he wants to sit for another year, or wants to do it now … we can have a sponsorship now without any issue. When Greg gets done reviewing the deal, we’ll see.”(Ford Racing)(5-2-2007)
- Tracy Hines Injured in Off-Road Accident: Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Tracy Hines was injured in an accident on the evening of Monday, April 30 on his Indiana property. Hines crashed while riding his off-road motorcycle and was transported via helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he underwent surgery to repair a fractured pelvis, fractured left femur and a dislocated right knee. On Tuesday afternoon he was listed in stable condition. Hines drives the #21 TSR/Chevy entry in the USAC National Midget and Sprint Car Series and the #22 TSR/Chevrolet machine in the USAC Dirt Silver Crown Series.(GM Racing PR)(5-2-2007)
- Hinder Remakes Rock Classic “Born To Be Wild” for TNT’s 2007 NASCAR Coverage: Turner Network Television announced that they have teamed with multi-platinum rockers Hinder to remake Steppenwolf’s classic hit single “Born to be Wild” as the network’s beat-driven anthem to promote its 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series coverage. The song will serve as the primary musical bed for all six of TNT’s races, as well as for the network’s multiplatform marketing campaign surrounding its exclusive race coverage. To accompany Hinder’s cover of the rock-and-roll classic, the network is also producing a full-length music video of the song for the band that will debut exclusively on NASCAR.COM on June 6.(TNT PR)(5-2-2007)
- Marlin Plans Civil War Pit Stop on His Way to Richmond: Sterling Marlin plans to make a pit stop on his way to Richmond for Saturday night’s Nextel Cup event. A known Civil War buff, Marlin will use this weekend’s Jim Stewart 400 as an excuse to make a side trip to Cold Harbor, one of the many parts of Richmond National Battlefield. Cold Harbor was the site of a Civil War battle from May 31-June 12, 1864. Marlin, who has always had a fascination with the Civil War, began collecting artifacts from that time period years ago.(Ginn Racing PR)(5-2-2007)
- Testing at Nashville: DEI Driver #15-Paul Menard and #55-Derrike Cope/Michael Waltrip tested the car of tomorrow (COT) at Nashville Superspeedway on Tuesday.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(5-2-2007)
- ITT Night Vision Joins Morgan-McClure Motorsports in Tribute to Virginia Tech: Morgan-McClure Motorsports President Larry McClure announced today that ITT Night Vision, a Roanoke, Va. based company, is joining State Water Heaters on the #4 Chevy Impala driven by Ward Burton. A special scheme will be run this weekend at Richmond International Raceway that will include a large VT hood decal in tribute to nearby Virginia Tech. (Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(5-2-2007)
News from May 1, 2007
- NASCAR This Week on ESPN: The Busch Series was born on short tracks racing under the lights and will make a return to its roots Friday night at Richmond International Raceway. ESPN2 will have live primetime coverage of the 250-lap race from the .750-mile Virginia track beginning at 7:30pm/et with NASCAR Countdown. The race will start at 8pm/et. The D-shaped Richmond track is a favorite among NASCAR drivers and fans for producing close and exciting racing. Kevin Harvick, the defending Busch Series champion and winner of the 2007 Daytona 500, has won three consecutive Busch Series races at Richmond, including a sweep of the track’s two events in 2006. Dale Jarrett will join Andy Petree in the ESPN booth for analysis during the telecast. Jarrett is filling in for ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace, who will rejoin NASCAR coverage in June. ESPN’s Marty Reid will handle play-by-play duties, filling in for regular anchor Jerry Punch. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will serve as pit reporters. In addition to the telecast on ESPN2, ESPN’s signature broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver a live online simulcast of the event, and a Spanish-language version of the race will be televised on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language network.
NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will have its expanded Monday edition on the air from 6-7pm/et on ESPN2. The program will have extensive highlights and recaps of the weekend’s NASCAR races, as well as looks ahead to the next weekend. NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes at its regular 6:30 p.m. ET timeslot Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and at midnight on Thursday. The show will air at 6pm on Friday with reports from Richmond International Raceway. In addition, the one-hour weekend edition will air at 10am. Saturday with a wrap-up of Friday’s Busch Series race from Richmond and a look ahead to that evening’s Nextel Cup race. Sunday night’s edition of the program will air at midnight.(ESPN PR)(5-1-2007)
- Ford Racing Aware of DEI-RYR Merger Talk: In response to media reports from this past weekend, Ford Racing confirmed it is fully aware of merger talks that have taken place between Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) and Robert Yates Racing (RYR) officials. “Ford is fully committed to Robert Yates Racing for the long-term, and they have assured us that are similarly committed to Ford,” said Kevin Kennedy, Ford Racing Technology Communications Manager. “Robert and Doug have been in contact with Ford about the nature of the discussions. We have a valued partnership with them, and they are keeping us informed of those discussions like a true partner would. We fully expect they will remain with Ford for many, many years.” Robert Yates Racing and Ford have a relationship that goes back to the formation of the race team in the late 1980s, and Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, has repeatedly stated that the manufacturer is fully committed to bringing RYR back to the top of the field. Media reports this past weekend also stated that Ford had been in discussions with DEI about a switch from Chevrolet to Ford for the 2008 season. Davis has repeatedly said that Ford is interested in adding championship-level teams to its Cup roster. “We definitely have been talking with DEI. Truthfully, we’ve been having informal talks with them for several years,” said Kennedy. “We have not yet made a formal offer to them, but we know that their GM contract is up at the end of the year. We had some discussions with them, and we’ve made it clear that we’d love to have them in our program.”(Ford Racing)(5-1-2007)
- After 9 races in 2004-2006 worst spot a future chaser was? with #9-Kasey Kahne, 31st in drivers championship points after 9 races, the question has been, after 9 races in the three previous Chase’s, what was the worst spot a future Chaser [in that season] was in after the 9th race? In 2006 after the 9th race, #11-Hamlin was 19th in drivers points [and made it in the chase at 5th], in 2005 it was #17-Matt Kenseth who was 23rd [and made it in at 9th] after 9 races and in the first year of the Chase, 2004, Jeremy Mayfield [then in the #19, now in the #36] was 16th [and went into the chase at 9th]. The three drivers who won the last three Nextel Cup Championships were no deeper then 6th, that being #20-Tony Stewart. In 2006 #48-Jimmie Johnson was 1st and in 2004, #97-[now in the #2]-Kurt Busch was 4th after 9 races.(5-1-2007)
- Cup, Busch, Truck teams test dates at Lowe’s Motor Speedway set: Testing sessions for Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams have been scheduled at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the track’s calendar of May races, including the May 19 Nextel All-Star Challenge and the May 27 Coca-Cola 600. Each division will participate in a two-day testing session with a third day reserved in case of rain. The Nextel Cup Series is scheduled to test on May 7-8 (1-9pm/et; May 9 Rain Date); the Craftsman Truck Series is scheduled to test on May 10-11 (9am-9pm/et; May 12 Rain Date); and the Busch Series is scheduled to test May 14-15 (1-9pm/et; May 16 Rain Date). During each testing session, Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office.(LMS PR)(5-1-2007)
- Ward Burton and Eric McClure to Wear Virginia Tech Helmets at Richmond: Two NASCAR drivers are honoring Virginia Tech this weekend by sporting helmets especially designed to pay tribute to the school. Virginia natives #4-Ward Burton and Eric McClure (#0 in the Busch Series) will don the customized headgear during this weekend’s races at Richmond. McClure is racing in the Busch Series Circuit City 250 on Friday, while Burton is racing Saturday in the Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup Series race. Both helmets are being designed and hand painted by David Arrigo, an acclaimed artist from Ontario. As for the actual design of the helmets, both will feature the American flag, along with images of Virginia Tech set against the backdrop of a rising sun. Burton’s helmet will also have a rose in bloom. McClure’s will portray a Virginia Tech student reading. The American flag on the helmets will feature 32 stars, in honor of the number of victims.(Richmond.com)(5-1-2007)
- Florida Senate Approves NASCAR License Plate: Florida may not be getting the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but racing fans could soon be able to buy a specialty stock-car license plate. The Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill Monday that creates a NASCAR license plate as well as several other specialty tags. The House still has to approve the tag, but [the bill sponsor Sen Carey] Baker said he is confident that will happen. Proceeds from the annual $25 specialty fee charged for each of the plates will go to NASCAR; The NASCAR Foundation, a charitable group; and the Florida Sports Foundation, a state group that promotes sports. If the bill becomes law, Florida will join nine other states in offering NASCAR license plates. In 2005, lawmakers approved a NASCAR plate to boost Daytona Beach’s bid for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The plate was expected to generate $1.5 million a year for the effort. The plate was contingent on Daytona Beach getting the hall, and because the museum went to Charlotte, N.C., it was never created.(Orlando Sentinel)(5-1-2007)
- Sports Emmy’s announced – NASCAR related garners 3 emmys: Winners of the 28th Annual Sports Emmy Awards were announced tonight by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at a special ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Prominent sports broadcasters, athletes and executives attended the star-studded ceremony.
NASCAR related programming emmy’s went to:
OUTSTANDING LIVE SPORTS SERIES: NASCAR on TNT & NBC
OUTSTANDING LIVE EVENT TURNAROUND: Beyond the Wheel, NASCAR Images / SPEED
OUTSTANDING LIVE EVENT AUDIO / SOUND: NASCAR on FOX, FOX
The Sports Emmy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in sports television coverage. For over a quarter century, the National Television Academy has presented the Emmy as a reward for excellence in Sports broadcasting and as an incentive for its continued pursuit.(emmyonline.org)(5-1-2007)
- PVA partners with BAM Racing: Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) will be the primary sponsor of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge at upcoming Nextel Cup Series events, thanks to an innovative new public-private partnership. Under the partnership between Paralyzed Veterans and BAM Racing/ARMER Holding LLC, the public can pay tribute to the military service of a family member or friend by purchasing a star at www.pva.org. A Gold Star $100 Tribute places the name of the honored service member or veteran on the race car itself and on a virtual wall at pva.org. A Silver Star $50 tribute appears on a virtual wall at pva.org. A significant portion of the proceeds will go directly to Paralyzed Veterans and its work to help returning service members and veterans maximize the quality of their lives. “BAM Racing is honored to welcome Paralyzed Veterans to the No. 49 Dodge,” said team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau.(Paralyzed Veterans PR)(4-29-2007)