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May 2008 News Archives


  • News from May 31, 2008

  • Franchitti to return to Cup racing at Pocono: #40-Dario Franchitti is making his return here [Dover], but it’s not in the Sprint Cup race. Franchitti, who suffered a broken ankle in a Talladega Nationwide Series race, is returning in today’s race [Nationwide at Dover] here, the Heluva Good 200. Franchitti’s Cup return will be next week at Pocono. Since the Nationwide race is half the distance of Sunday’s Best Buy 400, he said it’s “a smart decision.” He said the injury has been more frustrating than painful. “It was painful for about two days and that was it,” he said. “Then it was just a pain in the butt.”.(NASCAR This Week), Jeremy Mayfield qualifed the #40 Dodge 10th at Dover.(5-31-2008) Comment here

  • Andretti sticking with Indy Cars for next two weeks: John Andretti, who replaced rookie Jay Howard at Roth Racing for the Indianapolis 500, will keep the job for at least two more weeks. Andretti, 45, will make his first IndyCar Series start in a race other than the 500 in Sunday’s A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. He’ll also be in the No. 24 car next week at Texas Motor Speedway.(Indianapolis Star), Andretti had been attempting top make the Cup races with #34 Front Row Motorsports the first ten Cup races of the season [making the races at Daytona, California and Texas]. Jeff Green attempted to make the races at Darlington and Charlotte but failed to qualify, Tony Raines made the race at Dover and since he tested at Pocono for the team this past week, Raines could run the car there, but is scheduled to be back in the #08 Dodge for EM Motorsports for Michigan in June. No word if Andretti will return to the #34 after the Texas Indy Car race.(5-31-2008) Comment here
  • Happy Hour practice for the Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway is over after being delayed practice, the teams got about 10-15 minutes of practice, then the rain came back, the fastest when the rains came:
    #48-Johnson 150.830
    #11-Hamlin 150.319
    #18-Busch 149.750
    #99-Edwards 149.663
    #1-Truex Jr. 149.638
    Slowest: #00-McDowell 144.133 & #7-Crafton 144.922
    no speed for: #21-Elliott
    For the speeds and average speeds, laps run and more, see my Dover Practice Speeds Page.(5-31-2008)
  • Allison to receive honor at Dover: Bobby Allison, who is tied with Richard Petty for most victories at Dover with seven, will be honored today at 12:30 p.m. at the new Monster Monument at Victory Plaza behind the fourth-turn suites at the racetrack. Allison’s feat will be commemorated with a plaque at the base of the new 46-foot-tall Monster Monument. There’s a FREE autograph session with Allison following it, so it’s a great opportunity to see this NASCAR legend in person this weekend.(5-31-2008)

  • Sadler running special scheme at Dover: Best Buy will not only be the primary sponsor on their Dodge this weekend at Dover International Speedway, but is the title sponsor for this weekend’s Best Buy 400 benefitting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks at the one-mile, concrete oval. In addition to a special Autism Speaks paint scheme on the team’s #19 Charger, driver Elliott Sadler will also sign the car’s hood and GEM has agreed to donate it for auction. The auction will begin with the dropping of the green flag at www.sadlerfoundation.org and continue until June 19.(GEM PR), see an image of the hood and a layout image on my #19 Team Schemes page.(5-31-2008) Comment here


    News from May 30, 2008

  • Sub crew chiefs named for #66 & #70: Haas CNC Racing has submitted to NASCAR its interim crew chiefs for this weekend after its crew chiefs and car chiefs were suspended Wednesday. The team has 10 days to appeal the penalty, but crew chiefs Robert “Bootie” Barker and Dave Skog and car chiefs Derick Jennings and Thomas Harris will begin their suspensions this weekend with the Best Buy 400. Team competition director Matt Borland will replace Barker as crew chief of the #66 of Scott Riggs, while Steve Genenbacher, who started the year as truck chief of Haas CNC Racing affiliate MRD Motorsports and driver Chad McCumbee in the Craftsman Truck Series, will replace Skog as crew chief of the #70, which will be driven by Jason Leffler this weekend. The team personnel were suspended for six weeks for violating rules with the wing mounting locations.(SceneDaily)(5-30-2008) Comment here

  • Bill Elliott To Be Inducted Into Atlanta Sports Hall Of Fame: Bill Elliott is scheduled to be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame this weekend.  The Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame is an organization dedicated to honoring Atlanta’s sports heroes.  Prior inductees include Hank Aaron, Evander Holyfield, Phil Niekro and Dominique Wilkins.   This year’s list of inductees include Steve Bartkowski (Atlanta Falcons all-time passing leader), Claude Humphrey (Atlanta Falcons six time pro bowler), Edwin Moses (four-time Olympic and world gold medalist), John Schuerholz (General Manager Atlanta Braves from 1990 to 2007), Louise Suggs (LPGA founder and winner of 58 LPGA tournaments), and Bill Elliott, NASCAR Legend.  The induction ceremony will be held on Saturday night beginning at 5:30pm/et.  This recognition alone demonstrates the kind of career and the kind of person Elliott is.  However, in addition to meeting his induction obligations, Elliott is also driving the #21 Air Force Ford at Dover this weekend.  Elliott will arrive at Dover on Friday and practice and qualify the car.  He will fly back to Atlanta on Saturday immediately following the Sprint Cup Series final practice. After the induction ceremony Elliott will return to Dover to compete in the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway. Co-owner Eddie Wood noted, “Bill is a true champion and a true family friend.  It’s no wonder he has been inducted to multiple halls of fame and voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 16 times.  We are blessed to have a person like Bill working with us.”(Wood Brothers Racing)(5-30-2008) Comment here
  • Chase Notes after Charlotte: You have to go all the way to fifth place #07-Clint Bowyer to find the first driver with more than a one race cushion on falling out of the Top 12. #48-Jimmie Johnson had the biggest fall of the group at LMS, dropping 83 points on 13th place and sliding three spots back to 9th after the Coca- Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. #9-Kasey Kahne’s big win in the Coca-Cola 600 allowed him to knock #6-David Ragan out of the Top 12 and claim the “ bubble” spot. Only Ragan and #12-Ryan Newman remain within one race of the Top 12 after the Coca-Cola 600. #`1-Martin Truex lost 127 points on 12th, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya lost 127 and #83-Brian Vickers’ failed wheel cost him 146 points on 12th. After Dover, we are halfway in The Race to The Chase. See the full Chase Stats on my Charlotte Chase Stats Page.(5-30-2008)
  • Biffle wins pole at Dover: #16-Greg Biffle won the Coors Light Pole for the Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 155.219mph [about 1.5mph faster then 2nd] for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 6th of his career, #2-Busch starts 2nd, followed by #18-Busch, #48-Johnson, #26-McMurray, #83-Vickers, #24-Gordon, #84-Allmendinger, #19-Sadler and #40-Mayfield. The go-or-go homers who made the race: #84-Allmendinger, #40-Mayfield [see, he can still drive!], #77-Hornish Jr., #21-Elliott [no champ prov needed], #06-Yeley, #78-Nemechek, #10-Carpentier and #34-Raines [first Cup start of 2008]. Missing the race: #70-Leffler and #45-McCumbee
    For qualifying results. order, pole progression, starting lineup and more, see my Dover Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-30-2008)
  • Dover Qualifying Fast Facts:
    .. Greg Biffle won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks with a lap of 23.193 seconds, 155.219 mph.
    .. This is his sixth pole in 199 career Sprint Cup races.
    .. This is his second pole and fourth top-10 start in 2008.
    .. This is Biffle’s first pole and sixth top-10 start in 12 races at Dover International Speedway.
    .. Kurt Busch (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2008 and his 11th in 16 Dover races.
    .. Kyle Busch (third) posted his 10th top-10 start of the season and his second in seven races at Dover.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (fourth) joined Kyle Busch as the only drivers with 10 top-10 starts in 2008.
    .. AJ Allmendinger (eighth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. Sam Hornish Jr. (16th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(5-30-2008)

  • Richard Petty Driving Experience on the #45 car: Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) will be the primary sponsor on the Petty Enterprises #45 Dodge for the Best Buy 400 Sprint Cup race this weekend in Dover and again in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 on July 5th. Chad McCumbee will pilot the RPDE race car at the Monster Mile this weekend in place of Kyle Petty, who has the weekend off for his daughters wedding. “I have to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises for allowing me to drive the #45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge this weekend,” said McCumbee, who has two starts under his belt at Dover. Richard Petty Driving Experience will operate more than 1,200 track days at 25 locations nationwide in 2008. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit www.1800bepetty.com.(MCG/Petty Racing PR)(5-30-2008) Comment here

  • Dover Tire Fast Facts: Teams in all three NASCAR series — Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck — will run the same tire codes at Dover this weekend . . . compared to the tire codes run at Dover in 2007, there have been slight changes to the left-side construction to improve performance and to the right-side compound to improve treadwear . . . in addition to Dover, major NASCAR teams are scheduled to run this exact combination of left- and right-side tires at Michigan and Kentucky this season . . . this left-side code (D-4134) will also be run with a different right-side code at Texas and Chicagoland . . . unique among NASCAR’s one-mile ovals, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated Pit Window: Every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear PR), see more about Goodyear Tire notes, codes, pressures on my Dover Info Page or 2008 Tire Notes page.(5-30-2008) Comment here


    News from May 29, 2008

  • Biffle expected to re-sign with Roush Fenway soon: Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith said Thursday that he believes #16-Greg Biffle will be re-signed in the next two weeks, assuming contract details get hammered out to the agreement of both sides. Smith said Thursday that Biffle’s agent submitted a detailed contract on Tuesday after a several-month wait, and he feels confident a deal will be reached. “It’s officially back in our hands, and we’re working on a contract,” Smith said. “I’m optimistic we’re going to be able to get it done. If he works as hard on the contract as we are, we’re looking at two weeks.” If that’s the case, an announcement could come during the race at Michigan International Speedway [6-15-2008], which is considered in the backyard of Roush Industries in Livonia, Mich. Biffle reiterated Thursday what he’s been saying for weeks — yes, he has talked to other team teams, and, yes, he would like to finish his career with Roush Fenway. He said he did not have the time until last week to work diligently with his agent on the contract. “I’ve always said my heart has been with staying at Roush Fenway,” Biffle said. “I wanted to take the first quarter of the season to see how the team has worked and base a small portion of my decision on that. I’m happy with the way our 16 team has performed. We’ve had issues, but every team has had issues. I’ve talked to a lot of other people and discussed their approach and their long-term goals, but I haven’t negotiated with anybody else. I’m flattered by all the offers and by all the people interested, but … this is truly where I want to be.”(ESPN.com)(5-29-2008) Comment here

  • DuPont extends with Hendrick & Gordon: DuPont, Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy, announced that the current longest-running sponsor/driver/team combination in the Sprint Cup Series will continue through the 2010 racing season. At that point, the sponsorship will have been in existence for 18 years. The contract extension was announced by Gordon and David G. Bills, DuPont chief marketing and sales officer, on DuPont NASCAR Day, an employee appreciation event held annually at the company’s headquarters in Wilmignton, DE. “DuPont has a long tradition of excellence in the automotive world and we’re proud to be a part of it,” Gordon said. “The fact that we’re now in our 16th year together speaks volumes about the success of this partnership.” DuPont launched its NASCAR involvement in 1992, when it decided to sponsor Gordon, then a rookie 21-year-old driver from California, who had just been hired by Rick Hendrick, founder and CEO of Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon, now 36, is a four-time Cup Series champion. A long roster of DuPont brands and company messages appear with varying frequency on the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. The list includes the DuPont Oval logo, DuPont Tyvek Home Wrap, Pioneer Hi-Bred Seed, DuPont Automotive Finishes, DuPont Corian solid surfaces, DuPont Kevlar high strength material and many others.(PR Newswire)(5-29-2008) Comment here

  • GEM signs Sadler to extension: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced today it has signed a multi-year contract extension with driver Elliott Sadler. “Elliott is a well respected driver who has the skills, both on and off the track, to succeed in NASCAR,” said CEO Tom Reddin. “In addition to being a great Sprint Cup driver, Elliott has a wonderful personality that attracts fans and sponsors who love working with him. We have enjoyed working with Elliott over the last year and a half and look forward to continuing our relationship.” Sadler, 33, joined Gillett Evernham Racing in 2006 and is glad to have a future with the team. “This is the place where I want to race,” the Emporia, Va. native said. “I think what we are building here is special and something other drivers and crew members envy.” Sadler drives the #19 Dodge sponsored by Best Buy, Stanley Tools, McDonald’s and Siemens. He owns three career victories.(GEM PR), the length of the extension was not announced but supposedly it is for 2-years thru 2010.(5-29-2008) Comment here

  • Montoya gives Ganassi an earful; JGR looking at Montoya? #42-Juan Pablo Montoya requested a face-to-face meeting with his boss and got it the day before the Indianapolis 500, when owner Chip Ganassi flew to North Carolina to talk with his emotional driver. The early morning meeting Saturday let Montoya express his frustrations over the race team’s direction, including the firing of crew chief Jimmy Elledge, a move Montoya vehemently opposed. “I told him everything I was thinking and how it was,” said Montoya, who finished 30th. “The hope of the meeting is that everything that has happened turns into results. I need to run better. That’s what will calm me down.” Meanwhile, there is speculation that Joe Gibbs Racing may make a run at Montoya to fill the seat Tony Stewart is expected to leave at the end of the season.(Chicago Tribune)(5-29-2008)Comment here

  • Kyle Petty Honored as Father of the Year: Kyle Petty is being honored by the National Father’s Day Council and the American Diabetes Association as a Father of the Year. The Greater Greensboro Area Father’s Day Council will present Petty with the award on June 6 at their annual Father of the year Awards Dinner. Petty, 47, is among several recipients being recognized for their ability to balance their personal lives to serve as a role model for their children while also making a positive difference in their community. “This award means so much to me because being a dad means so much to me,” said Petty. “NASCAR drivers are on the road a lot, I’m traveling for so many months out of the year. So I really have to get the most out of my time at home. It makes me really appreciate spending time with my kids because my time with them is so valuable.” Petty has a daughter, Montgomery Lee [who is getting married this weekend, Kyle will skip the race at Dover], and a son, Austin. His oldest son, Adam, was killed in an on-track accident in 2000. In Adam’s honor, Petty and his wife Pattie started the Victory Junction Gang Camp in 2004. The camp offers children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses the opportunity to have a life-changing camping experience that takes place in a safe and medically sound environment. “I think this award is special because it focuses on fathers that are good dads but who also help their community,” said Petty. “Being a good dad isn’t just about how you are with your kids, it’s about teaching your kids how to be good people. I hope that my passion for the camp will help my kids understand the importance of helping others.” Held at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro on June 6, the Father of the year Awards dinner is designed to celebrate Father’s Day while also benefiting the American Diabetes Association. The National Father’s Day Council, which has raised more than $20 million to search for a cure for diabetes, is a group of volunteers who annually honor individuals whose achievements and values enhance the meaning and stature of fatherhood.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(5-29-2008) Comment here
  • #34 team gets sponsor for Dover UPDATE: The #34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy driver [either John Andretti or Jeff Green] takes the track with associate sponsorship from doorstopnation.com. Dealing with, among innumerable other things,  entertainment, sports and  Americana. The Doorstop Nation was founded in 2005 by Joe Laracuente and it has gained a loyal and growing following. See more at Doorstopnation.com.(Doorstop Nation PR)(5-29-2008)
    UPDATE: being told that Tony Raines, who tested the #34 at Pocono on Tues/Wed, will drive the car at Dover and that the #08 Dodge that was entered by EM Motorsports has been withdrawn.(5-29-2008) Comment here
  • Dover Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored a 13th-place finish, his best in 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts and claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth time in 12 races this season. #01-Regan Smith leads Hornish Jr. by one point (117-116) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 1 Best Buy 400 at Dover International Speedway. At least one Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in four of the past six spring races at Dover. Only two Raybestos Rookies have won the spring race at Dover: Jimmie Johnson (2002) and Davey Allison (1987). The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in the spring race at Dover is second by Morgan Shepherd in 1981.(Camp & Assoc), see the full report, rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(5-29-2008)

  • Indy 500 TV Ratings: After registering a preliminary 5.1 overnight rating, Sunday’s 92nd running of The Indianapolis 500 finished with a final rating of 4.5. The Coca-Cola 500 had an overnight rating of 4.4, but improved to a 4.7 final number when the smaller markets were added to the larger market/overnight number. The NASCAR race was run in prime time Sunday.(Indianapolis Star)(5-29-2008)

  • Burton still has completed all laps: #31-Jeff Burton is the lone driver who has completed every lap, 4,064, of competition this season. Burton also has completed 80.7% of the total laps (3,281 of 4,064) running in the top 15 and leads all drivers with the most runs on the lead lap (4,017 of 4,064).(RCR PR)(5-29-2008)


    News from May 28, 2008

  • Haas CNC cars impounded UPDATE penalites announced: The primary cars of #66-Scott Riggs and #70-Johnny Sauter of Haas CNC Racing were impounded by NASCAR when it was discovered the rear wing mounts were illegal prior to Saturday’s Sprint Cup practice. Both teams will be allowed to use backup cars and start in the back of the field in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Both teams also face further punishment by NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was docked 100 championship points and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. fined $100,000 and suspended for six races last season for toying with the rear wing. Riggs had qualified 13th and Sauter last. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the violation was discovered after it was brought to the governing body’s attention there might be a problem with the location of the upper wing mounting points. Inspections are not a normal part of the pre-practice routine on Saturday. “The garage I would say is a fairly self-policing area,” Tharp said. “We follow up on information we get.”(ESPN.com)(5-24-2008)
    UPDATE Penalties announced: NASCAR has issued penalties, fines and suspensions to the #66 and #70 teams in the Sprint Cup Series. The #66 car driven by Scott Riggs and the #70 car driven by Johnny Sauter were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-3.1.3A (wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule book). The infractions were discovered May 24 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. As a result, Riggs and #66 car owner Joe Custer have been penalized 150 championship driver and 150 championship owner points, respectively, as have Sauter and #70 car owner Margaret Haas. Both the crew chiefs and the car chiefs for the two cars – Bootie Barker and Derick Jennings for the #66 and Dave Skog and Thomas Harris for the #70 – have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, suspended from NASCAR until July 9 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, Barker and Skog have each been fined $100,000 apiece. The penalty also includes NASCAR’s confiscation of team 66 Serial Number HMS 12 06 415 race car and team 70 Serial Number HMS 04 08 507 race car.(NASCAR PR)(5-28-2008)
    OWNERS POINTS: For the REVISED owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page, #70 Haas CNC Racing is now 43rd in owners points, 346 points behind 35th in owners points and would miss the race at Dover if qualifying is cancelled. The #66 Haas CNC racing team drops from 26th in owners pts to 34th, only 5 points above the team in 36th. Comment here

  • Mayfield to drive #40 at Dover: Dario Franchitti, full-time driver of the #40 CGRFS Dodge, will sit out this weekend’s Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, but will return to the action in the #40 Fastenal Dodge on Saturday in the Nationwide Series race. Jeremy Mayfield will be the substitute driver of the #40 Target Dodge this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Mayfield has 25 starts at the Monster Mile, where he still holds the track qualifying record (161.522 mph, 22.288 seconds) which he earned in June 2004. In addition to that pole position he holds two more, one coming in September 2000 and then again in September 2004. Franchitti and the #40 CGRFS Cup team tested at Pocono Raceway this week along with the majority of the NSCS teams. It marked Franchitti’s first time back in the #40 NSCS car since he was injured in the NNS race at Talladega Superspeedway in late April.(CGRFS PR)(5-28-2008) Comment here

  • Robby to run Baja & Dover, Crafton to sub: #7-Robby Gordon once again prepares for double duty action – he will race more than 850 miles this weekend while running both the Baja 500 and the Best Buy 400 at Dover. Widely regarded as one of the best off-road racers of all time, Gordon’s weekend will begin in Ensenada, Mexico for the 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 on Saturday while Truck Series regular Matt Crafton practices and qualifies the #7 Jim Beam Dodge in Dover. Immediately following the conclusion of the Baja 500, Gordon will make his way cross country to Dover to start the Best Buy 400 on Sunday. Thursday will mark a day in history, when Gordon is honored at the 5th annual Monster Energy Baja Legacy party and inducted into the Carreras Cantina Hall of Fame.(RGM PR)(5-28-2008) Comment here

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Coca-Cola 600
    Total number of commercials: 163
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 80
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 48
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 44
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 5:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:16 PM
    Total minutes: 286
    Minutes of race broadcast: 210
    Minutes of commercials: 76
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(5-28-2008) Comment here

  • Hendrick streak intact: Hendrick Motorsports’ streak of top-10 finishes improved to 77 Sprint Cup races after Sunday’s event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway when #24-Jeff Gordon took fourth and #88-Dale Earnhardt nabbed fifth. The last time a Hendrick driver wasn’t in the top 10 was April 9, 2006. Finishing 11th, #48-Jimmy Johnson was Hendrick’s top performer that day at Texas Motor Speedway.(HMS PR)(5-28-2008)Comment here

  • DIRECTV back on the the #07 at Dover: This weekend, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will feature a blue and white DIRECTV paint scheme. Jack Daniel’s, Bowyer’s traditional primary sponsor, will be featured on the car’s deck lid and lower-rear quarter panels.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page. DIRECTV is also scheduled to be featured on the car at Watkins Glen in August.(5-28-2008)

  • 300th straight for Dale Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be making his 300th straight start in the Cup Series this weekend at Dover. He made his Cup debut when he finished sixth on May 30, 1999 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Earnhardt, who was racing for his second straight Nationwide title, competed in five Cup races during the 1999 season. He drove in the last race of the 1999 season and hasn’t missed a points-paying event since. Earnhardt has competed in 303 total Sprint Cup events.(HMS PR), #24-Gordon has the longest active consecutive start streak at 521 races and the all-time leader is Ricky Rudd at 788. See the streak list on my Misc Stats page.(5-28-2008) Comment here

  • Victory Junction KC Looks to Get a $1 Million Kick-Start: With groundbreaking set for late September on the long-awaited second edition of the Victory Junction Gang Camp on the outskirts of Kansas City, the fourth edition of the Old Spice Prelude to the Dream has set a goal of generating $1 million to benefit the project. Next week’s renewal of the dirt late model all-star race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg – featuring the likes of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and many others – will have a significant charitable impact, as the funds generated by the live HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast of the popular event will benefit the construction of Victory Junction Gang Camp – Kansas City for chronically ill children, as well as the Tony Stewart Foundation. The original Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., founded in 2004 by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie as a tribute to their late son, Adam, has become an overwhelming success. Last year nearly 20,000 fans at Eldora watched Carl Edwards hold off strong charges from Kyle Busch and Gordon to take his first win at the half-mile clay oval. Those unable to secure a ticket to last year’s event watched live on HBO Pay-Per-View, with the initiative raising $800,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Tony Stewart Foundation and other charities. See full PR at True Speed Communication.com.(5-28-2008)
  • Francis named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Charlotte: Kenny Francis, crew chief of the #9 GEM Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Francis and the #9 team made it back-to-back victories in Charlotte, winning both Sunday’s Coca Cola 600 and the All Star race on May 17th. Starting second, the team boasted of a strong Dodge prepared by Francis and proved its strength by running in the top-10 all evening during the season’s longest race. “The pit calls by Kenny were awesome.” Said Kahne, “He put the car where it needed to be all night.” Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Francis make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(5-28-2008) Comment here
  • Logano on ESPN Networks Wednesday: Only a few days before his much-anticipated debut in the Nationwide Series, driver Joey Logano will appear on multiple ESPN platforms Wednesday as he visits the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn. ESPN2 has live coverage of Saturday’s race from Dover, Del., starting at 2:30pm/et. Logano, who will drive a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Saturday’s event at Dover International Speedway, won the NASCAR East championship last year at the age of 17 and has had to wait until he turned 18 before he could race in one of NASCAR’s top three series. His birthday was this past weekend.
    Logano appears on ESPN First Take on ESPN2 at 11:30am/et, and then conducts a one-hour live chat on ESPN.com at 1:30pm/et. He is interviewed on ESPNEWS during the 3pm/et hour. NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program, airs at 6:30pm/et and will include an interview with Loga#The program re-airs at 12:30am/et Thursday. Logano closes his day with a live interview on ESPN Radio at 6:30pm/et.(ESPN PR)(5-28-2008)
  • Pocono Test Speeds – Day 2 PM session: The testing at Pocono Raceway is over after three sessions. #2B-Busch (Dodge) was the fastest of the session and the fatsest overall for the three sessions with a speed of 169.456mph, followed by #8-Martin (Chevy), #10-Carpentier (Dodge), #84-Allmendinger (Toyota) and #96-Yeley (Toyota). The fastest Ford was #28-Kvapil at 13th. Slowest of the 63 cars were #87-David Green at 160.468 and #10B-Carpentier at 161.470. #55-Michael Waltrip hit the wall in the tunnel turn late in the session and his car suffered severe right-side damage.
    For speeds and images of #20-Stewarts special test car, see my 2008 Pocono Test Page.(5-28-2008) Comment here
  • Pocono Test Speeds – Day 2: 69 cars took to the track in AM testing Wednesday at Pocono Raceway. #88-Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest at 167.302mph followed by #28-Kvapil, #99B-Edwards, #1-Truex Jr. and #38-Gilliland. The fastest Dodge was #9-Kahne at 9th and the fastest Toyota was #84-Allmendinger at 7th. Slowest cars were #87-David Green at 159.444mph and #21-Wood at 159.795. No incidents were reported.
    For speeds and images of #20-Stewarts special test car, see my 2008 Pocono Test Page.(5-28-2008) Comment here


    News from May 27, 2008

  • New crew chief for the #01 team UPDATE: Doug Richert, crew chief for Regan Smith, has left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and will be replaced on the #01 team by Kevin Buskirk this weekend, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Richert joined DEI this season after leaving Red Bull Racing in 2007. Smith is 33rd in the Sprint Cup points standings, lowest among the four DEI drivers. Buskirk, who has been leading DEI’s testing program, will be the crew chief in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and a full-time replacement will be named later.(SceneDaily)(5-21-2008)
    UPDATE: Today [Tues, May 27] on “SIRIUS Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Regan Smith, driver of the #01 Chevy at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Smith indicated that his new crew chief would be Dan Stillman. Stillman would replace Doug Richert, who left the team after the May 17 All-Star Race.
    Host, Dave Moody: “I don’t want to get slid here on the breaking news. They’re not going to announce in, like, four hours who your new crew chief is, are they?”
    Regan Smith: “You know what, I’m not positive on that. I don’t think so but maybe.”
    Moody: “Do you know who it is?”
    Smith: “Possibly. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say anything yet but if I were to tell you Dan Stillman you didn’t hear it from me. I’m excited about Dan coming over and got a chance to talk to him last week some and really think highly of him. And, you know, he’s been at DEI before so he knows the company, knows a lot of people who work here and [I’m] looking forward to working with him this weekend.”
    “SIRIUS Speedway” airs weekdays (3:00 – 7:00pm/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128.(5-27-2008) Comment here

  • Coke 600 TV Ratings up: NASCAR on Fox averaged a solid 4.7/10 (7.6 million viewers) on Sunday for the Coke 600 from Charlotte. That’s up +4% over last year’s 4.5/10, and marks the first ratings gain for the race in three years. Sunday’s race opened up at a 3.6/9 at 5:51pm, and grew steadily for the night peaking at a 6.1/11 averaging nearly 9.9 million viewers (10-10:22pm). For the season-to-date, Sprint Cup Racing on Fox is averaging a 5.9/12 (9.7 million viewers), up +5% over last year’s 5.6/13 for the same 12 races. Across key male demos, the results for the 2008 season were mixed, as Fox was down -7% on M18-34 (2.7 vs. 2.9), flat among M18-49 (4.5), up +6% among NASCAR’s core demo of M25-54 (5.6 vs. 5.3), and up +4% on average audience (9.655 million viewers vs. 9.319 mill).(Fox PR), for the 2008 TV Ratings and Chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-27-2008) Comment here

  • Red Bull Racing F1 driver to visit Dover: Red Bull Racing’s David Coulthard will be heading out early to North America prior to the Canadian Grand Prix to pay a visit to Red Bull’s NASCAR team. The weekend before the F1 race in Montreal sees the NASCAR boys racing at Dover in Delaware, on a track known as the Monster Mile. David will be a guest of the NASCAR Red Bull Racing Team, which is now in its second year of competition, racing Toyota Camrys, driven by #83-Brian Vickers and #84-AJ Allmendinger. “I’m interested in all sorts of racing, but hardly ever get a chance to see anything other than Formula 1. So when Red Bull came up with the idea of shooting a promo film around their NASCAR operation on the week before the Canadian GP, it seemed like a great opportunity to go and see why this form of racing is so popular in the States.” Coulthard arrives in time for race day, Sunday 1st June, when he will get a chance to sit in the race car as well as sitting in on the team’s pre-race engineering briefing, before watching the “Best Buy 400”. Coulthard is just there to visit the team and do a film and has no plans to move to NASCAR in the future.(Red Bull Racing PR)(5-27-2008)Comment here
  • Tracy testing a Truck at Chicago: Open-wheeler Paul Tracy, who made his NASCAR debut in NASCAR’s #2 [now Nationwide, then Busch Series] series in 2006, will return to the oval-track for a one-day test at Chicagoland Speedway on Wednesday, May 28th. While this will be Tracy’s first experience in a truck. Tracy was the 2003 Champ Car World Series Champion, as Tracy has raced open-wheel cars, Grand-Am cars, NASCAR, and off-road trucks, all in the last two years.(Player Mgmt. PR)(5-27-2008) Comment here

  • Passing At Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Most In Three Years: There was a total of 2,850 green flag passes during the 2008 Coca-Cola 600, up almost 900 passes from last year’s 600. During last season’s Coca-Cola 600, there was 1,985 green flag passes, 865 less than this season. That’s an increase of 44%. Additionally, there were 30 Green Flag Passes for the Lead – a Loop Data statistic accounting for lead changes all around the track. During last season’s 600, there were 27 Green Flag Passes for the Lead.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-27-2008)


    News from May 26, 2008

  • NASCAR testing at Pocono Tues/Wed: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing will be held at Pocono Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday. The test, which is open to the public, is now scheduled to be run on Tuesday from 12:30 to 7pm/et and Wednesday from 9am to 5pm/et. Grandstand gates will be open to spectators one hour prior to the start time of the test each day. Fans who are not current ticket holders for either of Pocono Raceway’s 2008 Sprint Cup Series or ARCA Series events will be able to purchase test tickets for $5 each by calling the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929), online at poconoraceway.com or tickets can be purchased at the Pocono Raceway Gate 8 Ticket Booth each day of the testing. 2008 Pocono NASCAR ticket holders will be eligible to receive up to four (free tickets to the test session. A mail-in coupon for the test and additional information was sent to all ticket holders who purchase their NASCAR race tickets prior to May 9. Tickets for the Pocono 500 weekend, June 6-8, and the Pennsylvania 500 weekend, August 1-3, are still available. For more test day information or to order race tickets, call the Raceway ticket office toll-free at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929) or online at www.poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Record)(5-26-2008)

  • Soldiers Salute Wheeler Goodbye: Devoted military supporter, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway Humpy Wheeler was presented with an honorary flag on Saturday at the Nationwide Series Carquest 300. Two of Americas finest, Ssg. (Staff Sergeants) Julian W. Bridges and Sgt. (Sergeant) Michael Jennings in association with Fitz Motorsports met with Mr. Wheeler to personally thank him for all of his dedication toward the military each race weekend. Wheeler’s Memorial pre-race festivities have been known to include flyovers of Apache, Blackhawk and Kiowa Warrior helicopters in addition to parachuting demonstrations, landing directly on the speedway’s infield. Ssg. Bridges and Sgt. Jennings presented Wheeler with a flag that flew over Camp Alamo, Afghanistan right outside of Kabul. The flag was presented in a shadow box that read, “Flown over the face of the enemy over the American Compound. On behalf of the officers, NCOS and soldiers of the 218th BCT tag during “Operation Enduring Freedom” on the 25th of December, 2007.” Wheeler, humbled by the award, asked the two men if he could take the flag home with him to add to his personal collection. He also awarded the two men and employees of Fitz Motorsports with contingency coins to show his gratitude. Wheeler also received SOS (Show of Support) bracelets from Ssg. Bridges and Sgt. Jennings to pass out to friends and employees. Sgt. Jennings made the bracelets in Iraq in 2005 to bring awareness and show pride to the troops and their families after the passing of his best friend Sgt. Shawn Hill.(PR)(5-26-2008)

  • Bootie says brackets have been the same all year: Crew chief Bootie Barker said he’s been running all season the same wing mount setup on Scott Riggs’ #66 Chevy that was confiscated on Saturday after NASCAR officials decided it was illegal. He reminded that the car passed two inspections on Thursday and wasn’t impounded until somebody in the garage fingered Riggs’ team and Haas CNC racing teammate #70-Johnny Sauter. “I’m not going to make any excuses,” Barker said before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “The car is my responsibility. But if you knew the whole story it would be like, ‘Hmph.’ I do myself more harm than good if I say anymore.” Series director John Darby said NASCAR began looking into the allegations on Thursday night. “All I know is the mounts were not in the same place as they were Thursday morning when they went through inspection,” Darby said. Darby said both teams are likely to face a punishment similar to what Dale Earnhardt Jr’s team did last season after problems were discovered with the wing mount at Darlington. Earnhardt was docked 100 championship points and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. fined $100,000 and suspended for six races. Barker believes he knows who turned the team in. “I wish I could tell you some stuff,” he said. “It would probably work against me until I know everything. The person I think that did it, and what we really did, it’s pretty … I’ve never done it. I’ll put it that way.”(ESPN.com)(5-26-2008)Comment here
  • Pocono Test Speeds – Day 1: 64 cars took laps on the first day of testing at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. The fastest was #38-Gilliland (Ford) at 164.408mph. Followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr. (Chevy), #18-Busch (Toyota), #1-Truex Jr. (Chevy), and #48B-Johnson (Chevy). #12-Newman was the fastest Dodge at 18th. Also testing were #47-Marcos Ambrose, Jason Leffler in the #70 Chevy, Brad Coleman tested a second car of Hall of Fame Racing, the #97 Toyota; Jon Wood is testing the #21 and David Green tested the #87 Chevy [Furniture Row?]. Last June’s pole speed was 170.062mph by Newman and the track qualifying record is held by Kasey Kahne, set in June 2004 at 172.533mph. The test was ended a few hours early at 4:30pm/et due to rain. For speeds and images of #20-Stewarts special test car, see my 2008 Pocono Test Page.(5-27-2008) Comment here
  • Pocono Test Notes – Day 1: There will only be one session, 12:30 to 7:00pm/et at Pocono Raceway. Dario Franchitti is back behind the wheel of his #40 Chip Ganassi Racing Cup entry for the first time since he broke an ankle in the April 26 Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Terry Labonte is testing the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge that he’ll drive in the Cup race at Pocono later this year. Tony Raines is also at the test, driving the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry of John Andretti, who is entered in this weekend’s race at Dover with the team.(SceneDaily)(5-27-2008)

News from May 25, 2008

  • Kahne wins Coca-Cola 600: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2008 and his 8th career win, leading 66 laps and becoming the 6th driver to win both the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same year. #16-Biffle finsihed 2nd followed by #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #24-Gordon, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #17-Kenseth, #19-Sadler, #99-Edwards and #44-Reutimann. #48-Johnson lost an engine late and finished 39th. There were 11 cautions for 50 laps and 16 drivers led a lap with 39 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Charlotte Race Results/Awards Page.(5-25-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Charlotte race 12 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 1860 [3 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 1766 -94 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1721 -139
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 1596 -264 [1 win]
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 1578 -282 [1 win]
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 1538 -322 [would be 4th without 100 pt penalty][3 wins]
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 1517 -343
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 1511 -349
    9) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1493 -367 [1 win]
    10) #24-Jeff Gordon 1486 -374
    11) #16-Greg Biffle 1483 -377
    12) #9-Kasey Kahne 1454 -406 [1 win]
    other chase contenders
    13) #6-David Ragan 1398 -462 [56 pts out of the chase]
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 1366 -491 [1 win]
    For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-25-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Dover:
    just some changes in order and Hornish in now only out of the top 35 by 3 pts
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    31) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing, 969, 39
    32) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing, 945, +14
    33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis, 941, +11
    34) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc, 941, +11
    35) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing, 933, 3 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing, 930, -3 points out of 35th
    37) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing, 779, -154
    38) #40-Mayfield/Ganassi Racing 760, -173
    39) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing, 757, -176
    40) #70-Leffler/Haas CNC Racing, 737, -196
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-25-2008)
  • Winners of both the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600:
    2008-Kasey Kahne – 12th in points after 12 races
    2003-Jimmie Johnson – 2nd in the Cup Championship
    1997-Jeff Gordon – won the Cup Championship
    1993-Dale Earnhardt – won the Cup Championship
    1991-Davey Allison – came in 3rd in Drivers points
    1985-Darrell Waltrip – won the Cup Championship (5-25-2008)
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Fast Facts:
    .. Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600, his eighth win in 156 career Sprint Cup Series starts.
    .. Kahne became the sixth driver to win both the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same season. The last to do so was Jimmie Johnson in 2003.
    .. This is Kahne’s first points win since October 14, 2006 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He ends a 52-race winless drought.
    .. This is Kahne’s first top-five and sixth top-10 of the season.
    .. This is Kahne’s third career points win and fourth top-10 finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    .. Greg Biffle (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
    .. Kyle Busch (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish of 2008.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(5-25-2008)

  • Stewart/Logano/Gibbs…the latest: As Joey Logano’s first sponsor for his first Nationwide Series race next weekend at Dover was being announced on Saturday one question begged to be asked. Is the 18-year-old sensation being groomed to replace Tony Stewart in the Sprint Cup series? As much as Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs loves Logano his preference is to groom him to be the driver of a fourth Cup team instead of having him replace one of Gibbs’ current drivers. Gibbs said negotiations to extend Stewart’s contract beyond 2009 are ongoing. “We’re still just trying to feel out exactly where he is and exactly how he feels,” Gibbs said. “We want him to be here. I want him to be here for a long period of time. At the end of the day all we can control is through next year.” Gibbs has said he will hold Stewart to the last season of his contract. Stewart has said he has not asked out of next season despite reports he has. The only thing Stewart has confirmed is many teams are pursuing him and ownership has been part of the enticement for one team, Haas CNC Racing. Sponsorship also will be part of the equation. Home Depot, Stewart’s sponsor since he came into NASCAR’s premiere series, reported a 66% decline in first-quarter earnings. There have been rumblings about the company’s long-term future in the sport. “They really are in a lot of ways the decision maker,” Gibbs said. “We want to make sure whatever we do is something that encourages them. We wouldn’t do anything unless they were on board and excited about it.” As for Logano, Gibbs said he will compete in 18 to 19 Nationwide events and possibly a few ARCA races the remainder of this year. “The Cup thing, we’re in no hurry,” he said. “We’re just going to watch and wait. When the time is right, we’ll all be ready to go.”(ESPN.com)(5-25-2008) Comment here

  • Jenkins honored: Broadcaster and race historian Bob Jenkins received the Bob Russo Founders Award from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on Saturday. Jenkins, one of the first announcers hired by ESPN when the cable network debuted in 1979, later served as host and play-by-play announcer for the Indy Racing League and the Indy 500.(AP/Sports Illustrated)(5-25-2008)

  • Logano turn 18: Joey Logano is legal. Now let the hype begin for NASCAR’s most talked-about young driver. Joe Gibbs Racing unveiled a giant birthday cake and owner Joe Gibbs sang to Logano, who turned 18 on Saturday. That makes him eligible to compete in the Nationwide Series, and Logano will make his debut next weekend at Dover in a car sponsored by video game retailer GameStop. “It’s a very big day for us,” Gibbs said. “I kept telling Joey, ‘Cheat. Pay something, move it up, find another birthday.’ We couldn’t wait to get him on the race track.” Logano started racing in quarter-midgets at age 6 and later became the youngest champion in Legends Car history. A month after Gibbs signed the then-15-year-old to the team’s development program, Logano won a Hooters Pro Cup race. He continued his success through lower forms of racing, and won an ARCA race earlier this month. “I feel like I’m ready to go out there and win races,” Logano said. “I’ve been waiting on this birthday forever.”(AP/ESPN.com)(5-25-2008) Comment here

  • Leffler to test #70 at Pocono, could run Dover: Jason Leffler said Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that the “tentative plan” is for him to drive Haas CNC Racing’s #70 Sprint Cup Chevy at Dover next weekend. Leffler drives Braun Racing’s #38 Toyota in the Nationwide Series but has gotten permission to drive in Cup. Leffler said he tested for Haas CNC at Nashville Superspeedway recently, the first time he’s driven NASCAR’s new model car. Leffler will also test the #70 at Pocono Raceway next week [May 27-28], he said. Leffler’s deal is for one race, but he could do more.(SceneDaily)(5-25-2008) Comment here

  • PME repeats as top engine builders: “Mahle Engine Builder Showdown” that took place Tuesday, May 20th at the NASCAR Technical Institiute. Every year, a selection a NASCAR’s top engine builders are invited to participate to see who can build, fire up ans run their 357-cubic inch Ford racing engine the fastest. For the second year in a row PME Engines took home the trophy. Last year PME engine builders Dennis Borem & Darrell Hoffman beat out a team of Hendricks engine builders with a time of 16:25. This year PME beat out the Roush/Yates team of Jim Snyder & Mike Kasch and broke their own record with a time of 15:59! PME is owned by Mark Smith and currenty builds engines for 8 truck teams in the Craftsman truck series, including KHI, MRD, TRG, Xpress Motorsports, and Thorsport. About 1500 students and guests were in attendance. At this weekends race in Mansfield the #71 TRG Motorsports team surprised PME with Congradulations decals on their truck and team wearing PME t-shirts. THEN won the race at Mansfield. NASCAR Tech [NTI] also has an open house scheduled for June 21st, more info at uti.edu)(5-25-2008) Comment here

  • Wood Brothers’ Salute the Troops Goes On; The #96 Car: Wood Brothers’ “Salute the Troops” message will pay tribute this Memorial Day weekend, thanks to the generosity of Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel, co-owners of Hall Of Fame Racing and the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, driven by J.J. Yeley. On Thursday, the Wood Brothers #21 Air Force Ford Fusion failed to qualify for the Coca Cola 600. Immediately following qualifying, Tom Garfinkel offered to display the Salute the Troops decal, as well as the Air Force logo on their race car. Eddie Wood noted, “It’s tough not being in the top 35. We felt Jeff and Tom truly appreciate our Armed Forces and the difficulty of this sport. We feel their offer to help came from the heart.” The Salute the Troops decals were to be placed on the # 21 car this Memorial Day weekend to honor members of the Air Force, as well as the rest of the Armed Forces for their service to our country.(Wood Brothers Racing PR)(5-25-2008) Comment here

  • Decorated NC Soldier to be Guest of #8 U.S. Army NASCAR Team:Staff Sgt. Michael Gainey, a decorated war hero from Albemarle, N.C., will be a guest of the #8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team for Sunday’s running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Gainey, who currently serves in the Army Reserve, was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions Oct. 22, 2007 in Iraq. Gainey was a gunner in a Humvee when his unit was under attack from sniper fire near Baghdad. Though he was injured with a burned neck from shrapnel, Gainey continued to fight by repelling the enemy and getting his fellow soldiers to safety. He was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat and the Bronze Star with Valor for his courageous actions under fire. Gainey is now a policeman in Mint Hill, NC. Attending the race with Gainey will be his wife Anne Marie.(US Army Racing PR)(5-25-2008) Comment here


    News from May 24, 2008

  • #00 gets primary sponsor for Dover IMAGES added: Microsoft is continuing on its commitment to connect its Small Business Specialist Community with the more than 21 million small and home-based businesses in the U.S. by announcing an additional NASCAR sponsorship opportunity with Michael Waltrip Racing. In conjunction with California-based advertising agency RainMakers International, this sponsorship will provide an affordable marketing platform for Microsoft’s Small Business Specialist Partners, service providers and Small Business+ customers on both a local and national level by helping to dramatically increase their exposure. Microsoft announced in April an associate sponsorship on Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Toyota Camry entry, driven by rookie Michael McDowell. To kick off this exciting new opportunity, the Michael Waltrip Racing #00 car will feature a full car Microsoft Small Business and SBSC primary sponsorship design for the June 1st race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE. In addition, the Microsoft Across America Mobile Event Experience Truck will be in the newly designed “Fan Zone” at Dover International Speedway throughout the race weekend where fans can come to view and learn more about Small Business offerings from Microsoft and this sponsorship. All three of Michael Waltrip Racing’s (MWR) cars (#00, #44, #55) are in the top 35 in owner’s points, which means they are guaranteed to be on the track for the upcoming races of the 2008 NASCAR season. In the event the #00 car is not in a race for whatever reason, MWR will put the SBSC Blue Badge onto one of its other two cars for that race, so it continues to have on track presence throughout the entire 2008 NASCAR season. This opportunity follows on Microsoft’s earlier NASCAR sponsorship with BAM Racing.(MWR PR), See images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(5-24-2008) Comment here

  • Ganassi working to calm Montoya: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya posted the second slowest qualifying lap out of 48 entries and dejectedly climbed from his car. “What did you expect?” he asked. “Seriously, what did you expect?” Montoya is still reeling from the midweek firing of Jimmy Elledge, a personnel decision that’s given the former Formula One driver his third crew chief in a month. Frustrated that his opposition to the dismissal went unheeded, Montoya is now worried that his team is ill-prepared for Sunday’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Because new crew chief Brian Pattie had just two days to dissect Elledge’s setup on the No. 42 Dodge, changes were made on the fly during a difficult Thursday practice session that saw Montoya post the 45th slowest speed. It didn’t improve during qualifying, when Montoya was 47th out of 48 cars and will start next-to-last in the Coca-Cola 600. Team owner Chip Ganassi sympathizes with Montoya’s frustration, but said Elledge’s dismissal was warranted after the crew chief engaged in a heated argument with competition director Steve Hmiel during last week’s All-Star race. “We had an employee step over the line, and I’m sorry it happened because I like Jimmy personally, but it had to be done,” Ganassi said. “I know Juan is upset and he comes out on the short end of this deal. I apologize for that, but unfortunately it was unavoidable collateral damage.” Elledge declined to comment on his dismissal, but Montoya has been vocal in his opposition of the decision. Elledge had only been atop his pit box for four races, dating back to an earlier crew chief swap that sent Donnie Wingo over to Reed Sorenson’s slumping team.(AP/ESPN.com)(5-24-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart’s monkey, Mojo, finds new home: Mojo, a 3-year-old patas monkey previously owned by #20-Tony Stewart and Krista Dwyer, recently made the Louisville Zoo his home. When Stewart and Dwyer noticed Mojo maturing and becoming aggressive, they sought help. They contacted the head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) patas monkey Species Survival Plan who recommended the Louisville Zoo as a great fit for Mojo. “The transfer of Mojo from an environment where he’s been a pet to Louisville Zoo’s Gorilla Forest is a win-win situation,” Louisville Zoo Gorilla Forest supervisor Roby Elsner said. “Mojo gets to experience a social life typical for his species, and AZA’s North American captive population of patas monkeys, which needs to grow, is increased by one.” Mojo and Dwyer arrived in Louisville via a private jet Aug. 24, 2007. Since that time Mojo has gotten acquainted with his new home and has also been introduced to the Zoo’s three female patas monkeys. He will be on exhibit for the first time tomorrow, Friday, May 23. “Tony and I know bringing Mojo to the Louisville Zoo was the best thing for him,” Dwyer said. “We want Mojo to be happy and live a good life.” Stewart agrees. “The Louisville Zoo and staff are first-rate,” Stewart said. “They are very passionate about the animals they care for and truly believe in their mission. I know Mojo is in terrific hands.” Dwyer said saying goodbye to Mojo was the hardest thing she has ever had to do. “We will miss him, but we know this is the best thing for him. We have to let Mojo grow up and be the best patas monkey he can be,” she said, “and that means being with other patas monkeys. I love Mojo but want people to know that primates and wild animals don’t make good pets.” Dwyer and Stewart plan to visit Mojo often. For more, see the louisvillezoo.org site.(5-24-2008)

  • WoO Champ considering NASCAR: Donny Schatz doesn’t have to prove to anyone how good he is behind the wheel. He’s won back-to-back World of Outlaws titles, making him the king of dirt tracks. Yet when Schatz agreed to drive for Tony Stewart this year, he had to prove to his new boss that he has what it takes to three-peat — and, maybe, compete in either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup series. Schatz said yesterday that he’ll consider all options if Stewart decides to leave Joe Gibbs Racing to form a NASCAR team. Stewart acknowledged last month that he has considered opting out of the final year of his contract with JGR to explore ownership options. “I don’t know exactly what Tony is thinking of doing,” Schatz said. “If something else comes along, I’ll evaluate it and maybe want to make a move. The main focus for us right now is to be on the dirt [tracks]. I feel like I can race with those [NASCAR] guys, and sure it’s in the back of my mind. It’s not something I’m dead-set on doing, and I’m not going to trade the ranch for it, but it’s definitely something I would try given the right opportunity.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-24-2008)

  • Athletes Join NASCAR Drivers to Launch New Collectible Olympic-Themed Cans: Before the green flag drops to start this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, one pit crew performance will stand head and shoulders above the rest – literally. Seven-foot, six-inch international basketball star Yao Ming and two-time U.S. Olympic taekwondo gold medalist Steven Lopez will be introduced to the world of NASCAR as honorary pit crew members for Kyle Petty’s #45 Coca-Cola team – including the opportunity to join the crew in conducting simulated pit stops. In return, the two Olympians will give members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family a glimpse into their world – with Yao challenging some of NASCAR’s top stars at basketball and Lopez teaching Taekwondo moves to a few drivers. Yao and Lopez will be on hand to mark the launch of Coca-Cola’s new summer program celebrating the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, which invites fans to “Connect With the World Over a Coke.” The program features a series of limited edition, Olympic-themed collectible cans bearing the iconic Coca-Cola logo in different languages. The five different cans highlight the languages of Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the U.S. and China, giving Americans a “taste” of how Coca-Cola is recognized around the world. With new designs appearing every few weeks, the cans mark the first appearance of the Coca-Cola script in different languages in the U.S.(Fast Horse PR)(5-24-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the top 5 fastest:
    #83-Vickers 180.735
    #20-Stewart 179.904
    #22-Blaney 179.832
    #2-Busch 179.772
    #16-Biffle 179.766
    slowest: #45-Petty 174.104 and #70-Sauter 174.374
    most laps run: #2-Busch 49; #20-Stewart 46
    See speeds, laps run and ave speed on my Coca Cola 600 Practice Page.(5-24-2008)


    News from May 23, 2008

  • ESPN.com Selects Top 25 All Time Drivers: ESPN.com has asked a panel of 19 experts and former drivers to vote for the top drivers that piloted anything with wheels and an engine, and from those votes has compiled a list of the Top 25 drivers of all time. Spanning a wide range of racing disciplines the list is being revealed in segments this week on the leading sports site. The feature package launched Monday, by revealing the 25-21-ranked drivers and will reveal five drivers a day for the rest of the week, unveiling the 5-1-ranked drivers on Friday, leading into the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. The list so far:
    25. Steve Kinser
    24. Nigel Mansell
    23. Don Garlits
    22. Niki Lauda
    21. Shirley Muldowney
    20. Darrell Waltrip
    19. Emerson Fittipaldi
    18. Alain Prost
    17. Bobby Unser
    16. Tony Stewart
    15. Al Unser
    14. Cale Yarborough
    13. Jackie Stewart
    12. John Force
    11. Rick Mears
    10. Jeff Gordon
    9. Juan Manuel Fangio
    8. Jim Clark
    7. David Pearson
    6. Richard Petty
    5. Ayrton Senna
    4. Michael Schumacher
    3. Dale Earnhardt
    2. Mario Andretti
    1. A.J. Foyt
    See the stoty, list and driver links at ESPN.com.(5-23-2008) Comment here on the Top 25

  • Latest on Stewarts ‘plans’: From a Toyota Motorsports Post-Qualifying PR, #20-Tony Stewart talked about his future plans:
    Do you have any updates on your talks?
    “Not yet. I’m getting close, that’s the good thing. I feel like I’m on the back side of the hill of getting everything done. We’re a lot closer than we were.”
    Have you gotten your release from Joe Gibbs Racing and have you asked for it? “No, I have not asked for it.”(Toyota PR)(5-23-2008) Comment here

  • Sorenson a free agent also: #41-Reed Sorenson is in the final season of his Sprint Cup Series contract, but he’s not too worried about discussing his future yet. Instead, Sorenson is working on improving his performance in races. Sorenson and his team got off to a slow start to this season, resulting in a crew chief swap with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in which Jimmy Elledge left Sorenson to partner with Montoya and Sorenson gained Donnie Wingo. Elledge has since left the organization. Sorenson said that he’s not focused on his contract talks right now, preferring instead to let his racing speak for itself. “It is a contract year for me,” the 22-year-old said. “Trying to do the best I can right now to try to see what we can do the next couple of months to try to get some good finishes.” Asked whether he was in talks or not, Sorenson said that he and team owner Chip Ganassi had discussed it “a little bit.” As to whether or not he’s in discussions with other teams as well, Sorenson simply reiterated that he’s focused on his own group’s performance right now. If he can get that heading in the right direction, the rest will take care of itself.(SceneDaily). other ‘free agent’ drivers include: #16-Greg Biffle, #6-David Ragan, #1-Martin Truex Jr. [but DEI says they have an option], #12-Ryan Newman.(5-23-2008) Comment here
  • Toyota & MWR team up for diversity apprenticeship: Toyota Motor Sales and Michael Waltrip Racing have joined forces to offer a one year apprenticeship to a deserving diversity graduate of Toyota’s Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) program. The selected diversity candidate will be relocated to North Carolina and placed in a technical position within the MWR organization, directly involved with the teams’ NASCAR participation. The candidate will have a strong technical background and will be assigned to a specific department within the MWR race shop, depending on the winner’s skill set. The application process, including pre-screening and final candidate selections will be administered by Educational Testing Service’s Scholarship & Recognition Programs (SRP) beginning immediately.(MWR PR) More info on my Driver Development News page.(5-23-2008) Comment here

  • Earnhardt Jr. leads in Generating Television Exposure:Despite a third-place standing in the driver’s championship battle and joining a new team this season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. stands alone in terms of generating television exposure for his sponsoring brands through the first 10 events of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Altogether, Earnhardt’s sponsors amassed $150 million of comparable television exposure value from being associated with the popular driver, some $24 million more than the next driver’s overall sponsorship figure. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc.- which specializes in measuring the impact of sponsorships across all forms of media – 33 brands appearing on locations such as Earnhardt’s car, uniform and support crew’s uniforms have appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 12 hours, 45 seconds (12:00:45) during television coverage of NASCAR’s first 10 official points races. Additionally, the sponsors have been mentioned by Earnhardt or the announcers 33 times. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the on-screen time and mentions to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during each respective race telecast throughout the season. Earnhardt’s top sponsors, AMP Energy and National Guard, combined for nearly $78 million of exposure value, or 52% of the total in-broadcast exposure associated with Earnhardt thus far. Kyle Busch, meanwhile, led all drivers in delivering TV time for the most brands with 59 sponsors appearing in conjunction with the driver. Busch’s sponsors also enjoyed the most verbal recognition as a group, with his backing brands having been mentioned a total of 92 times. Of the top-10 exposure-producing drivers, four are associated with Chevrolet, while Toyota (three drivers), Ford (two) and Dodge (one) are also represented by the leading drivers. Jimmie Johnson had the single largest contribution to an auto manufacturer, generating $15.2 million of exposure value for Chevrolet.(See the full story and top 10 at the Joyce Julius site)(5-23-2008) Comment here

  • Kurt Busch featured on AMW: #2-Kurt Busch will be featured on this Saturday [May 24th] night’s edition of “America’s Most Wanted,” the popular FOX- TV show hosted by John Walsh. “John was at the track filming on Friday and it was great to meet him and do the filming,” Kurt said of the shoot held Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I was in my Miller Lite fire suit and we did a nice little interview first. Then I did the introduction to a segment where they are looking for a woman named Jenny Liang. She was living in Vegas and working at the Mirage Casino when she supposedly murdered her boyfriend and then went on the run. I really enjoyed spending the time with John and I hope that our efforts add support in helping them capture this woman. John has an entourage of about 20 people, with two armed guards following him at all times. With his show helping take down nearly 1,000 dangerous fugitives in the past 20 years, it’s pretty easy to understand why he has that kind of support crew.”(TRPR)(5-23-2008) Comment here

  • Testing at Road Atlanta: Robby Gordon has earned a reputation for being one of NASCAR’s dominant road racers. To make sure that his #7 Dodge matches his driver skills in the upcoming road course events, the Robby Gordon Motorsports team headed to Road Atlanta on Wednesday for the first of two road course tests scheduled this season. After just two runs through the course, Gordon was very satisfied with the performance of his race car. “This thing is fast. We can load it up,” Gordon stated. Fellow Dodge driver Patrick Carpentier also took a spin in the #7 and stated that it was “very smooth and predictable.” After a total of 50 laps, Gordon’s times were more competitive than the eight other teams on the track that day, including cars from Roush Fenway Racing (#16,#17,#99), Gillett Evernham Motorsports, and Michael Waltrip Racing. Gordon will make one more road course test before heading west to Sonoma, California to master Infineon Raceway.(RGM PR)(5-23-2008)

  • New Spotter for #2 Team: Chris Osborne debuted in his new role as spotter for Kurt and crew in last weekend’s Sprint All-Star Race action. The High Point, N.C., native is perhaps best known for his years of spotting for Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Hendrick Team. Chris replaces Jesse Walker, who served as spotter since the beginning of the 2007 season. Jesse has returned to his fulltime position as operations manager at KBI.(TRPR)(5-23-2008) Comment here

  • Montoya named first-quarter winner of NMPA Pocono Spirit award:#42-Juan Pablo Montoya has been named the first quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award. Montoya was recognized by NMPA members for the work he and his wife, Connie, do in support ofJuan Pablo Montoya their Formula Smiles Foundation in Colombia. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and a number of NASCAR executives visited Cartagena, Colombia, in March, where they saw one of the sites where Montoya’s charity is helping children in need, teaching them sports and providing them with the facilities and resources to develop their learning. As part of NASCAR’s support, France presented Montoya and his wife Connie a $25,000 from the NASCAR Foundation, to help the efforts of Formula Smiles. The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2008 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2009. Also receiving votes in the first quarter were NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray, Motor Racing Outreach founder Max Helton and longtime NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren.(Pocono Raceway)(5-23-2008) Comment here


    News from May 22, 2008

  • Kyle Busch on pole at LMS #18-Kyle Busch wons the Coors Light Polefor the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.433mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 4th of his career. #9-Kahne will start 2nd, followed by #83-Vickers, #16-Biffle, #6-Ragan, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin, #2-Busch, #19-Sadler and #48-Johnson.
    The eight go-or-go homers who made the race are: #77-Hornish Jr., #40-Marlin, #84-Allmendinger, #33-Schrader, #10-Carpentier, #96-Yeley, #45-Petty and starting 43rd will be #70-Sauter [43rd goes to a past champ if needed or the 8th fastest of the go-or-go homers]
    Missing the race are: #34-Green, #50-Barrett, #21-Wood, #78-Nemechek and #08-Sauter.
    See the starting lineup, qualifying results and order and the pole progression see my Coca-Cola 600 Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(5-22-2008)

  • ‘Crabby’ cars may be scaled back by NASCAR UPDATE:: Expect NASCAR to tell Sprint Cup teams that they’ve gone far enough – and in some cases, too far – with making crooked cars. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said Saturday that teams will get a memo, likely this week, telling them to “clean up” the way they’re turning their wheels to help the cars handle better. “They need some of that, but there are some of them that have pushed it,” Darby said. The rear wheels on some of the cars were turned to the point that some were having difficulty being pushed onto the scales used in inspection.(Charlotte Observer)(5-18-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR sent a memo to Sprint Cup teams this week putting a limit on the amount of rear adjustment being made to create more sideforce. The adjustment basically has the back tires turned to the right with a rear toe adjustment, allowing the car to enter the turns with more speed. It’s not visibly noticeable on the turns, but on the straightaways the car appears to be crabbing down the track sideways. Darby said teams have been adjusting the rear end in excess of two degrees. NASCAR limited the adjustment to one degree.(ESPN.com)m this rule takes effect as of the race at Dover next weekend.(5-22-2008) Comment here

  • Martin Ready to Salute the Troops in More Ways Than One: In the true spirit of Sunday’s Memorial Day weekend classic at Lowe’s Motor Speedway — the Coca-Cola 600 — Mark Martin’s #8 U.S. Army Chevy will feature photos of eight soldiers on the outside of the car. The unique paint scheme is part of the USO Salute the Troops Memorial Day tribute to the armed forces. Despite his limited schedule in 2008 and having missed three of 11 events, Martin’s two top fives are as many or more than 21 drivers who have competed in all 11 races. His four top-10 finishes are more than 19 drivers who have taken part in every event this season.(U.S. Army Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(5-22-2008)

  • Brian France Interview: Heading into Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France, 45, spoke to USA TODAY on Wednesday about the state of the sport:
    What is the status and future of drug testing in NASCAR?
    “We have a very thorough policy that, like anything else, is going to get a review to see if we can improve it. The high points of our policy … are that we can test anybody we want at any time, and the punishments … are very significant. If we can improve it, we’ll announce something, probably later in the summer.”
    What concerns do you have about the viability of your series sponsors?
    “We’re optimistic (on Sprint). They have a different management team that has taken them in a different direction. … We’re very confident they’re going to be around for a long time. … Craftsman is leaving at the end of this year, so we’re … looking at a replacement for that national (truck) series. Nationwide is beginning a seven-year agreement with our second series.”
    Is there a legitimate fear that a manufacturer like Dodge might decide to pull out, or others scale back?
    “That’s always possible. But … they realize this is one of the few places where they can showcase their products in a way that’s very different from any other marketing opportunity. So while their business challenges are significant … we play a nice role in giving them a good marketing opportunity.”(see the full interview at USA Today)(5-22-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch on pole at LMS #18-Kyle Busch wons the Coors Light Polefor the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.433mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 4th of his career. #9-Kahne will start 2nd, followed by #83-Vickers, #16-Biffle, #6-Ragan, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin, #2-Busch, #19-Sadler and #48-Johnson.
    The eight go-or-go homers who made the race are: #77-Hornish Jr., #40-Marlin, #84-Allmendinger, #33-Schrader, #10-Carpentier, #96-Yeley, #45-Petty and starting 43rd will be #70-Sauter [43rd goes to a past champ if needed or the 8th fastest of the go-or-go homers]
    Missing the race are: #34-Green, #50-Barrett, #21-Wood, #78-Nemechek and #08-Sauter.
    See the starting lineup, qualifying results and order and the pole progression see my Coca-Cola 600 Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(5-22-2008)
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 185.433 mph/29.121 seconds.
    .. It is his fourth pole in 126 Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is Busch’s second pole of the year. His previous pole this season came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is his fourth top-five and ninth top-10 start this season.
    .. This is Busch’s first pole and first top-five start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He had only one other top-10 start in his LMS career – a sixth-place start in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600.
    .. Kasey Kahne (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2008 and sixth at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    .. Brian Vickers (third) posted his second top-10 start of 2008 and second at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    .. Sam Hornish Jr. (20th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. Hornish was also the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-22-2008)

  • Schrader and Herman finish 1-2: Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace gave the crowd exactly what it was looking for Wednesday night at Peoria Speedway. The two NASCAR drivers finished 1-2 in the 20-lap UMP Modified, with Schrader winning his second race in a row after taking the feature at Fairbury on Tuesday night. “It’s simple,” Schrader said. “You have to go where they’re not. You don’t just get to drive wherever you want to.” Schrader started fifth, finally catching Wallace with two laps remaining.(Peoria Journal Star)(5-22-2008)
  • Castroneves considering moving to NASCAR UPDATE Denied: Helio Castroneves, who is seeking to win his third Indianapolis 500 this weekend, said he is considering following several other open-wheel racers and moving to NASCAR but has made no decision yet. “I won’t deny that I’m thinking about it,” Castroneves said Monday night. “It would be great to one day try the [stock] cars. But at this point I’m focusing on Indy cars and winning the Indianapolis 500 again.” IndyCar is making a stepped-up effort to market its drivers, much as NASCAR already does, especially Castroneves and Danica Patrick, who last month became the first woman to win an Indy car race. Castroneves said the renewed interest in the IndyCar Series sparked by the merger and Patrick’s victory is one reason why he might not switch. However, Castroneves said he’s also intrigued how other open-wheel drivers have migrated to NASCAR and is debating whether such a move is appropriate for him. “It depends on the opportunity,” he said. “It’s all about the timing and I’m not sure if the timing is right.” Castroneves’ opportunity is better than many other drivers, though. He now drives for Team Penske, whose owner Roger Penske already has a three-car Sprint Cup team and could add one more under NASCAR’s rules. And one of Penske’s stock cars is driven by three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., Castroneves’ former teammate, who switched to NASCAR this season. (Penske’s other Cup drivers are Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.) Hornish was the latest big name former open-wheel racer to jump to NASCAR, a growing list that includes Juan Pablo Montoya, 2007 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier. Castroneves said his contract with Team Penske is up for renewal after this season. Asked if he had talked to Roger Penske about his interest in NASCAR, Castroneves said, “We’re going to talk after Indy.”(Los Angeles Times)(5-21-2008)
    UPDATE: Castroneves said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to leave the IRL’s IndyCar Series for NASCAR any time soon. Refuting a story in Wednesday’s editions of the Los Angeles Times that speculated on Castroneves following former IRL stars Sam Hornish Jr. and Dario Franchitti to NASCAR as early as the 2009 season, Castroneves said his comments were taken out of context. “It’s kind of strange to print a statement like that,” said Castroneves, who will start fourth in Sunday’s 92nd running of the Indy 500. “I did not understand much. I found my English is apparently getting worst. (They) definitely took it out of context.”(ESPN.com/AP)(5-22-2008) 

  • Charlotte Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 10 Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. McDowell scored a 28th-place finish and captured top rookie honors for the first time this season. #10-Patrick Carpentier led the race at Darlington twice for four laps and was the only rookie driver to lead a lap in the event. Carpentier became the first driver to lead at Darlington since Kasey Kahne in 2004. #01-Ragan Smith leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by two points (107-105) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. entering the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth captured the 2000 race by .573-seconds over Bobby Labonte. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the pole in 48 previous Coca-Cola 600 races. Johnson took the top starting spot for the 2002 race.(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos), see more rookie notes, history and standings on my 2008 Rookies Page.(5-22-2008)
  • Childress Honored by Davidson County Chambers of Commerce:NASCAR champion car owner and Davidson County (N.C.) businessman Richard Childress was presented with the “Are You With Me” Exemplary Award by the Davidson County Chambers of Commerce. The honor was bestowed upon Childress as part of the chamber’s fourth annual Davidson County Business Showcase, held at Davidson County Community College. The award is presented annually to a Davidson County business that believes in the principles of good business, doing business locally whenever possible, job creation, innovation, and community involvement. In addition to Richard Childress Racing (RCR), Davidson County is also home to Childress Vineyards and Yadkin River Angus, Childress’ Black Angus cattle ranch.(RCR)(5-22-2008)
  • Crew Chief change at the #42 UPDATE: Been told that Jimmy Elledge has been released as crew chief from the #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge at Chip Ganassi Racing. Brian Pattie will assume the crew chief role for Lowe’s Motor Speedway and beyond. No plans on Elledge’s plans.(5-20-2008)
    UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya heads into this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 with his third crew chief in less than a month after Jimmy Elledge was released by Chip Ganassi Racing on Tuesday. And the racer isn’t happy about it. Elledge came aboard in late April when Ganassi moved Donnie Wingo, who had guided Montoya’s transition from Formula One into NASCAR, to Reed Sorenson’s team. Montoya got Elledge and was pleased with the direction his #42 Dodge was headed. But in what Montoya described as a “management decision,” Elledge was let go and Brian Pattie was moved from one of the Nationwide Series crews to run Montoya’s team. “I wasn’t really part of it, so, I am pretty frustrated,” Montoya said. “They told me ‘We are thinking of getting rid of Jimmy’ and I said ‘Don’t do it.’ Next thing I knew, they did. That’s what happened. You are going to have to ask somebody else about it, because I wasn’t involved in this.” Although he didn’t think he needed to lose Wingo when that move was made, Montoya said he understood it because he believed Wingo could help Sorenson save his struggling season. And even though the results weren’t there yet with Elledge — they were second in their debut race at Talladega, but struggled in the three after that — Montoya liked the direction Elledge was taking the team. “We were taking a very different route, and I was willing to see where it led,” he said. Montoya said he’s spoken several times with Ganassi in the 24 hours since Elledge was let go, and expressed his frustration with the situation. “We talked, and I told him how I felt and that’s it really,” Montoya said. Montoya said he’s got faith in Pattie, “He’s a really smart guy,” he said, but worries that all the changes over the past month are unsettling to the entire race team. He expects more movement behind the scenes.(ESPN.com)(5-22-2008) Comment here
  • #5 to salute the troops: Casey Mears’ #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevy will run a special “Salute the Troops” decal in front of each rear wheel for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The decal is in honor of all military men and women.(HMS)(5-22-2008)
  • Johnson’s car to honor troops: In honor of Memorial Day, Jimmy Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevy will feature a special “Salute the Troops” logo on its deck lid during Sunday’s Sprint Cup Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(GMR Marketing PR)(5-22-2008)
  • Special Scheme for Gordon: During Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevrolet will carry a “Salute the Troops” decal while DuPont’s Kevlar brand fiber and Nomex brand fiber businesses appear on the TV panel.(Performance Plus PR)(5-22-2008)
  • Thursday practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is being over, the top five:
    #6-Ragan 181.622
    #16-Biffle 181.549
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 181.330
    #9-Kahne 181.281
    #8-Martin 181.281
    slowest: #08-Raines 174.323 and #28-Kvapil [in a backup] 175.234
    #28-Kvapil wacked the wall on his first lap and the team has pulled out the backup car.
    #40-Marlin slid off turn 4 and thru the infield grass, but no real damage to the car.
    #50-Barrett drift up and slapped the wall, pancaked the right side of the car.
    See the speeds on my Practice Speeds Page.(5-22-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Charlotte
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #77-Sam Hornish Jr., 15th
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 21st
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 24th
    #70-Johnny Sauter, 25th
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 30th
    #33-Ken Schrader, 31st
    #40-Sterling Marlin, 40th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 41st
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #34-Jeff Green, 42nd
    #50-Stanton Barrett, 43rd
    #21-Jon Wood, 44th
    #45-Kyle Petty, 46th
    #08-Tony Raines, 48th/last
    See the speeds on my Practice Speeds Page.(5-22-2008)


    News from May 21, 2008

  • Humpy Wheeler to retire from LMS/SMI UPDATE 2: Humpy Wheeler, the “P.T. Barnum” of NASCAR promotions, will retire and step down as president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, The Associated Press has learned. This weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 will be Wheeler’s last race for Lowe’s Motor Speedway, two people familiar with the decision told the AP. They requested anonymity because an official announcement, which could come as early as Wednesday, has not yet been made. It was not immediately clear who will succeed Wheeler, who has managed the track for the past 33 years and was named president in 1980. Candidates include track owner Bruton Smith’s son, Marcus, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Speedway Motorsports Inc., and Lauri Wilks, executive vice president of management and administration for LMS. Nicknamed “Humpy” because of the camel’s hump on a pack of Camel cigarettes his father was caught smoking, Wheeler was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.(Associated Press/Jenna Fryer/ESPN.com)(5-21-2008)
    UPDATE: Speedway Motorsports, Inc. announced today that H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, chief operating officer and president of Speedway Motorsports and president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, is retiring from both positions following the Coca-Cola 600. A decision will be made on Wheeler’s successor in the near future by the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. board of directors. “While it is with sadness that I announce my retirement from Speedway Motorsports and Lowe’s Motor Speedway, it is time for me to move on to other things,” said Wheeler. “I have devoted my entire life to racing and I don’t intend on leaving it, just serving it in different ways. I have made arrangements with a well-known author to co-write a unique book interweaving my various experiences in the sport with the wonderful human drama and rich characters that abound in it. I will resume the ‘Humpy Show’ on SPEED Channel and look forward to being chairman of the Charlotte Regional Partnership in 2009. I also look forward to other endeavors, including lecturing and working with the motorsports management program at Belmont Abbey College.”(LMS PR)(5-21-2008)
    UPDATE 2: The announcement was scheduled to be made next Wednesday, but was pushed up after a disagreement between Wheeler and Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. that owns LMS. “The suddenness was not my idea,” Wheeler said. “I would have liked to have stayed around a little bit, just eased out a little easier. … Maybe in a part-time role.” The 69-year-old promoter that was hired by Smith before the October race in 1975 said no part-time offer was made. Asked if he was given that option Wheeler said, “No.” Asked if he would remain with the track in any capacity Wheeler bluntly said, “None.” Smith, who did not attend the press conference that was thrown together quickly after news of the retirement leaked out Tuesday night, said Wheeler was offered the chance to stay as a consultant. “To my knowledge, nothing has changed,” he said. Smith said Wheeler was offered a consultant’s salary for five years beyond the $12,500 a month that SMI has agreed to pay him over the next 10 years. He added that Wheeler holds 151 shares of stock options with the company and that he has to stay involved to execute them. Smith said he did not attend the press conference because he was not invited and because he didn’t want to take away from Wheeler’s moment. “It was his press conference,” he said. “Not mine.”(see full stor yand comments at ESPN.com)
    AND Marcus Smith, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Speedway Motorsports Inc., is the leading candidate to be voted to replace Lowe’s Motor Speedway president and general manager H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler next week. Several sources close to the situation said the son of SMI owner Bruton Smith is the “appropriate choice” to replace Wheeler. Marcus Smith, attending Wednesday’s news conference to announce Wheeler’s retirement, was noncommittal.(ESPN.com)(5-21-2008) 

  • New crew chief for the #01 team: Doug Richert, crew chief for Regan Smith, has left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and will be replaced on the #01 team by Kevin Buskirk this weekend, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Richert joined DEI this season after leaving Red Bull Racing in 2007. Smith is 33rd in the Sprint Cup points standings, lowest among the four DEI drivers. Buskirk, who has been leading DEI’s testing program, will be the crew chief in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and a full-time replacement will be named later.(SceneDaily)(5-21-2008) 

  • Office Depot to MWR? UPDATE 3 AFLAC to be primary for #99 in 2009: hearing Office Depot, currently the sponsor for #99-Carl Edwards, is considering a move to Michael Waltrip Racing with driver #00-Michael McDowell. UPS has been rumored as a possible sponsor for Edwards and Roush Racing in 2009.(5-8-2008)
    UPDATE Exclusive negotiation period ends between Roush & Office Depot: The exclusive negotiating period between Office Depot and Roush Fenway Racing in regards to sponsorship of Carl Edwards beyond his season has expired, Office Depot Public Relations Director Mindy Kramer confirmed Friday afternoon. “We’re looking at options for 2009, including Carl and other things at Roush ­ nothing to report yet,” Kramer said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “When you’re talking about a significant investment, it’s difficult to get those things done in a short period of time,” said Kramer, who declined to say whether Office Depot had started talking to other teams besides Roush Fenway. “Carl was not signed until almost the very end of our period of exclusive talks, so that was a hindrance to us being able to have some meaningful discussions. How do you have meaningful discussions with a team when he may have ended up somewhere else?” The company, which has official NASCAR status as well, wants to stay in the driver sponsorship side of the sport. “We like this sport; we don’t want to drag this out,” Kramer said. “It’s an important decision, and there’s a lot to go into it. We don’t pay attention to the rumors and speculation out there. … We just try to focus on what’s going to be right for our business in 2009 and beyond. Obviously we’ve had a great four-year relationship with Carl and have had tremendous success.” Office Depot sponsors the car for 23 races, and other companies, including some Office Depot business partners such as Aflac, fill out the rest of the schedule.(
    SceneDaily)(5-17-2008)
    UPDATE 2 – AFLAC signs to be Edwards full sponsor in 2009?hearing that AFLAC, already a sponsor of Carl Edwards, also had an exclusive window of negotiation once Office Depot passed on sponsorship with Roush Fenway and AFLAC has signed to become the new full-time sponsor of the #99 Ford in 2009.(5-19-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Aflac Incorporated announced its signing of a full-season multi-year primary sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards and the #99 Ford Fusion. Additionally, Aflac continues its relationship as the official supplemental insurance company for Roush Fenway Racing and Carl Edwards. Racing fans can visit AflacRacing.comfor exclusive videos, track analysis, merchandise, promotions, screen savers and other features. Racing fans can also watch Edwards and the #99 Aflac Ford Fusion at the remaining 2008 races, including: June 8 at Pocono; July 5 at Daytona; July 27 at Indy; Aug. 31 at Auto Club Speedway; Oct. 11 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(PR Newswire)
    AND Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal estimated the deal at $78 million over three years ($26 million per year). Edwards had recently signed a reported three-year deal that will keep him at Roush Fenway at least through 2011.(5-21-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News – Joe Whitley: Mr. Joseph “Joe” Edward Whitley Jr., age 58 of 581 Sandringham Place, passed away Monday May 19, 2008 at Alleghany County Hospital. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 AM at Center United Methodist Church, with Rev. Jerry Hagler and Rev. Don Newman officiating. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 PM on Wednesday at Wilkinson Funeral Home and will be at the home the remaining time. A burial will be held on Friday at 1:00 PM at Buckhorn United Methodist Church Cemetery in Rock Ridge (Wilson), NC. The family will receive friends after the graveside service. He worked in NASCAR for 25 years and currently was the manager for Pro Cal Professional Decals. Survivors include his wife, Beverly Long Whitley; daughter, Taylor Whitley and son, Joseph (Jed) Edward Whitley, III, both of the home; sisters, Carol Whitley Cox and husband, Larry, Dianne Whitley Barnes and Beth Whitley Glover and husband, David, all of Wilson; mother-in-law, Audrey Long White of Rockingham. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Beverly Whitley Memorial Fund c/o Suntrust Bank, 818 Church Street North, Concord, NC 28025.(expressionstributes.com)(5-21-2008)
  • Mayfield goes on 12-day tour of Iraq; ride at Dover?: Jeremy Mayfield left May 6 for 12 days where even if he got offered another NASCAR ride, he wouldn’t be able to accept it until he returned. Mayfield took a 12-day tour of Iraq where he, along with a few drag racers, visited three to seven bases a day to talk to troops stationed over there. Mayfield said he was impressed with what the soldiers are currently doing in Iraq in trying to rebuild the country. “I thought it would be a depressing deal, but it really wasn’t,” Mayfield said in a phone interview Tuesday. “All the soldiers, everybody from the guy on the front line through the commanding general, was just really upbeat, in a great mood. Everything was positive. … What got me was how many people re-enlisted to come back over.” A two-time Chase participant, Mayfield drove for Haas CNC Racing for the first seven events this year before parting ways with the team. He has had a few talks with other teams, but when the idea was presented to him, he opted to go on the goodwill trip to Iraq. “It’s something I am proud to say I did,” Mayfield said. “It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I met a lot of great people there. As far as my career, I’ll go from here and see what happens. The timing was perfect on it. I was sitting here not having a ride, and I went and did it. I think I made a difference. I think it was more important than waiting around hoping somebody calls me. It’s hard for me to sit here and tell you what it means to the guys over there.” Many of the soldiers wanted to talk about racing with him, but Mayfield couldn’t stay awake to watch the races with the troops, which were televised in the early morning at bases that had television capability. I couldn’t believe there were that many Mayfield fans over there to start with, and on top that there were so many huge NASCAR fans,” Mayfield said. “It definitely was a humbling experience.” The driver admitted he was a little nervous about making the trip. He would see troops going to and from combat. The group of racers would take Blackhawk helicopters to each base, going from Baghdad to remote outposts in northern Iraq. “There were things that go on like we all expect,” Mayfield said. “Every day, there’s some kind of maneuvers with some of the insurgents where they will cover up a bomb here or there, and once in a while one of those would go off. About every night or so, outside in the desert, three or four guys would launch a rocket over into a base, and 99.9 percent of those either don’t make it or get blown away. … Overall I felt secure, but you still wonder because it’s busy there 24 hours a day nonstop, so you never know when you lay down to go to sleep at night. I got pretty used to it.” Now back home, Mayfield seems willing to wait for the right opportunity to get back in a race car. A 15-year veteran of the sport with five wins, Mayfield feels as if he has something to offer to a team. “I was part of the reason why I don’t have one – I’d rather not have one than run like I was running every week,” he said. “I’ve come to realize that. I don’t want any pity. When you go to Iraq, you really understand the true meaning of feeling sorry for something when you go into one of the hospitals. There’s a lot of people have got it worse off than we do. Going over there was very humbling. It makes you look at life a little bit different.”(SceneDaily), supposedly Mayfield will run the #40 Dodge at Dover on June 1st.(5-21-2008) 

  • Aaron’s back on the #00 at LMS: Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership has signed on for primary sponsorship of the #00 Toyota Camry for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with Michael McDowell. Since testing Lowe’s Motor Speedway, McDowell hasn’t slowed down. On Friday, he tested at Rockingham (North Carolina Speedway) and Monday he turned laps at Nashville Superspeedway. On Wednesday, he travels to Road Atlanta with David Reutimann and then tests at VIR (Virginia International Raceway) the first week of June. The following week he is at the Milwaukee Mile for a two-day test.(MWR PR)(5-21-2008)

  • #07 Toast to the Troops: Clint Bowyer’s #97-Jack Daniel’s Chevy will feature a special USO Toast to the Troops paint scheme for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Jack Daniel’s and the USO joined together, beginning in 2005, to present the “Toast to the Troops” campaign, which gives Americans the opportunity to send special messages of support to the men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces. These “toasts” are included in care packages the USO delivers to troops deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq and other overseas locations, as well as troops arriving and departing on rest and recuperation (R&R) flights. The care packages include an assortment of items specifically requested by service members, such as prepaid international calling cards, toiletries, sunscreen, playing cards, a disposable camera and snacks. Special “stuffing parties” have been held on military installations across the country where military spouses, USO volunteers and Jack Daniel’s employees added the “toasts” to care packages along with the other items. Since the “Toast to the Troops” campaign began, Jack Daniel’s and the USO have collected more than 60,000 messages of support that were included in care packages assembled at Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Gillem/Fort McPherson, Ga., Fort Hood, Texas, Scott Air Force, Mo., Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Jacksonville Naval Station, Fla., and Quantico Marine Base, Va. In some instances, the care packages and messages were handed to service members as they were boarding planes for overseas deployment.(RCR PR)(5-21-2008)


    News from May 20, 2008

  • Elliott Sadler to Visit Charlotte School: #19-Elliott Sadler will visit a Charlotte-area high school this week to celebrate the formation of the first Student Club for Autism Speaks (SCAS) in the southeast. The driver of the #19 Best Buy Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series will meet with students of the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology in Charlotte on Wednesday. Sadler will not only honor the students for their past volunteer efforts on behalf of Autism Speaks, but also recognize the establishment of a new student club at the school that will continue to raise awareness and funds for autism research. Sadler, whose niece has autism, has helped raise funds for autism organizations for several years now. He says it’s inspiring to see how involved students across the nation are becoming with such an important cause.(Best Buy Racing PR)(5-21-2008)

  • Lumber Liquidators to Sponsor #28 at Coke 600: Lumber Liquidators, the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in the United States, announced that it will sponsor Travis Kvapil, driver of the #28 Yates Racing Ford at the 2008 Coca-Cola 600. The May 25th race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway will mark the first primary sponsorship for Lumber Liquidators in Sprint Cup Series in 2008 [they sponsored a few races on the #99 and #16 Roush Fenway Racing cars in 2007]. Kvapil finished eighth in the May 10th race at Darlington Raceway, his third top-10 finish of the season. He currently sits 18th in the NASCAR driver point standings.(Yates Racing)(5-20-2008) Comment here

  • M&M’s searching for NASCAR’s most colorful fan: M&M’s will launch an 18-week NASCAR promotion next month that will include prizes from two other sponsors in the sport, The Home Depot and Tissot, as well as trips to Miami for the season-ending Sprint Cup event in November. The promotion, designed to identify the “Most Colorful Fan in NASCAR,” will debut June 8 on NASCAR.com with support that will include print advertising and other online buys at Yahoo! and Jayski.com. But the promotion’s home for 18 weeks will be NASCAR.com, where fans will enter the sweepstakes by submitting photos of themselves in their most colorful fan gear. M&M’s is a product of Mars, the primary sponsor of Kyle Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Busch will vote along with visitors to the site for the most colorful fans. Five finalists will win trips for two to the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Each finalist also will win a $100 gift certificate to The Home Depot, another sponsor at Gibbs with driver Tony Stewart. The ultimate winner will receive a Tissot limited-edition watch. Busch will drive in the June 8 Sprint Cup event at Pocono with a special “Most Colorful Fan in NASCAR” paint scheme to help build awareness for the promotion.(SportsBusiness Journal/Sporting News)(5-20-2008)
  • Kenseth top sport different colors at LMS: This weekend, Matt Kenseth will sport the colors of R+L Carriers in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. R+L Carriers will serve as a primary sponsor for the Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion four Sprint Cup Series races in 2008 – Daytona (July), California (August) and Martinsville (October). Kenseth has carried the R+L Carriers paint scheme just seven times since 2006. In his seven previous starts in the #17 R+L Carriers Ford, Kenseth has achieved seven top-12, five top-10 and three top-five finishes.(Rousch Fenway Racing), see images of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2008)
  • Record TV Ratings for All-Star Race: SPEED scored its highest rating in network history, earning a Nielsen Media Research mark of 3.74 (2,701,000 households), up 6% from last year’s 3.53 (2,480,000 Households), making it the No. 1 network in basic cable during its coverage of Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race XXIV. The event, in its second of eight seasons on SPEED, peaked at 4.75 (3,430,000 households) and drew a network record four million viewers. SPEED pre- and post-race programming also delivered larger audiences in 2008 as Nielsen Ratings for both NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane were up from 2007. NASCAR Victory Lane jumped 20% from a 1.03 (721,000 households) to a record 1.28 (926,000 households) and NASCAR RaceDay has been up double digits from 2007 all season long. The Craftsman Truck Series race from Lowe’s Motor Speedway scored an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.13 (817,000 households), a 41-percent increase over the 2007 event, which scored a .80 (563,000 households). The race peaked at 1.54 (1,112,000 households). An average of 1.1 million viewers watched the race, the most ever for the Charlotte event. Nielsen ratings for NCTS races on SPEED in 2008 are up 18% from 2007.(SPEEDtv PR), for TV Ratings for each race and news on Ratings, see my 2008 TV Ratings page/Chart.(5-20-2008) Comment here

  • DEI testing road course: been told that Dale Earnhardt Inc [DEI] is testing today [May 20th] at Carolina Motorsports Park with drivers Ron Fellows and #15-Paul Menard. No word if Fellows will drive for DEI at Infineon Racway or Watkins Glen for DEI.(5-20-2008)
  • A Golden Anniversary Fit for “The King”: Petty Enterprises announced the plans to celebrate “The King” Richard Petty’s 50th anniversary in NASCAR. The plan includes Petty getting back into a racecar and turning laps at Chicagoland Speedway. On July 12, 1958, Petty made his first NASCAR start in the old Convertible Division at Columbia Speedway in Cayce, South Carolina. On July 12, 2008, Petty Enterprises and the entire NASCAR community will celebrate the anniversary of that race at the Chicagoland Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series is competing in the Life Lock 400. Petty Enterprises will be marking the anniversary with numerous special events and promotions. The team has extended an invitation for the CEOs of their sponsors and partner companies to come to Chicago to help them commemorate the anniversary. As part of the activities, Petty will return to a racecar to give some of his special guests a ride around Chicagoland Speedway in a Richard Petty Driving Experience stockcar. As a tribute to Petty and the anniversary of his first race, the #43 and #45 will be featuring special throwback paint schemes for the Life Lock 400. The paint schemes feature the Petty Blue color made famous by Petty and in a nod to the 60’s and 70’s, racing strips. Each will also carry the 50th anniversary commemorative logo on the hood of both cars. The 50th anniversary of Petty’s first race is an opportunity for Petty Enterprises, the NASCAR community, and all NASCAR fans to honor him for his achievements and for the countless contributions he has made to the sport.(MCG Sports PR), see an image of the #43 Car on my #43 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2008)


    News from May 19, 2008

  • Sad News – Lloyd Moore: Lloyd Moore, 95, who was the oldest living NASCAR driver passed away peacefully while sleeping at 3:32pm Sunday, May 18th surrounded by his family in his and Virginia’s home just outside of Frewsburg, NY. Lloyd would have been 96 on June 8th. Arraignments will be announced by the Peterson Funeral Home, Frewsburg, NY.(Obit at the Post Journal), Moore ran 49 races in the now Cup Series from 1949-1955, winning 1, 13 top 5’s and 23 tens. PLus see an interesting article and image at NASCAR.com.
    Petty Comment Richard Petty Comments on the Passing of Lloyd Moore: “I was saddened to learn of the passing of Lloyd Moore yesterday. He was a joy to be around. Lloyd was a connection to the origin of NASCAR. Talking to him was like taking a trip down memory lane, for me, because he raced against my dad. I still have memories of those races. He would come by the house after a lot of the races because he and daddy were good friends. So I knew Lloyd from the time I was a young kid and I am proud to say that we developed a great friendship over the years. Lloyd was a great driver and a great person. He will truly be missed.”(MCG PR)(5-19-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News – Gene Glover: Gene Glover 73, father of Ganassi Racing’s Tony Glover, passed away yesterday [May 18th]. Glover won the 79 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman divison and over 300 races throughout his career. Survivors include his loving wife of 34 years, Reba Light Glover, of the home; son, Tony Glover and wife, Christy of Mooresville, NC; granddaughters Brittany Nicole Glover and Ashton Brooke Glover of Charlotte, NC; brothers, David L. Glover and wife, Brenda and Delmer Glover and wife Linda of Kingsport, TN; sisters-in-law, Nan Light and Patsy Willis, both of Kingsport, TN; and a very special cat, Samantha. More info on services and Glover at oakhill.createatribute.com. The family requests that memorial donations be made in Eugene Glover’s name to Victory Junction Camp.(5-19-2008)
  • JR Motorsorts could move to Cup UPDATE Stewart involved?: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. from a weekly top 12 drivers press conference:
    THE OWNERSHIP THING, WHEN YOU’RE OUT THERE RACING WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI, ARE THERE THINGS THAT GO THROUGH YOUR MIND AND ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT HIM OR ABOUT THE RACE? “Well, I get mad when he messes up and I see him in a wreck or something. But normally I just hope he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing and running good and having a good night. But his night doesn’t go right or something happens to the car, it’s sort of bums you out a little bit and it’s hard to revert back to concentrating on what you’re trying to do with your car.”
    IS THERE ANY CHANCE YOU’LL MOVE UP TO THE CUP LEVEL WITH THAT TEAM ANYTIME? “I used to say no way, no way. But it’s almost as expensive to run in the Nationwide Series. And their going to bring a CoT in and we won’t be able to race in the Nationwide Series with the CoT probably. That’ll just be too expensive to switch all that over.”
    WOULD YOU DO IT AS EARLY AS NEXT YEAR? “Yeah, maybe. If the right opportunity comes along with the right sponsorship and driver, we’d love to do it. And it would cost the same amount of money to do that, as it is to run the Nationwide Series. It’s harder to get sponsorships. And the CoT program is going to be too expensive for me to justify creating a whole new program with CoT stuff, so I’d just as soon go into the Cup Series or get out of the Nationwide Series altogether.”
    COULD YOU GET MARTIN TRUEX JR. IN THAT CAR? “No. Why would he want to come drive for me? He’s in good stuff now and he’s going to have great opportunities from other people. And I would never do that to him (laughter). For the first year coming out of the box, man we’ll struggle like hell. Come on, man. He’s going to have deals offered to him by these great companies around here and from DEI. I’ll be at the bottom of that list, right there with Haas and a couple of other people (laughter). I don’t know with Tony (Stewart) if he goes over there (Haas), he might be able to talk Martin into it. But I don’t know man. I mean no way would I even do that to Martin, even if he wanted to.”(GM Racing PR)(5-17-2008)
    UPDATE – Stewart? Tony Stewart, who is exploring options outside of Joe Gibbs Racing, reportedly could be a partner with JR Motorsports. But Stewart’s contract doesn’t expire until after the 2009 season and team president J.D. Gibbs has said he will hold Stewart to it. “I don’t know with Tony. If he goes over there [Haas CNC], he might be able to talk Martin into it. But I don’t know. I mean no way would I even do that to Martin, even if he wanted to.” Stewart has acknowledged that Haas CNC is one of several organizations to have offered part ownership as an incentive to join the team. JR Motorsports merged with the Nationwide program at Hendrick Motorsports this year after Earnhardt went to drive for HMS. The engines and chassis already are supplied by Hendrick and that could continue with a move to the Cup series.(ESPN.com)(5-19-2008) Comment here
  • Testing at Milwaukee: #8-Aric Almirola is testing a DEI Chevy at The Milwaukee Mile Monday May 19 & Tuesday May 20.(Milwaukee Mile site)(5-19-2008)
  • Kahne Races in Iowa after winning All-Star race: Two hours. That’s how much sleep Kasey Kahne managed between Saturday night’s improbable $1 million Sprint Cup Series All-Star Challenge win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and flying in to race Sunday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. “I’m starting to feel it catching up to me,” Kahne said at 11am as he prepared for the U.S. Cellular 200 NASCAR Camping World Series race at the-mile asphalt track. “I’ll be fine once I get in the car, but, man, I was starting to get tired.” Kahne, who finished third in Sunday’s race [won by Brian Ickler], said the postrace celebration Saturday lasted as long as his subsequent slumber session. “It just went on and on and on with everything you do when you win a race at Lowe’s (Motor Speedway) — especially an All-Star race,” said Kahne, who needed the fans’ vote to gain entry into the All-Star Challenge. “(That’s) good, it’s all fun stuff. I got done with that and about 12:30 got to my motor home, left the track at about 1:45, took a shower when I got home, got to bed at three, woke up at five. Flew here, got here at 7:15 and went to the driver’s meeting.”(Des Moines Register)(5-19-2008) Comment here
  • No Age Change in 2009: NASCAR officials won’t alter the minimum age limit for drivers in the Cup series for next season. Series officials talked before the season about possibly raising the minimum age limit from 18 to 21 but decided against it.(Roanoke Times)(5-19-2008) Comment here
  • Gibbs tested own engines in All-Star race: Joe Gibbs Racing used its engines in the all-star race as opposed to the engines it receives from Toyota Racing Development. The team plans to go back to TRD motors for the Coca-Cola 600. Since the all-star race is a non-points race, it provides teams a chance to test equipment without fear that a failure will hurt them in the points.(Roanoke Times), #20-Stewart had to change engines before the race, #11-Hamlin and #18-Busch both lost engines during the All-Star race, all three had rocker-arm problems.(5-19-2008) Comment here
  • More changes at Robby Gordon Motorsports? hearing that General Manager Ed Guzzo and #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports have parted ways recently. Plus been told that RGM is looking for primary sponsorship opportunities on the #7 Dodge for races at Infineon Raceway [expect him to run upfront there] and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Contact the team at robbygordon.com.(5-19-2008)
  • The MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown on Monday and Tuesday:Four teams of a record 23 have made it to the semi-finalists after the first two rounds of the ninth annual MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown held May 5 – 8. Competing in this year’s Showdown semi-finals set for Monday at the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, N.C., are:
    1. Trey Davis and Brian Buttrick from Roush Yates Racing Engines versus Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman from Pro Motor Engines
    2. Jim Snyder and Mike Kasch from Roush Yates Racing Engines versus Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow from Hendrick Motorsports
    The two winning teams will face each other on Tuesday at the Showdown finals, also at NTI. The MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown, presented by MAHLE Clevite Inc., pits top NASCAR engine builders in a race to build and successfully run a Sprint 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. MAHLE Clevite presents the winning team with the Showdown’s grand prize – the prestigious Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy, plus a cash prize of $26,000. The Showdown runner-up team receives $9,000. Overall, the competition awards a total prize package of over $50,000. MAHLE Clevite hosts all preliminary rounds of the MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown at the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI), in Mooresville, NC. The final round of the competition takes place on May 20, also at NTI. More info at engineparts.com and MotorAge. NASCAR Tech [NTI] also has an open house scheduled for June 21st, more info at uti.edu)(5-19-2008)
  • Kurt Busch Superdome at Victory Juntion opens Tuesday: The official ribbon-cutting and “Grand Opening” of the new Kurt Busch Superdome at the Victory Junction Gang Camp is set for Tuesday, May 20 at 2:00pm/et. “It is a day that we’ve been looking forward to for almost two years now,” said Busch. “When we made the announcement of the original endowment for this project back in May of 2006, we envisioned the construction of a multi-purpose building that we would all be proud of. That is certainly the case in that we now have an indoor sports facility with a climate-controlled environment that the kids will utilize and enjoy for many years to come. The Kurt Busch Superdome is a 15,000-square-foot climate-controlled gymnasium, complete with scoreboard, bleachers and a specialty floor that can accommodate wheel chairs. It offers a completely allergy-free environment. Busch announced the formation of his foundation on May, 19, 2006, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kyle and Pattie Petty joined Busch at the announcement to discuss details of the Superdome, the Kurt Busch Foundation’s initial project. The Las Vegas native pledged that day the first $1 million toward the construction of the camp’s new gymnasium. Several entertainment and sports figures are expected to attend Tuesday’s “Grand Opening” including members of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Newman. Members of the Petty Family, representatives of the Richard Petty Driving Experience as well as the team mascots from the Charlotte Bobcats, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights and Kannapolis Intimidators are also expected to be in attendance.(TRPR)(5-19-2008) Comment here

News from May 18, 2008

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the NASCAR All Star Race:
    Total number of commercials: 99
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 61
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 27
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:24 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:47 PM
    Total minutes: 203
    Minutes of race broadcast: 152
    Minutes of commercials: 51
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Total race brdcst time 152 Total comm. brdcst time 51
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(5-18-2008)

  • ‘Crabby’ cars may be scaled back by NASCAR: Expect NASCAR to tell Sprint Cup teams that they’ve gone far enough – and in some cases, too far – with making crooked cars. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said Saturday that teams will get a memo, likely this week, telling them to “clean up” the way they’re turning their wheels to help the cars handle better. “They need some of that, but there are some of them that have pushed it,” Darby said. The rear wheels on some of the cars were turned to the point that some were having difficulty being pushed onto the scales used in inspection.(Charlotte Observer)(5-18-2008) Comment here

  • Marlin expected to run #40 car in Coke 600: Chip Ganassi didn’t enter his #40 Dodge in the All-Star race activities because driver Dario Franchitti is still nursing a broken left foot. The car will be back for next week’s Coca-Cola 600 here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but Ganassi believes Sterling Marlin will be behind the wheel instead of Franchitti. He was injured earlier this month in a wreck at Talladega, and has missed three Cup starts because of it. “It’s the same old thing — drivers think they aren’t that hurt when they’re hurt,” Ganassi said. “They think they’ll be back in a week, and so we all kind of said ‘OK, great, it’s going to be a week or two. I think he’s starting to realize that it’s not going to be that quick and it looks like Sterling Marlin is going to be driving the car here next week for the 600 and we’re kind of taking it one day at a time after that.” Ganassi didn’t rule out Franchitti participating in the test at Pocono Raceway in two weeks, or the June 1 race in Dover.(Associated Press)(5-18-2008) Comment here

  • Landscaper pulled from lake at Jarrett home UPDATED passes away: A landscaper working at #44-Dale Jarrett’s Lake Hickory [NC] home was pulled unconscious from the water Friday and was in cardiac arrest when he was rushed to the hospital, authorities said. The man, whom authorities would not name, was mowing the lawn at Jarrett’s waterfront house in Hickory, said Catawba County Emergency Services Director David Weldon, when the riding lawnmower went into the lake. The man was pulled from the water, Weldon said, and had gone into cardiac arrest when emergency rescuers arrived. He was not breathing when he was taken to the hospital, authorities said. The lawn worker’s condition was not available Friday evening.(Charlotte Observer)(5-17-2008)
    UPDATE: A man mowing a lawn at NASCAR star Dale Jarrett’s Hickory lake house died Friday after he toppled into the water and his lawnmower fell on top of him. The man was mowing the lawn on a riding lawnmower at the home on Forty-sixth Avenue, NE, at about 2:45 p.m. Friday when he ended up in the water and underneath the mower, said Capt. Josh Randolph, with the St. Stephens Fire Department. “His coworkers pulled him out of the water and onto the lawn before we got there,” Randolph said. “I’m not sure how long he was under water.” Randolph said the young man, who worked for a lawn care company, was not breathing and had no pulse. He was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center, where a hospital official later confirmed he had died.(Hickory Record)(5-18-2008)


    News from May 17, 2008

  • Kahne wins All-Star Challenge: #9-Kasey Kahne, who won the Fan Vote, won the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after the team chose not to change tires on the last pit stop. Kahne becomes the first Fan Vote winner and the 3rd driver to transfer from the Sprint Showdown to win the race. #16-Biffle finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #20-Stewart, #12-Newman, #77-Hornish Jr., #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin and #99-Edwards. Pole sitter #18-Busch, lost an engine towards the end of the 2nd segment and finished 24th. Kahne won the fan vote, 2nd was #7-Robby Gordon with #19-Elliott Sadler finishing third. See results and rundown of each segment on my 2008 All-Star Challenge Page or my All-Star Race/Showdown Results Page.(5-17-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race – Fast Facts:
    .. Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, his first victory in five tries in the annual all-star race.
    .. Kahne, who won the Fan Vote, to gain entry into the all-star race, became the third driver to win after transferring from the Sprint Showdown. He joined Michael Waltrip and Ryan Newman and is the first to win from the Fan Vote entry.
    .. Kahne’s margin of victory was 1.327 – just the fifth MOV of more than one second in the 24-year history of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
    .. Kyle Busch won segment 1 after leading all 25 laps. He was followed by Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch as 23 cars finished the segment on the lead lap.
    .. Carl Edwards took the lead on lap 39 and won segment 2, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth. Busch dropped out at the end of the segment with engine failure.
    .. Greg Biffle took the lead from Earnhardt, who led lap 51 through 64 and won segment 3. Earnhardt finished second with Kenseth third.
    .. The restart for Segment 4: 48, 9, 11, 16, 17, 12, 99, 77, 8, 20, 24, 07, 88, 2, 43, 42, 29, 84, 1, 5, 31, 26.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-17-2008)
  • Allmendinger wins Sprint Showdown: #84-A.J. Allmendinger won the Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway advancing to the All-Star Challenge along with #77-Sam Hornish Jr. who came in 2nd. #9-Kasey Kahne advances after being voted in by the fans, 2nd was #7-Robby Gordon with #19-Elliott Sadler finishing third. For results and info, see my 2008 All-Star Page or my All-Star Race/Showdown Results Page.(5-17-2008)

  • Drivers to Light ‘Em Up During Inaugural Pennzoil Victory Challenge: An all-star lineup is set to do battle in the inaugural Pennzoil Victory Challenge Saturday evening, prior to the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. #16-Greg Biffle, #07-Clint Bowyer, #18-Kyle Busch, #29-Kevin Harvick and #48-Jimmie Johnson-will prove who is best at celebrating a victory. The competition will test the skill and style of each driver as they execute a smoky burnout; perform two spectacular donuts; and then continue the burnout as they drive into “Victory Lane.” The winner will be determined by a combination of style points and elapsed time, and his designated charity will receive a $10,000 donation. The competition will take place at 6:15pm/et on the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile superspeedway and will be televised live during SPEED’s pre-race coverage of the Sprint All-Star Race. Good seats, in various price ranges, are still available for Saturday’ Sprint All-Star Race and tickets include the 3 Doors Down pre-race concert. Tickets start at $40 and may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS)
    AND The event is NASCAR’s take on the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest and Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby. Each participant will begin from a standing start and complete a drag-racing style tire burnout. Upon completion of the burnout, each driver will execute complete 360-degree donuts before racing to a designated Victory Lane marked on either side with traffic cones and into the “Finish Box,” stopping the clock. A time penalty will be accessed for hitting lane marking cones or the end cone. The winner will be determined by the fastest time after penalties (if any) are accessed. Each driver will be in similarly prepared Richard Petty Driving Experience cars wrapped with Sprint All-Star Race decals.(RCR)(5-14-2008)
    RESULTS:
    #07-Clint Bowyer was first with contest winner Chad Simpson, did 2 donuts, drove thru, didn’t stop in the box, took 23.971 seconds, plus the 5 sec penalty for a total of 28.8=971 seconds, then he added two more donuts at the end
    #16-Greg Biffle was next with Tank from Austrailia in the car, did his donuts and stopped in the box, but supposedly didn’t keep the tires spinning for 5 seconds and a total of 25.046 seconds
    #48-Jimmie Johnson went out third with Quaker State contest winner Neil Liker [sp?] and kind of just did what hee wanted, just do donuts, then started hitting cones and blew out the rear tires, along with the 20 second penalty, had a total time of 69.017 seconds
    #29-Kevin Harvick was next with Pennzoil contest winner, Kelly Bartik [from Fox in CHarlotte, did his two donuts, but they were long slow donuts and he got the car in the box in a time of 31.916 seconds, then put the nose of the car against the outside wall and blew out the rear tires.
    Up last was crowd fave, #18-Kyle Busch with USA Today reporter Seth Livingstone, did a slow burnout, two slow donuts, then slow burn to the box in 40.550 seconds, then got out of the car and saluted the fans.
    WINNER was Greg Biffle, winning the $10,000 which will go to the Greg Biffle Foundation.(5-17-2008) Comment here

  • Childress Inducted into N.C. Sports Hall of Fame: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) president and CEO Richard Childress and six others were honored in Raleigh last night at the 45th Induction Banquet for the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. The evening’s event, which took place at the North Raleigh Hilton, was a who’s who of some of the greatest sports figures in North Carolina history. Those inducted in addition to Childress, who was the 258th inductee of the now 260-member group, were former Duke University Athletic Director Tom Butters, former Duke University quarterback Leo Hart, sportswriter and promoter Bill Hensley, former UNC and NFL offensive lineman Ken Huff, former Guilford College men’s golf and basketball coach Jack Jensen, legendary former Harlem Globetrotter Fred “Curly” Neal, and current University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams. “It was a very humbling experience and an honor for me to be nominated and inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame,” said Childress. “Only in America can a kid with a dream to drive a race car be fortunate enough to be inducted into the hall of fame of his home state. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give Dale Earnhardt a lot of credit for my induction. I also have to thank all of the long-time team members at RCR and the current team members who are keeping the RCR heritage strong. Racing is a team sport and I’ve been fortunate to have been able to surround myself over the years with people who are committed to success.” Childress, an 11-time NASCAR championship-winning team owner, including six Cup Series titles with the legendary Dale Earnhardt (1986-87, ’90-’91, ’93-’94), is the ninth member of the motorsports fraternity to be honored by the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. The others include Lee Petty (1966), Richard Petty (1973), Ned Jarrett (1990), Buck Baker (1992), Junior Johnson (1992), Herb Thomas (1992), Dale Earnhardt (1994), and H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler (2004).(RCR)(5-17-2008) Comment here

  • Evernham still involved in GEM: Ray Evernham says he is still an essential part of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Rumors have been circulating that the 50-year-old Evernham had sold his remaining interest in the organization that fields Cup teams for drivers #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Patrick Carpentier. Evernham sold a majority interest in Evernham Motorsports to businessman George Gillett in August 2007 and the company was subsequently renamed Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “The way that whole program worked, I sold 80% of the company and I will continue to own 20% of the company until George and I decide we’re not going to be partners or whatever,” Evernham said May 10. Evernham says his position isn’t one that requires him to be in the office each day or at the track each weekend – earlier this year he agreed to serve as an analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage, and he says his new schedule has allowed him to spend more time with his son, Ray J.(SceneDaily)(5-17-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR Angels honor fallen firefighters: In a tribute to fallen Salisbury firefighters Victor Isler and Justin Monroe“NASCAR Angels,” a reality-based TV show, restored a 1979 Corvette and presented it to Isler’s son, 15-year-old Vic Isler. Isler Sr. had bought the car for his son, planning a restoration project for the two of them. Isler died fighting the March 7 fire at Salisbury Millwork. Show hosts Rusty Wallace and Shannon Wiseman surprised Vic and his mother with the car, driven by Kevin Harvick, during a taping of the show at a Salisbury fire station. The Corvette was restored by “NASCAR Angels” and Griffin Brothers Tires, Wheels, and Auto Repair, and Goodyear Gemini repair shop.(Charlotte Observer and more at the Salisbury Post and ‘NASCAR Angels’ leave Vic Isler Jr. a big surprise)(5-17-2008)

  • Couple to have marriage proposal featured on the #99: Phillip Pruzensky and Janice Scarfe of Orange County, Calif., will have their marriage proposal featured on the back of Carl Edwards’ #99 Office Depot Ford during the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and receive a VIP prize package worth more than $10,000. The couple were chosen as winners of the “Say Yes To A Winning Proposal” national contest sponsored by Harlequin, a leading publisher of women’s fiction worldwide, and Office Depot. In addition to having their proposal highlighted on the back of Edwards’ #99 Office Depot Ford, Pruzensky and Scarfe will also receive a diamond ring, customized stationery provided by the Office Depot Design, Print & Ship Depotä and a romantic trip for two to Red Rock Country in Sedona, Ariz.(Office Depot PR)(5-17-2008) Comment here


    News from May 16, 2008

  • NASCAR & Home Depot announce call of nominations: The Home Depot and NASCAR announced the call for nominations for the second annual NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award celebrates an individual within the NASCAR community who has shown extraordinary dedication to serving others and improving communities through meaningful service efforts. More info on my Racing Charities page.(5-16-2008)

  • Kyle Busch to test F-1 car: Kyle Busch will test a Formula One car with Toyota later this year in Japan. As teams get ready for Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Challenge, Busch said Formula One is something that appeals to him, but not on the near horizon. “I’m planning on retiring at 30 and going Formula One racing,” the 23-year-old Busch said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He also revealed his plan to drive an F1 car for the first time at the end of this year when he goes to Japan to do NASCAR exhibition runs for Toyota. “We’re working on a test session right now at the end of November, or the beginning of December, sometime going to Japan and doing a little exhibition, to see what it’s like,” he said. “We’ll take a Cup car over there too and just run around there at either Twin-Ring or somewhere like that to show them what the Cup cars are like and try to get into a Formula One car too. We’ll see how well I test first, we’ll see if my neck can stand the g-forces of braking and everything. I wouldn’t mind. If I can do it and if I’m good at it then I’ll give it a shot and try it.” However, Busch admitted however that the actual racing part of F1 appeals the least to him. “It seems as though the racing isn’t all that great,” he said. “They get stuck in line, the aero takes over everything and Toyota is not necessarily one of those companies at the moment that’s like Ferrari or McLaren, or like Renault was a couple of years ago. I don’t think it’s only a driver that you put in the seat that’s going to make it go, you know. You need a little bit more of a car.”(CupScene)(5-16-2008)Comment here

  • Vickers Red Bull Racing team wins Pit Crew Challenge: The #83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers entered the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge as the 24th – and final – eligible team, but left on top after dominating the competition and the record book. The team posted the quickest time in each of the five rounds and edged the #11 FedEx Toyota crew of Denny Hamlin in a photo finish in the Finals to take the title. The #83 team changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and pushed it 40 yards to the finish line in 22.902 seconds, besting the #11 crew by 0.109 seconds. Each of the five times put up by the #83 crew was under 23 seconds, with its top time of 22.572 seconds coming in the second round. The previous record was 23.35 seconds, set last year by the champion #12 Alltel Dodge team in the quarterfinals. “I can’t say enough about this team,” said pit crew coach Greg Miller. “Words can’t describe this group, the effort they put in day-in and day-out. It’s all about them.”
    The team was one of three in the event that has not secured a position in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Each of the 21 teams in the all-star race competed in the Pit Crew Challenge, with the three final positions going to the top available teams based on owner’s points. If the #83 Toyota makes the all-star race by finishing in the top two in the Sprint Showdown, it will have its choice of pit stalls.
    The team includes several former collegiate athletes, a trend that has become commonplace in the sport. Catch can man Mike Metcalf played football at Appalachian State University, while front tire changer Brian Haaland and jackman Shaun Peet are former minor league hockey players. The other members of the championship crew are gas man Doug Newell, front tire carrier Aaron Schields, rear tire changer Danny Kincaid and rear tire changer Jake Brzozowski. Two new records were also set in the individual skills competition.
    #24 Dupont Chevrolet gas man Caleb Hurd and catch can man Jamie Frady combined to fill the car with 18 gallons of fuel in 10.031 seconds, shattering the previous record of 14.20 seconds. Eric Wilson, jackman of the #9 Budweiser Dodge finished with a time of 5.431 seconds, topping last year’s record of 5.94 seconds. Other skills competition winners were #17 DeWalt Ford rear tire changer Dave Smith and carrier Jason Binger and #18 M&M’s Toyota front tire changer Nick O’Dell and carrier Brad Donaghy. O’Dell also won last year’s individual competition while with the #9 crew.(NASCAR PR/Teamredbull.com), more info at pitcrewchallenge.com. Missed it on TV? SPEED is scheduled to re-air it on Sat. May 17th at 330am/et.(5-16-2008) Comment here

  • Biffle intends to re-sign with Roush: #16-Greg Biffle said on Thursday he remains 100% committed to re-signing with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle’s commitment to signing a new deal was questioned after he criticized his team following Saturday night’s race at Darlington Raceway. He had the fastest car the first half of the race, but fell back because of a loose wheel and then was sidelined when the timing belt broke. “That had nothing to do with my contract,” he said before the All-Star Pit Crew Challenge at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. “I was mad my stuff was broke.” Biffle said negotiations are continuing and he hopes to finish a deal by mid-summer. “That is my focus,” he said. “My focus hasn’t changed.”(ESPN.com)(5-16-2008) Comment here
  • Labonte close to decision on future: #43-Bobby Labonte said he is no longer agonizing over whether he will stay at Petty Enterprises or drive for someone else next season. Labonte said he is likely within two or three weeks of having final answers concerning his driving career beyond this season. “We’re trying to get things squared away at Pettys, like I’ve always said,” Labonte said. “But obviously we have to get that done. In a couple of weeks, three weeks maybe, we’ll have a lot more answers. … Right now, I’m pretty much at ease.… It’s just a matter of things happening that’s going to take place, whether you like it or not. I’m about to the point if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, you do something different. I’m not worried about that as much as the talk about it from the outside trying to make sure that the guys that come to work, that they don’t read the paper and say, ‘What’s going to happen?’ Nothing is done yet – nothing that can be [said] because of the implications [on] people,” Labonte said. “We can’t implicate people that are doing things that will [mess] them up and our own position. I have nothing to report yet. Hopefully in the next few weeks, it will be a lot more well known.” Petty Enterprises has been entertaining offers from investors. Labonte, the 2000 Sprint Cup champion, said it’s his understanding those talks are continuing.(SceneDaily)(5-16-2008)
  • VIR Stock Car Road Race Tests Open to Fans: Fans of stock cars and road racing are invited to attend the Stock Car Open Test Day at VIRginia International Raceway on June 3. “Last year’s test attracted over two dozen cars over two thousand fans,” stated track general manager Josh Lief. “Our guests and the teams all had a good time and we intend to continue this tradition.” Tickets to the spectator areas are available at the gate and only $10. Teams testing last year included Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Evernham and others. Teams use the VIR North Course in preparing cars and drivers for the Sprint Cup Series races in California [Infineon Raceway] and New York [Watkins Glen]. Nationwide Series teams test at VIR as well, and these teams are invited to attend. Fans who attend the Stock Car Open Test day will be eligible for rides in the VIR Volkswagen R32 Pace Cars at the end of the day or at lunch if time permits. Food and VIR souvenirs will also be available. VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Virginia. Reopened in 2000, VIR hosts a wide range professional and amateur auto and motorcycle racing and track events, and is well established as “America’s Motorsport Resort.” In addition to its historic 3.27 mile natural-terrain road racing circuit, VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America’s first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park and Motorsports Technology Park, which includes the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (“VIPER”); the Plantation Valley Kart Track, a 5/8 mile paved natural terrain karting circuit; an expanding variety of on-site lodging (including 45 hotel rooms and the trackside Villas which are for sale); Camp Motorsport for enthusiasts of all ages; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse. For information on the track and other event schedules, call 434-822-7700 or check our web site at www.virclub.com.(VIR PR)(5-16-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch wins pole for All-Star Race: #18-Kyle Busch won the pole for the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a time of 121.950 seconds, Busch went out last and took the pole from #24-Jeff Gordon, who will start 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #1-Treux Jr., #16-Biffle, #26-McMurray, #31-Burton, #12-Newman, #07-Bowyer and #43-Labonte. #44-Dale jarrett, who will retire after the race, will start 18th. Drivers penalized: #5-Mears [5 seconds for crew leaving the wall too early]; #29-Harvick [5, lug nut]; #44-Jarrett [5, lug nut]; #99-Edwards [20, too fast pit road]; #11-Hamlin, too fast pit road]; #48-Johnson, time disallowed for getting service outdie the pit box]. For qualifying results, qualifying order, starting lineup, see my All-Star Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-16-2008)
  • Sadler wins pole for Shootout: #19-Elliott Sadler won the pole for the Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.014mph. #83-Vickers will start 2nd, followed by #6-Ragan, #84-Allmediner, #7-Gordon, #22-Blaney, #78-Nemechek, #77-Hornish Jr., #66-Riggs and #28-Kvapil. #19-Carpentier spun off turn 4 during his 1st lap, but didn’t hit anything. Not so lucky was #37-Kenny Wallace, who lost it in turn 2 on his 2nd lap and backed hard into the wall, the team has withdrawn from the race, so there will be 27 cars in the race. For qualifying results, qualifying order, starting lineup, see my All-Star Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-16-2008)

  • All-Star Race Vote Close: Unique to NASCAR, the Sprint All-Star Race lineup has three spots remaining to be filled — and on-track competition — the winner and runner-up of the Showdown — will take care of two of the openings. The third will be determined by fans’ voting. This is the fifth year in which a driver will be voted-in to the field. Ken Schrader won the inaugural Fans’ Vote, in 2004. Other fan-vote winners include Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace. More than 285,600 votes have been cast with drivers like #7-Robby Gordon, #9-Kasey Kahne [SPEED qualifying coverage says Kahne is leading], #19-Elliott Sadler, #37-Kenny Wallace and #55-Michael Waltrip among the top vote-getters. Voting ends at 7pm/et Saturday [May 17th]. The winner will be announced on NASCAR.COM and also during SPEED’s All-Star Saturday coverage, which includes the Showdown (green flag at 7:40pm/et) and All-Star Race XXIV. Fans can vote on NASCAR.COM, not sure where Patrick Carpentier stands in the voting, over the weekend in Darlington he said if he won the vote he would “I would run naked down pit road”. New this year, the driver does not have to finish on the lead lap but the car must be raceable and in good condition.(5-16-2008) Comment here

  • BAM Racing & Petty Racing team up for Sprint Showdown UPDATE:Chad McCumbee will run the #49 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge in the Sprint Showdown and will have a Petty Enterprises crew and Billy Wilburn will serve as crew chief. Quotes from Chad McCumbee: “I just want to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises and BAM Racing for giving me the opportunity to race in the Sprint All-Star Showdown. Hopefully we can have a good run and race our way into the all-star race. That would be a dream come true. Being one of the few drivers from North Carolina, I know how big that race has become. Lowe’s Motor Speedway is our backyard and the race is for bragging rights as much as anything else. I like the 1.5-mile tracks, like Lowe’s, so I’m confident that we will be competitive on Saturday. Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and I have developed a great relationship over the last three races that I’ve run for Petty Enterprises. We have a lot of confidence in each other and that’s important when you are racing for all or nothing. That’s how we have to approach it. It’s win or go home. At the same time I’m going to go out there and do what I can to help my teammates. Kyle and Bobby have bigger fish on the line with the Coca-Cola 600. If there is something that I can try, something that may help them win next Sunday, then I am all for it. They have helped me tremendously in my time at Petty.” Petty Enterprises announced this week that McCumbee will pilot the #45 Dodge for two races this summer while Kyle Petty works in the broadcast booth for TNT.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing)(5-13-2008)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #49 Team Schemes page.(5-15-2008)
    UPDATE 2: BAM Racing team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau announced a one-race association with Petty Enterprises for the upcoming Sprint Showdown on Saturday, May 17, 2008. According to Mrs. Morgenthau, “Before our move to Toyota, we were a Dodge team and we have worked closely with the Petty’s for years. NASCAR’s rules state that a team must be in the top 50 in owner’s points from the previous year in order to compete in the Sprint Showdown. As I understand it, Kyle was looking to get Chad McCumbee some valuable seat time at Lowe’s and wanted to enter a third car. Since our team is hard at work trying to secure sponsorship and return our Toyota to the track a little later in the year, we were glad to help them out. While the car for the Sprint Showdown will be listed as BAM Racing’s #49, it will be a Petty Dodge and will be run out of their shop with their crew. I suppose you could say that when the King asks for a favor, we listen! BAM Racing is committed to return to the Sprint Cup series and we have several potential marketing partners that we’re very excited about. We should be able to make an announcement soon.”(BAM Racing PR)(5-16-2008) Comment here
  • LMS Goodyear Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes throughout Charlotte Speedweeks . . . this is the first time NASCAR teams will race on these tire codes at Charlotte . . . teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series successfully tested on this tire set-up at Charlotte over the past several weeks . . . compared to the tire codes run at Charlotte in 2007, this left-side code (D-4128) has more grip, while this right side code (D-4130) contains incremental changes to enhance durability . . . Charlotte is the only track at which NASCAR teams are scheduled to run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires this season, though teams in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series raced on this right-side code with a different left-side at Darlington . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window for Sprint Cup cars is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, codes, pressures on my Chalrotte Race Info Page or Tire Notes page.(5-16-2008) Comment here
  • Hill to unviel 2007 All-Star race painting: NASCAR Aritist, Garry Hill, is scheduled to appear on SPEED’s NASCAR Live between 3:00 – 3:30pm/et to unveil the most recent painting in the All-Star series commemorating Kevin Harvick’s win in last year’s race commissioned by Sprint/Nextel. This is the 21st year that Hill has created the official artwork for NASCAR’s All-Star race. All the 500 limited edition prints and 50 artist proof prints will be autographed (hand signed) by Harivck and signed and numbered by Hill. For more info on Hill and his work and to see the #29 painting, see GarryHill.com.(5-16-2008)
  • Final Practice for the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #8-Martin 181.751
    #18-Busch 181.714
    #16-Biffle 180.923
    #99-Edwards 180.584
    #29-Harvick 179.485
    slowest #44-Jarrett 174.469 and #1-Truex Jr. 176.056
    See the speeds and average speeds on my All-Star Practice Page.(5-16-2008)
  • Final Practice for the Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #19-Sadler 183.256
    #7-Gordon 181.745
    #28-Kvapil 181.141
    #70-Sauter 180.929
    #77-Hornish Jr. 180.711
    most laps run; #9-Kahne 46; #83-Vickers 45
    slowest: #46-Long 159.269 [3 laps run] and #37-Wallace 167.240 [2 laps run]
    inciedent: #08-Raines smacked the wall and pancaked the right side
    See the speeds and average speeds on my All-Star Practice Page.(5-16-2008)


    News from May 15, 2008

  • Final Darlington TV Ratings up 14%: NASCAR on Fox tallied its third straight year-to-year increase with a 4.8/10 (7.8 million viewers) for Saturday primetime racing from Darlington. That’s a +14% gain over last year’s 4.2/12 for the same event, and that +14% increase is Fox’s largest jump for a NASCAR race in two months, since the Atlanta race posted a +23% gain. Note that last year’s Darlington race was rained out of its scheduled window and run on a Sunday afternoon. Nearing the end of Fox’s portion of the Sprint Cup season [13 races], NASCAR on Fox is all but assured of finishing the year with increased ratings. NASCAR has averaged a 6.0/12 to date on FOX, a +5% improvement over last year’s 5.7/13 with only two races to go. Key demographics have been a mixed bag, with Men 18-34 down for the season-to-date (-7%, 2.8 vs. 3.0), but Men 18-49 flat (4.6) and Men 25-54 up +4% (5.7 vs. 5.5).(Fox PR), for ratings by race and the Ratings chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-15-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch could set record: If #18-Kyle Busch wins the Sprint All-Star race on Saturday night, he will become the youngest winner of the event. Busch will be 23 years, 15 days old. Jeff Gordon’s first victory occurred when he was 23 years, 9 months, 18 days old.(Gaston Gazette)(5-15-2008)

  • Gordon going for win record at All-Star race: Saturday night’s All-Star event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is a “Sprint” race, and Jeff Gordon believes there is only one way to approach the annual event. “Go ‘all out.’” Gordon is currently tied with the late Dale Earnhardt for most victories in the non-points event for race winners. Each of Gordon’s three victories, coincidentally, occurred in years he won the NASCAR Cup Series championship (1995, 1997 and 2001). In 1995, he won all three segments en route to his first victory in the event. He won again in 1997 and, in 2001, he drove a backup car to victory after being involved in a first-lap crash [when it rained and over half the field was wiped out].(Performace Plus PR)(5-15-2008)

  • Drivers help build playground: About 500 volunteers spent Wednesday in building a playground at the Kennedy Campus of Elon Homes for Children. It was the 31st playground — and first in Charlotte — built by Racing to Play, a program sponsored by Home Depot, the NASCAR Foundation, Joe Gibbs Racing and KaBOOM!, a nationwide organization that creates places where children can play near their homes. After descending on the site Wednesday morning, the army of workers sawed, painted, poured concrete, shaped walkways, molded mounds of mulch and hoisted playground equipment into place. Now, kids can climb on a racing-themed jungle gym that stretches at least 20 feet long. They can sail through space — well, just above the ground — hanging by their hands from a monorail. They can play tetherball. When all that wears them out, they can relax in the shade. The construction crew included NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Johnny Sauter; former racer Rusty Wallace; and Craftsman Truck Series drivers Stacy Compton, Brian Scott, Scott Lagasse Jr., Sean Murphy and Colin Braun. Stopping work to sign autographs, Stewart said the new playground offers children more than recreation. “They’ll build social skills and relationships that will last a lifetime,” Stewart said. Racing to Play has built playgrounds in 22 cities on the NASCAR racing circuit. In October, volunteers will install another in Mooresville.(Charlotte Observer)(5-15-2008)

  • #40 Team skipping Sprint Showdown: Dario Franchitti and the #40 CGRFS Dodge team will sit out this weekend’s NSCS All-Star events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Franchitti, who continues to recover from an ankle injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26) has yet to receive clearance from his doctor to return to racing competition. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace earlier this month but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the #40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-15-2008) Comment here

  • Nintendo’s Wii to sponsor #40 in Coca-Cola 600: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced it has partnered with Nintendo and its long-time sponsor Target, to have Nintendo’s newest video game, Wii Fit, as the sponsor of 1,100 miles of auto racing on Sunday, May 25. Nintendo and Wii Fit become the primary sponsors on Alex Lloyd’s #16 Dallara Honda in the Indianapolis 500 and later in the day along with Target on the team’s #40 Dodge in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C. By sponsoring the Wii Fit 1,100, Nintendo follows Target as one of the only sponsors that will have cars competing in both races as Target has Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon starting one-two in the Indy 500 and Reed Sorenson competing in his third Coke 600 The 500 mile Indianapolis 500 is the longest race on the IndyCar Series schedule while the 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 is the same in the Sprint Cup Series. Dario Franchitti, who would normally pilot the #40 Target/Wii Fit Dodge, is still recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered three weeks ago in a Talladega Superspeedway racing [Hationwide Series] incident. A final decision on Franchitti’s status has not been made nor has a replacement been named in the event Franchitti cannot compete in the Coke 600. Last year over Memorial Day weekend, Franchitti captured the Borg Warner trophy in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He went on to capture the 2007 IndyCar Series championship before beginning his transition to stock cars at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Franchitti is one of three former Indy 500 winners running in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the scheem on my #40 Team Schemes page.(5-15-2008) Comment here

  • Dilner wins media title: SPEED’s Bob Dillner’ and his BDI Racing team took top honors in Wednesday’s Sprint Cup Celebrity Challenge presented by SPEED in Charlotte, NC. The victory caps off a week when the team also won their first PASS South race with driver Zach Stroupe at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway. Dillner (jackman), Matt “Duke” Kentfield (gasman), Bob Bachner (rear tire changer) and Dustin Archer (front tire changer) survived three tough rounds to take the overall team title, going up against teams made up of NASCAR media, local celebrities and dignitaries. Highlights of the Celebrity and Media Pit Crew Challenge will be shown during Thursday’s Sprint Pit Crew Challenge on SPEED at 9:00pm/et Thursday.(Speed51.com)(5-15-2008)
  • All-Star Race Rookie Notes: No Raybestos Rookie points will be awarded in either the Sprint All-Star or Sprint Showdown races. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) and Ryan Newman (2002) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win the Sprint All-Star race. Tony Stewart was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the Sprint All-Star race. He placed second behind race winner Terry Labonte in 1999. Jeff Burton was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish in the Sprint All-Star race. Burton finished sixth in 1994 driving the Raybestos-sponsored Ford for Stavola Brothers Racing. Three Raybestos Rookies have won the pole for the Sprint Showdown: Brett Bodine (1987), Jeff Gordon (1993), and Joe Nemechek (1994). No Raybestos Rookie is currently eligible for the 2008 Sprint All-Star race. The first Raybestos Rookie to compete in the Sprint All-Star race was Davey Allison in 1987. Allison started third and finished 12th, completing 134 of the 135 laps. At least one Raybestos Rookie has qualified for nine of the 23 Sprint All-Star races.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestoes PR), for standings, history and more see my 2008 Rookies Page.(5-15-2008)


    News from May 14, 2008

  • Dale Jr. in gray colors at the All-Star race: This Saturday, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 Chevy will pay tribute to the Army National Guard with a special paint scheme inspired by the 3 Doors Down song “Citizen Soldier.” The band’s name and song title will appear on the hood. Lead singer Brad Arnold was moved to write the song after watching 50,000 everyday citizens become active members of Guard units and provide disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On May 20, 3 Doors Down will release its new, self-titled album that features the song “Citizen Soldier.” The #88 National Guard Citizen Soldier/AMP Energy Chevy will resemble the “Gray Ghost” that Buddy Baker drove to win the 1980 Daytona 500. The car earned its nickname because the colors made it difficult to see on the track, and a camouflaged Baker would sneak up and overtake the competition. After Baker’s Daytona win, drivers complained to NASCAR, and Baker had to put reflector strips on his car.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle vs. Kurt after 125 races…Kurt leads: Even though 23-year-old #18-Kyle Busch is definitely the hottest driver on the circuit right now, but the truth is that big brother #2-Kurt Busch had won more races at the same point in his career. Saturday night’s Darlington race was the 125th career Cup race for Kyle. Here’s the way the Busch Brothers’ statistics compare at the same point in their careers:
    Kurt Busch completed the 125th race of his Cup career on 5/15/04 at Richmond
    Kyle Busch completed the 125th race of his Cup career on 5/10/08 at Darlington
    After 125 races Kurt Busch had 9 wins, 25 top-5s, 45 top-10s, 20 DNFs and 2 poles
    After 125 races Kyle Busch had 7 wins, 37 top-5s, 59 top-10s, 16 DNFs and 3 poles
    (Tom Roberts PR)(5-14-2008) Comment here

  • Humpy picks Edwards to win All-Star race: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler named Carl Edwards as his pick to win Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Wheeler revealed his selection today in uptown Charlotte with assistance from a pack of four-legged friends, including Princess, the back-flipping dog. “Carl Edwards is a racer’s racer in the mold of Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough,” said Wheeler. “He will put his car in places angels fear to tread and beneath that big smile and his trademark back flip, Carl has an abnormal fire in his heart to win that I have seldom seen. 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 Sprint All-Star Race 10 times in the past 19 races. While Edwards’ burning determination was key in Wheeler’s decision, it was the early season performance of the #99 Office Depot Ford that proved to be the determining factor [Wheeler also picked Edwards to win in 2006, he finished 4th]. In preparation for making his selection, Wheeler analyzed early season race results and studied Sprint Cup Series testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. His final decision came down to a choice between Edwards and Kyle Busch. Each year since 1994, Wheeler has also named a dark-horse selection who he thinks could pull off a surprise victory. This time he’s going with #20-Tony Stewart to fill that role. Good seats, in various price ranges, are still available for Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race and include the 3 Doors Down pre-race concert. Tickets start at $40 and may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-14-2008) Comment here

  • Coca-Cola scheme for Petty at LMS: Quotes from #45-Kyle Petty: “I’ve been a part of the all-star weekend since it began and I always look forward to that date on the schedule. It seems like only yesterday that Davey Allison and I were spinning across the finish line in the first all-star race under the lights. I really believe that it was that night that began the aura of this race. Strange things happen under the lights at Lowe’s. We’re obviously going into the All-Star Showdown with the intention of qualifying our way into the Sprint All-Star race. But we are also looking at the big picture, which is the Coca-Cola 600. There are some pieces of this new car that we still need a better grasp of and the all-star weekend gives us a chance to do that. So while we are going for the money, we’re also using it as another test session. The next two weekends are special for me because I get to run an awesome Coke paint scheme. Coke has been a partner of mine for a long time and they’ve used the all-star race and the Coke 600 to promote special events or products. This year the car will promote the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Summer is always different when it’s an Olympic summer. I’m just waiting on stock car racing to become an Olympic sport. I think we would have a pretty good chance at gold in that event.”(MCG SportsPetty Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #45 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008) Comment here

  • Harvick goes Platinum for All-Star race: #29-Kevin Harvick is going platinum for the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The defending All-Star champion winner will transform his bright yellow and red Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet into a shining platinum colored paint scheme 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. For more information visit: www.pennzoilplatinum.com. Harvick also will switch his existing racing seat to a Hendrick Motorsports Carbon Fiber seat this weekend during the Sprint All-Star Race. The Bakersfield, Calif., native spent two days at the HMS complex to get fitted for his new seat that will make him safer and more comfortable in the cockpit of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy. The HMS seat will cost approximately $10,400 for the main section and $1,200 for the headrest. The Carbon Fiber seat is designed to withstand 90G which is 10G more than NASCAR requires for certification.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008) Comment here

  • Jarrett’s enshrined In LMS’s Court of Legends: NASCAR champions Ned and Dale Jarrett were inducted into Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s Court of Legends Tuesday afternoon as part of the week-long festivities leading up to Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The Jarretts are the first father and son to be enshrined in the speedway’s Court of Legends and the induction ceremony included having their signatures, footprints and handprints immortalized in concrete near the track’s main entrance. They are the 21st and 22nd members of the Court of Legends, joining fellow NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty, David Pearson, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte. Dale Jarrett’s induction came just four days before he climbs into the #44 UPS Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, his final career start in stock car racing’s premier division. More info and a list of those enshrined, see lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS)(5-14-2008)Comment here

  • Addington named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Darlington: Steve Addington, crew chief of the #18 M&M’s/ Indiana Jones Toyota driven by Kyle Busch, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following last Saturday’s Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. After starting sixth, Busch and the entire #18 team faced several setbacks throughout Saturday night’s 500-mile race including a loose lug nut in the pits that sent Busch back to 29th only 60 laps in. The newly resurfaced 1.366-mile oval also added new challenges to the already treacherous track, deemed “Too Tough To Tame.” In an effort to improve track position and overall performance, the Addington-led crew continuously made air pressure, track bar and wedge adjustments to stay on top of the ever-changing track conditions. His clear and accurate direction led Busch and the #18 team to victory at the historic “Lady in Black.”
    The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(5-14-2008) Comment here


    News from May 13, 2008

  • Sad News – DJ Smith: Condolences go out to former Ultra Motorsports Championship team owner Jim Smith on the recent passing of his father, Delwin James Smith [DJ] Smith. The funeral will be held on Monday, May 19 at 11:00 at Forest Lawn located at 4471 Lincoln Avenue in Cypress, California. Thoughts and prayers go out to Smith and his family.(5-13-2008)

  • Sprint Showdown Entries: Twenty-Nine drivers are entered for the Sprint Showdown race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The winner and 2nd place driver will advance to the Sprint All-Star Race, along with one driver who gets voted in by the fans [must finish on the lead lap], a few drivers on the list: David Reutimann moves back to the #00 as Dale Jarrett will run his final race in the #44 car; Bill Elliott is in the #21; Jeff Green in the #34; Kenny Wallace in the #37 Chevy; Dario Franchitti is listed in the #40, but doubtful he will race and Sterling Marlin may be back in the car; Kyle Petty is listed in the #45 sponsored by Coca-Cola; Chad McCumbee is in the #49 BAM Racing Toyota with Marathon Oil as the sponsor; #50-Stanton Barrett is entered; and Johnny Sauter is listed in the #70. See my 2008 All- Star Page for the entry list.(5-13-2008)
  • Pit Crew Lineup Set for the Pit Crew Challenge: The final three teams have been added to the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, featuring competition among the top 24 pit crews in the Sprint Cup Series. The three additional teams are #6-David Ragan’s Roush Fenway Racing crew, the Red Bull Racing squad of driver #83-Brian Vickers and the #9-Kasey Kahne’s Gillett Evernham crew. The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge takes place May 15 at 7 p.m. at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena and will be aired at 9:00pm/et that evening on SPEED. The competition is a signature lead-in event to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. To compete in the pit-crew event, teams must be eligible for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race or be the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Champion. Sprint All-Star Race eligibility includes all NASCAR Sprint Cup race winners from 2007 and 2008, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners from the past 10 years and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions from the past 10 years who are active drivers and have competed in at least one series event during the 2007 or 2008 season. The three additional teams were added because they were ranked highest in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series owner point standings as of May 13.(SPEEDtv), more info and the eligible teams posted on my Pit Crew News page and see my Pit Crew Charts for names of members [as updated as possible].(5-13-2008)

  • Schrader to run 4th RCR car in Coca-Cola 600: Ken Schrader will attempt to qualify Richard Childress Racing’s #33 Camping World Chevy for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Schrader, 57, of Fenton, Mo, made his Cup Series debut in 1984 and ran his first full Cup Series season in 1985. After 20 full seasons in NASCAR’s premier division, the veteran racer has tallied one win, six top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 44 starts at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Camping World’s blue and gold paint scheme will adorn the #33 Chevrolet Impala SS.(RCR PR), see the #33 Team Schemes page for an image of the car.(5-13-2008) Comment here

  • Bank of America’s First-Ever NASCAR-Themed TV Ad: Bank of America, the Official Bank of NASCAR, will rev up the excitement surrounding the 2008 racing season with the debut of the company’s first-ever NASCAR-themed television commercial, which celebrates the passion fans have for their favorite drivers and promotes the bank’s popular My Expression NASCAR Banking program. Created by BBDO New York, the 30 second spot is titled “Who’s Your Driver?” and features footage of a number of top Sprint Cup Series drivers whose likenesses are available on NASCAR Banking check cards and credit cards. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex Jr., are featured in the new ad and are among the most popular selling drivers featured in the bank’s NASCAR Banking products. In addition to actual racing footage, the ad features fans demonstrating their passion for their favorite drivers at the racetrack and in their homes. One particular sequence captures a family of NASCAR fans with differing driver loyalties with a living room equally divided with one side supporting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the other Jeff Gordon. The new TV ad will begin airing this week in Charlotte, with plans to run in Atlanta and Dallas in conjunction with upcoming Sprint Cup Series races. The ad will be complemented by print, radio, online and point-of-sale advertising, and is scheduled to air nationally on the Speed Channel and ESPN/ABC starting in July, running throughout the end of the racing season.(Bank of Americaand click here to view the ad)(5-13-2008)

  • Terry Labonte to Drive for Petty UPDATE: Terry Labonte will be a teammate to his brother Bobby at Petty Enterprises starting next month, pending sponsor approval. Terry (and Chad McCumbee) will drive the #45 when Kyle Petty gets out for the summer. Petty is scheduled to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 and then miss the next seven races (one for his daughter’s wedding and the other six to work as an analyst for TNT). McCumbee likely will drive at Dover and Chicago. Terry Labonte likely will drive in the other five races. Labonte’s addition is key for Petty Enterprises because the #45 car is not in the top 35 in car owner points. Labonte’s second of his two titles came in 1996 — that makes him the most recent champion not in the top 35 since Bill Elliott’s title came in 1988. Thus, Labonte would be guaranteed a starting spot each time he starts, while the Wood Brothers would lose that even with Elliott in the seat. This would be the second time the Labonte brothers have run as teammates. Terry Labonte drove in five races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005 when Bobby Labonte was there. Terry Labonte ranks fourth in series history with 851 career starts. He won 22 races.(Roanoke Times)(5-11-2008)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises announces its driver lineup for the #45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/PVA Dodge for the races beginning with the June 1 event at Dover through the July 12 event at Chicagoland. Kyle Petty is scheduled to step away from the car at Dover to attend his daughter’s wedding. Petty will also return to the broadcasting booth to cover the Sprint Cup events that will air on TNT Sports, which begin with the June 8 event at Pocono. Petty made his TNT Sports broadcasting debut in 2007 to rave reviews and accolades. Petty will return when the series makes its annual mid-summer trek to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chad McCumbee will bookend Petty’s hiatus by getting behind the wheel of the #45 Dodge at Dover and Chicagoland. He previously filled in for Petty at Pocono and the Michigan International Speedway in 2007 and at the Texas Motor Speedway last month. McCumbee’s best finish for Petty Enterprises came at Pocono when he came home 25th. “As a father there aren’t many days more special than the day you get to give your daughter away in marriage,” said Petty. “I appreciate Chad jumping in the car at Dover to allow me to do that. He is strong on the intermediate tracks and I’m confident that he will do a great job at Dover as well as Chicagoland. It’s just another part of our evaluation process of him.” For the remaining five races, Petty will turn the reins of the #45 Dodge over to a familiar friend and competitor. Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion, Terry Labonte, will become a teammate to his younger brother, 2000 series champion Bobby, for only the second time in their Sprint Cup careers [the 1st time was in 2005 when Terry ran the #11 FedEx car for JGR for 4 races]. The Labontes are the only brothers to both win the series championship and have combined to win 43 Sprint Cup races.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing)(5-13-2008) Comment here

  • Busch flips the bird? been asked about something posted in an AP article: Kyle Busch is NASCAR’s most hated driver. And he loves it. Viciously booed during pre-race introductions, Busch soaked up the venom by encouraging Saturday night’s crowd at Darlington Raceway to keep it coming. And when he heard a member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew jeer him as he passed by on the parade lap, Busch smugly flipped him the bird.(Associated Press/ESPN.com), folks have been asking if NASCAR will fine Busch. I watched the beginning of the race and pre-race ceramonies and didn’t see this make it on TV and have not heard if anyone from NASCAR saw the ‘act’, so I doubt there will be any penalties regarding this.(5-13-2008) Comment here

  • No new contract talks for Biffle UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle said he’s not had any new contract talks with Roush Fenway Racing, citing a busy schedule that had him testing for two days this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Ronaoke Times)(5-10-2008)
    AND #16-Greg Biffle certainly didn’t sound like a guy committed to Roush Fenway Racing when he blasted the faulty equipment that led to his last-place finish at Darlington Raceway. “All I want is equipment to drive that stays together,” said Biffle, who started from the pole and led 95 laps Saturday night before loose wheels, a bad vibration and a broken timing belt ended his race early. It is really frustrating, but you know what, I’ve just come accustomed to expecting it because week after week it’s something. Something breaks. Something falls off. I give it 110% as a driver all the time, and you just want your equipment to last and be able to win these races.” Still, it was clear “The Biff” was sending a message with his biting remarks. Just what might that message be? Well, signing a contract extension with Roush might not be the slam dunk both sides have led everyone to believe. In fact, Biffle might finally be ready to test the free-agent market. Before Darlington, he seemed determined to stay at Roush. “My 100% intent is to work out an extension with Roush,” Biffle said a week ago in Richmond. “I’ve sat back and thought about what else is out there. There are a lot of great teams and great opportunities out there … but do you look at it as are they better than what I have now or how are they different than what I have now? I’m making my decision kind of how (Dale) Earnhardt Jr. did, and it’s about winning races and championships and contending for the title and having good equipment. There are lots of teams that have that, but I feel comfortable where I’m at with Roush Fenway. I’ve been there 10 years and we’ve got great equipment.” Then that same equipment failed him Saturday night in Richmond, and Biffle sure didn’t sound as convincing. Compounding the situation is that Roush officials have openly questioned why, if Biffle is so certain he wants a contract extension, he’s been absent of late from the bargaining table. Biffle’s cited a busy schedule for the slow contract talks, but it’s time to wonder if he maybe isn’t taking a harder look at what’s available across the garage. And of all the drivers still on the market, Biffle is the top choice. He’s considered more talented than Ryan Newman, who is available, and Martin Truex Jr., who might be available, and both drivers are continuously mentioned for other rides.(see full story at Associated Press/ESPN.com)(5-13-2008) Comment here


    News from May 12, 2008

  • Harvick’s DNF Record Remains in Tact: #29-Kevin Harvick was forced to bring his Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet to the garage mid-way through the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway after hard contact with the outside retaining. Despite the heavy damage, the #29 crew was able to get Harvick back on the racetrack and grabbed two positions in the running order and gained six valuable championship points. Additionally, the hard work by the Shell-Pennzoil crew allowed Harvick to extend his streak of races without a Did Not Finish (DNF) to 55 consecutive races, the longest active streak in the Sprint Cup Series. Harvick holds the modern era record with 58 consecutive races without a DNF (10/3/02-8/1/04).(RCR)(5-13-2008)

  • Darlington overnight TV Ratings up 8%: A weekend of increases for FOX was highlighted by a 4.3/8 on Saturday night for Sprint Cup racing from Darlington. Saturday night’s 4.3/8 is an +8% gain over last year’s 4.0/8 for the Darlington race, which ran on Sunday afternoon due to rain. FOX’s 4.3/8 for the night was good enough to narrowly win the Primetime battle. CBS was second with a 4.2/8. FOX’s slight margin in the overnights will likely grow when national ratings are released tomorrow morning. After a brief mid-season swoon, NASCAR oOn Fox now appears to be back on track, as Fox’s last three races have each posted year-to-year increases in the metered markets. For the season-to-date, NASCAR on Fox is averaging a 5.4/11 in the overnights, a tenth better than last year’s 5.3/11 (+2%). FOX’s next race – the Coca-Cola 600 during Memorial Day weekend – will be the last race of this season to count toward the year-to-year comparison because last year’s Dover race was rained out, run on a Monday, and excluded from the total.(Fox), for ratings by race and the Ratings chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-12-2008) Comment here

  • Tire testing at Daytona: Goodyear tire has a scheulded tire testing session for the 50th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 5 ay Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, May 13th and Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Drivers expected to participate in the test are #26-Jamie McMurray (Ford), #84-Mike Skinner (Toyota) and #19-Elliott Sadler (Dodge). No Chevy team is scheduled to test.(DIS)(5-12-2008)

  • Franchitti’s status still unclear: #40-Dario Franchitti continues to heal from the broken left ankle he sustained during a Nationwide Series race at Talladega last month, with no firm timetable for his return. “There’s not really been any change,” Franchitti said Saturday. “I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down and the pain to go away, and for the fracture to heal. When those things go away, I’ll be able to drive the car again.” Sterling Marlin drove Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40 Dodge at Darlington, and could do so again at Charlotte if Franchitti is not ready. Franchitti has been monitoring the amount of pressure he puts on his ankle. After a couple hours of walking around, Franchitti elevates his leg and uses a boot that circulates cold water through it to alleviate the swelling. He had considered testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but the doctor nixed that idea. Franchitti obliged, remembering how he rushed back from injuries earlier in his career to mixed results. He recently traveled to Indianapolis – not to ponder racing in the Indy 500, where he is the reigning champion, but to get fitted for a carbon fiber brace that supports his ankle. He’ll use the brace when he returns to the car.(SceneDaily)(5-12-2008) Comment here

  • Nemechek’s Mom OK: Martha Nemechek, Joe’s mother [#78-Joe Nemechek], was not able to take part in Mother’s Day ceremonies at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night as she had knee surgery Saturday morning. She is doing fine and thanks everyone for the well wishes.(Furniture Row Racing)(5-12-2008)

News from May 11, 2008

  • Burton still has run every lap: UPDATE: #31-Jeff Burton is the lone Sprint Cup driver who has completed every lap (3,297) of competition this season. Burton also has completed 77.5% of the total laps (2,555 of 3,297) running in the top 15 and leads all drivers with the most runs on the lead lap (3,277 of 3,297).(RCR)(5-8-2008)
    UPDATE: Burton completed all 367 laps at Darlington Saturday night.(5-11-2008) Comment here


    News from May 10, 2008

  • Busch Wins at Darlington: #18-Kyle Busch won the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway for his 3rd win of 2008 and his 7th career win. He dominated the later stages of the race and led 169 laps on the night. #99-Carl Edwards was second, with the rest of the top-10 being #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #6-David Ragan, #17-Matt Kenseth, #11-Denny Hamlin, #28-Travis Kvapil, #22-Dave Blaney, and #10-Jeff Burton (who continues his streak of finishing every lap this season). Pole sitter #16-Greg Biffle broke a transmission midway through the race and finished 43rd. There were 8 cautions for 31 laps and 15 leaders with 35 lead changes.
    Darlington Race Results Awards Page.(5-10-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Darlington race 11 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 1690 [3 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 1611 -79 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1556
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 1500 -190 [1 win]
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 1490 -200 [1 win]
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1442 -248 [1 win]
    7) #99-Carl Edwards 1400 -290 [would be 4th without 100 pt penalty] [3 wins]
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 1397 -293
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 1396 -294
    10) #24-Jeff Gordon 1326 -364
    11) #16-Greg Biffle 1308 -382
    12) #6-David Ragan 1266 -424
    other chase contenders
    13) #12-Ryan Newman 1264 -426 [1 win]
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 1264 -426
    15) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1230 -460
    16) #42-Juan Montoya 1190 -500
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Darlington page.(5-10-2008)
  • Darlington International Raceay Penalty Report:
    Car #, Reason, Penalty, Lap Issued
    1 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 2
    2 #12 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 64
    3 #20 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 141
    4 #18 Lug nut(s) not installed MCI 141
    5 #66 Lug nut(s) not installed MCI 141
    6 #40 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 142
    7 #10 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 201
    8 #55 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 250
    9 #77 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 278
    10 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    11 #05 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    12 #43 Removing equipment from assigned pit area SG 303
    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)(5-10-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Lowe’s:
    one change in the top 35 as Hornish falls out and Blaney jumps in. The points between 35th and 36th is now 18
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    30) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing 878 +72
    31) #44-Reutimann/Waltrip Racing 873 +67
    32) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing 872 +66
    33) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing 851 +45
    34) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 835 +29
    35) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 824, 18 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 806 -18 points out of 35th
    37) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing 730 -94
    38) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 690 -134
    39) #70-Sauter/Haas CNC Racing 679 -145
    40) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing 654 -170
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-10-2008)
  • Darlington International Raceway Fast Facts
    .. Kyle Busch won the Dodge Challenger 500, his ninth victory in 125 Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is his third victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in four races at Darlington Raceway.
    .. Busch became the 43rd different race winner at Darlington and at 23 years, eight days – the youngest. He beat Terry Labonte (9/1/1980) by nine months and eight days.
    .. Carl Edwards (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish of 2008 and his fourth in five races at Darlington.
    .. Jeff Gordon (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 2008, tying his season best set at California. It is his 19th top-10 in 28 races at Darlington.
    .. Michael McDowell (28th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-10-2008)

  • John Andretti gets Indy 500 ride: John Andretti will attempt to qualify for his ninth Indianapolis 500 in the #24 Roth Racing car. Andretti, who started 24th and finished 30th last year in a Panther Racing-prepared car in his first Indy 500 since 1994, will replace Jay Howard in the seat for the race. Howard, the 2006 Firestone Indy Lights champion, passed the Rookie Orientation Program earlier in the week and practiced May 6. He has finishes of 22nd, 14th, 13th and 13th in IndyCar Series races this season. “As a result of the days lost due to weather, and losing our chief engineer (David Cripps) days before the start of this month, we found ourselves behind the 8-ball,” team president Margaret Roth said. “John brings with him a wealth of experience, which can help us build two competitive cars for the 500. Jay will be back at Milwaukee. He has our full support. He’s a great driver.”
    “I want to feel it out a little bit, and see what we can do,” Andretti said on the way to pit lane for the tail end of practice preceding qualifications for the first 11 spots in the 33-car field. He topped 220 mph on three laps. Team owner-driver Marty Roth will attempt to qualify for his fourth 500-Mile Race in the #25 car. He has a high finish of 24th in 2004.(Roth Racing), Andretti skipped Darlington and Lowe’s testing to find an Indy 500 ride and Jeff Green attempted and failed to get the #34 Chevy into the race at Darlington.(5-10-2008) Comment here

  • Labonte supposedly agrees to contract extension with Petty’s UPDATE 2: Bobby Labonte has reached an agreement to remain in the #43 car at Petty Enterprises after this season, sources told ESPN.com on Saturday. Labonte has been widely speculated as a candidate to drive the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing, but Petty officials have remained adamant that he will spend the rest of his career with the organization and that he is determined to be the driver that puts the 43 back into Victory lane. David Hovis, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises, said the team had nothing to announce Saturday about Labonte’s future. “We still remain 100% convinced that Bobby will be with Petty Enterprises next season,” Hovis said. Sources said Labonte’s new deal will be announced as soon as details concerning a new sponsor are worked out. General Mills, Labonte’s current sponsor, will be on the fourth car at RCR next season.
    Robbie Loomis, the vice president for racing operations at Petty, has been the most outspoken on Labonte’s commitment to Petty Enterprises. He remained that way on Saturday. “As far as I know Bobby Labonte will be with us for a long time,” he said before the Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. “I feel confident where we’re at with Petty Enterprises and with Bobby. In due time Petty Enterprises will have a lot of announcements coming forward.” One is that a Petty has finalized a deal with New York-based Medallion Financial as a business partner. Loomis said that could come within the next month to six weeks. The other concerns Labonte’s new sponsor. General Mills, Labonte’s current sponsor, will be on the fourth car at RCR next season. Loomis said negotiations for a new sponsor are going well, noting Labonte’s “brand is clean like the Petty’s.”(ESPN.com), one rumored sponsor for the #43 team has been Caterpillar, whose deal with Bill Davis Racing and the #22 Toyota runs out at the end of 2008.(5-3-2008)
    UPDATE 2: from an ESPN.com post from #43 crew chief Jeff Meendering: “As for reports that Bobby Labonte has signed with the team, I don’t think that anything is set in stone there. They are getting really close on working everything out. But to say anything is set in stone might have been some speculation. When everything started blowing up with that story, the guys on our team never paid any attention to that. We have really good management here that takes care of that and allows us to go to the track and race. I still feel like Bobby will be here next year, but I know they’re not totally done with it. I think they’re getting close, though.”(ESPN.com)(5-10-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart praises Goodyear: Only two months ago, #20-Tony Stewart angrily blasted Goodyear after the Atlanta race, saying the company had given him “the most pathetic racing tire I’ve ever been on in my professional career.” But it was a joyful, smiling Stewart who praised Goodyear for its research and hard work in delivering tires that helped the Joe Gibbs Racing star to his first win Friday night on NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway, Darlington Raceway. “I really want to give Goodyear a pat on the back,” he said. The company made two trips since March to test tires on Darlington’s slick, new surface, repaved at a cost of $7 million for the first time since 1995. The results were absolutely perfect for Stewart. “I’m the first one to tell them when they screw up and I want to be the first one to tell them when they do a good job, too,” Stewart said.(ESPN/AP)(5-10-2008) Comment here

  • Problems with #99 rear housing? #24-Jeff Gordon would like NASCAR to look into the way Roush Fenway Racing is adjusting the rear housing on Carl Edwards’ #99 Ford to create a competitive advantage. Edwards has won three times on 1.5-mile tracks this season and was in position to win a fourth before having late engine problems. Many in the garage said during testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earlier this week that the yaw created — Edwards’ car appears to be going sideways on the straightaway, creating more side force heading into the turns — by turning the rear housing to the right gives Edwards a competitive advantage. ” … NASCAR knows it’s happening,” Gordon said on Friday at Darlington Raceway. “They are the ones that see the cars come through inspection. They see it. When cars can’t even get on the scales because they’re running sideways, it’s something they need to address.” Series director John Darby said there are no plans to further police the rear housing adjustment, noting NASCAR already has a rule restricting more than a quarter-inch change plus or minus. He added that Hendrick Motorsports, for which Gordon drives, was the first to experiment with the rear-housing adjustment on the new car and that Edwards’ #99 team was one of the last. “They [complain] when we’ve got too many rules and then they want us to create more,” Darby said of teams in general. “The process is so simple. There are limits on how far they can go.”(full story at ESPN.com)(5-10-2008) Comment here

  • #08 gets sponsor for Lowe’s races: #08-EM Motorsports owner John Carter announced that Natural Styles, creator of “Fueled Up Beyond All Recognition (FUBAR) Performance Drink” and “FUBAR Performance Bar” will become the primary sponsor for the #08 Sprint Cup Series team. This association will begin with the Sprint Showdown, which takes place May 17th, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Tony Raines will pilot the EM Motorsports Dodge Charger in the event. Natural Styles, a Mesa Arizona based operation, has production facilities in Utah and California with a line up of new age – functional, “All Natural” beverages and 100% Organic performance bars.(Tony Raines.com)(5-10-2008)Comment here
  • Busch Wins at Darlington: #18-Kyle Busch won the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway for his 3rd win of 2008 and his 7th career win. He dominated the later stages of the race and led 169 laps on the night. #99-Carl Edwards was second, with the rest of the top-10 being #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #6-David Ragan, #17-Matt Kenseth, #11-Denny Hamlin, #28-Travis Kvapil, #22-Dave Blaney, and #10-Jeff Burton (who continues his streak of finishing every lap this season). Pole sitter #16-Greg Biffle broke a transmission midway through the race and finished 43rd. There were 8 cautions for 31 laps and 15 leaders with 35 lead changes.
    Darlington Race Results Awards Page.(5-10-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Darlington race 11 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 1690 [3 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 1611 -79 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1556
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 1500 -190 [1 win]
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 1490 -200 [1 win]
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1442 -248 [1 win]
    7) #99-Carl Edwards 1400 -290 [would be 4th without 100 pt penalty] [3 wins]
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 1397 -293
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 1396 -294
    10) #24-Jeff Gordon 1326 -364
    11) #16-Greg Biffle 1308 -382
    12) #6-David Ragan 1266 -424
    other chase contenders
    13) #12-Ryan Newman 1264 -426 [1 win]
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 1264 -426
    15) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1230 -460
    16) #42-Juan Montoya 1190 -500
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Darlington page.(5-10-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Lowe’s:
    one change in the top 35 as Hornish falls out and Blaney jumps in. The points between 35th and 36th is now 18
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    30) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing 878 +72
    31) #44-Reutimann/Waltrip Racing 873 +67
    32) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing 872 +66
    33) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing 851 +45
    34) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 835 +29
    35) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 824, 18 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 806 -18 points out of 35th
    37) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing 730 -94
    38) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 690 -134
    39) #70-Sauter/Haas CNC Racing 679 -145
    40) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing 654 -170
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-10-2008)
  • Darlington International Raceay Penalty Report:
    Car #, Reason, Penalty, Lap Issued
    1 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 2
    2 #12 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 64
    3 #20 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 141
    4 #18 Lug nut(s) not installed MCI 141
    5 #66 Lug nut(s) not installed MCI 141
    6 #40 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 142
    7 #10 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 201
    8 #55 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 250
    9 #77 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 278
    10 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    11 #05 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    12 #43 Removing equipment from assigned pit area SG 303
    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)(5-10-2008)
  • Darlington International Raceway Fast Facts
    .. Kyle Busch won the Dodge Challenger 500, his ninth victory in 125 Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is his third victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in four races at Darlington Raceway.
    .. Busch became the 43rd different race winner at Darlington and at 23 years, eight days – the youngest. He beat Terry Labonte (9/1/1980) by nine months and eight days.
    .. Carl Edwards (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish of 2008 and his fourth in five races at Darlington.
    .. Jeff Gordon (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 2008, tying his season best set at California. It is his 19th top-10 in 28 races at Darlington.
    .. Michael McDowell (28th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-10-2008)


    News from May 9, 2008

  • NASCAR Schedules National Series Awards Shows: NASCAR announced the lineup for its three top series’ 2008 postseason awards shows, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony’s return to the Waldorf=Astoria hotel in New York City. The Dec. 5 Waldorf event will continue a tradition begun in 1981 for NASCAR’s premier series. The event will be held in the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom. Television broadcast information will be announced at a later date. This lineup is a change from recent seasons, when the NASCAR Nationwide Series was the finale. This year, that event will preface the New York show. The rundown follows:
    • Nov. 17: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; Seminole Hard Rock; Hollywood, Fla.
    • Nov. 22: NASCAR Nationwide Series; Portofino Bay Hotel; Orlando, Fla.
    • Dec. 5: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Waldorf=Astoria; New York.(NASCAR PR)(5-9-2008)

  • Special scheme for Labonte in #43 at Chicago: #43-Bobby Labonte will drive a special paint scheme marking the 50th Anniversary of the King’s first NASCAR race. Labonte is scheduled to drive the car on July 12, 2008 at the LifeLock.com 400 in Chicagoland. See image on my #43 Team Schemes page.(5-9-2008)

  • NASCAR claims electrical fire caused fatal plane crash: NASCAR officials claim an electrical fire caused a fatal plane crash near Orlando last year that killed two aboard the aircraft and three on the ground, but federal investigators do not necessarily agree with that claim. The NASCAR accident summary is included in Friday’s release of reports by the National Transportation Safety Board into the July 10 [2007] crash of the NASCAR airplane. It claims the pilots were overcome by fumes and were incapacitated. The NTSB says it is still investigating the crash, with a final report of the cause likely in the summer. NTSB reports say a radar unit malfunctioned and caused a burning smell the day before the crash, but NASCAR claims the radar unit did not cause the fire that led to the crash. NASCAR’s insurance company earlier this year reached a settlement with a man whose wife and 6-month-old son were killed when their home was hit by the plane. The crash also killed NASCAR pilot Michael Klemm and the husband of a NASCAR executive, as well as a 4-year-old child in the second house that was hit.(Associated Press)(5-9-2008)

  • Kurt Busch’s Superdome opens soon: The “Grand Opening” of the new Kurt Busch Superdome at the Victory Junction Gang Camp is set for Tuesday, May 20 at 2:00pm/et. The project was announced in May 2006, with Kurt announcing the donation of the initial $1 million in support of the project. The 28,000 square-foot facility will provide opportunities for indoor sports in a climate-controlled environment. “It’ll be like seeing a dream come true to finally get the doors open and see all the kids enjoying themselves,” said Kurt. “It’s been a labor of love for all of the people involved and I’m so proud and grateful to have the opportunity to make a contribution in this manner to the Petty camp.” Final details on the event will be announced within the next 10 days. Several sports and entertainment celebrities are expected to be on hand.(TRPR)(5-9-2008)Comment here
  • Darlington Goodyear Tire Notes: With the complete re-pave of Darlington Rcaeway since last season, Goodyear has tested extensively at the track and brought a new combination of left- and right-side tires for teams to race on this weekend . . . Goodyear ran it’s first two-day test at Darlington with drivers #16-Greg Biffle, #24-Jeff Gordon and #12-Ryan Newman in mid-March, and settled on it’s right-side tire recommendation during that session . . . the tire manufacturer scheduled a one-day continuation test with the same drivers for early-April, and confirmed it’s left-side recommendation at that session . . . Darlington is the only track at which NASCAR teams are scheduled to run this specific combination of left- and right-side tire codes this season . . . however, teams will run this right-side code (D-4130) with a different left-side code at Charlotte later this month . . . teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . 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. The estimated pit window is every 54-58 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full report, codes, pressures and more on my Darlington Race Info page.(5-9-2008) Comment here
  • Happy Hour practice for the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway is over, the top five:
    #11-Hamlin 179.651
    #18-Busch 179.174
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 179.141
    #9-Kahne 178.731
    #24-Gordon 178.510
    slowest: #70-Sauter 171.065 & #07-Bowyer 172.125
    no speed listed: #84-Allmendinger
    most laps run: #6-Ragan 25
    note: the track qualifying record is held by Ward Burton, in March 1996 [after the track was repaved the last time] 173.797mph
    incidents: got another one in the wall as #41-Sorenson slapped the turn 2 wall and crushed the right front of the car and will have to go to a backup car for qualifying this afternoon, the 4th driver to a backup; late in the session, #48-Johnson spun off turn 4, held it off the outside wall, and kissed the inside wall, doing some damage to the left front and the splitter…this is a backup car already, but it is repairable. Then just after the track went green again, #15-Menard came off turn 4, scraped the wall, then came down and slapped the inside wall, the #15 will go to a backup; then in turn 2, #7-Gordon scraped the wall, but the car looks repairable.
    See all the speeds on my Darlington Practice Speeds Page.(5-9-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers [go-or-go-homers] run in Happy Hour practice at Darlington
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #40-Sterling Marlin, 12th
    #22-Dave Blaney, 20th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 23rd
    #45-Kyle Petty, 26th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 29th
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 33rd
    #21-Bill Elliott, [has past champ provisional to use if needed], 38th
    #34-Jeff Green, 39th
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #70-Johnny Sauter, 44th
    #84-AJ Allmendinger, no speed, didn’t practice
    See all the speeds on my Darlington Practice Speeds Page.(5-9-2008)


    News from May 8, 2008

  • Hendrick Motorsports reopens museum: Check out Rick Hendrick’s first Chevrolet. Watch a dissected Impala SS “Car of Tomorrow” being pieced together. See the cars and memorabilia of Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. These are just a few things visitors can do now that Hendrick Motorsports has reopened its museum. The 15,000-square-foot facility, which was closed the last four months for renovations, pays tribute to nearly 25 seasons of Hendrick Motorsports history and offers fans the latest in team-related apparel and merchandise. Admission to the museum is free of charge. Throughout the year, the museum will exhibit a rotating stable of famous Chevrolets — such as an original All-Star Racing entry, multiple Daytona 500 champions and the inaugural Brickyard 400 winner. Featured currently are cars driven by Geoff Bodine, Tim Richmond, Ken Schrader and Ricky Hendrick, among others. Visitors will be met at the entrance by the Monte Carlo SS that Johnson drove at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch the 2007 Sprint Cup Series title. The Hendrick Motorsports museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors can find special announcements, extended race-week hours, driving directions and additional information related to the museum at www.HendrickMotorsports.com.(HMS)(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Hamlin lends name to restaurant: #11-Denny Hamlin will be lending his name and star power to one of Salisbury’s [NC] more popular restaurants. In coming months, The Original Steakhouse & Sports Theatre, located at the Salisbury Mall, will be changing its name and look to become Denny Hamlin’s Grille 11. The “11” refers to Hamlin’s number for Joe Gibbs Racing. The extensive changes to the restaurant will be made through a licensing agreement between Celebrity Ventures Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Hamlin. Bob McCarthy, a partner and concept development vice president for Celebrity Ventures, said Hamlin will have his own private “owner’s box” at the restaurant and can be expected to be making visits to the Salisbury location and a like-named restaurant in Asheville. This is Celebrity Ventures’ first restaurant with a NASCAR driver. McCarthy put the transformation of the restaurant in Salisbury at 90 to 120 days. He said the restaurant’s footprint will stay the same, but its audio-visual package will be enhanced dramatically, besides some cosmetic changes. The extensive menus offer appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta, steak, seafood and desserts.(Salisbury Post)(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Lopez and HOF Racing part ways? hearing that #96 Hall of Fame Racing and Competition Director [and former crew chief], Philippe Lopez parted ways on Tuesday.(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart gives few hints about future: #20-Tony Stewart returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday to help Chevrolet unveil its new midget-car engine, an appearance that prompted another round of questions about Stewart’s plans and whether they might include IndyCars. “There’s a part of me that thinks running at Indy and in IndyCar is a chapter of my life that is closed,” he said. “Then there is the emotional part of me that says, ‘Never say never.’ I don’t know if I’ll ever get in an IndyCar again, but if that happens, it’s going to be a long way down the road because I have a lot of commitments on the NASCAR side.” Stewart has been running with Joe Gibbs Racing since 1998, and his current contract doesn’t expire until the end of next season. Yet he’s already fielding offers from other teams and said last month he had discussed terminating the deal early, depending on which offer he accepts. Some of those offers also include ownership of a team. Many believe Stewart, who turns 37 on May 20, is looking to move in part because he has long ties to Chevrolet, one of the Cup series’ manufacturers. JGR is now using Toyotas, and Stewart remains winless this season after winning 32 times in his first nine years on the Cup circuit. While Stewart acknowledged he considered Chevy’s deal with his own open-wheel teams a personal endorsement, he brushed off the suggestion that he was upset with driving a Toyota. “It wasn’t weird when we started the program,” he said. “It wasn’t weird then, and it’s not weird now. When we started our (open-wheel) program, Mopar provided us with engines and both sides understood.” As so often happens when the Indiana native visits the speedway, however, the discussion quickly turned to one of his favorite subjects — the Indy 500 — and whether he would still like to race here. The answer: Only if it’s a full-time gig in the IRL. “If I was going to come to Indianapolis again, I don’t want to come and show up for the month of May,” he said. “If I am going to do it, I need to start at Homestead. I need to run all of the races leading up to the month of May to really feel like I am being fair to the team and being fair to myself. … As long as I’m driving a stock car, that basically takes that part of it out of the equation.”(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-8-2008)Comment here

  • #18 team wins 1st Qtr Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: The #18 M&M’s Team for Joe Gibbs Racing recorded one win and has been in the top five of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series championship point standings through the first eight races of the season. As a result of their outstanding work on the track and in the pits the team has been named the first quarter finalist for the 2008 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Sprint 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 2008 National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Media Luncheon in New York City. 2008 #18 M&M’s Pit Crew: Michael Lepp, Pit Crew Coach; Jeff Fender, Jackman; Nick O’Dell, Front-Tire Changer; Brad Donaghy, Front-Tire Carrier; Jack Seminara, Rear-Tire Changer; Kenny Barber, Rear-Tire Carrier; Tom Lempe, Gas man; Jason Hinson, Catch Can; Steve Addington, Crew Chief.(Mechanix Wear)(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Office Depot to MWR? Hearing Office Depot, currently the sponsor for #99-Carl Edwards, is considering a move to Michael Waltrip Racing with driver #00-Michael McDowell. UPS has been rumored as a possible sponsor for Edwards and Roush Racing in 2009.(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience to open in Fall of 2008: Belle Island Village – along with three-time Cup Champion and FOX Sports analyst Darrell Waltrip and fellow motor sports veteran Jeff Hammond – announced key components of the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience, scheduled to open in fall 2008 at Belle Island’s themed development, located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, TN. The new $5 million, 27,000-square-foot racing-themed attraction promises to place visitors in the driver’s seat with diverse and highly interactive components to showcase the racing experience from all vantage points of today’s motor speedway. Included in the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience, visitors will find:
    * a variety of racecar simulators integrating virtual reality
    * competition remote-controlled cars that race around a mini-Bristol Motor Speedway replica
    * an interactive theater and a soundstage with an actual studio-quality media set, hardwired to allow either live television production with editing capabilities or guests’ interactive fun, such as seeing what it is like to sit in Darrell Waltrip’s studio chair on race day
    * interactive pit crew area with images of Darrell Waltrip and his former Crew Chief Jeff Hammond
    * both permanent and rotating exhibits, such as a variety of actual stock cars that have won racing events
    * an exhibit that commemorates the history of stock car racing
    * an “Infield Experience”
    * a gift shop and a Victory Lane arcade with the latest in NASCAR and racing-related games
    “Anyone who isn’t a die-hard racing fan when they get here will be when they leave,” Waltrip said. “We’re making sure this place is a true ‘experience,’ including the sights, sounds, smells, atmosphere, motion and intensity of racing that give people an opportunity to know what it feels like to be part of a real stock car race, from a lot of different perspectives.” According to Waltrip, it will take the average guest approximately two and a half hours to see all of the attraction, given the range of components within the facility. More info at belleisland.com/dwre.htm.(PR)(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Richmond TV Ratings higher: For the second straight week, NASCAR on Fox posted a year-to-year increase as Saturday’s race from RICHMOND averaged a 4.5/9 (7.3 million viewers). That’s up +5% over last year’s 4.3/11, which aired on a Sunday due to a Saturday rain-out. This is FOX’s best NASCAR rating for a Saturday night race since 2006. Saturday’s race opened at a 4.0/9 at 7:51p, and peaked at a 5.5/11 from 11-11:30p. For the night, FOX was the top-rated network among both Households (4.3/8), and Adults 18-49 (2.5/9), easily outrating the competition. Remarkably, every time FOX has aired a Saturday night race over the last seven-plus years the race has won the night among Adults 18-49, a perfect 12 for 12 record. Season-to-date, Sprint Cup racing on FOX is averaging a 6.1/12 (10.1 million viewers), up +3% over last year’s 5.9/13. Currently, Sprint Cup racing on FOX is the top-rated sport in season.(Fox), see Ratings per race and more on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Darlington Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 3 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Smith scored a 21st-place finish and captured top rookie honors for the fifth time in 10 races this season. He has been the top Raybestos Rookie in all three short track races. Smith leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by one point (97-96) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. entering the May 10 Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. Since 2001, two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions at Darlington Raceway: Kurt Busch (2001) and Kasey Kahne (2004). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Darlington is Kasey Kahne, who led three times for 24 laps in the 2004 spring race. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin captured the top starting spot for the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway (56 races). Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup since the program was created in 2004.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), for standings, history, past winners, see my 2008 Rookies page.(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Fuel Prices hitting Race teams too: As gas prices soar across the country, the thought of paying $6.25 a gallon would make any consumer cringe. Yet that’s what it costs in NASCAR, where race teams use a special Sunoco 260 GTX unleaded fuel to fill their cars. Although the gas is free — part of Sunoco’s agreement as NASCAR’s official fuel supplier — it doesn’t mean car owners and drivers aren’t feeling the pain at the pump. “It affects all of us, anybody that’s in business,” said car owner Richard Childress. “Getting our cars to the racetracks costs a ton in gas money for the haulers. Bringing our people to the tracks, the rising costs of jet fuel. It’s very, very expensive to do what we’re doing.” Childress, owner of a highly successful race team, isn’t complaining. Nor are the drivers who pull in multimillion dollar salaries and don’t flinch at $85 fill-ups on their luxury SUV’s. But no one in NASCAR is immune to the weakening economy and rising costs on fuel. Just because they can afford it, doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling the pinch. Under Sunoco’s deal with NASCAR, teams are provided free fuel at any sanctioned test, practice or race for all three top divisions. A company spokeswoman said it’s impossible to determine just how much fuel is used per weekend because of fluctuations in schedules, weather and the teams’ practice times each week. When teams tested earlier this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, their gas was once again free. But the good teams test a lot, traveling all over the South to facilities not sanctioned by NASCAR. Sunoco doesn’t cover those all-day sessions, and a race team typically brings a 55-gallon drum of gas to get them through the test. Even so, there are critics who complain that NASCAR races are dipping into the national supply. But NASCAR officials claim the amount of fuel being used — less than 175,000 gallons per year on the Sprint Cup Series — doesn’t come close to the 366 million gallons that Americans average in daily usage. So NASCAR has no current plans to shorten races, as it did in the early 1970s when OPEC hoarded oil to increase prices, causing long lines at the pumps.
    But the pain is still felt away from the track, where teams have noticed a significant increase in transportation costs. From sending diesel-chugging haulers across the country to transport the race cars, to the exorbitant jump in jet fuel, costs are soaring in simply getting drivers, crews and equipment to each event. With diesel fuel now over $4.00 a gallon, and each hauler holding roughly 300 gallons, fill-ups now cost more than $1,200 for a truck that only gets between 4.5 and 7.5 miles per gallon. The real pinch, though, comes in jet fuel. Many team owners shuttling crew members, and drivers flying private planes on weekends, are considering cutting down on the luxuries. Many drivers own their own planes and use them for personal and professional travel. But at about $4.30 a gallon, Carl Edwards estimated it costs him $2,000 a trip to fill his airplane — not worth it for a spur-of-the-moment vacation. Many also consider themselves lucky to be at the highest level of racing. Fuel isn’t free outside of NASCAR, and as high as the ARCA level, teams are paying for gas to get to the track and once they get there.(in part from the Associated Press/ESPN)(5-8-2008) Comment here
  • The Second practice for the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway is over, the the top five were:
    #84-Allmendinger 178.679
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 178.640
    #22-Blaney 178.620
    #18-Busch 177.249
    #16-Biffle 176.676
    slowest: #17-Kenseth 171.441 and #10-Carpentier 172.457
    most laps run: #18-Busch 42; #9-Kahne, 41
    note: the track qualifying record is held by Ward Burton, in March 1996 [after the track was repaved the last time] 173.797mph
    incidents: #66-Riggs and #10-Carpentier both hit the wall during the session, but only Riggs will be forced to a backup car. #70-Sauter will also go to a backup car.(SceneDaily)
    See all the speeds on my Darlington Practice Speeds Page.(5-8-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers [go-or-go-homers] run in the 2nd practice at Darlington
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #84-AJ Allmendinger, 1st
    #22-Dave Blaney, 2nd
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 6th
    #70-Johnny Sauter, 7th
    #40-Sterling Marlin, 8th
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 19th
    #34-John Andretti, 23rd
    #21-Bill Elliott, [would use past champ provisional] 43rd
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #45-Kyle Petty, 37th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 44th
    See all the speeds on my Darlington Practice Speeds Page.(5-8-2008)


    News from May 7, 2008

  • Dale Jr. Talks Openly about His Grief, Growth and New Gig In Latest ESPN The Magazine Cover Story: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has spent the seven years since his fathers death learning how to live without him. In the cover story for ESPN The Magazine, All Grown Up, Dale Jr. talks in depth publicly for the first time about the pain of losing his dad, who was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001. Writer Marty Smith reveals that since Junior left the family business, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (and affiliation with Dale Sr.s third wife Teresa Earnhardt), for NASCAR juggernaut Hendrick Motorsports this season, hes finally feeling like himself again. “When my dad died, I was numb, blind. I just kept moving. Going. Doing. It was horrible. The further away from it I get, the more I understand how I went through it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. I didnt talk about it because it wasnt something I wanted to preach. Oh, I lost my Daddy, woe is me, and I gotta go through life without him. I didnt want that message. I aint got nothing against her. She might have something against me, I dont know.” (Dale Earnhardt Jr. regarding Teresa Earnhardt, who declined to be interviewed for the story.) ESPN The Magazine was granted exclusive access to Juniors property and Whiskey River, the replica Wild West town hes built on his 200 acres of land in North Carolina. The issue is on newsstands Wednesday, May 7. ESPNthemag.com will exhibit a complementary photo gallery and a behind the story by Smith, who lost his own father while writing the piece on Dale Jr. See the full story at ESPNthemag.com.(5-7-2008) Comment here

  • Mears says he is good thru 2009: from a Casey Mears Press Conference Transcript: In the last week or two we’ve had a lot of discussion about Tony Stewart and his contract situation moving forward, and your name has popped up a couple times in different discussions just because of the fact that he’s going to be a free agent and obviously that would be a big coup. How do you feel about your position at Hendrick going forward, and do you think you’re solid in there for the foreseeable future? “No, I feel good. We’re solid for next year and definitely focused on moving forward. Rick has stated that several times, that things are where they’re going to be, and we’re moving forward for next year. We’re just getting started again.”(GM Racing)(5-7-2008) Comment here

  • Wood Brothers Racing Brings Back Mercury Paint Scheme: Wood Brothers Racing will be placing its 1971 Mercury paint scheme on the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in Darlington this weekend for the Dodge Challenger 500 on Saturday night, May 10th. Bill Elliott will drive the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion with the vintage paint scheme. The candy apple red and white COT with the signature gold numbers will commemorate a time in Wood Brother’s racing history when David Pearson drove the #21 to five wins and eight pole starting positions at Darlington Raceway. The #21 Purolator Mercury moved back into the racing scene when Leonard Wood recently restored the race car that was housed in the Darlington Raceway Museum for over 30 years. David Pearson and Carl Edwards brought modern and classic race cars together again in a media event for the newly surfaced raceway in April. Pearson made laps in the original Mercury as Carl Edwards followed in the new COT style race car. Leonard Wood stood by and buckled Pearson in, as he did as Pearson’s crew chief years ago. Scenes of the special feature will air during the pre-race show NASCAR Raceday on Speed Saturday, May 10th at 5:00pm/et.(Wood Brothers Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #21 team Schemes page.(5-7-2008) Comment here

  • Waltrip to make 700th career start: #55-Michael Waltrip will be competing in his 700th Sprint Cup race when the 11th event of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, the Dodge Challenger 500, gets underway at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. He is currently tied with Buddy Baker for 13th on the all-time starts list.(MWR)(5-7-2008)
  • Four Race Tracks Tony Stewart has never won a Cup race at: There are four current race tracks the Cup Series runs on that #20-Tony Stewart has not won at [a Cup race]:
    California 0 for 14 with a best finish of 4th in 1999 & 2001
    Las Vegas 0 for 10 with a best finish of 2nd in 2000
    Talladega 0 for 19 with a best finish of 2nd [6 times] in 2001,2002,2005,2006
    Darlington 0 for 15 with a best finish of 4th in 2001 & 2002
    Stewart has won at 18 of 23 tracks he has raced on, didn’t win at Rockingham which is no longer active for Cup racing.(5-7-2008)Comment here

  • MRN to air June New Hampshire race; PRN in Sept: Motor Racing Network will handle the radio broadcast of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races June 28-29 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, spokesman Wes Harris of MRN parent company International Speedway Corp. said Tuesday afternoon. Motor Racing Network, owned by the France family-controlled ISC and rival Performance Racing Network are involved in lawsuits over the radio broadcast rights stemming from PRN parent company Speedway Motorpsorts Inc.’s purchase of the track in January. PRN typically broadcasts the Nationwide and Cup races from SMI tracks. A partial settlement in their court battles has resulted in MRN being granted the exclusive broadcast rights for June and for the two sides to enter mediation in hopes of settling which network will broadcast the September 2008 weekend as well as the 2009 and 2010 weekends, Harris said. If the two sides can’t agree on a settlement on what should happen beyond June, they will return to court in 60 days, according to court documents.(SceneDaily)(5-7-2008)
    AND – PRN gets New Hampshire rights beginning in September:Performance Racing Network will broadcast all Nationwide and Sprint Cup races from New Hampshire Motor Speedway beginning with the September 2008 race at the track. PRN is the radio network of new NHMS owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. and traditionally broadcasts events at SMI tracks. A dispute over the radio rights occurred after the sale because SMI rival International Speedway Corp. had a contract for its Motor Racing Network to do the races. SMI argued in court documents that the MRN contract was invalid. The two sides have agreed to a partial settlement in the case and will go to mediation for the remainder of the dispute. MRN will broadcast the upcoming races in June at the track. After that, PRN will broadcast the events, PRN President Doug Rice and ISC spokesman Wes Harris confirmed Wednesday morning.(SceneDaily)(5-7-2008) Comment here

  • Marlin back in the #40; Franchitti update: Former CGRFS driver Sterling Marlin will drive the #40 Dodge Challenger in this Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway, while its full-time driver Dario Franchitti continues to recover from a race injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26). At this time, Marlin is confirmed to drive for CGRFS at Darlington only. He raced full-time for CGRFS when the team started in 2001 and drove for CGRFS from 2001-2005 tallying 172 starts, four wins, three poles, 24 top-fives, 57 top-10s and led a total of 1,444 laps. Marlin also tested the #40 Monday and Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway
    Franchitti Update: Dario Franchitti, full-time driver of the #40 CGRFS Dodge, will sit out this weekend’s NSCS race at Darlington Raceway. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace last week but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the #40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
    Speical Scheme: The #40 Dodge will feature the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on its hood this weekend in Darlington, S.C. Powered by a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that produces 425 horsepower, the Challenger SRT8 is true to its historical roots, but with modern features that customers expect like SIRIUS Satellite radio, UConnect hands-free phone and MyGIG infotainment system featuring a 30 gig hard drive. For more information about the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, go to www.dodge.com.(CGRFS)(5-7-2008) Comment here

  • Armed Forces Unite for Major Military Tribute by NASCAR Drivers:Six Sprint Cup drivers and two Nationwide Series drivers will lead all NASCAR fans in the USO Salute the Troops Memorial Day tribute to the armed forces on Saturday, May 24th, and Sunday, May 25th, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to kick off a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families worldwide. All will drive specially designed cars supporting branches of the military. Participating drivers include #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #07-Clint Bowyer, #8-Mark Martin, #21-Jon Wood, Brad Keselowski, Cale Gale and NHRA’s Tony Schumacher. Several of those drivers, including Mark Martin, Jon Wood and Brad Keselowski were at Lowe’s Motor Speedway today for the unveiling of the special cars. Distinguished members of the military kicked off the Salute the Troops tribute in grand style with a military color guard presentation and the presentation of the cars that will run in the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day and the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals the previous weekend to show their support for America’s armed forces. The USO Salute the Troops program hopes to raise funds for American military families in need through the effort. The NASCAR and NHRA team owners, sponsors, drivers and employees donated the space on their cars to collectively thank the armed forces at the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, Coca-Cola 600 and O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Diecast models and officially licensed merchandise of the participating drivers will be available for sale through Motorsports Authentics. “It is an honor for Motorsports Authentics to be a part of this program with Speedway Motorsports, General Sadler, Victory Management and the teams,” said Mark Dyer, president of Motorsports Authentics. “All of the men and women serving selflessly in the military are heroes and we recognize their immense sacrifice. This is a great opportunity to recognize, celebrate and support them in a meaningful way. Our sincere hope is that people will come out in force to show their support of this program and to help the heroes among us.” Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Motorsports Authentics, Victory Management Group and the NASCAR and NHRA teams and their respective sponsors developed the program. JHE Productions and Lowe’s Motor Speedway will collaborate to create a fantastic pre-race tribute presentation. Two major organizations will work together to promote the Salute the Troops Memorial Day Tribute and support the event’s fundraising efforts: The USO and Speedway Children’s Charities.(PR) see images of the cars on my Team Schemes pages: #88#24#48#07#8 and #21 plus the #88 NNS Team Schemes page and #77 NNS Team Schemes page.(5-7-2008) Comment here

  • Big Red back on the #42: Wrigley’s Big Red brand will once again adorn the hood of the #42 Dodge Charger that Juan Pablo Montoya will pilot at Darlington Raceway this weekend. This will be the third race for the Big Red paint scheme this season.(CGRFS) see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(5-7-2008)

  • Jack is back on the #07: After a three-race hiatus, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy returns to its traditional black and white Jack Daniel’s paint scheme this weekend at Darlington. Jack Daniel’s will be the primary sponsor on RCR’s #07 entry for the remainder of the 2008 schedule with the exception of Dover in June and Watkins Glen in August when DIRECTV will assume the primary sponsorship position.(RCR)(5-7-2008)

  • Harvick approaching DNF record: #29-Kevin Harvick has not recorded a DNF in 54 consecutive races, which is the longest active streak. Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record with 58 consecutive races without a DNF (10/3/2002-8/1/2004).(RCR)(5-7-2008)

  • Waltrip Honors Friend, McDowell Pays Special Tribute to Mother: For Brain Cancer Awareness week May 4-10, Michael Waltrip designed a special paint scheme for the #00 Toyota Camry to honor his dearly departed friend Max Helton who was instrumental in establishing Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) in 1988. “Max was a really special person in my life,” Waltrip said. “I cherished the time I spent with him and the positive influence he had on me. We will miss him, but we will never forget him.” Helton’s vision came to life with the help of Darrell and Stevie Waltrip and so many others. Michael befriended Helton in the late 80’s as he began work in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing community providing ministries for drivers, team members, family and friends. “I don’t believe our racing family would have the continuity and the family atmosphere it has if it wasn’t for Max and MRO,” Darrell Waltrip said. “Max came to my wife Stevie and me in Riverside, California in 1987 and said he wanted to start a ministry in NASCAR. He said he was willing to move to North Carolina. We were excited because he was an ordained minister. When he came to NASCAR, people immediately fell in love with him. I am so proud of Michael Waltrip and Michael McDowell for recognizing his accomplishments. Max meant a lot to everyone in this sport.” This weekend is also Mother’s Day and Michael Waltrip wanted to also pay tribute to mothers with a “Love You Mom” decal on the back of the #00 Toyota Camry. “We put a special note on McDowell’s car to all the mothers watching the race on Saturday,” Waltrip said. “Our mom is an important part of our lives. I love the fact that we are racing on Saturday, so that we can spend Mother’s Day with her at home on Sunday.” McDowell was a huge supporter of the idea because he wanted to show admiration for his mom that he lost to pancreatic cancer at age 45 when he was only 21. “I wanted to pay tribute to my mom,” McDowell said. “In addition to MW’s ‘Love You Mom’ decal, I’m also running one I designed to honor my mom. She had such a positive impact on my life. Everybody that knew her loved her. She was just a happy person. I miss seeing her smiling face, but I know she’s with me every day. My wife Jami and I want to wish all the mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day.”(MWR)(5-7-2008) Comment here


    News from May 6, 2008

  • Testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over: Sprint Cup testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway ended Tuesday evening, with 51 cars running laps, the fastest was #26-McMurray at 185.720mph in a Ford followed by the Dodge of #12B-Newman, the Toyota of #84-Allmendinger, #66B-Riggs in a Chevy and the Dodge of #10-Carpentier. There were six minor incidents during the 10 hours of testing. A.J. Allmendinger, Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch each brushed the yellow outside SAFER barriers. All five cars received only minor damage and each driver was able to drive back to the garage area. Regan Smith was a double-dipper, making contact with the outside wall twice. He was able to drive into the garage following each fender-bender.(LMS PR)
    See all the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page and Best Speed Overall by Driver – Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing.(5-6-2008) Comment here

  • Kvapil gets sponsor for Darlington UPDATE image: Fayetteville’s [NC] Lafayette Ford will sponsor driver #28-Travis Kvapil in the May 10 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. Lafayette Ford and the #28 car have a vaunted history. Fred Lorenzen, NASCAR’s “Golden Boy” of the 1960s, scored virtually all of his wins with sponsorship from the dealership while driving for the Holman-Moody team. In 1964, he won five consecutive starts, with the last being the Rebel 300 at Darlington.(Fayetteville Observer)
    AND: Yates Racing announced that LaFayette Ford, who sponsored the #28 with driver Fred Lorenzen from 1962-1967, will again sponsor the #28 entry but this time with driver Travis Kvapil for the Sprint Cup series race at Darlington Raceway on May 10th. Kvapil’s #28 will sport a paint scheme reminiscent to that of Fred Lorenzen’s during the 60’s when LaFayette Ford sponsored Lorenzen’s #28 machine. The Darlington 500 will mark the first time LaFayette Ford has served as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series since the dealership was associated with Lorenzen. LaFayette Ford is proud to be Fayetteville, North Carolina’s only family-owned and operated Ford dealer. They have been serving the Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, and surrounding areas since 1949.(Yates Racing)(4-30-2008)
    UPDATE: see images of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page.(5-6-2008) Comment here

  • Truex to Penske? with UPS? UPDATE UPS denies: hearing that Martin Truex, current driver of the #1 DEI Chevy, could be headed to a 4th Penske Racing team with UPS as the sponsor.(5-4-2008)
    UPDATE – UPS denies negotiating with any team: UPS officials released a statement Monday saying the company is not currently in negotiations with any specific Sprint Cup team or driver. UPS currently sponsors the #44 driven by David Reutimann. Michael Waltrip Racing Vice President Cal Wells has said that UPS has had preliminary discussions with six teams about what cars and drivers they would have open for 2009 and “UPS is doing exactly what they should be doing. We either earn the business back or we won’t.” But to say that UPS has started negotiations with any team is not accurate, according to a company official. “As of this date, UPS is not engaged in formal active sponsorship negotiations with any NASCAR Sprint Cup driver or race team,” read the statement, attributed to UPS Director of Sponsorship & Events Ron Rogowski. With Dale Jarrett’s retirement this year, UPS is looking for another face for a long-term campaign. One of the drivers often mentioned is #99-Carl Edwards, who right now is sponsored by Office Depot. Roush Fenway Racing and Office Depot currently are in an exclusive negotiating period for Edwards. “UPS went to six or eight race teams, visited them, to get all the inventory that they all had,” Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith said Saturday. “And from that, they told us they would cut it down amongst the teams. There’s been no negotiating.”(SceneDaily.com)(5-6-2008) Comment here

  • Schrader back in the #70 UPDATE nope..it is Sauter: Ken Schrader will drive for the #70 Haas CNC Racing team at Darlington Raceway, said team competition director Matt Borland.(SceneDaily)(5-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Johnny Sauter will drive the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway, according to an updated Sprint Cup Series entry list for the Dodge Challenger 500. The original entry list had Ken Schrader driving this weekend. Sauter has driven for the team at Phoenix and Richmond this year. He has qualified for both races on speed but has been caught up in accidents in both events with finishes of 37th and 33rd.(SceneDaily)(5-6-2008)
    Comment here
  • Martin named the Wypall Wipers’ “Crew Chief of the Race” in Richmond: Gil Martin, crew chief of the #07 BB&T Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer, has been named the Wypall Wipers’ “Crew Chief of the Race” in Saturday’s Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Some say it was being in the right place at the right time, but cautious instruction from Martin is what empowered Bowyer to drive the #07 BB&T Chevy to victory in Saturday night’s race. After starting deep in the field, (31st) Bowyer carved his way up to 16th on lap 129 resulting from a successful pit stop by the Martin-led team. Increasing track position and then maintaining that spot was Martin’s main concern, coaching Bowyer to be patient as he steadily made his way to the front. Bowyer eventually took over the lead following a collision between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch with two laps to go and sailed to the victory. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with Fox/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(5-6-2008)

  • Hamlin injured but OK to drive: Just when #11-Denny Hamlin thought things couldn’t get any worse, he fell hard on his left hip playing basketball and could hardly walk when he arrived Monday for testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I’d like to say I was going up for a dunk, but I think everybody knows that ain’t true,” Hamlin said. “When I went up, the person was lower than I was and I kind of clipped over his shoulder and I was horizontal to the ground — that was bad. It popped and it doesn’t feel good at all. I couldn’t lay on it last night, and it ain’t getting much better.” The injury came roughly 24 hours after Hamlin led a record 381 of the first 382 laps at Richmond International Raceway, only to lose a coveted win on his hometown track when he cut his right front tire. He had to intentionally stop his car on the track to bring out the caution needed to head to pit road for a tire change.(full note at ESPN/AP)(5-6-2008)Comment here

  • No additional penalties for Hamlin, Waltrip: #11-Denny Hamlin won’t be further penalized for intentionally bringing out a late caution in Saturday night’s race at Richmond even though there is precedent for it. No further penalty also is expected against #55-Michael Waltrip for intentionally wrecking #5-Casey Mears, NASCAR officials said on Monday. Hamlin was given a two-lap penalty when he stopped on the track with a cut tire with less than 10 laps remaining. NASCAR officials believed it was an intentional move to bring out the caution and allow Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch the opportunity to close on then-leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. A spokesperson for the governing body said during Monday’s test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that there would be no further punishment. But in 2004, Earnhardt was docked 25 points and fined $10,000 for intentionally bringing out the caution at Bristol. In the 2002 running of the All-Star race, Kurt Busch was fined $10,000 for intentionally spinning out Robby Gordon to bring out a caution. Meanwhile, Waltrip was parked with about 40 laps remaining when he intentionally took out Mears after Mears got into him a few laps earlier. Officials said the hit Waltrip took in points — he finished 37th and fell a spot to 32nd in points — was severe enough.(ESPN.com)(5-6-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle Busch named 1st Quarter Driver of the Year: #18-Kyle Busch crushed the competition on the track and in the ballots as he won 1st quarter Driver of the Year 2008. Busch won a total seven races in NASCAR’s top-three series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series. Although he leads in the Cup standings with a second place this past weekend in Richmond, voting only considered results through the previous event at Talladega Speedway. In the voting Busch took 14 first-place ballots, and none lower than a third place totaling 142 points. Cup rival Roush/Fenway driver Carl Edwards’ three wins earned him one first-place vote and a total of 72 points. Danica Patrick, who drives for Andretti Green Racing, whose record-setting first win in top level IndyCar Series for a woman, garnered two first place votes and totaled 51 points in third place. Ashley Force, daughter of the 1996 Driver of the Year beat her famous father, John Force last week in Atlanta in NHRA’s funny car division was fourth in the voting with 49 points. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Jason Meyers, in the World of Outlaws who won three of the first six races. In related news, ESPN’s award winning writer and broadcast journalist Terry Blount has been added to the panel.(DOTY PR)(5-6-2008) Comment here
  • Testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over: Sprint Cup testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway ended Tuesday evening, with 51 cars running laps, the fastest was #26-McMurray at 185.720mph in a Ford followed by the Dodge of #12B-Newman, the Toyota of #84-Allmendinger, #66B-Riggs in a Chevy and the Dodge of #10-Carpentier.#88-Earnhardt wrecked and called it a night, #01-Smith and #2-Busch had contact with the wall.
    See all the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-6-2008) Comment here
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing – Session 2, Day 2: Fifty-one cars took to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the afternoon session in Day 2 of Sprint Cup testing. #83-Vickers was the fastest in a Toyota at 181.830mph, followed by #18B-Busch (Toyota), #8-Martin (Chevy), #99-Edwards (Ford) and #19B-Sadler (Dodge). Slowest cars were #08B-Raines and #01B-Smith. There is one final test session Tuesday night until 9:00pm/et.
    See the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-6-2008) Comment here
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing – Session 1, Day 2: The 2nd day of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the first session in the morning, was only run by only 9 drivers driving 13 cars. Johnny Sauter is in the #70 and Jeff Green tested the #34 Chevy instead of regular driver John Andretti. No Fords tested in the 1st session. The fastest was #88B-Earnhardt Jr. at 182.593 followed by #31-Burton, #24-Gordon, #70-Sauter and the Dodge of #42-Montoya. Slowest of the 13 cars was #34-Jeff Green.
    See the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-6-2008) Comment here


    News from May 5, 2008

  • Indiana Jones Scheme for Kyle Busch: Kyle Busch’s #18 M&M’S Toyota Camry will sport a special Indiana Jones-themed paint scheme, and Busch will wear a matching fire suit during the Dodge Challenger 500 Sprint Cup race in Darlington, South Carolina, on May 10. The special paint scheme features: Movie title decals on the hood, trunk and TV panel; An image of Indiana Jones with his iconic hat and whip on the left rear panel; and The M&M’S Brand Red, Green and Yellow characters sporting various Indiana Jones-themed outfits. The M&M’S Brand Racing team also plans to feature fun Indiana Jones-themed activities for fans attending the Darlington race, giving them a literal taste of the adventure.(PWR New Media), see an image of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(5-5-2008) Comment here

  • All Star Race increased to 100 laps: Twenty-One drivers are eligible for the Sprint All-Star Race with one race to go, three drivers from the Sprint Showdown will transfer to the All-Star race, the 1st and 2nd place drivers and one fan vote [the driver needs to finish on the lead lap]. Drivers not already eligible for the Sprint All-Star Race who have been approved by for Sprint Cup Series competition and have met all other eligibility requirements. Those requirements include, but are not limited to, competing in a Sprint Cup Series event during the 2007 or 2008 seasons; finishing in the top 50 of the final 2007 Sprint Cup Series point standings or attempting to qualify for a 2008 Sprint Cup Series event as of March 10, 2008. The Sprint Showdown will consist of 40 laps, 60 miles, and will be run in two 20-lap segments. The Sprint All-Star Race is now 100 laps [was 80 in 2007], 150 miles (run in four segments of 25 laps each). Green flag and yellow flag laps will be counted during segments 1, 2 and 3. Only green flag laps will be counted during segment 4. All restarts will be double file and the free pass rule is maintained throughout the event. The Purse is and event record $3,308,251 with the winner getting at least $1,012,975. See fast facts for the Showdown and the All-Star race, the schedule, eligible drivers, history and more on my 2008 All-Star Page.(5-5-2008) Comment here

  • Richmond Overnight TV Ratings up slightly: NASCAR on Fox notched a slight increase for the second straight week with a 4.2/8 for primetime racing from Richmond. Saturday night’s 4.2/8 is a tenth of a point gain over last year’s 4.1/10 when the race was rained out of its schedule window and aired on Sunday afternoon. FOX’s 4.2/8 in primetime was good enough to win the night, narrowly beating out second-place CBS’s 4.0/7. FOX’s primetime advantage will likely grow larger when the nationals are released and NASCAR delivers its typical meter-to-national improvement. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 5.5/11, +2% better than last year’s 5.4/11.(Fox), see Ratings per race and more on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-5-2008) Comment here

  • Analysts say T-Mobile may acquire Sprint; T-Mobile Series? UPDATE: Sprint Nextel may be a takeover target, according to one of the nation’s largest investment banking firms. Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile and the world’s sixth largest phone company, may consider acquiring Overland Park-based Sprint to block a price war in the mobile phone industry, analysts for Merrill Lynch said today. The Wall Street firm said Sprint’s operational problems and shaky position in the U.S. wireless industry may force the company to cut prices even further to attract customers. T-Mobile generally is considered to be the low-cost alternative among the top five U.S. mobile phone companies. Last week, Sprint introduced an unlimited voice and data wireless plan that undercut other U.S. companies. Lynch, which advises its clients to sell Sprint shares, said it is not aware of any acquisition discussions.(Kansas City Star)(3-7-2008)
    UPDATE: Deutsche Telekom AG is considering a bid for Sprint Nextel Corp., according to a media report Monday. Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom did not immediately comment on the report in The Wall Street Journal. Were it to make such a deal, it would catapult its T-Mobile wireless unit to the top spot in the U.S. market. n its report, The Wall Street Journal said deliberations were at “a preliminary stage and management may very well turn away,” according to the people it quoted. Any bid, the paper’s sources said, “could still be weeks, or even months away.”(Yahoo Biz/AP)(5-5-2008) Comment here

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400
    Total number of commercials: 104
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 73
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:35 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:25 PM
    Total minutes: 230
    Minutes of race broadcast: 186
    Minutes of commercials: 44
    Number of missed restarts: 2
    See full rundown at CawsnJaws.(5-5-2008)
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing – Session 1, Day 1: The first day of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the first session in the morning, only 6 drivers driving 10 cars made runs. Teams/Drivers are allowed to test in four of the six sessions. The fastest in the Day 1 morning session was #88B-Earnhardt Jr at 182.352mph [the record pole speed is 193.216 from Oct 2005 and last May’s pole speed was 185.312mph, both in the ‘old’ style car, not the COT], followed by #31B-Burton, #70-Keselowski, #29B-Harvick, #24-Gordon and #07-Bowyer, who was slowest of the 6 drivers at 177.026.
    See the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-5-2008) Comment here
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing – Session 2, Day 1: In the 2nd/afternoon session of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway there were 60 cars that took to the track, the fastest was #18B-Kyle Busch at 179.736mph (Toyota) followed by #99-Edwards (Ford), #31-Burton (Chevy), #2B-Busch (Dodge) and #19B-Sadler. Slowest were #50-Stanton Barrett and #08-Tony Raines. No accidents or incidents were reported.
    See the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-5-2008) Comment here
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing – Session 3, Day 1: #19B-Elliott Sadler (Dodge) led the final test session Monday evening at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. His top speed was 186.245 mph. 62 too to the track during the session. #84-Allmendinger (Toyota) was second, followed by #29B-Harvick (Chevy), #18-Busch (Toyota) and #26-McMurray (Ford). Slowest were #00-Michael McDowell and #08-Tony Raines. #66-Scott Riggs spun during the session, but did not hit anything.
    See the speeds and notes on my Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-5-2008) Comment here

News from May 4, 2008

  • Latest Stewart Rumor…Bass Pro Shops? There has been no official word from either side, but it is becoming increasingly likely that #20-Tony Stewart will indeed leave car owners Joe and J.D. Gibbs at the end of this season, to start his own team, under the Rick Hendrick Chevrolet [with Haas CNC?] umbrella, possibly with Bass Pro Shops as his sponsor. If Stewart does depart, that would leave the Gibbses looking for a new driver. Joey Logano’s chances of getting the nod? Sunday’s Carolina 500 at Rockingham Speedway could offer clues. Logano is to start from the pole.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-4-2008) Comment here

  • Target leaving Ganassi at end of 2008? UPDATE 2: There are persistent rumors that Chip Ganassi may be in financial deep water, with his long-time sponsor Target [sponsor of #41-Reed Sorenson and sometime sponsor of #40-Dario Franchitti] likely announcing by the end of the year it will be ending its association with the race team.(Yahoo!Sports)(4-10-2008)
    UPDATE: Steve Eastman, Target Vice President: “The 19-year partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive partnerships in motor sports. Our race program has proven successful and we in fact have a solid base of sponsors in place. We continue to build on the excitement and momentum around the program and look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary next year… Any rumors regarding an end to the partnership are simply without merit.”(Target Communications)(4-10-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Target, according to sources, may be reconsidering its NASCAR sponsorship. Target has been sponsoring Dodge owner Chip Ganassi [#41 Reed Sorenson] for several years, though still without a major win.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-4-2008) Comment here

  • Toyota staying out of Stewart negotiations: Toyota officials don’t want to lose #20-Tony Stewart to another manufacturer, but they won’t get involved in negotiations to keep the two-time Sprint Cup champion at Joe Gibbs Racing after his contract expires in 2009. “We’re not a company that gets in the middle between owners and drivers,” Lee White, the general manager of Toyota Racing Development, said before Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway. “If there is a manufacturer out there that is spearheading or brokering or promoting an activity like this, I can promise you it will not be Toyota. We don’t consider that to be our role in the garage.” There has been speculation that Chevrolet is behind a move to lure Stewart, who uses the manufacturer for his Sprint car organization, to CNC Haas Racing. Part-ownership of the team also is on the table, which Stewart has acknowledged. “I’m going to go out on a limb and say Tony really likes to win,” White said. “I think Tony’s best opportunity to win races, multiple races, and continue to threaten for championships is right where he is.”(ESPN.com)(5-4-2008) Comment here

  • Logano wins ARCA race at Rockingham: Joey Logano, in the #25 Venturini Motorsports-prepared Joe Gibbs Racing Oil-Gresham & Associates Chevy, led 257 of 312 laps to conquer the “Rock” in his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series start in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham Speedway. Logano also earned the Aaron’s Lap Leader award for leading the most laps. Outside of a late-race wrestling match with Ken Schrader and mid-race battle with Michael Annett and Matt Hawkins, Logano had nary a challenger during the 500 kilometer/312-mile race.(more info and results at ARCARacing.com)(5-4-2008)

  • Smith rookie of the race at RIR: #01-Regan Smith scored a 21st-place finish at Richmond and claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second consecutive race and for the fifth time in 10 races this season. Smith unofficially leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by one point (97-96) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. Smith has been the top Raybestos Rookie in all three short track races this season.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), for standings, history and more, see my 2008 Rookies page.(5-4-2008)Comment here

  • Field Set for Carolina 500 at the Rock: Joey Logano, who paced Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series practice at Rockingham Speedway, edged Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a mere 0.080 second Saturday to earn the pole position for this weekend’s Carolina 500. Logano, who will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing in June [at Dover], posted a lap of 146.645 mph, 24.549 seconds, in a Chevrolet. Stenhouse, driving a Roush Fenway Racing Ford, turned a lap on the 1-mile track of 146.169 mph, 24.629 seconds. “I feel pretty confident for tomorrow,” Logano said. “I think we got a really good car for the long run. We were able to move around a lot in practice yesterday and try different things. Traffic is gonna be a bear out there, so it’s gonna be staying out of trouble most of the night.” Stenhouse said he didn’t expect for be second quickest. “To come out here and pick up a second, I was pretty surprised,” Stenhouse admitted. “I figured we’d be top five or 10. I didn’t really know we’d be on the front row. The guys changed a little bit on the car from out last qualifying run yesterday [Saturday]. I just got into the gas and it stuck.” Rounding out the top 10, respectively, were: Justin Lofton, Dodge; Michael Annett and Jack Bailey in Toyotas; Matt Carter, Ford; Justin Marks, Toyota; Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet; Ken Butler, Toyota; and Austin Dillon, Chevrolet.
    Tony Stewart is scheduled to wave the green flag on the Carolina 500, signaling the reopening of The Rock, at noon on Sunday. For more information or to order tickets for the May 4 ARCA RE/MAX Series Carolina 500 and the Nov. 1 Hooters Pro Cup American 200, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit rockinghamspeedway.com.(5-4-2008) Comment here


    News from May 3, 2008

  • Labonte supposedly agrees to contract extension with Petty’s:Bobby Labonte has reached an agreement to remain in the #43 car at Petty Enterprises after this season, sources told ESPN.com on Saturday. Labonte has been widely speculated as a candidate to drive the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing, but Petty officials have remained adamant that he will spend the rest of his career with the organization and that he is determined to be the driver that puts the 43 back into Victory lane. David Hovis, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises, said the team had nothing to announce Saturday about Labonte’s future. “We still remain 100% convinced that Bobby will be with Petty Enterprises next season,” Hovis said. Sources said Labonte’s new deal will be announced as soon as details concerning a new sponsor are worked out. General Mills, Labonte’s current sponsor, will be on the fourth car at RCR next season.
    Robbie Loomis, the vice president for racing operations at Petty, has been the most outspoken on Labonte’s commitment to Petty Enterprises. He remained that way on Saturday. “As far as I know Bobby Labonte will be with us for a long time,” he said before the Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. “I feel confident where we’re at with Petty Enterprises and with Bobby. In due time Petty Enterprises will have a lot of announcements coming forward.” One is that a Petty has finalized a deal with New York-based Medallion Financial as a business partner. Loomis said that could come within the next month to six weeks. The other concerns Labonte’s new sponsor. General Mills, Labonte’s current sponsor, will be on the fourth car at RCR next season. Loomis said negotiations for a new sponsor are going well, noting Labonte’s “brand is clean like the Petty’s.”(ESPN.com), one rumored sponsor for the #43 team has been Caterpillar, whose deal with Bill Davis Racing and the #22 Toyota runs out at the end of 2008.(5-3-2008) Comment here

  • Edwards re-signs with Roush UPDATE 2: Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing has signed a multi-year stay with the team on Thursday. His old contract was thru the end of 2008.(PRN’s Garage Pass)
    UPDATE: Carl Edwards said Friday he signed a multiple-year contract extension to continue driving the #99 Ford, a decision that takes NASCAR’s most sought-after free agent off the market. “I’m staying with Roush,” Edwards said. “I looked at everything and I talked to everybody and, for me, the number one thing is looking into the future and saying, ‘Where can I win the most races and have the most success?’ I just feel like for me, personally, this is where I want to be for the near future.” He negotiated the contract himself with Geoff Smith, president of Roush. “It took us about a week and a half of going back and forth with just little things and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world for the contract I got,” he said. “If I was dealing with someone that I didn’t trust or that I felt like I couldn’t just kind of air everything out with, then I’d probably have to have an agent, but dealing with Geoff from day one has been very easy at Roush for me, so it was really pretty simple. Besides, I feel like I know what I need more than anyone else. I know what I want to make me happy and this is cool.” It’s not clear if sponsor Office Depot will remain on the car. A spokeswoman for the company said only they are continuing their negotiations with Roush.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-2-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Roush said he was battling two rival car owners for Edwards’ services. One of the men in the running for Edwards was apparently Chevy kingpin Rick Hendrick. The other was apparently Joe Gibbs, with backer Toyota; Joe and J. D. Gibbs and Toyota executives may well be resigned to the distinct possibility that Tony Stewart could be leaving their team at the end of this season and thus made a quick — and high-priced — run at Edwards to fill that seat. Whether that means the Gibbs and Toyota will play hardball to keep Stewart or will look for another championship-caliber driver is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2008)
    UPDATE 3: On Friday Edwards announced that he had renewed his contract with Roush Fenway Racing, keeping him behind the wheel of the # 99 Ford for an additional three years.(Athlon Sports)
    AND on the Fox pre-race show, Chris Meyers said Edwards salary would be $6 million a year.(5-3-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR appoints panel to look into changing drug-testing policy:NASCAR president Brian France has appointed a group of company officials to an interim committee that will study the sport’s drug policy, vice president of communications Jim Hunter said Friday. The group, whose members Hunter said have “been around a long time and know the sport,” will report back to France with any recommendations “within six weeks or so.” Among the topics they will survey, Hunter said, is whether or not to add a staff substance abuse expert and whether or not random testing should be implemented. Currently, drivers are drug tested only under “reasonable suspicion.” Any change to the policy, Hunter said, wouldn’t likely take place until the 2009 season.(ESPN.com)(5-3-2008)Comment here
  • Bowyer wins at Richmond: #07-Clint Bowyer won the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his first win of 2008 and 2nd of his career after #18-Busch and #88-Earnhardt tangled with a couple laps to go, sending the leader, #88-Earnhardt Jr. into the wall. #18-Busch held on to 2nd, with the rest of the top-10 being #8-Martin, #20-Stewart, #1-Truex Jr., #12-Newman, #99-Edwards, #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon and #9-Kahne. #11-Denny Hamlin dominated most of the race, leading 381 of 382 laps before having a right front tire going down, giving way to Earnhardt Jr until he tangle with Busch, Hamlin finished 24th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 15th on the lead lap. Points leader coming in to the race, #31-Burton finished 11th, but lost the points lead to #18-Busch 1495 to 1477 points. There were 11 cautions for 62 laps and 4 lead changes amongh 4 drivers.
    Richmond Race Results Awards Page.(5-3-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Richmond race 10 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 1495 [2 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 1477 -18 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1391 -104
    4) #07-Clint Bowyer 1372 -123 [1 win]
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick 1350 -145
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin 1349 -146 [1 win]
    7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1318 -177 [1 win]
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 1297 -198
    9) #16-Greg Biffle 1269 -226
    10) #99-Carl Edwards 1230 -265 [would be 7th if no 100pt penalty][3 wins]
    11) #12-Ryan Newman 1212 -283 [1 win]
    12) #9-Kasey Kahne 1162 -333
    other chase contenders
    13) #24-Jeff Gordon 1156 6pts out of 12th
    14) #6-David Ragan 1106 -56
    15) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1104 -58
    16) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya 1096 -66
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page.(5-3-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Darlington
    no changes in who is in or out, the order got changed a bit and the points between 35th and 36th is now 71
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    32) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing 799 +113
    33) #44-Reutimann/Waltrip Racing 767 +81
    31) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing 760 +74
    34) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 759 +73
    35) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 757, 71 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 686 -71 points out of 35th
    37) #70-Sauter/Haas CNC Racing 648 -109
    38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing 640 -117
    39) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 629 -128
    40) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing 572 -185
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-3-2008)
  • Richmond International Raceay Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 66
    2 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 129
    3 #42 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 206
    4 #84 Non-compliant refueling (overflow container) TE 208
    5 #15 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 220
    6 #83 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 221
    7 #48 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 230
    8 #96 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 230
    9 #99 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 231
    10 #83 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 231
    11 #00 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 231
    12 #15 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 231
    13 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 231
    14 #09 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 232
    15 #28 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 234
    16 #00 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 261
    17 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 261
    18 #5 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 355
    19 #55 Safety violation MCI 355
    20 #26 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 366
    21 #11 Intentionally causing a caution 2 Laps 392
    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)(5-3-2008)
  • Richmond International Raceway Fast Facts
    .. Clint Bowyer won the Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400, his second victory in 83 Sprint Cup Series races. His other win came at New Hampshire in September 2007.
    .. This is his first victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in five races at Richmond.
    .. Kyle Busch (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Richmond and tied his best finish here for the second time. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. Mark Martin (third) posted his 24th top-10 finish in 45 races at Richmond.
    .. Regan Smith (21st) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Denny Hamlin led 381 laps, setting the record for the number of laps led in a 400-lap race at Richmond. He eclipsed the mark of 369 set by Bobby Allison in September 1979. The record for laps led all-time at Richmond is 488 of 500 on the .500-mile configuration by David Pearson in September 1970.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-3-2008)

  • TMS’s Gossage offer Dale Jr. $100k to run Indy car; Dale Jr turns it down: IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick recommended on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s XM Satellite Radio show Thursday evening that if the NASCAR superstar ever wanted to swap cars and run an Indy car that Texas Motor Speedway would be the place to give it a shot. Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage is wholeheartedly backing that recommendation by Patrick and giving Earnhardt Jr. 100,000 reasons why “The Great American Speedway!” is indeed the ideal choice. Gossage is offering $100,000 to Earnhardt Jr. if he would pay the IndyCar Series a visit and compete June 7 in the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway. Gossage is open to presenting Earnhardt Jr. $100,000 in cash or a check to his favorite charity for that amount if that is more to his liking.(TMS)
    AND Dale Earnhardt Jr. ON EDDIE GOSSAGE OFFERING HIM $100,000 TO RUN THE INDY CAR RACE. “He thinks I’m a cheap date I guess. I wouldn’t be able to do it, my conscience wouldn’t let me. If they offered me more money, my conscience wouldn’t let me feel comfortable with doing it. I know his intentions are well and we had that discussion with the billboard thing and I totally understand what his approach is advertising now. If I had the opportunity if I was there testing my car and somebody had their car there, I’d like to jump in it and run a couple of laps but that would be the extent of the adventure.”(Team Chevy PR)(5-3-2008) Comment here

  • FreeCreditReport.com Extends Partnership with Yates Racing: Yates Racing announced that Experian Consumer Direct, the leading provider of online direct-to-consumer credit reports, scores, and monitoring products, will sponsor the #38 entry for an additional number of races for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Yates Racing driver, David Gilliland, who pilots the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion, will continue to feature the company’s website, www.FreeCreditReport.com. Gilliland has a history with Experian Consumer Direct as a sponsor, racing the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion for a total of eight races in the 2008 Sprint Cup series as well as driving the FreeCreditReport.com Ford 19 times in the 2007 Nationwide Series. “It’s wonderful to know that our #38 team will continue to be partnered with FreeCreditReport.com,” commented Gilliland. “They have been a wonderful sponsor to our team and it is very comforting to know that we’re going to showcase our #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford for more races this year. Everyone at Yates Racing has worked extremely hard this year to yield strong finishes every week, and we look forward to continuing that tradition for FreeCreditReport.com.” Experian Consumer Direct and the FreeCreditReport.com sponsorship will be featured at Richmond International Raceway this weekend in the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400.(Yates Racing)(5-3-2008) Comment here

  • Keselowski testing for Haas CNC: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s [JR Motorsports] Nationwide Series driver, Brad Keselowski has already tested for the #70 Haas CNC Racing Sprint Cup team at Nashville Superspeedway and he might test with them Monday and Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Haas CNC Racing General Manager Joe Custer declined comment on his future drivers Friday, but said he hoped to get some things solidified this weekend. With Rick Hendrick owning half of JR Motorsports, the team for which Keselowski drives in the Nationwide Series, and Haas CNC Racing being a Hendrick affiliate, Keselowski’s participation with the team makes sense. “We’re going to figure that out this weekend,” Keselowski said on whether he would test with Haas CNC Racing at Charlotte. “It looks like I might go down there Monday and Tuesday and just help them out. We’ll see.” Whether Keselowski would actually drive in a Sprint Cup race for the team, the driver said he didn’t know and would take things “one step at a time.”(SceneDaily)(5-3-2008) Comment here

  • Petty’s Visit VA Medical Center: While in Richmond this week, Richard and Kyle Petty visited with paralyzed veterans in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of Richmond’s Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. The two spent time with seriously wounded troops and met with members of the Paralyzed Veterans Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter. The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) will adorn the hood and sides of Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge this weekend for the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Petty Enterprises recently donated sponsorship of the #45 Dodge to the PVA for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The organization will join the team again at the Pocono 500 held on June 8 at Pocono Raceway. The Petty’s were proud to spend their afternoon with some of our nation’s service men and women. They are longtime supporters of the armed forced and have a deep appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice made by American troops. The PVA, founded in 1946, works to ensure that all veterans, people with disabilities, and their families have everything they need to thrive. For more information on the organization, visit www.pva.org.(Petty Racing), see images of the PVA.org car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(5-3-2008)
  • The Rock is Racing Again: Joey Logano led ARCA RE/MAX Series practice Friday at Rockingham Speedway, but only in the final minutes of the three-hour session as festivities began for Sunday’s Carolina 500 – the reopening of “The Rock”. Throughout Friday’s practice at the 1-mile track, Matt Carter, the series point leader and son of former NASCAR crew chief and team owner Travis Carter, sat atop the speed chart. But in the session’s final minutes, Logano’s team placed a new set of tires on his Joe Gibbs Racing Oil-Gresham & Associates Chevrolet, allowing him to leap over Carter and into the No. 1 position with a 25.111-second, 143.363-mph lap. Carter, in his Stine Seed-NuSouth Lemonade Ford, wasn’t far behind at 25.121 seconds, 143.306mph. Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Michael Annett and Justin Marks, both in Toyotas, and Dexter Bean in a Chevrolet. Austin Dillon, grandson of NASCAR championship car owner Richard Childress, posted the 13th quickest lap. Driving his Garage Equipment Supply Chevrolet, Dillon recorded a lap of 25.852-second, 139.254-mph lap. Defending series champion Frank Kimmel was 17th quickest, while Chad McCumbee was 18th fastest. Craftsman Truck Series regular Johnny Benson, a former Cup winner at Rockingham, practiced Ken Schrader’s Four Winds Motorhomes Dodge. Schrader was in Richmond for Sprint Cup qualifying. He will be at Rockingham Saturday for qualifying. Veteran James Hylton, who finished second to Richard Petty in the Grand National [now Sprint Cup] standings in 1967, hit the wall during practice and had to settle for 48th quickest. Qualifying for Sunday’s race begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the second round of time trials set for 2:30 p.m. Tony Stewart is scheduled to wave the green flag on the Carolina 500, signaling the reopening of The Rock, at noon on Sunday. For more information or to order tickets for the May 4 ARCA RE/MAX Series Carolina 500 and the Nov. 1 Hooters Pro Cup American 200, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit rockinghamspeedway.com.(5-3-2008) Comment here
  • Chase Notes: Matt Kenseth’s third Bottom 10 finish in 9 races put him back to 19th in the race to the chase and 120 points out of 12th, but the Killer Bees need look back no farther than 2005, when they made up more than 13 spots and 192 points after race #9. Still, the 17 car doesn’t want to drift back much further before making a run this summer. Juan Pablo Montoya’s strong run at Talladega has landed him on the all-important bubble spot (12th place) in The Race to the Chase. Giving chase are names like Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Kenseth and Kurt Busch, all with at least one Chase under their belts. See more on my Chase Stats after Talladega page, also past stats on my Chase Stats after Phoenix page and Chase Stats after Texas page.(5-3-2008)


    News from May 2, 2008

  • DEI picks up option on Truex, good thru 2009 UPDATE not yet: When there’s been talk about potential free agents for 2009, #1-Martin Truex, Jr. has had his name passed around in more than one story or conversation. There’s one hitch. His current deal with Dale Earnhardt Inc is good through next season according to team president Max Siegel. “We have an option that we’ve picked up for 2009, so that’s always reported in a confusing way. We love Martin and we’re having discussions about extending it for a long-term deal, but we’re good through 2009. He’s important to our organization…we’re giving him everything we possibly can and what he needs to win and be happy here long term.” Siegel also thinks the on track performance of all four DEI cars is on the upswing. “I think we’re making significant progress. The #15 team’s performance on a weekly basis is indicative of how we’ve elevated the program. We’ve got to stay very patient and focused. If you look at the #1 team and the #8…we’re doing great…got some consistency with our engines and the energy is just fantastic.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-28-2008)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. holds an option on Truex that it wants to exercise, but Truex has to agree to the terms under the language of his existing deal.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-2-2008) Comment here

  • Biffle plans to re-sign with Roush, not talking to other teams: #16-Greg Biffle says he isn’t interested in entertaining offers from other Sprint Cup organizations outside of Roush Fenway Racing, much less signing with them. Biffle said on Friday at Richmond International Raceway that “my 100% intent” is to work an extension with Roush Fenway, adding he’s not curious to see what other opportunities might be out there. “There are a lot of great teams and great opportunities out there,” said Biffle, whose contract expires at the end of this season. “I am making my decision kind of how [Dale] Earnhardt Jr. did, and it’s about winning races and championships and contending for the title and having good equipment. There are a lot of teams that have that, but I feel comfortable where I’m at with Roush Fenway.”(ESPN.com)(5-2-2008) Comment here

  • Childress talking to 3-4 drivers for 4th team: Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress said he’s talking to three or four drivers for the fourth team he will start next season with General Mills as the primary sponsor. Childress would not identify the drivers, but said all currently compete in the Sprint Cup Series. “We hope to have something to announce in the next three or four months,” he said.(ESPN.com)(5-2-2008) Comment here

  • What is up with Jerry Nadeau? Pictures, posters and other keepsakes adorn a wall in Jerry Nadeau’s office. Helmets, diecast cars and T-shirts sit on shelves, untouched except by dust. Among this montage of memories, two framed items stand out. One is a photo of Nadeau’s car beside runner-up Dale Earnhardt’s black #3 moments after Nadeau had won the 2000 season finale at Atlanta. Earnhardt’s left hand juts out of his car, his index finger saluting Nadeau on his first and only NASCAR Winston Cup victory. “That is the ultimate picture,” Nadeau says with a widening grin. A head injury suffered five years ago today in a crash at Richmond International Raceway turned Nadeau’s ultra-focused life into tumult. Racing defined Nadeau, and even today, he still struggles to accept that he’ll never compete in NASCAR’s top series again.(5-2-2008)Comment here
  • New Crew Chief for Robby: #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports and crew chief Frank Kerr have parted ways, Walter Giles is Gordon’s new crew chief.(RGM)(5-2-2008) Comment here
  • Red, White & Blue M&M’s at Indy: #18-Kyle Busch is scheduled to run a special Red, White, and Blue Summer Fun M&M’s car in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2008. See the image on my #18 Team Schemes page.(5-2-2008)
  • Newman and the Mummy team up at Chicago: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to race aspecial paint-schemed car during the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12th. Kodak and Universal Pictures have teamed up and will run the special movie scheme: The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. See the image on my #12 Team Schemes page.(5-2-2008)
  • Avis scheme for Newman at Pocono: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to be driving a special paint scheme in the Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway August 3rd. This special red and white paint scheme features the AVIS logo on the hood, as well as the rear quarter panel. See the image on my #12 Team Schemes page.(5-2-2008)
  • More on the Nationwide COT: “We are working very hard on the COT,” [Nationwide Series Director Joe] Balash explains. “We’ll utilize the NASCAR 110-inch wheelbase certified chassis, and it will be interchangeable between the Sprint Cup and Nationwide garages. [But] we’re going to do something unique with the bodies to give the Series its own look as opposed to the past.” The last point is a reminder of the dangers posed by creating a Nationwide car too much like their Sprint Cup cousins; and when you talk to Balash, you sense his focus at ensuring the next generation of Nationwide vehicles create a unique driving style all their own. “We want [the new car] to drive somewhere between a Truck and Cup car,” he says. “And we’ve been working with drag and downforce to be somewhere in between. We want the car to drive a little easier than a Sprint Cup car; [and while] there are some components of the body that are the same, we’ve relocated them. For example, we’ve moved the rear deck lid forward, and the same distance we moved it forward, we’ve moved the front of the body forward, helping the car turn just a little bit better in the corner. It’s been great to see from concept to the car in the wind tunnel.” When that concept becomes reality, the timeframe is still very much TBD. “My hope is to introduce the new car next year,” says the series director. “We’re looking at an August timeframe based on the conversations we’ve had with owners and others in the garage.”(Frontstretch.com)(5-2-2008) Comment here
  • Hamlin on pole at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Coors Light Pole for the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 126.198mph, for his 1st pole of 2008 and 6th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #8-Mark Martin, followed by #1-Truex Jr., #10-Carpentier, #41-Sorenson, #42-Montoya, #18-Busch, #19-Sadler, #9-Kahne and #12-Newman. Points leader #31-Burton will start 33rd and #88-Earnhardt Jr will start 22nd. The eight go-or-go-homers [non top 35] to make the race are: #10-Carpentier [4th], #22-Blaney, #84-Allmendinger, #78-Nemechek, #70-Sauter, #09-Marlin, #45-Petty and #96-Yeley. The fastest 43 cars made the race. Four drivers did not make the race: #40-Schrader, #33-Wimmer, #34-Andretti and #21-Wood.
    For pole preogeression, qualifying order and results and starting lineup, see my Richmond Qualifying Page.(5-2-2008)
  • IMPOUND: the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway will be the 2nd IMPOUND race of 2008, there are five impound races in 2008, both Talladega races, both Richmond races and Daytona in July. For more info, see my Impounding Info page.
  • Stewart tests at New Smyrna: Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Joey Logano was down to test two days including Wednesday at New Smyrna Speedway [FL]. #20-Tony Stewart arrived Wednesday morning and spent most of the day in his ride testing various setups and parts as the team prepared for Saturday night’s 400-mile race at Richmond International Speedway. “Since they paved it we can come down and run 40, 50, 60 laps, and it doesn’t seem like the sun affects it that much,” said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s longtime crew chief. “We just come down to put new parts on the car, run them, trying to get some driver feedback and some data. You look for a place that doesn’t change a lot with the sun and the temperature. We’ve got a good short-track tire that we race at Richmond and with that it seems like it works pretty good on the surface here. We feel like we get decent data back.” Logano, who will drive in the ARCA Series race for Billy Venturini this weekend at Rockingham, turned 130 laps on Tuesday, but turned the ride over to Stewart on Wednesday. The 17-year-old Logano has been biding his time until he turns 18 on May 24, so he can make his first of 18 NASCAR Nationwide starts this year May 31 at Dover.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-2-2008)
  • Richmond Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same exact combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams to run at Phoenix three weeks ago . . . Nationwide teams also tested this set-up during an open test here in March . . . this is the first time teams have raced on this tire set-up at Richmond . . . in addition to Richmond and Phoenix, other NASCAR tracks at which this exact combination is scheduled to be run are New Hampshire, Milwaukee and Memphis . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. The estimated pit window is every 95-100 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) See the full report, codes, pressures and more, see my Richmond Race Info page.(5-2-2008)
  • Bobby Labonte Celebrity Golf Classic raises over $100,000: Bobby Labonte and wife Donna hosted the fifth annual Bobby Labonte Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic on Tuesday, April 29 with over 100 participants taking part at the Ballantyne Resort Golf Course. The Golf Classic was preceded the night before by a dinner, silent and live auctions and a concert by country music artist Eric Church at the Ballantyne Resort Lodge. The activities ended with an awards luncheon Tuesday afternoon. All proceeds raised for the Bobby Labonte Foundation during the two days benefitted charities including the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Over $100,000 was raised for the Bobby Labonte Foundation through the tournament and auctions. One of the highlights of the auction included Ms. Lynda Petty, the wife of Richard, who bid on an autographed Brett Favre Jersey. The item was won by Ms. Petty who will place the jersey in the Richard Petty Museum. The Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre have been favorites of the entire Petty family throughout the years.(Breaking Limits PR)(5-2-2008)

  • Kennametal Back Onboard the #40: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced in late March an expansion of its current partnership with Kennametal to include primary sponsorship for multiple NSCS races this 2008 season. Kennametal made its primary sponsorship debut at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year and is going for its second run this weekend at RIR on the #40, to be driven by Ken Schrader. Kennametal, a longtime CGRFS partner, supplies tooling and machining technology to the team’s Charlotte and Indianapolis-based racing shops. In addition, Kennametal provides the team’s engineers and machinists with a myriad of opportunities to further refine their skills in order to gain optimum performance through Kennametal’s internal university program.(CGRFS) See images of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(5-2-2008)
  • The ONLY practice for the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway is over, the top-5:
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 123.412
    #8-Martin 122.895
    #9-Kahne 122.733
    #11-Hamlin 122.549
    #19-Sadler 122.249
    slowest: #43-Andretti only 1 lap at 84.874 and #21-Wood 119.607
    most laps run: #8-Martin 91; #2-Busch & #77-Hornish Jr. 82
    Average speed – all laps counted – nascar.com
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 119.863 [fastest lap]
    #70-Sauter 119.633 [32nd]
    #84-Allmendinger 119.607 [26th]
    See speeds, laps run, average speed on my Richmond Practice Speeds page.(5-2-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Richmond
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 12th fastest
    #40-Ken Schrader, 24th
    #22-Dave Blaney, 25th
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 26th
    #70-Johnny Sauter, 32nd
    #45-Kyle Petty, 35th
    #33-Scott Wimmer, 39th
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 42nd
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 43rd
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 45th
    #21-Jon Wood, 46th
    #34-John Andretti, 47th/last
    See speeds, laps run, average speed on my Richmond Practice Speeds page.(5-2-2008)
  • NASCAR drivers, Virginia officials encourage local teens to stop texting while driving: Nationwide Insurance teamed up with NASCAR drivers Clint Bowyer and Landon Cassill, DRIVE SMART Virginia, the Virginia State Police, Henrico County School officials and the Richmond International Raceway to raise awareness among Virginia teens about DWD –Driving While Distracted. To drive home the message that multitasking behind the wheel puts drivers and their fellow motorists at risk, Nationwide hosted an event at Hermitage High School. Students and community members were able to see firsthand the impact text messaging has on their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted drivers account for nearly four out of five crashes in the U.S. The problem is especially bad for young drivers. In a survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance of 1,200 drivers, a third of Gen Y-ers admit to always multitasking while driving and 37 percent send text messages while driving. Distractions that take a driver’s eyes off the road even for just seconds put drivers and their passengers at great risk. Nationwide and the National Safety Council developed www.NationwideSmartRide.com, a Website to provide parents and teens free tools and resources to help develop safe drivers and reinforce smart behavior. It is available free to anyone regardless of whether they are a Nationwide customer.(Nationwide PR)(5-2-2008)

  • Jim France Named Recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence: James C. (Jim) France, vice chairman/executive vice president of NASCAR and chairman/CEO of International Speedway Corporation (ISC) has been named the 2008 recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of William H.G. France, founder of NASCAR. Jim France is the son the late William H.G. (“Big Bill”) France and, brother of former president and chairman/CEO of NASCAR, the late William C. (“Bill Jr.”) France. He grew up in the early years of stock car racing, living and learning every aspect of the sport from his own experiences, and from his father and brother. Jim joined ISC in 1959 working in all phases of operations. He was elected to the ISC board in 1970 and has served as the company’s secretary, assistant treasurer, vice president, chief operating officer and executive vice president before being named the company’s president and chief operating officer in 1987.He was also named to the NASCAR Board of Directors in November 2000. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Jim France at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 7, 2008. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 8, 2008 Pocono 500 Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway.(Pocono Raceway), Jim France joins the prestigious list of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence winners listed on my Awards page.(5-2-2008)


    News from May 1, 2008

  • Final Talladega TV Ratings up: NASCAR on Fox got back on track last weekend with a strong 5.7/13 (9.0 million viewers) for Sprint Cup racing from Talladega. That’s a +6% gain over last year’s 5.4/14 and it marks the first time in a month that a FOX NASCAR race has enjoyed year-to-year ratings growth (only one race in the last month was actually down, two others were flat year-to-year). Sunday’s 5.7/13 also made the Talladega race the weekend’s highest-rated sports programming. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is now averaging a 6.3/13 (10.5 mill.), a +3% gain over last year’s 6.1/13 (10.2 mill.). Sunday’s Talladega coverage kicked off with an expanded pre-race show that posted a 3.0/8 (4.5 mill.) from 1pm until the 2:22pm/et green flag. The expanded pre-race show earned the same rating as last year’s 53 minute pre-race show.(FoxPR), see more about the TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-1-2008)Comment here

  • Marlin in the #40 at Darlington: Sterling Marlin will rejoin Chip Ganassi Racing as a temporary replacement for injured #40-Dario Franchitti at the May 10 Sprint Cup race at Darlington. Marlin said he also will be a standby for Franchitti for the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte [Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Coke 600]. Veteran driver Ken Schrader has been signed to replace Franchitti for Saturday’s Cup race [at Richmond]. Marlin already was scheduled to drive for #09 Phoenix Racing at Richmond. Marlin said he will test at Charlotte for Ganassi on Monday and Tuesday. He will not participate in the Sprint Cup All-Star race on May 17 in Charlotte. His daughter — a senior at Columbia Academy — is graduating from high school that weekend.(Tennessean)(5-1-2008)Comment here

  • Lauren Wallace…”I’m a hundred miles away, son, ready to strike”: I get asked about ‘Lauren Wallace’ [no, it is NOT Warren, see geico.com or geicogarage.com], often, saw this article and figured I’d post it for folks to check out: The toughest, coolest, most ruthlessly ambitious driver in motorsports was born in Richmond, resides in Chicago, doesn’t have a driver’s license and is more familiar with the nuances of Hamlet than those of Denny Hamlin. Meet Lauren Wallace, the fictitious pre-adolescent pepperpot whose quest to replace distant cousin Mike Wallace behind the wheel of the No.7 GEICO Racing Camry is the premise for a series of popular and wickedly funny television commercials created for GEICO by the Richmond-based Martin Agency. Many believe Lauren to be a flesh-and-blood prodigy who one day will shove opponents out of his way on the high banks at Daytona. That perception is a tribute to the work of Eddie Heffernan, a 14-year-old actor who has breathed honest-to-goodness life into Lauren’s voice, mannerisms and ill-concealed contempt for his adult cousin. “As an actor, I can sort of relate to [Lauren the driver],” said Heffernan, who will not appear at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. “I’m probably not as cocky as Lauren is, but I understand his passion. Believe me, when I need to be, I can be pretty competitive.” Nor is that the only similarity. Lauren is a take-no-prisoners go-kart driver. Heffernan, a freshman at a Chicago-area public high school, says laps at a go-kart track near Nags Head, N.C., have long been personal highlights of his family’s vacation trips to the Outer Banks. “Every Christmas, I used to ask my parents for a go-kart,” he said. “One year, I actually got one. I drove it until it broke down.” See full story at the Richmond Times Dispatch.(5-1-2008) Comment here

  • Hamlin Announces Foundation at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin will launch his new charitable foundation with the running of the Denny Hamlin 175 at Southside Speedway, the track where he cut his teeth in Late Model racing, in Midlothian, Va. on Thursday, May 1. The Denny Hamlin Foundation will focus primarily on raising awareness and funding for the specific needs of individuals afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis and will donate all proceeds from the charity event to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Moving forward, in addition to CFF, the foundation also will support chronically ill children with other debilitating illnesses.(PR)(5-1-2008)

  • Charter colors for Robby at RIR: Robby Gordon will race the #7 Charter Communications Dodge this weekend at Richmond International Raceway.(RGM), see image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2008)

  • ESPN on ABC Talladega TV Ratings Score Big Jump from 2007:ESPN on ABC’s live telecast of Saturday’s Aarons 312 Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway scored big increases in ratings and household impressions over last year’s race, continuing an upward trend to series TV numbers in 2008. The race earned a 2.6 rating and 2,962,000 household impressions, increases of 28 and 29%, respectively, over the same categories for last year’s ABC telecast (2.1; 2,291,000). The event also earned the largest numbers for a Nationwide Series race on the ESPN networks since live NASCAR racing returned to ESPN in 2007, eclipsing the previous high of 2.4/2,699,000 for the March, 2007, event from Las Vegas that aired on ABC. The Talladega telecast also earned large increases across the board in important demographic categories, increasing 67% in Males 18-34, 50% in males 55 and older and 44% in persons 55 and older. Cable ratings for the series have also increased in 2008. The average rating for the five Nationwide Series events that have aired on ESPN2 is 1.9, a 10% increase over the 1.7 from this point last season. ESPN2 numbers do not include the rain-delayed event from California Speedway in February that was run on a Monday. ESPN’s multi-platform approach to NASCAR coverage is also showing increases in areas other than television. ESPN.com’s motorsports section has grown 32% in visits during 2008, and ESPN’s Fantasy Racing was up 43% in visits and 15% in page views during the Talladega weekend as compared to the same weekend last year. ESPN-owned Jayski.com was up 16% in visits during Talladega weekend.(ESPN PR)(5-1-2008)

  • Steak-umm debut at Richmond: #01-Regan Smith and his team will be unveiling a new sponsor at Richmond — Steak-umm, the best known sandwich steak brand in the country. The company is using a special Steak-umm paint scheme on the #01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet to promote their burgers.(DEI), see image of the scheme on my #01 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2008)

  • Kenseth Back in Black: For the second time in 2008, Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford will be painted black with the DEWALT NANO Technology paint scheme. Kenseth will also sport these colors at Darlington, the All-Star race, Bristol and the second Richmond race in 2008. The #17 crew will be unloading car RK-574 this weekend at Richmond, a brand new car.(Roush Racing), see images of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2008)
  • Richmond Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 27 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Smith scored a 21st-place finish and captured top rookie honors for the fourth time in nine races this season. He also led the race once for one lap and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead at Talladega. Smith and #77-Sam Hornish Jr. share the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings (86-86) entering the May 3 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. 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 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the spring race at Richmond: Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2000. Earnhardt Jr. led the race just once covering the final 31 laps and officially scored his second career win by .159 seconds over Terry Labonte. Only once since 1975 have TWO or more Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the Crown Royal 400. In 1979, Joe Millikan finished sixth followed by Terry Labonte, who claimed an eighth place finish.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc), see standings, history and more on my 2008 Rookies Page.(5-1-2008)

  • Bahre Makes Large Donation To Loudon: Bob Bahre has sold his NASCAR racetrack in Loudon, but he’s not forgetting the track’s neighbors. Without fanfare, Bahre gave Loudon selectmen $450,000 this month and asked them to split it between a half dozen churches, the town library and students struggling to afford college. He said he didn’t want them to make a big deal about where the money came from. Bahre helped many community organizations in the 20 years he ran the New Hampshire International Speedway before selling it last fall for $340 million. Library trustees and church elders are considering how to spend the money, and Merrimack Valley High School predicts the gift will help up to 15 of their students attend college in the fall.(wmur.com)(5-1-2008)
  • Nationwide TV Coverage Change: Friday night’s ESPN production of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Richmond International Raceway has been moved to ESPN Classic and also will be simulcast on ESPN360.com and SPEED. The telecast begins at 7pm/et with NASCAR Countdown. The change was made to accommodate NBA playoff game six between Washington and Cleveland. Additionally, for fans without ESPN Classic, a special encore presentation of the race from start to finish will air that evening following the NBA game beginning at approximately 9:30pm on ESPN2.(ESPN)(5-1-2008) Comment here
  • Race Fever 2008 Raises over $171,000 thanks to Drivers and Fans:More than 1,300 race fans, from 30 states and Canada, helped raise over $171,000 to benefit the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) Foundation at the 23rd Annual Race Fever. Race Fever was held Friday evening, April 25, in the Speed Channel Dome at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The event was hosted by racing legend Darrell Waltrip, former Auburn basketball coach Sonny Smith, and media personality Mike “The Bagman” Bagley. A total of 16 Sprint Cup and Nationwide drivers made appearances at Race Fever-many repeat attendees including Kyle Petty, Bobby Labonte, Kurt Busch, David Ragan, Joe Nemechek, Marcos Ambrose, A.J. Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard, Kevin Lepage, Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Scott Wimmer, Kelly Bires, Brad Coleman and Cale Gale. Race Fever is the largest source of unrestricted funds for the AIDB Foundation, the private fundraising arm of AIDB. Through five campuses in Talladega and nine regional centers throughout Alabama, AIDB serves more than 13,500 children and adults who are deaf, blind and multidisabled each year.(PR)(5-1-2008)

  • MWR Adds Chief Marketing Officer to Executive Staff: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) expanded the depth of its executive staff today, announcing the hiring of Terry Bassett as Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer as part of the young company’s organizational growth. Bassett, with over 20 years of sports marketing experience, will oversee the sales, marketing, media relations, licensing and sponsor service divisions for MWR, entering its 15th month competing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup level. Bassett comes to MWR after a two-year stint with the Miami Dolphins and previously worked for International Speedway Corp and Penske Motorsports, Inc. Several executive additions have solidified MWR since company founder Michael Waltrip formed an equal ownership partnership with Rob Kauffman in October of 2007. Calvin Wells III serves as the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, with Larry Johns serving as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Eric Warren as Vice President and Technical Director and Ty Norris as Vice President and General Manager.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(5-1-2008)

  • Dale Jr. to interview Danica on radio: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to interview popular Indy Racing League driver Danica Patrick this week during his XM radio show, “Dale Jr. Unrestricted.” The interview with Patrick, who won the Indy Japan 300 in April, will air nationwide on the XM Sports Nation Channel 144 this Thursday at 7:30pm. Encore broadcasts will air at 10:30pm on Thursday and 1:30pm and 6:30pm on Saturday.(5-1-2008)